Archive for December, 2010

A tale of Two Dogmas

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Energy consumption defines our present standard of living.  The average American today has the energy equivalent of ninety slaves working for him.  Half of the world lives on a small fraction of this, and they want to catch up.

Split that energy consumption roughly in half.  Half goes to transportation and is essentially petroleum.  Commerce itself runs on diesels and gas turbines for all practical purposes.  The other half is for electricity and industrial processes.  This is powered by coal, natural gas, hydro-electric, and nuclear, with so-called renewables (wind and solar) bringing up the rear.  Keep this picture in mind when you see artful pictures of an idyllic future of happy citizens riding bicycles under windmills with rolling green hills in the background.

Decisions concerning the energy future of the world are some of the most important decisions being made in our time.  Unfortunately, they are being made by people whose minds are the prisoners of two dogmas.

The first dogma is that of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).  This dogma holds that (a) world climate is warming significantly, (b) this is due to human activity, principally CO2 emissions from burning hydrocarbon, and (c) the consequences of this warming will be so bad that it is worth serious economic disruption to avoid.  All of these points are debatable, and I do not personally pretend to know where the truth lies.  I do think there is reason to question whether continued high levels of CO2 emission is a wise course for mankind.  I also think the economic disruptions needed to achieve the needed reductions if the AGW people are right would themselves be cataclysmic and would likely lead to political upheaval and war.  That many of the AGW proponents have a not-so-hidden agenda to ride AGW fears to establish some kind of global tyranny is, in my opinion, also true.  (But however evil their motives may be, this tells us nothing about the truth or falsity of AGW theory.)   My final observation is that their proposed solution of windmills, solar cells, and conservation, even if fully implemented, would at best slow and not prevent the arrival of the future of their fears.

This brings me to the second dogma that controls our decision makers’ minds, absolute and unshakeable opposition to nuclear power.  This opposition is based on things like Chernobyl and TMI, and features endless recital of problems with nuclear power as if the alternatives were problem free.  It often sounds like people opposing the Goodyear Blimp because of the Hindenburg disaster.  Emerging nuclear technology, especially in what are called Generation IV nuclear plants, promise practical solutions waste disposal, proliferation, and accidents, while promising reasonably priced power for a growing world for the next thousand years, all with no CO2.  The so-called “traveling wave” reactor design is especially interesting and has attracted impressive private backing.

In my opinion, many of the people pushing the AGW dogma oppose nuclear for no other reason than that they won their political spurs shutting down the nuclear industry in the 1980s.  They cannot admit they were wrong then and still argue they are the only people who know anything now.

With the EPA and now FERC asserting unconstitutional powers to crush the economy with their ill-conceived AGW rules (which will only move carbon emitters from America to China) I fear we are in for a rough time.

 Note:  Here is a page of excerpts from my book EMPIRE to give you a taste of what’s in it.


 

Other Principles

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

The Republican Party platform of 2008 includes the following promise:

“To protect our servicemen and women and ensure that America’s Armed Forces remain the best in the world, we affirm the timelessness of those values, the benefits of traditional military culture, and the incompatibility of homosexuality with military service.”

The platform is not necessarily binding on all candidates, but voters have a reasonable right to expect that honest individuals running as Republicans support the platform unless they say otherwise.  However, 15 Republican Congressmen and 8 Republican Senators voted to repeal DADT contrary to the position stated in the platform of the Party under whose banner they ran.  Few or none had expressed their disagreement with this provision before the election.   Had the Senators who had not previousl expressed disagreement with the DADT provision stuck with their party the DADT repeal effort would have failed.  None have been criticized for this betrayal by any Party leadership to my knowledge.

{In particular, Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts (1) solemly pledged to support retention of DADT when running for election, (2) later said he would vote for repeal only after vigorous debate in the Senate (never happened), and (3) promised he would only vote to repeal DADT if the budget passed (it didn’t).}

This gives social conservatives a pretty good idea where they stand with the Party.

Furthermore, all of the Senators stood by their pledge not to vote on any other issues until an extension of the Bush tax cuts was passed.  So they can stand for their Party’s position when they want to.  Too bad for our front line soldiers that they don’t have a lobby.  

Perhaps Groucho Marx best articulated the views of our Republican Party leadership when he said “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”

John McCain

Monday, December 20th, 2010

I remember when I was a midshipman on summer cruise in the Pacific in 1970.  I learned that John McCain was undergoing torture in a North Vietnamese prison while his father was carrying the burden of commanding all US forces in the Pacific.  The North Vietnamese offered to release John McCain as a propaganda move.  He refused, choosing to remain loyal to his country and his fellow prisoners.  I was so impressed by both men.

Fast forward to 2010.  John McCain is now a Senator.  The homosexual lobby is about to force homosexual culture on military men and women without even asking their opinion about this.  Anyone who does not wish to have homosexual culture forced on them is denounced as a hater and a bigot.  Almost alone, McCain refuses to betray these front line troops.  He sticks his neck out and fights for them while eight other Republican Senators fall over each other seeking the approval of the homosexual lobby and Lady Gaga.  Even my classmate, CNO Gary Roughead, who was probably on that cruise with me, sides with the sex celebrity over the war hero.  Senator McCain’s wife and daughter make gratuitous public statements in support of homosexualizing the military lest they be associated with their husband and father.  John McCain, his concerns dismissed by the country he fought for, publicly betrayed by his wife and daughter, does not betray the troops.  He stands with them.

