Richard Dawkins Should Be Anti-Abortion

If you’re atheist or agnostic, you should be anti-abortion. That’s because from your perspective, the chance of any single person ever existing – including a pre-born person – was infinitely remote. Being conceived is a monumental achievement in beating the odds.

Abortion is akin to someone having a one in trillion trillion trillion chance of winning the ultimate lottery, then winning it, and then being put to death before he or she can claim the prize money.

“Before you were conceived, the chance of your existing was all but zero,” said renown atheist Richard Dawkins in a live-streamed discussion with physicist Brian Greene.

“All of us owe our existence to the happenstance of one particular sperm hitting one particular egg on a particular day, not only in our parents’ generation (but) our grandparents’ generation (and) our great-grandparents’ generation.”

He continued, “All of us are incredibly lucky to be here. And once you’ve been born – once you’ve been conceived indeed – the probability that you’re going to go on becomes much, much higher.”

Wow. That’s a powerful argument for the extraordinary specialness of each and every person, born and pre-born.

You’re infinitely lucky not only because your parents happened to meet each other of all the potential mates, not only because they happened to conceive you during the brief two- or three-day window when the spermazoa from which you originated were alive, not only because the two unique cells providing your genetic code connected with each other rather than the billions of other possible combinations of cells, but also because those same improbabilities applied to your parents and grandparents going back many generations.

Start from a point 200 years before you were born. What were the chances you would grace the scene two centuries later? Two-hundred years works out to about eight generations and 256 great (x8) grandparents. (Four grandparents, eight great grandparents, 16 great-great grandparents, etc.) Had none of those 256 been born, you wouldn’t have either. Assume each had a one-in-a-billion chance of being born. To calculate the probability of you being here, multiply a billion by a billion 256 times. That’s about 1 in a billion to the power of 256. Essentially, it’s infinitely remote.

You and everyone else are truly exceptional; you’re the only one among trillions of potential humans who ended up being conceived.

The next time you see a newborn, appreciate that this is “The One”. He or she beat out billions of other wanna-be humans vying to become one of us. Likewise, the next time you see an ultrasound image of a human fetus – or indeed become aware of any human fetus – appreciate that this also is “The One”.

Can you imagine beating infinite odds to make it that far – so close to being able to experience the world outside of the womb – only to have your life unceremoniously snuffed out?

There are many reasons why abortion is cruel and immoral, but this reason takes the cake. It is sad, outrageous, and terrifying that someone would kill a pre-born person who had overcome such odds. We should be showering them with praise and honor, not killing them.

With a declared appreciation for such long odds of being conceived, Richard Dawkins of all people should be ardently pro-life, right?

Preposterously, no. On Twitter a few years ago, he boasted of his “strong pro-abortion views”.

There’s a strong disconnect between what Dr. Dawkins says regarding the specialness of a life including pre-born ones, and what he advocates regarding abortion.

To be sure, he tweeted that “Unlike many pro-choice friends, I think fetal pain could outweigh woman’s (sic) right to control her own body,” implying that he may be against abortion in certain circumstances. But that certainly has nothing to do with the killing-the-ultimate-lottery-winner argument.

Meanwhile, a theist may or may not believe that a person had an infinitely remote chance of being conceived. The Creator may have planned you all along. In the Bible, Jeremiah 1:5 states, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”

Had your parents not conceived you, you may have been born to other parents or to your existing parents at another time. This is because your consciousness – i.e. your soul – is primary and your physical body is secondary. (Even quantum physics implies that your brain is derived from your consciousness rather than the other way around. Quantum physics pioneer Max Planck said, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.”)

Under the theist position each person born and pre-born is exquisitely special as well, because God personally created him or her.

So whether you’re an atheist, agnostic, theist or deist, abortion means killing an incredibly remarkable arrival on the world scene, making it morally wrong from anyone’s perspective. Richard Dawkins, of all people, should grasp that.

 

(Originally published in Newsmax.com)

Zuckerberg, Go With What’s True

Today’s Wall Street Journal features an opinion article by Sander Tideman (“Can Mark Zuckerberg Find Enlightenment?”) urging Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take up Buddhism, evidently because it would help him in business. Zuckerberg is said to be waivering in his faith in atheism.

