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The Rules of Engagement

On this blog, I will employ warm, human logic based on the Scriptures. I will employ statistics correctly done, where appropriate, including the new causal revolution. I will not attempt to arrive at truth on the basis of emotions.

In the comments:

  • I expressly forbid taking the name of God in vain. Any comment doing so I will not allow through, and it will never see the light of day. Don’t waste the electrons.
  • Certain fallacies, such as ad hominem and ad hominem abusive are just so tiresome I’m not going to allow them through, either. Don’t attack people on this blog, only ideas.
  • I have a certain good faith assumption about readers of this blog: that you are seeking after truth (see definition below).

Definitions

First of all, as always, it is important to define my terms. A term is a word or short series of words defining a single concept. Terms are either clear or unclear: they are not true or false, nor are they valid or invalid.

Truth is the set of all thoughts in the mind of God. A true statement is a statement that is one of those thoughts, and a false statement otherwise. Statements are either true or false: they are not clear or unclear, nor are they valid or invalid. Because God created the universe and everything in it, and because God is utterly logical and without contradictions, true statements will always correspond to reality; and that is the great test of truth: does the statement correspond to reality? Some define truth in terms of how it corresponds to reality, but I prefer to make that the test instead of the definition: God defines truth.

A logical argument is a set of statements, one of which (the conclusion) is claimed to follow, or be implied, by the others (the premises).

A valid argument is an argument in which the truth of the premises forces the truth of the conclusion. That is, it is impossible for a valid argument to have true premises and a false conclusion. An invalid argument, or fallacy, is an argument that is not valid: the premises could be true and the conclusion false. Arguments are not clear or unclear, nor are they true or false: they are valid or invalid.

A sound argument is a valid argument in which the terms are clear and the premises are true. By definition, sound arguments always have true conclusions.

Fundamental Assumptions

  • God the Holy Spirit convinces the believer that the Bible is true. That is, every statement in the Bible is true when understood in context. (There are nuances to this, such as original
    manuscripts versus copies, and how to handle copy errors. These have all been answered many times by biblical scholars.)
  • Every statement that can be soundly deduced from the Bible is also true.
  • The correct method of interpretation of anyone’s words, including this blog, is to see the collection of words as a whole, in context, weighing one passage with another to get the full sense. Original authorial intent always takes precedence over the reader’s thoughts or feelings.
  • There are old things worth preserving, as well as old things that need changing. It requires wisdom to know when to change something, (See Ecclesiastes 7:10.) and when to keep something the same. (See Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Jude 3, Galatians 1:8.)
  • There is an ethical obligation to believe true statements, and to disbelieve false statements, and to alter one’s life as a result. What you believe and what you do are intricately entwined. (See Proverbs 23:7, Matthew 15:19.)
  • We are to attack bad ideas with no quarter (see 2 Corinthians 10:3-5), but we are not to attack people since Jesus said we are to love our enemies as well as our friends and family. Therefore, it is possible to do that, contra many who think if you attack an idea you automatically attack everyone who holds to that idea. So we make a sharp distinction between attacking an idea and attacking people who hold to that idea.

“Settled Science” and other oxymorons

It’s not good to “toot your own horn”; however, there does come a time when, in order to be taken seriously, you have to trot out your bona fides, so here I go:

I have a Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics from Virginia Tech. That means I’ve studied quite a lot of theoretical physics. I would say I have a Ph.D. level knowledge of math, an M.S. knowledge of physics, a B.S. knowledge of computer science, and an A.S. knowledge of electrical engineering. Since getting my Ph.D., I have done over 7 years of experimental science or engineering. I have taught statistics at the high school level twice, I am studying mathematical statistics on my own (nearly done!), and I have studied the New Causal Revolution by reading The Book of Why and Causal Inference in Statistics: A Primer in detail.

The upshot of all that is that I’m confident I understand the scientific method better than probably 99% of the world’s population. I’ve seen it from the inside and the outside, and I’ve studied its main tool: statistics.

