The Salvation of Moore's Law

You must admit, it's a cute ad. People from TV invade the Intel briefing room, only to find those therein on hands and knees looking for their newest chip - some clod apparently dropped it. 'It's - uh - not big,' murmurs the chairman. 'Ah - here it is!' And he holds it high at tweezer's end. Even magnified, you can't see it. Our big ideas aren't your big ideas, says the ad, and then everyone sings the Intel song. "Our big ideas" is the phrase we want to hold onto.

Back in 1965 Intel co-founder Gordon Moore had his own big idea, which all technogeeks know by heart. Dubbed Moore’s Law, it decrees that every two years you’ll be able to double the components that will fit on an integrated circuit. His prediction has proven valid. Thus, in my school days, our high school had an IBM 360 computer for "computer science" class. It took up an entire room, required air conditioning, was fed data via punchcard, impressed the daylights out of anyone then, and moved snail-like compared to anything now.

In recent years, scientists have started fretting over how much longer Moore’s Law can hold. It’s not that they can’t imagine chips getting yet smaller. It’s that the tools to make them so will become so expensive that nobody will be able to afford chips made thereby. But now IBM claims to have the answer: use the DNA molecule – the very building block of life – as a scaffold upon which to assemble the new chips! They're cheap, tiny, intricate, predictable, and readily reproducible. Pour your pre-mixed nanotube (strands of carbon atoms that can conduct electricity) goo over them and see it mold into the form you want, much like intricate snowflakes form on molecules in the cold atmosphere. Will it work? IBM swears it will, though it will be 10 years before it reaches production. Once it does, the current crop of designer tools, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, can be replaced with less than a million dollars of polymers, DNA solutions, and heating implements.

Is that clever, or what? "What we are really making are tiny DNA circuit boards that will be used to assemble other components," says Greg Wallraff, IBM scientist. Will IBM, like Intel, start boasting about their "big idea?" If so, who could deny them?

Still, isn't there something incongruous about praising human ability to copy nature, while insisting nature itself arose by pure accident, nurtured only by natural selection? Billion dollar companies, with million dollar facilities, employing the best brains on the planet, building upon generations of accumulated research, and their ultimate accomplishment is, not to design something new, but to mimic something already occurring in nature - a pure freebee once they figure out how to copy it! Even the most impressed-with-himself counterfeiter acknowledges the greater skill and organization of those whom he copies. And even the dumbest construction worker tromping on literal scaffolds, building IBM headquarters, knows those scaffolds didn't just set themselves up. But today's scientists aren't inclined that way. They've mastered a few card tricks, so they figure themselves David Copperfield's equal.

Humans lifting ideas from nature to devise this or that "invention" happens so often that there is a word for it: biomimicry. You can even go here and view the Nature's Top 100 List. But humans giving credit to the originator of the ideas is a rare phenomenon. Today, it almost never happens. It wasn't always like that.

Four hundred years ago Johannes Kepler worked out the laws governing planetary motion. They move in ellipses, not circles, with the sun at one focal point. Over any given time unit, the triangle connecting planets with both focal points sweeps out equal areas of space, regardless of where they are in their orbit. He published his findings in his treatise Astronomia Nova. Sure, he was pleased with himself, but he kept his big head in perspective. He saved his praise for the one who designed what he had only discovered. Smack dab in the midst of his treatise, he inserted:

"The wisdom of the Lord is infinite; so also are His glory and His power. Ye heavens, sing His praises! Sun, moon, and planets glorify Him in your ineffable language! Celestial harmonies, all ye who comprehend His marvelous works, praise Him. And thou, my soul, praise thy Creator! It is by Him and in Him that all exists. that which we know best is comprised in Him, as well as in our vain science. To Him be praise, honor, and glory throughout eternity."

His third law he call the "harmonic law," for he believed it revealed the harmony God had instilled into the solar system. "I feel caried away and possessed by an unutterable rapture over the divine spectacle of the heavenly harmony," he enthused. 

Galileo voiced similar thoughts regarding his own discoveries, as did Newton. And it was only a few generations ago that collecting artifacts of nature in the belief that studying such could teach one about God was a popular pastime. Alas, no more. Is it really inexcusable, as Romans 1:20 states, not to percieve God through the things he has created?



Tom Irregardless and Me                 No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

I Don't Do Floods

Every so often someone will challenge me to “prove” the flood with science. But I don’t do floods. The cost/benefit doesn't work out.

I mean, if you’re going to debate something in Genesis, do creation. There are incentives to demonstrating creation; it is a truth that has consequences. For example, Paul, writing to the Corinthians, tells how the last Adam undoes the damage caused by the first Adam:

 It is even so written: “The first man Adam became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.   1 Cor 15:45

Adam’s sin impacts not just himself. It also impacts the generations that would come from him, condemning them to sin and death. Jesus (the last Adam) takes the consequences of that sin upon himself, and so he provides a basis for freeing humankind. Without a first Adam, the whole provision of Christ's sacrifice is meaningless. So there is a reason to establish the creation account as genuine. But the flood? There’s no real consequences to establishing that as true. Here and there other Bible writers refer to it, as they do to most OT events, but other than that, what really hinges on it? If you win, all you've done is demonstrate the Bible is correct on that particular point, leaving all the other points for grousers to take aim at.

Moreover, as an explanation for life's origin, one can maintain that the opposite of creation - evolution - is ridiculous.. But there’s nothing especially preposterous about the opposite of a flood: a 'no flood.' So why go there? You should not run with this ball. You should punt.

