Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This will literally slay you

Just a quick post --

Have you noticed lately that when people say "literally", they usually don't mean it? I mean, I'm literally stuck to the floor over this -- see what I mean? -- the one thing I am not is literally stuck to the floor. "Literally" is being used as some sort of intensifier, but wrongly.

Here's the latest example I've spotted. This from an article about NASA's Mars Phoenix probe that is still operational, but who knows for how much longer:

""We are literally trying to make hay as the sun shines," Barry Goldstein, Phoenix project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told reporters."

See what I mean?

The one thing they are not actually doing is trying to make hay.

And this isn't an isolated instance; we're literally up to our eyeballs in misuse of this term. And I mean that literally.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Al Gore Urges Civil Disobedience

In order to save mankind, Al Gore has urged the masses, the people, the populace, the hoi polloi, i.e., "us", to rise up in civil disobedience towards those who are destroying the planet.

He is specifically urging that protesters deface, cripple, and otherwise render inoperative energy-guzzling houseboats and oversized Tennessee mansions.

Wait a minute. Wrong. He's urging civil disobedience against coal plants. Yeah, that's it, coal plants. He wants activists to write the name "Gordon" on all coal plant smoke stacks in America. This has already been done to great effect in the UK, where it brought global warming to its knees. Evidence? Where do you think all that snow in South Africa came from?

Remember the activist commando's motto:

"Bring warming to its knees, 'til we all freeze"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Are You Better Than A Snowman?

A "man" and a girl. One, simple, yet the product of design. The other, complex, incredibly complex, incredibly, incredibly complex, yet the product of blind chance. One, animate; the other, inanimate. The designed inanimate object is a crude mimicry of the undesigned animate object. One was wanted, designed, lovingly crafted; the other, the product of a blind, uncaring, mindless process (or so we are told).

Would you be prepared to accept that the snowman just came into being by chance?

How about the infinitely more complex and valuable human being?

So let me ask you: are you better than a snowman?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Are You Smarter Than A Fungus: Spore To Cow Pie: "I'm Outta Here!"

There's a certain kind of fungus that lives inside a cow's stomach until it is excreted out of the cow, where it resides on or about the cow pie. This poses a problem to the fungus. In order to replicate its lifecycle, it's offspring must be re-ingested by the cow, and cows, along with other animals, (sensibly) like to avoid areas where they have deposited their dung.

What's a fungus to do?

If you were this fungus, you would, randomly and purely by chance without any thought at all, develop a squirter-mechanism that would allow you to propel your spore away from the cow pie towards, shall we say, greener pastures six or seven feet away.

Not only would you do this, but in doing so, you would create the most powerful propellant mechanism known to man. Scientists have calculated that the squirted spores travel at a speed of 25 metres per second with a measured acceleration of 180,000 G -- "the fastest airborne acceleration seen in the living world". (By way of comparison, astronauts achieve a G acceleration of less than four.)

These fungi are our friends; they degrade the millions of tons of dung produced by cows and other herbivores each year. They're also much smarter than us, or something is, wait a minute, wrong again, they developed their propulsion system purely by chance -- which demands the question, "how did they survive until they developed their propulsion system, by chance, over 1,000s of generations?

It's all about the adequacy of the mechanism: is time+undirected mutation+necessity sufficient to produce elegant designs that cannot be matched or approximated by even the smartest darwinist on the planet?

So let me ask you: Are You Smarter Than A Fungus?

You can check out the fungi, complete with acceleration photos, over at New Science.


(Try not to be put off by the intolerance displayed by the darwinists towards commenters who believe that darwinian evolution is an insufficient mechanism to explain such a marvelous mechanism.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The (Grateful) Dead Sea Scrolls Are Coming to Toronto

According to the National Post, a major exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls will be showcased at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto next year from "summer" until December. Mark it on your calendars!

Background: "The scrolls were discovered in 11 caves along the shores of the Dead Sea starting in 1947 and consist of more than 900 manuscripts, largely fragmented, written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. They date back to 250 BC."

