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Friday, March 03, 2006

Are You Good Enough For Heaven?

Did you know that in many Middle Eastern cultures showing the bottoms of your shoes is deeply offensive? Likewise, God, too, is insulted by certain things we do and say. To create awareness of our offenses, God gave the Ten Commandments. Most people think of themselves as fairly good. They think that God will allow them to enter Heaven. Using the Ten Commandments, let’s see if you qualify for Heaven.



The first commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” We make gods out of our love for things, people, health and careers. These “gods” quickly ensnare us. But the point is that everyone breaks this commandment, even very good people (Romans 3:10-12).

The third commandment states that we are not to use God's name in vain. How many times have you cursed using the words “God” or “Jesus Christ”? This is very offensive to God. The fact is no one is good enough, in themselves, for Heaven.

We commit some sins without even knowing it; others nag at us, causing us spasms of guilt. Nevertheless, by examining just two of the Ten Commandments we see that “all have sinned . . .” (Romans 3:23). No one is even close to being good enough. The Bible tells us that whoever breaks even one commandment is still considered guilty (James 2:10).

People do not understand why God would send people to Hell for sins they consider to be normal behavior. The jars illustration will help explain.

The left jar has fresh, clean water. It represents God--holy and without impurities. The other jar has raw, putrid sewage in it. It represents self-centered humanity and our sin. Just as raw sewage is repulsive to us, so is sin to God. He is repulsed by sin and completely separate from sin. This is revealed in the Bible’s description of God as “holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3).

Sin is the problem that keeps people from going to Heaven! Continuing the jars analogy, suppose the sewage is sent through a perfect filtering system; then pure water would come out of the other side. Once the water is purified, it is no longer offensive! Likewise, God has provided His Son as the perfect filter who died for our sins (I Peter 3:18). Entering a relationship with Jesus is analogous to passing through the perfect filter.

All relationships require communication. In prayer receive Jesus and ask God to give you eternal life (John 1:12). Confess your sins to God (review the Ten Commandments) and ask Him to forgive you. Ask Jesus to help you to have a trusting relationship with Him (Revelation 3:20). This is God’s only way of cleansing you for His presence in Heaven (John 14:6).

After putting your trust in Jesus for Heaven (salvation), it is essential to grow as a Christian. A mark of a true Christian is enjoying fellowship with other Christ followers. Join a Bible-believing church. A second mark is having an eagerness to read and understand the Bible. Get into a class or small group to learn the Bible. A third mark of a Christian is one who has peace with God. Christ followers have assurance that Jesus died for them and they will one day go to Heaven (I John 5:11-13).

Salvation is in trusting Jesus alone. Growth is becoming like Him.


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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Evolution and Hypocrisy

Wisconsin State Democratic Representative Terese Berceau, is using her political power by authoring a bill to prevent “. . . religious and political influence in science instruction in public schools.”* With this same hypocrisy she claims that Intelligent Design is not testable while not mentioning the untestable nature of evolution.

Evolution to the common person means the cells-to-humans variety. But the only evidence for this kind of evolution is an extrapolation from adaptation such as bacteria surviving antibacterial drugs. But an extrapolation is not testable!

Likewise, evolution education is firmly planted in mid air. By this I mean it has no foundation. Origin of life and origin of matter have no empirical, repeatable scientific evidence. Since evolutionists do not include origin issues as part of evolution then what is the foundation to evolution? The answer is air. There is no foundation.

Evolutionists, such as Ms. Berceau, need to quit their hypocrisy and promotion of a double standard. If Wisconsin public school science classes are to eliminate Intelligent Design discussion then we should also have them eliminate all discussions of natural origins and evolution based on extrapolation. That at least would eliminate the hypocrisy and double standard.

* Heather Halweg, The Daily Cardinal, Wednesday, February 8, 2006. http://www.dailycardinal.com/article.php?storyid=1028636


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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Could Jones’ Ruling Affect Evolution Education?

Not every evolutionist is ecstatic about the decision Judge John Jones made on December 20, 2005. In a startling article published January 5, 2006, Lloyd Eby, a philosophy professor from George Washington University, stated that the judge overstepped his bounds when he defined "science" in his 139 page ruling.

As a result of Jones's statements Eby wrote, "I predict that sometime in the future -- say a hundred years hence -- this case and Judge's Jones opinion in it will turn out to be seen as having been like the Catholic Church's case against Galileo. Except that this time the winning and losing sides will have switched; the proponents of evolution and scientific naturalism will by then have lost the war against religion and ID, even though they won the Dover battle."[1] Possibly the prediction could come true much sooner than Eby thinks.

The overstepping slip by the judge amplifies one of the major arguments creationists have voiced against evolution from the beginning of this debate--evolution is not science! While evolutionists prefer an obscure definition of science, Judge Jones has now put it into law. This is very exciting for critics of evolution because Jones has made "science" definitive. The ramifications in the future court cases could overturn evolution education in public schools, which is exactly what Eby has predicted and is exactly the opposite of what Jones intended.

Jones wrote in the ruling concerning science, "Methodological naturalism is a 'ground rule' of science today which requires scientists to seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify."[2] Jones went on in glorious detail defining science, "NAS is in agreement that science is limited to empirical, observable and ultimately testable data: 'Science is a particular way of knowing about the world. In science, explanations are restricted to those that can be inferred from the confirmable data -- the results obtained through observations and experiments that can be substantiated by other scientists. Anything that can be observed or measured is amenable to scientific investigation. Explanations that cannot be based upon empirical evidence are not part of science.'"[3]

Jones decided that Intelligent Design is metaphysical in nature. Jones has also written, while citing various sources, that science is by nature methodological naturalism and not metaphysical. This unmuddled definition has tremendous implications not only for Intelligent Design, but also for evolution as taught in public schools.

A fundamental position of ID supporters is that evolutionists do not define key terms such as "science". By keeping the public in the dark, evolutionists could write off Intelligent Design as religious while maintaining that evolution is scientific. This double standard might finally come to the public's attention because of Judge Jones' detailed definition and description of science.

Evolution is principally metaphysics based on many unprovable assumptions. There is no empirical evidence for macroevolution, and the evidence that some call microevolution is simple adaptation. The extrapolation of evidence from adaptation to macroevolution is not empirical science. Uniformitarian geology and interpreting the fossil record in favor of evolution is based upon the unprovable assumption that evolution is true. The Big Bang is also based on the assumption that evolution is true. There is much better evidence to suggest that the universe has a center and an edge which is contrary to the Big Bang Theory. See the DVD Starlight and Time for an understandable explanation for these cosmological issues.

Though Eby clearly is an evolutionist, his own honesty about the metaphysical nature of the origins issue comes to light when he writes, "How could an irreducibly complex biological structure come about through evolutionary methods that require gradualism -- that go against what is known in revolutionary biology as saltationism or the view that completely new living things appeared all at once in discontinuous jumps from what existed before?"[4] Eby elaborates on the impossible odds for the universe to even exist and he willingly asked such questions as, "where did it [Big Bang] come from and what came before it?"[5]

These are all metaphysical questions. If Jones's definition of science becomes known to the broad public then evolutionary theory can no longer hide in the muddle of fuzzy "science". As Jones' definition comes before the public those teaching evolution will no longer be able to present assumptions as facts. Origins issues and macroevolution will be exposed for what they are -- metaphysical beliefs with no empirical evidence to support them! In fact, logic and available evidence shouts out that life does not arrive from chemicals and a universe of matter cannot come from nothing.

When the time and circumstances are right some group needs to legally challenge the teaching of metaphysical evolution in public schools. What a joy it would be to someday have honesty in the science classrooms across the USA. Judge Jones has extended to critics of evolution a great and powerful favor by his definition of science now placed into law!

[1] Eby, Lloyd (January 5, 2006) What Is Science? Part II: Pennsylvania 's Intelligent Design case, World Peace Herald,. http://www.wpherald.com/storyview.php?StoryID=20060105-111612-4298r
[2] Jones, John III (December 20, 2005) TAMMY KITZMILLER, et al. VS. DOVER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., (Page 65). http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2005/images/12/20/kitzmiller.pdf
[3] Ibid. (Page 66).
[4] Eby
[5] Eby


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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Judgment at Harrisburg

Like the Nuremberg trials, the six-week trial at Harrisburg has attracted a great deal of attention. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Judge John E. Jones III’s long-awaited decision was made December 20, 2005 in favor of the plaintiff, Kitzmiller. This decision is notable because it is the first court case which tests the validity of Intelligent Design education in public schools.

The Dover Area School District was merely presenting a one-minute disclaimer stating that evolution has “gaps” and that other texts such as Of Pandas and People were recommended as additional reading. However, Judge Jones ruled against this use by invoking the principle of separation of church and state. Jones wrote, “The students, parents and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.''

This decision is clearly a setback for Intelligent Design proponents who wish to have some critique of evolution presented to students. Evolutionist blogs such as The Panda’s Thumb are hailing this as a watershed event, and one newspaper is calling it a Waterloo victory. The decision will definitely have an impact on school districts across the country which have considered implementing some form of Intelligent Design or criticism of evolution.

So, is this the beginning of the end of the Intelligent Design movement? That is not very likely. Though both sides have considered Judge Jones a moderate and considerate judge, rather than an activist judge, the case did not go well for the defendants. At least two Dover School Board members were caught covering up information regarding the gift of several copies of the textbook Of Pandas and People given to the school district. In addition, three of the strongest proponents of Intelligent Design, William Dembski, Stephen Meyer and Jonathan Wells were not called to testify. Personally, I am disappointed by this omission. However, the staff at the Discovery Institute (the source of much of the Intelligent Design work) recommends educators “teach the controversy” rather than teaching Intelligent Design.

So what can Intelligent Design proponents do now to renew the challenge against evolution in public schools? I propose that some group challenge the teaching of evolution as science. For what empirical evidence is there for the universe’s matter coming out of nothing? What operational science is there that supports life naturally arising from chemicals? And what evidence is there for macroevolution? Origins of matter and life are based on faith. One of the definitions of religion is: "a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith".* The philosophy of metaphysical naturalism which is assumed in evolution education needs to be challenged in court, not Intelligent Design.

