5:32 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Another Democrat member of Congress Demonstrates Idiocy



This is as dumb as what Sen Patty Murray (D-WA) said about Osama's
popularity a few months back. I hope both of them are made to pay
politically.
Here's what she said:
"If you think back to our founding as a country, we are a country of
revolution," Kaptur (D-OH) told the Toledo Blade. "One could say that Osama bin
Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are
very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped to
cast off the British crown."

I shouldn't have to point out the very real, very significant dichotomy
between the "atypical revolutionaries" in America and
the "non-nation-state fighters". Wow, what a nice-sounding euphemism
for "terrorists".

1) The American revolutionaries used the minimum possible force against
maneuvering military units (military movements in the field for the
purpose to defeat other military units). The terrorists purposely target
civilians, including women, children, and the infirm.

2) The American revolutionaries used a great deal of discussion and
open debate to attempt to produce a more perfect system of representation,
and more freedom. The terrorists use words of hate in secret
discussions to develop a scheme to kill all non-muslims, and restrict freedom
for everyone in the world. Don't believe me? Go look at al Qaeda's
demands (with a google search).

3) The American revolutionaries openly declared their intentions,
reasons, and self-limiting factors before striking. The terrorists most
assuredly attempt to attack in unexpected times, manners, locations, and
methods. They depend on not declaring themselves. They place no limits
on their actions.

4) The American revolutionaries were fighting to become a separate
nation, not overthrow England. The terrorists are not fighting to become
a nation, and are specifically intending to cause the collapse of the
US as a nation, and western civilization in general.

I think that's enough, but I could think of more if I had to.
|W|P|90332682|W|P||W|P|5:30 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Nice article at NRO



Although, to be fair, he's combining the arguments of different groups
as if they were one. In his defense, though, Bush will be criticized
no matter what he does.

The money quote:

In hour one of the conflict, we are supposed to expect to see the
deployment of weapons of mass destruction - which many in the world
community still profess are not there. If the Iraqis use these agents of death,
we are culpable for prompting such dangers; if they don't, then there
was no real casus belli in the first place and the war will be deemed,
post facto, as unnecessary. Americans must be swift, decisive, and
victorious in their warmaking - but not to the extent that they should kill
too many of the enemy. Our GPS bombs must not just be smart, but rather
brilliant - and thus distinguish and target (wounding rather than
killing) only 80,000 individual Baathists and Saddamites within a population
of 26 million.


The whole thing

|W|P|90332614|W|P||W|P|5:28 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

My Vote



Er Sumthin.

There's lots of good stuff out there on the web. Much of it is hard to
find. Sometimes you stumble on it by accident. Unfortunately, lots of
times you don't. I do believe that if you create value, people will
find you. Case in point: Scrappleface is already truly one of the Big
Boys of the Blogs, and he's been around for less time than I have, with
my 20-30 hits a day... :(

But there are other people not getting the attention they deserve. For
example, Jo over at Commentary Du Jour, linked at your left, is
constantly writing things that I find interesting enough to read and comment
on, whether they are big national news items, horses, Oregonian issues,
etc. She is unique, a treasure, and needs to be more known. Spread
the word on her, okay?

But many, many blogs are socio-political commentary. There are many
smaller niches in this arena already filled: Instapundit links everything
important, and does so nearly instantaneously. Scrappleface has the
pointed satire, usually by combining two separate elements into hilarious
juxtaposition. Juan Gato is wickedly self-deprecating and sarcastic.
Steven at USS Clueless is relentlessly and exhaustively logical and
reasonable. He can teach you about cell phone technology or educate you
on the development of armor philosophy. What does that leave for the
rest of us?

I don't think I'll ever gain a huge following. Many thanks to the
people who have said I have a talent for blogging...but I lack the ability
to put my messages across in the way intend. Misunderstandings of my
position or point happen almost daily, and it has happened often enough
that I can only assume the problem lies with me.

But I recently stumbled across someone else, known only as Wild Monk.
He wears a mask and hands out silver bullets...wait, wrong legend. He
plays piano in a jazz combo...no, that's Thelonious Monk. Had enough
of my silly attempts at humor?

