Posted by: rcmetcalf | March 28, 2009

Facebook Quotes

I was asked to compile a list of the quotes I have recently placed on Facebook. Here it is!

March 14, 2009
“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.” – G. K. Chesterton

March 15, 2009
“Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self. It is no humility to think less of one’s self than you ought.” – C. H. Spurgeon

“The first fact in the history of Christendom is a number of people who say they have seen the Resurrection.” – C. S. Lewis

March 17, 2009
“You cannot reason a man out of a position he has not reasoned himself into.” – Benjamin Franklin

“The spirit of a man is more important than mere physical strength, and the spiritual fiber of a nation than its wealth.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

March 18, 2009
“History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline.” – Gen. Douglas MacArthur

March 19, 2009
“Posterity – you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” – John Quincy Adams

“Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf in the springtime.” – Martin Luther

March 22, 2009
“Nonbelievers may hear all the notes of science, but without a theistic context and perspective they will not hear the song.” – George Marsden

March 23, 2009
“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Religion begat prosperity, and the daughter devoured the mother.” – Cotton Mather

March 24, 2009
“If you love, you will suffer, and if you do not love, you do not know the meaning of a Christian life.” – Agatha Christie

“Prayer is the only kind of speech the First Amendment doesn’t protect.” – Rush Limbaugh

March 25, 2009
“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” – William F. Buckley, Jr.

“The duty we owe to our Creator … can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” – James Madison

March 26, 2009
“Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses or avoids.” – Aristotle

“Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.” – Ronald Reagan

March 27, 2009
“I don’t know how man will fight World War III, but I do know how they will fight World War IV … with sticks and stones.” – Albert Einstein

“We should live our lives as though Christ were coming this afternoon.” – Jimmy Carter

March 28, 2008
“Democracy is … built upon a spiritual basis, and on a belief in God and an observance of moral principle. Our founders knew this truth and we neglect it at our peril.” – Harry Truman

“It is easier to find a score of men wise enough to discover the truth than to find one intrepid enough, in the face of opposition, to stand up for it” – A.A. Hodge

March 29, 2009
“We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.” – Gen. Omar Bradley

March 30, 2009
“Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.” – Benjamin Franklin

March 31, 2009
“If we discover a desire within us that nothing in this world can satisfy, we should begin to wonder if perhaps we were created for another world.” – C.S. Lewis

“It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment – Independence now and Independence forever.” – Daniel Webster

April 1, 2009
“The time has come to turn to God and reassert our trust in Him for the healing of America.” – Ronald Reagan

“Faith must have adequate evidence, else it is mere superstition.” – Alexander Hodge

April 3, 2009
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world, it is God’s gift to humanity.” – George W. Bush

April 4, 2009
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot

April 5, 2009
“This life was not intended to be the place of our perfection, but the preparation for it.” – Richard Baxter

“Out of the desert, from the dry places and the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely god; the real Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for god to be alone.” – G. K. Chesterton

April 6, 2009
“God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.” – Augustine

April 7, 2009
“Character is always lost when a high ideal is sacrificed on the altar of conformity and popularity.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

“There are two freedoms: the false where man is free to do what he likes; the true where man is free to do as he ought.” – Charles Kingsley

April 8, 2009
“Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.” – John Stott

April 9, 2009
“If I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible that main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men had forgotten God; that is why all this has happened.'” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

April 10, 2009
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” – Winston Churchill

April 11, 2009
“We Christians do not believe that Jesus Christ was the only one that ever rose from the dead. We believe that every death-bed is a resurrection; that from every grave the stone is rolled away.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

April 12, 2009
“We are quenched like torches only to be relit with all the brilliance of the sun!” – Charles H. Spurgeon

April 13, 2009
“For us in Russia communism is a dead dog. For many people in the West, it is still a living lion.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

April 14, 2009
“The atonement of Jesus Christ is the only remedy and rest for my soul.” – President Martin Van Buren

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Posted by: rcmetcalf | March 28, 2009

Religion Spoils Everything

Rocky Mountain National ParkRocky Mountain National Park

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – R.C. Metcalf – As I drove back to Colorado Springs from Denver today, the fog was so thick I could barely see the car ahead of me, much less the usual splendor of the Rocky Mountains to the west. I was listening to Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, who made some interesting points about the nature of faith. In the ongoing dialogue between theists and atheists that permeates society today, theists are often said to rely on faith while atheists rely on reason in the formation of their respective worldviews. Yet, such a stark dichotomy is too simplistic and out of touch with reality.

Adherents to both views arrive at their beliefs through a combination of faith and reason. Neither the atheist nor the theist relies solely on reason. Both rely on a component of faith. For that matter, there are very few beliefs any of us hold that do not involve faith to some degree. The simple act of driving through a green light requires faith that nearby drivers who are faced with a red light will actually stop.

