3D Printers and other Cool Inventions

Reading Time: 6 minutes

What we are capable of doing with technology is truly miraculous. Have you looked over some of the newest inventions or technological accomplishments in the past year or two? I want to list a few of my favorites to give you an idea.

eyeA bionic eye. Remember the first bionic man, or the six million dollar man? Well now it is for real, but not just an arm or leg, but a bionic eye. Argus Retinal prosthesis was approved commercially in the U.S. just last year and with an upgrade, patients can even see color. They expect advancements in the near future to surpass the ability of the human eye.

 

beef

In 2013, the world’s first lab created hamburger is grown and eaten. Yes, fake beef grown from cattle stem cells. The volunteers who ate the burgers said it was lacking in flavor, which is due to the lack of fat within the meat. A director of biotechnology said adding fat would be easy by letting some of the stem cells develop into fat cells.

 

 

3dguitar

I saw this one and thought of you, Cliff. A 3D guitar from a 3D printer. Layer after layer after layer, and you have a guitar. 3D printers are also making working guns, jet parts, camera lenses, and have the potential to build a house. As cool as those are, they now are building 3D printers with 3D printers, and the child printers begin building their own child printers within 3 minutes of having been created themselves. Scary?

 

 

darkmatterSearching for dark matter can be difficult. What exactly is dark matter? Well it is the stuff that makes up the universe; well a large portion of it. No one really knows what it is, but science knows what it is not: regular matter, molecules, atoms, etc. In South Dakota, you will find the Sanford Underground Research Facility where they are looking for dark matter. It is almost 5000′ underground and holds a 70,000 gallon ultra pure water tank. At the tank’s center is a titanium freezer with 800 pounds of liquid xenon. Their hopes rest on the idea that dark matter is at least in particle form and when one of these dark matter particles bumps into ordinary matter it will be detected. If that happens, they will undoubtedly earn the Nobel Prize for discovering the fabric of the universe. 1

 

converted RGB Inovision image

Science can now watch molecules morph into memories. Scientists knew that neurons were key to discovering how memories were made, and now they can give specific molecules fluorescent tags and view them traveling in living brain cells. Neurons are extremely sensitive to any kind of disturbance, but they found if they tagged all RNA messenger molecules with a green fluorescent protein, the neurons came together at the synapses of the slender dendritic spines and actually changed the shape of the dendrite fingers.2

As amazing as these discoveries and inventions are, even more awe-inspiring is the order from whence they came that allows such discoveries and inventions. Let me give you an example by asking you a question. Is mathematics discovered or invented? We know mathematics helps us understand the world around us. We use it to explain patterns and make predictions in every day life, but is it simply a tool that we have invented to explain how everything works? Sir Michael Atiyah, a mathematician at Oxford wrote, “The skeptic can point out that the struggle for survival only requires us to cope with physical phenomena at the human scale, yet mathematical theory appears to deal successfully with all scales from the atomic to the galactic.” 3

You know when you get in the shower the water will run down the drain. This is caused by the earth’s gravity, but why does the earth have gravity? Where did the law come from that caused all objects in the universe to have gravitational effects? Newton’s Law of Gravity helps us to understand gravity, but why does every object in the universe have a gravitational field surrounding it?

Every day trillions upon trillions of cells divide and multiply in every kind of plant and animal on the earth. These cells divide and create perfect replicas of themselves due to the language held within the nucleus. Every human cell has about 25,000 genes, and it is the genes that tell the cell what to do, or what protein to make, and that protein will have a specific job within the body. Not only do they replicate themselves, but they know when to divide, grow, and what to become, as in muscle or bone. Only now are we are beginning to decode and map this DNA language. Where does a language or code come from?

Plastics are polymers or monomers which are repeating units. Chains of molecules repeated over and over. These chains are held by weak intermolecular forces, the force that binds atoms, and molecules together, but what binds the actual atoms together? We call the force that keep molecules together intramolecular, but more specifically, the strong force. Our universe is held together by four universal forces, namely gravity, electromagnetic, strong, and weak forces. 4 Where did these discovered laws originate which bind our universe together, give us structure and meaning?

Thomas Aquinas was the first that we know of to come to the conclusion that everything has a cause, including the universe, but since time can’t go back infinitely, there must be an initial, uncaused first being. We call that God. This may sound like philosophical mumbo jumbo, but a simple example may help you understand that time cannot go back infinitely.

