googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: August 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

A lot of things seem to have evolved “earlier than thought”

I came across an interesting article titled “Fossil redefines mammal history.” The title struck me as funny because, over the years, I've read about many fossil finds that overturn previously held beliefs about evolution. I wrote a post about it nearly 4 years ago called, “Rethinking Evolution.” It's curious how scientists will find something that proves they were completely wrong about some cherished theory but no evidence, no matter how damning, will ever shake their faith in THE theory (the theory of evolution). In this case, scientists “know” placental and marsupial mammals are descended from a common ancestor; they simply haven't found the supposed common ancestor and neither do they know when it supposedly happened. They thought it was about 125 million years ago, but this find is dated (by their dating methods) to be 160 million years ago. I guess a 28% margin of error isn't enough to raise any doubts about the theory.

Let me say in advance that I didn't miss the part of the story that says the new find “sits more comfortably with what genetic studies have been suggesting....” I know that if I didn't mention that, some critic would accuse me of missing an important point. However, I was more struck by something else mentioned in the article. It was that it said the fossil showed the split occurred “much earlier” than thought. Hmmm. I've heard that phrase before. In fact, I hear it all the time. Just for fun, I did a Google search on the phrase “evolved 'earlier than thought'”. Here are a few of the 1.5 million hits I got:

Complex vision evolved earlier than thought

Fossil Shows Ants Evolved Much Earlier Than Thought

Human ancestors in Eurasia earlier than thought

New Evidence Shows Mobile Animals Could Have Evolved Much Earlier Than Previously Thought

"Lucy" Kin Pushes Back Evolution of Upright Walking?

Family tree of birds and crocodiles split earlier than thought

An earlier appearance for the first land plants

I wonder if any of these scientists ever stop to consider the bias their theory casts on the evidence. What if instead of saying, “evolved earlier than thought” we said, “existed much earlier than thought”? In the first headline above, try reading it as, “Complex vision already existed earlier than thought.” Does that cast a different light on the subject? I think it does. Let me show you:

From the first article, we read, “Scientists from the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide examined several 515 million-year-old fossils from Kangaroo Island and found they had highly evolved 'compound eyes' with more than 3000 lenses each.” As you read the rest of the article, it really doesn't say anything about how such complex eyes evolved; it just says they did. Neither does the article say anything about more primitive eyes found in direct ancestors. Assuming for a moment that I agreed with the “millions of years,” I would see this as evidence that even very ancient creatures already had very complex eyes. There's no “obvious progression from simple to complex” in the fossil record as evolutionists have suggested. Even the oldest creatures were already highly complex.

Every time I hear that something in the fossil record happened “earlier than expected” it further demolishes the idea that things ever evolved to be the way they are. When I hear, for example, that “birds and crocodiles split earlier than thought,” I'm not surprised because I believe that birds have always been birds and crocodiles have always been crocodiles. It's my hope that someday scientists will push the separate lineage of birds and crocodiles all the way to the beginning of creation and realize they were never related at all. Ants evolved earlier than thought? No, ants existed from the beginning! People used tools earlier than thought? Duh!, people used tools from the beginning! Land plants appeared earlier than thought? God made plants in the beginning!

Scientists are so blinded by their theory that they can't see the obvious conclusion that's staring them right in the face. These “dates” keep getting pushed back because these things have always existed together. Even humans lived much earlier than thought. Wouldn't it be a hoot if someday we read the headline, “New find shows humans lived with dinosaurs!”?

Monday, August 22, 2011

I See Dead Things

I've never seen the Grand Canyon personally but I hear it's... well, it's grand! It's considered one of the “Natural Wonders of the World” and I'm sure that to stand overlooking the canyon inspires awe in most people. Yet when I think about the canyon, I see dead things. In those layers of rock are millions of dead things all snuffed out and buried in a moment. From top to bottom, it's a fossil graveyard.

In the Grand Canyon, we have a stone monument attesting to God's wrath. It is the catastrophe of the Flood that formed the canyon. In that deluge, brought on by the wickedness of men, millions of creatures were buried. Every fossil we find tells us that God judges sin. Each one reminds us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). In every shovel of dirt that we turn over we find another affirmation that the Bible is true.

As we look out and see the physical evidence of God's judgment, we also should stop to consider, “If God destroyed the world because of sin, why are we here to see it?” Therein lies a paradox. It is only because Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Genesis 6:8) that we can be here now to see the evidence of His wrath. The same God Who judged the world, also provided salvation to Noah. Noah was delivered through the Flood in the Ark while all those outside of the Ark perished. So as we see the evidence of God's judgment, we simultaneously experience the evidence of His mercy.

It is as if we can see the gospel written in stone. I'm reminded of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem where He said that if the people did not praise Him, the stones themselves would cry out (Luke 19:40). Every fossil we find is another stone that cries out about our need of a Savior.

God hasn't changed. He still judges sin and the penalty for sin is still death. And even now, God has provided a deliverance from judgment – Jesus Christ. All those who are in Christ have salvation. All of those who are outside of Christ face destruction.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are Amino Acids the Building Blocks of Life?

A few months back, published this “spectacular” headline: Building blocks of life created in impossible place. The first sentence of the article reads, NASA-funded scientists have discovered amino acids, a fundamental building block of life, in a meteorite where none were expected.” If you do a Google search on “amino acids building blocks of life,” you'll get about 1.4 million hits. Amino acids are so fundamental to life, anytime scientists find some created “naturally,” it's headline news. They're sure that where there are amino acids, life can begin.

About 50 years ago, two scientists named Miller and Urey conducted what has been called the classic “origin of life” experiment. “Miller took molecules which were believed to represent the major components of the early Earth's atmosphere and put them into a closed system. The gases they used were methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), hydrogen (H2), and water (H2O). Next, he ran a continuous electric current through the system, to simulate lightning storms believed to be common on the early earth. Analysis of the experiment was done by chromotography. At the end of one week, Miller observed that as much as 10-15% of the carbon was now in the form of organic compounds. Two percent of the carbon had formed some of the amino acids which are used to make proteins.” 1

The Miller-Urey experiment has been cited in high school biology textbooks for decades. It's somewhat hypocritical of them to do so because every time a creationist asks about the origin of life, the retort is usually to say, “that's not part of evolution.” For something that is not supposed to be a part of their theory, biology textbooks have given a lot of ink to the subject. The obvious reason they mention the experiment is to suggest that if amino acids can form naturally, we have made the first step in discovering the origin of the supposed first life form.

The Miller-Urey experiment has been critiqued one a variety of grounds. Scientists disagree on the supposed composition of the primordial atmosphere. Also, the amino acids produced were a mixture of left and right handed amino acids when right handed only are needed. The experiment was never really considered a seriously close attempt at creating life in a test tube.

But let's be generous for a moment. Let's suppose that the conditions of the experiment closely matched earth's original atmosphere. Further, let's suppose that the amino acids were the right handed variety necessary for life. Even if all that is true, how close are we really to discovering the origin of life? Think about this: amino acids are the building blocks of life in the same way that rocks are the building blocks of the pyramids. So, if I find rocks lying around naturally, then couldn't a wind storm arrange them into a pyramid? If aluminum is the building blocks of an airplane, then couldn't a tornado whip up a 747? If trees are the building blocks of homes, then couldn't a log cabin form naturally under just the right conditions?

You see, life is not about substance – it's about organization. Finding amino acids on a meteor and believing they can be arranged naturally to create life is more absurd than believing rocks could naturally arrange themselves to make the pyramids. The pyramids are considered one of the wonders of the world yet DNA is far more complex. Why is it then, that people can seriously believe life began naturally yet simultaneously understand that the pyramids required builders?

Some people say creationists believe in a “God of the gaps.” That is, we invoke divine intervention where ever there is a lack of understanding. However, understanding that complexity is evidence for design isn't about what I don't know – it's about what I do know. I know that planes are built and not just a natural arrangement of aluminum. I know that the pyramids were built and not just a natural arrangement of stone. I know that log cabins are built and not just a natural arrangement of wood. I know that the more complex something is, the less likely it is to have been an accident.

A rock is just a rock. It takes purpose and design to build something out of it. I'm not impressed about finding amino acids on a meteor. I know that it take purpose and design to build something out of it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Evolution? Impossible!

I have sometimes thought about making short videos for Youtube or adding my own videos to my blog but I've rejected the idea for a variety of reasons. Maybe sometime I will but, in the meantime, there are already a ton of good videos already on Youtube. The problem is, you have to wade through a bunch of junk to find them.

Anyway, the good folks at Answers in Genesis have put together a short video that does a pretty good job of summing up some fundamental flaws in evolution. I've included it here for your review. It's only about 2 1/2 minutes long and it's a good watch. I'm sure a lot of people have a lot to say about it (rather, say against it) but keep in mind that it's supposed to raise some points that can be used by laypeople and not be a college lecture.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Yahoo! Is a Bunch of Liberals

I noticed a few years back that Yahoo! seemed to exhibit some left-leaning tendencies. For example, I mentioned in one blog how Yahoo! Movies seemed to conspicuously not print reviews to pro-Christian or conservative movies. Since then, I've seen a few other examples but I haven't made a big deal about it. Just recently, though. I've been a personal victim of their political correctness.

I occasionally post answers on Yahoo! Answers. Sometimes it gives me inspiration for an idea to write on my blog. Often, the questions are things I've already answered on my blog so I'll copy and paste what I've already written. That's exactly what I did a few weeks ago when someone asked the question, “What are the reasons that gay-marriage should be illegal?”

I have written on this subject a couple of times but when I replied to this question, I copied and pasted a post I'd written called, “Is there a 'Right' to be Gay? I won't rehash my points here but I invite you to read it for yourself. Certainly, I'm opinionated but I ask you, was I mean? Did I use any gay slurs? Didn't the question directly ask for reasons that gay marriage should be illegal? Of course I addressed that but my answer was really more about the origin of rights than about gays. I just leveraged gay rights as an example.

Well, Yahoo! Answers seems to think the answer was in violation of their “community guidelines”. It seems someone “reported” my post and Yahoo! agreed so they promptly removed it – right after it had been voted as “Best Answer”! They weren't specific about how my answer was in violation of the policy. They merely said,“This answer has been removed. You may not have realized this, but all answers submitted on Yahoo! Answers must comply with the Answers Community Guidelines.”

Some of the “forbidden practices” include:
1) Venting, ranting or using hate speech
2) Chatting or otherwise violating the question-and-answer format
3) Being mean or obscene
4) Exploiting the community
5) Cheating
6) Violating the law
7) Behaving maliciously
8) Misusing Answers
9) Doing harm
Hmmm. Some of those are pretty subjective but I honestly can't see how my reply violated any of them. Someone asked why gay marriage should be illegal and I answered. I didn't vent, rant, chat, or use obscenities. I answered the question. It just looks like someone didn't like that I actually believed gay marriage should be illegal and so he reported me. Perhaps simply being conservative qualifies as “hate speech”?

It offered me the option to appeal which I did. It warned me that a failed appeal will cost me 10 “points” but the points don't really mean anything. What I was a little more concerned about was the warning they have posted:
Violating the Community Guidelines may result in the termination of your Answers account without warning. In extreme cases, violations may result in the termination of your Yahoo! ID, and consequently, access to all other Yahoo! services.
That seems somewhat severe, don't you think? If people don't like my opinion they can black-list me? I hope they don't find my blog! I guess it's a good thing it's hosted by Google, huh? I have a few Yahoo! email addresses that I use for various things. It would be a pain if I were blocked from them. On the other hand, given the direction that Yahoo! seems to be heading, maybe I should have been rid of them a long time ago.