30 01 2012

The rivers run with milk, honey and wine.  The fish that swim within them are already breaded and fried.  Anyone who wants to eat one need only open his mouth and a fish jumps right out of the water and into the hungry person’s mouth.  The birds that fly through the air are already cooked, prepared and ready to eat.  A person need only lay down a plate, and a chicken will walk onto it and lie down (they come in several breeds, including barbecue, kung pao, cashew and southern fried).  Houses are made of food.  If a person  wants ham, he need only lean over and bite a wall.  All trees provide all kinds of fruit, all of which are low-hanging, all of which will fall to the ground at a person’s wish, which is a very necessary thing, because the inhabitants of this land are always lying flat on their backs.  They probably could not rise if they wanted to.  In this land, all work is a sin, and not just on the Lord’s day.

This is Schlaraffenland, literally meaning Land of the Lazy Monkeys.  Fortunately, I can say I did not invent this fabulous land.  I should be embarrassed if I did.  The tale originated in Germany around 1494, and time has only made it worse.  Luckily, the tale never made headway into English-speaking cultures.  The point of the story is simply to satirize paradise.  We think of the evils of our world as including hard labor and a struggle to survive.  Hence, the logical extreme would be a place of absolutely no work, and no struggle to survive at all.  We do tend to think of work as a drudgery, and we do tend to think of Heaven as a permanent place of retirement.  Perhaps we ought to reconsider.

In truth, the tale of Schlaraffenland did not go far enough.  If we really need not work to survive, if we need not do anything, and if God provides absolutely everything we need at all times, then Schlaraffenland is simply an arduous place to have to spend eternity.  The real absolute zero-cost land of plenty is a brain connected to life support.  After all, if one must eat, then one must perform the task of chewing and digesting.  Then, it follows that we must do the unthinkable, which is to say that we must poop.

We are here, somewhere in the middle, between life-support, where life is absolutely effortless, and a world like Mars, Venus, the Sun, a comet, or pretty much the entire universe, minus Earth, where life is basically impossible.  One of the things I get a lot from atheists is the observation that life on this ball of dirt is not only a struggle, but an actual battle against other species and even each other for our very survival.  This is true, but the fact that a battle can be fought at all, with any hope of victory, implies that the opportunity has at least been provided, and we must seize that opportunity to yield an outcome, which just happens to be survival.  I’m not sure exactly what they expected from a created universe, but if they expected God to provided us with absolutely everything, with the food already in our bellies and the sun always warm upon our faces, then what, exactly, were we meant to do with all of our free time?  Really, if we think about it, ease of living is just a point along a broad spectrum from a dead rock to a celestial tube of life pumping directly into our brains.  If the atheist would say that the current struggle is evidence of no created design, then, likely, a much easier world could yield the same view, all the way up that spectrum, until we’re all on life-support and there’s nothing more for us to want.

Someone had to work to design and create, ship, distribute, sell and deliver that thing you’re staring at, called a monitor.  If there had been a creator, then you’d think he would have had the foresight to have monitors growing everywhere out of the ground.  Trees have a fairly complex design, but merely having masses of lumber harnessing solar energy, growing from the ground and reproducing copies of themselves hardly seems sufficient.  Trees ought to be able to connect to the internet so that they can play a game of reversi with you (a good and proper use of sophisticated technology, really).  When is it enough?

The truth of it is that the Bible never promised that Heaven would be an iron lung, a mechanical heart and some I.V. bags.  I hope that comes as no surprise to anybody.  All we were promised was much greater prosperity, better opportunity, and easier labor.  That’s all.  The truth of it is that the Bible tells that life on earth is a bit harder, because we’re not exactly little saints down here.  Take a drive down the freeway tomorrow and try to convince yourself that we’re all a bunch of nice little angels.  You didn’t scream profanities for nothing.  Life is harder, but life is not impossible.  Now that we’ve topped seven-billion people on this planet, I think it’s safe to say that life on Earth is not too hard.

So, exactly how well-tailored to our existence must life be for us to conclude that maybe things were engineered that way?  For the skeptic, intelligent design will always seem a little lacking, here or there.  The fact is that the human may be very intelligent, but we’re built like wimpy, hairless, defenseless bipeds.  Well, the Bible says we’re built in the image of God, which essentially means that we were designed more for what we look like than what we are capable of.  It’s a priority of form over function.  Fur, claws venom and fangs are all very good for survival, but they don’t contribute much toward making a man look more like God.  Yes, I know that many think of God as an amorphous blob.  One person’s fancy is as good as any other’s, so I suppose the claim that God has a humanoid form is no less valid than the claim that he’s shaped roughly like an amoeba.  Christians make an exception for the form of a person.  The intelligence of this design is a little more artistic and a little less utilitarian.  Now, if we had really evolved from apes, or whatever simian beast they haven’t yet debunked, then we might expect to be fully loaded with all of the latest weaponry.  Evolution is always strictly utilitarian, with no exception, so I’ll leave it to them to explain how the heck a smart monkey who looked like he just got let out of Auschwitz after being de-fanged, de-clawed and cleanly shaven could survive on his wits alone.  We’ll experiment by taking some fool off the street, or the reader, if he wishes to volunteer, and dropping him naked into the middle of a forest with nothing but his wits, and we’ll see how long he survives.  A well-trained survivalist might make a year, but I’ll give it a couple of weeks at best before the average chump finds himself on his face sucking dirt.  If the early human survived strictly by wits, and if those wits were so far superior that he could cast off every natural advantage in favor of wits, then I must say that he must have been way smarter than Einstein.  I can’t imagine Einstein lasting naked and alone in a forest, though it may be that I have trouble imagining Einstein naked in the first place (man, what a thought.  I should have left that one alone!).  Then, we would have a very intelligent early human who was even more keenly aware of his doom than our poor naked Einstein ever was.

Your smart phone can make phone calls, send text messages, play games, browse the internet and take pictures, but it can’t give you a sponge bath, double as a cereal bowl or brush your teeth in the morning.  Dang, what a lame rip-off!  I could have created as much by smashing two rocks together!  Right?  If I can find something that it can’t do, then it must not be intelligently designed, right?

