Cosmologists Today: Tilting at Windmills

I am I, Don Quixote!
The Lord of La Mancha, my destiny calls and I go.
And the wild winds of fortune shall carry me onward oh withersoever
they blow. Withersoever they blow.
Onward to glory I go!

So sings the title character of the hit movie and play Man of La Mancha based on the book Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote is the name adopted by Alonso Quixano a likeable, less-than-affluent, well read fellow, well past his prime who lives with his niece in the Spanish village of La Mancha. He reaches a point where all his days “from dawn to dark ” are spent reading his favored books: those of  the tales of chivalry and the deeds of errant knights from days long ago.  However being past his prime, and “with little sleep and much reading his brains got so dry that he lost his wits.”[1].  He was so immersed in the tales that with his waning faculties, he lost the ability to distinguish between what was fact and what was fiction.  To the point where he believed that “the whole fabric of invention and fancy he read of was true…”[2]

And thus Quixano decides to adopt the distinguished name of Don Quixote de La Mancha, become an errant knight and go off in search of adventures to right wrongs and fight injustice. Perhaps the most memorable of which is when he comes upon some windmills which he imagines to be giants, and begins jousting with them from his aging and arthritic horse. It’s from this scene we get the phrase “tilting [or jousting] at windmills” which originally meant to fight against imaginary or unimportant enemies or issues. But as a Yahoo aficionado points out, figuratively it has come to mean “a futile activity.”[3]

Which brings us to the current state of affairs in cosmology. Many cosmologists these days are like Don Quixote – jousting at imagined problems that are a result of their imagined theories in order to obtain great glory. Continue Reading

Doubt the Bible? You Might be a Conspiracy Theorist

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy does an amusing routine you’ve probably heard at least pieces of.  He points out a situation that only an “unsophisticated” person would think is normal, and suggests if you do such things,  “you might be a Redneck.” I say “unsophisticated person” because Foxworthy defines those he references – Rednecks – as someone having a “Glorious absence of sophistication.” In case you haven’t heard any of his routines, here is a small sample of behaviors and thoughts that might qualify you as a “Redneck”:

“If you think a Quarter horse is that ride in front of K-mart…
…You might be a Redneck.

 

“If you think fast food is hitting a deer at 65 mph…
…You might be a Redneck.

 

“If you wear a dress that is strapless with a bra that isn’t…
   …You might be a Redneck.

 

“If your wife has ever said, come move this transmission so I can take a bath…
…You might be a Redneck


It’s in that tongue in cheek vein that I present another set of behaviors that might qualify you for a group that is as distinguished as those who Foxworthy targets for his jokes.  This group consists of people with a certain mind set who cannot be dissuaded from their beliefs regardless of the evidence that is presented to them. In fact the more evidence you give them, the more likely they are to see it as a confirmation of their original belief. They are conspiracy theorists. And while this is presented a bit tongue in cheek, like most humor, it starts with a grain of truth – and it’s that grain of truth we’ll be targeting to see if those truths have taken root in  your thinking. So if you exhibit a number of these behaviors – you just might have the mindset of a conspiracy theorist. What are they? Let’s take a look.
Continue Reading

Waiting for the End – A Meditation for Easter

Crucifixion of Jesus – Marco Palmezzano

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’–which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’  When some of those standing near heard this, they said, ‘Listen, he’s calling Elijah.’
One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. ‘Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,’ he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.”

 

“It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.
Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died.” When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph.

Mark 15.34-37; 42-45

Pilate was surprised to learn that Jesus had died so quickly. That was because Roman crucifixion was not merely an  execution. It was a slow death by way of torture, filled with excruciating pain, designed by the Romans to  extend the amount of time it actually took to die as long as possible. “Historically the process could take anywhere from 3-4 hours to 3-4 days. And there were reports of people living as long as 9 days on a cross.”[1] The Jewish leaders and Pilate were both expecting it to take days for Jesus to die as was typical. That’s why the Jewish leaders petitioned Pilate to have his legs broken (John 19.31).   Because when hung on a cross for crucifixion, “Modern forensic research shows that a person whose hands are bound above his head has severe trouble breathing.”[2] The results being that:

