Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Jesus Christ promised to give us His peace in the midst of turmoil. A Greek Christ Pantokrator mosaic from the 12th century. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Reverend David Wilkerson, a famous NYC pastor, recently warned of impending catastrophes such as riots, food shortages and fires, in major U. S. cities and elsewhere.
David Wilkerson is known for his numerous books, especially The Cross And The Switchblade, which recounts his ministry to gang members and drug addicts in New York City. Translated into over 30 languages, over 50 million copies have been sold.
In 1973 he wrote The Vision in which he predicted a major economic downturn, the opening of the Iron Curtain and the rise of homosexual activism. Rev. Wilkerson, pastor of NYC Times Square Church, also foresaw trouble a few weeks before the 9/11 attacks happened.
David Wilkerson points out that he is not a prophet but a pastor. He does not want to incite fear but to warn his flock.
Some financial experts have also warned of a similar scenario. If shipping goods becomes unprofitable, it could result in food shortages and riots as angry people take to the streets.
It is good to remember that the Bible has much to say about hope. At a time when the future of the Jewish nation was in jeopardy, the prophet Jeremiah wrote:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". (Jeremiah 29:11)
The New Testament is also full of hope. Jesus encouraged his disciples:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Many signs suggest that history is irrevocably approaching its grand finale. It spite of its sombre tone, Revelation is basically a book of hope. It clearly shows that although a few sparrows might fall to the ground, God is in control of history - even in the midst of financial turmoil and civil unrest.
Saturday, 28 March 2009
Texas will allow high school students to critique Darwinian explanations. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
The days of teaching evolution dogmatically are over in Texas high schools. Students will no longer be told what to think but they are expected to evaluate – yes, and even critique - the scientific evidence for evolution, including common ancestry, natural selection and mutations. They should "analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations…including examining all sides of scientific evidence… so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.”
According to the new science standards approved by the Texas Board of Education, students are encouraged to think critically:
“In all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the student."
Students are also expected to analyse and evaluate scientific explanations for the fossil record and the complexity of the cell.
Darwinists have decried the decision as a ploy to introduce creationism into science classes. However, the truth is somewhat different. As Dr. John West of Discovery Institute explained, “Texas has sent a clear message that evolution should be taught as a scientific theory open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can't be questioned”.
Simon, Stephanie. 2009. Texas Opens Classroom Door for Evolution Doubts. Wall Street Journal (27 March)
Smith, Anika. 2009. Texas Improves on Strengths and Weaknesses Language in Science Standards on Teaching Evolution. Evolution News and Views. (27 March). You can read it here.
Monday, 23 March 2009
H. erectus left very modern footprints
Human footprints said to be 1.5 million years old have been found at Lleret, Kenya. They are almost identical to footprints modern man would leave on a muddy surface.
A research team led by Matthew Bennett of the University of Bournemouth, UK scanned and digitized the footprints. They recently published their research results in Science, confirming what creationists have known for a long time: Homo erectus walked as upright as we do.
We already knew that the Homo erectus skull and torso closely resembled those of modern man. Now we know that the feet of our forefathers were modern as well. Translation: H. erectus was fully human.
What about the assumed age of 1.5 million years? Radiometric dating methods are notoriously unreliable although laypeople hardly know this. Dating footprints in particular is difficult since the age has to be assumed from the rocks and fossils surrounding the footprints, resulting in what is known as the dating game.
Gibbons, Ann. 2009. Early Humans Toed the Line. ScienceNOW Daily News. (26 February) http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/226/1
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Octopuses have resisted Darwinian evolution for a long, long time. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Octopuses are surprisingly intelligent cephalopods. Known for their eight arms – the word octopus comes from the Greek oκτάπους or ‘eight-footed’ - and their ability to evade predators by squirting ink at them, they are mostly found near coral reefs. In captivity, they have opened cans with their arms and escaped from aquariums with ease.
Now, a new study in the journal Palaeontology examines an astounding find - five fossilised octopuses. This is an extremely rare find. Formed mostly of muscle and skin, an octopus usually decays in a few days after it dies, leaving nothing behind. ScienceDaily reports: “The chances of an octopus corpse surviving long enough to be fossilized are so small that prior to this discovery only a single fossil species was known, and from fewer specimens than octopuses have legs.”
The octopuses were found in Lebanon in rocks interpreted as belonging to the Cretaceous period. Assumed to be 95 million years old, the fossils are so well preserved that even ink and suckers can be distinguished. Lead author Dirk Fuchs of the Freie University Berlin said, “These things are 95 million years old, yet one of the fossils is almost indistinguishable from living species.”