The scrolls help us with textual criticism of the Old Testament, leading to more accurate and nuanced renderings of Old Testament passages, while confirming the essential accuracy and trustworthiness of the Masoretic, i.e., "the received" text. They also help us better understand the Jewish cultural and religious milieu at the time of Christ. Since the birth of Christ is ground-zero of history, anything that adds to our understanding of this time and place is of utmost interest, value, and significance.

The sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity are just as important to our understanding of who we are as human beings as any investigation or discovery of science. Indeed, they are of utmost important, because, while science may hint of origins, the Scriptures declare of our destinies -- eternity spent either with, or without, God.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Debating Darwin with Steve Miller

Dr. Steve Fuller

Debates are pretty much always interesting. Sharply contrasting points-of-view; the narrowness or magnanimity of the participants, the questions from the audience.

Here's one from the U.K.


If you've got an hour to spare, you might enjoy it.

I found Dr. Steve Fuller the most intellectually open, stimulating, and engaging of the three panelists.

Steve's website is at


His credentials page is worth a look.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Who Wrote The Books: Who Wrote The Score?

Norbert Wiener, MIT Mathematician and Father of Cybernetics

“Information is information, neither matter nor energy. No materialism that fails to take account of this can survive the present day.”

Does the natural universe contain information? Yes. DNA represents both stored information and communicated information. It represents a design, or blueprint, or instructions, for life to be created. Like a musical score to music, it tells what notes to play, when, and for how long.

Some scientists recognize that information constitutes a third element of the universe, something that is neither matter nor energy. Others resist the implications of this recognition.

In all of human experience, information comes from intelligence, and communication comes from mind and not merely matter. Patterns may occur naturally in nature (snowflake, wave patterns on sand), but information and communication do not.

This is the materialistic atheist's conundrum. Based on what we know empirically about information and communication of information, inference to the most likely cause suggests there is a mind and intelligent cause behind life on Earth.

Information implies intelligence. Intelligence implies a mind. A mind implies a Person.

Anyone want to hazard a guess Who this might be?

Out of Body: Open Minds vs. Closed Systems

The Beeb is reporting today that doctors at 25 UK and US hospitals will study 1,500 survivors to see if people with no heartbeat or brain activity can have "out of body" experiences.

"If you can demonstrate that consciousness continues after the brain switches off, it allows for the possibility that the consciousness is a separate entity. It is unlikely that we will find many cases where this happens, but we have to be open-minded."

Well-said. A good scientific hypothesis. Open-minded. A novel scientific concept when it comes to the immaterial.

Richard Dawkins must be sputtering in his coffee. Consciousness is a huge problem for materialists, atheists, and darwinists. (Dawkins is all three). If the material universe is all that exists, how can immaterial consciousness exist as something other than matter; how can a mind exist as something other than a brain; how can "I" be something other than a bunch of molecules and chemical reactions?

Most of us recognize intuitively that we are something other than, and more than, our bodies. If you whack my body, it's true, you whack "me". But, if I shed some skin, cut my fingernails, lose some hair (purely an hypothetical!), or even lose an arm, "I" am not diminished; "I" am still "me". We intuitively grasp that our bodies are, in some sense, a container for "us", just as our brains are a container for our minds.

Christians have nothing to fear here. We understand that the spiritual, immaterial realm is as real as the material -- "more real", if that is possible. The Apostle Paul reported visions that may have been out-of-body. Christians reside, spiritually, in two places at once: earth, and heaven, "seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus". (Stop your sputtering. Now that scientists have identified quantum realities, residing in two places at once shouldn't pose as much of a problem for you. Prior to quantum, this idea would have been ridiculed as quaint, "unscientific" (as in, unreal), and superstitious).


Bring it on!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Quote of the Day: Out Of Nowhere Man

David Deamer - Professor of Biomolecular Engineering and Research Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz

In an interview with Suzan Mazur (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0809/S00127.htm) , origins of life Zoologist David Deamer says, "I think genetic information more or less came out of nowhere by chance assemblages of short polymers."

