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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.

“To Be” in Passive Voice

English, like most languages, does not have a passive voice for the verb “to be”. While there clearly isn’t much call for such a construction, how do we express the truth that God is continually causing the universe to continue to exist? Every moment I am alive, every moment I exist, is there because God actively wills it to be so.

I am being ammed.

Response to David French

David French recently wrote this article, which a fellow member of my church pointed out to me. I have now read it, and I have to admit being rather dismayed at its contents. It has what I would regard as numerous errors, mis-characterizations, and fallacies in it. I found it singularly unhelpful. Here’s a list:

1. He writes, “What I did not think, at any point, was that I was reading an idea fundamentally at odds with orthodox Christianity.” That is a large portion of what I have been laboring to show in some of my posts here. CRT has fundamental assumptions very much at odds with Christianity (the nature of truth and revelation, materialism vs. supernaturalism, postmodern anti-meta-narrative versus the Bible as meta-narrative, and many others). CRT distances itself from logic, which, as we have seen, we get from the Bible. CRT arrives at conclusions at odds with Christianity, including Kendi’s idea of discrimination to reduce disparities. CRT is anti-biblical, does not gain us any insight into racism that the Bible does not already give us, and therefore, we believe, is to be rejected. As Voddie Baucham would say, “It is not a helpful framework for understanding racism.” 

2. French is slightly off when he says that CRT is one aspect of critical theory. CRT inherits more from Critical Legal Studies than it does from Critical Theory. This may be nit-picking, as Critical Legal Studies does come from Critical Theory. 

3. French writes, ” … and there are ways in which CRT’s historical and legal analyses can help us better understand our nation and our culture.” I deny that. I believe CRT distorts history and law in its analyses. How is that helpful? The 1619 Project is a case in point: heavily promoted by CRT advocates, the 1619 Project, riddled with errors, seeks to do revisionist history. I don’t see that as helpful. What is helpful is to see history as it is, to see slavery as the horror it really was, to see Reconstruction as the helpless aggravation that it was, etc. 

4. Crenshaw’s article, which is certainly one of the seminal papers in CRT – it’s where we get Intersectionality – starts from the point of view of feminism, which I think also has many points at odds with Christianity. I am a firm complementarian myself, because I believe that is the biblical notion of manliness and femininity. I’m guessing French does not see the flaws in feminism? Her article seems rather circular (either that, or “proof by repeated assertion”) to me – simply assuming that her idea of intersectionality is the solution to the problem, but not providing any hard evidence for that claim. One paragraph in Crenshaw’s article appears to commit the argument ad ignorantium fallacy (arguing from ignorance):

“The court’s rulings on Moore’s sex and race claim left her with such a small statistical sample that even if she had proved that there were qualified Black women, she could not have shown discrimination under a disparate impact theory. Moore illustrates yet another way that antidiscrimination doctrine essentially erases Black women’s distinct experiences and, as a result, deems their discrimination complaints groundless.” – p. 146.

Granted that the lack of a sufficient sample size is frustrating, how can she extrapolate from lack of sample size to discrimination? She appears to reason like this: the lack of sample size is itself evidence of discrimination. It’s either arguing from ignorance, or it’s circular. I won’t take the time to critique Crenshaw’s entire article here. Doubtless that has been done adequately elsewhere, given its importance.

5. French’s comments about Resolution 9 are apparently not informed by Voddie Baucham’s extensive critique of it. It’s hard to read Baucham’s account of the history of Resolution 9 (confirmed by others) without coming to the conclusion that there was significant funny business going on: what the committee submitted got changed to mean almost the opposite. This is all in Baucham’s book Fault Lines. I wouldn’t call Resolution 9 “common sense”. 