“The muscles that run between the ribs are basically fully extended which means the ribs are fully expanded, which means the chest is essentially passively full of air. In order to get the stale air and the carbon dioxide and all the waste gases out, the victim would actually have to actively lift themselves up to get the pressure off of these muscles and allow themselves to exhale.”[3]
Robert M. Morris, MD
ER Chief, Stanford medical center

Continue Reading

Lessons from Pluto

New Horizons approaches Pluto

New Horizons approaches Pluto

On January 19, 2006 the “fastest spacecraft ever launched”[1] – the New Horizons space probe –  lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a mission to Pluto.  In February of 2007  it collected data from Jupiter as it flew by for a gravity assist catapult as it continued on to Pluto. On July 14th, 2015, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto. Scientists have now had an opportunity to review the initial data and pictures from New Horizons about the dwarf planet[2] Pluto, and many have been forced into a stunning but unavoidable admission:  they’ve been wrong about Pluto for a long time.

What they found on Pluto was not at all what they were expecting to find. Scientists were expecting to find it heavily cratered,  “a flat, dead world similar to our moon.”[3]  Instead, what they actually found was:

  • Icy Volcanoes
  • The  heart shaped area (right side partially faded) visible in the picture above named sputnik planum, of which scientists note “…this Texas sized basin of ice appears to be boiling.” [4] Planetary scientist Jani Radebaugh likens it to “a lava lake in slow motion”[5] made of nearly frozen Nitrogen cooled until the texture is that of tooth paste.
  • Other areas feature a young looking surface, with no record of crater bombardment as expected. “These features are very, very young…Pluto is active today. That’s the headline.”[6] says Planetary scientist Dan Durda.
  • An active geology driven by heat
  • and “there’s pretty good circumstantial evidence that Pluto has a massive ocean in its interior”[7] says New Horizons mission principle investigator Alan Stern.

Secular Blindness

While scientists are willing to fess up to being wrong when confronted with objective data like that supplied to them from their own instruments aboard the New Horizons space probe, it is unlikely that they are willing to acknowledge error with regard to the below lessons, save the first, which they cannot deny without being accused of being science deniers. Continue Reading

Are Biblical accounts copied from pagan religions? Part 2. The Resurrection

Depiction of the empty tomb of Jesus

Depiction of the empty tomb of Jesus

Since the original sin in the garden of Eden, mankind has searched for reasons not to believe God so he could live a life independent of God. In the garden, the serpent convinced Eve not to trust God. Why? Supposedly because God was holding back the knowledge of good and evil to the detriment of Adam and Eve. The serpent suggested God was wrong f0r withholding that knowledge, but that if they were to discover the truth, they would be “like God”. (Gen 3.5) That was a big lie. God was indeed withholding the knowledge of evil, but he was not wrong in doing so because he knew that (experiential) knowledge of evil (like disobeying God) would lead to death.  And the biggest irony is – they were already like God (Gen 1.26),  there was nothing to be gained from what the serpent offered.

Today there is another lie circulating to destroy belief in God: The claim that the biblical accounts are not history, but rather stories borrowed or stolen and then adapted from the made up stories of pagan religions. If there’s no reason to believe the pagan religions, then there’s no reason to believe a made up story based on it either. Continue Reading

Are Biblical accounts copied from pagan religions? Part 1. The God of Creation


Recently while at work I overheard a discussion among some of my co-workers. They were agreeing among themselves that the Biblical accounts of things like the creation of the universe and the major events of Christianity – like the birth of Jesus and his resurrection – were all just stories borrowed (or copied or plagiarized – whatever you want to call it) from the stories of the religions of other cultures.

I’ve heard that charge before, and as a Christian, I find the entire idea repugnant. It’s not like they’re talking about something inconsequential like a comic book or the like. After all scripture reminds us the biblical accounts “are not just idle words for you–they are your life.”(Dt 32.47)  The fact that such discussions are still being entertained and the idea affirmed is proof that many people are still taking the bait and falling for the trap: being persuaded that this lie is true. Since people’s eternities are a stake the only question is how best to respond? Continue Reading

The complex science that explains consciousness: Faith

Consciousness poses a serious, and in fact insurmountable problem for  materialist scientists – which includes of course materialist evolutionists.[1]  Brain researcher Robert Lawrence Kuhn captures the problem succinctly: “Try as I have for decades, I cannot remotely imagine how physical matter can become mentally aware.”[2] By “mentally aware” he is referring to consciousness, which he defines as:

“Consciousness is what mental activity feels like inside. The private inner experience of sensation, emotion and thought.”[3]
Robert Lawrence Kuhn

Which is probably the easiest way to view consciousness.[4] But this easy to understand concept of consciousness masks a fundamental conundrum: matter is not conscious. If matter is all that exists, and thus people are no more than intricately structured matter, why are we conscious?

