Friday, December 31, 2010

Must-read: ARN Top 10 Darwin and Design Science Stories of 2010

Love the Bug         Image by jurvetson via Flickr
The annual ARN end-of-year re-cap is in. Evidence for purpose, intelligence, and design in biological systems continues to flow in. Science continues to progress, even when hampered by faulty philosophical underpinnings and blinkered assumptions.

Darwinists, it may help to repeat as you read this: it just looks designed, it just looks engineered, it just looks purposeful.

Happy New Year. May God bless scientists and the scientific enterprise in 2011.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lamenting PEI's Strong Cultural Norm Of "Sameness"

Confederation Bridge                          Image via Wikipedia
Although the province [PEI] welcomed its first non-European premier in 1986, when Islanders elected Joe Ghiz — whose roots extend to Lebanon, and whose son, Robert, is the current premier — the eastern province was long known for its homogeneity and “Island way of life.”
“While a sense of rootedness can be of great value, it should not render our sense of identity so inflexible that we close the doors of our minds to what we are today and what we can be in the future,” reads a 1999 report commissioned by the government, which went on to lament “a strong cultural norm of ‘sameness’” in the province.
Rational people might re-phrase the lamented  “strong cultural norm of ‘sameness’” as "strong social cohesion" and consider it a desirable characteristic.

The countries immigrates come from all seem to  exhibit a "strong cultural norm of 'sameness'. Do we lament this fact in their cultures or only in ours?

On the other hand, if the immigrants are from self-reliant, hard-working cultures, maybe they will help break the Island's strong cultural norm of welfare dependency and handouts.


Article in the National Post.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's Difficult Being a Human Being

Jesus                             Image via Wikipedia
Putting the Cross back into Christmas -- a Christmas season meditation by Edward Feser.
It is difficult to be a human being. Illness, injury, death, bereavement, depression, frustrated hopes, unfulfilled dreams, unrequited love, despair, humiliation, hunger, nakedness, want of every kind – the usual illustrations of the problem of evil provide ample evidence of this....
Reason tells us to trust in God, but reason is cold, and falters in the face of a dying child. Yes, we are rational animals. But we are rational animals – creatures of flesh and feeling as well as of thought. And it is simply difficult to be a rational animal, a human being – to bleed, to feel one’s heart break, to suffer. The Son of God in His divine nature is beyond all that. Yet He took on human nature anyway, so that we poor men and women would not suffer alone. In Jesus Christ the God of the philosophers wears a human face. And in the end, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev 21:4). But not before crying some of them Himself, on a cross, and in a manger.
He came into the world... "I am the light of the world"... "follow me".
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Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas and Abortion

Children in Jerusalem.                                Image via Wikipedia
The Christmas season is a good time to re-consider abortion.

God chose the people of Israel and spent hundreds of years preparing them to be the chosen people in whose midst the Messiah of the world would be born. Through his word to them, he created a culture of life ("thou shalt not kill"); it was a culture that saw children as an heritage of the Lord, a culture that characterized what we refer to as "development of the fetus" as children being "knitted together in their mothers' wombs" by God. In other words, it was a culturally safe place for the Son of God to enter the world. Mary was ground-zero of that people and that culture.

Western leftist pro-aborts would assert Mary's absolute right to abort her child -- a Child who was intended by God. They would provide loving affirmation and support of her decision, her choice. The child wouldn't even enter into the equation.

Canada and the West would be a dangerous place for the Messiah to be conceived today.

He came into the world... to those who receive him, he gives the right to become a child of God.

Now that's a right worth considering.

For a thoughtful article on abortion, and pro-life in general, go here.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Remembering Christians Persecuted for their Faith

Remembering Christians who are persecuted for their faith.
War in the Middle East             Image by Stewf via Flickr
Herod has his current imitators. In 1991, China’s state-run press noted the role of the churches in undercutting Communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, adding that if China did “not want such a scene to be repeated in its land, it must strangle the baby while it is still in the manger.” Al-Qaeda has declared that all   Middle Eastern Christians should be killed, and many Christians in Iraq have cancelled their Christmas celebrations lest they be targeted. 
Christianity is being suppressed in China and strangled in Muslim countries while the West looks the other way.  The West readily accepts the idea of Muslim states yet reacts in horror at the thought that a country might consider itself Christian. We readily tolerate Muslim countries squeezing out the Christians but insist that once-Christian nations remove even the symbolic trappings of their faith from the public square.

