Monday, September 28, 2009

Blog Tour: 9/20 - 9/26

Wherein I look around the web - hopefully once a week - and draw some attention to things I see there that interest me.

If you want to know where I go, look at the links on the left of my blog under "Places I Frequent". From there, I will go places those places may point me. Typically, I will also list up to three of my favorite posts from the current Christian Carnival - and may go somewhere those blogs take me.

Sometimes they will be topically organized, and sometimes just in order of the links I visited. Enjoy:

  • Christian Carnival posts:
    • When someone asks you why you believe in the bible, you should be able to offer a clear explanation. Angela Williams Duea has more at "Why I believe the bible is the inspired word of God" posted at angelawd
      In order to show that a book is inspired by God, there are several tests that can be applied. The bible satisfies all these tests.The bible satisfies all these tests.
    • Rey at The Bible Archive examines "Federal Headship vs. Corporate Solidarity in Romans 5:12"
      A while ago, I shared some rambling thoughts on Romans 5:12 trying to decide how Paul envisions our relationship to Adam: is it akin to that of a Federal Head (whereby he acts as a representative for the whole within a covenantal situation and the whole’s decision is subsumed in his action) or to that of Corporate Solidarity (whereby people identify and unite in the way an individual, head of the family, leader—whatever—acts ). In this post I want to see how people have assumed one view and point out where I think the text leans.
    • Greg at The Practical Christian marvels at the concept of "Walking in the Light" - both in the future and now:
      For believers it’s almost overwhelming to think of the day we can walk in the light of the Lord. BUT WE ALREADY ARE!
  • Two places mention discussion in Washington about taxing soda to help pay for health care reform:
    • William Saletan at Slate with "Then They Came for the Fresca" [HT: Volokh Conspiracy]:
      A nonalcoholic sequel to the Whiskey Rebellion seems to be brewing. And Slate may be joining it. I'll call it the Fresca Rebellion, in honor of our editor, David Plotz, a hard-core addict
    • Emily at WorldMagBlog looks at the issue as well with "Hey! Soda is bad for you" :
      Debate is heating up in Washington over a potential soda tax that could raise several billion dollars to cover the cost of healthcare reform. The tax – a penny on every ounce – would add 50 percent to the price of a two-liter.
  • Mike Licona at Baptist Press has a five part series on Bart Ehrman.
    Ehrman presents no original thoughts, but his positions are largely embraced by mainstream skeptical scholarship and he, too, has a talent for taking select academic positions and sharing them in sound-bites that shock readers.
  • Erik at Fundamentally Changed asks, and answers, the question "How has Literal Interpretation Changed?"
    I should caution the reader that the views of the early fundamentalists were somewhat incomplete. Remember that they were writing at the turn of the 20th century. Very little was understood about the context of the Old Testament in particular, and even the New Testament was a bit obscure. Palestine and the Middle East were in Ottoman hands and archaeology had not developed many of the tools used to illuminate historical context. Much of the debate about the Bible was based on purely academic observations from both the literalists and the proponents of higher criticism.
  • Jeremy at Parableman is also looking at Biblical literalism with "Longman, Literalism, and Genesis 1"
    Justin Taylor posted a video of Tremper Longman discussing Genesis 1 and the historicity of a real person named Adam. His main claim seems to be that we shouldn't insist on the text requiring an actual historical person to have existed and that it's an overly literalistic interpretation that requires that. I read through the comment section, and I think a lot of people are making some mistakes both in interpreting what Longman is saying and in what it implies about his view of scripture.
  • Afganistan and Iraq:
    • WorldMagBlog points to a Washington Post story on General Stanley McChrystal's assessment of the current situation in Afganistan
      Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.
    • Iraq the Model reports "Thirty Mahdi Army commanders assasinated in Damascus" [the article they link is in Arabic - there is nothing more to see here unless you read that language]
      The killings, made in the past few weeks, were all made "quietly, inside the victims apartments", said an unnamed source in the Sadr movement.
  • Allan Bevere asks "Whatever Became of Sacrifice?"
    What has happened to the notion of sacrifice in America? After 9/11, when the World Trade Center lay in ruins, then Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani told us that as a people, the best way to fight terrorism was to go to the movies, and then President George W. Bush motivated us to go shopping. The way to fight terrorism it seemed was through consumerism-- greed that would put Al Qaeda back on its heels.
  • Don at Evangelical Ecologist linked a number of articles showing that the predicted increase in severe storms due to global warming has not happened - indeed, it is quite the reverse. He quotes Tony Watts:
    Using a well-accepted metric called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy index or ACE for short (Bell and Chelliah 2006), which has been used by Klotzbach (2006) and Emanuel (2005) (PDI is analogous to ACE), and most recently by myself in Maue (2009) , simple analysis shows that 24-month running sums of global ACE or hurricane energy have plummeted to levels not seen in 30 years.
  • Rick at Rightwing Nuthouse warns us to "Get Ready for 'Housing Meltdown: The Sequel' "
    I don’t know about you but I sure am glad this recession has “bottomed out” and we’re beginning to see the “green shoots” of recovery - “just around the corner,” or “coming into focus,” or - my favorite - “the light at the end of the tunnel.”

    Of course, even the administration admits this doesn’t mean squat if you’ve been laid off and can’t find a job. This will be another one of those “jobless recoveries” which is perhaps the most confusing term ever invented by political economists.

  • Ron Radosh at Pajamas Media examines "The Blogosphere, the Media and the Truth: Can we Get It from Fox News or MSNBC?".
    Bowden says in conclusion that we now live in a “post-journalistic” world, in which our democracy is in a constant political battleground. Bloggers exist to help one side or the other, which leads to what Bowden sees as “distortions and inaccuracies, lapses of judgment, the absence of context,” which do not bother the bloggers, since they are simply ammunition for their own chosen side. Truth is simply what comes out of whoever wins a particular battle — it is winning that is key, not who is right. This, Bowden argues, is not journalism.

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How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly