Polygamy Clubs

Coming soon to Malaysia, “Polygamy Clubs.”

Polygamy is legal for Muslims in Malaysia, though not widespread. The Ashaari clan believes it should be. Last month it launched a “Polygamy Club” that claims the noble aim of helping single mothers, reformed prostitutes and women who feel they are past the marrying age.

“We want to change the way people perceive polygamy, so that it will be seen as something beautiful instead of something disgusting,” said Hatijah Aam, the founder of the club. She is the fourth wife of Ikramullah’s father, Ashaari Muhammad.

AP has the story.


Carl Jung

Carl Jung and The Holy Grail of the Unconscious.

Carl Jung founded the field of analytical psychology and, along with Sigmund Freud, was responsible for popularizing the idea that a person’s interior life merited not just attention but dedicated exploration — a notion that has since propelled tens of millions of people into psychotherapy. Freud, who started as Jung’s mentor and later became his rival, generally viewed the unconscious mind as a warehouse for repressed desires, which could then be codified and pathologized and treated. Jung, over time, came to see the psyche as an inherently more spiritual and fluid place, an ocean that could be fished for enlightenment and healing.

Whether or not he would have wanted it this way, Jung — who regarded himself as a scientist — is today remembered more as a countercultural icon, a proponent of spirituality outside religion and the ultimate champion of dreamers and seekers everywhere, which has earned him both posthumous respect and posthumous ridicule. Jung’s ideas laid the foundation for the widely used Myers-Briggs personality test and influenced the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous. His central tenets — the existence of a collective unconscious and the power of archetypes — have seeped into the larger domain of New Age thinking while remaining more at the fringes of mainstream psychology.

More at the NYT.



Some people think the Bible is obsolete.

I wonder if the time has come to update the language of the bible to reflect modern times and customs. Perhaps if we toned down the threats, more people would embrace it. Maybe if we added a little more logic, it would find wider acceptance. We’ve done that with every management tome, and most parenting tomes. What is the bible if not the pre-eminent “how to behave” manual for society. When all the lesser works have been revised should we not revise this one too?


The Glad Scientist

A Vatican astronomer explains why science and religion are a match made in heaven.


Media’s Duplicity

Andrew Breitbart’s column on the liberal push-back regarding the ACORN scandal.

Every journalism inquiry from the mainstream media continues to focus on the successful operation that exposed ACORN, not on ACORN itself, as if there is no evidence to sift through or common traits to be found in the videos. Why is the story about journalistic process rather than institutional corruption?

The Washington Post and the Associated Press have had to issue embarrassing retractions for falsely implying Mr. O’Keefe’s motives were racist. The New York Times, too, had to issue a retraction on an issue raised to impugn his tactics.

It was so predictable that I actually predicted it – in this column four days before the first video was aired. We needed to document the plan to prove it was a success. And to show that the media’s duplicity and institutional biases were directly targeted.


History Lesson

An excellent column today at American Thinker by Lauri B. Regan. The topic is The History Lesson Obama Missed.

We do not stand up in front of the United Nations General Assembly, before some of the globe’s most vile and depraved tyrants, and sing “Imagine,” “Kumbaya” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends.” America holds a special place in the world and with that comes responsibility. We are not the world’s policemen. But we certainly should take our rightful place as leader of the free world and let the planet’s despots who declare that the Holocaust is a fabrication and announce their intent to wipe Israel off of the map know that we take them seriously and they and their hateful speech will not be tolerated. . .

. . .But notwithstanding Obama’s motives for reaching out to the dictators of the world, Americans must take note of the fact that the lessons of history and basic understanding of human nature teach that irrational megalomaniacs cannot be reasoned with. No matter how articulate America’s president, his Messiah-like aura will not turn evil into good, the devil into an angel.


Off TV

Good advice from Newsweek‘s Howard Fineman: Mr. President, please stay off TV.

If ubiquity were the measure of a presidency, Barack Obama would already be grinning at us from Mount Rushmore. But of course it is not. Despite his many words and television appearances, our elegant and eloquent president remains more an emblem of change than an agent of it. He’s a man with an endless, worthy to-do list—health care, climate change, bank reform, global capital regulation, AfPak, the Middle East, you name it—but, as yet, no boxes checked “done.” This is a problem that style will not fix. Unless Obama learns to rely less on charm, rhetoric, and good intentions and more on picking his spots and winning in political combat, he’s not going to be reelected, let alone enshrined in South Dakota.

More here.


Dallas Willard

Obviously, I’m a big fan of USC philosophy professor Dallas Willard. This site is named after Willard’s 1998 book, The Divine Conspiracy, which was Christianity Today‘s book of the year. I first became aware of Willard while reading, Does God Exist?: The Debate Between Theists & Atheists, which featured a debate by J. P. Moreland and Kai Nielsen, with contributions from Willard, William Lane Craig, Peter Kreft, Antony Flew, and Keith Parsons.

Earlier this year Dallas Willard spoke at a Wheaton College Theology Conference, and you can read what he had to say here.

Also, three of Willard’s books are featured on the Readings page here.



Wilson Quarterly looks at the world’s birthrates.

Something dramatic has happened to the world’s birthrates. Defying predictions of demographic decline, northern Europeans have started having more babies. Britain and France are now projecting steady population growth through the middle of the century. In North America, the trends are similar. In 2050, according to United Nations projections, it is possible that nearly as many babies will be born in the United States as in China. Indeed, the population of the world’s current demographic colossus will be shrinking. And China is but one particularly sharp example of a widespread fall in birthrates that is occurring across most of the developing world, including much of Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The one glaring exception to this trend is sub-Saharan Africa, which by the end of this century may be home to ­one-­third of the human ­race.



