We’ve Been Here Before

Revisiting thoughts of 5 years ago reveal (unsurprisingly) that not much has changed. One thing that has not changed is my Yearning For Publius and the wisdom of our founding fathers.

A Yearning for Publius

History can be a wonderful teacher; a teacher like that special one you had in elementary school; that special Sunday School teacher that taught you about right and wrong; or the college professor that greatly influenced or even changed your life.

I’m reading such an teacher now in an article from The Weekly Standard of October 24, 2011 entitled Time for Another Harding? Even though it may sound like a cliché it reads like todays newspaper with regards to todays economic condition.

I’ve never studied Harding, but an article such as this whets my appetite for more on the man; consider the following excerpts and paraphrases  from the article and my specific commentary (this font) and please read the original for yourself.



He followed an unpopular Progressive President Woodrow Wilson.

The progressive Woodrow Wilson was nervous about holding the White House and Harding was denounced as “a…

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The “Not-So-Intelligent Designer”

HaandlesMessiah

This post contains comments I’ve made on a book written and promoted for school teachers that mocks features of the human body that the author considers to proof-examples of  why Darwinian evolution proves life arose through a long series of Natural Selection of random mutations.

(Click on the images for more.)

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I must beg to differ on Dr. Hafers and Glenn Branch’s view of this so called “Not-so-Intelligent Designer.” (Click on the link just to the left to learn more about this book .)

What she sees as “quirks and kinks, the makeshift solutions and haywire failures, of human biology,” many see as an elegant and quite magnificent design with an amazing and far ranging menu of capabilities. Let me suggest an exercise that the doctor, Mr. Branch and others can easily accomplish, and I believe you may see my point.

Take an evening out and partake in one of those wonderful choral and orchestra performances taking place all around the world at any given time – I would recommend Handel’s Messiah for this exercise.

As you are watching and listing to this amazing musical performance I would like you to notice and watch a number of things very carefully.

First the hands – the hands and body motions of the conductor, as well as his facial expressions and body movements as he leads the choir and orchestra through this magnificent musical piece.

Continuing with the hands — watch the hands, and in particular the fingers of the orchestra members as they travel across the various instruments – the sting section, the brass section, the woodwinds — the piano. Watch carefully as their hands precisely match the direction given by the conductor. Watch as the fingers subtly, and at times strongly tease the music from their instruments.

And note the various musical instruments — envisioned, designed and created by many beautifully designed and created hands and fingers.

Next the choral voices – listen as these beautiful voices blend together perfectly with the orchestra, and watch the faces and mouths as they blend perfectly with the hands of the conductor and with the orchestra.

Next listen and pay attention to your own reaction as message of the words and music bring excitement and inspiration into your heart and soul.

As you leave the concert hall, take time to look at the building and its architecture and artistry. Again, the hands, arms, legs and mind of those artisans designed those arches, paintings and sculptures you admire so much.

And when you get back home in bed, ponder over the creation of the musical score of the “Messiah.” Imagine Handel hovering over his desk and the paper taking on lines and musical symbols – and words. Imagine him going back and forth over that manuscript as he goes to and from the scriptures that are inspiring him. Imagine the music that is building inside his head as he creates this masterpiece.

No – the human body is not the “quirks and kinks, the makeshift solutions and haywire failures, of human biology,” but is something far more splendid and wonderful.

 

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Next I would suggest a couple of sporting events for Dr. Hafers and Glenn Branch.

First to a major league baseball game where they can witness the flawless execution of a double play. Beginning with the pitcher placing the ball across home plate at 90+ mph. We then see the batter follow that fast moving and curving baseball with his eyes, calculating where it will be as it passes into the strike zone where he can then attempt to hit it with his well hand/eye coordinated swing. Then we see the shortstop field the fast moving ball after anticipating and calculating where it will enter his glove. He then shovels it off to the second baseman who tags the runner out while leaping over the runner, and then a quick and precise throw to the first baseman who steps on first base for the second out of the double play.

Next we go to an NBA basketball game where we witness the continual back and forth of finely tuned, trained and coordinated athletes showcasing example after example of what these well designed machines are capable of.

