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Posts posted by jryan

  1. Please try to avoid putting forth such a strawman. I was quite clear with my argument, and have summarized it repeatedly. Here it is again:



    If my point is (as you claim) so absurd, then you should not need to misrepresent it so completely when attempting to argue against it.



    I used that term first in a response to John Cuthbert pages ago and your first response to that characterization of HIS argument (not yours) was something about a blind squirrel finding nuts, nothing at all about religion being a net negative on science.


    And again, you have no actual way of showing this assertion in either version given that in an real comparison of cultures against their contemporaries it was the Christian religions that excelled while the secular ones didn't.


    Had you argued that Christian cultures in the middle ages were the most nurturing to science among a sorry lot then you and I wouldn't be arguing. Many atheists are secure enough to admit that simple fact rather than spout poorly supported screeds against religion, you should try it, it's liberating.


    No, i am saying the golden rule is part of human nature, if you had read the link you would have seen that virtually all human cultures have that in common, various religions co-opted the concept and convinced everyone it was part of their particular meme.


    And you failed to answer my second question....



    If it were human nature then it wouldn't need to be taught.


    As for the second question:


    Here is an article of examples.


    I can only imagine the uproar if a 5th Grade science textbook spent three pages on Biblical Genesis before getting around to the physics of planet formation.. hell, I don't even have to imagine it!


    As for outright fabrications, the latest edition of Huck Finn with all the objectionable words removed is a good example.

  2. But you have examples of Chinese technology that outpaced European technology, so your point that the Chinese didn't excel is false.



    To pick a nit here, no, "technology" is not synonymous with "discovery". Technology is the end result of science and engineering... and on that ground the West crushed China even more soundly than in scientific discovery rate alone.


    And you continue to miss my point. Scientific discovery was dominated by the west. You simply say "gunpowder" and think that that equates to dominance in chemistry, which ignores about 100% of the science of chemistry in the process.


    Looking at the timeline of discoveries in Chemistry, for example, shows several thousand years of discovery before the middle ages taht we know about precisely because monastic orders saved them from destruction in the dark ages, and after the dark ages the discovery is dominated by the West... but yeah, gunpowder... I suppose that is the beginning and the end of chemical discovery...


    The Chinese also discovered the compass, but that is immaterial given that fact the European superiority in astronomy allowed them to far outpace Chinese navigation abilities using the skies to find their way.




    Further, the position that Christianity stifled scientific discovery is not disproven by finding a non-Christian group who didn't excel. (A —>B. You cannot conclude that ~A —> ~B. That's a fallacy)



    Which is not what I am trying to prove, so good! I am showing that stating that Christianity is anti-science is an absurd argument as there is ample evidence that controls and hindrances on innovation are far more uniformly true in human societies. If you want to claim that Christianity is anti-science, then you have to make a case for an inordinate amount of anti-science on display in Christian society, but you can't. In fact, when you look at the bigger picture it was the Christian societies that were excelling in science even while you claim they were being stifling.




    IOW Nobody has claimed that Christianity and only Christianity, stifled discovery. There are many ways one can stifle discovery. Religion is one of them.


    But you singled it out even while the evidence proves that it was, in direct comparison, the LEAST stifling of science among the worlds disparate cultures. But it doesn't fit your narrative to admit the far more accurate "least stifling" descriptor or even "among the least stifling", or even, *gasp* "most nurturing" since that is where the evidence leads.

  3. 1. Without an afterlife (for which, I remind you, there is no evidence) they are the same. In both cases it's "conform or die".



    And if I tell you to hand me your wallet because Vishnu commands it you are less likely to do so than if I demand your wallet or I will shoot you.


    2 I think that's nonsense, would you care to clarify it?



    The original argument against the contribution of universities of the middle ages to the advancement of science was that these institutions were religious in nature and that scientific discovery was just some insignificant side effect from their initial purpose. This is both wrong and ignorant.


    Your "cave men" analogy made no sense, and you are free to explain it more clearly however. By my reading you argue that we shouldn't care what happened to Galileo and his theory since modern astronomy is independent ancient discovery.