In my previous post, I outlined a number of problems with modern science. But there are others, and one of them that I want to talk a little more about are some major issues with the way people talk about COVID.

There’s no such thing as “settled science”. When someone uses that phrase, or anything close to it like this, “The science is clear on that point,” when the point has only come up in the last few years, then you can be certain that that someone is trying to pull a fast one on you. Aristotle’s physics held sway for roughly two millennia. When Newton’s physics displaced Aristotle’s, that lasted much less time – only a few centuries. Now that we have quantum mechanics (including the Standard Model) and general relativity, physicists have been working very hard at displacing those. So physics, easily the most certain of all the sciences, is not settled (except maybe the Second Law of Thermodynamics)! How can anyone in the life sciences talk about COVID, vaccines, natural immunity, boosters, etc., with anything approaching certainty? What you should be hearing is this, “Well, we really know absolutely nothing about what we’re talking about…” because that would be nearer the truth.

I’m convinced that no one knows much of anything about COVID, COVID vaccines, masks, lockdowns, etc. Point me to a study concerning COVID, and I can probably poke statistical holes in it, most likely fatal. Hardly any papers use the modern causal revolution, and yet they make causal claims without an experiment! And don’t even get me started on COVID data. I doubt that anyone has any reliable data on COVID. There are systemic reporting problems on just about all the COVID data you could ever find, ranging from a lack of standard definitions, to poor categorization, to outright manipulation, etc.

So for people to urge you to “follow the science”, the proper reaction is, “Well, I could, but I think I’ll get whiplash.” Or another reaction is, “So how do you follow constantly shifting shadows with no patterns, again?”

If no one knows anything about COVID or COVID vaccines, it follows that the term “misinformation” is usually mis-applied. How is anyone to know whether something is true or not, when basically no one knows anything? The term “misinformation” appears, most of the time, to be used on anyone who is the slightest bit vaccine hesitant, as if taking a vaccine with known side effects (some of which are severe), that is not known to prevent transmission, and which used aborted fetal cell lines either in development, production, or testing, is an insane position to take. None of the statements I just uttered are seriously debated by anyone. Using the term “misinformation” merely to describe the side of a debate with which you disagree is dishonest, to say the least. Logically speaking, it’s a circular reasoning fallacy combined with poisoning the well: whether someone’s claim is “misinformation” is exactly what’s up for debate! And if you can first label your opponent’s position as “misinformation”, then the audience might tend to disbelieve your opponent’s position and anything he says.

You have to wonder where is the pressure to vaccinate originating? My claim is that it is Bill Gates, who has invested a large portion of his gigantic fortune in vaccines, who is to blame for the insanity of modern vaccines. I think he has abused his immense political power to distort the field of vaccines for his own personal gain.

But I’m very uninterested in ever hearing the terms “settled science” or “misinformation” again. They have no meaning.

Solving Systemic Problems in the Scientific Community

Modern science has run into very hard times. There is the well-documented reproducibility crisis, political bias, monetary bias, big government bias, incentives to publish a lot of papers however poor in quality they are, and no doubt others. What are the solutions to these problems? I will propose a list of solutions to the various problems, along with short explanations as to why I think they will work, if implemented.

1. Publishing a lot of very poor quality papers. This is a many-faceted problem, so I will sub-head underneath it. a. One cause is the “publish or perish” mentality at universities. This encourages far too many professors to go for the “low-hanging fruit” of small, inconsequential papers, as well as to cut corners and not do their research with correct statistics. Universities need to ditch “publish or perish” entirely by changing how they evaluate their professors. The number of papers or number of citations is simply not a great indicator of quality. Take Don Knuth (I think it was) and his 20-year hiatus from publishing, followed by earth-shatteringly important papers. How does that fit in with “publish or perish”? b. Another cause of poor papers is a severe lack of knowledge of statistics and how to avoid errors. Coupled with this is probably the more sinister prospect of making up data, p-hacking, and other intentional distortions to obtain “statistical significance.” A lack of knowledge could be combated with much stiffer statistics course requirements for researchers, as well as requirements to collaborate with statisticians before the researchers run the experiment. Statisticians study the design and analysis of experiments, and much of what they study is non-trivial. The more sinister prospect can probably only be fixed by requiring a great deal more reproducibility. c. Another cause of poor papers is a broken peer-review process, which includes everything from non-anonymous reviews to conflicts-of-interest, to incompetent reviewers, to a total lack of interest in publishing negative results, etc. This is on the journals: they need to get their act together and value real science, not just the latest and greatest.