Of course, it’s not as though you are left - ahem - high and dry. You can garner bits of supporting evidence. You can answer questions like:

Q: Where did the water come from?

A: Let an expanse come to be in between the waters and let a dividing occur between the waters and the waters.” Then God proceeded to make the expanse and to make a division between the waters that should be beneath the expanse and the waters that should be above the expanse. And it came to be so. And God began to call the expanse Heaven.    (Gen 1:6-8)  So it looks as though earth at one time had waters suspended above “the expanse,” maybe they served to moderate temperature extremes that pummel the planet today - like a giant greenhouse. This might also explain why ancient tropical animals are excavated in arctic areas today. When this expanse emptied, earth’s climate changed in a flash:

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on this day all the springs of the vast watery deep were broken open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And the downpour upon the earth went on for forty days and forty nights.    Gen 7:11,12

Q: Where did the water go?

A: If you took the earth and made it “rounder,” we’d all be under water. Conversely, if you take a round earth, raise some mountains and sink some ocean trenches, you have provided a place for the waters to drain. Did this happen?

Mountains proceeded to ascend, valley plains proceeded to descend—to the place you have founded for them.    Ps 104:8

Q: Where is the geological evidence for a flood?

A: We maintain it is all around us, largely misinterpreted as evidence of “ice ages.”

So you have some answers. You’re not left a sitting duck for those who challenge you about the flood. Still, it's merely corroborating evidence. It doesn’t prove anything. In the final analysis, you end up saying you accept the flood because “the Bible says so,” thus provoking howls and catcalls from the atheists. Why go there?

So I don't like to debate it, since even if you win, you've gained nothing. Yes, yes, the demons had their downfall just before the flood, provoking it. But you really think that will help your case? If some atheist challenges you about the flood, don't think telling him about demons will bail you out.

Now, there is nothing so terrible about something who's proof lies mostly with internal evidence - in this case "the Bible says so." The same can be said of evolutionary pschology, which rests completely upon absolute acceptance of biological evolution. You could not attempt to prove it otherwise. Yes, there are facts that corroborate with the notion, just like I have outlined a few for the flood, but nothing that even begins to prove it.

A while back, former staff scientist here at the Whitepebble Institute, Tom Tombaugh, achieved scientific stardom when he proposed that ear-splitting flatulence evolved over the eons as a defense mechanism to scare off predators. But then his colleagues discovered he was joking. Tom had thought he might actually pull it off, though, in view of this recent letter published in the Economist (Jan 24th, 2009). Referring to a previous article on evolutionary psychology, the writer notes:

"Everything is ex-post reasoning: we can run fast, detect cheating, kill our stepchildren, because...and here you simply insert anything from the days of being a member of a small, close-knit endangered tribe to justify this. With this one can explain almost everything without actually ever bothering to prove anything."

Pretty much the same as 'I believe the flood, since the Bible says so', I'd say.

Are there aspects of a worldwide flood that seem to contradict current findings of science? Yeah, there are. But perhaps today's conclusions will change. For now, a guy really can't go wrong quoting the former Beatle, John Lennon. He observed: "everything they told me as a kid has already been disproved by the same type of 'experts' who made them up in the first place."

Just try challenging a former Beatle on this blog. Just try it.



Tom Irregardless and Me                  No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Cabinets of Curiosities, Solomon, and the Bombardier Beetle

If you threw a party back in Bible times, there was one person you just had to invite: Solomon. He was absolutely essential. You only have to read what 1 Kings 4:33 says about him:

And he would speak about the trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that is coming forth on the wall; and he would speak about the beasts and about the flying creatures and about the moving things and about the fishes.

I mean, could this guy liven up things, or what? What more can you ask for at your party than someone who tells you all there is to know about warthogs?

Tempting though it may be to write Solomon off as a insufferable bore, upon inspection it is clear that most generations throughout history would consider his remarks fascinating. It’s only in the last hundred years or so that we’ve come to substitute football, horsepower, entertainment, and babes as talking points. Well, probably “babes” has always been around, but before our modern age of soft porn TV and hard porn internet, even they could hardly have been the obsession they are today. Just like Solomon, the average Joe of the nineteenth century figured you could do no better than rattle on about the trees and beasts and flying creatures and moving things and fishes.

There used to be a permanent exhibit at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, first floor, entitled Cabinets of Curiosities. Alas, it has been replaced with wiz-bang Jurassic Park dinosaurs. I mean, dinosaurs are okay, but who doesn’t have them? Cabinets, though much more modest in scale, offered unique insight. The exhibit was a vast collection of stuffed birds, insects, mammals, shells, minerals, plants, leaves, rocks, and so forth. Explaining it all was a sign:

“Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, Nature was seen as evidence of God’s work and people believed that studying it would bring them closer to the Creator. Darwin’s evolutionary theory, which replaced God’s role in creating species with natural selection, shook society to it’s foundations.”

So people collected these things….showed them off….studied them. They were part of the Book of Nature; they revealed things about God. Prominent scientists of the age: Newton and Kepler, Faraday and Hertz, thought of their work in much the same light. But people gradually adjusted to Darwinian thinking…..and little by little….natural things lost their appeal. One might as well collect hub caps.

So Solomon’s cherished topics of conversation and those of the nineteenth century are pretty much the same. It is we who can’t imagine what people could possibly find intriguing about “trees and beasts and flying creatures and fishes.“ Our times are the aberration, not those of Solomon.

