Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The proof of the pudding

The news about this anti-HIV drug discovery will put the question to those who like myself are more than slightly skeptical about the whole AIDS business (see Dean Esmay's blog, to which I don't go any more). But what if this drug does kill all the HIV anyone can find and people are still dying in Africa, like they have been for, oh, the past 100,000 years or so? Will anyone say then that HIV was the cause of "AIDS"? What do you bet they come up with a new theory that requires, surprise, surprise, billions of dollars of research funding and foreign aid to kleptocracies?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Parallel Idiocy
My thoughts are coming together on this cartoonGate matter:
This controversy reminds me of a story about an English Communist who went to Moscow in the Soviet era. He was so excited to be out of what he considered the "tyranny" of England that he took out a picture of Queen Elizabeth and stomped on it and tore it. He expected the Soviets to be as gleeful as he. But they were outraged. They threw him in jail, then deported him. Their argument was almost as religious as the Islamists. Their religion was authority. They saw any rebellion against what had been constituted as authority as dangerous and unacceptable. One of the aspects of Western culture the Islamists hate is our tolerance of anti-religious feeling. They are almost as outraged at cartoons deriding Jesus as at those mocking Mohammed. They don't riot when those come out because they figure before long Islam will replace Christianity, since Christianity is obviously too weak to defend itself against blasphemers.
Make no mistake about it. Their enemy is not Christianity. It's toleration, individualism, reason, and sanity itself.

This was in response to a post on Belgravia Dispatch with thoughts like this which are, shall I say, blind and "not helpful":
And, truth be told, that's not a message that's particularly helpful to propagate at this juncture. I mean, why describe one of the three great monotheistic religions on the planet, one that over a billion individuals call their own, as a terrorist faith?
Uh, because it IS a terrorist faith??

Monday, February 06, 2006

And in the collegial world of the Senate ...
Senator McCain drops the hammer on a rookie:
I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere.

Seven years in a tiger cage can put an edge on a guy. Sure, he's off his meds, but that's pretty good snark. So good, in fact, that I have to quote more:
But I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party’s effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness. Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isn’t always a priority for every one of us.
Who's the Senator addressed, you may ask? To find out, read the whole thing. You won't regret it. Really. But he rhymes with Osama. (via Drudge)
Islam v. Christianity = Rand v. Branden?
In response to a Dane on Noodlefood:
"Denmark for the past 25 years has been one of the main contributors in the efforts of creating a sovereign state of Palestine. " Well, that'll teach you! I find it interesting that the Muslims find it completely incomprehensible that a man can defend someone else's right to say something that he disagrees with. Or, to put it a different way, that because a man tolerates a certain form of expression, that doesn't necessarily mean he agrees with the content of the expression. This applies double for governments. Separation of church and state is a foreign concept in the Islamic world, much less separation of the press and the state. Muslims assume that if something's printed in the New York Times, George W. Bush personally approved it. As we all know, that couldn't be farther from the truth! Perhaps one religious saying: "render unto Caesar those things that are Caesar's and unto God that which is God's" has made a difference in the political consciousness of Christians, however much it has been ignored and belied in the last couple of thousand years.

I feel this comment summed up pretty neatly my ambivalence about Christianity and the state. Now Objectivists don't necessarily agree:
Just imagine how much would be lost if Europe slid into yet another Dark Ages, this time of Islam rather than Christianity. And if that happened, America would stand alone on the front lines of an ever-expanding cultural empire of Islam. Would we have the knowledge and determination to fight for the values of Western civilization? Or would we be overrun by our own Christian barbarians and embroiled in a religious war between two evils: Christianity and Islam?

Call me crazy, but I don't think our local "Christian barbarians" are anything like the threat represented by Hizbollah, Hamas, the Twelfth Imam moonbats and Bin Laden, especially when you throw nuclear weapons into the mix.
Trabzon in the news

But not for a good reason:
An Italian Catholic priest has been shot dead outside his church in north-east Turkey.

Police in the Black Sea port of Trabzon said they were searching for a teenage boy seen fleeing from the scene of the attack on Sunday.

So is Eastern Turkey significantly more moonbat-Moslem than the Aegean Coast and Istanbul? Duh. So I want to live there why again?
Holy Quartet
I've always wondered about this question:
Why not just declare Mohammed the Nephew of God and part of the Holy Quartet and have done with it? Making the Quran sacrosanct is in itself idolatrous. How can a man who received the Holy Word not be a god himself? To say he is a man is to admit that he and all his acts are capable of imperfection.

So I posted it to the comments section on this "paradox" post on Samizdata. This part of the post stimulated my thoughts:
So the objection to the cartoons cannot really be founded in the Islamic image-ban. They are clearly neither idolatry nor invitations to it. On the contrary, the insistance that a mocking representation amounts to a gross insult to the prophet is much more like idolatry in that sense: a demand that the man be revered as incapable of representation as God.

Does this have anything to do with the rejection of rationality? That's what brings that weird smile to the faces of the fanatics: the realization that what they're doing makes no sense at all but they can't help themselves. Of course that's what I feel when I have that fourth martini.