If Mr. Zuckerberg adopts Buddhism then he’ll feel right at home as an atheist. Theravada Buddhism teaches the doctrine of nonsoul. It teaches there is no God, no Creator. Rather than immortality, the Buddhist aspires to the extinction of existence – because according to that religion, life is nothing more than suffering.

Separately, the article promotes the fallacy that one should choose a religion based on what one likes – or in this case, what’s good for business. Instead, one should choose a religion based on which religion is true. There’s good evidence for the authenticity of the Gospels and divinity of Christ. There’s no evidence that Buddhism is true or that the Buddha was divine. In fact the Buddha allegedly even claimed he wasn’t a prophet or a god.

In the end, you want to go with the religion that’s true, not with the one that’s most pleasing to you. Otherwise you may come to regret that decision in the hereafter.

Entitlements Now 72% of Federal Spending

In the early 2000s America had become a bona-fide welfare state. More than 60 percent of U.S. federal government spending consisted of transfer payments. That’s right: nearly two-thirds of government went toward redistribution.

Call it what you will – wealth transfer, entitlements, government benefits, welfare, unearned income, handouts. The government became one big redistribution machine. Spending on entitlements was crowding out spending on essential government activities – national defense, law enforcement, foreign affairs, transportation infrastructure, environmental clean-up, NASA, and the like.

So did we finally get our act together and start to tame the redistribution Leviathan?

After eight years of Obama, you guessed it. We just piled it on.

Now, nearly three-quarters – 72 percent – of U.S. federal government spending consists of transfer payments.

These are the Obama White House’s own statistics. The Office of Management and Budget historical table “Composition of Outlays: 1940–2021” tells the story. Transfer payments, expressed as “payments for individuals”, comprised about 20 percent of government outlays in the 1950s. By 1992 they had surpassed 50 percent.

Barack “spread-the-wealth-around” Obama, true to his word, ballooned redistribution from 60 of government spending at the start of his presidency to 72 percent now.

The biggest entitlements are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid plus an alphabet soup of programs including Obamacare subsidies, Section 8 housing, civil service retirement, and refugee assistance.

The infamous budget sequestration that began in 2013 has exacerbated the crowding out. It slowed spending on essential government services across the board, but deliberately barely touched entitlements.

National defense as a percentage of total government outlays fell from 45 percent in the 1960s to less than 16 percent now. OMB projects that to fall to 12 percent in 2020.

With 72 percent of federal spending allocated to transfer payments and 6 percent to interest payments on the national debt, only roughly 6 percent of the U.S. federal budget is available for non-entitlement, non-defense government functions. Interest rates’ inevitable rise combined with continually expanding entitlements will squeeze these government functions even more.

Is it any wonder why our transportation infrastructure is crumbling, our national parks are suffering, our space program is faltering, and our military readiness is in jeopardy? We’re a wealthy country that easily could finance those activities, were we fiscally responsible. But too many Americans and the politicians who cater to them have drunk the Kool-Aid of free government stuff be it in the form of money, goods or services.

We could have remedied our predicament by converting major spending programs into savings programs, but the last time anyone tried that was George W. Bush vis-à-vis Social Security. Amid the blowback he dropped that effort like a hot potato.

We’ve reached the “tipping point” where more voters receive free money from the government than there are voters earning that money. Just try proposing cutting back someone’s free stuff and see the outcry that ensues.

Only clever and courageous leadership can get us out of this predicament. While President-elect Trump said he plans to reform Obamacare, it remains to be seen whether he’ll attempt the same with the big entitlement programs.

What will happen as redistribution’s share of government spending continues to swell? Deteriorating military readiness and the degrading of traditional government functions will continue to take their toll. Another consequence is anemic economic growth, as government handouts and higher taxes sap people’s motivation to work and invest. Growth has averaged just 2.1 percent over the past five years, versus 3.2 percent average growth of preceding decades. This is manifested in lower overall wages and greater poverty than would otherwise be the case.

The dire situation is contributing to America’s waning influence in world affairs. More welfare spending means less taxpayer money available for our military, embassies, foreign aid, and cultural outreach. A less-vibrant economy further diminishes our influence abroad.

Absent reform, America’s economic dynamism will continue to ebb as the entitlement culture permeates society.

