Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Darwin’s Doubt will debut at #7 on the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller List

Amazing news from Evolution News about the new book on the Cambrian explosion by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer.

Excerpt:

Judging the success of an idea in reaching and convincing a large audience is a tricky business. In putting your case to the public in books and articles, are you making progress, just holding steady, or losing ground to competitors? What you want is a solid, unambiguous metric. Hmm, as a measure of success in getting a particular argument before a large chunk of the thoughtful, book-reading public, how does a spot on the New York Times bestseller list sound?

That would do nicely. And in fact it is just what we are very pleased to report. As careful readers will already have discerned from the headline, Stephen Meyer’s new book, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, will debut this coming Sunday in the #7 place on the New York Times hardback nonfiction list. See it here.

[...]You’ll also see the book opening at #10 on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list. Find it here.

[...]We attribute these indications of really impressive progress to the scientific, philosophical and yes, cultural and even spiritual importance of Dr. Meyer’s book, the unprecedented rigor and scope of his argument, combined with a lucidly accessible style that bestselling novelist Dean Koontz has praised, saying that Meyer “writes beautifully” and “marshals complex information as well as any writer I’ve read.”

It doesn’t hurt either that this broadly interdisciplinary book has won accolades from scientists representing a variety of relevant fields, including Harvard geneticist George Church, Mt. Holyoke paleontologist Mark McMenamin, State University of New York biologist Scott Turner, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research biologist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, and others, scientists whose own works are published by sources like Harvard University Press and Columbia University Press.

Excitement from the media has also played a role in getting out the word. Dr. Meyer has been on the Michael Medved Show several times, on the Dennis Prager Show, the Dennis Miller Show, and many other national and local talk-radio programs. Not trivial either is the decision by Barnes & Noble to feature the book with in-store displays in 300 of its bookstores across the country, likely due in part to the strong sales record of Meyer’s first book, Signature in the Cell.

The summary from the New York Times bestseller list web page is spot-on: “The theory of intelligent design best explains the appearance of animals in the fossil record without apparent ancestors.” That’s what the book is about, for certain.

Wow. It’s not every day that I link to the New York Times! But this isn’t surprising, considering that Dr. Meyer’s new book is picking up a lot of endorsements from mainstream scientists. Here’s the most recent one, by Dr. Mark C. Biedebach of California State University, Long Beach.

Recall that Dr. Stephen C. Meyer’s first book was one of the best books of 2009 according to the Times Literary Supplement.

Excerpt:

Stephen C. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell: DNA and the evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperCollins) is a detailed account of the problem of how life came into existence from lifeless matter – something that had to happen before the process of biological evolution could begin. The controversy over Intelligent Design has so far focused mainly on whether the evolution of life since its beginnings can be explained entirely by natural selection and other non-purposive causes. Meyer takes up the prior question of how the immensely complex and exquisitely functional chemical structure of DNA, which cannot be explained by natural selection because it makes natural selection possible, could have originated without an intentional cause. He examines the history and present state of research on non-purposive chemical explanations of the origin of life, and argues that the available evidence offers no prospect of a credible naturalistic alternative to the hypothesis of an intentional cause. Meyer is a Christian, but atheists, and theists who believe God never intervenes in the natural world, will be instructed by his careful presentation of this fiendishly difficult problem.

The person who nominated his first book to that list was non other than atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel. If you haven’t read the first book, get them both and read them both. These are the scientific issues that everyone who is considering theism versus naturalism should be reading about.

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Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a pot-smoker who supported Obama

The Daily Caller reports.

Excerpt:

Chris Barry, who attended the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with Tsarnaev, described him as normal teenager who loved to smoke pot and cigarettes every day.

“He was a pot head, a normal pot head,” said Barry in an interview with Politico. “I couldn’t even imagine him being mad at someone let alone hurting someone.”

Tsarnaev, a Muslim, did not come across as strongly religious, said Barry.

