Thursday, 26 February 2009
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the seven wonders of the world. Engraving by Martin Heemskerck (16th century). Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Saddam Hussein had an obsession. He saw himself as a new Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest monarch of his time.
Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled over The Neo-Babylonian Empire from ca. 604 BC to 562 BC, built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. conquered Jerusalem and sent Judah into exile. He is mentioned in several Old Testament books, including the book of Daniel. History knows him as Nebuchadnezzar the Great.
The Bible prophesied the destruction of Babylon. Martin Luther and John Calvin, for instance, thought that these prophecies were completely fulfilled in past upheavals. However, some Bible scholars believe that the destruction of Babylon described in Revelation 18 is yet to be fulfilled.
This seemed to be impossible since until Saddam Hussein began realising his ambition, the only things that remained of Babylon were ruins buried in sand. The Neo-Babylonian Empire was relatively short-lived. In 539 BC the Persians under Cyrus the Great stormed the city.
In 1991 Dr. Charles H. Dyer, Dean of Education at Moody Bible Institute and a Middle-East expert, wrote a book called The Rise of Babylon in which he documented Saddam Hussein’s ambitions. Saddam began rebuilding the ancient city near its ruins, copying the architecture of Nebuchadnezzar’s time and portraying himself as a new world ruler equal to his role model.
While Saddam is no longer able to realise his ambition, his dream lives on in Iraq. His demise did not put an end to the aspiration to rebuild Babylon.
Recently, Joel Rosenberg, writing for the Bible Prophecy Today blog, reported that the Obama administration is contributing 700 000 U.S. dollars towards “The Future of Babylon Project”. Iraqi officials hope the reconstructed city will become a huge tourist attraction and a reminder of the region’s former glory.
The plan, if fulfilled, will be a reminder of the reliability of biblical prophecy.
Dyer, Charles H. n.d. The Biblical Argument for the Rebuilding of Babylon. http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Dyer-TheBiblicalArgumentf.pdf.
Dyer, Charles H. and Angela Elwell Hunt. 1991. Det nya Babylon. Translated by Erling Medelfjord. Stockholm: InterSkrift.
Rosenberg, Joel C. 2009. U.S. TO Help Rebuild City of Babylon in Iraq. http://bible-prophecy-today.blogspot.com:80/2009/02/us-to-help-rebuild-city-of-babylon-in.html
Sunday, 22 February 2009
Not all Londoners welcomed a message of hope.
To counter an atheist bus campaign promoted by Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Association, the Christian Party started its own campaign, sponsoring ads on London’s red buses with the message: “There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life.”
Shortly after the party began its campaign, the front windows of its London headquarters were broken. The police suspect that it is a religious hate crime.
Reverend George Hargreaves, leader of the Christian Party, says they will carry on with the campaign despite the setback.
Perhaps some people are allergic to Christian slogans on buses.
It is a disturbing incident. Vandalism is not a very civilised way of discussing worldviews. But regardless of what happened, Christianity is a message of hope.
Mackay, Maria. 2009. Christian Party offices vandalised after launch of bus adverts. Christianity Today. (16 February). http://www.christiantoday.com/article/christian.party.offices.vandalised.after.launch.of.bus.adverts/22544.htm
Saturday, 21 February 2009
There’s room for many-a-more on this boat. This model is at the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum.
In the latest issue of E-Skeptic, Michael Shermer recounts his adventures in a rather exceptional place. Shermer, the editor of Skeptic magazine, was bold enough to venture into Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, Bristol, England during his recent visit to Charles Darwin’s homeland.
The zoo, which houses animals such as white rhinos, giraffes, boa constrictors, ostriches and iguanas, attracts 125 000 visitors per year.
Anthony Bush, who runs the farm with his wife, believes in a literal global flood and is sceptical of radiometric dating methods. So far, so good.
However, he is not a traditional young earth creationist. He believes that God created the world 100 000 years ago. Before the creation of Adam and Eve approximately 21 000 years ago, these was a pre-Adamite period when dinosaurs lived.
Even this is too much for Shermer, a true believer in millions of years of Darwinian struggle for life. Bush’s explanations did not convince him.
Skeptics are known for their skepticality. There is one notable exception, however. When it comes to Darwinian evolution, they dare not question it. For a pure-bred skeptic, evolution must have happened so it cannot be doubted.
While Mr. Bush’s stand against evolution is to be lauded, his decision to expand the beginning of earth history beyond the creation week is problematic.
