Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Assisted Suicide: The March of the Culture of Death

Some would hasten death - in the name of compassion.



Joel Kontinen

The Bible calls it the last enemy and the ultimate wage of sin. However, for some secularists, death is increasingly becoming a choice.

It started with abortion, but now the emphasis is on assisted suicide. At first, doctor-assisted killing was legal in only a few countries, such as Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland. Now, however, the phenomenon is gaining momentum in several other countries as well and is making headlines all over the world.

Sounds like echoes of the Third Reich.

New Scientist reports:

THE fight to legalise doctor-assisted suicide for people who are terminally ill will take centre stage in the US this year, with bills filed in 20 states plus the District of Columbia.

‘I think it's a watershed year,’ says Peg Sandeen, head of the non-profit Death with Dignity, based in Portland, Oregon, which campaigns for doctors to be able to prescribe lethal doses of barbiturates to terminally ill people. The practice is already legal or has been decriminalised in five states.

Sandeen says public opinion may have shifted significantly after Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old with terminal brain cancer, moved to Oregon last year, where doctor-assisted suicide is legal. A video by Maynard in which she explained her reasons for choosing assisted suicide has been watched over 11 million time
s.”

The article also mentions some disturbing facts: not all people diagnosed as terminally ill are actually terminally ill. Others might understand assisted suicide as an order to cease being a financial burden on others.

Moreover, some Christians have prayed for people for whom their doctor gave only a few months to live. After prayer, these “incurable” individuals have lived many years, in some cases over ten years after their initial diagnosis.

We should not forget that our God is a God of miracles who created everything out of nothing by His Word and has not changed since.

Source:

Wilson, Clare. 2015. 2015 a watershed year for assisted suicide in the US. New Scientist 3010. (3 March).

Monday, 2 March 2015

Backward Wired Retina Is Optimal Design, New Research Suggests

A cross section of the retina. Image courtesy of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body (1918).



Joel Kontinen

Richard Dawkins and other evolutionists have repeatedly claimed that the human eye is an example of bad design. He asserts that no engineer could ever have invented the inverted retina. He dismisses it as poor design.

However, recent research has indicated that he is wrong. Instead of being designed poorly, the eye is an example of superb design.

Eye experts have been saying that for years, but Dawkins has not listened to them.

Sony engineers have actually drawn inspiration from the human eye to design better cameras.

A paper that will be presented on Thursday March 5 at the meeting of the American Physical Society will finally lay the bad design argument to rest. An ErekAlert! report quotes Professor Erez Ribak at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, as saying:

"The retina is not just the simple detector and neural image processor, as believed until today. Its optical structure is optimized for our vision purposes."

If something is optimised, it obviously cannot be designed poorly.

The report went on to say:

Previous experiments with mice had suggested that Müller glia cells, a type of metabolic cell that crosses the retina, play an essential role in guiding and focusing light scattered throughout the retina.”

Professor Ribak and his colleagues tested this idea.

Unfortunately, the ErekAlert! report began with bowing to Darwin:

“From a practical standpoint, the wiring of the human eye - a product of our evolutionary baggage - doesn't make a lot of sense. In vertebrates, photoreceptors are located behind the neurons in the back of the eye - resulting in light scattering by the nervous fibers and blurring of our vision.”

It would have been more honest to admit that some scientists have not understood why the eye is wired the way it is.

In any case, bad eye design is a bad argument that no informed and /or honest evolutionist should use.

Source:

Mystery of the reverse-wired eyeball solved. EurekAlert! 27 February 2015.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Power of Prayer: God Calmed the Sea


The prayer of an Australian soldier mentions the calm waters at Dunkirk.




Joel Kontinen

The Bible speaks much about prayer. Jesus often taught about it. In the Sermon on the Mount He said:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7–8, NIV).

The Bible tells us of many people who asked. They brought their requests to the Lord and He answered them.

God has not ceased answering prayer. Here’s an example. During World War II, as German forces pushed back the Allies and surrounded them on the French coast, King George VI called for a National Day of Prayer on 26th May 1940.

The consequences were astounding. History knows the evacuation as the Miracle of Dunkirk. Bad weather prevented the German ground forces from advancing and Luftwaffe from attacking the British troops but the calm sea enabled the Allies to use ships and boats of all sizes to rescue 338,226 troops to safety.

On June 8, 1940 The Telegraph reported: “The prayers of the nation were answered …the God of hosts himself had supported the valiant men of the British Expeditionary Force.”

Prayer seems to be a spiritual law. Once certain conditions are met, God does as He promises in His Word and answers prayer.


Source:

British National Days of Prayer in the Twentieth Century. United British Broadcasters.



Thursday, 26 February 2015

Self-Replicating Factories in Bacteria


E. coli. Image courtesy of Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH.




Joel Kontinen

Recent research has suggested that there is no such thing as a simple organism.

