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Return to January/February 2015 articles.

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from Does God Exist? January/February 2015

DIE AT 75 OR ELSE!? Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is the chief medical advisor to the Obama administration and was one of the main architects of Obamacare. He is another proponent of using the death of human beings to promote financial security on a national level. He joins Peter Singer, whom we have discussed before in this column (see the November/December 2010 issue). Singer is the Ira W. Decamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University who maintains that physically and mentally handicapped humans should be euthanized to stop the drain on resources that they demand. Recently an expectant mother asked atheist Richard Dawkins what she should do if her fetus has Down syndrome. Dawkins answered, “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice” (The Week, September 12, 2014, page 16). In an article in Atlantic (October 2014) Emanuel wrote that we would all be better off if we died at 75. Emanuel believes that those who live beyond 75 no longer are productive members of society and are a burden because “they gobble up collective health resources.” The future for our children and grandchildren has to be alarming as we rush toward “survival of the fittest” thinking at the national level. It is ironic that in the same magazine in which Emanuel's article is reviewed (The Week, October 10, 2014, page 19) there is a glowing, positive review of Tony Bennett's new album with Lady Gaga. Bennett is 88.

DRUG UTILIZATION. Since marijuana was legalized in Colorado, 87% of all sales have gone to heavy users of this recreational drug (people getting high 21 to 31 days a month). In a related issue, more than half of all alcohol sales in the United States are made to “problem drinkers” (people drinking ten drinks a day). The legalization of recreational drugs may bring tax dollars to the government, but it is not helping the abuse problems that bring such havoc into people's lives. (Source: The Week, October 10, 2014, page 18.) Another study reported in The Week (September 26, 2014, page 19) showed marijuana's impact on teens in Australia and New Zealand. The study of 3,725 students found “clear and consistent associations” between regular use of marijuana and high-school and college graduation rates and suicide attempts. The report said that “the risks of negative outcomes increased with the frequency of cannabis use.” The study goes on to say “Because our study has shown the potential harms of adolescent use … policy makers must be aware of this, and reform efforts should be carefully considered to protect against this.”

MENTAL ILLNESS AND PRISONS. Data is now being revealed that backs up what those of us who work with prisons have known for a long time — that a large percentage of people who are incarcerated are mentally ill. Recent studies show that percentage has now grown to 35% up from 20% in 2008. Not only are many people in jail because of mental illness, but being in prison can cause mental illness. In our correspondence course work we see a lot of paranoia, depression, disordered thinking, and suicidal thinking. This is a huge mission field that very few churches are recognizing. Source: the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, September 21, 2014.

TESTOSTERONE AND HUMAN HISTORY. One of the areas of study we have dealt with in this journal is the different needs that humans had in Old Testament times compared to modern times. The primitive nature of man and his lack of structure in society has a lot to do with the giving of commandments from God from the time of Adam to the time of Christ. A new study of testosterone levels in ancient people show that ancient people had vastly higher levels. Higher levels of testosterone mean more aggressive approaches to problems in life — a help in primitive times, but not so today. The timing of the Christian system being given to man matches up well with this information. Christ gave us the capacity to live peacefully and positively with our neighbors, and this seems to have a biochemical support system involved as well. Source: Archeology, November/December 2014.

PYRAMID CLAIMS CONTINUE. Four-thousand years ago ancient Egyptians moved more than 2 million limestone blocks roughly a mile from quarries. Then they used them to build the Great Pyramid of Giza. The limestone blocks were over 3 x 3 x 2.5 feet and weighed 2.5 tons. The tabloids claim that this could not be done with the primitive machines available 4,000 years ago. Their conclusion is that aliens with antigravity devices were involved. Over the years scientists have proposed a variety of simple solutions, from hydraulic lift systems to slickened ramps. The most recent proposal which has been shown to work is to attach round wooden dowels to the blocks. This acts like the treads on a tank or bulldozer and can go over any terrain with a small amount of energy expended. The point is that ancient people had a variety of methods available to build structures, and there is no need to suggest that aliens were involved. The Tower of Babel shows us that people working together can accomplish amazing things. Source: Science News, October 4, 2014, page 14.