Lately, though, the Awake! magazine has started talking up trees and beasts and flying creatures and moving things and fishes, highlighting one brief (too brief) example every issue. There’s more to these creatures than most people know.

For example, the bombardier beetle (December 2008) defends itself by spraying boiling, stinking liquid from its rear, sending spiders, birds and frogs running for cover. I mean, the liquid is actually boiling, it’s 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Built-in reactive chambers and release mechanism are potent enough to change speed, direction, and consistency of its toxic spray. Scientists try to learn from it, try to adapt it to various modern gadgets. “Andy McIntosh of the University of Leeds, England, says ‘Nobody had studied the beetle from a physics and engineering perspective as we did - and we didn’t appreciate how much we would learn from it.’”

The article concludes (as they always do) with “What do you think? Did (whatever the subject under consideration) develop by chance? Or was it designed?”

I can picture modern day devotees of reason and logic….the ones who idolize science as even scientists themselves do not….frothing livid at the question. You can‘t just ask that question point blank, they fume, first you must explain the ground rules concerning admissible evidence and the scientific method, otherwise people may come to conclusions you don’t want them to come to. But I see nothing wrong with the question. In fact, it seems foolish not to ask it.

The impetus behind the evolution model today applied to all living things is mutation, an “error” in replicating of this or that gene. The driver of the theory is natural selection. Errors, just like when you screw up something at home or in your workplace, are almost always bad. But every once in a while your bungling improves matters….we all know that can happen. And so it is with gene replication. There’s zillions of bad errors, and because they are bad they die out or get lost in the shuffle. But the one good error gives its recipient a leg up in the “fight for survival.“ Thus, natural selection sees to it that the good error is preserved for succeeding generations, while the bad ones disappear.

Now, nobody here has any problem applying this theory to the things Darwin observed in finches: changes of shape, color, beaks, feet, and so forth. Essentially it is animal husbandry. It’s been around forever. Everyone knows about it. But do you really, really expect us to believe that the same theory is enough to explain the bombardier beetle’s blasting butt? Just how many billions of these happy errors have to accumulate….each one nurtured by natural selection before being built upon….to equip the beetle this way?

The more successive coincidences you need, the more astronomical is the time required. If it takes you so long to flip a penny heads five times in a row, it will not take you twice as long to flip it so ten times in a row. Probability doesn’t work that way. The time required does not increase lineally, it increases geometrically. With enough needed permutations, you exceed the quantity of time supplied by even the boldest of physicists, for even time is not thought to be inexhaustible.

They are short articles, those Awake! snippets, thus frustrating those who confuse wisdom with tonnage. But Solomon would be pleased. You’d book him for after-dinner remarks and he’d regale one and all with tales of beetle flatulence.

Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News But Plenty of Hogwash


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

It Doesn't Make You Want to Run Out and Hold Up a Banner for Atheism

Well well well. Look what we find in the Rolling Stone. (9/4/08)

Here is singer/songwriter Randy Newman in interview. His just released album is Harps and Angels. Um, isn’t that religious, Rolling Stone wants to know. Had you been sick when you wrote it? No, he just likes that kind of imagery, he replies. Besides, “sometimes you do think, ‘Jeez, it’d be great if there were an  afterlife.’ Especially if  you’re sixty something, like I am…..I mean, it doesn’t make you want to run out and hold up a banner for atheism.”

No it doesn't. Precisely. This is an example of why you should always read the Rolling Stone. Now I will go out and buy all of Mr. Newman’s records.

His remarks are timely, too. Because I’ve been lately swapping emails with this young (relative to Mr. Newman and I) atheist covering all the usual ground. Conceding that the odds against life originating spontaneously are so astronomical that you might almost wipe the notion off the court based on probability, he nonetheless observes….

“for a long time now there have been and indeed there still are, many intelligent minds at work on the problem. Over time and slowly but surely, they're working out how it all really happened and how it all really works. The key here is to have an open mind but who knows, if you can just find a little more funding, then one day someone might just find the answer…”

Doesn’t one have to ask why? I mean, what’s in it for them other than discovering that they’ll soon be dead? Now, if it was circumventing the (much more likely) odds of choosing the winning lottery numbers…..well, I can understand why clever minds might want to work hard on that problem. [though they don’t…..everyone knows that probability is pretty insurmountable] But the prize for defeating the staggering odds against a random origin of life is certain knowledge of a death sentence. Why, at age 60, would one eagerly pursue that line of thought?

Because we humans have an innate curiosity. We want to find how things are. We like to know how stuff works, or some such reply…I can hear the atheists now. But I’m not so sure. If you’re going to live forever you want to discover the truth of all things. But if you’ve only got twenty more years? When my car was brand new, I carefully attended to all dings and scratches. I maintained it well. But as it got older, I began to say “I can live with that” for more and more problems. I mean, what’s the point of pouring in expensive maintenance when it’s all going to be scrap in a few years anyway? Is it really any different with us, if we’re going to be scrap in a few years? As Randy Newman said, being 60 doesn’t make you want to run out and hold up a banner for atheism.”

It’s probably the same principle that would operate in concentrated form if you were to learn you had terminal cancer. It’s the rare person who wouldn’t quickly reassess goals. Innate curiosity for how stuff works would promptly give way to more immediate concerns on what makes life meaningful.

Look, regarding atheism, if you believe it you believe it. But I can’s see why anyone would celebrate it. It’s a great tragedy if true. Early atheists like H. G. Wellsreadily conceded this. Yet the current atheists … know, guys like Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens…..carry on as if a few decades and then gone forever is a great triumph for humanity, a true liberation of the human spirit. Today’s new atheistic thinking….this life is all there is. It must be what is behind this ridiculous “he (or she) is 80 years young” description we hear all the time. For crying out loud, If they are 80 years young, then why are they dead in the next year or two?