Natural selection, adaptation and other mechanisms such as genetic drift are science, but not evolution as commonly understood. Evolution, as the public thinks of it, consists of changes in a vertical direction. However, what is observed through experimentation are changes in a downward, or at best a horizontal direction. Vertical evolution requires the DNA (a long string of instructions) of a species to evolve into novel structures or functions.

To illustrate the concept of vertical evolution, think of a paragraph of text. To copy the paragraph and paste it somewhere else in the document is at best a horizontal change to the document. But a vertical change to the document is to intelligently add an original paragraph of text. Mutations can’t do that in a million generations, but vertical evolution is what people think of when they think of evolution. Evolution is pseudoscience held to with “ardor and faith” not observation.

The Thomas More Law Center, which defended Dover Area School District, previously said that if they lost they would take the case to the Supreme Court. This is not the case to pursue. That would lead to more embarrassment. Rather, a new case that challenges the validly of evolution as science is needed.


* Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, 10th Edition.

Jim Bendewald, MDiv., is a staff writer for New Media Alliance and co-author of the book, Evolution Shot Full of Holes. He also developed the CD-ROM, Evidence the Bible Is True. See more evidence at: http://creationevidence.blogspot.com/ and http://www.evidencepress.com/.


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Monday, December 19, 2005

Carl Sagan’s Ordered Universe

The idea that there is order in the universe is so obvious that I thought it was universally accepted. However, I recently commented on a forum that the universe is ordered; I was surprised to find opposition. I wrote, "Consider the universe -- is it chaotic or is it ordered? Science demonstrates that the universe is ordered. E=MC2 is a formula that is both simple yet complex. If the universe is chaotic, then this formula would be meaningless. Scientists make discoveries about the universe because it is ordered. Are we simply lucky to have an ordered universe? Or is it more logical that the universe is ordered due to intelligent design? Does order in a room come by random chance or does it come by effort and intelligence? Students need to be able to consider both possibilities."[1]

One person responded to my comments with several paragraphs including the statement, "Here's a clue: the universe is chaotic and the formula is valid." I wrote back claiming that Carl Sagan would disagree with that statement and quoted from a humanist web site which states, "Sagan also pointed out numerous times that 'the order of the Universe is not an assumption; it is an observed fact'. And that the simplest definition of science is the search for rules -- which is, in turn, the only possible way to understand our vast and complex Universe. Sagan admitted that 'human beings are, understandably, highly motivated to find regularities, natural laws...' The Universe forces those who live in it to understand it. Those creatures who find everyday experience a muddled jumble of events with no predictability, no regularity, are in grave peril. The Universe belongs to those who, at least to some degree, have figured it out'".[2]

For Sagan the universe displaying order was a big deal to him evidenced by naming his book and video series Cosmos. Sagan wrote, "Cosmos is a Greek word for the order of the universe. It is, in a way, the opposite of chaos. It implies the deep interconnectedness of all things. It conveys awe for the intricate and subtle way in which the universe is put together."[3] Evidence for order is observed in mathematics, physics, and likely every field of science.

Order in the universe leads us to ask, who or what ordered the universe, God or nothing. Evolutionists are forced by their a priori commitment to ". . . a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive." [4] However, order does not come from nothing. It comes from an organizer with intelligence. So should Intelligent Design be disqualified as scientific simply because the obvious conclusion of universal order is God instead of nothing? No! Should the "God cause" be marginalized as religious while the "nothing cause" is given the scientific seal of approval? No! Either both are scientific possibilities or neither is, so let’s act consistently while educating our youth.

It is no wonder that most people still view God as the source of their being. When an average person looks at the arguments in favor of creation, he or she quickly concludes that creation arguments are logical and persuasive. It is both scientific and commonsense to realize that organization requires an organizer, design requires a designer and information as in DNA requires an author. Evolutionists are acting like the swindlers in the proverbial Emperor's New Clothes. Most Americans are not buying the illogical-unscientific idea that order, design and intelligence came from nothing but time and chance.

[1] http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/11/5/61155/5254
[2] http://www.humanists.net/pdhutcheon/humanist%20articles/Carl%20Sagan%20and%20Modern%20Scientific%20Humanism.htm
[3] Sagan, Carl (1980). Cosmos (p. 18). New York: Random House.
[4] http://www.csus.edu/indiv/m/mayesgr/Lewontin1.htm


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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Kansas Approves Questioning Evolution

On Tuesday, November 8, 2005 the Kansas State Board of Education voted 6-4 to approve a new set of science standards that question the veracity of evolution theory. Why is it important to challenge the veracity of evolution theory? Evolution is promoted in a way that confuses students and the public. In popular culture evolution is not just characterized by adaptation within a species, but by growth into more advanced species. A small business evolves into a large business. A timid local basketball player evolves into a national star. Evolution implies growth, as in evolving from invertebrates to vertebrates, amphibians to mammals and dinosaurs to birds.

