Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Question for True Believers

Puritan Lad brought this to the team's attention from this blog...

So my question to all true believers is this:

How certain are you that your version of the “truth” (truth of god, religion, the world, the universe, etc) is the correct one, and more importantly, how do you know what that “truth” is?


I hate to seem simplistic, but truth is only as good as the reliability of the source.

Jesus Christ said - "I am the way, the truth and the life..."

The reliability of his claim is supported by the facts of his sinless life, death, resurrection and ascension, thus my source of truth has proven it trustworthiness.

I have additional support to his claims through the guidance of the Holy Spirit of which I am a receipient.

Thus, I know what truth is by measuring truth claims against the proven reliability of God's Word and the confirmation of the Holy Spirit - both truth sources affirmed by my primary truth source.

A syllogism:

p1 Jesus Christ is a reliable truth source
p2 Jesus Christ confirms the reliability of Scripture and the Holy Spirit
C Scripture and the Holy Spirit are reliable truth sources

This is the foundation by which I measure all truth claims.

Human Wisdom and the Discovery of God

Eerdman's Commentary puts it well stating that in 1 Cor 1:18,19 "Paul contrasts human wisdom, which leaves God out of account and is man-centered, with the wisdom of God."

This explains that human wisdom (a presuppositional approach which denies or fails to acknowledge God) not only will not lead to God, but is inferior to the wisdom of God.

... hence the message of the cross - the means (rather than human wisdom)of salvation.

Not stopping there, the same source goes on to say "...true rightness comes from a broken heart, not from brains."

(Note: Human wisdom also denies or fails to recognize sin, but Christ crucified does! Hence Christ is the power and wisdom of God leading to salvation, not human wisdom.)

Atheist Arguments Expose the Truth

When Atheists presuppose and argue there is "NO EVIDENCE" for intelligent design (before allowing evidence or arguments to be presented), and when atheists DISCREDIT believers on account of their faith (without consideration of evidence and argument...simply because they do not hold to atheist presuppositions and worldview), then atheists expose the truth not only concerning their own blindness, biases, and brainlessness, but concerning their WILLFUL ignorance, obstinance and unreasonableness...the very thing charge laid upon them in Scripture.

... It's interesting this (at least the latter position)is the agreed upon method of attack currently in operation by atheist leaders (See The Four Horsemen).

It would be like going to court and hearing one side of a case argue they will prove their case and do so by arguing the evidence on the other side is not only all inadmissable but does not exist to begin with. Seems they want to close the case before allowing the opening of the case (kind of like arguing "I've already deemed myself the winner" on the playground before and disallowing the game). It works neither in the halls of justice nor in the halls of public opinion and belief.

Conclusion: Attempts to discredit belivers before argument will only reveal atheists to be closeminded, unthinking, and unreasonable.

Hitchen's Logical Blunders

Jay Richards and Christopher Hitchens recently debated "intelligent design" at Stanford. Here is a sample of the exchange.

Hitchens then requested the chance to ask Richards a question.

“Do you believe Jesus Christ was born of a virgin?” he asked when Richards assented. “Do you believe he was resurrected from the dead?”

Richards said that he did.

“I rest my case,” said Hitchens. “This is an honest guy, who has just made it very clear [that] science has nothing to do with his world view.”


Who can point out the logical error(s) here?

The Dawkins Letters: Challenging Atheist Myths



A new book out by David Robertson.

Some may have read his letter(s) to Dawkins.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Fish Tale

And sure enough, fish in different lakes have evolved a variety of similar features, repeatedly and independently.
Read the article here: The Repeater

You know - I seem to remember a day that this was called adaptation which does not carry the same presuppositional baggage as evolution - that variety within species is normal and observed - our intrepid reporter is simply following the party line by begging the evolutionary question, then structuring her strawman to support it.

A modern fish tale...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Before you Buy the Lie, Check the Logic (Gore: Homosexual Marriage)


In the OneNewsNow article entitled "Al Gore backs Homosexual Marriage", Gore is quoted as stating that "Gay men and women ought to have the same rights as heterosexual men and women to make contracts...", that "the loyalty and love" that two men or two women feel for one another when they "fall in love ought to be "celebrated and encouraged", ...and then seeks to justify his position by stating "Shouldn't we be promoting the kind of faithfulness and loyalty to one's partner regardless of sexual orientation? ...Because if you don't do that, then to that extent you're promoting promiscuity -- and you're promoting all the problems that can result from promiscuity."

