Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Birds of a Feather

After posting The Common Thread which speculated on the similarities between Barack Obama's reaction to the Iranian protests and his reaction to the removal of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, I came across this political cartoon by Michael Ramirez.

A picture certainly is worth a thousand words.


Negative Arguments

Over the years one criticism made by Darwinian evolutionists of any theory of divine agency in creation has been that the creationists rely on negative argumentation. Creationists don't offer evidence for divine agency, critics allege, so much as offer arguments against naturalistic evolution.

I've always thought this a strange objection because, in fact, negative arguments, properly understood, are a perfectly legitimate way to argue.

Creationists and other theists often employ the following disjunction: Either the universe and life are best explained by divine agency or they're best explained solely by natural processes and forces. Natural processes and forces, however, are inadequate by themselves to explain either the existence of the universe or many of the facts about life. Therefore these are best explained by a divine agency.

Of course, creationists offer reasons for believing that natural processes and forces are inadequate, but basically their argument can be represented as: Either P or Q; not Q; therefore P, and it's a proper, logical form of argumentation.

So, it's odd that Darwinians would object to it, but their objections are even odder given the fact that, as Cornelius Hunter at Darwins' God points out, the Darwinians argue in exactly the same manner for which they criticize creationists.

Hunter points out that because the evidence for naturalistic "molecules to man" evolution is so thin those who believe it frequently resort to the same disjunction I outlined above. The difference is that their argument goes more like this: Either God had a role in the creation or everything is the result of natural processes. God did not have a role, the Darwinians argue, therefore it must all be the result of natural processes even if we can't explain how it all happened.

It seems to be a case of "Only we Darwinians can argue this way. You creationists can't."

Of course, the only way anyone could conclude that God had no role in the creation of the universe is if one knew a priori that God did not exist. So, it turns out that the defense of Darwinism is often predicated upon the theological assumption of atheism rather on scientific justification.

Yet many people think that if we let creationism or intelligent design into the public schools we'll be introducing religious ideas into the classroom. It's ironic that they don't see that religious ideas are already there. They've been smuggled in via the Trojan horse of Darwinism.


Letting the Process Work

President Obama all but swore on the Bible during the campaign that he would not raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 per year. Now it appears that that promise, like others made by candidate Obama, may have an expiration date:

Pity poor Robert Gibbs having to go before an increasingly skeptical White House press corps and avoid saying that the President is breaking a fundamental promise of his campaign when, in fact, it looks as though that's a real possibility. It's pretty humiliating to be the subject of hoots of derision from people you thought were your friends.


The Common Thread

Maybe there's a relevant difference between Honduras and Iran that eludes me, but I thought I understood President Obama's reasoning for not interfering rhetorically in Iran on the side of freedom and democracy, until he turned around and became actively involved in Honduras to help a president, an acolyte of Hugo Chavez, circumvent the law to stay in power. Perhaps the appearance of inconsistency is only superficial. There is, after all, one common denominator here: In the case of Iran President Obama's silence (until it was really too late to make any difference) essentially aided the dictators. In the case of Honduras his interference also would have had the effect of supporting a would-be dictator:

The Obama administration and members of the Organization of American States had worked for weeks to try to avert any moves to overthrow President Zelaya, said senior U.S. officials. Washington's ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, sought to facilitate a dialogue between the president's office, the Honduran parliament and the military.

Soldiers stormed the house of leftist President Manuel Zelaya in a predawn raid Sunday, arresting him and removing him from power amid a growing crisis over Mr. Zelaya's plans to try to get re-elected.

The efforts accelerated over the weekend, as Washington grew increasingly alarmed. "The players decided, in the end, not to listen to our message," said one U.S. official involved in the diplomacy. On Sunday, the U.S. embassy here tried repeatedly to contact the Honduran military directly, but was rebuffed. Washington called the removal of President Zelaya a coup and said it wouldn't recognize any other leader.

The U.S. stand was unpopular with Honduran deputies. One congressman, Toribio Aguilera, got prolonged applause from his colleagues when he urged the U.S. ambassador to reconsider. Mr. Aguilera said the U.S. didn't understand the danger that Mr. Zelaya and his friendships with Mr. Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro posed.

On the other hand, maybe the Obama administration understood perfectly the significance of those friendships, and wanted very much for them to thrive. Mr. Obama's ideological sympathies lean much closer toward the Zelayas, Chavezs, Castros, and Ortegas of the world than toward those who oppose them, a fact which makes one wonder what schemes may be afoot to keep President Obama in power beyond his own constitutional term limit.