Myth Makers’ Challenge

24 09 2010

I took nearly two decades to get the joke.  When I finally did, I had to laugh at the sky, for all it was worth.  The man who pulled the prank was memorable enough, with his large light beard that couldn’t make up its mind whether to be blond or gray.  Add to that the stark contrast of his leather pants and his blouse with little flowers printed on it.  He was man enough to make a floral print blouse look masculine.  He was a big hefty man with a twinkle in his eye like merry old Santa Clause, which I later realized was the mirth from beguiling a group of children.

On the ground a circle had been drawn with a stick around a group of objects.  The man told us he had placed them there, and he offered us a prize, a token that was part of a larger game, if we could look at the clues within the circle and tell the story behind what had happened.  Everything we needed to know was within the circle, and we were not to enter that circle, lest we disturb the evidence.  One of these pieces was a tomahawk, firmly stuck in the ground.  Near it was a bear trap with a scrap of an animal’s fur trapped tightly within its jaws.  There may have been other clues, but these were the ones I remember best, because they were most central to the story which I had developed about the scene.

My idea was that a man had set a trap, which then trapped an animal.  When the trapper returned to his trap, he found the animal struggling for freedom, so he took his tomahawk and was about to kill the beast, when it made a valiant effort to tear itself free, leaving a chunk of its flesh behind.  In his haste, the man dropped his weapon and set off after the animal, to catch it with his bare hands, if possible.  Otherwise, he would have taken it with him.

I remember another boy’s story, that a trapper was visiting one of his traps when he was attacked by a bear, causing him to drop his weapon and flee the scene.  Everyone had a different story to tell.  Each looked at the evidence contained within the circle and conjured an explanation for it.  Then, we all waited patiently for the man with the beard to tell us which one was closest to the true story.

His shoulders bounced with his silent laugh, as he gave a sideways glance at a friend.  “What do you think the true story is?  Do you really think that’s it?” he coached us.  Then he asked us, “Do you think there really is a true story?”  I didn’t get it.  He seemed to be suggesting that all of the ideas were equally true.  Choosing his words carefully, he asked us, “Do you remember what I said in the beginning?  I said I put a few items into a circle on the ground, and I wanted you to look at the evidence and tell me the story of what you think happened.  So far, none of you has even come close to the truth of it.  Look again and see if you can tell me what happened.”

In response, I believe he got a lot of blank stares from some vexed children.  I looked at the items within the circle yet again, wracking my mind to figure out what story they were supposed to be telling, but the one I had was already the one my mind had settled upon.  We begged him for the “true” story, and he eventually relented, giving none of us the desired prize.

“You want to know the true story?  I already told you the true story!  Do you want me to show it to you?”  he exclaimed.  “First, I came over here and stuck the tomahawk in the ground like this, ” he said, pantomiming the act of slamming the small axe into the ground.  “Then, I came over here and opened the bear trap just enough to put a piece of fur in it, which I laid down, here.  Then I drew a circle around it like this,” he said, retracing his movements every step of the way.

Of course, we all felt cheated.  We thought that we were supposed to find the story behind the evidence, which we had taken to mean the intended fictional story, otherwise known as the “true” story.  We didn’t realize that the true story was exactly what he had told us at the beginning: the objects got into the circle because he put them there.  If we had taken him at his word and simply told him what he had told us, then we would have guessed it correctly.  Had he merely invented a story to suit his fancy, he would have judged our fictional tales against his own fictional tale, which would have been just as valid as comparing ours against each other.  Evidence never really points to anything but the truth, though we might try to make it look otherwise.  Therefore, he would have been wrong in suggesting that his own tale was the truth behind the evidence.  The only truth that the evidence pointed to was that someone had put a few items on the ground and drawn a circle around it.  The answer was so obvious that we missed it completely.

In the beginning, God drew a circle, called Earth, or the Universe, and he placed several items into it.  He told us outright that he had simply put these things there, and then we proceeded to invent stories as to how these things really got there.  We overlooked the simple explanation, the one that was told to us originally, and we tricked ourselves with our own fancy tales.  When told that we were wrong, that all of these things were simply put there, we took the truth to be a cop-out explanation of the evidence.  The fact is, a simple creation story is just too plain to capture the imagination.  It’s not the sort of conclusion that the imaginative and inquisitive mind looks for.  Yet, it is the truth.  A “true” story of any other kind is not really true.  One version is as good as another, and possibly better than the official version, so long as none of them is the truth.

Science is really good at studying things that generally happen, but it makes a foolish effort to play at writing history.  I can say that dogs tend to bite invaders who climb over the back fence.  If I see a man climb a fence, then I might say that he got bit because he was an invader.  However, if the man was entering his own yard after accidentally locking himself out at the front door, whereupon he discovered that his neighbor’s dangerous animal had dug under the fence into his own yard, then what we have is a story that is entirely possible, but not a matter of common occurrence.  The evidence still points to the truth, but it does not cause us to find the truth, because it points to something less likely.  In fact, the less common the event, the more likely it is that the evidence points us to the truth while directing us toward a falsehood.  In the case of the origin of life or the origin of existence, itself, the event is so unlikely that it happened only once, and we have not observed it to happen again.  In this case, neither the dog, nor any other animal, has ever bitten anyone, and no one has ever been locked out of his own home, or, for that matter, even owned a home, so we might never conclude the truth when the unique situation actually occurs.

The fact is simply that every single one of us is a natural-born myth maker.  Every civilization has looked at the world around them and invented a story about how it came into existence.  The nature of that story depends entirely upon the nature of the one making that myth.  Whether a giant god died and became the Earth, or some team played with a fiery football and got it stuck on the sky, or whether a giraffe’s neck got long from struggling ever to reach the highest leaves of a tree, these are all fables, as is the fable that some rudimentary ape climbed down from a tree and started a fire with two sticks.  We think that other cultures have silly stories, but we take ours to be the truth.  In the end, Darwinism is no better than Aesop’s fables, or else it is worse, because we are dumb enough to actually believe it.