2. Political bias. Naturally, scientists are people, and people are entitled to their political opinions. However, when those political opinions influence their science, the science goes awry. Witness the climate change science debacle. Because of political pressure, leftist scientists have convinced millions of people that the earth is going to self-destruct from catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW). As some wags have mentioned, this is “too good a crisis to be true.” We are very right to question, first of all, whether global warming is even occurring, and if so, whether it is man-made, and if so, whether it is catastrophic. All three of those steps are debatable. Now do not read me as saying we should trash the environment. No, we are to be good stewards of the environment: curbing pollution is a good idea. Thinking about landfills and other trash-processing stations is a very good idea. Not littering is a good idea. But to impose draconian restrictions on companies on the basis only of computer models is totalitarian and tyrannical. The government needs to get out of the business of funding scientific research, because it simply taints whatsoever it touches. That alone would probably fix a good many of the problems we’re seeing in science these days.

3. Monetary bias. One good example of this that we’re seeing right now is Bill Gates, who has put his considerable fortune towards vaccines. Now I am not anti-vax. Who wouldn’t want safe, effective, ethically-developed vaccines? I would claim that few vaccines on the market, for any virus, qualify for all three of those. But because Bill Gates has put his weight behind vaccines, all of a sudden we get insane things like vaccine mandates coming our way. Mandates! As if the government knows what is medically best for each person. The way to solve this problem is to drastically change (read: restrict) how money can flow to or from the government. Carefully restricted taxes are, of course, essential to have a government at all, which I’m certainly in favor of. But other than that, money should not flow to the government in any way. Goods or services must not flow to the government in any way other than being paid for at market price. What we have in the US is simply monstrous-scale bribery in the form of “lobbying”. If lobbying were only presenting arguments in favor of a bill or against a bill, I wouldn’t complain in the slightest. But it’s much more than that! Money going from the government to the people is also extremely problematic. That’s what people like Joe Biden do to try to bribe the American people into voting Democrat. Thankfully, the American people are seeing through that, and it’s not helping Biden’s abysmal approval ratings.

4. Reproducibility crisis. The solution to this crisis must be three-fold. One is that statistics education must greatly increase. A single course in the typical sociology or psychology program is insufficient. It’s also entirely possible to achieve a Ph.D. in experimental science (physics, chemistry, biology) with nary a statistics course in sight! How colleges and universities structure their programs matters, and statistics is a course so incredibly important that I believe it ought to be required for every single degree offered. That’s right: Every. Single. Degree. Statistics is the course that can arm students against fallacies of inductive reasoning, just as a good introductory logic course is what can arm students against fallacies of deductive reasoning. The second arm for fixing this crisis is an ethical one: researchers must not only know good statistics, they must have the wisdom to carry it out. Fixing that is in some ways much more difficult. It helps if, as I’ve written above, the incentives to falsify research are removed. The gospel helps greatly. Teaching courses on the ethics of good research are probably not quite so effective, though they may not hurt. The third arm, which I have also mentioned before, is that statisticians need to be involved in much more of the experimental process than they often are. As Ronald Fisher, the eminent statistician, once wrote, “To consult the statistician after an experiment is finished is often merely to ask him to conduct a post mortem examination. He can perhaps say what the experiment died of.” Yet another aspect of this crisis is the inability to publish negative results. We need to have a lot more journals willing to publish negative results.

Language as Oppression?

