Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Free John Gardner?

John Gardner was sentenced about a month ago to life in prison for the rape and murder of two teenage girls.

In a televised interview a month before sentencing, click above to view, he explained "I could not stop myself. I was — had a major rage, and (was) pissed off, and pissed off at my whole life and everybody that’s hurt me."

Can any atheist explain to me: Why should he be punished? Isn't he indeed correct - none of us actually has a soul or free will and therefore we are not in control and therefore no punishment is appropriate? A distinguished biology professor wrote recently "a belief in free will is nothing other than a continuing belief in vitalism—something biologists proudly believe they discarded well over 100 years ago."

If the purpose of punishment is not because society has the right to retaliate against wrongdoers, but rather the purpose of punishment is merely to deter future criminals, then why must the punishment fit the crime and why must the accused be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt before being punished? No one is actually guilty anyway. Rather a team of sociologists should simply determine what level of government sponsored terror will do the most good with the least cost and the police should follow those guidelines. Perhaps summarily hanging each year a few hundred likely suspects would overall be more beneficial and inexpensive than the massive and costly criminal justice system we have today. (The Soviet government actually did do this in the late 1930's.)

If a tornado kills two people, it's hardly noticed. It's just a force of nature. According to atheists, Gardner is no different.

The tragedy is that once atheists convince themselves of this insanity, as Gardner did, then they can and will indeed kill and with no guilt.

Personally, I agree with the more old fashioned opinion of Maurice Dubois, father of 14 year old victim Amber Dubois "He will burn in hell for the acts he's committed."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Love Sweet Love

[Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried portray young lovers in Dear John]

What could be more beautiful than young love - spontaneous, overpowering, euphoric, exciting. Endless popular movies, songs and novels celebrate it. But the Torah prohibits any sexual stimulation outside of marriage and many people find this to be very oppressive.

Is there another side of the coin which doesn't always get in the movies? What are some of the downsides of sex outside marriage?

Pubic crabs
Genital herpes
Genital warts
Date rape
Unwanted pregnancy
Sometimes suicide.
Occasionally even murder.

The vast majority of promiscuous girls regret their behavior. Research indicates that many girls have extra-marital sex merely because men demand it.

Even masturbation can become compulsive, especially with today's Internet porn sites.

On the other hand, I doubt anyone has regretted chastity.

Friday, June 25, 2010

We've Adopted a Dog

[a boy and his dog]

After years of discussion, we finally adopted a dog two months ago. His name is Prince, age 3, male, neutered, pit bull. He was adopted from Hi-Tor Animal Care Center Inc, which is the county shelter. Police found him on the street in Pearl River, NY in February and the owner could not be located. He was placed in the shelter and remained there for two months. I'm afraid he would soon have been euthanized.

He was adopted to be a companion for my son Samson (email: samsonstein01@gmail.com) who, due to cerebral palsy, is quadriplegic and cannot play too much with friends. Nothing can match the devotion and loyalty of a dog.

Of course it's well known that dogs and their owners are similar. To borrow from Sarah Palin, "What's the difference between a Jewish Philosopher and a pit bull? Eyeglasses."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Religion and Happiness

[Karl Marx, 19th century German economist]

It’s interesting to note that even the greatest skeptics seem to agree that religion does have the capacity to make people happy. Karl Marx famously commented that “Religion is the opium of the people.” One of my fellow bloggers heads his blog with the title “Ignorance is Bliss”, meaning that ignorance of the alleged scientific proof against religion is blissful. Scientific studies tend to support this conclusion.

In addition to this, anthropologists tell us that religion is universal in human societies. Children are apparently born with a natural instinct for belief. The question is, why? After all, animals, from goldfish to mice, cows, dolphins and gorillas seem to manage very well without it.

Harvard psychology professor Dr. Steven Pinker has taken a stab at answering this from an atheistic point of view, however he admits that the question is “a genuine scientific puzzle”.

