googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Back on 2012

Many news sources at this time of year publish “Top 10” lists looking back on notable events of the past year. Many of these lists are lighthearted or, at the very least, try to reflect on some of the more positive events of the expiring year. I'm not saying that nothing good has happened in 2012 but as I look back, this year seems to have brought many challenges to the Church. I hate to throw a wet blanket on everyone's New Year celebrations, but here are a few things Christians need to think about and pray for in 2013.

Gay Marriage

Chick-fil-A CEO, Dan Cathy, suffered much political persecution after his personal endorsement of traditional marriages. In a less publicized story, Matt Grubbs, owner of Maryland based, Discover Annapolis Tours, has decided to close shop rather than facing a pointless legal battle with Maryland's Commission on Civil Rights because Discover Annapolis Tours does not offer its services to same sex couples. These are not isolated cases. More and more Christian business owners are discovering that their right to exercise their faith is subservient to an unenumerated right to be gay.

The tide is turning in America concerning gay marriage. In November, Maine and Maryland became the first states to approve gay marriage by popular vote, breaking a 32-state streak where gay marriage has already been defeated at the ballot box. In some states where gay marriage was defeated in referendum, it has still been foisted upon the people by activist courts or liberal legislatures. Nine states now allow same sex marriage.

Obamacare

Christian owned businesses have also found their right to practice their religion is being infringed upon by The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly called “Obamacare”). In an editorial last January, Catholic Bishop, David Zubik, detailed how the new health care law violates Catholic doctrine by forcing Catholic owned organization to pay for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs as part of its healthcare benefit their employees.

The new law doesn't just effect Catholics. Any Christian who owns a business will be forced to offer these services to their employees regardless of his or her religious conviction.

The Obama administration has set forth guidelines in a weak attempt to defend the religious liberties of Christian businesses but they are so narrow they basically do not exempt anyone except churches.

By the way, since when does the government get to decide which organizations are religious enough to practice their faith?

The DNC Booed God

More and more often, we see God being pushed out of public discourse. Prayer has long since been removed from schools along with the 10 Commandments. High school commencement speeches are scrubbed and censored to insure no student makes any mention of God. In general, any mention of God in the public arena risks swift reprisal from the ACLU or the Americans for the Separation of Church and State.

The recent election shed light on the current administration's attitude toward people of faith. The Democrat platform conspicuously omitted any mention of God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (both of which had been included in the platform in previous elections). Having long been seen as the anti-God party already, the Democrats soon realized that omission was a little too blatant and moved to amend the platform and add the words. A voice vote was taken and the motion did not seem to have the required number of “aye” votes to be adopted. In an awkward moment of indecisiveness, former Governor, Ted Strickland, deemed the motion had passed which prompted a round of boos from the delegates.

On September 5, 2012, Democrats booed God!

Mass Shootings

2012 was spotted with tragic murders in Colorado and Connecticut. The senseless events serve to remind us that evil is real. John 16:33 tells us that in this fallen world there will be tribulation but we can have peace in Jesus.

These sad events have been made even more unfortunate as political opportunists have shamelessly used them as leverage to infringe upon our God given right to own guns. The war on God includes attacks on our liberties.

IN CONCLUSION...

There were many things that happened in 2012 that I could discuss now but I don't mean this to be an exhaustive list. Neither am I saying that these are the “top” events of that past 12 months. I've merely given these few examples to put the past year into perspective.

The New Year is usually a time for celebration and optimism. People see it as a turning of the page – an opportunity to start over on the right foot. I'm not trying to take away from any of that. Instead, I want people to think about some goals we could have for 2013 that might be a little more important than losing weight or going to the gym.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Explaining Away Design


Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?
Mark 8:18

There's an old, 70's song that says, “Signs, signs, everywhere a sign.” I think the evidence for creation is kind of like that song; everywhere we look, we see evidence of design. It's blatantly obvious. The complex and orderly universe seems far more likely the consequence of an intelligent mind and purpose rather than the purposeless, random origin offered by secular science.

Organization is always evidence for design. If I found a small pile of stones stacked in the shape of a pyramid, I do not need to have seen it built to know that it's the product of design. The organized arrangement of stones is all the evidence I need to know there was a builder because organization always implies purpose and intent. Always! When we look at nature, we see design everywhere and design always implies a designer.

Have you ever heard an expression like, “Cheetahs are built for speed” or “Bird wings are remarkably well designed for flying”? Most of the time, when evolutionists use these words, they don't really mean to say these things are actually designed. Yet intended or unintended, they are admitting there is an apparent design in nature. A tired complaint I hear from evolutionists is that there is no evidence for creation. Evidence for design is everywhere but evolutionists refuse to see it because of their circular reasoning. That is, they've interpreted evidence according to their theory and now they can only see their theory in the evidence. To them, a fossil can't be evidence for creation because it's evidence for evolution. As a consequence, they refuse to see some of the most compelling evidence for creation even when it is right before their eyes.

Note that I said, “they refuse to see it” and not that they can't see it. Richard Dawkins, wrote about this very thing in his book, The Blind Watchmaker. In the book, he said, “The complexity of living organisms is matched by the elegant efficiency of their apparent design. If anyone doesn’t agree that this amount of complex design cries out for an explanation, I give up.”

It's been my experience that the most obvious answer to nearly any question is usually the correct one. You may have heard the old joke, “Why do firemen wear red suspenders?” The answer is, “To keep their pants up” but what makes the joke funny is that people will sometimes look for an answer other than the obvious one. That's what's going on here.

Question: Why does everything look designed?
Answer: Because it's designed!

Evolutionists may be blind and foolish, but most of them aren't stupid. They know the obvious implication of design. Yet not only do they refuse to accept design as evidence for creation, they also go to great lengths to explain to others why they too should not make that reasonable conclusion.

Julian Huxley said, Organisms are built as if purposefully designed, and work as if in purposeful pursuit of a conscious aim. But the truth lies in those two words 'as if.' As the genius of Darwin showed, the purpose is only an apparent one.”

That's just a fancy way of telling people, “I know everything looks designed but it only looks that way. It really isn't.” Huxley could see design. He knew that the most reasonable implication of design is the “purposeful pursuit of a conscious aim.” Nevertheless, he boldly denounced the obvious and correct answer.

Another shameless example of explaining away design comes from Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA. Crick said, Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see is not designed, but rather evolved.”

Gee. How more conspicuous can anyone be? Crick is overtly saying, “I know it looks designed but keep telling yourself everything evolved!”

Evolutionists go to great lengths to explain away design but the more they explain, the more they prove my point. They would not put in such effort if they didn't grasp the clear implication of design is that there is a Designer. It's almost funny to see how they reject the most reasonable answer for such an unlikely one. It's like they're saying, “No! The red suspenders do NOT keep their pants up!” 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Go Tell It on the Mountain!


And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
Luke 2:15-17

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy End of the World

I wrote this in advance and scheduled it to be published today just in case I'm not here. After all, if the world ends today like everyone is saying, I might not be here to write anything and I can't let such an event go by without commenting on it!

I've not followed the Mayan calendar controversy too closely so maybe I'm a little fuzzy on the details. When I first heard about it, I was under the impression that the Mayans had prepared a calendar that accurately calculated dates far into the future. I had heard that the calendar abruptly stopped at 12/21/2012 which led many to believe that was the day the world ended. My first thought when I heard about it was that the calendar had to end sometime, right? I can just imagine these ancient chronographers (what is the correct term for someone who makes calendars?) working their fingers to the bone writing these calendars that extended far beyond their own life times. They pause and reflect a moment on their work and have this conversation:

MAYAN #1: How far into the future are we?
MAYAN #2: December 21, 2012.
MAYAN #1: That's far enough. Let's just stop here.

It seems to me that just because the calendar ended, it's not a good reason to believe it's because they believed the world is going to end on that date.

After having read a little more about the controversy, I saw there was a little more to it. A CNN story talked about a wooden tablet inscribed with a cryptic phrase talking about the end of an era and the heralding of a new one. That doesn't sound like the end of the world to me. It could be describing the winter solstice which happens on the same day.

But when did the Mayans become an oracle that predicts the future, anyway? Why do we give their beliefs any weight at all? I decided I had to consult a more trusted source so I asked the online, Magic 8 Ball its opinion. I've snipped an image of its answer for everyone to see:


I guess that confirms it. Both the Mayans and the Magic 8 Ball agree – it's the end of the world! But wait a minute... I asked if the world would end tomorrow (remember, I'm writing this in advance) and it said, “Outlook not so good.” Does that mean it doesn't look good that the world will end? If so, that would mean the world really won't end. What a relief!

I trust the Magic 8 Ball about as much as I trust the Mayans which isn't much. If you want to know the future, you need to consult the Book that is the final authority on any subject it addresses – the Bible.

The Bible records a conversation Jesus had with His disciples where they had asked Him about the end of the world. Matthew 24:3 says, And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

Jesus told them many signs and events that would prelude His return but He concluded His remarks with the following words:

But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)

There's been a lot of misunderstanding about this chapter of Matthew and I intend to write about it sometime. However, v. 36 leaves little room for interpretation. The day of Jesus' return has not been revealed.

There's a lot going on in the news and Christmas is upon us so I regret having to take up valuable posting time on fanciful speculation but I felt I had a duty to at least mention this event that is certain to be a buzz all day. I'll be back to my usual topics presently – the end of the world notwithstanding.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Shepherd That Missed Out

I've always wondered how some Christians can claim to believe the Bible when they seem to let science trump the clear words of Scripture.  Whenever they see a conflict between science and Scripture, they question the Bible first.  In the creation/evolution debate, these same people are certain that "science" has proven the Bible wrong so they reinterpret Scripture to force it to comport with "science."  

Sometimes, I want to ask these people when do miracles occur?  Did God really flood the world?  Was Jesus born of a virgin?  Did He really rise from the dead?  If science is to be the greater authority than Scripture, then Jesus becomes rather mundane.  There are some who might say that Jesus was a great teacher, but a non-miraculous Jesus could not have been a good teacher.  Before He raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25).  If there is no resurrection, then His comment seems rather absurd.  On what grounds could He be considered a good teacher? If a person claims he can perform miracles but truly can't, then he deserves our pity and not our worship.

It's sad that people claim to believe the Bible but refuse to believe in miracles.  They must believe in some other god rather than the One who is Lord over His creation.  They don't know what they're missing!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Second Amendment: It's Not About the Right to Hunt

In the wake of the Connecticut tragedy, as was in the case of other mass shootings, there is a lot of talk about gun control. It's unfortunate that people will exploit such an event for political purposes but they do. In 2009, there were 12,632 homicides by firearms (about 34 per day). Of course, many of those deaths are related to drug and gang violence but in the CT shooting, the victims were innocent children. So even though there are shooting deaths every day, it's easier to use the events in CT to stir up outrage against the seemingly increasing violent consequences of gun ownership. But such a blatant appeal to emotion is not the point of my post today.

In an apparent attempt to show sympathy and respect for the victims of the shooting, some sporting goods stores, like Dick's Sporting Goods, has suspended the sale of all semi-automatic rifles. Since they are a privately owned business, they have the right to decide what they want to sell and not sell. This is not the government pulling guns off their shelves; it's their own decision so I'm OK with it. I do, however, question the wisdom of it. By suspending the sale of certain rifles, they may send the message that there is something wrong with those rifles. However, neither is this the point of my post.