The cosmic battle between good and evil found its ground zero at the Cross. The outworking of Christ's victory achieved there was initiated in the early persecutions against those who named his name; it continues to this day. Fortunately, we know that "he shall reign forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end". But, until then, "there shall be blood".

Every true Christian identifies with the persecuted and weighs the cost of following Christ in his own life. We remember them as our brothers and sisters at this time of year.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

And Christmas Comes Once More

This is a re-post from Christmas 2008.

“The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.”

Lewis Redner had a problem. His boss, the Episcopal rector of Holy Trinity Church in Philadelphia, had assigned him a task. He had handed Lewis, the church organist, a poem he had written after a trip to the holy land and had asked Redner to set it to music. His boss wanted to use it as part of the upcoming children’s Christmas program. Lewis had tried and tried but couldn’t come up with anything. And Christmas was fast approaching.

His boss was Phillips Brooks. Brooks was a great and beloved 19th century American preacher. But Phillips Brooks isn’t best known to us today because he was a great orator, or because he lectured at Harvard, or even because he wrote books on preaching that are still relevant today. He is best known to us because of a simple poem he once wrote.

Brooks had visited the holy land in 1865 and had attended a Christmas Eve Service at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. He was deeply moved by the experience of being in the very town where Jesus was born on the night in which his birth is celebrated. Brooks’ memory of the worship experience, and of the bleak hills overlooking the town of Bethlehem, stayed with him.

Brooks got back to America and three years later decided the poem he had written would make a good children’s hymn. And that’s why he had handed it over to his organist, Lewis Redner. And that’s why Lewis Redner was not a happy camper.

Finally, a night or so before the planned concert, Lewis went to bed in despair. As he lay in bed despairing, and, probably, commiserating with himself, a melody came to him out of the blue. He rolled out of bed, got it all down and presented it to his Rector the next day. When Phillips Brooks heard it, he reportedly said, "I think it was a gift from heaven."

And so do I.

The first performance of the beloved Christmas carol O Little Town of Bethlehem was exactly 140 years ago this Christmas. If you go to a hymn book, you will see that Phillips Brooks wrote the lyrics, and Lewis Redner wrote the music. You might even notice that the tune itself is titled “St. Louis”. It is said that Brooks named the music “St. Louis” as a tribute to his organist Lewis Redner, changing the spelling slightly so as not to embarrass him unduly.

So, now you know "the rest of the story".

O Little Town of Bethlehem

1. O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;

The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee to-night.

"The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight" --

All of human history, all human struggle, all human attainments and defeats, all longed for hopes and dreaded fears, are met and answered in the person born in Bethlehem that night. The fear of God’s anger for our sin, overcome. The fear of death, overcome. The fear of abandonment, overcome. The hope for a better life, for eternal life, brilliantly and wonderfully answered in the affirmative -- all wrapped up and centred in the beautiful baby boy born to Mary.

2. For Christ is born of Mary,
And gathered all above,

While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth!

And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to men on earth.

“Proclaim the holy birth” --

The birth of Jesus, the incarnation of God, is ground-zero of human history. Every moment prior is a moment of promise and anticipation. People who know about these things have counted the prophecies concerning the Messiah. There are dozens. Hundreds, even. And each one has found, or will find, its fulfillment in Christ. I’m going to point to just one --

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. "

Every moment up to the point of Jesus’ birth was one of expectation and promise. Every moment after is one of fulfillment, if not full and complete, at least the beginning of fulfillment. For on the day Jesus was born, a new race of humanity was born, and we are invited to participate in that new humanity by faith in Christ.

3. How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given!

So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heaven.

No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin,

Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.