“He never brought it up. It seemed like he could care less,” he said.

Tsarneav’s Twitter account provided clues about the suspected bomber’s political views. On November 6th, he retweeted several statements suggesting a preference for President Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

He retweeted a statement from President Obama’s Organizing for Action account that said: “This happened because of you. Thank you,” in reference to Obama’s victory.

He also retweeted a statement and a picture making fun of Romney. The Tweet said: “WTF Romney is winning ??” and linked to this image.

Not all left-wing people are crazy, but all crazy people are left-wing.

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Surprise, liberal media! Boston bombing suspects are Muslim foreigners

The secular leftist media was really hoping that those responsible for the Boston marathon bombing would be their political opponents.  “This time, Republicans for sure!” they said. “If a person is for lower taxes, less government spending, the right to life, and natural marriage, then they are hateful racist violent bigoted crazies!”

The Daily Caller explains:

The liberal online magazine Salon published an opinion piece Tuesday evening by columnist David Sirota entitled, “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American.”

Sirota argued that if the perpetrator of Monday’s bombing attack, which left at least three people dead, is identified as a Muslim, then conservative Republicans will use the tragedy to block Obama administration policy goals like immigration reform.

[...]Sirota is not the only liberal media commentator to attempt to politicize Monday’s tragedy. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer speculated on a link between Patriots Day and the motive behind the bombings, while NBC News reporter Luke Russert speculated that the 1993 Waco siege, which occurred on Patriots Day, might have inspired a right-wing terrorist in Boston.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof used the tragedy to attack Republican politicians, tweeting Monday, “Explosion is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment.” Kristof later apologized for the tweet.

Sirota has employed attention-grabbing, race-baiting rhetoric in the past.

Sirota said in December, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, that a new profiling system should be established to monitor mentally-ill individuals, but that Republicans would not support that effort because it would mean profiling white men.

Now you might think that’s racism and bigotry, but it’s not, because the mainstream media tells me that racism can never be committed by leftists.

And now let’s see what reality has to say about the speculations and wishing of the radical lefttists in the mainstream media.

Reuters / Yahoo News reports:

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev posted links to Islamic websites and others calling for Chechen independence on what appears to be his page on a Russian language social networking site.

Abusive comments in Russian and English were flooding onto Tsarnaev’s page on VK, a Russian-language social media site, on Friday after he was identified as a suspect in the bombing of the Boston marathon.

[...]On the site, the younger Tsarnaev identifies himself as a 2011 graduate of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, a public school in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

[...]His “World view” is listed as “Islam” and his “Personal priority” is “career and money”.

He has posted links to videos of fighters in the Syrian civil war and to Islamic web pages with titles like “Salamworld, my religion is Islam” and “There is no God but Allah, let that ring out in our hearts”.

He also has links to pages calling for independence for Chechnya, a region of Russia that lost its bid for secession after two wars in the 1990s.

It seems to me that the liberal media is trying to have it both ways. They want to agree with Kermit Gosnell on abortion, they want to agree with Floyd Lee Corkins III on gay marriage, they want to agree with Hugo Chavez on economics, and they want to sympathize with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on foreign policy. Then they want to believe that pro-family, pro-life, pro-child, free market capitalists are all radical terrorists. Sorry mainstream media, but you are the nutters. You are the crazies. You are the radicals.

See the related posts below for more leftist violence. The reality, which the mainstream media doesn’t want you to know, is that it is far more likely that violence is caused by the radical left. The radical right is too busy getting married, making babies, starting businesses, waking up to go to work, paying our taxes, helping our neighbors and listening to sermons in church. The radical right doesn’t have time for violence, we’re trying to live well and we are good at it.

