Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
November 3, 2009 - October 27, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Just Because

CHARGE. Maybe because it's Tuesday morning.


Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.


"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.


Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.


When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.

Or maybe because it's the day before Wednesday.

Or something like that.


"I want to be in Congress because I want to be in Congress. Convictions are for extremists."

IT BEGINS WITH A 'P'. I am cracking my toes in glee repeatedly over the special election in New York. Brief recap for those not up to speed: Obama appointed a NY "Republican" Congressman to be the Secretary of the Army. No clue what his name was, but it doesn't matter. The Governor (can't recollect his name either, but I think it rhymes with 'blind') called a special election to fill Army guy's seat. Naturally, a Democrat, Bill Owens, and a Republican, Dede Scozzafavorita, are selected in non-smoke-filled rooms to run for the seat. Owens is a monster (but I repeat myself! HA!), and Scozzafatta is worryingly described as "moderate to liberal" by every news outfit reporting. Another lock for the forces of octopoid government, right?

Hang on. Out of nowhere, some nonentities called The Conservative Party of New York State FUBARed the race (HA! again) by nominating some nobody named Doug Hoffman who actually believes what Republicans claim to believe. Suddenly, support for the nominated Republican doughgirl starts falling so fast all the graphs measuring that sort of thing have to be renumbered.

Finally, last Saturday, Scozzafatasso quits! Really!

Republican Dede Scozzafava announced Saturday that she is suspending her campaign in the Nov. 3 House special election in New York, a dramatic development that [pretty damn strongly de]creases the GOP's chances of winning the contentious and closely-watched race.

"In recent days, bitch bitch bitch, cry cry cry,” she whined in her formal statement. [Bitching and crying added by me. Not really.]

Now it's a two-man race, between a genuine conservative and a run-of-the-mill totalitarian. Zounds! (Sorry. That's to make the Boss happy. Won't happen again.)

But what does our stateswomanish Republican do next? She turns around and endorses Bill Owens -- the Democrat -- over the ostensibly ideologically compatible candidate who knocked her cellulitic RINO ass out of the race. Sour grapes much, Scozzafyouio?

Today, she's got robocalls going out that remind me of nothing so much as the "confessions" at a Soviet show trial. Just before the train ride to Siberia.

"Hi, this is Dede Scozzafava calling on behalf of Bill Owens. And I wanted to let you know that I am supporting Bill for Congress."

Since beginning my campaign I have said that this election is not about me, it’s about the people of this district. It’s not in the cards for me to be your representative but I strongly believe Bill Owens is the only candidate who can build upon John McHugh’s lasting legacy in Congress.

“In Bill Owens I see a sense of duty and integrity. He will be an independent voice, devoted to doing what is right for New York. To address the tough challenges ahead we must rise above partisanship and politics, and work together. [do I have to tell you the boldface is added? Do you really need constant reminders of how emphasis in quotations works? I'm going to give you some credit and never denote added emphasis again. Cool?]

Guess what, Dede? The only people who think they have to keep telling everyone that something isn't "about them" are narcissists. And since you brought it up, one of the great rhetorical victories of the left has been to erase the difference between the words "partisan" and "principled," turning the former into a slur of the latter. Thus, "rise above partisanship" means, and always means, "sink below principle."

It took me all day yesterday to remember the word for people like this: feckless. Morally flakey. Indifferent to obligations. Lacking in feck.

What excuse could she, a Republican, have for endorsing a Democrat over a conservative? If it's out of spite, she has no principles. If she truly prefers a Democrat, she has crap principles. What's the point of you, Scazzafollotypo? Why don't you believe in anything good? WHERE'S YOUR FECK, WOMAN?

Speaking of woman, I can't let this pass without comment and correction:

Bill Owens is coming to the defense of Dede Scozzafava after Rush Limbaugh accused her of being “guilty of widespread bestiality — she has screwed every RINO in the country”:

“This despicable attack on Assemblywoman Scozzafava offends me personally and exemplifies exactly what’s wrong with Hoffman and his right wing backers. Assemblywoman Scozzafava is an honorable public servant who has served Upstate New York as an independent and principled [there's that word again] leader who always prioritized the best interests of Upstate New York ahead of a partisan agenda [See? Swapped. "Orwellian" doesn't do this sentence justice]. Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right wing special interests that are running Hoffman’s campaign [Rush is running Hoffman's campaign? Aren't Democrats supposed to be the literate party?] can’t even begin to compete with what she has accomplished over her career.”

“Doug Hoffman and his supporters have sunk to a new low today. There is no excuse for this kind of shameful rhetoric and Doug Hoffman ought to denounce Limbaugh immediately.”

He actually has an airtight "excuse": IT'S A PLAY ON WORDS, AND YOU KNOW IT'S A PLAY ON WORDS, DUMBASS. And we know you know it.

I love how stupid people think everyone's dumber than them. You think we don't know a dumbass liberal like you would only use the word "assemblywoman" to play on the sympathies of the decent?

So it's unconscionable to even joke about bestiality, since Scoffatollo is a woman? Chickenshit. Playing the damsel-in-distress card is as despicable as playing the race card. The older Punks may have half a notion that women are fragile flowers and whatever, and should get a social handicap in games of hardball. I can't agree. You want to play with the boys? You consent to play as rough as the boys. Can't handle it? Then you shouldn't even be voting. And you sure as hell shouldn't be in a position to write and pass laws, for Chrissake.

Harsh? Yep. But fair. The price of full equality is giving up special treatment. If Scozzafoolo has any partisanshipprinciples, she'll denounce her beloved Bill Owens riding his white charger to her defense.

One more thing. The Wall Street Journal offers a well conceived word of caution:

Nominating a candidate who "can win" in the Northeast does not have to mean someone whose voting record is more liberal on taxes and unions than that of most Blue Dog Democrats.

But that lesson will be for naught if conservatives conclude that their victory is reason to challenge any candidate who doesn't agree with them on every issue. The truth is that some conservatives are as bloody-minded and intolerant of all dissent as the hard left is at the Daily Kos. A majority political party requires a far more diverse coalition than the audience for your average right-wing blogger or talk show host. Some of those voices prefer having Democrats in power because it drives up their own ratings.

