Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Top Ten Bad Events of 2007 (corrected)

Near the end of the year, we are assaulted with a number of lists concerning noteworthy events of 2007. Here is my curmudgeonly list of obnoxious realities from 2007. These items by no means are meant to exhaust the list of "bad events," nor are they the most evil things that happened in 2007. They are simply things that really ticked me off. Since my sensibilities are not perfectly calibrated to objective reality, I cannot claim too much for the list. Please add a few of your own.

1. Hilary Clinton running for president. She is the quintessentially unprincipled politico: all political machine, no character, no vision.
2. Bill Clinton writing a book on giving. This defies belief. It is like the Marquis de Sade writing a book on abstinence. Clinton has no shame, but plays a mean game of narcissism.
3. The on going media fascination with stupid, sex-crazed, and drug-addled celebrities. Don't expect this to change any time before the millennium.
4. The baseball steroid scandals. "Take me out to the drug game, take me out to the show..." Here is another evidence of the death of character in America.
5. Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's home run record. I don't like tattoos, but an asterisk on Barry's head would be just fine.
6. The growth of "the new atheism" perpetuated by writers like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. They don't give the best arguments for atheism, but they have raised the volume, sharpened the knives, and gone for the heart of religion--all religion. Their errors are legion, their books best-sellers. (I have reviewed recent books by Harris and Dawkins in The Christian Research Journal. I have a review of Hitchen's God is Not Great forthcoming there as well.)
7. The continued ideologically rich, but intellectually poor, pummelling of Intelligent Design by the established media and educational mandarins, particularly Iowa State University's denial of tenure to the stellar scholar, Guillermo Gonzalez. Read about this at:http://www.discovery.org/. 8. The major television networks air the video of the evil ramblings of a mass killer, who devastated his university. He became the postmortem celebrity he desired. The national addiction to video continues--without shame, without knowledge of the truth, without respite.
9. There seems to be no presidential candidate who is both pro-life and has a realistic view of international terrorism--the two greatest issues facing the country.
10. Of lesser consequence: I was given a free Kenny G CD when I ordered a Jack Bruce recording on line. It remains unopened in my office--an object suitable for hurling across the room during a lecture on aesthetics.

28 comments:

Sarah Scott said...

Al Gore winning the nobel peace prize. He did no credible research, and to my knowledge failed to utilize much of the same. However, he flew around in his jet-fuel guzzling plane fraternizing with others who are also concerned that we are causing polar bears to see grass.

Doug Groothuis said...

I guess I put that out of my head it hurt so much.

Kyl said...

Influential people like Oprah, etc., should be using many of the top quality arguments for Christianity and social conservative viewpoints, but that doesn’t seem to be happening (as far as I can tell). Highly influential people like Oprah should be systematically teaching many of the arguments that Doug Groothuis, J.P. Moreland, Francis Beckwith, etc., give. It is frustrating there are many influential people that are not using the brilliant arguments for Christianity and social conservative viewpoints. If one knew the great benefits that the mentioned arguments could help lead to, how could one avoid systematically educating people with the mentioned arguments? Maybe some people don’t know that the mentioned arguments can help lead to great things. Generally speaking, I’m very frustrated that more Christians don’t study from and teach what the greatest Christian intellectuals are teaching (particularly regarding apologetic topics). We need far, far more apologetic training!! Although I don’t know what Oprah’s religion is, it would be great if influential people like her started (e.g., effective Christian apologetic organizations, etc., that make a positive difference).

Kyl Schalk

Star Lawrence said...

What is a Christian apologetic organization?

Todd said...

Doug,

Loved the post. One error, though, on #7 ... it wasn't the U. of Iowa, but Iowa State U. that denied tenure to Guillermo Gonzalez. I love my alma mater (ISU), but this is one of an increasing number of disturbing events aimed at quieting any dissent of the secular machine at our state's Universities.

Todd

Tom said...

Doug,

Do you take Mike Huckabee to not have a "realistic view of international terrorism"? If you think that, how come?

Thanks.

Tom

Daniel said...

O.J. Simpson almost getting a book published entitled "If I did it". The salivating media had too much exposure for this book and promotional ploy.

Benjamin P. Glaser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kyl said...

Star Lawrence,

This link should give you some great information about different types of Christian apologetics organizations: http://www.cuf.org/Laywitness/LWonline/SO07Beckwith.asp

Kyl said...

Star Lawrence,

It does not look like that link works. Add .asp after the O07Beckwith part of the link.

Ed Darrell said...

Wow, did you all get crab bites for Christmas?


1. Hilary Clinton running for president. She is the quintessentially unprincipled politico: all political machine, no character, no vision.


40 years of defending children from abuse doesn't count, because . . . well I can't think of a good reason. No matter what I say, Groothuis will claim I falsely accuse him of defending child abuse. Of course, going after Hillary Clinton is at best tantamount to defending child abuse. Maybe I ought to just let fly and accept the lumps. I'm tired of people defending child abuse and going after those who defend the children, and doing so while wrapped in a flag claimed to be the mantle of morality.

A well qualified woman running for president would be a good thing were any of the charges accurate.

And, Sarah, since when is "research" a requirement for the Nobel Peace Prize? You were hurt by it, Doug?

Why not give credit to the man for waking people up to the dangers we face? You're for pollution and ruining the planet, too?

Sour grapes make no good wine. Get over it.

Scott said...

Number one for me was when James Dobson, Don Wildmon and others sought the ouster of the Rev. Richard Cizik (Denver Seminary ‘80) from his position as vice-president of the National Association of Evangelicals because of his "relentless campaign" against global warming which is "a threat to the unity and integrity" of the NAE. The fact that none of those who wanted to remove Cizik are members of the NAE didn’t seem important to those seeking his removal. Nor did any of these leaders engage theologically/Biblical with Cizik who bases his views on scripture.

Tony Lombardo said...

A most blessed curmudgeonly list of badness. I miss you and your righteous negativity, Dr G!

Tim Berglund said...

It's easy to become inured to the pain of the Curmudgeon when he posts lament after sad lament on this woeful blog. But to receive a free Kenny G CD in the mail? Some burdens are too much to bear.

Doug, we weep with you.

(And since the medium lacks the subtlety to make this clear: we also chuckle with you a little bit at that entry on the list, and generally lament with you on the rest of it. Still, though: bummer about the CD. I wouldn't want that garbage in my office, and I'm not the jazz aficionado you are.)

Ed Darrell said...

Maybe the wags are right, and it's impossible to parody creationists and fundamentalists on politics.

In any case, I won't trouble you with my views on this post here; I've got a longer post over at Millard Fillmore's Bathtub, where you may rant away at me and my views without troubling Dr. Groothuis.

Doug Groothuis said...

Hillary Clinton has supported abortion on demand for 40 years, the worst form of child abuse imaginable.

Kyl said...

That is a great point you are making about Hillary Clinton and abortion on demand, Dr. Groothuis.

Tom said...

Doug,

So you don't like Hillary. But what's wrong with Mike?

Tom

Ed Darrell said...

Hillary thinks children after birth have rights, too. It's an old question, whether anyone has rights at all -- but if we are to start granting rights, granting rights and protecting them for living children seems an awfully good place to start.

In point of fact, there is some woo in doing that: It decreases abortions.

But then, if one is not really concerned with decreasing abortions, but instead simply wishes to criminalize sex and reproductive acts, one can be a misanthrope toward both living children and unborn children, while posing as a friend to the unborn.

Paul wrote about it. He said the more he tried to abide by the law, the further he fell from it. Some read that and wonder at how we can ever win that struggle; others look on it as justification for falling from the law.

Frankly, I think it's possible to disagree with Hillary's views on abortion. But to denigrate her work for children is a particular form of evil. Children should have rights. Jesus preached about it. I expect more from Christians.

Kyl said...

Ed Darrell,

I would like to kindly encourage you to raise the level of your dialogue. Here are links to some resources that will provide some assistance:

The first article is called “How Pro-Choice Advocates Can Raise the Level of the Dialogue” http://www.str.org/site/DocServer/Raise_the_Level_PC_v02.pdf?docID=2421

The other article is called “How Pro-Life Advocates Can Raise the Level of the Dialogue” http://www.str.org/site/DocServer/Raise_the_Level_PL_v02.pdf?docID=2422

Here is an article about Hillary Clinton by Robert P. George:

http://www.firstthings.com/blog/2007/12/17/an-unrequited-letter-to-anne-rice/

Francis J. Beckwith said...

Ed wrote:
"40 years of defending children from abuse doesn't count..."

While supporting a philosophical anthropology that makes abuse more likely.

In an age in which the phrase "my mother's boyfriend" may be legitimately followed by the question, "Which one?," is an age that does not think much of children and their good. That's the real abuse: the dismantling by the far left of institutions and roles vital to the nurturing and protection of children.

BJ the Tornado said...

On Doug's point regarding the presidental candidates.


I agree the selection is (YET AGAIN) woefully inadequate for such an important position.

That being said... Mike Huckabee seems to be a solid candidate at this point. I can't imagine what you don't like about him Dr. G.

Could you elaborate?

Huck certainly seems grounded in the truth of the gospel, is passionately pro-life, and has a good governing record at Arkansas. Also, and this is HUGE, he has a solid record of caring about such things as human rights, the poor and oppressed, and other issues SADLY often neglected by those who label themselves on the Right (issues that Christians SHOULD be championing).

He sounds like a good choice to me!

But I'm sure you have some issues with him... what are they?

Sir Fab said...

Dr. Beckwith, your quote below sends shivers through my spine.

"In an age in which the phrase "my mother's boyfriend" may be legitimately followed by the question, "Which one?," is an age that does not think much of children and their good. That's the real abuse: the dismantling by the far left of institutions and roles vital to the nurturing and protection of children."

Have you no sense of decency, sir?
Do I have to remind you of the likes fo Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Dan Burton (look him up), Mark Foley, and the list goes on and on and on and on, ad nauseam. Is the far left also to blame for their hypocrisy? Or for a president who vetoes health care for needy children (largely paid for by an increase in cigarette taxes) because it would be "a step towards socialized medicine"? Look at the "hero" of 9/11, Rudy Giuliani, who dresses in drag, was married three times, and used an apartment reserved for emergency personnel to meet his lover.

I am so tired of conservatives sanctimoniously bashing "the far left" for "dismantling the institutions and roles...". Blah, blah, blah. I am so tired of the hypocrisy of conservatives who claim the higher ground on moral values, and hide their moral bankruptcy behind the "pro-life" fig leaf. Or who pretend to show their holiness by denying science. Guess what: I am a progressive and I see abortions (that do not have a medical reason to be performed) as a failure of society as a whole. But, sorry, sanctimoniously demonizing your opponents is not the way to lead the cause.

Conservatives have exploited divisive issues for the last thirty years, not to change things, mind you, but in service of power and to squeeze the life out of those who are not lucky enough to be connected or have friends in high places. Are Democrats much better? No, many Democrats are not much better. They are also guilty of hypocrisy, but at least they do not portray themselves as the party of sexual morality or family values, only to transgress and stick it to the rest of us as soon as they get the chance.

You blame the "far left", basically, for immorality. Much like Falwell, Robertson, and their ilk do to fill their coffers. I suggest you follow your leader's teachings and focus on the log in your own eye instead.

Sorry for the bitterness and the anger, but I think the assumptions in your post deserved no less.

Tom said...

Frank,

I'm not aware of what Hillary's philosophical anthropology is. Maybe you can tell us (and please cite your source). Also, since you say that her philosophical anthropology makes abuse more likely, I'd be interested in seeing the empirical study that corroborates this very substantial claim.

As for the "the dismantling by the far left of institutions and roles vital to the nurturing and protection of children" I'd like to hear more about that too. In my state, the political right is trying to get a law passed that will prevent everyone but married couples from serving as foster parents or adopting children. Why? Because they are convinced that no gay couple can provide a child with a better home than the state can provide with a group home or institution (yeah, there's a good bit of irony there; this is the only instance that the right thinks the state can do better than the "private sector"). And since they recognize that they would be on shaky political and constitutional grounds if they were to attempt to institute a law that said that only a straight unmarried person can be a foster/adoptive parent, they've decided to go all in and argue that no non-married person should be allowed to serve as a foster/adoptive parent.

By my lights, such a law would be very bad for the welfare of the children who most need the love and stability a good home can offer. Of course, as with married straight couples, the vetting process for those expressing an interest in caring for a child should be intense. But I can't believe that it is in the best interest of children to have *all* nonmarried people immediately disqualified from caring for those children who either don't have biological parents or who have parents who are unable or unwilling to care for them. And it is the right that is doing this in my state. Political moderates and those (few) on the left are opposed.

Sarah Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Holiday said...

I'm angry that celebrities are adopting children, rather than angry, self-righteous Christians. Those angry, self-righteous Christians who don't adopt but complain about abortion should be ashamed. Even if it would be hard on them. Those people are Ted Haggard's.

evagrius said...

Do you mean that you ignore the war in Iraq????

It's completely out of your purview????

zeus07 said...

Just read in on all this great chatter. My, my, this sounds like a terrific family squabble. How about these resume questions for all the presidential wannabes: If your primary task is to protect us from all enemies, foreign and domestic, what have you DONE that indicates what you WILL do as president to accomplish that? Secondly, if the national economy is at this time so highly dependent upon fossil fuels, what have you DONE within your past responsibilities that would indicate what you WILL do to develop alternative, supplemental sources of energy? Finally, if the high cost of healthcare and the difficult procedure for obtaining reimbursement through insurers reduces overall effectiveness and efficiency of the resources, what HAVE you done...etc? So if they want the job, ask all of them these questions that the national media never do. Make it a real debate over the same issues and make them answer the questions.