That's a lot of conjecture: "I think", "more or less", "nowhere"," chance assemblages", "short [undefined] polymers".

Stripped of its uncertainties and equivocations, what we are left with is an hypothesis (I would hesitate to call it scientific) of information coming from more-or-less nowhere. Wouldn't information from Somewhere be at least as likely a scientific alternative?

If it is legitimate for scientists to speculate that information comes from nowhere, is it not at least equally legitimate, given what we know from the hard facts of life experience about the link between information and intelligence, to speculate that information comes from an intelligent source?

Not if you're among the committed materialists who have a lock on science education in the western world. You can speculate out of nothing and nowhere, but not from something or somewhere.

When asked whether life has a beginning or is it just part of a process inherent to the universe, he responds, "It’s part of a process."

That's some process.

If the laws of life-creating biology were somehow embedded inside the laws of physics which were somehow embedded inside the molecules of the universe that just somehow -- correction, nohow -- leapt into being at the moment of the Big Bang, would this not be just as big of a miracle requiring explanation as a universe created in steps by an intervening Creator?

Apparently not, to neo-darwinists like Deamer.

John Lennon might have put it this way:

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

You may say that I'm a Deamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

I think he's a real Nowhere Man.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Last year, Greenpeace protesters attempted to paint the name "Gordon Brown" on a U.K. coal plant's chimney. They got as far as printing "Gordon" before being stopped by authorities. It cost over $50,000 to remove "Gordon" from the chimney.

A U.K. jury recently decided that the threat of global warming was so great (and, presumably, so imminent) that Greenpeace activists were justified in defacing the chimney.

I'm not sure what to do with this one.

Britain is ground-zero of the development, if not birth, of western civilization. The Anglosphere is the most powerful, influential culture on the planet. Parliament. Common Law. The English Language. Innumerable inventions that have improved the lives and increased the happiness of mankind.

Great Britain is also a nation that has turned from God. It is suffering the social and cultural consequences. Perhaps this can explain this latest report from the U.K.'s Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/). Or, perhaps we should just file this one under the left-wing's taste for lawlessness.

"Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire."

The mad not-guilty verdict was greeted with cheers in the courtroom.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace ("we put the 'War' in Global Warming") celebrated this great advance for mankind with the following statement: "This verdict marks a tipping point for the climate change movement."

Indeed. Into mania and lawlessness.

I hope, when these Greenpeacers are shivering in the dark because the coal plants have been shut down, they don't complain. Come to think of it, nothing is stopping them from eschewing all oil and coal heating and electricity generation. Let's see them do without electricity and coal and oil generated heat.

Then, they would have my respect.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Amazing Random Generator Machine

Let's say you like the Alphabet Soup solution to origins and development of life, and think the random word generator over at http://www.RandomMutation.com/ is a viable illustration of "undirected" evolutionary progress.

With regards to origin of life questions, you're still stuck with this question: "Who created the randomizer?". (After all, it is impossible to imagine that a random word generator could exist without a designer, and yet this is the very analogy that darwinians dish up to us, the great unwashed, to explain origins and development of life.)

Atheists hit a wall of what are called "brute facts". One of them is the natural laws that exist in the universe. They just are. They have, and require, no explanation.

Theists have a more satisfactory belief. Since there is no rational reason why either a universe, let alone this universe, or natural laws, let alone these laws, must exist, we rationally conclude their existence is contingent.

But upon what (or Whom)?

Atheists just stare into space, or, maybe, drooling, say, "just is. just is. just is."

Christians gaze into the face of God, and, in response to the atheist's sneering demand, "who created God?", reply with confident assurance, "Just Is! Just Is! Just Is!".

Atheists run into the unfeeling, uncaring, wall of the "just is". Christians run into the loving arms of the "I AM".

