Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Thought of the Week: Fear is Embedded by Evolution in Our Lizard Brain


Brains inherited from this creature bring about fear, at least in the mind of the evolutionist.



Joel Kontinen

A recent issue of Time magazine had an interesting view on the current financial turmoil. Discussing the panic that started with the bank crisis in the USA, John Cloud said, “Fear is a persistent emotion, one embedded by evolution in our lizard brain.”

Cloud’s diagnosis is based on the assumption that humans are the product of natural selection and mutations.

However, the Book of Genesis tells us that man was created in the image of God. Knowing this, we have no need of believing in Darwinian storytelling.

Genesis is real history. We would not understand the New Testament without it. Jesus believed in a literal creation. He did not die for a myth but for the sin of Adam and Eve.

The Bible brings us comfort even in the midst of turbulent times. Repeatedly we see the words Do not be afraid on the pages of the holy book. The apostle John for instance wrote:

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:16-18).


Source:

Cloud, John. 2008. The Moment 10/6/08: New York. Time (European edition) 20 October, page 9.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

New Scientist on the Warpath - Once Again!



Expelled! seems to haunt New Scientist


Joel Kontinen

With Charles Darwin’s 150th birthday approaching, the popular British science magazine New Scientist has recently featured some rather militaristic articles. In early July it had an article entitled New Legal Threat to Teaching Evolution in the US and a recent print edition had an ever more exciting title: Creationists Declare War Over the Brain. Both articles were written by Amanda Gefter.

So what is going on? The July article was a report on the Louisiana Science Education Act that allowed a critical examination of Darwinian evolution in classrooms. Gefter used expressions like “the latest manoeuvre in a long-running war” to present her case that criticism of evolution endangers science education. Darwinian rhetoric notwithstanding, it seems that the only thing this act could threaten is an uncritical presentation of evolution as self-evident truth.

The more recent headlines had to do with the research of neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and other scientists who believe that matter cannot explain consciousness – a view that Darwinists consider heresy. In reporting on an international symposium called Beyond the Mind-Body Problem: New Paradigms in the Science of Consciousness that was held in September in New York, she used expressions like “battleground” and “war on science”.

New Scientist has a track record of using the terms creationism and intelligent design as synonyms, although the only thing that is common to both of them is criticism of Darwinian evolution. Moreover, in a typically Orwellian manner, by “science” the magazine almost always means “Darwinian evolution”.

When the Darwin centennial was celebrated in Chicago in 1959, Sir Julian Huxley announced that creationism was essentially dead. The recent articles adorning the pages of New Scientist magazine are at least proof of the growing suspicion that Huxley’s comment was probably slightly premature.

Could it be that Ben Stein’s documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which is now available as a DVD, bothers Darwinists more than they are willing to admit?


Sources:

Gefter, Amanda. 2008. New legal threat to teaching evolution in the US. New Scientist 9 July 2008. http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg19926643.300

Gefter, Amanda. 2008. Creationists declare war over the brain. New Scientist 22 October 2008. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026793.000?DCMP=NLC-nletter&nsref=mg20026793.000.

Whitcomb, John C. 2006. The History and Impact of the Book, "The Genesis Flood". Acts & Facts 35:5, I-iv. (May 2006) http://www.icr.org/article/2719/

Friday, 24 October 2008

Is Barack Obama's Agenda Anti-Christian?



Image from Wikipedia.


Joel Kontinen

Senator Obama said St. Paul’s teaching on the consequences of rejecting the Creator is an “obscure passage in Romans”. This is a very odd claim. Paul was the greatest theologian of the Christian Church and Romans is probably the most comprehensive account of early Christian theology.

There is nothing obscure in Romans 1. Paul teaches that people intuitively know that there is a Creator God but have refused to acknowledge this. The New International Version puts verse 20 like this: “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, so that men are without excuse. “

Nothing very obscure here. The next verse describes how people reacted to God’s revelation in nature: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Paul says that men exchanged “the truth of God for a lie.” They were immoral, murderers and full of “every kind of wickedness”.

Senator Obama’s views of abortion and same-sex relations are diametrically opposed to what the Bible clearly teaches. In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul speaks about “the man of lawlessness” who will lead the rebellion against God. The Bible calls this man the Antichrist who, as his name implies, has an Anti-Christian agenda. Could he be Barack Obama?

The Old Testament Prophet Daniel says that this man “will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws.”

History has already seen some little antichrists. The depression of the 1930s brought Adolf Hitler to power in Germany. Like Obama, he succeeded in hypnotising the masses, both Christians and non-Christians, to vote him to power. Hitler changed many laws – to the detriment of Jews, Gypsies and Slavs who were unfortunate enough to live within the clutches of the German eagle.

