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

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Mt. Improbable and other impossible evolutionary dreams

A peak in Daedunsan Provincial Park, South Korea in the role of “Mt. Improbable”

Evolution’s Mr. Improbable is really Mt. Impossible

I’ve exposed many of the tricks, logical fallacies and games that evolutionists play and use to try to convince themselves and others that the patently false theory of Darwinian evolution is what they claim: the “factual” account of the origin of man and all life.  But when I came across these outrageous claims that are so clearly false, yet  delivered with such arrogance and a deep belief in absurd statistical claims, I couldn’t help but wonder if these evolutionary evangelists intentionally  ignore the obvious problems in order to convince themselves and others; or if they are so blinded by evolutionary dogma that they really can’t see the problems with what they’re saying.

Whichever the case, evolutionists tend to disbelieve any evidence that contradicts their theory, but a failure to believe valid evidence doesn’t make the evidence wrong. What it actually does, is place a burden of proof on the disbeliever to demonstrate why their interpretation of the data is better than another. Here is where evolutionists tend to leave the bounds of reality for flights of fancy into the world of Wonderland logic – where you can make any irrational claim you’d like, and believe it’s true. Because in the looking glass world of evolutionary theory – stories of how things happen don’t actually have to work in the real world. Since everything requires millions of years and can never be proved anyway; it just has to look true and sound true to like minded believers when they look at through the evolutionary looking glass. Unfortunately for evolutionists, not everyone looks at evolution through the looking glass. For those who prefer to stay grounded in reality and not follow the evolutionists down their rabbit hole, it’s not hard to spot the many problems and fallacies and point them out, as I will do here. Continue Reading

Evolution: Fact or Newspeak?

The language of evolution has evolved into the 1984 language of Newspeak.

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In George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” a totalitarian government – represented by an ever watching Big Brother tries to control everything about life – including what you think and believe. Specially crafted tools were created to bring about the desired belief and thought outcomes. The government-made language Newspeak is used to manipulate what you think and the government-endorsed Doublethink is used to manipulate what you believe. Newspeak is epitomized by the slogans:

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
[1]

Clearly, one of the purposes of Newspeak is to redefine the plain meaning of a word and substitute another, often opposite meaning. Thus even during war, the government could claim they were at peace. As we’ll see this tactic has been subtly  adapted to evolutionary speak to the same end: to manipulate what you believe.

Doublethink is epitomized by the Newspeak word blackwhite a word that incorporates both concepts:

“Doublethink is basically the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”[2]

To disagree with Big Brother and claim any of their nonsense was not true would be committing a “thoughtcrime,” “a Newspeak term for the ‘essential crime that contained all others in itself.’ “[3]

As I watched an episode of the science documentary series How the Universe Works I was struck by how much like the tactics of Big Brother in 1984 are the tactics secular scientists have adopted to try to convince people that the patently false theory of evolution is true.

You think I exaggerate? Consider the evidence. Let’s start with the episode’s title:  “The Universe’s Greatest Miracle.”  This is a masterpiece of Doublethink. Ask a secular  scientist if miracles are possible and he’ll tell you no, or course not. Ask if the universe is capable of providing the intelligence and purposeful intent required of a miracle. Again no. To be clear regarding purpose, the late atheist, evolutionist, and former Cornell University professor Will Provine would have told you:

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us, loud and clear, and I must say that these are basically Darwin’s views: there are no gods, no purposive forces of any kind.[4]

So why are the writers of a secular science documentary using the word  “miracle” – a suspension or superseding of the laws of physics (which they deny) –  performed as an act of discretion by a deity (which they also deny) – to describe what happens as they attempt to explain the origin of life? Is it merely poetic? To which I ask, why use incorrect and misleading poetry when trying to explain the laws of biology and physics? Or could it be that they want to attribute supernatural powers (which they don’t believe in) to help personify and empower an otherwise obviously lifeless universe? Could it be they want to redirect what they know people understand intuitively in their hearts – that God created all life – and attribute that wonder to a lifeless process? Could it be they want the wonder and amazement due the divine being redirected to the cold, lifeless universe – effectively  as the apostle Paul says “exchanging the truth of God for a lie” and praising a created thing instead of the creator who is “forever praised?” (Rom 1.25)

And the title is just the opening salvo. Since I cannot cover here all the Orwellian tactics let me jump to a masterpiece of Newspeak which occurs about 3/4 of the way through the episode when they summarize the “landmarks of evolution” :

If we think of Landmarks in evolution there aren’t very many. I would think of just three:

– The origin of life
– The rise of complex life associated with oxygen
– The rise of intelligence


That’s it. To me, that’s the story of life on earth.[5]
Chris McKay, Astrobiologist

These 3 claims are another masterpiece of Newspeak, attributing what are clearly acts of power and intelligence to a lifeless, powerless, purposeless, unintelligent process. Orwell himself couldn’t have done better. Consider how far from the truth it is for evolutionists to claim evolution is responsible for these events:

