Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Language of Rocks – and the Flood of Noah’s Day




Joel Kontinen

If rocks could speak, what would they say? Recently, in the Carrying the Creation Torch Conference at Chessington, southern London, Philip Bell, CEO of Creation Ministries International-UK/Europe gave a talk on the evidence for the Flood from fossils and geology.

The Bible describes the Flood as a unique catastrophe that destroyed the entire world. It left marks on every continent. Rock layers contain huge amounts of fossils that were buried rapidly. Ripple marks and animal tracks, even marks left by raindrops speak of the catastrophic nature of the event that left the evidence.

The rock layers are enormous, often extending for hundreds of kilometres. They were laid rapidly, with little if any time between successive layers. The evidence suggests that they were folded very quickly.

Rocks speak about a catastrophic global event.


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

“Creationist Bill” in Tennessee and Some Other Interesting Stories in Nature


Interesing claims in Nature.





Joel Kontinen



Recently, Russell Garwood, a palaeontologist at the University of Manchester, UK, wrote an opinion piece in the journal Nature. It was, in effect, a call to arms to defend evolution.

By calling the recently-passed Tennessee Academic Freedom Law a Creationist Bill, Garwood shows that he either has not seen the law text or he has been carried away by his naturalistic ideology.

Next, he takes a detour via Pakistan to comment on an Answers in Genesis article that expressed doubt about feathered dinosaurs – an approach that is not totally unheard of in secular science publications – before lamenting the fact that AIG does not regard evolutionary stasis (i.e. lack of change) for over “300 million years as evidence of evolution.

But as Garwood can only resort to purely naturalistic explanations, he has obviously failed to follow the evidence where it leads.

It does not lead to a naturalistic explanation.



Source:

Garwood, Russell. 2012. Reach out to defend evolution. Nature 485 (7398): 281.



Sunday, 27 May 2012

EU’s Spokesperson for High Representative Catherine Ashton Thinks Throwing Stones is a “Non-Violent” Protest

Palestinians have a history of protesting in ways that a recent EU statement would consider “non-violent”. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.


Joel Kontinen

Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi urged fellow-Palestinians to throw stones at Israeli settlers. When the European Union heard that an Israeli court would prosecute him, the spokesperson for High Representative Catherine Ashton issued a statement, saying that Bassem Tamimi and everyone else “should be able to exercise their legitimate right to protest in a non-violent manner."

If throwing stones is a “non-violent” way of protesting in Israel, might the EU also declare it to be so for instance in Brussels or London, when the stones are targeted at people, cars and windows?

Read more about the approach the western press and some leading politicians take to Israel here, here and here.



Source:

Statement by the Spokesperson of High Representative Catherine Ashton on the case of Bassem Tamimi.







Saturday, 26 May 2012

Richard Dawkins Does Not Believe His Own Ideology


Richard Barns, a former atheist, has written an intriguing exposé of Richard Dawkins’ thinking and worldview.




Joel Kontinen

Recently, on a short trip to London, I stumbled upon a book entitled The Dawkins Proof for the Existence of God written by Richard Barns, who is a computer scientist and a former atheist.

The very title prompted me to buy the book. The Dawkins Proof is well-written, and in only 128 pages it succinctly brings up the major inconsistencies in atheistic thinking.

I tried to be a consistent atheist and I believed the conclusions that atheism led to. But I found that what consistent atheism led to was something utterly unworkable. It was, paradoxically, my desire to be a thorough atheist that drove me towards God,” Richard Barns writes in the foreword.

Barns shows that Richard Dawkins is willing to believe in completely irrational explanations, as long as they are compatible with his ideology. For instance, Dawkins espouses views that are not supported by evidence, such as the existence of multiverses or multiple universes:

Dawkins is quite prepared to take this fairy story seriously, not because there is any evidence for it, but because it promotes the ideology that he believes in.” (p. 63)

Dawkins’ own thinking is inconsistent. He lives as if he had free will, although he is supposed to be ruled by his selfish genes:

But Dawkins fails to understand his own philosophy. If we rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators then it is only because the selfish replicators have made us do so for some selfish reason. As Dawkins himself says in his book River Out of Eden: 'DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.' We are not free, we cannot rebel, we are the mechanistic, deterministic outworking of the laws of physics and the laws of Darwinism.” (p. 74, internal reference omitted)