Say you were walking along in a park and you noticed a man sitting on a park bench, head bent down, elbows on his knees, hands folded as if concentrating. As you approached him, you heard him saying -7, -6, -5, -4, -3…, When he reached zero he suddenly jumped up shouting in joy exclaiming, “I did it! I did it!” You ask him what it was that he did and he explains that he finally counted from negative infinity to zero. You immediately know this is foolishness because no one can count from negative infinity to zero. No matter how far back he starts someone could add a zero to his beginning point making it that much smaller by an exponent of ten.

Since time cannot go back infinitely, it must have had a beginning. We know that time is inexorably tied to the universe and since we know both have had a beginning, then they must have a cause. Something that stands outside of time, or outside of reality as we know it.

Much like the author of a book stands outside his created story, God stands outside his created universe and is not bound by the laws that bind the universe any more than an author is somehow bound by the binding of his printed book. “All around us, a second reality binds the universe and gives it order.” – Corey S. Powell

 

Sources:
1. Powell, Corey S. “Shadow Universe.” Popular Science. November 2013: Pages 36-43. Print.
2. Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. “Watching molecules morph into memories: Breakthrough allows scientists to probe how memories form in nerve cells.” ScienceDaily, 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 24 Jan. 2014.
3. Livio, Mario. Is God A Mathematician? New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009. Print
4. Freudenrich, Ph.D., Craig. “What are the four fundamental forces of nature?”  03 March 2009.  HowStuffWorks.com. 24 January 2014.
Links:
http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/980127c.html
http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2013/12/the-10-best-tech-advances-of-2013.html
http://www.blindness.org/index.php?view=article&id=3590%3Aargus-ii-retinal-prosthesis-to-be-offered-at-12-us-clinical-centers&option=com_content&Itemid=121
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/world-test-tube-burger-close-meat-short-flavor-article-1.1417763
http://cubify.com/blog/a-3d-printed-acoustic-guitar/
http://www.engadget.com/2013/03/16/visualized-americana-guitar-3d-systems/
http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Pagehttp://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/geophysics/fundamental-forces-of-nature.htm

Evolution vs Creation

Reading Time: 11 minutes

My reasons for having doubts about Darwinian Evolution that I outline below are scientific, not theological. So if you accept Darwinian Evolution as fact, consider some of the empirical evidence I mention, because without evidence of macroevolution and proving how abiogenesis occurred, then evolution has nothing to stand on.

Kenneth Samples carefully researched tough questions for Christians in his book, Without a Doubt. In the final chapter he wrote, “Christianity claims to have answers to life’s ultimate questions. When people ask honest questions about the truth of the faith, those inquiries must be taken seriously. They deserve thought and attention. By answering questions about their faith, Christians engage in two important tasks. They actively participate in apologetic evangelism (a divine imperative: 1Peter 3:15). They also seize an opportunity to grow in greater understanding of their own belief’s.” 1

I do have biblical reasons for not accepting Darwinian evolution, but I am finding that in the realm of apologetics, once the Bible is mentioned, skeptics and atheists tune out. If you deal with scientific facts and evidence, they are willing to listen. In fact, if you do your home work, you will find many evolutionists will admit there are some serious obstacles in making Darwinian Evolution a closed case.

Since science and philosophy support the Christian world view, I have become more comfortable doing the research, and investigating issues like evolution, creation, astronomy, world views, historicity of Jesus, ethics and morality, various social issues, and facts behind theistic views Christians hold. So if you are a skeptic, an atheist, or a Christian with doubts about how we came to be and the truth of evolution, read on.

Let’s take a moment and define the term evolution, because it is often equivocal, (having more than one interpretation). To avoid any misunderstanding when people use the word evolution, it is important to ask them what do they mean, exactly, by the term evolution. Evolution has three basic meanings I want to explain. My Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, which could crush a small elephant, defines evolution as:
1. The act of unfolding or unrolling; a process of development, formation, or growth.
2. A thing or series of things unrolled, unfolded, or evolved; as, the evolution of ages. 2

If you were to visit dictionary.reference.com you will find:
1. Any process of formation or growth; development: The evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.

I think it would be safe to say a simple, yet accurate and common, definition of evolution would be ‘change over time’. Things change over time, and we are surrounded by the evidence for it. For those of you who came to this blog via Facebook, prior to February 2004 the Internet did not have Facebook. Prior to February 2004, I had not reached the half-century mark. Prior to February 2004, my mother was still alive. Prior to February 2004, none of my former 8th grade students had any children, and finally, prior to February 2004, I had significantly less gray hair in my beard. Things change over time, and evolution defined in simplest terms is ‘change over time’. I have no problem with this definition of evolution, nor do I know of any Christians who are uncomfortable with evolution defined as change over time.

