Every proverb is rooted in truth. The dog who “ate my homework” has found a real counterpart in a recent Science Daily News article (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120829171943.htm). A dinosaur named Sinocalliopteryx gigas was discovered with three birds in its stomach. For evolutionists who believe birds evolved from dinosaurs, this presents a real problem. The irony is that this fossil was discovered in China’s Liaoning province. This area has been hailed as the “Promised Land” by those insisting birds evolved from dinosaurs. The very place which burst onto the scene with the long-awaited fossil “evidence” proving dino-bird evolution has now yielded up example after example that disproves the very theory it gave birth to (in addition to several fakes). In the Science Daily News article (linked above), evolutionists try valiantly to make the dino-bird gap smaller by suggesting (without evidence) that Confuciusornis was a “primitive bird…probably limited to slow takeoffs and short flights.” This is not only untrue (http://preachrr.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/what%e2%80%99s-a-bird-like-you-doing-in-an-era-like-this) but also utterly irrelevant. Today we see housecats (earth-bound mammals) easily catching and eating modern birds fully capable of flight. No one is suggesting cats are evolving into birds, are they? As if that wasn’t bad enough, another troublesome dinner has upset the evolutionary narrative. Another alleged “transitional form,” Microraptor gui, was also found with birds in its stomach (www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2064952/Microraptor-First-proof-bird-eating-dinosaur-scientists-flap.html). Awfully hard to be eaten by one’s ancient predecessor separated by 10-25 million of years, isn’t it? Or, as evolutionist Dr. Alan Feduccia admitted regarding Microraptor: “You can’t be older than your grandfather” (http://creation.com/new-four-winged-feathered-dinosaur). Take the time to read all the provided links to fully understand just how weak the “dinosaur-to-bird” theory is.
I have never posted a book review here before, but I recently read a book that has great impact upon the topics discussed in this blog. Creationism hinges upon a literal interpretation of Genesis. A major reason many resist this interpretation is that it requires accepting many other seemingly “problematic” portions of scripture. Author Paul Copan addresses many of these in his book Is God a Moral Monster? (Making Sense of the Old Testament God). Copan begins by establishing a crucial principle: God’s sovereignty and goodness. It is only through an understanding and appreciation of these essential attributes of God that any sense can be made of His actions and commands. He also emphasizes the progressive style of law-giving in God’s dealing with man. After the Fall, things went so bad so fast that God couldn’t simply jump back to the ideal that had been ruined. It required “do-able steps” moving slowly through the covenants with Abraham, Law of Moses, and culminating on the New Covenant through the cross. Just as Jesus Himself explained in Matthew 19:8, God permitted some things temporarily that were less than ideal so He could move humanity closer to the ideal.
Copan provides fascinating insight on many aspects of Judaism which the modern world finds “weird.” The four main areas he covers are: “kooky” (Copan’s word) laws of the Israelites, alleged sexism and mistreatment of women, laws regarding slavery, and the conquest of Canaan. The significance of Jewish dietary law is explained at length and reveals why this was so important to God and His chosen nation. A common theme in many odd-sounding commands was to draw a clear line of distinction between Israel and the reprobate nations surrounding them. Readers who have been left unable to respond to atheists’ charges regarding slavery in the Bible will find meaty answers here. Many tired, old atheistic canards (e.g. selling daughters into slavery, women commanded to marry their rapists, etc.) are dealt with handily and shown to be the illogical attacks they truly are. Radical feminists who allege that the Bible was written by misogynists who worship a sexist god can be responded to with valid explanations. Seekers will find real, logical answers to their questions in this book. Faithful Christians who have struggled trying to reconcile these moral dilemmas will find renewed confidence in God and His divine word. Anyone who has questions about taking the Bible seriously will benefit greatly from this book. While I do not always agree with Copan’s conclusions (some are a bit of a stretch), he at least offers plausible explanations for these issues which have troubled believer and non-believer alike. I mainly purchased this book to find an answer to the seeming immorality of the slaughter during the conquest of Canaan. Of particular interest to me was the issue of non-combatants (women and children). Unfortunately, Copan’s brief explanation was interesting, but unsatisfying to me personally. He addresses the overall conquest quite adequately, but is a bit lacking in the specific area of innocents. Having said that, the book is very helpful and enlightening in many other areas. In conclusion, I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the Bible, or to anyone who has an axe to grind with God for what they have perceived as contradictions and inconsistency on His part or among His followers.