A story is told of a Christmas Sunday School presentation in a church -- you know the kind, with children playing various parts, the younger the kids, the better it seems to be. When they got to the part about Mary and Joseph knocking on the door, and the Inn-keeper saying he had no room in the Inn, a young child in the audience couldn’t contain herself; she blurted out, “you can stay at our house”! Are we prepared to offer the same invitation? Is there room in our busy lives for Christ? Can he stay at our house?

There is a “Lost Stanza” to O Little Town Of Bethlehem. Most hymnals skip over verse four and cut to the final verse. Here it is:

4. Where children pure and happy
Pray to the blessed Child,

Where misery cries out to thee,
Son of the mother mild;

Where charity stands watching
And faith holds wide the door,

The dark night wakes, the glory breaks,
And Christmas comes once more.

"The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more."

As the Queen’s chaplain said recently in a sermon preached at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Singapore, “Jesus Christ transforms every situation he enters”. He never leaves a situation the same as it was. He never leaves a person the same as he was. It is as Scrooge cries out on Christmas Day, “I’m not the man I was! I’m not the man I was!”. Dicken's A Christmas Carol may have been a work of fiction, but, steeped in the vapors of Christianity, its pages bear the sweet fragrance of the timeless truths of repentance and transformation.

5. O holy Child of Bethlehem!
Descend to us, we pray;

Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us to-day.

We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel!

The final verse is a prayer. Implicit in this prayer is the sure belief that the babe was not only born in Bethlehem, he also suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried, and on the third day he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. It is to this One, whose "origins are from of old, from ancient times" that we offer our prayer at Christmas:

"Lord, you can stay at our house! Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us to-day."

Those of us who do will find that, in our hearts, "the dark night wakes, the glory breaks...

And Christmas comes once more".

Merry Christmas to all who happen this way. May you be blessed.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

God Kissed The World On Christmas Day 2010

God Kissed The World On Christmas Day 2010

A Christmas-season song from Canadian song-writer Richard K. Ball.

And that's the way the Ball bounces!

Merry Christmas to all!

He Shall Reign Forever and Ever - Hallelujah!

Hallelujah all over again. This time, it's the Philadelphia Opera Company.

h/t my friend Leeky.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas: And Is It True?

Detail of the stained glass window called Notr...                      Image via Wikipedia
And is it true? and is it true?

The most tremendous tale of all,

Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,

A Baby in an ox’s stall?

The Maker of the stars and sea

Become a Child on earth for me?

And is it true? For if it is,

No loving fingers tying strings

Around those tissued fripperies,

The sweet and silly Christmas things,

Bath salts and inexpensive scent

And hideous tie so kindly meant.

No love that in a family dwells,

No carolling in frosty air,

Nor all the steeple-shaking bells

Can with this single Truth compare -

That God was Man in Palestine

And lives to-day in Bread and Wine.

— John Betjeman (1906 - 1984)

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Mohler Monday: "Irreconcilable worldviews cannot be bridged by accommodationist theories"

"... irreconcilable worldviews cannot be bridged by accommodationist theories. The dominant evolutionary model denies the possibility of divine design within the process of evolution. This model cannot be reconciled with the Bible and the Christian truth claim." -- Albert Mohler, An Evolving Position on Evolution? Interesting Developments in the Roman Catholic Church.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

There's No Business Like No-Snow Business

Snow scene at Shipka Pass                     Image via Wikipedia
Al Gore parlayed Katrina and some Powerpoint slides into a multi-million dollar apocalyptic we-in-the-West-are-so-bad-we-must-be-punished-by-Nature climate scam scare.

Drudge reminds us of the predicted no-snow apocalypse via this, circa 2000:
Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives....
... According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".
"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.
Fast-forward to 2010, and the photo of a single, solitary polar bear dog freezing in the snow, along with this Daily Mail headline: Coldest December since records began as temperatures plummet to minus 10C  bringing travel chaos across Britain. It's fairly safe to say that Britain's children have a pretty good idea of what snow is.

In the Bible, Christ says that a good God makes his sun to shine on the just and the unjust. He also apparently makes his snow fall on global warming deniers and believers alike.

