Archives for posts with tag: Evolution


Yes, biodiversity is a problem for any young-earth supposition.

The simple fact of extensive extinction is a horrible problem for YEC. The population estimates are absolutely impossible in the time frame of only several hundred years. It is impossible to reconcile the stated basis of YEC claims with the reality of only 1 in 1000 species surviving on earth to modern times. (The ark was supposed to save them all. Why let 99.9% die off shortly thereafter?)

Not only are the South American ungulate species problematic for YEC all by themselves, there is the further fact that the majority of ungulate species are clean. Accordingly, there were not just a single pair of each of these different ungulates on the ark, but seven pairs, making it that much more remarkable that they all died out. (Seven mating pairs gives much better odds of surviving than only a single pair.)

Note, contrary to YEC assumptions and rationalizations, the bible explicitly defines kinds in Leviticus 11 (and elsewhere). Kinds of ravens; kinds of hawks; at least three locust/grasshoppers, each specified after its kinds, and beetles after their kinds (though the word might have been another set of locust type insects). Kinds is not genera or family, but species, or from Leviticus (and the bird list is reiterated in Deuteronomy), we must allow subspecies, by the modern definition. By the way, what bird or insect of any kind goes about on four feet? (Four, not six, not two–four. Leviticus 11:20, אַרְבַּ֑ע, not to mention bats listed with the birds.) Using the biblical definition of “kinds”, there would have been many thousands of clean ungulates on Noah’s ark.

Further, you mention the birds. The bible doesn’t delineate what birds are clean, but rather gives an explicit (though hard to define) list of unclean birds. Accordingly, it is reasonable to assume from the express statements in the bible all the extinct birds were clean, including the enormous flightless birds. Thousands of those too on the ark.

A side note on clean: given the many generations Noah preceded Moses, what’s up with “clean” anyway?

Naturalis Historia

Life is incredibly diverse.  Millions of species fill the seas, land and skies of our little planet.  It seems as if there is no end to the discovery of new animals, plants and other life forms.  As a biologist who teaches a class about plant diversity, I can always count on discovering a new group of plants that I have never seen before which is always exciting.  But what blows my mind even more is the thought that what I see living around me today is but a tiny fraction of the diversity of life that has lived on this Earth.

A slide from a recent presentation I made on the discovery of deep time illustrating the mind-boggling estimates of number of species that have lived on earth versus the number alive right now. The images are of extinct marine reptiles on the left and cetacean alive today on the right. Image: Joel Duff the mind-boggling estimates of number of species that have lived on earth versus the number alive right now. Extinct marine reptiles on the left and cetacean alive today on the right. Image: Joel Duff

When you begin to look at fossils, the animals alive today can suddenly seem a bit mundane. And…

View original post 2,328 more words

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Our evolutionary biologists and geneticists are hot on the trail of various viruses and how we, meaning all of us living things, evolve.

This article, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140429085341.htm, shows a new technique that allows the researchers to track the genetics of the Koalas and the invading retrovirus over the last 130 years. Pretty interesting. It should improve our techniques in medical research too, and that will help us humans improve our lot.

The full paper of the research is freely available here:http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0095633

This is interesting, though perhaps childish in its statement, http://www.koalaworlds.com/koala-evolution/ This one is a little better: https://www.savethekoala.com/about-koalas/history-koalas From the same site: https://www.savethekoala.com/about-koalas/interesting-facts

This is the article that caught my eye and focused it on koalas for a moment:

Eight percent of your genome derives from retroviruses that inserted themselves into human sex cells millions of years ago. Right now the koala retrovirus (KoRV) is invading koala genomes, a process that can help us understand our own viral lineage and make decisions about managing this vulnerable species.

From here: http://www.igb.illinois.edu/misc_news/koala-study-reveals-clues-about-origins-human-genome

Your genome includes retroviruses. You are walking around with virus all the time as part of you, no longer infecting, but part of what you are.

We get to study what is going on with the koalas.

The research paper it refers to is paywalled: http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org//content/early/2014/09/25/molbev.msu275.abstract

So sad that information is so often held hostage, for ransom.