One thing rather puzzles me about the Far Left (meaning, Marxism/identity politics/intersectionality/socialism/communism/postmodernism): how is it that they use language at all? The English language, like probably every single language ever to have existed, has been used to oppress people in horrible ways. In the absolutist framework of the Far Left, how do they dare to make use of the English language? They should invent their own language, free from any history of oppression, don’t you think? Here’s an imaginary conversation between the far-leftist Carly Marxy and conservative Rog’n Scrut’n:

Marxy: Down with oppression! Down with oppress-

Scrut’n: Wait a minute, aren’t you using English? You need to use a language that has never been used to oppress people before.

Marxy: Mmh. I sseug ouy era thgir. Nwod htiw noisserppo! Nwod htiw noisserppo!

Scrut’n (chuckling to himself): Well, there’s one Far Leftist whom I’ve successfully de-platformed.

Ibram Kendi has No Foggy Clue

In this Daily Wire piece, Ibram Kendi sounds off on liberation theology versus what he calls evangelical theology. The number of gross inaccuracies in Kendi’s description of evangelical theology are legion: so much so that I would claim he has no real understanding of evangelical theology at all. Here are a few of his gaffes:

1. Jesus Christ was a “radical revolutionary” dedicated to the destruction of “the American Empire”. How does that statement square exactly with, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”?

2. Kendi, somewhat ineptly, conflates “evangelical theology” with what he calls “white evangelical theology”. Um, no. The Bible says that there is neither slave nor free, Jew nor Greek, male nor female, but that we are all one in Jesus Christ. There is such a thing as evangelical theology, but if you tack on the word “white”, you’ve gone outside the Bible and I, for one, don’t buy it.

3. Then Kendi claims that this “white evangelical theology” teaches that black people are backwards and uncivilized, and that Jesus came to save black people. Actually, evangelical theology teaches that ALL people, myself most certainly included, are sinful people in need of a savior. See Romans 3. Indeed, Paul is at great pains in Romans to show that Jews and Greeks (and by extension all people) are sinful, and that no one seeks after God, no not one.

4. The term “white nationalist Christ” is absolutely repugnant to true evangelical theology. Jesus Christ was almost certainly not white – he was likely dark-skinned like most Jews of the time. But the color of his skin is immaterial: it is who Jesus Christ is – fully God and fully man – and what he has done and is doing – came to earth, lived a perfect life, died the death we should have died, rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, and intercedes for his people – that matters. Calling this Christ of evangelical theology “white nationalist” is a strawman that Kendi should be ashamed of.

5. Kendi gets into liberation theology and claims that Jesus came to free the people from the clutches of Babylon. Huh? Babylon was a non-entity when Jesus Christ was born – it was all the Roman empire at that time. Jesus Christ didn’t even come into this world to free his people from the Romans: he came to free his people from their sins, and to testify to the truth. Did he come to bring liberty to the captives? Absolutely! But what kind of liberty? Liberty from our sin and death! Liberation theology misinterprets large portions of the Bible to get at their erroneous conclusions.

6. Christians are not called primarily to be revolutionaries. On the contrary, in addition to Jesus’ quote about Caesar above, Paul calls Christians to submit to the governing authorities in Romans 13, as well as in other places we are called, as far as is possible with us, to be at peace with all men. How does this square with being a constant revolutionary? I’m not saying revolution is always bad or unbiblical – I think the British (Oliver Cromwell) and American revolutions were, for the most part, good events. Certainly the French, Russian, and Chinese revolutions were unmitigated evils.

7. Kendi uses non-biblical language to describe sin: he uses the term “behaviorally deficient”. This soft-pedals evangelical theology. Sin is doing what God forbids or not doing what God requires. I guess that means sin is deficient, but it’s a lot more than that: the wages of sin is death. I’m not comfortable with Kendi softening the idea of sin.

8. Kendi thinks that the primary Gospel message is racist because it’s saying that the reason some people are struggling on earth is because they’re doing wrong things. Well, the Gospel does say that, along with a lot more. The Gospel actually says that we ALL struggle because we ALL do wrong things. We’re ALL in the same boat. How this is racist, even according to Kendi’s erroneous definition of racism, is unclear. The Gospel is saying that if you sin, the primary consequence is death.

