October 28, 2005

Chronicles of Narnia: Which one is first?

John J. Miller discusses The Chronicles of Narnia. Which book (there were seven in all) should be considered as the first? The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is being presented by Disney as the first (though there have been lower-budget movies made of the others).

So why does Disney do The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe first, while the book publisher put The Magician's Nephew first? Simple: C.S. Lewis wrote The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe first, and it contains the most important story.

I've read the entire series twice this past year, and I decided to try reading it both ways. I like the original order better, with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe coming first. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is definitely the foundation of the series. The Magician's Nephew is properly interpreted as a flashback, or as an older man narrating a past event.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:38 PM | Comments (2)

Reason #4 to keep your cat indoors

1. They kill birds,
2. They get sick more often, causing,
3. A shorter life,


4: They might get lost, like in getting shipped to France by mistake.

(hat tip The Corner)

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2005

Population and Family Planning

I've been reading a bit on the issue of population and family planning, related to the recent event of putting humans in the London Zoo, so that humans could be viewed in their "natural habitat". Isn't the natural habitat actually that of the sidewalk outside the cage, however? I mean, how many people are naturally "in the zoo", rather than going "to the zoo"? So, the curator of the zoo is actually just putting his prejudicial point of view, that of humans being just another ape, and being "a plague species", on full display.

And I've noticed that phrase, "a plague species", or something similar used by a lot of spokespersons in the radical environmental and Deep Ecology movements. While lip service is made to the "inherent worth" (see #1 in the Deep Ecology platform here) of human beings, they are not treated as a rational, reasoning individual, but rather as a resource-consuming animal. Indeed, human overpopulation is treated as a threat to the well-being of other species with no justification whatsoever, just an ipso facto assumption by the platform's author.

Here's what I currently think on the subject, which I'll fill in with more posts later: There is no overpopulation crisis. The dire predictions of The Population Bomb never came true and never will as they are based on an erroneous belief, that humans cannot think and act rationally in their own self-interest. While there is a (unrealized and unknown) limit to how many people we can feed, our resourcefulness and productivity have served us so far and will continue to for a long time to come. With declining fertility rates now the norm, it is likely that whatever real crises threatened by population growth have already been answered, possibly being replaced by problems with a population implosion. A much better predictor of how much food people have to eat is to consider what type of government they live under. People who live in free countries are much better off than those who live under tyranny. Efforts by governments to implement family planning programs, where family sizes are regulated by law, are not compatible with respecting the unalienable human rights of life and liberty.

UPDATED Wednesday evening:
Related links to the London Zoo story:
The original news item

The "human zoo" shows eight humans prancing around wearing nothing more than fig leaves to cover their intimate areas. The exhibitionís intent is to show the basic nature of human beings and their impact on the animal kingdom.

"We have set up the exhibit to highlight the spread of man as a plague species and to communication [sic] the importance of manís place in the planetís ecosystem," the zoo said.

My view: The presence of the zoo in London, rather than the presence of humans in the zoo, is a much better testimony of the impact of human beings on the animal kingdom. Putting humans in zoos only shows the impact of human beings on other human beings, unless they feed the humans meat.

Then there's that misanthropic "plague species" reference which makes me cringe every time I hear it. Here's a clue why: I wouldn't want to be alone with a dog in a burning building if this guy was the fireman responsible for saving my life. There are times when it is responsible to put human beings first, and calling humans a "plague species" doesn't lead me to believe this person is aware of them.

And that last statement, "to communication the importance of manís place in the planetís ecosystem" - what's that supposed to mean (even ignoring the bad grammar)? showing the importance of man's place in the ecosystem by removing them from any contact with science and technology? Rubbish! Man's place in the planet's ecosystem is established, for good or for ill by our use of science and technology. What the zoo is actually doing by putting these people in a cage is denying the importance of man's place in the planet's ecosystem.

Other links:
Commentary by Debra Saunders
Commentary from LifeSiteNews.com (quotes G.K. Chesterton!)

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)

The Rev. Albert Mohler criticizes the "Double Income, No Kids" phenomenon

In Touchstone magazine, R. Al Mohler, Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Association, discusses the practice of married couples intentionally choosing childlessness, Rebel Without an Issue.

An excerpt which mirrors my own thinking:

Scripture does not give couples the option of choosing childlessness. To the contrary, in the biblical revelation God commands us to receive children with joy as his gifts, and to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We are to find many of our deepest joys and satisfactions in the raising of children within the context of the family. Those who reject children want to have the joys of sex and marital companionship without the responsibilities of parenthood. They rely on others to produce and sustain the generations to come.

To which I add: My growth as a Christian has been greatly influenced by our adoption of Rebecca (having been unable to have children via childbirth, we have adopted instead). Being forced to live for another person, who I love not just because I want to but because her life literally depends on it. It's a whole different perspective. My selfishness is exposed and being peeled away, slowly but surely. My life is not my own, nor are our lives as husband and wife our own. As a couple who are now one flesh, we together have encountered the privilege and responsibility of "passing it on". And regarding how we influence this world, for most of us, our works end with our time. What we gather in life is scattered to the wind when we pass away. The only lasting influence we will have on this earth will be through our descendants. In effect, what people who choose childlessness are saying is, "What I do, what I believe in are not important. When I pass away, there is nothing for which I want to be remembered here." The Psalmist says:

Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish,
And leave their wealth to others.
Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever,
Their dwelling places to all generations;
They call their lands after their own names.
Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain;
He is like the beasts that perish.