This is nothing more than the logical fallacies of circular reasoning, non sequitur, poisoning the well, presumption: fallacy of an excluded middle, and irrelevant conclusion.

Gore's argument is circular in that it begins by saying that homosexual marriage should be allowed, and then seeks to prove it by stating that if homosexual marriage should be allowed, then by not allowing homosexual marriage (and preventing one from faithfulness to one's partner regardless of sexual orientation) one promotes promiscuity, which all agree should not be allowed, therefore homosexual marriage should be allowed.

Next, the issue of homosexual marriage and promiscuity are two separate issues. Just because one is opposed to homosexual marriage does not necessarily mean one promotes promiscuity. (If fact, it's possible one could be against homosexual marriage, but be for faithfulness in homosexual marriages if such were made law.)(At the same time, one can be against homosexual marriage, and against promiscuity, even as they possess convictions that homosexual unions not only should not be sanctioned but considered sinful.)

Gore's argument ["Shouldn't we be promoting the kind of faithfulness and loyalty to one's partner regardless of sexual orientation? ...Because if you don't do that, then to that extent you're promoting promiscuity -- and you're promoting all the problems that can result from promiscuity."] is akin to suggesting that since we should promote people standing by their word, that in regard to liars if we do not do that, then "to that extent we are promoting falsehood - and we're promoting all the problems that can result from falsehood."

Interesting isn't it, how one's beliefs not only affect the way they view other things, but also how they can lead one to jump to presumptions and conclusions (even false, misleading, incomplete ones) to justify their positions, even if their position is wrong.

In light of this example, it's clear why individuals should not fall for Argumentum ad verecundiam (Appeal to authority), ... for just because a famous person like former vice president Al Gore argues for a position such as homosexual marriage doesn't mean their arguments are valid, good, or right!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Why Mormons are not Christians


x-millenniumism - my new interest...

Just recently, I have started to have some interest in defining, refining my views on the meaning of the 1000 years of Rev. 20 - I have shied away from this topic, as it seems to be controversial rather than edifying, but I am putting it back in my "hopper" for a bit.

I thought this graphic was very good:

I tend toward amillennialism, simply because of my view of Revelation to be virtually 100% symbolic - I believe much trouble has come to the church by many folks over-literalizing the symbolic portions. Anyway, the distinctions have come back into my field of view, so I will be looking at them some.

Here is a good starter site.

Here is the discussion thread I started on the Puritanboard

Here is an excellent summary of the doctrine and it's adherents.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Perspective of the Press and U.S. Birth Rates

Good article on ideology and U.S. Birth Rates

Great Illustration of Sacrificial Love


Forgive me for I realize this falls more in the category of homiletics than apologetics, ...but I couldn't resist.

Read Mother Delays Cancer Treatments So Baby Can Live. What makes this story so touching is that one level it resembles the example set for us by Jesus.

Note the voluntary choice, the great personal sacrifice, the courage and selflessness of the one making the sacrifice, and the fact that the one making the sacrifice was overjoyed in view of the outcome.

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Muslims GONE WILD!

In Report: Muslim Cleric Issues Fatwa Against Bollywood Star for Wax Figure, it's reported that not just one but two Muslim actors have KNOWINGLY VIOLATED SHARIA LAW by allowing wax figures to be made of them.

Of particular interest is a statement made by film critic Parsa Rao who says Salman Khan (who violated Sharia law)doesn't have much to worry about, saying; "This is just nonsense that no one pays any attention to ...These fatwas are becoming a joke."

Seems the Muslim authorities and Sharia law have taken significant hits in the press recently first with Ghadaffi and now by Khan. What kind of authority is it that when it's in the interest of the individual can EASILY, OPENLY AND WITHOUT ANY SIGNIFICANT RETRIBUTION be set aside?

Seems Islam is beginning to have more and more of a public relations problem, but that's understandable when one considers that in religions where legalism is preached, violations often occur, and the more the rules differ from one's natural desires and passions, the more easy and probable it is that one the desire of the individual will win out over the rules of others.

It's doesn't say much for one's authority, when others violate it and get away with it; how much more when it begins to be described as no more than a "joke."

Double Standards


In Three Pigs story ruled ‘offensive to Muslims’ a children’s story based on the tale of the "Three Little Pigs" was rejected for an award after judges became concerned that it would offend Muslims and "The Three Little Cowboy Builders" was also criticized for its potential to offend builders.

