Thursday, June 30, 2016

Having legally abolished biological sex differences, maybe Massachusetts can try repealing the law of gravity

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:27

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Romans 1:18-28

The University of Alberta Student Union elections of 1983 included a joke slate called the Utopian Pragmatists. The first plank of their platform was to repeal "the oppressive law of gravity." In 1983 such a position was obviously meant and understood as satire, but today's satire is tomorrow's reality, as proven by the state of Massachusetts in 2016. As reported by Al Perrotta in The Stream, June 2, 2016 (links in original):

The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted 116-36 Wednesday to legally demolish the notion of biological sex in favor of “gender identity.” A similar bill passed the Massachusetts Senate last month. Gov. Charlie Baker has already said he’ll sign the bill.

“The Gender Identity Public Accommodations Bill” (H.4343) provides a three-front advance of transgender “anti-discrimination” laws, reports Conservative Review:

1. It replaces the word “sex” with “gender identity” in multiple areas of Massachusetts law.

2. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination must amend rules and policies to comply with this shift from biological sex to “gender identity.”

3. It allows people to use the restroom or locker room that matches their gender identity. Or as the bill puts it, “Any public accommodation … shall grant all persons admission to and the full enjoyment of such public accommodation or other entity consistent with the person’s gender identity” (incidentally, making bathrooms sound like amusement parks).

According to Boston.com, the bill does throw a bone to critics and parents concerned that such bathroom bills could be used as cover for predatory men who want to gain access to women’s bathrooms. H.4343 contains a provision that the Attorney General’s office issue guidance for potential legal action against “any person who asserts gender identity for an improper purpose.”

Victory brought eye-popping hyperbole from the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Byron Rushing. “We are doing the work the founders of our nation intended for us to do,” said Rushing, “This is a great day for us and we should be very proud.”

“Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them ‘Humankind’ when they were created.” Genesis 5:2

LGBT activists agreed. “This is a historic day for Massachusetts, said the pro-transgender group Freedom Massachusetts, “The wave of legislative activity #TransBillMA has seen in the last two months is the culmination of a decade-long fight to fully protect transgender people from discrimination in the Bay State.”

Nonsense, says one lawmaker who voted against the bill. “This legislation takes rights away from 99.9% of the population,” Rep. James Lyons told Conservative Review. “Every parent that I have spoken with including a parent of a transgender child understands that this bill eliminates long held expectation of privacy and protection for children.”

The issue goes even deeper. As Lyons told the Boston Herald, “The bill allows people on a routine basis to decide if they are male or female. Your anatomy is no longer relevant,” he said, “This has absolutely nothing to do with discrimination; it has everything to do with changing our society and social engineering by those on the left.”

As the debate and vote were taking place, hundreds opposed to the bill, dressed in blue, stood inside and outside the State House chanting “No, no!”

Opponents of the trans bill chant "no, no" outside the House chamber pic.twitter.com/sx9WZl4e2f

— Lauren Dezenski (@LaurenDezenski) June 1, 2016

They also engaged in prayer.

Faith leaders praying in multiple languages for our leaders to protect women and children. #mapoli #NoBathroomBill pic.twitter.com/0ma0ihai3p

— MA Family Institute (@MAFamilyInst) June 1, 2016

The protest and prayer was organized by Massachusetts Family Institute. And they are not giving up the fight. Today, the group is calling on people to phone Gov. Baker’s office to urge him to veto the bill. His Boston office number is: 617-725-4005. His Springfield office is 413-784-1200.
Perceptive readers will notice that the social justice warriors are quite willing to sacrifice the safety of girls and women in order to advance their demonic agenda--all in the name of "progress" amd "diversity," of course. Blogger Vox Day comments:

Personally, I think the crazier things get, the more egregiously awful they become, the better. All of this will be necessary to steel the civilizationists for the hard work to come. It is getting more and more difficult for the moderates and apologists and churchians to manufacture specious arguments claiming everything is really just fine and things are getting better all the time.