Those who oppose the private ownership of guns use several approaches to restrict their use. Some would like to see an outright ban on any gun but such a radical move cannot be accomplished in one stroke. Therefore, they seek to disarm us incrementally. For example, they want to ban certain “military style,” “assault” rifles. The Bushmaster, used in the CT shooting, fires a .22 caliber round. I'm not aware of any military in the world that issues a .22 caliber rifle so it could hardly be called a military rifle. It only looks like a military rifle and liberals hope the undiscerning masses don't understand the difference.

There has also been much discussion concerning high capacity magazines. I've heard some people make the argument that there is no legitimate, sporting reason to have a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds. The Bushmaster's magazine will hold 30 rounds so it can be fired 30 times without reloading.  Since the Bushmaster is used primarily in competition shooting, it's convenient in practice, when people are firing hundreds of rounds at targets, to have to reload less often. In hunting, the Bushmaster is not likely to be anyone's first choice. A rifle with a 30 round clip is too heavy and awkward to lug around in the woods.

But whether or not there is a legitimate sporting reason to have assault-looking rifles or high capacity magazines is all beside the point. The second amend guarantees our right to own guns – not to hunt and not to have shooting competitions. Read the second amendment for yourself:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The reason the founding fathers wanted to protect our right to own guns is overtly stated in the text: they believed a militia was necessary to maintain a free state. Let's face it, it's harder to oppress a citizenry that is armed. 

Now, some people have interpreted the term “well regulated militia” to mean that the Constitution was guaranteeing the right of the military to own guns. That's absurd. The Bill of Rights are specifically intended to protect the rights of individuals and to restrict the powers of the government.  Are we really expected to believe the second amendment was written to prevent the government from infringing on the government's right to have guns?

When the Bill of Rights was written, the US had just won its independence from England because it was able to overthrow Britain through the use of arms. Not wanting to ever subject the People to tyranny again – even tyranny from the fledgling US government – the founding fathers promised they would never take guns away from the People. Yet here we are, 200 years later, listening to despots who are anxious to take away our guns.

I think, too, that we need to carefully consider the wording of the second amendment. Some people believe it's the second amendment that gives us our right to bear arms. Actually, the amendment presupposes that right and prevents the government from infringing upon it. Notice that it doesn't say, “the people will have the right to bear arms.” Instead, it says that the right to bears arms will not be infringed. According to the Declaration of Independence, rights are given by the Creator and it's the role of the government to protect our God given rights. The second amendment acknowledges the right to use arms to defend oneself and promises that the government shall not intrude upon that already existing right. Repealing the second amendment does not take away our right to bear arms – it only removes our protection from a tyrannical government if it decides to take away our guns!

Liberals are tyrants. They're despots. I've said before they want a peasant class to reign over and gun control is simply another link in the chain they wish to use to bind us. Unarmed peasants are far easier to oppress. They don't care about our right to hunt; they're worried about our ability to resist.

I realize as I write this that some people will think I'm some fringe, militant nut. They might believe I have a bunker dug out in my basement where I'm just waiting for anarchy to begin. Let me say that I don't have any sort of Patrick Henry complex. I'm not calling people to arms (literally). I'm simply trying to wake people up to the fact that tyranny is real and liberty is something that must be zealously guarded. Any little threat to liberty must be beaten back.  Our first line of defense is the first amendment and I'm using my blog to bring the threats to light (we'll talk another time about liberal threats to the first amendment).

Tragic events like what happened in CT can cloud our judgment. We need a cooling off period before we react. Should we mourn? Certainly! Should we looks for ways to prevent similar tragedies? Absolutely! But if I may borrow the wisdom of Ben Franklin, we shouldn't give away liberty in the pursuit of safety or we'll end up with neither.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Remembering the Connecticut Victims


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

Revelation 21:1-8

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Big Bang Theory v. The Big Bang Theory: which is funnier?

OK. I'll admit it. I watch the TV show, The Big Bang Theory. If you can look past the gratuitous sex, the frequent jabs at religion, and the ubiquitous, dysfunctional parent/child relationships, it's really funny. It's a show written by nerds, about nerds, and for nerds. Recently, I was watching some short clips from the show on YouTube and came across this knee-slapper.


It's funny on so many levels. Of course, it's funny for the obvious reason – the intended punchline of the joke. However, I saw something else humorous in it that likely wasn't intended:

In the debate on origins, the question often comes down to the ultimate origin of matter. Where did everything come from? The Big Bang theory (the scientific theory – not the TV show) has no explanation for the origin of matter. It merely proposes that all matter once existed in a single point without explaining where the matter came from. Such an explanation can't quite satisfy the curious mind. Merely assuming the existing of matter is no more scientific than saying, “God did it.”

Consistent with their “natural-only” worldview, some people suggest a quantum origin of matter. They would have us believe that matter literally poofed into existence. It wasn't caused or created. It just became – without purpose or design.

I think the people who propose such an incredible “non-cause” for the origin of matter are seldom in earnest. They simply have nothing else to which they can resort. Could it be that naturalists hope people will be so intimidated by the weighty, scientific principles of quantum physics that they won't see the absurdity of believing the universe just poofed into existence?

Penny's joke was funny because the physicist believed the odds of a pretty girl poofing into existence in one quantum leap is more likely than a real girl being interested in him. In the real world, secular scientists believe that the universe poofing itself into existence sounds more credible and likely than the purposeful design of an omnipotent Creator.

I can't decide which is funnier, the show or the theory.  At least the show it trying to be funny.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

No XXX IMAGES Found Here!

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20)

I've heard before that the most frequently searched websites on the net are porn sites. It's sad that we've created such a powerful tool and many people abuse it only to slake their own lusts. However, as we see in Genesis, God sometimes uses people's evil motives to accomplish good things.