As a fallback position…..well, maybe then I can see it. Having lost faith in God and his purpose, well….at least revel in what years remain. But it’s sort of like the fellow who loses his millions in the stock market. Oblivious, he shrugs it off in a day or so and celebrates the ten dollars he still has left.

No question about it; faith is a casualty of the last days, at least among the world at large. Does it not make you think on Jesus’ question?

Nevertheless, when the Son of man arrives, will he really find the faith on the earth?         Luke 18:8


[EDIT:   sigh....updates here and here .]


Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

The Trouble With Critical Thinking

Those atheists are trying to tell me that bringing a child up in ones faith is like child abuse. Sheesh!

The kids believe what their parents believe, they grouse. They don’t have a fair chance to become …..well….atheists! like us!

Sure, children usually adopt the religious views of their parents. They also adopt every other view. It is in the nature of child-rearing. Children of American homes believe in the supremacy of American life. Children of Chinese homes believe in Chinese life. Children of pacifist parents become pacifist. Children of hawks become hawks. Children of parents who value education likewise value it. Children of parents who don't also don't.

Children of Ford or Chevy fanatics also favor those brands. Even Jakob Dylan is following the old man's footsteps in music, for crying out loud! As young adults some may reassess their values, but as small children they usually are a reflection of their parents.

This is a fact of human family life. And as those atheists don't object to it in any context other than religion, we may take their comments primarily as a statement of dislike (if not loathing) for our faith. Moreover, if you do not train your children, it is not true that they grow up free and unencumbered and subsequently select their values from the great cornucopia of ideas. No. All it means is that someone else will train them, and it is unlikely that the someone else will have the child's welfare at heart to the degree of the natural parents. With religious yearnings nearly universal throughout human experience, it really is a fantastic idea to suggest that failure to break that pattern amounts to child abuse!

Ahh, but I’m not saying one should teach atheism, a certain fellow says, who leans in that direction. (leans pretty hard, I think) No, but what one must do is teach critical thinking, he maintains, confident (am I reading this into his words?) that such thinking will inevitably lead to atheism, as it did with him!

“These tools are very simple,” he says, “critical thinking and scientific evaluation of facts” Ha! Look, these terms sound good, I admit, but they’re usually just buzzwords for seeing the world the way they want you to see it. What “facts” are we to consider? Only theirs.

For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses are heavily influenced by the fantastic improbably of life arising through evolution, but that's not one of the facts we're invited to consider. Mutations, the driver of evolutionary change, are extraordinarily rare. Gene replication seems accurate almost to perfection. "Typically, mistakes are made at a rate of only 1 in every ten billion bases incorporated," states the textbook Microbiology. (Tortora, Funke, Case, 2004, pg 217) So such errors are not only extraordinarily unusual, but also only a similar infinitesimally tiny proportion of such errors are beneficial....that is, useful for evolution. And any winning mutation has to be beneficial enough to confer upon its recipient a significant trump in the "struggle for survival."

Get someone to work out the probabilities of that! It absolutely astounds me that people can nonetheless swallow it. Not only swallow it, but declare that failure to swallow it makes one a superstitious ignoramus.

These “probability” arguments, however (and there are many of them) are entirely inadmissible to science! Not because they are not weighty, but because science has no way to weigh them. They don’t adapt themselves to the scientific method, with its insistence on repeatable experiments. So, sit down with one of these “critical, scientific thinkers,” and you find you’re playing their board game, the rules of which are that you can’t move your pieces!

Thomas Huxley tried to illustrate how accidental mutations might nonetheless produce a masterpiece over time with his typing monkeys analogy: "If you give an infinite number of monkeys and infinite number of typewriters, one of them will eventually come up with the complete works of Shakespeare." Sounds logical, doesn’t it... I guess? Perhaps a good way to convey scientific facts to the dunces? Yet, when they tried that experiment, the monkeys didn’t write a word of Shakespeare. In fact, they didn’t write any word at all, not even a one-letter word. What they did do was pee and defecate on the computer!

The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that these "critical thinking" guys are the anti-religious counterpart of the Trinitarians. Yes, the Trinitarians….who take literally words and phrases which in any other context would be instantly recognized as metaphor, illustrative or comparative device…to reach the absurd conclusion that two beings that talk to one another, that are in respectively different places at the same time, that have overlapping, but different powers, authorities, and knowledge are in reality the same being (or different forms of the same being)!

The more farfetched your conclusion, the more absolutely compelling your evidence must be. Otherwise the one who accepts it is merely gullible. If there is some scriptural evidence for trinity, surely it is not sufficient to justify that fantastic doctrine which defies common sense and makes God impossible to understand.

It’s the same with evolution. Sure, there is some evidence to support it. But considering the fantastically improbable bill of goods they’re trying to sell us, it has to be a lot more compelling than it is.

That may not be critical thinking, or scientific thinking, but it sure makes sense.


Tom Irregardless and Me       No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Finding God at the Plantation Gardens

When you're done gawking at Ithaca weidos, (see post)should that be your inclination,  then you must scoot over to the Cornell Plantations and take in the gardens. There really is something for everyone in Ithaca.