Anyway:

Koalas are the only known organisms where a retrovirus is transitioning from exogenous to endogenous. An exogenous retrovirus infects a host, inserts its genetic information into the cell’s DNA, and uses the host cell’s machinery to manufacture more viruses. When an exogenous retrovirus infects an egg or sperm cell and the viral genetic information is then passed down to the host’s offspring, the virus becomes an endogenous retrovirus (ERV).

Note that we try to stop it. Our systems have evolved defenses, but stuff happens.

While reading the article, it is wise to keep in mind that viruses and DNA do not “try”. Things happen. We aren’t sure of all the mechanisms yet, and there seem to be synergistic combinations, but the fact is, most of genetics is just chemical trial and error. The beneficial trials help us (life) survive. The rest don’t, some even kill us. Thus, 99.9% of all species that have ever lived on earth are already extinct. That is, the odds are bad. Never lose sight of that fact. Thank God for the success we have.

The title comes from the words of our Lord. Note, Jesus added “mind” to the quote from the Jewish Law. Mark tells us Jesus said it, adding mind, and the lawyer answered back wisely that we must love God with our whole understanding. It is clear that part of our service to, and love for, God includes our thinking and knowledge. That is science and philosophy. It is unwise, according to the scripture, to hold that there is animosity between science and faith. In fact, I hold that there cannot be one without the other.

Shannon Medisky wrote an article for BioLogos, http://biologos.org/blog/soul-strength-and-mind-how-biologos-brought-me-out-of-hiding, explaining how she felt shunned by her fellow Christians for accepting science without twisting it to certain dogma. I’ll add that the dogma in question is not even orthodox.

Ms. Medisky explains how she grew up as excited about Jesus as she was about science, but she soon realized that most Christians won’t stand for that. She closeted herself.

She correctly states:

We’re called to love God with all our soul, strength and mind. My scientific pursuits and interests were an important part of the latter. Learning more about the world—including how we got here—was simply another facet of honoring God. And to do anything less than wonder, question and learn would be to deny a very important part of the potential God so graciously gave us all.

That is how I have always felt. Like her, I’ve always stayed quiet about my acceptance of science, especially after I lost all reservations regarding biological evolution, but I’ve never been one to back down or equivocate. If you ask, I’m going to answer, and I’ll be as honest as I know how to be.

She wrote for BioLogos. It makes sense that she praised them highly. While she felt alone, I learned long ago there were plenty of Christians like me who accepted science as simply part of God’s creation. Still, BioLogos is a comfort to me too, and it is an excellent resource. If you want to learn, BioLogos is an excellent place to start.

Of course, if you’d rather just be fundamentalist, go ahead and take the indoctrination and talking points of the young-earth creationists, and be confrontational and sure of yourself. However, I strongly recommend following the words of the prophet Micah, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Yes, this is what the Lord requires of each of us.

Regarding Jesus statements regarding creation.

Mike listed, “Mark 10:6: Mark 13:9; Luke 11:50-51; john 5:45-47 links Jesus to Moses- Exodus 20:11 plainly says God created the world in 6 days. Pretty strait forward teaching by our Lord and savior.”

But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’

but from the beginning of the creation, a male and a female God did make them;

6 ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/mark/10-6.htm

2And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5And Jesus said to them, Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,a 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Context here has hardly anything to do with creation. It is about divorce. It is about the hardness of their hearts. It is about submitting ourselves to the order God establishes. There is no hint of Jesus sanctioning some interpretation of the creation hymns over some other.


Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
But from the beginning of the creation,…. Of the world, or of man: , “from the beginning of the creation of the world”, is a way of speaking often used by the Jews (r): the phrase “of the creation” is left out in the Syriac and Persic versions; and so it was in Beza’s most ancient copy, and it is only read, “from the beginning”, as in Mat_19:4,8; see Gill on 
Matthew 19:4, See Gill on Matthew 19:8

As Gill points out, the creation reference is simply “beginning.” It seems unlikely Jesus added more than “in beginning, God.” No elaboration regarding how or what.

Seem to have missed something with Mark 13:9. Seems more of a Freudian slip. Perhaps the reference is to verse 19.