    3 I could, but the end of the middle ages roughly corresponds with the start of science, so what would be the point? Incidentally I went to a middle ages University Oxford was founded very roughly in the middle of the middle ages .



    (remarking on the bolded bit) Ummmmm... what? "Science" started after the middle ages? That must come as a great shock to the ancient Greeks.




    4 If you can show me evidence then I will change my scientific beliefs. If you show a theist evidence that he is wrong- for example the moons of Jupiter or the scientific age of the world, you will be ignored, lied about or threatened. They will not change their belief. In that respect they do not want change. It's not absurd to say so



    This statement is rather absurd and incredibly bigoted. The fact that you can hold such a bigoted stereotype of the majority of your fellow humans is evidence of your own intellectual dishonesty more than evidence of the lack in anyone else.


    I mean, you are saying this to someone who IS a theist and it doesn't even apply to me. Your bigoted stereotype failed to pass it's immediate comparison. It's like you arguing that all Corvettes are yellow while staring at a red corvette. Of course, I am also rather confused by what you intend to prove to me about theism by showing me the moons of Jupiter...






    5 to any extent that that statement is true, at least the scientist have evidence for the lack of a "why"- they looked and couldn't find any. The assertion without evidence that "there is a "why" because we believe in it" is absurd.


    In order to make any progress with that, you need to show that this magical "why" actually exists.



    And you have broken the cardinal law of scientific inquiry in the process when you claim to have proof of a negative.




    6 yes, fair enough, they read books about the book and books about those books too. A bit incestuous I think.



    Again, you are simply spouting ignorance.



    7 ad hom, not worthy of comment.



    If having your own arguments applied to you makes you uncomfortable then I suggest finding arguments that are more universally applicable and that you can apply to yourself comfortably. I would teach you the Golden Rule, but that is in some old book that theologians read and is therefor false by your estimate.



    8 political correctness would require me to ignore the issues that Islam (and other faiths) raise.

    My point is about as politically incorrect as you can get. Please feel free to find out what the phrase means.


    I didn't claim that your thoughts are politically correct. I simply pointed out a wholly secular trend in today's culture that plays havoc with writing truthful textbooks. It is also far more ingrained in modern textbooks than is creationism.

  4. Well, except for gunpowder (chemistry), the compass (seamanship), along with paper making and printing and a whole host of other inventions, yeah, China's done nothing.




    Again, as I pointed out to iNow, I am not arguing that Chinese invention was non-existent, only that Western civilization far outpaced China in discovery in that time period.



    China fell behind when it closed itself off in the 15th century.


    See also Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond


    ...while the Christian west didn't. This doesn't counter my point. This point simply makes the argument that the Chinese were a more closed society than the West.. which supports my assertion.


    I am not arguing that the Western people were more ingenious than Eastern people, only that Western people excelled while the Chinese didn't. Arguing why Chinese innovation slowed is certainly interesting and informative, but my assertion was simply that the Western Christian countries outpaced the Chinese, which is contrary to the argument that Christianity stifled scientific discovery.

  5. Seriously dude, you should live where I do for a while and see the constant turmoil of school boards trying to teach creationism as science.... or teachers refusing to teach evolution... or asshats knocking on your door every Saturday afternoon wanting to tell you why the bible it literally true and that homosexuals are possessed by demons and you are going to burn in hell... the MBE goes on forever.... they get torqued completely out of shape over a bill board that suggests that if you don't believe in god you have company but there must be hundreds of bill boards claiming everyone is going to burn in hell if you don't believe my version of a damn fairy tail..... They get pissed off and claim they are being assaulted in some way if I answer merry christmas with happy holidays, I seriously expect to see religious violence in my life time started by these stupid fundamentalists.... And yes there are lots of them and more moderate religious people are afraid to stand up and be counted because they know they will be persecuted as though they are atheists and oh yeah, you don't want to admit to being one of those immoral father rapers for sure... I am sorry A Tripolation but we live in different worlds no doubt....



