10 September 2012

Miscellaneous Musings on Monday

Welcome to another Monday morning link collection! I'd like to tell you I had a good weekend, but we're still on the GAPS Intro diet, and that's all I'll say about that.

In the real news...

  • David Barton, The Jefferson Lies by Dr. Glenn Sunshine. Dr. Sunshine is a Centurions friend of my husbands, so I can vouch for him being the real deal.
    Jefferson was a Unitarian rationalist who rejected biblical authority in any meaningful sense of the word, and with it, many of the doctrines of historic Christianity. While Barton is correct when he says that many Unitarians held the Scripture in high regard and fashioned their ideas from it (particularly surrounding ethics), it is not accurate to describe them as “evangelicals.” Having a worldview influenced on some points by Scripture does not mean that their worldview was fully shaped by Scripture.
  • Le Mot Juste by David Bentley Hart. I laughed, and I hope you do, too.
    All my other complaints concern the chronic misuse of certain words, most of which are in only limited currency, but all of which seem to be employed incorrectly more often than correctly. To wit: “Fortuitous” does not mean “fortunate.” It means “by chance” or “unanticipated”; and if your dictionary tells you that it may also be used to mean “fortunate,” then your dictionary is a scented and brilliantined degenerate in a glossy lavender lounge suit who intends to teach your children criminal ways while you are away at the grocery store.
  • Learning Logic vs. Learning About Logic by Martin Cothran. I intend to use Martin Cothran's logic curriculum in our upper school years, by the way.
    If you wanted to learn to be a mathematician, you wouldn’t want to read about mathematics; you would want to actually do math. If you were wanting to learn how to learn how to write, you wouldn’t settle for just reading about writing, you would want instruction that involved actual writing.

    The art of logic is like math or writing: you can’t learn how to do them without actually doing them.
  • Revenous Sheep by RC Sproul, Jr.
    I remember grabbing one of the rubber “posts” and pushing the pointed metal end into the lamb’s side, trying to pin her down so I could begin to untangle her. She just kicked all the more. I was sweating, frustrated, and a smidge frightened, and screamed to this little one, my voice echoing across the valley, “Be still. I’m trying to help you.” That’s when I learned what it means to be a shepherd.
  • Dreams From My Father, Calls From My Brother by Mark Steyn.
    I’ve long known that abstract benevolence, a specialty of liberals, was eerily compatible with practical indifference or even cruelty. (I go into some of the reasons for this in “What’s Wrong with Benevolence” in my new book The Fortunes of Permanence.) But this spectacle of callous familial neglect by, as Dinesh rightly describes him, the most powerful man in the world is something special.
  • Weeds That Like A Sip of Roundup Now and Then by Gene Logsdon.
    First the glorious days of advanced farming brought us corn stalks that eat tractor tires. Now there’s a weed that likes to drink weed killers, especially Roundup. Recently Palmer amaranth “completely overran” most of the soybean test plots at Bayer CropScience’s test plots in Illinois, in the words of DTN/Progressive Farmer editor, Pam Smith, despite having an arsenal of herbicides thrown at it. She describes some of the plots as “forests of pigweed.” I shouldn’t joke about this because it really is a serious problem, but I just can’t help it. At least 20 years ago, in New Farm magazine, a Rodale publication I was working for at the time, we reported weeds becoming immune to herbicides and the herbicide industry hee-hawed us for being organic nitwits. So pardon me while I hee-haw right back.
  • Bits of Mystery DNA, Far From ‘Junk,’ Play Crucial Role from The New York Times. Some of you might know that for years Darwinists have said that these "useless" bits of DNA are leftover from evolution. This "uselessness" is what led to this being used as "proof" of evolution. Well, guess what?
    The human genome is packed with at least four million gene switches that reside in bits of DNA that once were dismissed as “junk” but that turn out to play critical roles in controlling how cells, organs and other tissues behave. The discovery, considered a major medical and scientific breakthrough, has enormous implications for human health because many complex diseases appear to be caused by tiny changes in hundreds of gene switches.
And surely that is enough for today.


  1. Thanks for sharing the Barton link. He does a good job of explaining the issues. It is difficult for some of my 'non-academic' 'non-historian' acquaintances to swallow this. They continue to naively follow this guy. Three years ago, I discovered his dishonesty while searching for high school texts for my kids. I'm glad to see this has come out. It disturbs me when pillars of the homeschooling movement do this. More honesty and scholarship are needed. Okay. Done with my rant. : )

    1. Linda Fay, I completely agree! Years ago, I naively bought some of his videos. Every once in a while I would think, "Gee, I never heard that before! That's amazing!" Now I realize that these should have been red flags for me, that I should have done some research whenever I heard something that didn't sound right. :/

      I knew immediately that the Jefferson thing was off because I had a teacher in high school that practically worshiped Jefferson (the teacher a member of the Unitarian church, by the way) and I knew that to characterize Jefferson as "evangelical" was way off base.

      My main concern at this point is the definition of Orthodoxy. By trying to cast such a big tent, Barton is (unwittingly, I think) putting himself in the camp of those who, for example, are not strict about the Trinity. This is a huge danger and exactly how the Unitarians ended up with such influence for a while in American history.


I absolutely adore hearing your thoughts, but...*please* remember to play nicely!