Oxford biologist and author Richard Dawkins suggests that religious “faith” is a “virus of the mind.” In his 1991 article entitled “Viruses of the Mind,” he states that, “Like some computer viruses, successful mind viruses will tend to be hard for their victims to detect. If you are a victim of one, the chances are that you won’t know it, and may even vigorously deny it.” So, sufferers of the memetic virus of religious faith may not even know they have been affected by an outside agent.

Conversely, the apostle Paul wrote of non-believers that, “their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.” (2 Cor. 3:14) According to Christianity, Richard Dawkins may have been similarly blinded; a viral virgin infected by a God who disdains his arrogant air of superiority.

But here’s the rub. It wasn’t the fact that faith exists within all of us that beguiled Dr. Keller; it was how each of us expresses our faith that captured his imagination. Think about it. By virtue of our various worldviews, each of us discovers a sense of belonging. Whether you are a Muslim, a Christian, a Hindu or a Freethinker, you will find other people who share your belief system. You will also soon appreciate that there are many more people who disagree with your beliefs and consider them simply wrong. What is common to all of us is the tendency to marginalize those who don’t believe as we do; to consider ourselves better than those who haven’t been similarly enlightened.

In this sense, we can’t help but agree with Christopher Hitchens. Religion does spoil everything. And he certainly made that point clearly in his debate with Frank Turek. Christopher emoted, “Isn’t it as plain as could be that those who commit the most callous, the most cruel, the most brutal, the most indiscriminate atrocities of all, do so precisely because they believe they have divine permission?” In many cases, we must humbly admit, he is correct. However, wasn’t Pol Pot cruel and indiscriminate? Wasn’t Joseph Stalin callous and brutal? Stalin was also indiscriminate. He copiously murdered people of all religions.

Richard Dawkins, in The God Delusion, suggests that while these men were indeed atheists, it wasn’t their atheism that drove them to commit such atrocities. Stalin’s atheism may not have led him to murder had it not been that his atheism first led him to marginalize the masses. His atheism led to self-supremacy and the marginalization of others, which in turn led to his genocidal acts. In his Contribution to Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Karl Marx described religion as the “opiate of the masses.” Supremacist thoughts would come easily to someone convinced that everyone else is walking around in a metaphorical drug-induced stupor. When it comes to atrocities, all religions, and even atheism, are in a dead heat.

But why is this so? The bottom line is that people are not led to commit atrocities by either religion or atheism, but rather by the insidious seduction of power and the serpentine invasiveness of pride. These lead to a misguided sense of moral superiority. When an individual of one group sees himself as superior to those of another group – as more deserving, more enlightened, more noble – he is bound to subjugate outsiders mentally, verbally and eventually physically.

This process of self-aggrandizement is fueled to an even greater degree when one’s holy book(s) specifically encourage the mindset of supremacy. Consider the writings of Muhammad in The Qur’an:

You [true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad] are the best peoples ever raised up for mankind… And had the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them. (Surah 3:110)

Verily, those who disbelieve (in the religion of Islam, the Qur’an, and Prophet Muhammad) from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)… will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures. (Surah 98:6)

Is it any wonder that radical Islam seeks the subjugation of outsiders? Their holy book tells them, in no uncertain terms, they truly are superior.

When religion leads people to view others as lower than themselves, then it does spoil everything. Consider these sentiments from Richard Dawkins in his Preface to The God Delusion:

Being an atheist is nothing to be apologetic about. On the contrary, it is something to be proud of, standing tall to face the far horizon, for atheism nearly always indicates a healthy independence of mind and, indeed, a healthy mind. (The God Delusion, p. 3)

The supremacist leanings of Dawkins’ analogy are rather obvious. Atheists have healthy minds, whereas theists have been infected by a virus that causes a form of psychopathology. Sam Harris, in Letter to a Christian Nation, writes:

While believing strongly, without evidence, is considered a mark of madness or stupidity in any other area of our lives, faith in God still holds immense prestige in our society. (Letter to a Christian Nation, p. 67)

The clear implication in Harris’s words is that “faith in God” should not hold prestige, but rather, should be considered a mark of madness or stupidity. Both Harris and Dawkins project an air of superiority by insinuating that the religious, and especially Christians, are ill, mad or stupid. Some people who claim the title “Christian” may indeed deserve these labels, such as those whom Harris claims sent him hostile emails and letters after the publication of his first book, The End of Faith. Yet, hostility from those who disagree with you is par for the course in this day and age. I, too, have received my share of hostile communications from atheists subsequent to my rebuttal of Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation: Counter Point.