Stroll around and you‘ll think you‘re in one of those trademark new system paradise pictures straight from the Watchtower magazine. You half expect to see incompatible animals…..a moose, a lion, and so forth, with a young child somewhere cuddling one of them. Readers of Witness publications know exactly such pictures. They are paradise pictures, envisioning the earth as it will benefit by Kingdom rule, when those original Eden boundaries have been pushed globally, and the planet becomes what God meant it to be.

It’s not just the park-like setting of Cornell Plantations (under the umbrella of Cornell University). It’s the carefully tended variety, with every mix of color, form, and texture. Specialty gardens of every plant you can think of. Diverse and beautiful terrain with wetlands, gorges, glens, meadows, bogs, old-growth forests. And waterfalls. No Watchtower paradise picture is complete without a waterfall.

And you might, just might, in such a setting of tranquil beauty, come to wonder at contemporary wisdom which holds that it all sprang up on its own, through accident upon accident upon accident…each against million to one odds, and culled through natural selection. Orangutan armies banging forever at those typewriters.If there’s any chance we may see through such educated nonsense, it will happen while strolling the Cornell Plantations.

Okay, okay, you don’t even have to hold to the Witness view that God created each “according to its kind”….an unspecific word….allowing for “animal husbandry” variations within each kind, but always the boundaries between kinds intact. For purposes of this post only, you can, if you insist, take the milquetoast view that evolution is the tool God built into the first organism. (I mean, if you’re going to acknowledge that God did it, then why not acknowledge he did it the way he said he did?) Still, the milquetoast view does put God as the designer, and that will do for this post.

To think life all sprang into being on its own, however, with no intelligence behind it, no design…..well, maybe in such soothingly beautiful natural surroundings, you just won’t think it. You might easily think it at the mall, or the office, or while watching TV, but at the plantation gardens maybe you won’t think it. Instead, you may be struck by the seemingly obvious logic of Hebrews 3:4

Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God.       Heb 3:4

I batted around with Moristotleonce the notion that atheism, so common today, must have been extremely rare in olden times. My noble sparring partner didn’t agree, of course, and threw a boatload of ancient Greek atheists at me, but upon inspection, only two appeared to be genuine atheists, and one of those two was such a sicko that he was subsequently withdrawn from consideration, or should have been. All the rest were more likely agnostics, and agnostics, then as now, are a dime a dozen.

For the thinking reflected in Heb 3:4 above is so self-evident that it must have taken much time to construct the mental gymnastics so as to get around it. Not merely to disagree with it, but to come to think of it as a foolish and naïve sentiment unfit for the modern sophisticated mind. Disbelief in God or gods is not really possible until you get around the seemingly self-evident notion that things showing evidence of design must have a designer. Of course, I’m aware that modern thinkers have learned to do it handily, but it is a relatively recent accomplishment. At the vanguard of scientific thought 300 years ago was Isaac Newton. He was not able to do it. Newton wrote more about religion than math and science combined. Far from seeing any contradiction between those fields, he pursued his scientific discoveries with the aim of explaining how God operates….discovering exactly how he designed this or that. To greater or lesser extent, scientists of that era had, if not a personal god like Newton, at least a "creator" or "first cause" mentality.

As another example, when Kepler worked out the laws governing planetary motions (they move in ellipses, not circles) and published his discoveries, he suddenly let loose with a paean to God, smack dab in the middle of his treatise. If you didn't know better, you'd think it was one of the Bible psalms. Would any scientist be caught dead doing such a thing today?

"The wisdom of the Lord is infinite; so also are His glory and His power. Ye heavens, sing His praises! Sun, moon, and planets glorify Him in your ineffable language! Celestial harmonies, all ye who comprehend His marvelous works, praise Him. And thou, my soul, praise thy Creator! It is by Him and in Him that all exists. that which we know best is comprised in Him, as well as in our vain science. To Him be praise, honor, and glory throughout eternity."

Does Kepler's praise not agree with Rev 4:11, and enable all to see where his heart and head were?
"You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created."      Rev 4:11

The wise ones of the past might go so far as agnosticism, but no further, since they were not able to reconcile “design in nature” with “no designer.” Fed up with the hypocrisy of religion, many throughout the years worked toward the goal of explaining life in a manner that diminished God's role. Darwin was by no means the first person ever to propose evolution. His contribution was to suggest a plausible mechanism (natural selection) by which evolution could take place. Finally, a rationally explainable way to pull the rug out from under those abusive, self-righteous sellers of religion, who had for so long self-assumed first place in humanity’s hierarchy!

Yet even Darwin didn't pretend to solve the "first cause" issue. His book is "Origin of the Species," not "Origin of Life." That is, he deals with life’s organization, not its appearing in the first place, and did I not already grant permission to hold his evolution view (this post only) and still qualify for a “God designer” badge? It’s been thinkers subsequent to Darwin that have finally accomplished the atheistic nirvana of shutting God completely out of the picture.

I'm grateful that the religious outlooks of Newton, Galileo, Kepler and so forth are well documented. Were they not, I've no doubt today’s atheists would endeavor to count them all as blood brothers. They'd like us to believe that all scientists through the years have leaned atheistic, and it isn't so. Until relatively recently, outright atheism (in contrast with agnosticism) seems to have been an aberration.

Go down there to the Plantation Gardens, stroll the grounds, and it will all become clear.


Tom Irregardless and Me    No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

The Emotional Theory of Evolution

There is much evidence that can be cited in support of evolution.

