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Posts Tagged ‘John Robbins’

Nye_UndeniableIn recent years, Bill Nye has become something of an icon with the humanist, progressive, environmentalist, social justice warrior crowd.

As a result of his popular children’s science show in the 1990s, he may even be thought of as a sort of Millennial version of Mr. Rogers, a trusted fatherly figure who would never lead his followers astray.

But unlike Mr. Rogers – yeah, I’m a Gen-Xer who grew up on Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo – Bill Nye has gone full social justice warrior in his later years, pushing not only evolution, but the climate change and LGBTQ agendas as well.

Nye has been particularly active in recent years having penned Bill Nye’s Comic History of the United States: The Human Side of the Story (2014), Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation (2014), Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World (2016). This year will see the release of this latest book Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap into Radical Curiosity and Solve Any Problem.

Just this year, Nye served as one of three honorary co-chairs of the March for Science, an organization dedicated to proposition that it is right and just to use government force to take money from the American people and use it to subsidize scientists dedicated to pushing the false narrative of man-made global warming/climate change or whatever new crisis of the day that happens to be popular.

For my part, I’ve only recently begun to pay much attention to Nye. His science show didn’t start until well after I graduated from high school. When I was in school, we had Julius Sumner Miller as our “science guy,” whose programs were educational, memorable and, on occasion, pretty funny too.

As for Miller, I couldn’t tell you what his religious or political beliefs were. For unlike Nye, he didn’t wear them on his sleeve.

Although I had heard of him previously, Nye really didn’t come onto my radar screen in a big way until his February 2014 debate with Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis.

My best summary of Nye’s argument in that debate runs something like this: Evolution is based on the same scientific principles that have brought us electricity, polio vaccines and the internet. You cannot at the same time use and appreciate any of these scientific breakthroughs without also agreeing that Darwinian evolution is true. If you don’t insist and believing in Biblical creation and a 6,000 year old earth, not only are you contradicting yourself by accepting the benefits of science while at the same time rejecting its truth claims about the origin of life , but you’re stupid too. What is worse, if you teach the Biblical doctrine of creation to your children, you’re guilty of making them stupid. And not only that, your insistence on believing Biblical mythology over science endangers the very future of the United States of America.

Well, that’s quite a bit to unpack. Far more than time and space allow in a single blog post. And this doesn’t even touch on the rest of Nye’s body of work. Lord willing, I hope to begin a new series on Nye later this year. But for now, a few short observations on Nye’s thought will have to do.

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First-Amendment

Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution

It’s fairly easy for Americans, living as we do under the Constitution, to take our freedoms guaranteed under that document for granted. This is certainly the case for me, at any rate.

The whole matter of the importance of the Constitution in securing our liberties was brought to mind just in the past few days with the release of an email cache related to French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.

What drew my attention to the release was not so much the question whether the emails were authentic or not, although that’s an important question, or the similarity of the release to what occurred during the US presidential election last year, but the way the French government dealt with the release: It ordered the news media not to report on the content.

According to the Independent,

France’s electoral commission has ordered media not to publish contents of Emmanuel Macron’s leaked campaign emails to avoid influencing the election.

I warned news outlets in France that journalists could face criminal charges for publishing or republishing the material, under laws that came into effect at midnight forbidding any commentary liable to affect the presidential race.

As lawless as things have gotten in the US, at least there’s still enough respect for free speech that there are no laws prohibiting political campaigning up to election day.

The idea that the federal government would have the right to criminally charge a reporter for commenting on publically available information just wouldn’t cut it in America, at least for the moment.

Mind you, there are plenty of American elitist types, both within and without formal governmental structures, who would like to see that happen. But at least for the moment, they constrained from enforcing their will.

That American deep state, master of the universe types hate free speech can been seen from some of the reporting on the Macron emails.

For example, CNBC carried a story by Reuters with the headline “US far-right activists, Wikileaks and bots help amplify Macron leaks: Researchers.”

The article goes on the darkly warn about, you guessed it, Russian involvement in hacking the emails and the responsibility of “far-right” journalists for spreading the news.

