Saturday, June 30, 2007

Baby Got Book

This only makes sense if you know the song its parodying. Beyond that, I have no comment.

Outrage Checklist!!!

The picture above is taken from:

He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing" (Deut. 10:18).

Personally, I only have the time to be outraged by a few things. And even when I am outraged by something, I’m usually too apathetic to do anything substantial about it. Therefore I believe it is important to prioritize the things that really make my blood boil with righteous indignation.

Which is why I was surprised to hear about the incredible outpouring of anger over the recent immigration bill. Consider Alan Ogushoff’s fury. According to the Saturday edition of the Atlantic Journal-Constitution, Ogushoff has never been much of a political activist. But this immigration bill so incensed him that he wrote his senators, faxed them, and called them three times a day.

Ogushoff was not alone. On Thursday the US Senate phone system was shut down because of the enormous amount of phone calls pouring in. Most calls expressed a negative opinion about the bill and were particularly concerned about the “amnesty” provided by the bill.

The primary opponents of the part of the bill that made provisions for illegal aliens to become legal citizens were conservatives, including social conservatives. The strange thing about this outpouring of concern to me is that social conservatives have been so eerily silent lately. Why are they so upset all of a sudden? Why this bill? Why now?

Quite frankly, it has been troubling the amount of passion social conservatives have on this issue and how passive they have been on other issues. In their tirades against illegal immigrants, there has been little constructive put forth about how to deal with the individuals who are already here. Most of their intellectual effort just goes into finding new synonyms for "criminal." It would be nice if their anger was directed at the root causes that bring these twelve million poor souls into our country and at finding ways to help these people and keep our country safe. There are so many much more fun things to be furious about.

So…by way of a public service, I would like to offer just a few—related— things that I believe should rouse the indignation of at least Evangelical Christian social conservatives more than the fact that there are twelve million felonious, larcenous, unlawful, illegal, lawless, law-breaking, delinquent, nefarious, bad, notorious individuals who came here illegally. These are things I plan on getting upset about before I really jump on the anti-illegal immigration bandwagon

1. Abortion. Between 1973 and 2002 over forty million abortions have taken place in the United States ( Social conservatives don’t even have to write their congressman about this one. If you look at the presidential primaries of both parties, there is not a true social conservative running in the top tier. What happened to the might of the religious right? It turns out that the religious right is far more "right" than "religious". If Evangelicals could just be outraged enough to consider supporting a “middle” or “bottom” tier candidate so that they could get a little exposure I could maybe get as excited as I normally am at this point in the election cycle. But no…the leading candidate among evangelicals is…Rudy Giuliani (!?!?!? Now there’ s something to be outraged by! Here’s a choice quote: “Rudy is a very good friend of mine. I think he'd make a good president. I like him a lot, although he doesn't share all of my particular points of view on social issues. He's a very dedicated Catholic and he's a great guy. McCain I would vote against under any circumstance” (Pat Robertson speaking of Rudy Giuliani).

2. Orphans. There are over 100 million orphans worldwide. The forces that are causing children to be orphaned and the things that are being done to many orphans are too terrible to even mention here. The Evangelical church is slowly waking up to how she can help meet the needs of these precious ones.

3. Child Labor. We live in a culture of rampant materialism. We would rather purchase cheap goods made by children than pay extra for that t-shirt at Wal-Mart. You could start your crusade against child labor by not purchasing products from China promoting the 2008 Olympics…it seems as if many of these were made by children.

4. Racism/Lack of compassion (?). I wonder if at least some of the furor over the latest immigration bill stems from either outright or implicit racism. The tone of the conversation concerns me more than the fact that there are people here illegally. Quite frankly, if I lived in Mexico and needed to provide for my family, I would be coming here illegally. I sometimes wonder why that passion directed at illegal immigrants isn’t applied towards pressuring our government to force changes within other countries.

I’m not for breaking the law. There should certainly be laws that our official enforce. I’m just wondering about the tone of the debate and the furor of people whose voices are silent on so many other important things.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Do Chimeras Go to Heaven?