Could natural selection produce these kinds of results? Natural selection, often stated as the “survival of the fittest”, is in fact a scientific principle that can be tested and verified in the laboratory. Microbiologists observe it as antibacterial drugs are applied to cultures of bacteria. Through studies it is observed that certain strains of bacteria survive the harsh invasion of the antibacterial substance. Since some bacteria survive and reproduce, is that real, vertical evolution or simply minor variation? Is it evolution if they survive other antibacterial drugs? Evolutionists would say this is an example of evolution in action. Certainly it is an example of natural selection in action, but do the bacteria grow into a higher-level organism? No!

Natural selection, mutations and genetic drift bring but minor change, not new information; not growth as in bacteria becoming something other than bacteria. For evolution to be demonstrated as true we need to see examples of growth such as testable examples of bacteria that evolved into multi-cellular organisms. Bacteria are single celled; they’re asexual and reproduce quickly. E. coli reproduce approximately every 20 minutes. If vertical evolution is real, it should be observed in the laboratory through the countless worldwide experiments being performed with bacteria. How is it known that evolutionary growth has never been observed? If such an incredible process was observed and could be reproduced again and again in the laboratory, it would be front-page news for a very long time!

Rather, evolutionists provide evidence for small changes in organisms but do not provide direct evidence for large-scale changes. Biological evidence for evolution is an extrapolation from minor changes in organisms. But an extrapolation is not empirical science.

Biological changes from natural selection weed out (select out) information; they reduce the genetic information of the organism. The reduction of genetic information can be illustrated through artificial selection of breeding animals. Dogs, for example, can be bred to have no hair. In order to get this result the genetic information for hair is eventually bred out. The public is led to believe that natural selection produces new information-- "evolution". It does not.

Therefore, students and the public need to be made aware that natural selection, mutations, genetic drift and other natural mechanisms merely produce changes within an organism, but the changes are the result of a reduction of genetic information. This is a huge issue and evolutionists do not teach this kind of fundamental problem with the theory of evolution. Yes, plants can become hybrids and viruses can carry genetic information from one host to another, but none of this produces novel genetic information that did not exist before. The Kansas State School Board is correct in encouraging students to discover and discuss some of the major flaws in the foundation of evolution.

Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education said, "It will be marketed by the religious right ... as a huge victory for their side." This issue is not about "the religious right"; it is about a proper scientific understanding of where we came from. Since evolution merely produces changes within organisms and with it a reduction of genetic information, where is the biological evidence in favor of cells-to-humans evolution? Other than an extrapolation from a process that reduces genetic information, it does not exist. The Kansas State Board of Education is correct to encourage their students to see the real nature of evolution.


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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Michael Behe and Irreducible Complexity

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has become the new legal battleground for the viability of intelligent design(ID). Two men who testified as critics of ID were Robert Pennock and Kenneth Miller. Their foundational argument is that ID is not testable or falsifiable and is therefore not science.

The defense in the Harrisburg trial has Michael Behe, the author of "Darwin's Black Box", testifying in favor of ID as science. Behe coined the phrase “irreducible complexity". It describes systems which have no functional advantage unless several components are in place. Behe used the analogy of a mouse trap. In order for the mouse trap to catch mice it must have all five of these components: a platform, hammer, spring, sensitive catch and bar. Behe uses several biological examples including the bacterial flagellum, blood clotting and cilia for illustrating irreducibly complexity.

Contrary to Pennock's and Miller's claim, an irreducibly complex hypothesis can be stated as falsifiable: "Are there irreducibly complex biological systems, which would in a particular case, refute evolution as numerous successive slight-modifications?" This is a testable hypothesis. If in fact ID does not provide falsifiable hypotheses, then why do ID critics such as Miller go through such extraordinary lengths trying to explain away examples of irreducibly complexity? The fact that they have lengthy chapters and articles designed to dispute irreducible complexity only demonstrates that ID is falsifiable!

I would like to go beyond Behe's textbook examples of irreducible complexity to the theoretical first cell arising by natural causes as the ultimate form of irreducible complexity. Life cannot exist without many numerous interdependent complex systems, each irreducibly complex on their own, bringing about a grand pageant for life to exist.

A specific example is the interdependence of DNA, RNA and protein. "DNA, RNA and proteins cannot do their jobs without the help of at least one of the other two. DNA is a library of detailed information for the various structures within the cell. It has the information for the manufacture of each protein. RNA is a copy of instructions from the DNA and is sent as a messenger to the ribosomes for making proteins. There are two types of proteins; functional proteins such as enzymes, and structural proteins, which compose the organelles . . . Living cells need all three molecules at the same time. The chance, simultaneous natural appearance of the three distinct, interdependent complex systems is just not possible."[1] Not only are these three needed for life, but an organism also needs a cell membrane, usable energy, reproduction and all left-handed amino acids. All of these requirements are just a portion of why the “first cell” is the ultimate in irreducible complexity.

Darwin's theory of numerous, successive, slight modifications simply does not work when discussing the origin of life. The problem that ultimate irreducible complexity brings to evolution is clearly daunting for evolutionists. Their way to deal with the problem is to dismiss ID as nonscientific or pseudoscience. However, when one looks at the issue of origin of life through the lens of irreducible complexity, the evidence points to design. As demonstrated in my article, "Is Intelligent Design Scientific? Part 2", when the definition of science includes ID as an option then we can see that evidence, such as irreducible complexity, clearly points to ID. To prevent ID from being discussed in the classroom or supported in scientific journals is to stifle the scientific process. It forces the square peg of data to fit the round hole of naturalism.