But it doesn’t add up to much. It may imply its conclusion, but it hardly proves it. Its like a huge mound of pennies: substantial in its bulk, but you’re not going to retire off it. To make up for the lack, factual evidence in support of evolution is complemented by a liberal dose of emotion, and the two in tandem account for evolution’s dominant position in popular thinking. Is not emotion, rather than factual evidence, the more influential of the pair?

Science, by it’s very nature, is ill-equipped to reach conclusions regarding our origin. It is too constrained by its own scientific method, the self-imposed modus operendi of scientists:

Observe what happens; based on those observations form a hypothesis as to what may be true; test the hypothesis by further observation and experiments; and watch to see if the predictions based on the theory are fulfilled. If they are, your hypothesis is strengthened. If not, you’d better rethink your hypothesis.

The emphasis is on things that can be observed. And manipulated. And experimented upon. Experiments should be repeatable so that others can verify any conclusions. These requirements lend themselves to physics and chemistry and such, but they don’t suit the search for our origins very well, for that search is a matter of history. History can’t be repeated, it can’t be experimented upon, it can’t be observed. Sure, clues can be examined and probed a bit….some tentative conclusions can be drawn….but science is left without it’s most treasured weapons.

Americans today watch a lot of CSI television shows. The steel-resolved (but attractive) heroes of those stories come armed with microscopes and lasers and test tubes and God knows what else. They solve whatever riddle and always nail the villain. If high tech cops can catch crooks this way, surely, scientists can do the same with our origins, viewers figure. But alas, our origins are infinitely more complex and clues are contradictory.

And if the scientific method cherishes repeatable experiments, it also disdains testimonials and anecdotal evidence. This type of evidence is inherently unreliable, say those champions of the scientific method. Yet what is history if not testimonials and anecdotal evidence? And again, our origin is history.

As to the emotional content of evolution, is it not revealed in this comment of H. S. Lipson? (Physics Bulletin, 1980, Vol 31, p 138, and reproduced in one of the Watchtower publications, which collects such statements) He discusses some dilemma or other regarding origins and concludes: “The only acceptable explanation is creation. I know that this is anathema to physicists, as indeed it is to me, but we must not reject a theory if the experimental evidence supports it.”

He uses a curious word: anathema. Is it a Freudian slip? It’s a word you might not expect a scientist to use. Are not members of that group coolly unemotional, unswayed by feeling, moved only by hard facts? “Anathema,” however, conveys intense emotion. Accursed, detested, and loathed would all do nicely as synonyms.

The primary support for evolution is emotional in nature, not factual. That’s not to say that facts cannot be garnered in support of evolution. They certainly can be. But those facts are not weighty or substantial enough to account for evolution’s rapid ascendancy and its present iron grip on modern-day thinking. Emotion accounts for it. Specifically, the emotion of anathema Lipson spoke of…..anathema towards religion with all its sordid history.

If creation is correct, then it puts religious leaders in the driver’s seat, and they are a smug, abusive, sometimes ignorant bunch. The times they enjoyed most authority is the time history records as the “Dark Ages.” They brought us the Crusades. They brought us the Inquisition. They brought us a virtual ban on reason and discovery. We all know the opposition Copernicus and Galileo encountered when they ventured that the earth was not flat and was not the center of the universe.

Of course, clerical ignorance was not the Bible’s ignorance. The Bible’s statements on earth’s position and shape are up to date:

He is stretching out the north over the empty place,
Hanging the earth upon nothing……He has described a circle upon the face of the waters, to where light ends in darkness…….
Job 26:7,10

No reasonable person wants to cede authority back to these guys. Coming into more modern times they preached unqualified support for World Wars I and II.

Moreover, had they stuck with the Bible’s reasonable explanations regarding deathand suffering, they might have had something with which to counter the present “age of reason.” The Bible explanations may not be scientific, but they certainly make sense. But no! religious leaders long ago jettisoned such appealing teachings for doctrines that are incomprehensible, if not repugnant: doctrines like trinityand hellfire.

The emotional appeal of evolution is that, in one blow, religious leaders lose their authority. The rug is pulled out from under them. No longer are they the Guardians of Ultimate Truth. Instead, they become Guardians of Children’s Stories and Fairy Tales. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch. But alas, so thoroughly have religious leaders identified religion with God that people cannot separate the two, a point of constant frustration, though not necessarily surprise, to Jehovah‘s Witnesses.

So long as evolution maintains its grip in explaining our origins, religious leaders remain relatively toothless….a mere shadow of what they once were. The teaching will remain dominant for that reason. Any supporting facts will be sung to high heaven. Any non-supporting ones will be shunted aside, if not shouted down. Nobody wants to bring on Dark Ages II.



Tom Irregardless and Me               No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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Homo Habilus, Erectus, and Piltdown

We've all seen those lineups of our evolutionary roots...a parade of characters emerging from the slime. The first figure’s barely slithering with butt yet in the water, but each successive fellow is more and more erect, till finally, there’s the guy in the front with briefcase and tie. Sometimes, when satirists are illustrating the backward evolution of something, say….the American school system, they turn the whole troupe around and march them back into the muck.

But the ancestors in the lineup aren’t so orderly as they appear. Since the parade’s inception, for example, the apelike homo habilis has been faithfully tailing the manlike homo erectus, and heaven help you if you were to question that order. But in 2005, scientists in Kenya found fossil specimensof each within walking distance of the other. Moreover, they were dated equally ancient. They weren’t ancestor-descendent at all, but contemporaries, more like Clint Eastwood and his orangutan!Evolutionists muttered about it some in scientific journals, but I never saw a word in the popular media. Ah well, they seem to say….if it wasn’t that slobbering ancestor, then it must have been some other.