Genesis clearly teaches us that death came into the world after Adam and Eve sinned and the New Testament authors affirm this in several passages. The Apostle Paul, for example, states in Romans 5:12:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men because all sinned.
And in 1 Corinthians 15:21 he says:
Death came through a man.
The fossil record is a record of death, suffering and violence. Old bones are witness of what Lord Tennyson wrote in a poem published in 1844, fifteen years before Darwin’s On The Origin of Species:
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed.
It was a far cry from the very good world of Genesis 1 and 2. Adding extra years to the Genesis record is bad exegesis. While all efforts to undermine belief in Darwinian evolution are welcome, the main issue should be the veracity of God’s Word.
And the Bible does not speak about millions of years. Exodus 20:11 says:
For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.
This verse alone should refute the possibility that there were 79 000 years between the beginning of creation and the creation of Adam and Eve. Moreover, Jesus Himself says in Mark 10:6:
At the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female’.
The beginning was not 79 000 years after the beginning, however.
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm web pages.
Shermer, Michael. 2009. A Skeptic Goes Inside Noah’s Ark. (17 February) http://skepticblog.org:80/2009/02/17/a-skeptic-goes-inside-noahs-ark/
Monday, 16 February 2009
The red buses in this city will now promote a message of hope.
In a bid to promote an atheistic worldview, the British Humanist Association has been running a month-long campaign in London by sponsoring ads on the city’s famous red buses. This January Londoners have been riding buses that have the slogan “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” written in huge red letters on their side.
The inclusion of the word “probably” has caused some skeptics to call it an “atheism lite” campaign. After all, probabilities work both ways and worldviews based on uncertain probabilities do not sound very assuring.
Recently, Associated Press reported on an interesting addition to the bus campaign. As the Humanist campaign is ending, a counter-campaign is beginning.
Combining evangelism and the coming European Parliamentary elections, The Christian Party is putting an ad on the buses that says, “There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life."
George Hargreaves of the Christian Party explained, ”I got tired of seeing these messages on buses driving past my window and want to give people the chance to read something with hope.”
The Russian Orthodox Church is also starting a bus campaign. Their ad reads, “There is a God, believe. Don't worry and enjoy your life."
A third Christian group also joined the discussion by sponsoring an ad that reads, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." These words from Psalm 14:1 will probably also attract some attention.
It appears that the atheist campaign turned the famous red buses into a worldview forum. The “God is dead” era ended ages ago. Now, people are indeed talking about the importance of religion, even in secular Great Britain.
Christians counter atheists — on London buses. msnbc. (6 February) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29056903/from/ET/
Sunday, 15 February 2009
Pakicetus inachus courtesy of Arthur Weasley, Wikipedia org.
Pakistan is obviously the El Dorado of whale fossils or at least of the earthly remains of what Darwinists think could possibly be terrestrial ancestors of cetaceans. Pakicetus got its name from the country. Recently Philip Gingerich and his team found two adult skeletons there. One of them was a creature that was fossilised while giving birth.
Since the Maicatetus inuus calf was obviously being born head first, Gingerich, a palaeontologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, suggests that these creatures gave birth to their young on land. Whales are born tail first.
The Maicatetus inuus fossils are thought to be 47 million years old.
Gingerich believes that early whales lived on land but also took to the sea. Some existing animals, such as seals and sea lions, also live on land and swim in the sea, so the whale connection is rather conjectural.
The search for a whale ancestor has been something of a holy grail for evolutionists. Its significance seems to equal the quest for a feathered dinosaur that unfortunately for them keeps on evading discovery despite occasional reports to the contrary.
Is there any real evidence that Maicatetus inuus is a whale ancestor?
Perhaps we should remember past discoveries that later turned out to be less than convincing.
When Gingerich discovered Pakicetus inachus in the early 1980s, it was initially thought to be a marine creature – on the basis of a few teeth and fragments of the skull and lower jaw. Dated at 52 million years it was touted as a whale ancestor. Science magazine even published a front cover showing a diving Pakicetus.
However, when more bones were unearthed, it became obvious that Pakicetus was a land animal resembling a pig.
So perhaps we ought to remember Pakicetus before believing that Pakistani whales used to give birth on land.
Callaway, Ewen and Catherine Brahic. 2009. Primitive whales gave birth on land. New Scientist. com 4 February 2009.
Gingerich, Philip D., Munir ul-Haq, Wighart von Koenigswald, William J. Sanders, B. Holly Smith and Iyad S. Zalmout. 2009. New Protocetid Whale from the Middle Eocene of Pakistan: Birth on Land, Precocial Development, and Sexual Dimorphism. PloS ONE. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0004366
Sarfati, Jonathan. 2002. Refuting Evolution. 2nd ed. Acacia Ridge: Answers in Genesis.