But we’ll muddle through – until we get a rude awakening. One day, some foreign enemy will be at our doorstep. And we won’t be able to adequately defend ourselves because for far too long we used our tax money to expand welfare rather than stave off warfare. That’s when the bill will come due in a big way.

 

(Originally published in Newsmax.com)

Inequality

It is worthwhile to take a closer look at the oft-expressed desire to reduce inequality.

If by inequality one means the existence of poverty among riches, would it not be more prudent to work toward a reduction of poverty rather than of inequality? Reducing inequality won’t necessarily reduce poverty. In fact it could exacerbate poverty.

As reported in the Washington Post, the poor actually enjoy higher life expectancies (and thus higher standards of living) in cities where inequality is highest. San Francisco has gross inequalities due to the tremendous number of tech millionaires and billionaires, yet relatively low poverty rates. One reason is that wealthy people put their money towards starting businesses (and thereby employ poor and middle class people); towards charitable causes; towards savings where the money in turn is used to provide car loans, student loans and home loans for poor and middle class people; and/or towards consumption which in turn keeps businesses afloat and employees employed.

Perhaps one could justify wanting to curtail inequality because of the danger of envy and resentment among the less fortunate toward the more fortunate (this even includes millionaires toward billionaires). But in that case, why not just work toward a curtailment of envy and resentment? Envy and resentment are actual moral failures. Inequality is not, provided one earns one’s money honestly and justly, and gives substantially to charitiable causes. Moreover almost all agree that a brain surgeon should be paid significantly more than a janitor. Were they paid the same, there would be a shortage of brain surgeons; few would devote the time and expense necessary to become one. So pay differentiation is not a moral failure.

In fact, excessive focus on inequality actually could have the perverse effect of stirring up envy and resentment. To combat this, when one talks about inequality, one should always admonish one’s audience not to harbor ill will toward the more fortunate.

So in this humble observer’s opinion it is much more effective to work toward an end to poverty and envy.

The Economist Breaks Silence on Obamacare

Big news at The Economist magazine: it finally broke its silience on the tribulations of Obamacare.

Back when the big insurers started pulling out of the Obamacare exchanges, there was not a peep from The Economist, not even in its business section. Upon subsequent pull-outs and premium increases, continued silence. Being an early cheerleader for Obamacare, it may have wanted to avoid embarassing news.

Finally, now that the news is splattered everywhere else, The Economist is forced to follow suit. What it described in the above-linked article is a consequence of Obamacare that any economist worth his or her salt could have predicted.

Why didn’t you, Economist?

Obama Gave Rise to Trump

You know the times are abnormal when a flamboyant businessman who has never held political office beats out over a dozen seasoned politicians in the Republican primaries. On the Democratic side, an unkempt socialist long associated with the leftist fringe garnered the votes of millions.

It’s a wake-up call, signaling the profound level of desperation and anxiety throughout the American electorate. After eight years of Barack Obama, people are hurting.

They’re hurting economically. Economic growth is an anemic 1 percent. The national debt has grown from $10 trillion to $19 trillion under Obama’s watch. The debt-to-GDP ratio has surpassed 100 percent. Median household income is down. The poverty rate is up. For the first time since records have been kept on this, there are more business failures than start-ups.

It’s what happens when you elect the most left-leaning president in history. There’s a trade-off between redistribution and growth, and Obama’s priority is the former. He has raised taxes and dramatically expanded regulations, resulting in fewer businesses, fewer jobs, and lower wages compared to what the situation would be had he focused on easing burdens on businesses.

They’re hurting physically. Since 2012 (through 2014, the latest year for which data is available), average life expectancy in America has stagnated – a first since the Great Depression. Murder rates in big cities are up, reflecting less proactive policing in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and Obama’s support for it. Terrorist attacks are up, reflecting Obama’s support for open borders. Our healthcare system is even more messed up than it was before, reflecting Obamacare.

There’s worry over world events. Wars rage and terrorist armies rise in the Middle East, reflecting Obama’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and refusal to intervene elsewhere in that region. A war rages in the Ukraine and the potential for war looms in North Korea and the South China Sea, as foreign powers are emboldened by Obama’s timidity in foreign policy.

From Latin America to Africa to the Middle East, we’re in the midst of the worst refugee crisis since World War II, reflecting the above-mentioned foreign policy failures and/or Obama’s obsession to flood the U.S. with future left-leaning voters.