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White House says no special counsel needed to investigate national security leaks

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

The White House on Monday dismissed calls for a special prosecutor to investigate the national security leaks that have prompted concern from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The New York Times recently reported that President Obama had approved “kill lists” for the U.S. drones strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. The newspaper also revealed the extent of U.S. involvement in cyber attacks on Iran. And other news outlets have leaked details of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said “it’s obvious” that the leaks “came from individuals who are in the administration. The president may not have done it himself, but the president is certainly responsible as commander-in-chief.”

[...]During a White House news conference Friday, Obama said, “The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive.  It’s wrong.  And people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office.”

Later that day, McCain responded in a statement, “What the President did not unequivocally say today is that none of the classified or highly sensitive information recently leaked to the media came from the White House. I continue to call on the President to immediately appoint a special counsel to fully investigate, and where necessary, prosecute these gravely serious breaches of our national security.”

[...]On Sunday, McCain — on CNN’s “State of the Union” — repeated that a special counsel should be appointed to lead the leaks investigation.

“I have great respect for the two individuals (the U.S. attorneys from D.C. and Maryland) that were appointed,” McCain told CNN. But he also noted that Eric Holder has no credibility with Congress.

“This needs a special counsel, someone entirely independent of the Justice Department,” McCain insisted – “someone with credibility like Mr. Bob Bennett.”

The response of the White House to being held accountable for leaking national security secrets to benefit their election campaign has been to be offended. I.e. – “how dare you accuse me of leaking secrets for political gain?” But everything points to a source within the White House for the leaks, up to and including Barack Obama himself.

I wrote previously about the leak on the British agent who foiled the recent bombing attack, as well. The Democrats are simply unreliable on national security and counter terrorism.  Even before that I wrote about the leak of information about the planned strike on Iran by Israel. And so on.

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Is the New York Times a reliable news source or leftist agitprop?

From the New York Times.

Excerpt:

In state after state, guns are being allowed in places once off-limits, like bars, college campuses and houses of worship. And gun rights advocates are seeking to expand the map still further, pushing federal legislation that would require states to honor other states’ concealed weapons permits. The House approved the bill last month; the Senate is expected to take it up next year.

The bedrock argument for this movement is that permit holders are law-abiding citizens who should be able to carry guns in public to protect themselves. “These are people who have proven themselves to be among the most responsible and safe members of our community,” the federal legislation’s author, Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, said on the House floor.

To assess that claim, The New York Times examined the permit program in North Carolina, one of a dwindling number of states where the identities of permit holders remain public. The review, encompassing the last five years, offers a rare, detailed look at how a liberalized concealed weapons law has played out in one state. And while it does not provide answers, it does raise questions.

More than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, excluding traffic-related crimes, over the five-year period, The Times found when it compared databases of recent criminal court cases and licensees. While the figure represents a small percentage of those with permits, more than 200 were convicted of felonies, including at least 10 who committed murder or manslaughter. All but two of the killers used a gun.

National Review explains what’s wrong with this analysis.

Excerpt:

All of these numbers are completely meaningless; in any large population, there will be some crime. The only way to see what these numbers mean is to compare concealed-carry holders to the general population. Fortunately, state-level murder data are easy to find.

North Carolina has a statewide murder rate of about 5 per 100,000. Even without counting manslaughter, that’s 25 murders committed per 100,000 North Carolinians every five years. There are about 230,000 valid concealed-carry permits in North Carolina, so by pure chance, you’d expect these folks to be responsible for nearly 60 murders over five years. And yet only ten of them committed murder or manslaughter. Instead of “rais[ing] questions,” the Times has demonstrated yet again that permit holders are more peaceful than the general population.

And do you know what else is missing from the New York Times analysis? Any investigation into the number of crimes prevented by defensive handgun usage by licensed concealed carry permit holders. After all, a good journalist would want to weight the bad consequences of a policy together with the good consequences, right? That would be a fair and balanced approach that would inform the readers instead of misleading them.

Do gun control laws reduce violent crime?