Next we are off to an NFL football game where we witness precision in the well designed human body of a quarterback throwing the football with precise accuracy to a fast moving and maneuvering receiver who stretches his body out to execute a fingertip catch as he passes the goal line for a touchdown.

No – the human body is not the “quirks and kinks, the makeshift solutions and haywire failures, of human biology,” but is something far more splendid and wonderful.

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Next we travel into the applied biological science of medicine and medical research and invite teachers and Mr. Branch to read and study the extensive articles that a Dr. Howard Glicksman has compiled on the intricacies and design of many aspects of the human body. We see this compilation of science reporting at http://www.evolutionnews.org/continuing_seri/the_designed_bo/ This series contains at least a half dozen articles on blood pressure alone, and how it is controlled within the human body.
Note that this science reporting by Dr. Glicksman is seen in the Discovery Institute web site
http://www.evolutionnews.org – an ID site – and not on the pages of the National Center for Science Education. I have been following the NCSE site as well as the Discovery site and others for years now, and what I find is that good science reporting like I describe above is found often and on a regular basis there, whereas seldom – approaching never – is an any science reported by NCSE. I find that very interesting and troubling, and thus would offer a caution to teachers to view NCSE with a great deal of skepticism, and especially this book which is little more than a hit piece on those of us who differ with the Atheistic stance and mission of NCSE.

No – the human body is not the “quirks and kinks, the makeshift solutions and haywire failures, of human biology,” but is something far more splendid and wonderful.

Don Johnson – August 2016

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams – 2nd US President.

Official Presidential portrait of John Adams (by John Trumbull, circa 1792).jpg

I would add to Adam’s observation that our Constitution not only was made for, but indeed requires a moral and religious people

Sad to say, but we are now living in the day and the culture of which Adams was warning about. The era of Barack Hussein Obama has greatly accelerated this slide into an immoral and irreligious nation.

Being in such a state, it is becoming ever more apparent that the Constitution Adams talked about is indeed wholly inadequate in the governance of this nation. Our leaders and potential leaders, in the persons of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are neither moral nor religious in the sense of the Judaea/Christian Biblical world view which spawned the then new nation and its constitution. Donald Trump seems to fall into that category as well, but such attributes have not (yet) been tested in the crucible of national leadership.

Could it be that George W. Bush will be the last moral and good President, as well as a good man?

 

Don Johnson – August 2016 

 

Hillary Clinton:” I Will Stand Up Against The Gun Lobby”

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http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/switzerland.asp

Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world, with 45.7 guns per 100 residents (ranking below only the United States, Serbia, and Yemen in this measurement).
A list of countries by
firearm-related death rate shows Switzerland as having 6.4 firearm deaths per 100,000 population per year, a figure considerably lower than in the United States (10.27) but higher than a number of other countries. As for gun-related crime in general, a 2001 BBC article reported that in Switzerland “the gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept.”

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National Rifle Association (NRA) Statistics

Total number of members of the NRA
4.3 million

Total number of Firearms owned by U.S. civilians (2010)
300 million

Total number of U.S. Firearms owned by civilians that are Handguns
100 million

Gun Ownership Demographics

A 2005 nationwide Gallup poll of 1,012 adults found the following levels of firearm ownership

Total Percentage of Households owning a Firearm
42%

Total Percentage of Individuals owning a Firearm
30%

Total Percentage of Males owning a Firearm
47%

Total Percentage of Females owning a Firearm
13%

Total Percentage of Whites owning a Firearm
33%

Total Percentage of Non-whites
18%

Total Percentage of Republicans owning a Firearm
41%

Total Percentage of Independents owning a Firearm
27%

Total Percentage of Democrats owning a Firearm
23%

In the same poll, gun owners stated they own firearms for the following reasons

Total Percentage who own Firearms for Protection Against Crime
67%

Total Percent who own Firearms for Target Shooting
66%

Total Percent who own Firearms for Hunting
41%

The following are estimates of private firearm ownership in the U.S. as of 2010

Households With A Gun
40-45%  47-53 million

Adults Owning a Gun
30-34% 70-80 million

Adults Owning a Handgun
17-19% 40-45 million

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The following are some very unofficial estimates on NRA members committing murders:

The homicide rate in the US in 2010 was 4.8:100,000
There are 4.3 million members of the NRA.
On average, this would mean that there were 206.4 murders for the total 4.3 million NRA members (4.8 * 43) : (43 * 100,000).
Which counts down to 0.0000048 murders per NRA member.