So, it would seem the score is tied. Or is it? We’ve considered the writings of leading atheists and the words of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. But what does Christ himself say? While there are self-professed Christians who hold supremacist views, do they come upon these notions through a reliable study of the Bible? Is supremacy consistent with the teachings of Jesus? Consider His words:

If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? (Matthew 5:39, 43, 44, 47)

Jesus commands His followers to love their enemies. And the apostle Paul encourages Christians to:

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15, 16)

The dictates of Jesus and Paul, when followed by professing Christians, mitigate against superiority and thoughts of supremacy. Christians the world over, who live consistently with the mandates of Jesus Christ, find a joy and a peace they long to share with others… all others… for they realize that they are recipients of grace and mercy. The recognition that they are no more deserving than the next person of that blessed grace leads them to humbly look upon others as greater than themselves. Religion may indeed spoil everything, but Jesus Christ came to redeem the spoiled.

Posted by: rcmetcalf | March 28, 2009

Dad Links Son’s Suicide to The God Delusion

The following article is from World Net Daily, December 12, 2008. 
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Bob Unruh, World Net Daily — A New York man is linking the suicide of his 22-year-old son, a military veteran who had bright prospects in college, to the anti-Christian book “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins after a college professor challenged the son to read it.

“Three people told us he had taken a biology class and was doing well in it, but otherstudents and the professor were really challenging my son, his faith. They didn’t like him as a Republican, as a Christian, and as a conservative who believed in intelligent design,” the grief-stricken father, Keith Kilgore, told WND about his son, Jesse.

“This professor either assigned him to read or challenged him to read a book, ‘The God Delusion,’ by Richard Dawkins,” he said.

Jesse Kilgore committed suicide in October by walking into the woods near his New York home and shooting himself. Keith Kilgore said he was shocked because he believed his son was grounded in Christianity, had blogged against abortion and for family values, and boasted he’d been debating for years.

 

After Jesse’s death, Keith Kilgore learned of the book assignment from two of his son’s friends and a relative. He searched Jesse’s room and found the book under the mattress with his son’s bookmark on the last page.

A WND message seeking a comment from Dawkins or his publisher was not returned today.

 

The first inkling of a reason for the suicide came, Keith Kilgore told WND, when one of Jesse’s friends came to visit after word of his son’s death circulated.

“She was in tears [and said] he was very upset by this book,” Keith Kilgore said. “‘It just destroyed him,’ were her words.

 


Jesse Kilgore

 

“Then another friend at the funeral told me the same thing,” Keith Kilgore said. “This guy was his best friend, and about the only other Christian on campus.

“The third one was the last person that my son talked to an hour before [he died,]” Keith Kilgore told WND, referring to a member of his extended family whose name is not being revealed here.

That relative, who had struggled with his own faith and had returned to Christianity, wrote in a later e-mail that Jesse “started to tell me about his loss of faith in everything.”

“He was pretty much an atheist, with no belief in the existence of God (in any form) or an afterlife or even in the concept of right or wrong,” the relative wrote. “I remember him telling me that he thought that murder wasn’t wrong per se, but he would never do it because of the social consequences – that was all there was – just social consequences.

 

“He mentioned the book he had been reading ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins and how it along with the science classes he had take[n] had eroded his faith. Jesse was always great about defending his beliefs, but somehow, the professors and the book had presented him information that he found to be irrefutable. He had not talked … about it because he was afraid of how you might react. … and that he knew most of your defenses of Christianity because he himself used them often. Maybe he had used them against his professors and had the ideas shot down.”

He then explained to Jesse his own personal journey of seeking “other explanations of God’s existence” and told of his ultimate return.

“I told him it was my relationship with God, not my knowledge of Him that brought me back to my faith. No one convinced me with facts. … it was a matter of the heart.”

Keith Kilgore believes it was a biology class that raised questions for his son, and a biology professor at Jefferson Community College in Watertown, N.Y., where his son was attending, who suggested the book.

school spokeswoman told WND that the “God Delusion” was not a part of the biology curriculum, and several of the professors she contacted said they had not even read the book. However, the spokeswoman was unable to contact all of the professors in the department and could not state that none of them had suggested the book to Jesse.

Local police also did not respond to WND inquiries about the investigation into the death.

“One of his friends, and his uncle (they did not know each other) both told me that Jesse called them hours before he took his life and that he had lost all hope because he was convinced that God did not exist, and this book was the cause,” Keith Kilgore told WND.

Keith Kilgore, a retired military chaplain who has dealt with the various stages of grief and readily admits he’s still in the “anger” stage over his son’s death, said his son apparently had checked the “Delusion” out of the college library.

“I’m all for academic freedom,” Keith Kilgore said. “What I do have a problem with is if there’s going to be academic freedom, there has to be academic balance.

“They were undermining every moral and spiritual value for my [son],” he said. “They ought to be held accountable.”

He suggested the moral is for Christians simply to abandon public schools wholly.

“Here’s another thing,” he continued. “If my son was a professing homosexual, and a professor challenged him to read [a book called] ‘Preventing Homosexuality’… If my son was gay and [the book] made him feel bad, hopeless, and he killed himself, and that came out in the press, there would be an outcry.