I haven't read much of his stuff yet. But he impressed me with his
crystal-clear and succinct reasoning. I like what he says, and how he
says it, and I think reading his stuff is an excellent way to expand your
horizons. So he's my choice as "Most Deserving of an Instalanche". Go
see him at Wild Monk
|W|P|90332548|W|P||W|P|5:27 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Gotta Link This



It's not a conservative opinon piece; it's not an opinion piece at all.
Go read it and be educated.


|W|P|90332502|W|P||W|P|5:15 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Light Comments Response



And perhaps light blogging entries until Monday evening. I'm going to busy over the next few days.
|W|P|90332044|W|P||W|P|5:53 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Nice line



Even if you don't like Ann Coulter, you have to appreciate this:


There are dark rumors that terrorists are being stripped, humiliated,
strapped down and subjected to total sleep deprivation with lights and
noise. Then it turned out the hapless victims of such brutal tactics
weren't terrorists, but airline passengers since Sept. 11.


The whole
article
makes a nice point, if you can get past her style.
|W|P|90273607|W|P||W|P|5:52 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

In case comments are down



Here's some debate:
Andy:
This probably won't work as the comments are hosed, but if a study for a genetic link of homosexuality is not replicable or convincing, it doesn't make your position automatically correct (that it is a choice). It's the same trap that Creationists fall into - they think that if they can find a flaw in evolution, that it somehow validates their story of magic. Uh uh, doesn't work that way.

Jody:
Nathan, just to be clear here. You didn't form a very well reasoned argument, you didn't provide much in the way of support for your case and, as I read it, it really sounds as though you are complaining that people questioned your assumptions, your evidence, and your conclusions. While I have no personal animosity towards you, I have a great deal of general animosity towards anyone who thinks a cursitory inspection of data supports their personal bias.

The vast majority of the empirical, psychological studies from the 50's forwards have debunked maladjustment/choice/pathology models for homosexual orientation. There is no evidence for that position.

Second, just about -everything- with us humans is a combination of genes, environment and experience. There are exceptions, but in general, the building blocks of our emotions, characteristics, and behaviors are all set with the proteins coded by our DNA and later modified by the interplay of chance and environment.

Knowing this, and knowing that homosexuality occurs at statistically higher than chance numbers in monozygotic twins reared apart, in comparison to fraternal and unrelated siblings and sibling pairs, homosexuality, or one possible form of it, are ample grounds for the initial genetic etiology of homosexuality. Kallamn (1952) was one of the first to point this out and further work with twins by Pillard (1986) by King, (1993) and Whitam (1993) also bare this out.

Bailey’s 1993 genetic study has only been confirmed by Hu in a 1995 study. The rest of the research on the xq28 marker hasn’t been successful. But Levay’s work noting structural differences in gay male brains is remarkably similar to Roselli’s 2001 work noting similar differences in the brains of rams. Further, evidence from other naturalists shows that predominately or exclusively homosexual behavior – including pair bondings and the raising of children -- is pretty common across mammalian species and, funnily enough, quite well accepted by them too.

Andy says it best though. In the end, your position isn't proved true by proving another false. You've made an assertion and you need to provide positive evidence in favor of it. You haven't done that.