Humans have souls, animals don't...but what about chimeras? A chimeras "is an animal that has two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells that originated in different zygotes." The more sensational term is "animal-human hybrid." William Saletan has a very disturbing article on

There's a lot of distrubing aspects of this article, but here's a good excerpt:

"Last month, ethicists from Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin detailed a proposal by a Stanford scientist to substitute human brain stem cells for dying neurons in fetal mice. "The result would be a mouse brain, the neurons of which were mainly human in origin," they reported. The payoff, if the fetuses survived, would be "a laboratory animal that could be used for experiments on living, in vivo, human neurons." Imagine that: a humanoid brain network you can treat like a lab animal, because it is a lab animal.

"The Stanford experiment wouldn't actually produce a human brain. Most brain cells aren't neurons, and the experiment called for inserting human cells after the mice had constructed their brain architecture. But last year in Developmental Biology, researchers proposed to insert human stem cells in mice before this architectural stage. The resulting "mouse/human chimeras," they argued, "would be of considerable value for the modeling of human development and disease in live animals."

"When Stanford's ethicists first heard the proposal for humanized mouse brains, they were grossed out. But after thinking it over, they tentatively endorsed the idea and decided that it might not be bad to endow mice with "some aspects of human consciousness or some human cognitive abilities." The British academy and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences have likewise refused to permanently restrict the humanization of animals."

Al Mohler responded to this today on his blog. The best part of the blog was this statement by bioethicist Dr. Nancy Jones:

"What principles may Christians invoke to guide them in formulating a response to the possibility of such animal-human chimeras? Some concern should certainly be expressed for the experimental animal's suffering; however, Christians do believe that they have been given stewardship over animals and are permitted to use them to benefit humanity. Another concern would be zoonotic transmission of disease, which occurs when pathogens cross the traditional species barriers of disease transmission. When human and animal tissues are intertwined so closely, potential mutations of once species-specific pathogens may gain a unique ability to infect organisms of other species. A more fundamental Christian concern involves violation of the divinely created order. The Bible tells us that God designed procreation so that plants, animals, and humans always reproduce after their own kind or seed. (Gen 1:11-12, 21) In the biblical view, then, species integrity is defined by God, rather than by arbitrary or evolutionary forces. The fusion of animal-human genomes runs counter to the sacredness of human life and man created in the image of God."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Disturbing Trends in Marital Blog War

As you may recall.... In response to my rather fascinating series on the Gummi Bears, Whitney felt compelled to begin her own blog. At that time, a fierce competition began. We were each dedicated to total web domination--at whatever cost.

Sure, I was never even close in the "comments" war, but the other numbers the blog tracks weren't ridiculously less than Whitney's. From the beginning of May to yesterday....

* Whitney had 7% more visits (total times people came to the site)
* She had 2% more pageviews (pages clicked on).
* I had 10% more pages viewed per visit.
* People spent on average 7% more time on her site.
* I had 6% more unique visitors (so, if a person views a website 16 times in a period of time, this counter only counts them once).

But, if you don't look at the aggregate numbers and only the figures from the past thrity days, you realize that she's beating me pretty soundly. It looks like it took her a little time to get her website up and going and now that it is, things are rather bleak.

* Whitney has had 27% more visits over the past thirty days.
* She has had 17 % more pageviews.
* I had 9% more pages viewed per visit.
* People spent an average of 19% more time on her site.
* She had 26% more unique visitors.

So...the past thirty days represent a trend that doesn't bode well for Our web development team here is considering several options...

1. Use our mob connections to make her an offer she can't refuse.

2. Fail to pay our electric bill so that the power gets cut and she can't turn on her computer.

3. Pretend to be an online stalker and make her uncomfortable posting on the website. Considering how these Guatamamas already stalk one another, I don't think this will really phase her.

4. "Borrow" everything that she has on her site and put it on mine. That way, there's no incentive for people who visit both sites to visit hers.