Suppose books which promote same sex lifestyles or that espouse evolution and/or deny intelligent design will be rejected for their potential to offend Christians?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

When HAPPINESS is One's Ultimate Criteria

Reuters has an article about a a girl who considers herself a "human pet". She is led by her fiance on a leash and says she generally acts animal-like..."

What's interesting is the the basis for justification she provides for her behavior and actions, saying: "It might seem strange but it makes us both happy. It's my culture and my choice. It isn't hurting anyone."

Perfect example of what all can and is considered acceptable when not only the Scripture (and our ultimate calling) is set aside but when one looks to happiness and whether one's actions hurt someone else as the ultimate criteria for evaluating one's actions. And yet how often do we hear it argued that "It's my choice and if it makes me happy and if I'm not hurting anyone", then it must be okay?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"OLD BOOK" Argument... an OLD One!

Those who claim the Bible is dated and therefore irrelevant and of no value today often go unchallenged. Their assertion is that just because a text was written many years ago, it must therefore be outdated, of little to no use, and incapable of speaking to, addressing, or affecting things in the present.

Response:
1. Such arguments fail to recognize the ways and the power of the word and the truth.
2. Such arguments fail to acknowledge an inconsistency in that other documents of age are considered enduring and of present use and relevance.
3. Such arguments fail to recognize not only the common questions, issues, and struggles of humanity, but the timeless principles of God's Word which are found to be of great value when faithfully and appropriately applied.
4. Such arguments fail to recognize the continuing revealed power and effect of the gospel over time, geography, and opposition in regard to the advance of the kingdom and the souls of men.

What does FAT and HOMOSEXUALITY have in common?

[Note: the intent of this post is not to show or encourage disdain for those with issues of weight, but specifically in the area where obesity (especially beyond other factors) is sought to be justified, to show the similaries of the arguments between some who seek to justify obesity (and for some - all forms of it) and those who seek to justify homosexuality.]


In the NY Times article "In the Fatosphere, Big Is in, or at Least Accepted", one may see the arguments for accepting obesity sound an awful like those for accepting homosexuality, including the following:

1. In the fatosphere, there's now speak of an "acceptance challenge"; those with "50% more fat" call on others to accept their bodies; and there's a "celebration" of who one is. It's not just the condition but the lifestyle that others must accept.

2. Fat has nothing to do with morality. In fact "fat is not a result of moral failure or a character flaw, or of gluttony, sloth or a lack of willpower" but one must "come to grips" and accept who they are. The problem lies with the labels of others. Being skinny may "have far more to do with the luck of the genetic draw than with lifestyle choices." The issue at the forefront is whether fat is a "choice." (Assumption: Fat people are born that way.... such that one should never take into consideration personal responsibility, repentance, etc.

3. There's a separation and rejection of core beliefs. The obesity epidemic suggested by others is cast off and labelled as "hysteria."

4. Fat bloggers are victims of negative, even viscious comments. Fat people are objects of discrimination.

5. Past personal struggles and failures are used as grounds for justifying their position.

6. New "communities" are being formed for those of like condition and belief. Fat people are called to an "activist" lifestyle and encouraged not to be afraid to indulge.

7. Statistics are distorted as if having a few pounds over is better than being thin justifies obesity.

8. Acceptance in other areas (such as of those who are "tall or short") is presented as rationale for acceptance of obesity.


... When you do away with the gospel, you can try to justify anything, and try to convince others it should be fully accepted!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Commercial for The God Delusion

I recently saw a commercial advertizing "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. The commercial ended with the statement "Imagine No Religion." If I'm not mistaken, we don't have to imagine this, doesn't history provide numerous examples of places where that experiment has been tried?

(Note: It's not surprising that immigration issues and law were/are not a big issue in these locales.)

More on Islamic Law and Practice

Islamic law, practices and mindset. Note what this article says concerning human dignity (of all?)/values, women's rights, marriage/divorce, killing/suicide, justice, etc.

No wonder some are so concerned about Islam being exposed.

Shine the light and what's hidden will be exposed.

Evidence like this puts Muslims in a precarious situation. Either they must distance themselves from the teaching of the Koran, deny the Koran teaches what it does, live inconsistly when the Word they hold as their authority, or hold to their teachings and be seen for what stand for before the world.

Greater openness and communication works to the advantage of Christianity and against the centers of darkness found in the world.