Me:
Finally! A response with evidence.
I'm going to respond to these together.
Okay, first, Jody, just because you don't accept my reasons doesn't mean my argument isn't reasoned. You made a good start on debating today, why didn't you do this earlier?
Second, Andy, I never said just because I provided evidence of a lack of genetic cause, that the opposite was true. But to present my assertions, I must at least address opposite views, no? Nor does your logic that my view is not automatically correct doesn't make my view automatically incorrect, either. You have to evaluate the arguments on the merit.
Third, Jody, according to my understanding, the studies on genetic twins did not control for environment, meaning, IF (and I am by no means at this time asserting that it IS) there is a correlation between sexual/emotional abuse and homosexuality, then would you expect one sibling/twin to be abused and not the other? The study didn't cover that.
The initial studies on sizes of brain portions (the thyroid, I think) started with AIDS victims who were definite homosexuals and non-AIDS victims who were *presumed* heterosexuals. And an extremely small sample of only 19 individuals. There was no control for all sorts of factors, including what effect AIDS has on the thyroid.
I'll check out Hu's 1995 study.
Jody, I agree that any human behavior is a complex mix of environment, biology, and genetics. But I think if you look back on what I've been saying (you'll have to go back into my archives), that all I'm saying is that homosexuality is a choice, and in my opinion, not a good choice.
I've provided ancecdotal, personal, and scientific evidence that no one is forced to engage in homosexual behavior. I've also provided anecdotal, personal, and scientific evidence that very dangerous behaviors are associated with homosexual behavior. I am entitled to my opinion. My experiences are just as valid as anyone else's.
If I fail to convince you, that doesn't automatically make my observations and opinions invalid. You are perfectly welcome to bring your own observations and opinions.
My complaint was that until recently, the only response I've gotten were ad hominem attacks and accusations of homophobia.
You don't agree. Fine. No one has to engage me, if my arguments are that ridiculous. But if anyone does, they should engage in the same manner, rather than insults and attempts to use rhetoric to marginalize my points.
No one yet has addressed Michelle Malkin's article on using bathrooms to have first-time sex encounters, the extreme promiscuity, the CDC article stating male homosexual behavior resulting in drug resistant HIV strains, or the male homosexuals seeking AIDS.
Finally, just saying my arguments have no merit doesn't demonstrate anything. Show YOUR logic. Provide anecdotes and personal observation, if you will. Explain why my observations lack merit.
Sure, you'll have a hard time proving the things I've seen with my own eyes are untrue, but you certainly can provide alternate explanations of the behavior I've seen.

Copy of comments over, final commentary:

Here's one last summary: I'm trying to advocate that homosexual behavior is not a good idea. For that argument to make any sense at all, I must address the main argument that homosexuals have no choice in their behavior. I believe I have demonstrated these two points.
Okay, maybe I've convinced no one. I can live with that.
|W|P|90273553|W|P||W|P|6:52 AM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Ending the Thread



I've been talking quite a bit about my feelings on homosexual behavior. I presented my conclusions based on logic and direct observation; I was told I needed to provide evidence (implying my direct observation wasn't valid in the face of Politically Correct Views). So I went out and found scientific evidence. I discovered that every study trying to prove a genetic cause for homosexuality has been refuted and has been unreplicable. Many suffered from flaws of premise, lack of control groups, conclusions that could not be logically drawn from present evidence, etc. I cited other studies that indicated homosexuality was due to environmental conditions at best. I presented clear evidence that male homosexual behavior is damaging to the individual, and that there are significant subcultures in which self-damage is the goal (seeking out HIV infection, 'bathhouse' practices leading to drug-resistant strains). But since my evidence was initially all from 1993 and before (but mostly 1993), some felt free to ignore it as 'ancient history' (ignoring that the total of evidence in favor of views opposing mine comes from studies done in the 60s and 70s). So I provided more recent evidence, but some felt free to ignore it because the group that collected the more recent evidence (but didn't fund or perform the actual experiments, mind you) has a clear bias.

To date, no one has provided any evidence, any scientific study that indicates my assertions are incorrect. Perhaps it is assumed that my position is so untenable in the current political climate that such a debate is unnecessary.

I really didn't expect anything else. In my experience, the vast majority of the people in this world have no interest in understanding anything, learning anything, or demonstrating anything. Everyone has an opinion, and few are interested in exposing their opinion to the light of reason and evidence. Those who agreed with me before I began providing evidence still agree, and those who didn't agree with me before I began still don't.

But it was worth it. I understand my own position better. The debate, albeit one-sided, spurred me to search for the evidence backing my opinion; I now have that evidence to reinforce my views.

The comments function is giving me problems again, so I'll have to respond to some comments in this post.
Andy, although I claim a closer relationship with typical conservative views, my views are my own. I feel free to mix conservative, liberal, libertarian, anarchist, and any other view at my discretion, based on what I observe, learn, and deduce. I walk in lockstep with no ideology. That being said, I am not insisting 'Homosexuality Be Stopped!' on the basis of its societal effect. In fact, despite the assumptions, I'm not insisting homosexuality be 'stopped' at all. I am trying to convince people that the behavior itself is a choice, and from there, that it is a choice that is damaging to yourself and others. I would never support any law against homosexuality. I'm trying to persuade, not condemn. But I am using the societal effect of homosexuality as a basis to insist that the issue should continue to be debated and discussed, and as justification to not knuckle under to the PC Mafia.