Is Freedom of the Press Biblical?

The short and sweet answer is, yes, by all means. Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, is certainly a Christian concept.

The press is free to publish. Likewise, the people are free to judge their words.

We can see this principle at work in the way church services were handled. Paul gave directions to the Corinthians to allow two or three prophets to speak, leaving it to the congregation to judge what they said.

The prophets were free to speak, but the people reserved the right to evaluate what they said.

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North-Korea-condemns-US-for-ICBM-launch-from-California

North Korea expresed outrage after the U.S. Air force announced the successful launch of an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile, the Minuteman III, on Wednesday.  Photo by Ian Dudley/U.S. Air Force/UPI.

Long long ago, in a strip mall far far away, nerdy teenagers used to hang out in now almost mythical places known as video arcades.

 

For a quarter, you could zap space invaders, blow up asteroids, or play the part of some Italian plumber named Mario.

I know all this, you see, because I lived it. Yes, I was a first generation gamer, tokens in pocket, hanging out with my fellow freaks and geeks in the backroom of Baker Street Books – yes, believe it or not, the local bookstore had a game room – to see who could get high score on Gorf.

In an age of Xboxs, 60 inch flat panel monitors, and online gaming, I suppose all that sounds pretty quaint. But this was the golden age of the video arcade, and we had a blast.

One of the most popular games from this period was Missile Command. The goal of the player was to protect his cities from being nuked by using anti-ballistic missiles to shoot down the enemy’s incoming ICBMs. If you lost your cities, it was, in classic video game lingo, GAME OVER.

In retrospect, I suppose a game like that, inspired by the Cold War as it was, served to add a bit a levity to what was the deadly serious, ever present threat of nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union.

And speaking of the Cold War, all the headlines about North Korea and nuclear bombs this past week brought back memories of those bad old days when we were regularly treated to newscasts featuring stony faced Leonid Brezhnev, massive eyebrows and all, watching columns of Red Army soldiers, tanks and missiles pass before his reviewing stand in the Kremlin.

Those same headlines also got me to thinking about the foolishness of America’s interventionist foreign policy, and how intervention, once the decision is made to start it, can take on a life of its own.

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Ruth_and_Naomi_Leave_Moab

Ruth and Naomi Leave Moab, 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872).

Due to time demands at work, it has been some time since the previous installment of my series Immigration, Citizenship and the Bible. Those circumstances now ended, it is my hope, Lord willing, to complete the final postings this spring.

But before moving on to break new ground, it seems good to me to circle back and review the topic of the Roman Church-State (RCS) and immigration. I say this in the first place, because an honest inquiry into the current problems surrounding immigrants and refugees in the United States finds their source in the theory and practice of the RCS..

In the second place, the RCS has conducted its immigration campaign, a campaign with the ultimate goal of furthering its globalist agenda by undermining the sovereignty of the United States, with almost no scrutiny from the press or from Protestants. It is high time someone pointed out the treachery of the her prelates.

Third, a recent speech by San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy laid bare the corrupt theory that lies behind Rome’s immigration policy. This post is a critique of McElroy’s speech.

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WIPFSTOCK_TemplateDoug Douma’s recently published biography of Gordon Clark titled The Presbyterian Philosopher has garnered a lot of positive attention.

I’ve just started reading it, so I’m not in a position to write a review. For reviews of the entire book, please see here for David Engelsma’s, here for Sean Gerety’s, and here for Tom Juodaitis’.

But having just read through the Introduction, I was very favorably impressed with Douma’s summary of Scripturalism, the name given to Clark’s philosophical system by John Robbins. Writes Douma,

The philosophy of Gordon Clark has been called Scripturalism because of his reliance on the truth of Scripture as his fundamental axiom or presupposition. Stated simply, his axiom is “The Bible is the Word of God.” Scripturalism teaches that the Bible is a revelation of truth from God, who Himself determines truth and is the source of all truth. In this theory, the prepositions of Scripture are true because they are given by inspiration of God, who cannot lie. For Clark, the Bible, the sixty-six books accepted by most Protestant churches, is a set of true propositions. All knowledge currently available to man are these propositions along with any additional propositions that can be logically deduced from them.”

