1. It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
That thumping sound you hear is the Los Angeles Times moving the goal posts in the global warming debate.
On November 22, while responding to the growing scandal  about alleged proof that global warming is a hoax, the Times brushed it off with a puzzling claim that science should have no bearing on climate legislation.
What a difference a few leaked e-mail messages could make: just over a month ago, the exact same paper had insisted science was behind the push for regulation. Now with the validity of that science in doubt, the Times was quick to find a different angle.
In an article  titled "A Climate Change Dust-up," writers Jim Tankersley and Henry Chu began with reassurance that the scandal was nothing to fear because the hacked e-mail messages would not make a difference either way:
Is it a "Warmist Conspiracy," or a case of an email being "taken completely out of context"?
Regardless, the latest dust-up over the science of climate change appears unlikely to affect the dynamics of either a pending debate in the Senate or international climate negotiations in Copenhagen next month.
The whole point of the meeting in Copenhagen has been to limit pollution that supposedly destroys the planet based on evidence gathered and purported by researchers specifically involved in the email scandal. If the very premise of global warming has possibly been exposed as a fraud, why would that not be of interest to those who want to legislate global warming?
Because, according to the Times, the fight to stop possibly nonexistent global warming would be about saving the economy:
But advocates of action to curb global warming dismiss those claims, and political leaders and analysts say the Senate bill to limit greenhouse gas emissions will sink or swim based on economics, not science.
"The scientists are going to fight about this for decades," said Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, one of several Senate Republicans who say they are open to some form of a climate bill. "We should be doing something to curb our emissions that would not harm the economy, and would in fact boost the economy," he said.
So the Times believed in doing something about emissions whether or not we knew that they were harmful. It was suddenly okay for the science to remain unsettled, and in fact, the Senate was encouraged to limit greenhouse gases even if science was unable to prove a connection between carbon dioxide emissions and temperature.
But if the entire logic of this effort to save the economy was based on the hope that green jobs would put Americans to work, someone should have told the Times that President Obama has already been funding green jobs  without a climate bill.
Equally preposterous, nowhere did the article explain exactly how limiting a company's carbon dioxide output would cause it to expand payrolls.
Not to worry, for according to global warming activists it would all work with or without the data to back it up.
Most amazingly of all, though, was an explanation about the data offered by Phil Jones, one of the scientists involved in the email scandal. When asked about his use of the word "trick" when presenting data, Jones told the Times it was just clever wording:
In the 1999 e-mail, Jones wrote of using a "trick" to hide an apparent decline in recent global temperatures on a chart being prepared for use by a meteorological organization. But in a statement posted on the university's website Saturday, Jones said that the e-mail had been "taken completely out of context" and that there had been no misrepresentation of the data.
"The word 'trick' was used here colloquially as in a clever thing to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward," Jones said.
The hard-hitting journalism force at the Times failed to ask how a trick was taken to mean anything other than a trick. What possible "colloquial" use of the word could have implied a trick that was not really a trick?
Thanks to the Times, Jones got away without having to expound.
This whole notion of scientific tricks being irrelevant to a major debate about international climate legislation represented a major change in thinking at the Times. It was just six weeks ago the paper criticized  Bush for hiding scientific data that could be used to sway the debate over legislation.
Back then, science had everything to do with it:
The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released a long-suppressed report by George W. Bush administration officials who had concluded -- based on science -- that the government should begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions because global warming posed serious risks to the country.
The report, known as an "endangerment finding," was done in 2007. The Bush White House refused to make it public because it opposed new government efforts to regulate the gases most scientists see as the major cause of global warming.
When scientific findings were there to warn that global warming would kill the planet, the Times was quick to support it; when science was later found to be riddled with tricks that tainted its credibility, climate legislation was suddenly all about fixing the economy.
This is one more example in the long list of ways the liberal media has played fast and loose with the global warming agenda.
Even when faced with plausible evidence the whole thing might be a fraud, global warming believers simply found a way to assert that evidence was not necessary.
ALBANY, December 2, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On Wednesday afternoon, the New York State Senate voted overwhelmingly to reject legislation that would have legalized same-sex "marriage," handing a humiliating defeat to proponents of the legislation who told the Senate that a vote for same-sex "marriage" was a vote to stand on the "right side of history."