My views on female homosexuality are much less fixed, because there is far less evidence of damaging behaviors. My position on female homosexuality is still being considered. As such, you can read through my archives to find both my original position and my recantation, and I see no need to repeat myself when there is no new evidence to present.

One last question: why is the personal testimony of a homosexual acceptable as 'proof' that homosexuality is not a choice, but the personal testimony of former homosexuals not?

I may have left some questions unanswered...dunno. I can't get into any of the comments to see right now. I'm sure I responded to the bulk of valid discussion (as opposed to ad hominem attacks and distortions of my assertions), so I'm going to leave it there. And I'm sure all readers can draw their own conclusions from the debate. I do have faith in humanity.
|W|P|90239745|W|P||W|P|5:16 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Referencing the next post



It is convention to post the most recent material at the top.
Occasionally it feels strange because I'm referencing the last post, which will
probably be the next thing you read, if I didn't point this out first.
So I did.

Anyway, in Steven's article at USS Clueless, he says:

Or you might be certain of your conclusions and not really know where
they come from, or even care. Perhaps they came from God, possibly via
some holy book. Questioning God's edicts is heresy. What God commands
doesn't need to be justified; it's a priori correct.

Now, I know many Christians do just assume God is correct, and continue
all their reasoning from there. I have many friends who aren't
Christian and don't recognize those types of presumptions as valid. Since I
love debating (and have done much learning through such methods), I
quickly learned to supplement my beliefs with logic. I long ago stopped
being surprised by how much sense the Bible makes when talking about
people, happiness, contentment, pain, love, and fulfillment. I still have
problems with some parts of the Bible. I certainly have problems with
people who try to use literal arguments as an attempt to discredit basic
truths they do not wish to acknowledge...sorta like trying to discredit
the basic truths found about human nature in Aesop's fables with the
assertion that animals can't talk...
But that's neither here nor there, because I haven't tried to argue the
truth of 1 Corinthians 13 yet. Yet. :)
I hereby assert that 'questioning God's edicts' is not heresy.
It is by questioning that we gain answers. In fact, if you re-read the
New Testament with an eye for detail (instead of reacting to
pre-conceived notions), you'll see that there are few edicts...there are basic
variations on two: 'Love your neighbor as yourself', and 'Love your
neighbor as yourself'. Everything further is merely an answer to the
Christians' questions of, "How should I live my life?" That's hardly an
edict. I consider it a very strong suggestion with a caveat. As in,
"if you want to live a happy, peaceful, fulfilled life,
here's how to do it." And I've since proven to myself (with logical
equations) that everything in the New Testament is true. (With the exception
of Revelations; because it is a vision and prophecy, I think its truth
or falsehood is nearly unproveable one way or the other...I merely seek
to understand it).
So if anyone wants to hear my logic chain, or if anyone has a portion
of the New Testament they feel is absolutely false, feel free to email
me. You can post your challenges or questions in the comment section,
but any answer would be far too long to post there, so I would rather
pursue such a conversation through email. Okeydokey?
Until then, I'll keep providing my assumptions, logic/evidence, and
conclusions on socio-political issues, m'kay?
|W|P|90207988|W|P||W|P|5:14 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

What I'm trying to do with this website



From USS Clueless (linked at the left, again):

href="http://www.denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2003/03/Intellectualhonesty.shtml">The
whole thing
details an argument Steven had with someone else, and
is quite long, but the beginning portion is important to what I'm trying
to do here. The first seven paragraphs are the most salient (and will
be excerpted here), but the first 33 paragraphs are applicable to my
experiences in debating with liberals: they have no interest in a debate,
only in dismissing and discrediting any opposing view. I have, thus
far, only encountered one liberal with a blog who will actually debate
with the honesty and openness and lack of rancor Steven espouses, and
she's linked over on the left as Commentary Du Jour. If there are more of
you out there, send me an email and I'll visit your site and let's
start debating. Remember, just refusing to acknowledge my arguments as
valid is not debate. You have to...well, go read his whole essay. Here's
the first section as an appetizer:

The process of learned discourse and intellectual debate is reasonably
well understood now, as a result of centuries of experimentation. When
several men of good will disagree with each other on some issue of
great importance, they can engage in debate on it. The assumption is that
they do so in good faith, and that all involved have a primary
commitment to try to find the best answer available, though differences of
opinion may exist about what that will be.