A bitter pill to swallow but one that's medicinally sound. Nevertheless, look how easy it is for another (increasingly) feckless politician to twist this caveat into a threat against party disloyalty:

This makes life more complicated from the standpoint of this: If we get into a cycle where every time one side loses, they run a third-party candidate, we'll make [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi speaker for life and guarantee [President] Obama's re-election," Gingrich told the New York Times hours after Scozzafava's exit. "I think we are going to get into a very difficult environment around the country if suddenly conservative leaders decide they are going to anoint people without regard to local primaries and local choices.

In other words, it'd be too hard to do anything without the GOP, so stop trying. Because God forbid we "anoint" candidates based on PRINCIPLE rather than PARTISANSHIP. Or do I have that backwards?

New York's 23rd district has a chance to make history. To make some change we can really believe in. Don't fuck this up, guys. Vote early and often.

Calling Eduardo...

H/T HOTAIR. Finally, some people are noticing that Ayn Rand is back on the front burner of political philosophy. It must be significant if Ed Morrissey has noticed:

Reason TV kicks off its Ayn Rand retrospective this week with a look at how suddenly relevant the philosopher and novelist has become.  A-list Hollywood stars want to make a movie from Atlas Shrugged, and suddenly “going Galt” has become a popular catchphrase for producer strikes.  Who would have guessed that the era of Hope and Change would have produced Rand as a counter-cultural phenomenon?


Just how much has Rand and her Objectivism returned to the fore? Her book, with no particular marketing campaign of which I’m aware, is just outside the top 100 books on Amazon, at #103. This is a perfect example of what Nick Gillespie calls “the long shelf life of Ayn Rand,” which springs from the natural impulse of a free people when confronted with statism, even so-called benevolent statism. In the novel, the producers of the world act individually, but eventually all reach the same conclusion.

I agree with Nick that Rand may wind up being more relevant to this century than she was to the last.

Good of you, Ed. One might even call your tone generous. Not that we think Ed is ever ungenerous; it's just that a political philosophy like his, which consists of bringing the meat cleaver down sharply in the middle of whatever topic is being discussed, rarely lends itself to recognizing any kind of whole without first bisecting it into moderately digestible halves. However...

The resurgence of Ayn Rand is hardly news. It's ongoing and will likely only increase. We're living through the crisis she prophesied. With that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to remind people of some interesting posts and the comments on them in which Instapunk has talked about Ayn Rand or Atlas Shrugged in the past. (There's also a post, summoned in response to the search term "Atlas," which isn't specifically about Rand but adds tremendously to the argument made in another recent post.) Enjoy the synaptic activity occasioned by the following:

There's some authentic reason for hope in there if you look, especially in some of the comments.

Loving Capitalism...

INSURE YOURSELF. I don't know anything about Traveller's Insurance. But I do know something about capitalism. And I just luuuuv the way the market is trying to respond to the recession. Think about it. During the Great Depression, there was no television. What I see today on TV is car dealers, insurance agents, real estate companies, fast-food franchises, and the big guys in every conceivable industry fighting for business. Result: Immediate responsiveness, competitive pricing, and some of the most creative advertising I've ever seen. Like my all-time, completely love-it-to-death favorite:

There are actually multiple versions of this commercial. I watch all of them, all the way through, every time. I want to buy the album. I want to buy the dog, which is sick, because I already have four, every one of them dumb as fenceposts (sighthounds are idiots: I'm no doggist. But pugs are morons too.) When I was a kid, we had German Shepherds (scary smart) and terriers (annoying smart)... and now I have a, uh, Scottish Deerhound. Handsome, sweet, noble, dignifiedly affectionate, and smart as a bathroom U-joint. Capitalism. Non-Rand style. Him we take care of. Because he can't compete.

The rest of them? We watch them compete like nobody's business -- clever as rocks and contending for every scrap...

If and when they want an insurance policy, we'll help them with that, too. But they have to ask us first. That's the capitalist way.

Monday, November 02, 2009

And you thought "Avatar" was
a technological breakthrough...

Muhammed battling the hymen of a nine-year-old girl in I-Max 3D.

JESUS. Well, this is rich:

Matrix producer plans Muhammad biopic

Barrie Osborne, part of the Oscar-winning team behind the Lord of the Rings films, says the new production 'will educate people about the true meaning of Islam'

Producer Barrie Osborne cast Keanu Reeves as the messiah in The Matrix and helped defeat the dark lord Sauron in his record-breaking Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now the Oscar-winning American film-maker is set to embark on his most perilous quest to date: making a big-screen biopic of the prophet Muhammad.

Budgeted at around $150m (£91.5m), the film will chart Muhammad's life and examine his teachings. Osborne told Reuters that he envisages it as "an international epic production aimed at bridging cultures. The film will educate people about the true meaning of Islam".

Osborne's production will reportedly feature English-speaking Muslim actors. It is backed by the Qatar-based production company Alnoor Holdings, who have installed the Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi to oversee all aspects of the shoot. In accordance with Islamic law, the prophet will not actually be depicted on screen. [boldface added]

Kewl. A "biopic" that won't depict its subject. Just think about that cinematically. Seems like a horror movie doesn't it? Lots of heavy breathing behind a camera that keeps closing in on its victims... Think of the Matrix with Neo permanently off-camera. Sound interesting? uh, no. Sounds awful. Sounds like political whoring with a ginormously huge checkbook behind it. But please correct me if you have ideas about how to do a biopic that never shows its protagonist. "Malcolm X" would have been so much greater if we'd never seen the face of Denzel Washinton, wouldn't it? Can't wait for all the filmic innovations that will make "Muhammedix" an Oscar winner.

Maybe you thought Hollywood had reached its lowpoint with the Polanski defense. Not at all. Hollywood hasn't yet begun to reach its lowpoint. Two kinds of points to make here. The first is theological and historical. Jesus Christ transformed the world and human consciousness without being documented in any verifiable historical terms. The proof of his existence rests entirely on the fact that unless he existed, it's impossible to explain the subsequent course of human civilization. Muhammed was an historical figure, a fairly obvious imitation of a Biblical prophet who plagiarized his betters to found a religion based on racial and ethnic hatreds, mysogyny, brutal oppression, and mass murder. (Find me any language beautiful in the Koran that competes with the King James Bible. It's all generic phony scripture, as dull as it is mean and didactic.) But all religions are equal in the eyes of those who simultaneously patronize all faiths that proclaim a god of some sort and forgive every barbarian excess as a proof of the evils of civilization itself.