9. Kendi claims that the primary Gospel message breeds bigotry. No doubt he means by that any condemnation of behavior such as LGBTQ+, etc. Well, the Bible does condemn homosexuality; the Bible does teach that God made man male and female. Who are we to question God, or to say, “Why have you made me thus?” God tells us what is sin and what isn’t. God tells us what is spiritual pride and what isn’t. And God tells us that sin is bad and holiness is good. Because God says that, it is true, because truth is all the thoughts in the mind of God. God is utterly incapable of saying even one lie or untruth. So Kendi’s category of “bigotry” is unhelpful.

10. Kendi misunderstands who does the saving in evangelical theology. He thinks it is the evangelists! The Bible teaches that only God saves people – this is a fully Trinitarian salvation. When the preacher preaches, God the Holy Spirit, working where and when he wills, replaces hearts of stone with hearts of flesh so that these new hearts will want God. Before that, the Bible teaches, we are all dead in our trespasses and sins.

In summary, as I read this Daily Wire piece, I have to come to the conclusion that Kendi didn’t say even one fully correct thing about evangelical theology. His entire argument, therefore, is one big strawman.

The Far Left Formerly Mainstream Media

It was Nancy Pearcey who, as far as I know, coined the term “Formerly Mainstream Media”. I think it’s time to go one step beyond that, and call the likes of NYT, CNN, MSNBC, Wikipedia, Google, etc., the FLFMM: the Far Left Formerly Mainstream Media.

The “Far Left” part is important, because all of those media outlets now have a socialist/Marxist/communist agenda, which is what many including myself call the Far Left. But it’s not just the socialist agenda that worries me: it’s the fundamental assumptions. What is the epistemology of the Far Left? It is that truth is in the mouth of the oppressed person – a statement so utterly ridiculous that any sensible person should be able to reject it outright. However, that’s what the Marxist framework says. In particular, such an epistemology rejects the correct epistemology: truth is all the thoughts in the mind of God, and we can know truth either because it is in Scripture or because it corresponds to reality (being in Scripture is a subset of corresponding to reality – certainly not in conflict!).

The result of abandoning the correspondence theory of truth is that the FLFMM is now no longer reliable on anything at all. The FLFMM is now only an expert on, and can only tell you … what the FLFMM is saying. But as for whether what it’s saying corresponds to reality, that is no longer something you can assume at all.

The formerly mainstream media had already been thoroughly unreliable on science, technology, medicine, etc., for some years. But now it simply spews forth garbage on all matters.

Now if we contrast this with a newspaper like the Epoch Times, we find that they are very up-front about their bias: they are anti-communist (yay for them! Go it!). So when they write an article claiming that COVID specifically targets Communists, I can grin and move on. But the Epoch Times hasn’t abandoned the correspondence theory of truth, which means that it’s much more likely I will get reliable reporting from them. If someone quotes statement X from the FLFMM, then that’s a pretty convincing argument that “not X” is true.

What is the application for you? Ditch the FLFMM. They will only poison your mind with falsehood. If you want news, go with Epoch Times, Newsmax, Daily Wire, or Townhall. And there are others.

In summary, as the late Sir Roger Scruton said, “A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.” – Modern Philosophy: A Introduction and Survey.

The Myth of Self-Actualization

One of the more harmful ideas (among many) to come out of the progressive far left is the idea of self-actualization: you can be whoever or whatever you want to be. Examples abound, but the transgender movement is perhaps the starkest, with many people simply “identifying” as whatever gender they happen to want to be at the moment (this is all very fluid). What does the Bible say? For people made in the image of God – which is all human beings – there are only two genders, male and female. Science says the same thing: every single cell in a human body is gendered, because it either has XX chromosomes or XY chromosomes. That doesn’t change for anyone despite what they do to their bodies or minds.

Here’s an experiment that should DEFINITELY remain only a thought experiment (DON’T try this at home): imagine a person “identifies” as “weightless” and runs off a cliff to prove that he weighs nothing. What’s going to happen? He will come to a rather sticky end, I expect. What does it mean? That you can’t argue with reality by trying to create your own.