I’m not quite sure how this apocalyptic statement applies to “creation,” but:

http://biblehub.com/mark/13-19.htm

For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.

for those days shall be tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the creation that God created, till now, and may not be

19 ἔσονται γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι θλῖψις, οἵα οὐ γέγονεν τοιαύτη ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἣν ἔκτισεν ὁ Θεὸς ἕως τοῦ νῦν καὶ οὐ μὴ γένηται.

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/mark/13-19.htm

The language is hyperbolic, not making any commentary on creation. Mike, I certainly hope you understand that I hold God as creator.

http://biblehub.com/luke/11-51.htm

from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.

from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, who perished between the altar and the house; yes, I say to you, It shall be required from this generation.

http://biblehub.com/matthew/23-35.htm

What am I missing here? How does this have anything to do with commentary on some interpretation of the creation hymns?

http://biblehub.com/esv/john/5.htm

45Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Again, what am I missing? Jesus believed in Moses. I believe in Moses. How does this enlighten us regarding some interpretation of the creation hymns?

I’ll throw in this: http://www.godofevolution.com/did-jesus-believe-in-a-six-day-creation-and-a-literal-adam/ I find Mr. Francke a bit hard to take at times, but I generally agree with him.

The symbology of the creation week in the first creation hymn of Genesis is not in question. I do wonder how someone can take this particular bit of the story and make it literal while ignoring such assertions about a firm dome that separates the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but there is nothing firm up in the sky, and there are certainly no waters up there for such a dome to keep from falling on us.

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/7549.htm

One can pretend the word just means “expanse,” but it clearly indicates the firm separation of waters above and below the earth. The notion is elsewhere in the bible, including http://biblehub.com/2_peter/3-5.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_cosmology

http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/gre13.htm

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/11/ancient-hebrew-cosmology.html

http://www.religioustolerance.org/cosmo_bibl2.htm

Don’t forget the fact that the first three chapters of Genesis contain two separate hymns. The two are different in so many ways that asserting they are somehow the same, by the same author, is simply disingenuous. I suspect that if Moses were around, he’d tell us that the two creation hymns were the stories of his people, God’s people. I further suspect that if Moses were to deny such an obvious and simple explanation and attempt to prove in a court of law that he was the original and sole author of the two stories, he could not convince a jury, especially if Shem and Ham were able to speak up and claim authorship of one each before Moses.

So, Mike, for the record, I agree with Jesus. I cannot find evidence that Jesus ever said anything about creation that could help us know how to interpret the creation hymns. Any assertion regarding Jesus’ teaching about creationism is simply wrong.

The clear teaching of Jesus was to love one another.

I consider this a central tenet of Jesus, “28And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29Jesus answered, The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

I consider Jesus’ addition of “mind” to be significant, and I choose to love the lord with all my mind. My mind includes the knowledge that several different, independent disciplines in science confirm the usefulness of the aspects of biological evolution day in and day out.

I routinely post information related to evolution, and the weight of evidence, the breadth of evidence, the practicality of the evidence is overwhelming. I could not honor truth any other way than accept that evolution is a theory is as established and as useful as the theory of gravity.

As a closing thought, consider ebola. It is big in the news right now. Please review this article: http://thenaturalhistorian.com/2014/10/24/fossil-virus-found-in-hamsters-points-to-an-ancient-origin-of-ebola-virus/

(I reblogged that blog article previously.) Consider that virus DNA sometimes gets mixed up into animal DNA, and it goes along for the ride through the generations. The Natural Historian discusses an example of such with regard to ebola and hamsters and voles. Do hamsters and voles fit your definition of “kinds”?

Consider this: http://biologos.org/blog/the-evolutionary-origins-of-genetic-information-part-1

That set of articles goes in-depth explaining what we know of biological evolution in genetics.

Regardless, there are plenty of confirmable examples of speciation. It takes a determined, a predetermined, mindset to ignore the evidence and keep asking for more. Jesus had it happen to him, and he replied that the only sign would be his resurrection. Well, I can’t and won’t make such claims, but I find it insulting to be badgered about examples of speciation when a simple Google search can find many, many examples in the published literature in seconds.