The second point has to do with the real bond between Hollywood and Islam -- the twisted sexuality that has produced both the casting couch and honor killings, a tradtition of open-secret homosexuality (uh, yeah, gays have a whole 24/7 cable movie channel even as they ululate about the uniqueness in cinematic history of Brokeback Mountain) that promulgates female subjugation while it pretends to respect women even as it sanctifies purely male kinship and bromances (however defined), espouses artistic and moral freedom for everyone but dumb sluts who show off their vaginas on camera, and promotes (dirtiest secret of all) systematized pedophilia.

Pretty sure I'm the first ever to call out the similarities between Hollywood and Arab oil magnates. But they're legion. Way too much unearned money on both sides. The Hollywood kids are, by definition, not anyone. Imagine what it's like to play all those parts of people who are brave, accomplished, eloquent, creative, and important. They're not those people. And they don't see their own movies the way we do. They see them the way they're made -- with lights, sets, glass paintings, cameras, directors, stand-ins, stunt people, scripts, multiple takes, and blue-screen-CGI effects. No wonder they feel guilty when they get a $20 million check for pretending to be Napoleon, Shakespeare, Cleopatra, or a cop who refuses to give up in the face of formidable odds. Add to that the fact that most "action heroes" are shrimps, and most "femme fatales" are the creations of cosmetic surgeons, or makeup (guess who...) who wow people on-screen without being able to keep their boyfriends or husbands faithful and interested for more than a year or three at best. They're all fakes and they know it because that's their line of work. And they've all, male and female, slept with someone they wouldn't have if a part they wanted wasn't on the line. How much purer a definition of "hypocrisy as a profession" could you ever find?

It's basically the same situation with Arab oil princes (and royalty generally). They get all this money, truly endless amounts of money, just for being someone's son or cousin or brother. Are they motivated by religion, even the mysterious barbarian religion of Islam we automatically excuse ourselves from understanding? No. A fact of human nature: nobody ever really believes in an evil religion when they're in charge of enforcing it. Islam is an evil religion. What men of the spiritual desert get from Islam is permission. For everything a self-righteous, Jew- and woman-hating man might want to do. A rich muslim is a hypocrite-paradox by definition. Hypocrite because rich is a violation of jihad while infidels still exist. Paradox because riches are a persistent temptation to luxury, and luxury usually wins over orthodoxy. It certainly did with Muhammed. So maybe hypocrisy isn't that big a deal with Islam after all.

Quivering, are you? Offended? Outraged. Politically correctly protesting? Terrified? Muhammed consummated a marriage with a nine year old girl.

Sahih Bukhari vol. 7, 65:
"Narrated Aisha that the prophet wrote the marriage contract with her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old. Hisham said: 'I have been informed that Aisha remained with the
prophet for nine years (i.e. till his death).'"

I'm thinking that the same rationale applies to righteous muslims who desire the bottoms of nine-year-old boys. Clearly, there's no sexual moral distinction at work, no Koranic differential postulated between the adult sexual desire of a bearded man and the target of his lust. How can it count? If a woman is responsible for being raped, then how can a man be responsible for raping a woman, a girl, or a boy? Kind of a perfect Hollywood religion. Those who have the money and the power get to do what they wantdesire.

Saudi princes and Hollywood bigwigs are the same. No doubt, Hollywooders have witnessed the behavior of Arab princes when they come to this country (i.e., Los Angeles) and believe they understand the faith they share in common, which is that the powerful are accountable to no one. Arab chieftains are free to believe in the chastity of muslim womanhood, the preferable promiscuity of Hollywood actresses, the moral ideal of clitorectomies in general (er, in muslim countries specifically), and that Roman Polanski is not guilty of rape. (If only we could have clitorectomies in show biz, the producers say, er, thay.)

As for the Hollywood women...? Not women. That's the other secret of Hollywood. The ones who make it big are also sexual predators. They're the only ones who survive the honor-rapes of the casting couch. (Jon Voight is upset because his daughter isn't a woman but an alpha male with a perpetually erect vagina. I'd be devastated too.) It wouldn't occur to them that there are females who might guard their chastity or modesty as a treasure worth preserving. (Not saying there aren't exceptions. There probably are. They just keep quiet about it. Kind of like female Christian converts in muslim neighborhoods.)

It's not about religion. It's about elites. Money. Power. And a lot of the frightened insecure people who know this about themselves hate themselves for being frightened and insecure. They think everyone else is like that too. Which makes them deathly afraid of the idea of meritocracy and and thriving or not on the basis of what you're worth. Which makes them think the biggest problem is capitalism. But it isn't. Capitalism is about earning money. For having a better idea. For working harder. For manufacturing products and providing services people couldn't have had without your imagination and inventiveness and determination.  Which is a very different thing from being paid for being a little guy who looks big on camera, a dull witch who looks interesting on camera, or a smelly, concupiscient barbarian who looks white-robed and rich on the world stage.

Saudi princes want to kill the whole world for the temptations they can't resist. So do Hollywood stars. But we do need fewer sodomites and pedophiliacs. It won't work to condemn the Catholics, forgive the Arabs, and celebrate the Hollywood celebrities who would make a religion of perversity.

Oh. Forgot to include the film trailer that Fox Entertainment has made the World Series a wholly owned subsidiary of. It's great. All about the evil military who do whatever it is evil American militaries do so that Hollywood directors get to spend $300 million in hopes of earning half a billion condemning it.

I'm not paid to do this promo. I'm just hoping I won't get arrested for the rest of the content because I'm following the lead of Media Nation.

Do I sound bitter? I hope so. Because I am.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


What's the Daily Beast?

They like this guy. They really like this guy.

GAG ME. The Daily Beast. The name reminds me of Evelyn Waugh. The best funny satirist of the twentieth century. He did outstanding lampoons of the press of his day, most notably in Scoop, the story of a foreign correspondent made hero by forces beyond his control. Only problem: Waugh would not have liked the Internet abomination called The Daily Beast. He'd have found its publisher, Tina Brown, a foppishly fertile opportunity for scathing ridicule, and he'd have laughed his tight ass off at Christopher Buckley -- ne'er-do-well son of William F. Buckley -- who seems determined to disgrace the legacy of his eminently cartoonable dad. Chris Buckley famously endorsed Obama in the runup to the 2008 election and has been justifying his wrong-headed decision, made on the basis of 'superior temperament,' ever since, most recently by calling for surrender in Afghanistan. Dad would be so proud.

