Monday, September 14, 2009



* I explain that civil libertarians should be as skeptical of the War on Carbon as they (correctly) are about the War on Terror.

* I don't know if they officially announced it yet, but I am an adviser to the Steve Poizner campaign. He's running for governor of California. For those who care about such things: (a) I am not getting paid. (b) I am not telling them what they ought to do, just answering their questions about the likely effects of different kinds of tax reform. (c) I would gladly be an adviser to President Obama if his team asked me. Anyway, here is George Will endorsing Poizner.

* Art Carden and Steve Horwitz have a Forbes article where they take on a shockingly ignorant critique of economics by an Pulitzer Prize winner.

* Taylor Conant has one simple question for Scott Sumner (besides "Why are you so evil and dumb?").

* On this Sunday's blog post about King David, I made reference to the fact that he was the great-great...grandfather of Jesus Christ. This reminded me that I had always had a question about this aspect of Christian lore: If Jesus is of the "house of David" because He's the son of Joseph, then isn't it a problem that Jesus was supposedly born of a virgin? I.e. if the gospel accounts are true, then Jesus wasn't really descended from Joseph (and hence King David) at all! I googled it and the third answer here sounds pretty sweet. Do any actual Bible scholars know if this is the true response from a learned Christian theologian?

The Matthew and Luke genealogies both seem (at least on the face of it) to describe the ancestry of Joseph. I have yet to see a persuasive attempt to reconcile them.

Referring to Matthew 1:12, the ESV Study Bible has this to say: "The evil of Jechoniah (2 Kings 24:8–9) was so great that his line was cursed (Jer. 22:30). While a natural, biological son could not therefore inherit the throne, the legal claim could still come through Jechoniah's line."
My dad recently went and saw Poizner speak. He came away very impressed and has been reading up on him for a while. His [Poizner's] views on education aren't all that libertarian, but I understand he'd like to cut the administrative part of public schools drastically, which I think will be good for kids in the long run... and most likely get him a lot of votes. He's also a billionaire tech entrepreneur guy. Anyway, now he's compromised by wild anarchists, but I won't tell my dad.
I explain that civil libertarians should be as skeptical of the War on Carbon as they (correctly) are about the War on Terror.

ROFL! You're kidding, right? We've been over this. If you treated the war on terror like you've treated the "war on carbon", you would have to:

- Deny that the victims of terrorist attacks are scarce. (as you've done with the victims of global warming)

- Express motivated skepticism that terrorist attacks are the actual cause of anyone's death. (as you've done with global warming)

- Reject the idea of finding who's responsible for terrorist attacks on the grounds that, oh, it's just such a *hassle* to go *find out who did it*, it's, it's, it's just not efficient. (the way you've dismissed collection of compensation from polluters)

-Implicitly assume the right to commit terrorism in your works, when the rejection of this very premise the reason people disagree with you in the first place. (as you've assumed away the alleged problems with CO2 emissions in virtually every article you've written on the environment)

- Get paid to do all of the above by the beneficiaries of terrorism. (as ... well, check your last pay stub)

Do you really want to carry that analogy over? I don't think so.

Btw, I almost overloaded on irony when I saw this line:

Wouldn’t it be better for all to let the price system work to ration demand to (scarce) supply "as if led by an invisible hand"?

Oh! Okay, Bob, tell us the property rights you want to define so that the market can ration by price the demand for use of the atmosphere as a carbon sink! I'm eagerly waiting :-)
Actually Silas I was expecting you to make an analogy with me giving economic advice to the Hitler campaign.
Ha! You Godwinned first! You lose.
This might be helpful:
This may also be helpful. Both the Q&A are posted.

Q: Is there something in the context of the original Greek that makes> Regarding the genealogies of Matthew and Luke: What makes it clear to us that Luke's genealogy is Jesus' line traced back through Mary? Just the fact that the two are different? I guess when Luke says that Joseph was "son of Heli" and Matthew says "Jacob the father of Joseph" - well... it seems difficult to explain to someone having difficulty with these passages that Luke really doesn't mean "son of Heli" when he says that! Were sons-in-law often called "son of" their fathers-in-law?

A: Two possibilities have been suggested for the genealogy in Luke which differs from that in Matthew from David on down to Jesus.

One suggestion is that Heli and Jacob were half-brothers, and that Heli died and Jacob married his widow according to the levirate law (i.e. the closest male relative was to marry a childless widow in order to provide an heir to his deceased male relative's line.) In this case, Joseph would be considered the son of Heli though Jacob was his physical father. This suggestion would make the line in Luke from Joseph back to David the family of Heli. Though this is possible, it does require two major assumptions. One is that Heli and Jacob are half-brothers, and the other that Heli died and Jacob married his widow. It would also be strange that Luke who is writing for the Gentile Theophilus would introduce the line of the levirate father when it would be more natural for Matthew to do this since he is writing especially for Jewish readers.