Merry Christmas!
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Quote of the Day: "The fact that some scientists get a sour stomach over the metaphysical implications of intelligent design is no excuse for ignoring the evidence"

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...                                       Image via Wikipedia
The fact that some scientists get a sour stomach over the metaphysical implications of intelligent design is no excuse for ignoring the evidence. Cellular life, even at the most fundamental chemical level, has the properties of purpose, which should inform our scientific perspective. Meyer has provided us with a compelling argument drawn from academically rigorous presuppositions, so that, whatever one’s metaphysical squeamishness may be, he can confidently approach DNA as a written code and the cell as a complex factory. -- Heather Zeiger, reviewing Stephen Meyer's Signature in the Cell, at Salvo.
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

What To Buy Your Darwinian Friends For Christmas

Natural Selection Shampoo

Wait a minute. Christmas? If the message of Christmas -- a God-incarnate, uncorrupted-natured Man --is real and true, then philosophical darwinism is both false and shabby. No Christmas? No Easter. No Easter? No hope.

No hope. Nohope. Noope. Nope. In four easy mutations.

I can understand the beliefs of darwinists; what I don't understand is the gloating. The idea that there is no God, and therefore we face extinction with no hope of redemption beyond bodily death, should be the cause of extreme mental horror and angst. Philosophical darwinists, at a minimum, should wish Christianity were true; instead, they both hate it and trample evidences for it underfoot -- ironically, fulfilling Scripture.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Is This The World's Worst-Designed Website?


Miller Time or Mecca Time: "Red Cross Bans Itself"

Flag of the Red Cross                                       Image via Wikipedia
Well, not quite.  For 2010, we'll have to settle for "Red Cross Bans Christmas" (UK).

Give it a few years. It's getting to the point where parody headlines write themselves. How can anyone take western society seriously when it can't stand itself?

Meanwhile, closer to home, the gals manning the Salvation Army kettle at the local Toronto Costco unfailingly wish the shoppers "happy holidays". Haven't heard a "Merry Christmas" yet. Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to favour Christian organizations willing to take a brave public stand and wish passers-by "merry Christmas".

Is it Miller Time or Mecca Time? In the U.K., it's clearly Mecca Time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gandalf on Mars: What Bleeping Codes Say About Intelligent Design

365 Days: Day 5    Image by jasondondi. via Flickr
As yet more evidence of my meagre knowledge of all things important, I discovered a new magazine today, and I'm still on my first coffee. It's called Salvo.

In it, you'll find an excellent article, written by Richard W. Stevens (a new name to me) articulating the intelligent design argument. Here's the heart of it:
Dressed as neo-Darwinism, secular humanism, or resurgent atheism, the "scientific" contender in the worldview wars is materialism (aka naturalism). Materialism declares that the entire universe operates by physical laws of energy and matter alone. If intelligence exists at all, it has resulted from a combination of purely impersonal, undirected, purposeless material forces.
Consider the implications of this. If a Thoughtless Thing is impersonal, undirected, and purposeless, then the Thing does not know or even care about future events. Therefore, that Thoughtless Thing cannot and does not plan for future conditions. It does not foresee its own future nor the future or even the existence of any other thing.
Such a Thoughtless Thing cannot and will not create a code, let alone an encoder–decoder device. Why not? Because to encode a message now presumes the belief that the message might be decoded later—in the future. Similarly, to build a decoder device today presumes the belief that a coded message will arrive in the future. Yet a Thoughtless Thing cannot and does not imagine any future event.
No Thoughtless Thing—no impersonal, undirected, purposeless material force—can create a Gandalf system. Neo-Darwinism's mechanisms, undirected mutation and natural selection, are Thoughtless Things. Therefore, neo-Darwinism's mechanisms cannot create a Gandalf system.
So, had you guys already heard of Salvo, or are we on this learning-curve together? While you ponder that, I'm off for my second coffee.