Tina Brown, it will be remembered, is the silly British bitch who destroyed the once estimable New Yorker Magazine and now presides over a publication whose pomposity could only have been topped by Mr. Waugh or P.G. Wodehouse's even sillier media magnate, Lord Mammoth. Ms. Brown presides over tea parties (the real thing, not common-man teabuggering of the sort Anderson Cooper bends over for at CNN) in Manhattan and pretends she's still in the journalism business. If you're looking for ultimate snot on the Internet, here's its headquarters. You can always count on the Daily Beast to put on airs while the country itself is in flames. Cool, eh?

But today they have finally called out the highly paid anchor of Fox News Channel's lowest rated evening show, the 7 o'clock news starring Shepard Smith. He's a moderately charming boy I've always had a certain affection for, principally because after a few months of watching him I identified his alma mater as the University of Mississippi and was subsequently proven correct. (You'd be pleased with yourself too.) Believe me, there's no one at the Daily Beast who thinks this is a worthwhile credential. But given that Shepard is a reflexive liberal in the tradition of all other mainstream media, they're prepared to admire him as the only voice of 'reason' at Fox News. Which they do. At length. Today.

President Obama is stretched thin prosecuting three wars at once. Not only is he battling violent insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, he’s also fighting the ruling regime at the Fox News Channel, where former Republican media strategist Roger Ailes—the journalistic equivalent of Mullah Omar—is commanding warlords Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity in an epic struggle for hearts and minds.

But then there’s Shepard Smith, Fox News’ resident contrarian.

Far from toeing the company line, Smith occasionally defends Obama and other Democrats, mocks and argues with his right-wing colleagues, and otherwise has positioned himself among anti-Fox liberals as a lone voice of reason behind enemy lines—the Fox News personality who truly is fair and balanced.

Keep reading if you like, but you get the drift. Heaven knows, I don't credit Sean Hannity with much in the way of intellect, but he'd pulverize Shepard in any formal debate on any issue you'd ever want to mention, and I can't help but think this puff piece about the lowliest of all news anchors is just about as condescending as it gets. The man is a news reader in a bunch of nice suits. Period.

The winningest thing about him is the evident fact that he's never had a thought in his life. He could even lose to Wolf Blitzer on Celebrity Jeopardy. So what's the point of the Daily Beast celebrating him?

Irony. Tina Brown and Chris Buckley and Lloyd Grove are playing a parlor game with their little paper. Yes, we admire the one good newsman on Fox News, and we count on all of you to see that he's a retard. So what does that say about the rest of them? The ones who didn't major in beer and blondes at the University of Mississippi?

Can't tell you how tired I am of this schtick. Can't tell you.

Shepard? Go to hell. You're an idiot. Even Brian what's-his-name on Fox & Friends is more impressive than you are. Honestly.

Daily Beast? Reread your Waugh. You can do better. Unless you're as dumb as Shepard is...

...which I happen to think you are.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sorry, but FU, Billy.

I apologize for the bad language. But you're completely full of shit.

DRAGGED IN. I keep doing this and I shouldn't. But I will, one more time, because Billy Oblivion is a valued commenter and I believe he's actually trying to have a discussion despite his, uh, [DELIBERATELY LEFT BLANK]. In his comment on the last post, he said this:

Evolution is not a theory, not really.

It's a label for a general class of theories that currently represent our best guess (backed up by a LOT of evidence). But like a Black Swan, the entire house of cards is one bit of irrefutable evidence away from completely collapsing. This is how science works.

This is a little lopsided really because almost all atheists can be brushed with "evolutionist", but there almost as many different positions on the believer side as there are different Christian sects. So here's to painting with a powersprayer and covering everything that doesn't move fast enough:

Intelligent Design is not a theory either. It does not make predictions, it doesn't (as I understand it) make verifiable or testable claims.

Evolution IS science. Intelligent Design is not.

It is for MOST of it's proponents synonymous with "creationism" in the sense that it means "God Did It".

So I'm going to respond, which I really really shouldn't do, because [DELIBERATELY LEFT BLANK]. Billy O:

I appreciate your agnosticism, but I have to call bullshit on your major points, which are delivered in exactly the same condescending tone I object to from Dawkins and Hitchens.

Lake's points are pretty accurate, but they overlook a fundamental cheat by evolutionists, and they tend to obscure "real" science that already exists.

For a long time, neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory (which IS a lot more specific than you describe it in your convenient blur...) has ruled the origin of life a separate question from the evolution of life forms once they came into being.  They get pretty obstreperous about this separation. Why? Because it's a serious problem for them.

As I made clear in the original post, for example, it's obvious that evolution AS change occurs. New species emerge. Existing species change and adapt. That's NOT what the opponents of Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould are objecting to. What they're objecting to is the specific description of how that change occurs, its fundamental mechanisms. The neo-Darwinians insist that it's driven by random genetic mutations and adaptation to environmental conditions. That life essentially stumbles into greater and greater complexity by a process of entropy combined with, uh, climate change and mutating neighborhoods.

It's important to bear in mind here that the original Darwinian theory is, in modern scientific terms, ancient; that is, it predates many of the most useful scientific, mathematical, and biological metaphors we have available to us. Darwin, for example, knew virtually nothing about the functions and mechanisms of the cell. He lived before the invention of the manufacturing assembly line and couldn't possibly have anticipated anything of systems theory, which illuminated the fact that initial conditions of a dynamic system have everything to do with what that system produces and is capable of producing. What we know that he couldn't have known is the principle of "Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions," which has demonstrated time and again that small changes in initial inputs can effect exponential changes in system output.

Now we have to consider the response of neo-Darwinians -- that is, the "scientists" who had to explain away Darwin's admirable anticipation of the mechanical  assembly-line view of  genetic variation in dealing with reported fossil findings like the Cambrian Explosion, which made it obvious that there were periods when species creation suddenly became a huge "thing" in the history of life on earth. And they had to do it without acknowledging in any way the importance of initial conditions. Which I have more than fairly lampooned thus:

Dr. Steven J. Goop takes on the nagging details—like the absence of any supporting fossil evidence—that continue to give false hope to critics. Readers will be awed by the genius of Goop’s debunking of seeming problems with Darwin’s big idea, which can all be resolved by such Goop refinements as double somersaulting inverse evolutionary spirals; random accelerating half-gainer transition invisibilizations; and triple sowkow over-and-under evolutionary Ernst paradoxes, to name but three.