This find speaks of amazing stasis or lack of change. While dating methods are by no means absolute since they rely on assumptions that can never be tested, the octopuses nevertheless call into question the evolution of these creatures. Like many living fossils such as the coelacanth, tuatara and horseshoe crab , they have basically resisted change for aeons.
The octopuses had to be buried catastrophically. The most likely explanation for the amazing preservation of the animals is the year-long global flood mentioned in the Book of Genesis. It would have provided just the right conditions that were needed to keep the octopus remains intact to our day.
Cretaceous Octopus With Ink And Suckers -- The World's Least Likely Fossils. ScienceDaily 18 March 2009.
Friday, 20 March 2009
Peter Singer: bioethics with an anti-human bias. Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Some atheists have recently expressed the desire that people should stop worrying and enjoy the life they are living. Others, however, take a more dire approach to life.
Bioethics professor Peter Singer is a leading spokesman for animal rights. He believes that grown-up animals should have more rights than unborn humans:
Rats are indisputably more aware of their surroundings, and more able to respond in purposeful and complex ways to things they like or dislike, than a fetus at 10- or even 32-weeks gestation. … The calf, the pig, and the much-derided chicken come out well ahead of the fetus at any stage of pregnancy.
Dinesh D’Souza recently debated Singer. Writing in Christianity Today, he says that Singer “cheerfully advocates infanticide and euthanasia and, in almost the same breath, favors animal rights.” D’Souza suspects that atheists have not overtly advocated Singer’s views since it might discredit their cause.
After all, Singer is “an intellectually honest atheist.”
According to Singer’s ideology, it is more ethical to kill human infants – even up to 28 days after their birth – than to eat animal meat.
This is a corollary of accepting Darwinian evolution. Evolutionists all over the world are celebrating Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday this year.
The film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed clearly shows that ideas have consequences.
As G. K. Chesterton put it, if men were “not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal”. In Singer’s dire world human birth is no source of equality.
D’Souza, Dinesh. 2009. Staring into the Abyss. Why Peter Singer makes the New Atheists nervous. Christianity Today. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/march/22.60.html
Saturday, 14 March 2009
New survey: Charles Darwin wrote The God Delusion? Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Richard Dawkins was not very pleased with the results of a recent evolution survey in the UK. He lamented the scientific ignorance of the populace of Charles Darwin's homeland.
Last week the religious think tank Theos released more details of its survey of 2,060 British adults. Dawkins will probably not dance on the street in Oxford this time, either. The Faith and Darwin survey produced some interesting details, such as
- 56% believe that atheistic evolution cannot explain human descent
- 17 % believe that God created man less than 10 000 years ago
- 11 % believe in intelligent design
- 28 % believe in theistic evolution
- 37 % believe in atheistic evolution, including some Muslims
- 5 % of Muslims believe in atheistic evolution
- 40% believe that human beings are uniquely different from other living beings and have unique value and significance.
- 3 % think Charles Darwin wrote The God Delusion
However, Richard Dawkins can rest assured: Ol’ Charlie will probably not challenge the royalties Dawkins has earned from The God Delusion.
Theos News. 2009. Biggest evolution and God survey ever launched today. http://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/Biggest_evolution_and_God_survey_ever_launched_today.aspx?ArticleID=2902&PageID=14&RefPageID=14
Friday, 13 March 2009
Noah’s ark was a huge ocean-going vessel
A UK-based atheist blogger recently took issue with the biblical view of Noah’s flood. He claimed that there was absolutely no evidence for it.
Might the words of the apostle Peter explain why some skeptics resist even thinking about the year-long global event that was God’s judgement on a rebellious people?
Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
- 2 Peter 3: 3-7.
Jesus Christ also used the global flood as a warning:
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.
- Matthew 24: 37-39.
There is plenty of evidence for Noah’s flood. Consider the following, for example:
1) Huge fossil graveyards have been found all over the world, including in the Grand Canyon where billions of nautiloids were buried catastrophically.
2) Marine fossils can be found even on top of the highest mountains.
3) There are flood legends in practically all cultures. The story of a great catastrophe seems to have been engraved in the collective memory of humans.
While God judged the world, He provided a way of escape for those who trusted in Him by instructing Noah to build a huge ocean-going vessel.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Rembrandt van Rijn (1660): Ahasuerus, Haman and Esther. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
This week many Jews are celebrating Purim and re-living the events described in the Book of Esther.
