Friday, August 5, 2005

Chris Matthews Redefines Shamelessness

We stated in a post a couple of days ago titled Sinking in the Mire that the NYT was positively shameless in their obsession to hand Bush a defeat by trying to mine scandal in the adoption records of John Roberts' children.

A day later Chris Matthews decided he would not be outdone by the Times. On his MSNBC show Hardball, which after last night might be called Sleazeball, Matthews interviewed the parents of a young Marine killed in Iraq less than 24 hours before.

The tenor of his questions made it clear that Mr. Matthews sought to exploit the grief of this couple in order to score cheap political points against the administration. The questions he asked follow below. I've omitted the parents' responses, which were pretty much what Matthews was hoping for, because those parents should be given our sympathy, not our criticism. If the reader wishes to see how they answered the questions the complete transcript can be found at the link.

Ms. Palmer, did you sense that this war was very dangerous for your son, even before yesterday?

What made you feel that the danger was growing?

Let me ask you, Mr. Schroeder, why do you think we're in this war? What do you think is the real reason for this war in Iraq?

Rosemary, let me ask you what is your feeling about this war and the goal of trying to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people? And do you think that was a smart thing for us to try to do?

Do you think that the war is going to get any better now that your son - I mean, you have paid the ultimate price? And, by the way, thank you. I don't know what it means to say thank you for your service, except I mean it. The courage of these young guys and some women over there is unbelievable. And I guess everybody wonders about the conduct of the war, whether these lives are being wasted or these lives are being put to good purpose. What is your feeling about that now?

The way you describe it [the war], it is like pouring water into a sand hole on the beach and having it drain right through and start over again. It seems like a repetitive process that doesn't seem to be getting anywhere.

What should be the reaction of the American people who pick up their newspapers, watch television, and learn of these horrors? What should they do as a result of seeing that news, Mr. Schroeder?

It's hard to come to any other conclusion than that these questions, aside from being dumb, were designed to elicit criticism of the Bush administration and its conduct of the war. That Matthews used people who had just learned that their son had been killed to achieve this purpose is unconscionable. The only good thing about this sordid affair is that scarcely anyone watches MSNBC.

Marine Losses

Bill Roggio has some details on how the six Marines were lost in fighting several days ago and also some thoughts on the war in Anbar province.

You'll also want to read Wretchard's analysis of a Department of Defense news briefing with General Carter Ham about the ambush. You'll also want to read Wretchard's analysis of a Department of Defense news briefing with General Carter Ham about the ambush.

Roggio and Wretchard are far more informative than anything you'll find on the evening newscast.

Plantinga on Schonborn

Alvin Plantinga, one of the best known epistemologists in contemporary philosophy, enters the lists on behalf of Cardinal Schonborn:

A renowned philosopher from the University of Notre Dame supports recent comments by Cardinal Christoph Schonborn that belief in evolution as accepted by some in science today may be incompatible with Christian beliefs.

"Cardinal Schonborn has it right," said Alvin Plantinga, the John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy and one of the world's leading scholars in the philosophy of religion. "Evolution means different things to different people. Some of these things are perfectly consistent with Christian belief, but others are not.

"Some think of evolution as the theory of common ancestry: Any two living things share ancestors, so that we and the poison ivy in our back yard, as well as other living creatures, are cousins. This is surprising, but compatible with Christian belief."

Problems arise, according to Plantinga, when "scientists and others take evolution to be a process that is wholly unguided and driven by chance, so that it is simply a matter of chance that rational creatures like us exist. This is not compatible with Christian belief, according to which God has intentionally created us human beings in His own image. He may have done so by using a process of evolution, but it isn't by chance that we exist."

Plantinga adds that the idea that "human beings and other living creatures have come about by chance, rather than by God's design, is also not a proper part of empirical science. How could science show that God has not intentionally designed and created human beings and other creatures? How could it show that they have arisen merely by chance. That's not empirical science. That's metaphysics, or maybe theology. It's a theological add-on, not part of science itself. And, since it is a theological add-on, it shouldn't, of course, be taught in public schools."

This last paragraph is especially pertinent. Darwinism is the view that natural processes are sufficient by themselves to have produced the entire biosphere. This assertion, however, is completely untestable. No observation could serve to confirm it or to refute it. It is, as professor Plantinga notes, pure metaphysics which is why it must not be allowed a position of privilege in public school science classes. It is no more scientific nor less theological than the Intelligent Design theorists' claim that natural processes by themselves are inadequate as explanatory mechanisms for the structures, pathways, and processes we find in the biosphere.