A second definition of evolution, which is also commonly misunderstood and misused, is microevolution. Micro, (small), evolution, (change over time), simply means small changes over time. A more technical definition would be natural selection, change in gene frequency, or gene flow. 3 As a Christian, I am also comfortable with microevolution.

sparrowmap_numberedOne example of microevolution is the house sparrow which came to America in 1852. As this species spread north, it became larger bodied to aid its survival due to the colder weather. Larger bodied birds have a higher chance of survival in colder weather than do smaller bodied birds. Other examples of microevolution would be: Mosquitoes evolving resistance to DDT, bacteria strains evolving resistance to penicillin, and HIV strains evolving resistance to antiviral medicines. The famous Galapagos Finches are examples of microevolution, not macroevolution, (large changes over time). Our children’s school books and college text books are full of examples of microevolution, but they are placed in the light of macroevolution.

An important point to remember concerning microevolution is that the changes observed within a species are really just a change in the number of times a particular trait displays itself in a population. Bear with me here as I explain this. Take Darwin’s Finches for example. In 1977, there was a drought on the Galapagos islands and in this time biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant noted some changes in the size of the beaks within the population. No one doubts the bigger beaked finches adapted better to the drought by breaking open the harder seed pods, but critics point out the larger beak size was already a trait within the population of finches. Nothing new evolved, only changes in the percent of a certain trait that already existed within a population were observed. After the heavy rains of 1983, the variation in beak size then returned to normal, suggesting limits to the creative power of microevolution. 4

Finally, the third definition of evolution is macroevolution and this is the definition most Christians are uncomfortable with, and I have serious doubts about. Online dictionary reference defines macroevolution as major evolutionary transitions from one type of organism to another. Or, evolutionary changes over a very long period of time from one species to another species. This type of evolution has never been observed, and relies on far reaching assumptions from microevolution observations and ‘evidence’ within the fossil record.

Before I go any further, it’s important to point out that an old earth view is a necessary condition for evolution. Many young earth creationists are quite uncomfortable with an old earth view because of evolution, but believing in an old earth as I do, does not make me an evolutionist. I have met many Christians that are surprised that ‘a Christian’ can hold an old earth view and not believe in evolution, or at least feel like they are sleeping with the enemy when they hold an old earth view. Norman Geisler pointed out, “…we do want to point out that while the age of the universe is certainly an interesting theological question, the more important point is not when the universe was created, but that it was created.” 5

So we don’t have any observable evidence of macroevolution, only microevolution. Norman Geisler and Frank Turek put it this way when the evidence for macroevolution is weighed: “Darwinists are masters at defining the term “evolution” broadly enough so that the evidence in one situation might be counted as evidence in another. Unfortunately for them, the public is beginning to catch on to this tactic, thanks largely to the popular works of Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson. Johnson first exposed this Darwinistic sleight of hand with his ground breaking book Darwin on Trial.” 6 

If you are over the age of 40, it is quite probable your science books in Jr. high or high school had examples of evolution using Darwin’s Finches, the Peppered Moths, Haeckel’s Embryos, (something I have already covered), and the 1957 Miller experiment, which supposedly created life from non-life. In fact, I have seen these examples as evidence for Darwinian evolution in science text books within the last 10 years, and all of them have serious flaws and when carefully considered do little to support Darwinian evolution. I will address the Miller experiment in a moment, but I wanted to cover the Peppered Moths first.

This experiment took place in the 1950’s in Britain by Bernard Kettlewell, and was promoted as proof of Darwinian evolution. This experiment flooded science text books in the U.S. and Great Britain for 40 years, despite the fact that it was flawed, and even fabricated to a large degree. Some of you may remember the outline.

mothsSince the Industrial Revolution in Britain, the amount of smoke and soot pollution greatly increased, changing the color of what was once normally light colored bark on trees, to a much darker color. The Peppered Moth was commonly much lighter in color and was able to avoid detection from the local bird populations by resting on the light colored bark. What took place was the common lighter colored moths stood out against the now darkened bark and their population suffered. 7

There were to significant problems with this particular experiment. The Peppered Moths fly at night and they were released during the day. This would have seriously altered their normal reactions and flight patterns. They also usually rest high up in the tree canopy, not on trunks. The experimenters not only placed them on the trunks, but some were actually glued to the tree trunks. And once again, the change in the population just shows fluctuation within a population, no new variety or species emerged.8

“School children need to learn that the Peppered Moth story provides evidence for changes of frequencies of different types within a population, but does not show that large scale evolution can occur. They should also understand that the original experiments behind the peppered moth story have widely acknowledged flaws…” 9

The other questionable research commonly given was the Miller-Urey experiment, which was touted as proof life could be created from non-life, and like Darwin’s Finches, and the Peppered Moths, the Miller experiment found its way into thousands of public school science books.

