Wednesday, June 28, 2006

ID T-Shirts

CafePress has Intelligent Design T-shirts available some of which are quite clever and fun. Here's one of our favorites:

Go here to see their selection.

A Scientist Talks Religion

Noted physicist Steven Weinberg opines on science and religion:

In my experience most physicists are not particularly religious. A few are - no question about it. But most are not. In fact, I would say they're not so much irreligious as simply uninterested in this subject. They don't know enough or think enough about religion to qualify as atheists. And but I think that's not so limited to physicists. In my experience many Americans think of religion as important, and want to do whatever they can to support it. But if you ask them what they themselves believe, you'll find they're very uncertain about their religious beliefs. They don't actually accept the theology of their official church.

One piece of evidence I give for this is the fact that I have very good friends who belong to religious denominations whose teaching is that since I don't accept their teaching I am damned for all eternity. And you would think that these friends would try to convert me. But they never do. Now, you could explain this in various ways. It may be that they really don't like me very much and are just as glad to see me damned for all eternity -- that's a possible explanation.

But another explanation which I tend to think is more likely is that although they know what their church teaches and they give lip service to it, they really don't believe that if you don't follow that particular form of worship you're damned for all eternity. And when you talk to them about what they believe they're likely to say something like this: "That I think there is a great mystery; we don't know what it's all about. Who knows what's going to happen when we die? Who knows whether there's a heaven or hell? I was born into this faith. I think it's important to have a faith, therefore I will continue to attach myself to this faith." But it really is pretty much what Susan Sontag a long time ago called "piety without content." They believe in religion more than they believe in what religion teaches.

Weinberg is right about the impression of a lack of confidence in their beliefs that Christians often display. Not only is this true with regard to beliefs about eternal life but also with regard to beliefs about abortion. Many Christians believe, for example, that all abortions are tantamount to the murder of innocent children. Yet, very few are willing to storm abortion clinics and shut the places down as they would if born children were being slaughtered therein.

Perhaps deep down they don't really believe that abortions are the moral equivalent of killing toddlers, just as maybe deep down they don't really believe that God is going to condemn people to eternal hell because they did not hold a particular proposition about Jesus as part of their noetic set.

The rest of the interview with Weinberg is also interesting and can be accessed at the link.

Tehran's Guilt

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, in this 2003 column, implicitly reminds Americans why hitting Tehran hard would be retaliation, not pre-emption, for the deaths of nineteen servicemen in the Khobar Towers attack.

Along the way he also reminds us why the Clinton years were so shameful.

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the tip.

The War Against the Taliban

Bill Roggio reports on the security situation in Afghanistan. Here's the first part of his report:

The latest round of fighting in southeastern Afghanistan has claimed over 82 Taliban fighters in two separate engagements in Kandahar and Uruzgan provinces. Security Watchtower provides a breakdown of the estimated casualties of Taliban and Coalition forces in southeastern Afghanistan since the beginning of April. An estimated 600 Taliban have been killed and 22 captured, with 41 Afghan and Coalition security forces killed or wounded combined. The estimated Taliban casualties do not contain the number of wounded, which is often twice the number killed in combat.

As the Coalition ramps up its forces and adds another 9,000 troops to the southeastern theater, the Taliban continues to take a pounding on the battlefield. The security situation in the region is fluid, but the Coalition is clearly gaining the upper hand as it moves forces and devotes energy into regions largely ignored by the central Afghan government. Coalition and Afghan sources estimate the Taliban strength between 2,000 to 5,000 active fighters, while the Taliban puts their strength at 12,000. Using the high Coalition estimate of 5,000 and an estimate of 1,800 Taliban killed and wounded, the Taliban has experienced a 36% attrition rate over the past three months. Using the Taliban estimate of 12,000 strong, the Taliban has experienced a 15% attrition rate. Both are frighteningly high numbers, and belie the reports of a sophisticated and powerful Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan.

To underscore this point, I sat in on a platoon level briefing prior to a Canadian assault earlier this month on the Dari and Panjwai districts in Kandahar province. Intelligence indicated the Taliban were massed in the hundreds, and possessed assault rifles, RPGs (rocket propelled grenades), mortars and other more sophisticated weaponry (I will omit the weapons for security purposes). The grunts of Charlie Company of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, mobile assault team and the tip of the spear for Canadian forces, laughed at the intelligence reports the Taliban possessed mortars and other weapons, as they have shown little inclination to bring these weapons to bear on the battlefield. Mortars are hardly sophisticated weapons, they are a staple weapon of platoon and company sized infantry units. That the Taliban cannot effectively deploy these weapons speaks volumes of their sophistication and training.

This is all good news, of course, but the flip side is that Taliban strength is growing in western Pakistan. Read the rest of Roggio's report at the link for the details.