“He would have been a victim of a hate crime and the professor would have been forced to undergo sensitivity training, and there may have even been a wrongful death lawsuit.

“But because he’s a Christian, I don’t even get a return telephone call,” the father told WND.

He said he tried to verify the book assignment himself several times, without getting a response from the school.

Jesse Kilgore blogged on NetPotion and Newblog, and the writings that remained mostly addressed social ills and how anti-Christian many of the world’s developments appeared to be.

He used the pen name JKrapture because, his father said, “He believed in the rapture, the evangelical concept of the Lord coming back.”

On the Web, Jesse described himself as “conservative and mainly independent. I am a culture warrior and traditionalist. I have been debating since I was in 5th Grade, and never looked back. It is a habit I can’t let go of.”

One of Jesse’s uncles, writing on the same website as Jesse, wrote: “While I knew he was having struggles with his faith, I had no idea that it ran that deep. … There are not enough words to describe how devastated I am at his loss. I know that some of you got to know him pretty well and (since I already started getting some questions about him) felt that you all should know that he is no longer with us.”

From among the online community came these responses: “I am shocked and so sorry for your loss – our loss. My prayers are with you and all of your family at this difficult time,” and “I AM at a loss of words…..I am sooooo sorry to hear your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.”

Keith Kilgore told WND he feels, by allowing his son to move into the atmosphere of a secular school, like “I put a toddler in the front of my car.”

“My son is the Adam Walsh of the culture war. That’s who my son is,” he said, referring to the child abduction victim whose case was used to create a wide range of amber alert and other programs to protect children.

He said he has a wake-up call over the anti-Christian agenda of public education. And he has some goals.

“I want to hold schools accountable for what they’re teaching our kids. This was malpractice,” he said.

Dawkins, considered one of the world’s most outspoken atheists, is a professor in the United Kingdom. He came to prominence in 1976 with his book “The Selfish Gene,” promoting evolution.

In his “Delusion” treatise he claims that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that faith qualifies as a “delusion” – a fixed false belief.

Posted by: rcmetcalf | March 28, 2009

+++ ARCHIVED BLOG POSTS +++

All blog posts and articles prior to this are archived posts that were transferred from our previous blog site.  Original posting dates are listed within each article.

Posted by: rcmetcalf | March 28, 2009

Muslim Fingerprints in Obama’s History

by Janet L. Folger (http://www.f2a.org/), 10/7/2008

 

I’ve misspoken before. I’ve misspoken before on national television. I’ve mixed up words, reversed orders, but I have never once misspoken concerning my faith and the God in whom I trust. Even in the most heated debate on Islam, never did I ever utter the words “my Muslim faith.” Nor, even when talking about Buddhism, have I ever slipped up and referred to “my Buddhist faith.” Ever. Why? Because my Christianity is so ingrained in me, so a part of who I am, that the thought of adhering to a false religion is so foreign, so blasphemous, that the words would never cross my lips.

Not the case for Mr. Obama. On ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, Obama said:

“Let’s not play games, what I was suggesting – you’re absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith. And you’re absolutely right that that has not come.”

Watch it online.

Matthew 12:34 says: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Notice that Obama didn’t correct himself. He was “corrected” by George Stephanopoulos who interrupted Obama, with the words: “Christian faith.”

Let’s just say he misspoke. Did Obama misspeak when he told the New York Times that blasphemy was one of the “prettiest sounds on earth at sunset”?

That’s right. In a Feb. 27, 2007, interview with the New York Times’ Nicholos Kristof, that’s how Obama described the Muslim call to prayer. That prayer, which Obama recited with a “first-class [Arabic] accent,” begins with this:

Allah is supreme!
Allah is supreme!
Allah is supreme! Allah is supreme!
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that Muhammad is his prophet …

Really? No god but the false god Allah is the prettiest sound on earth? Really.

Speaking of slip-ups, here’s the clip of Obama saying he’s visited 57 states. He’s such a “global citizen,” perhaps the 57 member states of the “Organization of the Islamic Conference” was more second nature to him than our own 50 U.S. states.

While Obama’s campaign site declares: “Senator Obama has never been a Muslim” and “was not raised as a Muslim,” the records say differently.

As was documented by Jerome Corsi in his best-selling book, “The Obama Nation,” in January 1968, Obama was registered as a Muslim at his primary school under the name Barry Soetoro. Even the Associated Press has released a photocopy of the document where Barack Obama is registered as an Indonesian citizen of the Muslim religion. (Listen to Dr. Corsi on yesterday’s Faith2Action radio program at http://www.f2a.org/ discussing it).

Obama also claimed he never attended a mosque. Not so, according to eyewitnesses. As was reported in WorldNetDaily, childhood friends and even his school principal said they saw Obama attend the mosque with their own eyes. In response, the Obama campaign issued another statement: Instead of claiming Obama was never a Muslim, as they had previously posted, they then claimed he “has never been a practicing Muslim.”