No disrespect intended here to respectful, thoughtful atheists who regularly comment at this site -- just the drive-by sneering ones.

And that's the way the designed Ball bounces.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Alphabet Soup and The Game of Life

John Maynard Smith - British Biologist

I read recently of an atheist who, like me, became a Christian. He made the point that belief in God is more the result of intuition than a scientifically demonstrable fact. I believe there is merit to this. The discoveries of good science can rationally take us to the door, but intuition helps us step across the threshold of faith.

Intuition also plays a part in the Darwin vs. Design debate. Simply put, belief in darwinism is counter-intuitive.

In his article "Leaping into Trouble" (April 3rd, 2008) Douglas Axe deals with this. (http://biologicinstitute.org/2008/04/03/perspectives/#more-13)

"Darwinists have always recognized the existence of an intuitive barrier that prevents many of us from joining them. Human understanding of complex things is strongly shaped by our experiences with human technology. You don’t have to be an engineer to appreciate in some way the extraordinary difficulty of getting physical systems to perform extraordinary tasks. Technology doesn’t just happen. It only comes with sizable investments of genius and diligence, along with more than a little patience.

So Darwin’s suggestion that genius and diligence are optional if patience is plentiful is a stretch for most of us. Richard Dawkins put it this way:

'It took a very large leap of imagination for Darwin and Wallace to see that, contrary to all intuition, there is another way and, once you have understood it, a far more plausible way, for complex ‘design’ to arise out of primeval simplicity. A leap of the imagination so large that, to this day, many people seem unwilling to make it.'"

* * *

Indeed. Who are we to believe -- Darwin and Dawkins, or our own lying eyes?

British biologist John Maynard Smith offered an analogy along the lines of alphabet soup to explain how complex biological systems could naturally evolve from simpler ones. He used this example:


Each word in the list is an actual, functional word. So it is a simple demonstration how biological materials can evolve from one function to another, given enough time and natural selection.

There are at least three problems with this analogy.

Firstly, there is no explanation of where the initial WORD came from that started things off. (Perhaps this is his homage to "In the beginning was the Word". But, I doubt it.)

Secondly, even the simplest biological material we are talking about is more like a chapter in a book than a single word. You have to imagine one word becoming two words... becoming 5,000 words, all the words evolving into something meaningful and, moreover, being correctly joined by proper syntax.

nonsense get you Otherwise,

Thirdly, in a random world, you are much more likely to get chaos than order, unintelligible gibberish rather than information.

Want a demonstration?

Go over to


Type in British biologist John Maynard Smith's "WORD".

Activate the randomizer.

Let me know when you come up with "GENE".

(In fairness to darwinists, each time you come up with a non-word, you discard it on the assumption that it was a harmful mutation that resulted in loss of life to the species -- only the life-supporting mutations survive).

* * *

If you kept at it, your fingers are now probably reduced to stubs.

Ordinary folk are quite within their rights to intuitively reject darwinian evolution in favor of design. Undirected evolution driven by natural processes can never be an adequate or sufficient account for life on Earth.

Some things are just intuitively grasped.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

News Flash: Particle Collider Generates Strange Effects

The world's largest particle collider successfully fired a beam of protons around a 17-mile tunnel Wednesday, and no, the world did not end as far as I can tell.

It did, however produce a mysterious side-effect.

According to myway.com, the successful run of the proton beam around the 27-kilometre track resulted in the sound of champagne corks popping in labs as far away as Chicago.

No explanation has been given for this weird, quantum effect. An emerging hypothesis is that a champagne-bottle-shaped membrane may have encompassed the primitive universe, and the Big Bang was like a cosmic cork-popping.

In which case the question becomes: "who popped the cork"?


Who Wrote The Books: Who Wrote The Score?

Norbert Weiner, MIT Mathematician and Father of Cybernetics

“Information is Information, neither matter nor energy. No materialism that fails to take account of this can survive the present day.”