Thewissen, J. G. M., E. M. Williams, L. J. Roe and S. T. Hussain. 2001. Skeletons of terrestrial cetaceans and the relationship of whales to artiodactyls. Nature 413: 277–281. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v413/n6853/abs/413277a0.html
Friday, 13 February 2009
St. Charles? Image courtesy of Wikipedia
I just received my second issue of The Evolutionary Times. Published on Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday, Rev. Michael Dowd’s e-magazine interprets religion in general and Christianity in particular from a naturalistic perspective.
In Dowd’s Brave New Religion, Charles Darwin has a place of honour. In wishing happy birthday to his hero, the evo-reverend says:
Thanks to the role that Charles Darwin and countless other evolutionaries have played in enriching my faith and guiding my path, today I have no resentments, no secrets, and no unfinished business.
The entire magazine is a Song of Songs dedicated to the wonderful world of evo-religion where Christian concepts get a new evolutionary meaning:
Evolution gives us a more intimate and personal relationship with God because God is no longer far off, unnatural, and impotent. And it gives us a way of thinking about religion that helps us understand how and why religions are different, and how we can cooperate together. Both of these are, to my mind, really Good News.
Rev. Michael Dowd is a latter-day Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuit priest who tried to set up a new evolution-based faith system.
Dowd does us all a favour by revealing the religious character of evolution. He says he takes “a holy view of evolution”.
In Dowd’s theology, God becomes a principle in nature. Dowd speaks freely of Christ and salvation but gives them a new unorthdox meaning. While there might be no promise of the afterlife for the adherents of evo-religion, Dowd is content to have his heaven in the here and now, inspired by the wonders of evolution.
Dowd’s theology brings to mind St. Paul’s words in Romans 1:25, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator”.
Dowdism might well be a prototype of the world religion spoken of in the Book of Revelation.
Dowd, Michael. 2009. Happy Birthday Charles Darwin. http://evolutionarytimes.org/
West, Paul. 2009. Dowd Discovered. http://evolutionarytimes.org/files/e783cdbe513290fa548de21fc09cb089-18.php
Monday, 9 February 2009
Sir David Attenborough. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Known for his natural history programmes, Sir David Attenborough has for 50 years been one the principal spokesmen for Darwinian evolution.
Recently the BBC icon stepped into the sphere of religion. In a brief video David Attenborough claimed that we can blame the book of Genesis for the exploitation of nature. Evolution, in contrast, helps us to take care of the environment.
Sounds a bit like Freud. So what does Genesis really say about exploiting nature?
Let's take a closer look.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:26-28)
Sir David obviously took issue with the idea of man being placed higher than the animals in God’s hierarchy.
Genesis does not give us the right to spoil the planet and destroy its life. It also has a verse that speaks about the mandate to preserve the earth:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2: 15)
Unlike Neo-Darwinese, the Bible practically never uses Orwellian phrases. More often, it means what it says. Thus, take care of is obviously not a synonym for exploit.
In contrast, Darwinian evolution is supposed to be a Malthusian struggle for existence, with nature being red in tooth and claw. How could this possibly preserve nature?
It seems that Attenborough’s claim had more to do with his naturalistic worldview than with anything else.
Saturday, 7 February 2009
Time to say goodbye to Charlie? Image from Wikipedia.
Amid all the pro-evolution salutations we have so far heard during Charles Darwin's 200th anniversary, the sound of dissenting voices has not been inaudible.
Discovery Institute is sponsoring an Academic Freedom Day on February 12. Creation Ministries International has produced a film critical of Darwin’s ideas. In addition, Answers in Genesis is hosting several Answers for Darwin conferences in the US.
And there is more to come.
Douglas Axe is a molecular biologist who takes a critical approach to Neo-Darwinian evolution. He predicts that an up and coming bold generation of researchers will reject evolution –for lack of evidence.
In an article posted on the Biologic Institute’s webpages, Axe writes:
The truth of the matter, much to the chagrin of contemporary biology, is that Darwin’s theory should have been laid to rest some time ago. It certainly deserved all the interest it generated in its day, but at some later point that interest was transformed from the critical kind to the credulous kind…
…even wrong ideas can make big contributions to the advancement of science. Few biologists want to see Darwin’s theory filed in that category, but if that is its rightful place, then you can be sure that’s exactly where one bold generation of biologists will file it—someday.
