Monday, February 27, 2006

A Truly Great Man

It says something about our culture that the news outlets have duly reported the deaths in recent days of three actors, Don Knotts, Dennis Weaver, and Darin McGavin, but the death of perhaps the most culturally consequential writer of the last fifty years has gone almost completely unremarked. As we noted yesterday, Henry Morris was a giant in terms of the influence he exerted on the debate over the efficacy of natural selection and mutation to account for the phenomena of living things. Virtually everyone on the spectrum of those who are skeptical of the ability of mechanistic processes and forces to by themselves produce living organisms was deeply influenced by him, notwithstanding their disagreements with his young earth creationism.

Even many of those firmly in the materialist camp still felt compelled to address his arguments. At a time when there were scarcely any who could be found to carry the argument for creation to the secular world Henry Morris and a small band of like-minded colleagues waged their solitary struggle against enormous odds with dignity and courtesy.

Total vindication of his efforts may never come, but the American landscape is covered today with a forest of skeptics and dissenters from the Neo-Darwinian paradigm who are carrying on the battle that Morris began. Long after the movies of the departed actors have faded from memory, Henry Morris' legacy will still be ramifying throughout the institutions of our culture. He truly was a great man.

See here for William Dembski's thoughts on Morris' life.

England is Alabama

Things are looking bleak for the future of British medicine:

A growing number of science students on British campuses and in sixth form colleges are challenging the theory of evolution and arguing that Darwin was wrong. Some are being failed in university exams because they quote sayings from the Bible or Qur'an as scientific fact and at one sixth form college in London most biology students are now thought to be creationists.

One member of staff at Guys Hospital site of King's College London said that he found it deeply worrying that Darwin was being dismissed by people who would soon be practising as doctors.

Most of the next generation of medical and science students could well be creationists, according to a biology teacher at a leading London sixth-form college. "The vast majority of my students now believe in creationism," she said, "and these are thinking young people who are able and articulate and not at the dim end at all. They have extensive booklets on creationism which they put in my pigeon-hole ... it's a bit like the southern states of America." Many of them came from Muslim, Pentecostal or Baptist family backgrounds, she said, and were intending to become pharmacists, doctors, geneticists and neuro-scientists.

Gosh. Can you imagine? Like the southern states of America. Next thing they'll speaking with a drawl and driving on the right side of the road.

I'd like to issue a challenge to anyone who wishes to take it up. Set aside for a moment the question whether materialistic evolution, intelligent design, or special creationism is true, and focus on answering the following two questions raised by the above article:

1) What practical or professional difference would it make to a pharmacist, a doctor, or a neuro-scientist whether they believed that the earth was created 10,000 years ago or 5 billion years ago?

2) What practical or professional difference would it make whether the doctor believed that man emerged from other primates by purely natural processes or was specially created by God to have a biology similar to that of primates?

If you wish to respond please use our feedback button to e-mail us your reply.


"This is an administration that is going to be noted for its incompetence not its accomplishments." Senator Harry Reid 2/24/06

Unfortunately, the words had scarcely passed the Senator's lips when the news brought us this (2/27/06):

The US economy is set for a strong rebound in the first quarter of 2006, shaking off the hurricane-related weakness of the fourth quarter, a survey of business economists showed.

The survey of the National Association of Business Economists called for the economy to expand at a robust 4.5 percent pace in the current quarter -- the fastest since 2003 -- after a disappointing 1.1 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter.

"The NABE panel sees the economy roaring back in early 2006 following the fourth quarter's tepid 1.1 percent growth," said Stuart Hoffman, NABE president and chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. "Our forecasters expect the economy to shake off the effects of last years hurricanes and surging oil price."

Except for Ted Kennedy, no senator makes himself look more foolish more often than does Harry Reid.

The Armed Citizen

This is a fascinating and tragic story that illustrates the value of civilian "right to carry" firearm permits:

There were two big developments Monday in the case of a motorist who was shot and killed along Greenwell Springs Road Friday after a fight with a police officer. Investigators say an autopsy shows the deadly bullet was fired by a bystander, not the officer. Police also announced that no charges would be filed in the case, either against the police officer involved or the bystander who fired the fatal shot into the head of George Temple.

East Baton Rouge Sheriff's spokesman Greg Phares says Officer Brian Harrision was escorting a funeral procession Friday when he pulled Temple over and wrote him a ticket for breaking into the procession. According to Phares, that's when Temple attacked Harrison. Police say Perry Stevens was walking outside of the Auto Zone on Greenwell Springs Road when he heard Harrison yelling for help. Harrison was reportedly on his back with Temple on top of him. That's when Stevens went to his car and grabbed his .45 caliber pistol.

According to Col. Greg Phares, "[Mr. Stevens] orders Mr. Temple to stop and get off the officer. The verbal commands are ignored and Mr. Stevens fires four shots, all of which struck Mr. Temple."

Perry Stevens fired four shots into Temple's torso. Officer Harrison had already fired one shot into Temple's abdomen. With Temple still struggling with the officer, Perry continued to advance toward the scuffle.

"He again orders Mr. Temple to stop what he was doing and get off the officer. Those commands are ignored and he fires a fifth shot and that hits his head. The incident is over with, and as you know, Mr. Temple is dead."

Police are calling the shooting death justified. Perry Stevens has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Col. Phares would not give out any more details relating to the shooting. Both Phares and Baton Rouge Police Chief Jeff LeDuff stopped short of crediting Stevens with saving the officer's life. LeDuff says the entire incident is unfortunate.