You see, the problem their antique metaphors can't overcome is that in the age of systems theory, you can't isolate the change of organisms over time as a phenomenon independent of initial conditions. If we don't know how life originated, we can't nevertheless presume to speak with authority about how life changed subsequently. In the current metaphor milieu -- THE MOST MODERN SCIENTIFIC ONE, BILLY O -- that's a lot like saying we have a theory why all this software programming is unintelligent and we have no obligation whatsoever to explain where the computer that's running it comes from. Overstated? No.

All forms of life we know about, even the earliest and most primitive Eukaryotes, are governed by DNA, which is a pretty damn complex molecule. The more we learn about it, the more it seems to behave like and exhibit the characteristics of a computer program, instructing cells with what look like nested algorithms on how to change and why in response to changing environmental conditions. I grant you that "science" works with the best currently available metaphors from intelligent human experience -- and that it may yet discover a process (i.e., a new metaphor) for the spontaneous generation of a self-creating computer -- BUT. This still leaves four problems for neo-Darwinian evolutionists.

One is a philosophical problem. The second is a garden-variety scientific problem. The third is a mechanical problem. The fourth is a hard-science problem. Which one do you want to hear about first?

I'll take time out here to reaffirm the postulate that all the Billy O's of the world ignore with their preemptive condescension. We who oppose the Dawkins certainty are not all creationists. If we believe in God, we do not see him as the Yahweh of the Old Testament. But we also don't exclude the possibility that a mind so vast as to conceive of the universe might also have some purpose in what he has created. A god, er, uh, a mind of first causes only is a distinct possibility. But it's hardly inevitable. If there's a computer at the beginning, there's absolutely nothing which insists that its expertise is limited to physics, biology, and math. Although the existence of all three as consistent laws of nature certainly makes a mockery of the notion that everything in our universe is a function of randomness. Why should there ever be consistency in a random universe? What mandates laws of nature? Why should anything stand still long enough to admit of a question, philosophical, scientific, or religious? And on what basis do scientists declare that scientific matters matter and philosophical matters do not?

I'm guessing you want to hear first about the garden-variety scientific problem. Actually, there are two. First, how can you explain away the fact that the first life on earth already possesses the most advanced molecule needed for life? Second, how do you explain the existence of life on earth in particular? Which can be broadly described by the Occam's Razor test. The simplest answer is likeliest to be the right one. Right? (I'm going to use this one again, so be forewarned.) You want to tell me about the moon? Do you? No scientist has ever had a fully convincing explanation of where the moon came from. Yet the moon is absolutely critical to the existence of human life on earth. Without the moon, we would as a planet roll and wander with constant enormous changes of climate that would doom the possibility of prosperous life, if not the evolution in the first place, of homo sapiens. Our moon is the largest relative to the planet in the entire solar system. We have yet to find any planet with a moon like ours, either as big or as stabilizing in is affect. Does this make us an anomaly in our galaxy? If it does, which it probably does, is intelligent life on a planet a rarity, and is the simplest explanation that intelligent life on a planet is an exception in a vast sea of meaninglessness? Or are we to make something of the fact that we do exist? That the moon is precisely the right size and distance from the earth at this particular point in our evolution to give us perfect wedding ring eclipses and to ask all the grand questions about meaning our scientists don't want us to ask. Which way do your Occam antennae go on this question?

Where the FUCK did the moon come from? Yeah, they claim they can tell us where the universe came from, but the Moon? No. That's a pretty elementary scientific question, cosmologically speaking. Unanswered. And Neo-Darwinian Evolution is no longer a theory. Right. Like Global FartingWarming.

I'm guessing your next question is the hard-science one. Wouldn't want to get into mere philosophy when SCIENTISTS are flirting with oblivion in the hall.  Physicists are about three generations ahead of evolutionary biologists. They're grappling with alternative universes and multiple dimensions of existence that make the insistence on existential unintelligence look, well, as stupid as it is. Here's Michio Kaku, whose brains I'd put up against Dawkins any day of the week, speculating about the eleventh dimension (Are you aware that the existence of even the fifth dimension defeats time itself? Meaning the, uh, inevitability of cause relentlessly preceding effect, etc, etc, etc?)

Oh. The mechanical problem. The cosmologists can't figure out all the forces at work in the universe. They need dark matter to account for two-thirds of the mass in the universe. They need dark energy to account for the behavior of dark matter. And evolutionary biologists know exactly how raptors turned into hummingbirds?? I don't think so. It's nice to feel that you know how octopuses and birds independently evolved the sharp-focusing eye, but it's another to be able to prove it. As a pure coincidence. Without purpose.

And, finally, the philosophical problem. A much harder question to make the Billys of the world recognize. Another Occam's Razor test. What are the odds that the greatest intelligences ever manifested in the universe are Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Billy Oblivion? Which is snide but also on point.

Occam's Razor. Intelligence is an incredibly rare phenomenon exhibited by certain representatives of a random species generated on a planet with an unexpectedly stabilizing moon, who are somehow able to divine the way the entire universe came into being with perfect contemporary political acuity -- OR we don't know shit and are still trying to get to first base. (What on earth would we do without AllahPundit?)

Intelligence is really a product of an unintelligent process that succeeds in the heretofore unknown aim of producing something from nothing? Free lunch? With no previous example in any of our or natural human history? Kewl.

You see, it just MIGHT be, oh Oblivious One, that something wrote the first program -- not even God, Watson, or Crick -- which throws all of evolutionary science into the pickel barrel. In which case, all your sanctimonious pronouncements are total f___ing bullshit.

That's all I'm saying.

And as an aside, God might have something to do with it. I'm not asserting it, just allowing it. Since you're too ritzy to do that, I MAKE FUN OF YOU.

Joyfully. That's the real by-product of being so f___ing smart. Which I oldfully am.

The real question to be answered is how the rest of you can get by for a day or rwo or three without InstaPunk? Even I don't know the answer to that one.

