Moderates: a putrid taste

Laodicea was the original moderate city.
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For the last few decades or so this country has been divided by liberal and conservative ideologues. The division has arisen as a result of (in my opinion) liberals thinking they can make up their own minds about what is right and wrong while conservatives support traditional values. Even those who claim to be Christians mistakenly validate their liberal biases as being “Christianly.” After all, isn’t it “Christianly” to want to take care of the poor and allow women to make choices about their own bodies? While I vehemently disagree with my liberal contemporaries, at least I appreciate their point of view and their hearts – although their minds are beyond my scope of understanding. But moderates are not the recipients of any of my appreciation or understanding – not in the least. Actually, I believe they are the most responsible for the disintegration of the American Dream.

Moderates and the real divide

The country is thought to be ideologically divided – but that may be a misunderstanding. A large segment of our population consider themselves to be liberals and another large segment consider themselves to be conservatives. There is, however, a percentage of the population that embraces the moderate point of view while claiming to be traditionalists. I’m sure you’ve heard them say: “I’m personally pro-life but respect a women’s right to choose.” As far as I’m concerned, that’s playing both sides of the fence. Not only are they mistaken but they are the most responsible for the condition of America today. They are the ones who have sold out in order to play-along-to-get-along. While trying to please everyone, they please no one. In the recent past, they tried to coin the phrase “Compassionate Conservative.” In coining this phrase, they have sold out what is right in exchange for pleasing people. Their ranks have produced the likes of George Bush 41 and 43, John McCain and Mitt Romney, all of whom have given the keys of the White House to Barack Hussein Obama.

One of the most destructive things they have done is that they have destroyed the Republican Party. The once noble Party of Lincoln produced men and women that were willing to die to keep the Union intact and so that others could be free. There is nothing moderate about this. The moderate Republicans today are clueless and gutless, which makes them worthless. They believe in reaching across the aisle when they should be lunging across the aisle to drag others to their side.

A moderate city: Laodicea

Laodicea was the original moderate city.

A street in ancient Laodicea. Photo: User RJdeadly/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License

I’m not the first person to think that they stink to high heaven. The Bible in the Book of Revelation has something to say about this type of ideology as well. When speaking about the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-15 our Lord says:

I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So, then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.

The Lord goes on to say that they do not know that they are: “…wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…” In other words, they think that they are worthy but they are stomach-turning.

I’ve always understood that verse – at least to some degree, but never as profoundly as now when I consider the lukewarm parade of Republicans bending over backwards to please everyone in order to secure as many future votes as possible. They may be insuring their re-election but they are also insuring the demise of the Republican Party that was founded on principle – and worse, they are a huge contributing factor to the demise of America. And what do we do about this? We vote for them believing that they are the lesser of two evils. As a friend of mine says, “The problem with that is that you still get evil.”

Leave the moderates behind

I say let them keep their small percentage of moderate voters; it’s time for the rest of us to move on and realize the damage they have done to our Republic. America may never have been perfect, but she always was Christian – no matter what the Muslims occupying the White House may have you believe. And if you are really a follower of the Man from Galilee, you will spit out these distasteful moderates – just as He did. It’s high time we start recruiting real conservatives before the next election cycle begins. If we can’t retrieve the Republican Party from the likes of Carl Rove and Chris Christie, then it may be time we reject it and start looking elsewhere for a Party that represents our ideals and principles: for me, that was the Constitution Party; for you it may be another Party. Regardless, now is the time to start looking – not a month or two before the next election.

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RoseAnn Salanitri is a published author and Acquisition Editor for the New Jersey Family Policy Council. She is a community activist who has founded the Sussex County Tea Party in her home state and launched a recall movement against Senator Robert Menendez. RoseAnn is also the founder of Veritas Christian Academy, as well as co-founder of Creation Science Alive, and a national creation science speaker.

53 Responses to Moderates: a putrid taste

  1. Fergus Mason says:

    “liberals thinking they can make up their own minds”

    Admit it: that’s what you really hate, isn’t it? Those nasty people daring to make up their own minds instead of letting a collection of long-dead Middle Eastern priests do it for them.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That “collection of long-dead Middle Eastern priests” got it right, about Who put this world here for us, how He did id, and how He made us. They were remarkably accurate, as I have already shown.