5. Pretend to be her and post rude comments on her blog friends sites.

6. Just congratulate her and concede defeat. the future, look forward to having everything on her website conveniently located here. Remember: all you blogging needs. And, while you're here, click on some links, go get some coffee while leaving your browser open, and be sure to stop by tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hollywood Uncomforable with Abortion

Citing two recent movies dealing with unplanned pregnancies, Gerald Baker in The Times (London) writes an excellent article entitled, "You Won't See Termination 2 at the Movies." It can be found here:

I read it first on Dr. Mohler's blog. Dr. Mohler is the president of my future alma-mater (?) and you can read his commentary on Baker's article here: .

Baker contends that it is extremely rare to see a movie depict a women having an abortion. When given a chance, even in difficult circumstances, mothers choose to keep their babies. The reason for this is more than just a desire to avoid offending a large percentage of their potential audience. He believes that we go to movies in order to be inspired in some way and people, in their heart of hearts, realize that deciding to have a baby in the "moral and honorable" thing to do. This is problematic for the pro-choice crown because it illustrates that abortion is really about a choice between doing something "inherently expedient and selfish, and doing something that is inherently good and self-denying." His concluding paragraphs are especially strong:

And that makes you think a bit deeper about the “choice” question. The defenders of abortion like to say that choosing to have a termination is an agonising decision – and certainly many women will attest to this. But they also say that abortion presents no deep moral problem because it does not represent the taking of a human life.

So if having an abortion is no more than the disposal of an unwanted clump of cells, why on earth should a woman feel so bad about it?

In this newspaper recently Caitlin Moran wrote that she put more thought into choosing a design for her new kitchen than she did into a choice to have an abortion. This caused a bit of a stir, but if you think hard about it, it’s the only truly consistent moral position an abortion-rights defender can feel comfortable in taking. Otherwise, what on earth have they wrought?
After years of wondering whether we’ll ever change society’s permissive attitude towards abortion, I’m convinced that we will some day come to view it in the way we now view slavery, a moral abomination that generations simply became inured to by usage and practice.

The big difference, of course, is that abortion is worse than slavery. Not just in the obvious sense that it involves the taking of life rather than liberty. But because our current debate suggests that deep down most of us really know there’s something quite wrong with abortion.

Say what you will about the slaveowners, I doubt many of them sat around agonising about their decision to keep Uncle Tom and his family chained to the shack at the end of the drive. I doubt they justified it, after much soul-searching, by saying they were only painfully exercising their “choice” to own slaves so they wouldn’t have to sacrifice their standard of living.

When even Hollywood declines to celebrate the moral courage involved in choosing an abortion, it might be time we all woke up to what abortion really is.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Things got a little out of hand...

I was just trying to get a little work done around the house when the kids started asking a lot of questions about how the scanner worked. One thing led to another...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

$3.30 & Father's Day Without Ellie

The above Father's Day Card from Hannah reads: "Happy Father's Day and 6th yaer (sic) of being My Dad. Love, Hannah."

The past two weeks we've been out of town. The first week we went to Louisville for a class. The second week we were in Wisconsin. I'm pretty much a homebody and so two weeks away from home was hard.

On Monday of the first week, we received our referral. I am, of course, excited. I am also apprehensive as we begin the difficult task of waiting. It's very strange. I now feel an obligation to care for this little girl I can not bring home yet. Father's Day felt especially odd this morning. It was as if a member of the family wasn't here.

After church, Hannah gave me a box she had made out of paper with the above note attached. When I opened the box, there were three crumpled dollar bills, a quarter and five pennies. I immediately realized $3.30 was basically her entire fortune and was overwhelmed that she had given it to me. My first instinct was to give it back, but I realized it was important to allow her to be generous. Still, it's hard to take money from a six-year old so I resolved to make sure the money found it's way back to her.

"Hannah, that's so sweet," I told her. But before I could say anything else, she interrupted.

"It's to help us bring Ellie home."

Hannah will not be receiving a dime of that money back. It will all go to help bring Ellie home. I don't think I can compensate her nearly as well as Someone else can.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

New/Future addition to our family....

I have limited access to the internet this week and next, but please check out the new addition to our family:

Pray for us!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

International Philosophy

Aristotle very much the man in form! Has there ever been a comedy sketch this high brow?