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[1] Bendewald, J. & Sherwin, F. (2004). Evolution Shot Full of Holes (p. 85, 87). Madison, WI: Evidence Press.


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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Is ID Science? Part 1

The August 15, 2005 edition of Time magazine has the cover story, Evolution Wars.[1] The article asks the question, "Is 'intelligent design' a real science?" The authors attempt to make the case that intelligent design is not scientific and therefore should not be included in science curriculum or class discussions. This is a common argument among those who are anti-intelligent design. But various congressmen, school board members and citizens are disagreeing.

On September 20, 2005 the American Astronomical Society[2] came out with a statement that summarizes the position taken by evolutionists. The statement says, "'Intelligent Design' fails to meet the basic definition of a scientific idea or theory containing no testable way to verify its central ideas." Is it true that intelligent design cannot be tested?

One well-known intelligent design advocate is William Dembski, a mathematician and philosopher. Dembski defines intelligent design as the science that studies signs of intelligence.[3] He developed a simple formula for testing whether an object was designed or not. His formula for determining design is called specified complexity. Simply put, it’s the more an object is both highly specified and highly complex, the more confidence we can have that this object was designed.

Dembski describes “specified” as exhibiting an independently given pattern--a pattern that is recognizable. Dembski describes “complexity” as not being easily repeatable by chance. Let’s examine three objects and determine if they have been designed by using the specified complexity formula.

The first object is the likeness of a face on the planet Mars. Is the face specified? Yes, to some degree it is recognizable as a face. An eye, nose and other facial outlines can be identified. However, the picture does not provide a high degree of specificity. Only half of the face is visible. The face is not of a particular person. Is the face complex? To a small degree it is complex, but one could imagine it easily having been formed by wind and shadows. Therefore, specified complexity suggests that the face on Mars, with a small amount specificity and complexity, was not designed, but was formed by natural causes.

The second object is Mount Rushmore. This mountain has four recognizable faces on it. The faces contain details of eyes, eyebrows, ears, noses, hair, jacket; the faces are complete, including the left and right sides. But what makes it highly specified is the fact that the faces represent four past presidents of the United States! In addition, it is exceedingly complex. To reproduce Mount Rushmore to the exact size, shape, mass would be extremely difficult. It is an excellent example of an object that is both highly specified and highly complex. Therefore, the specified complexity model provides us with extremely high confidence that Mount Rushmore was designed.

The third object is DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Is DNA specified--does it provide a pattern that is recognizable? Yes, DNA’s code provides a powerful recognizable pattern that results in a set of assembly instructions for the cell and the entire being. It is a vast information source in the form of a four-letter code. What about the second half of the formula? Is DNA complex? Yes, it provides the most densely compact form of information known to humanity. It is a biological language that provides specific directions. DNA is both extremely complex and specified--far more so than Mt. Rushmore. Therefore, we can have complete confidence that DNA was designed.

Stephen C. Meyer of the Discovery Institute describes information as, "a massless quantity".[4] He then states, "Now if information is not a material entity, then how can any materialistic explanation explain its origin?" This is not simply poking holes in the notion of a natural cause for DNA information. The evidence is not just a problem for a natural origin, it does not go there; rather it leads to an author, an intelligent designer. This is why the specified complexity formula is powerful scientific evidence for intelligent design.

As seen from above, specified complexity can be tested. In addition, it is falsifiable. All one has to do is provide an example of something that is highly specified and highly complex that was not designed, but formed by natural causes. Such an example would show specified complexity to be incomplete, if not altogether false.

Another demonstration that intelligent design is indeed scientific is by the way it is already being used in a variety of scientific fields. In 1968 Jocelyn Bell who interpreted data from a radio telescope array just outside Cambridge England, was the first to discover pulsars--rotating neutron stars that emit bursts of radio waves, a remnant of a super nova. Carl Sagan reports in the video series, Cosmos,[5] that it was once thought that astronomers had discovered an intelligence source or a beacon for extraterrestrial travelers but this was later discovered to be a pulsar. The reason for the early excitement was the recognizable pattern--specificity! But a pulsar does not provide complexity. The phenomenon was determined to be natural and not from an alien source, just as predicted by the specified complexity formula. The SETI program, which stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, uses modern radio telescopes with the hopes of finding evidence for intelligent life from other parts of the universe. SETI is active today, though it is no longer funded by the US government.

Archaeology is another example of inquiry that looks for signs of intelligent design. For example, an archaeologist might look at a large rectangular rock and try to determine whether it was formed naturally or by design. Any words found on the rock would provide an extremely high degree of specificity and complexity in favor of design. Another field of intelligence searching is forensic science. These scientists use a variety of clues to determine if a person was murdered or died of natural causes. Another example would be computer science, where one searches for the cause of a computer problem. Was the problem created by a human-developed virus or did the problem arise by natural causes within the inner workings of the computer?