Even tender-hearted women are rapidly beginning to reach the conclusion that "kill it with fire" is the only solution to the sick society we presently endure.
HT: Vox Popoli; John C. Wright

This 81-year-old murderer professed Christ, but apparently didn't possess Christ

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16

The victim of this murder reminds me of a clergyman of my acquaintance who's a lovely man, but seems to assume that everyone else is as decent as he is, and is frequently taken in by con men, especially those who claim to be Christians. Submitted for your approval, the following item, which proves that you're never too old to be conned--or to commit murder. As reported by Marcia Pobzeznik of The Newport Daily News, June 29, 2016:

Edward Acquisto was given a “significant” loan in 2011, Police Chief Thomas Blakey said, and an argument about paying it back led Acquisto to shoot and kill John Cloud of Kingston, Mass., in the town’s Pocasset Hill Cemetery on a Monday night earlier this month.

Blakey would not say how much Acquisto “legally” borrowed from the congregational church he and Cloud belonged to, but did say Acquisto apparently reneged on the agreement to pay it back.

“It does not seem that there was anything substantial paid back,” Blakey said.

Blakey also could not say what Acquisto did with the money. “It is unknown what became of the money,” Blakey said.

Acquisto, 80, formerly of Woonsocket, is a convicted felon who moved to an apartment on State Avenue Street in North Tiverton in 2003 after being released from prison for serving time for manslaughter and rape. He arranged to meet Cloud in the cemetery on Main Road on June 13 about 7 p.m., police said.

Acquisto was known to have spent time in the cemetery praying with his Bible in hand, and the two had met there in the past to pray together, Blakey said. They belonged to the same church in Kingston, Mass.

The night of June 13, Acquisto shot Cloud twice in the torso with a .22-caliber handgun, Blakey said. People who were in the cemetery at the time called police to report that a black Kia drove out of the cemetery, and a man lay dying near gravestones.

Cloud, 81, was a graduate of Tufts University who was a mechanical engineer and working for a medical equipment company in Dedham, Mass., at the time of his death, according to his obituary. He was described by family and friends who posted tributes to him as a dedicated family man who was also dedicated to his church.

The first line of his obituary reads: “John A. Cloud died unexpectedly on June 13 steadfast in his belief of the good in people.”

Fire Chief Robert Lloyd said rescue crews transported Cloud to St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, Mass., where he was pronounced dead.

A graveside service was held for Cloud on June 18 at the church in Kingston.

“We and the family have no comment,” Joan Cole, office manager for Mayflower Congregational Church, said in a response to a request for an interview with the reverend of the church and the family of Cloud.

Tiverton Senior Center Director Janice Gomes said Acquisto, who was in failing health the past several years, often quoted Bible verses during his visits to the center. He started going to the center shortly after moving into town in 2003, but in recent years just went there for help with paperwork. He told Gomes of his background early on, she said.

Acquisto was killed in a driveway of a home on Ford Farm Road, across from the town cemetery, after a brief police chase about an hour after he shot Cloud in the cemetery. Acquisto drove into Fall River after shooting Cloud and was chased back into Tiverton by Fall River and Tiverton police who spotted his car about a half-mile from the Tiverton border. Acquisto was shot and killed by police after emerging from his car with a gun in hand.

That part of the investigation is still ongoing, Blakey said.

Asked about the gun Acquisto used and how he obtained it seeing he was a convicted felon who should not have been in possession of a gun, Blakey only said that it was “not reported stolen.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Handwriting analysis reveals parts of the Old Testament to be older than previously thought

As reported by Tia Ghose of Live Science, April 11, 2016 (bold in original, link inserted by blogger):

Key parts of the Old Testament may have been compiled earlier than some scholars thought, suggests a new handwriting analysis of text on pottery shards.

The shards, found at a frontier fort dating to around 600 B.C., were written by at least six different people, suggesting that literacy was widespread in the ancient kingdom of Judah, said study co-author Israel Finkelstein, an archaeologist and biblical scholar at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

"We're dealing with really low-level soldiers in a remote place who can write," Finkelstein told Live Science. "So there must have been some sort of educational system in Judah at that time."

The writing shows that the kingdom had the intellectual resources to write and compile large chunks of the Old Testament during this period, he added.