6. French isn’t the only person to claim that Rufo and other conservatives have “redefined” CRT. Joy Reid of MSNBC once interviewed Rufo and accused him of coming up with Christopher Rufo Theory – a very clever, but ultimately thin attack. I do not agree that Rufo and other conservatives have fundamentally mis-characterized CRT. When I read Rufo, and I compare with Kendi and DiAngelo, it does not appear to me that Rufo is off-base in his descriptions. Perhaps it’s extreme of Rufo to “put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category,” but there’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever that a very significant portion of our current cultural insanity does, indeed, come from CRT. 

7. I disagree with French’s assessment of the TN bill. Reading the relevant portions is like reading DiAngelo, and parts of Kendi as well. Perhaps French is saying that Kendi and DiAngelo are not “worth their salt”? 

8. I do not agree with French’s characterization of a “closed mind”. I think it was Chesterton or some such who said, “An open mind is a fine thing, but it is meant to close on the truth.” Open minds are not automatically better ones if they are open to every sway of doctrine. A mind should be trying continually to conform more and more to the Bible. Once a mind closes on a truth such as, “Jesus Christ is the Son of God, fully God and fully man”, that mind should not be open to opposing doctrines in the sense of being willing to believe them. We must always be open to what the Bible and biblically-based logic say, and humbly recognize how sin clouds our judgment. A closed mind can be a wonderful thing if it is closed on the truth (not closed from the truth, of course!) Moreover, it is not in the least arrogant to close on the truth, despite what the postmoderns would – and do – say. Finally, it is possible for an individual to delve into a topic like CRT, find out enough of what it is, reject it, and move on with life and ignore CRT from then on with no ill effect. It is not everyone’s calling to fight every heresy, contra what the CRT folks – especially Kendi – say. 

9. The paragraph right before “One more thing…” beginning with “This is the exact wrong time … ” near the end reaches entirely erroneous conclusions, to my mind. Ecclesiastes says “There is nothing new under the sun.” CRT isn’t really new, it’s a rehashing of old ideas. Correct theology is also nearly always old, not new. As my brother Lane, an OPC pastor in Illinois likes to say, “When you do theology, you have to go deep, not broad. Broad is the danger zone of heresy.” You have to stay inside the bounds of the old creeds that so accurately reflect what the Bible says. There’s plenty of room to go deep! The brightest minds ever to have lived (thinking here of John Owens, for example) spent their entire lives studying the Bible, and never even began to scratch its surface, really. Sometimes the accusation of “CRT” is spot-on. I think that what we need is mostly for the so-called “new ideas” to show themselves a failure so that we can get back to the business of preserving and implementing the old ideas that are good. Sure there can be good new ideas: no conservative I have ever read is opposed to progress. But we conservatives always ask the question: progress from what to what? It’s just what Caspian said in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: “I have seen them both in an egg. We call it ‘going bad’ in Narnia.” (Read what Gumpas says just before that for context.) This, of course, assumes that we have a measuring stick to say “That’s good, and this is bad.” In fact, there are three questions that Thomas Sowell has taught us to ask: 1. Compared to what? 2. At what cost? 3. What hard evidence do you have? Most progressive ideas fail utterly at one or more of these. 

Is there anything I can agree with French on? Well, I can certainly agree that Christians in general shouldn’t shy away from difficult debates, whether that’s concerning race and justice or anything else. As I’ve already said, I don’t think it’s necessarily every Christian’s calling to engage in such debates, but those who are called to such things should go for it. French appears to approve of the general modus operandi of Christian writers such as Shenvi, as well as conservative writers such as McWhorter. I certainly have good value for those writers. And I certainly agree that the extreme manifestations of CRT clash with Christianity; though, as above, I would also argue that mainline CRT also clashes with Christianity. 