  2. […] Moderates: a putrid taste […]

  3. Dmitry says:

    But what makes them any more (or less) correct than any of the many other ancient peoples and their origin myths? What makes these particular Middle Easterners more correct than, say, the Sumerians, or the Egyptians, or much later with the old Norse? They each have their own myths, many with the same kind of theatrics that are found in the Abrahamic creation traditions. Why were they right, and all others wrong?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      How about a clear astronomical fix on the most significant event since Creation itself, namely the Global Flood? Would it surprise you to learn that this date corresponds within a year and a half to a date one can back-calculate using king lists, epochal intervals, and genealogies, all to be found in the Bible?

  4. Fergus Mason says:

    “That “collection of long-dead Middle Eastern priests” got it right, about Who put this world here for us, how He did id, and how He made us.”

    That’s your opinion. As you know I disagree.

    However, sticking to the subject of who decides what’s right and wrong, those ancient priests may have erred slightly against personal freedom, don’t you think? I – not Moses – will decide whether I work on Sundays or not, whether I eat prawns lightly sautéed in olive oil and garlic or not, whether I wear clothes made of mixed fabric or not and if it’s OK for me to have a pallid bust of Pallas perched above my chamber door (which I do.)

    It is for me to decide whether or not any of those things are right or wrong, not the lawmakers of a long-vanished culture which to say the least I do not admire. The same applies to modern-day followers of those lawmakers. I do not pay any attention to biblical laws and nor is there any need for me to do so. Of course people are free to try to stone me to death for this, as prescribed by those same laws, but if they do I will simply shoot them.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      I maintain that you forfeited your right to stand for absolute personal freedom in these contexts, when you stood against personal freedom in the context of the Romeike case.

  5. Fergus Mason says:

    “I maintain that you forfeited your right to stand for absolute personal freedom in these contexts, when you stood against personal freedom in the context of the Romeike case.”

    I fully support the right of the Romeike children to be educated by qualified professionals and oppose any attempt to deny them that right.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      How about the right to do it themselves, because these are their own children we’re talking about?

      I abominate laws that require a license to do things for yourself.

  6. Fergus Mason says:

    “How about a clear astronomical fix on the most significant event since Creation itself, namely the Global Flood?”

    I’m intrigued. Astronomical evidence for the flood? Show me.

  7. Fergus Mason says:

    “How about the right to do it themselves, because these are their own children we’re talking about?”

    They have that right, but chose not to exercise it in the legal way. If they wanted to homeschool all they had to do was get the required qualifications, like everyone else who wants to teach, drive a car or carry out open heart surgery has to. Instead they broke the law then whined about “discrimination.”

    “I abominate laws that require a license to do things for yourself.”

    So if they’d decided to remove a brain tumour from one of their kids on the kitchen table you’d support their right to do that for themselves? I don’t think so.

    Germany views education as THE most important thing that happens to someone in the first 20 years of their life, and certainly too important to be carried out by people who are not competent to do it. Inadequate education can ruin someone’s life, which is why you need to prove your competence before educating Germans. The Romeike’s children had a RIGHT as German citizens to a proper education, and their parents were not entitled to deny them that simply because they were too precious to bother with little things like the law.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      In other words they had to go to college for four years, graduate school for another three, and then – the kicker – pass an examination given by the State to ensure that they would teach certain subjects the way the State, and only the State, wanted them taught.

      Education should not be the province of the State.

      There shouldn’t even be a State at all, beyond the analogues of the night watchman and the arbiter of disputes.

      That’s where we differ.

  8. Fergus Mason says:

    Actual astronomical evidence please, not that rubbish.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Methodological naturalism, meaning scientifically mandated atheism, rears its ugly head. Again.

  9. Dmitry says:

    From what I have read, Terry, it has been demonstrated to you multiple times that “methodological naturalism” has nothing to do with atheism, and everything to do with what is capable of being studied. Hence, nothing “supernatural” can be scientifically studied, since by definition it lies outside the realm of what can influence the natural world. If something’s effect on the natural world cannot be discerned (supernatural) it cannot be studied, and should not be surmised to exist in the first place.

