It seems that pro-lifers are not-so pro-life. According to a recent Gallup poll, 46 percent of Americans identify as pro-life, but only 18 percent say that abortion should be “illegal in all” circumstances. So what accounts for this moral confusion?
For one thing, the ease with which we rationalize morality down.
It goes something like this: Imagine an exceptional circumstance to a moral issue and subject it to a moral calculus until what is morally prohibitive becomes morally acceptable, if not commendable.
In the abortion rights debate, those exceptions are rape, incest, and health of the mother—circumstances with high empathy quotients, especially when imagining a wife, daughter, sister, or oneself as a victim. People who poll pro-life, yet support some form of legalized abortion, have concluded it would be too difficult, unloving, or cruel for a woman to bear a child under those conditions.
Often their reasoning follows an alluring Golden Rule logic: “loving neighbor as self” means sparing him from any consequence I would want [my wife, daughter, sister, myself] to be spared from.
Further tipping the scale is that with a million abortions per year, nearly everyone knows a friend, neighbor, coworker, or family member who has had one. Thus, a person who deems abortion in the abstract as morally wrong, can be less inclined to be so when circumstances are real and close to home.
But let’s examine the calculus. Read on here.
With gay ersatzrimony having the imprimatur of the State, and homosexuality enjoying a positive swing in popular opinion, the only thing standing athwart homosexualism is the Church, which is finding itself increasingly the object of neosexualist agitations.
Two weeks after Obergefell v. Hodges, a liberal firestorm erupted when a Catholic priest in Louisiana withheld communion from Tim Ardillo during his mother’s funeral because of his “marriage” to another man. Apologies (!) from the Diocese of Baton Rouge and Archbishop of New Orleans quickly followed.
Channeling Pope Francis, a diocesan spokesman, opined, “We don’t deny people communion… Who are we to judge whether they believe [the church’s teachings on the communion] or not?” (Emphasis added.)
Rev. Roger Keeler of the Canon Law Society of America also weighed in, saying, “Being married outside the church should not be used to deny someone the Eucharist.” Note to Rev. Keeler: Mr. Ardillo was not married; as the attendant priest was aware, the communicant was “married”—that is, cohabiting with his sexual partner and in a state of unrepentant sin, which according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church is appropriate grounds for withholding communion.
What’s more, mea culpas and accommodationist overtones have little purchase in the fever swamps where religious objections are considered bigotry parading in clerical vestments.
Take Tim Gill a mega-rich LGBT activist who vowed “We’re going to punish the wicked,” which, according to his moral lights is anyone (person, business, or organization) wanting an exemption from participating in same-sex ceremonies. Or Equality Ohio, a LGBT activist group that announced it will go after churches—in particular, Catholic churches—that refuse to make their facilities available for events contrary to their religious beliefs. Or Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality that sponsored a colloquium of experts “to contest and reframe the utilization of religious exemptions to civil rights laws.”
What the punishers get and the punished don’t, is that Obergefell put an expiration date on the religious exemption, a point I’ll come back to in a moment. Read on here.
In a criticism of creation and intelligent design, Carl Sagan famously quipped, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” What bypassed the critical filters of the late science popularizer is that the extraordinary theories concocted by materialistic scientists not only lack extraordinary evidence, they lack any evidence, and in some cases, any possibility for evidence. Panspermia, parallel worlds, and the multiverse come immediately to mind.
Nevertheless, it seems, some researchers are stumbling upon more truth than they know.
Upturns and Crazy Notions
When astronomer Edwin Hubble detected the expansion of the universe from the light of distant stars in 1929, it upturned the reigning “steady-state” model of the day, by indicating the universe had a beginning, starting with a bang. Ever since, scientists have been banging their heads over what caused it.
Today, a trio of Canadian scientists is upturning that notion with a pinch of theoretical physics and a heap of mathematical prestidigitation. Instead of a “big,” physics-defying “bang” in the quantum vacuum, our universe was created, they say, when a dying star in a four-dimensional universe collapsed into a four-dimensional black hole, generating a three-dimensional event horizon. In other words, our universe came from a higher dimensional reality.
An added implication of their math magic is that the event horizon—our cosmic home—is a hologram of its higher dimensional “parent.”
Now, I have to confess when I first read about this my “baloney detector” went off scale, and I lumped it together with the sci-fi fantasies of wormholes, time-tunneling, and such, not giving it a second thought. Then, a few days later, my wife, peering over her iPad, asked, “Hon, did you see the piece about the universe coming from a four-dimensional black hole?”
“How about that, huh?”
“That our universe was produced by higher dimensional one.”
“Uh, uh … Oh, yeahhh! Heck, I missed that altogether! Thanks, dear.”
Where Miracles Happen
The biblical narrative tells of creation by an ultra-dimensional Being (God) in a hyper-spatial realm (heaven). It also tells of him operating within creation to sustain it and, on occasion, “interfere” with the “natural” course of events to do the “miraculous.” A hyper-spatial region woven into the “fabric” of a three-dimensional cosmos might account for how he could do so, effortlessly and omnipresently. Let me explain.
Imagine yourself as a two-dimensional person in a flat world without height or depth, only length and width. Every obstacle you encounter, no matter how skinny or long, you must go around to get beyond. However, if you were to suddenly gain another dimension in stature (height), you could effortlessly step over (or under!) the obstacle, privileging your 2-D neighbors to witness a “miracle.”
