Monday, November 14, 2011

The Global Warming Debate

This pretty much covers all the talking points. It's amusing.

Well, some won't find it amusing, but others will. It depends upon what side of the debate you're on, I guess:
HT: Evolution News and Views.

Ten Best Bio Pics

This is a magnified cluster of stink bug eggs the photograph of which placed in the top ten biological photographs of 2011:
I'm sure that many readers have found the adult stink bugs endearing over the last couple of years.

The other nine winners can be viewed at

Who Says They Had a Moral Obligation?

One of the interesting aspects of the Penn State case, at least for me, is the way in which people are tossing around the term "moral obligation." The coaches and administrators, we're being told, had a "moral obligation" to intervene to protect children from a man they knew to be a sexual predator.

So, we might ask, where does such an obligation come from? Who imposes it? Why is it wrong to just mind one's own business in such situations? The secular man simply has no answers to these questions. In order to make a moral judgment of the behavior of Jerry Sandusky he has to parasitize the Christian world-view and talk as if his moral sentiments were actually grounded in something beyond his own subjective predilections.

This morning I heard on the radio a story about the recently resigned president of PSU, Graham Spanier. Penn State had sponsored a "sex fair" on their campus a couple of years ago, at taxpayers' expense, which amounted to a festival given to pornography and sexual licentiousness. When President Spanier went later to the state legislature to ask for funding for the university he was grilled about this. He waffled, ducked and weaved and never really answered any of the legislators' questions. Finally, one exasperated lawmaker asked him point blank whether he thought the sex fair was wrong. Spanier replied that he really couldn't answer the question because he didn't know what the legislator meant by "wrong."

That, in a nutshell, explains what the problem is at Penn State and many other universities in the country. Academics can no longer talk about right and wrong because, having jettisoned the traditional Judeo-Christian ground for morality, they no longer possess the categories necessary to give those words meaning.

Indeed, I don't see how a secularist can even say that Jerry Sandusky's behavior with young boys was morally wrong. If a secularist wanted to say it was wrong because children are harmed by it they simply move the question back one step. Why is harming children wrong? It won't do to respond, as so many of the New Atheists do, that most people feel it to be wrong. If this were the standard then if people's feelings were changed then child rape would become right. Moreover, if the consensus determines right and wrong what if the consensus supports genocide or slavery, would that make these horrors right?

Harming children is not wrong because people have a subjective aversion to it. It's either wrong objectively or it's not really wrong at all, and it's only wrong objectively if it violates the law of an objective, transcendent, moral authority.

Graham Spanier and Jerry Sandusky give us a glimpse into the world as it will be when the secular tide is completely successful. It's not only not pretty, it's thoroughly ugly. Indeed, it looks a lot like Sodom and Gomorrah.