I have had my share of disagreements and frustrations with the Senator from Arizona, but today I commend him for sticking with his comrades in the Hanoi Hilton and with our front line troops today, which alone among all Americans are prohibited from complaining about what is being done to them by a Congress and a public that could care less what they think.  Denied a vote in the matter, perhaps they will vote with their feet.  God bless you John McCain.

My Classmate

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Admiral Gary Roughead.  USNA, class of 1973.  Chief of Naval Operations.  My classmate.

Today Admiral Roughead announced that he was “pleased” that the Senate had voted overwhelmingly to legalize homosexual conduct in his Navy and the rest of the Armed Forces.

When Admiral Roughead and I were plebes at Annapolis in 1969, they used to march us to Chapel on Sunday mornings as had been the custom since the Academy’s founding.  You could get out of it if you went to an organized “Church Party” to a church in town, or even to a humanist ethical society meeting.  It was widely believed that some religious reinforcement to an officer’s moral character was a good thing.

The ACLU got someone to sue and some judge put a stop to that practice, so we didn’t have to go after the first year.

In my second year I was involved with the Evangelical group the Navigators.  Athlete’s for Christ and other Christian groups were fairly active, and those of us who were involved in these groups were called the “God Squad.”  In my third year I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and began attending a local house church which was part of what was known as the Charismatic Movement.

I graduated in 1973, the same year abortion was “legalized.”  A few years later, women were admitted to the service academies.  I decided that either we were serious about having women in combat or not serious about combat, and either way it was time to get out.  The battle for America on the home front was more important.  Years have passed, and while Gary Roughead moved up the ranks I was out doing what I could fighting abortion and the whole de-Christianization of America.

So here we are today.  Looks like I’ve lost.  Congress voted overwhelmingly for open homosexuality in the military.  Eight Republican Senators joined in.  Flag officers like Gary Roughead are pleased.  No one asked the soldiers, and no one cares.

Least of all the pastors of our churches.  Less than 1% of Evangelical pastors and Catholic priests have ever spoken out against abortion and/or the homosexual political agenda to any extent.  Have you ever hear a sermon explaining what is wrong with homosexual conduct?  But I bet you’ve heard plenty of manipulative propaganda on TV and in the movies to convince you the Bible is wrong and that homosexual conduct is just as good or better than heterosexual.  These “shepherds of the sheep” seem to think their job is to keep God’s army off the battlefield.

According to Romans, the rise of homosexuality in society is not so much a sin as it is God’s judgment on sinners.  The sin, is having known God, choosing to put Him and His Law-Word out of our minds.  For this sin, we are told, God “gives them up to their own lusts,” with the rise of homosexuality in a society serving as an indicator that God has abandoned a people to judgment.

I am sure the new policy to homosexualize the military will have more negative effects in terms of losing people and hurting recruitment.  I am pretty sure that no matter how harmful it proves to the military we will never go back.

So during our respective careers, Gary and I have seen America move steadily away from God.  The Church in America, in spite of its numbers and resources, has been ineffective in stopping or reversing this movement.  Gary seems to have made his peace with the trend.  As for me, not so much.

Why has the Church failed?  This is a big question, but I will point to a few things.

  1. The Church believes in the “partial lordship” of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is lord of the personal sphere, but governments are free to ignore Him.
  2. The Church does not take the moral Law of God seriously.  Sexual morality in particular is not taught.  The Church is all about forgiveness without repentance, about the promise of heaven without the threat of hell.  We think Jesus died to improve our self-esteem.
  3. More than anything else, the Church wants the enemies of Christ to like us.

I don’t know.  Maybe Christianity has to be outlawed and the whole lukewarm establishment swept away before God can start over with a remnant.

Atheism in Science

Monday, December 13th, 2010

This article wonders why only 6% of scientists are Republicans.  This other article explains it.

The prevalence of atheism or near atheism in the scientific community is one of the unhappy but important features of our time.  Many or most of the pioneers of the scientific revolution where Christians who saw the scientific endeavor as closely tied to their belief in the Creator.   However, since the time of Darwin this has changed until most scientists now see belief in God as disqualifying one from being a scientist.  Any scientist who even suggests that Darwin’s materialistic view of the universe can be questioned is excommunicated.  This is known as a “scientific consensus,” and is enforced by “peer review,” denial of tenure, and defunding.  Some might call it group-think.

You can sort of see an innocent way that things got to this point.  Obviously, a scientific approach can only consider naturalistic causes.  A scientist has to assume experimental results are caused by impersonal mechanistic laws even if supernatural agents were actually involved.  This assumption is called methodological naturalism.  However, to go further than this and say that the supernatural does not exist is philosophical naturalism.  It may be easy for people steeped in methodological naturalism to think that science has disproved the existence of the supernatural, but when they do, they are confusing their assumption with a finding.  If in your science God is ruled out as a ground rule, you cannot at the same time claim that your science has disproved God.

But even though it is easy for the philosophically challenged to make this mistake, our scientist friends are not completely innocent.  It is also attractive to man’s fallen nature to believe we have a means of gaining God-like knowledge that makes us little gods, far superior to those little non-scientists with whom we must unfairly share the road.  As Satan said to Adam and Eve, “You shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”

The recovery of science from the corruption of atheism is one of many tasks before the Church.