1. The origin of life
Evolutionists like astrobiologist Chris McKay credit evolution for the origin of  life. But the truth of the matter is Darwin’s initial theory never made such claims nor even addressed the issue of the origin of life.  Darwin’s claims were made based on having already existing, reproducing creatures. But even the current Neo-Darwinian[
6] variation of Darwin’s classic theory of evolution has no mechanism to create life and thus evolutionary biologists have no idea how life started. They’ve posited the primordial soup based on Stanley Miller’s discredited experiment,[7]  crystals[8] (for their self replicating features) and alkaline thermal vents[9] (for their protection from ultraviolet rays while still providing a warm climate) but none of  these have ever been shown to be the catalyst for the origin of life. Crediting the purposeless, lifeless evolutionary process for the origin of life is quite obviously Newspeak.

2. The Rise of Complex Life
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Everyone should have one

The Watchmaker Analogy –
Only those with an agenda to deny design would deny the design clearly apparent in a mechanical watch.
A mechanical watch such as this see through one aptly illustrates the principle of clearly apparent design.

I tend to be hard on watches. The bands break, the crystals crack, they get scratched up – something usually befalls them. So I tend to ask for watches as gifts – especially around Christmas time. This past year was no different. My family gave me an extraordinary gift – two watches – one digital, one mechanical. What’s extraordinary is not that I received two watches (though that was very nice), it’s the type of watch I received.

The one watch – a mechanical one featured above – is an amazing sight to behold. It has a see through design, so you can see the inner mechanisms from both the front and the back. I’m not a watch maker, so bear with me as I try to describe just a few of the marvelous mechanisms in this mechanical wonder with terms borrowed from Wikipedia. As I said, it’s mechanical – not battery operated, so it has a  mainspring; but it is also self winding, so it has an “eccentric weight” which you can see from the back moving back and forth with the motion of the watch, attached to a mechanism that winds the mainspring. From the front, in addition to the regular motion of the sweeping second hand, you can see the oscillating motion of the balance wheel marking out regular intervals of time. You can see the mainspring and the various gears which make up the gear train, and particularly the escapement mechanism and its back and forth motion moving the gears at a set rate and producing the familiar ticking sound mechanical watching are known for.

When I saw it, I couldn’t help but marvel at the ingenuity of the device. The design elements which are clearly present have made this made favorite watch – so much so that I don’t even allow myself to wear it – lest I break it like all my other watches. And of course, seeing the inner mechanism, I couldn’t help but be reminded of William Paley’s argument for the existence of God from his watchmaker analogy. All the carefully designed, produced and assembled parts noted above, Paley calls “contrivances” – an appropriate word he uses in his Natural Theology to describe the clear elements of design evident in such a watch.  His watchmaker’s argument for the existence of God is a classic argument. If you’ve never read it, or haven’t read it recently, I encourage you to read it.  From his 18th century vantage point he anticipates and counters objections still used by 21st century atheists and other objectors to the argument from design. That argument is also known as the Teleological argument (from the Greek Telos – meaning end or goal). Teleological arguments focus on an intended outcome, a goal which is clearly manifest in the item under consideration. Of course intentions are only possible by a being who intends them, thus if a goal or intention is apparent, there was obviously a being who initially had that goal or intention.

Paley isn’t the first to use the argument. A version of the argument was used by Socrates, and a well developed version was presented by Thomas Aquinas. In his Summa Theologiae, Aquinas presents five proofs for the existence of God. His fifth proof is a Teleological one – based on the “guidedness of nature.”  He considers inanimate, unaware objects – like an arrow – which tend toward a goal and notes “Nothing that lacks awareness tends to a goal, except under the direction of someone with awareness and understanding; the arrow, for example, requires an archer.”1

This is a perfect description of the watch and its “contrivances”; you can see the watch clearly and very effectively tends toward the goal of marking the passage of time. It marks of the passage of not just one unit of time but multiple units of time: marking off the passage of seconds, minutes and hours as does the one depicted above. Other watches also include days, months and years.  This is clearly not by accident, and the mechanisms are clearly designed and obviously point to an intelligent designer. In my opinion this watch is so clearly and obviously designed, the conclusion that it was designed by a watchmaker is inescapable. 

A mere cursory examination of the watch, combined with a consideration of the goal or purpose that it achieves, when considered along with the fact that inanimate objects have no goals or intentions  (as atheists readily admit2), can lead you to no other conclusion. And thus the title: everyone should have one of these see through mechanical watches. Just as the tefillin of the old testament reminded you of God’s commands3; such a watch  cannot help but remind you of the designer, and in so doing allude to the designer of the universe and all life.