Even in Obama’s autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” he called his school “a Muslim school” and admits he studied the Quran during his formative years from age 6 to age 10: “In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Quranic studies.”

He could have never made faces in Quranic studies if he wasn’t studying the Quran.

So this weekend on national television, he referred to his “Muslim faith.” Last year he said that praising Allah as the one true god was the prettiest sound on earth. He said he was never a mosque-attending Muslim, but eyewitnesses say otherwise. Despite what Obama and his campaign have claimed, by his own admission, he studied the Quran.

Add to the fact that on June 13, 2008, Obama’s half brother, Malik Obama, who lives in Kenya, told the Jerusalem Post that “if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people despite his Muslim background.”

In that same article was a picture of Malik with his half brother Barack in traditional Somali elder dress with a turban on his head in 1985. Like many pictures of Obama in Muslim attire readily available on the Internet, he was not between the ages of 6 and 10 when the photos were taken.

Let’s pretend all of this is just part of some smear campaign. Forget everything that I’ve said and take a look of who’s backing this guy.

According to Islamic expert Brigitte Gabriel, author of Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America and her new book, They Must be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It, there are some very interesting campaign supporters of Barack Obama. Beyond the support of unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, Obama has backing from some other notorious groups, from “al-Qaida to Hamas, to Hezbollah,” to “Islamic Jihad” to the “Muslim Brotherhood,” to “all the terrorists organizations” who “are coming out in force for Obama for president,” stated Gabriel on the Sept. 3, 2008, Faith2Action radio program (on the “Archives” section of http://www.f2a.org/).

On the same program, she spoke of the Muslim Brotherhood project for North America, in 1982, whose plans were to get Muslims actively involved in politics.

Gabriel claims that the Islamic websites and terrorist organizations are calling Obama the “first Muslim president of the United States.”

As far as they are concerned, said Gabriel, these groups claim “Obama can say anything he wants to get elected – he is a Muslim.” They claim that if he had renounced his Muslim affiliation declared early in life, he would have changed his Muslim name.

What is interesting is the Islamic world has not renounced Obama for becoming a Christian – a capital offense under Shariah law.

What is perhaps more interesting is that Sen. Barack Hussein Obama has never renounced his Muslim ties. He was too busy pretending they didn’t exist until the documents and eyewitness accounts surfaced recently.

Let’s not play games. By way of review, on national television Obama “misspoke” about “his Muslim faith.” Last year he said the words “there is no god but Allah” were “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” Then he said that he’s been to “all 57 states” (57 states coincidently belong to the “Organization of the Islamic Conference”). According to eyewitnesses, he was a mosque-going, Quran-learning, Muslim (according to official documents released by the AP). His friends say so. His principal said so. His own brother said so. He wears the Muslim turban and Somali elder dress for photo-ops, apparently for fun. While he hasn’t renounced any of this, not one Islamic extremist has called for his death as an apostate from Islam.

Obama is right about one thing. Sen. John McCain isn’t talking about Obama’s Muslim faith. But the rest of the country is beginning to.

Posted by: rcmetcalf | March 28, 2009

LHC Helium Leak will Shut Collider Down for 2 Months

Scientific American, September 20, 2008 –

More glitches for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC): The same day operators announced that a 30-ton transformer that cools part of the particle smasher had broken within hours of the LHC’s launch last week, a mishap yesterday resulted in “a large helium leak” into the collider’s tunnel.

According to a press statement, “the most likely cause of the problem was a faulty electrical connection between two magnets, which probably melted at high current leading to mechanical failure.”

No workers were at risk, according to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which runs the LHC.

The leak means that the LHC will be down for at least two months, because workers must now warm up the faulty sector of the tunnel in order to repair it. The liquid helium is used to cool the LHC’s magnets — which guide protons and accelerate them so they can be smashed together — down to within 1.9 kelvins (3.4 degrees Fahrenheit) of absolute zero.

For more on the LHC, see our in-depth report. It may be even longer now before we find out how long it takes the LHC to defrost a pizza.

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Image of one of the LHC’s superconducting magnets superimposed on an aerial view of CERN’s accelerator complex near Geneva with the path of the LHC marked in red, courtesy of CERN.

Posted by: rcmetcalf | March 28, 2009

Parts of Liver Created using Umbilical Cord Stem Cells

Arlington, VA– Sept 19, 2008- Small sections of human liver have been created from umbilical cord stem cells, say scientists from Newcastle University, UK. The researchers say this technology could eventually be used to grow small livers that could be used for drug tests – doing away with the need for human volunteers to take risks. Earlier this year six volunteers became dangerously ill during a drug trial in the UK.

The scientists warned that it will be tens of years before we are anywhere near producing whole new livers for transplants. However, within the next 15 years, tiny livers could be produced and used for treating patients.

Team leaders, Dr. Nico Forraz and Prof. Colin McGuckin, have set up ConoStem, a company aimed at marketing their stem cell research results.

