Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson has made some good movies and his The Passion of the Christ was, in my opinion, excellent. Nevertheless, he has essentially undone himself with his drunken rage at the police who apprehended him for DUI.

His behavior is not just appalling, it's reprehensible. The charges of anti-semitism that have followed him throughout his career and especially in the lead up to the release of The Passion have been amply confirmed by Gibson himself.

His drunkenness is tragic but, as serious as it is, it might win our sympathy, or even our empathy. His obvious hatred of Jews, however, is a much more profound sin, especially in the anti-semitic world we find ourselves in today. It's a sin which commands not our sympathy but our dissociation.

It is with deep sadness that we read of his fall, and as much as we'd like to believe his apology no one says the things he said unless those things are deeply rooted in his soul.

Mel needs to think about some very serious penance, purgation, and contrition. He needs to spend some quality time on his knees laying open his soul so that God can cleanse his heart of the hatred he harbors there. Until he spends that time I don't know how there can be anything more that he could ever offer the Church.

Sounds Like a Trend to Us

Michelle lists eight or nine examples of Muslims who've initiated deadly or near deadly attacks on innocent bystanders in this country in the last ten years, the one in Seattle the other day being the most recent. Had she not omitted the attack by a university student in North Carolina who drove his SUV into a crowd of students a year or so ago there's have been even more. When is the media going to start pointing out that there seems to be a trend here?

Fortunately, the Seattle police have their priorities straight. In the wake of the recent shooting that left one dead and five wounded the police have set up protective surveillance of ... the local mosque.

Let's ask a couple of questions: How many American citizens have been murdered in America by Muslims in the last ten years? On the other hand, how many Muslims have been murdered in America by non-Muslim Americans? Who should the police be protecting from whom?

The Current Crisis

More incisive analysis of the current war in Lebanon from Victor Davis Hanson:

We can answer these absurdities by summing up the war very briefly. Iran and Syria feel the noose tightening around their necks - especially the ring of democracies in nearby Afghanistan , Iraq , Turkey , and perhaps Lebanon. Even the toothless U.N. finally is forced to focus on Iranian nukes and Syrian murder plots. And neither Syria can overturn the Lebanese government nor can Iran the Iraqi democracy. Instead, both are afraid that their rhetoric may soon earn some hard bombing, since their "air defenses" are hardly defenses at all.

So they tell Hamas and Hezbollah to tap their missile caches, kidnap a few soldiers, and generally try to turn the world's attention to the collateral damage inflicted on "refugees" by a stirred-up Zionist enemy.

For their part, the terrorist killers hope to kidnap, ransom, and send off missiles, and then, when caught and hit, play the usual victim card of racism, colonialism, Zionism, and about every other -ism that they think will win a bailout from some guilt-ridden, terrorist-frightened, Jew-hating, or otherwise oil-hungry Western nation.

The only difference from the usual scripted Middle East war is that this time, privately at least, most of the West, and perhaps some in the Arab world as well, want Israel to wipe out Hezbollah, and perhaps hit Syria or Iran . The terrorists and their sponsors know this, and rage accordingly when their military impotence is revealed to a global audience - especially after no reprieve is forthcoming to save their "pride" and "honor."

What should the United States do? If it really cares about human life and future peace, then we should talk ad nauseam about "restraint" and "proportionality" while privately assuring Israel the leeway to smash both Hamas and Hezbollah - and humiliate Syria and Iran, who may well come off very poorly from their longed-for but bizarre war.

Only then will Israel restore some semblance of deterrence and strengthen nascent democratic movements in both Lebanon and even the West Bank . This is the truth that everyone from London to Cairo knows, but dares not speak. So for now, let us pray that the brave pilots and ground commanders of the IDF can teach these primordial tribesmen a lesson that they will not soon forget - and thus do civilization's dirty work on the other side of the proverbial Rhine.

In this regard, it is time to stop the silly slurs that American policy in the Middle East is either in shambles or culpable for the present war. In fact, if we keep our cool, the Bush doctrine is working. Both Afghans and Iraqis each day fight and kill Islamist terrorists; neither was doing so before 9/11. Syria and Iran have never been more isolated; neither was isolated when Bill Clinton praised the "democracy" in Tehran or when an American secretary of State sat on the tarmac in Damascus for hours to pay homage to Syria 's gangsters. Israel is at last being given an opportunity to unload on jihadists; that was impossible during the Arafat fraud that grew out of the Oslo debacle. Europe is waking up to the dangers of radical Islamism; in the past, it bragged of its aid and arms sales to terrorist governments from the West Bank to Baghdad.

There is much more along this vein at the link.

Re: A Little Humility Please

In a recent post I chided political scientist Larry Arnhart for what I took to be a bit of over-reaching in describing his new book Darwinian Conservatism. Arnhart made the claim that he shows in the book "why the arguments of ID proponents are weak". I wrote that I thought this an inappropriate statement for a non-specialist in the relevant disciplines to make and that it displayed a lack of humility. Via e-mail Mr. Arnhart challenged that judgment.

I am unpersuaded that a non-specialist should be given much credence when he or she claims to have essentially settled a controversy that many specialists are still vigorously debating, but, although he did not mention or suggest it, I looked up Mr. Arnhart's curriculum vitae and noted that he is not exactly a non-specialist. He has indeed published widely on the issue of ID/evolution, and I feel as a result that I was hasty and unfair to him in the criticism I placed in the original post.

I apologize to him and will delete the offending post after those who may wish to go back to it to see what this is all about have had a day or two to do so.

Good Teaching

Cornell Professor Allen MacNeill has set an example of what a college education should look like. Professor MacNeill offered a seminar this summer on the issues surrounding the Intelligent design/ Darwinian evolution controversy. MacNeill is a Darwinian himself, but by all accounts he did an outstanding job of moderating the discussions and being fair to all students and all viewpoints.

Sal Cordova publishes MacNeill's summary of where matters stand with two weeks left to go in the course at Uncommon Descent.

Student commentary on the class discussions is posted here.

MacNeill has given his students a fine model for how such debates should be conducted, and, as Cordova notes, he's to be commended for what he's accomplished.