    Well sure, but the same argument on what goes into text books is happening on any number of subjects with just as entrenched sides. I argue with those very same kinds of people all the time because they suffer the same kind of intractable thought patterns as those who argue mind numbingly superficial historical anecdotes to prove that atheism is morally superior to theism while showing themselves to be deeply ignorant in the process.

  6. Except, I'm not disregarding it as a monumental contribution. I'm disregarding it as a valid counter argument to the point that powerful clergy tend to bat down ideas which run counter to their scripture and beliefs.


    But, again, you have no evidence of this as systematic, or unique to "powerful clergy". You have failed to show any reason for leveling this particular accusation against religion specifically rather than against humanity in general.



    Which era specifically?



    Let's pick the last 2000 years. I will give you a wide birth for showing Chinese excellence in a scientific discipline that was held back by religion in other cultures.



    "Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible." -wiki


    Actually, it does. Read more closely. That comment was a concession that his point argued against MY position, not yours.



    And religion isn't inherently totalitarian by that definition. Threatening a person with eternal hellfire doesn't carry much weight with those who don't believe in Hell. Now show me where any religious government is exceptionally more totalitarian than any communist nation of the last 100 years. Your argument fails to differentiate your anecdotes from an entire human history of contrary evidence or even address the anecdotes as evidence beyond the most superficial examination of them. You limit your evidence for no other reason than the evidence you are willing to accept supports your premise.


    At worst you could probably argue successfully from history that religion isn't particularly good at overcoming human nature, but that is a lot different than arguing religion as the cause of any given observed human frailty. But you choose to do just that anyway.

  7. "Religion isn't inherently totalitarian,"

    It offers you a choice; typically "believe or face eternal damnation and /or burning at the stake" whereas a totalitarian state like Stalinism offered a choice between "believe or get shot."

    Obviously totally different.


    Yes, very different. Especially if you don't believe in an afterlife.


    "No it doesn't. It is religious institutions that built the very educational systems on which the modern world was built."

    "Even today many of the oldest and most respected universities in the world are religious institutions or built by religious institutions."


    This is a bit like saying that "cave men" built the original buildings so they are responsible for modern housing.



    No, it's nothing like that. The point against which I am arguing is, however, like saying that Roman Cathedrals are not architecture because they were built by a religion.



    A lot has happened in between.



    Indeed it has, and you get a really screwy view of history when you skip over it.




    Certainly the original universities were places for the study of theology and the people there also learned other stuff, but none of this gets round the fact that religion wants things to stay the same, but science wants them to advance.



    Surely you need to actually educate yourself in the universities of the middle ages rather than speculate in a manner that best fits your personal bias.


    And no, religion doesn't want things to "stay the same". That is simply absurd and ignores the very history you want to use as evidence. Again, the common anecdotal evidence is against the assertion as the propensity of humanity to resist change, especially powerful human organizations, is well documented regardless of how religious the organization is. As I said, science and religion are two separate pillars of intellectual devotion. One focuses on the how, the other on the why. All that atheists have managed to argue in their rejection of theism is that there is no why... which is as lacking in compelling thought as arguing that religion answers the how so the scientific debate is over.




    When I was a student my old and well respected University still taught theology- but not to very many people.

    They became places of learning when they stopped studying one old book and looked at the rest of the world.



    I bet those theology students studied more than that "one old book". In fact, I would argue that on your myopic interpretation of theological study that your education is better defined as "avoiding old books".



    BTW, an Islamic proscription of representational art doesn't help text-book writers any.


    Nope, nor does political correctness.


    That is the specific thing that I am arguing. I tend towards the opinion that religion no longer behaves in this manner anymore.



    And more to the point, can anyone making that claim show where such behavior is unique or even more pronounced in religious regimes?


    As I pointed out, there is evidence of this same anti-intellectualism throughout history regardless of whether or not there is a religion involved. I posit it is a weakness of human nature, not of religion. The most anti-science regimes of the last century were atheistic, but I wouldn't use it as an argument that atheism is anti-science, however. That is because such a conclusion on anecdotes is no better or less specious than the falsehoods perpetuated by atheists as they try and prove the moral superiority of atheism.