Even the lowly Escherichia coli is anything but simple. A recent paper published in the journal PNAS compares the bacterium’s replication to a self-replicating factory:

Surprisingly, our analysis of recently measured datasets of E. coli exponentially growing in a stationary medium reveals that the measured distribution of doubling times fits well to the predicted distribution of doubling times of an optimally scheduled self-replicating factory. This suggests that E. coli is optimally scheduling its replication in these media.”

It might be needless to add that the paper had nothing to say about the assumed evolution of this replicating mechanism – or the evolution of anything else.

E. coli looks as if it has been designed to be effective.

It seems that all organisms that we know about are much more complex than scientists ever imagined. There’s plenty of evidence for design everywhere.

Source:

Pugatch, Rami. 2015. Greedy scheduling of cellular self-replication leads to optimal doubling times with a log-Frechet distribution. PNAS 112 (8): 2611–2616 (24 February).

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

New Darwinian Story: Sponges and Bacteria Made Complex Marine Life Possible


Stove-pipe Sponge (Aplysina archeri). Image courtesy of Nick Hobgood, Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen


Mark Twain wrote: “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

It might be good to keep this in mind when looking at a proposed solution for boosting oxygen levels in the seas and hence, according to Darwinian thinking, making the deep waters teem with life “hundreds of millions of years” ago and eventually making the Cambrian Explosion possible.

According to New Scientist,

“Last year, came the suggestion that sponges transformed Earth's deep oceans 750 million years ago, turning them into an oxygen-rich haven for life. Now it seems tiny bacteria living inside the sponges also played a part in the drama.”

Fan Zhang of the University of Maryland in Baltimore thinks that sponges and bacteria might have “evolved a hyper-efficient system for extracting phosphorus”.

New Scientist explains the reasoning behind this speculation:

Phosphorus is an essential but rare nutrient for ocean life. Like all marine organisms, sponges need it to survive but can't extract it from the water – but the bacteria can help them out. Meanwhile, bacteria need the sponges to pump vast amounts of seawater over them so they can extract more phosphorus.”

However, much more than water is needed for life. And much more than oxygen is needed for complex life.

Without a massive infusion of genetic information the oceans would be absolutely dead. We can read the best and most logical explanation for complex life in the seas in Genesis 1:20: “Then God said, ‘Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures’ “ (NASB).


Source:

Brahic, Catherine. 2015. Were early seas transformed by sponge microbiome? New Scientist (23 February).


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Darwinist PZ Myers Discovers That Medical Researchers Don’t Invoke Evolution


PZ Myers. Image courtesy of Larry Moran, Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

Biologist PZ Myers has just seen a paper published in PLoS Biology way back in 2007 (Evolution by Any Other Name: Antibiotic Resistance and Avoidance of the E-Word) and he obviously did not like what he saw:

The paper stated:

In research reports in journals with primarily evolutionary or genetic content, the word ‘evolution’ was used 65.8% of the time to describe evolutionary processes (range 10%–94%, mode 50%–60%, from a total of 632 phrases referring to evolution). However, in research reports in the biomedical literature, the word 'evolution' was used only 2.7% of the time (range 0%–75%, mode 0%–10%, from a total of 292 phrases referring to evolution), a highly significant difference (chi-square, p < 0.001).”

In other words, it seems that medical researchers do not think that evolution is important in their work. They found little reason to invoke Darwinian mechanisms.

Antibiotic resistance does not have anything to do with evolution, as a paper published in the Journal PLoS ONE found that bacteria that had been “isolated from human contact for more than four million years” in a cave in New Mexico were already resistant to antibiotics.

While the date is suspect, there is no way of explaining the discovery away as “evolution in action”.

Real science is very much different from what advocates of the Darwinian creation myth would want us to believe.

Source:

Myers, PZ. 2015. It’s not just creationists! Pharyngula (20 February).


Friday, 20 February 2015

DNA: Tiny, Powerful, Amazing Supermolecule

This is the best data storage medium ever designed. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.


Joel Kontinen

Few would deny that DNA is an amazing invention, if we could call it that. Bill Gates famously said: “DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.”

Biochemist Thomas Carell had this to say: ”The DNA molecule, which encodes the complexity of all life forms on Earth, is arguably the most powerful medium known for data storage and processing.

A recent article in New Scientist describes an other dimension of this supermolecule: “Just 1 gram of DNA is theoretically capable of holding 455 exabytes – enough for all the data held by Google, Facebook and every other major tech company, with room to spare.”

Biologist Ann Gauger points out that DNA continues to be a dilemma for evolutionists: “DNA is copied into RNA, then RNA is translated into protein. Consequently, proteins cannot exist without DNA. However, DNA cannot exist without proteins either.”

The only logical explanation is that they, like all other biological elements, were intelligently designed. They were created together at the beginning by the only One who is wise and intelligent enough do have done so:

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1:20, NIV).

Source:

Aron, Jacob. 2015. Glassed-in DNA makes the ultimate time capsule. New Scientist 3008 (15 February).