Biblical history

Religious scholars have long fiercely debated when the Bible was written. Up until around the middle ages, people believed the Bible was written almost in real-time (as events were occurring).

Text in the Bible mentions scribes and literate officials for the kingdom of Judah, which remained a state from roughly the 10th century B.C. to 586 B.C., when the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar laid waste to Jerusalem, destroyed the temple and forced most of the Jewish elites into exile in Babylonia. So scholars assumed the text must have been written prior to the destruction of the temple.

But that line of reasoning assumed the biblical accounts were historically accurate. Another possibility is that those details about literate people were anachronisms inserted by later writers based on their own cultures, Finkelstein said. In recent years, one camp of scholars has pushed for a later date for the compilation of the Old Testament, with some even arguing the compilation occurred centuries later, when the Greeks or Persians ruled in what is now Israel, Finkelstein said.

He said he and his colleagues realized there might be a different way to address the question. Decades earlier, archeologists had uncovered archaic Hebrew ink inscriptions on ostraca, or pottery shards, from a frontier fort called Arad, a remote garrison located far away from Judah's central city, Jerusalem. Finkelstein said he wondered whether these inscriptions, which were written over the span of a few months in 600 B.C., could reveal how many people could read and write at the time.

Widespread literacy

To answer that question, Arie Shaus, a mathematics and archaeology doctoral candidate at Tel Aviv University, along with Shira Faigenbaum-Golovin, an applied mathematics doctoral candidate at the university, and colleagues, relied on machine learning. They used computer programs to scan digital images of the text, systematically fill in missing lines of text and analyze each stroke. Finally, the computer algorithms compared the script on each of the 18 inscriptions to see whether they were written by the same hand. (The ancient Hebrew text was written in an Iron Age script that is no longer used.)

All told, at least six different people wrote or read the script on the ostracas, including individuals ranging in rank from the commander of the fort, a man named Malkiyahu, all the way down to the deputy quartermaster, a soldier with a low rank, below the person running the fort's storage depots, the researchers reported today (April 11) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While none of these inscriptions were Shakespeare, most were written with proper spelling and syntax, the researchers found.

"This is really quite amazing," Finkelstein said, "that in a remote place like this, there was more than one person, several people, who could write."

What's more, other border forts have similar ostraca, suggesting that writing at that time was widespread, at least within the Judahite army, the researchers reported. Other archaeological evidence suggests that no more than 100,000 people lived in Judah at the time. Together, these lines of evidence suggest that a substantial fraction of the population (possibly several hundreds of people) could read and write, Finkelstein said.

Early biblical compilation

In order for so many low-ranking soldiers to be able to read and write, there must have been some kind of Judahite educational system, Finkelstein said.

That, in turn, suggests there were enough literate people at that time to compile some portions of the Old Testament, such as the Book of Deuteronomy, parts of Genesis, and the books of Joshua to 2 Kings, Finkelstein said.

By contrast, after the destruction of the first temple, when Israel's educated people were either killed or exiled to Babylonia, there is not so much as a pottery shard, seal or stamp with a single piece of writing from the region for more than 200 years, Finkelstein said. This suggests it's much less likely these books were compiled after the temple's destruction, he said.

The findings are very important and dovetail with other lines of research, said Christopher Rollston, a Near East scholar at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. There is no doubt that the elites in Judahite society could read and write around 600 B.C., Rollston said.

"In fact, I have argued in print that the literacy of elites (scribes, high governmental and religious officials) is already present by circa 800 [B.C.]" Rollston told Live Science in an email.

However, not everyone agrees with all of the paper's assumptions. While the notion that many could read and write in the Kingdom of Judah during the seventh century B.C. is widespread, "I do not share the authors' opinion that literacy among the elite declined after the seventh century [B.C.]," said Ernst Axel Knauf, a theology scholar at Bern University in Switzerland, who was not involved in the study.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Edmonton Eskimos cater to the Selfie Generation

This item hasn't anything directly to do with the usual subjects of this blog, but it does serve as a snapshot of current conditions. The Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League are recognizing characteristics unique to Millennials (aka the Selfie Generation, aka the Retarded Generation)--as reported by Ryan Tumilty of Metro News, June 6, 2016:

The Edmonton Eskimos are hoping a new generation of football fans will help them boost struggling attendance numbers and bring new life to Commonwealth Stadium.