Atheists and skeptics are insistent that the Bible is not an accurate historical record. They claim the times, dates, and names are off and the people are fictional. In the country of Turkey, near the Tigris River, a monolith inscription was found. It recorded the military victory of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III over a coalition of forces. Among these forces were Syria (Aram) and Samaria. Samaria was the capitol city of the northern kingdom of Israel. Ahab, the infamously wicked king of Israel, is mentioned by name in the monument. There is an “order of battle” which lists the forces brought by each member of the coalition. Ahab is credited with providing 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers. Obviously Ahab would not commit his entire army to a foreign commander, so the total size of the Israeli army would have been much larger. This is significant because critics have long denied the size, power, and influence of ancient Israel (especially under the reign of David and Solomon). They claim that Israel was never more than a piddling regional association of Jewish tribesman. Or, according to the favorite snarky insult of the skeptics, “a bunch of Bronze-Age shepherds.” Recent excavations in southern Israel of fortified cities and copper mines have verified the wealth and size of the kingdom under David and Solomon. In 2nd Chronicles 4:25 we read that “Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots, and 12,000 horsemen.” Critics often laugh at these claims, but physical evidence has been found to support this. In Megiddo (near Samaria), immense stalls were excavated in the 1930’s. There was adequate room for hundreds of horses and chariots. They have been dated to the time of Ahab. This fits perfectly with the Bible’s claims as well as the outside historical record of Shalmaneser’s monolith. 1st Kings 20 mentions Ahab’s constant conflict with Syria/Aramea but also tells of a three-year period of truce between the two nations (1st Kings 20:31-34). This aligns perfectly with the timing of this coalition united against a bigger, common enemy: Assyria. Archaeology continues to prove the Bible to be true and accurate.
I am always puzzled by the gear-shifting exegesis attempted in Genesis 1:14 by those who refuse to accept that the days of creation are literal, 24-hour days. God said that the sun/moon/stars would be to measure “seasons, days, and years.” Old earth creationists, theistic evolutionists (and atheistic evolutionists) proceed this way: “OK. Seasons are obviously seasons. We’ll admit that this is literal and normal. But wait! *jerky gearshift in the middle of a sentence* Days must be figurative and allegorical. It cannot be literal in meaning. OK *jerky gearshift* now it goes back to normal and years are actual years.” That’s the worst kind of intellectual dishonesty. That’s making the word of God say what you want it to say. It’s called eisegesis. But answer this question honestly: If “days” are not normal 24-hour days, but are unspecified long periods of time, what, pray tell, are seasons and years? And don’t forget that God said the lights were to “separate the day from the night.” If day doesn’t mean the lighted portion of a normal 24-hour day, what then, is “night”?
We measure seasons by movements of the sun and moon (e.g. solstices). We measure years as 365 periods of daytime and nighttime. The position of the sun even tells us we need to add a quarter-day every four years. We speak every day of the common measurement of day and night. The first occurrence of the word ‘day’ (Hebrew yom) appears in Genesis 1:5. “God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness He called ‘night.’ And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” The very first time the word ‘day’ is used, God Himself defines it for us as one cycle of sequential periods of light and dark. God could not have spoken more clearly or plainly. Just because men have attempted to confuse the matter is no reason to refuse to accept God’s straightforward definition. It’s not that difficult, people. Really.
T. rex is the subject of many an online joke or cartoon because of its big head and little arms. http://youtu.be/fQ7rezDwqEI
But now some scientists are saying birds evolved with little heads and big arms which, somehow (*wink*), turned into wings. A recent New York Times Science News article (linked below) begins with yet another disappointing example of evolutionist overstatement and assumption. “It is well accepted that birds evolved from dinosaurs.” Uh, not really. This is a prime example of the aphorism that if you repeat a lie often enough and with conviction, people will begin to accept it as truth. Here are some recent articles related to the hot debate among paleontologists about this topic: http://preachrr.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/dino-to-bird-bird-to-dino-whatever/ http://preachrr.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/challenge-to-dinosaur-bird-link-raised-by%e2%80%a6evolutionists/
The article continues: “Some subtle genetic change slowed or stopped the development of the skull as a bird embryo grew in the shell and after hatching. The body kept on growing and changing proportions, but the skull changed only in size. It did not change in shape. As a result, the skulls of birds look like those of baby dinosaurs.” This led the scientists involved in this research to develop a “working hypothesis that as birds evolved, their growth patterns changed so they kept a juvenile skull shape their whole life.” Sounds an awful lot like Earnst Haeckel’s long-discredited embryology hoax (which is still strangely persistent in science textbooks and articles http://preachrr.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/rehashing-haeckel/). Haeckel’s recapitulation theory claimed that all embryos pass through the same stages of development (fish, reptiles, pigs, chickens, even humans). The theory has been disproven for 150 years. It would be like a scientist today using geocentrism or Piltdown Man as a basis of research. James Gorman, the author of the article, says, “The change from dinosaur to bird is one of those grand evolutionary shifts.” But they are saying here that it resulted from stunted or retarded growth in their skulls. Not exactly a “grand evolutionary shift.” Evolution is supposed to be a steady march toward more advanced and sophisticated organisms, not genetic degradation and stunted development. That sounds more like creationism which affirms that all life began in a perfectly created state but has been ruined by the entrance of sin and death. Are evolutionists actually admitting that creationists may be on to something? The irony is apparent when you pair the opening statement of the article “It is well accepted that birds evolved from dinosaurs” with a frank admission by Dr. Mark Norell (a member of the research team): “It’s a common thing to argue it, but it’s a difficult thing to show.” Indeed it is!