Further, evolution does not depend on confirmation of a common ancestor for all of us apes. In fact, the practicality of evolution doesn’t depend on any aspect of it being proven. The fact remains that it is useful. It is probably the most useful and most beneficial theory in all of science, in all of history.

Finally, let’s go so far as to suppose some knowledge and evidences are discovered that are so profound that all of biological evolution is “disproven” and abandoned and replaced by new theories that work even better. Then what? Would it prove God? Would it lend any support to creationism? No. It would not. God would still be approachable ONLY by faith. The railers would still rail. No new thing would be under the sun.

Accordingly, I close with a question: Why fight me and others who accept the obvious? Why tell me I’m wrong to acknowledge evolution? Why badger me for evidence you won’t accept? Why pretend some society or organization will give me money if I “prove” evolution? You know good and well that no one will ever collect on such an “offer.” The criteria set are simply impossible. Why not admit that such offers are only grandstanding? Admit that such offers are disingenuous.

Obey Jesus and love.

An article in Nature seems to say that inconsequential mutations within our genes and proteins can be as significant as extinction in determining the evolutionary path we living creatures have taken since the beginning.

Michael J. Harms & Joseph W. Thornton published

Historical contingency and its biophysical basis in glucocorticoid receptor evolution

here http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v512/n7513/full/nature13410.html

They say their “findings demonstrate that GR evolution depended strongly on improbable, non-deterministic events, and this contingency arose from intrinsic biophysical properties of the protein.”

My friends with “design” leanings will assert that God directed these highly improbable events. It is interesting to contemplate, along with all the other improbable constraints that coalesced to bring us to where we are, but the fact remains, these events are natural, not supernatural. The fact remains, it is impossible to please God without faith; it is impossible to come to God without first belief that he is and that he is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him.

The article, being at Nature, is expensive, and I won’t be buying it, so I’ll quote the editor’s summary,

Can evolutionary biology become a predictive science? The answer to that question depends largely on whether it proves possible to develop a quantitative measure of the role of chance historical events in shaping evolutionary paths. With that objective in mind, Michael Harms and Joseph Thornton start from a database of thousands of variants of an ancestral form of the glucocorticoid receptor to look for mutations paving the way for the appearance of a larger-effect mutation creating a new ligand specificity, and they find none besides the historical permissive mutations. Their result shows that the evolution of this class of hormone receptors is critically dependent on rare non-deterministic events, constrained by protein biophysics. Evolutionary contingency is often seen in terms of chance external forces such as extinction by asteroid impact or climate change, but this work points to the internal organization of biological systems as a further powerful source of contingency.

Just an annoying aside: I don’t know why editors allow “non” to be needlessly hyphenated.

As to the use of “predictive” in the editor’s first sentence, I suppose he is indicating the use of predictive models based on our understanding of evolutionary biology and mutation in order direct evolutionary change in organisms in order to get new ones with specific characteristics and traits. I think he mainly means we have to understand a lot better before we really move beyond trial and error in these regards.

I’ll add that there is plenty of references on the Nature page to keep someone busy for a long time, and many libraries will have free [to use] access to many of the resources. So, you can check it all out expending only your time.

One last comment from my studies long ago, a researcher once found that E. coli could consistently beat extreme odds of starving [and surviving] by mutating to eat an alternative food in their culture dish. The story goes that the researcher forgot to add the nutrient to a set of culture dishes one night, and he was disappointed to see his failed experiment the next morning. However, a couple of the cultures had survived. He investigated and found they had mutated such that they could eat an organic component of the culture gel, something that was not supposed to be able to happen. Odds against it were several million to one. So, he tried again with the same results. Then he tried various directed experiments along those lines and kept finding that the E. coli could consistently be extremely long odds. One experiment necessitated a contingent mutation, as the authors of the article here cited discuss. That is, the E. coli had to mutate ineffectively before a useful mutation was possible–a two step mutation pair. The E. coli managed. That is, while starving they mutated in a way that didn’t help them eat, yet that mutation allowed them to make a mutation that did enable them to eat and survive.

I’ve never managed to find again the specific references when I’ve tried. Perhaps the information is readily available now, but it will still require the right search. Regardless, such research continues, and the almost limitless variations and abilities of life grow more astonishing as we understand it better.