......
Type rest of the post here
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Homeschool Family - the Video

LOL - hilarious! :))

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ben Stein on the Development of Darwinism

Darwinism, the notion that the history of organisms was the story of the survival of the fittest and most hardy, and that organisms evolve because they are stronger and more dominant than others, is a perfect example of the age from which it came: the age of Imperialism. When Darwin wrote, it was received wisdom that the white, northern European man was destined to rule the world. This could have been rationalized as greed–i.e., Europeans simply taking the resources of nations and tribes less well organized than they were. It could have been worked out as a form of amusement of the upper classes and a place for them to realize their martial fantasies. (Was it Shaw who called Imperialism “…outdoor relief for the upper classes?”)

But it fell to a true Imperialist, from a wealthy British family on both sides, married to a wealthy British woman, writing at the height of Imperialism in the UK, when a huge hunk of Africa and Asia was “owned” (literally, owned, by Great Britain) to create a scientific theory that rationalized Imperialism. By explaining that Imperialism worked from the level of the most modest organic life up to man, and that in every organic situation, the strong dominated the weak and eventually wiped them out...

more here

Thursday, January 17, 2008

MARRIAGE vs. Cvil Unions vs. friendship unions vs. ... (Friendship Union of Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds)


It should not be surprising when once the door of re-defining relationships has been opened there's no telling what will come through next. It appears Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds traded vows with one another but their's was not a marriage, nor a civil union, but a celebration of "friendship". What's next? ... And here's another question for down the road: In the future, should "friend-spouses" be entitled to benefits, etc., though they admit their vows and their relationship were not "legally binding"? (Do they not have rights, entitlements, etc., and if so, what rights, entitlements, to what degree, etc., etc., etc., etc.?)

Murphy's publicist revealed a statement on the “friends joined in symbolic union”’s behalf saying: "After much consideration and discussion, we have jointly decided that we will forego having a legal ceremony as it is not necessary to define our relationship further..." If that doesn't elate unbelievers as well as to cause believers in America to shake our heads, I don't what will.... things have progressed so that we now have EDDIE MURPHY (and his "friend", note the plural pronoun) to look to as the authority, definer and judge when it comes to marital relationships. No kidding! You can just visualize Eddie acting out this role and keeping a straight face … but this time it’s not on the screen but in the news and regarding real life!

The relationship has been described as a "symbolic" union. Is a "symbolic" union a real union or not (or, is it just symbolic?) Note, even their publicist could not state if the two remained a couple!

The statement on behalf of the friends represents their thoughts and actions saying "While the recent symbolic union in Bora Bora was representative of our deep love, friendship and respect that we have for one another on a spiritual level, we have decided to remain friends." Here’s the question: Does such deep love manifest itself in little commitment? Not only that, isn't there some lack of logic or something missing in symbolism when in stating that since the love, friendship and respect are on such a "spiritual" level (... assume "deeper - more significant" level) they would only signify that by deciding to remain "friends" (less significant on the scale of relationships)?

Not only that but what does Murphy mean by a "spiritual" level? Not only would it be interesting to hear this defined and substantiated by Murphy, but if the love is on a spiritual level, should it only be recognized on the surface, and who is it and by what authority is Murphy authorized to determine how "spiritual" matters are handled, not to mention to establish and define the law and ordering of human relationships?

:) ... Really Eddie??? .....You're such a great actor, that I think ONLY YOU could make the smirk that would best fit, when I say: "Really, Eddie?? You've got to be kidding me!"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tom Cruise - the Pride of Scientology

Tom Cruise is not doing a big favor for Scientology. When in an article discussing the relationship between his career and his passion for Scientology the PRESS picks up on and points out his pride and lack of humility as well as his megalomania by referring to his "sense of self-importance", it's not a good thing. ... that is, for Scientology.

Paul vs. Simon


Simon Cowell said to Randy on the opening night of American Idol words to the effect "You know something about your country... people actually get excited when people they know receive good news and they go celebrate with them. I don't see myself doing that..."

Should we not "rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15)? As Matthew Henry puts it, does not "true love interest us in the sorrows and joys of one another, and teach us to make them our own."?

Greg Bahnsen - Problems for Unbelieving Worldviews

Part 1



Part 2



Part 3



Part 4



Part 5



Part 6



Part 7



Part 8



Part 9

Gospel Truth Manifest in Science


In Big Brain Theory: Have Cosmologists Lost Theirs? several things are revealed through the examination of modern science:

1. The biblical framework is being confirmed - "Astronomers now know the universe has not lasted forever."; The universe "was born" and things occurred such that the "primordal chaos" was endowed with "order"; "time seems to go in only one direction"; and in the universe in which we live there are not only "laws" but things in existence and taking place that leave man in amazement and awe.