Here’s what happened after gun laws changed in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

Excerpt:

Murder and violent crime rates were supposed to soar after the Supreme Court struck down gun control laws in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Politicians predicted disaster. “More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence,” Washington’s Mayor Adrian Fenty warned the day the court made its decision.

Chicago’s Mayor Daley predicted that we would “go back to the Old West, you have a gun and I have a gun and we’ll settle it in the streets…”

The New York Times even editorialized this month about the Supreme Court’s “unwise” decision that there is a right for people “to keep guns in the home.”

But Armageddon never happened. Newly released data for Chicago shows that, as in Washington, murder and gun crime rates didn’t rise after the bans were eliminated — they plummeted. They have fallen much more than the national crime rate.

Not surprisingly, the national media have been completely silent about this news.

One can only imagine the coverage if crime rates had risen. In the first six months of this year, there were 14% fewer murders in Chicago compared to the first six months of last year – back when owning handguns was illegal. It was the largest drop in Chicago’s murder rate since the handgun ban went into effect in 1982.

Meanwhile, the other four most populous cities saw a total drop at the same time of only 6 percent.

Similarly, in the year after the 2008 “Heller” decision, the murder rate fell two-and-a-half times faster in Washington than in the rest of the country.

It also fell more than three as fast as in other cities that are close to Washington’s size. And murders in Washington have continued to fall.

If you compare the first six months of this year to the first six months of 2008, the same time immediately preceding the Supreme Court’s late June “Heller” decision, murders have now fallen by thirty-four percent.

Gun crimes also fell more than non-gun crimes.

Robberies with guns fell by 25%, while robberies without guns have fallen by eight percent. Assaults with guns fell by 37%, while assaults without guns fell by 12%.

Just as with right-to-carry laws, when law-abiding citizens have guns some criminals stop carrying theirs.

And it’s not just in big cities. MSNBC explains how legal gun ownership reduces crime.

Excerpt:

Americans overall are far less likely to be killed with a firearm than they were when it was much more difficult to obtain a concealed-weapons permit, according to statistics collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control. But researchers have not been able to establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

In the 1980s and ’90s, as the concealed-carry movement gained steam, Americans were killed by others with guns at the rate of about 5.66 per 100,000 population. In this decade, the rate has fallen to just over 4.07 per 100,000, a 28 percent drop. The decline follows a fivefold increase in the number of “shall-issue” and unrestricted concealed-carry states from 1986 to 2006.The highest gun homicide rate is in Washington, D.C., which has had the nation’s strictest gun-control laws for years and bans concealed carry: 20.50 deaths per 100,000 population, five times the general rate. The lowest rate, 1.12, is in Utah, which has such a liberal concealed weapons policy that most American adults can get a permit to carry a gun in Utah without even visiting the state.

The decline in gun homicides also comes as U.S. firearm sales are skyrocketing, according to federal background checks that are required for most gun sales. After holding stable at 8.5 to 9 million checks from 1999 to 2005, the FBI reported a surge to 10 million in 2006, 11 million in 2007, nearly 13 million in 2008 and more than 14 million last year, a 55 percent increase in just four years.

If you ever need to debate this, I recommend buying these academic studies published by the University of Chicago Press and by Harvard University Press. The former shows how crime rates dropped in the USA when Americans rescinded gun control laws, and the latter shows how crime rates rose in the UK when the British strengthened their gun control laws. Sometimes is good to have the data handy.

Want both sides? Then watch a debate on gun control

This debate is in 13 parts, featuring the two of the best proponents of legal firearm ownership – John Lott and Gary Kleck. The real sparks fly during the Q&A, so don’t miss that. (If you can’t watch the debate, then you can read this post and this post instead).

Here’s part 1, which contains the introduction.

Here are the remaining speeches:

This is everything you need to know about whether legal ownership of firearms reduce crime. And you get both sides – unlike in the New York Times.

Here is my previous article exposing the ignorance of NYT executive editor Bill Keller.

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