Saturday, 31 December 2011

Research: Reuters’ Reporting on the Middle East Conflict Is Propaganda, Not Objective Journalism

The Israeli flag is not flying high at Reuters. Image courtesy of Math Knight and Zachi Evenor.

Joel Kontinen

It is often assumed that the western media’s reporting on the Middle East conflict is objective but in reality it is biased. Recently, Henry Silverman, a researcher at Roosevelt University, examined 50 news items published at on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and concluded that the news agency’s reporting is systematically propagandistic and biased in favour of the Palestinians.

As a rule, Reuters takes the side of the Palestinians and is not averse to misrepresenting or exaggerating issues. It has, for instance, published misleading headlines and added smoke and damage to a photograph to make it more dramatic.

The research also surveyed readers’ reactions to the texts. It examined how the views of 33 students changed as a result of reading the articles.

Reading the articles caused the students to adopt a more positive attitude towards the Palestinians. Reporting should at least in principle be honest and objective, so that Reuters has strayed far from good journalistic principles.


Plosker, Simon. 2011. Academic Study Exposes Reuters Propaganda. Honest Reporting (8 December).

Silverman, Henry I. 2011. Reuters: Principles of Trust or Propaganda? The Journal of Applied Business Research 27 (6): 93-116.

Astronomer in Nature: Exoplanets Are Weird

Gliese 581 c was touted as the first habitable Earth-like exoplanet. Image courtesy of ESO.

Joel Kontinen

In recent years, habitable exoplanets have often made headlines around the world. However, a closer examination has usually shown that the hype has been premature.

Recently, astronomer Chris Tinney reviewed Ray Jayawardhana’s book Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System (Princeton University Press, 2011) in the journal Nature and concluded that exoplanets are weird.

Professor Tinney says that planetary systems that resemble our solar system and Earth-like planets are rare. Huge gas planets orbit their sun where according to naturalistic models they should not be. Nevertheless, Tinney believes that one day the first Earth-like habitable exoplanet will be found.

The search for extraterrestrial life is based on the belief that life can originate spontaneously in favourable circumstances. However, in reality life only comes from life and design requires a designer.


Tinney, Chris. 2011. Finding other worlds. Nature 472 (7341): 36.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Brainwashed to Believe in Slow Processes?

Derek Ager (1923-1993) was sceptical of Charles Lyell (pictured above). Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Derek Ager, a British palaeontologist and geology professor, was no friend of creation, but he said some honest words about uniformitarianism, the geological view of slow gradual processes that prompted Charles Darwin to propose the theory of evolution:

Just as politicians rewrite human history, so geologists rewrite earth history. For a century and a half the geological world has been dominated, one might even say brain-washed, by the gradualistic uniformitarianism of Charles Lyell. Any suggestion of “catastrophic” events has been rejected as old-fashioned, unscientific and even laughable.”

Yet, without uniformitarianism we would not have Darwinism.


Ager, Derek. 1993. The New Catastrophism: The Importance of The Rare Event in Geological History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

John MacArthur: “Nothing could be more absurd and superstitious than the belief that everything evolved out of nothing with no intelligent plan"

Rev. John MacArthur. Image courtesy of

Joel Kontinen

Believers in evolution usually assume that they are rational and critical thinkers. One thing that they seldom if ever are rational about, and critical of, is the ability of natural processes to create all that there is.

Some time ago, John MacArthur, a well-known American pastor, Bible teacher and author, described their belief as absurdity. In an interview in Creation magazine, he stated: “Nothing could be more absurd and superstitious than the belief that everything evolved out of nothing with no intelligent plan.”


Weinberber, Lael. 2010. Defending the authority of Scripture. Creation 32(4): 21–23.

Monday, 26 December 2011

First Habitable Exoplanet Found – Once Again?

Images courtesy of NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech.

Joel Kontinen

During the past few years, exoplanets have repeatedly made headlines. However, when the initial buzz was over, the discoveries turned out to be much ado about planets that could not even in theory support life as we know it. As planets are found through indirect methods, some of them might not actually exist at all and most have been too hot worlds.

Recently, NASA announced that it had found the first exoplanet orbiting in the habitable zone of its sun. With a radius of 2.4 times that of the Earth, Kepler 22b orbits a sun similar to ours.

However, a habitable zone is a flexible concept. In our solar system, Venus and Mars are in the habitable zone but do not look habitable at all. Much more is needed, such as the presence of liquid water and a good-sized moon without which life in the Earth’s oceans would die out.

Once again, the latest discovery is probably a false positive.


NASA's Kepler Mission Confirms Its First Planet in Habitable Zone of Sun-like Star. NASA (5 December 2011).

Saturday, 24 December 2011

How Did Noah's Flood Begin?

Joel Kontinen

The Flood of Noah’s day was one of the major turning points in the history of our planet. While many people choose not to believe that the event was a global catastrophe, it was very real for those who had to encounter it, and it changed our world completely.

All reconstructions of the distant past that fail to take into account the Flood will thus give a false picture of the earth’s history.

Answers in Genesis designed a brief video that explains how the Flood might have begun:

Friday, 23 December 2011

When Death Makes One Cry

The death of Kim Jong-il caused North Koreans to express their grief in public. Image courtesy of

Joel Kontinen

The death of the North Korean ruler caused his subjects to express their grief in public. It seems that for them the passing away of Kim Jong-il was a great tragedy (unless, of course, they were paid to cry and grieve in public).

Kim Jong-il died just two days after the death of atheist Christopher Hitchens.

Death reminds us of the Fall. Adam and Eve rebelled against their Creator. Disobedience brought suffering and death to the world, causing the entire creation to groan.