    This is not to be taken as “god is not supernatural, and therefore cannot exist.” Such a sentiment is close-minded. Rather, “supernatural” should not be a label applied to god at all. If god exists, his influence in the natural world will be felt, detected, and will be capable of study, which puts such things well within inclusion of the “methodological naturalism” you seem to malign. If his influence does not extend to affecting the natural world (supernaturalism) then there is no way to study such an influence and, in the absence of an influence in the natural world, can be safely discounted until evidence suggests otherwise.

    Is there such unequivocal natural evidence for the existence of god as American Christians understand him?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Wrong.

      It has been represented to me multiple times that “methodological naturalism” has nothing to do with atheism.

      Mis-represented, I say.

      A prominent evolutionary activist named Susan Brassfield Cogan tangled with me repeatedly on a distributed mailing list. In diatribe after diatribe, she proved that, at least in her mind, methodological naturalism supported atheism, or it was not methodological naturalism.

      I have presented here several pieces of unequivocal natural evidence for a major intervention in the natural (i.e., wild) world, and a severe constraint of time that precludes goo-to-you abiogenesis and progression from molecules to man.

      Other people, having far more time to devote to it than I alone would have, have presented hundreds of pieces more.

      You can read their stories here.

  10. Fergus Mason says:

    “In other words they had to go to college for four years, graduate school for another three, and then – the kicker – pass an examination given by the State”

    Just like every other teacher, yes. It isn’t OK to give kids a substandard education just because they’re your own. Children have a right to be taught by competent teachers and the parents can’t just decide to deny them that.

    “Education should not be the province of the State.”

    I don’t necessarily disagree. However it CERTAINLY isn’t the province of unqualified amateurs. It’s too important for that.

    Anyway, you have the Romeikes. Keep them; we don’t want them back.

  11. Fergus Mason says:

    “Methodological naturalism, meaning scientifically mandated atheism, rears its ugly head. Again.”

    If you mean an insistence on actual evidence, yes. Not some crackpottery derived from the heavily massaged periods of a whole five comets.

    Brown’s fantasy orbital mechanics don’t work. Cometary orbits work if they condensed in the Oort Cloud and fell in towards the sun after a perturbation. They fail utterly if the comets were supposedly blasted out from Earth. They become ridiculous if Brown is proposing that they condensed from diffuse material blasted out from Earth. And let’s not forget the show stopper of an energy release that would have vapourised most of this planet.

  12. Fergus Mason says:

    “In other words they had to go to college for four years, graduate school for another three”

    Actually not quite. A Bachelors in pedagogy then another Bachelors in each subject they wanted to teach at secondary school level. To teach all the mandatory subjects about 20 years at university. That’s because German education standards, despite the national hobby of feeling inadequate, are extremely high. The Romeikes would have had, at best, a superficial knowledge of most of the subjects. Their teaching would have left their children at a serious disadvantage in a VERY competitive job market. They were not entitled to violate the rights of German citizens in that way.

  13. Fergus Mason says:

    “at least in her mind”

    Well, there you go. Personally I’ve never heard of the woman and she certainly doesn’t get to make the rules for the entire scientific community.

    “I have presented here several pieces of unequivocal natural evidence for a major intervention in the natural (i.e., wild) world”

    No, you haven’t. You have repeated Brown’s badly fudged and completely unscientific analysis of five comets. The fact is that his proposed orbital mechanics violate the law of gravity, just as his absurd hydroplate claims violate the laws of conservation of energy. As has been pointed out repeatedly, the event Brown describes would have sterilised what remained of the planet.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Those five comets really struck a nerve with you, didn’t they? You dare not admit that his analysis is correct or valid in any way. It shakes you at the very core of your being, doesn’t it? Scratch an atheist and you’ll always find a rebel against God.

  14. Dmitry says:

    Terry, I respectfully suggest that you missed my point. If god as we understand it exists, then it falls firmly within the natural world, not the “supernatural.” How can something be supernatural and have evidence for its existence, anyway? Once something has evidence pointing to its existence, it is by definition no longer “supernatural.”

