googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: November 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Looking into the Past

There’s one thing that bothers me about evolution. OK, there are many things that bother me about evolution but now I’m thinking of one in particular. Evolutionists often tout that we “observe evolution in action.” And since they equivocate so on the definition of evolution, we sometimes do see “evolution” occurring (that is, we see evolution occurring by definition). However, if we limit “evolution” to mean the theory that all present biodiversity on earth has descended (via descent with modification) from a single common ancestor, then we haven’t “observed” anything of the sort.

The funny thing about science is that it’s supposed to be about things that are observable, testable, and repeatable. When we talk about unique events of the past, such as the supposed “Big Bang,” the events are neither observable nor repeatable. As a matter of fact, we can’t observe the past at all – we can only observe the present.

When you look at a fossil, you are looking at it now. You are not looking at 65 million years ago. The fossil is here in the present and any tests or experiments we conduct on it are being conducted in the present. We can repeat the experiments, we cannot repeat the supposed 65 million years.

Some things about the fossil are objective – like how much it weighs. Other things are subjective - like if it’s really a bone or simply an ordinary rock that resembles a bone. Now, you can make claims about the supposed fossil/rock and let other scientists review your claims. If you say, “this is a tooth from a T-Rex,” other scientists can compare your alleged tooth to other alleged teeth that were found in more complete, alleged skulls of what has been identified as other t-rex fossils. Maybe they’ll agree or maybe not. But whatever “science” is being conducted is being conducted here and now. We are not observing the past. We’re making observations in the present and drawing conclusions about the past.

Furthermore, if an evolutionist claimed, “this tooth is 65 million years old,” there is no way to go back in time 65 million years and look to see if this same alleged tooth was truly in a dino’s head at that time. The claim is ultimately beyond verification. The best one can hope for is validation by other scientists who might agree with the conclusion.

Now, scientists have theories about things in the past. They have theories about things like the origin of the universe and abiogenesis. OK, so how do we test their theory of abiogenesis? We could try to create life in a lab – but even if we were successful we can’t know for certain that’s how it happened. Ultimately, their theory is beyond testing. Scientific theories can never be proven true anyway – they can only be proven false. So how do I “falsify” abiogenesis? How would I falsify a theory on something like the origin of gravity? How do I falsify a theory about the origin of energy? Many evolutionists I know haven’t even thought about such things as the origin of gravity. I guess they believe it just always was.

When they do consider a theory for the origin of anything they look for natural explanations because that is what they consider “scientific.” Why? There is no objective reason to do so. Some say it’s because only the natural explanations are testable but this reason fails because no theory on the origin of something like gravity is testable. The origin of gravity was a unique event of the past that cannot be repeated or observed. And, as I’ve sometimes said, if scientists don’t know how gravity began, how can they exclude the possibility that God created it? Certainly when you start with the axiom that everything must have a natural explanation, you will always arrive at a natural explanation.

Frankly, I can't understand their reasoning. If we don't know how something happened, how can anyone so firmly believe it wasn't a miracle? The obvious answer is that their belief system is such that only what is natural is real. Hence, they practice a dogmatic belief about things you cannot observe - a religion if you will. In this sense, evolution is as religious as creation. Alternatively, creation is at least as scientific as evolution.

It’s really that simple. When we firmly commit ourselves to beliefs that are ultimately unverifiable, we are exercising a sort of faith. I have decided that the Genesis account of creation is truly how we got here even though I can’t prove it. Others can cite all the “evidence” they have that we evolved and be firmly convinced that they are correct but I know they really can’t prove their position either. If they were truly honest, they would admit the same.

Now just because something happened in the past, it does not mean we cannot judge for ourselves if we believe the event is true or not. It merely means we are thwarted in our ability to observe, test, and repeat the supposed event. Of course, some theories about past events are more obvious than others. If I saw skid marks leading off the highway, through a field, leading to a mangled car wrapped around a tree, I would conclude that the car skidded off the road and hit the tree. I would believe that even though I didn’t see it happen. However, if an eyewitness to the event gave me a different explanation than the obvious one and the details at the scene can be interpreted in a way that supports the eyewitness's account, I might change my mind.

Now, to the creation of man (and everything else): We are here so obviously we had to come from somewhere (unless one claims that humans have always existed). Regardless of the precise process, there are at least two theories about how we got here: 1) We were created by some type of Designer or 2) we arrived via natural processes. As far as I see it, those are really my only options. So, I will consider both sides and decide which I believe is the truth.

The most reliable information we have of the past is what has been written down and preserved by the people who observed it. We cannot go back and observe the past. We can only find the writings and artifacts of those ancient people and study them in the present. In the case of creation, we do have an impeachable Witness to the event. He is infinite, omniscient, and omnipotent. He also has revealed to us how He created the world. So I have His word or I have the word of fallible men with finite knowledge and limited understanding who are speculating about events they did not witness.

Hmmm, I think I’ll take His word.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

As we reflect on the blessings God pours out on us, we sometimes tend to focus only on those good things God gives us. We thank God for our families, our health, our homes, our jobs, etc. What would happen if we no longer had these things? Would we no longer be thankful to God?

I’m reminded of those words God whispered to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12:9). The things of this world are fleeting: our health, our families, our jobs, and even our lives. I find joy in these things for a while but they aren’t what I’m most thankful for. I thank God for His grace.

Yes, I thank God for all the blessings He has given me but even without them all, His grace is sufficient.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Health Care Reform Made Amazingly Easy

So the new House version of the health care reform bill has been released and it’s a mere 1,990 pages long. You can read the entire thing in PDF here. Of course, when the bill is debated on the floor and new amendments are proposed, we can easily expect a few thousand more pages to be added. Later, when the Senate bill is unveiled, it’s likely to be equally voluminous and have its own tome of amendments. If both should be passed, the two houses will meet to “reconcile” the two bills and we’ll have would be a monstrous behemoth that will include every pet project ever imagined by Democrats. Health care reform is a liberal’s wet dream.

I may not be a legislator but it seems to me health care reform could be done in an amazingly simple way. I can give you the whole outline of it right here in a single blog post. Watch – I’ll show you:

You’ve got to ask yourself, “Why is health insurance so expensive?” The simple answer is because health care is so expensive. Duh! So, the first step in bring down health insurance cost is to bring down the cost of medical care. There are a couple of simple ways to lower the cost of health care.

The first way is through tort reform. Law suits against doctors and drug companies have run amuck. Lawyers are in the business of pedaling junk-science and convincing juries to award billions of dollars in bogus claims. The risk of litigation forces doctors to shell over tens of thousands of dollars every year in malpractice insurance premiums. Additionally, doctors often more care than they otherwise might have were it not for the possibility of litigation: more tests, more prescriptions, more of everything – “just in case.”

It’s hard to estimate how much could be saved from tort reform. Some studies have suggested the cost of litigation and defensive medicine accounts for 1/3 of health care costs. Considering that health care is around 17.6% of the GDP ($2.5 trillion), any reduction realized through tort reform could translate into billions of dollars of savings.

Another simple way to lower medical costs is to increase competition among service providers. Do you know how much a visit to the doctor costs? It’s no surprise that many people don’t know. Oh sure, most people can tell you what their co-pay is for a doctor’s visit but they don’t know what the total cost is because they never see it. They visit the doctor and the doctor sends a bill to their insurance company. That’s the way it is for nearly all our medical care. So when people shop for doctors or medical care, they choose doctors based on thing like friendliness, a convenient location, etc. People seldom consider what the doctor charges unless the doctor is not in their insurance network.

Because doctors often participate in insurance networks, an interesting thing happens – they don’t compete with other doctors to charge less. Instead, they charge whatever the insurance company agrees to pay. So if the insurance company says it will pay $100 for an office visit, the doctor will charge $100 for an office visit. There is no incentive for him to charge less. It’s almost a kind of price fixing.

So what if we made doctors compete for patients’ dollars? We could make insurance available only for catastrophic events and put a portion of the consumers’ premiums into a medical savings account. The patients would use the money in the account to pay for routine medical care with the understanding that they get to keep whatever isn’t spent. In this case, the patient is concerned if one doctor charges $100 and another only charges $75. Patients would begin shopping for medical care and doctors would have to compete with other doctors by lowering costs. And since competition always drives prices down, such a plan is bound to help reduce costs.

And speaking of competition, another easy fix would be to allow insurance companies to insure people across state lines. With more insurance companies competing in every state, the competition will help keep premiums down.

Finally, if the feds are truly interested in insuring the poor, let it be done in the form of tax credits where there is a means test on the recipients’ incomes. So, an individual making less than, say, $40,000 per year would receive a tax credit for the amount of money he spent on health care. Families could earn a higher dollar amount and still receive the tax credit. This way, the government is only spending money for those who need insurance and can’t afford it. Revamping the entire health care industry to offer coverage to only a few million people is akin to swatting flies with a bazooka.

So there you have it: health care reform in less than 1,000 words – not 2,000 pages. It has all the things a conservative likes: consumer choice, competition, and less government involvement. Unfortunately, these are the same reasons why no liberal would ever support it.