Friday, 26 December 2008
T. H. Huxley (1825-1895) was known as Darwin's Bulldog. Image from Wikipedia
Thomas H. Huxley (1825-1895) was an outspoken critic of Christianity. For instance, in the 1890s he wrote a series of letters to The Times, warning of the dangers of the Salvation Army. He thought that its leadership was all too autocratic.
History has shown us that Huxley’s views on the Salvation Army had more to do with his own evolutionary worldview than with any real danger.
Known as Darwin’s Bulldog, Huxley did more to propagate the “good news” of evolution than his contemporary Charles Darwin.
Huxley was a child of his times. He thought that science had disproved the Bible but found it hard to believe that Christians would try to explain away parts of Genesis and of other Old Testament books as figurative language. In his essay The Lights of the Church and the Light of Science (1890) he stated:
I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how any one, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures. The very conception of the Messiah, or Christ, is inextricably interwoven with Jewish history; the identification of Jesus of Nazareth with that Messiah rests upon the interpretation of the passages of the Hebrew Scriptures which have no evidential value unless they possess the historical character assigned to them. If the covenant with Abraham was not made; if circumcision and sacrifices were not ordained by Jahveh; if the "ten words" were not written by God's hand on the stone tables; if Abraham is more or less a mythical hero, such as Theseus; the Story of the Deluge a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the Creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events have no more value as history than have the stories of the regal period of Rome — what is to be said about the Messianic doctrine, which is so much less clearly enunciated: And what about the authority of the writers of the books of the New Testament, who, on this theory, have not merely accepted flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?
Huxley had realised something that the theistic evolutionists of our day have failed to understand. It was the real sin of a real person (Adam) that caused a real Messiah (Jesus) to atone for it by His death on the cross. Hundreds of years before the first Christmas, the Jewish Scriptures had predicted the details of His birth in surprising detail.
Darwin’s Bulldog was right about Christmas. If it were built on “legendary quicksands”, Christians would be the worst sort of liars. But the real Christmas message tells a different story. There are no legendary quicksands in the Bible. The Good News about the baby born of a virgin in the manger at Bethlehem is real history.
He was born to die that we might live forever. And behold, He, the firstborn from the dead (Revelation 1:5), lives.
Huxley, Thomas H. 1893 (2006). Evolution and Ethics And Other Essays. New York: Barnes & Noble.
Huxley, Thomas H. 1890. The Lights of the Church and the Light of Science. In Collected Essays IV. http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/CE4/Lights.html
Thursday, 25 December 2008
This tiny crab is blind.
Mutations are genetic copying mistakes that according to the Neo-Darwinian great story are the raw materials for evolution. Natural selection is then supposed to be able to pick and choose what to use for producing new body parts.
An example of the ingenuity of mutations can be seen on the Spanish island of Lanzarote. The tiny white crabs living in a cave at Jameos Del Agua are blind.
Is this a case of evolution in action? No, since the crabs have lost something (i.e. eyesight) that their predecessors once had.
Evolution would need more genetic information. Loosing money will not make a mendicant into a millionaire. And neither will a loss of information make a mollusk into a man. As Dr. Carl Wieland put it, The evolution train’s a-comin’ (Sorry, a-goin’—in the wrong direction).
Wieland, Carl. 2002. The evolution train’s a-comin’ (Sorry, a-goin’—in the wrong direction). Creation 24(2):16–19. March 2002.
Friday, 12 December 2008
This view might get you expelled. Michelangelo: The Creation of Adam (ca. 1511). Image from Wikipedia.
Since Charles Darwin’s day, theories about the birth of life have come and gone. Darwin famously speculated about life having begun in a warm pond. Researchers tested the idea in 2006 and found it wanting. They examined hot puddles in Kamchatka, Russia, and Mount Lassen in California and discovered that “hot acidic waters containing clay do not provide the right conditions for chemicals to assemble themselves into 'pioneer organisms’. ”
Stanley Miller and Harold Urey conducted a famous experiment in 1953. While it has been used as a propaganda device for evolution, Dr. Jonathan Wells and other Darwin skeptics have pointed out its flaws. Wells said:
The Miller-Urey experiment used a simulated atmosphere that geochemists now agree was incorrect, it was not the ‘first successful attempt to show how organic molecules might have been produced on the early Earth.’ When conditions are changed to reflect better knowledge of the Earth’s early atmosphere, the experiment doesn’t work.
Others have looked to outer space as a potential source of life. Sir Fred Hoyle, convinced that life could not have originated on earth, suggested that it was brought here from space. While this panspermia view has its advocates, the naturalistic answer to how life began on Earth remains as elusive as ever.
A new study by Yoshihiro Furukawa and others published in Nature Geoscience speculates that life did not come from space but meteor impacts might have caused chemical reactions in the primordian ocean, jump starting life. In their simulation, they made chondrite (a common type of meteorite) strike the ocean, managing to produce some organic or carbon-based compounds, such as fatty acids and amines.
While Furukawa and colleagues made sure the results were not due to contamination, others remain skeptical about the significance of their find. Astrobiologist Jennifer Blank at the SETI Institute in Mountain View in California thinks we might never come up with a viable answer.