In 1953, Stanley Miller created a mix of chemicals that were to represent our earth’s early atmosphere in the laboratory. Miller then sent pulses of electrical current through the chemical mixtures for several days to represent possible lighting strikes. A thick tar coated the flasks and within this tar Miller found some amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. In turn, proteins are necessary for life. 10 Chemists today reject this experiment because the mixture he used that was to represent our earth’s atmosphere, (methane and ammonia), was extremely inaccurate. 11

Even if the artificial atmosphere conditions Miller created in the lab were accurate, the problem of amino acids forming to create a protein was even more problematic. For amino acids to form a protein chain, they must lose a molecule of water, and with water being so abundant on earth you have another hill to overcome. On top of that, amino acids dissolve in water, and water is one of the necessary ingredients for an accurate representation of an early earth’s atmosphere. 12 Echo’s of the movie Catch 22 come to mind.

Some may say the Miller experiment is over 60 years old, only old text books reference it any more, and no one considers it valid any more. That is rubbish, and with just a couple minutes on the Internet you will land several current references to the Miller-Urey experiment without any mention of the flaws. In 2009, Universe Today had an brief article on abiogenesis where the Miller experiment was mentioned, but without any mention of its failed accuracy. 13

So we have defined the three common definition’s of evolution, looked at Darwin’s Finches, Haeckel’s Embroys in a previous post, the Peppered Moth, and the Miller experiment. Now let’s look at one necessary requirement for Darwinian evolution to be true, abiogenesis. The development of living organisms from nonliving matter. The molecules to man theory, or life from non-life.

Some evolutionists will say abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution are two separate topics and are unrelated, but just a moment’s consideration, and anyone will realize that without life from non-life you can’t have the process of evolution. For evolution to take place, you must start with life, and if you can’t explain the beginning of life, how can you explain the development of life. Let me give you an example.

howdidthishappenLet’s pretend there was a world called Cardosa in which men and women did not know how women became pregnant, but there is a reigning pregnancy theory called Pregolution. In this pretend world, the Pregolution theory describes the different stages of fetal development, the phases in each trimester, the biological changes a women can expect, possible complications, and finally birth; but the theory does not explain how the pregnancy started, or the initial cause of pregnancy. What woman would be satisfied with a theory like that? What man would say, “Listen, the fact that you’re pregnant has nothing to do with how you got pregnant. Those are separate issues!”?  Women everywhere would start asking, “How did this happen?”

Some women may have heard of the different theories on how they became pregnant. One had to do with a ‘primordial soup’, and the chemistry happened to be just right, and she just happened to become pregnant. For most women, this just does not sit well. She is thinking there must be more to it than that. How could you possibly get life from non-life? Intuitively, she is thinking someone else must be involved in this process.

Another theory that many laughed at, but some give it consideration is called Panspermia, (this is not made up), and has to do with aliens from another planet. She has seen those kinds of movies, but that is just too far fetched. Even if it were true, how would Pregolution explain where the aliens came from? It just pushed back the problem of how life began. She has read the volumes of material on pregnancy, but none of them address how she became pregnant. How did this life inside her begin?

As silly as this sounds, it dovetails rather nicely with the problem Darwinian evolution has. Yes, Darwin never addressed how life began, nor does macroevolution attempt to answer that question, but the question remains, sticking out like a sore thumb, or the belly of an 8 month pregnant woman on the planet Cardosa.

Darwinian Evolution has many unanswered questions, and a large number of people just accept the theory without really exploring its imperfections. As a boy growing up and raised in a Christian household, I was troubled by the supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution, but never took the time to really investigate the claims. I experienced doubt about my faith, but much like a child who would continue to believe in the infallibility of his parents, my faith remained steadfast. Now as I research various claims, the amount of evidence that supports the Christian world view is substantial, but absolutely disregarded by popular culture, and our current media.

Finally anyone reading this blog post may want to watch Evolution VS. God, on YouTube, or you may want to visit their website. http://www.evolutionvsgod.com/ and watch it there. The film is only 38 minutes long, but well worth the time. Wyatt, if you read this, send me an e-mail, and I give you a copy for free. 🙂 I have some I have shared friends and family.

 

The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable, event. Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle. – Michael Denton

Many investigators feel uneasy stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they admit they are baffled. – Paul Davies

There is no quicker way for a scientist to bring discredit upon himself and on his profession than roundly to declare, (particularly when no declaration of any kind is called for), that science knows or soon will know the answer to all questions worth asking… – Nobel Laureate P.B. Medawar -Advice to a Young Scientist.

Psalm 139:15-16
You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning god created the heavens and the earth.