In my humble opinion, there is only one reasonable answer. God created us for the purpose of recognizing Him and therefore He created within us a natural desire for religion. See for example the Ramban’s commentary to Exodus 13:16 toward the end of his comments.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Portrait of a Gay Man?

I recently read a couple of drug addiction memoirs, The Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man by Bill Clegg and Pill Head by Joshua Lyon. Clegg was using crack cocaine and Lyon used prescription pain medication. I'm not clear if either of them are now clean and sober.

What struck me was that both authors are gay men.

I've read another book recently, Overcoming Crystal Meth Addiction by Steven J. Lee. The author, a New York City psychiatrist specializing in addiction, writes extensively about the meth problem in the gay community in New York.

It would appear as if drug and alcohol abuse are a common part of the gay lifestyle. (Is that why it's called "gay"?)

I wonder if gay men deeply psychologically suffer because of their abnormal behavior and this leads to self medication with drugs and alcohol.

This once again demonstrates the eternal wisdom of the Torah in prohibiting this degenerate lifestyle.

Interestingly, it also appears that a disproportionate number of gay men are atheists.

American society seems to be splitting into two broad segments today: promiscuity (straight or gay), substance abuse and atheism on one side; chastity, sobriety and monotheism on the other. Hedonism vs Puritanism. The first group only began emerging about 1960 and today has basically taken over. It is causing the destruction of the United States as a powerful and wealthy nation.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

God's Dynamo - the Electric Eel

[a shocking experience]

The first man made machine to produce a powerful electrical current was the Siemens and Wheatstone dynamo, invented in 1867. This was a major breakthrough for modern technology.

Interestingly, however, for millennia prior to this, there lived in the Brazilian rivers an amazing fish capable of doing basically the same thing - the electric eel.

Their bodies contain electric organs with about 6,000 specialized cells called electrocytes that store power like tiny batteries. When threatened or attacking prey, these cells will discharge simultaneously, emitting a burst of at least 600 volts, five times the power of a standard U.S. wall socket.

They live in the murky streams and ponds of the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America, feeding mainly on fish, but also amphibians and even birds and small mammals. As air-breathers, they must come to the surface frequently. They also have poor eyesight, but can emit a low-level charge, less than 10 volts, which they use like radar to navigate and locate prey.

Electric eels can reach huge proportions, exceeding 8 feet (2.5 meters) in length and 44 pounds (20 kilograms) in weight. They have long, cylindrical bodies and flattened heads and are generally dark green or grayish on top with yellowish coloring underneath.

Human deaths from electric eels are extremely rare. However, multiple shocks can cause respiratory or heart failure, and people have been known to drown in shallow water after a stunning jolt.

Electrical engineers are still trying to learn from the design of the electric eel. Researchers at Yale University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are trying to build artificial versions of the eel's electricity generating cells as a power source for medical implants and other tiny devices.

The diversity and wisdom in God's creations is endless. "How manifold are Thy works, O LORD! In wisdom hast Thou made them all; the earth is full of Thy creatures." Psalms 104:24

Friday, June 04, 2010

A Little Help from Our Friends

An interesting device has appeared on the market in recent years: a male chastity protector.

I cannot vouch for the comfort or effectiveness of this device, having never seen one in person, however the website seems to be very impressive (available also on amazon.com).

The concept is simple. A man's private area is locked with a padlock into a hard plastic case and the key is given to someone else, making masturbation and intercourse impossible without the consent of that other person.

This could be hugely beneficial to a bachelor who wishes to control himself sexually, however who finds that he lacks sufficient willpower. He could apparently lock himself up and give the key to his rabbi or a friend. This might also give peace of mind to a woman who is concerned about her husband's fidelity or to a parent who is concerned about a teenage boy's behavior.

Of course, intensive Torah study is the best solution for this type of problem. The Talmud says in Kiddushin 30b: "I created the Evil Inclination, and I created Torah as an antidote for it." A Jew's mind should ideally be filled only with spirituality. However sometimes we may need a little help from our friends to stay committed to our values.