MAGNETIC REVERSAL IN OPERATION? Many natural processes are cyclic. That means that they go one way and then another in a repetitive, cyclic motion — like a pendulum. We have seen creationists use the fact that the earth’s magnetic field is weakening as an evidence that the earth is very young. They ignore the massive evidence that the earth's magnetic field flips back and forth. What is now the north pole has in the past been the south pole of this planet. We have also seen evolutionists ignoring the fact that a complete reversal would have a radical influence on biological systems. The shielding we enjoy from the radiation coming to us from the sun would do significant things to the stability of biological systems. The European Space Agency has announced that their satellite data shows that the earth’s magnetic field is dropping at an accelerating pace ten times faster than previously thought. A complete reversal is not expected to happen anytime soon, but it is a reminder that the design of our planet is delicate, and we are fragile. Source: Scientific American, October 2014, page 29.

SPEAKING OF OSCILLATIONS. In addition to magnetic reversals, the news is full of reports of discoveries of oscillations being a part of the functioning of the human body. In the 1970s, a Japanese scientist named Yoshiki Kuramoto showed that synchronized oscillations called resonance has a lot to do with how our bodies function. The heart, for example, contracts when all of the cardiac muscles are in rhythm causing the whole heart to pump blood through the body. Studies of neurons in the human brain are suggesting a similar function which allows cognition, thoughts, and dreams. Interruption of the oscillation might even cause epilepsy. God's wisdom and the tools he has used to create us and our world continue to be evident as we make more and more discoveries. Source: www.scientificcomputing.com/news/2014/06/equations-reveal-natures-rebellious-rhythms?type=cta.

THEY KEEP GETTING BIGGER. It seems that magazines keep reporting on bigger and bigger ancient animals. In the last few months we have seen a bunch of the “biggies.” Science News in their August 9, 2014, issue had an article about a bird with a wingspan of 21 feet. Popular Science in their September 2014 issue showed a dinosaur which was 35 feet long and weighed 5 tons. USA Today in their June 16, 2014, issue promoted a four winged jumbo dinosaur with foot long feathers. In the September 12, 2014, issue of Science there was a great picture of Spinosaurus, which they call “a terror of the Cretaceous waterways.” The same issue also reported on a titanosaur that was 85 feet long and weighed as much as a herd of elephants. National Geographic is the master of the “biggies” with every issue having a bigger and better dinosaur. What is interesting about all of this is how many unanswered questions are raised every time the bigger animal is proposed. How do you supply oxygen to all parts of the animal when it is that big? How do you handle blood pressure in an animal as tall as these animals are? What kind of heart is needed and how does it control body temperature? How do birds with such huge sizes fly? There is no Hebrew word that would include an animal like these, and the reason is that they are not a part of the “Creation Week.” The week deals with man and his domesticated animals, and not with the millions of species which were not a part of Moses and his world. Any reference to prehistory or to animals like a duck-billed platypus would be beyond the understanding of the people of Moses' day. What we are seeing in these huge, prehistoric creatures is the incredible work God did in preparing the earth for humans by providing the resources God knew we would need.

MUSLIM SCHOOLS GROW. In the Houston Chronicle (September 14, 2014, page B1) there is a story about the Houston Quran Academy in Katy, Texas. The school has excellent academic standing and makes a point of saying it is opposed to extremism. However, the Koran is the focal point of the curriculum, and Islamic traditions are honored and taught. This school is connected with the Islamic Schools League of America, which has 275 full time schools in the USA. In America people of all faiths have equal freedom, and there are large numbers of religious schools all over the United States. The future will tell whether Muslim schools become a beachhead for jihad in America, or whether they fit in like any Catholic or Jewish school system — working peacefully to educate children in all academic areas, and in what it means to be an American.