Happy Michelloween

It's the time of the year for scary stuff. All for laughs. No need to be
alarmed. Just like the Queen doesn't mean anything by hanging out
with that pale rockstar-looking dude. You know, the one in charge?

OF COURSE SHE'S FAITHFUL. There's absolutely no chance that Michelle is cheating on Barack. Well, hardly any. He didn't have his best week ever, that's true. But he did defend his wife's $10 million trip to Broadway in no uncertain terms:

President Barack Obama is letting it be known that he was not pleased with the way his trip to New York with wife Michelle last May became a political issue.

'Cause he, you know, loves her and like that. I'm betting, though, that Michelle is not happy about this really really bad week her hubby has been through:

Awful week. That's all. She'll forgive you eventually. She loves you. Sort of. Maybe not sexually. At least until until Other Guy (see above)  came along.

In response to some email bafflement: Something
about rock stars in an explicitly national context.
Do they fit? Do they transcend? Or do they jar?

Happy Halloween. She loves you. Sure she does. You're the mother of her children. Or something like that...

PW just isn't in it. At all. No. Of course not. Take her for another Big Apple trip. That'll do the the trick. Unless she's just not that sort.

UPDATE. How right we so often are. Revisit the link in the final paragraph above and then drink in the following pic of Michelloween in her own Trick or Treat garb.

It could be that Barry the Dry Stick is in more trouble than he suspects. We're reminded, sadly, of this.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Annoying Brizoni:

I'm thinking about it...

What am I thinking about? Wait and see. It's a pip, believe you me.

MY DAD IS TURNING OVER IN HIS GRAVE. Yeah, it was Brizoni who once opined that he liked InstaPunk except when we were indulging in Christian apologetics. Sorry, B-Boy. This time we ran into a kind of perfect storm -- separate hints that it was time to mention the dreaded C-word once again.

It started with a TV show I watched on behalf of all our sci-fi junkies here. Stargate Universe. I work my fingers to the bone for these kids, lemme tell ya. Well, it wasn't all altruism. The producers had the wit to engage Robert Carlyle, the brilliant Scottish actor whose presence could probably make me watch even the brainless sitcom Two and a Half Men (No effin' way. I exaggerate sometimes. You don't?) So I watched the first four episodes of Stargate Universe, though I had never watched the various other Stargate TV things after catching my first glimpse of the trans-gendered Oprah clone with the bar code on his forehead. He gave me the creeps. Like this does (absitively NSFW but posilutely funny).

Where were we? Oh. Stargate Universe. Not a rave review but not a pan either. Anything Carlyle is in is worth watching, unless, you know. The extreme outer limits of the universe and a crazy Scot go together somehow, if you know what I mean. The pilot episode was an hour and a half long and resolved nothing, except for killing off Agent DiNozzo's senator dad.

Live-wire NCIS agent and a dead senator. With me so far?

I had all kinds of problems with the pilot. Who really thinks that a bunch of marooned people in immediate danger of losing their lives can't see what's most important in spite of all their soap opera bullsh_t? And who believes that even (er, especially) in a life-and-death situation, military discipline would simply melt away into an ugly "me, me, me" style tantrum of dim-witted resistance against the one Scot who just might be able to find a way out? I mean, I know Scots are all a__holes and like that, but come on. If they're the only guy who can understand the ship's ancient alien command consoles, wouldn't you stop hating him long enough to listen when he says, "Stop pushing every f___ing button you find!" Or at least the colonel in command might listen? uh, no.

But I dutifully plowed onward. (Such is my devotion to my flock.) And then, in Episode 2, I thought I was going to have to pull the plug. You see, the cast was marooned on an ancient spaceship that was running out of oxygen scrubbers (?!), and so the ship (hmmm) aimed them at a desert planet that just might have the lime they needed to replace the scrubbers (Yawn. I know. Beam us down, Scotty.) And the gung-ho lieutenant in charge starts hallucinating the way people in the desert do, only his hallucinations are religious, focused on a drunken priest. "Here we go," I thought. Because -- and this may surprise the flock -- I have become cynical about show biz depictions of religion... BUT.

But the Catholic lieutenant turned out to be the hero. The drunken priest wasn't finally an evil corruptocrat but a too-good man disappointed by the sins of the lieutenant he had raised like his own son. And the hallucinations weren't. Hallucinations, I mean. When the lieutenant had pushed himself as far and as hard as he could in pursuit of his vision of Christ on the cross, the hallucinations intervened directly, bubbling the water up under his passed-out nose so that he could wake up and see the saving limestone sea a hundred yards away.

Hmmm. Now I'm starting to pay attention to the fact that this ship, which sent our hardy band of idiots to this desert planet, is, despite all the excellent design reasons to the contrary, a stylized cross. Double hmmmm. The ship itself knows something. What?

In the next episode, doom awaits. All power in the ship's systems goes away. The colonel (who by my count has committed only four or five career-ending court-martial offenses to date) decides that he'll offer life to about a third of the cast by conducting a lottery for the fifteen seats a surviving shuttle can ferry to a planet in the nearest star system. One of the many (all) undisciplined enlisted men objects to the lottery and gets cold-cocked by our favorite other undisciplined enlisted man when he sees what's going on. When mutiny boy wakes up he goes looking for his erstwhile cheering section. They're playing cards in the dark and tell him they're the "fun" ones. The "not" fun ones are gathered at the ship's vast windows, watching their approach to the sun that will kill them and reciting the Lord's Prayer. Yes, you read that right. The Lord's Prayer. (Earlier in the same episode our sinful lieutenant recited the 23rd Psalm.) What the hell is going on here? Are the writers of Stargate Universe making a statement about God?

Possible. The only character more arresting than the charismatic Scot, Carlyle, is the ship itself. The doom the lottery was intended to forestall consisted of flight directly into the sun of the star system the ship had aimed them at. Turns out, the ship is impervious to the heat of a star and simply uses it to replenish its power. Discovery of this fact causes the colonel to register even greater suspicion of the only Scot on the scene. Obviously.

But the rest of us are left to wonder... why is this massive ancient cross flying through space, toward the ends of the universe? What are the SyFy writers trying to pull off here? Don't they know they'll never get away with it? Or are they on a mission of their own?

