Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Links With Little Context

A Warning from Canada: Same-Sex Marriage Erodes Fundamental Rights
by  Dawn Stefanowicz

I am one of six adult children of gay parents who recently filed amicus briefs with the US Supreme Court, asking the Court to respect the authority of citizens to keep the original definition of marriage: a union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, so that children may know and may be raised by their biological parents. I also live in Canada, where same-sex marriage was federally mandated in 2005....

In Canada, freedoms of speech, press, religion, and association have suffered greatly due to government pressure. The debate over same-sex marriage that is taking place in the United States could not legally exist in Canada today. Because of legal restrictions on speech, if you say or write anything considered “homophobic” (including, by definition, anything questioning same-sex marriage), you could face discipline, termination of employment, or prosecution by the government.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Are Not Like Race: Why ENDA is Bad Policy
by  Ryan T. Anderson

Sexual orientation and gender identity are conceptually different from race, and beliefs about marriage as the union of man and woman are conceptually and historically different from opposition to interracial marriage. Adapted from testimony delivered on Monday March 16 before the United States Commission on Civil Rights....

These classifications are problematic. Paul McHugh, MD, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, explain:

Social science research continues to show that sexual orientation, unlike race, color, and ethnicity, is neither a clearly defined concept nor an immutable characteristic of human beings. Basing federal employment law on a vaguely defined concept such as sexual orientation, especially when our courts have a wise precedent of limiting suspect classes to groups that have a clearly-defined shared characteristic, would undoubtedly cause problems for many well-meaning employers.

Post-Christianity & the Culture of Death

A reader writes:

I’m a longtime reader of your blog, and while your writing has certainly made me, an agnostic/atheist, more sympathetic towards religion and its followers than I was as a callous teenager and young adult, this one article had the effect of making me practically jump in my car and speed to the nearest church.  It’s horrific, and I try not to use that term lightly.

She’s talking about a piece in the current issue of The New Yorker about the euthanasia culture in Belgium.  It is as horrifying as she says it is, and about as pure an expression of what John Paul II called the “Culture of Death” as you can imagine in our time. Euthanasia, the magazine reports, is thoroughly mainstream in Belgium, and embracing it has become a sign of what it means to be modern.

Evolutionary Computing: The Invisible Hand of Intelligence

Darwinian evolution is characterized by an utter lack of guidance; it is the "blind watchmaker" of Dawkins. It doesn't know where it's going. It doesn't know it is building a watch. It doesn't know what a watch is. There is no goal, no plan, and no target in "natural evolution." Mutations bounce around against environmental constraints, and whatever happens, happens.

William Dembski and Robert Marks have shown that no evolutionary algorithm is superior to blind search -- unless information is added from an intelligent cause, which means it is not, in the Darwinian sense, an evolutionary algorithm after all. This mathematically proven law, based on the accepted No Free Lunch Theorems, seems to be lost on the champions of evolutionary computing. Researchers keep confusing an evolutionary algorithm (a form of artificial selection) with "natural evolution."

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