What does the Old Testament Book of Esther have to do with Darwinian evolution? More than we might suspect.
While it does not even mention God, Esther clearly shows His providence in sparing the Jews from the fate an evil man called Haman had planned for them.
Set in Persia during the exile when Xerxes or Ahasuerus, as he is also called, ruled over the Persian empire, the Book of Ester recounts a moving drama. Soon after the young Jewess Esther became queen, Haman plotted to kill Mordecai, an official in the king’s court, and all the Jews in the empire.
Haman chose the day to destroy the Jews by a random method (the throw of a dice). Haman was an Amalekite. David Klinghofer, writing for the Evolution News and Views blog, shares some interesting details about the name Amalek:
The Hebrew text associates Amalek with the word “keri,” which means a chance or random event: “Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; How he happened upon thee (karecha) by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God” (Deuteronomy 25:17-18). The same Hebrew verbal root can mean to “cool” someone’s ardor, put a chill in his faith.
All these meanings are given by the classical medieval commentator Rashi in his notes. He in turn drew on midrashic works a thousand years older. The word “Amalek” also, according to Hebrew numerology, has a concealed meaning linking it with another Hebrew word, safek, or “doubt.”
But Haman’ s plot fails and the king orders him to be hanged. Mordecai, who previously saved the king’s life, is exalted. And for many centuries the Jews have celebrated Purim in remembrance of what might have been their first holocaust but what turned out to be a victory for them.
Like Haman's method, the Darwinian method is also random. And it also fails to produce that what it is supposed to produce.
The Book of Esther shows that in spite of adverse circumstances, God is in control. Skeptics might believe that history is a mixture of random events but this moving story proves that it is not. The same God who created the world also watches over His people and protects them.
Klinghoffer, David. 2009. A Note on Purim. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/03/a_note_on_purim.html.
Sunday, 8 March 2009
How old are we? New astonishing radiocarbon dates for dinosaur bones
According to a common myth, Roman Catholics have no problem with believing in the Bible and believing in evolution. This might be the position taken by the evolution conference held at the Gregorian University in Rome. Sponsored by the Templeton Foundation, it excluded all scientists who are critical of Darwinian evolution.
However, earlier in February, another Catholic symposium on evolution was also held in Rome. The participants of the international symposium entitled “The Theory of Evolution: A Critical Analysis” (“La Teoria dell’ Evoluzione: Un Bilancio Critico”), were Catholic scientists, philosophers and historians. Many of them had earned doctorates.
Writing for the newsletter of the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation, a U.S. Catholic organisation that is critical of Darwinian evolution, Hugh Owen summarised some of the papers presented.
Guy Berthault, a sedimentologist, demonstrated that massive sedimentary formations could be formed “in a fraction of the time allocated to them by the conventional time scale.”
Dr. Jean de Pontcharra, who is a nuclear physicist, pointed out that radiometric dates for long ages were unreliable. He showed that the validity of the basic assumptions behind the methods was suspect.
Hugh Miller, a research chemist, disclosed interesting rabiocarbon dates for dinosaur collagen he and his co-authors, doctors Josef Holzschuh and Jean de Pontcharra, had obtained by using the accelerated mass spectrometer (AMS) method. They extracted collagen from dinosaur bones at the Glendive (MT) Dinosaur & Fossil Museum. The femur bones of both a Triceratops and a Hadrosaur contained collagen. The Triceratops was dated at 30,890 ± 380 radiocarbon years and the Hadrosaur at 23,170 ±170 years.
Interestingly, the remains of some animals such as mastodons that are known to have co-existed with modern man have yielded roughly similar dates.
The global flood in Noah’s day is the most likely cause of the dates not being even lower.
While carbon dates are not absolute, no dinosaur bone should in the evolution paradigm contain any radiocarbon. C-14 or radiocarbon is carbon’s unstable isotope that has a half life of 5 700 years so finding any radiocarbon in a 65 million year old dinosaur should in effect falsify the dogma of millions of years.
And that would mean saying goodbye to Darwinian evolution.
The proceedings of the symposium will later be published in both English and Italian.
Owen, Hugh. 2009. Traditional Catholic Forum. Newsletter of the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation. http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/apologia/vpost?id=3347253&trail=14#4
Friday, 6 March 2009
No room for this scenario in “skeptical” thinking. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Michael Shermer has recently been busy interacting with people who do not share his view of a universe that has not been designed. On February 25, he debated Hugh Ross and Fazale Rana of Reasons to Believe at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
Reasons to Believe (RTB) is a Christian apologetics organisation known for its attempt to combine the truth of Scripture and millions of years of earth history.