 

Warning: If you came here to find confirmation of your preconceived ideas, you are probably in the wrong place. Regardless, Welcome! I hope you can learn something here in the things I find worth recording.

At the BioLogos web site, Graeme Finlay has written an interesting and compelling article about our genetics. He tells his own story, and his writing style is good and easy to read. He points out that cancers grow from a single defective cell. He explains some of the details related to critters with common ancestors.

We all know that our DNA is a mixture of our parents’ DNA, and the sequence runs for each generation. Accordingly, my children have genetic markers that my uncle had. With our ever-increasing abilities in genetic sequencing technologies, we can now look at the most minute details of the genome, and what we can see is not only quite observable (something the bully Ray Comfort always asks for), but it is also quite obvious.

Dr. Finlay presents the information so we can all understand.

I invite you to click the link, read, and see if you agree.

http://biologos.org/blog/human-evolution-genes-genealogies-and-phylogenies

Please find the comment button if you care to add anything. I’m always open to comments.

I availed myself of an opportunity to see Ray Comfort’s video. It was worse than I could imagine. What bothered me most was that while he shoved microphones up people’s noses and badgered and bullied them, the Christians watching tended to cheer. So sad.

I suppose that many in that room felt they had been bullied, either for their antievolutionary views, or more generically for just being Christian, but when you can make PZ Myers look like a generally good guy, better than you make yourself look, you have failed.

We teach our children not to bully. We teach them not to cheer on the perpetrator when someone pays back the bully or other generally bad children. We teach our children to repay good for evil, as our Lord taught us. We teach our children to walk in love and to go the extra mile, even to turn the other cheek. The adults in the room watching Ray Comfort badger and bully people seemed to have forgotten that, or that it should apply doubly to them as teachers, those to whom much has been entrusted.

I viewed the video as an utter failure in all regards. It seems impossible, but I assume Comfort thought he was doing something akin to evangelism in the making of the film and the derogatory treatment of his victims both in person and in the cutting room.

One can only guess how many people simply walked away when approached by Comfort, being treated so rudely. One can only wonder how many people gave more cogent answers, or how many became obviously terrified. How many people were interviewed who did not give answers that fit the narrative Comfort cobbled together?

There was no truth, no honesty, and no compassion in the video. Are those who condone the video simply saying all is fair in love and war? If so, they got the war part right. The interviews were essentially hit and run warfare on the unsuspecting people attacked in the video. Perhaps they assert they are making war on us, so we must make war on them. However, I again remember our Lord telling us to love those who persecute us.

I tried to Google search for anyone else calling Comfort a bully. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t find any.

I agree with this article.

http://www.godofevolution.com/evolution-vs-god-denigrates-science-using-technology-that-science-makes-possible/

I really think it wise to recall a song from one of the legends of country music, Marijohn Wilkin, and her song God is Love.

http://www.valentinemusic.co.uk/home/music/marijohn-wilkin-buckhorn-music/marijohn-wilkin-buckhorn-music-tracks (scroll down a bit)

The opening lines are the point. The fire-and-brimstone preacher seems to always forget that God is Love!

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,a but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;b 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I don’t think I find any of this in Comfort’s video, especially what I underlined.

Science wants $20 before I can read the full article. Perhaps I will remember to look at it at the library.

Anyway Popular Archaeology has a nice write-up, http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/12012013/article/before-they-were-native-americans-they-were-beringians 

When one accepts that God didn’t actually say the earth was created just 6,000 years ago, and God doesn’t lie to us in nature, then one can propose good working theories that help explain the awesome diversity we see around us and within ourselves.

Starting around 25,000 years ago, our North American forebears found a fortuitous “green” zone in the Bering Straight, which was then well above sea level, and the area supported short shrubs. The key here is that wood is indispensable in the cold. They used the brush to ignite large bones (with marrow and fat within that would burn and keep the fire going).

This warm zone, that would have been the result of some particular arrangement of ocean currents and weather patterns (and probably the geography), allowed these ancients a workable place to live, but it was also isolated. They didn’t mingle with their progenitors in the rest of Siberia.

