Friday, January 30, 2009

Question about Lessons Not Learned

I have to ask myself, with regards to the population-winning tactic cited here and here:
  • If the same tactics were used on the generals, presidents and prime ministers who green light this kind of strategy, would they buckle and turn their backs on their battered armies?
  • Would Americans become despondent and plead for mercy from Osama Bin Laden if he managed to destroy a major landmark or government building?
  • Did none of these men and women ever watch Red Dawn?
The only explanation I can think of is that they view their adversaries with such contempt that Cheney and those like him have convinced themselves that Palestinians and Iraqis are subhuman, incapable of the kind of masculine resolve that would allow them to withstand our Shock-and-Awe (tm). The sad thing is, they are invariably wrong.

March on folly.

The Never Learned Lesson

You don't win over the population by bombing them.
"The Rafatis do not consider themselves Hamas supporters and say they voted for Fatah in the January 2006 election. But in the future, they say, they will support anyone who helps them rebuild their home and their lives."

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm

Actual Headline:
Gates warns ethics rules could hurt Pentagon recruiting

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On Penal Substitution

"If the U.S., failing to apprehend Osama bin Laden, claimed that it had nonetheless accomplished its mission because they executed some other innocent individual in his place, I doubt if anyone would be happy with this as a resolution of the matter."

Exploring Our Matrix - Dr. James McGrath

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Very Model of a Modern Miracle Maven

I know this doesn't even count as secondary source but on his blog, Robert Price reviews some apologists' book and includes this line:
Bultmann freely admits that Jesus did what he and his contemporaries regarded as miracles, both of healing and of exorcism. Whatever you may want to make of them, Bultmann said, you have to admit they might have happened because such things, such scenes, occur today.
Whether or not Bultman said this, it is true. We do see faith healings and exorcisms today. Granted James Randi's ilk have shown that they prove illusary or fraudulant upon closer examination but would your average witness/audience member know this at the time? Or later when he is describing the event to a friend?

P.S.: Apologies to the estates of Misters Gilbert and Sullivan

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Smarter Teachers?

From the blog, Stumbling and Mumbling
What’s more, it is only higher ability pupils who benefit from higher-GPA male teachers. Lower-ability pupils actually suffer.
This suggests that assigning “better teachers” to bad schools might, in a sense, exacerbate educational inequalities, by worsening the performance of low-ability pupils.

You might object that this is just one study, using a very limited measure of teacher ability. Here, then, is another study(pdf) - from North Carolina - which reaches a similar conclusion. It finds that a teacher’s experience is correlated with better pupil results - but mostly for pupils with higher ability or from richer families.
This no big surprise, I suppose but still. Smart kids will be more engaged by smart teachers while less smart kids will feel intimidated/excluded/who-knows.