    I posit that your understanding of methodological materialism is incomplete. Your objections seem to centre around the suggestion that either 1) it is an atheistic line of reasoning, or 2) it leads to atheism. This question is irrelevant, since it has no bearing on whether or not naturalism is valid. Additionally, to answer the charges of atheism, the question of god’s existence certainly can be summed up thusly: god is either “natural” and his presence can be inferred from the evidence, or god is “supernatural” and there is no real reason to suppose his existence in the first place.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      God is Above Nature for a reason: He is the First Cause. He is the Cause of nature. He stands Above nature because He made nature.

      If methodological naturalism meant only “an economy of miracles,” I wouldn’t object to it. It would be a corollary to Occam’s Razor: one should not multiply miracles without sufficient reason, and preferably attestation. The best idea would be: don’t invoke miracles without direct Testimony to them.

      But that’s not how I’ve seen it practiced. The way I’ve always seen it practiced is: “We must never allow a Divine foot in the door.” So that if any line of reasoning leads to confirmation or corroboration of an account of a seemingly fantastic Bible story, certain soi-disant investigators throw it out, and claim “methodological naturalism” as their justification. If I take them at their word, how can you or any one else blame me for that? No one ever uses methodological naturalism, either the buzz phrase or the process it it supposed to represent, in any other manner!

      The best reason to suppose His existence is: nature couldn’t have come to be without Him. The chain of causation must retrace to a First Cause. To posit otherwise is to surrender the quest for a first happening, to the cloudy concept of Infinite Regression.

  15. Dmitry says:

    Ok, let me respond to what I can. Please indulge me with your patience regarding my formatting; I am on a touch-screen device and its Internet browser it substandard, to say the least.

    I will grant you the idea that god is “above” his creation for the time being. But surely you must admit that his actions, at the very least, must send “ripples” through to us in the mundane. Those ripples are what we would detect and measure, and they would be subject to the same rigors and measures as any other evidence under the purview of methodological naturalism.

    Now the key thing, for me, is that if this truly was the case, if god’s influence could be inferred independently, the case for the Christian god would be much more convincing for me. However, it seems like one only arrives at such a conjecture through the lens of biblical understanding. Surely, if the evidence was so self-evident, scientists from all walks of life would be lining up to attest to the scientific truth of god. However, it seems like the only ones to arrive at such a conjecture are those that are already deeply steeped in the mythos and spirit of Abrahamic religion (I say Abrahamic to include the Muslim creationists as well).

    But I digress along a whole other tangent.

    Regarding your understanding of MN (I grow weary of pecking that out repeatedly), it seems to me that your protestations are more anecdotal. To whit, you have seen people describe MN as a direct omission of god, and that is now the definition you assign to MN. I won’t debate you on your experiences, but I must point out that many people associate many concepts with many crazy ideas. If you would be so kind as to provide me with a science textbook (or equivalent) that describes MN as you describe it, I will be more inclined to accept your reasoning. But, at the risk of being insulting, it seems that your idea of MN is creationist sour-grapes resulting from having their poor arguments dismantled by scientists (not to imply your arguments are the ones I reference): “those scientists rejected my account of 6-day creation because they want to remove god from science!”

    Regarding your unmoved-mover argument, I have two points. Firstly: why is god exempt from cause and effect? Why must he not need a cause? The answer I often get to this question is usually one reflecting his great power, or some manner of “he just is,” but I have never heard a convincing answer. One cannot rigorously adhere to “every effect must have a cause” and then say “… Oh, but not god. He doesn’t count.” That to me seems the height of illogic.

    Secondly, if I assume you are correct and that the universe was born from the whim of a deity, what specifically suggests it was YHWH who did so? What evidence outside of the holy texts is there that, not only was the universe the result of special creation, but was the special creation of god the father?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      On just one point: when you compare the various holy books of various attempts to describe God, the Bible is the only one that is one hundred percent accurate, and that no piece of physical evidence has ever refuted in any particular.

      Now I had never heard of methodological naturalism until Susan Cogan tangled with me and threw that in my face with every post she wrote on the group OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com. (That is, until either she realized that she was the, as she thought, irresistible force acting on my immovable object, or she ran afoul of the list owner for breach of etiquette.) And I have not heard one person, professing an adherence to methodological naturalism, who would ever admit the existence of God. All who profess an adherence to MN, say that it excludes God. Without exception.