The researchers said they used a microgravity bioreactor, which creates a weightless environment, to grow liver tissue from stem cells.

Professor McGuckin said “We take the stem cells from the umbilical cord blood and make small mini-livers. We then give them to pharmaceutical companies and they can use them to test new drugs on. It could prevent the situation that happened earlier this year when those six patients had a massive reaction to the drugs they were testing.”

This technology, if it really can replace human and animal testing, will be welcomed by people who are against using animals for testing drugs. Umbilical cord stem cell research is also a much more attractive prospect for those who are against using embryonic stem cells for research.

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CordStemCellResearch.com is committed to providing up-to-date information about cord blood stem cell science. We provide meaningful, peer-reviewed content to help you understand this novel area of medicine. Visit us at www.cordstemcellresearch.com.

Cord Stem Cell Research
1414 Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22204
USA

Posted by: rcmetcalf | March 28, 2009

Sarah Palin and National Security

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – September 6, 2008 – John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as a running mate has brought hope to many who understand our most important issue: national security. There are many others who dread the possibility that Palin may one day become the first female U.S. president… aside from Hillary Clinton, who undoubtedly loathes the idea. After all, that was supposed to be her title.

 

Even as vice president, Sarah Palin will undoubtedly have a tremendous role in foreign affairs. Sam Harris, atheist author of Letter to a Christian Nation and The End of Faith writes: “McCain not only has thrown all sensible concerns about good governance aside merely to pander to a sliver of female and masses of conservative Christian voters, he has turned this period of American history into an episode of high-stakes reality television: Don’t look now, but our cousin Sarah just became leader of the free world! Tune in next week and watch her get sassy with Pakistan!

 

Harris’ assumption that Palin is nothing more than a “girl next door” is amazingly naïve. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those who dread Palin fail to comprehend the nature of our national security issues. Liberals suggest that those in the Middle East hate us for many reasons. Let’s look at a few.

 

From an article submitted by Linden on DanielPipes.org: “Muslims dream of a lost empire and see the wealth the West enjoys. They blame the West for their poverty.”

 

From Reader’s Digest: “There is a vast American imperial presence in the Muslim world… But this hatred of America should be seen for what it is: a scapegoat for the ills of an Islamic world in the throes of a deep, historic crisis. The dream of modernity in the Arab heartland of Islam has been thwarted.”

 

A very common misconception as to why we are hated by the Arab world is articulated clearly by one blogger: “Unless I’m mistaken, Bush invaded Iraq under the premise that Saddam had WMD’s, when in reality it was to protect Israel and secure the oil fields so Halliburton could build a pipeline from Iraq to Kuwait. Now all of Islam hates us.” Yes, you are mistaken.

 

One website lists 87 things the U.S. has done wrong that have led to Middle Eastern animosity toward America. (http://www.isometry.com/usahate.html)

 

One blogger even suggests the Middle East hates us because we’re too fat! “The Middle East doesn’t hate us because George Carlin dropped the F-bomb one too many times. No they hate us because we have become a nation of couch potatoes. It’s true, there is an epidemic spreading across this country and pretty soon the new fashion statement will be WIDE LOAD printed on the back of a pair of Daisy Dukes.” Okay, he must be kidding… right?

 

Liberal pundit Andrew Sullivan, whom Sam Harris “debated” several months back on Beliefnet.com, suggests that “With Sarah Palin, America has taken one very large leap toward a completely theocratic politics.” Yet this is hardly accurate. The personal beliefs of one member of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government do not override the U.S. Constitution, under a system of checks and balances in which Congress carries the biggest stick. (One could hardly call the Harris-Sullivan dialogue a “debate” since Sullivan also did not accurately represent the majority view of evangelical Christians. He and Harris had far too much in common. )

 

Ultimately, the fundamental reason that Muslims in Arab countries hate America is not that they desire what the West has. They despise Western decadence. The fundamental reason Muslims hate America is that their holy book, the Qur’an, teaches that they are to seek the creation of a worldwide caliphate, a theocratic governing body ruled by Shari’a Law. Radically consistent Muslims, who strictly adhere to Qur’anic teachings, desire not only a “completely theocratic politics,” but also one that is completely unknown to most people in the West, especially Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

 

The Islamic doctrine of taqiyyah allows Muslims to practice deception and to outright lie if their end goal is the furtherance of Islam. This is especially true amongst the Shiite Muslims of Iran. What does this suggest regarding Barack Obama’s plan to unconditionally sit down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Will Mahmoud negotiate a peaceful arrangement with America, the country his hero and mentor, Ayatollah Khomeini, dubbed “the Great Satan”? Will Mahmoud suddenly recant his threats to destroy Israel and America when he sees Barack smiling at him across the diplomacy table? Think again.