Different advocates will thus present cases for their points of view.
But there's a kind of scrupulous honesty involved in this, and each
advocate will in a sense work against himself. He'll make their case, but
he'll also do his best to make it easy for his readers to shoot holes in
that case. When he cites evidence, he'll tell where it came from, so
that the readers can consult primary sources to determine if the evidence
doesn't really say what is claimed. He won't just present conclusions,
he'll provide the logic by which the conclusion was reached so that
readers can determine if there are fallacies of reasoning. If he is
critiquing a case made by an opponent, he'll try to make a fair summary of
the other guy's case, and he'll provide access information (e.g. book
name and publisher and ISBN, or a web link) so that readers who are so
inclined can actually go look to see if the summary is indeed fair.

And then he will try to show weaknesses in the other guy's case, either
by challenging the other guy's evidence with other evidence which
contradicts it (and with references for where it came from) or
demonstrations of where the logic failed, or perhaps information which shows that
the other guy's evidence was badly collected and is actually useless.

There are a lot of benefits to this process (which was best justified
by John Stuart Mill in "On Liberty"). First and foremost, if you don't
actually understand your reasons for holding an opinion, you'll have a
hard time presenting a convincing case for it. The process of writing
such advocacy forces you to methodically examine your position, and in
doing so you may yourself discover flaws in it.

When you present your case, your opposition and your readers will also
look for weaknesses and let you know. In the resulting give-and-take
you may be able to rework the case to make it tight, or again you may
come to realize that you were wrong.

By reading someone else's case presented in this way, you'll be exposed
to new ideas and new evidence which may alter your view of the
situation. You may even come to be convinced by him.

|W|P|90207886|W|P||W|P|5:12 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

I can't help but blog it



And I love the picture in this post.
Pardon the brief obscenity, if you please. She's making a point.

As (almost) always, the excerpt:


And should we now take action against those who hurt us in the past and
will almost certainly seek to do so in the future? Should we take
responsibility for our own safety and justice in the world, seeing as how no
one else will?. Nah, say the anti-war feminist left. Might as well lie
back and enjoy it, honey. It's a shame that it happened, but whatcha
going to do about it, y'know? Get over it already.

To which I say: I am woman, hear me cheer when they drag Saddam's
crushed and bloodied body through the streets of Baghdad.

|W|P|90207755|W|P||W|P|5:12 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

From Dodd over at Ipse Dixit (linked in my blogroll)



Here's the link

But more importantly, here's the whole thing:

So, what's your life worth anyway?

A discussion like this, as Dean rightly notes, is

the sort of thinking that tends to make some people go ballistic,
and... the sort of rational perspective that would make the world a better
place if more people understood it.
It reminds me of one of those unquestioned assumptions all too many
people have that aren't actually anywhere near the truth. I can't count
the number of times I've been discussing some abstract policy issue
(usually one having to do with redistributionist social welfare spending, of
course) and been told, "But you can't put a dollar value on human
life!"

Which is, of course, patently false. Society does it every day. Juries
do it, actuaries do it, the government does it, the very people who get
outraged at the dirty, unthinkable notion that a person's life could be
reduced to dollars and cents do it - even if they don't realize it.

And, as Mr. Landsburg points out, the first life to which they assign a
dollar value is their own. They assign a value to their own life when
they choose to save a thousand dollars rather than buy a safer car. They
do it when they decide to save 100 bucks a month on health insurance.
They do it when they opt for a more dangerous job because the pay is
better. They sure as hell do it when they decide how much life insurance
they're willing to pay for.

Yes, yes, and again yes, many reluctantly make trade-offs they would
rather not due to limited resources. But everyone's resources are limited
- even Bill Gates' - and the fact remains that how we all allocate our
limited resources is an indicator of how much we value the things to
which we do in fact allocate it. Someone who is "forced" to buy a cheap
tin-can of a car could significantly reduce his risk of death by taking
the bus. That would also save money which could then be used to get
better health insurance. But he values the convenience and freedom of
having that car - even if it is less safe than they'd prefer - more than
the few percentage points increase in life expectancy the other choice
would net him.