2. The biblical prophesy is being revealed - The universe is such that even the most brilliant among men cannot figure out reality along with what has been done. Not only this, but apart from revelation and faith, humanity cannot discern or say with assurance what is real, and cannot even prove that they themselves (along with you and me) are not an "illusion."

(The author just hinted, but was actually right in saying that suggestions stating that individuals are "more likely to be some momentary fluctuation in a field of matter and energy out in space than a person with a real past" ... are not just wierd, they are embarrasing! It's incredible that many still put such confidence in those who cannot say whether both we and the world we live in are real or not, and rest both their lives and their eternity in their paradigm concerning truth. Such lack of discernment can be likened on one level to those who blindly followed a religious cult leader and committed suicide so their souls could ride on a spaceship located behind a comet. Should one be interested, the Bible not only reveals but provides rational argument that man, our history as well our future are real. Isn't it interesting that regarding something as basic as this - that we are real - the difference between the gospel and others is set apart! Note - this is not to denigrate or lessen the value of science, for it is good, ... but to challenge those whose sole hope and trust rests in science alone to consider what they do.)


"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us whoa re being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save ethose who believe. Jews demand miraculous sighns and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength."

Monday, January 14, 2008

The New Conventional Wisdom


Note Michael D. Lemonick's conclusion in his Time in Partnership with CNN article "Did Insects Kill the Dinosaurs?" He states:

"Taken together, the hothouse glaciers and the sickly dinosaurs suggest a conclusion that should serve nicely as the new conventional wisdom about the paleontological past: Don't take conventional wisdom too seriously."

The "Science of the Moral Sense"

Stephen Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, published an article in the New York Times entitled "The Moral Instinct". In it he refers to "the science of the moral sense". Interesting article, and perhaps an indicator of debates to come, as it not only indicates a rising interest in moral law ("These days, the moral law within is being viewed with increasing awe, if not always admiration") and that there is usefulness in studying morality, but also as he makes reference to the "evolutionary history and neurobiological foundations" of the human moral sense.

... and what's most telling of things to come is that all this comes after the author's remark that "our heads can be turned by an aura of sanctity, distracting us from a more objective reckoning...", along with an opening illustration where it is the one clothed in religious garments (Mother Theresa) whose past definition and recognition of sainthood and suggested should be brought into question. (Note: it's not my intention to defend Mother Theresa's sainthood or ministries in this post, or to deny that a more objective reckoning of actions might be more useful in evaluation; but rather only to draw attention to the fact that the religious and their view of morality may perhaps be under as well as coming under attack.)

I find interesting both what Pinker says and what he does not say. On one hand, he says "the concept of morality would have to be bigger than any of us and outside all of us", "The first hallmark of moralization is that the rules it invokes are felt to be universal", "The other hallmark is that people feel that those who commit immoral acts deserve to be punished" and that "If morality is a mere trick of the brain, some may fear, our very grounds for being moral could be eroded". But then, while stating "Yet as we shall see, the science of the moral sense can instead be seen as a way to strengthen those grounds, by clarifying what morality is and how it should steer our actions", he fails to state what morality and it's foundations are.


... In other words, he clues us in to the fact that the issues of morality are going to be addressed and studied [and presented at a later time], and particularly from a "scientific" standpoint, but other than suggesting that we use "our religions to justify" our morality, he does not state the basis of morality but leaves it for future debate.

... My suspicion is that it won't be long before we begin hearing that science will be used to try to explain away the need for revelation or religion when it comes to morality. My basis for this statement is Pinker's reference to us being "worthy human beings" and his defining sainthood based on human works (and human evalution) rather than on relationship with God including faith in and union with Christ through which one receives justification and adoption.

The uphill battle for science is evident in the article though (...and I believe the reason Pinker did not go on and say more). The struggle remains for those who oppose belief in God and the reality of moral absolutes which originate and are upheld by God...to explain either: (1) a basis not only for universal moral law apart from God but the motivation and obligation for all to follow and submit to it (even against their own will/desires), or (2) to explain or provide apart from universal law grounds for why any specific system of law (or set of laws) should be considered authoritative (and imposed on others).

Don't be surprised though...given the presuppositions of many, both the science and the issues of culture and law will not be left untouched until those opposed to God find "some" form of support and answers for their views in which the fetters of God may thought to be thrown off and attempts made to lead astray those who are of the elect of God. Christian scientists and professors need to be active and on alert. Christian apologists need to keep their eyes and ears open and be prepared with the not only with biblical truth but applied logic along with knowledge of the science/arguments.