 

Sources:
1. Samples, Kenneth R. Without a Doubt. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004, Print.
2. Dorset & Barber. “Evolution.” The act of unfolding or unrolling; a process of development, formation, or growth. Def.1. Second Edition, 1983. Print.
3. Caldwell, Roy. “Examples of Microevolution.” University of California Museum of Paleontology. Evolution.berkeley.edu, Web. 15 Jan. 2014
4. Meyer, Stephen, C. Explore Evolution. Melbourne & London: Hill House Publishers, 2007, Print.
5. Geisler, Norman. Turek, Frank. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Wheaton: Crossway 2004, Print.
6. Ibid.
7. Majerus, M. “The Peppered Moth.” Truth in Science. Truthinscience.org, 2004. Web. 13 Jan. 2014
8. Meyer, Stephen, C. Explore Evolution. Melbourne & London: Hill House Publishers, 2007, Print.
9. Majerus, M. “The Peppered Moth.” Truth in Science. Truthinscience.org, 2004. Web. 13 Jan. 2014
10. Behe, Michael J. Darwin’s Black Box. Free Press: New York, 2006. Print.
11. House, Wayne H. Intelligent Design 101. Grand Rapids: Kregl Publications, 2008, Print.
12. Ibid.
13. Tate, Jean. “Abiogenesis.” Universe Today. Universetoday.com, 22 Sept. 2009. Web. 16 Jan. 2014

Christians and Smoking Pot

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Have read quite a bit in the past week on the topic of legalizing marijuana and have come to a some conclusions I will share.
1. Within a short time, marijuana will be legal as a recreational drug in California.
2. Pastors who use Romans 13:1-7 (believers must submit to the laws of their government if they do not conflict with Scripture) as an out, will no longer have that option.
3. There is a significant difference of intention between having a drink, and smoking a joint.
4. When I picture Jesus having a relaxing time with his apostles, I could see him having some wine, bread, and meat. I can’t picture him having some hits, bread, and meat.

I will grant that number 4 is probably influenced by personal life experiences, the fact that I am no longer 25, and my generally conservative world views. But, I will also give you reasons I have come the conclusion that recreational use of marijuana is not a path you want to head down.

I remember as a young man playing games with a circle of friends who were all smoking weed. I would often find it amusing how they would have these long lapses of awareness. Just staring off at nothing, and then having a fit of laughter. Not hysterical mind you, but rather relaxed chuckling as if they were in on a joke that I was clueless about. Over a period of several months, I too began to smoke pot and noticed the effects first hand. Two things stand out in my memory, at least from what I can clearly recall. One was the lost sense of time. I would often be surprised by the amount time that had passed while hanging out with my friends and we were high. Many times I would look at the clock and an hour or two had passed, while I thought it was only a matter of 15 or 20 minutes.

The other was a chess game I played in my head. I used to play chess every week and was a pretty decent player. I could plan 3 or 4 moves ahead and would generally win more games than I lost. I remember walking home late one night after having smoked some weed and then playing a game of chess in my head. I was amazed how I was able to plan 6, 8 or even 10 moves ahead, both sides mind you. Remember, this was a game I was playing in my head. I remember thinking that I would have to play some time while I was stoned, and that I would cream some of the best chess players around. Next morning I recalled the game in my head during the walk home. Try as I might I could not recall all those moves, not even a small fraction of them. It was then, I realized, first hand, that what I thought was an enhanced, awe-inspiring state of mind, was actually a drugged stupor that had an illusion of brilliance.

What is your reason for smoking a joint? What is your reason for having a beer? Everyone who has a beer does not have the intention of getting drunk, but everyone who is smoking a joint has the intention of getting high. Is it just semantics when we discuss the difference between having a beer to relax, and having a joint to get high, (a form of relaxation)? I don’t think so. I have had beer with pizza over the years many times without any intention of getting drunk. In fact, the last time I intentionally drank to get drunk was over 25 years ago at a bachelor party. Every time I smoked a joint, it was my intention to get high.

THC is the molecule of tetrahydrocannabinol, or the main mind-altering ingredient found in the Cannabis plant. It works by activating the reward system and releases dopamine, like most abused drugs do. If you read my last blog post, Sex is Better with Drugs, you learned something about dopamine.

THC also interferes with the communication between neurons within the brain. Science has been researching new drugs that will have the medicinal properties of medical marijuana, but reduce the addictive traits. Some research is looking at the brain’s natural cannabinoid system to treat chronic pain, obesity and some mental health conditions. I personally believe that some may have legitimate medical reasons for smoking marijuana, but it is something that should not be flaunted or bragged about.