With the season set to get underway in just a few weeks, the club has introduced a new standing section that it hopes will appeal to younger fans.

“We created a tiered deck system in both north end corners of the end zone,” said Scott Murray, the team’s vice-president of ticket sales.

He said the new section will be sold online during the week and they hope it will allow for a more social experience.

“They like some freedom to move around, as opposed to being assigned to a specific seat,” he said.

Last year, the team averaged 31,517 fans per game – part of a downward trend they have seen in recent years. Murray said they do hope to improve those numbers, but it’s also about making sure the team is offering something for everyone.

“This helps us engage a different group of people that we don’t think we have engaged enough,” he said. “We think they will come for the social experience and maybe do two or three games a year.”

Jay Ball, the general manager of FC Edmonton, said he believes the Eskimos are on the right track trying to attract millennial fans.

Ball said his team already has much of that younger audience and they’ve attracted them in part by advertising where they are.

“The live on social media, they live on mobile devices and tablets and computers. You can’t reach them through billboard advertising,” he said.

He said they also encourage people to get excited about the game and have a good time, much like what the Esks are planning for the new sections.

“We’re not selling soccer. We’re selling a really unique sports experience.”
I approve of giving the Selfie Generation its own section. Anyone who's had the misfortune of being at a game (or anywhere else) in the vicinity of these life forms can verify that they spend their time running around and playing with their smartphones, and don't bother watching the game. It's a good idea to give them their own playpen, and leave the rest of the stadium for people who want to watch a football game.

Let's see now: they can't remain in one place for very long, and are unable to sit still and concentrate on the activity at hand. This is the sort of behaviour that has historically been true of 5-year-olds, and now it's being recognized as acceptable behaviour for 15-year-olds. And some people are still so deluded as to believe that society is progressing.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

40 years ago: Cuckservative Governor of Missouri rescinds 1838 executive order banishing Mormons from the state

The term "cuckservative" has been around only since about early 2015, but the cuckservative mentality has been around longer than that. I don't know if the word has an "official" definition, but I define a cuckservative as someone who claims to be a conservative, but who considers it more important to be regarded as not racist, sexist, and/or (insert pejorative here) by people who don't like him than to stand firm for any conservative principles. Cuckservatism manifests itself in behaviour known as "virtue signalling," such as apologizing to groups claiming victim status on the basis of alleged historical mistreatment at the hands of the cuckservatives and/or the cuckservatives' ancestors.

An example of 20th century cuckservatism comes from June 25, 1976. Missouri Governor Kit Bond (Republican) announced an executive order rescinding Missouri Executive Order 44, issued by Governor Lilburn Boggs on October 27, 1838, directing that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description." Mr. Bond's announcement came in an address to the Far West stake of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a goodwill gesture for the United States Bicentennial. For those unfamiliar with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the RLDS was formed as a splinter group from the main LDS church after the death in 1844 of Moromon founder Joseph Smith, resulting in a dispute over who was the proper successor to Mr. Smith as leader of the church.

Mr. Boggs' executive order in 1838 had been issued three days after the Battle of Crooked River, a skirmish between Mormons and Missouri state militia. The Mormons have made a lot of mileage out of claiming to be victims of religious persecution, but the claim is nonsense. Many new religious movements came into being in the United States in the second quarter of the 19th century, with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being the one that has lasted the longest (It hardly needs saying--but I'll say it, anyway--that that's not to be taken as evidence of the approval of God upon the organization). There were numerous splinter groups that resulted from the death of Joseph Smith; most of them soon disappeared but the RLDS remains. Another new religious movement, Seventh-Day Adventism, began in the mid-1840s, but I don't recall any accounts of Seventh-Day Adventists being driven out of one area after another. The evidence indicates that many Americans in those days were receptive to doctrines that were heretical by biblical standards of orthodoxy (in the mid-19th century, only about 1/4 of the American population were members of Christian churches), but somehow the Mormons seem to have borne the brunt of "persecution." Mormons were in fact driven out of various places (e.g,, Kirtland, Ohio in 1837), but it wasn't because of their beliefs, but because of their behaviour, especially crooked banking and real estate practices. Readers who are interested in this history may search some of the blogs and sites on the left side of this blog. A "secular" book about a serious crime that has some connection to historic Mormon scandals is The Mormon Murders by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith (1988).

According to Gordon H. Fraser in his book Is Mormonism Christian? (4th edition, 1977, pp. 176, 180):

True, the Mormons left New York State for Ohio in the early 1830s, but this was largely because their New York neighbors could not see them as saints and prophets. The "hoodlums" of the area were not persecutors, but simply Joseph Smith's old gang of treasure hunters, who felt that Joseph was "holding out" on them with his treasure of golden plates. The attraction in Ohio was Sidney Rigdon's ready-made congregation, which moved into the Mormon church as a body.

They left Kirtland, with its newly built temple, largely because of the shady banking and real estate operations of Smith and Rigdon. Many had apostatized by that time. Those who hastened the exodus westward were not gentile persecutors, but dissident Mormons who had attached themselves to the church and then, disillusioned, sought revenge against the leaders. The rank and file of honest folk who followed westward did so in good faith.

Their expulsion from Missouri and Illinois, likewise, was not because of their religious beliefs but because of their behavior. In both cases, they had become undesirable neighbors...

...The most flagrant fraud, and the one that caused the hasty exit of Smith and Rigdon to escape their pursuers, was their venture into the banking business. The bank was denied a charter but was started anyway. It was illegally operated and dishonestly administered. It issued $250,000 worth of bills, which were backed by no assets. Many besides Mormons invested and deposited in it to their sorrow. The outsiders added to the friction, causing the flight of Smith and Rigdon and the collapse of the whole Kirtland enterprise. None of this, however, was religious persecution by the gentiles.
Note: "Gentiles" in Mormon terminology refers to non-Mormons, as Mormons regard themselves as being true Israel.

The differences between Mormonism and Christianity are beyond the scope of this post, but the reader is invited to search various blogs and sites on the left side of this blog. Additional useful sources include the film The God Makers (1982) and the companion book of the same name by Dave Hunt and Ed Decker (1984), as well as the aforementioned Is Mormonism Christian?.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Selfie Generation gets a hotfoot while unleashing "The Power Within"

It came as a minor surprise to this blogger that Tony Robbins is still doing his "Power Within" sessions, including firewalking; it seems like such a relic of an earlier era. It's not unusual for people to be burned while firewalking, but the reason for it is new, and related to the technology and mentality of the early 21st century. This episode sounds like something from a "Carry On" movie--as reported by Associated Press, June 24, 2016:

DALLAS — More than 30 people who attended an event with motivational speaker Tony Robbins have been treated for burns after Robbins encouraged them to walk on hot coals as a way of conquering their fears, Dallas fire officials said.

Five people were taken to a hospital Thursday night, while the rest were treated at the scene for burns to their feet and lower extremities, Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said.

The hot coals were spread outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center as part of a four-day Robbins seminar called “Unleash the Power Within.”

Representatives for Robbins didn’t immediately return messages Friday, but in a statement provided to KTVT-TV organizers said about 7,000 people walked across the coals and only five “requested any examination beyond what was readily available on site.”

“Someone not familiar with the fire walk observed the event and called 911 erroneously reporting hundreds of people requiring medical attention for severe burns,” according to the statement.

Tad Schinke, an event trainer, told WFAA-TV: “We always have a few people that have some discomfort afterwards and we do our best to take care of them.”

Such fire walks are not uncommon at Robbins’ seminars: More than 20 people were treated for foot burns after a similar event in 2012 in San Jose, California.

One participant, Jacqueline Luxemberg, told WFAA that some people were not concentrating on walking across the coals because they were taking selfies and asking others to take video of them.

Fire officials used a city bus to hold many of the injured people; others were carried to ambulances or back inside the convention centre to be evaluated.