Wednesday, 29 June 2011

BBC Spreads False News Item: Israeli Court Sentences Dog to be Stoned



The Star of David in Codex Leningradensis, an Old Testament manuscript from 1008. Image courtesy of Wikipedia. Throughout the centuries Jews have been discriminated against, and other nations have spread rumours about them.





Joel Kontinen


BBC is not necessarily objective in its reporting. Recently, it spread the news of a court in Jerusalem that purportedly sentenced a stray dog to be stoned because the animal had found its way into the court and had refused to go away.

Although for a while this was the most popular news item about the Near East, BBC had to admit that it was not true.

BBC obviously forgot to check its sources. Maariv, a Hebrew-language newspaper, reported on the dog before BBC did but it had to retract the news item and apologize for spreading it.

Anti-Semitism is a disturbing phenomenon. Bias can easily creep into reporting on the Near East, causing western journalists to seek anything that would give them the right to criticise Israel, the only real democracy in the region.

However, journalists should realise that Israel does not condemn dogs to be stoned.

This was not the first time that BBC spreads news items about Israel that have not entirely been true. (Read more here and here.)

Source:

Jerusalem court denies dog condemned to stoning. BBC News 20 June 2011.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Bizarre Claim in Huffington Post: ”Christian Faith Requires Accepting Evolution”



Huffington Post seems to be fond of monkey tales.






Joel Kontinen

The Huffington Post is a liberal Internet news outlet that is not known for its scepticism of Darwin. Recently, Jonathan Dudley wrote a longish article, arguing that Christians should not reject evolution.

Dudley quotes Christianity Today’s recent not-so-Christian musing about evolution.

Christian faith requires accepting evolution”, he claims. He also cites Charles Hodge, a theologian who in Charles Darwin’s days (in 1859) said: “Nature is as truly a revelation of God as the Bible; and we only interpret the Word of God by the Word of God when we interpret the Bible by science."

The idea is rather absurd. Darwinian evolution is an attempt to explain the existence and biodiversity of all living beings without God. In the evolution model death is the Grim Reaper that has been present from the beginning. In contrast, according to the Bible, the created world was very good until Adam and Eve sinned, bringing death and suffering into creation.

The creation model and the evolution model cannot be reconciled. Contrary to what Francis Collins and Karl W. Giberson of the BioLogos Foundation believe, adding God to a basically atheistic formula does not turn it into a theistic one.

Dudley’s article includes some fatal scientific problems. He for instance claims: “No amount of radiocarbon dating evidence will convince someone the Earth is 4.5 billion years old if that person believes God created the world to look old, with the appearance of age.”

The half-life of carbon-14 is about 5,730 years, so we cannot use carbon dating to measure rocks that are assumed to be billions of years old. Furthermore, C-14 can only be used to date objects that are or were organic, for instance animal fossils.

God has not created the world with the appearance of age, either. Dudley has read something into the creation model that is not there.

Source:

Dudley, Jonathan. 2011. Christian Faith Requires Accepting Evolution. The Huffington Post. (18 June).

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Today They’re Reading the Qur’an in Church



There is no room for the cross in Islam. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen

Interfaith Alliance is an American organisation that claims to be Christian. Recently, it has been trying to bring about reconciliation between Muslims offended by the burning of a Qur’an (which, of course, was an unnecessary provocation) and Christians. The organisation aims to make amends for the distress caused to Muslims by inviting them to read the Qur’an in churches today (26 June).

This is not the first time that non-Christian doctrines have been proclaimed in churches. For several years, some churches have for instance celebrated Charles Darwin.

Like Darwinian evolution, Islam does not accept essential Christian dogmas, such as the trinity, Jesus’ atoning death or His resurrection.

According to the Hadiths or collections of oral traditions about the life of the prophet Muhammad, Muslims have the right to use falsehood in order to spread Islam and even kill those who forsake Islam.

The Qur'an’s view of women is not very enlightening, either. Husbands have the right to beat their wives, for instance: “But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them.” (Qur’an 4:34).

It is very doubtful whether Muslims will let Christians read the Bible in mosques. While removing tension between religions is commendable, reading the Qur’an in churches will hardly solve anything.

Sources:

A Project of Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First. Opposing bigotry towards Islam.

Slick, Matt. 2011. Interfaith Alliance and Islam. Carm.org.

Quran.com

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Well-known Cosmologist Doubts Parallel Worlds



In multiverse thinking, there are many parallel universes. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen

Multiverse thinking or the belief in the existence of parallel universes is more philosophy or science fiction than science. ”Cosmology must seem odd to scientists in other fields”.

