Saturday, March 8, 2008

Climate Change

Here we go again! The continued embarrassment of the climate and weather prognosticators at NOAA does little more than verify what we have all thought. Predicting weather is not as easy as picking nags off the green sheet at your local horse track. It is certainly more profitable. Science Daily from October 11, 2007 had an article about predictions for the upcoming winter. All of the information offered was supplied by NOAA.

As climate prediction goes, this is a very short range outlook. Unlike projections of fifty to a hundred years, this one is well within the parameters of reasonable predictive possibility. The above link will take you to the piece and reveal the 100% reversal from forecast to actuality. The ten bullet-points focus on various regions and emphasize their outlook. Just like “all politics is local,” we fully realize that the same may be said about weather. The massive snows which need to be removed from our personal driveways color our thinking on weather generally. I am far more concerned about my $400 heating bill than conditions nationwide. Speaking anecdotally, we enjoyed, according to the weather service, more rain and snow here in the Ozarks during February than any other time in recorded history. Unlike 2007, we had not one but three separate ice storms in January and February.

They also provided a graphic to depict the anticipated continental rise in temperatures for the winter which closely follow the template offered by the proponents of “global warming.” Pick your region on the map and consider how it matches the reality of your individual circumstance. I am certain that Ev, in Maine, is delighted to find the snows and cold he fought all winter were a figment of his imagination. My recently widowed sister-in-law in Chicago is now faced with problems of coping alone with declining temperatures and snow removal all contrary to predictions. With the exception of the Pacific Northwest, nearly every region was affected by these predictions.

It appears from the final paragraph of the article that these scientists are relying on complex computer modeling for their conclusions. The fallibility of this technique has been demonstrated repeatedly. In an earlier post, I asserted that these people don’t have windows in their buildings. We have signs in nature which are far more accurate in anticipating change in the weather than these guys come up with.

I had a friend in Arizona who relied upon an old Apache for his preparations for the upcoming winter season. He proved so reliable that my friend finally asked him what he used as a barometer. The aged warrior replied it was very simply a matter of observation of the world around him. “White man pile much wood on porch – winter be bad.” So much for wooly worms. (Or wooly bears for those of you in the great northeast.)

I have become convinced I would rather trust this relative of Geronimo than the multi- billion dollar funding of the expert government climatologists. Their greatest enemy today in the information age is the dreaded “archive.” One cannot throw out gratuitous predictions with any assurance they will not come back to haunt you. Various search engines pave the avenue to truth. Or, at least they allow us to verify that which has been stated but not confirmed. This emphasizes what I have encouraged you to do all along – check it for yourself. Weather, politics, church history, health, or anything else which seems acceptable may, upon cursory examination, be easily proven false.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Friday, March 7, 2008

American Civic Literacy

I will freely admit that my civic literacy is not as good as I thought. My disappointment in my score had me in a temporary funk until I examined those of college students at America’s premier universities. When I found I exceeded the results for senior college students my self esteem was somewhat restored but my disappointment then turned to their performance. I beat the college seniors by about 10% for the highest of the group and nearly doubled the median of the top fifty colleges. I would have imagined that this information was recent enough to be remembered. That is, of course, if they learned it in the first place.

If you would care to challenge their score and mine, you may take the test yourself. There are sixty multiple choice questions and it took me about fifteen minutes. Once complete, the web site computes your score and then furnishes you with the accumulated figures for the various universities. They approach the recap with a highly varied view including multiple tables representing various demographic, financial, and improvement (and reduction) rates for the schools. The result was considerable time spent examining the tables in excess of what I had spent on the test.

If you decide to venture into this examination please don’t blame me for your score. If you are an avid “Zion Beckons” reader, you should do at least as well as my clumsy effort. I wound up with that which would be a D+ in my high school. The students in all cases averaged an unequivocal F. God help us. These people are of voting age. I fully realize that a major in quantum physics doesn’t require a through knowledge of civics and history but being a citizen does. We all have responsibilities beyond our vocation.