And there's not a thing in the world wrong with that. A life lived as
one wishes is more valuable - in a way that economists can scarcely even
pretend to measure - than one restricted on every side by necrophobia.
Or, as Samuel Clemens put it,

"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully
is prepared to die at any time."

|W|P|90207804|W|P||W|P|5:55 AM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Flogging Dead Horses



or

An Open Response



I expect that those who were convinced before I started writing about homosexuality needed no persuading. And those who disagreed with me before I started writing probably haven't budged their views at all, either.

A few people have asked, rhetorically, why it should matter what people do in their own privacy between consenting adults. I think this is a question that actually deserves answering.

My first response is with a series of rhetorical questions of my own. Why should it matter to people whether others smoke? Why should it matter to people whether others drive drunk? Why should it matter to people why others overeat? Why should it matter to people why others are homeless? Because certain behaviors carry with them a price paid not only by the individual, but also by society. Our society tends to advocate abandoning behaviors that are damaging to the individual as well as society at large.

So I'm saying homosexuality is damaging to the individual and society? That's hardly a politically correct or socially sensitive view...
Surprise. I come to my conclusions based on the evidence I see, not on the basis of someone else's agenda.

There is a ton of evidence about the toll homosexuality takes on the homosexual individual. Much of it is social, in fact, as any homosexual could tell you. Most of their attempts to legitimize homosexuality are to mitigate that toll. But there are also clear physical and spiritual prices as well. Although AIDS is certainly not a disease of the homosexual alone, male homosexuals and bisexuals are certainly in more fear and at higher risk than heterosexual males who do not use drugs. I don't know anyone who tries to insist that the routine use of illegal intravenous drugs is a valid lifestyle choice. Even aside from (and before) AIDS, the preponderance of evidence shows engaging in homosexual behavior significantly reduces the lifespan of the individual. To turn a blind eye to the results of homosexual behavior is the epitome of a lack of compassion for the individual.

Large lawsuit victories have been won against tobacco companies because of the medical cost borne by society. And yet, the CDC has specifically stated unequivocally that the appearance of several drug-resistant strains of HIV is directly attributable to the behavior of homosexual males. Not intravenous drug users. Not heterosexual males. Let me repeat: the behavior of homosexual males, as a group, has resulted in several new, drug-resistant strains of HIV. The drug cocktail is immensely expensive. Billions of dollars went into the development. In use for less than a decade, they could soon be totally useless. So the actual dollar cost to society of homosexual behavior is quite high, as well. This fact alone should have millions of people advocating that homosexuals desist in that behavior.

But the first step is to convince people that it is a choice. To explode the myths and smokescreens.

After all, homosexuals claiming that we should believe them when they say they have no choice, but not believe the former homosexuals who have turned away from the behavior are exactly like the Wizard of Oz telling Dorothy to pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain.

Please note. I'm not saying "Pray and be healed." I realize it is not simple, nor is it easy. The first step is to recognize that behavior is always a choice. From there we can really start discussing whether it is a good choice or not. I've included many arguments about that because of the obstruction of "It's nobody else's business, anyway". I actually think it is. As long as homosexual advocacy groups have a the right to try and convince society that theirs is a valid lifestyle choice, I have the right, and the obligation, to publicly disagree.

However, I have no desire or intention to advocate passing any laws against homosexual behavior, nor for enforcing sodomy laws that already exist. I don't think this is a legal problem at all.



|W|P|90174838|W|P||W|P|5:07 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Ashcroft bashing is largely unearned



I'll be blogging more about this in the future. But for today...

From a Townhall.com article:

Worse, Attorney General John Ashcroft, the administration's point man on arresting terrorists, cutting off their funding and keeping them from getting here in the first place, has been subjected to a campaign of calumny for doing nothing but prosecuting the terror war Democrats claim to support so vigorously.
|W|P|90145249|W|P||W|P|5:04 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Gas Mileage



I really like good gas mileage. Given the choice between cars that meet my needs, I will always choose the car with the highest gas mileage. It just seems like throwing money away to do anything else. At the time I purchased it, my CRV had the highest gas efficiency of any SUV (which we needed for people and cargo room), and was better than minivans, as well. There are now vehicles getting better mileage. We will upgrade on our next purchase.