Still don't know what I'm thinking about, do you? There was, while I was ignoring the Stargate Universe review I wasn't going to do, another annoying piece by atheist Christopher Hitchens. Annoying because, well, I'll explain later.

This week sees the opening on various cinema marquees of the film Collision: a buddy-and-road movie featuring last year's debates between Pastor Douglas Wilson, who is a senior fellow at New St. Andrew's College, and your humble servant. (If I may be forgiven, it's also available on DVD, and you can buy our little book of exchanges, Is Christianity Good for the World?)

Newsweek's reviewer beseeches you not to go and see the film, largely on the grounds that it features two middle-aged white men trying to establish which one is the dominant male. I would have thought that this would be reason enough to buy a ticket, but perhaps she would have preferred the debate held in London last week featuring me and Stephen Fry (two magnificent specimens of white mammalhood) versus [1] a female member of Parliament who is a Tory Catholic convert and the Roman Catholic archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria. It filled one of the largest halls in the city, and many people had to be turned away. For a combination of reasons, the subject of religion is back where it always ought to be—at the very center of any argument about the clash of world views.

Ever since I invited any champion of faith to debate with me in the spring of 2007, I have been very impressed by the willingness of the other side to take me, and my allies, up on the offer. [2] A renowned scholar like Richard Dawkins, who is quite used to filling halls wherever he goes with his explanations of biology, is now finding himself on platforms with dedicated people who really, truly do not believe that evolution is anything more than "a theory." I have been all over the South, in front of capacity and overflow crowds, exchanging views with Protestants most of the time, but also with Catholics and, in New York and the West Coast and Canada, with—mostly Reform—Jews in large and well-attended synagogues. (So far no invitations from Orthodox Jews, Mormons, or Muslims.)

I haven't yet run into an argument that has made me want to change my mind. After all, a believing religious person, however brilliant or however good in debate, is compelled to stick fairly closely to a "script" that is known in advance, and known to me, too. However, [3] I have discovered that the so-called Christian right is much less monolithic, and very much more polite and hospitable, than I would once have thought, or than most liberals believe. I haven't been asked to Bob Jones University yet, but I have been invited to Jerry Falwell's old Liberty University campus in Virginia, even though we haven't yet agreed on the terms.

Wilson isn't one of those evasive Christians who mumble apologetically about how some of the Bible stories are really just "metaphors." He is willing to maintain very staunchly that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and that his sacrifice redeems our state of sin, which in turn is the outcome of our rebellion against God. He doesn't waffle when asked why God allows so much evil and suffering—of course he "allows" it since it is the inescapable state of rebellious sinners. [4] I much prefer this sincerity to the vague and Python-esque witterings of the interfaith and ecumenical groups who barely respect their own traditions and who look upon faith as just another word for community organizing. (Incidentally, just when is President Barack Obama going to decide which church he attends?)

Usually, when I ask some Calvinist whether he is really a Calvinist (in the sense, say, of believing that I will end up in hell), there is a slight reluctance to say yes, and a slight wince from his congregation. I have come to the conclusion that this has something to do with the justly famed tradition of Southern hospitality: You can't very easily invite somebody to your church and then to supper and inform him that he's marked for perdition. [5] More to the point, though, you soon discover that many of those attending are not so sure about all the doctrines, either, just as you very swiftly find out that a vast number of Catholics don't truly believe more than about half of what their church instructs them to think. Every now and then I read reports of polls that tell me that more Americans believe in the virgin birth or the devil than believe in Darwinism: I'd be pretty sure that at least some of these are unwilling to confess their doubts to someone who calls them up on their kitchen phone. Meanwhile, by any measurement, the number of those who profess allegiance to no church (I am not claiming these as atheists, just skeptics) are the fastest-growing minority in America. And don't tell me that warfare increases faith and that there are no unbelievers in foxholes: Only recently I was invited to a very spirited meeting of the freethinkers' group at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., where there has been a revolt against on-campus proselytizing by biblical-literalist instructors.

[6] Thanks to the foolishness of the "intelligent design" faction, which has tried with ignominious un-success to smuggle the teaching of creationism into our schools under a name that is plainly stupid rather than intelligent, and thanks to the ceaseless preaching of hatred and violence against our society by the fanatics of another faith, as well as other related behavior, such as the mad attempt by messianic Jews to steal the land of other people, the secular movement in the United States is acquiring a confidence that it has not known in years, while many of those who put their faith in revelation and prophecy and prayer are feeling the need to give an account of themselves. This is a wholly good development, and it is part of the pluralism and polycentrism that distinguish the sort of society that we have to defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.[boldface added by me]

First, a word about the boldface sections. [1] Hitchens is laughing about the idea of a female theologian. He's an a__hole. [2] Neo-Darwinian evolution is a theory. The fact is that species change is observable and a fact. However, the specific description of how that change occurs -- um, meaning Neo-Darwinian Evolutionary Theory -- is a theory. Sorry Chris. [3] Of course they're more polite and hospitable. They're Christians. [4]  Me too. [5] uh, doubt is not lack of faith. It's rather the proof that people of faith are intelligent, intellectual, and curious. DUH. [6] The usual nonsense. See the next paragraphs.

My weariness with atheists is the weariness the smart always experience with the dull. Sorry to break it to y'all (to use an Obama locution...) This insistence that "intelligent design" is synonymous with "creationism" is nonsense, a priori dismissiveness invoked as a defense of an indefensible position. It's evolutionists who insist they have the right to separate the legitimate question about the source of life from the subsequent change in life forms we see in the fossil record. Any fool can see that they're the same question. Denouncing those who see that they're the same question is akin to Hitchens's famous pseudo-sophisticate diktat that the most overrated experiences in life are champagne, lobster, and anal sex. Most people know he's dead wrong about all three. Others know he's wrong about at least one if not two of the three. But the lesson is the same. People who play at being God are playing the fool.

Let me repeat that. People who play at being God are playing the fool. Awful. (This still isn't the reason for the title and the pic, so bear with me.) I'd had it in mind to do a post about the real separation of powers -- between God and man -- but I wimped out because I'm sick of hearing from the millennial clowns who think they know everything and do know absolutely nothing in truly obscene detail. (To put 'obscene detail' in focus for you, these are the guys who believe absolutely that all college girls on 'Spring Break' spread their legs and flash/screw/pee on camera because they're 'emancipated,' and have, themselves, never gotten laid or seen a bare breast or a, gulp, vagina, shaved or hairy.)