Thus the more widely accepted suggestion is that the line in Luke's gospel from Joseph back to David is Mary's family. Mary is not mentioned because no Jewish genealogy is traced through the feminine members of a family. The way Luke introduces the line in verse 23 is also significant. He does mention Joseph, but he carefully says that Jesus was only thought to be the son of Joseph. Luke has already made it clear earlier that Mary was the virgin mother of Jesus and Joseph was her husband. So the reader can easily understand why Luke refers to Joseph this way. Then Luke says "the son of Heli." We know that Jewish genealogies do skip at times from grandfather to grandson, so Heli is simply being designated as the next male in the line of the genealogy. Mary would not be mentioned in the genealogy. Joseph is mentioned instead of Mary as the one who was thought to be the father of Jesus. So it would work well to assume Joseph is mentioned in Mary's place and that Heli is Mary's father.

Note also that at the end of the genealogy Luke says that Adam is the "son of God." So the words "son of" does not always mean physical father. Thus Joseph can be mentioned in Mary's place and this does not have to mean that Heli is Joseph's physical father. It would only mean Luke is tracing the genealogy of Mary through Joseph her husband who is thought to be the father of the child the Holy Spirit conceived in her as a virgin.
Regarding the genealogies, the real answer is "we don't know". Even scholars differ on it, as not enough information is available. Lots of good theories; maternal vs. paternal, blood vs. legal, but not enough evidence exists to validate them. It can be fun to speculate, but it's not something we need to lose sleep over as Christians.

Does Poizner know you're an anarchist?
Taylor wrote:

Does Poizner know you're an anarchist?

I guess he does now.
There are some good points in the posts on Jesus' geneology. The interesting thing to me is that Jews in Jesus' day took geneology very seriously. The temple held the records and it would have been very easy, almost trivial, to check out Jesus' lineage before the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. So it would have been very hard to lie about it, much less be confused over it. To say, as some liberals do, that the writers simply didn't know what Jesus' lineage was assumes that the gospel writers were either stupid or lazy. All they had to do was ask Mary's family and Joseph's family because all Jewish families had their geneologies memorized. And if they didn't believe them, they could easily check the temple records.
From the Catholc Encyclopedia (

How can Jesus Christ be called "son of David", if the Blessed Virgin is not a daughter of David?

(a) If by virtue of Joseph's marriage with Mary, Jesus could be called the son of Joseph, he can for the same reason be called "son of David" (St. Augustine, On the Harmony of the Gospels, II, i, 2).

(b) Tradition tells us that Mary too was a descendant of David. According to Numbers 36:6-12, an only daughter had to marry within her own family so as to secure the right of inheritance. After St. Justin (Adv. Tryph. 100) and St. Ignatius (Letter to the Ephesians 18), the Fathers generally agree in maintaining Mary's Davidic descent, whether they knew this from an oral tradition or inferred it from Scripture, e.g. Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8. St. John Damascene (De fid. Orth., IV, 14) states that Mary's great-grandfather, Panther, was a brother of Mathat; her grandfather, Barpanther, was Heli's cousin; and her father, Joachim, was a cousin of Joseph, Heli's levirate son. Here Mathat has been substituted for Melchi, since the text used by St. John Damascene, Julius Africanus, St. Irenæus, St. Ambrose, and St. Gregory of Nazianzus omitted the two generations separating Heli from Melchi. At any rate, tradition presents the Blessed Virgin as descending from David through Nathan.

Great discussion topic. We do know that Matthew omitted a few generations, by comparing his genealogy to the OT. Whether it was to arrive at the sets of exactly 14, or because those he omitted were particulary bad characters, we do not know.
It took a while to jog my my memory banks, but it seems to me I read once that the two geneologies attributed to Joseph were for his physical lineage and for his kingly lineage. It seems that somewhere in the physical lineage, the right to the throne was forfeited because of some sin. The kingly lineage is the actual geneology of people in line for the throne, but not physical descendants because some kings had no sons or some were disqualified, so they borrowed nephews.

Yes, I've read the same thing also. And I've also read that Matthew is Joseph's and Luke is Mary's. Depends on what commentary you read.

There are several ambiguities caused by Jewish law that kind of muddy the waters here, so there really isn't a way of knowing for certain.

And are you sure about the temple having all the records? Recall Joseph and Mary were from Galilee and the temple was in Judea. Plus the Greeks ransacked it during the period between the OT and NT. I don't know if these could account for any of the uncertainty?
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