Does the natural universe contain embedded information? Yes. DNA represents both stored information and communicated information. It represents a design, or blueprint, or instructions, for life to be created. Like a musical score to music, it tells what notes to play, when, and for how long.

In all of human experience, information comes from intelligence, and communication comes from mind and not merely matter. Patterns may occur naturally in nature (snowflake, wave patterns on sand), but information and communication do not.

This is the atheist's conundrum. Based on what we know empirically about information and communication of information, inference to the most likely cause suggest there is a mind and intelligent cause behind life on Earth.

Anyone want to hazard a guess Who this might be?

Quote of the Day: Late-Arising Twiggies

"What is man, that you are mindful of him?", mused the psalmist.

Biology textbook writers Peter Raven and George Johnson offer the philosophical observation that we are just a bunch of fortuitous Twiggies, that humanity is "a tiny, largely fortuitous, and late-arising twig on the enormously arborescent bush of life".

The enormously arborescent bush of life caught my eye. I think they intended to convey the idea that the "bush of life" is enormous, but they ended up saying that the bush of life is enormously tree-like. Perhaps their syntax needs to evolve.

Source: http://www.icr.org/article/3513/

Friday, September 05, 2008

Hebrew National: Answering To A Higher Authority

"Theirs [the people of Israel] is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship, the promises, the patriarchs, and... the Hebrew National Hot Dogs. Amen!" -- the Apostle Paul, RkBall modern paraphrase.

Hebrew National (We Answer To A Higher Authority) may be the best hot dog on the planet. I had one recently at a Tucson, Arizona Costco. The 'dog had a slight snap to it when you bit through the skin, and the seasoning was perfection. I'm not sure if the Tucson Costco had a Culinary Institute chef on duty or not, but they've sure got their hot dogs down pat. A buck fifty for a 'dog and a coke. How great is that?

The only thing better would be to live next door to a Costco, so you could have a buck fifty lunch whenever the urge hit. This Ball would bounce on over on a regular basis. But it would have to be in the States -- Costco Canada uses Olympia 'Dogs.

How about this: a US condo complex next door to a Costco. Hmmmm...

And that's the way the hot-diggity-dog Ball bounces.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Quote of the Day: "No Divine Intervention"

David R. Liu - Harvard chemistry professor

"My expectation is that we will be able to reduce this to a very simple series of logical events that could have taken place with no divine intervention".

In August 2005 Harvard University announced a million-dollar-a-year multidisciplinary project to discover the origin of life. If you go to Dr. Liu's website, you notice something interesting. At the top of the home page is the phrase, "Directed Evolution". Apparently, in Dr. Liu's worldview, it is possible and permissible for mankind to direct evolution, but not a divine agent. Dr. Liu is, apparently, an atheist who believes in intelligent design, as long as it is he, and not God, who is doing the design.

Instead of Origin of Life studies, perhaps the research grant should be entitled worldview affirmation studies.

Do scientists, even secular scientists, approach science with bias and an agenda?

Of course they do. And here's the million dollar proof.

Still, I wish Dr. Liu every success with his scientific pursuits. Good science is good science, regardless of who is doing it and what their beliefs are.

The vast heavens declare the glory of God. And so do microscopic realities like DNA.

Of this I am confident.

Monday, September 01, 2008

That Lucky Old Sun

Sunspots are at either a 50- or 100-year low, depending on how you interpret the data. Sunspots are believed to influence weather on Earth. The lack of sunspot activity can lead to rapid cooling.

Cooling is considered more harmful than warming. But don't expect climate alarmists to get overly excited about global cooling any time soon. Sunspots, or the lack thereof, cannot be laid at the door of western civilization, capitalism, or mankind in general, so this news won't advance the narrative that western civilization is corrosive and mankind a blight upon the planet.

Sunspots have taken a 100-year time-out. Meanwhile, Brian Wilson is about to release his latest album, That Lucky Old Sun.


It's clear that cosmic forces are converging.

I'm pickin' up good vibrations.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.


"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"