I Am A Grandpa

I Am A Grandpa

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I am a grandpa now! To be clear, I am a grandpa of the little life bouncing around in my lovely daughter-in-law Annie. 

I don’t become a grandpa from the first heartbeat; I don’t become a grandpa when the age of viability is reached; I don’t become a grandpa at birth; I don’t become a grandpa when this life takes its first breath after birth; I am a grandpa now, and became a grandpa at the moment of conception. 

The pro-life argument is not strictly biblical, but many passages certainly support the pro-life view. For example, Genesis 1:27Job 33:4Psalm 127:3-5, and Psalm 139:13-16, to name a few, but it is also philosophical and scientific. 

SLED

A philosophical example would be the simple SLED test. Human value is not based on Size, Level of development, Environment, or Degree of dependency.

Considering the size, some might say the unborn is just a clump of cells; consequently, Annie is not a mother, and you are not a grandpa, yet. Well, we are all just a clump of cells; what does that have to do with the clump of cells being a distinct human entity? This clump of cells is alive, growing, and human. Am I worth more than a 2-year-old little girl? Obviously not, and especially not to the parents of that little girl. That clump of cells from the first germinal stage is a distinct and separate human life. This life has their own DNA and is defined as ‘life’ by any biology textbook.

After size, if you look at the level of development, you will see that criteria can’t determine value. For example, a three-year-old girl does not have a fully developed reproductive system, so she can’t bear children. Does that somehow make her less valuable? Obviously, the unborn is less developed than the 3-year-old girl, so does she have an even lesser value? Equating a human’s value to their development level is clearly abhorrent to the clear thinking. 

How does location change the value of a human? Does traveling down a 7-inch birth canal suddenly bestow personhood, value, and human rights to that individual? 

Finally, does dependency alter value? Yes, the unborn is dependent on the mother, but newborns are also dependent on their mother/parents for love, security, and a safe environment. Should mothers be allowed to kill their newborns because they need them for nutrition or safety? 

DISCRIMINATION

The SLED method points out what abortion really is, discrimination based on size, development, location, and dependency. The strong, those in complete control, are allowed to disqualify the weak and defenseless. Recall in history, another class of human beings considered to be less valuable because of another arbitrary characteristic. African Americans because of their skin color. 

You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter, having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own. – Abraham Lincoln

SCIENCE

How do I know I am a grandpa now? Science. If you are already rolling your eyes, you will not like anything else I have to say. Nevertheless, if you have got this far, I encourage you to keep reading and thoughtfully consider my points. 

Why do I say science? One example is the technology we use today; women can take a pregnancy test at home, which measures the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). About two weeks after conception, HCG can be detected in the blood or urine.1

Another example is how biologists define life? I had this discussion with my friend Dennis, a biology professor, when I went backpacking for two weeks with him in Wyoming. He explained that biologists define life with several criteria: organization, homeostasis, metabolism, growth, response, reproduction, and adaptation.2

Some terms might change depending on your source, but they all help us determine the characteristics necessary for something to be defined as life. 

BIOLOGY DEFINES LIFE

From conception, there is organization. Cells too tiny to see with the human eye carry out the activities necessary for life, forming complex structures. Homeostasis involves feedback controls and the life seeking to maintain a stable internal environment as it deals with external changes. Metabolism is simply converting energy from chemicals into various and specific cellular structures. Growth is cell division, and it grows in size or number. The response trait is the ability of life to react to its environment. Reproduction is the ability to multiply or procreate, which for most life does not come till later stages of development. Finally, adaptation is the ability to adjust to a change in an environment.3

There is no question that the unborn are alive from the moment of conception. There is no question that the unborn are human from the moment of conception. 

Of course, you will not hear this from the pro-choice advocates. Not long ago Chris Cuomo tweeted, “…the pro-life position is more about faith and feeling than fact.”4 It is a typical claim that Christians and pro-life advocates base their arguments on the Bible, blind faith, and feelings, none of which have anything remotely to do with facts and science. 

LIFE AFTER FIRST BREATH

Last month a woman named Ann on Facebook defended the claim that life does not begin till the first breath. I have heard others make the same claim and then quote Genesis 2:7 to support their view. “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (NIV) Technically, God’s breath began life, not when a human first takes a breath after birth, but let’s dig a little deeper. 

Pro-choice supporters say the Bible says life begins at first breath. Of course, clumps of cells don’t breathe air in the womb. Genesis 2:7, He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and it was then that the man became a living being.” Let me be clear; this is a descriptive statement, not prescriptive. It describes how and when Adam came to life, not when all human beings come to life. Scripture does not teach that everyone comes to life at their first intake of oxygen into their lungs, and to make that claim is complete rubbish.

Again scientific because I can quote a textbook for medical students, “Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoon development) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”5

The pro-life argument is founded on the principle that intentionally killing an innocent human being is wrong, which is precisely what abortion does.

The unborn are alive, the unborn are human, the unborn are innocent, and the unborn are helpless, so tell me what justification do you have for abortion? And before you toss out the rape and incest card which is less than 1% let’s settle the other 99%. 