Thus, the native Americans  have approximately 10,000 extra years of divergence from those Siberians than we can explain if they just came over the Bering land bridge 15,000 years ago when the ice finally started retreating in our current geological climate epic. (Global warming is good stuff, huh!)

See, this makes good sense, and it gives us a good working understanding of why things are the way we find them today. Read the rest of this entry »

Orthodox bishop Metropolitan Nicholas:

“Research that is done to challenge God, has the disease of prejudice. Research is done to discover scientific truth. What problem is there with someone wanting to broaden the horizons of their thoughts and knowledge? God is approached better this way. God is not an ideology that we should by all means defend, but we believe in Him because He is Truth. In this sense, even scientific truth reveals Him. If He is still questioned, it is time to find out about Him. A believer who fears scientific research, fears the truth. Perhaps he is a believer who does not believe.”

Biologos.org is an excellent resource.

On Valentine’s Day, they posted this love note regarding the #hamonney debate:

http://biologos.org/blog/origins-news-round-up-for-friday-february-14-2014

I’ll second this one:

http://thefederalist.com/2014/02/06/letting-go-of-the-god-of-the-gaps/  Read the rest of this entry »

Here is an education for you:

Wednesday 19 February 2014 Tasmanian researchers have revealed ancient conditions that almost ended life on Earth, using a new technique they developed to hunt for mineral deposits. The first life developed in the ancient oceans around 3.6 billion years ago,

via Evolution stuck in slime for a billion years.

In chapter 7 of what is a rather large report from our National Science Foundation, we find out that over half of Americans accept astrology as at least somewhat scientific.

UPI writes it up here: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Blog/2014/02/11/Majority-of-young-adults-think-astrology-is-a-science/5201392135954/

The full chapter seven is here (PDF): http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/content/chapter-7/c07.pdf

All of the material is available here:

http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/

Perhaps there is better news in the rest of the files.

This doesn’t surprise me. Similar reports over the last several years have shown the same in Russia (and former USSR). The issue here is faith. We have a diminishing faith in God and the reality of absolutes. We also have a diminishing confidence in science and our ability to know and understand things.

Christians are not all helping, but obviously Christianity cannot be blamed for acceptance of astrology as science.

Our education system is a large part of the problem. As emphasis over “STEM” and other mathematical and science education has ramped up the volume, our actual understanding of such subjects has fallen.

Political pushing of nonsense like Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming fears and demonization of carbon dioxide doesn’t help either. Earth has been warmer and colder, with carbon dioxide levels higher and lower during both. (At different times, of course.) Carbon dioxide is one of the three absolutely essential ingredients to life on our planet. It is at least as important as oxygen and water. And it is far less destructive and deadly in all regards.

It is no wonder the average person holds conflicting and irrational views. Our society, our leaders, our power brokers, and our experts all shovel BS at us constantly. It all depends on the objective of the moment with no commitment to truth, and most people simply take it in and incorporate it in some hodgepodge mashup that is utter nonsense when closely examined.

It is sad that people hold such tragic views in politics as well as science. It is their sad views in politics and social science that will cause them the most pain. Their ignorance in science will not affect most of them. Our refusal to remember the gods of the copybook headings repeatedly causes us pain, and we refuse to learn. (Google “Gods of the Copybook Headings” and educate and edify yourself.)

I’d be remiss to not mention that the churches in the USA are helping mess up our reasoning too. Young earth creationism is false, and those who purport it and other antievolutionary rhetoric are dishonest, and they will answer for their lies when they stand before the Almighty.

We must commit to truth, facts, and thorough thinking. We will continue to suffer while we don’t.

I’ve stood against young earth creationism nearly 50 years. I’ve stood against global warming alarmism for over 20 years. They are the same thing. Both are committed to agenda driven ideology with no commitment to truth, facts, and verifiable observation.

The #hamonnye nonsense yesterday was as bad as I suspected it would be. I missed too much of it while driving kids to say much, but I expected Nye to be shallow. He was. I expected Ham to focus on the trivial and to equivocate. He did.

Truth! Above all. I saw very little truth from Ham. Very sad, especially since he is a professing Christian.

Biologos.com is a truth-committed source of information.

Like me, they expressed little hope regarding the #hamonnye event.