Praise God that none of those given to Christ will either fail to come to him or be lost!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Co-Evolution?

I've read several articles today about mutualisms in nature. See In Battle of Elephants and Ants, Trees Win Big and In Life’s Web, Aiding Trees Can Kill Them.


One comment in the NPR article caught my attention. It states: "It's a co-evolutionary war," he says. "People used to think of mutualisms as friendly situations but it's really more of a battlefield."

From this perspective, relationships are either defined as "friendly situations" or a "battlefield" (two opposite extremes). My question to evolutionists (or co-evolutionists): Which is it?

Here again, the Scripture provides the answer that even ecologists are having difficulty defining... and that is that creatures simultaneously possess both an independence and dependence upon others.

It's not just about "survival of the fittest", or even co-survival of the co-fittest, but discovering and both working toward and looking toward the order and restoration of God's purpose and design.

Sacred and Holy Ground

NYTimes has an article on Colorado being sacred ground for many followers. Reasons given in the article for this being sacred ground include things like "the twilight", "less distractions", "two dozen different religious centers", a "serene 210-acre Sacred Land Trust", "An abundance of arrowheads and spears found in the area", "There’s an epic quality to these crags that rise out of the plains ...", "Deserts, forests and mountains figure so prominently in humanity’s quests for the divine that Crestone’s geographic hat trick seems ideal for universal worship", etc.

All these are to confuse experiences with creation with the presence of the Creator. As the Scripture teaches, it's not the place or the circumstances that makes a certain ground holy, but rather the presence of God. Holy ground can be found even in a sweltering desert if the Lord is present. At the same time, the absence of the Lord can keep even the most beautiful places from being holy. The great significance of this is that it's true not just concerning physical locations but concerning our hearts and lives!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Creationist brings doom to science!

According to "scientists", the election of a president who doubts evolution will doom us: "This is a way of leading our country to ruin. The logic that convinces us that evolution is a fact is the same logic we use to say smoking is hazardous to your health or we have serious energy policy issues because of global warming"

US 'doomed' if creationist president elected: scientists

I am sure that the irony is not lost on those who read this...referring to logic in the statement, and then employing the fallacy of the non-sequitor in the same sentence is quite funny.

Because rejecting the theory of evolution does not necessarily lead to rejecting "science". This is an age-old canard rolled out by evolutionary scientists, but the conclusion does not follow from the premises. Sorry.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Common Descent, Common Design and a Creation Hypothesis

Common descent, the backbone of evolutionary theory, is assumed to be both a definition and proof for the theory. This is based on several "proofs". The creationist comeback is that the same evidence apply equally well to common design, proof that a single designer was responsible. The one shortcoming of the creation side is that of a mechanism, which, for better or for worse, the common descent side claims to have identified and described.

In this post I will try to elaborate on the descent/design argument a bit, and also posit an ex-nihilo creation hypothesis by analogy.

Morphology, DNA similarities and the combination of both in a dated sequence is proof positive of common descent. If you assume of course, a-priori, that common descent is true. Morphological proof, the way things look, states that because there are anatomical similarities, it is proof that they shared a common ancestor. But the same morphological evidence is what first raised the possibility of common descent, and common descent is defined as sharing some characteristics with an ancestor, but also incorporating change, i.e. descent with modification. So basically, because humans and apes share some physical traits, it is assumed that they developed from the same lineage.

With that assumption firmly entrenched, it was a short hop, skip and a jump to incorporate the similarities in the chimpanzee and human genomes as further evidence for common descent. In a recent debate with an evolutionary biologist, I asked for his best proof of common descent, and he quoted chromosomal fusion. That is the fusion of two human chromosomes to create a single chromosome at #2, which also holds 2 telomeres and centromeres. The proof then is that humans have two fewer chromosomes than chimps, and should this be "undone", will have exactly the same amount of chromosomes, and look like the banded chromosome structure in chimps. This, coupled with the high correlation between the human and chimp genomes, (~95-98%), is presented as proof for common descent.

The last common ancestor for humans and the great apes lived around 5-10 million years ago, depending on which of the scientists you choose to believe.

There is of course much more scholarship around this short synopsis, so I encourage you to get familiar with the material around this important discussion.

The creationist response is that this is explained by common design. But does this mean that the designer intended to fuse two chromosomes exactly at a spot where chimps have two chromosomes? That is certainly a possibility, but does seem a bit odd, and not intellectually satisfactory. Of course, I would argue that since we cannot tell exactly when this fusion event happened, that both chimps and humans were created with an equal amount of chromosomes, and that a fusion event happened sometime after that in humans.