Indeed, the jump from amino acids to a functioning cell is nothing short of a miracle. Far from being a black box, the cell is an extremely complicated factory that needs to have all its components in place in order to function.
So where did life come from? Life could only come from life. The cell has an enormous amount of information programmed into it. It looks as if it has been designed.
Unfortunately, mentioning the word design is a sure way to get one expelled from academia.
Matson, John. 2008. Rock And Roil: Meteorites Hitting Early Earth's Oceans May Have Helped Spawn Life. Scientific American.com (9 December.) http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=rock-and-roil-meteorites&sc=wr_20081209
Morelle, Rebecca. 2006. Darwin's Warm Pond Idea is Tested. BBC News. (13 February) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/science/nature/4702336.stm.
Wells, Jonathan. 2002. Inherit The Spin: Darwinists Answer “Ten Questions” with Evasions and Falsehoods. http://www.discovery.org/a/1106.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle
For years, astronomers have been searching for water in our Solar System and beyond it. Water is essential for life, and NASA regards the search for life as one of its major activities. Recently astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope detected signs of water on planet HD 189733b, a gas giant or hot Jupiter 63 light years from Earth. Its atmosphere also contains carbon dioxide and methane.
Carl Grillmair of the Spitzer Science Center in Pasadena, California, and his colleagues reported their find in a letter published in the journal Nature. They used the 'secondary eclipse' method to distinguish between infrared light coming from the planet and from its sun.
They probably also detected signs of weather on HD 189733b. The planet orbits its sun closer than Jupiter so chances of finding signs of life are rather slim.
In astronomy, “Goldilocks Zone” refers to a region of space where life could potentially be possible. The name comes from the children’s story "Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. " Lost in a forest, Goldilocks finds shelter in a hut and discovers three bowls of porridge. She tastes the first and finds that it is too hot. The second bowl is too cold, but the third is just right.
Also known as “habitable zones”, these Goldilocks regions seem to be rare in the universe. Carl Sagan was known for describing Earth as a pale blue dot. However, Guillermo Gonzales and Jay Richards wrote a book called The Privileged Planet to refute Sagan’s thesis that our planet is not special.
This was too much for many evolutionists. As Ben Stein’s documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed shows, Dr. Gonzales lost his job merely for suggesting that the universe speaks of design.
Astronomers have found over 300 exoplanets or planets outside our Solar System. They have yet to find a system that would correspond to ours. In most cases, giant hot Jupiters orbit very close to their sun. Goldilocks would find these places far too hot.
In other words, it seems that Gonzales and Richards were right. Earth is a privileged planet. The evidence we see around us speaks of creation.
Grillmair C. et al. 2008. Strong water absorption in the dayside emission spectrum of the planet HD 189733b Nature 456:7223, 767-769 (11 December 2008).
Koczor, Ron and Tony Phillips. 2003. The Goldilocks Zone. http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/02oct_goldilocks.htm. Accessed 11 December 2008.
Yeager, Ashley. 2008. Exoplanet may harbour stormy skies. Nature News (10 December). http://www.nature.com/news/2008/081210/full/news.2008.1289.html.
Sunday, 7 December 2008
As evidenced by Ben Stein’s documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, questioning Darwinian evolution has become hazardous for scientists, academics, teachers and students. Recently a British scientist was expelled from the Royal Society for his unorthodox approach to dissenters.
Now, with Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday just around the corner, science journals are praising the man and his achievements while keeping silent on the weaknesses and consequences of his theory.
However, dissent against Darwin has by no means become extinct. Discovery Institute, for instance, is scheduling its Academic Freedom Day on Darwin’s birthday (February 12). The celebrations will include a video and essay contest for high school and college students.
Darwin once stated, "A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question."
His supporters have obviously forgotten the advice he gave. Thus the need for Academic Freedom Day. For more details, go to Academic Freedom Day. com .
Saturday, 6 December 2008
Sir Isaac Newton's portrait by Godfrey Kneller (1702). Image from Wikipedia.
Skeptics seem to dislike Christmas. This might be no surprise since the very word is derived from an old English concept Cristes maesse, meaning “mass of Christ”. And since the Bible clearly speaks of Christ as the Creator (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16), evolution-believing skeptics try to downplay the significance of Christ’s birthday.
While the Bible does not explicitly say that Christ was born on December 25, we have compelling evidence that He was indeed born, lived, died and rose from the dead.
Skeptics try to cloud the significance of Christmas by introducing a "feast" they call Newtonmas.
They seem to have forgotten that Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), whose birthday is on December 25, was a devout Christian, a believer in biblical creation. He might not have appreciated the skeptics’ idea of celebrating his birthday as a mass. He wrote in Principia, Book III:
This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. … This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called “Lord God” Παντοκράτωρ [Pantokratōr cf. 2 Corinthians 6:18], or “Universal Ruler”. … The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect.
In other words, Newton was no skeptic.
E-Skeptic 3 December 2008: Newtonmas is here again (almost).
Thayer, H. S. 1953. Newton’s Philosophy of Nature: Selections From His Writings. New York: Library of Classics.