The problem is akin to the origin of life for such materialists. The origin of life problem, briefly stated, is  how did non-living matter – an arrangement of molecules – become a living creature? The problem of consciousness is very similar:  How does an arrangement of non-consciousness matter become conscious? For  the record, materialists have no answer to either question.

Before looking further into the problem, we need to be clear on how  insurmountable a problem consciousness is for those who believe there is nothing beyond the material world. Famed former atheist turned theist Anthony Flew highlighted the problem through the means of  a thought experiment: Continue Reading

Intelligent Design’s Blind Side

Intelligent Design’s Blind Side

William Dembski is a leader in the Intelligent Design (ID) community, so I read with initial interest a recent interview he did with Sean McDowell titled How is the Intelligent Design Movement Doing? Interview with William Dembski.  which is posted on McDowell’s blog. That initial interest turned to dismay as the adversarial attitude Dembski has toward revealed truth in general and Young Earth Creationism (YEC) in particular was made apparent. When asked how he assesses the reception of ID within the church, Dembski states:

“I would say that the church broadly and even the evangelical community has — on balance — been somewhere between useless and downright counterproductive to the success of ID.”

A most unfortunate assessment given the potential ID has to impact a culture that has largely fallen under the sway of the junk science put forth to support the materialist religion known as Darwinian Evolution. Even more unfortunate is Dembski’s  apparent blindness to how he (and other ID advocates with similar positions) has caused such a reaction from the God fearing, Bible believing faithful they’d like to gain support from. To unravel this mystery for them, let’s start with what both ID advocates and YEC advocates are trying to achieve. Continue Reading

Should Christians believe in a multiverse? 7 Reasons Against

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Cor 4.2

Non-believers will likely consider the above scripture irrelevant and unpersuasive and will ponder the wisdom of starting an article on the multiverse with a verse of scripture. In so doing they will have confirmed the scripture (blind to spiritual truths) while setting up my two points: First – this is not merely a discussion of physics – but of metaphysics. (Metaphysics being those things that lie beyond the realm of observable physical reality and so strictly speaking, are beyond the realm of the questions that physics can answer.) Second, not only is the multiverse “pure metaphysics”[1] as Christian apologist William Lane Craig puts it, but many scientists seem blind to the fact that they are engaging in metaphysics – not physics – when proposing the multiverse as a “scientific” answer to a number of the problems their theories have. They have fallen into the same error that  philosopher of science and apologist John Lennox chides theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking for: engaging in metaphysics while failing to recognize he is doing so.[2]

Truth in advertising

Having identified multiverse theories as claims that deal with the metaphysical, we can make the following observations: Continue Reading

Can Evolution Explain the Origin of Language?

With regards to origins, evolutionists and creationists don’t agree on much. The item of contention for today’s closer look: language. Creationists will tell you that God is the originator of language and gave man the ability to communicate via language as part of being made in the image of God. (Gen 1.27) For evolutionists, the origin of language is yet another unknown conundrum; one of the many things that evolutionists have no plausible theory to explain such as:

  • the origin of life
  • the origin of DNA and the coded information in it
  • the origin of multi-cellular life from single celled creatures
  • the non-directed specialization of cells that allow for the creation of specialized organs likes heart, lungs, etc.
  • and the specialized, completely different but complementary organs for accomplishing reproduction through two different creatures; the organs making the individual either male and female – and when paired male and female, reproduction is accomplished.

All the above happened – according to evolutionists – without plan, direction or design. Add to the list “origin of language”. In spite of  the lack of a coherent theory to explain any of this, evolutionists still cling to the merit-less theory of evolution. Continue Reading