Keeping this in mind, Obama’s low view of Scripture and his opinion on abortion seem extremely disturbing. In some European nations, abortion was followed by euthanasia. Like in Nazi Germany, it is the defenceless that are persecuted.

While I do not think that Senator Obama is the Antichrist of the Book of Revelation, his views might make him into a little Antichrist that the Gospel writer John warned about in his first letter: “This is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come.”


Source:

Riley, Jennifer. 2008. Obama Uses Jesus' Sermon to Bolster Gay Civil Unions. Christian Post (4 March). http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080304/obama-uses-jesus-sermon-to-bolster-gay-civil-unions.htm

Monday, 20 October 2008

Dinosaurs in Alaska



How could dinosaurs find food in Alaska?



Joel Kontinen

We would not expect to see dinosaurs in Alaska. But Arctic Dinosaurs, a recent Nova program, examined an intriguing mystery: how could dinosaurs live in an arctic environment?

Palaeontologists have “unearthed dozens of dinosaurs—adults and juveniles—their bones jumbled together, fossilized, then locked in permafrost for eons, until now.” They have found eight different species at two sites along the Colville River. They dug up hundreds of fossils, including a 10.5-metre (35-foot) Edmontosaurus, a duck-billed herbivore or plant eater just 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the Arctic Ocean and a 9-metre (30-foot) Gorgosaurus, a carnivore.

There are three potential solutions for the existence of these dinosaur graveyards: (1) Alaska was warmer in the past, (2) the dinosaurs migrated there each year or (3) they were warm-blooded after all. As Hans-Dieter Sues of the Smithsonian Institution says in the program, “The traditional view was that dinosaurs were all overgrown reptiles that lived under tropical conditions. When we found polar dinosaurs, however, it was driven home to everyone that dinosaurs could live under different...and thrive under very different climate conditions.”

Migration would probably have to be dismissed as there was not much food in Alaska and the winters might have been too severe for dinosaurs even in near-by areas. While the warm-blood hypothesis might not be ruled out completely, it still leaves an all-important question unsanswered: how could giant plant-eaters find enough food during the severe winters?

This would seem to leave us with just one feasible solution to the riddle: perhaps Alaska was warmer in the past.

That scenario would fit in well with the biblical view of origins. The flood of Noah’s days would leave animal graveyards in its wake. It would also have changed the weather permanently. Creation scientists such as Michael Oard believe the post-flood conditions caused the ice age. In any case, the pre-Fall "very good" world would not have had any harsh weather.

Thus, from a biblical perspective the existence of dinosaur graveyards in Alaska is no mystery at all. On the contrary, if we believe that the Bible is a reliable account of history, we would expect to find traces of the great flood that destroyed all the people and land animals that were not on the ark.




Source:

Nova Transcripts. Arctic Dinosaurs. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3511_arcticdino.html

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The Oldest Rocks in the World?





The Helvetinkolu Gorge in southern Finland. Estimates for the age of these rocks vary by a factor of over ten, from 150 million to 1.9 billion years.

Joel Kontinen

A group of geologists claims they have found the oldest rocks in the world. In a paper published in the journal Science they say that a piece of Nuvvuangittuq greenstone is 250 million years older than any known rock.

Samples taken from the rock were sent to the Carnegie Institute in Washington for a chemical analysis. The rocks were dated by the samarium-neodymium method. The age of the rocks ranged from 3. 8 to 4.28 billion years.

Don Francis, a professor of geology at the McGill University in Montreal, thinks 4.28 billion years is the most likely date.

The rock also contains ”a chemical signature” that may be evidence of life.

People often suppose that radiometric dating methods are reliable but they almost regularly give incongruous results. Radiometric methods do not measure age but the amount of certain isotopes. Researchers can never be absolutely sure of the original amounts of the isotopes and they also have to make several other assumptions. Thus, they have often had to re-date fossils, rocks and even caves.

In addition, the discovery of soft tissues in T. rex bones and of carbon-14 in diamonds weakens the belief in millions of years. Comets , Mercury’s magnetic field and Saturn's moon Titan also speak for a young solar system.

The belief in millions of years can be a very ideological issue especially for non-theists. The idea of an old earth is actually an assumption that saw daylight before the discovery of the earliest dating methods.




Source:

Morgan, James. 2008. Team finds Earth's 'oldest rocks' . BBC News. (26 September)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7639024.stm

Evolution in Action?






The cichlids of Lake Victoria found their way to the cover of Nature.