Do not be afraid when one becomes rich,
When the glory of his house is increased;
For when he dies he shall carry nothing away;
His glory shall not descend after him.
Though while he lives he blesses himself
(For men will praise you when you do well for yourself),
He shall go to the generation of his fathers;
They shall never see light.
A man who is in honor, yet does not understand,
Is like the beasts that perish.
Psalm 49: 10-12,16-20 NKJV

If one wants to leave a godly legacy on this earth, there is no better way to do so than to have children, teach them to love God, and teach them to teach their children to love God as well. Psalm 78 is a serious (and long) reminder to us that we should not neglect to do the latter as well.

Related links:
Contraception: A Symposium, featuring J. Budziszewski and R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

And, in a previous issue of Touchstone, a link to the article on which Amy and I have decided to base our sex-and-marriage teaching, Designed for Sex by J. Budziszewski.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:24 PM | Comments (3)

October 18, 2005

Religion, Government, and the Religious Test

Kevin Seamus Hasson, author of The Right to Be Wrong: Ending the Culture War Over Religion in America discusses religion and politics in an interview with National Review Online.

His opinion of the greatest threat to religious libery:

The biggest threat comes from people who think that religious truth is the enemy of human freedom ó that the only good religion is a relativist one.

My experience in the Unitarian Universalist Association introduced me to many people who share that opinion, some of whom even told me that it was "wrong" for Christians to vote according to their religious beliefs (I think he meant "incorrect" rather than "illegal", at least I hope so). Of course, there is no way consistent with freedom of conscience to disallow votes of religious believers, and the prohibition of the "religious test" by our Constitution is a limitation of the powers of government, not on individual voters, who are free to vote any way they wish.

How does the "religious test" prohibition apply to the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court? The "religious test", proscribed by our Constitution, does apply to members of the Senate in their confirmation vote, as Hasson notes, however I think it also applies to President Bush. Of course the President is to be allowed the prerogative to select a nominee for whatever reason he thinks makes a person well-qualified (including their personal beliefs), but that prerogative does not extend to allowing the issue of religious belief to be a justification of her nomination in the face of critical questioning. Justifying her nomination on the basis of her religious belief is in effect asking the Senate to apply a religious test in her favor. I don't really care that she is an evangelical Christian (well actually I do, but not in respect to her SCOTUS nomination), I just want her to know the Constitution, and interpret it in a way consistent with the way Alexander Hamilton and James Madison did (authors of The Federalist Papers so we know what they were thinking), and to be able to defend her decisions with solid reasoning, and not appeals to personal belief of "the right thing to do". Based on what I've read about her so far, I'm inclined to say that she should not be confirmed.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:08 PM | Comments (1)

October 04, 2005

The William Bennett kerfuffle

LaShawn Barber has an excellent and very thorough post on the reaction to William Bennett's remarks.

One point I'd like to make which I haven't heard anyone else make: isn't it ironic that by and large the people who are demanding the silencing of Mr. Bennett are the same ones who were complaining of a culture of censorship post-9/11?

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:04 PM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2005

Comments on the Judicial Nominations

I haven't spoken out on President Bush's judicial nominations, at least not since John Roberts was nominated, though I was disappointed in the NARAL ad smear against him. I was glad that he stood his ground against the liberal interest groups which demanded that he disclose how he would rule on key issues (read abortion), and insisted that he respect the precedent Roe vs. Wade. My belief is that the precedent of Roe vs. Wade is worthy of as much respect as the precedent of Dredd Scott vs. Sanford, and liberals should be accountable to that outcome of their thinking, that they have no respect for precedent when it goes against their ideals. Indeed, there have been many SCOTUS decisions which have overturned precedent they've cheered over the years.

I'm impressed with Chief Justice Roberts mainly for his view of the judge as an umpire, judging the game by a fixed set of rules, and not a partisan player who wishes the rules to be rewritten in their favor as the game is played. I don't have a firm opinion on the Miers nomination yet, except to say that I'm disappointed that President Bush did not nominate a younger nominee. I was actually hoping for a Miguel Estrada nomination. After the way he was treated in his appellate court nomination, I think he deserved vindication.

Manuel Miranda, a former assistant to Senator Frist, has written an excellent series of columns in OpinionJournal, of which this is his last (To see previous columns, look for his columns appearing MWF starting about the time of the Roberts nomination).

Errors and Corrections:
Dredd Scott vs. Sanford was originally entered as Dredd vs. Scott. It's corrected above.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2005

Politics Test

I saw this quiz linked from Susan B.'s Lilac Rose site, and took it myself: Here's my score:

You are a

Social Moderate
(43% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(75% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)