The Statcounter I installed a few years back provides me with a lot of useful information. Besides showing me how many visitors I receive and which posts they viewed, it also shows me how they found my blog. To my surprise, one visitor found my blog while searching for porn. The Google search phrase, “Humiliation porn pictures” landed him on my post, “Photo Gaffe or Major Porn Humiliation?” Isn't that funny?


I'm not sure if the visitor read my post but I hope he did. I hope he visits again. My objective in writing is to take God's message to the world and that would include reaching more people like him.

Other people have found my blog in unusual ways but I never suspected that my blog would pop up in a porn search. Wouldn't it be great if it did every time? Maybe I should add some clever key words in my blog description. I could say something, “A Sure Word: using the net for something other than FREE PORN” or “A Sure Word: no XXX IMAGES FOUND HERE!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

And Now a Word from the Fringe

I know that one should never judge a group by the stupid remarks of one individual in the group so I'm not going to do that. I will, however, print the stupid remarks of one evolutionist for the sole reason that they're just funny! I found this gem on Yahoo! Answers:

Creationists: Don't you get that even if creationism was true we'd still have to go with evolution?


You see, how does creationism help biology?

Unlike evolution creationism doesn't make predictions. And it just so happens that evolution does and its predictions are stunningly accurate, like that females should be more discriminating than males about their sexual partners. Across cultures we find this to be the case.

Even if creationism was true we'd still have to treat it as if it's false because it doesn't make predictions. Science builds predictive models and evolution happens to be very accurately predictive even if it wasn't true. You use the model that gives you the best predictions.

Don't you get that evolution wins even if it somehow was false?

Do I need to explain why this is funny? It's funnier than any caricature I could have made up about evolutionists.

Unfortunately, this isn't the only time I've heard something like this. On other occasions, I've had evolutionists say something like, even if creation is true, we couldn't teach it in schools because it isn't “scientific”; that is, it doesn't provide a natural explanation as required by science. What they really mean is that creation doesn't provide the natural explanation required by secular scientists who cannot provide a logical reason as to why they only accept natural explanations.

Another curious thing I've noticed when I read crazy things like this, is that other evolutionists - though they might not be quick to agree with them - also do not rush to condemn them. I suspect mainstream evolutionists know how insanely absurd these comments are so they won't tarnish their own credibility by endorsing them. However, with their silence, they tacitly approve of the comments being made.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The War on Poverty? It's a War on the Poor!

In 1964, President Johnson declared a War on Poverty.  In a special message to congress, he said,for the first time in our history, it is possible to conquer poverty.” It sounds well intentioned but how has it worked out?  When he spoke those words, 10.5% of Americans between 18-64 lived in poverty. After 50 years and $15 trillion spent in the war on poverty, we've driven the number of impoverished Americans in that same demographic down to... 10.1%.

Wow! All that time and money wasted and it barely made a dent.

If that doesn't demonstrate the utter failure of the war on poverty, here's an even more alarming statistic: according to the Senate Budget Committee, "If you divide total federal and state spending by the number of households with incomes below the poverty line, the average spending per household in poverty was $61,194 in 2011" (source).

Why is it that we're spending all this money yet still not ending poverty? There's a very simple reason that liberals just can't grasp. Here it is: you don't help poor people by just giving them things! It's really that simple.

Just recently, a tourist snapped photo of a police officer giving socks and boots to a homeless man then posted it on Facebook. It quickly turned into an icon of charitable giving and the well meaning police officer became an instant celebrity. For the last couple of days, I've hardly been able to turn on the news or surf the net without hearing liberals gushing over what they consider to be a heroic act of kindness.


Of course, we've since learned this particular “homeless” person might not be a good example of the typical poor person. The ultimate cause of his poverty is more likely mental illness rather than a lack of means. But never mind that for a moment. Let's say that everything we had assumed about the poor fellow when we saw him barefoot on the street, turned out to be true. How exactly would the friendly police officer's kind gesture have helped him? He still would have been homeless. He still would have had to beg. At best, he would have simply been a little more comfortable as he lived on the streets, begging.  It sounds about as charitable as giving him a new cardboard box to live in.

There's an old Chinese saying: If you give a man a fish, you've fed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you've fed him for his lifetime. There's not usually a lot I would recommend we learn from the Chinese but, in this case, I think they're on to something. Giving somebody a bite to eat doesn't solve their lack of food problem; it merely sustains them until they're hungry again.

The liberal solution to poverty is to give every poor person a fish each day. Such a solution doesn't do anything to eliminate poverty - it only perpetuates poverty. Giving able bodied people food stamps doesn't make them able to provide for themselves – it only makes them dependent on the food stamps. What's worst is that it robs people of their dignity. We are treating grown men and women like infants who must be cared for – and many of them learn to expect it! Some people actually think they deserve charity.  It's known as the "entitlement" mentality.

The way to help the poor is to stop perpetuating their poverty. Stop treating people like infants by giving them everything. Good parents teach their kids to feed themselves. They teach their kids to poop in the toilet. They teach their kids to tie their own shoes and dress themselves. When children learn these lessons, they can stop wearing diapers and start learning how to become adults themselves someday. Only cruel parents do everything for their kids. As a result, they raise brats.

The ultimate cure for poverty is work. Duh! Proverbs 6:6 says, Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” If a person is able-bodied, he should work. If he works, he can provide for himself. He can feed himself. He can shelter himself. If a person can take care of himself, he doesn't need to be taken care of. He will no longer need welfare, or food stamps, or section 8 housing, or government assistance of any kind. He can stop being infantile and start having dignity.