The measure, which would have amended New York State's Domestic Partnership Law and have made New York the sixth state to legalize same-sex "marriage," failed by a broad margin of 24 in favor and 38 against.
The Senate vote finally means same-sex "marriage" is dead in New York for this legislative session: a resounding victory for pro-family advocates in the state, and a heavy loss for Gov. David Paterson and Democratic leaders, who were looking to deliver same-sex "marriage" advocates their first victory after their latest defeat in Maine.
Just minutes before the 3 P.M. vote, Sen. Thomas Duane (D-NY 29), the chief sponsor of the same-sex "marriage" bill, confidently told members of the Senate that he was looking forward to not just being "an old gay" but soon a "married gay."
However, those anticipations were dashed by a coalition of eight Democrats led by Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. (D-NY 32), the leader of the Senate fight against same-sex "marriage," who joined every member of the GOP caucus in a conscience vote against the bill.
Debate began after a short noon recess with Sen. Duane arguing that this "legislation would provide me and tens of thousands of other New Yorkers equal rights in New York State."
Delivering the final speech before the vote, Duane appeared confident of victory and pressed fellow Senators to vote for the bill since, "It's always the time to be on the right side of history!"
Only Sen. Diaz spoke on the floor of the Senate against same-sex "marriage." The Senator and Evangelical minister, indefatigable in his fight against same-sex "marriage," rallied 20,000 Hispanics over the summer in support of natural marriage, forged a broad religious coalition to oppose the bill, and even sacrificed with his wife a cruise celebrating their wedding anniversary in order to attend a special legislative session called by Gov. Paterson, where same-sex "marriage" could have been called to a vote.
Diaz mentioned that adherents of the world's major religions - not just Evangelicals - oppose same-sex "marriage," including Jews, Muslims, and Catholics. Diaz specifically praised those Catholic bishops who signed the Manhattan Declaration as a testament of their opposition to same-sex "marriage."
He proposed that the Senate instead should let New Yorkers decide on same-sex "marriage" through a referendum. New York has no referendum process like Maine, but the State Legislature could pass a bill that allows voters to decide the question via the ballot box.
However, the supreme "irony," Diaz told the Senate, was that the same gay lobby, which fought so hard and spent an enormous amount of money to wrest control of the Senate from the GOP in order to get a bill on same-sex "marriage," now "is depending on them to make this happen."
"The reality is that it has been the Republican Party and their traditional values, and the Republican Party with their moral values, and the Republican Party with their family values, that has been for years and years what has kept the values in this whole nation alive," declared Diaz. "And now they are being asked to throw away these values."
He appealed to the Republicans once again to hold fast to their principles and instead let the people decide the fate of marriage in New York, pointing out that the will of the people has opposed same-sex "marriage" in all thirty-one states where they had an opportunity to vote on it.
"Remember your rules, remember your values: remember your family values, traditional values, moral values," exhorted Diaz. "Go back to the defense of your traditional values. Join me a Democrat, join me a Hispanic, join me a black, join me a Puerto Rican, and join me in bringing a referendum to the people."
However the rest of the speeches proceeded from Democrats speaking out in favor of the bill.
Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-NY 14), President Pro Tempore of the Senate, told the Senate that at stake with same-sex "marriage" was "an individual's right to feel good about themselves."
"For the first time, all men and women will be created equal," declaimed Sen. Eric Schneiderman (D-NY 34), Deputy Majority Leader. "This law will expand the central American ideal of equality."
Sen. Eric Adams (D-NY 20) politely accused Sen. Diaz of not speaking "from his head." Adams compared banning gay marriage to "reaching back to the most ugliest [sic] period of America," when states like Virginia had laws banning interracial marriages until the 1967 US Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia.
The senator also told his colleagues that, "When I walk through these doors, my Bible stays out."
That statement drew a sharp rebuke from Sen. Diaz, who stated that given what he said was the rising scourge of crime in America, "That is the wrong statement to send." Diaz urged Senators to remember their Bibles before voting. "You should carry your Bible all the time," he said.