It’s the myth makers’ challenge.  God filled the Earth with a bunch of stuff and had us set about making history.  In the end, we wrote many stories that all sounded better than the truth, and the truth was what he told us in the very beginning, that he simply put it there.  It was too simple to be understood.  It felt like a cheap story from a bad storyteller, and we felt cheated.  It wasn’t supposed to be that obvious.

Sodomy Versus Intelligent Design

26 07 2010

There’s a proper tool for everything, and there’s a proper use for every tool.

In the field of microbiology we use a special membrane filter made from nitrocellulose, a highly flammable paper made from ordinary paper, sulfuric acid, nitric acid and heat.  This produces a few minutes of expensive entertainment, as it bursts into an impressive fireball over a Bunsen burner.  Unfortunately, this piece of flash paper is not produced for the thrill of pyromaniacs, but for the dull purpose of capturing and growing bacteria.  Once it gets wet, it isn’t nearly as fun to burn.

The slim smooth paper filter is very carefully made at the factory to ensure that its pores are just small enough to capture the bacteria, while letting liquids and growth media through.  Now, one might imagine it to be something like sifting marbles out of sand with wire mesh, but this is entirely inaccurate.  On a microscopic level, it more closely resembles a sponge.  The bacteria get trapped inside of it, among the labyrinth of fibers.  The filter can then be placed upon agar, and the growth medium can seep up into this sponge-like matrix and surround the microorganisms, keeping them wet and well-fed.  Had they been trapped on the upper surface, like fish in a net, the medium would never reach them, and they would die of dessication.  Life on top of the filter would be like life on the moon.

Getting the nitrocellulose filter to the right porosity requires a method that borders on insane ingenuity.  One liquid is first dissolved in another, and then the paper fibers are added.  Next, the liquid solution is very carefully dried in a tightly controlled environment.  One liquid evaporates faster than the other, which means that their relative concentrations gradually change.  Eventually, one liquid will become too concentrated to remain dissolved within the other, and it will fall out of solution, forming microscopic droplets suspended homogeneously.  The paper fibers, which are also floating in the mix, are pushed out of the way of these suspended droplets, as the droplets continue to grow.  When the droplets reach the desired size, both liquids are removed, and the paper fibers settle and stick together.  Between the fibers are empty spaces left by the droplets.  Hence, on a microscopic level, the paper is like a sponge, full of air bubbles.  The bacteria wander into it, where they become trapped.

Now, the nitrocellulose filter is perfect for capturing microorganisms meant to be grown on agar, but if one wants to wash them back off of the filter in order to burst them open and study their DNA, then one has a problem.  They do not easily wash off, because they are embedded snugly within it.  Therefore the polycarbonate filter was invented.  This type of filter is essentially a very thin piece of plastic with precise holes bored into it.  To do this, the manufacturers expose the plastic film to nuclear radiation for a precise length of time.  The radiation particles punch tiny holes into the surface, which are then etched to a larger size by soaking the membrane in a strong acid for an exact length of time.  On a microscopic level, it looks like a sheet of plastic that someone attacked with a hole puncher.  The bacteria are filtered out, and they stay on the surface of the filter, because they are too enormous to fit into the holes.  This makes for an easy task of washing them off of the filter to be studied by other methods.

Now, the proper use of each filter is well-established.  Each was very carefully designed for a very precise purpose.  Yet, for the sake of convenience, there are those in the field of microbiology who are, at this moment, attempting to show that the nitrocellulose filter can be used in the same way as the polycarbonate filter.  The wrong filter is easier to handle and easier to come by.  They believe that they can wash the bacteria off of the filter and out of the filter, to the extent that they could count the organisms accurately.  Somehow, I suppose they might just manage to make the data support this idea, if only by dogged determination.  By their reasoning, the key to making a nitrocellulose filter work just as well as a polycarbonate filter for this purpose is to, literally, beat it harder.

One might imagine someone attempting to prove that a wrench could be used to pound nails into wood just as effectively as one might use a hammer.  With enough care, practice and force, they might even produce data to show that it is possible.  Yet, no matter how possible this may be, nothing can overcome the fact that they use the wrong tool for their purposes.  A man using a hammer to hit a nail has his own purpose for the hammer, but the man who made the hammer also had a purpose for the hammer.  When these two purposes are not the same purpose, then the tool is being misused.  No matter how well a wrench serves the purpose of a hammer, it simply was not made to be one.  No science can overthrow the intention of the one who made it.  Likewise, the scientist who attempts to use the sponge-like nitrocellulose filter in place the sieve-like polycarbonate filter may be able to prove that his tool works, and it may work well enough if he beats it hard enough, but it will always be a misuse of the tool, no matter what his data means to him.

If the matter had been about using one rock over another, then there would be no such misuse.  The rock was not made by anyone for any purpose.  Its purpose is given to it by the one who picks it up and strikes a nail with it.  One rock might happen to be better than another for this purpose, but this is nothing like the difference between the hammer and the wrench, because, unlike the rocks, the tools have an intelligent design.

Now, the Darwinists, who, like the microbiologists mentioned, believe themselves to be wholly rational beings, free of bias, would say that the human body is without an intelligent design.  This means that its misuse is entirely impossible, like the misuse of a rock is impossible.  The circumstance of misuse only arises from the difference in the user’s purpose from the creator’s purpose.  If there is no creator, then there is no created purpose.  To this, we apply the subject of the human orifice.  Logically, the body should be full of various holes and invaginations, so that the lucky few that do happen to promote the furtherance of the species may continue, while the others, at least, do no harm.  In that case, the rectum might be equally suited for sex, if so wished, as it is for defecation.  If it has no created purpose, then it cannot possibly be misused.