      That is, until I run into you and Mr. Mason. Do I detect a strategic retreat, perhaps?

      Now then: you accuse me of special pleading and then commit that fallacy yourself. In denying that God, if He exists, can be Causeless, and therefore the First Cause of all, you plump for Infinite Regression again.

      Now about those ripples: we call them miracles, or usually we call them judgments. The Global Flood was one such, and arguably the worst to date.

  16. Fergus Mason says:

    “Those five comets really struck a nerve with you, didn’t they?”

    No; they annoyed me.

    “You dare not admit that his analysis is correct or valid in any way.”

    Not “dare not” so much as “need not.” His analysis, like his energy budget, is childishly flawed.

    “Scratch an atheist and you’ll always find a rebel against God.”

    Really, Terry, i expected better of you. For me to rebel against your god would be as pointless as rebelling against Lord Voldemort or Mrs Tiggywinkle.

  17. Fergus Mason says:

    “The best reason to suppose His existence is: nature couldn’t have come to be without Him.”

    No, that’s just special pleading. It can also be stated as “Everything needs a cause unless I say it doesn’t.” As a proof of anything it would struggle to be called laughable.

  18. MatthewJ says:

    Brown’s backstepping of cometary orbits doesn’t strike a nerve so much as it elicits Wolfgang Pauli’s famous “it is not only not right, it is not even wrong” response. The premise is interesting – if you could accurately track these comets back, there will inevitably be a single point in time that is their closest clustering of perihelia. That date might or might not be of interest depending on when it is and how tight the clustering is.

    The problem is that Brown’s method of stepping back, clocklike, from a given date in the past using a single selected period is fundamentally flawed. Projecting backward like that totally ignores the effects of gravitational perturbations of the orbits caused by proximity to other solar system bodies. Does it not give you pause to see that the group that modeled the orbits of comet Halley back to 1403 B.C. stopped their modeling there because a flyby of Jupiter at that point rendered any further backward projection fundamentally unreliable? And that’s with stepwise gravitational modeling software, too. That even they have to introduce ’empirical correction factors’ into their model to make the simulation conform with historical observation over more recent time scales? That they at least considered the effects of mass loss over time and jet effects, which Brown doesn’t?

    Adding additional comets using this flawed technique does not statismagically make the resulting answer meaningful. Garbage in, garbage out. As I already pointed out, if Brown’s technique is sound the same result should occur if you start with, say, Halley’s earliest _observed_ perihelion rather than its earliest _calculated_ perihelion. But making small changes like that in the starting conditions shifts the resulting least-squares minimum point by thousands of years back and forth, sometimes producing much tighter clusters than Brown’s 3356 B.C. date. I’m not conceding the validity of the method, mind you – I’m only pointing out that Brown’s technique is not only unphysical, it’s also highly sensitive to the initial conditions chosen, which it really shouldn’t be if choosing five comets was supposed to be able to law-of-large-numbers-central-limit-theorem-handwave away the errors introduced by the clocklike backstepping in the first place.

    Try this, Dr. Hurlbut – add in three, or two, or even one of those comets that we expect to see again in the next twenty or so years. You can try ones we’ve seen twice, like 122P or 153P, and therefore have ‘earliest observed perihelion’ and ‘earliest period’ data for, and see if you get the same 3346 B.C. number. There’s no need to worry about the sigma, unless you can show where Brown actually used it somewhere other than to add a column to a figure. Let us know what comets you add to the ‘five most clocklike’ and what results you get.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      The comets involved were the ones that changed their periods the least. Furthermore, most had inclinations between forty-five and one hundred thirty-five degrees. That would take them out of flyby range of most bodies for most of their orbits.

      Dr. Brown is no doubt watching this. If your discourse has any merit he will, perhaps, respond.