George Ellis, a well-known mathematician and cosmologist, who for instance has written a book with Stephen Hawking, is sceptical of the idea that our universe is just another universe among many others.

A few weeks ago, Ellis, professor emeritus of applied mathematics at the University of Cape Town, reviewed Brian Greene’s book The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos (Knopf/Allen Lane, 2011) in the journal Nature. He is not at all convinced that the multiverse hypothesis is credible: ”Greene is not presenting aspects of a known reality; he is telling of unproven theoretical possibilities.”

According to professor Ellis, there is no evidence of multiverses, they cannot be tested and they are not science.

Ellis is not the only multiverse sceptic in this universe. A few months ago, science writer John Horgan wrote a column in Scientific American, expressing his doubt in multiverses.

Multiverse thinking is basically an atheistic attempt to solve some huge problems with the big bang and explain why the universe could have been formed without a design or a Designer.



Source:


Ellis, George. 2011. The untestable multiverse. Nature 469 (7330), 294-295.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

World magazine: ”The more we learn about our genome, the less tenable Darwin's theory becomes.”



World magazine chose two books that challenge theistic evolution as its books of the year.



Joel Kontinen

Darwinian evolution is an interesting story: the more we get to know about it, the less credible it sounds.

A soon-to-be published issue of World magazine examines theistic evolution. Editor-in-chief Marvin Olasky quotes Jonathan Wells, who has a PhD in molecular and cell biology:

Instead of supporting Darwinian evolution, the new DNA evidence actually undercuts it. Indeed the more we learn about our genome, the less tenable Darwin's theory becomes. [Francis] Collins is clinging to a 'Darwin of the gaps' position that becomes more precarious with each new discovery."

World is one of the best-known popular Christian magazines. It chose two books that challenge theistic evolution as its books of the year: Should Christians Embrace Evolution? (InterVarsity Press, 2009), a collection of essays edited by Norman C. Nevin, and God and Evolution (Discovery Institute Press, 2010), a collection edited by Jay W. Richards that approaches the issue from an intelligent design perspective.

Nevin’s book is a response to the views of Denis Alexander, and Richards and his co-authors primarily challenge the views of Francis Collins.

World has chosen an approach that differs considerably from the path Christianity Today has embarked on. The magazine upholds the authority of the Bible– even against theistic evolution.

Source:

Olasky, Marvin. 2011. Books of the Year. World (the July 2 issue).

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

New Research: “The Human Mutation Rate Is Slower Than Thought”





Joel Kontinen

Everything that Darwinists assumed about the date of the latest common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees was most probably wrong. This is the take-home message of a new study published in the journal Nature Genetics.

According to ScienceNews, “Previous measurements based on genetic comparisons between humans and chimpanzees had estimated the [mutation] rate to be more than twice as fast. The discrepancy could mean that chimps and humans shared a common ancestor longer ago than many had thought.”

Mutations are genetic copying mistakes without which Darwinian evolution would be impossible.

The study examined the genomes of two families. Three individuals (father, mother and child) were chosen from each family to take part in the research.

The mutation rate varied surprisingly much between individuals.

A slower than expected mutation rate means in effect that evolution had less time to turn assumed ape men into humans.

In other words: The more we know about Darwinian evolution, the less credible it becomes.

Source:

Saey, Tina Hesman. 2011. Human mutation rate slower than thought ScienceNews (13 June).

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Coelacanth – A Living Fossil That Lives Over A Hundred Years



The Coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae is one of the best-known living fossils.



Joel Kontinen

Darwinists used to believe that the Coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae lived during the era of the dinosaurs and became extinct some 65 million years ago. Yesteryear’s evolutionists thought it was a link between marine animals and land animals.

In 1938 the first living Coelacanth was found in the Indian Ocean. This changed Darwinian views to some extent.

Since then researchers have found several hundreds of living Coelacanths.

Hans Fricke and his colleagues studied the Coelacanths living in the waters near the Comoros islands in East Africa for 21 years using a submarine. Recently, they published a paper on their observations in the journal Marine Biology.

Fricke and colleagues think that some 300-400 Coelacanths live at a depth of 160-200 metres (525-650 feet). The researchers were able to identify over 140 of them. They noticed that very few fish were born each year and that about 4.4 per cent of the population died. However, approximately the same number of adult Coelacanths came to replace the dead ones.

On the basis of their observations Fricke and colleagues deduced that Coelacanths age very slowly and probably live for over a hundred years.

Evolutionists believe that the Latimeria chalumnae has hardly changed in 380 million years. It is one of the best-known living fossils.