Intelligent design is testable and falsifiable through specified complexity. As shown through SETI, archaeology, forensics and computer science, the search for intelligence (intelligent design) is already a major part of scientific inquiry. It is only reasonable to give intelligent design the same scientific status.

Click Here for Part 2

[1] Wallis, Claudia (8/15/2005) The Evolution Wars. TIME, 26-35.
[2] American Astronomical Society Supports the Teaching of Evolution. New York, NY: PR Newswire
[3] Dembski, William A. [Web site]. (1/14/2004) Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher about Design. http://www.designinference.com/documents/
2004.01.Ten_Questions_ID.pdf
[4] Unlocking the Mystery of Life [Film]. (2002). La Habra, CA: Illustra Media.
[5] Cosmos Boxed Set [Film Series]. (2002). Studio City, CA: Cosmos Studios


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Monday, October 03, 2005

Is ID Science? Part 2

Robert T. Pennock, a prominent evolutionist and philosopher of science at Michigan State University, testified on September 8 in the Harrisburg Pennsylvania trial with 11 parents against the Dover Area School District. Pennock testified, "As scientists go about their business, they follow a method; intelligent design wants to reject that and so it doesn't really fall within the purview of science." [1] In other words, Pennock said that evolutionists use the scientific method but intelligent design scientists do not.

In part 1 of this article, "Is Intelligent Design Science?" I used William Dembski's formula of specified complexity to oppose the claim that intelligent design is not testable and therefore is not scientific. One can determine whether an object was designed by assessing its degree of specificity and complexity. DNA for example, which is both highly specified and complex is shown by Dembski’s formula to be designed. Using three examples I demonstrated that intelligent design is testable and is therefore scientific. Pennock takes the argument against intelligent design a step further by claiming that intelligent design does not make use of the scientific method.



This is another false claim. Whether the scientist is an evolutionist, creationist or one who identifies with the intelligent design group, the scientific methods are the same. No matter what the scientists’ beliefs are, the scientific methods of examining a specimen under a microscope, for example, are the same. What can differ however, is when the question of evolution and origins is addressed. An evolutionist may interpret the data as evidence for evolution while a creationist may see the evidence supporting intelligent design. Pennock is wrong; the “method” he refers to is used by evolution and intelligent design scientists.

Pennock made another claim in his testimony: "Even if one doesn't specifically name God, . . . simply saying a supernatural being or power is involved makes intelligent design a religious concept." [2] How can Pennock and other evolutionists come to this conclusion? The answer is in their definition of science.

The Kansas State Board of Education has gone to the root of the matter by dealing with the definition of science. The Kansas City Star states the majority definition of science, "Science is a human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us." [3] This definition limits science to natural explanations; any supernatural explanation is deemed outside of science or, in other words, is religious. The Kansas State Board of Education members offered this alternative definition of science which states, "Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena." This definition does not limit the explanation of the observed to the natural (i.e., there could be a supernatural explanation). This tolerant definition of science opens the door for all scientists, despite their beliefs about origins, to work as scientists and not have their work be relegated to "religion".
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[1] Raffaele, Martha [Web site]. (9/29/2005) `Intelligent design' called Creationism. http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/
living/education/12770483.htm

[2] Anderson, Lisa [Web site]. (9/28/05) Reporters Agree to Testify in Evolution Case. http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/
news/nation/12766939.htm

[3] Associated Press. Kansas City Star, (5/14/2005) A Look at Kansas’ Debate over Evolution, Defining Science.


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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Evidence for Design

The first sentence of Carl Sagan's book, COSMOS, states, "The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be."[1] In fact, this was a trademark statement for him--he made the same statement in his opening lines in the COSMOS[2]documentary series by NOVA. In Sagan's view, "The cosmos is all there is..." means there is only matter and energy in the universe. There is no God and there is no intelligent design to the universe. If he is correct, then where did information come from?

Stephen C. Meyer of the Discovery Institute explains the nature of information in a video clip, "Extras," from the Unlocking the Mystery of Life DVD.[3] Meyer describes teaching his students about information by holding up two computer disks. One disk is blank while the other is full of information. He asks, "What's the difference in mass between these two computer disks, as a result of the difference in the information content that they possess?" The answer is a resounding, "Zero, zilch, nada," because information is as Meyer says, "a massless quantity". Meyer then concludes, " Now if information is not a material entity, then how can any materialistic explanation explain its origin?" Therefore, if a material or natural cause cannot explain the origin of information then all that is left is a supernatural cause. But what is information?
If one was to happen upon a sign that says, "Do Not Enter", no one would wonder if the information from the sign might have arrived by natural causes. Also, if while walking on the beach one sees a large heart with the words, "I love you" written in the center of it, the observer would never conclude that those words had been formed by waves, wind or some other natural source. Any time we see information, we know that it comes from an intelligent source. What about the information found in DNA?