Among the key terms in this paragraph is “axiom.” An axiom is an unproven first principle. All systems of thought, including Christianity, have unproven first principles. Both Clark and Robbins held that the axiom of Christianity is, “The Bible alone is the Word of God.”

Some Christians may be disturbed at that thought that one cannot prove the Bible is true. Somehow it doesn’t seem quite right to say this. It almost seems tantamount to casting doubt on the Scriptures and denying the entirety of the Christian faith.

I asked John Robbins about this once in an email, which (unfortunately!) I no longer have. But I recall quite well the gist of what he told me.

He explained that all thinking – this includes every philosophical system ever devised, secular or religious – must begin somewhere. That is to say, all systems of thought must have first principles, axioms, and that these axioms, because they are the starting point from which a system of thought is deduced, are by definition unproven and unprovable.

A moment’s reflection reveals why this is so. If one could prove an axiom, a first principle, then it would no longer be a first principle, whatever argument used to prove the original axiom would take over in this role.

Getting back to the axiom of Scripture, if we attempted, as some do, to prove that the Bible is the Word of God, the Bible would not be the foundation of our faith, but our own argument used to prove the inspiration of Scripture.

We would be lending more credence to our own ideas than to God’s revelation. And to do this would be impious, for there is nothing more sure than a word from God, who cannot lie.

In the end, the Christian’s belief in the inspiration 66 books of the Bible does not rest on any argument devised by man. But rather, as the Westminster Confession puts it,

[O]ur full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness, by and with the Word, in our hearts.

In other words, the Christian’s belief in the Bible is the product of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit who causes us to understand and agree with the propositions – a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence – in the Bible.

This is not to say that the inspiration of the Bible cannot be defended. Clark wrote quite extensively in defense of the inspiration of Scripture. See God’s Hammer
for Clark’s devastating critique of various modernist theologians who sought to deny the doctrine of Scripture.

But what it does mean is that as Christians we do not have the burden of proving our first principles to unbelievers. Instead, we assume the truth of the Scriptures and use them to tear down the many high things in our day that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.


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CIA“Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WiiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named ‘Vault 7’ by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.” Thus begins the press release on the Wikileaks website.

In light of the “Vault 7” release, and in light of the many other revelations from WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden, and others, it seemed good to evaluate the covert activities of the US federal government in light of the Word of God.

This is a pressing issue, because more and more it is becoming obvious that we’re living Orwell’s 1984 in real time. What once was the stuff of dystopian fiction is now our day to day experience. According to the Vault 7 release,

  • “Weeping Angel” a hack developed by the CIA and the UK’s MI5/BTSS is targeted at Samsung Smart TVs, placing “the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode” while recording conversations in the room.
  • The CIA can hack your Android or Apple smart phone. According to WikiLeaks, “Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user’s geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone’s camera and microphone.”
  • The CIA can make their hacks appear as the work of foreign intelligence agencies.
  • The CIA has hoarded, rather than disclosing, knowledge of serious vulnerabilities to US-based tech manufacturers as was agreed upon in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations.
  • “The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware.
  • The U.S. consulate in Frankfurt Germany is a covert CIA hacker base.

For my part, none of this seems terribly surprising. There long have been rumors that the CIA and other government agencies had capabilities of this sort. But now we have reliable confirmation of it.

But Government spying doesn’t end here. For example, in 2013 Glenn Greenwald penned an article that appeared in the Guardian, in which it was revealed that the US government is capturing “every telephone conversation Americans have with one another on US soil, with or without a search warrant.”

In that same article, Greenwald quoted a 2010 Washington Post piece stating, “Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency [NSA] intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications.”

Greenwald also quotes former NSA official William Binney to the effect that the US government has “assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens with other US citizens” and that “the data that’s being assembled is about everybody. And from that data, then they can target anyone they want.”

Ah, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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