D’Souza to Debate at the University of Michigan

I post this not because Salvo has anything to do with this debate, but because I think it will be a great exchange that you won’t want to miss. I may even try to get myself up there in February:

Dinesh D’Souza Vs. Bill Ayers Debate at The University of Michigan
February 03, 2016
Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University of Michigan Young Americans for Freedom will host Dinesh D’Souza and Bill Ayers to debate on campus. More information will be announced as the debate approaches.

We here at Salvo are fans of Dinesh D’Souza. Salvo senior editor Marcia Segelstein interviewed him a number of years ago. See below. (I would like to mention that even though some of these Salvo articles are “old,” they are still extremely relevant. But you can be the judge of that.)

The Apologist
An Interview with Dinesh D’Souza, Author of
What’s So Great About Christianity”
. . . Think about young people who go off to college. An atheist could say to a student, “Hey, I can help you become more rational. Don’t believe in religion or any of that other stuff that your parents taught you.” Well, that might work to some degree, but it would be far more effective to say, “Did you know that the moral rules that your parents taught you are just in your head? I’ve got a way for you to get rid of those rules.” See, if you reject the idea of God, then you don’t have to do any of those things that God supposedly commanded you to do. Atheism can be a sort of manifesto of moral liberation from rules. . . .

Read it here.

The “Pagan Origins of Christmas” . . . a Myth Without Historical Substance

HiResThis Christmas season, you’ll likely have some holiday-sweater-wearing, nog-breathed, know-it-all regale you with this buzzkill of a story. Well fear not, dear reader. After checking out this article from Touchstone, you can face down the Grinch in question with your Christmas cheer well intact.

Calculating Christmas
The Story Behind December 25
by William J. Tighe

Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

Rather, the pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Sun” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the “pagan origins of Christmas” is a myth without historical substance.

continue reading…

 

Born December 11, 1918. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Today is the birthday of Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008). Who was he, you ask? The following is from Salvo issue #25. Truth vs. State: It Takes Courage to Confront False Ideologies by H. Lynn Gardner

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

A Russian writer, found a passion to tell the truth. He became a Marxist as a teenager but landed in prison after World War II because of a criticism he made of Stalin in a personal letter. Seeing the ruthlessness of the communists, he came to realize that their goal was not to improve society but to dominate. He acknowledged the sinfulness of the human heart and the futility of a selfish life based on materialism. He became a Christian while in prison. After prison, he was exiled.

Solzhenitsyn felt led by God to document the crimes of the Russian state, recording the sufferings of his fellow citizens. His Gulag Archipelago documents the horrors of communist prisons. He expressed his passion for truth in the essay “The Oak and the Calf”: “For the writer intent on truth, life never was, never is (and never will be!) easy: his like have suffered every imaginable harassment. . . . I must write simply to ensure that it was not all forgotten, that posterity might someday come to know of it.”

He continued, “All my life I had been tortured by the impossibility of speaking the truth aloud. My whole life had been spent hacking my way to an open space where I could tell the truth in public. . . . I believe that we shall repent, that we shall be spiritually cleansed, that the Russian nation will be reborn.” Upon winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970, he declared, “One word of truth outweighs the entire world.”

Further Reading:

(from Touchstone)
The Last Prophet
Ian Hunter on Alexander Solzhenitsyn

(from Salvo)
Solitary Refinement
How One Man Found Freedom Inside a Communist Prison
An interview with Fr. Roman Braga
by James M. Kushiner

Some stats for STIs from the CDC

From the new issue, a new department we’re calling “Casualty Report.”

stis

Germs of Promiscuity
Sexually Transmitted Infections
by Marcia Segelstein

THEN: “Prior to 1960, there were only two significant sexually transmitted diseases: syphilis and gonorrhea. Both were easily treatable with antibiotics.”1

NOW: Sexually transmitted diseases are among the most common infectious diseases in the world, with more than twenty different types.

WHY? What happened to unleash such an epidemic within a few decades? In a nutshell, the sexual revolution. Thanks in part to Alfred Kinsey’s fraudulent research, which purported to prove that ordinary Americans were engaging in illicit, extramarital, and deviant sexual acts in large numbers, and in part to the advent of widely available artificial contraception, especially the Pill, sexual mores began to shift. Author Mary Eberstadt offers this succinct definition of the sexual revolution in her book, Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution: “the ongoing destigmatization of all varieties of nonmarital sexual activity, accompanied by a sharp rise in such sexual activity, in diverse societies around the world (most notably, in the most advanced).”

Statistics regarding sexual behavior before 1960 are hard to come by (except for Kinsey’s now-discredited data). But it’s fair to say that cultural norms pre-revolution tied marriage and sex together. Not so today. The results of a 2002 survey published by the Guttmacher Institute indicate that “almost all” Americans have sex before marrying.2 It’s also reasonable to assume that individuals today typically have more sexual partners over their lifetimes than, say, their grandparents did, in part because people are marrying later. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age at first marriage in 1950 was 22.8 for men and 20.3 for women. By 2010, the median age was 28.2 for men and 26.1 for women.