  19. MatthewJ says:

    According to Brown’s site, they were chosen because they were observed on three consecutive orbits and had long periods, not because they “changed their periods the least.” He also states that angles of inclination were _not_ considered. Halley, for example was accepted with an inclination of 162.3, which puts it retrograde but within 20º of the ecliptic. He rejected 95P/Chiron with a period of 50 years because there is evidence that its orbit was perturbed in the last two thousand years. There are no other periodic comets with periods of greater than 50 years that have been observed for three orbits. If you want additional long-period comets you have to look at comets with two observed orbits, like 153P, 35P, 177P, 165P, 122P, 167P, 166P, or 273P. If you want to limit it to inclinations greater than or equal to Halley’s comet, that still leaves you with 35P, 122P, 177P,and 273P. Try one of those out.

    If your comment about inclination is supposed to imply that flybys don’t have to be taken into consideration, what can I say other than you are wrong. Why do you think that the best computer simulations of past orbits depend upon modeling gravitational interactions between the comet and the planets? Halley’s close approach to Jupiter was why that simulation was stopped around 1400 B.C., remember. Comet 273P/Pons-Gambart with an inclination of 136º had a close approach to Saturn in 1830 and a closer one to Earth in 1645, as another example.

    While I would love to hear from Dr. Brown, I won’t be holding my breath. It’s been over six months and we still haven’t heard his responses to the Mercury ice discussions, much less the issue of the re-entry heat of the Flood waters.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Not consecutive. Three times. He took the five comets from the 2008 Catalog of Cometary Orbits that had the orbits that changed the least.

      If you look at the table I produced, I added the inclinations. (And by the way: Halley is retrograde.)

      Two observed orbits are not enough to compute a standard deviation. But some comets are due to return for their third time over the next twenty years. (If Operations Big Snatch and Pressure Cooker do not intervene, that is.)

      Finally, by the logic you use, we would simply have to give up trying to find a launch point. He acknowledges that if you back-step, you introduce new error at every step of the way.

  20. Fergus Mason says:

    “Finally, by the logic you use, we would simply have to give up trying to find a launch point.”

    It’s extremely unscientific to assume that there IS a launch point then start trying to prove it. That’s what Brown is doing.Everyone else has a perfectly good model of the solar system that doesn’t need a launch point (Ockham’s Razor) and in fact makes it quite clear that there isn’t one.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That would be true if he started there. He didn’t. He started with evidence on earth for an event that would have launched the material that formed the comets.

  21. Fergus Mason says:

    “That would be true if he started there. He didn’t. He started with evidence on earth for an event that would have launched the material that formed the comets.”

    No, Terry. We both know where he started. He started with the book of Genesis then went looking for cherry-picked “facts” to support it. Brown reached his conclusion before he began his research.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Read his biography again. He says it all on his site.

      And Genesis isn’t a bad place to start. Would it surprise you to learn that a number of atheists have started there, seeking to disprove it, and finally surrendered to its logic? Lee Strobel, for one.

  22. MatthewJ says:

    Directly from Brown:
    “The most authoritative source of information for all known comets is the Catalogue of Cometary Orbits 2008 (17th Edition). It lists on page 157 the comets that have been seen on __at least three consecutive orbits__ and have the longest periods.” Underlining mine; I don’t know how to do italics here.

    So, yes, three consecutive observed orbits. Not that that matters really – for comets with periods greater than 50 years, there are only 6 that have three total observed perihelia, much less consecutive – and Brown rejected one because modeling suggested that it had been greatly perturbed in the last 2000 years (comet 95P/Chiron, for those playing the home game). I don’t know why this is a sticking point, unless you think that there were lots of candidate comets and Brown selected only a few of the very best, least variable of them.

    Dr. Brown puts that sigma(sqrt(N)) column in there to impress us that there is relatively little error in his backstepping, but that interpretation is simply incorrect. The assumptions involved just don’t match physical reality. Brown backsteps from the earliest known perihelion using the earliest known period. If that technique were sound, we should be able to step back from a recent perihelion, using the period associated with it, and reproduce known, more historically remote perihelia within the same sigma(sqrt(N)) error that Brown is proposing. Would you agree to that in principle?

    Let’s set up a worksheet where we use the Halley data to check this assumption. Pick a known perihelion and its associated period, step back 26 orbits, and compare to the real observed perihelion 26 orbits back. Why 26? Because that’s roughly the same span of time that Dr. Brown steps back from the 1403 BC date to get the 3344 BC date.