The current record-holder for the world’s tallest building is the Burj Kalifa in Dubai. It is over 2700 feet tall (that’s nearly twice the Empire State building). It was designed with a “Y”-shaped floor plan. This shape allows the most amount of natural light into the interior of the building. It also provides the maximum view of the Persian Gulf, a design feature which was important to the builders. Not only is this design beautiful and unique, it has proven to be extremely stable. With a foundation consisting of over 60,000 cubic yards of specially-formulated concrete and 192 steel pilings (each 45 meters long and driven 50 meters deep), the builders were continually surprised at how strong it proved to be. The building’s finished height was raised several times during the construction phase. Even at its dizzying present height, designers said the structure could easily have risen several hundred meters higher. So where did the clever idea for the building base come from? Design architect Adrian Smith said that his three-lobed concept was inspired by the patterns of the Hymenocallis flower. The field of biomimicry has exploded in recent years. Sophisticated technology keeps borrowing ideas, materials, and structures from the Master Designer. How arrogant to think we could ever do any better than God.
An April 16th New York Times Science article written by Carl Zimmer (linked below) blows the lid off scientific malpractice in research journals. A radical increase in retractions prompted an investigation begun by Dr. Ferric Fang, who is editor in chief of the journal Infection and Immunity, and Dr. Arturo Casadevall (editor in chief of the journal mBio). This investigation yielded shocking (and angering) results. What they found was “a symptom of a dysfunctional scientific climate…To survive professionally, scientists feel the need to publish as many papers as possible, and to get them into high-profile journals. And sometimes they cut corners or even commit misconduct to get there…they look at the prestige of the journal in which the research is published, and they see how many grant dollars scientists have, and if they don’t have funding, they don’t get promoted,” Dr. Fang said. “It’s not about the quality of the research…You can’t afford to fail, to have your hypothesis disproven,” he continued. “It’s a small minority of scientists who engage in frank misconduct. It’s a much more insidious thing that you feel compelled to put the best face on everything.”
This is exactly why there is such skepticism of things like evolution, global warming, etc. Science is no longer just about inquiry and discovery: it is a business. In the “publish or perish” world of scientific academia, the pressure is on researchers to be daring and to be first. Researchers are encouraged to go too fast, be less thorough, and make dramatic leaps of judgment in order to avoid getting “scooped.” This leads to hyperbole and overstatement of findings in order to garner attention. As the volume keeps getting turned up, important (but less sensational) research gets ignored and underfunded. It’s all about the headlines and news conferences. Remember the media circus surrounding “Ida”?
Consider this frank confession by Donald Johansen (the discoverer of the “Lucy” fossil): “There is no such thing as a total lack of bias. I have it; everybody has it. The fossil hunter in the field has it…. In everybody who is looking for hominids, there is a strong urge to learn more about where the human line started. If you are working back at around three million, as I was, that is very seductive, because you begin to get an idea that that is where Homo did start. You begin straining your eyes to find Homo traits in fossils of that age…. Logical, maybe, but also biased. I was trying to jam evidence of dates into a pattern that would support conclusions about fossils which, on closer inspection, the fossils themselves would not sustain (Johanson and Edey, 1981, pp. 257,258, emp. added). Why? Perhaps in order to get published. This one discovery has made Johansen’s career.
Neo-Darwinists sneer at creationist science and dismiss it by saying, “It isn’t real science because it isn’t in peer-reviewed journals.” It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when creationist research is not allowed past the door. This article reveals that the precious peer-review process is hardly a guarantor of truth or accuracy. It is just as flawed as any other human convention. The NYTimes article quoted Dr. David Korn of Harvard Medical School who agreed that “there are problems all through the [peer-reviewed journal] system.” Creationists have been shut out and have been forced to establish their own peer-reviewed technical journals such as The Answers Research Journal (http://www.answersingenesis.org/arj) just to get their research to see the light of day. Consider what happened to Mary Schweitzer (who is NOT a creationist) when she tried to publish findings of soft-tissue found in a T. rex fossil: “One journal reviewer said he didn’t care what the data said, he knew what I was finding wasn’t possible. When I asked him, ‘What data would convince you?’ And he said, ‘None.’”