Further support for the design theory is that the common ancestor remains a mystery, no such LCA (last common ancestor) for humans and apes have yet been found. Many have been proposed, but so far all have been found wanting. The latest candidate is Nakalipithecus Nakayamai, "a toothy, large, nut chomping ape", and includes the fossilized remains of a jawbone and 11 teeth. What excites the scientists is that this fossil dates from the "right" time period, between 5 and 11 million years ago. It is a classic case of using morphology to prove common ancestry.

But should we not hold ourselves, and the scientific community to a higher standard? Since the appeal to morphology is circular, and includes the assumption of common descent based on morphology as proof for common descent, should we not demand biochemical proof? As such, when can we expect to see the predicted genome of the LCA mapped out, along with a description of how its DNA passed on to both humans and apes, the biochemical pathways for each unique morphological and genetic trait, and why creatures with such a remarkable similarity in genome are so different? That is, of course, unless one wishes to argue that the tree-climbing fruit-and-bug eaters are pretty much the same as those who do the genome mapping. (In that case, I would suggest taking your DNA samples and computer down to the zoo for some brainstorming.)

Until the LCA is conclusively found and proven by the above standard, we will continue to be entertained by morphological fables and mytochondrial legends. And, in the absence of a suitable and proven candidate for the LCA, I suggest that the designer created similar genomes which expressed very differently.

Of course, the above request is always rejected as being too rigorous. Which is evo-talk for "we can't do it." And leads to accusations of "You are unscientific because you just want to say that goddidit and leave that as the final explanation." Leaving aside the "tu quoque" fallacy for now, and resisting the temptation to rely in kind ("chancedidit"), I want to suggest a creationary hypothesis for the alternative, ex-nihilo creation.

Now, before I start, I want to state that this is an argument by analogy, and is an introductory attempt to demonstrate that it may not be as forbiddingly impossible as we may think. Of course, I do not claim that this is the only way, nor do I claim to have special insight into the extraordinary omnipotence of our Father. But I am kind of getting tired of these "goddidit" arguments, so here goes:

"Psa 33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
Psa 33:9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm."

Those verses are a pretty good summary of the creation act, God spoke, He created through His word, and the creation was there. We further read:

"Gen 2:7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Gen 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. "

These two verses show that God took physical action during creation, and thus by the power of His Word, creation happened, and was completed by some physical actions.

For some reason, this seems to be tough to understand by some (especially the "goddidit" crowd). So let me try to break this down in an analogy, that of an original composition of a piece of music.

The original genre, the goal, theme and music are all , in a basic form "created" ex nihilo. Yes, I will immediately grant that it comes to existence in an environment of the brain which includes some basic preliminary concepts of music, memory etc, and is facilitated by the biochemical functions of the brain but nevertheless, it did not exist before, and now it does. This thought, that did not exist before, does not exist in anything but the abstracts of human thought at this point. The naturalist may argue that it is nothing but the combination of electrical impulses and chemical reactions. If so, it still does not explain how that unique combination of materials and impulses came together in the first place to produce a unique result, it just tries to obfuscate.

To make the music come to life for others though, the composer has to take some physical action, and write down the notes on a piece of paper, assemble an orchestra and have them play the piece. But when did the creation happen? Was that not the original mental exercise? It surely did not happen when he wrote down the notes, called the orchestra together or have the piece played?

By analogy, I would think that that is how God did it. We know of His omnipotent nature, and that He thinks every thought before we do. Furthermore, we know that He is timeless, so that what ever He thinks, is, was and will be. The creation was there, by His Word, so eloquently described as the "Logos" in John 1:
"Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. "

[logos
log'-os
something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension a computation; specifically (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (that is, Christ): - account, cause, communication, X concerning, doctrine, fame, X have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say (-ing), shew, X speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work.]

Christ, the Divine Expression, the hand of the Creator that wrote down the notes of creation's composition. He formed, made and caused, the same as our composer. He breathed the breath of life into man, as the composer and his orchestra breathed life into his music. Of course God's creation is on much grander scale than a simple piece of music, yet the analogy applies: something came from nothing based on the nature of the Creator, and was translated into existence for others to witness and enjoy.

How exactly the hands of the Creator moved, one can only speculate about, or mark as "To be confirmed" when the face to face meeting happens sometime in future. But for now, I am content to know that such a thing is not only possible, but reasonable given my own experience.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bill Maher on Conan O'Brian - Do you believe in a Talking Snake?

