Worth Reading - 2/16

1. With the world in a tizzy of Scott Walker's non-answer to a question about evolution, Justin Taylor takes the opportunity to demonstrate the wide variety of definitions for the term:

David Harsanyi points out that “the same journalists who fixate on ‘science’ that makes the faithful look like slack-jawed yokels almost inevitably ignore science that has genuine moral and policy implications.” He provides a good list of questions that liberals are rarely asked about science (e.g., does human life begin at conception? is a 20-week old unborn child a human being?). When Barack Obama was a candidate for president he famously said that the question of when a human is entitled to human rights was a question “above his pay grade.” And when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked “what is the moral difference between what [serial late-term abortionist] Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before birth?” she likewise refused to answer, accusing the reporter of having an agenda. To my knowledge, Time magazine did not track down Obama or Pelosi’s high-school biology teacher to reprimand them on their non-answers, as Time recently (and bizarrely) did with Scott Walker.

2. Joe Carter at the Acton Institute provides an explanation for the recent slaughter of 21 Christians in Libya:

Islamic State (IS) released a video on Sunday that appeared to show the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. The footage showing the deaths of the Egyptian martyrs appeared on the Twitter feed of a website that supports IS.

In the video, militants in black marched the captives, dressed in orange overalls, to a beach the group said was near Tripoli, the capital of Libya. The victims—all men—were forced down onto their knees and then beheaded.

A caption on the five-minute video read: “The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church.” Before the killings, one of the militants stood with a knife in his hand and said: “Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for. . . The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama Bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.”

3. A video on sloth, for when we don't become what God wants us to be:

4. The Economist covers the sluggish recovery of the tsunami ravaged areas of Japan. It turns out, the worst part of the recovery has nothing to do with the nuclear plants:

NEARLY four years after north-eastern Japan’s huge earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown on March 11th 2011, more than 170,000 people are still stuck in temporary housing along the ravaged coast. One of them is Sumiko Yoshida, a woman in her 70s who lives with her husband in cramped, mouldy quarters in Rikuzentakata, a fishing port that was washed away by the tsunami. More than 1,750 people died there, including the Yoshidas’ son, Isao, a city official who was helping others to get to higher ground. With no place to call home and no butsudan (household altar) for her son, Mrs Yoshida says she cannot properly mourn him—a photograph on a makeshift table has to do. She has suppressed her grief for so long, she says, that the tears will not come.

5. The speech given by a judge in Mississippi who just sentenced three white men to life in prison for the racially motivated killing of a black man. This is from NPR and has been reproduced in full. It isn't a pleasant read, but it has power:

Mississippi soil has been stained with the blood of folk whose names have become synonymous with the civil rights movement like Emmett Till, Willie McGee, James Cheney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Vernon Dahmer, George W. Lee, Medgar Evers and Mack Charles Parker. But the blood of the lesser-known people like Luther Holbert and his wife, Elmo Curl, Lloyd Clay, John Hartfield, Nelse Patton, Lamar Smith, Clinton Melton, Ben Chester White, Wharlest Jackson and countless others, saturates these 48,434 square miles of Mississippi soil. On June 26, 2011, four days short of his 49th birthday, the blood of James Anderson was added to Mississippi’s soil.