[name and link corrected]

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I Find Myself (Mostly) Agreeing With An Anti-ID Guy

Moses mosaic on display at the Cathedral Basil...                                          Image via Wikipedia
“The problem is that the cosmology in Genesis does not resemble what we know about the origins of the world.... If you believe that the world was created by God in six days because the Bible says so, then you must also believe that the Israelites saw God’s hand, because the Bible says so, and that Moses spoke to God face to face, because the Bible says so, and that God’s feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, because the Bible says so, and so on.... Sanctity is not an excuse for stupidity.” -- Leon Wieseltier, 2005, quoted here.
I had to whittle down the comment to pull it off, but, having done so, I agree with what this anti-ID guy says. The valid point he makes is this: the Bible must be interpreted. Not all statements ought to be understood as historic or scientific or literal.

Examples? The parables of Jesus convey profound truths, but they need not have been the recounting of historical events. The sun rising in the east and setting in the west is true in an anthropic sense, but not in a scientific sense. God's hand, face, arm, etc. convey truth about the deity, but are not literally true, at least, not true in the materialistic sense which is just about the only way we are able to think of hands, faces, and arms.

There is no need for the cosmology in Genesis to be entirely scientifically or historically or literally true in order to be true, and indeed, to communicate indispensable truths about God and the human condition. The literalness of Genesis depends on both the communicative intents of the Author/author(s) of these accounts, and the way in which these accounts would have been understood by their original hearers. As 21st century persons, we are "listening in" on an ancient communication that did and still does communicate vitally relevant and true information to humankind.

God created. Man fell. God promised a Saviour. The Saviour Came. There's a new world coming.
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Miller Time or Mecca Time: Austrian Yodelling


You've heard of the offence of driving while drinking? How about yodelling while mowing?
An Austrian court has recently fined a citizen for yodeling while mowing his lawn, according to a report in The Kronen Zeitung newspaper.
Unfortunately for Helmut G., his neighbors were in the middle of a prayer when he started to yodel. The Kronen Zeitung reported that he was fined 800 Euros after judges ruled that he could have tried to offend his neighbors and ridicule their belief.
Helmut G. clarified that “It was not my intention to imitate or insult them. I simply started to yodel a few tunes because I was in such a good mood.”
Miller Time or Mecca Time? In Austria, it's Mecca Time.

The western impulse to appease Islam knows no bounds. It's getting ridiculous. And 800 Euros is not chump change.

Enjoy the video.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Am The Eggman

I Am The Walrus (Venn Diagram)         Image by dullhunk via Flickr
I am the Eggman.

Eggman is now getting by with a little help from his friends.

Goo goo goo joob.
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Is Belief In God Natural and Intuitive?

John Calvin Image by jimforest via Flickr
There is within the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, an awareness of the divinity. This we take to be beyond controversy. To prevent anyone from taking refuge in the pretense of ignorance, God himself has implanted in all men a certain understanding of his divine majesty. Ever renewing its memory, he repeatedly sheds fresh drops.” As Calvin further explained, “from the beginning of the world there has been no region, no city, in short, no household, that could do without religion, there lies in this a tacit confession of a sense of deity inscribed in the hearts of all. -- John Calvin, quoted by Albert Mohler, here.
Calvin may have pressed his point too far when he speaks of "no household", but the point is well taken nonetheless. If what he claims is so, then belief in God may sufficiently rest on intuitive sense alone, and the philosopher Plantinga is right when he claims that belief is "properly basic".  The apostle Paul does not lament that people do not reach a knowledge of God through insufficient empirical evidence, but the opposite -- that people willfully suppress the knowledge of God, a knowledge which is evident from the creation, and, perhaps, as an indwelling intuition.
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And We Mock The U.S.' Healthcare?

Official seal of City of Buffalo                                 Image via Wikipedia
Suffering headaches, vomiting and imbalance, Suresh Kapur was diagnosed with bleeding on the brain when he showed up at a Toronto-area hospital, then given an “urgent” follow-up appointment with a neurosurgeon — three days later.
“The system is in serious trouble,” he said. “I was recently back in Buffalo and all the doctors who had seen me, all talked about this case and they all said, ‘How can this happen?’ ”
Thank God for the U.S.A.

Story here.

"The Problem of Evil" Illustrated: Voicemail

Voicemail                            Image via Wikipedia
The problem of evil is considered the most serious objection to belief in the existence of God.