Michael Shermer on Why People Believe in Conspiracies here.


The Greatest Show

Newsweek has an excerpt of The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, by Richard Dawkins.

And The Humanist wants to save future teachers from creationism.

The struggle between creationists and upholders of science is largely a war of words. Yet it is in many ways an unequal contest. Creationists have a quiver full of misleading quotes, soaring oratorical rockets, and cannonades of pseudofacts, outlandish promises, and dreadful threats. Science advocates too often come to the fray armed with a wagonload of complicated ideas, bound in knotty jargon and dragged to the lines by lead-footed prose and clunky equations. As the philosopher Dale Beyerstein has observed, “The creationist knows that his or her dogmatic assertions will appear to the lay audience as straightforward, no-nonsense presentations of the facts; in contrast, the scientific opponent will appear obfuscating and evasive.”

What would happen if the pro-science side quit trying to win over young people with words and instead let them discover science for themselves? That is what geologist David Harwood, holder of the Stout Chair in Stratigraphy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), decided to find out. Together with his former doctoral student, Richard Levy, he has created a unique geology field course for future teachers. The idea is simple: In the rocky wilderness of Wyoming, a dozen students are pressed into teams and tasked with recapitulating centuries’ worth of geological discovery in a matter of days.

“I want to teach classes that make a difference,” Harwood tells me. In his early fifties, bearded, balding, and soft-spoken, he nevertheless conveys the vigor and determination of a younger, hungrier man. His research in Antarctica, where he leads an international coring project, has added to the mountain of evidence that global warming poses dire threats. But the inability of many Americans to distinguish between scientific evidence and political hogwash dismays Harwood. It has led him to redirect his energies into nurturing science-savvy teachers for the next generation.



Reason on “Why Obama should reaffirm the importance of our relationship with Israel.”


Rob Bell

Michael Paulson (Articles of Faith) interviews Mars Hill Bible Church pastor Rob Bell.


Head Injuries

Vox Day (no relation) links to this GQ story on head injuries and the NFL, and makes some interesting side points.


Easy Riding

GQ on how to ride a motorcycle.

Here’s a couple pics of me on my Nighthawk.


Bay Area

A zeppelin adventure over the San Francisco Bay Area.



P.J. O’Rourke on Woodstock at 40 here.


The Golden State

Instapundit links this story of on-duty police officers getting caught running red lights in non-emergency situations. The interesting part, for us out here in California, was the following:

At least four Oak Ridge police officers have been caught speeding by the city’s new traffic cameras while on duty, including one officer nabbed twice, Stone said.

All of the officers paid the $50 fine for each offense, the captain said. The violations typically occurred early in the morning, Stone said.

Fifty dollar fines?!?!?! Are you kidding me??? The average cost of running a red light in California is about 350 dollars! Except for maybe the weather (oh yeah, and wine country!), what’s so great about living in the “Golden State”?


Mixed Signals

Psychology Today on “mixed signals,” how we see ourselves versus how others see us.

“I’ll be there at 2 p.m. sharp,” Kirsten assures me as we set up our next research meeting. I make note of it in my calendar—but I put it down as 3 p.m. It’s not that Kirsten is trying to fool me; she’s just deluded about her time-management skills. After a long history of meetings to which she shows up an hour late, I’ve realized I have to make allowances for her self-blinding optimism. I don’t have unique insight—any of her friends would make the same prediction. In the domain of punctuality, others know Kirsten better than she knows herself.

The difference between how you see yourself and how others see you is not just a matter of egocentrism. Like Kirsten, we all have blind spots. We change our self-conception when we see ourselves through others’ eyes. Part of the discrepancy arises because the outsider’s perspective affords information you yourself miss—like the fact that it looks like you’re scowling when you’re listening, or that you talk over other people.

How well we understand ourselves has a profound impact on our ability to navigate the social realm. In some areas, we know ourselves better than others do. But in other areas, we’re so biased by our need to see ourselves in a good light that we become strangers to ourselves. By soliciting feedback from other people, we can learn more about ourselves and how we’re coming off. Only by understanding how we’re seen can we make sure we’re sending the right signals. To be understood by others, in other words, the first step is understanding ourselves.

Read the whole article here.


Robert Parker

As someone no longer working in the wine industry, but still interested in all things grape, I missed the latest brouhaha concerning wine critic Robert Parker.

Unless you spend a lot of time in wine chat rooms, you may have missed the recent controversies involving critic Robert Parker. The short version: Parker’s publication, the Wine Advocate, was found to be violating its own strictures against freebies and fraternizing with wine importers, and a contributor he hired gave a high rating to a wine based on a sample that seemed to bear little resemblance to what was available on retail shelves. The back-to-back scandals, which have damaged Parker’s reputation for probity (one of his biggest selling points as a critic), came to light via several wine Web sites, including Parker’s own online discussion board. The Internet angle is actually the most significant aspect of this story, for it underscores how profoundly technology is changing the relationship between wine critics and consumers—the relationship between you and me.

Slate has more.

For wine lovers everywhere, here’s the winners for the 2009 California State Fair Wine Competition.

The California State Fair is committed to promoting California wines by recognizing California’s top wines and wineries. Established in 1855, the California State Fair Wine Competition is the oldest and most prestigious Wine Competition in North America.

And here’s the website of someone I once worked with in the wine industry. You can trust his opinion on wine!