Joel Kontinen

Since the time of Charles Darwin, scientists have pondered how new species come into being. According to the Darwinian great story, all living beings are descendants of a single unicellular being that was not created but was formed accidentally.

Evolution needs changes and new species, otherwise it will stop.

Recently, the journal Nature published a study on the speciation of cichlids in Lake Victoria. A research team led by Ole Seehausen of the University of Bern observed the life of these East African fish. They noticed that in the murky waters of the lake, red light penetrates deeper than blue light. Thus, in shallow water the male cichlids were mostly green or blue whereas in deeper water they were bright red.

Karen Carleton of the University of Maryland explained that the fish specialise to different microhabitats or life at different depths. As reported by Physorg.com she went on to say, “The visual system then specialized to the light environment at these depths and the mating colors shifted to match. Once this happened, these two groups no longer interbred and so became new species."

There is no shortage of species in the world of evolutionists. For instance, Lake Victoria holds an estimated 500 species of cichlids.

Many evolutionists suppose that rapid speciation refutes creation. However, this is by no means true. The kinds of Genesis do not correspond to the biological concept "species". For instance, the dog kind (dog, wolf, dingo, coyote) belong to the same biblical baramin or created kind. Likewise, the horse, donkey and zebra belong to the same created kind.

Thus Noah did not have to take as many animals on board the ark as skeptics suppose. God created an enormous potential for change in each kind. But there is absolutely no proof of any created kind ever changing into a different kind. Thus all the cichlids of Lake Victoria belong to the same biblical kind.

The credibility of Nature’s cover story is weakened by the fact that the researchers did not observe the birth of a new species. As doctor Jonathan Wells explains, they merely examined existing species and drew conclusions that are rather misleading.

The recent article in Nature is a typical example of Darwinian storytelling, It is based on the assumption that evolution is a fact and that it happens all the time.

Sources:

Blake, Kelly. 2008. The Color of Evolution: How One Fish Became Two Fish. Physorg. Com. http://www.physorg.com/printnews.php?newsid=142615133

Seehausen, Ole, Yohey Terai, Isabel S. Magalhaes, Karen L. Carleton, Hillary D. J. Mrosso, Ryutaro Miyagi, Inke van der Sluijs, Maria V. Schneider, Martine E. Maan, Hidenori Tachida, Hiroo Imai & Norihiro Okada.. 2008. Speciation through sensory drive in cichlid fish. Nature 455, 620-626 (2 October 2008).

Wells, Jonathan. 2008. One Long Bluff. Evolution News & Views. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/10/one_long_bluff.html#more

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Human Evolution is Over



Human evolution according to T. H. Huxley. (Image from Wikipedia).

Joel Kontinen


Human evolution is about to stop as there are too few older fathers in the western world.

Recently, Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, disclosed that due to the scarcity of older fathers, we will have to say goodbye to human evolution. He explained that fathers who are over 35 probably pass on more mutations to their offspring than younger men.

According to Jones, evolution consists of three main elements – natural selection, mutation, and random change. He says that the amount of mutations has diminished considerably. He suspects that this is due to the fact that there are too few older fathers.

As reported by Times Online, professor Jones explained, “Every time there is a cell division, there is a chance of a mistake, a mutation, an error. For a 29-year old father there are around 300 divisions between the sperm that made him and the one he passes on – each one with an opportunity to make mistakes.”

He went on to say that for a 50-year old father there are over a thousand chances of errors. Thus, the decrease in the number of older fathers has an effect on how many mutations can appear.

Jones also thinks natural selection has weakened as people are living longer. Nowadays ethnic groups are more connected with others, which diminishes randomness. Taken together, these factors will bring human evolution to a standstill.

Paul Taylor of the Christian apologetics ministry Answers in Genesis (UK/Europe) summarises professor Jones’ ideas as follows:

1. Actual scientific evidence suggests that humans are not evolving today.
2. We don't have any evidence that they were evolving in the past either.
3. But we think that they were!


In other words, the idea of human evolution is entirely based on faith and storytelling that is typical of Darwinists.




Sources:

Belluz, Julia. 2008. Leading geneticist Steve Jones says human evolution is over. Times Online (7 October).
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article4894696.ece

Taylor, Paul. 2008. Human Evolution Has Stopped! Answers in Genesis UK/Europe Newsletter October 2008 (Issue 9)

Sunday, 12 October 2008

George Orwell and Darwin’s Thought Police



Beware what you think: Big Brother is watching (and listening)


Joel Kontinen

Concepts such as Thought Police and slogans like Ignorance is Strength that George Orwell wrote about on the pages of Nineteen Eighty-Four are alive and well in our midst.