Anyone who has been subjected to the humiliation of voicemail knows the reality of evil; evil exists, and voice mail is its poster-boy, and I want to know the name of the guy behind it.

Tried to call Sears and ask about a vacuum cleaner. How complicated can that be?

1. First call. Have to listen to an "ad" about men's and women's robes; nice try, but, it's not what I'm calling about; then invited to listen to a list of departments. Small appliances are not listed. Go through list again and select major appliances. Connect to major appliances. Get put on hold. Followed by line disconnect.

2. Second call. Go through the same process but at an opportune point I deke them out and dial 0. Am connected with a human being! Ask for small appliances. Get transferred to "Bed and Bath" and am asked to hold. I hold. Being put on hold is voice mail purgatory. Memo to self: maybe the Catholics are on to something. I speak to second person who tells me I have the wrong location and need extension 220. Rather than get patched over, which usually results in limbo-hold followed by dial tone, I say I'll call back.

3. Third call. Listen to the voice ad for the third time. Men's and women's robes are still on for half price! Key in extension 220. Get connected to a voice mail message which asks me to leave a message, followed by second message informing me that messages cannot be left at this time. I try this again and get connected to a voice mail message which asks me to leave a message, followed by second message informing me that messages cannot be left at this time I press 0. I press 0. I press 0. Get the operator again and explain my plight. She offers to page them!  I, Ball Bounces, have caused a page announcement to be broadcast throughout Sears. A frisson of excitement courses through my body!

4. After a suitable wait to allow me to cool down, operator informs me salespeople are all busy with other customers, and I should leave my name and number so they can call me back.

I do and, 15 minutes later, they do.

The Sears vac we want isn't available in Canada.

And that's the way the voicemailed Ball bounces.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snowman Murdered: Should the Perp Be Iced?

BERLIN - JANUARY 23: A snowman is pictured wit...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
A snowman was murdered in cold, er, ice by an uncaring Illinois bus driver. The snowman was standing on the road, minding his own business, not doing much, when the bus driver plowed right into him.

What makes this act especially egregious is the fact that the snowman, unlike humans who are the product of nothing more than mindless, uncaring processes, was loved. Unlike us, he was desired. He existed in the mind of his creators before he was brought into being. And, if three round lumps of snow atop each other mean anything, he was (gasp) intelligently designed.

Arguably, if love and creation confer value on their objects, he has more value than a human being.

What makes us so special that we have rights and snowmen don't?  Aren't we all just part of seamless nature, the dance of molecules in motion? As a creation of evolution's finest mindless outcome, doesn't the snowman himself stand atop the evolutionary mount? Where's Ignatieff and the party of the Charter and inclusion and equality rights when we need him? If this had been a cross-dressing snowman, would it have made any difference?

The perp has either been fired or quit his job.  But is this enough? Should be iced?

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

A further thought: The perp should argue he was engaged in an existential act of performance art; not only would he be lauded by the contemporary art world for his brave statement, he could probably get some federal grant monies.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Mohler Monday: "Materialism can’t answer the big questions"

"Materialism just can’t answer the big questions" -- Albert Mohler, here.


Materialism is reductionist. It reduces man to a mere random arrangement of molecules. You can never get to authentic human existence, with our hopes, dreams,  spiritual longings, moral aspirations, creativity, etc., from a materialistic starting point. And yet, most scientists are supposedly materialists. Materialists redefine and refine themselves out of existence.

Materialism proves scientists don't exist.

"Evolution and Religious Faith" - Five Views

"A Venerable Orang-outang", a carica...                                         Image via Wikipedia
NPR had a Forum on “Evolution and Religious Faith” back in 2005.  Five views were presented. Albert Mohler provides a snippet of each person's contribution:

An Evangelical Baptist View, R. Albert Mohler, Jr.The Christian doctrine of creation sets the stage for a comprehensive Christian view of life and human dignity. Without the doctrine of creation, Christianity is only one more artifact of an evolutionary process. The Christian affirmation represents the most significant intellectual challenge to evolutionary naturalism.
A Jewish View, Rabbi Bradley HirschfieldThe increasingly nasty debate between believers in Darwinian evolution and advocates for intelligent design theory hinges on the fact that most creationists relate to evolutionists as if they have no soul, and most evolutionists relate to the creationists as if they have no brain.An Episcopal View, Katherine Jefferts Schon
 simply find it a rejection of the goodness of God’s gifts to say that all of this evidence is to be refused because it does not seem to accord with a literal reading of one of the stories in Genesis. Making any kind of faith decision is based on accumulating the best evidence one can find — what one’s senses and reason indicate, what the rest of the community has believed over time, and what the community judges most accurate today.
A Catholic View, George Sim JohnsonThe Church has had no problem with evolutionary theory or the idea that the first humans had biological antecedents — so long as divine causality is not kept out of the big picture. The pope added that there had to have been an “ontological leap” from any presumed ancestor to homo sapiens. In other words, we are not simply trousered apes — something you can verify by trying to explain the Superbowl to the smartest chimpanzee.
A Muslim View, Sulayman NyangMuslims embrace much of the scientific argument about human origins, but not all. We part company with secular fundamentalists on an important issue: Muslims do not take a Promethean view of man and his activities on Earth, that is, the perception that man is the measure of all things.

Each person's contribution is about a page in length. I read each one and rank them as follows:

1. Catholic
2. Evangelical
3. Jewish 
4. Episcopal
5. Muslim

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Mohler Monday: "Most of those who urge a reconciliation of evolution and the Christian faith do so at the most superficial level"

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.                         Image via Wikipedia
Most of those who urge a reconciliation of evolution and the Christian faith do so at the most superficial level, without ever acknowledging the near-total transformation of Christian theology that must result if serious minds ask the serious questions and do the serious work of actually thinking seriously. -- Albert Mohler, 2010, here.


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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mocking Palin

C.S. LewisCover of C.S. Lewis
A voice from the left mocks Palin for reading "children's author" C.S. Lewis, here.

Could be wrong, but, didn't C. S. Lewis write some other things besides children's books??!!

(I've been to his pub in Oxford -- mighty fine.)

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Sunday Quote of the Day: "We find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways"

Augustine                          Image via Wikipedia
“In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it.” -- Augustine, quoted here.
We are told this quote concerns his interpretation of the book of Genesis. If so, it surely applies equally to uncritical proponents of darwinian evolution and biblical fundamentalism.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Christian Darwinist in Three Easy Steps

"A Venerable Orang-outang", a carica...                                    Image via Wikipedia
1. The Christian believes that God created man.

2. The Darwinist on the other hand believes that man created God.

3. The Christian Darwinist on the other other hand believes that God created man who created God.

Or, as Denyse O'Leary puts it:
So man created God, but no, God created man. Or God created man with the capacity of accidentally evolv[ing] an idea of God as an illusion. Why? Because he couldn’t reveal himself?
Or, as I try to explain it:

My meagre understanding of the Christian Darwinist (i.e., the theistic evolutionist) is that he believes

a) that life appeared entirely via the mechanism of evolution without any gaps requiring divine assistance, and

b) evolution appears to be random from a scientific point of view, but, since God is sovereign, what appears random to us is actually the unfolding of a process established by God at work.

So, he’s comfy with the darwinist who insists on random evolution, but does not himself equate randomness with directionlessness. It's like the Christian darwinist overlays the randomness of evolution with the sovereign providence of God. So, design is real, but not detectable.

What gets me is the allergic reaction of a theistic evolutionist to the ID assertion that, no, the design is in fact detectable via the inductive methods of science. Horrors!

And the beat goes on...
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Does "Science" Deny The Humanity of the Unborn?

Cover of "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolut...               Cover via Amazon
It does when it comes from the National Center for Science Education's Program and Policy Director Josh Rosenau. Evolution News and Views' Michael Egnor writes:
... Rosenau has made disturbing arguments in favor of abortion. On his personal blog Thoughts from Kansas, Rosenau, who has been a doctoral candidate in evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas, asserted that children in the womb were nearly indistinguishable from... cancer.
* * * 
The Program Director of National Center for Science Education crudely provides this vital bit of education: Darwinism is a deeply anti-human ideology, and it has consequences. Acceptance of the worldview that human beings are animals evolved by a struggle of the fittest naturally tends to the denial of full humanity for the weak, and ultimately to the dissolution of the bonds of love and of family and of simple decency. The most dangerous place in America, without rival, is in a mother's womb.
Philosophical darwinism is indeed a universal acid. Except, it doesn't eat away falsehood; it eats away the soul.