Freed by GOP Minority Leader Sen. Dean Skelos (NY 9) to vote their consciences, every single Republican joined Sen. Diaz in rejecting same-sex "marriage." The seven other Democrats to vote against the same-sex "marriage" bill were Sens. Carl Kruger (NY 27), Shirley Huntley (NY 10), Darrel Aubertine (NY 48), Joseph Addabbo (NY 15), William Stachowski (NY 58), George Onorato (NY 12), and Hiram Monserrate (NY 13).
Contact information for members of the New York State Senate can be found here.
The execrable CAIR tool and libelblogger Charles Johnson has posted a self-righteous laundry list purporting to explain why he betrayed all his principles, friends, and associates: "Why I Parted Ways with the Right."
You can find it here -- the adolescent libelblogger has blocked direct links from this site, but you can paste this in to your address bar:
The thuggish libelblogger incites his sycophants and whips them into a frenzy of hate with three lies about me and Pamela Geller:
9. Anti-Islamic bigotry that goes far beyond simply criticizing radical Islam, into support for fascism, violence, and genocide (see: Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, etc.)
Of course, he does not, and cannot, produce a shred of evidence to support any of these libelous claims, but that is par for the course at this point for this man, who has long since kissed goodbye to the last shreds of his integrity.
One can only wonder what sickness of soul would lead this man to devote so much time and effort to lying about other people and trying to destroy them.
UPDATE: It is interesting that Johnson's hate list appeared just hours after I spoke at length with a New York Times reporter -- excited by his move leftward, they're doing a big story on Johnson. Coincidence? Of course!
Planned Parenthood has been a part of Abby Johnson’s life for the past eight years; that is until last month, when Abby resigned. Johnson said she realized she wanted to leave, after watching an ultrasound of an abortion procedure.
“I just thought I can’t do this anymore, and it was just like a flash that hit me and I thought that’s it,” said Jonhson.
She handed in her resignation October 6. Johnson worked as the Bryan Planned Parenthood Director for two years.
According to Johnson, the non-profit was struggling under the weight of a tough economy, and changing it’s business model from one that pushed prevention, to one that focused on abortion.
“It seemed like maybe that’s not what a lot of people were believing any more because that’s not where the money was. The money wasn’t in family planning, the money wasn’t in prevention, the money was in abortion and so I had a problem with that,” said Johnson.
Johnson said she was told to bring in more women who wanted abortions, something the Episcopalian church goer recently became convicted about.
“I feel so pure in heart (since leaving). I don’t have this guilt, I don’t have this burden on me anymore that’s how I know this conversion was a spiritual conversion.”
Johnson now supports the Coalition For Life, the pro-life group with a building down the street from Planned Parenthood. Coalition volunteers can regularly be seen praying on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood. Johnson has been meeting with the coalition’s executive director, Shawn Carney, and has prayed with volunteers outside Planned Parenthood.
Original ArticleLeaving aside the "millions of years" nonsence, this descovery is fascinating. Seems like spiders have always been spiders, exacly what the Biblical Origins Model would predict.
Silken spider webs dating back some 140 million years have been discovered preserved in amber, scientists announce today.
The viscous tree sap flowed over the spider webs before hardening and preserving the contents, which were discovered in Sussex, England. Other bits sealed up in the amber included plant matter, insect droppings and ancient microbes.
"These turn out to be the earliest webs that have ever been incorporated in the fossil record to our knowledge," said lead researcher Martin Brasier, a paleontologist at the University of Oxford.
Brasier and colleagues used a computer technique called confocal microscopy to reconstruct the webs and examine the interweaving silk threads. Various clues, including threads that were twisted and coated with sticky fluid droplets, suggest the webs were spun by spiders closely related to modern-day orb-web garden spiders.
"These spiders are distinctive and leave little sticky droplets along the spider web threads to trap prey," Brasier said. "We actually have the sticky droplets preserved within the amber."
The web analysis also gave insights about the spider's diet. "I would guess, from the form of the web, that it was feeding on flying insects like flies and the ancestors of bees, wasps and moths," Brasier told LiveScience.
In 2006, scientists reported an ancient web sealed in amber and estimated to be about 136 million years old.
The new web discovery will be published in the latest issue of the Journal of the Geological Society.
Thanks Charles! It's good to see that you are sinking your moral in the democratic/socialist party.