The Darwinian Thought Police have been busy recently. In Britain, they forced the resignation of a leading scientist from the Royal Society. In the United States, they questioned the competency of a politician who had the temerity to suggest she would allow a critical examination of evolution in science education.

They would gladly keep as many people as possible ignorant of the flaws of Darwinian mechanisms, i.e. natural selection acting on random mutations, as these poor souls might otherwise end up not believing in evolution.

Evolutionists have adapted a very Orwellian use of words and tactics. Thus, by “science” they really mean “evolution” as in the National Center for Science Education. They only science they ever teach is (Neo) Darwinian evolution (the goo-to-you variety). Thus, anyone disagreeing with Darwin is by definition an anti-science bigot although most of the founding fathers of modern science were Christians who believed in a literal creation and a world wide flood. It was only later that Darwinists hijacked the word science.

Now, as Richard Dawkins and many other fellow-believers would agree, evolution is a great story that seeks to replace the Christian account of creation. There is a difference between being created in the image of God and being the result of natural selection acting on random mutations.

Some Christians have tried to make their peace with Charles Darwin by trying to combine atheistic evolution with the revelation of the God of the Bible. However, just like Christ and Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15) do not mix, it is impossible to marry two great stories that are alternative ways of looking at reality.



Source:

Orwell, George. 2001 (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. London: The Folio Society.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Time For a Green Bible?




Joel Kontinen

What has going green to do with the Bible? More than we would suppose, if we are to take a new Bible edition at face value.

While the text itself is not new, a Bible with an emphasis on the environment is a rather green idea. According to the publisher, the purpose of the book is “to show how we can care for and protect God's creation”.

HarperCollins has produced a new edition called The Green Bible. While many readers are familiar with red-letter Bibles, in which Jesus’ words are printed in red, the new Bible has over 1000 verses that “speak to God's care for creation highlighted in green”.

The HarperOne website states, “The Green Bible will equip and encourage people to see God's vision for creation and help them engage in the work of healing and sustaining it.”

The text follows the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), which was first published in 1989. The NRSV is a revision of the older Revised Standard Version. While evangelicals might have preferred the New International Version (NIV), the Green Bible nevertheless reminds us of an important but often forgotten aspect of God’s revelation to mankind: According to Genesis 2:15 God entrusted man with the task of taking care of the Garden of Eden. Some Bibles, such as Luther’s now revised German translation, also speak of protecting the garden.

The Green Bible itself is printed on paper that is guaranteed to hail from “well-managed forests” with 10 per cent being made from recycled paper. Moreover, the ink is soy-based and the cover is made from cotton and linen.

In addition to the Bible text, The Green Bible has a foreword by archbishop Desmond Tutu and essays by other well-known Protestant and Catholic leaders such as Pope John Paul II and bishop N. T. Wright.

The Green Bible received a basically positive response from Time’s religion editor David van Biema in the September 29 issue.

While the New Testament puts more emphasis on the Great Commission than on the stewardship mandate, The Green Bible reminds us that the entire creation is God’s creation and we should take good care of it.





Sources:

HarperOne. http://greenletterbible.com/

van Biema, David. 2008. The Good Book Goes Green. Time (Europe) 172:13, 43.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Genesis is History


Hebrew scholar believes Genesis is history. Adam and Eve at AIG's Creation Museum.




Joel Kontinen

Associate Professor Steven W. Boyd, who has a Ph.D. in Hebraic and Cognate Studies, examined the text of Genesis 1:1-2:3 statistically and concluded that it was historical narrative.

Ancient Hebrew poetry uses parallelism, for instance Psalm 8:4 uses a literary device called synonymic parallelism:

what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?


The same thing is described twice in different words (man – son of man, mindful of – care for).

Genesis chapter 1 does not use such parallelism. Doctor Steven W. Boyd compared Genesis 1 to a number of Old Testament passages in which the same story is described both as historical narrative and as poetry. These include:

· Crossing the Red Sea: Exodus 14 (historical narrative) vs. Exodus 15:1–19 (poetry)
· The victory of Barak and Debora over the Canaanites: Judges 4 (historical narrative) vs. Judges 5 (poetry)
· The creation account: Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 (historical narrative) vs. Psalm 104 (poetry).

By computing the distribution of preterites to finite verbs and assessing the results statistically doctor Boyd concluded that the probability of Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 being prose is 0.999972604.

James Barr, Oriel Professor of the interpretation of the Holy Scripture, Oxford University, wrote:

Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that:
1. creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience
2. the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story
3. Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark.


While professor Barr did not believe that the Genesis account is literal history, he nevertheless confirmed Boyd’s conclusion.