A New Sport: Paper Bashing

It’s fun: you take an average “scientific” paper, find its statistical flaws, and hence show that the paper says virtually nothing. I’ll start:

The paper “Associations of BNT162b2 vaccination with SARS-CoV-2 infection and hospital admission and death with covid-19 in nursing homes and healthcare workers in Catalonia: prospective cohort study” has the following issue:

The authors appear to be using propensity scoring (indicated by the phrase “standardized mean difference”) to control for confounders. This popular but controversial process requires a fundamental assumption of ignorability which is routinely simply assumed. Here is Judea Pearl, one of the founders of the New Causal Revolution, on propensity scoring:

Subsequent empirical studies, however, have taken a more critical view of propensity score, noting with disappointment that a substantial bias is sometimes measured when careful comparisons are made to results of clinical studies (Smith and Todd 2005; Luellen et al. 2005; Peikes et al. 2008). – Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference, 2nd Ed., by Judea Pearl, p. 350. 

This casts doubt on the paper’s statistical methodology: to what extent could propensity scoring be biasing their results? Conditioning or adjusting for every possible confounder has been shown to be incorrect. It matters greatly how the variables influence each other, and which variables influence each other, as to whether you should condition on a particular variable. Indeed, one of the primary results of the New Causal Revolution is a correct definition of confounder: a confounder is a variable that sets up a backdoor path. The method used by the paper is not going to uncover that.

Here’s another paper: “Effect of Vaccination on Transmission of SARS-CoV-2”. In this paper, there was no discussion at all about how to determine which variables to adjust for: they simply adjusted for a whole raft of variables; this is a considerably worse approach than the BMJ paper above. Confounders are not equivalent to correlates. If you adjust for a mediator variable, for example, you will (usually) get the wrong answer.

Gun Control: Its Stupidity and Untruths

Just saw this news item from Townhall, and I have to say that the misunderstandings under which David Hogg are laboring are legion.

First of all, he claims that “The filibuster is causing ‘so many people to die every year.'” That’s a confusion on so many levels. The crazy, whacked-out genocidal maniacs are causing people to die every year, not the filibuster. In the article, Hogg is quoted as saying:

“While it is important to address how somebody like the shooter at my high school was able to get an AR-15, we need to address why the racism that drove him to pick up that gun, the anti-Semitism, the intolerance, the xenophobia, and other forms of intolerance that cause people to want to pick up a gun in the first place, and that’s why we’re urging the Biden administration to create a national directorate of gun violence prevention with no Senate confirmation necessary that could provide a holistic approach and inform the president on how to address this emergency in the United States.” 

Hogg fails to mention the really critical piece: what we actually need to address is why his high school is (probably, since it’s a public school) a gun-free zone, and why teachers don’t carry pistols.

The fact is that it is literally impossible to prevent people from getting most any firearm they want (maybe machine guns are a tad harder, but I imagine there are ways to get them, too), whether legal or illegal. Anyone bent on human destruction of that magnitude isn’t going to balk at some silly gun control laws. But what the mass murderers want is body count. So they’re going to go somewhere they can get it: gun-free zones and easy targets. Have you ever heard of a mass murderer targeting a police station? Or a gun range? I seriously doubt that would ever happen, and for the same reason that violent criminals look for easy targets.

The best way to prevent school violence is to arm the teachers. Some people, perhaps, might not want to pack, so don’t make it a requirement. But definitely make it encouraged!

So why the emphasis on gun control? Well, as always, there are at least two explanations. One is that gun control activists really are as naive as they sound – they really think that gun control laws are going to help with gun violence. The data suggests otherwise. All you have to do is look at Switzerland, a land that until recently required gun ownership of all citizens, and look at its absolutely tiny violent crime rate per capita compared with, say, Chicago, and it’s hard to think of that as anything other than a very significant data point. Big cities with restrictive gun control laws have more violent crime. Cities with very few restrictions on our Constitutionally-provided right to bear arms have much less violent crime. Very suggestive, if not conclusive. The other explanation is more sinister: gun control activists are aware that their stupid gun control laws aren’t going to reduce violent crime, but they want to disarm the law-abiding citizen so as to make him more controllable. Either way, gun control laws should be fought vigorously, because they only make any problem much worse.

“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.