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Friday, October 27, 2023

A Prodigious Feat

A couple of days ago, I had four more spruce trees cut down (2 living and 2 dead -- and that will be $2000 plus tax). The tree service company got to them two weeks earlier than expected.

For the past two days, I've been working at getting the debris out of the yard. Today, I finished cutting up and rolling into the woods the largest log (@18" in diameter and perhaps 20' long), which was blocking getting the lawn tractor into the side yard, where two of the others are located.

I should have taken a picture before I started cutting up the big guy, as a memento of what a prodigious feat that was. Prodigious feat though it was, it might easily have been worse, as the log was lying on a slope.

One of the dead trees might well have taken out the power line when it fell, so it had to go. Due to its lean, the other dead tree would almost certainly have hit the house when it fell.

The two live trees might also have hit the house had they fallen (the big one was less than 10' away, the other simply that tall). It turns out that the live trees weren't diseased, but I'm glad they are down. A few years ago, a buddy of the farther one just fell over one day -- it's base was riddled with fungus mycelium.

It's too bad that I don't know anyone who could have used the wood of the big spruce. It was such a nice length of perfectly straight wood.

The Emerald Ash Borer is killing ash trees all across the US. Naturally, a lot of the trees on my property are ash -- and the woods are full of dead fallen trees.

Last year, I had some ash trees along the property line dropped. A couple of them were close to 24" diameter. This spring, a couple of large (and very dead) ash on a neighboring rental property fell over, fortunately not hitting the building. Recently, the owner had a crew in to clean up the fallen trees (they were at it for at least a week). The crew cut up and hauled away not only the recently fallen trees, but also some of the ones I had had cut down. Now, I didn't mind that too much -- less work for me -- BUT, they also carted off the wood I had already cut and split and which was clearly on my property.

A groundhog has made a way into the garden.  So, come spring, I'll have to figure out a way to groundhog-proof the fence.  That will be fun, I'm sure.  So far, the only idea I have is to dig out the soil all around the perimeter so I can staple a width of hardware cloth (i..e wire mesh) to the garden's wooden skirting, having the mesh projecting below ground level.  Then fill it back in, of course.

Any ideas will be appreciated.

I *hate* animals.

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Sunday, October 15, 2023

When Is Speech "Free Speech"?

 On the other hand, fomenting violence -- which is what the French State is trying to prevent -- is not free speech, any more than Drag Queen Story Hour is.

The Founders were not "free speech absolutists", and they very much approved of censorship; for contrary to "free speech absolutistism", not all censorship is the same.

The "free speech absolutists" are as much our enemies as are the leftists who are currently using federal government violence to silence and persecute us. In fact, "free speech absolutistism" was the bait-and-switch tool which was used to get our society to the present state in which actions sexualizing children are called "free speech", but speech opposing the sexualizing of children is called "violence" and "killing the marginalized".

Our civilization is destroying itself because our fathers and grandfathers allowed our enemies to distort the meanings of those constitutionally enumerated rights, and especially of the "Free Speech Clause" of the 1st Amendment, and in fact gleefully joined in that distortion ... because they wanted easier access to porn.

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Monday, October 9, 2023

Atheists Trusted Sam Harris, Until . . .

In the linked video, David Wood discusses the general intellectual dishonesty of Sam Harris. In this post, I zero in on a specific and long-standing example of the intellectual dishonesty of Harris and of 'atheists' in general.

@3:35 Sam Harris: "If there were good reasons to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin ... that would be part of our rational world-view. It's only when people lose their purchase on evidence and argument, when they have bad reasons, that they talk about faith."