Boyd is more consistent: he believes that Genesis 1:1-2:3 is a reliable historical account of creation. His study was part of the RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) project of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR).

Sources:

Barr, James. 1984. Letter to David C.C. Watson, 23 April 1984.

Boyd, Steven W. 2004. The Biblical Hebrew Creation Account: New Numbers Tell The Story. Acts & Facts 33:11, i-iv (November 2004).

Don’t Hurt the Feelings of Your Hibiscus!



Treat me with respect.

Joel Kontinen

Plants have intrinsic dignity and we should thus take an ethical approach to them. This is the conclusion reached by the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH) in a survey study entitled The Dignity of Living Beings With Regard to Plants. Moral Consideration of Plants for Their Own Sake.

This study was awarded the 2008 Ig Nobel peace prize. The Ig Nobels are presented each year at Harvard University at about the same time as the real Nobels in Scandinavia. The ten prizes are a parody of the ones awarded in memory of Alfred Nobel.

The decisions of the Ig Nobel Committee can be surprising. In 2005 the literature prize was presented to a group of Nigerian Internet entrepreneurs who had e-mailed amazingly touching short stories to readers all over the world.

Urs Thurnherr, of the University of Education in Karlsruhe, German, a member of the Swiss Biotechnology Committee, attended the Ig Noble ceremony and accepted the peace prize on behalf of his colleagues. In his speech he asked the audience whether anyone had forgotten to water their plants. If the plants died, "did that make you uneasy in any way?”

Offending plants and causing agony to them should obviously cause us to feel compunction.

For a long time, animal rights activists have tried to do away with the differences that separate humans and animals. In 2007 they made headlines in Austria after attempting to secure juridical rights for a chimpanzee. They gave a 26-year old chimp the name Matthew Hiasl Pan, but the Austrian supreme court judged that it was not justified to regard an ape as a person. In June 2007, however, chimpanzees got limited human rights in Spain.

Animal rights activists and the Ig Noble Committee are not the only ones who try to elevate the status of chimpanzees and plants. Science text books and natural history museums also emphasise the similarities between humans and apes – and often in a misleading way.

If the differences between humans, animals and plants are made more fuzzy, we might soon have to treat our fair trade bananas ethically by not eating them.

We might discern an evolution connection in this year’s choice of the Ig Nobel peace prize. According to to the prevailing great story based on Darwinian evolution, all living beings are supposed to have evolved from the same unicellular organism before the dawn of history. One might, however, ask whether plants are really living and feeling beings.

But there are no prizes for asking such questions.

Sources:

Improbable Research. 2008. The 2008 Ig Noble Prize Winners.
http://improbable.com/ig/winners/#ig2008

Nadis, Steve. 2008. An Ig Nobel diary. Nature News(3 October) http://www.nature.com/news/2008/081003/full/news.2008.1150.html#B2

Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology The Dignity of Living Beings With Regard to Plants. Moral Consideration of Plants for Their Own Sake. http://www.ekah.admin.ch/uploads/media/e-Broschure-Wurde-Pflanze-2008.pdf

Friday, 3 October 2008

Harun Yahya: Darwinists Should Apologise for Their Lies




Ernst Haeckel’s fabricated embryo drawings. Image from Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

With Charles Darwin’s 200th anniversary approaching, the Church of England has issued an apology to Darwin.

However, Adnan Oktar, a Turkish anti-evolutionist and activist who uses the pen name Harun Yahya, says that it is the Darwinists who should publicly apologise for their lies. Yahya lists a number of hoaxes such as Piltdown man, Nebraska man, horse evolution, Ernst Haeckel’s fabricated embryo drawings, sticking dead peppered moths on tree trunks and feathers to a dinosaur fossil (Archaeoraptor) that have been used to propagate Darwinian evolution.

Yahya also says that evolution leads to discrimination. He mentions the case of Michael Reiss. Doctor Reiss had to step down from his post as Director of Education at the Royal Society after saying that creationism was a worldview that should not be despised in science classes at school.

Harun Yahya has become famous through his tens of books, especially the massive Atlas of Creation in which he places fossils of extinct animals side by side with modern forms and shows that they have hardly changed. The work has also attracted some criticism since Yahya’s organisation also posted the book to several well-known evolutionists, including Richard Dawkins.

Yahya, who is a Muslim, seems to believe in an old earth and often appeals to the Qur’an.

In Turkey, Yahya is a controversial individual who probably also has political ambitions.

Source:

Yahya, Harun. 2008. The Global Darwinist Dictatorship Must Apologize to the Entire World!
http://us1.fmanager.net/api_v1/productDetail.php?dev-t=7EZU2FZ0164&objectId=9546