God bless honest scientists such as Dr. Fang and Dr. Casadevall for their integrity. Apparently, creationist skepticism has been justified. The foxes have been guarding the henhouse.
Johanson, Donald C. and Maitland Edey (1981), Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind (New York: Simon & Schuster); pp. 257-8.
God asks Job in 38:31-32 “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out constellations in their season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?” Astronomers later found that the Pleiades are a gravitationally bound star cluster. The stars which make up Orion’s belt appear to be moving in different directions and at different speeds. Some have claimed this proves scientific foreknowledge of the Bible, long before the first telescopes. But what if that scientific analysis is incorrect? Is the Bible then proven false? With more powerful telescopes, astronomers have now determined that the Pleiades are slowly moving apart (see link below). Infrared telescopes have also found that Orion’s belt is part of a large “bound” nebula that was previously hidden behind gas clouds. This shows us that we must be very careful in using God’s word to bolster our own arguments. No matter what the current science and technology indicates, God’s word remains true. Remember, even if the initial understanding of the star clusters was correct, God was not teaching Job about astrophysics or gravitational forces. The immediate context of verse 32 indicates poetic language (and Job IS Hebrew poetry, after all, unlike historical books such as Genesis). We must be careful not to put words into God’s mouth or make it seem that He is saying something He isn’t just to support our argument. Astrophysicist John Hartnett observed, “It was argued [before] that God was asking Job if he can do the same as God, while now we could turn the argument around and suggest that God is asking Job if he can undo what God has done.” The effect is the same. God has affirmed His supreme power and rendered Job’s question moot. Science and man’s understanding changes, but God’s word stands unaffected and unchanged.
Japan uses many “bullet” trains which travel at nearly 200 mph, but not without problems. When the trains go through tunnels, the air ahead of the train compresses which creates a sonic boom as the train exits the other end. One of the engineers on the project considered a possible solution from an unusual source. “He had witnessed a kingfisher bird diving down through the air, going into the water and creating very little splash. So he thought, I wonder if I could apply this principle to the shape of the front of the bullet train. And so they did model the front of the train like the kingfisher’s face. And sure enough when they tried out that new model, it moved through without creating the boom.” It turns out that the pressure change from air to water which the bird experiences is very similar to the rapidly compressed air in a train tunnel. Not only did the new design reduce the noise, but it also made the trains 15% faster and 15% more energy-efficient. They even modeled the train’s recessed headlights after the kingfisher’s nostrils. Just another case of man copying off of God’s paper. One researcher even declared, “We are surrounded by genius.” Indeed. The genius of the Designer of the universe.
Headline: Life Began On Earth Three Billion Years Ago.
Subtitle: A mathematical MODEL dates back the evolution of genes critical to life to three billion years ago. (Sun Dec 19, 2010 09:37 PM ET Discovery News).
Article: “Life on Earth dramatically surged around three billion years ago, POSSIBLY when primitive forms developed more efficient ways to harness energy from sunlight, according to a study published on Sunday in Nature magazine. The conclusion is made by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who built a “genomic fossil,” IN ESSENCE a mathematical MODEL that took 1,000 key genes that exist today and calculated how they evolved from the very distant past. The collective genome of all life expanded massively between 3.3 and 2.8 billion years ago, and during this time 27 percent of all presently existing gene families came into being, the study SUGGESTS. Investigators Eric Alm and Lawrence David said the great surge PROBABLY came through the advent of a biochemical process called modern electron transport. ‘Our results can’t say if the development of electron transport directly caused the Archean Expansion,’ David admitted. ‘Nonetheless, we can SPECULATE that having access to a much larger energy budget enabled the biosphere to host larger and more complex microbial ecosystems.” Eric Alm observed, “What is really remarkable about these findings is that they prove that the histories of very ancient events are recorded in the shared DNA of living organisms.” Prove???? This proves nothing! The headline boldly proclaims as fact that evolutionists have clicked the stopwatch and found exactly when life began. But before you even get into the article, the subheading reveals the lie. “A mathematical model….” Aha. So, a guess, then, not objective evidence or scientific proof. A model is only as good as the presuppositions which set its parameters. Notice also the arrogant assertion which follows the revealing confession by Mr. David. “Our results don’t say…nonetheless we can speculate….” And that is what we’ve come to expect. Guesses and speculation announced with overstated certainty. That is not science. Rather, it is a dogmatic, blind faith in “billions of years.” They are proselytizing.