Related: Abortion is often referred to as "terminating the pregnancy", a shift away from "terminating the fetus", and still further away from "killing the unborn child". That "terminating the pregnancy" is euphemistic and dishonest becomes clear when it comes to selectively killing a twin to serve the parent's or parents' wishes to have only one child. It is not the pregnancy that is being terminated; it is  the fetus. This is becoming commonplace, and has a name, "reducing".
I’m absolutely sure I did the right thing,” she said. “I had read some online forums, people were speaking of grieving, feeling a sense of loss. I didn’t feel any of that. Not that I’m a cruel, bitter person ... I just didn’t feel I would be able to care for (twins) in a way that I wanted to.” [emphasis mine]
We usually associate evil with secrecy -- hiding the theft, the murder, the infanticide, etc.; it's disturbing to see it openly and freely expressed in a public forum. May God have mercy on us.
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Friday, December 10, 2010

The Roman Catholic Church and Evolution: “An unguided evolutionary process cannot exist.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17:  His Holiness Pop...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
The Catholic Church, while leaving to science many details about the history of life on earth, proclaims that by the light of reason the human intellect can readily and clearly discern purpose and design in the natural world, including the world of living things.
Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.
In an unfortunate new twist on this old controversy, neo-Darwinists recently have sought to portray our new pope, Benedict XVI, as a satisfied evolutionist. They have quoted a sentence about common ancestry from a 2004 document of the International Theological Commission, pointed out that Benedict was at the time head of the commission, and concluded that the Catholic Church has no problem with the notion of “evolution” as used by mainstream biologists - that is, synonymous with neo-Darwinism.
The commission’s document, however, reaffirms the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church about the reality of design in nature. Commenting on the widespread abuse of John Paul’s 1996 letter on evolution, the commission cautions that “the letter cannot be read as a blanket approbation of all theories of evolution, including those of a neo-Darwinian provenance which explicitly deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe.”
Furthermore, according to the commission, “An unguided evolutionary process - one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence - simply cannot exist.” -- quoted by Albert Mohler, here.
A good point. God may have created entirely via natural processes he authored, or via natural processes supplemented with active intervention, to produce designs which bring him glory and which are, via intelligent design theory, scientifically detectable. And this is what the leading intelligent design theorists such as Michael Behe and William Dembski (rabid blog-defenders of ID notwithstanding), actually teach.

The irreducible minimum issue is not whether God actively intervened in natural processes, but whether nature is nothing more than uncreated blind, purposeless, reductionist "mechanisms" that are nevertheless a sufficient cause to create biological complexity, consciousness, moral sense, sublime human aspirations, authentic love, etc. Common sense ridicules this notion, and ID offers scientific evidence which would disprove it.

ID is merely the scientific nail in the darwinian coffin which reasonable people rightly and reasonably reject by common sense alone.

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Quote of the Day: "Not even God can direct an “undirected” process"

A phylogenetic tree of living things.                               Image via Wikipedia
When English speakers use the word “evolution” they usually mean neo-Darwinian evolution which means that all the adaptive complexity you see is the result of random genetic mutation acted on by natural selection and they mean that as an impersonal and purposeless process. But when they say “random,” that’s not just some mathematical term that’s perfectly compatible with a view of God’s providence. They mean “purposeless” and that’s the problem. Not even God can direct an “undirected” process. -- Jay Richards, quoted here.
Life is not the result of chaotic randomness. Evolution is algorithmic. There is (apparently) random variation within algorithmic constraints. The emergence of life is like a game board in which there are constraints and rules. Within the constraints and rules there is a degree of algorithmic randomness. And there is lots of room within this context for sovereign action by the game board designer as he pleases. The game of life is designed.
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"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"