May 31, 2006
HCSB Review at This LAMP
Rich Mansfield of This LAMP has finally begun his long awaited series on his top ten Bible versions with a thoughtful and detailed review of the Holmann Christian Standard Bible. It's a good read. Something I didn't know: the HCSB began as a personal project of Arthur Farstad, who was involved in two of my other favorite Bible projects, the New King James Version and The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text. (A digression on the majority text: most of the textual criticism articles I've seen have been from a pro-Byzantine perspective, and I got the impression that...
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May 30, 2006
AT&T-NSA Documents Unsealed
Update (5/31/06, 7:04PM): From CNET News.com via Hammer of Truth: AT&T's brief is also available in a 'censored' PDF. Unfortunately for AT&T, it turned out to be not so censored: users of xpdf and Apple's Preview application (including the Safari plugin) can read the blacked out text by copying and pasting it. The EFF is reporting that censored versions of AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein's Testimony and EFF's own preliminary injunction motion in the AT&T lawsuit have been unsealed by the court. The Klein testimony document looks like a summary of the documents published by Wired, which I reported on last...
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More Comment Spam Configuration
So I've discovered that by increasing my comment spam filter's aggressiveness by .1 I can eliminate nearly all spam (I was getting a whole bunch of spam which the filter scored at exactly 0 and referred to me for moderation, and it was clogging my email box like mad). The downside is that certain non-spam messages will also get junked, and MovableType will direct the user to a page that says the comment was 'held for moderation' rather than junked. When I get a chance (probably next week) I'll work on getting a more accurate message up there. For now...
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May 26, 2006
Christian Carnival For May 24 (Finally) Up!
After prolonged technical difficulties, Christian Carnival 24 is up at Musings on Music with a link to my post on icons. Because the technical difficulties are continuing, there is a second version of the carnival at Wittenberg Gate. Enjoy!...
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May 23, 2006
AT&T Spying Documents Published
Wired magazine has published a collection of evidence leaked by former AT&T employee Mark Klein thought to have substantial overlap wiith the sealed documents related to the Electronic Frontier Foundation lawsuit (a PDF of the complete file is also available). These documents do not relate directly to the NSA telephone call database (which is bad), but rather show that AT&T has installed 'secret rooms' at several hubs designed to intercept internet communications. This is rather less troubling than the alleged telephone spying, because it's not difficult to intercept unencrypted messages over the internet, but the thought that the government has...
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May 22, 2006
Philosphers' Carnival 30 at anniemiz!
Philosophers' Carnival 30 is now up at anniemiz with a link to my post on why the NSA data mining peration is bad. The next Philosophers' Carnival will be hosted right here at blog.kennypearce.net on June 12, so stay tuned! To submit an entry, go to the Philosophers' Carnival home page....
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Comment Problem Fixed?
I think comments may not have been working the past week or so (that is, I think a lot of them were giving the 'held for moderation' message, and then getting junked). I hope I have fixed this now. If you had something to say within the last week here, please either post again, or email me and I'll try to dig it out of the spam box. Sorry!...
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May 21, 2006
Translating epieikes in the New Testament
I went today to the evening service at Tenth Presbyterian Church here in Philadelphia (not my normal church), and one of the evening's readings included Philippians 4:5. Tenth Pres. uses the ESV, which renders the beginning of this verse as "let your reasonableness be known to everyone." Now, I've definitely read Philippians several times, and never came across anything about letting your 'reasonableness' be known, so this immediately stuck out to me, and I looked it up in the NKJV New Testament I had with me. NKJV reads "let your gentleness be known to all men." Are gentleness and reasonableness...
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May 18, 2006
The other day I was walking through Plaka (a region of Athens) and I saw a really fantastic icon. It was a large picture of Christ clothed in a purple robe, prominently displaying his wounds. This is good already, but I did a double-take on the text: around the image it said, in Greek, "o nymphios tes ekklesias" - "the bride-groom of the Church." I was actually very moved by this depiction, and its connection of Christ's wounds with the marriage of the Church. I can give a few other accounts like this, from having been in Greece, surrounded by...
