Friday, September 30, 2005


An amateur archaeologist claims to have found the ancient island home of Odysseus:
Homer’s legendary hero Odysseus wandered for 10 years in search of his island kingdom, Ithaca. Now, a British amateur archaeologist claims to have ended the ancient quest to locate the land described in “The Odyssey.”

Although the western Greek island of Ithaki is generally accepted as the Homeric site, scholars have long been troubled by a mismatch between its location and geography and those of the Ithaca described by Ancient Greece’s greatest poet.

Robert Bittlestone, a management consultant, said Thursday that the peninsula of Paliki on the Ionian island of Cephallonia, near Ithaki, was the most likely location for Odysseus’ homeland. He said geological and historic evidence suggested that Paliki used to form a separate island before earthquakes and landslides filled in a narrow sea channel dividing it from Cephallonia.

Some scholars are backing the theory. It's interesting how reliable many of these ancient documents are.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


From today's Corrections at the New York Times:
The About New York column yesterday, about an imagined conversation with God at a Manhattan diner, referred incorrectly to the Bible to which the thickness of the menu was likened. It is the King James Version, not St. James.

Oh my.

(Thanks to the guys at Power Line for this one.)

The new president of the Dartmouth Student Assembly made a surprising, but unsurprisingly unpopular, statement recently:
What happened was a convocation welcoming the freshman class to Dartmouth College. The student president traditionally speaks at these convocations, and this time it was the young man from Louisville, Ky., who uttered what turned out to be an inflammatory couple of sentences. He told the freshmen that the mere imparting of knowledge is less than what a college education should seek to do for students. The development of character is the higher goal.

"Character," said [Noah] Riner, "has a lot to do with sacrifice, laying our personal interests down for something bigger. The best example of this is Jesus. ... He knew the right thing to do. He knew the cost would be agonizing torture and death. He did it anyway. That's character."

Of course, the Ivy Leaguers weren't going to let that pass:
That violation of secularist decorum brought on great indignation. A petition drive against the young student body president is contemplated. A vice president of the Student Assembly wrote to him, "I consider your choice of topic for the convocation speech reprehensible and an abuse of power. You embarrass the organization, you embarrass yourself." A sophisticated defense was tendered by a Jewish student who wrote, "Many of us in the Dartmouth community proudly disagree with that and other aspects of Riner's religious beliefs, but our disagreements do not give us the right to limit his speech."

Mr. Buckley finds a connection with Mr. Riner's reception at Dartmouth and the current attacks on Intelligent Design:
The planted axiom being encouraged by the secular community is that an acknowledgment of biological evolution not only acquiesces in scientific certitudes, it cannot coexist with any thought of intelligent design. And this is true no matter how many metaphors are introduced ("We don't mean Noah actually got all living creatures into an ark ...") to concede the morganatic difference between intelligent design and Darwinian evolution.

Anyone can have free long as you agree with the right people, which happens to be the secular left.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Some words for preachers:

[Y]ou can mark it down: God will hide from you much of your fruit. You will see enough to be assured of its blessing, but not so much as to think you could live without it. For God aims to exalt Himself, not the preacher, in this affair of preaching.

From John Piper's The Supremacy of God in Preaching, p. 23.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Some are calling the showdown over Intelligent Design and evolution in Dover, Pa Scopes II. After the Dover school board voted to allow presentation of alternative explanations to evolution a group of parents has sued:
With the new political empowerment of religious conservatives, challenges to evolution are popping up with greater frequency in schools, courts and legislatures. But the Dover case, which begins Monday in Federal District Court in Harrisburg, is the first direct challenge to a school district that has tried to mandate the teaching of intelligent design.

What happens here could influence communities across the country that are considering whether to teach intelligent design in the public schools, and the case, regardless of the verdict, could end up before the Supreme Court.

Dover, a rural, mostly blue-collar community of 22,000 that is 20 miles south of Harrisburg, had school board members willing to go to the mat over issue. But people here are well aware that they are only the excuse for a much larger showdown in the culture wars.

"It was just our school board making one small decision," Mrs. Hied said, "but it was just received with such an uproar."