However, of all of the various pores and openings within the human body, every single one of them serves a purpose.  Not one has been found without a purpose.  While the Darwinist would say that a hundred arrows were shot blindly through the air, and a few managed to hit the target, what we see is the aim of a marksman, with every arrow hitting the mark.  There are no unclaimed orifices waiting to be designated a role by the perverse human whim.  The saber-tooth tiger didn’t target cavemen who happened to have an extra navel.  The pioneers didn’t have more trouble escaping the appetites of grizzly bears if they, the people, happened to have an extra deep dimple in the middle of the abdomen.  Natural selection couldn’t care if you look like Swiss cheese, so long as you can still run, fight and reproduce.

One opening in particular, the anus and its associated rectum, serve a very delicate, if dirty, purpose.  When the rectum is stretched by the presence of fecal matter, it signals the need to eliminate waste.  The descending colon prepares for discharge, and the action may even take place involuntarily if the offending irritant is not reversed by sheer will.  Now, some would have us believe that the use of this organ is as flexible and open to interpretation as the use of a rock, having no deliberate design.  Consequently, the rectum can become injured and permanently stretched, resulting in a lifetime of incontinence.  The signal to defecate is permanently activated by the ruined device.

Had we not believed in the intelligent design of living organisms, we could not say that any organ was necessarily meant for any particular purpose, much to the delight of those who would invent their own uses.  The rectum would eventually evolve into a womb, and we would be obligated to discharge our feces from our mouths.  This, for many, would be an improvement over current circumstances.  But while the Darwinist is mentoring future generations to spout crap from their mouths, I’d prefer to make the observation that organs are tools, just as a hammer and a wrench are tools.  They serve a purpose, which is part of their design.  One was made for one purpose, and another was made for a different purpose.  In making this rather obvious assertion, we simultaneously draw two conclusions: there was an intelligent designer (otherwise there could be no cross-purposes), and misuse of an organ is not of equal value to its proper use.

What this means is that neither homosexuality nor any other sodomy are even remotely comparable to real sex.  They deserve no comparable treatment, and they merit no legitimacy.  One way is right, and the other uses, while creative, are merely misuses.  One way fulfills the body’s intended use, while all others, while useful to the purpose of the owner, are just a misuse.

What this also means is that there is a God who intended for the body to be used in a certain way.  How he feels about the misuse is a matter of theology.  Whether or not we care about how God feels is a matter of religion.  But, whether or not there was an intended use for the thing remains a matter of physical, empirical, truth.  Some would flaunt the intentions of God, forgetting that this is the same one who designed the food chain, not the person who designed your teddy bear.

As with the matter of the filters, no convenience is too small to bias a scientist to find a way to “prove” whatever he wants to prove.  As with the hammer, you could use a hamster in its place if you simply pound it harder, but it will never be the proper use of the proper tool.

And as with the rectum, you may invent whatever uses you will for it, the thing has only one legitimate use.  Don’t expect me to applaud you and give you wedding gifts when you use it for another, even if you think it effective.

Overt Belief with Covert Unbelief

2 05 2010

“I really, truly believe,” is ironically a statement of unbelief.  Sometimes a statement of faith such as this includes a few more really-trulies just to make it sound all the more emphatic.  The more emphasis it receives, the more certain one can be that the person does not really believe it.  Let alone, the statement, “I believe,” is, itself, a statement of unbelief, contrary to what its intended meaning may be.  The fact is simply that people who say this are usually trying very hard to believe, an act that we generally call make-believe.  This, in itself, implies that the person does not actually believe, otherwise the poor soul would not have to try so hard.

The phrase, “I think,” sounds less emphatic, but it actually suggests that the person saying it is not trying so hard to make himself believe it.  Therefore, it stands to reason that the person who says he thinks God will answer his prayer is not only more confident, but also more honest about his faith in God and prayer.  In a sense, this is counter-intuitive, being that we regard the phrase, “I think,” as a statement of uncertainty.  What we might overlook is that while the person suggests that he is somewhat uncertain about a thing, what it also means is that he is somewhat certain about that thing.  The person who says, “I truly believe,” leaves no room for honest doubt, and in so doing he leaves no room for honest belief.

The phrase, “I know,” is stronger, but people who are confident in their knowledge don’t really say it, as counter-intuitive as this sounds.  When someone really knows something to be true, they don’t preface the statement with anything at all. For example, consider the following statement:

God exists, and he created the world and all that is in it.

This is a statement of faith in its strongest form.  It assumes the matter to be settled.  “I know,” implies that you don’t know, or that someone else might disagree.  Being that I feel no need to heed the ignorance of others, and I do not feel inclined to defer to your own unbelief, I simply state that “this is such,” and leave it at that.  I say it this way, because no matter what you or anyone else may think, the matter is settled, and though I care enough to set you straight, I do not apologize for being right.

What it comes down to is that there exists, for every person, an overt belief, the thing that the person wants to believe that he believes, and the covert belief, the thing that a person really believes but may not want to admit.

21Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered.22“It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23” ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

24Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  (Mark 9:21-24)

If you do believe, then why do you need to overcome your unbelief?  It is because the man who says, “I believe,” does not believe.

Faith is something that we all wrestle with.  No one is exempt.  Even the Evolutionist struggles to believe.  I encountered an argument by one individual who said that Intelligent Design could not be peer-reviewed, and therefore should not be treated as scientific.  The implication is that a well-derived lie is better than truth, because we came by the lie systematically.  He could not argue directly against the truth of Intelligent Design, so he took the circuitous route of explaining why it was, “unscientific,” avoiding whether or not it was true.  When an Evolutionist loses the argument on rational grounds, he takes to mocking and assaulting the one who opposes him, by way of an ad hominem attack.  He belittles the opponent and makes the poor victim look silly, because he does not have the mental strength to defeat the argument, itself.  Much as such a verbal melee has the feel of strength, it belies an inner weakness.  The overt belief of the individual is that the human eyeball has all the design of a lump of clay, but the covert belief, the one that he is not willing to admit, is that the eyeball has an undeniable design.  The fact is that all life is loaded with marvelous design, and one would have to struggle hard to find an area of the organism which demonstrates a lack of design.  Even disorders are suggestive of a missing order, which implies that the thing was originally intended for better.