Morals are another hard nut to crack for atheists:

Dawkins’ atheism makes moral standards meaningless and yet he cannot help behaving as if moral standards are real. He cannot help behaving as if atheism is false.” (pp. 85-86):

An orthodox atheist should not believe in the immaterial. Yet this is what they often do:

Has it ever struck you how strange it is that atheists, who are materialists, often present themselves as the defenders of reason, which is immaterial?” (p. 102):

What, then, is The Dawkins Proof? Barns has a pithy answer:

With every moral judgement, with every use of cause and effect, with every rational thought and with every purposeful act Richard Dawkins is living as if God exists. This is the Dawkins proof.” (p. 117).

I would recommend The Dawkins Proof to all who are interested in delving deeper into atheistic thinking.


Source:

Barns, Richard. 2010. The Dawkins Proof for the Existence of God. 2nd ed.


Thursday, 24 May 2012

Doctor Vij Sodera: Evolution Is Impossible


Dr. Vij Sodera lectured recently in the Carrying the Creation Torch Conference in the UK.


Joel Kontinen

Born in India, Vij Sodera came to Britain when he was four. Like many others, he learnt evolution at school. However, evolution failed to convince Sodera, who is a medical doctor and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. He has written three acclaimed textbooks on surgery.

Last Saturday (19 May), Dr. Sodera spoke at the Carrying the Creation Torch Conference at Chessington in South London. It was the first of eight similar events Creation Ministries International is holding in the United Kingdom this year.

Sodera used his expertise in anatomy and pathology to show that Darwinian evolution does not work.

He pointed out that the very mutation an organism ”hopes for” is the one it won’t get. Thus, horns in humans do not speak of evolution but of design gone wrong.

According to Dr. Sodera, the mammalian diaphragm shows that a step-wise Darwinian process could never cause a reptile to change into a mammal. The changes would only have killed the potential forefather.

It would have been impossible to get human feet from curved ape feet. Melanocytes and other skin tumours speak of deterioration resulting from the Fall after a very good beginning in Genesis.

There were about 250-300 participants in CMI’s inspiring conference. In addition to Sodera, the speakers included Brian Edwards, a British theologian; David Catchpoole, a PhD plant physiologist of CMI-Australia; as well as Dominic Statham and Philip Bell, a MSc zoologist /geologist of CMI- UK/Europe.



Thursday, 17 May 2012

G.K. Chesterton: “Evolution Destroys Rationalism”


G.K. Chesterton. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.


Joel Kontinen


Skeptics are fond of focusing on evolution, reason and rationality. But is there a connection between these concepts?

It might be interesting to keep in mind what British author G.K. Chesterton (1874–1936) said of evolution in his book Orthodoxy:

Evolution is a good example of that modern intelligence which, if it destroys anything, destroys itself. Evolution is either an innocent scientific description of how certain earthly things came about; or, if it is anything more than this, it is an attack upon thought itself. If evolution destroys anything, it does not destroy religion but rationalism."

Source:

Chesterton, G.K. 1986. Orthodoxy. In G.K. Chesterton. Collected Works. San Francisco: Ignatius.


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

More Bad News for Exoplanet Hunters

This bright object in the Fomalhaut system might not be a planet after all. Image courtesy of NRA/NSF/NASA.



Joel Kontinen

Just a few days ago, an astrobiologist suggested that there were probably much fewer exoplanets in habitable zones around red dwarfs than previously assumed. Now, astronomers are writing off another candidate.

Wladimir Lyra of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Marc Kuchner at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center suggest that the bright object in the disc around the star Fomalhaut might not be a planet after all.

It seems that ‘Sic transit gloria mundi’ also applies to assumed exoplanets.

Like in the SETI programme, Darwinian assumptions are lurking in the background in the quest for other worlds. If life evolved through natural processes on Earth, the thinking goes, it should also have evolved on countless other planets.

However, it is an exceeding big if, as life only comes from life and life requires information. And information requires design.

Source:

McKee, Maggie. 2012. Dust rings not 'smoking gun' for planets after all. New Scientist (14 May).



Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Goldilocks Zone Is Getting Smaller



Image courtesy of NASA, ESA, and D. Aguilar (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics).