Women who are pregnant certainly should not use marijuana. Research has shown that women who used marijuana had babies that had different responses to visual stimuli compared to babies whose mothers did not use marijuana. Also, these babies has increased tremulous (shaking or trembling), and a higher pitched cry. In school, children who were exposed to marijuana in the home were more likely to have lower memory and problem solving skills coupled with short attention spans. 1

If you just taste a beer, your brain will release dopamine in your brain. And this is before you can even detect any blood alcohol levels. It is also no surprise that those with a history of family alcoholism had much greater dopamine levels after just tasting a beer. If you smoke marijuana, you will also release dopamine, which is the drug that research links to addiction. Dopamine is the feel good drug, and influences the following functions: Sleep, Mood, Attention, Memory, Cognition, Motivation, and Voluntary movement. 2 It also gives feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Our brains naturally produce dopamine during intimate moments, but now we have discovered other ways of artificially producing dopamine, namely drugs.

Gail Harrison, a friend at church, shared in a Facebook thread that someone once told her, “When my dad comes home and has a beer after work, he isn’t drinking to become high. When you smoke a joint, that is your purpose.” This ran right beside my train of thought when considering the differences between having a beer and having a joint. If I have a beer or glass of wine once or twice a year, it is never with the intent of entering an altered state of mind. Someone may say they smoke marijuana without the intent of getting high, but I would not believe it. What else would be the purpose of having a joint?

map

In October of 2013, Gallup took a poll that showed for the first time American’s are in favor of legalizing marijuana, with a jump of ten percent in just twelve months. Washington and Colorado have become the first states to legalize the use of marijuana. Back in 1969, only 12% of the population favored the use of marijuana. The same poll showed the views of marijuana by age, and nearly 70% of 18-29 year old’s favor the legalizing of marijuana, but those at 65+ is at 45%. Based on the poll trends, it will not be long before other states follow suit and eventually the federal government, especially when you consider the potential tax revenues. “In August of 2013 Deputy Attorney General James Cole announced the Justice Department would not challenge the legality of Colorado’s and Washington’s new laws legalizing marijuana.” 3

In 2012, Pat Robertson said in an interview with the New York Times, “I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol, I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.” 4

I don’t agree; just because a government deems something legal does not make it moral. Abortion is legal, but it is anything but moral. It will not be long before smoking pot as a recreational drug in California will be legal, but Christians everywhere will have to consider the moral side to this issue.

Mark Driscoll, who is head of a mega church in Washington State, wrote in an online booklet titled, Puff or Pass, concerning the use of marijuana “…as a pastor I have noticed that people tend to stop maturing when they start self-medicating. Everyone has very tough seasons in life, but by persevering through them we have an opportunity to mature and grow as people. Those who self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol, (as well as other things), often thwart maturity as they escape the tough seasons of life rather than face them.”5

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 10,288 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2010.6

According to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, in 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk driving crashes. 7

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. 8

I can’t help but wonder if 20 years from now we will be reading about statistics concerning deaths and marijuana use? No, not to the scale of alcohol. No, I don’t think the sky is falling, or that we will become a population of drugged out fools who spend all their spare time smoking pot. But I do think two things about this trend. It shows rather plainly the direction our nation is heading, and that future generations will pay the price for this unhealthy direction of self medicating and a desire to escape the realities of life. Sadly, those that already have drug addictions in their family may already have the biological tendency for addiction, and instead of being told to avoid drugs, our culture tells them not to worry.

Second, I would ask if even just one death, or one addiction was caused by the legalization of marijuana, would it be worth it? Where does our indignant sense of, “If it feels good do it” halt and take a look at the cost of such freedom. Is the price of lives lost, or ruined, worth the seemingly inherent freedoms we give ourselves? I sometimes wonder which is a lesser of two evils, a government that takes our freedoms to keep us from harming ourselves and secure its own magnate, or a people who vote themselves freedoms at the price of national and private welfare.

What a fallen world we are living in. These issues and others bring to light what a great need individuals have for Christ and how people and nations have fallen away from the one and only true hope for humanity. It is obvious we are incapable of saving ourselves as we vote in freedoms that remind me of an eight year old voting on when he gets sweets, if he has to do homework, chores, or can play video games.

*In just the time I spent writing this article this past week, I heard the news that Alaska is going to put on the ballot a bill to legalize marijuana. Voters in Alaska approved medical use in 1998 and pro activists have spent that time changing the attitudes for the next step. If it passes, Alaska will be the third state to legalize marijuana. After that activists will target Oregon, and then work to get legalization on the ballots in 2016 for several other states, including California. Efforts like these don’t come without some push back. On Tuesday, January 7th 2014 Fresno County supervisors banned the growing of medical marijuana with a vote of 5-0 and is said to be the first county in California to ban the growing of medicinal marijuana.