Deoxyribonucleic acid is a set of assembly instructions for the rest of the cell, organism or being. Dr. Warner Gitt, the author of In the Beginning Was Information writes, "DNA molecules contain the highest-known packing density of information. This exceedingly brilliant storage method reaches the limit of the physically possible, namely down to the level of single molecules."[4] Therefore, biological information provides the most complex and dense information known. In addition, Richard Dawkins, in The Blind Watchmaker writes, "There is enough storage capacity in the DNA of a single lily seed or a single salamander sperm to store the Encyclopedia Britannica 60 times over."[5] We see that DNA is not a concatenation of random letters, but is ordered, complex, dense and contains a huge volume of information.

Gitt provides a detailed look at information, dividing it into five levels. Wherever information is found, it fits these five levels. These can be illustrated with a STOP sign. The first level, statistics, tells us the STOP sign is one word and has four letters. The second level, syntax, requires the information to fall within the rules of grammar such as correct spelling, word and sentence usage. The word STOP is spelled correctly. The third level, semantics, provides meaning and implications. The STOP sign means that when we walk or drive and approach the sign we are to stop moving, look for traffic and proceed when it is safe. The fourth level, pragmatics, is the application of the coded message. It is not enough to simply recognize the word STOP and understand what it means; we must actually stop when we approach the sign. The fifth level, apobetics, is the overall purpose of the message. The STOP signs are placed by our local government to provide safety and traffic control. The code in DNA completely conforms to all five of these levels of information.

DNA is made up of a code of 4 letters (statistics). The four DNA letters, like the 26 letters of the English alphabet, are arranged into a code (syntax). The DNA code is a form of language that communicates with RNA (semantics). Not only are instructions communicated, but they are carried out in the cell, creating various organelles (pragmatics). The DNA provides the instructions to build the various organelles in order to maintain the cell (apobetics). This brief summary of Gitt’s five levels demonstrates the depth of the information in DNA as being dependent upon an intelligent source.

If Sagan was alive today and was challenged with the information argument, he would probably give a response like, “Scientists have not discovered the answers to ultimate questions, but given time they will.” This is what one of my readers says to the ultimate irreducible complexity argument.

However, there are only two possible explanations for the existence of the universe and life. One is a natural cause and the other is a supernatural cause. Evolutionists eliminate the supernatural cause as being scientifically invalid; therefore, they dismiss any arguments in favor of a supernatural cause as being religious. However, creationists offer both the natural cause and the supernatural cause and then ask, "Where does the evidence lead?" Meanwhile, evolutionists, instead of following the evidence, force the evidence into a naturalistic explanation of the universe. Logically, when given both options, a natural cause for the origin of DNA or a supernatural cause, the logical and scientific choice is the supernatural cause. Indeed, information as seen in DNA, comes as close to proving God’s existence as I think one can get.

[1] Sagan, C. (1960). Cosmos (p. 1) New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
[2] Cosmos Boxed Set [Film Series]. (2002). Cosmos Studios
[3] Unlocking the Mystery of Life [Film]. (2002). La Habra, CA: Illustra Media.
[4] Gitt, W. (1997). In the Beginning Was Information (p. 195). Bielefeld, Germany: Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung.
[5] Dawkins, R. (1986). The Blind Watchmaker (pp. 115-116). New York: W.W. Norton.


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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Marine Fossil Evidence

One of the most prominent arguments against Intelligent Design (ID) is that it should be dismissed outright as being religious and not scientific. This claim is made so frequently in articles and books against ID that it leads the reader to conclude it must be true. But is ID any less scientific than evolution is?

What is meant by relegating ID to religion? Suppose a Christian who is also a scientist uses the empirical science of observations and measurements from the same microscope and slide that an evolutionist looks into. In this circumstance is the creationist practicing religion while the evolutionist is practicing science? Most people would say, "obviously no."

Then why do evolutionists charge ID with being religion? The problem is not in the empirical science of observations but in the more speculative interpretation of the observations. However, suddenly the two groups are at an impasse since both make interpretations and no one is omniscient. Interpreting the data requires filling in the gaps with summations from hypotheses, tests, extensive research and other intelligence gathering. In the case of examining fossils, interpretation requires utilizing the scientists’ biases, beliefs and world views. As a matter of fact, evolution requires filling in the gaps just as ID does. Therefore, ID and evolution are on a level playing field, they both use scientific data and they both provide evidence for their theories.

Both ID and evolution require a certain amount of extrapolation based on the factual data. No one is able to go back in a time machine and watch the history of the universe and life transpire. Therefore, scientists look at the fossil record and draw conclusions from what they see. Some evolutionists theorize Earth's geology was caused by several major catastrophes while others theorize it resulted from slow and gradual changes (This is called the "uniformitarian" view). Many Christians theorize Earth's geology is largely the result of The Flood and a single Ice Age. Now does the global flood theory make it scientifically invalid simply because it was inspired by the Bible? No, let the evidence speak. Let’s not remove a possible cause for Earth's geological layers and formations simply because it does not fit the billions-of-years-evolutionary view. To be honest, each theory has problems, and each theory has points in its favor.

Let me provide one of many facts that favor The Flood. Over 95% of the fossils found are marine invertebrates, primarily shellfish. Almost all (if not all) of the index fossils for each geologic layer are also marine invertebrates. How could a slow and gradual explanation of geology (uniformitarianism) fit this data? Even the dinosaur and mammal eras are identified by marine fossils, and marine fossils are found with these creatures or near by. Marine fossils require oceans, and since marine fossils are buried with mammals and dinosaurs this implies oceans covered them up. How can slow and gradual geology account for every layer being laid down by ocean water? In addition, fossilization requires both water and quick burial, like from a catastrophe.



