Friday, May 30, 2008

Texas Supreme Court Upholds FLDS Decision

The Texas Supreme Court has upheld the decision made by an appellate court to return the FLDS children to their parents. I applaud the Texas Supreme Court for their ruling. Read the Fox article here. Here are some quotes.

The high court affirmed a decision by an appellate court last week, saying Child Protective Services failed to show an immediate danger to the more than 400 children swept up from the Yearning For Zion Ranch nearly two months ago.

The ruling shatters one of the largest child-custody cases in U.S. history. State officials said the removals were necessary to end a cycle of sexual abuse at the ranch in which teenage girls were forced to marry and have sex with older men, but parents denied any abuse and said they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs.

CPS officials said they were disappointed in the ruling but would take immediate steps to comply.

"We are disappointed, but we understand and respect the court's decision," the agency said in a written statement.

Texas officials claimed at one point that there were 31 teenage girls at the ranch who were pregnant or had been pregnant, but later conceded that about half of those mothers, if not more, were adults. One was 27.

Under Texas law, children can be taken from their parents if there's a danger to their physical safety, an urgent need for protection and if officials made a reasonable effort to keep the children in their homes. The high court agreed with the appellate court that the seizures fell short of that standard.

The justices said child welfare officials can take numerous actions to protect children short of separating them from their parents and placing them in foster care, and that Walther may still put restrictions on the children and parents to address concerns that they may flee once reunited.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In the Pit with a Lion

I just finished reading the book, In the Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, by Mark Batterson. It was really excellent. It is inspired by the story of Benaniah (one of David's bodyguards and later commander of Israel's army). The story of Benaniah begins with him chasing a lion into a pit on a snowy day and killing it. Mr. Batterson argues that if Benaniah had not done something counter intuitive/risky and had not chased a lion that he would have never gained David's recognition become David's bodyguard. The point of the book is that we should embrace God-ordain risks in faith. Sometimes our biggest opportunities look like very challenging problems.

I first heard about this book from the blog Missional Living. I read her review of this book a month or so ago. It is much better and more in depth than mine. I encourage you to read her review and then go read In the Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

DDT in the Third World

I found this article by Dr. Henry Miller which hits on two topics of concern for me. The first one is the blather our government school children are fed. The second is the scientific community's willingness to twist fact in order to push a certain agenda. Application B referenced below is in the new Iowa government school standards.

A more egregious example is Application B on the same page, which instructs students to use what they’ve been taught “and other research, [to] write a letter to your legislator arguing against the sale of DDT to Third World countries when it is banned in the U.S.”

This requirement is both stupid and cruel. Malaria, which is transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes, is one of the worst scourges on the planet, particularly for the inhabitants of poor tropical countries. Forty-one percent of the world’s population live in areas where malaria is transmitted (e.g., parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America, Hispaniola, and Oceania), and each year 350–500 million cases of malaria occur worldwide. More than a million people die, most of them young children in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2002, malaria caused 10.7 percent of all children’s deaths in developing countries. Those who survive are often terribly debilitated.

In the absence of a vaccine, elimination of the vehicle that spreads the disease — in this case, the mosquito — ought to be the key to preventing epidemics, but fundamental shortcomings in public policy limit the weapons that are available.

In 1972, on the basis of data on toxicity to fish and migrating birds (but not to humans), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned virtually all uses of the pesticide DDT, an inexpensive and effective pesticide once widely deployed to kill disease-carrying insects. Not only did government regulators underplay scientific evidence of the effectiveness and relative safety of DDT, but they also failed to appreciate the distinction between its large-scale use in agriculture and more limited application for controlling carriers of human disease. Although DDT is a (modestly) toxic substance, there is a world of difference between applying large amounts of it in the environment — as farmers did before it was banned — and using it carefully and sparingly to fight mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects. A basic principle of toxicology is that the dose makes the poison.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

I was reading an article on about why every American Christian family should own a copy of Webster's 1828 Dictionary. In it the author points out how definitions in the dictionary reflect a worldview. Here are some examples from the article.

MODERN DICTIONARY (2000)—The legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife. The state of being married, wedlock. A common-law marriage. A union between two persons having the customary but usually not the legal force of marriage.
WEBSTER DICTIONARY (1828)—The act of uniting a man and a woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and a woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God Himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children. “Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled.” Hebrews 13.
The dictionary imparts either a secular or a Christian framework that will form the attitudes
and values concerning education. Consider the definitions of the word education:
MODERN DICTIONARY (1980)—The action or process of educating or of being educated; a stage of such a process; the knowledge and development resulting from an educational process; the field of study that deals mainly with methods of teaching and learning in schools.
WEBSTER DICTIONARY (1828)—The bringing up, as of a child; instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended
to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.
The dictionary defines the words that expound a theology and the vocabulary with which to
describe the knowledge of God. Consider the definitions of the word sin:
MODERN DICTIONARY (1984)—The act of breaking a religious or moral law. An offense, error, or fault.
WEBSTER DICTIONARY (1828)—The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule or rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not actions only, but whatever is contrary to God’s commands or law. I John 3; Matt. 15; James 4. (The definition goes on for another column in the 1828 Dictionary.)
The dictionary imparts a philosophy of government either secular or Christian that will form
the basis for how individuals in the family will govern themselves and expect to be governed.
Consider the definitions of law:
MODERN DICTIONARY (1980)—A binding custom or practice of a community: a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority. (This definition continues for two inches of one column.)
WEBSTER DICTIONARY (1828)—A rule, particularly an established or permanent rule,
prescribed by the supreme power of a state to its subjects, for regulating their actions, particularly their social actions. Laws are imperative or mandatory, commanding what shall
be done; prohibitory, restraining from what is to be forborne; or permissive, declaring what
may be done without incurring a penalty. The laws which enjoin the duties of piety and morality, are prescribed by God and found in the Scriptures. (This definition continues for twenty-one inches of three columns.)
A world view is being pressed upon us from all sides, even from dictionaries. As parents, it is our duty to protect our children from world views that do not honor God (humanism, atheism, materialism, etc.). As adults it is our duty to renew our minds through the study of Scripture.

8th Grade Education

I received this as a forward. I thought it was interesting enough to share.

Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education?

Well, check this out.

Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?

This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas , USA . It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina , KS , and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam:Salina, KS, 1895Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of "lie","play", and "run."
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 65 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel,deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per meter?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas .
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849,and 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour) (Do we even know what this is???) [According to orthography is the art of writing words with the proper letters, according to accepted usage; correct spelling. ]
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography,etymology, and syllabication.
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, sub vocal, diphthong, cognate letters, and lingual.
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?) [A caret is a mark (‸) made in written or printed matter to show the place where something is to be inserted. Yes, I had to look that up too. And, no, I don't know how a "u" would fit with that definition.]
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi-,dis-, mis-, pre-, semi-, post-, non-, inter-, mono-, and sup-.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise,blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain,feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)
1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba ,Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete. Gives the saying "he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it? This also shows you how poor our education system has become... and NO, I don't have the answers!