1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. -Titus 3:1-8 (NIV)

 

Sources:

1. Volkow, Nora D. MD “Marijuana’s Lasting Effects on the Brain.” Drugabuse.gov. National Institute on Drug Abuse, September 2012. Web. 6 January. 2014.
2. Pedersen, Tracy. “Just a Taste of Beer Releases Dopamine.” Psychcentral.com. Psych Central Learn. Share. Grow, 20 April 2013. Web. 5 January. 2014.
3. Swift, Art. “For First Time, Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana.”Gallup.com. Gallup Politics. 22 October 22. Web. 4 January. 2014.
4. McKinely, Jessie. “Pat Robertson Says Marijuana Use Should be Legal” Nytimes.com. New York Times. 7 March 2012. Web. 4 January. 2014.
5. Driscoll, Mark. “Puff or Pass: Should Christians Smoke Pot or Not?” theresurgence.com. Resurgence. 2012. 5 January. 2014
6. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Drunk Driving Fatalities-National Statistics.” Centurycouncil.org. The Century Council. 2011. 3 January. 2014.
7. O’Malley, L.D. “Statistics” madd.org. Mothers Against Drunk Driving. FARS data 2013. 5 January. 2014
8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Impaired Driving: Get the Facts” cdc.gov. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 17 April. 2013. 6 January. 2014.

 

Other Links:
http://www.livescience.com/24553-what-is-thc.html
http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-abuse/how-does-marijuana-use-affect-your-brain-body
http://www.brainfacts.org/about-neuroscience/ask-an-expert/articles/2013/how-does-marijuana-affect-brain-function/
http://www.promises.com/articles/abused-drugs/marijuana-your-brain/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/01/08/alaskans-likely-to-vote-on-marijuana-legalization-this-summer/
http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/01/07/3702201/fresno-county-supervisors-ban.html

Sex Is Better With Drugs

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Some of you may be shocked, but this is a fact confirmed by science in recent years. Not only is sex better with drugs, some drugs will increase the desire for sex, the permanence of the relationship, and the desire to care for their children. Where can you get these drugs? It is really quite easy. In fact, you don’t even have to go to a pharmacist, you can find these in any common household. The three drugs I will focus on are dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin. All three are found in our brain and are produced when an individual is aroused.

You may have heard of the drug dopamine. It is the ‘feel good’ chemical that creates a feeling of excitement or satisfaction when we take a risk. Dopamine can reward us for driving fast, earning an A on a difficult test, taking a ride on a rollercoaster, rescuing a drowning dog in a pond, (something I did once), or having sex.

What is important to point out is that dopamine has no governor. It rewards us regardless of the action. Imagine that you ask your young child to take out the trash, something he has not done before. If he does, you give him a nickel. If he doesn’t, you give him a nickel. Either way, the child is rewarded for doing something new and exciting. One is rewarded for doing what was requested of him and experiencing something new, the other is rewarded for disobeying the parent. The child is rewarded in either case. Dopamine rewards no matter the moral consequences of the action.

Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush in their book “Hooked” puts it this way, “Dopamine is values-neutral. This important point must be stressed. Dopamine will reward for healthy and life-enhancing excitement, but it will also send the reward signal for exhilarating but unhealthy and destructive behavior. Examples of excitement that dopamine rewards can include the use of nonprescriptive drugs, nonmarital sexual involvement, excessive drinking, dangerous thrill-seeking, and so on…To reproduce the good feeling, they seek to repeat the behavior. Their desire for the good feeling can overwhelm their accurately calculating the risk behavior, or for that matter, even worrying about it, if they do consider the risk.” 1 It should come as no surprise that sex is one of the strongest activities that produces dopamine, and this is especially true for teens.

prefrontal

What is significant about dopamine is that it peaks in the adolescent years and continues to increase in one particular part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. This is the final portion of the brain to reach mature development and is responsible for making wise, rational, logical, mature decisions in life.

Oxytocin is the second chemical I mentioned above, and can be found in both sexes, but has a much greater influence with females. One example is when a woman is breast feeding, her brain is flooded with oxytocin. Oxytocin creates bonding and trust with another person. When a women breastfeeds, she reinforces her feelings for her child and is willing to sacrifice her own needs for the needs of her own child. The more she breastfeeds, the more oxytocin is produced, which creates a greater bonding between a mother and her children.