According to the Darwinian story, much more should happen in 380 million years.

Source:

Kaplan, Matt. 2011. Coelacanths Can Live Past 100, Don't Show Age? National Geographic News (7 June).

Friday, 17 June 2011

Fresh Doubts About Homo Habilis



A reconstruction of a H. habilis skull.


Joel Kontinen

For several decades Homo habilis, “handy man”, had his place as a human ancestor in Darwinian thinking. He was thought to be one of the earliest stone tool users on the way to becoming fully human.

Recently, however, H. habilis has gone the way most evolutionary links go – i. e. into oblivion.

It has become increasingly evident that H. habilis was more of an ape than an early human. The journal Science acknowledges: “H. habilis matured and moved less like a human and more like an australopithecine, such as the famous partial skeleton of Lucy.”

In addition, the Science article also mentioned research soon to be published in the Journal of Human Evolution that suggests that H. habilis even ate like an ape.

With assumed human ancestors becoming extremely rare, there is a more viable approach described in a book called Genesis.

Source:

Gibbons, A. 2011. Who Was Homo habilis—And Was It Really Homo? Science 332 (6036): 1370-1371 (17 June).

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

If All Scripture Is God-breathed, Which Parts Are True?



The Bible testifies that God has inspired every part of it.



Joel Kontinen

Writing to Timothy, the apostle Paul says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, NIV).

Some sceptics are fond of claiming that only some parts of the Bible are true while others are not. Unfortunately, Christians may fall into the same trap. They may believe that God used evolution as His method of creating humans. However, we cannot find any support for such a view in the Bible. In contrast, Jesus Himself says: “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female’.” (Mark 10:6, NIV).

If God had used evolution, Jesus could not have said this. Furthermore, several times in Genesis 1 God says that His creation was very good.

Evolution involves death. If God Himself defined what was very good, the early earth could not have been a Darwinian killing field, “red in tooth and claw”.

So, as all Scripture is God-breathed, all parts are true.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Young Graphite in Old Rocks?



The age difference between the oldest and youngest estimated date of these rocks is 1.75 million years.



Joel Kontinen

Young Graphite in Old Rocks” sounds like a headline in Creation magazine, but this time it is from ScienceDaily, a site known for its unwavering pro-Darwinian approach.

Dominic Papineau, an associate professor at Boston College, and colleagues recently published a paper in Nature Geoscience on the ancient rocks in the Hudson Bay area in Canada.

The researchers think that the graphite in the rocks is several millions of years younger than the rocks. (Graphite is one of the allotrophic forms of carbon.)

The rock itself is assumed to be 3.8 – 4.2 billion years old. It seems that finding carbon in so old rock is not compatible with evolutionary thinking, so the researchers have to assume that the graphite must have entered the rocks later.

All known life on Earth is carbon-based. The evolution model does not allow for life to be born too early, so the ancient carbon creates a huge problem and a need for finding explanations.

Carbon is an interesting substance since diamonds for instance are a form of carbon. They actually contain C-14 that has a half life of 5, 730 years. This means in effect that diamonds said to be billions of years old cannot be older than some tens of thousands of years.

It real life, the dog wags its tail. In some ideologies, the tail obviously wags the dog.


Source:

Young Graphite in Old Rocks Challenges the Earliest Signs of Life. ScienceDaily 21 May 2011.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

A Massive Noah’s Ark Sails into the London Olympics?

Joel Kontinen

Dutch ark-builder Johan Huibers has sent a letter to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, asking for permission to anchor a full-size Noah’s ark on the Thames for next year’s Olympics.

The 150- metre (450 feet) long vessel is expected to become a tourist attraction. It will be a testimony of the reliability of the Bible, as visitors will be able to see how massive Noah’s Ark was.


The original ark was a huge ocean-going vessel. It could take on board as many animals as could fit in over 520 railroad stock cars. The dimensions of the ark made it a very seaworthy vessel. Not even 30-metre (over 90 ft) waves could have capsized it during the year-long global flood.

In 2007 Mr. Huber’s built a floating ark that was 70 metres (230 ft) long, 13 metres (43 ft) wide and 13 metres (43 ft) high. Many were amazed at how big the Dutch ark was although its volume was roughly only one-fifth of Noah’s vessel:





Source:

Hall, Allan. 2011. Now that's what I call an Olympic event: Life-sized replica of Noah's Ark to sail up Thames for 2012 games... complete with animals. Mail Online( 1 June)

Friday, 10 June 2011

New Scientist: ”Evolution Does Not Explain Consciousness”



We cannot invoke this organ to explain consciousness. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen

The equation consciousness = the brain does not work. “We have failed to explain how consciousness equates to neural activity inside the skull because the task is self-contradictory,” says professor Raymond Tallis in this week’s New Scientist.