People hardly recognize their country anymore. Obama and the left have imposed or are seeking to impose radical changes to long-established social norms, from transgender bathrooms to euthanasia to state-sponsored gay unions to taxpayer-financed abortion to the removal of religion from the public square – and the ostracism or prosecution of those who refuse to accept.

Freedom of speech is under attack, notably on college campuses as viewpoints anathema to the left are suppressed – in some cases with the backing of Obama’s Education Department. There’s the criminalization of policy differences and the Obama Justice Department’s support thereof, notably vis-à-vis global warming skeptics. His IRS took the unprecedented and highly corrupt step of treating advocacy groups unequally based on their political leanings, thus infringing on their free speech rights.

Americans also are alarmed by the erosion of the rule of law. The main function of the executive branch is to implement and enforced laws passed by Congress. Yet as head of the executive branch, Obama has explicitly refused to enforce many laws. These include immigration statutes, the Defense of Marriage Act, and certain Obamacare laws that he found inconvenient.

In these strange and disquieting times ushered in by Obama, you see corresponding effects. One such effect is the rise of an “outsider” as a leading presidential contender. In past election cycles there always has been a small subset of the electorate championing such anti-establishment candidates. But things have worsened so much under Obama that demand for an outsider has ballooned.

Trump’s and Sanders’ rise during the primaries in defiance of all expectations is a manifestation of economic hardship and general anxiety throughout America. Frustrated with “insider” politicians whom the populace perceives to be icons of the status quo, millions of people threw their support behind the real estate developer and the socialist.

On the Democratic side the status quo candidate prevailed in the end, and as of this writing is favored to win in the general election. She pledges to double down on Obama’s policies. In that scenario expect conditions to deteriorate further, and the electorate’s love affair with anti-establishment candidates to grow stronger.

(Originally published in Newsmax.com)

When Will Dems Reclaim “Red State”?

Democrats are embracing socialism. Multitudes of them spurn capitalism. They gave us our most leftist president in history. Their current front-runner presidential candidate is running even to the left of him, and hot on her heals is a self-declared socialist.

What’s next – taking back “red state”?

That thought is half in jest, but things are getting so crazy – with millions of folks flocking to the failed socialist ideas of the past – that it’s within the realm of possibility.

When displaying their electoral maps, the media at some point could very well transition back to red states for Democrats and blue states for Republicans.

Prior to 2000, the U.S. media usually depicted red states as Democrat and blue states as Republican. That was in line with the rest of the world; in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, red was and still is associated with parties of the left, ranging from social democrat and labor parties, to communist parties. The U.K.’s Labour party’s color is red, as is Canada’s Liberal Party.

Likewise blue is associated with conservative parties, including the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom.

It’s only in the United States where those colors are reversed.

The adoption of red for leftist parties originated during the French Revolution and the failed European revolutions of 1848, in the form of the red flag. Red symbolized the blood of those who died in the struggle against capitalism.

Until recently in the United States, socialism was a dirty word for most Democrats as well as for Republicans. When socialism and communism were totally discredited after the fall of the Soviet bloc in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Democrats must have hated it when the media depicted Democrat-leaning states as red and Republican-leaning ones as blue. They didn’t want to be associated in any way with Messrs. Marx and Engels.

So the mainstream media (who, of course, are overwhelmingly Democrats) reversed the color coding.

According to Wikipedia, it began in 2000 when MSNBC and NBC started showing electoral maps with blue states as Democratic, and red states as Republican. The David Letterman show followed suit, and the practice then caught on everywhere.

“Perhaps the most brazen language diktat has been the mischievous switch of political colors,” wrote Mark Helprin in the Wall Street Journal. “The change came in 2000 courtesy of MSNBC and NBC’s “Today” show. …Saddling your political rivals with a symbol to which they have been historically opposed is an even better and naughtier joke. Either it was that or numbing cluelessness.”

The red-blue switch initially somewhat bothered me but I got over it. If usurping blue freed the media and their Democratic allies from the insecurity of thinking that people would associate them with socialism and communism, then so what. Let them have their fun. And even though Republicans were unceremoniously slapped with red, no one is going to associate Republicans with the hammer and sickle because of it.