    Starting from the 1910 perihelion we can repeat this for 19 earlier perihelia back to 530, matching each with a historical perihelion 26 periods earlier, e.g. 1910 -> 86 BC, 530 -> 1403 BC. According to Brown, with a sigma of 0.95 and an N of 26, sigma(sqrt(N)) should be 4.84 years, so naively we would expect 65% of the true perihelia to fall within 4.84 years of the predicted stepback date, and ~95% to fall within 9.68 years of the stepback date. If Dr. Brown’s method is accurate. If.

    So, how do you think it turns out in real life? How many real perihelia fall within 4.84 years or 9.68 years of the predicted stepback date, using Brown’s method?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Chiron, as I personally discovered, did not quite qualify as a comet. Truth to tell, even the conventional astronomical community have not quite made up their minds just what Chiron is.

      Now even you have to admit that if you start as recently as 1910, you magnify the value of N. That’s why he back-steps from the earliest known perihelion, using the earliest known period. And when the periods are large enough, he can keep N to a minimum.

      But again, I’ll leave this up. He’ll likely see it.

  23. Fergus Mason says:

    “Lee Strobel, for one.”

    Personally, if I was Lee Strobel, I’d have stopped claiming to be an ex-atheist as soon as the internet made it possible for people to check. You do know that absolutely nobody believes him, don’t you? There are certainly atheists who have become religious, but Strobel isn’t one of them; he’s a dishonest crank.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That is a matter of opinion. And I am certain that Mr. Strobel is quite prepared to say otherwise – in a court of law, if necessary. You do know that he is trained in the law?

  24. Fergus Mason says:

    “And Genesis isn’t a bad place to start.”

    It is in science. In fact it’s a dreadful way to start. What you’re supposed to do is find a hypothesis that explains an observation then test it and see if it fails. You’re not meant to find a Bronze Age Palestinian myth and go looking for things that can be twisted to support it.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That was not the pathway to uniformitarianism. That pathway started with deciding on an anti-myth of an eternal, then ultimately a long-lived, earth in which all of life, from protozoa to man, is nothing but a cosmic game of roulette. Not whist (or “bridge”), not even baccarat, but roulette. And then those who set up modern convention, went looking for things they could tweet – or fudge – to support it.

  25. Fergus Mason says:

    “And I am certain that Mr. Strobel is quite prepared to say otherwise – in a court of law, if necessary.”

    I’m sure he is. Whether or not he can back up his claims is another story. You see, the only person who has ever said that Lee Strobel used to be an atheist is Lee Strobel. Nobody else seems to remember him being one, even now that suspicions are being voiced. Now, if people were to start questioning my claim that I used to be a christian you’d find plenty of old friends and colleagues saying, “Yes, he did, but he started turning against it after Bosnia.” Nobody is giving similar support to Strobel’s claims.

    “You do know that he is trained in the law?”

    I couldn’t care less, frankly. I don’t share the American reverence for lawyers. At best they’re a necessary evil.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Mr. Strobel’s legal training helped him lay out the “Case for Faith,” as he titled his signature work.

      Whether he would necessarily regard your doubting of his word as sufficiently damaging to his character, is up to him to determine. Chances are he wouldn’t. But if he did…

  26. MatthewJ says:

    “Now even you have to admit that if you start as recently as 1910, you magnify the value of N. That’s why he back-steps from the earliest known perihelion, using the earliest known period. And when the periods are large enough, he can keep N to a minimum.”

    I will try to explain again more clearly. Brown backsteps Halley’s comet by 27 periods from its earliest known perihelion using its earliest known period before he arrives at that 3346 BC date. He claims that his backstep method is accurate enough that at 27 periods back the error is only sigma(sqrt(N)), where sigma (0.95) is the sample standard deviation of _the differences between successive Halley periods_ and N is 27: 0.95(sqrt(27)) = 4.94 yrs. Thus there is supposed to be a 65% chance of the true perihelion lying within +/- 4.94 years of the stepback prediction, and a 95% chance that it lies within +/- 9.98 years. That would be a pretty accurate prediction. But the method can be checked internally using the whole corpus of Halley data.