The marcher who really takes the cake, though, is Piltdown man. He snuck into the lineup in 1912 and remained for forty years before he was unmasked as a fraud in 1953 and kicked out!

It was a laborer who discovered the bones at the small English village of Piltdown. In time, the place would yield forty separate discoveries. He turned them over to Charles Dawson, a local lawyer, who trotted them off to the museum. They sure looked old. Yes, they represented the missing link, proof that Darwin’s fifty year old theory applied even to humans! The find was announced to the scientific world, which swooned in ecstasy.

But forty years later they began to smell a rat. Weren’t those bones merely chemically stained so as to look old? And hadn’t they been filed here and there in order to mimic the passage of time? More tests were made and…..sonuvagun….it was just a pile of old bones, largely a run-of-the-mill contemporary ape with some other critters fused in! Someone had made asses of the world’s most respected evolutionists! “It really was a horrible, nasty, vicious piece of work!” grouses Andy Currant, featured on the NOVA documentarychronicling the farce.

Who would play such a mean trick?

Suspects were not few. Even Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator Sherlock Holmes, was considered! He lived nearby, he was a medical doctor, he collected fossils, and he was a showman. He even had motive. See….he believed one could communicate with the dead. He took photographs of ghosts, but when he showed them to scientists, they laughed at him. “Frauds, double exposures,” they declared, “easily faked!” “I’ll show you what a fraud is,” he supposedly schemed, and so planted evidence that would give him the last laugh for forty years!

(This better not happen again, Romulus Crowe, If it does, I’m on to you!)

The lawyer Charles Dawson also emerges as a suspicious character. When his Piltdown man was revealed as phony, researchers tested his other ancient treasures on display at museums. They were all forgeries!

Still another fellow comes to light….were they all in cahoots? Martin Hinton, a staff scientist at the British Natural History Museum (where Piltdown was housed) died in 1961. When they found his trunk decades later in a museum storage room, it contained all the chemicals and tools required to create the hoax. Moreover, there were bones doctored similarly, as if he were practicing for the great joke. (or was he only recreating the deception?) Mr. Hinton’s motive? He was peeved at toiling in obscurity, annoyed that his Museum superior passed him over for promotion, denying him fame and money! “I’ll plant a phony caveman,” he supposedly reasoned. “The ass will discover it, parade it as genuine. Scientists will see right through it, and laugh him into oblivion” What he didn’t reckon on was that evolutionists, desperate for any scrap proving human evolution, would lap it all up uncritically….just as they have in modern times with homos habilis and erectus!

Says Giles Oakley, son of the man who uncovered the fraud, “Egotism, pride, ambition, rivalry, these things affect [gasp!] even scientific judgments.”

Incredibly, nationalism even played a part in fooling the “great men,” as the NOVA documentary makes clear. British evolutionists were frustrated in the early 1900’s. The Germans had discovered Neanderthal man. “Prehistoric” men had also been found in France and Spain, and yet the Brits had squat. But these were the days of the British empire, on which the sun never set. Surely they must also be the cradle of civilization! Piltdown man put the Brits on the map scientifically, and British scientists were the last to acknowledge that they had been duped.

Sigh… to sum up? Shouldn’t we really defer to the words of Malcolm Muggeridge:

Posterity will surely be amazed, and I hope vastly amused, that such slipshod and unconvincing theorizing should have so easily captivated twentieth-century minds and been so widely and recklessly applied.

Alas, there is little sign as yet that anyone's amazed.



Tom Irregardless and Me              No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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Winged Migration and the Evolutionists

The bird newscaster was on the scene, microphone in Somberly, he related the details of the grisly crash. And it was grisly. Behind him you could see the downed airplane, broken and aflame. “Details are still sketchy,” he reported, “but it appears that the name of the bird sucked into the engines in Harold Kruntz.”

Such is the imagination of Gary Larsen, creator of the Far Side, who imagines the bird’s point of view.

That’s what the 2003 film Winged Migration does as well. It relates migration from the bird’s point of view. There you are, soaring shoulder to shoulder with big birds, small birds, ugly birds, pretty birds as they wing past and over fields, cities, factories, and ocean. There go the twin towers zipping past. (yep, it was filmed before 911) Does the camera stop to linger? Not for a moment; this is the bird’s point of view. Here is a frigate plying the waters, the birds land on deck. They strut to and fro, on short break from their journey. One or two catch a quick nap on the heat grates. Off yonder we hear some garbled voices on the shortwave. Do we track the source? Nope, this is the bird’s story. Off they fly and you go with them. We never see a person; do birds not care about us as much as we ourselves do?

Same story flying over the Grand Canyon and a few dozen other breathless terrains. No time to sightsee. It’s ‘keep on flying.’ Even a duck hunt is shown from the duck‘s point of view. There you are, flying with your duck buddies when there is a loud pop and one of them goes down!

“How in the world did they get that shot?” you say to yourself over and over again, as you and your birds wing around the world.

They did itwith the help of balloons, gliders, helicopters, and planes. They did it by exposing eggs of some of the birds to the sounds of people and film cameras so that the birds would be unafraid of them later. They did it with patience; French director Jacques Perrin with teams of filmmakers took three years to travel 40 countries and all seven continents, tracking birds of all types - birds on the go.

Narration is sparse, consisting mostly of terse remarks like “it is a matter of life and death.” We follow the arctic tern, a bird that migrates from the summer North Pole to the summer South Pole, and back again. At each endpoint, there are rich food sources. The narrator tells us of the never-ending search for food. You almost wish he’d say more.