They have addressed the result here: http://biologos.org/blog/ham-on-nye-our-take

Over at AmericanJesus.net, they have posted a testimony written by Nathan Hale (modern, not from the late 1700s):

http://theamericanjesus.net/?p=11179

I’ve reused their title. It is Nathan Hale’s story of coming to a true faith by almost giving up his inherited faith (his faith, altogether) as he realized the truth of modern science and evolutionary biology.

It is a sad story with a good ending. Well, almost good. He is still worried about dealing with other people on the topic. That’s not good.

My own story is a good bit different. I never saw a dichotomy between science and faith. I was raised with a solid respect for facts, science, and truth. Truth, no matter where it led, no matter where it came from. Truth is truth.

I was in grade school when I first started arguing against YEC (young-earth creationism). It was just too impossible to suppose God would lie to us like that. It was something that clicked in me the first time I watch Blade Runner. God needn’t control us by deceiving us. God made us big enough to handle the truth. (Hmm… Three separate movie references in hardly more than a paragraph.)

I learned to keep my views to myself around my church-going friends and relatives, but I wouldn’t back down nor fudge when asked directly. Gradually that became a problem, which is why we are having church at home, kinda like we are having school at home with the two youngest.

Anyway, at this point, I’m still rather reserved and quite regarding my acceptance of evolutionary theory and my belief in a fully gifted creation, but I sure don’t worry about it anymore. If it comes up, I won’t be the one staying quite. I’ll stay polite, and you can call me on it if I slip out of my love walk, but if you want to argue, or you’d just like to get a glimpse of my views, just ask. I’m here, and I’ll talk. I’ll listen too. I’m still too young to think I’m old and wise, but I sure remember when I was young and dumb. Hopefully I got past the dumb part. Feel free to help me out in that regard if you see the opportunity.

The church we attended most recently still mostly accepts us. The church of my youth, were Mother still attends, they still accept us. We attend there when we visit Mom. So, what more can we ask? The kids are growing in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and I don’t have to constantly correct errant “science” and misinterpreted scripture any more.

The article below caught my eye, but while I was thinking of the title, I remembered the two Adam Again reference of my past. An album by the great Michael Omartian, but of course also the group fronted by the late Gene Eugene. Gene worked Swirling Eddies and Lost Dogs with Terry Scott Taylor, who is absolutely one of the greatest musicians of all time.

The Economist printed this article, http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21590475-furiousand-politicaldebate-about-origins-mankind-all-about-adam, under the by line “Lexington.”

The article is worth reading. I highly recommend it for any fundamentalist or evangelical.

A couple of quotes:

“After they hit 18, half of evangelical youngsters lose their faith; entering a public university is especially perilous. As a generation, millennials (those born between the early 1980s and 2000s), are unimpressed by organised anything, let alone organised religion. Many young adults told the Barna Group, an evangelical research outfit, that they felt stifled by elders who demonised secular America.”

“The seeming paradox of a strong faith in crisis is explained by rigidity: that which cannot bend may break instead. The danger is keenly felt in conservative Christian circles, where a debate has broken out over the long-term outlook for the movement.”

“A trickier controversy has been triggered by findings from the genome that modern humans, in their genetic diversity, cannot be descended from a single pair of individuals. Rather, there were at least several thousand “first humans”. That challenges the historical existence of Adam and Eve, and has sparked a crisis of conscience among evangelical Christians persuaded by genetic science.”

Lexington closes with a snide comment about denying science. I don’t approve.

Commit to truth. Hold fast to the truth. Don’t deceive yourself into supposing you cannot be proven wrong.

I accept our first parents by faith. I make sure I don’t read into the first two chapters of Genesis, and I figure that the day before “the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” there was no visible, testable difference. That is, it seems scriptural and consistent with daily experience to suppose that natural processes were how God formed man of dust, and at some point, God did a miracle that made man godlike. (That’s from the first chapter.) I see that miracle as being spiritual, not natural.

So, was Adam historical? I think so. I don’t think I really understand it. I certainly will not try to build a model of how it all worked out, considering natural and spiritual factors. It would be untestable at best. I understand it well enough to believe God is good. I’ll leave it at that.

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