Plus, the use of “red” and “blue” is so much more common now in general discourse than it was pre-2000. Using the terms “Democrat” and “Republican” all the time can get boring, so why not liven things up a bit – add some color to the conversation – by throwing “red” and “blue” into the mix?

Nevertheless, as Helprin writes, “Red is the mobile color of passion and engagement, and blue the staid color of reason and detachment.” That characterization must tug at the hearts of bleeding-heart liberals, who thrive on passion (at the expense of reason). Surely there have got to be many of them who’d be more than happy reclaim the color red.

In spite of the evils of socialism so prominently on display today in Venezuela, the rapidity at which folks are moving left is dizzying.

A survey conducted by the right-leaning advocacy group American Action Network found that nearly six in ten Democratic primary voters think socialism has a “positive impact on society.” Forty-six percent of respondents under age 45 consider socialism the best form of government versus only 19 percent who prefer capitalism. A Bloomberg/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll found that 43 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers said they would use the word “socialist” to describe themselves.

That helps explain why the self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders, once considered to be on the lunatic fringe in politics, ran such a competitive primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. What used to be the loony left is now nearly mainstream among Democrats. Hillary Clinton has tacked hard to the left, with speculation that she is even considering arch-leftist Elizabeth Warren as her running mate.

From there it’s not much of a step to proudly waive the red flag in solidarity with like-minded political parties the world over, followed by a take-back of the “red state” mantle.

 

(Originally published in Newsmax.com)

Jesus Was No Class Warrior

There’s a set of Christians who rail against income inequality and who are leery of the rich. Such attitudes end up harming the poor and inflaming the envious.

Pope Francis is one such Christian. He desires “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state.” That’s code for higher taxes on the rich.

The chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, said to be a key confidante of Pope Francis, recently invited presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to the Academy. It’s safe to assume the Pope approves of the invitation. By extension it’s safe to assume the Pope is a fan of Sanders and of his plans for confiscatory tax rates on the rich.

Poverty and inequality in America have expanded under Obama’s watch, as perverse outcomes so typical of big-government solutions took effect. Sanders as president would exacerbate that.

A disproportionate number of Catholic priests of the Jesuit order, to which Pope Francis belongs, excessively fixate on income inequality. Recently the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled “The Challenge of Easter” by Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large of America magazine. The article makes good points including attesting to the authenticity of the Gospels and divinity of Jesus Christ.

The Pope and priests such as Father Martin are well-meaning people, and one should have enormous respect for anyone who takes a lifetime vow of poverty and celibacy in devotion to God. However such Catholics are all too prone to not detecting wolves in sheeps’ clothing (to borrow a metaphor from the Gospel), namely clumsy government policies that make the poor even worse off.

Father Martin’s in his article suggests economic inequality was a primary concern of Jesus. He asks, “How could He … not have been grieved by the glaring disparities in wealth?”

He writes that Jesus preached against “gross material inequalities”, and rendered “judgment against the excesses of the wealthy.” But this is actually nowhere in the Gospels.

While Jesus championed giving to the poor, He never called for taking from the rich. One is free will. The other is coercion.

Jesus did teach that it’s harder to get to heaven if you’re wealthy. This is because attachment to material possessions detracts from the greatest commandment – loving God with all of your heart, mind and soul. Wealth also can puff up one’s pride, leading a wealthy person to think he or she is superior to others due to wealth and status. God abhors pride and loves humility, which must be one reason why He chose to become man as a poor carpenter.

A wealthy person likely can still get to heaven but he or she has to work extra hard devoting time and energy to worshiping and proclaiming the glory of God, donating substantial sums to the less fortunate and to the Church, avoiding acquiring status symbols for the sake of status, and forgoing certain comforts and pleasures with the aim of being “poor in spirit”.

Even when a wealthy person doesn’t carry out the above virtues, one should never look upon that person negatively because, as it’s taught in the Gospels, never judge others.

Nowhere did Jesus imply the wealthy harm the poor or create other social ills – except perhaps tax collectors, who were known for taking more from people than warranted. And that was based on wealth coercion. Most wealthy people at least in this day in age get rich through wealth creation.

Perhaps one reason Jesus did not fixate on economic inequality is because it is not necessarily an evil. If the poor get richer as the rich richer, everyone is better off materially. The only ones who are not better off are the envious. Jesus as well as St. Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, warned against the sin of envy.