Oxytocin is also produced during meaningful touching or hugging, skin to skin contact, (even holding hands), and of course during sex. Oxytocin creates a bonding or connectedness between a woman and her partner that stimulates her with a desire to be with that person again and again. McIlhaney and Bush wrote, “The important thing to recognize is that the desire to connect is not just an emotional feeling. Bonding is real and almost like the adhesive effect of glue-a powerful connection that cannot be undone without great emotional pain. Real brain chemicals act on real brain cells, causing those brain cells to bind individuals together.” 2

Many of us can imagine, and may have seen, the infatuations of a young girl on a particular boy or man. The simple affections of a hand on a shoulder, a lengthy embrace, or intimate touching produces oxytocin in females. As significant as the bonding it creates, oxytocin also produces trust in a woman. A young girl or woman who is bonding to a man or boy also begins to trust him. If she is considering being intimate with him, the feeling of trust oxytocin produces is significant because the female will trust he will:
-Care for her and not use her as a sex object.
-Put her needs above his needs.
-Be faithful to her and not be intimate with other women.
-Take care of her and their baby should she become pregnant.

You can see how some friends, parents, or caring adults can see the truth of a situation between a young man or woman, and she is unable, or unwilling, to listen to advice on how best to proceed with a relationship. It should come as no surprise that 80 percent of unwed fathers don’t marry the teen mother of their baby. 3 I personally have seen this with several former students and their broken relationships. It is also a trend as casual sex is taking our culture by storm. In the 1960’s, 68% of all twenty somethings were married. In 2008, only 26% were married, due in large part to cohabitation. 4

Oxytocin, just like dopamine, is another values-neutral chemical the brain produces. It does not consider boys or men who are just using girls or women as sex objects. Girls who engage in premarital sex fall victim to the effects of oxytocin. They desire the bonding and connectedness while feeling safe and secure because of the trust it produces, while the intentions of the male may be far from honorable.

Finally, there is vasopressin, which also has a bonding effect, but with the male to his mate and his offspring. This chemical is probably the prime cause of men becoming emotionally attached to women who they are intimate with. It may also explain why some men return time and time again to a woman who is insulting, degrading, or emotionally abusive. When a man has sex with a woman, his brain is flooded with vasopressin, and creates the bonding he may feel toward her.

When men move from sex partner to sex partner, they damage their ability to develop long term relationships. McIlhaney and Bush put it this way, “The inability to bond after multiple liaisons is almost like tape that loses its stickyness after being applied and removed multiple times.” 5 Just like dopamine and oxytocin, vasopressin is values-neutral. The male brain flows with vasopressin when having sex with one partner or several over a period of months and years, but unlike becoming ‘attached’ to one partner, the male will lose his ability to bond with someone when he has multiple sexual relationships.

Can people who have multiple partners find someone and enjoy a lasting, life long, healthy relationship? Of course, but my point in this post is that our teens and twenty somethings can fall victim to drug abuse and not even know it. Former president Bill Clinton may define sex as intercourse, but studies on brain activities show that sex is, “Sexual activity is any intimate contact between two individuals that involves arousal, stimulation, and/or a response by at least one of the two partners.” 6

I would tell my former students just because you are not having intercourse, does not mean you are not having sex. Sex comes in many forms, and they all produce powerful drugs that affect your ability to think clearly, rationally, and consider future consequences to your actions. These drugs are so powerful you may even ignore warning signs about an abusive relationship, or the advice of loved ones who have your best interest at heart. And to those that are engaging in sex outside of marriage, like it or not, you are likely to fall into a statistic that will place you in poverty income levels, multiple unsatisfactory relationships, and chronic depression.

The purpose of eating is not for pleasure, it is for survival. Those that eat for strictly for pleasure damage their bodies and are often grossly over weight. The purpose of sex is not for pleasure, it is for procreation. Those that have sex outside the design of marriage damage their relationships and their lives. These drugs were designed for a purpose, and that purpose is for permanent, life-enhancing, procreating relationships.

The world will tell you that when you feel you are ready, you should have sex. The world will tell you that as long as you use condoms, or other birth control methods, you are safe to have sex. The world will tell you that it is your business, and so long as no one gets hurt, it is alright. The world will tell you that as long as it is between two consenting adults, no harm is done. Science facts and Scripture tells us otherwise.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Sources:

1. McIlhaney, Joe S. Bush, Freda M. Hooked New Science On How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children. Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 2008. Print
2. Ibid.
3. Maynard, R.A. Kids Having Kids. New York: Robin Hood Foundation, 1996. Print
4. PewResearch Social & Demographic Trends. “The Decline of Marriage And Rise of New Families. PewResearchCenter, 18 Nov. 2010. Web. 1/1/2014
5. Ibid
6. Ibid

*I highly recommend the book Hooked for parents of adolescent children, or teens.

Pin It on Pinterest