Like how did that tern ever discover that such food bonanzas existed 11,000 miles apart? Does anyone have the answer? Do evolutionists? Did one tern just happen to “wander” that distance, and hit pay dirt to such an extent that all terns started doing it? What of the lazy terns that flew lesser distances? Did they all die out?

When fall arrives, Blackpoll Warblers gather on the New England coast. They've flown in from Alaska. By the sea they await the right weather conditions, a strong cold front, to begin their 2400 mile flight to South America. It finally comes and they take off, flying non-stop past Bermuda, heading straight…..for Africa! Approaching Antigua, they climb higher and higher, absurdly high, up to 21,000 feet. It's cold up there and there‘s not much oxygen. What are the stupid birds doing up there, for crying out loud?

They catch a prevailing wind that blows them to South America! Energy expended is less than if the warblers headed directly for that continent! Who’s stupid now? Can the evolutionists explain how that came about?

Come summer’s end, Manx shearwaters begin their migration from Wales. leaving behind their chicks. Once the latter can fly, they follow the adults and reunite in Brazil. One Manx shearwater was taken from Wales to Boston, (by scientists?…..did they blindfold it?) 3200 miles away. It returned to Wales in 13 days. Scientists did it to Adelie penguins, too, stranding them 1200 miles from their rookeries. Apparently unexasperated, (as I would be) they headed straight to the open sea to chow down for the trip ahead, and then returned to the rookeries.

Tom Pearlsenswine can get lost heading to the corner store.

In Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin wrote “Many instincts are so wonderful that their development will probably appear to the reader a difficulty sufficient to overthrow my whole theory.” To my knowledge, just how such instincts developed has still not been solved. Instead, it is taken off the table. Evolutionists rely on the scientific method, and the scientific method is too narrow to deal with such questions. Where are the repeatable experiments with which you can test this or that hypothesis? So they simply dismiss the whole matter as irrelevant. Thus,  when you come along to discuss the subject, you find you’re playing a board game, the rules of which are that you can’t move your pieces!

Some of Gary Larsen’s birds have reached the ultimate in evolutionary prowess, providing rich fodder for scientific research. Thus, one of his cartoons has a duck approaching in the hallway. The wife says to her husband: “Here he comes. Remember, be kind, but firm. We are not driving him south again this winter!” Evolution being what it is, the duck will no doubt talk them into it.


Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News But Plenty of Hogwash


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Monkeys, Typewriters, and Shakespeare

The driver behind evolutionary change, we are told, is mutation. Genes foul up in replicating, the theory goes, and the result is a slight tweak on life. Add up enough tweaks, millions upon millions, and look! an amoeba has become an orangutan.

Most mutations, though, are bad news.  And so, natural selection emerges as the determinant of which ones die out and which ones are preserved, to be passed on to the next generation. Only a beneficial mutation is preserved, since only that variety gives one an advantage in the "fight for survival."

Gene replication is amazingly accurate. "Typically, mistakes are made at a rate of only 1 in every ten billion bases incorporated," states the textbook Microbiology. (Tortora, Funke, Case, 2004, pg 217) That's not many, and, remember, only the tiniest fraction of those mutations are said to be any good.

Since gene mutations rarely happen, and almost all that do are neutral or negative, and thus not enshrined by natural selection,  a student might reasonably wonder if he is not being sold a bill of goods by evolutionists. Can benevolent mutations possibly account for all they are said to account for?

Enter Thomas Huxley, a 19th-century scientist who supported Charles Darwin's theories of evolution. Huxley came up with the pithy slogan: "If you give an infinite number of monkeys and infinite number of typewriters, one of them will eventually come up with the complete works of Shakespeare." Surely you can understand that!

Nevertheless, his assertion had never been tested. Until 4 years ago, that is.  Evolutionists at England's Plymouth University rounded up six monkeys, supplied them with a computer, placed them on display at Paighton Zoo, and then hid behind trees and trash cans, with notebooks, breathlessly awaiting what would happen! They were disappointed.Four weeks produced page after page of mostly s's. Not a single word emerged. Not even a two letter word. Not even a one letter word. Researcher Mike Phillips gave details.

At first, he said, “the lead male got a stone and started bashing the hell out of it.

“Another thing they were interested in was in defecating and urinating all over the keyboard,” added Phillips, who runs the university's Institute of Digital Arts and Technologies.

They didn't write any Shakespeare! They shit all over the computer!

Alright, alright, so it wasn't a real science experiment. It was more pop art. And they didn't have an infinite number of monkey or computers (due to budgetary constraints). Surely, if you had a infinite number, groused the guardians of evolution, then you would end up with Shakespeare.

Hmmmm. Well, maybe. But wouldn't you also need an infinite number of shovels to dig through an infinite pile of you know what?

University and zoo personnel defended their monkeys. Clearly, they didn't want them held responsible for sabotaging science. Geoff Cox, from the university, pointed out that "the monkeys aren't reducible to a random process. They get bored and they shit on the keyboard rather than type." And Vicky Melfi, a biologist at Paignton zoo, added "they are very intentional, deliberate and very dexterous, so they do want to interact with stuff you give them," she said. "They would sit on the computer and some of the younger ones would press the keys." Ultimately the monkeys may have fallen victim to the distractions which plague many budding novelists.

It's true. I often get distracted working on my book and when that happens I will sometimes, no.....some secrets are too dark to reveal!


Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News But Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)