In the event that they cannot overcome this obstacle, they take a circuitous route, arguing something else, anything other than whether or not life demonstrates a design and, hence, a designer.  They call it religious dogma.  They claim that it cannot be tested with science.  They say that it cannot be peer reviewed.  They accuse the believers of wanting to believe in a God, in the hope that he might grant life after death.  They marginalize us, by assigning us a minority status, appealing to the fallacy of ad populem (if everyone else seems to believe it, then it must be true).  They appeal to authority, another damnable fallacy, saying that all scientists believe in Evolution; any scientist who doesn’t is not a real scientist, or doesn’t have enough education or experience.  All of this is a runaround to avoid the real issue.  The issue is not who supports the idea, or what system accommodates it.  The only issue at stake is whether or not the idea is really true. Any tangential argument, no matter how strong, evades the issue and demonstrates a covert weakness.  Anyone who cannot face the matter head-on does not really believe what they say they believe.  Deep down at the place where the conscious mind makes transition to the unconscious, in that darkest part, there lies the hidden fact that a person knows what they deem to be an unacceptable truth.

In truth, Intelligent Design has been studied by science for years.  It has been peer-reviewed and well-published.  When a scientist studies the function of any organ, or the functionality of any organism, or, for that matter, dysfunction, that scientist is studying the design of the thing and how it works.  It would be a very different matter to study the erosion of a rock.  No one asks how the crack in a rock works, because it doesn’t work.  It’s just a crack.  Anything that is designed a certain way to fulfill a certain function demonstrates its intelligent design.  Anyone who seeks to understand that design or function is a scientist who studies Intelligent Design, even if unwittingly.

In any biology journal article, one might read speculation as to why a thing “evolved” a certain way.  In truth, one might just as easily replace these statements with speculation as to why a thing was “designed” a certain way.  In doing so, no real scientific understanding would be lost, and the writing would be more coherent.

In the sense of statements of belief that really indicate unbelief, one classic example is the debater who puts his hands behind his head and leans back in his chair.  You get double points if he puts his feet up on the desk.  As much as it looks like a show of confidence, it’s really the body language of defeat.  I was arguing the matter of Creationism with a fellow, when he assumed this posture, along with an increasing loudness in his voice (another sign of weakness), and I knew that the argument was over.  I had won.  He would never admit that I had won, but I knew that while he overtly believed in Evolution, his covert unbelief had gotten the better of him.

What it all comes down to is that while you can lead a horse to water, you can’t make it drink.  You can defeat a lazy Darwinist, but you can’t make him accept Creationism.  You can’t even make him admit defeat.  The more you prod at what he really knows to be true, the more adamant he will become in his efforts to silence you, discredit you, keep you out of the schools and keep you out of the textbooks.  This is why I think that prolonged debate with such people is worse than futile.  When I write, I do not write to those who refuse to accept the obvious truth that all life has intelligent design.  Instead, I write to commit to solidarity with those who willingly stand against today’s popular myth.

Every age has had its popular myth, and there have always been those who stood against it.  Evolution is just the myth or our time, and we are that opposition.

Going Down?

11 04 2010

Despite my frequent study of fecal bacteria, my gut feeling toward them is that I find revolting the very idea that anything would be living inside of me, other than my own body parts.  Nevertheless, I understand, albeit reluctantly, that humans benefit from a stable population of beneficial intestinal bacteria.  The maintenance of that relative stability in population can be compared to the workings of a sewage treatment plant.  The secondary treatment process for sewage involves mixing the influent with recycled sludge.  That sludge is a mass of microorganisms that help to remove organic compounds from the water, which would otherwise reach the outfall and be dumped into nature, overly rich with pollutants.  After a long exposure, drifting slowly through the reactor, these organisms are again collected and pumped as sludge back to the beginning of the cycle to start over again.  The sewage carries its own organisms, but seeding of the process ensures a stable and efficient population.

In the human intestine, a similar principle applies.  Intestinal fortitude depends entirely upon the population residing therein.  The appendix serves the function of seeding the intestine with bacteria collected earlier, promoting not only a stable population but also one that doesn’t wreak havoc on us.

Earlier, students had been told that the appendix was a useless vestigial organ, left over from evolution from some previous organism.  Had this really been the case, what we should really be surprised at is that we aren’t entirely loaded with vestigial organs.  If the process of evolution is really as gradual as they say it is, then we can’t really afford to waste so much time exchanging organs one at a time like that.  Well, the vestigial organ paradigm has more problems to it than just its frequency of occurrence.  According to the Theory, every change that provides even the slightest benefit to an organism should be selected and amplified by natural selection and reproduction.  Their problem lies in the fact that the changes are supposed to be gradual.  If a slight change is not enough to improve survival rates and promote evolution, then that change is lost, and no evolution takes place.  If life had to rely on leaps and bounds in lucky engineering to make a noticeable difference on a species survival rate, then even relatively senseless people would have trouble digesting that one.  Every little positive change must work to improve survival and move evolution forward, or else the whole idea falls flat.

That’s where the vestigial organ complicates the problem.  Supposedly, the organ once had a relevant purpose, but as the organism changed, the organ lost its usefulness.  However, if that vestigial organ still provided even the slightest benefit, then natural selection should still promote it.  The thing should never become vestigial, unless it was absolutely useless.  Marginally or mostly useless doesn’t cut it.  People can’t say that a slight benefit causes it to stay and proliferate, but not enough benefit causes it to be lost.  By that reasoning, it actually takes less usefulness to keep a trait than it does to discard it.

This is where the creationist usually drops the ball, by failing to claim the vestigial organ as evidence for the nature of change.  We can say that in the beginning, God created all things good.  Any change from there is going to leave things in a worse state than the way that they started.  We wouldn’t want to make the mistake of naming things as vestigial simply because we don’t understand their purpose, as the evolutionists do, but a dysfunctional organ is an example of negative evolution, the antithesis of what we’re being fed of atheist dogma.

The evolutionists want to have it both ways.  Slight benefits accumulate, but insufficient benefit is lost.  In fact, there is only one direction of travel in this world, and it is downward.  It is true that blind naked mole rats might have once been furry little gophers with excellent vision.  This is what the creationist should anticipate.  The evolutionist explanation in this case is the same as the creationist’s should be, but while it is integral to the creationist’s view, it is more of an exception to the evolutionist’s view.  But while the evolutionist is quick to claim evidence of both upward and downward movement in evolution, the creationist is often reluctant to accept either.  If both sides accepted the logical implication of their own beliefs, then the many examples of bad useless organs out there would be a devastating blow to the evolutionists and a victory to the creationists.

But there is an aspect to this that goes smaller than the vestigial organ.  There is also the vestigial gene.  In the game of genetics, the dominant genes are almost always the functional ones.  That is to say that genes are like cars: they either run, or they don’t.  The recessive genes, the ones that don’t work quite right anymore, have always been the ones that came later.  Blond hair, blue eyes, hemophilia, diabetes and other such recessives are known to be relatively recent developments.  No amount of selection has gotten rid of them, and despite the claim that random change has been going on for millions of years, these random changes practically happened yesterday (why did they wait so long?).  Looking at the genetic history of humanity from a rational creationist point of view, the original humans were blacks, at least in appearance.  When a black man and a white woman marry, the resulting child looks more like a black than a white.  This is because the genes responsible for physical appearance are generally dominant in blacks and recessive in whites.  If that child runs for president, they don’t call him yet another white president.  Instead, they call him the first black president, even though he’s just as much white as he is black.  If the genes responsible for this are dominant in blacks, it is because they are functional, healthy genes, whereas the compliment from the white is recessive, sitting there and doing nothing while the black’s genes do all of the work (sounds disturbingly familiar).  From the creationist perspective, and from all available evidence, humanity is trending very strongly toward recessives with time.  That means that we’re not evolving from white to black, from diabetic to healthy, from blond to brunette and so on, but we are moving unstoppably in the opposite direction.  Genes are becoming vestigial.  Adam and Eve, then, were black, at least in appearance.

If God made man in his own image, and in so doing he made a black man, one might wonder something about God’s own appearance, but I digress.

Let’s say that some fool plows his field and dredges up a “missing link.”  Let’s ask ourselves what we really have.  Let’s say it’s something less than human.  The evolutionist sees it and unquestioningly determines it to be an early hominid.  The assumption is that the lesser human was on his way up.  We’re on the third floor, looking at someone in an elevator at the second floor, and we assume that he’s going up.  He could just as easily be going down.  In fact, the evidence would overwhelmingly suggest that he must be going down.  Yet, the evolutionist never questions the man’s direction.  He is going up, and the discussion is over.  Because the skull is older, it therefore indicates that we have improved since then.  The implication, then, is that there has never been a single malformed individual in all of history.  If a man is born deformed today, will future generations find his skull and conclude that humanity has improved since this man’s time?  This says much about how far our popular science has wandered from objectivity.

When two things correlate, one of the most common mistakes people make is to assume that one led to the other.  If A and B look very similar, then people jump to the conclusion that A causes B.  In truth, there are always three possible explanations:

1) A caused B.
2) B caused A.
3) A and B were both caused by C.

In our case, they see that monkeys and humans have something in common.  Therefore, they concluded that monkeys evolved into humans.  When people pointed out that monkeys are physically superior to us, the evolutionists backtracked to say that monkeys and humans both evolved from some unknown subhuman sub-ape ancestor.  What if monkeys evolved from humans?  What if their similarities were only due to the fact that they were both created by the same God, who tended to follow the same functional patterns for both?  Okay, so we’ll admit that we’re not too keen on accepting that monkeys evolved from humans, but are we evolving into something subhuman and sub-ape?  A “missing link,” could always be either post-human, pre-human or non-human (similar only because it was created by the same God, with the same functionality).  The evolutionist only considers one of these three options, because the other two point to a creator.  In fact, if a missing link resulted from negative evolution, or if it resulted from similar engineering, then it evidences creationism.  It all depends on which way the world is really moving.  Evidence suggests that we are moving toward recessives.  We are losing functions and moving downward.  The missing link is not an example of what we came from, but where we are going.  It just happens that one of us got there sooner, and managed to remove himself from the gene pool in the process.

I don’t know if it is possible that “vestigial” organs were created that way.  My first car, a ’72 Mazda, was a rolling piece of junk, missing everything but the barest requirements for running.  Every wire in it had been gnawed in half by a rat.  No dashboard function worked.  Consequently, I found myself scavenging from junk yards for the missing parts.  In this futile exercise, I learned that the engine appeared to be built for parts that it was never equipped with.  Other makes and models had a very similar engine block, but where theirs was connected to various parts in certain places, mine only had the places, still shaped as though they were meant to connect to something, but closed off abruptly.  The engineers used a modified plan from some other design to make this vehicle.  This sounds like an act of laziness, and not something that God would do, but I do recall that while God made all other life ex nihlo (out of nothing), he made man from the dust of the Earth.  I’ve always wondered why he would borrow the substance of something else when he could just as easily make it from nothing.  Why did Jesus need dirt and spittle to make a blind man see?  The point in all of this is that God’s style of work might be slightly more in a way of adapting designs, materials and whatnot, than a creationist would be comfortable with.  This is not to say that things evolved.  This is to say that he does not mind borrowing ideas and materials from his earlier works in spite of, or perhaps because of, the fact that a god-hating evolutionist might use it to demonstrate a falsehood in order to believe what he wishes to believe.

You are in an elevator going down.  You wish to believe that you are going up.  You insist that you are going up.  You ridicule those who suggest otherwise.  You look for evidence to prove your point.  Even when the evidence suggests that you’re going down, you still claim that it proves your point, because going down is still movement, and the net movement must be up.  We must be going up, because it’s the only desirable explanation for how we got this high in the first place.  At least the elevator doesn’t have windows.

Going down?

How to Carbonize a Textbook

27 02 2010

So much rests on the position of the coal layer in geologic time.  They call it the “Carboniferous” period from several million years ago.  They should be calling it the Prevaricaceous period.  What they taught us when we were kids, and what they’re still teaching your kids, is that a layer of coal formed under the earth as a result of trees and bushes getting buried, whence they decomposed for millions of years in the absence of organisms that could break them down properly.  This is the fiction told in your reliable textbooks, as well as on the more serious references found on the Internet.  What they don’t tell you is that there is no known chemical process for this to happen as described.  More importantly, though, I need to address the fact that this theory was completely debunked almost two decades ago when an honest scientist, one of the few remaining on Earth, discovered that a substantial layer of coal was created not over the course of millions of years, but in the course of a day.

It was a famous volcano known as Mount Saint Helens.  In 1980 this prominent peak blew its top and covered a large section of forest with mud and lava.  A few years was required before someone paid close enough attention to the geological stratification to discover a layer of coal that had been formed from the trees that once stood there.  The find was phenomenal.  Even such prominent periodicals as the National Geographic published news on the matter.  The problem with the discovery, though, was that it threatened to turn geological and paleontological dating on its head.  Normally, fossils could be dated by their proximity to a coal layer under the earth, where there was one.  Those found in and around that layer were presumed to be about as old as the layer, which, in principle, is not such a poor assumption.  Because coal was presumed to have formed from three hundred million years ago, the conclusion was that these fossils were about this age, also.  The implication that coal could be formed in a day by a single eruption destroyed the foundation upon which that age was determined.  The coal didn’t take that long to form, therefore it was not necessarily that old.

The process is called carbonization, and, unlike the theory fed to us in the hay trough of public education, this chemical process has been well known for centuries.  During combustion your log, or textbook, burns in two stages.  In the first stage, steam is released.  This process actually consumes energy, rather than release it.  When you first toss a piece of wood on a campfire, you might notice that it just sits there, at first, emitting a light-gray smoke.  That’s steam.  Eventually, when enough of that steam has been released, the second stage of combustion kicks in, producing carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other smoke byproducts.  This is the step that actually releases heat, and it further drives the first step to completion.  Now, the steam that gets released is not simply the moisture residing in the wood.  The log could be perfectly rid of water yet release steam in the first step.  The water doesn’t even exist until it is formed in the first step.

So, to summarize the process of combustion, when enough heat is applied to a flammable substance it absorbs that heat and releases water.  It can do this in the absence of oxygen.  In the next step, it reacts with the air and produces a flame, heat, smoke, and all of the attributes that we normally associate with the process of burning.  The second step cannot happen in the absence of oxygen.  Therefore, what happens during a volcanic event is that the lava covers the forest, either directly or over a layer of mud, and the intense heat causes the first stage of combustion.  The second stage is thwarted, because the layer of molten rock prevents oxygen from getting to the wood.  What you’re left with is a material that burns hotter than wood, because it no longer has the first stage to absorb much of its heat.  In essence, while wood stores the energy of sunlight, coal stores the energy of that sunlight plus the energy of a volcano.

One notable point to consider is that carbonized wood, known as coal, is an activated carbon.  This means that it has a tendency to bind to toxic metals that would normally poison us.  Now, if coal could have been formed by simple decomposition over millions of years, then this would not be an issue.  However, the toxic metal known as mercury is normally derived by heating certain rocks until they produce mercury vapor, which must then be condensed into its liquid phase to be properly contained.  Lava, then, is nature’s way of extracting mercury from rock.  In this case, the active carbon layer is sandwiched under a heated rock that often contains mercury.  The result is that the coal absorbs this mercury, as well as some other toxic substances, which then give rise to environmentalist concerns about the burning of coal.  But that’s a different matter.

The process of incomplete combustion has been well known for years.  It was often used to make a highly flammable cloth, known as char, from cotton fabric.  People used this char as an easy way to cause a spark to generate a flame, which could then be used to start a fire for various useful purposes.  The only catch was that they had to use a fire to make the char if they needed the char to make a fire.  It’s easy to do, really.  If you wish to carbonize a paleontology textbook, all you really need is a steel container big enough to hold it.  The container should be able to close snugly enough to snuff a flame.  Make a hole in the top about the size of a pinprick, to allow the steam to escape.  Then toss the whole thing into a campfire and sing worship songs while you roast marshmallows.  Keep an eye on the container to make sure no flame forms over the pinhole.  Once the first combustion stage nears completion, the material emits flammable vapors that ignite just outside of the hole, causing a flame to appear.  Snuff the flame, if you can.  If the flame reappears immediately, then your textbook is nearly fully carbonized.  Be careful not to burn yourself when you remove it from the fire.  After it cools completely, you can open the container and remove its charred contents.  Upon first sight, it will look like a burned book.  Intuitively, a thing already burned is not flammable, but this is not the case.  The carbonized textbook is even more flammable than it was originally.

Now, the discovery at Mt. St. Helens was rightly perceived as a threat to paleontology.  This fact was published and publicly recognized, but somehow, between then and now, this notion was quietly swept under the rug.  It would be the same as if Edison had invented the light bulb, held a convention to celebrate it and then tossed it into storage to be forgotten.  Textbooks and notable web sites still tout the old theory as though it were undisputed.  This is not a mistake.  This is a blatant lie.  All of evolutionary history hinges on the age of the rocks in which the fossils are found, and not only is the age of coal no longer in the millions of years, but even the layers of rocks upon it are also called into question.  This means that all of the fossils found in and around these layers are also to be dated at an earlier, later or else unknown, date.

When I say that masters of knowledge, in this case scientists, are not to be trusted, I mean exactly that.  No evidence is damning enough to overturn a popular myth on its own.  No scientist can blow this apart.  He can nail his ninety-nine theses on the door of the scientific establishment, but if he is heard by none other than the establishment that he seeks to overthrow, then no reformation will take place.  In our age, our best hope is the pitting of one thought master against another, such as when a news agency investigates the turpitude of a scientific agency.  Then…maybe…the people will listen.  Unfortunately, the thought masters often work in concert.