"I spoke with his father at the scene briefly," said LeDuff. "I think this is a tragic situation all around."

9 News is told George Temple has a criminal record, and Officer Harrison was involved in a shooting while employed as a prison guard in East Baton Rouge Parish, where he was suspended for three days back in 1995.

It is astonishing that Mr. Temple was still fighting with the police officer after having been shot five times with large caliber bullets. It sounds as if he was under the influence of some sort of drug. There's more to the story:

A witness has come forward to change one key detail in that shooting involving a police officer which has caused such an uproar in Baton Rouge. Auto Zone store records place this witness in the parking lot as the fight and deadly shooting occurred. The witness tells a story not heard before, claiming he heard exactly what was said between the officer and shooting victim, George Temple. Out of fear of retaliation, the witness has requested his identity not be disclosed.

The witness says he was parked just a couple of spaces away from the black Mercedes George Temple was driving. At first, he didn't pay much attention to the man getting a ticket from the police officer, until he heard Temple and Officer Brian Harrison start to yell at each other. The witness says Temple called the officer a punk and said "you're just jealous of my car" not long after the officer and Temple started to struggle.

According to the witness, "You could here them muffled... 'Mother' this and that. 'I told you not to mess with me, I told you -- I'm a beast, I told you not to mess with me. I told you, I told you.' "

The witness says the officer took quite a beating.

Witness: "I mean, Mr. Temple was a big man."

Reporter: "What was the officer saying?"

Witness: " 'Help me, help me!' That's when he started screaming."

That's when a bystander in a neckbrace, Perry Stephens, shot and killed Temple. Even though the witness believes Stephens likely saved the officer's life, he does take issue with one part of Stephens' story. The witness says he never heard Stephens give a threat or a warning before he shot Temple.

"The man probably saved the officer's life... but he did not give out a warning," he says. "But if this would have been on a dark road, we would probably be looking for a cop killer, to be honest with you."

Stephens eventually ended the struggle between Temple and Harrison with a shot to the back of Temple's head.

"I heard [Temple] had a daughter, my heart goes out to the family. But Mr. Temple was aggressive to the officer. If [the officer] would have shot him, I probably wouldn't have even called [channel 9]."

The NAACP is upset with the officer, the investigation and the Baton Rouge Police Department's policies. The witness sees it differently. "I say the officer did everything he needed to do. If I would have been pulled over, I wouldn't have had an attitude, because the officer did everything he was supposed to do."

The witness says he doesn't want any trouble or attention. He says he just couldn't sit on the truth anymore.

Whether Mr. Stephens gave a warning or not is irrelevant to the significant point which is that were there no legally armed citizen at that scene there would apparently be yet another grief-filled funeral for a police officer who was also someone's son, husband, and/or father killed by a thug in the line of duty.

There was a time when it seemed to me that it was irrational to allow citizens to carry weapons in public. That opinion fell by the wayside many years ago as evidence mounted that armed and licensed citizens have saved thousands of lives, including their own, simply by virtue of possessing a weapon, even if it was merely displayed and not used. My former view was finally buried by a reading of John Lott's More Guns, Less Crime, a book I recommend to anyone who doubts that a society in which citizens are armed is actually safer for everyone than one in which only criminals carry weapons.

Pressroom Heroes

Tim Rutten in the LA Times blasts the American media for their pusillanimous non-response to Muslim intimidation while journalists throughout the Islamic world suffer imprisonment or death for writing sensible and truthful columns:

Timidity and indifference are a lethal combination.

It was bad enough when, one after another, major American and Western European news organizations capitulated to violent Islamic extremists and refused to let their readers or viewers see any of the cartoons depicting Muhammad that have triggered what amounts to a pogrom against Danes and other Westerners across the Muslim world. This craven abrogation of the standards by which news judgments normally are made was matched by the cringing, minor-key response that passed for diplomacy on the part of Washington and most of the European governments.

The Western news media's stampede for safety has created quite a draft, and left to swing in the wind are the courageous Arab journalists who printed some of the cartoons in connection with stories and editorials denouncing the violence.

To its credit, the New York Times this week reported that 11 journalists in five Mideastern countries now are facing prosecution for fully reporting this story. One of them is Jihad Momani. The government of the U.S.'s close ally, Jordan, thinks he committed a crime when he wrote:

"What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras, or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony?"

Truth inconveniences tyranny.

In Yemen, three journalists already are in jail and a fourth is a fugitive. A local imam says, "The government must execute them." Their crime? Writing editorials that urged fellow Muslims to avoid violence and to accept an apology from the Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten, which first published the cartoons.

Eleven journalists facing prison, perhaps death, for the crime of publishing sense and where are the outraged editorials in American and European newspapers? Where are the letter-writing campaigns and protests on their behalf from their colleagues in the United States?


In defense of the American media, though, it's hard to devote time to foreign stories about journalists being persecuted for writing the truth when there's so much hay to be made over Dick Cheney's tardiness in informing the MSM that he'd been involved in a hunting accident. The media must allocate its limited resources to those matters which are most important and nothing is more important than pounding Dick Cheney every chance they get.

So if its journalistic courage you want to see, why then, just watch the pressroom heroes pin White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to the wall every time there's a press briefing. David Gregory even called him a "jerk" recently. Now that's genuine Congressional-medal-of-honor level heroism.