So the so-called “gun lobby”  of 4.3 million NRA members is not a group of Americans that needs to be “stood up to” by a pandering politician —  especially by such profoundly dishonest people such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

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Consider this:

The Swiss army has long been a militia trained and structured to rapidly respond against foreign aggression.

The US Constitution’s second amendment was added primarily as an individual citizen’s protection against a future federal government  that would at some point turn against its own citizens. It was not added to protect sportsmen, hunters, target shooters and such.

Don Johnson – August 2016

 

About Those Self Driving Cars, Trucks and Buses

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We hear more and more about the coming of self driving vehicles. Some are already on the road, and at least one – a Tesla – has already killed its passenger.

It seems feasible, but just a bit on the scary side don’t you think?

So how do you envisage these self driving things are being designed and engineered?

Do you see a team of mathematicians, physicists and engineers applying the known laws of science and inventing the Google car or the Tesla self-driver?

I don’t see it happening that way. Oh yea, those smart guys and gals are certainly necessary and part of the teams, but I’d wager that the front-line designers are Intelligent Design biological scientists.

What?

Yea – and what they are most likely doing is studying – for example – How Hummingbirds Avoid Collisions. You see these small agile birds have been doing this for – who knows how long.

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But haven’t I been told for 150+ years now that “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” And now you are telling me that Intelligent Design principles can be used to develop highly complex and sophisticated machines like self-driving vehicles?  

Exactly. It’s called biomimetics, which is the study of how nature accomplishes a wide variety of things, such that those same techniques and devices can be used for human benefit such as the self-driving car.

You can bet that if biology is a part of this new technology, evolution has no part in it. Nor is it likely that human ingenuity and brilliance alone will produce the final product that must be at least as good as the hummingbird.

Scientists, as shown in the article above, are studying this amazing design in nature, and it is likely that many are using these studies for applications such as the self-driving car.

Evolution? Could take millions of years and millions of trial and error deaths to evolve  the same product.

Why not use the same technique we often use in software development – stand on the shoulders of giants and reuse that which has been previously designed and developed?

 

Don Johnson – July 2016

Maybe We Should Pay More Attention To The Bible … Part 3

In reviewing past essays, and in light of continuing and still disturbing events, I thought it timely to re post this.

A Yearning for Publius

In my journey years ago from Atheism to Christianity, the thing that most convinced me that the Bible was true, was its written history of the nation Israel and the Jewish people. Its general flow goes like this:

  • The establishment of Israel, and the Jewish people as Gods chosen people.
  • The destruction of Israel and the scattering of Jews around the world.
  • The re-establishment of Israel in its ancient homeland.
  • The isolation of Israel and the existential threat to its existence  in the last days.
  • What are the “last days?”

So let’s take the journey while letting the Bible and history speak to us about this history.

 


The establishment of Israel, and the Jewish people as Gods chosen people.

 Deuteronomy 14:2,
For you are a holy people to YHWH your God, and God has chosen you to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on…

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Is there still a Constitutional/Conservative Republican Party? A Follow Up IMPORTANT

Further to my recent post Am I still a Republican? Is there still a Constitutional/Conservative Republican Party? I’ve read a couple of articles this morning in the Wall Street Journal that greatly encourages me:

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Photo: Reuters

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Photo: Reuters

House Republicans Have a Better Idea

Meanwhile, Trump fires his campaign manager—a wise move but very late.

By Karl Rove  June 22, 2016 6:39 p.m. ET  

WSJ | 2016-06-22T22:39:00.000Z

(My emphasis added)

Donald Trump has already squandered six weeks by insulting a “Mexican” judge born in Indiana, offering conspiracy theories, and needlessly attacking defeated rivals. His fundraising is dismal and his staffing inadequate. All this comes at the expense of focused attention on his Democratic opponent. Now the presumptive Republican nominee has fired his campaign manager—a wise decision, but very late.

Meanwhile, the Republican House is methodically laying out a comprehensive agenda to spread prosperity, protect the nation, uphold the Constitution, reform health care, and—with its presentation Friday of a comprehensive tax-reform plan—create jobs, grow paychecks and boost the economy.