  9. I didn't argue Islam is not religious just that it's scientific community was at least equal to that of Christianity.




    Ah, Ok. And yes, in terms of astronomy and mathematics the torch was passed from India, to China to the Middle East to Europe. After about 1500 the Islamic states fell behind as Europe began to dominate.


    It's interesting in comparison because the spark for the Renaissance began in Turkey, but for various reasons the proceeding centuries saw Turkey's Renaissance never fully realized, and by later 1800s they were a rather brutal and insular culture.


    This does not follow. It's beyond me why you cannot comprehend that preservation of the past is not equivalent to supporting future progress, or that a small handful of scribes carrying forth past knowledge does not and cannot refute the point that the church as a whole was repressive of science which challenged its scripture or power.



    Your failure to comprehend the depth and function of dark age monasteries and their scholarship doesn't change the function of dark age monasteries and scholarship. Not only did the monasteries preserve the scientific works that preceded them, but they were busy retrieving, translating and adding to the discoveries of Greek and Roman achievements.


    Furthermore, as the barbaric nations began to crumble in 1300s these same monasteries and their collected, and translated works and further discovery formed the institutional basis for the founding of the first European universities, and the scientific discovery was not only carried out by monks, but widely taught as well. The great scientists of the day learned their disciplines in these very same universities and form these very same texts, and there furtherance of understanding was protected by these very same religious institutions.


    Your disregard for this monumental contribution to science and understanding of the function of the early church is an artifact of your own bias, not based on any actual facts.





    There is so much wrong with your posts that I'm unsure where to begin. From thinking that advancements did not occur in China, to suggesting that scribes represented forward progress instead of loss mitigation, to saying that nonbelievers are executing on an ideology... you are quite simply wrong.



    I didn't say that advancement didn't happen in China. I said that scientific discovery was dominated by the west, especially in the one discipline, astronomy, so often used as an example of Christianity holding back scientific discovery. But if you want to find a discipline in which China excelled in that era far beyond the West then by all means offer it up. Seamanship, mathematics, metallurgy, chemistry... none of these are dominated by Asian discovery, and certainly by the 1700s the gap between Western and Asian technology was tremendous.



    Let me summarize.


    Totalitarian systems are inherently anti-scientific.

    Religion is inherently a totalitarian system.

    When viewed overall, religions net support for scientific progress over the centuries is mediocre when viewed relative to religions net impediment to scientific progress.



    Religion isn't inherently totalitarian, iNow. This simple bias is how you have managed to go so far wrong.


    You can stare in the face of all of history filled at every turn with religion and religious institutions building the very fabric of scientific discovery and still feel you can invalidate it with an anecdote. That isn't "free thinking", iNow, it's confirmation bias.




    Since the original argument was that RELIGION gets in the way of progress, not just Christianity, this point actually argues against the core premise.


    No it doesn't. It is religious institutions that built the very educational systems on which the modern world was built. You are simply arguing the unprovable and illogical position that without religion it would have happened faster.. even while history shows that cultures that had no overarching religious government fared more poorly against the more religious cultures. Even today many of the oldest and most respected universities in the world are religious institutions or built by religious institutions.


    History stands in denial of your assertions, iNow.

  10. Islam has a reasonable claim to that status, at least enough so to invalidate this statement.



    No, you would have a hard time arguing that any Islamic nation was not religious. Also, if that were true then you would still have to explain why Islamic scientific discovery in that time was dominated by Islamic clergy.

  11. Good point. Monied interest, whether industrial or military, tend to overwhelm any land-use economic interests. That is why global cooperation is needed; to keep land-use primary in economic interests. If we recognized good productive soil as a valuable commodity, then socioeconomic pressures would shift.


    Well, I think more Western civilization does value "productive soil". The History of Europe is filled with great wars fought, at their root, over productive soil. There is a tangent here for the differences in cultures the grow in areas of abundant resources versus those in limited resources.. but I will leave that for another thread. Anyway, places like Rhodesia were clawed out of inhospitable wilderness and turned, using Western technology, into lands of plenty. When Mugabe took over the country and named in Zimbabwe, on a largely anti-colonialism platform, he rejected the technology of the west, and the country has all but reverted to it's inhospitable wilderness yet again.