I just listened to Bill Maher - the rampantly anti-religious talk show host - hold court on the Conan O'Brian late night show.

(Look it up on youtube, if you can stomach it...ugh)

Anyway, Bill was making the case that you cannot harmonize science and religion - that all religious people are, at best, schizophrenic. To emphasize this assertion and support his false dilemma, he posed this "challenge" to Conan using a popular anti-apologetical question, "Do you believe in a talking snake?"

This had all the makings of a complex question and Conan played the perfect straight-man for the fallacy - to wit - there are at least 2 assumptions "built-in" to this seemingly straightforward question:

a. It assumes a naturalistic worldview.

b. It assumes the Bible account is ridiculous and irrational.

Thus, the only "rational" answer is an emphatic "NO"! (although, to Conan's limited credit, it seemed as if he struggled a bit against the trap...)

So, what is a rational basis for believing a serpent could talk?

Well, here is one Christian's rationale:
......
a. The bible is the infallible word of our sovereign Lord - the only rule for faith and practice - so I will be biased toward its credibility and authority over man's sensory experience.

b. Naturalist and Christian can agree that the laws of the universe are mutable - that is - even the naturalist's worldview allows for universal laws emerging as an cosmologically evolutionary product, so things today are not the same as they were in the past, albeit we see things at a slightly different progression and from different sources... :)

c. God is Lord over natural and supernatural events (He is supra-natural) - much like the master programmer of a virtual reality space and, if you follow the reasoning, Satan (that old serpent!), has been endowed with some supernatural abilities (See Matthew 4 for an example).

d. As a Bible believer I know that demonic forces can posses animals as well as humans (see Matthew 8 for an NT account), so I have no problem with Satan inhabiting an actual serpent and communicating through it, just as I have no problem with the consequences God imposed on the animal as a reminder of the consequences of sin.

I suppose I could go on and on, but this should be enough to help folk understand my thoughts on the matter! :)

The correct answer is that if the Creator of the Universe wanted to allow a serpent to talk, then a serpent will talk.

Maher is the perfect demagogue for his religion, don't fall into the snare of his father.

-JD

Friday, January 4, 2008

Mounting Evidence for Intelligent Design Discovered in 2007

By Katherine T. Phan

"From jellyfish fossil finds to the newly discovered function of the appendix, a science and technology watchdog group has released a list of some of the year's top news that reflect mounting evidence supporting intelligent design.

The Access Research Network – which reports on science, technology and society from an intelligent design perspective – recently released its "Top 10 Darwin and Design News Stories" list for 2007."

Read More...

Lee Strobel Responds to Bart Erhman's book "Misquoting Jesus"

I thought this was an excellent response that defends the Lord's preserving work on His Word through His people.

The National Academy of Science Bait and Switch Maneuver

NYTimes reports the National Academy of Science has a new 70 page textbook out for the lay public entitled "Science, Evolution and Creation". While on the one hand those who worked on it assert that "... acceptance of evolution does not require abandoning belief in God" and the book itself even suggests " “attempts to pit science and religion against each other create controversy where none needs to exist.”; ...the book then is said to go on and "denounces the arguments for a form of creationism called intelligent design, calling them devoid of evidence, 'disproven' or 'simply false.'"

While most are familiar with arguments that seek to allow evolution within a religious framework, this still seems to be a means of softpedaling or fooling the public through pandering appeasement into blindly accepting their product which continues to be filled with their same propaganda... or what's better known as the ol' bait and switch technique.

Since when did it become the business of scientists to engage in public relations to sell their work and to produce reports aimed at acceptance by special groups? That's what happens when scientists go beyond presenting the evidence and begin marketing their own presumptions and prejudices.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sex Education (Evolutionary Curriculum)

From this article, not only can prostitution be explained, but it can be historically, genetically, and foundationally justified ... that is...at least according to an EVOLUTION standpoint.

I've been told by some homosexuals that even most of them look down on prostitution, but here it seems evolution serves not only not to condemn prostitution, but to justify it!

For evolutionists, not only is talk cheap, but SEX is CHEAP, for it's the "biological market" that determines its value.

Evolution and UN-Natural "Selection"

Is it just me, or does it seem like scientists who presuppose evolution are arbitrary in thier standards and selection as to "how" and "when" to apply lessons learned from monkeys in relationship to the human condition?

Vaccination is the “Right” thing to do!