Now he goes after the big boys Allahpundit, and Rush Limbaugh. It’s obvious he craves attention however he can get it. By the way, the lies being spread about Rush have been proven false.
Charles Johnson was against fake but accurate before he was for it.
No link for the idiot. I'll just quote him. From a thread:
Top 10 Rush Limbaugh Racist Quotes.
All out of context, and sarcasm. Right?
That link I've left in provides a flurry of extremely dubious Limbaugh "quotes" -- and not a single link or citation. Including the ones created wholesale by noted scholar "zedladdy" and spread by no lesser authority than "cobra."
Given that "zedladdy" and "cobra" previously invented own quotes, spread them around, and then uploaded them to WikiQuote, I'd say pretty much every unsourced quote in this list is suspect. (Edit: I mean except the Donovan McNabb quote, which I know is real, since I heard it 'n stuff.)
But surely our crusading Mensa Chapter President wouldn't be taken in by an obvious false "quote" like:
You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed.
And yet here's Johnson quoting it as "classic:"
You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed.
Charles Johnson read it on the internet, so it's true.
Well. I've read a lot of stuff on the internet about his unhealthy relationship with his bike's seat-post. Presumably this is all true as well.
Here he expounds upon Limbaugh's motive in saying things he did not in fact say.
Because it plays well with his audience, obviously. That's why he does everything.
It's pointed out the "quote" is bunk. Charles Johnson doesn't like the back-talk, of course.
There will be no retraction. The quote is disputed, but it has not been proven false. And there are plenty of other racist quotes that you seem to be just gliding right past that are NOT disputed.
Um, from that list? That list of very unlikely quotes all provided without a single link?
You know where this is heading, don't you? There is a penalty for embarrassing the global village idiot Charles Johnson, and he's not afraid to apply it... liberally.
If you want to disagree with my take, that's fine. But if you can't do it without being insulting, your account will be history.
You're wrong because I said so and if you continue disagreeing with me I'll kick you out of my idiot internet clubhouse.
Now that, truly, is "classic."
Thanks to N. I'll keep the rest of his name secret in case he still posts over at the Little Gulag Funhouse and doesn't want to be banned.
So scary-smart he splits atoms... with his mind.
As I’ve said before on numerous occasions, palaeontology isn’t necessarily an exact science. Just ask Java Man.
Many dinosaurs may be facing a new kind of extinction—a controversial theory suggests as many as a third of all known dinosaur species never existed in the first place.
That’s because young dinosaurs didn’t look like Mini-Me versions of their parents, according to new analyses by paleontologists Mark Goodwin, University of California, Berkeley, and Jack Horner, of Montana State University.
Instead, like birds and some other living animals, the juveniles went through dramatic physical changes during adulthood.
This means many fossils of young dinosaurs, including T. rex relatives, have been misidentified as unique species, the researchers argue.
How T. Rex Became a Terror
The lean and graceful Nanotyrannus is one strong example. Thought to be a smaller relative of T. rex, the supposed species is now considered by many experts to be based on a misidentified fossil of a juvenile T. rex.
The purported Nanotyrannus fossils have the look of a teenage T. rex, Horner said in the new documentary. That’s because T. rex’s skull changed dramatically as it grew, he said.
The skull morphed from an elongated shape to the more familiar, short snout and jaw, which could take in large quantities of food.
But the smoking gun, Horner said, was the discovery of a dinosaur between the size of an adult T. rex and Nanotyrannus.
This is the man (Obama) who was suposed to "unite" americans.
Hat tip to LGF 2.0
Science Daily reported on work by a company in Atlanta that has developed a transparent coating for glass that renders it impervious to dirt and water. The secret: imitating the surface of a lotus leaf, which “contains innumerable tiny spikes that greatly reduce the area on which water and dirt can attach.”
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is taking a keen interest in this technology, because it can “prevent dirt from accumulating on the surfaces of spacesuits, scientific instruments, robotic rovers, solar array panels and other hardware used to gather scientific data or carry out exploratory activities on other objects in the solar system.” The latest work seeks to manufacture the material such that it can withstand the harsh space environment.