Jesus said we would always have poor people among us (Matthew 26:11) so we can never completely eliminate poverty but if we want to reduce poverty, we need to get people to work. We need to stop punishing employers with higher taxes and more regulations, and create an environment that encourages industry. We need to start giving people the skills that make them attractive to employers. And above everything else, we need to stop subsidizing poverty.

The war on poverty is actually a war on the poor and the recipients of government subsidies are victims. I know why liberals have declared war on poor people. It's because they're despots and can only stay in power by oppressing the masses. They want to bring back the caste system so they can reign over a society of peasants. Liberals don't really care for the poor. There's no way. They hate poor people so much that they make them beg!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Isaiah 43:10: Ye are My Witnesses

How do we go about being His witnesses?  Are we supposed to merely live by the word or to also share it with others?  That was the discussion in this video where a tearful woman confronts a street preacher.  I think the preacher nails it.



Jesus said the world hated Him because He testified against it and said its deeds were evil (John 7:7).  This woman seems to believe that if the world hates you, then you're doing something wrong.  I say that if the world loves you then you're doing something wrong.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Drake Equation: It Might Sound Good on Paper


Evolutionists are believers in junk science. I've know it for a long time yet I've never become used to their level of absurdity. These people, who claim to be the epitome of scientific inquiry and objective thinking, should simply resign themselves to the fact that they are producing science fiction and not actually practicing science.

Have you heard of the Drake Equation? According to Wiki, it's “a mathematical equation used to estimate the number of detectable extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy.” The formula has been around since 1961, but in spite of decades of searching for extraterrestrial life, the actual number we've detected remains at zero. Of course, secular scientists remain undaunted. Their theory virtually demands there be extraterrestrial life so they continue under the delusion that the universe teems with alien civilizations and the Drake Equation is a way to estimate just how many there might be. From Wiki:

The Drake equation states that:

N = R* · fp · ne · fe · fi · fc · L

where:
N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible (i.e. which are on our current past light cone);
and
R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fe = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space
Now, I'm a firm believer in probability. In a recent post, I discussed the Law of Large Numbers where I explained that, given a large enough sample, we can predict the outcome with uncanny certainty. However, we can still calculate probability even in small samples. Consider a deck of cards: I know that there is a 1 in 52 chance of drawing the ace of spades at random. I know there is a 1 in 13 chance of drawing an ace of any suit. I also know there is a 1 in 4 chance of drawing any spade. I am able to calculate the odds because I know the number of cards in the deck, the number of aces, and the number of spades. As we read through the Drake Equation, though, we see a lot of variables have unknown values. How should we go about finding the probability of them? Let's look at a few.

R* is the rate of star formation per year in our galaxy. That's curious. What is the observed number of stars being formed each year? Would it surprise you to know that, even with all our advanced technology, we've never once observed a star ignite? We've seen many extinguished but none formed. Not one time. Ever! So the actual observed rate of star formation per year is zero. Since the rest of the formula is multiplying by R*, the product is necessarily zero but let's look at a few of the other variables for the fun of it.

fe is the fraction of habitable planets that actually go on to develop life at some point. Now that's funny. We've never once observed life formed spontaneously. Not one time. Ever! So how do we estimate the fraction the planets that would develop life? If we apply the scientific standard of observable and repeatable, then this variable must also be zero. That is the only scientifically valid possibility. Any value other than zero assigned to this variable is merely fanciful speculation.

If we understand the value of fe to be zero, then fi and fc must necessarily be zero as well. After all, if life does not form, then neither will intelligent life nor technology. Once again, any value other than zero assigned to these variables are merely invention. Any other value that scientists assign to these variables does not have any basis in science.

Drake himself assigned some crazy values to these variables. He estimate that 1 star per year has been formed over the life of the galaxy (remember, we've observed zero). He estimated that 1/5 to 1/2 will have planets and stars with planets will have between 1 and 5 planets capable of supporting life (we've actually discovered extra-solar planets so I'll not press this point). Here's where he really looses it: he says that 100% of planets capable of supporting life will not only evolve life but will also evolve intelligent life. Ha! We've never observed abiogenesis and he claims it happened on every planet that could support life. When it's all said and done, Drake believed there are between 1,000 and 100,000,000 civilizations in our galaxy! Incredible!! We've observed none and he believes there could be 100 million.

How does this kind of stuff not get laughed at by the rest of the scientific community? Where is “peer review” and critical examination? Where is going wherever the evidence leads? Are we really supposed to believe there is evidence for even a single, extraterrestrial civilization (never mind many)? This is obviously a case of having a conclusion then looking for the evidence to support it.

OK, I admit that Drake has his critics. However, a belief in extraterrestrial life is mainstream in the scientific community. Sagan, Dawkins, Hawking, and many others have all endorsed it. They have endorsed it without a shred of scientific evidence for it. They believe it merely out of faith in their theory. So even though some scientists might nit pick at Drake's equation, they will never dismiss his premise outright because they are too invested in the crackpot idea of ET.

The Drake equation might sound good on paper but it's no more scientific than an episode of Gene Roddenberry's, Star Trek. Drake might as well have calculated the odds of discovering Vulcan.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Abiogenesis is Not Science


In my last post, I spent a good deal of time explaining that even events of the past can only be studied scientifically in the present. The past cannot be repeated but many mundane events can be repeated so even if we can't repeat one, particular event, we can still compare it to similar events that we can observe. For example, comparing fingerprints of suspects to the fingerprints found at a crime scene is a scientific method that can be repeated and tested even though any particular crime cannot be repeated. However, if some event were absolutely unique – that is, it happened only once and nothing like it has ever happened since – then how could we study it? We can't, scientifically. If something were unobserved and if there is no way to repeat it, in simply cannot be examined with a scientific method that demands repeatability. Therefore, such an event is outside of the realm of scientific inquiry.