The way our courts are I don't expect ID to do too well in the suit. But perhaps it will continue to be a wakeup call for those who are tired of being pushed around by the ACLU and their allies.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Just what are those? Why anything scientists say they are, of course. Well, until someone disproves them. But in the meantime you are not allowed to question them especially if you're [shudder]religious[/shudder]. Museums, challenged by creationists, are fighting back:
Lenore Durkee, a retired biology professor, was volunteering as a docent at the Museum of the Earth here when she was confronted by a group of seven or eight people, creationists eager to challenge the museum exhibitions on evolution.

They peppered Dr. Durkee with questions about everything from techniques for dating fossils to the second law of thermodynamics, their queries coming so thick and fast that she found it hard to reply.

After about 45 minutes, "I told them I needed to take a break," she recalled. "My mouth was dry."

That encounter and others like it provided the impetus for a training session here in August. Dr. Durkee and scores of other volunteers and staff members from the museum and elsewhere crowded into a meeting room to hear advice from the museum director, Warren D. Allmon, on ways to deal with visitors who reject settled precepts of science on religious grounds.[emphasis added, nac]

So the troops are being trained on how to deal with those pesky and oh so unreasonable creationists. A pamphlet has even been written:
When talking to visitors about evolution, the pamphlet advises, "don't avoid using the word." Rehearse answers to frequently asked questions, because "you'll be more comfortable when you sound like you know what you're talking about."


Monday, September 19, 2005

(and some guy named Alexander, too)

Archaeologists are finally getting around to excavating the ancient city of Patara:Now, after literally centuries of neglect, teams of Turkish and German archaeologists have been working under the hot sun of this small Mediterranean seacoast town, uncovering some of its treasures.

Among them, liberated from the many hundreds of truckloads of sand that covered it, is the actual Parliament building where the elected representatives of the Lycian League met. It has rows of stone seats arranged in a semicircle, like the chambers of the U.S. Congress.

Its stone-vaulted main entrances are intact, and so is the thronelike perch where the elected Lyciarch, the effective president of the League, sat.
Fun stuff.

I was looking over the Pew Trust's recent poll on American views of religion, particularly the questions relating to evolution. Here's their box:

Now as it's worded, I would have a hard time choosing the pro-creation/non-evolution option. Has life continued on earth in its present form since the beginning of time? Could anyone really answer 'yes' to that?

First, of course, you have all the extinct species, including dinosaurs. Well, that's a pretty big change. Then you also have various micro-evolutionary changes. When we talk about humans, for example, one who holds to a Biblical understanding of creation would have to see the division of humans into distinct genetic races (I realize this can be a fluid thing, but people from Norway don't look like people from China who don't look like people from Nigeria) as a micro-evolutionary development that differs from life in Eden. Recognizing the reality of that as well as other micro-evolutionary changes (dogs into distinct breeds, etc.) does not mean an endorsement of Darwinian evolution, but neither does it mean that life has continued unchanged since the beginning of time. What this shows more than anything else is the prevailing caricature of those who don't endorse Darwinian evolution even from places like the Pew Trust.

Write better questions and get more accurate results.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


The Onion has discovered a new trend that hits close to home here in Alabama,the rise of home-churched kids:
BIRMINGHAM, AL—A new trend in the religious upbringing of children has recently emerged in the heart of the Bible Belt. "Home-churching," the individual, family-based worship of Jesus Christ, is steadily gaining in popularity, as more parents seek an alternative to what they consider the overly humanist content of organized worship.

Norville Tucker, who moved his family to the woods outside Shelby, AL in 1998 to "escape the damaging cultural influences of urban Mobile," is widely credited with pioneering the home-churching movement. Tucker said he was inspired to home-church when his 10-year-old son Macon returned from Sunday school singing a lighthearted song about Zacchaeus, a tax collector befriended by Christ, and then later recited the parable of the Good Samaritan.

"I couldn't believe that the liberal elite had infiltrated even the study of our Holy Scriptures," Tucker said. "It was bad enough that my youngsters were being taught evolution in public schools, but when I discovered they were learning to embrace foreigners and Big Government in Sunday school, I drew the line."