For us earthlings, the applications of lotus-leaf surface coatings to everyday objects – eyeglasses, windshields, camera lenses and windows – promises a low-maintenance, clear view through the looking glass. And there’s an extra benefit. The material also repels bacteria. Think of how hospitals could stay more hygienic with lotus-like surfaces on walls, windows and equipment.
For previous stories on the properties of the lotus leaf, see 10/17/2006, 01/18/2005 and 10/27/2004. This all began when someone looked at lotus leaves in the rain and noticed how the water beads up and runs off, leaving a clean surface. Look around at nature and notice what other technologies have already been designed and could be applied to human needs. (You may want to get an early start if you manufacture windshield wipers.) There’s a bright future in biomimetics, no thanks to Darwin.
This all began when someone looked at lotus leaves in the rain and noticed how the water beads up and runs off, leaving a clean surface. Look around at nature and notice what other technologies have already been designed and could be applied to human needs. (You may want to get an early start if you manufacture windshield wipers.) There’s a bright future in biomimetics, no thanks to Darwin.
Recently a paper appeared online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, entitled "The reducible complexity of a mitochondrial Molecular machine" As you might expect, I was very interested in reading what the authors had to say. Unfortunately, as is all too common on this topic, the claims made in the paper far surpassed the data, and distinctions between such basic ideas as “reducible” versus “irreducible” and “Darwinian” versus “non-Darwinian” were pretty much ignored.
Since PNAS publishes letters to the editor on its website, I wrote in. Alas, it seems that polite comments by a person whose work is the clear target of the paper are not as welcome as one might suppose from reading the journal’s letters-policy announcement (“We wish to provide readers with an opportunity to constructively address a difference of opinion with authors of recent papers. Readers are encouraged to point out potential flaws or discrepancies or to comment on exceptional studies published in the journal. Replication and refutation are cornerstones of scientific progress, and we welcome your comments.”) My letter received a brusque rejection. Below I reproduce the letter for anyone interested in my reaction to the paper. (By the way, it’s not just me. Other scientists whose work is targeted sometimes get the run around on letters to the editor, too. For an amusing / astounding example, see here.)
Call me paranoid, but it seems to me that some top-notch journals are real anxious to be rid of the idea of irreducible complexity. Recall that last year Genetics published a paper purportedly refuting the difficulty of getting multiple required mutations by showing it’s quick and easy in a computer - if one of the mutations is neutral (rather than harmful) and first spreads in the population. Not long before that, PNAS published a paper supposedly refuting irreducible complexity by postulating that the entire flagellum could evolve from a single remarkable prodigy-gene. Not long before that, Science published a paper allegedly refuting irreducible complexity by showing that if an investigator altered a couple amino acid residues in a steroid hormone receptor, the receptor would bind steroids more weakly than the unmutated form. (That one also made the New York Times!) For my responses, see here, here, here, and here. So, arguably picayune, question-begging, and just plain wrong results disputing IC find their way into front-line journals with surprising frequency. Meanwhile, in actual laboratory evolution experiments, genes are broken right and left as bacteria try to outgrow each other.
Well, at least it’s nice to know that my work gives some authors a hook on which to hang results that otherwise would be publishable only in journals with impact factors of -3 or less. But if these are the best “refutations” that leading journals such as PNAS and Science can produce in more than a decade, then the concept of irreducible complexity is in very fine shape indeed.
ScienceNOW Daily News
17 September 2009
Biologists and engineers have long known that insect wings are more complex than just flat, rigid flapping plates. But most models of insect flight have treated them this way because scientists needed to simplify their calculations and lacked a detailed picture of how the wings actually work.
To produce a better model, biomechanicist Adrian Thomas of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and colleagues came up with a new way to capture wing-shape changes during flight. The team set up four high-speed video cameras around a desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) and recorded its flapping. Each camera followed more than 100 dots marked on the bug's wings during each stroke. The researchers then used data on how those points moved to create a three-dimensional computer model of the locust. Simulations with the virtual insect closely matched experimental data on real locust wing air flow and forces.
With a validated model, Thomas's team members started erasing wing details. In one simulation, they smoothed out the virtual wings' ridges and camber--the curve from the front of the wing to the back. In a second, they removed the wing's ability to twist as it flaps, effectively making it flat and rigid. These two models were less-efficient fliers than real locusts: The curved, twisting wings of real bugs were about 10% more efficient in producing lift than the camberless wings, and they were 50% more efficient than the flat, rigid model.