Pretty much like Hitchens. And Allahpundit. Very very tired of these condescending jerks. Their unremitting insistence that we Christians are all fundamentalists at heart, all creationists, all dumber than their Big Ten (or Oxbridge) natural science majors. All they are is lawyers. Lawyers of philosophy. Cain couldn't have killed Abel because there were other people in that other place who would have arrested his ass, and besides there aren't any 'giants' or 'arks.' And 'Christ' was probably a community organizer who offended the mayor of ChicagoJerusalem and got his ass kicked for being a disobedient Jewactivist.

I'm only going to say this once. And tersely. The separation of powers in the Constitution that matters is the separation between God and Man. The framers understood that their real ace in the hole was belief in a Christian God who would always stand in the way of Mankind's smartypants conceit that it could divine what was best for all the dumb ones.

The role of God was Intercession. Thomas Jefferson was smarter than everyone else. Why didn't he assert his right to rule? If he were here today, you think he wouldn't trounce Obama in every possible venue? What Jefferson understood was that men needed God as a shield against government. Each man's personal relationship with God was a proof against tyranny by government. Right is right and Government is, er, more of the same old corruption, men masquerading as divinity.

Which brings me to the final point. The Pope is willing, he says, to let me keep the holiest book in the world next to the King James Bible.

Now. Finally. As I said, I'm thinking about it.

For an Episcopal Parish, a Path to Catholicism


ROSEMONT, Pa. — When the Vatican announced last week that it would welcome groups of traditionalist Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church, leaders of one Episcopal parish celebrated as if a ship had arrived to rescue them from a drifting ice floe.

“We’d been praying for this daily for two years,” said Bishop David L. Moyer, who leads the Church of the Good Shepherd, a parish in the Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia that is battling to keep its historic property. “When I heard the news I was speechless, then the joy came and the tears.”

This parish could be one of the first in the United States to convert en masse after the Vatican completes plans for a new structure to allow Anglicans to become Catholic while retaining many of their spiritual traditions, like the Book of Common Prayer and married priests.

The arrangement is tailor-made for an “Anglo-Catholic” parish like this one, which has strenuously opposed the Episcopal Church over decisions like allowing women and gay people to become priests and bishops. Mass here is celebrated in the “high church” style reminiscent of traditional Catholic churches, with incense, elaborate vestments and a choir that may sing in Latin.

“The majority of our members will be on board with this,” the Rev. Aaron R. Bayles, the assistant pastor, said as he finished celebrating a noon Mass devoted to church unity in a small side chapel lighted with blue votive candles.

He said he was exultant when he heard the news from the Vatican because he had always hoped to see the unification of Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Christianity.

“This may be a step in that direction,” said Father Bayles, the parish’s new curate and a chaplain in the Air National Guard Reserve. (The previous curate left to become a Roman Catholic.)

The Church of the Good Shepherd has long been at loggerheads with the Episcopal Church, the American branch in the global Anglican Communion. This year, the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania sued to take over the church’s building, a magnificent stone replica of a 14th-century English country parish that was built in 1894. The church’s property is estimated by its accounting warden to be worth $7 million.

For 17 years, the parish has refused to allow the local Episcopal bishop to come for a pastoral visit or confirmation, and then stopped paying its annual financial assessment to the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Even the parish priest’s title and status are a sign of the conflict. Bishop Moyer is not a bishop in the Episcopal Church, but he uses that title because he was made a bishop in the Traditional Anglican Communion, a conservative splinter group that played a crucial role in persuading the Vatican to welcome the Anglicans.

In his office sitting room, where he keeps framed photographs of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Moyer said he was one of the 38 bishops in the Traditional Anglican Communion who signed a petition to Pope Benedict XVI in October 2007 asking for an arrangement that would unite Anglicans with the Catholic Church.

He said the bishops even ceremonially signed a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to signify their full acceptance of Catholic doctrine. Meanwhile, the global Anglican Communion, with 77 million members, struggled to stay intact as conservatives splintered off or protested from within. Some were Anglo-Catholic, but others were evangelical Anglicans, dedicated to a conservative interpretation of Scripture but wary of Rome and papal authority.

Under the arrangement, the Vatican said it would allow married Anglican priests, but not married bishops. Bishop Moyers, a father of three, said he was waiting to hear whether he and other bishops could be “grandfathered in.”

Bishop Moyer acknowledged that some of his parish’s 400 members would choose to leave rather than become Catholic. Some are former Catholics who may not want to go back. Others feel loyalty to the Episcopal Church, despite the conflict.

But Lynn Shea, a member of Good Shepherd for 10 years, said she hardly cared what denomination the parish belonged to as long as the worship service was reverential, the community was supportive and the pastor was a genuine teacher.

“It doesn’t matter to us that much what exactly the church’s title is, it just matters how people are to other people,” Mrs. Shea said. She lost her 15-year old son to suicide this year and felt the church embrace her family.

She said she did know some parishioners who would resist because they had bad memories of strict Catholic churches and schools, or bad impressions because of the sexual abuse scandals involving Catholic priests.

Bishop Moyer said he had become increasingly eager to jump as the ground underneath him became more and more shaky. In 2002, his former diocesan bishop, Charles E. Bennison, defrocked him for refusing to submit to the bishop’s authority, but Bishop Moyer remained in place. (Bishop Benniso n himself was defrocked in 2008 after a church trial found that he had covered up years before for his brother, a priest, who sexually abused a girl.)

Even as their disputes escalated, the Church of the Good Shepherd never formally left the Episcopal Church, unlike many other conservative parishes and four dioceses. A big part of the reason is that Good Shepherd did not want to be evicted from its property. Other conservative parishes have lost court battles to keep their properties when they tried to leave the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Moyer lives in a rectory on the church’s property. He said he hopes to resolve the church’s “legal quagmire” over the building before they decide to jump to the Catholic Church.

He opened the wooden door onto the circular driveway in front of the church. On a glorious fall day, the scene looked like a tourist postcard from Kent.

“It’s a beautiful church,” he said. “I hope we can keep it.”[boldface added, with hosannas aplenty, by me, the OTHER Scot on board this ship.]

Seriously thinking.

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