It’s possible that the current political season has heightened awareness about civic matters as I listen to intentional misrepresentation of easily verifiable facts.. The media is particularly adept at positing a fractured view of both history and law. Unfortunately, the bulk of these false assertions go unchallenged. Recently I have heard at least three different individuals claim that the words, “separation of church and state” appear in our constitution. Maybe they are written in their copy but they are not in mine. As we are all aware, a lie repeated often enough sometimes becomes a conventional and accepted fact.

So, if you choose, have at it. If you share your score with me I promise not to reveal it unless you get at least fifty of the sixty questions correct. If by some act of Providence you “ace” it, please don’t ruin my day with the information. Let me keep a tiny measure of my self-worth.

One final thought which is off topic but I can’t wait for the “rant” to air it. Mr. Obama’s campaign is urging folks to stop using his middle name—Hussein. This prompted me to attempt to recall the middle name of the presidents from Roosevelt on. If you do likewise, I believe you will have little difficulty. For some reason they come to mind quite easily as a result of the repeated use they enjoyed. The only one which presented any difficulty was Reagan’s. Try it; it’s fun.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Words Have Meaning?

I found a tidbit this morning which provides a warning for every thinking person. From Harvard, that hallmark of higher education, comes an illustrative bit of conversation. The issue in point is the assignment of specified swimming hours for female Muslim students to accommodate Sharia law. It seems under that doctrine, females are not allowed to use public swimming pools and workout rooms in the presence of men. To respect their belief, they have assured their privacy by implementing special times for use of the facilities.

When questioned about the new policy of banning other students from the use of the pool, Harvard spokesman Bob Mitchell reportedly said: “No, no, we’re permitting them to work out in an environment that accommodates their religion.”

The essence of the reporters response was; “by banning all men from the facility, right?”

“It’s not banning. We’re allowing, we’re accommodating people.”

Apparently now the meaning of “allow” and “banning” have become synonymous. It would seem that Harvard’s reputation for academic excellence permits them to become the arbiter of revised definition. Let’s hope this practice is limited to interpretation of Sharia law. This exercise in political correctness would be funny if it were not so prevalent in society. When any so-called improvement in human relations requires “new think” and “new speak” we are collectively on a slippery slope. Mr. Orwell covered this extremely well in his revealing book, 1984.

The issue raises other questions as well. How do they get to the pool? Since they are forbidden to drive themselves one assumes they must be driven there by males of a suitable relationship – father, brother, husband, etc. Must they continue, in the absence of men, to wear the ever present burkka while splashing about? No, I don’t think I should even go there. There is absolutely no question in my mind that swimming in a burkka would provide some valuable exercise.

We may now add this matter to the ever growing pile of accommodation we make for our Muslim brethren. Foot washers in airports, no booze carried in taxis, no free-speech cartoons, a dual legal system allowing tribal murder of innocent young women and polygamy are just a few of the “accommodations” we have either implemented or have been seriously proposed.

Inasmuch as most of the 1.2 billion, that’s with a “b”, Muslims are not that far removed from routine use of stone tools are they the ones who should dictate the rules of our country? We live in a highly diverse society, unique in the world, which has managed to rise up as the model for life and government on the planet. While homogenization is vital to maintaining the peace and tranquility of our peoples; we should guard against allowing any single group from dominating the process.

That’s just my opinion; I could be wrong.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Random Thoughts

After a thoroughly delightful visit with our house guest for a few days, life may now return to normal and the pursuance of tidbits from the internet. We have tons of information fed to us on a daily basis. Some is useful. Some is too biased to use. Some is “preaching to the choir.” Most important, this information often provokes further independent thought and consideration..

For example I ran across a piece praising the contribution of Western Civilization to the collective benefit of the world in a wide range of areas. The author held the view that if the offerings of the Western world were denied to all peoples it would be tragic. Suffering and deprivation, widespread in the third world, would be even greater than it is now. So called “Western” nations, mostly with democratic governments of one sort or another, have been the purveyors of assistance, invention, and innovation to populations world-wide.

