Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


FYI: Blackstone on the laws of our morally governed nature

Sometimes, a classic reference provides food for thought: >>Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769) Sir William Blackstone INTRODUCTION, SECTION 2 Of the Nature of Laws in General Law, in its most general and comprehensive sense, signifies a rule of action; and is applied indiscriminately to all kinds of action, whether animate or inanimate, rational or irrational. Thus we say, the laws of motion, of gravitation, of optics, or mechanics, as well as the laws of nature and of nations. And it is that rule of action, which is prescribed by some superior, and which the inferior is bound to obey. Thus when the supreme being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon Read More ›

Armitage settlement: Nuclear chemist Jay Wiles’s thoughts

Armitage settlement: Nuclear chemist Jay Wiles’s thoughts Last evening, we learned frm College Fix: A creationist scholar recently received a six-figure settlement from California State University Northridge, a payout that resolved a 2-year-old lawsuit that alleged the scholar had been fired after discovering soft tissue on a triceratops horn and publishing his findings. … The lawsuit contends that’s why Armitage’s employment at Cal State Northridge was terminated, with one professor allegedly storming into his office and shouting: “We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!” More. Here’s some of Jay Wile’s further information from his blog: According to Mr. Armitage, his discovery was well-known in the department long before he and Dr. Anderson published their scientific paper. Read More ›

We know the world isn’t right when Larry Krauss is unhappy

Apparently, the US House is on an anti-science rampage. From himself at New Yorker: From climate change and evolution to sex education and vaccination, there has always been tension between scientists and Congress. But Smith, who has been in Congress since 1987 and assumed the chairmanship of the Science Committee in 2013, has escalated that tension into outright war. Smith has a background in American studies and law, not science. He has, however, received more than six hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions from the oil-and-gas industry during his time in Congress—more than from any other single industry. With a focus that is unprecedented, he’s now using his position to attack scientists and activists who work on climate change. Under his Read More ›

Why There Is (And Should Be) No Legal Right To Transgender Protections

Transgenderism is when a person considers themselves to internally be the opposite sex of their physical body. They mentally “self-identify” in contradiction to the physical fact of their body sex. Transgender law advocates insist that self-identified “transgenders” be given legal right to have unfettered access to all public facilities currently reserved for one sex or the other (male and female restrooms, lockers, showers, women’s shelters, etc.) Obama has recently decreed that all schools that do not fully adopt transgender protections and policies will face the revocation of federal funding. Usually, when a person believes they are something in contradiction to the physical facts (such as believing one is Napoleon, or believing one is a horse), we call that view delusional, Read More ›

Society, Rights, and Self-Identification

Does a man have the right to identify himself as a woman and enter their locker rooms and bathrooms, demanding equal rights for their self-identification?  Does a person have the right to identify herself as a native American and, when filling out forms for employment or college, indicate her ethnicity as such, even though she is not?   Should the force of law support such self-identifications which contradict the physical facts and insist that society accommodate any such self-identifications? Where is the line between socially protected self-identification in conflict with physical facts and delusion?  Can physically unrelated people identify themselves as family and represent themselves as such on legal forms?  Can an adult self-identify as a child and thus obligate his Read More ›

Parrot now in witness protection program

Well, almost. Maybe should be. From Digg: According to King, Echo was owned by a New Orleans crime boss and he’d been at the wrong place at the wrong time, seen something he wasn’t supposed to, and wouldn’t stop talking about it. All this chatter, King told Heck, meant he was making himself into a potential target. Because Echo isn’t a person, he couldn’t enter an actual witness protection program. At least not officially. At least not yet. … Occasionally parrots learn to mimic darker things. In South Carolina in 2010 a woman went to jail for abusing and neglecting her elderly mother. When local police entered the house they found a parrot that repeated “Help me, help me” — Read More ›

Forensic DNA evidence in doubt?