This agenda, dubbed “A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America,” is Speaker Paul Ryan’s brainchild, but the work of the entire Republican conference.

Mr. Ryan rolled out its first plank June 7 with an audacious reimagining of policies to help Americans rise out of poverty. The initiative would require those on welfare to seek work while providing them better access to job training and assistance. It would reform poverty-fighting programs to help people move from dependency on government to lives of independence and personal responsibility.

Republicans followed the next day with a robust economic package, based on the premise that increasing prosperity requires expanding free enterprise and rewarding hard work. The plan aims to relieve the enormous regulatory burden on businesses; expand affordable, reliable energy; curb lawsuit abuse and crony capitalism; limit Washington’s micromanagement of community banks and the financial decisions of ordinary Americans; and block government bailouts.

On June 9, Republicans issued a new national-security plan to protect the homeland, defeat radical Islamic extremism, and restore confidence among our allies and respect among our adversaries.

A plan followed to rein in executive overreach and strengthen accountability and transparency in Washington. Republicans would restore constitutional checks on spending and the budget—including by halting illegal executive-branch spending and overturning expensive new regulations pushed through by lame-duck presidents.

Last week, the House GOP also released a detailed proposal to replace ObamaCare with a package of reforms centered on the patient and doctor. These include making health insurance portable so workers can take it from job to job, increasing the use of health savings accounts, permitting insurance sales across state lines, allowing small businesses and individuals to band together to get lower prices, expanding wellness programs and reforming medical liability.

On Friday, Republicans will add to their agenda a bold and provocative tax-reform package aimed at a simpler, flatter, fairer tax code that encourages jobs and growth while restoring the competitiveness of American companies.

The way that the tax reform package was drafted illustrates how the whole agenda came together. Building on the work of his two predecessors, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas held six meetings with the GOP conference over a number of months to hash out ideas. A task force solicited proposals from dozens of congressmen; reached out to job creators, free-market think tanks and center-right economists; and canvassed Republican lawmakers to ensure consensus.

If “A Better Way” has a shortcoming, it’s that it is large and sprawling, consisting of dozens of proposals. But each plank of the agenda draws on principles congressional Republicans can use to tell Americans what they will do next year, regardless of who is president.

If Donald Trump occupies the Oval Office, Washington’s center of gravity will shift toward Congress, as industrious House and Senate Republicans drive the legislative agenda. If Hillary Clinton is president, “A Better Way” will give Republicans the intellectual ammunition to offer a competing vision that—if they retain majorities in Congress—may drive her toward cooperation.

Apart from its merits as policy, “A Better Way” demonstrates that there is much more to the modern Republican Party than Donald Trump. He casts a large, ominous shadow, but light can break through the pall. House Republicans are working hard to distinguish themselves and their party’s principles by presenting an agenda for the 21st century.

Their efforts are vital to the GOP’s success in November and may determine Mr. Trump’s political fortunes. The shame is that he’s making their work harder.

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Some links:

http://abetterway.speaker.gov/?platform=hootsuite

http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/better-way-do-people-s-business

As a Constitutional Conservative I like what I am seeing here. I hope Trump buys into what the House has laid out because Lord knows, he himself brings little but a loud and narcissistic mouth.

Further, this plan would seem to provide an American Agenda that hopefully would do much to cripple partisanship and get to a place where a President, Senators and Representatives represent the best interests of Americans and not Republican-Americans or Democrat-Americans. 

If the House is sincere in this effort, and can pull this off, I see it as going a long way toward restoring an almost dead Constitutional Republic. Remember the exchange between Benjamin Franklin and Mrs. Palmer in 1778:

The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. The answer was provided immediately. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

And what is a “Constitutional Conservative?”

A Constitutional Conservative can be viewed as one who whishes to preserve those elements of the Constitution that give governance to “We The People … “ Meaning limited government and separation of powers among the three branches of federal government; Executive-Legislative- Judicial, as well as separation of powers among the Federal Government and the Various States, as well as between the Federal Government and the Individual citizen. . 