This is near and dear to the heart of the progressive movement: but it just ain’t so. God made you, and you are what you are. If you were born a boy, then you are male for the rest of your life. If you were born a girl, then you are female for the rest of your life.

Reality is hard-edged because God made it that way. Progressives are fairly unified on wanting to write God out of their equations, so it comes as no surprise that they want to rebel and become autonomous (literally “a law unto themselves”). It is hubris and arrogance of the first order, though: God has not only made everything including them, but he has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. And they want to rebel against that?!?

Redemptive Historical vs. Historical Grammatical Interpretation

In the Reformed world there is a mighty movement towards the redemptive historical interpretation of Scripture. This can look a number of different ways, and there are nuances. For example, Richard Gaffin simply thinks of Jesus Christ as the culmination of the history of redemption, which I would certainly agree with. Other writers see Jesus Christ as the central figure of all of Scripture. They might hem and haw, and say that Jesus is sometimes background and sometimes foreground. It is this latter view that I would challenge. There is another viewpoint that I think matches the patterns of Scripture better: the historical grammatical approach. In this view, the Old Testament is primarily about God the Father with the Son and Spirit present but more background. The gospels and Revelation are primarily about God the Son with the Father and Spirit present but more background. Acts through Jude are primarily about God the Spirit with the Father and Son present but more background. Seeing Jesus as the central figure of all of Scripture is simplistic in my mind, and doesn’t fit the Scriptural data as well as the historical grammatical approach. This explains more than just “Jesus is sometimes in the foreground, sometimes in the background” because it explains what is in the foreground when Jesus isn’t!

The doctrine of the Trinity is that the three persons of the Trinity are equal in power and glory. But the redemptive historical approach leads to preaching where the only person of God you practically ever hear about is God the Son: it is an over-emphasis on Jesus Christ at the expense of the Father and the Spirit – I would say especially of the Father: in Reformed pulpits, God the Father is hardly ever mentioned. In today’s world of fatherlessness and failed fathers (I certainly have my own failings), not mentioning God the Father is a missed opportunity. God the Father is the perfect father none of us have ever had, even if some of us (like myself) have good fathers.

So I believe we need to restore a more Trinitarian balance to how we view Scripture, and the historical grammatical approach fits the bill better than the redemptive historical.

Why Conservative Thought is More Right About More Things

I wrote the post Why Progressive Thought is Wrong About Most Things a few days ago, so the natural title for this post would be, “Why Conservative Thought is Right About Most Things.” I do think that, but it’s not exactly my fault. I am not a conservative firebrand advancing the dialogue and influencing people. So the more “conservative” title seemed more appropriate.

Like the last post, I want to hit the highlights of where I think conservative thought gets it right.

1. The solution to poverty is not redistribution of wealth in any way whatsoever. The church should alleviate true poverty, because the government is physically, ethically, and spiritually (and in any other way conceivable) unable to do the job. That is, it is completely impossible for the government to solve poverty. Individuals can help out, for sure, in some ways, though not all ways are created equal. I would just like to point out here that the conservative approach has often been mis-labeled as “heartless”. And I ask why? Conservatives would prefer individuals and the church to alleviate poverty, because that’s doable, as opposed to the government doing it because that’s not doable. How is that “heartless”?

2. Conservatives oppose statism. Statism is the entirely erroneous idea that it’s the government’s job to solve all our problems. In contrast, the conservative views it as the government’s job to solve a few very specific problems: crime and defense. I, for one, am willing to pay taxes for the government to maintain the roads, as well. I’d rather do that, despite it costing more, than pay tolls all the time. It is not the government’s job to educate, solve poverty, solve the COVID virus, promote science, perform all healthcare, or do any of a gigantic number of other things the government has taken on. The vast majority of these things are best done by individuals and private companies. Statism is actually a religion, and judging by the appearances, an extremely common one. The state becomes your god. Problem is, of course, that the state is way too small to function as god, so we have to beef it up. There’s no end to that process.