 

 

Sarah Palin may not yet fathom the depths of Islamic deception, but her Christian background will offer her a greater understanding of the challenges we have ahead of us.
by RC Metcalf
Posted by: rcmetcalf | March 28, 2009

CERN Announces New Startup Date for LHC

(Video) UK Telegraph on the Large Hadron Collider

The following article is a CERN Press Release dated August 7, 2008.

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Geneva, 7 August 2008. CERN1 has today announced that the first attempt to circulate a beam in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will be made on 10 September. This news comes as the cool down phase of commissioning CERN’s new particle accelerator reaches a successful conclusion. Television coverage of the start-up will be made available through Eurovision.

The LHC is the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, producing beams seven times more energetic than any previous machine, and around 30 times more intense when it reaches design performance, probably by 2010. Housed in a 27-kilometre tunnel, it relies on technologies that would not have been possible 30 years ago. The LHC is, in a sense, its own prototype.

Starting up such a machine is not as simple as flipping a switch. Commissioning is a long process that starts with the cooling down of each of the machine’s eight sectors. This is followed by the electrical testing of the 1600 superconducting magnets and their individual powering to nominal operating current. These steps are followed by the powering together of all the circuits of each sector, and then of the eight independent sectors in unison in order to operate as a single machine.

By the end of July, this work was approaching completion, with all eight sectors at their operating temperature of 1.9 degrees above absolute zero (-271°C). The next phase in the process is synchronization of the LHC with the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) accelerator, which forms the last link in the LHC’s injector chain. Timing between the two machines has to be accurate to within a fraction of a nanosecond. A first synchronization test is scheduled for the weekend of 9 August, for the clockwise-circulating LHC beam, with the second to follow over the coming weeks. Tests will continue into September to ensure that the entire machine is ready to accelerate and collide beams at an energy of 5 TeV per beam, the target energy for 2008. Force majeure notwithstanding, the LHC will see its first circulating beam on 10 September at the injection energy of 450 GeV (0.45 TeV).

Once stable circulating beams have been established, they will be brought into collision, and the final step will be to commission the LHC’s acceleration system to boost the energy to 5 TeV, taking particle physics research to a new frontier.

‘We’re finishing a marathon with a sprint,’ said LHC project leader Lyn Evans. ‘It’s been a long haul, and we’re all eager to get the LHC research programme underway.’

CERN will be issuing regular status updates between now and first collisions. Journalists wishing to attend CERN for the first beam on 10 September must be accredited with the CERN press office. Since capacity is limited, priority will be given to news media. The event will be webcast through http://webcast.cern.ch/, and distributed through the Eurovision network. Live stand up and playout facilities will also be available.

A media centre will be established at the main CERN site, with access to the control centres for the accelerator and experiments limited and allocated on a first come first served basis. This includes camera positions at the CERN Control Centre, from where the LHC is run. Only television media will be able to access the CERN Control Centre. No underground access will be possible.

For further information and accreditation procedures: http://www.cern.ch/lhc-first-beam

1 CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world’s leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.

 