If the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, that’s typically not the rich’s fault. It may be because of worsening skill levels among the poor (e.g. due to declining educational standards or immigration from low-skill countries), or because of misguided government attempts to help the poor that actually harm the poor, such as a too-high minimum wage that prices the unskilled out of jobs and creates a vast underclass.

Wealth inequality is only a social evil when the rich get that way due to wealth coercion – usually carried out in collusion with the government – as opposed to wealth creation.

A few days ago the Washington Post reported that in America, the poor have higher life expectancies in cities where inequality is highest, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

Pope Francis and Father Martin: in light of this fact, are you sure you still want to whip up passions against inequality?

In reality what you’re doing is whipping up envy and resentment.

 

(Originally published in Newsmax.com)

Scientists Are Almost Sounding Religious

There’s an anti-religion website called Disbeliefnet, evidently created by comedian Bill Maher, which trumpets the motto, “You won’t believe what people believe.”

He’s right. People buy into a lot of outlandish and fantastical stuff that defy common sense and the laws of nature – in a word, miracles. Such propositions are so foreign to our five senses that it’s no wonder that so many academics and other highly educated people have no tolerance for them.

Here’s a sampling of bizarre, other-worldly, and downright fanciful notions that some people believe:

* There are other dimensions beyond our own.
* Certain entities can move through solid walls.
* Some things can be invisible.
* Certain things can travel back and forth through time.
* The same entity can be in multiple distinct locations at the same time.
* Certain entities can communicate instantaneously with other entities – that are billions of light years away.

Bill Maher could have a field day with this stuff.

In centuries past, people believed in the supernatural because they didn’t have science to explain things. Now, we’re nicely ensconced in the age of science and reason; if it’s not explainable by science, goes the thinking, then it can’t be true.

Or maybe not.

It turns out that the strange notions described above are championed by top physicists.

That’s right. The weirdness falls into the realm of quantum physics – the branch of physics that seeks to explain how subatomic particles behave.

Physicists often use the adjectives “bizarre” or “weird” when describing quantum physics – because things happen that defy classical physics or common sense. And they admit they can’t explain how such things happen.

So let me get this straight. The secular elite disparages religion because they find silly the notion that there are spiritual beings that can exist in different dimensions, be invisible, go through solid walls, time travel, and carry out other seemingly miraculous activities.

Yet, renown scientists are telling us that subatomic particles can do all of these things.

If one accepts that, then it’s by no means a stretch to infer that there is a spiritual world in which similar things occur.

Far from being in conflict with each other, science and religion are complementary. Twentieth-century physicist and Nobel Prize-winner Eugene Wigner pointed out that materialism – the atheistic worldview that reality only consists of physical matter – is not “logically consistent with present quantum mechanics.”

Another Nobel Prize winner, neuroscientist John C. Eccles, posited that the spiritual mind and physical brain are independent entities, and that the two interact through quantum physics.

In quantum physics there are systems, laws, and observers. “There is something about observers like us that’s not reducible to (classical) physics,” said University of Delaware physicist Stephen Barr. He explained in a 2012 Research on Religion podcast interview that once you accept the nonphysical reality of our own minds, then it’s easier to accept the reality of greater minds, such as that of God. And given how incredibly orderly the universe is from a mathematical standpoint, which suggests a supreme designer, “Modern physics ought to make every particle physicist in the world get down on their knees,” he remarked.

The dictionary defines the term supernatural as “not existing in nature or not subject to explanation according to natural laws.” It’s also defined as “of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe.”

If that’s the case, then to this reporter, modern science indicates that the supernatural must exist. “An order of existence beyond the visible observable universe” immediately evokes dark matter and dark energy. Astrophysicists widely agree that the visible observable universe only makes up about 4 percent of all matter. The rest is matter that is invisible to us, known as dark matter, as well as dark energy. Scientists know it’s there because without the gravitational effects of dark matter, galaxies would fly apart.

Some physicists, notably Lisa Randall at Harvard, theorize that dark matter comes from higher dimensions, and that gravity is “leaking” from these dimensions. Apart from that, string theory has long predicted hidden dimensions. And at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, they’re working hard on finding evidence of other dimensions.