So what have the “destigmatization of all varieties of nonmarital sexual activity” and a “sharp rise in such sexual activity” wrought?

An epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases.

A SNAPSHOT OF STIs

Here’s a look at where things stand today, according to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), titled “Incidence, Prevalence, and Cost of Sexually Transmitted Infections [STIs] in the United States”:

CDC’s new estimates show that there are about 20 million new infections in the United States each year, costing the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone. . . . In addition, CDC published an overall estimate of the number of prevalent STIs in the nation. Prevalence is the total number of new and existing infections at a given time. CDC’s new data suggest that there are more than 110 million total STIs among men and women across the nation.3 (emphasis added here and throughout)

There’s a Gene for That

So says Dr. John Cleese:

Coincidentally, I dug up this article (below) from the Salvo archives yesterday and posted it to the homepage. I recommend it to you. And I hope you check out salvomag.com often, as new material is put up daily! HT: John Cleese’s version of Alvin Plantinga’s “Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism.”

Hunter-Gatherer Nut Cases
Let’s Just Reduce Our Altruism, Morals & Love to Brain Waves
by Tom Gilson

I opened up “The End of Morality,” Discover magazine’s latest article on ethics and the brain (July/August 2011),1 and I wondered, “Will this be any different from the others?” Articles on this topic seem to follow a consistent pattern: (1) Researchers can pinpoint physical events taking place in people’s brains when they make ethical decisions. (2) Thus, science is discovering, finally, what ethics is all about: it’s chemistry and electricity doing their chemical and electrical thing inside your skull. And that’s it.

It’s an approach many thinkers call reductionist. Reductionism in this context means that crucial aspects of human experience, like consciousness, love, ethical decisions, the ability to make choices (free will), and so on are best understood as biological processes, which in turn are best understood in terms of chemistry and physics. It’s a matter of bringing down—reducing—these things to the lowest level of physical explanation.

According to reductionism, in fact, the only real thing going on is what happens at the level of chemistry and physics. Everything else—whether it’s an ethical decision, a seemingly free choice, the love we feel for that special someone, whatever we think makes us human—is just a by-product. Some say everything but chemistry and physics is an illusion. So society is an illusion? Love is just a neuron in heat? continue…

Christmas Gift Ideas 2015

Some gift ideas from your friends at Salvo. (I’ll add more as I think ’em up.)

Books

gods-crime-sceneGod’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe by J. Warner Wallace
(Salvo reference: Christian Case-Making 101: What You Can Learn from a Crime Scene Investigator by Terrell Clemmons)

conscienceConscience and It’s Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism by Robert P. George
(Salvo reference: Public Defender An Interview with Robert P. George by Marcia Segelstein)

1984 by George Orwell & Brave New World by Aldus Huxley
(Salvo reference: Our Dystopia The Worst of Both Worlds by Denyse O’Leary)

restoringRestoring All Things: God’s Audacious Plan to Change the World Through Everyday People by Warren Cole Smith and John Stonestreet
(Salvo reference: Redemption Afoot by Terrell Clemmons)

Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered and A Guide for the Perplexed by E. F. Schumacher
(Salvo reference: Metaphysics As If It Mattered Some Old Books Need to Be Corrected by Still Older Ones by Cameron Wybrow)

CosmosThe Unofficial Guide to Cosmos: Fact and Fiction in Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Landmark Science Series
(Salvo reference: Clearing Up Cosmos by Terrell Clemmons)

DVDs

films-free-speech-apocolypseThe Free Speech Apocalypse directed by Darren Doane
(Salvo reference: A blip from issue 35. “When Pastor Douglas Wilson spoke on Sexuality by Design at Indiana University in 2012, all hell broke loose in the crowded lecture hall. This films shows, shock style, how in adopting a novel concept of marriage and family, America is unwittingly throwing away law, order, liberty, and free speech, all of which are direct outgrowths of our Christian heritage.”)

films-living-waters– Design of Life Collection 3-DVD Set
Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth
Metamorphosis: The Beauty and Design of Butterflies
Flight: The Genius of Birds
(Salvo reference: A blip from issue 35. “Illustra Media has produced another stunning exploration of biological life, this time from the aquatic world. The irreducible complexity of the dolphin’s sonar system, the sea turtle’s and Pacific salmon’s navigation systems, and the humpback whale are presented as formidable challenges to the Darwinian mechanism. Filming was done in Canada, Bermuda, Polynesia, Mexico, and the United States.”)

Other

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 3.44.08 PM

Goat Milk Stuff: Work Hard, Get Dirty, Use Good Soap
(Salvo reference: The Jonas Profit How Two Goats & One Big Family Found Their Calling by Terrell Clemmons)

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 3.45.50 PMCHE(sterton) T-Shirt
(Salvo reference: Che Guevara The Making of a Marxist Martyr by Terrell Clemmons)

Magazines

Salvo (of course!)
Give a gift subscription with this special offer at a reduced rate and a bonus issue on Science & Faith