From the New York Times: DNA Under the Scope, and a Forensic Tool Under a Cloud Marina Stajic worked for nearly three decades as director of the forensic toxicology lab at the medical examiner’s office in New York City. Last week Dr.. Stajic, 66, filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming she had been forced into retirement last year in part because of a disagreement with her superiors over the accuracy of certain DNA tests. There is more at stake here than Dr. Stajic’s retirement. The cutting-edge technique at the center of this legal dispute, called low copy number DNA analysis, has transformed not just police work, but also a range of scientific fields including cancer biology, in vitro fertilization, Read More ›

Going to the roots of lawfulness and justice (by way of King Alfred’s Book of Dooms)

Sometimes the name of a book is just waaaaay cool, and King Alfred’s Book of Dooms takes the prize. But that (while showing that I am not totally immune to the coolness factor  😉 ) is besides the main point. The main issue is that for several weeks now, we have been dealing with radical secularism and its agenda for law, the state and justice. Especially, in light of the triple challenge of state power, lawfulness and sound leadership: What is justice, what is its foundation, and — where Alfred the Great and his Book of Dooms come in — how was this emplaced at the historical root of the Common Law tradition that the law and state framework of Read More ›

Carpathian and ilk vs. the First Amendment to the US Constitution

Carpathian, sadly but predictably, in the face of remonstrance has continued his attempts to support ghettoising, stigmatising and silencing the voice of the Christian in public; making himself a poster-child of a clear and present danger to liberty in our time. For example: >>Religious activities should all be private. Any prospects for religious conversion should be invited to listen to the message from that faith but the message itself should be a private affair. There are parents who may not want their children exposed to certain religions or religious teachings and that barrier to religion should be considered a fundamental right and honored by all faiths.>> Of course, conveniently (by redefining faith into an imagined projected blind fideism) such implicitly Read More ›

Mung to SB: What about Laws of (human?) Nature . . .

SB is one of UD’s treasures, who often puts up gems as comments. Accordingly, I headline his current response to Mung on laws of (human) nature: _______________ >>Mung SB, Can you explain why the natural moral law requires a lawgiver? ETA: I don’t believe in natural laws, I believe in natures/essences. So keep that in mind. [SB, reply:] Very interesting comment. Let me try to say something that might bring us together. I assume that we agree that a physical “law,” is really just a human paradigm that describes a “law-like” regularity that is observed in nature. So, ontologically, we are referring to an event that happens over and over again, trying to make sense of it and giving it Read More ›

The “We share 99% of our DNA with chimps” claim rises again

Like Dracula it can’t really die, as it is culturally needed.* So it just keeps rising from the grave. Evidence is irrelevant. In the context of giving apes human rights instead of protection, we read: We share about 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees and it has been argued this makes ape experimenters 99% as bad as the Nazis. It has also been argued that the medical benefits obtained from experiments on chimpanzees have been minimal. The chances are that the advancement of medical research would suffer little if the apes were given new rights that protected them from these experimental procedures. Most funding for chimp lab research in the United States was to end immediately in 2011, and the Read More ›

Slate.com in a Dither Over non-Repeal of LSEA

Slate.com is all upset that repeal of the Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008 was was rejected yet again in a 3-2 vote in the State Senate. 19 year old Rice University Student Zack Kopplin has been leading the charge to get this “outrage” done away with once and for all, with help from the usual suspects. What’s interesting to note is the reason that one Senator, Elbert Guillory, D-Obelousas, who essentially cast the deciding vote, gave for his vote against repeal. Sen. Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas, said he had reservations with repealing the act after a spiritual healer correctly diagnosed a specific medical ailment he had. He said he thought repealing the act could “lock the door on being able Read More ›

A tale of two tragedies, in China and the US — reflections and suggestions

Yesterday was a hard day, even for those like me who were quite late to the news. We woke up here to the news on BBC — a Caribbean tradition — that someone in China had attacked a classroom with a knife of some kind and had slashed twenty-two children. This, in a country where there is a very harsh one child per family law, backed up by forced abortions etc. And, apparently, it is not the first such recent attack in that country. (Cf article in the Hartford Courant — and yes, that is tragically close to home.) Then, across the course of the day, news emerged of a similar attack in an elementary school in Newtown Connecticut, USA. Read More ›