I believe Abiogenesis is such an event. Abiogenesis has never been observed. Ever. It not only does not occur in nature, we have also not been able to create life in a lab.  If it happened, we missed it.  Neither have we ever seen anything like it.  Any idea about how it happened is merely speculation.  It's a guess.  There is no scientific "theory" of abiogenesis.

Once upon a time, people believed in such a thing as “spontaneous generation.” They believed that maggots simply sprang out of rotting meat and mice were born out of bags of grain. They eventually discovered the true origins of these higher forms of life but the belief in the spontaneous generation of “simple” organisms – like an amoeba – endured to the time of Darwin.

Louise Pasteur challenged the idea of spontaneous generation and tested supposed examples where people believed it occurred. He discovered that when water clouded, it was because of the multiplication of microscopic organisms that were already present in the water. He established the Law of Biogenesis that basically says life comes from other life.

The idea of abiogenesis is simply a fancier name for spontaneous generation. It is still the idea that life came from non-life. So abiogenesis has not only never been observed, it is a throw back to an idea that was discarded by science not too long after blood-letting was. It cannot be studied by the scientific method because it is not observed, testable, or repeatable. It's worse than science fiction; it is a fairy tale.

The other thing about abiogenesis is that, even if we someday create life in the lab, there is still no way to know if that was THE way it supposedly happened billions of years ago. If I invented a clever way to stack large stones, for example, it doesn't mean that's exactly how the builders of Stone Henge did it. What's more, if we created artificial life, it's not even evidence that abiogenesis ever occurred. In my opinion, the simple fact that it does not occur naturally but can only be created by design (if we ever create it at all) is evidence for my theory!

So let's sum up: Abiogenesis cannot be studied with the scientific method. It has never been observed. It cannot be repeated. It cannot be tested. Does that cover it?

Abiogenesis is the god of the gaps to evolutionists. There is no scientific evidence for it. It only exists in theory because the “natural only” premise of evolution demands it. It's not science. It's not even close.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Science is Only Done in the Present


A few weeks back, I wrote about the absurd improbability of abiogenesis. In that post, I remarked that, The supposed first ancestor of everything was not observed. Neither can it be repeated or tested. It's outside of the scope of scientific inquiry.” Steven J, a frequent visitor to my blog, took issue with that and replied with the following statement:

The death of a particular person is often unobserved, and always unrepeatable, yet for some reason governments still keep medical examiners on hand. You can't burn the same building down more than once, yet arson investigators still exist. The investigation of past events from present evidence is the basis of many different fields of investigation. The prehistoric past is no more beyond scientific investigation than last night in an unobserved alley.”

I didn't address this point in my comment back to him because I had intended to use his point as the subject for a future post. I just didn't realize it would take as long as it has. Anyway, I've heard this point before and I've meant to write about this many times so I thank Steven J for the opportunity to clear up the subject.

Science in only ever conducted in the present. Always! A fossil, for example, may have been created in the past but we can only study it in the present. We can measure it, x-ray it, compare it to the bones of living animals, compare it to other fossils we've found, and subject it to a wide battery of tests. All the things that we can do to learn more about the fossil can only be done in the present. We cannot go back into the past and “observe” the suspect animal. I can repeat the tests done on the fossil in the present. I cannot repeat the animal and nor can I repeat the alleged “millions of years” the fossil has been buried. The idea that science is only conducted in the present seems to me to be self evident.

Of course, simply because we cannot repeat the past does not mean we cannot draw conclusions – even correct conclusions – about events we did not see. As Steven J pointed out, we do it frequently. When a person dies, we certainly cannot repeat the death of that person yet we still are usually able to determine the cause of his death. The difference here, though, is that people die every day. Many times we observe people die. We've seen enough heart attack victims to know the symptoms of a heart attack. We've seen enough shooting victims to know what a gunshot wound looks like. So in the case of a suspicious death, we can examine the body, compare it to other conditions which we have observed, and draw a reasonable conclusion about the cause of death.

Furthermore, in the case of something like a shooting, we may not have seen the gun being fired but if we have a suspect gun, we can fire the gun again then compare the bullet we observed being fired to the bullet we recovered from the victim. Perhaps we can conclude if the same gun fired both bullets.

In any shooting, as well as in cases of arson, or burglaries, or plane crashes, or train derailments, or any event we wish to examine, we can gather clues left by the event we didn't witness, and compare them to things we know to be true. We often can learn things about the past event but we still can only study it in the present!

Now, when we're talking about evolutionary science, there's a key difference between studying things like abiogenesis and investigating homicides. Both are events from the past but we've observed homicides; To this day, we've never observed abiogenesis. We can see how a gunshot wound to the heart is always fatal. We have never seen how non-living chemicals can be arranged to become a living cell. What's more, abiogenesis is such a unique event and so far removed from us that, even if we should someday create life in a laboratory, there is ultimately no way to confirm that is how it supposedly happened billions of years ago. Studying mundane events like homicides is science. “Studying” abiogenesis is mere speculation.

Another thing we can't observe is age. Using again the example of homicide, we've seen how victims decompose over a day, or a week, or a year (sorry to be gory) but we've never observed “millions of years.” We can observe the condition of bodies we know have been dead a certain length of time and compare that to a body which has been dead an unknown length of time.  We cannot see the time; we can only see the known effects of time on the body.  So to say a particular fossil is “65 million years old” is dramatically different than saying a victim has been dead for a week. One can be repeated and tested empirically and the other cannot.

Age” simply cannot be seen. When we see an “old” person, we aren't really seeing his age but are seeing things like wrinkles, a stooped posture, and gray hair. We have seen these similar characteristics in people whose ages we know and so when we see these features on a stranger, we can estimate his age. However, when we're talking about the age of the earth, we've never seen what a 4 billion year old earth looks like.