Posted by: rcmetcalf | March 28, 2009

Sir John M. Templeton Dies at 95

July 9, 2008
Sir John M. Templeton, Philanthropist, Dies at 95
Sir John M. Templeton, a Tennessee-born investor and philanthropist who amassed a fortune in global stocks and gave away hundreds of millions of dollars to foster understanding in what he called “spiritual realities,” died on Tuesday in Nassau, the Bahamas, where he had lived for decades. He was 95.
His death, at Doctors Hospital in Nassau, was caused by pneumonia, said Don Lehr, a spokesman for the Templeton Foundation.
The foundation awards the Templeton Prize, one of the world’s richest, and sponsors conferences and studies reflecting the founder’s passionate interest in “progress in religion” and “research or discoveries” on the nebulous borders of science and religion.
In a career that spanned seven decades, Sir John dazzled Wall Street, organized some of the most successful mutual funds of his time, led investors into foreign markets, established charities that now give away $70 million a year, wrote books on finance and spirituality and promoted a search for answers to what he called the “Big Questions” — realms of science, faith, God and the purpose of humanity.
Along the way, he became one of the world’s richest men, gave up American citizenship, moved to the Bahamas, was knighted by the Queen of England and bestowed much of his fortune on spiritual thinkers and innovators: Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, the physicist Freeman Dyson, the philosopher Charles Taylor and a pantheon of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus.
Inevitably, the Templeton charities engendered controversy. Critics called his “spiritual realities” a contradiction in terms, reflecting a fundamental incompatibility between science and religion. To many, the very idea of “progress” in religion seemed strange, and giving grants for “discoveries” in the field invited accusations that science was being manipulated to promote religion.
But Sir John was unmoved. A Yale graduate, a Rhodes Scholar, an audacious investor, a Presbyterian who preached open-mindedness and eschewed literal interpretations of Scripture, Sir John — who began annual meetings with prayers, he said, to clear the minds of shareholders — made billions as a pioneer in his globally diversified Templeton funds, often taking the old advice, “buy low, sell high,” to extremes.
In 1939, when World War II began in Europe, the 26-year-old investor borrowed $10,000 and bought 100 shares each in 104 companies that were selling at $1 a share or less, including 34 in bankruptcy. A few years later, he made large profits on 100 of the companies; four turned out to be worthless.
In 1940, he bought a small investment firm that became Templeton, Dubbrow and Vance, the early foundation of his empire. Sir John embarked on mutual funds in 1954, establishing the Templeton Growth Fund in Canada to cut the taxes of many shareholders — Canada then had no capital gains tax — and to emphasize the global reach of its investment strategy.
As investor interest widened in the 1950s, he started funds specializing in nuclear energy, chemicals, electronics and technology. In 1959, with five funds and $66 million under management, he joined a surge of funds going public. Growth was dramatic. The flagship Templeton Growth Fund reported a 14.5 percent average annual return from 1954 to 1992; a $10,000 investment, with dividends reinvested, would have grown to $2 million.
Sir John sold the Templeton family of funds — scores of them with $13 billion in assets — in 1992, and turned to philanthropies that had engaged him for decades. While he was an elder of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), he took a broad view of spirituality, espousing non-literal views of heaven and hell and a shared divinity between humanity and God.
Contending that almost nothing of God was actually “known” through Scriptures and theology, he founded the Templeton Prize in 1972 to foster “progress in religion” — an idea that included philosophy and exemplary conduct relating to love, gratitude, forgiveness and creativity. He called it an effort to redress the fact that no Nobel Prize was given for religion.
Its first recipient, in 1973, was Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received $85,000 for her charities. In the 35 years since, the prize, given in London, has grown to $1.6 million. And the criterion for it has been refined in recent years to encompass “progress toward research or discoveries about spiritual realities.”
The Templeton Foundation, based in West Conshohocken, Pa., was established in 1987 to administer the prize and promote “projects to apply scientific methodology to the study of religious subjects,” with room for theoretical physics, evolutionary biology, cognitive science and researches into love, human purpose and the nature and origin of religious beliefs. Today, with a $1.5 billion endowment, it largely sustains the controversial modern movement to reconcile science and religion.
Foundation projects have included a multimillion-dollar study of forgiveness, and a two-year study to demonstrate the effect of prayer on 600 patients about to undergo surgery.
Many critics contend that reconciling science and religion is not possible, and that studies to that end are naïve, quixotic or motivated by a desire to put religious beliefs on an equal footing with scientific knowledge.
But others defend the foundation’s approach, insisting that science has no monopoly on truth and that religion and science can cooperate productively.
“We have somehow to break down the barriers between our contemporary culture of science and disciplined academic study” and “the domain of the spirit,” Charles Taylor said in accepting the prize in 2007.
John Marks Templeton was born on Nov. 29, 1912, in Winchester, a small Tennessee town 60 miles from Dayton, the scene of the 1925 Scopes “monkey trial” pitting Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan in a battle over the theory of evolution versus fundamentalist views of the Creation. The boy was only 12 then, but issues in the case dominated his later life; he wrote at least eight books on spiritual matters.
He was raised in a devout household and was the first student in town to go to college. Supporting himself at Yale in the Depression, he graduated near the top of his class in 1934, won a Rhodes Scholarship to Balliol College at Oxford University and earned a master’s degree in law. He began his Wall Street career in 1937.
That year, he married the former Judith Folk. The couple had three children. His wife died in 1951. In 1958, he married Irene Reynolds Butler, who died in 1993. His daughter, Anne Templeton Zimmerman, died in 2005, and a stepson, Malcolm Butler, died in 1995. He is survived by two sons from his first marriage, John M. Jr., of Bryn Mawr, Pa., a retired surgeon and the chairman and president of the Templeton Foundation, and Christopher, of Colfax, Iowa; a stepdaughter, Wendy Brooks, of Delray Beach, Fla., and three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Among his many gifts was the 1984 endowment of Templeton College, a business and management school at Oxford.
In 1987, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his philanthropies. After many years on Wall Street, he renounced his American citizenship in the 1960s, became a British subject and moved to the Bahamas, a Commonwealth nation that has long been a tax haven.
Sir John said his investment record improved after he distanced himself from Wall Street and no longer worried about the tax consequences of his decisions. He was an early investor in Japan in the 1960’s and later in Russia, China and other Asian markets. He sold large holdings before the technology bubble burst in 2000, and warned several years ago that real estate prices were dangerously high.
In Nassau, his net worth swelled into the billions, but his lifestyle remained relatively modest. He drove his own car and spent his days reading, writing and managing his foundation. Visitors were given sandwiches, tea and courtly advice in the afternoon at his white-columned antebellum home on Lyford Cay, set on a hillside lush with citrus trees and bougainvillea, overlooking a golf course and the ocean.

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