3. Conservatives oppose fundamentally wrong-headed approaches to racism such as Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and other Marxist nonsense. Racism is the sin of partiality applied to ethnic groups, and the solution is therefore (as it is with all sin) the gospel of Jesus Christ. The solution to racism is not to try to force equal outcomes on different ethnic groups, because that is communism and therefore oppressive. Why replace one kind of oppression with another, when you could replace it with nothing?

4. Conservatives believe in progress, but they believe in considered, careful progress. Conservatives believe there are old things worth preserving, as opposed to the nonsensical notion of the progressives that all progress is good for its own sake. (It is a complete strawman to claim that conservatives oppose all progress.) There can be no better rebuttal to the progressive notion than Caspian’s reply to Governor Gumpas in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Gumpas says, “Have you no idea of progress?” Caspian says, “I have seen them both in an egg. We call it going bad in Narnia.” Some change is bad, some change is good. It requires wisdom and careful thinking to evaluate which progress is good and which is bad.

5. Conservatives believe in different realms of authority, and that each realm of authority, while it can interact with other realms, needs to avoid invasion of other realms. These realms are: the individual, the family, the church, and the state. The state has the power of the sword to punish evildoers, not the church, nor the family, nor the individual. The church has the authority of preaching the gospel and administering the sacraments, not the family nor the state. You get the idea: to each realm (or sphere) of authority, there are powers granted by God. When the power of one sphere gets too large (such as the state today!), the balance is off and bad things happen such as oppression.

6. Conservatives believe that the family is the traditional family. Modern notions such as LGBT+ are entirely erroneous. God has defined marriage, and no one has the authority to change that definition. God has defined gender or sex, and no one has the authority to change that definition. Men have XY chromosomes in every single cell in their bodies, and women have XX chromosomes in every single cell in their bodies. Men have certain physical characteristics, and women others. They are different but complementary. God made men and women the way he did, and who are we to say, “Why have you made me thus?” The transgender movement is the height of arrogant folly, but man has always wanted a foolish autonomy against God, and this is just one more manifestation of the same, tired routine.

7. Conservatives believe that truth is what corresponds to reality, not whatever happens to be in the mouth of the oppressed person. Truth is not only “out there” to be discovered, but it means something to every person.

8. Conservatives believe that every single person is of immense worth in the sight of God. Abortion is murder, and therefore evil. Euthanasia is the same. Conservatives are pro-life, as opposed to the progressives who are anti-life. Notice, by the way, the terminology I used, here. Terminology is not neutral. When the Far Left Formerly Mainstream Media (FLFMM) call pro-lifers “anti-abortionists”, there is rhetoric going on, there, because most of the time, it is better to be seen as for something compared to be against something. So the FLFMM calls the anti-life people “pro-choice”, as if a woman’s choice to murder her own precious baby made in the image of God is a choice she should have at all. Again, the power of the sword does not belong to the individual!

Why Progressive Thought Is Wrong About Most Things

Let me preface this post by saying that every human being is made in the image of God, and that I am attacking ideas, not people. As the Bible commands us both to love everyone AND to take down every argument that sets itself up against God, it is apparently possible (contra many today) to attack ideas WITHOUT attacking the people who hold to those ideas.

Progressive thought has many facets to it, and it would be absurd to think I could address all of them in one blog post. I want to hit some highlights, especially some of the “sacred cows” that progressivism holds dear.

1. The solution to poverty is not redistribution of wealth in any way whatsoever. As Corbett and Fikkert wrote in their incredibly amazing book When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor… and Yourself, poverty is way too complicated a problem to be solved by simply throwing money at it. Poverty is a problem involving worldview questions, for crying out loud! The government is literally unable to solve poverty at all. Best if it doesn’t attempt it. The church should be doing this.

