Sunday, 26 April 2009

Earth Day: Has Environmentalism Begun to Resemble a Religion?



When the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, many people were afraid that our planet was racing towards a new ice age. A winter scene by Hendrick Avercamp (1585-1643).



Joel Kontinen

Millions of people celebrated Earth Day during the past week. The event brought together environmentalists from all over the world.

When the first Earth Day was celebrated in the USA in 1970, no one had heard about Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth or about global warming. The climate change that many believed in differed considerably from what we are told today. Many were afraid that our planet was racing towards a new ice age. Now carbon emissions are the roots of all kinds of evil and few of us have not heard about ecological footprints or measured our carbon footprint.

The Gaia Hypothesis that was originally suggested by James Lovelock has probably had a profound effect on the environmentalist movement. He taught that the Earth was a complex system in which many factors keep it in homeostasis.

Supporters of New Age ideology welcomed Gaia thinking. Environmentalism began to assume religious undertones. It seems that Mother Earth has become more important than Father God in their thinking.

Environmentalism has begun to borrow ingredients from ancient pagan religions that worshipped nature. It thus seems that there is nothing new under the sun. For instance, Heikki Hirvas, a Finnish PhD geologist, laments that climate change has become a religion. He thinks that the mainstream media is only interested in articles that lend support to global warming and ignores studies that take a critical approach to it.

Hundreds if not thousands of atmospheric scientists and historians dissent from the official UN stance of man-made global warming. They do not deny that temperatures have risen but they assume that the current climate change has primarily to do with the Sun. They suggest that we do not know enough about the natural changes in the Sun’s activity. They would remind us that the warm period of the Middle Ages was followed by the Maunder Minimum (ca.1645-1715), during which winters in northern Europe were exceptionally severe and Dutch painters depicted snowy scenes with skating people.

For instance, Larry Vardiman, a PhD geophysicist, thinks that the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide is a result of the rise in temperature and not vice versa and that the impact of humans has not been significant. Michael Crichton, the father of Jurassic Park, was also a climate skeptic.

According to Christianity, humans are responsible for taking good care of the Earth. God already gave us this mandate in Genesis and He has not repealed it. However, there is a big difference in taking care of nature and worshipping it.


Sources:

Earth Day Network. History of Earth Day. http://www.earthday.net/node/77

Lovelock, James E. Hands up for the Gaia hypothesis. Nature 344, 100-102 (8 March 1990).

Vardiman, Larry. 2008. Does Carbon Dioxide Drive Global Warming? Acts & Facts. 37 (10): 10.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Who Hijacked 2009?



John Calvin by an unknown 16th century artist. Bibliothèque de Genève. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

Charles Darwin has recently been the poster boy of practically all science magazines and several other publications as well. It seems that Evolutionists have used Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of On The Origins of Species as pretexts for hijacking most of the limelight this year.

The secular media has used far less ink and pixels to inform us about the other anniversaries we are celebrating this year. For instance, Abraham Lincoln was born on the very same day as Darwin but we have not heard much about him.

Protestant Reformer John Calvin was born in 1509. July 10 will mark his 500th birthday.

But perhaps the left leaning media is not interested in Protestant ethics as much as it is in just so monkey stories. We have all seen the consequences of the casino economy. There’s not much to say about morals – except that they do not fare well.

Last weekend, when Miss California Carrie Prejean defended the traditional concept of marriage during the Miss USA pageant, homosexual activists were furious but Prejean also got much support from those in favour of traditional Christian values.

Carrie Prejean’s views would be very welcome on this side of the Atlantic as well. It might also be good for our health and values to hear more about John Calvin’s ethics.

Moreover, it would be good to remember that the traditional view of marriage between one man and one woman has its roots in the Book of Genesis.

Source:

Guthrie, Stan. 2009. Miss California: Gay marriage answer cost me Miss USA crown. Christianity Today (21 April): http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctpolitics/2009/04/miss_california.html

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Still Too Much Hatred Around – on Holocaust Memorial Day



When all German Jews were hated: A Star of David at the Judisches Museum in Westphalia, Dorsten, Germany. Image courtesy of Daniel Ullrich, Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

Sixty-four years after the end of the holocaust in which six million Jews were killed in Hitler’s Final Solution, anti-Semitism has by no means abated.

Yesterday, on the eve of the Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel, president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran took a swipe at Israel at the UN Anti-racism conference.