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May 17, 2006
How to be a Christian Philosophy Professor
Douglas Groothuis, a philosophy professor at Denver Seminary has some interesting thoughts on Christianity, philosophy, and education in his article A Christian Philosophy of Education on his blog, The Constructive Curmudgeon. An excerpt: the necessary and sufficient conditions for being a philosopher are a strong and lived-out inclination to pursue truth about philosophical matters through the rigorous use of human reasoning, and the ability to do so with some intellectual facility. By �philosophical matters� I mean the enduring questions of life�s meaning, purpose, and value as they relate to all the major divisions of philosophy (primarily ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics)....
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The Evangelical Libertarian Classicist?
It's official! Ok, so actually it's not official, but it's true: having just submitted my last assignment for my Attic tragedy class, I have completed all of my major requirements for classical studies (Greek language and literature emphasis). One down, two to go... This is also my last assignment for my semester in Greece. On Friday I'll be heading back to Philadelphia where I will be working as a 'software engineer' for Hx Technologies this summer, then back to Penn for another year to finish up my other two majors in computer science and philosophy. There may be lighter blogging...
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Telecoms Deny Turning Call Records Over to NSA; FBI Spies on ABC News
As Lauren mentioned in the comments to my previous NSA wiretapping post, Verizon, along with BellSouth, has officially denied sharing call records with the NSA. Rumor has it AT&T has denied involvement as well, but I couldn't find an official report on that. A number of people including USA Today are skeptical of the companies' claims. We'll see how things play out... Meanwhile, in related news, The Blotter (Official Blog of ABC News) is claiming that the FBI has used national security letters to spy on reporters in order to find sources who reveal classified information. Now, revealing classified information...
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May 15, 2006
Why is the NSA Data Mining Operation Bad?
In the comments to my first post on NSA domestic spying, Jeremy said, This is exactly why I think libertarianism is completely nuts. If it's going to place some absurd sense of an absolute right to privacy so much higher than the extremely important obligation of the government to protect its people, then I want nothing to do with it ... It just seems silly to me to complain that my rights are being violated simply because information the government can already get if there's reason to suspect me of any criminal activity is more readily available in the event...
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May 13, 2006
What's a Fundamentalist?
Reported without comment: According to Alvin Plantinga, "on the most common contemporary academic use of the term," the word 'fundamentalist' means "stupid sumbitch whose theological opinions are considerably to the right of mine." (HT: Chrisendom)...
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May 12, 2006
More on NSA Domestic Spying
This morning's New York Times is now online (it's still weird being 7 hours ahead of New York and not having the Times out when I wake up) with more responses to yesterday's NSA domestic spying revelations. Before further discussion, let me clarify something about the NSA's program that seems to have confused some readers on my last post: there seem to be two separate warrantless spying programs. One program listens to international phone calls without warrants. Another program keeps records of the source, destination, time, and duration or all local and long distance phone calls within the United States...
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May 11, 2006
NSA Domestic Spying Revelations
Update (5/12/2006, 11:26 AM): This story has been picked up by Hammer of Truth and Homeland Stupidity. Homeland Stupidity also has a second article explaining the details of what is in the records and who can see them. The author is a former MCI employee. There is also an AP Article on the (limited) congressional response that has already begun (HT: Sister Toldjah) For those of you who might not know, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has sued telecom giant AT&T alleging that AT&T improperly assisted the NSA in listening to Americans' phone calls without the proper warrants. On April 28,...
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Smoking is Healthier Than Fascism: Long-Time Tobacco Control Advocate Speaks Out
Medical doctor and prominent tobacco control advocate Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health is accusing the anti-smoking lobby of having a hidden prohibitionist agenda and knowingly spreading misinformation about the scientific data. Siegel essentially claims anti-smoking groups have ceased to be motivated by concern for public health and are moving forward with a total prohibitionist platform based on sheer hatred of tobacco smokers. These fascistic movements are now attempting to ban smoking in private homes, and in all outdoor areas, and to deny employment to smokers. They are making claims such as "that 30 minutes of...