Axe is not the only scientist to make such a claim. Professor John Sanford, a pioneer of genetic engineering, revealed that recent discoveries in genetic mutation rates in the human genome clearly falsify the neo-Darwinian mechanism.
Darwin’s dethronement might arrive sooner than you think.
Axe, Douglas. 2009. Bold Biology for 2009. http://biologicinstitute.org/2009/02/01/bold-biology-for-2009/
Wieland, Carl. 2009. A truly stunning event. Creation Ministries International. http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/6274
Monday, 2 February 2009
Richard Dawkins was not very pleased with the latest evolution survey in Great Britain. Image from Wikipedia.
Charles Darwin is not having much of a heyday in his native UK on the eve of his 200th birthday. In a recent survey of 2,060 adults, 51 per cent stated they believed that evolution is incapable of explaining the complexity of life and a designer is needed.
In addition, almost a third (32%) believed that God created the world under 10 000 years ago.
Commenting on the survey conducted by ComRes, Richard Dawkins said that most people are “pig ignorant” about science.
Science is obviously Dawkinsese for “evolution”.
The world outside Richard Dawkins’ mind appears to see reality in somewhat different terms. Even some prominent British scientists and academics suspect that Darwinian evolution is wrong. They see evidences of design in nature.
There seems to be an interesting trend in Britain and elsewhere: the more Old Darwin is promoted, the less the public trusts his theories. Perhaps it has to do with the clothes emperor Charles is wearing.
Professor Dawkins would probably not be able to wash his hands entirely clean of the blame. For instance, he has not always been overly careful with his data, such as the supposed poor design of the human eye, the existence of memes or the selfishness of his own genes.
“Pig ignorant” is a rather interesting adjective phrase. I was unable to find its definition in any of my dictionaries but I suspect that Richard Dawkins did not use it as a compliment.
The expression suggests that theories of language evolution are miserably outdated. English is definitely not evolving; it is devolving, thanks in part to prof. Dawkins.
Wynne-Jones, Jonathan. 2009. Poll reveals public doubts over Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Telegraphy. co.uk. (31 January 2009). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/4410927/Poll-reveals-public-doubts-over-Charles-Darwins-theory-of-evolution.html
Sunday, 1 February 2009
Arbeit macht frei? The gate of no return at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Image from Wikipedia.
There are over ten times more twins in a small Brazilian town than elsewhere on average. An Argentinian historian claims that this is the result of Josef Mengele’s genetic experiments.
Josef Mengele (1911-1979) was known as the Angel of Death. The Nazi doctor was notorious for performing medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau from 1943 to 1945. He was also responsible for sending thousands of hapless Jews, Gypsies and other inmates to a certain death in gas chambers.
After World War II Mengele escaped to South America. Historian Jorge Camarasa interviewed people living in the small Brazilian town of Candido Godoi. He believes that Mengele continued his experiments there with the aim of creating a master race of blue-eyed Aryans. In this farming community, one in five pregnancies resulted in twins. Most of them were blond, blue-eyed “Aryans”.
The twin boom began in 1963, which roughly corresponds to the time when an itinerant medic now thought to be none other than Mengele was first seen in the area.
In his new book Mengele: the Angel of Death in South America Camarasa recounts the post-war odyssey of the chief Nazi eugenicist. He says that Mengele probably found refuge in one of the German enclaves in South America and continued his experiments even after Israeli agents seized his compatriot and fellow war criminal Adolf Eichmann.
The Nazi race ideology owes much to the writings of Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919). A professor of zoology who was the chief spokesman for Darwinian evolution in continental Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century, Haeckel is still remembered for his fraudulent embryo drawings. Less well known are his views on the inferiority of the black “races”. Like Charles Darwin, he thought they were less evolved than the white “races”.
While genetic studies have indicated that the entire concept of race is artificial, the Nazis sought to help natural selection in weeding out the less fit individuals and, probably reflecting the ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), building a new Aryan super race.
The inhabitants of Candido Godoi remember Mengele as a friendly veterinarian and itinerant medic, who used the name Rudolph Weiss.
At Auschwitz, Mengele was known as the White Angel (der weisse Engel. His adopted surname Weiss is the German word for white. While this might be a mere coincidence, it could also be evidence for his deep-seated acceptance of the Nazi race ideology.
Evans, Nick. 2009. Nazi angel of death Josef Mengele 'created twin town in Brazil'. Telegraph. Co.uk. 23 January. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/brazil/4307262/Nazi-angel-of-death-Josef-Mengele-created-twin-town-in-Brazil.html