Joel Kontinen

There might be fewer potentially habitable exoplanets than previously thought. According to a recent Nature news report:

A previously little-considered heating effect could shrink estimates of the habitable zone of the Milky Way’s most numerous class of stars — ‘M’ or red dwarfs — by up to one half, says Rory Barnes, an astrobiologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.”

The habitable zone or goldilocks zone is the region where a planet orbits its star at a distance at which water is expected to be in liquid form but not too hot to evaporate.

However, being in the goldilocks region does not automatically mean that a planet is habitable. In our solar system, Venus, Earth and Mars orbit the Sun in the habitable zone.

Furthermore, the origin of life needs much more than just water.

Now it seems that the number of habitable planet candidates just shrank by a considerable amount.



Source:

Lovell, Richard A. 2012. Tidal heating shrinks the 'goldilocks zone' Nature news (8 May).

Saturday, 12 May 2012

“The Godless Delusion”


Gustave Doré (1832–1883): Creation of Light. Image courtesy of Wikipedia. An atheist writer says some militant atheists are ignoring the good fruits of Christian thinking.




Joel Kontinen

Some time ago, there was an interesting opinion piece in National Times, an Australian paper, on militant atheism by a writer who says he does not believe in God.

Chris Berg’s article is entitled The Godless Delusion. “Western civilisation owes a massive debt to religion and religious thinkers,” he begins. And as he sees it, this debt is a very positive thing.

Berg feels that the New Atheist movement is using a “scorched earth strategy…[that] is entirely counterproductive.”

Virtually all the secular ideas that non-believers value have Christian origins,” he writes. “To pretend otherwise is to toss the substance of those ideas away.”

He mentions “the concepts of individual and human rights [as well as] progress, reason and equality before the law: it is fantasy to suggest these values emerged out of thin air once people started questioning God.”

The article is an honest evaluation of the causes of the rights and freedoms that we now are privileged to enjoy:

The idea of human rights was founded centuries ago on Christian assumptions, advanced by biblical argument, and advocated by theologians. Modern supporters of human rights have merely picked up a set of well-refined ethical and moral arguments.”

Berg says, for instance, that contrary to what Richard Dawkins claims, Christians did fight against slavery. The efforts of William Wilberforce, a Bible-believing politician, brought an end to the slave trade in the British Empire in 1833.

The delusion is not what Dawkins believes it is, but it has to do with the godless themselves.

Source:

Berg, Chris. 2012. The godless delusion. National Times. (April 15.)

Christianity, atheism

Friday, 11 May 2012

Darwinists Want to Keep Famed Neurosurgeon from Speaking at Emory University

Dr. Ben Carson. Image courtesy of Shealah Craighead, via Wikipedia.




Joel Kontinen


Benjamin Carson, Sr. is probably America’s most prominent neurosurgeon. Carson, a medical doctor, works at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has made medical history by leading a team that separated Siamese twins conjoined at the back of the head in an operation lasting 22 hours.

Dr. Carson has been awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian award in the United States. Among his other awards, he has 61 honorary doctorates.

He was invited to hold the commencement speech at Emory University on May 14th. However, when some faculty members and students learnt that Dr. Carson does not believe in evolution, they collected 500 signatures, protesting the choice of the famed speaker, who will also be receiving an honorary doctorate.

Letting an “unbeliever” speak to students is obviously something that Darwinists will not tolerate.

Source:

Weikart, Richard. 2012. At Emory University, Consternation over Ben Carson, Evolution, and Morality. Evolution News and Views (10 May).




Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Imprisoned Iranian Pastor’s Attorney Sentenced to Prison


Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. Image courtesy of Present Truth Ministries.




Joel Kontinen



The case for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is becoming increasingly complicated and difficult. An Iranian court sentenced his attorney Mohammad Ali Dadkhah to nine years in prison for “violating national security and spreading propaganda against the regime.”

With his attorney behind bars, no one will represent pastor Nadarkhani.

Nadarkhani has been in prison since October 2009. His “crime”? Preaching the gospel.


Source:

Weber, Katherine. 2012. Youcef Nadarkhani's Attorney Sentenced to Prison; Iranian Pastor's Fate Unknown The Christian Post. (3 May).