    If you can step back from the 1403 BC perihelion to the 3346 BC perihelion with an accuracy of sigma(sqrt(N)), you should be able to step back 26 periods from the 1903 perihelion to the 86 BC perihelion using the 1903 period, and from the 1835 perihelion to the 163 BC perihelion using the 1835 period, and from the 1759 perihelion to the 239 BC perihelion using the 1759 period, and so on. For each stepback prediction you would have an actual historical observation (or advanced model fit to the historical data) to check it against. If Dr. Brown’s technique is sound, 95% of the real-world perihelia should be within 9.68 years of the stepback prediction, and 65% should be within 4.84 years of the prediction.

    When you check in this way, there are 19 predictions to match against 19 historical observations. Only one observation lies within 4.84 years of the stepback prediction, rather than the predicted 12. Only 3 lie within 9.8 years of the prediction, instead of the predicted 18. In reality, half of the stepback predictions are off by sixty years or more, and in one case the prediction is off by 85 years – more than an entire period!

    But perhaps such a long span isn’t the best test of the method for some reason. Or maybe, by fluke, we landed on a bunch of weird outliers with that first analysis. Let’s recheck using the same technique but only stepping back 10 periods instead of 26. Surely our accuracy will improve with the smaller N, and we will see that anticipated cluster of 65% of true perihelia lying within 0.95(sqrt(10)) = 3 years of the stepback prediction.

    No. If you step any perihelion back using its associated period even only 10 times, the errors are still large. Because the stepbacks are smaller, we can get 35 internal comparisons out of the Halley data. Dr. Brown would predict that 22 of them will be within 3 years of the predicted date, and 33 within 6 years. In reality, 5 are within 3 years, 11 are within 6, 13 are within 9, etc. Some are off by as much as half a period even after just 10 stepbacks. Repeating the analysis with other stepbacks just confirms these findings.

    So despite his claim, Dr. Brown’s stepback method does not accurately predict earlier Halley’s comet perihelia with an error of sigma(sqrt(N)), even over time scales much shorter than he needs to use to arrive at a Flood date of 3346 BC. If it does not do that, why should we believe that it can do so for the other four comets on the list? If it can’t accurately predict earlier perihelia, why should we lend any credence to Dr. Brown’s date of 3346 BC?

    By all means, leave this up. It would be even better if you mentioned it to him personally, of course. It would be simple enough to repeat my analysis and show if I’ve made an error. I won’t hold my breath, though.

    Regarding 95P/Chiron – I don’t object to its being rejected. I’m just amused that it was rejected because modeling suggested that its orbit had been significantly altered back around the year 720 – about 1100 years before its earliest observation. Stepback didn’t see that one coming! Chiron would have presented a problem to the Flood theory anyway since its perihelion lies outside the orbit of Jupiter.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      The perihelion being beyond the orbit of Jupiter (hence more than significantly beyond the orbit of earth itself) is itself evidence suggesting more than a perturbation, but a full-blown slingshot flyby.

      Dr. Brown is, in fact, working out the mechanics of how Flood ejecta could make it out as far away as the Kuiper Belt and in fact come to constitute said Belt.

  27. Fergus Mason says:

    “Mr. Strobel’s legal training helped him lay out the “Case for Faith,” as he titled his signature work.”

    Irrelevant. Legal training has nothing to do with finding or demonstrating the truth. We use science for that.

    “Chances are he wouldn’t. But if he did…”

    I couldn’t care less if he did or not. What’s he going to do, haul me up in front of some Colorado judge for the crime of saying I don’t believe him? Yeah, good luck with that.

  28. Fergus Mason says:

    “Dr. Brown is, in fact, working out the mechanics of how Flood ejecta could make it out as far away as the Kuiper Belt and in fact come to constitute said Belt.”

    I can spare him the trouble. It couldn’t – at least not if he’s able to sit on this planet and waffle about it.

  29. ConservativeRedneck says:

    Great article and so very true. I have been a Conservative Republican all of my 70 years and that is the only way I have ever voted and I vote every election. It is my duty as a citizen to be involved.

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