February 2016 Archives
February 3, 2016
Interview with Lydia McGrew on the "same God" debate
Last week a short radio interview was recorded with me on the "same God" debate, sparked by my article at the Gospel Coalition.
The interview took about twenty-five minutes, and portions of it are found from about minute three of the broadcast here and again beginning at about minute sixteen. At the end of the second segment the host says that the interview in its entirety is on the web site, but I confess I haven't yet figured out how to find the entire recording.
Comments on this post are closed here at W4 for reasons relating to the content of the interview, but comments (if approved in moderation) are allowed at Extra Thoughts, where the link is cross-posted.
February 4, 2016
A gospel fictionalization theory is no help to the gospel
Dr. Michael Licona is an apologist and New Testament scholar who shook up the evangelical world several years ago by simultaneously claiming to be an Biblical inerrantist and stating that Matthew added the short passage about the opening of the graves and the resurrection of various other people at the time of Jesus' crucifixion as a "poetic device." In other words, Matthew did not think that it really happened. "It seems best to regard this difficult text in Matthew as a poetic device added to communicate that the Son of God had died and that impending judgment awaited Israel." (The Resurrection of Jesus, p. 553) He also has said that John deliberately moved the day of Jesus' crucifixion in his gospel. These statements by Licona caused a big and at times unedifying stir among evangelicals, with inerrantist Norm Geisler not only emphatically declaring that Licona's views are incompatible with inerrancy (which seems to me like it should be obvious, but which was emphatically denied by Licona and his supporters) but also going aggressively after Licona's job and speaking engagements (which I don't at all endorse).
Dr. Licona is about to come out with a new book on alleged contradictions in the gospels. There is an interview with Sean McDowell about it here and a much more extensive discussion constituting most of Licona's lecture here. (I thank a commentator at Triablogue for drawing my attention to the latter.)
February 9, 2016
American Euthanasia Society "Disappears" Its Records
Here's an interesting little tidbit via Wesley J. Smith. An historian named Ian Dowbiggin wrote a book over ten years ago (2003) about the history of the euthanasia movement. I gather his portrayal was not altogether complimentary, though the description and reviews indicate a fairly objective stance toward the subject.
Now it appears that the archives Dowbiggin used for that book--documents, bills, etc., kept by a law firm in cardboard boxes, including the records of the American Euthanasia Society--have been intentionally destroyed.
Some quotes from Dowbiggin:
February 14, 2016
How Sleep the Brave
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest
By all their country's wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
There Honour comes, a pilgrim grey,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there!
Antonin Scalia 1936-2016
Requiescat in pace
See also here.
The contributors of What's Wrong With the World plan a further post in honor of Justice Scalia in due time.
February 16, 2016
The joyful warrior of words
The logo of What's Wrong With the World, beneath the image of Christ crucified, says, "The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark," a line taken from G.K. Chesterton. Our original statement of purpose, now nearly nine years old, says,
We are happy warriors, for our defense is motivated primarily by gratitude for what our ancestors bequeathed to us. We are hardly what the world calls “optimists,” for our sense of the crisis of our age is robust indeed; but despair is among the more fashionable sins today, and our hostility to it, too, is implacable.
It is often said that we conservatives do nothing but name evils and wail over looming crises, that we lack a practical plan to oppose them. And it is sometimes true that there is no viable plan but to oppose the evil in one's own small sphere, and most of all in one's own heart. The greatest harm that evil can do is to corrupt individual men, for it is souls, ultimately, that Satan wants. At other times, the remedies suggested--in the courts, for example, a rein on the abuse of power and a refusal to legislate from the bench--are available, and they have been pointed out by conservatives again and again, but those in charge refuse to adopt them.
Justice Scalia understood all of this. Few people have been closer than he to the epicenter of the forces driving our nation into the dark. The Supreme Court of the United States of America, by seizing powers to which it is not entitled and forcing a radical left-wing agenda upon all the states and even upon individuals, has been a major part of the evil that has been done to our constitutional republic. Scalia knew it, and he knew when he had lost a vote, yet he never gave in to the temptation (which bloggers know all too well) just not to bother writing about it this time. He knew that it was his service, his vocation, to write, and to answer.
His sense of duty was what drove him, but for all that he shouldered his burdens, including so many bitter disappointments, with the easy grace and good humor of one who knows he is fulfilling a true vocation. He was one of the most inspiring figures of our lifetimes, and we were privileged to live to see him at the height of his powers. The towering example he set of a happy warrior for truth will be as irreplaceable as his power to persuade.
February 22, 2016
Congressional responses to the prospect of women in the draft
I've been saying for quite a while that it is entirely likely that women between 18 and 26 years old will be required to register for the draft in the near future. I predict that this will happen either as a result of preemptive Congressional caving or as a result of SCOTUS meddling, based on earlier precedents. My recommendation in that case is that traditional young women follow the requirement to register (as most pacifists do) but at the same time prepare in an explicit way (and write on their registration card that they are so preparing) to apply for conscientious objector status on the basis of their sincere gender-role beliefs in the event that they are actually called up to be drafted.