    Trying to help the people of Zimbabwe with the current government is unproductive, but being a regime willing to use unbridled violence to gain and keep power means that Mugabe isn't leaving until he's dead. The only way to accelerate that eventuality is with bullets.


    Focusing on land use makes people more self-sufficient, and less dependent on the whims and needs of an evil ruler (whether that be a dictator or a corporation). Land use also distributes labor and is a low-profit sector, so there is less pressure or facility for large-scale corruption. Although lately, the financial sector has figured out ways to grab land for investments on a global scale.


    Self sufficiency is anathema to tyranny. The Mugabes of the world work diligently to make their people dependent, not independent.



    That sort of "land grab" economic strategy needs to be avoided--through global recognition of land use as a valuable, critical, and necessary ethos for our species.



    It's nice in thought, but there will always be people willing to use force rather than sweat to get what they need. There is no avoiding this because pointing a rifle is a lot easier than operating a shovel.

  12. This merely means that they were interested in the preservation of history, not in the advancement of science. They were scribes... or maybe historians at best, but not empiricists.



    You can't have it both ways. If the church were anti-science then they would have had no interest in preserving scientific discovery, much less furthering it.



    You seem to have missed his point. Either that, you're being intentionally obtuse. The comment wasn't about anyone's choice in beliefs. They could believe anything they wanted, but they had to keep nonconformist beliefs quiet and hidden or else risk personal harm and rebuke.



    No they didn't. We know about Hobbes and others because they were published and read. If we discovered Western atheist philosophers from unpublished hand scrawled notes tucked in a clay pots buried in the ruins of their hovel then you would have a point, but we don't. Leviathan has been in print uninterrupted for 360 years.




    He's also discussing how... yes... the church did often support their scientific efforts... SO LONG AS they did not contradict their dogma. However, as soon as the outputs of science suggested falsehoods in belief, faith, or scripture... It was repressed, it was attacked, and it was shunned... So much so that countless people were imprisoned, burned, and made to suffer merely for expressing honestly the evidence they'd discovered.



    Wrong. Galileo's example, again, belies that. Galileo's problems were not that his discoveries challenged scripture, but they challenges rather influential fellow astronomers. The church, as the state, was the tool used to silence Galileo's competing theory. But you don't need a religion in play to see that happening even today. The atheistic Soviet Union, especially up to the 1950s was about as backward a scientific culture as could be found. The state held beliefs in agriculture and medicine were completely false and dangerous (and proved quite deadly) but those who opposed these views were imprisoned and put to death.


    It is hard to pin the plight of Galileo on religion when the same process plays out in the absence of religion.



    You're being very seriously disingenuous if you're here now suggesting such an environment was conducive to free thought, did not impede the flowing of ideas, and was a culture which supported progress and advancement.



    I am here to point out that if you believe that Christianity was a great hindrance on science, especially in the age of Galileo, then you really need to explain why Christian nations dominated the scientific fields in that time while more secular nations fell behind.


    "Anti-Science Christianity" is simply a form of atheistic dogma that many atheists hold as a tenet of faith but refuse to examine openly. While it is certainly true that there are people who use religion as science and arrive erroneously at a 6000 year old Earth, there are just as many misguided individuals who arrive at the conclusion that religion is anti-science and claim to get their through "free thinking". For me the science and religion are completely separate, and only intertwine where morality and ethics are concerned.


    It is arguable that pure science should be immoral (I used "amoral" before but that was wrong). The scientific strides we could make if we ignored personhood and bred humans solely for scientific experiments seems "rational" but immoral. But this belief in personhood and the sanctity of life also restricts scientific progress. This restriction, as one example, is not uniquely a religious limitation... at least I assume most atheists here would be opposed to such practices as well.


    Even blind squirrels can sometimes find a nut.