A quick glance at a World Almanac substantiates his assertion. It doesn’t take a genius in statistical analysis to quantify the results. Obviously our advances in scientific fields have a trickle down affect on humans generally. When citing specific examples, one of the more dramatic was during the Indonesia tsunami event. In that circumstance, the US and other countries were able to furnish immediate and massive efforts of relief for huge numbers of people affected by the tragedy. I would imagine the presence of a fully equipped hospital ship and supply vessels flying the stars and stripes would be most welcome if you had just lost your home and all else and were injured. These vital port calls were made in response to need and not political expediency.

African residents living in what we would consider squalor have had death rates in the millions over the years as a result of mosquito borne malaria. As a result of Western science many millions now use bed netting permeated with DDT to ward off these insects. If you have lost family members and friends to this insidious plague, the results of western technology are unquestionably most welcome.

The extraction of $100 a barrel oil in the Middle East is only possible with the techniques developed in the Western World and with the on site assistance of technicians and other experienced workers. Without the Western supplied infrastructure to turn raw iron ore into pipe and the other equipment necessary for recovery of subterranean deposits, the wealth of the nations involved would disappear. Not even a Prius will run on goat’s milk.

Certain characteristics of Western society provide the atmosphere in which our ability to contribute to the world at large may exist. Among them is non-theocratic rule, promotion of individual initiative, rationalism, equality, human rights, property rights and most important, liberty. Even the concept of abolition of slavery was of Western invention. The African tribes which practiced this despicable concept held no interest in bringing it to a halt.

We are constantly lectured by the rest of the world for our imagined failures when in point of fact these diatribes are most often based upon jealousies of our hard won progress. The West has advantages which came about by toil and determination to live up to the God given responsibilities we have been assigned. One of the authors I read expressed it best: “The West has no use for sanctimonious homilies from societies that cannot provide clean drinking water or sewage systems . . . ”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 27

We have been blessed this weekend with a house guest. Our brother in Christ, Hartley Stanbridge has been visiting.

Yesterday, we joined with the congregation in Miami, Oklahoma for Sunday school, and a communion service with the venerable Roy Reis providing the message. We all retired to a local restaurant for companionship and sprightly conversation. Despite having lively discussions, we were overjoyed to be with others who are “on the same page.” We are all strident apologists of the faith but it is sometimes a relief not to have that as our primary role.

This later led to discussions of the conflict of religion and faith. Messianic zeal is wholly appropriate when the actual Messiah is present or felt in the midst of the faithful. For the true believer, there is little doubt of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Our lives are filled with testimony, both ours and others, of His presence and activity in our daily lives. Who has not been thrilled by a brother or sister miraculously healed or otherwise assisted? When directed to a solution to one of life’s myriad problems we rejoice in the response of the Lord to our entreaties. Sharing these events form a vital part of the foundation of our total belief system. We constantly have opportunities to share these happenings both in formal and informal settings.

We are surrounded in the “world” also by those who seek to advance a particular cause or agenda by attaching that assumed level of fervor. However, fervor without the favor of God is insufficient to advance the supposedly noblest cause. It can easily generate excitement by taking on the trappings of religious zeal but lacks the “real meat” to permanently advance what ever they seek. Among others, socialism, global warming, political candidates, and other endless crusades attempt to wrap themselves in a cloak of righteousness to advance their cause. They all require that we accept on faith their tenets for some future success. Lacking the constant input of testimonies and hard evidence they must rely on emotional appeals and utopian dreams. One battle cry has become so common it has become a clich√©; “it’s for the children.” This tiresome claim joins other emotional appeals to support the cause “de jour.” These folks do satisfy one of the definitions of religion inasmuch as they do proclaim their beliefs in blind obedience.

Given the happy circumstances over the weekend, I think I’ll stick with the real McCoy.

I’m off to entertain our guest but I do promise more soon.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon