googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: June 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

What about my rights?

There isn't a law that says gay people can't marry. It's just that there hasn't been a law compelling everyone else to recognize a gay marriage.... until now.

You've probably already heard that the Supreme Court has just ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry nationwide. But I say again, whoever said they didn't have the right to marry? I don't know every law on the books in every state but I do know that most laws against sodomy were overturned years ago. There is no law, to my knowledge, that says same sex people can't marry. I'm sure they can find a pastor, have a ceremony, exchange vows, and live together happily ever after without fear of anyone from law enforcement knocking on their door and hauling them off to jail for it. Gay marriage isn't “illegal.”

Alas, gay couples weren't content with just having the right to marry. They also wanted everyone else to recognize their marriage as being legitimate. This ruling, then, doesn't free gays from some imagined shackles and finally allow them to marry. They already had that. Instead, it places shackles on me and forces me to acknowledge gay marriage as being normal. The ruling doesn't affect the 1-3% of people who are gay; it places a burden on the 97% plus of us who aren't.

So let's say I owned a piece of property and, because of my religious convictions, I did not want to rent it out to a gay couple? Then it's too bad for me. What if I, as a Christian business owner, did not want to spend money buying benefits for the gay spouse of my employee? Again, too bad for me. If I owned a catering company that doesn't want to cater a gay wedding, the gay couple is free to find someone who will. But that's not enough for them. They want to sue me. They want to use the law to force me to violate my religious convictions.

My right to exercise my religion is pushed to the back of the bus whenever a gay person wants to sit down. There wasn't a law against gay marriage but now there's a law that can close my business, take my property, and maybe put me in jail for standing by my religious beliefs. I've said it before and I'll say it again: liberals are tyrants!

When Jesus was asked about marriage, He said:

Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female... For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (Matthew 19:4-5)

God created marriage and He defined it as one man and one woman. I don't care what the Supreme Court says. I don't care what the gay community says. All the gay “couples” out there, listen to me very carefully: You're not married!!

So there! Sue me!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I'd say their theory is bird-brained but birds are smarter than that.

From a Scientific American article:

Darwin concluded that color differences between sexes in birds... result largely from female preference for bright colors in males. This general rule has received much support since Darwin's time, but other influences have also been noted. For example, females of species that are exposed to predators while incubating tend to have dull colors.

Sometimes I'm fascinated with how evolutionists' minds work. Secular scientists claim they go wherever the evidence leads. In practice, though, they only go where evolution can lead them. As we study birds, for example, they don't ask, “Why are some birds brightly plumed?” Instead they ask, “Why did bright plumage evolve?” Evolution is the paradigm through which they interpret the evidence. Therefore, their conclusions will always seem to support evolution. It's a vicious, circular argument.

Let's consider the quote from Scientific American. Their point is that bright feathers in male birds evolved because female birds are attracted to the bright feathers (known as sexual selection). At the same time, female birds have drab plumage because, during nesting, bright feathers would make them more visible to predators. In both cases, there seems to be an obvious survival benefit in having bright or drab feathers. The evidence, therefore, could be said to support evolution. This is a standard argument which I've heard made many times before. Such simple attempts to describe the origin of bright plumage sound plausible at first. However, I don't believe they can stand up to scrutiny. I see in them a host of unanswered questions.

First, explanations like this still don't answer why bright feathers evolved. I know what they're trying to say: that the male birds with the brightest feathers are the most successful in attracting mates so the brightest plumage is selected more often over the drab. But evolution is not a directed process. The desire for bright plumage does not cause bright plumage. That would be sort of like saying that dinosaurs evolved into birds because they wanted to fly. For females to select bright feathers in a mate, bright feathers must already be present in the population. If there is not bright plumage, sexual selection will not create them no matter how hot the hens think colorful feathers are!

This tactic of using the survival benefit of a feature as the explanation of why the feature evolved is prevalent in evolutionary philosophy. I wrote about this a while back after reading an evo-article that said crying evolved as a way for humans to garner sympathy from each other. No it didn't. Still, I hear stories like this all the time: lions evolved heavy manes to protect themselves while fighting. Giraffes evolved long necks so that they could reach the leaves at the tops of trees. Poisonous frogs evolved bright colors to warn away predators. The list goes on and on. It's about as ridiculous as believing that Michael Jordan grew tall in order to play basketball. Merely pointing out the survival benefit of a trait is not a sufficient explanation of how or why the trait evolved.

Another funny thing about these types of explanations is that they are so flexible that they can describe anything. Male birds evolved bright feathers to make themselves more attractive to females while females of the same species evolved drab feathers in order to make them less noticeable to predators. Wow! Members of the same species evolved completely opposite traits in exactly the same environments for completely different reasons.

I've also heard that humans evolved altruism because there is a survival benefit in a peaceful, cooperative community. Except, of course, when we express aggressive behaviors like fighting, raping, and killing each other. In that case, years of field research has taught us that we're acting the same way as our cousins, the chimpanzees. One story... er, I mean, “study,” says that we're monogamous because that insures the greatest chance of rearing our progeny to maturity; but another story says we're habitually unfaithful because our evolutionary success hinges upon leaving the greatest number of offspring.

I'm reminded too how often we hear that similar structures in different species are the result of shared ancestry – except when they're the result of convergent evolution. How predictive can any scientific theory be if it can be used to explain anything – even completely opposite results in the evolution of members of the same species?

Yet perhaps the funniest thing about the Scientific American's explanation is the seeming circular nature of it. Think about it: make birds evolved bright feathers because female birds are attracted to bright feathers. It's a tautology. The next question should be obvious: why are female birds attracted to bright feathers? If evolution were true, the preference for bright feathers is also an evolved trait. The evolution of bright feathers isn't necessary unless a preference for bright feathers had already evolved. Yet how could a preference for bright feathers evolve before there were bright feathers? What a pickle! And by the way, what survival benefit is there to the species for the female of a species to be attracted to the males who are the most visible to predators? That part of the equation isn't as neatly explained.

It's sad, really, that scientists waste their time inventing these “just so” stories that have no value as scientific theories and, frankly, don't even explain anything. They then foist these half-baked ideas upon the unsuspecting public and have the nerve to be appalled that lay people just don't understand evolution. Is this the kind of evolution Bill Nye believes kids need to learn in order to be good scientists?

Good morning, class. Today we're going to talk about bird evolution. Please turn off your critical thinking skills and don't ask any questions.”