I don't want to make this post too long but I have to mention one other thing because I know some evolutionist will bring it up. Scientists love to say that when we're looking at space we're looking into the past. Even the light from distant stars is only observed in the present! It's true that the light has taken time to reach us but we are still seeing the light in the present. We are not seeing the supposed “millions of years” it took the light to reach us.

This is one of the things I'm really tired of arguing with evolutionists about. I can understand reaching different conclusions about the same evidence but believing we can literally see the past is ridiculous. It also frustrates rational discussion since many evolutionists cannot see the circular nature of their view. When we look at a fossil, we are not looking at the past: if a person believes he sees “millions of years” when he looks at a fossil, he is assuming something about the fossil that he should be seeking to discover. How did the fossil come to be? When did the fossil come to be? We can use science to explore these questions but we can only explore them in the present.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My New Taxes Under Obama


I'm not one of the 1% that has been maligned by the left. I do pay taxes so I guess I'm not in the bottom 47% either. I'm what you would call “middle class” in every sense of the word. Why then are my taxes going up? I'll tell you why – It's the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare. Just recently, my employer published a little pamphlet that detailed how the new healthcare laws would effect our coverage at work. I don't like the changes. Here are a few of the changes that effect me the most.

First, Health Savings Accounts (HSA) can no longer be used to buy over the counter drugs. It used to be that I could use my HSA to buy allergy pills for my son or naproxen for my wife's arthritis. By using my HSA, it meant that I was spending “before tax” dollars to pay for these over the counter drugs so if I spent $20 per month on these pills, I essentially took $240 off my taxable income each year. I still have to buy these pills, but thanks to Obamacare, I now use “after tax” dollars which means I'm now taxed on that $240. In a 20% tax bracket, that's $48 more in taxes just on my over the counter drug costs!

Another big change is in the tax deductible portion of medical costs. Currently, a person or family can deduct the actual cost of their medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of his/their income. Under Obamacare, that is increasing to 10%. Here's an example of how that costs more money: Suppose a struggling family makes $50,000 per year and has $5,000 in out of pocket medical costs. 7.5% of $50K is $3,750 so under the currently plan, they could deduct $1,250 from their taxable income ($5,000 in expenses minus the $3,750 threshold). Again assuming a 20% tax bracket, that would reduce this family's taxes by $250. Under the new plan, the new threshold is 10%. 10% of $50K is $5,000 so this same family under the same circumstances cannot deduct anything!

Still another change impacts those people (like me) who have high deductible insurance plans. Under my current insurance plan, I have a $3000/person or $6,000/family deductible per year. It sounds high but with my HSA, it's not bad. Under high deductible plans, the insurance companies are not paying for every little trip to the doctor (my HSA covers most of these) but I am insured against a catastrophic illness. I like this plan. It keeps my premiums low yet I still have peace of mind knowing that I'm covered if something terrible should happen. In the last 3 years with my employer, I haven't once reached the $3000 individual deductible.

Under the new plan, the maximum allowable deductible is only $2,000/person. Even though I've never actually had to pay $3,000 out of my pocket, I'm going to start having higher costs in the form of higher premiums. I haven't yet gotten the new rates but, on a family plan, I am certain my premiums will increase at least $100 per month. That may not be a new tax, but it's still more money out of my pocket each month because of Obamacare.

Yet the biggest tax increase will be in the employer paid portion of medical insurance. Under Obamacare, employers will start including the employer's cost for the employee's medical insurance on the employee's W2! So, if my employer is paying $400 per month for my insurance, I can expect to see a $4,800 item on my W2. Again, if we assume a 20% tax bracket, that's $960 more in taxes I'll have to pay. But mine is not even the worst. It's those employees who have the so-called “Cadillac” plans (like many union workers) who will get hurt the most by this. If a high paid, union worker has a real sweet, low deductible, family plan where his employer is paying $700, $800, or even more each month, that employee is going to face an increased tax burden of thousands of dollars! It's no wonder Obama has been writing waivers for many of his union buddies. I wonder how long that's going to last once this part of Obamacare takes effect?

Do you remember when Obama said if we liked our currently plans then we could keep them? That was a lie. Do you remember when Obama said that his new plan would lower healthcare costs? That was a lie. Do you remember when Obama said he wouldn't raise taxes on the middle class? That was a lie. Do you remember when Obama said he wouldn't support healthcare reform if it added one dime to the deficit? That was a lie too because the CBO says Obamacare will add $1.2 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years. Even the name, The Affordable Care Act, is a lie because I can't afford it and neither can the nation.

Obama was right about one thing; he had promised change. How sad it is that we just blew our chance to change it back.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Yawn Factor


People who read my blog have probably already guessed that I'm very disappointed and a little surprised by the election results. There's been a lot of talk from the right since Tuesday about why we lost the election and theories abound. In my opinion, Obama rivals Jimmy Carter as the worst President in my lifetime. Both are failures in their foreign policy. Both presided over disastrous economies. Both saw fuel prices sky rocket during their terms. At least Carter can be thanked for real estate values rising during his time in office (a silver lining in the gloomy cloud of the high inflation seen in the 70's) but home owners have watched the values of their homes fall below the amounts of their mortgages due to Obama's lack of a plan to save the housing market.

As much of a failure as Obama had been, I was under the impression that there was no way he could be reelected. The disappointment in his policies hasn't just been felt by me and other Republicans, many Democrats have felt the same way. Support for Obama has waned considerably since 2008. Obama was elected into office with 69,498,516 votes. That was nearly 10 million more votes than McCain received. In this last election, 9 million fewer people voted for Obama. If just ½ of those 9 million had voted for Romney this time, he would have been elected. Instead, they must have decided to stay home.