It sounds that the need is dire, indeed...

[Thanks to Sean for the tip.]

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


A Ten Commandments display ordered removed by a Federal court is for sale on ebay:
Thou shalt not bid less than $52,000.

That's how much Ten Commandments-Georgia would like to raise for the controversial Decalogue that was ordered removed this summer from a breezeway in the Barrow County Courthouse in Winder. The plaque is now up for auction on eBay.

The group, a nonprofit committed to putting replicas of the tablets from Mount Sinai on public buildings throughout the state, opened bidding Sunday evening. By Monday afternoon, the plaque had attracted 41 bids with the latest at more than $1,500. Bidding closes on Sept. 21.

"We've been told it could raise as high as $20,000, if not $40,000," said Mike Griffin, executive director of Ten Commandments-Georgia....

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in 2003 to get the plaque removed. In July, Senior U.S. District Court Judge William C. O'Kelley ordered the plaque taken down. The county complied and decided not to appeal.

Now I confess I'm interested that they are 'putting replicas of the tablets from Mount Sinai on public buildings'. Just exactly what are they basing these 'replicas' on--the tablets Charleton Heston had?

Episcopalian author Os Guinness has blasted his co-religionists as 'kissing Judases':
Christian apologist and author Dr. Os Guinness blasted the Episcopal Church telling several hundred persons at a Kairos Awards dinner that among mainline denominations it was the worst and most extreme capitulation to the spirit of the age in its abject surrender to the sexual mores of the modern world.

Calling them “kissing Judases” (from Soren Kierkegaard) -- followers of Jesus betray him with an interpretation. Guinness ripped the ECUSA saying, "we have seen a troubling growth of those who bend every nerve to reach successive generations of the cultured despisers of the Gospel: and then join them and become like them and no longer faithful to Jesus Christ. Some have surrendered to Enlightenment ideas, and become skeptics about God’s sovereignty, or skeptics about human sin, or skeptics about the possibility of the supernatural and any world beyond the here and now."

Guinness, an Episcopalian who attends The Falls Church in Northern Virginia, said that at one level, the result was an Alice in Wonderland church in which Christian leaders now openly deny what all Christians have believed and many have died to defend; Christian leaders who celebrate what their faith once castigated; Christian leaders who advance views closer to their foes than to their founder; and Christian leaders who deny the faith, but stay on shamelessly as leaders of the faith they deny.

Well, can't say I can argue with him.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Quote of the day:
"don't make it illegal for us to look at your underage daughters and then dress your underage daughters up like whores for us to look at."

What some fathers let their daughters wear is beyond me. Fathers (they're guys, remember?) really ought to know better.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will veto a 'gay' 'marriage' bill in California:
Schwarzenegger said the legislation, given final approval Tuesday by lawmakers, would conflict with the intent of voters when they approved an initiative five years ago. Proposition 22 was placed on the ballot to prevent California from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states or countries.

“We cannot have a system where the people vote and the Legislature derails that vote,” the governor’s press secretary, Margita Thompson, said in a statement. “Out of respect for the will of the people, the governor will veto (the bill).”

Proposition 22 stated that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The bill to be vetoed by Schwarzenegger would have defined marriage as a civil contract between “two persons.”

I was somewhat amused by the next line in the article:
In Massachusetts, recognition of gay marriages came through a court ruling.

Well of course it did.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Time was when you simply had to take someone's word if they told you that a child was yours--but no more! Now you can get a home DNA test in order to confirm that nagging question of paternity. That golddigger won't pull the wool over your eyes!

Yes, this is what our Jerry Springer society has come to. How do I know about the wonderful world of home DNA testing? Apparently there is enough of a demand for it that they're running radio spots for them. The one I heard begins the same way this post does (minus the golddigger line). *sigh*

Monday, September 05, 2005


As the storms of life arise, one can still focus on the important things:
Amid the tragedy, about two dozen people gathered in the French Quarter for the Decadence Parade, an annual Labor Day gay celebration. Matt Menold, 23, a street musician wearing a sombrero and a guitar slung over his back, said: "It's New Orleans, man. We're going to celebrate."

Decadence, indeed.