BELGIUM MURDERER WINS RIGHT TO SUICIDE. A prisoner who has a life sentence has been given permission by a Belgian court to kill himself. In Belgium last year 1,807 people were euthanized, and 15 other inmates have followed Frank Den Bleeken's lead in requesting assisted suicide. Source: The Week, September 26, 2014, page 6.

PORNOGRAPHY A MAJOR ISSUE FOR US ALL. A national survey by Pure Desire Ministries and reported by ConquerSeries.com indicates that 68% of men in Christian denominations and 50% of pastors from all denominations watch pornography regularly. The Dallas Morning News (April 6, 2014, page 6P) in an article by David Segal described the damage that porn does to kids. This is an issue for all of us, because every congregation faces challenges brought about by pornography at all levels of the membership. Every congregation needs to have a class taught by an experienced Christian that is open, current, and accurate in the effects of porn and how to avoid pornography when it is so abundant all around us.

ARK PARK TRIGGERS TAX BREAK DEBATE. Ken Ham with his theme parks based on dispensational theology, has triggered a debate about taxes and churches that may have far reaching consequences for all churches. Ham's group has a creationist museum in Kentucky and is in the process of trying to build an “Ark Park” with a replica of Noah's ark. The problem is that there has been an effort to get tax breaks and grants from the state government for the building of the park. The basis of asking for tax breaks and tax money is that the theme parks will bring tourists into the state. The problem with the parks is that they promote a sectarian message. Paul Simmons, president of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, wrote in the Louisville Courier-Journal, “The state would be using public funds to enable a group to foist an incredible anti-science, anti-common sense, highly sectarian message on the public under the guise of religious liberty.” Simmons is atheistic in his approach, but many of his allegations are true. Much of the message of these parks are denominational tradition and not educational or scriptural in their teachings. We need to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's (Matthew 22:21). Mixing church and state is never a good idea, especially when the church is promoting its own denominational view.

THE SCIENCE OF MORALITY. Scientists now classify studies of morality as a discipline of science. In the September 12, 2014, issue of Science (page 1340) there is a report titled “Morality in Everyday Life.” It looks at various human categories, such as liberal and conservative or religious and non-religious, and how they respond to moral and immoral situations. What is interesting about the report is the assumption of the authors about what is moral and what is not. The choices are care vs. harm, fairness vs. unfairness, loyalty vs. disloyalty, authority vs. subversion, sanctity vs. degradation, liberty vs. oppression, honesty vs. dishonesty, and self-discipline vs. lack of self-discipline. Not every culture has the same definitions of these qualities nor puts the same premium on them. Our point would be that without a fixed standard of what is right and what is wrong such a study has a huge bias imposed upon it by the belief system of the authors. God has given us an objective standard by which morality can be defined. Without that standard, the subjective nature of morality makes scientific evaluation suspect at best.

LEGISLATIVE REPORT. Citizen magazine continues to report on legal issues involving social choices in the United States. In their August 2014, issue the following cases are reported:

  • Massachusetts Supreme Court rejected an atheist lawsuit seeking to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • South Dakota passed a law banning sex-selective abortion.
  • Oklahoma repealed the Common Core education standards.
  • Arizona passed a law allowing health department officials to make unannounced inspections of abortion facilities.
  • Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri dropped a lawsuit which sought to force taxpayers to fund their organization.

WEIRD MOONS OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM. That is actually the title of a wonderful pictoral article in Astronomy magazine (June 2014, page 22). The complexity and design of our solar system and its history is well shown when we examine these strange moons. Our moon plays a vital part in making earth habitable.

Picture credits:
© DimitryP. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.
Illustration by Roland Earnst
http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/solar_system/uranus/pr2004005a/: NASA and Erich Karkoschka, University of Arizona