In response to the rumblings in Washington about women and the draft, three different congressional responses have emerged. Herewith a brief discussion of each of them and a suggestion of a fourth response that should be on the table but for some reason isn't so far.
February 24, 2016
Natural Born Citizen
Part I of III
In the recent discussion over Trump, the point was made that Trump claims Cruz is ineligible for the presidency because he isn’t a natural born citizen. I had heard that mentioned, but I had never heard any of the details so I didn’t know whether the claim is credible or not. My response to the comment more or less implied that I was holding off on dealing with the question until later, which implied (at least in my own mind) a commitment to actually following up and learning more about it.
I am going to put this together in chronological order: in the order in which I made discoveries as I followed through on that implied commitment. From here on out, I will enclose in brackets [ ] non-chronological changes made that _anticipate_ the order in which I learned about this issue.
I don’t actually have any details about Cruz’s situation other than that Trump is claiming he was born in Canada. I assume that much probably is true, but I don’t have any of the whys and wherefores that surround it: born to whom? When? Why? When did he move here?
I looked for a few commentaries on Trump’s claim to see what the claim actually amounts to and why people are saying it. Here are the first two I read: A Harvard law professor says he isn’t eligible here./
And a CNN opinionator says he is here.
A couple more articles seem fairly similar. Like this one. I don’t find these articles all that convincing.
February 25, 2016
Natural Born Citizen, Part II
So in Part I, we dealt with common law countries vs civil law countries and I suggested that it's not an on/off or black/white proposition; a country can be partly this and partly that. Moving on:
Another Mistake (#2), which I think Einar Hauge makes: trying to analyze the phrase ‘natural born citizen’ one word at a time. But if the term is idiomatic under common law, you can’t do that. If the term is a UNIT of expression, you can’t find it’s meaning by parsing out each word’s meaning. And he makes no effort to show us whether common law does or does not treat it as a unitary concept. But Amar makes the same mistake, from a different direction:
For starters, put aside the word "natural." Ask yourself whether Cruz is a "born Citizen." In other words, was he a citizen on the day he was born?...So the question is, was Ted Cruz born a citizen? ... in effect, the Constitution says that a president must be a "birth-born citizen."
[I think we will see that this is not that far off from assuming what you need to prove].
Mistake #3: Saying that ‘natural’ is a natural language modifier in ‘natural born citizen’, and that refers primarily to ‘being born in a certain place / country’. Not true. Or, at least, that’s not the whole truth, and presenting it as if it were the whole truth is as misleading as a plain falsehood. The word ‘natural’, like ‘nation’, has its root in ‘natus’, or ‘birth’, and by long tradition a person receives their ‘belonging to’ a NATION through being born of parents who belong to that nation. It is natural to belong to your parents, and it is through your parents that you share a common blood and ancestry ties with a nation. ‘Ties of blood’ is an analogue for the notion: you receive your nationality physically. Nations are DEFINED in terms of being descended from ‘the same ancestry’. Deriving from X stock refers to bones and blood, and birth to PARENTS of that stock. So, if ‘natural’ is to be taken as a word with its standard-language meaning to modify the rest of the expression, (rather than an idiomatic or term of art meaning), natural born citizen ought to mean ‘receiving citizenship through being born into the nation by being born to parents who are of the nation, sharing the same blood, the same stock, the same roots.‘ That’s what it ought to mean, first and foremost. It is not a matter of choice either for the child or for the nation: it is an automatic reality of origin and not a matter of consent.
February 26, 2016
Third Time's the Charm, Naturally
I ended Part II quoting the 1790 Act that defined "natural born citizen" in a way that includes those born abroad of American parents (well, father), and pointed out how unlikely it is that the Framers meant something different in the Constitution.
However, for the satisfaction of those insistent on common law, there remains a real question: was there a settled common law treatment for persons born outside the US of an American parent and an alien parent? As best I can find, there was a settled treatment of such mixed persons, but it was not by reason of common law as such, but by reason of statutory law from very early on. Remember, there were people coming into the colonies every day by ship (and by other means, from the north and south and west), and they didn’t have to register or apply for legal status to be here. But being a subject of the king was handled by a much older law than the colonies.
February 28, 2016
Head Start, Vaclav Havel’s Greengrocer, Moldbug, and Me
I work in city government – it’s not exactly the belly of the beast, but it’s not free of bloat, scandal, and waste either (not to mention the left-wing ideologues who run the place!) I try to keep my head down, do my job, and stay out of trouble – this is especially true given that 95% (maybe 99%) of my colleagues are more liberal than I am and I don’t want to lose my job one day or be denounced to ‘management’ for the sin of ”crimethink”