The ebb in Obama support is only ½ the story. If Romney could have held on all the McCain voters, he would have only needed a few hundred thousand more votes to beat Obama. With the eagerness of the right to get Obama out of the office, I would have thought everyone and his brother would drag people to the polls to vote. But it was not to be. Romney actually got 2 million fewer votes than McCain did!

It seems to me that elections are being decided not as much by the engaged voters but rather the apathetic couch potatoes. Conservatism beats liberalism every time and if we had true conservative candidates, people would turn out in droves to vote for him. Every primary, though, Republicans vote for the candidates they think are the “most electable.” They look for moderates who will supposedly appeal to the “independent” voter so we end up with weak candidates like Romney, McCain, and Bob Dole.

There's nothing appealing about Obama's policies. He certainly can't boast a successful record. He should be an easy candidate to beat. Why couldn't we beat him. We don't have a candidate that conservative voters can be enthusiastic about.

Have you ever heard a Republican say he would hold his nose and vote for McCain or Romney? It's because they're not excited about the candidate but would prefer him over a Democrat like Obama. If a Reagan-like conservative were on the top of the Republican ticket, people would turn out in droves to vote for him. As it it now, they vote reluctantly or stay home.

Yawn.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Law of Large Numbers Meets an Infinite Number of Monkeys

In my last post, I talked about the weak responses of evolutionists when addressing the statistical improbability of abiogenesis. Basically, they say that the first living cell evolved from simple, self-replicating molecules. It's funny for two reasons: first, because they usually say that abiogenesis isn't part of evolution. Why then do they use evolution to explain abiogenesis? Secondly, they really have no idea how the first living cell formed so from where do they have grounds to assert a gradual, molecule-to-cell story of evolution? There is no scientific theory of abiogenesis.

In this post, I'd like to explore another tactic sometimes employed by evolutionists in their effort to climb “mount improbable.” Even though the odds of amino acids combining to form even one, simple protein are astonishingly small, evolutionists place their hope in a near infinite number of trials. After all, even the most improbable combination – even a seemingly impossible combination – will be accomplished if all possible combinations are tried. In a universe as large as ours, there are chemical processes occurring everywhere. If you have billions of years of trial and error, even something as unlikely as abiogenesis becomes almost a certainty.

There's an old analogy used to demonstrate this principle: if there were an infinite number of monkeys typing randomly on typewriters, eventually they will type all of Shakespeare's plays. Now, I'm not a math wizard but even I can understand that books are merely combinations of words and words are merely combinations of letters. If someone could attempt every possible combination of letters, then of course he will chance upon the same combination of letters found in a Shakespeare play. If I may be so bold, I might even correct the analogy: in an infinite number of attempts, the correct combination would immediately be reached, not eventually.

However, there's something that's always nagged me about the monkey analogy (besides evolutionists' seeming obsession with monkeys – he he). Like I said, I'm not a math genius but I do have a degree in business and have worked in financial services for nearly 30 years so I'm not a stranger to math. There's a widely understood principle in the business world known as the law of large numbers. The law is used in many different ways but basically the law predicts that the larger a sample is, the more typical it will be. Let me explain how it works, If I tossed a coin 10 times, I should theoretically get 5 heads and 5 tails. However, 10 trials is not a large sample so my results are not easily predicted. I could get 7 heads and 3 tails. 10 is just too small to be representative. If I next tossed the coin 100 times, I still might not get exactly 50 heads, but it will likely be closer to 50/50 than 70/30. If I tossed the coin 1,000,000,000 times, I can almost guarantee that approximately 50% of the tosses will be heads. As a matter of fact, if I got 70% heads after 1 billion tosses, I would suspect that the coin is not truly random.

The difference between the law of large numbers and the theoretical monkeys is that the law of large numbers has been tested many times over. Casinos, insurance companies, lotteries, and many other businesses rely on this principle in their business models. For example, an insurance company with 5,000,000 customers can predict with uncanny accuracy how many 45 year old, insured men will die this year. If slot machines are truly random (which they are), I could theoretically win 100 jackpots with 100 pulls. The odds of doing that may be remote but they exist in theory. Yet by using the law of large numbers, casinos know almost to the penny how much they will pay out in winnings for every 1,000,000 pulls of a slot machine.

The law of large numbers puts a kink in the infinite monkey analogy. I'm not sure how many words typically make up a play but let's say it's 200,000. We'll further assume an average word length of 5 letters. Therefore, a typical Shakespeare play is 1,000,000 characters long (we'll also assume that includes spaces). There are 26 letters in the alphabet plus a space so each peck of the typewriter could yield 27 possible outcomes. 1 million pecks is a reasonably large enough sample that the law of large numbers should apply so we know that 1/27th of the letters will be “A,” 1/27th will be “B,” 1/27th will be “C,” etc. In other words, after 1 million pecks, you will have about the same number of “X” as “A.” Don't forget too that there are punctuation marks are the keyboard so you will actually have as many $, @, and % as you have A, B, or C. In English, the letter A occurs far more frequently than the letter X so I don't care how the letters are arranged, you can never have a Shakespeare play when there are as many X's and #'s as A's!

Even in an infinite number of trials, the letters typed out by each monkey should be distributed evenly if each trial is truly random. In each 1 million letters, any 1,000,000 long string of characters will look approximately the same as any other 1,000,000 long string. There will roughly be equal numbers of A's, Q's, X's, spaces, and punctuation marks. An infinite number of monkeys will yield an infinite number of manuscripts that will all resemble each other and will all be gibberish.

Time is not a magic formula that suddenly makes the improbable likely. Amino acids combining over and over could be likened to letters being spit out by the monkeys. In a large number of trials, they will randomly combine in similar sequences over and over. There's no certainty or even likelihood that they will ever combine in that fortunate sequence that creates life. Some things are truly impossible.