In the models of the nontwisting wings, the air flow separates from the wings into vortices that create drag. Locusts avoid these vortices by keeping the angle between the wing and air flow constant. Conserving power by minimizing drag is crucial for desert locusts that sometimes must fly 300 kilometers at a time--orders of magnitude farther than small, battery-powered helicopters can, Thomas says. Engineers trying to design tiny aircrafts "drool" at the insect's endurance, he says.
Previous research has focused more on the forces insect wings produce, says biologist Douglas Altshuler of the University of California, Riverside. "Considering how wing shape affects power cost of flight is really valuable and a good way to focus future research."
"After all, who cares about basic fact checking when there’s an ideology to be promoted?"
Oh, I forgot. That can't be done in such cases because there's an ideology to be promoted.
The "right wing blogosphere" has noticed. See:
I'll start with evolutionism, and that by defining my use of the term. When I refer to "evolutionism," I am not referring strictly to the principles of biological evolution — natural selection and what have you — some of which I have no fundamental issue with when speaking of adaptation at the sub-orderial level (i.e. microevolution). Rather, I am referring to the philosophical underpinning that is used to interpret our observations of the material world, and which posits that "change" in the physical world is completely naturalistic, that there is no supernatural, there is no outside Being who created or interferes in the operation of things in this universe. As such, the term "evolutionism" encompasses everything from cosmology to biology (via the unsubstantiated suppositions of macroevolution) and the philosophical hand-waving that is used to support non-theistic arguments in these areas.
Evolutionism starts from essentially the same pagan first principle as did the ancient mythologies — that of the eternal pre-existence of the cosmos as a self-contained (even if not yet in finished form) whole. To the ancients, it was an eternally pre-existent heaven and earth whose pre-existence was never rationally explained, and rarely addressed. Today, it manifests itself as a variety of competing cosmological theories, the most prominent of which are the steady-state theory of Fred Hoyle (which has fallen out of favor) and the more well-known Big Bang theory. Both theories implicitly rest on the premise of eternal pre-existence without an initiatory Creator. The steady state theory suggested that the universe has no beginning and will have no end, and will always appear to us to be the same (on an extremely large cosmological scale, of course, change and greater order are accounted for at lower levels like, say, the galactic). The Big Bang, which has largely supplanted the steady state theory, while appearing to suggest that the universe has a beginning (the singular point from which everything "banged"), nevertheless fails to explain where that point came from — meaning once again the rejection of a Creator and the positing of an eternally pre-existing cosmos in some form or another.
Yesterday David Drake spoke about a blog which he had found with the name "The Daily Ni**er". I had the chance to see through some of the articles, and it sounded really critical of the Hussein Obango Administration.
This morning I came to David's blog, and tried to enter the "TDN" blog, and this is what I saw:
The Big-Brother-in-Chief is flexing his socialist muscles. Where is the ACLU when we need them?!!
The text therein reads:
This website has been shutdown due to violations of DHS Cyber Security policies and the Office of the President of the United States Cyber Watch Program. This site has been determined to be not in keeping with current policies regarding truthfulness about the Administrations Health Care Reform and has been deemed a threat to National Security by inciting revolt against the policies and procedures of the Office of the President. If you are aware of any other sites that you feel violate the aforementioned policies please click here!
Imagine what would have happened if Bush had closed down a blog for expresing views that contradict him.
"We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
"It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door." - Dr. Richard Lewontin
The amino acid glycine, a fundamental building block of proteins, has been found in a comet for the first time, bolstering the theory that raw ingredients of life arrived on Earth from outer space, scientists said on Monday.
Microscopic traces of glycine were discovered in a sample of particles retrieved from the tail of comet Wild 2 by the NASA spacecraft Stardust deep in the solar system some 242 million miles (390 million km) from Earth, in January 2004....
....The latest findings add credence to the notion that extraterrestrial objects such as meteorites and comets may have seeded ancient Earth, and other planets, with the raw materials of life that formed elsewhere in the cosmos.