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Christian Carnival CXXI
Christian Carnival CXXI is now up at Something Epic with a link to my post, Opheilema in Matthew 6:12....
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May 10, 2006
Quotidian Grace for Mom of Congress!
You always knew our congressmen needed a babysitter to keep them out of trouble. What if they could have something even better: a real mother? Well, now they can. Vote Quotidian Grace for Mom of Congress!
(HT: Locusts and Honey
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Opheilema in Matthew 6:12
Wayne Leman is aksing the question should we forgive our debtors? As those of you who have spent some time in different churches will have noticed, there are a wide variety of translations of Matthew 6:12 used in the Lord's Prayer as recited in various congregations and traditions. The most common seem to be "debt" (from KJV), "trespass" (from Tyndale), and "sin" (some more recent translations). Which of these is correct? Well, as usual in Bible translation debates, none of the major translations is flat out wrong, but some are more accurate than others. Which should we use? Well, to...
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May 7, 2006
More Comment Spam Recongifuration
I've added to my blog configuration a list of words used in offensive comment spam (especially those that link to porn sites). I realize, however, that the relevant words (which I will not list here, as I will probably add more later as the need arises) have legitimate uses (which is why I'm moderating rather than junking them). So, if you write a comment that contains, for instance, the word 'nude,' you will receive a message that says "Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner." I'll get an email with your comment and approve...
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May 4, 2006
Why Believe the Bible?
Part 1: Plan of Attack
There has been a lot floating around about the doctrine of inerrancy recently. I posted on this subject not long ago, responding to a post at World of Sven and a lengthy series at Chrisendom. Since then, there has been a second World of Sven post, and also a post from the No Kool-Aid Zone about just how important inerrancy is. This is a problem that I've been thinking seriously about for some time. Actually, I started by asking the question "just why do I believe in the Bible?" then realized that the answer to that question would have a...
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Part 1: Plan of Attack"
Christian Carnival CXX
Christian Carnival CXX is up at Daddypundit with a link to my recent post on the Trinity. Check it out....
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May 3, 2006
Colbert Appointed Whitehouse Fool
I keep a collection of quotes in a file on my computer. One of the quotes I've collected was from a New York Times editorial by Nicholas Kristof following the big Shakespeare Festival in Oregon a few years ago: Indeed, the only person who seems to provide Shakespeare's kings with sound advice is the court fool, who cannot be punished for saying unpalatable truths because jesting is his job. I urge Mr. Bush to appoint a White House fool. The reason I bring this up, is that Stephen Colbert, formerly of The Daily Show, and now of his own Colbert...
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May 2, 2006
"Three Persons, One Substance" - Paradox or Solution?
I seem to have opened quite the can of worms in my post on Church dogma the other day when I said: There seem to be some clear (to me) cases of Christian dogma that are not obviously uniquely deriveable from Scripture. For example, consider the formulation of the trinity as three persons (Greek hupostaseis and/or prosopa, Latin personae) in one substance/essence (Greek ousia, Latin essentia and/or substantia). This type of formulation is extremely common in the Christian tradition, and is derived primarily from the Chalcedonian Creed. However, I don't think we can say that it is obviously uniquely deriveable...
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What Is Philosophy? Ten Things Everyone Should Know
No less than three top ten lists of things everyone should know about philosophy have been published on philosophy blogs in recent days. The best of the three is at DuckRabbit. This list is entirely about how philosophy works, and not particular philosophical ideas the author thinks you should believe in. I think I agree with everything he says. The list that started it all is at Philosophy, et cetera. I don't much care for this list on the whole, because I don't think it's really a list of things people should know about philosophy (that is, it isn't about...
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