The timing could not have been more inappropriate. Just as Israel lighted candles in memory of the millions killed at the hands of the Nazis, Mr. Ahmadinejad, always the holocaust-denialist, said the nation of Israel was racist.

The latter-day Haman would want us to forget history. But the holocaust is something we should never, ever forget.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

A Noah’s Ark of Biblical Proportions in Hong Kong



This model of Noah’s Ark was built by Rod Walsh, seen here after a lecture he held near London in June 2007.



Joel Kontinen

Three Chinese Christians have built a model of Noah’s ark that is roughly as large as the original vessel. It has a 450 foot (ca. 140 metres) long hull. The ark is beached on a small island near the Hong Kong harbour. Thomas Kwok and his brothers have planned the project for 17 years and the now completed vessel is the largest ark model ever built.

Noah’s ark has made headlines several times during the past few years. The most famous model is probably that built by Johan Huibers in the Netherlands. It is one-fifth the size of the original ark described in the book of Genesis.

Huibers plans to build a full-size ark in time for the 2012 London Olympics.

Recently, Wall Street Journal reported on the ark built by the Kwok brothers. The vessel has a luxury hotel constructed on the top deck and 67 pairs of fiberglass animals. It also houses a restaurant, an exhibition hall and a children’s museum.

In contrast, Huibers’ ark is a real vessel. It houses live animals.

The global flood of Noah’s time left massive animal graveyards in its wake. Some of them have been discovered recently.

Noah’s ark speaks of God’s justice and righteousness. It also illustrates His mercy. In the midst of judgement, He was ready to remember those who obeyed Him and saved them from destruction.

Source:

Cheng, Jonathan. 2009. Hong Kong Christens an Ark of Biblical Proportions. Wall Street Journal (14 April) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123966767906515339.html#printMode

New Scientist: Let Us Tell Our Worries to ET, perhaps he will listen



According to New Scientist, the messages sent on Pioneer 10 were too boring. Image courtesy of NASA.




Joel Kontinen

New Scientist suggests that ETs have not replied to our messages because they have been too humdrum. For instance, the messages on board NASA’s Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft have lacked features that could have made extraterrestrials give us a call.

Proponents of evolution have searched for etxraterrestrial life for many decades. They have invested millions of dollars into the SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project in the hope of getting evidence for the existence of little green men.

Friends of SETI believe that since life has evolved on Earth randomly it must also have evolved on many other planets.

For supporters of SETI, creation is a dirty word.

Now Douglas Vakoch, director of interstellar message composition at the SETI Institute in Mountain View California writes in New Scientist that we have sent messages that have been too brief and too boring. ETs, who obviously enjoy the fruits of a civilisation that is vastly superior to ours, would want more realistic descriptions of the denizens of our planet, for instance news about our weaknesses and problems.

Wall Street Journal might just be too boring. Perhaps we ought to send them an issue of Time or Newsweek. Of course, there are some British tabloids that might interest them, at least from a sociological point of view.


Source:

Vakoch, Douglas. 2009. Why we shouldn't hide our problems from ET. New Scientist.com. (18 April)
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16981-why-we-shouldnt-hide-our-problems-from-et.html?full=true&print=true

Monday, 13 April 2009

Early Galaxies Grew Too Fast



M104 Sombrero galaxy. Image courtesy of NASA.



Joel Kontinen


The Big Bang has a new problem: galaxies grow too fast. Researchers using the Subaru telescope in Hawaii to examine five distant galaxy clusters were surprised to discover that they did not correspond to their expectations of galaxy formation.

Recently, Nature published a letter by Chris Collins of Liverpool John Moores University and colleagues on the rapid growth of galaxies.

The galaxies, estimated to be five billion years old, had a mass that roughly equals that of the largest galaxies in the present universe.

This is not the first time the big bang is in trouble. Alan Guth suggested a theory of cosmic inflation to explain why the universe has a surprisingly homogenous temperature. The very existence of spiral galaxies is a mystery. They should not be able to keep their shape for billions of years.

There are planets and other objects in our solar system that do not fit in well with the idea of billions of years, either, for instance, short term comets, the weakening of Mercury’s magnetic field and Saturn’s moon Titan.



Source:

Hand, Erich. 2009. Early galaxies surprise with size. Nature News (1 April) http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090401/full/news.2009.225.html

Oldest Stone Tool Found



We already knew that the Neanderthals were no simpletons. They obviously loved music.