2. The solution to gun violence is not gun control laws, but quite the opposite. To this day, I have seen no serious attempt to answer the following argument: a. Violent criminals will not obey gun control laws and somehow fail to have guns. b. Violent criminals perpetrate the vast majority of gun-based violence in the world. c. Calling the police while violent crime is occurring is certainly a good thing to do, and should be done when possible, but if a violent criminal is bent on murdering people, the police will not be able to arrive quickly enough to stop him. This is particularly true of homicidal maniacs such as mass-murderers: they only want body count, and nothing like silly gun control laws are going to stop them. d. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun. While that last statement is certainly cliched, I state it here because I have seen no answer to this argument. Gun control people claim that they can “point to data” showing that gun control laws work. To that I would reply, “Show me the peer-reviewed published papers explaining either controlled experiments or observational studies with causality, including appropriately used statistics, preferably performed by a person or group that is not tied to government money in any way, showing what you claim.” On the other hand, John Lott, despite a few issues he’s had with some of his research, has still published enough data that strongly indicates that more gun ownership by law-abiding citizens equals less violent crime.

3. The solution to racism is not critical race theory, but biblical justice. First of all, progressives use the wrong definition of racism, trying to tie it all to systemic racism (which, while I think it might exist, doesn’t look at all like what the CRT folks say it does). The correct definition of racism is: the sin of partiality applied to ethnic groups. Ibram Kendi’s definition of racism as “a collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequality that are substantiated by racist ideas” is singularly unhelpful because it creates problems that didn’t exist before. All of a sudden, disparities are considered ipso facto evidence for racism, while ignoring inequalities like Asians and immigrant Nigerians both performing better than whites. Is he saying there is racism favoring Asians and immigrant Nigerians? Second of all, critical race theory is a Marxist ideology. Marxism is an amazingly naive, ham-fisted hasty generalization of history into a fight between the haves and the have-nots, however you define those groups. The fact is, um, no. History is much more complicated than that.

4. The solution to education is not public schooling but private and homeschooling. The public schools have essentially been in a steady decline since they were introduced in the mid-1800s, to the point now where the progressives don’t actually want the students to learn facts such as 2 + 2 = 4, but they want the white students to feel guilty about being white and privileged, and they want the black students to feel like victims, and may it never happen that real history makes its way into anyone’s head! The public schools have been a monumental success – at indoctrinating young people to accept government control over their lives. At educating people to be free, they’ve been a monumental failure. Private schools subject to normal market pressures and homeschools will absolutely destroy public schools in quality, as well as the ability to educate (not just train) free people. The primary responsibility for teaching young children rests with the parents, not the government or anybody else.

5. The solution to poor self-government is not more tyrannical laws and government control. One of the most central lies of progressivism is that of the innate goodness of man. The Bible says otherwise: no one is good, no, not one. No one seeks after God. We are basically bad, and we need a Savior. This, incidentally, is the solution to poor self-government: the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This last point is really at the heart of why progressivism is wrong: it believes fundamental lies like the innate goodness of man, that there is no God, that the Bible is irrelevant, and that truth is subjective and relative. When you start with such a non-existent foundation, is it any wonder that the “building” you “build” is shaky? It has no foundation!

The Best Book on Racism/Antiracism I’ve Read

Just finished – more like devoured – Voddie Baucham’s hot-off-the-press book “Fault Lines”.

It would be hard for me to overstate just how good a book this is. It shows how, while we do have something of a racism problem in the US, it:

  1. Doesn’t look anything like what the Far Left says it looks like,
  2. Isn’t defined the way the Far Left defines it,
  3. Actually has a solution (the gospel), and
  4. Is far smaller than the Far Left says it is.


Moreover, the Far Left presentation leans heavily on Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and other Marxist nonsense. Baucham shows why that underlying framework is all wrong.


Baucham is logical, biblical, and reasonable. He shows love for everyone in this book, as he should.


This is an important book, too: extremely strategic for conservatives. Why? Because the Far Left is getting all its ethical momentum from antiracism. Antiracism is, of course, not the main goal of the Far Left – that’s power. But antiracism is the club by which they are deceiving people in order to attain their own ends. The most important strategic thing conservatives need to do is strongly divorce antiracism from intersectionality. And this book does a phenomenal job of doing just that.
Take and read!