"The discovery of glycine in a comet supports the idea that the fundamental building blocks of life are prevalent in space, and strengthens the argument that life in the universe may be common rather than rare," said Carl Pilcher, the director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute in California, which co-funded the research.
Glycine and other amino acids have been found in a number of meteorites before, most notably one that landed near the town of Murchison, Australia in 1969, Elsila said.
I start by the final part of his questions:
Are there answers to what I ask?
The first question reads:
What moved me there [agnosticism] is that I've seen a lot of human suffering and I don't... I can't understand why a loving God would allow this
Having that in consideration, I am very careful not to say something that can in anyway minimize what people have gone through. God Alone knows how many people in the world today cry for justice and for cure for something that they feel that they don't deserve.
Let me start by telling a story.
In the movie "Superman III", Clark Kent, in his superman costume, says something that I have never forgotten. The background of the incident is that, after superman left Earth, Lois Lane wrote that "the world doesn't need a savior". However, in his night flyings, superman had the habbit of standing away from Earth and listen to the cry of help coming from all over the globe.
Because of that, he then tells Lois something like this (typing from memory):
You said in your article that the world doesn't need a savior, but when I close my eyes and hear what is going on in the world, I hear them crying for a savior.
The short answer to the question as to why there is pain in the world is that, from the beggining of creation, humans have decided to live as if God doesn't matter.
God made a perfect world, with a perfect enviroment, and had a perfect relationship with us humans. When the moment came for us to make a moral decision (trust in what God had said or follow our desires), we made the wrong decision, and disobeyd Him Who had given us everything. Ever since the sin of Adam, all humans have been born with a fallen nature and thus, inclined to do evil. When we look at the world today, we see it. It doesn't matter how rich I am, how powerful I am, how influential I am; when the moment comes, I will reveal the fallen nature that is in me.
Because of the sin of Adam, God placed a curse on the universe. Ever since then, the world has got worse and worse and worse. It is because of the sin of Adam and the curse placed in the universe, that we see the things we do in the world today. That is why people die, have deseases, fell lonely, get despaired and other things. The sin of Adam had the effect of changing everything God had made for our benefit. These are the bad news.
The Good News are those in which God says that, even after what we have done (murder, lying, stealing, adultery, fornication, etc) He has prepared a Way for us to gain accees to His eternal blissfull future. The Way is not made of stone or wood, but is a Person:
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" John 14:6
God's focus is always in the eternal not in the temporal. God has plans for our eternal future, regardless of what happens in here.
If it hadn't been for that solid foundation, my life would be a total mess. Ever since I was younger, i had a feeling that I was "missing the good things" of life because of my life style. I was never a "party animal" nor a womenizer or something like that. Having been born in conservative catholic family, I had the feeling that life was passing by me, and I wasn't enjoying it.
However, after a few years something begun to happen. The people I thought were having so much fun (party, girls, etc) would return with empty lives, shatered dreams, and spiritual bruises that would take years to heal.
I begun to wonder and search for truth and something that really matter beyond our mear temporal existence. If the best the world could give wasn't making people happy, then what would? I wanted Truth not empty "good feelings" (the kind you get when you go to a disco but then are gone the following morning). After much reading and many online debates, I have found that in the Lord Jesus. I now know that my life has a purpose and value, and that whatever condition I am today, it will be over on day. One day there will be universal peace to all those whose sins have been erased by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.
Having that in mind, and going back to the original question, we can see thigns from God's perspective: There is pain an suffering in the world, and it is caused by our sin, however God will fix and restored the world to the way it was before Adam sinned.
Now, does this anul the pain we feel? Does it anul the pain we feel when we loose a close member? What about that little girl who, for all her child life, was abused by her dad? Where was God? What about the baby who is born blind? What fault do they have? What sins have they comited? Those are genuine and honest questions that deserve a direct answer.
The answer, once again, is in realizing in what kind of world we are (a fallen world) and taking into consideration that God will undo all the evil we will ever make in this world. God allows certain things to happen because a) those are consequences of the fallen world we live b) those are the consequences of our sin c) He will remove away all the pain and injustice man has ever created.