Oxford physicist David Deutsch considers there to be vast numbers of parallel (albeit not spiritual) worlds, and that perhaps someday we’ll be able to contact them using quantum computers.

To be sure, scientists very rarely use the term supernatural when describing quantum physics. If there are other dimensions, most physicists consider them to be physical – not spiritual – dimensions. Whatever the case, all this talk of other dimensions blurs the lines between the definition of physical and spiritual.

And one thing is certain: for evidence of the supernatural, the theologians have a much stronger case than the secular elite. Science confirms it.

 

(Originally published in Newsmax.com)

 

Moral Decay Begets Mass Killings

Many believe the epidemic of mass public killings largely stems from easy access to guns. But that can’t be right, because mass killings – whether carried out with guns, bombs, planes or other weapons – used to be a rarity in America even though guns were easy to come by.

What changed in America? What led to the era of mass killings? Scratch guns off the list, because they always have been around. In fact, it used to be even easier to buy a gun than it is now – no background checks required – yet people didn’t go around massacring just for the sake of it.

Preventing them from doing so was a stronger sense of morals, propriety, decency, respect for family, respect for life, and respect for God.

The 1960s are widely viewed as a time of accelerated moral decline in America. Recreational drug use, divorce, premarital sex, pornography, vulgarity, and violence shot up – in everyday life as well as in movies and TV. There was less of a sense of community and a sense of trust among citizens, and less involvement in civic and church groups.

It’s no coincidence that the 1960s were the beginning of the era of mass public killings, when in 1966 Charles Whitman killed 14 people and wounded 31 with a high-powered rifle from atop a tower at the University of Texas. The declining morals of that decade resulted in more widespread depression, anger, resentment, and mental illness, and less respect for and sacredness of life. The more people affected by such ills of society, the more likely a tiny minority of them do what Charles Whitman did.

There had been mass killings in previous decades, but those typically were associated with simultaneous criminal activity (such as killings during robberies or gang killings) or with familicides. Those crimes are heinous enough. But there’s something even more heinous, even more evil about mass public killings of people who are unknown to the assailant.

While violent crime overall declined since 1980 (until this year, when homicides started to go back up in many cities), mass public killings have increased. In the 1970s there were an average of 1.1 mass public shootings per year, according to the Congressional Research Service. They rose to 2.7 in the 1980s, 4 in the 1990s, and 4.1 per year in the 2000s. (And these numbers don’t include the Timothy McVeigh or 9/11 terrorist attacks.) Such shootings have risen dramatically in the last five years, happening every 172 days on average since 1982 but every 64 days since mid-2011.

There’s of course a confluence of factors behind the rise in mass public killings. They include the influence of violent movies, TV shows and video games. The desire for fame – or more accurately infamy – is another motivation. The high divorce rate is a factor; most shooters come from broken homes. Another contributor are higher rates of mental illness, and, since the 1970s, a greater tendency to let dangerously mentally ill people roam free rather than commit them to institutions.

But I believe the biggest factor is the declining prevalence of Christianity and Judaism in America. In 1955 Christians constituted 92 percent of the U.S. population and Jews 4 percent. By 2014 the numbers had declined to 72 percent and 2 percent respectively. Far fewer of them attend religious services regularly.

In tandem with the retreat of Judeo-Christianity is the retreat of Judeo-Christian values. They include forgiveness, compassion, humility, generosity, self-control, nonviolence, love of God, love of neighbor, love of enemies, and renunciation of worldly values such as pleasure, status, and fame.

An absence of Judeo-Christianity is associated with a cheapening of human life. The atheist and agnostic worldview presupposes that life arose by pure chance; that we’re merely animals in a more evolved form, living on a tiny, insignificant planet amid the vast universe. Many are led to believe, what’s the point of life? So mass killers seek to end their own life, along with as many other lives as they can.

While mass public killings are correlated with a declining prevalence of Judeo-Christianity, such is not the case of course vis-à-vis all religions. Islam shares many of the same values as that of Christianity and Judaism such as charity, honesty, generosity, purity, and self-restraint. Unfortunately for some practitioners of that religion, exhortations to kill the “infidel” often win out.

The only way to curb the rise in mass public killings, in addition to slowed immigration, is a return to the aforementioned virtues that were once widely held in America.

(Originally published in Newsmax.com)