Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Craig vs. Atkins

Bill Dembski at Uncommon Descent puts us on to this video clip of a 1998 discussion between philosopher William Lane Craig and Professor of Chemistry Peter Atkins on the late William F. Buckley's Firing Line. Atkins thinks that science can demonstrate everything that's worth knowing and challenges Craig to give an example of something important that can't be proven by the scientific method. Craig makes him wish he hadn't brought it up:
Atkins is a votarie of a metaphysical view called scientism, i.e. the belief that scientific investigation provides the only knowledge worth having. Craig shows that science is unable to answer many, perhaps most, of life's most important questions.

Craig is a remarkable thinker and a prolific writer. You can visit his website here.

Christian Persecution

At No Left Turns we read this tragic news:
Lela Gilbert notes that "a series of abuses against Christians has swept across the Muslim world," including "a murder in Pakistan, attacks on churches in Ethiopia, an attempted assassination of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Turkey, and repeated pogroms against the Copts in Egypt. Now, rights groups are reporting new developments in Iran's anti-Christian crackdown, which has swept up nearly 300 Christian believers since June 2010."

She also notes a detailed briefing document from January 2011 by Elam Ministries announcing a "severe intensification of arrests and imprisonment of Christians in Iran" and a report this week by Christian Solidarity Worldwide that five Iranian Christians had been sentenced to one year's imprisonment for "Crimes against the Islamic Order."
In Ethiopia attacks on Christians resulted from a Christian having torn up a Koran. Paul Marshall reports:
[L]ast Wednesday, after accusations that a Christian had torn up a Koran, mobs of several thousand Muslims began attacking local Christians and burning churches. The government sent the federal police force to protect Christians after the destruction of the first three churches, but the mobs overwhelmed the police force and burned down two more churches.

The violence reportedly spread to Chiltie, Gilgel Gibe, Gibe, Nada, Dimtu, Uragay, Busa, and Koticha, and as of yesterday had not stopped. Compass Direct reports that in the last five days as many as 59 churches have been destroyed, one Christian has been killed, and several thousand have been displaced.
The situation in Egypt (weren't we supposed to see freedom and democracy breaking out there now that Mubarak was gone?) is even worse. Nina Shea gives the details:
Violence against Christian Copts in Egypt escalated yesterday with reports that a mob of some 15,000 armed Muslims, using Molotov cocktails, guns, and clubs, violently attacked a vastly outnumbered crowd of Christians on the outskirts of Cairo. The Christians had been demonstrating in front of a television station and blocking a main road.

The Egyptian army, which was called to restore order, reportedly joined in the attack, shooting the Copts with live ammunition. Initial reports from Coptic sources indicate that nine Christians have been killed and over a hundred injured, scores seriously so. AP reports of the same incident state that six Christians and five Muslims were killed in what it describes as a “pitched battle” that lasted several hours.

The attacks started near St. Simon the Tanner Monastery in Mokatam Hills, near the Christian neighborhood near the capital known as “Garbage City.” Several garbage recycling plants and garbage trucks owned by the Copts were reportedly torched. The Christians were protesting last Friday’s burning of a Coptic church in Soul by a Muslim mob angered by a romantic relationship that violated sharia. (CBN reports that the Muslims had been incited to rid Soul of Christians by Mullah Ahmed Abu El-Dabah during mosque prayers on March 4.)
There was a time when Muslims were tolerant of other religions. There was a time when Muslims and Christians could be friends. In much of the world today that time is long past. The irony is that tolerance is a sign that one feels that his ideas are superior and can withstand the intellectual challenge presented by other points of view.

Intolerance and violence are signs, just as are rudeness and shouting, of a sense of intellectual and moral inferiority. When one lacks confidence that his most cherished beliefs really can withstand contact with competing ideas he often resorts to suppression of those ideas - by violence if necessary. This was the modus operandi of the communists in the 20th century and other leftists today against the seductions of freedom, and it's the path chosen by many Muslims in response to the challenge posed by the Christian Gospel.

The violence against Christians throughout the Islamic world is, perhaps, a symptom of a deep fear that Christianity, if allowed a hearing, will prove too difficult to purge from the hearts and minds of young Muslims.

It also highlights a stark difference between Islam and Christianity. In Islam it is seen as one's religious duty to compel others, even at the point of a sword, to become believers. In Christianity it is one's duty to proclaim the Gospel and let people decide, between them and God, how they'll respond to it.

The Itamar Horror

Here's video of the vaunted deed perpetrated by brave Palestinian warriors whose bold thrust against the Israeli oppressors will live on in the annals of Palestinian heroics, inspiring generations of Arab youths to imitate their great feat and delight their God. This is the sort of victory that Palestinians celebrate with boasting and candy and dancing in the streets.

The background music, appropriately enough, is from Schindler's List. If the sight of brutally murdered children is something you can't bear then don't watch this video, but if you want a glimpse of what the Palestinians have in store for every Israeli should they ever get the chance, the video makes it pretty plain:
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
Thanks to Big Peace for the video.

Japan's Crisis

Hot Air has a very helpful series of updates on the nuclear crisis in Japan, and the Washington Post has an excellent series of graphics explaining, among other things, the design of the Japanese reactors and how the failures have occurred. It makes sense out of the welter of information, some of it contradictory, coming out of Japan.

Right now the situation is much worse than the Three Mile Island accident (which had no perceptible effect on anything outside the plant itself) and heading for a calamity of the proportions of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.