Joel Kontinen

Paleoanthropologists have discovered stone blades in the Lake Baringo area in Kenya. They are estimated to be over half a million years old or 150 000 years older than the oldest stone tools previously found.

In a report published by ScienceNOW Daily News, Ann Gibbons states that researchers did not believe that man was capable of making sophisticated tools so early in his history.

Paleoanthropologists Cara Roure Johnson and Sally McBrearty of the University of Connecticut, Storrs found the stone tools in five different sites in the Baringo area.

Once again, a new find suggests that we ought to bury the old idea of primitive apelike stone age men. Several other recent discoveries also support the view that early men were no simpletons. They were surprisingly clever – just like Genesis tells us.

The myth of millions of years will also have to go.



Source:

Gibbons, Ann. 2009. Oldest Stone Blades Uncovered. ScienceNOW Daily News (2 April). http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/402/2

Friday, 10 April 2009

The Last Adam



Jesus carries His cross. El Greco (1580). Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

The Apostle Paul discusses the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in 1 Corinthians 15. He uses an interesting expression when referring to the Lord - The Last Adam:

So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit (1 Cor. 15:46).

The first Adam is the man mentioned in the early chapters of Genesis. His fall brought death and suffering to the world. The Last Adam is the incarnated Son of God who came to take away the sins of the world.

We would not be able to understand the good news of Easter if we did not believe that the bad news in Genesis caused the Creator of the entire universe to be born as a human being and to suffer a horrible death on a cross in Jerusalem.

Genesis helps us to understand why we celebrate Good Friday and why the Easter morning changed history.

Have a blessed Easter time.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

National Geographic Remembers Scientific Hoaxes



In November 1999 National Geographic announced the discovery of Archaeoraptor liaoningensis, a supposed transitional form between dinosaurs and birds. It became known as the Piltdown bird, one of the greatest hoaxes in science of all time.



Joel Kontinen


To mark April Fool’s Day, National Geographic published the images of four of the most famous hoaxes in science. The choice of items in the collection speaks volumes of the gullibility of evolutionists. Three of them were supposed transitional forms: Piltdown man, Archaeoraptor liaoningensis and bigfoot (an imaginery apeman).

Archaeoraptor liaoningensis is National Geographic’s own production, so to speak. In 1999 the magazine published an article about a feathered dinosaur found in China but had to retrace it the following year since the creature was found to be a hoax.

Archaeoraptor turned out to be a veritable Piltdown bird. The Chinese fossil hunters had combined parts of different species to form a new “transitional fossil” that quickly made news headlines.



Sources:

National Geographic News. 2009. April Fools' Day Pictures: Four Historic Science Hoaxes. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/03/photogalleries/april-fools-day-hoaxes/index.html

Simmons, Lewis M. 2000. Archaeoraptor Fossil Trail. National Geographic 198:4, 128-132 (October 2000).

Sloan, Christopher P. 1999. Feathers For T. Rex. New Birdlike Fossils Are Missing Links In Dinosaur Evolution. National Geographic 196:5, 98-107 (November 1999).

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Episcopals Reject Muslim Priest



The first sura of the Qur’an by Hattat Aziz Efendi (1871-1934). Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen


Episcopal priest Ann Holmes Redding is to be defrocked since she insists she is both a Christian and a Muslim. She does not see any discrepancy in her stance, however.

Rhode Island bishop Geralyn Wolf informed Redding of the decision on Wednesday.

In June 2007 the diocese learnt that Redding had become a Muslim. It removed her from office for a year. Redding, who has been a priest for 25 years, was reluctant to give up Islam and continues to insist that she is a Christian and a Muslim.

It is a difficult equation, however:

According to Islam, God is one and He cannot have a son. Muslims honour Jesus as a holy prophet who performed miracles but they do not believe that He died not a cross. They suppose that God provided a substitute and took Jesus alive to heaven.

Christianity teaches clearly that Jesus Christ, Son of the Triune God, is the only way to God the Father. And Muslims do not see Allah as a father.

The Episcopal Church has also had other strange priests who have been reluctant to honour Scripture. Bishop John Shelby Spong of Jesus Seminar fame rejects the resurrection of Christ but has been allowed to continue in office. In addition, the case of the openly homosexual bishop V. Gene Robinson practically tore the church in two.



Source:

Hamilton, Karin. 2009. Priest Who Professed Islam Defrocked by Episcopal Church. (2 April)
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2009/04/priest_who_professed_islam_def.html