As is traditional with God-deniers, Sam Harris is asserting selective hyper-skepticism. It is not true that 'atheists' rationally deny the possibility of events which "break the laws of nature". Rather, they assert those possibilities as proven fact ... until some event which "breaks the laws of nature" is believed to have been deliberately and purposefully caused by God. Evangelical Atheists assert that you must believe in the possibility of events which "break the laws of nature", events which they also say no one has ever witnessed and no one is ever likely to witness, and which events are accidental and meaningless. And they assert that you are a fool, or at best an ignoramus, if you do not also assent to the possibility of these accidental and meaningless hypothetical events. Simultaneously, they assert that you are a fool, or at best an ignoramus, if you do believe the reports of people who claim to have witnessed and recorded certain events which "break the laws of nature" ... when those events are recorded in the Bible and are attributed to intentional and purposeful intervention in the regular working of the "laws of nature" by the Creator of the "laws of nature". ============ Consider this quote is from "The Demon-Haunted World" by Carl Sagan "Consider this claim: as I walk along, time -as measured by my wristwatch or my ageing process -slows down. Also, I shrink in the direction of motion. Also, I get more massive. Who has ever witnessed such a thing? It's easy to dismiss it out of hand. Here's another: matter and antimatter are all the time, throughout the universe, being created from nothing. Here's a third: once in a very great while, your car will spontaneously ooze through the brick wall of your garage and be found the next morning on the street. They're all absurd! But the first is a statement of special relativity, and the other two are consequences of quantum mechanics (vacuum fluctuations and barrier tunnelling,* they're called). Like it or not, that's the way the world is. If you insist it's ridiculous, you'll be forever closed to some of the major findings on the rules that govern the Universe. *The average waiting time per stochastic ooze is much longer than the age of the Universe since the Big Bang. But, however improbable, in principle it might happen tomorrow." ============ My response is: And, sometimes, iron axeheads which have flown off their handles and fallen into a pond or river float to the surface. [This is a reference to a miracle of the prophet Elisha, as recorded in II Kings 6:1-7] And, sometimes, the dead bodies of persons who really and truly are dead, rise back to life. [This is a reference to a number of resurrections recorded in both Old and New Testaments, including that of Jesus the Christ.] So, given what 'scientistes' (*) believe and assert about the nature of reality, how can their denial of, and refusal to believe, any of the miracles recorded in the Bible be anything other than selective hyper-skepticism, which is to say, intellectual dishonesty?

(*) 'scientistes' is my mocking term, a la Miss Piggy, the Artiste, for those who assert scientism

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Sunday, October 8, 2023

An Atheist Grapples With The Source of Morality

While as an 'atheist' he cannot yet see it, what Carl Benjamin (aka "Sargon of Akkad") is reaching for in the intro is the realization that morality is grounded in the nature of the Triune God: true morality is transcendent, inter-personal, and relational.

When Carl says @0:10, "[According to leftism, morality] has to be essentially rationally calculable. But actually, if you think about it, a lot of what we actually do that is moral, is actually very sentimental and habitual, right? We didn't think about it, we just do it, because it's the right thing to do. So, if you are actually taking principles like 'freedom' and 'equality', well actually you can destroy the family with those principles. You don't 'owe' anything to your parents, and you can't say that your father is 'superior' to you, because that's not 'equality'. And so you're bound by being ... you didn't choose your parents, and so by the principles of 'freedom' and 'equality', you can be un-bound from your own family. And children can have no responsibility not only to their own parents, but their own country" ... what he is grasping at is the understanding that moral hierarchies, such as father and son, nation and man, loyalty, duty, and so on, are grounded in the transcendent inter-personal relationships of God-the-Father and God-the Son and God-the-Holy-Spirit. While everyone likes to poo-poo "Divine Command Moral Theory" (i.e. "An act is moral/immoral because God says it is moral/immoral") as obviously false, it is not actually false, but rather is incomplete. For example, so long as he is not violating the true morality to which he himself is also subject, if a father commands his son to do or not to do, then that thing is moral or immoral for the son, irrespective of whether the son understands why his father has so commanded. Similarly, if God -- who is Morality Itself -- commands us to do or not to do, then that thing is moral or immoral for us to do, even when we do not understand why he has commanded it so. Now, a fuller, more complete, understanding of morality is that morality is grounded in the nature and character and relationships of the Persons of the Godhead: that is, in the truth that "God is Love". And thus our moral obligations one to another and moral expectation one from another are grounded in relationship and love.

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