    That is rather absent rational introspection, iNow. It seems more fit for the imaginary anti-science Christian you hold in caricature than a free thinking atheist you believe yourself to be. There is 6 centuries of direct comparison between the three dominant cultures of the time and in direct comparison it is the secular culture that fell behind in science. Hell, it was the non-religious Huns and barbarians that nearly crushed Western civilization and froze scientific discovery in the west. The flame of discovery was kept lit by a dispersed organization of monasteries throughout Europe that not only "preserved history" as you so disingenuously put it, but promoted the furtherance of scientific study.

  13. "This is simply false. Religion and Science are tools to explain two completely different aspects of human existence."

    It would be fine if this were true, but nobody seems to have told the church about it.

    Galileo may have remained a Catholic?

    So what? that wasn't the issue.

    The problem is that the church banned his teachings. Doing so held up progress.


    If the Church stuck to the things that are not in the realm of science then it wouldn't have much to say would it?

    It doesn't provide a moral guide (if it did, how come our nominally Christian society ignores quite a lot of it. We really don't stone kids to death for swearing at their parents as Leviticus tells us we should.)

    It doesn't tell us about the origin of the universe- but it claims to.

    On the other hand religion, or it's spokesmen (and they are generally men), tells us that we shouldn't believe the evidence of our eyes if it contradicts their magic book.



    The fundamental distinction between religion and science is that science can admit to making mistakes.

    Because of this it doesn't need to imprison people for their beliefs.





    This is also a wonderfully crafted fallacy of the history of Science and the Church. Even using Galileo as the example is completely illogical if you look beyond the blinders placed on history by many atheists.


    Consider this: If Christianity was so terribly anti-science, and was the great burden on astronomy that atheists wish to paint it then why, pray tell, did the major strides in astronomy from that era come predominantly from Christian nations? Galileo's discoveries came a century into the Western dominance of the field, beginning with Copernicus in in 1540s. And before that, speaking more generally on the subject of religion as anti-science, Astronomy before Copernicus was dominated by Islamic Clerics in the three centuries before Copernicus.


    China in that same period was largely a secular, philosophical society and they barely contributed to the furthering of astronomy. How do you explain this using the same "Christianity is anti-science" narrative?

  14. Did they have much choice? Society didn't have much tolerance for deviation from this, and science at the time was viewed as gaining insight into God. As long as it didn't contradict dogma.



    That is also untrue. Thomas Hobbes, a famous philosopher and atheist, lived at the same time as Galileo and seemed to have a choice in his beliefs.

  15. Religion is anathema to the heart of science... Free inquiry and openness to any idea. As I said initially, too often religious leaders bat down that which reduces their power.


    There are numerous examples of this happening throughout history. Are you genuinely unaware of these?



    This is simply false. Religion and Science are tools to explain two completely different aspects of human existence. Science seeks to explain the how while Religion seeks to explain the why. It has always seemed to me that using religion to explain the how and using science to dismiss the why are both misuses of the tools provided to you. Atheists simply argue there is no why.


    Also, the "numerous examples" throughout history that are used to prove your argument generally manage to accomplish this by ignoring some rather large and glaring faults in the example. Galileo, it is argued, was silenced by religion... yet Galileo remained a devout Catholic his whole life. Gregor Mendel, Isaac Newton, and on and on were religious people. The scientific discoveries of Western civilization survived the dark ages due to dedicated monastic efforts to protect and maintain the records in the face of a destructive barbaric occupation.


    The idea of religion holding back science as an argument for atheism is about as useful as an argument for ammorality as the only true path to scientific discovery.

  16. Many lawyers and law enforcement officials echo this sentiment, but attempts to reform the system are shot down almost every time by Congress, which tells us someone is making money on the system the way it is and doesn't want it to change. I read recently where 1 out of every 31 Americans is either in jail, in prison or on some kind of supervised release. Are we really such a country of criminals? How can we consider America the best place to be when we have more criminals than any of the countries we'd rank as the worst places to be?


    When you think about it, our Congress has the ability to change absurd things relatively quickly, so when something seems so obviously wrong but doesn't get changed, you can usually find that profit is influencing our government representatives somehow. Can it be as simple as removing the corporate clout to solve so many of our biggest problems?