In contrast the biblical description of The Flood, "the fountains of the great deep burst open",[1] "all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered",[2] "all flesh that moved on the earth perished",[3] "the water decreased steadily until the tenth month.[4] The Bible describes a world-wide catastrophe, with the source of water coming from "the great deep" as well as 40 days of torrential rains. The ubiquitous marine fossils and world-wide fossilization favors a world-wide catastrophic flood.

Is a world-wide flood theory unscientific simply because the Bible described it? That is not logical is it? However it certainly sounds like the evolutionists consider it unscientific simply because it is Biblical. For more scientific evidence of The Flood see the work by John Baumgardner a scientist from Los Alamos National Laboratory who developed a computer model which shows how a global flood would produce the majority of Earth’s present geological layers and various formations. http://globalflood.org/ This is no insignificant accomplishment since it was written up as a major article in US News and World Report in June, 1997.

What do you think?
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[1] Genesis 7:11
[2] Genesis 7:19
[3] Genesis 7:21
[4] Genesis 8:5


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Monday, September 05, 2005

Dinosaur Tissues








The dating of dinosaur fossils has recently become much more interesting. MSNBC has a fascinating story about a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil that yielded soft tissue including blood vessels, bone matrix and possibly remnants of red blood cells. The story, along with pictures and two video interviews, can be found at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7285683/


This story is not widely known to the public but it ought to be because of its spectacular nature and its possible implications on the dating of dinosaurs. Discovering soft tissues in dinosaurs is a puzzle to evolutionists who claim that dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. Therefore the obvious question is, "How can such an old creature still have soft parts which are flexible and when stretched return to their original shape?"

North Carolina State University professor Mary Schweitzer is the leader of the discovery team that found the specimens and she is in the first MSNBC video interview. The reporter asked Ms. Schweitzer, "Is that amazing to find this kind of soft tissue in a fossil this old? And what can soft tissue really tell us?" Ms. Schweitzer responded, "Ah, well it, it is very amazing. It's utterly shocking actually, because it flies in the face of everything that we understand about how tissues and cells degrade. It is not something that any one of us could ever predict or hope for." Ms. Schweitzer is careful to make clear at this point that more testing needs to be done to verify the features found, but she adds, "It looks like blood vessels. It looks like, um, bone matrix and it certainly looks like cells and acts like cells. But we haven't done the chemical analysis to let us say what it is for sure."

Now what is odd is the only variable that is mentioned for explaining this paleontology enigma is that there must be something wrong with the way scientists have understood the process of fossilization. How else could one explain a 70-million-year-old dinosaur with soft parts? Well, another variable would be to consider questioning the assumed 70-million-year age of the dinosaur. Looking at the evidence alone, wouldn't it be more reasonable for the bone material to be more like thousands of years old? But this option is completely outside of the evolutionary view of life which theorizes that birds evolved from dinosaurs. If a scientist was to publicly consider the dating of dinosaurs in the thousands-of-years range such an admission would likely be detrimental to the career of that scientist.

Later in the video interview, one of the reporters suggested, "so you have to sort of rewrite the book as far as fossilization goes" to solve this puzzle. Ms. Schweitzer responds, "And, um like I said, a lot of our science doesn't allow for this. All of the chemistry and all of the molecular breakdown experiments that we have done don't allow for this. So if this material turns out to be actual remnants of the dinosaur, then yes, I think we will have to do some, um certainly rethinking some of the basics of some of the model of fossilization."

As shown later in the MSNBC article and in the subsequent video interview, this T. Rex is not the only source for soft tissues. The article states, "Since the discovery, she has found similar samples of soft tissue in two other Tyrannosaur fossils and a hadrosaur." On the video one of the reporters commented, "You know Mary, Mary, when I was reading about the story, I was amazed that in some of the capillaries, that's when you went to pull them, they snapped right back. Are you amazed at the quality of these remains?" Ms. Schweitzer responded, "Absolutely," then a moment later added, "It, it just does not seem to be possible. But yes, you can actually take the vessels and they do have internal components, and so you can take a probe and can kind of squeeze those components out into solution and the vessels are fine. It's just, I, I can't explain it, to be honest."

The debate over evolution and Intelligent Design is a hot debate in the news these days. One of the most persistent and vocal claims is that there is no evidence for creation or its "tuxedo-wearing brother," Intelligent Design. This blog is here to present evidence for creation and to hear from you about what you think. Is dinosaur soft tissue simply a problem with how scientists have understood fossilization? Or is this an example of the media and evolutionary bias that prevents the public from seeing fundamental problems with dates in the millions and billions of years? Suppose that these dinosaurs were not 65-70 million years old but were really 4-6 thousand years old. What would be the evolutionary implications of such a fact?

For additional research on this topic see:
Sensational dinosaur blood report!

Evolutionist questions AiG report

T. rex fossil has 'soft tissues'


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