Don Johnson – June 2016

Ben Franklin’s ‘Apology for Printers’

Benjamin Franklin as a printer’s apprentice in a wood cut circa 1840. Photo: Alamy

Notable & Quotable: Ben Franklin’s ‘Apology for Printers’

‘When Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter.’

From Benjamin Franklin’s “Apology for Printers” in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1731:

Printers are educated in the Belief that when Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter. Hence they cheerfully serve all contending Writers that pay them well, without regarding on which side they are of the Question in Dispute. . . .

It is likewise as unreasonable what some assert, That Printers ought not to print anything but what they approve, since if all of that Business should make such a Resolution, and abide by it, an End would thereby be put to Free Writing, and the World would afterwards have nothing to read but what happen’d to be the Opinions of Printers.

Don Johnson – June 2016

Liver Function and Its Effects

A very interesting article …

Liver

A snippet from the article:

Evolutionary biologists are good at imagining how an ultra-complex organ like the liver could have come into being by talking about how it looks, but not how it actually works within the laws of nature to keep the body alive. But real numbers have real consequences and by using Tim’s case to highlight just five of the over five hundred functions of the liver, we will see what would have happened to our earliest ancestors without any one of them. After all, evolutionary biology claims that life came about by chance and laws of nature alone, so it must explain how transitional organisms survived as the liver gradually acquired these vital functions while macroevolution was taking place.

Click the link below to read the rest …

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/06/liver_function102916.html

Don Johnson – June 2016

In Natural Disasters, Companies Operate Like Neighbors

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Corporate America often takes a beating from the American Progressive left. Off the top of my head I would pick three “greedy” entities regularly vilified as the source of many if not most of America’s economic woes:

  • Banks
  • Oil companies
  • Wall Mart

A good response is the following article from the Wall Street Journal. It’s behind a pay wall, but I will include here some snippets from  the article — In Natural Disasters, Companies Operate Like Neighbors:

When one thinks of progressives’ long list of capitalist villains, the oil industry is probably near the top. It stands accused of the worst forms of self-interested and antisocial behavior, exploiting workers and consumers alike. What tells a different story is how oil companies behaved during a major natural disaster affecting their employees and customers.

For much of May, a huge forest fire devastated the town of Fort McMurray and more than a million acres of land in the Canadian province of Alberta. It chased more than 60,000 people from their homes and destroyed large parts of the city. Horrific videos show people escaping through walls of flame.

. . . . .

Tristin Hopper of the National Post gathered the figures: The oil companies provided free food and shelter to over 25,000 people. When the fires cut off easy road access to the small community of Fort McKay First Nation, Brion Energy began trucking in perishable foods daily. Imperial Oil   donated 20,000 liters of gasoline to the relief efforts and Shell Albian Aerodrome rounded up evacuees on buses and, along with Suncor’s Firebag Aerodrome, evacuated over 7,000 people on company-chartered commercial jets using their private airstrips. “Alberta’s oil producers,” Mr. Hopper wrote, “effectively turned themselves into multimillion-dollar humanitarian organizations at the drop of a hat.”

. . . . .

And moving down to the USA and back a little in time we revisit hurricane Katrina:

That shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows what Wal-Mart did after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. The company shipped thousands of trucks of water and other supplies into the area, well ahead of the lethargic Federal Emergency Management Agency. It even beat the Red Cross in many areas. The firm reopened most of its stores within 10 days. Wal-Mart also guaranteed employment at other stores for any of its workers who were forced to abandon their homes and jobs along the coast.

Wal-Mart’s response received praise from numerous local officials. The mayor of the New Orleans suburb of Kenner said that the company had prevented his community from completely collapsing: “The only lifeline in Kenner was the Wal-Mart stores. We didn’t have looting on a mass scale because Wal-Mart showed up with food and water so our people could survive.”

It wasn’t the only company that pitched in: Marriott provided its displaced workers with cash, rooms and food at hotels in other cities. McDonald’s  gave free food to first responders and told its emergency management vice president that he could assume an unlimited budget for tracking down employees and making sure they were safe. Other smaller disasters since Katrina tell similar stories.

The article concludes in Canada with the following:

Many Albertans, as they return to their homes now that the fires have subsided, are glad today that they lived near those supposedly evil oil companies.

 

Don Johnson – June 2016