I know that this answer is not 100% satisfying, but I hope and pray that, a sincere heart can say something like
"Ok, God, the world You have made is in a total mess, but I know that You are Good, and that You have good plans for me. I know that You love me because You have sent Your Son Jesus Christ to pay for my sins. I don't have all the answers, but I have enough answers. I have seen that the best the world can give doesn't make us happy. Our souls cries for something more, and I know You have it."
A good article concerning the "free pass" some materialistas have concerning the theory of evolution has been posted in "Evolution News".
Here is a snap:
Read the rest...
We're often told that the evidence for neo-Darwinian evolution -- where unguided natural selection acting on random mutations is the driving force generating the complexity and diversity of life -- is "overwhelming." But hints of dissent from this position can be found throughout the mainstream scientific literature. One article in Trends in Ecology and Evolution last year acknowledged that there exists a "healthy debate concerning the sufficiency of neo-Darwinian theory to explain macroevolution". Likewise, Günter Theißen of the Department of Genetics at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany recently wrote earlier this year in the journal Theory in Biosciences:
while we already have a quite good understanding of how organisms adapt to the environment, much less is known about the mechanisms behind the origin of evolutionary novelties, a process that is arguably different from adaptation (Wagner 2000). Despite Darwin’s undeniable merits, explaining how the enormous complexity and diversity of living beings on our planet originated remains one of the greatest challenges of biology.
Even more striking criticism of what he called the "dogmatic science" of neo-Darwinian thinking can be found in a 2006 paper by Theißen, also in Theory in Biosciences:
Explaining exactly how the great complexity and diversity of life on earth originated is still an enormous scientific challenge. ... There is the widespread attitude in the scientific community that, despite some problems in detail, textbook accounts on evolution have essentially solved the problem already. In my view, this is not quite correct.
What is most interesting is how these hints of dissent are often accompanied by statements disclaiming any support for intelligent design (ID), seemingly intended to help deflect attacks upon the dissenter. Theißen's 2009 article is quick to protest that "'anti-Darwinians' should not be confused with people, such as creationists, that see Darwin as their opponent," and his 2006 paper expressly disclaims any support for ID (where Theißen again inappropriately lumps with "creationism"):
There is the opposite view gaining ground mainly outside of scientific circles that living organisms are so complex that they must have been created by an external intelligence – a novel version of creationism known as "Intelligent Design" (ID). A philosophical analysis of whether ID is a scientific hypothesis at all is beyond the scope of this review. In any case, its ability to develop fruitful research programs has remained negligible so far (Raff, 2005). With few exceptions (e.g., see Lönnig, 2004, and references cited therein) biologists do not consider ID helpful in our endeavour to explain life’s complexity and diversity. This does not mean, however, that we already have a complete and satisfactory theory which explains how the complexity and diversity of life originated. Thus the rejection of ID or other varieties of creationism is not based on the comprehensive explanatory power of any existing evolutionary theory, but has to be considered as an epistemological presupposition and heuristic basis of biology as a natural science.
Significantly, Theißen's disclaimer admits that his rejection of ID is "not based on the comprehensive explanatory power of any existing evolutionary theory" but due to an "epistemological presupposition," namely materialism. This calls to mind Scott C. Todd's statement in Nature in 1999 that "[e]ven if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic."
Theißen apparently feels it necessary to announce his rejection of ID and his commitment to material explanations in order for his "anti-Darwinian" ideas to have any hope of gaining traction. Yet his 2006 paper contains a stark lamentation admitting the opposition faced by even materialists who dissent from neo-Darwinism:
It is dangerous to raise attention to the fact that there is no satisfying explanation for macroevolution. One easily becomes a target of orthodox evolutionary biology and a false friend of proponents of non-scientific concepts. According to the former we already know all the relevant principles that explain the complexity and diversity of life on earth; for the latter science and research will never be able to provide a conclusive explanation, simply because complex life does not have a natural origin.
Theißen's admission is telling in that it not only recognizes it is politically "dangerous" for a materialist to question predominant evolutionary thinking (what scientist wants to "becom[e] a target of orthodox evolutionary biology"?), but also that there is even more intense opposition awaiting "friend[s] of proponents of non-scientific concepts" who believe that "complex life does not have a natural origin." If materialists face such dangers, imagine the opposition facing non-materialists seeking to have their views taken seriously in scientific journals.