    The problem is that at it's root the notion of getting corporations out of politics is really getting money out of politics. But the big regulatory government mentality makes that impossible as it gives government increasing control of the corporate world, who will always have money. But everyone likes money and everyone likes power... giving government officials more power and more access to money doesn't lead to a more independent government. How do you fix this? It is a system that invites greed.. but then so do all economic, governmental systems.

  17. Yep!


    Which is why focusing on solutions that help indigenous peoples, and also promote and ensure the Millennium Development Goals and Food Security Steps, is critical.





    There is a huge flaw in your and CaptainPanic's assessments here. The problem with the developing world and the people dying in poverty in the third world is their governments. Zimbabwe was once a jewel of the African continent until Mugabe and the kleptocrats took over and ruled their nation with an iron fist. Likewise, Somalia is a pirate state for all of the warlords vying for power in that region.


    Millions die in refugee camps all over the world, driven from their homes by power hungry juntas ruling their countries.


    It's not lack of funding, it's oppressive governments and terminal civil war that create the countries in which these people starve.


    Now, how do you fix this? By dumping more money on these blood thirsty tyrants in a hope that eventually civilization will take root? Of course not. The tyrants need to go before anything can change. Now explain how you propose to accomplish that peacefully.

  18. I read an interesting and fairly well balanced article by Theodore Dalrymple regarding the effects of colonialism on Africa. The article is often misread as a celebration of colonialism, but it really isn't. Dalrymple

    (Anthony Daniels) was an outspoken opponent of apartheid. But as he observes in this article, African culture has been inundated with western values that it is not prepared for and that are at odds with traditional African culture.


    Anyway, it's thought provoking:


    After Empire - By Theodore Dalrymple

  19. I'd love to be able to supply a reason, but I can't; my guess is that it's rather complicated but the infant mortality in the US is twice as high as the leaders'.


    Twice as much chance of a child dying isn't something I would describe as "almost trivial".



    When you consider that the US is also far ahead in teen pregnancy (and per capita teen pregnancy) it becomes clearer why we have a higher infant mortality rate. Especially when you consider that the US rate is 6.8 per 1000 while the Canadians are at 4.8.... while they have less than half the teen pregnancies.


    Granted, there is more at play in the numbers, but to claim that the difference is due to health care is not really being accurate.

  20. A final post on this because I think what I have is the definitive bit of evidence on the Bush -vs- Obama budget claims that are swirling around.


    First: Bush never signed a FY2009 budget. What he signed was a continuance. Here is a WaPo article on off shore drilling that started my search..


    The point of interest is in the second paragraph: "Democrats said they gave in to White House demands rather than risk a showdown over the "continuing resolution" Congress must pass to fund the federal government through March."


    So Bush signed the continuance into law. But what happened to the FY2009 budget? Well...


    Second: The FY2009 Omnibus bill was introduced into Congress by Democrat David Obey on February 23rd, 2009 and signed into law by President Obama on March 11th 2009.


    But that isn't all. I kept looking and found something else interesting...


    Third: The $1.41 trillion debt in 2009 was calculated from the March 2009 budget



    Conclusion: The 2009 budget was entirely under the watch of President Obama and the Democrats in the House and Senate. So did the Obama administration just forget that the 2009 budget was theirs?

  21. There were a number of new tax credits instituted. There's a $7,500 one for electric vehicles, and I believe another big one for college tuition.


    None of this belies a statement that he might raise taxes in the future.




    Well, and tax incentives are iffy to categorize as a "tax cut". Once upon a time they were categorized as incentives.


    I think that is why Obama has a problem "convincing" America that he cut taxes. A $10/paycheck tax reduction (or whatever is comes to) is hard to notice even if you aren't one of the many Americans who has seen little or no growth in their take home pay for two years. Likewise, unless you were one of the small minority that bought a house, or a car you likely didn't enjoy any of those tax incentives either.


    And spending in general was raised more than taxes were cut, so in the final accounting all he did was spend somewhat less of of the taxes from some of us.

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