One of the teasing things about hyperspace is that what is difficult-to-impossible in lower dimensions is easy in higher ones; another, is that things become more simple and unified.
In his theories of relativity, Albert Einstein demonstrated that matter, energy, space, and time are interconnected and interdependent. If we follow Einstein’s insights a step farther and imagine hyperspace filling the interstitial regions of spacetime, we can understand how God can be “with us” at all times and all places, how with him all things are possible, and how what seem to be inviolable laws of nature can be violated by him.
We can also see how the material (3-D) body and the immaterial (ultra-dimensional) spirit co-exist and cooperate to form the “self,” or as the Bible puts it, a “living soul.” And how human consciousness, thought, creativity, moral agency, will, shame, guilt, and the like are immaterial functions of the self that enable it to interact with the world, seen and unseen, rather than bio-chemical phenomena produced by neural impulses, as the philosophical materialist would have us believe.
Now, to the notion that our world is a hologram of a hyper-dimensionality. Read on here.
Never letting a serious crisis go to waste, climate change advocates seized upon hurricanes Harvey and Irma as evidence that climate change is real and happening, its effects devastating, and without drastic remedial measures global cataclysm is inevitable.
Joining in was Pope Francis. While Irma was hammering the Florida coast, El Papa warned against inaction, predicting, “History will judge our decision.”
In his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’, Francis stated that climate change “is a global problem with grave implications.” So grave, that it was the only issue he raised to the level of moral urgency during his talk later that year at the White House, one day after the U.S. Congress blocked a pro-life bill aimed at banning late-term abortions.
For those who may have doubts on these matters, Francis counsels “go to the scientists… [who] speak very clearly…telling us which path to follow.”
However, there are scientists who come to very different conclusions. Like those in the Royal Astronomical Society who less than two months after Laudato Si’ warned of a “mini-Ice Age” by mid-century caused by carbon irregularities in the sun’s solar cycle. There are also the 31,000 climatologists, meteorologists, physicists and other scientists who signed the Global Warming Petition stating,
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.
As to how credentialed experts can look at the same sets of data and come to diametrically opposed conclusions, the late astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle pulled back the wizard’s curtain:
It is a mistake to suppose that science is an unswerving pursuit of objective truth. Partially it is, but only to the extent that the truth does not turn out to contradict what has already been taught in the educational process.
Indeed, confirmation bias and groupthink can affect scientists as well as anyone else, leading to conclusions that are wrong, very wrong. Remember Ptolemaic geocetrism, Newtonian determinism, spacetime absolutism and, only few decades back, global cooling? In fact, if scientific opinion is to be taken as the ultimate litmus test, then the Christian belief in ex nihilo creation by the Creator will have to go for molecules-to-man evolution.
Science can also be strongly influenced by ideology, whether it’s scientific materialism in which all phenomena are reduced to material causes, or radical environmentalism which holds that there’s nothing ailing Mother Earth that couldn’t be made better by population control.
Then there are the corrupting influences of personal interests. In a jibe about climate change skeptics, Al Gore once quipped, “You can’t make somebody understand something if their salary depends upon them not understanding it.” Well, that applies equally to climate change proponents.
In the science arena, every research project is in competition with every other for research dollars. In a marketplace economy, those who capture public interest and convince funding institutions of technical merit come out on top. A proven formula is projecting a sense of urgency with visions of the apocalyptic.
Early in the debate, global warming activist, Steven Schneider, tipped the hand:
To capture the public’s imagination … we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
Sure enough, imaginative depictions of shrinking coastlines, flooded cities, mass extinctions, and polar bears clinging to melting ice drifts created a “tipping point” that bypassed critical analysis and cleared the way for a new social movement.
Once public awareness is raised, politicians and grant institutions respond to the perceived crisis by creating budgets and allocating funds which, in the case of climate-change, are in the many of billions of dollars.
With visions of new labs dancing in their heads, department heads scramble to tie their programs, however tangentially, to global warming. Programs that confirm the paradigm and call for new emission regulations, serve to expand the power of politicos who, in turn, exercise that power to fund more research. See how this works?
The self-feeding process receives a steady energy supplement from mainline media giving headline coverage to the latest dire prediction while ignoring objections of credentialed experts.
And don’t forget star power. Robert Redford, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Pharrell Williams are but a few of the celebs who have come out, making climate change socially conscious and all so chic.
My technical expertise is in nuclear science with 30 years of experience in radioactive effluent modeling involving meteorological transport. I know, first hand, how easy it is to give computer models far more credibility than they deserve. For example, a “good” environmental dispersion model can be easily off by a factor of ten. That’s because they are based on idealized conditions that do not adequately account for micro-meteorological effects, small-scale topographical conditions, and chaos processes whose influences can produce major unforeseen effects.
In the case of global warming, the combinatorial effects and feedback mechanisms of land, sea, solar, and human activity are even less well understood and, in some cases, unpredictable, making modeling results far less reliable, especially for timeframes decades in the future. A cautionary tale to anyone banking on long-term weather predictions, were the hour-to-hour revisions of Irma’s path made by dozens of the most sophisticated models on the planet using real-time data.
However, if Pope Francis is right that history will judge us, we need to decide what, if any, action is called for by asking four questions: Read on here.