Monday, 7 May 2012

Day – It’s A Difficult Word for Many Theologians




Joel Kontinen

Some words are difficult for theologians. At first glance, the word day (yom) does not look like it could be one of them.

In most cases, theologians know what "day" means. However, when it comes to Genesis 1, many would doubt its literal meaning – for reasons that do not stem from the Bible itself but from somewhere else.

Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis-US, explains this dilemma in a brief video clip:



Sunday, 6 May 2012

“Four Million Year” Old Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria



Alexander Fleming was awarded a Nobel Prize for his discovery of penicillin. Many people assumed that antibiotic resistance in bacteria evolved during the past 70 years or so, but recent research shows that this is not true. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.





Joel Kontinen


Evolutionists often claim that bacteria have evolved to resist antibiotics. The popular press calls this evolution in action.

However, a paper published in the journal Nature in 2011 stated:
These results show conclusively that antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon that predates the modern selective pressure of clinical antibiotic use.”

A recent study showed that antibiotic resistance in bacteria is surprisingly ancient. Research published in the Journal PLoS ONE found that bacteria that had been “isolated from human contact for more than four million years” in a cave in New Mexico were already resistant to antibiotics.

While the date is suspect, there is no way of explaining the discovery away as “evolution in action”.

Sources:

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Found in Untouched Cave. Laboratory Equipment. April 12, 2012.

D’ Costa, Vanessa M. & al. 2011. Antibiotic resistance is ancient. Nature 477, 457–461.


Saturday, 5 May 2012

Pastor Wishes Evolutionary Blessings

Charles Darwin inspires an evolution-defending pastor. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.






Joel Kontinen



Michael Dowd is an American pastor who publishes the newsletter Evolutionary Times. Rev. Dowd thinks that Darwinian evolution is a fact.

He ends his latest newsletter by thanking his readers of spreading the ”good word” (that is, Darwinian evolution) and by wishing them "co-evolutionary blessings", whatever they may be.

Dowd thanks God for evolution. However, the god of slow natural processes is not the almighty God revealed in the Bible but something very different.

Richard Dawkins, for instance, does not understand what evolution has to do with Christianity. And he is not the only one.

Source:

Evolutionary Times. 4 May 2012.




Friday, 4 May 2012

Claim of the Week: “Genesis 1 Is An Ancient Hebrew Prose Poem”


Jesus regarded Genesis as history.






Joel Kontinen




We didn't understand that when we read ancient Hebrew prose poems (like Genesis 1), wisdom literature (like Proverbs), or apocalyptic literature (like Revelation) as if they were science textbooks, we were actually obscuring their meaning,” Carolyn Arends writes in Christianity Today about her experience in a conservative Christian university.

Arends is right in that there are different genres in the Bible. However, she errs in regarding Genesis as poetry.

Parallelism is a major characteristic of ancient Hebrew poetry. Probably the most common type of parallelism is synonymous parallelism in which the same thing is said in two slightly different ways, for instance in the Psalms:

What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him
?” (Ps. 8: 4, NKJV)

We do not see this kind of repetition in Genesis. Moreover, Jesus, the New Testament writers and biblical Hebrew experts testify that Genesis is history.


Source:

Arends, Carolyn. 2012. Defending Scripture. Literally. Christianity Today (2 May).





Thursday, 3 May 2012

Dr. Henry Gee: Fossil Lineages or Bedtime Stories?

This scenario does not have scientific merit. Image courtesy of José-Manuel Benitos, Wikipedia.



Joel Kontinen


Popular magazines and textbooks often use assumed evolutionary lineages as proof of the “fact” of evolution.

Most people know that this fact is not a fact. In his book In Search of Deep Time (Free Press, New York, 1999), Henry Gee, a senior editor of Nature , who has a PhD in palaeontology, wrote:

"To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story -- amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific."

Darwinian evolution abounds with just-so stories based on assumptions of some kind of upward progression.


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Mathematics in Nature or the Creator’s Mathematics



Joel Kontinen

Almost everything in nature looks as though it cannot have come about without design. On a short video, Cristóbal Vila shows how Fibonacci numbers appear in surprising objects, such as shells, the petals of a flower and in compound eyes.

In a Fibonacci sequence the next number is the sum of the previous two numbers, for instance 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89 or

Fn = F n-1 + F n-2.

The Creator’s mathematics can be very beautiful.