The RTB Creation Model basically accepts most of the interpretations of mainstream science (the big bang, a 4.6 billion year old earth, pre-Adamite hominids) except a Darwinian explanation of man’s descent.
Gary Whittenberger, a free-lance writer and psychologist, wrote a report of the debate for the E-Skeptic newsletter. The arguments that Ross and Rana presented failed to convince him. He obviously thinks the fine tuning of the universe can be explained away since after all it has happened.
He invokes our "ignorance of the real world" to reject the improbability of the random appearance of the physical constants that make life possible. In his words,
[We]don’t know that the individual physical constants of the universe are independent of one another. It could be that these constants, if they could be different from what they are, are totally dependent on one another.
What kind of skepticism is this? It sounds like wishful thinking.
Whittenberger also fails to grasp that the hierarchical structure of DNA resembles human language and thus speaks of design. This reminds me of an old Darwinian explanation: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be – a feathered T. rex, of course. Nevertheless, he accuses Ross and Rana of
playing … the game of “Search for a Match Because You Really Want to Find It”.
However, this works both ways. Like most skeptics, Whittenberger seems to be averse to admit that he is also playing a game in which he rejects everything that smacks of design. Perhaps the real reason is that he does not want to accept the idea that there is a Designer to whom we all are accountable.
Unfortunately, the RTB model is not a true Bible-based model. Whittenberger rightly accuses Ross and Rana of cherry picking passages from Scripture that fit in with their model. Ross and Rana inflate the creation days of Genesis, re-interpreting them as eras lasting millions of years. They deny the universality of Noah’s flood and claim that Neanderthal men and other early men were soulless apemen.
Yet, these “apemen” buried their dead, left amazing cave paintings that few modern artists can match, and made tools and musical instruments. They even wore shoes.
RTB accepts the secular interpretation of the fossil record, which speaks of millions of years of animal death before Adam’s sin.
When Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16), He warned of the danger of not accepting the truth of the Old Testament scriptures:
If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.
After all, Moses clearly stated how long it took to create the entire universe:
For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them. (Exodus 20:11).
In other words, compromise is not the way to convince skeptics.
PS. Jonathan Sarfati, who has a PhD in chemistry, has written a detailed refutation of progressive creationism entitled Refuting Compromise (Master Books, 2004). His latest book By Design was published in 2008.
Whittenberger, Gary J. 2009. “Reasons To Believe” … or Not. E-Skeptic (4 March).
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
These creatures are fond of Darwinian swamps.
Imagine a stagnant pool with water that is ”putrid, stale, filled with disease and decaying vegetation”. This is a quote from Stephen R. Covey’s book Principle-Centered Leadership.
The swamp abounds with “crocodiles, alligators, bugs, spiders, and other animals suited to that environment” and there is nothing very pleasant about it.
Now, Covey, a leadership guru whose books have sold millions of copies throughout the world, was not speaking about evolution as such. He used the putrid swamp as an illustration of what the atmosphere of a badly-managed firm could be at worst.
But the description does apply equally well to the sordid state of science if it is left to the Darwinists. With their invented stories of vestigial organs and junk DNA, they have hampered scientific progress for 150 long years and managed to turn an oasis into a putrid swamp.
Moreover, they have fiercely resisted all attempts to let fresh water flow into their murky little pond.
Yet, without fresh water all life in and around the swamp will eventually die.
Covey, Stephen R. 1990. Principle-Centered Leadership. New York: The Free Press.
Some friends of evolution have already read this post as though every detail corresponds to reality. This is not true at all. The swamp is just a metaphor or word picture and you should not expect to find biological truths in all aspects of figurative language.
Covey did not use very scientific language in his book as the word bug would testify.
Sunday, 1 March 2009
This magazine spreads to 140 countries
Creation Ministries International, one of today’s premier apologetics ministries, has just launched a new website. Formerly part of Answers in Genesis, the ministry now headquartered in Australia has streamlined its website name. The new site is called Creation.com.
CMI has branch offices in Great Britain, USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Singapore. Several well-known creation scientists, such as Carl Wieland, Jonathan Sarfati, D. Russell Humphreys and Emil Silvestru work for CMI.
The name Creation.com. fits in well with its magazine (called Creation) and its peer reviewed science journal (called Journal of Creation) that spread throughout the world. As a subscriber, I can warmly recommend both publications.
CMI also launched a trailer of their new Darwin film that takes a critical approach to the man and his work. You can view it here.