Tallit, who is a professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Manchester, UK, and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, refutes this Darwinian equation in his new book Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity (Acumen, 2011).

He gives a summary of his ideas in New Scientist, saying that in contrast to what the orthodox Darwinian view postulates, consciousness cannot be reduced to neural activity nor can a physical organ be used to explain something that is non- physical.

According to professor Tallis, Darwinian evolution fails and will always fail to explain an immaterial trait with a material reason because it is impossible.

Evolutionists, known as latter-day Sadducees, would like to explain everything by material causes. However, reality has more dimensions than what they are willing to admit.

Source:

Tallis, Ray. 2011. You won't find consciousness in the brain. New Scientist 2742: 28-29.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Christianity Today Re-interprets Adam and Eve



Answers in Genesis has a biblical view on Adam and Eve. We cannot say the same of the version that Christianity Today has recently embraced.




Joel Kontinen

Christianity Today (CT), an evangelical magazine that Billy Graham founded in 1956, has recently discussed how one could believe in both evolution and Genesis. In its editorial, CT acknowledges:

Darwinian evolution challenged the belief that human beings were created in the image of God” and “the entire story of salvation hinges on the obedience of the Second Adam”.

Paul actually speaks about the Last Adam, but compared with CT's view of the first Adam, this is a minor point.

The editors go on to say:

This understanding, that Christ's obedience undoes Adam’s disobedience, is not some late development, but is integrated with the earliest interpretations of what God did and is doing in Christ. This conceptual framework is almost impossible without a first human couple.”

However, CT does not want to reject naturalistic interpretations of science but reminds its readers of Copernicus, Galileo and B. B. Warfield, an early 20th century theologian who embraced theistic evolution, and Pope John Paul II, who likewise partly accepted the Darwinian view of the origin of life.

In any case, Christianity Today attempts to cling on to a historical Adam and Eve. The editors remembered that the Bible at times uses the name of a nation’s leader as the name of the nation (Israel, Canaan). They concluded that Adam and Eve could be the leaders of the early human population.

CT’s choice is deplorable. One cannot find support for it in the Bible even by reading between the lines.

The need for collective Adams and Eves stems from the view promoted by the BioLogos Foundation known for its theistic evolution.

CT’s view is based on outdated data for instance on the genetic similarities of humans and chimpanzees. Moreover, 150 years after Darwin, we now have more valid evolution criticism than ever before.

There is no need to re-interpret Adam and Eve.


Source:

No Adam, No Eve, No Gospel. Christianity Today 6 June 2011.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Evolution Journal: The Genetic Difference Between Humans and Chimpanzees Is 23 Per Cent



In April 2008 The American Museum of Natural History informed us that the genetic difference between humans and chimpanzees is 1.2 per cent. However, a paper published in 2007 already put the figure at 23 per cent.




Joel Kontinen

Defenders of Darwinian evolution have been silent about a 2007 paper that put the genetic difference between humans and chimpanzees at 23 per cent. The comparative study by Ingo Ebersberger and colleagues was published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

I’ve been to natural history museums and read texts that emphasise the genetic similarities of humans and chimpanzees - in spite of the evidence. A few years ago, the American Museum of Natural History put the difference at 1.2 per cent although science publications had suggested far greater percentages.

Recently, Christianity Today used Francis Collins’ figures (95–99 per cent) that are badly outdated.

Ebersberger and colleagues nonetheless tried to cling on to the idea of close genetic similarity between humans and chimpanzees although it is not at all difficult to conclude from their paper that Darwinian stories about the assumed human-ape pedigree cannot withstand critical analysis.

In 2010 the journal Nature published a contrastive study on the Y chromosomes of humans and chimpanzees. For evolutionists, the results were “horrendous”.

Source:

Ebersberger, Ingo, Petra Galgoczy, Stefan Taudien, Simone Taenzer, Matthias Platzer and Arndt von Haeseler. 2007. Mapping Human Genetic Ancestry. Molecular Biology and Evolution 24(10): 2266–2276.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Christianity Today Searches for Adam – But Does Not Seem to Find Him




Christianity Today is searching for Adam but seems unlikely to find him.

Joel Kontinen

Christianity Today (CT) is probably the best-known Christian publication. Founded by Billy Graham in 1956, the magazine has since then at least occasionally digressed from traditional Christianity.