However, God never ceased caring for mankind. He sent His Son Jesus into the world to remove the wall separating sinful people from a perfect Creator.

That is why we celebrate Christmas.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christopher Hitchens Has Passed Away

A blind crab does not speak of evolution but of degeneration. Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) used blind salamanders as an argument against creation. However, animals that live in perpetual darkness do not testify of Darwinian evolution but of adaptation to their sunless environment where there is no need of eyes.

Joel Kontinen

Christopher Hitchens, who according to philosopher Alvin Plantinga was one of the four horsemen of new atheism (the other horsemen are Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris), died last Thursday. He lost a long battle against cancer.

Hitchens’ uncompromisingly aggressive stance against Christianity was obviously a means of preaching to the choir and in real life he could actually be on quite friendly terms with the Christians he debated. Regrettably, he obviously retained his atheism until the end and did not turn to his Maker even on his deathbed.

Hitchens tried to argue for Darwinism by using blind salamanders as evidence for evolution. However, degeneration cannot fuel the origin of new species. Animals that live in perpetual darkness do not testify of Darwinian evolution but of adaptation to their sunless environment where there is no need of eyes. Salamanders have lost a characteristic (i.e. sight) that their ancestors once had.


Wilson, Douglas. 2011. Christopher Hitchens Has Died, Doug Wilson Reflects. Christianity Today (16 November).

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Genesis Flood and the Gilgamesh Epic

Genesis describes the ark and the global flood convincingly.

Joel Kontinen

Many skeptics think that the author of Genesis borrowed an ancient Babylonian myth in writing his account of the Flood. But a closer look at ancient documents reveals that this cannot be true.

We know of over 200 flood legends. It seems that almost every culture has its own version. This suggests that there was a destructive historical catastrophe that mankind has not been able to forget.

The ark in Genesis was a huge 150-metre (450 feet) long very seaworthy vessel that could have endured over 30 metre (90 feet) high waves. In contrast, the Gilgamesh ark was cube-formed. It would have capsized on the very first day of the Flood.

Utnapishtim, the hero in the Gilgamesh Epic, was boastful, whereas Noah was a righteous man. In Genesis, the description of the flood's ending is very convincing. In the Mesopotamian story it is not. Utnapishtim first sent out a dove before a raven, which is known as a carrion eater. Noah first sent out a raven and waited a week before sending a dove.


Graves, Dan. 2007. Smith Electrified London with New Flood Account. Christianity. com.

Osanai, Nozomi. 2004. A comparative study of the flood accounts in the Gilgamesh Epic and Genesis. MA Thesis. Westley Biblical Seminary.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Theology Professor Michael Horton: “Blind Faith in Naturalism Is Running the Show”

The Bible tells us about the God who stepped into real history. El Greco: Christ carrying His cross (1580). Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

What is blind faith? It might have to do with relying on an explanation without examining whether the model actually describes reality correctly. One might choose to have blind faith because it could feel more comfortable than faith based on facts.

Professor Michael Horton discusses Christianity and naturalism in the December issue of Christianity Today.

We live in a world that assumes reason is unbiased, when in fact our reason itself is enslaved to naturalism: a denial of the world's dependence on God for its creation and preservation, much less redemption,” he writes.

Echoing the words of Harvard biology professor Richard Lewontin, he goes on to say:

Any valid argument or evidence ... must have a naturalistic explanation, even if that explanation is the least reasonable…

Left to ourselves, we use reason so irrationally that we determine that God cannot enter history, even before we examine whether he has done so. Again, it's not ‘neutral reason’ running the show here, but a blind faith in naturalism

In 1997 professor Lewontin wrote in The New York Review of Books that scientists often choose to make up “unsubstantiated just-so storiesbecause they “have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism… Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

There is a name for this approach. It is called blind faith.


Horton, Michael. 2011. Why We Need Jesus. Christianity Today (2 December).

Lewontin, Richard. 1997. Billions and billions of demons. The New York Review of Books, p. 31 (9 January).

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Jonathan Sarfati - Does Our DNA Show That We Came from Apes?

Joel Kontinen

Biology textbooks, popular science magazines and natural history museums often claim that we share 98 per cent of our genes with chimpanzees. However, recent research shows that the percentage is actually much lower.

In a brief video, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International explains how big a difference even 5 per cent would be:

85 Years Ago: Jungle Doctor Accepted Christ as Saviour

Paul White (1910-1992) wrote 19 Jungle Doctor books. He accepted Christ as Saviour on 3rd December 1926.

Joel Kontinen

85 years ago an Australian teenager made a decision to follow Christ. Little did he know then that he would go to Tanganyika (as Tanzania was then called) as a medical missionary and become world-famous with his Jungle Doctor books.

I read most of the books (all I could get my hands on) and very much enjoyed them when I was a teenager growing up in neighbouring Kenya several decades after they were written.

While the East Africa that Paul White writes about in the Jungle Doctor books has changed in many respects, they convey the message of the gospel’s changing power in a very witty and fascinating manner.


Graves, Dan. 2007. Jungle Doctor Signed a Decision Card

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Father of Natural History Saw God’s Handiwork in Creation

The created world looks wonderfully designed.

Joel Kontinen

John Ray (1627 –1705) is widely regarded as the father of natural history. A fellow of the Royal Society, he sought to study the created world with Genesis as his explanatory grid.

He saw the handiwork of God in creation. In 1691 he published a book entitled The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of Creation, which says a lot about his approach.

Like his contemporary Sir Isaac Newton, he was not reluctant to give honour to the One who deserves it, namely, the Creator God.

Both gentlemen endorsed the words that the apostle Paul had written in Romans: “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 people are without excuse” (1:20, NIV).


Severance, Diana. 2007. Father of Natural History.