I'm going on record by saying that raising the CAFE standards will not really do anything. While I am never actually happy about high gas prices, I am pleased that they make people actually consider fuel economy. Our high spike of prices made people complain and fret about owning SUVs just two summers ago, but it didn't last long enough. As long as gas remains cheap most of the time (and before the recent jump, they were at pretty much the lowest level ever in terms of adjusted dollars), people will still ignore efficiency, and carmakers will continue to put out guzzlers. What we need is a good 2-year oil crisis that will cause people to demand fuel efficiency, and maybe with the technological advances we've had over the last 25 years since the last one, we can have a car that gets 60 mpg without sacrificing the power to pass or get up hills. And without having to resort to expensive hybrids. (or maybe true mass-production will help make hybrids more cost-effective).

I'm not really advocating anything. It's not like I can advocate higher prices at the pump or anything. Just letting you know what I think.
|W|P|90145117|W|P||W|P|5:03 PM|W|P|Nathan|W|P|

Disection of a disection



This is so good I have to link it

No, it doesn't prove anything in and of itself. It does clear out some
of the obfuscation and syllogism used by the anti-war faction to
confuse or bombast the undecided.

Here's a sample paragraph


The next paragraph is simply loaded with examples of the fallacy he's
discussing. First, he asserts that "no real evidence" has been offered.
That is a value judgment, at best, and a matter of opinion. Inserting
his opinion into a syllogism is a blatant abuse of logic (begging the
question, fallacy of non-support, and, frankly, ad hominem).
Acknowledging on the one hand that Osama is believed to have stated that he stands
with the Iraqi people seems, for a moment, to be a rare example of
fairness on Mr. Koehler's part. Alas, he immediately proves that impression
wrong by insisting that Osama thinks Saddam is an "infidel." Earlier he
was discussing false dilemmas ("illegitimate use of the 'or'
operator"). It doesn't take a Ph.D in philosophy to spot the fact that he's
falsely limited Osama to only two possibile choices. The backhanded slap at
"our 'ally'" is a gratuitious ad hominem, pure and simple.


Check out the whole thing, if you are so inclined.
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Apologies



I've been busy recently, so although there are a number of things I'd like to blog, I haven't had timet to get to any of them. Some time in the next 2-3 days, though, there will be a deluge of new stuff on all sorts of subjects, so check back often!

Nathan
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On the Origins of Homosexuality:



Since those who try to insist homosexuality is not a choice insist that 1993 is ancient history and should be discounted, here are some more recent studies:
From: On the Origins of Homosexuality"

Is a Person "Born that Way"?
The best overall summary of most respected researchers is that homosexuality (like most other psychological conditions) is due to a combination of social, biological, and psychological factors.

(1) Byne, a psychiatrist with a doctorate in biology, and Parsons (1993) carefully analyzed all the major biological studies of homosexuality. They found none that definitively supported a biological theory of causation.

--W. Byne and B. Parsons, "Human Sexual Orientation: The Biologic Theories Reappraised." Archives of General Psychiatry 50, no.3.)

(2) From psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover, M.D.:

"Like all complex behavioral and mental states, homosexuality is...neither exclusively biological nor exclusively psychological, but results from an as-yet-difficult-to-quantitate mixture of genetic factors, intrauterine influences...postnatal environment (such as parent, sibling and cultural behavior), and a complex series of repeatedly reinforced choices occurring at critical phases of development."

--J. Satinover, M.D., Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (1996). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

(3) When "gay gene" researcher Hamer was asked if homosexuality was rooted solely in biology, he himself replied, "Absolutely not. From twin studies, we already know that half or more of the variability in sexual orientation is not inherited. Our studies try to pinpoint the genetic factors...not negate the psychosocial factors."

--"Gay Genes, Revisited: Doubts arise over research on the biology of homosexuality," Scientific American, November 1995, P. 26.