The cover story of CT's June issue searches for the historical Adam. Written by Richard N. Ostling, a former writer for Time magazine, the article initially gives the impression of approaching the issue objectively, but it soon becomes obvious that it lets theistic evolutionists set the rules of the game. He mostly quotes the views of Francis Collins and Karl W. Giberson of the BioLogos Foundation. They are known as defenders of theistic evolution, which makes their arguments rather predictable.

Their view is fraught with both scientific and theological problems.

Biologist Jonathan Wells, for instance, shows that the arguments Collins and Giberson make about "junk DNA" are outdated.

In like manner, their view of the genetic similarities of humans and chimpanzees (95–99 per cent) is based on outdated data and does not take into account the enormous differences in the Y chromosomes of H. sapiens and Pan troglodytes.

CT does say that Fazale Rana, a biochemist known for his progressive creationist views, criticises the figures Collins and Giberson present.

Ostling’s main argument stems from Francis Collins’ book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press, 2006). According to Collins, anatomically modern humans appeared approximately 100,000 years ago in a population that numbered around 10,000 individuals instead of two as Genesis predicts.

However, there was another genetic bottleneck at the time of the Flood.

In their fresh book The Language of Science and Faith (InterVarsity, 2011) Francis Collins and Karl W. Giberson claim that the evidence does not support the traditional view that Adam and Eve were historical individuals.

Ostling mentions – albeit in passing – criticism of this view that is by no means in short supply. But although he brings up the Answers in Genesis’ approach to Earth’s age, he does not seem to regard it as a viable option.

Despite the evidence, we might add.

The theologians affiliated with BioLogos assume that the apostle Paul might have erred in supposing that Adam was a real historical individual. Their organisation does not leave room for a historical Fall so they will ultimately have to claim that Jesus was wrong in His teaching on the historicity of the people and events mentioned in Genesis.

CT also lets two pastors who are critical of the BioLogos approach say what they think. Tim Keller suggests: "If Adam doesn't exist, Paul's whole argument—that both sin and grace work 'covenantally'—falls apart. You can't say that 'Paul was a man of his time' but we can accept his basic teaching about Adam. If you don't believe what he believes about Adam, you are denying the core of Paul's teaching."

Richard Phillips says that theistic evolution is a Trojan horse that tries to destroy Christianity from the inside.

Source:

Ostling, Richard N. 2011. The Search for the Historical Adam. Christianity Today (3 June).

Friday, 3 June 2011

Biochemist: ”The DNA molecule is arguably the most powerful medium known for data storage and processing”



The best data storage medium. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen


Some time ago, the journal Nature had a brief review article on a paper published in Angewandte Chemie on the use of DNA in computers. Its author Thomas Carell, who has a PhD. in biochemistry, wrote:

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.”

In other words, DNA is by far a much more effective method of storing and processing data than the solutions computer engineers have come up with after years of meticulous product development. Unfortunately, many people still assume that this excellent system has come about through purely naturalistic processes without any intelligent design.

Ideology, it seems, can put blinkers on people who would otherwise see “wrong” things.


Source:


Carell, Thomas. 2011. DNA as a logic operator. Nature 469 (7328), 45–46.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Ludwig Wittgenstein: “I have always thought that Darwin was wrong”



Ludwig Wittgenstein in 1910. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen

Whereof one cannot speak, one must pass over in silence” was one of the main insights of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s famous book Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 –1951), one of the leading philosophers of the 20th century, doubted Darwinian evolution and did not hesitate to say so.

In a recent article at Creation.com, Dr. Jerry Bergman examines this aspect of the Austrian-born Jewish-Christian philosopher who became a household name early in his life although he did not publish much.

What he did publish was not trivial, however. The same applies to his spoken ideas. Once, when visiting a zoological garden and admiring the variety of animal and plant life, he said:

“I have always thought that Darwin was wrong: his theory doesn’t account for all this variety of species. It hasn’t the necessary multiplicity. Nowadays some people are fond of saying that at last evolution has produced a species that is able to understand the whole process which gave it birth. … you can’t say [that today].”

Instead of believing in the blind forces of nature, Wittgenstein thought that design was a much better alternative. For him, the Designer meant the God of the Bible. He was convinced that intelligent people could believe in Genesis.

He obviously thought that Darwinian just-so stories belonged to the category that one should pass over in silence since there is no evidence for them.


Sources:

Bergman, Jerry. 2011. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Darwin doubter. Creation.com (31 May).

Rhees, Rush, ed. 1981. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Personal Recollections. Oxford: Blackwell.