You’ll note that those who claim to refute the analogy from the design in a watch never offer to demonstrate how non-guided, random forces can produce such a watch. Which is why Dawkins’ “Blind Watchmaker” thesis – that complex creatures can come about by purposeless processes is so utterly ridiculous, and lays bare his intention to deny design at all costs. Without an intelligence to guide the process,  unguided forces would not tend toward any goal as Aquinas notes, and thus you could not get any of the required components of living organisms that are complex and fulfill a goal – such as proteins, cellular structures, and entire organs like hearts, lungs and eyes. Continue Reading

Bat Flight – Evidence of Design Surprises Researchers

 Bat flight -a sophisticated flip to landing made possible by a neronal compass and sophisticated geometry Evidence of a sophisticated navigation system in bats is evidence of Intelligent Design
A bat performing a complex flip to land maneuver navigates with a system based on a sophisticated geometric shape.


The website of the prestigious science magazine Nature recently published an article titled:

Bat-nav’ system enables three-dimensional manoeuvres1 Study reveals surprising neural code based on bagel-shaped coordinate system.

 

The article states that bats are able to navigate because their brains function as a sophisticated compass, programmed with a complex geometrical shape (a torus – a figure similar in shape to a bagel).  In their words:

“The brains of bats have a neuronal ‘compass’ that enables them to navigate in three dimensions.

The discovery, published in Nature2 on 3 December, explains the long-standing mystery of how bats — and perhaps other mammals such as monkeys, which do not fly but swing between branches — manage to orient themselves in the air as well as on the ground.

The ‘bat-nav’ system is “surprising — but also surprising in its beauty”, says May-Britt Moser, a neuroscientist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim…

Computational neuroscientist Andreas Herz, from the University of Munich in Germany adds that the simple elegance of the neural coding that makes up the compass has wider implications for how the brain computers.

This article was based on a paper which talks about the requirements for such a sophisticated system:

Navigation requires the knowledge of one’s location (‘map’) and direction in space (‘compass’). The neural representation of spatial location in mammals includes place-cells which compute position, together with grid cells that encode distance.3

Here is a video of a bat performing a complex landing maneuver which includes a flip to the inverted position that such a system allows:

  During flips, bats are able to keep track of their orientation in space thanks to a surprisingly complex ‘head-direction’ system. 

Notice researchers are surprised not only by the sophistication of the system, but also it’s elegant beauty. These are unmistakable signs of intelligent design, but when you subscribe to a worldview that says there is no design, then yes, such sophistication is quite surprising – especially when the design is complex yet elegantly beautiful. Still, researchers do not want to stray beyond the bounds of orthodox evolution. Here are those bounds, in the words of William Provine, professor of the history of science at Cornell University:

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Detecting the Doctrines of Demons


A member of an alien species transfigured on Star Trek: The Next Generation
An impossible lie disguised as entertainment is still an impossible lie. This one is from the father of lies.

Honest atheists will tell you there is no purpose or meaning to life, no hope of an after life and all your thoughts, feelings and desires are merely the result of the electro-chemical reactions in your brain and thus are ultimately meaningless. As one such honest atheist put it:

But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination1

Or as Cornell University atheist William Provine famously stated:

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically  Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely
certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will  for humans, either.2


Yet in spite of their profession that everything is meaningless (including they themselves), and that there is no hope of an afterlife;  yet still you see their glimmers of hope poking out from behind their denials like Kilroy’s head poking over the fence.

Knowing that the atheistic worldview can not support any sort of future meaning, hope or purpose does not stop some of  them from trying to inject these into atheistic life and thought through any number of means. One such means is entertainment. Case in point – an episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation, titled “Transfigurations” which posits that man may be able to evolve into a higher spiritual state. Here’s how the guest character explains it:

“Captain, my species is on the verge of a wonderful evolutionary change. A transmutation beyond our physical being. I am the first of my kind to approach this metamorphosis.  They tried to convince us that it was a sickness we’d never survive.  They destroyed anyone who exhibited the signs of the transfiguration.”3

Thus the decidedly atheistic Star Trek series displays a curiously messianic figure who has been exhibiting messianic attributes (like healing) just before he is seen completing another messianic miracle: the transfiguration.

For those not familiar with the biblical account from which this is clearly drawn, here is the salient portion:

17:1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Matthew 17.1-3

One is left to ponder – what is an atheistic series like Star Trek: the Next Generation doing displaying an episode with Christian themes? The answer lies in the explanation given – “a wonderful evolutionary change.” There it is – the atheistic hope. So once again, it is the theory of evolution that comes to the rescue. Just as it has rescued atheists from having absolutely no explanation for the origin of  life, now they are hoping it will provide them with hope for a spiritual future for mankind; a hope that professor Provine has explained and clearly stated that atheists have no business expecting or hoping for.

And while it may seem curious for an atheistic series like Star Trek  to focus on such overtly Christian themes, once you hear the explanation, it’s supposed to all make sense. But there’s still a problem – a problem that becomes obvious – once you understand the recurring lie of the enemy. Before going there, a word on the historical account.
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