(4) Also from Dean Hamer, the "gay gene" researcher:

"Genes are hardware...the data of life's experiences are processed through the sexual software into the circuits of identity. I suspect the sexual software is a mixture of both genes and environment, in much the same way the software of a computer is a mixture of what's installed at the factory and what's added by the user."
---P. Copeland and D. Hamer (1994) The Science of Desire. New York: Simon and Schuster.

(5) Psychiatrists Friedman and Downey state that "a biopsychosocial model" best fits our knowledge of causation, with various combinations of temperament and environmental events leading to homosexuality. They say:

"Despite recent neurobiological findings suggesting homosexuality is genetically-biologically determined, credible evidence is lacking for a biological model of homosexuality."
--R. Friedman, M.D. and J. Downey, M.D., Journal of Neuropsychiatry, vol. 5, No. 2, Spring l993.

(6) From sociologist Steven Goldberg, Ph.D.:

"Virtually all of the evidence argues against there being a determinative physiological causal factor and I know of no researcher who believes that such a determinative factor exists...such factors play a predisposing, not a determinative role...I know of no one in the field who argues that homosexuality can be explained without reference to environmental factors."
Goldberg adds: "Gay criticism has not addressed the classic family configuration"; it has merely "asserted away the considerable evidence" for the existence of family factors. Studies which attempt to disprove the existence of the classic family pattern in homosexuality are "convincing only to those with a need to believe."

--S. Goldberg (1994) When Wish Replaces Thought: Why So Much of What You Believe is False. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books.

7) An article on genes and behavior in Science magazine says:

...the interaction of genes and environment is much more complicated than the simple "violence genes" and intelligence genes" touted in the popular press. Indeed, renewed appreciation of environmental factors is one of the chief effects of the increased belief in genetics' effects on behavior. The same data that show the effects of genes also point to the enormous influence of non-genetic factors.
--C. Mann, "Genes and behavior," Science 264:1687 (1994), pp. 1686-1689.

8) Among Jeffrey Satinover's conclusions in "The Gay Gene":

(1) There is a genetic component to homosexuality, but "component" is just a loose way of indicating genetic associations and linkages. "Linkage" and "association" do not mean "causation."

(2) There is no evidence that shows that homosexuality is genetic--and none of the research itself claims there is. Only the press and certain researchers do, when speaking in sound bites to the public.

---Jeffrey Satinover, M.D., The Journal of Human Sexuality, 1996, p.8.

9. The American Psychological Association says:

"Various theories have proposed differing sources for sexual orientation...However, many scientists share the view that sexual orientation is shaped for most people at an early age through complex interactions of biological, psychological and social factors."
--From "Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality"

10) Says brain researcher Dr. Simon LeVay:

"At this point, the most widely held opinion [on causation of homosexuality] is that multiple factors play a role.
"In 1988, PFLAG member Tinkle Hake surveyed a number of well-known figures in the field about their views on homosexuality. She asked: 'Many observers believe that a person's sexual orientation is determined by one of more of the following factors: genetic, hormonal, psychological, or social. Based on today's state-of-the-art-science, what is your opinion?'
"The answers included the following: 'all of the above in concert' (Alan Bell), 'all of these variables' (Richard Green), 'multiple factors' (Gilbert Herdt), 'a combination of all the factors named' (Evelyn Hooker), 'all of these factors' (Judd Marmor), 'a combination of causes' (Richard Pillard), 'possibly genetic and hormonal, but juvenile sexual rehearsal play is particularly important' (John Money), and 'genetic and hormonal factors, and perhaps also some early childhood experiences' (James Weinrich)." (Page 273)
--Simon LeVay (1996), in Queer Science, published by MIT Press.

11) P-FLAG ("Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays") offers a booklet on the biological research into the origins of homosexuality.

Prepared with the assistance of Dr. Clinton Anderson of the American Psychological Association, this 1995 publication is entitled, "Why Ask Why? Addressing the Research on Homosexuality and Biology."

This pamphlet says:

"To date, no researcher has claimed that genes can determine sexual orientation. At best, researchers believe that there may be a genetic component. No human behavior, let alone sexual behavior, has been connected to genetic markers to date...sexuality, like every other behavior, is undoubtedly influenced by both biological and societal factors."
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