For now, our texts will continue to tell fables, but at least we’ll have more kindling for our campfires.

Common Senselessness

8 02 2010

At the height of the Roaring Twenties, the majority of adults were smokers.  One might imagine that the roaring sound was their collective hacking.  Let’s assume that they had no knowledge of the scientific evidence that it caused lung cancer, heart attacks, erectile dysfunction and birth defects.  In fact, let’s admit that the studies had not even been conducted yet.  Are we to assume, then, that humanity had no idea that what they were doing was maladaptive?  We would be incorrect if we were to say that smoking is dangerous.  The term, “danger,” implies risk.  Risk implies that there’s at least some chance, no matter how small, of getting through unscathed.  With smoking, there is no such chance.  If you smoke, then you will wreak your lungs massively.  One has absolutely no chance of smoking a single cigarette without causing great harm to one’s own body.  It’s not danger.  It’s destruction.  It’s not risk.  It’s self-mutilation.  A person might smoke yet miss emphysema and lung cancer.  Likewise, a person might drive straight into a brick wall and not die.  In either case, the voluntary victim never comes out ahead of the game.

Yes, but we needed scientific evidence in order to know that smoking is harmful.  That first puff at the flaming stick that left us gagging, choking and gasping for air gave us no indication that what we were doing might be injurious.  God put that reflex in us to avoid getting smoke in the eyes and to avoid breathing it.  Had the involuntary reaction not been planted within us, then we might claim ignorance.  We might inhale that first drag uninhibited.  Instead, our bodies screamed bloody murder at us, begging and pleading that we stop, but we did it.  We continued to do it, and then we did it again.  We kept doing it until the mechanism against it was burned to death.  We killed the messenger.

And then we could smoke as freely as we wished.

Too bad, the early people did not have the scientific studies to show them that they were wrong.  Okay, so it was obvious that breathing hot toxic fumes and ash was probably a stupid thing to do.  Nice sensitive mucous membrane tissues smoked like a side of beef jerky probably wasn’t the best invention of mankind.  Yet, people did it.  Not just a freaky fringe of society did it, either.  The general masses adopted the practice like a hot fad.  This should have been the death knell for the term “common sense,” because there obviously isn’t any such thing.  I have, for some time, felt inclined to resist the urge to ridicule people who smoke.  After all, I know that they are addicted, and quitting the cancer stick is one of the hardest achievements a person can make.  Even so, it was the fear of ridicule that drove them to it in the first place.

Oh, but let’s not sit too hard on the poor addict. The overwhelming majority of us will drive home from work today, following the car before us by a mere few feet.  A quick survey on a crowded fast-moving highway is enough to show us that even if society dumped the cigarette tomorrow, we’d still be a culture made up primarily of reckless fools.  We don’t really need physicists and automobile crash tests to tell us that we need way more distance than we’re using to protect us in the event that the car in front of us comes to a screeching halt.  If we were honest with ourselves, we would count the cost of our own stupid ways.

Yet, the foolishness of others so often overrides the wisdom within us, even when it screams out loud.  We have killed ourselves and donated our bodies to the collective madness of our world.

Do I blame the Nazi soldier who was just following orders?  Perhaps, he was just a blind fool, doing his duty to his nation.  His commander told him to gas the Jews, and his fellows did it, too, so he figured on doing it, himself.  Yet, I do not doubt that the God-made conscience within him demanded that he stop.  I am sure that he killed that messenger, committing the deed until his own personal objections were dispelled.  In fact, I do blame the common man for every deed that he commits, for though he chooses to follow the herd, he is not without warning.

The sense of the common is ad populum. It is the fallacy that if everyone else seems to think so, then it must be true.  Millions of people can’t be wrong, can they?  In truth, billions of people are wrong every day.  If common sense even exists, then it is nothing more than a herd mentality.  It is more of a common ignorance or a common senselessness.   The entire society has a mind of its own that acts to override the thinking of its individuals.  What should be obvious to anyone is erased, renamed and redefined in favor of the popular trend.  People are so afraid of disagreement, that they sacrifice their own insight to the god of approval from others.

No establishment, no organization and no society is immune to this disease.  Smoking was just a symptom.  The fact is that we cannot trust the wisdom of others, no matter their expertise nor their standing.  All are subject to the beast.  The professor and the farmer are both victims.  The national syndicate and the local tabloid are both vectors for this disease.  Your parents may have taught you wrong, and the person who challenged you to challenge your parents may also be dead wrong.  This blog may be wrong, but so might your encyclopedia.  When all comes to naught, one might easily slip into the postmodern notion that nothing can truly be known.

But let’s go back to that first draw on the cigarette.  Before you conditioned yourself to accept the unacceptable, you were naturally inclined to accept the truth.  Smoking was wretched, and it felt awful.  In the prime of your life, when you were just a little kid that hadn’t undergone the brainwashing influences of public education, you were more inclined to believe in God.  Kids have an innate tendency to believe in the Almighty.  It takes years of conditioning to beat this out of them.

Unless we become like little children, we cannot accept what once seemed natural to us.  Without simple faith that has no reliance on the common senselessness of the world we cannot enter Heaven, when the world is rushing in a stampede for Hell.

Case in point, intelligent design of all living things is quite obvious.  Isolated from the foolishness of popular culture, we would naturally see that, given that we understand the complexity of an organism, at least in part.  If not for the sages and mad hordes around us telling us otherwise, we would naturally conclude that life has a design indicative of an intelligent designer.  All of creation testifies to this.

We take the first draw from the Darwinist cigarette, and we gag.  Through repetition and a faith in the intelligence of our fellow humans we come to accept the unacceptable, until, eventually, we find that the lie has become a bare necessity of our existence.  We feel that we cannot live without it.

The common man is no fool, but he lives like one.  He talks like one.  He trains himself to be one.  In following the common man, we do the same.