  1. Smith, Lori. “Pregnancy tests: All you need to know.” Medical News Today, medicalnewstoday.com, 24 May 2017, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295001. []
  2. Mason, Kenneth; Losos, Jonathan; Singer, Susan. “The Science of Biology.” Biology, New York, McGraw Hill, 2017, pgs. 2-3. []
  3. “Life.” Biology Online, biologyonline.com, 16 June 2022, https://www.biologyonline.com/dictionary/life []
  4. Cuomo, Chris. [ChrisCuomo]. Twitter, 7 May 2019, https://twitter.com/ChrisCuomo/status/1125740694977548288 []
  5. Keith Moore, T. V. N. Persaud, and Mark Torchia, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 10th Edition, Philadelphia: Saunders, 2015), pg 11. []
Does Science Ever Point to God?

Does Science Ever Point to God?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Radio Frequency IDentification, (RFID) tech has been around for years and has many advantages over commonly used UPC (Bar Codes) we see on just about everything we purchase at the store. RFID uses a microchip with an antenna and can identify objects, or people for that matter, without having to be line-of-sight. In addition, the chips can store more data than a barcode and send a signal from several feet away.

One day RFID tech will replace barcodes, but not until the price drops, and the price will not drop until more companies begin using RFID. A catch 22, if there ever was one. Or which will come first, the chicken or the egg? What would it take to solve this dilemma? Simultaneous implementation and cooperation. Everyone would have to agree and start using the tech simultaneously and have an industrial and economic system ready to embrace the change. So there must be coordination, communication, planning, timing, and implementation for this to happen. The intelligence behind the process is essential. We also see this in biochemical systems concerning DNA and proteins.

One of my former students who reads my blog sent me a message asking me if I have any posts on science and God. I pointed out a few to him, most recently the three-part series on why ‘I Don’t Believe In Evolution’.

http://www.knowingforsure.com/2018/04/11/why-i-dont-believe-in-evolution-part-i/ Not two weeks later, I took my daughter and a couple of her friends to an Apologetic conference in Rockland. One of the speakers was Professor Douglas Axe, who wrote “Undeniable – How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed.” Then, after some reflection, I decided to write another post on science and God.

The big question Axe has is to what we owe our existence? Are we simply a product of material evolution, and those who believe in God have an overactive imagination or rather a blind faith in the hopes of a better afterlife? Is our faith simply a crutch that rests on centuries of theologians’ evolutionary desires to explain what we don’t understand?

Many researchers have concluded our belief as Christians or theists is a by-product of evolution. If that is the case, we can’t expect this belief to depart from the human psyche any time soon. Justin Barrett, a professor at Fuller University, says, “It’s the way that human minds seem to develop naturally.”((Zukerman, Wendy. “The evolutionary psychology of believing in God.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC.net, June 10, 2014, https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/the-evolutionary-psychology-of-believing-in-god/5512982)) Barrett believes, “The concept of God begins to emerge when children start searching for reasons to explain the world around them.”((Zukerman, Wendy. “The evolutionary psychology of believing in God.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC.net, June 10, 2014, https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/the-evolutionary-psychology-of-believing-in-god/5512982))

Professor Robert Geraci also believes that evolution is responsible for our belief in something beyond the material. He teaches at Manhatten College in New York and explains we need an agency or a cause for everything. Intuitively, we all know this. The oak tree was caused by the seed of a previous oak tree, and that oak tree was caused by the seed of another, ad infinitum, but when we encounter things that don’t seem to have a cause or is beyond our understanding, then we inject a diety. In other words, everything should have a cause, and if we don’t see a cause, we make one up.

Geraci says, “Once humans became accustomed to seeing agency, [an action or intervention that produces an effect] around their world, it became an easy intellectual sidestep to say that something was causing events with no clear explanation, such as thunderstorms or sickness. In this way, believing in God may be kind of an accident of our evolutionary heritage.”1

If this is true and our belief is embedded in our evolutionary process, it should come as no surprise that breaking the chains of bondage from this line of thinking will be difficult. Barrett says, “If our belief in the divine is part of our evolution as a species, it explains why it is very difficult to shake.” According to Barrett, “It takes discipline, formal education, and cultural resources to ‘completely divorce oneself’ from these religious inclinations. It is difficult to consistently be a good atheist because our mind seems to be working against us.”1

Is our intuition in seeing design in the biological realm really an aberration of the truth? Has life risen from chance, and we are nothing more than moist robots, as Frank Turek calls it? Francis Crick, one of the co-founders of the DNA structure wrote, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”2 I would ask, why assume our minds are working against us? What if our minds are working for us? Why do atheists conclude our minds are working against us? It is obvious some have a priori about human biology. I think most of us would agree that our intuition would better serve our survival if it is in line with truth and reality; to me, that is common sense.

Thankfully not all materialists believe that evolution is tricking us into believing in things that are not true. They admit how comfortable they are with a Godless worldview and even desire it to be true so they can live as they please without a God looking over their shoulder. They admit their own bias for a god-less worldview and openly admit they don’t want to answer to anyone for their decisions in this life.

Thomas Nagel, a professor at the New York University, wrote, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is not God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind.”3 

That kind of open honesty about oneself and the scientific community at large is rare, and it is a left hook to the conclusions of Geraci and Barrett who blame evolution for our beliefs in God.

Let’s face it, if the evolutionary process is valid, the truth is irrelevant; all that matters is survival of the fittest and natural selection. Yet being a Christian missionary is contrary to natural selection. Selling all you have, traveling to a foreign country, encountering all kinds of dangers, and probably sacrificing your health, well-being, and possibly your life to share the Gospel does not lend itself to passing your genes into the next generation. So maybe in a few millennia, those pesky religious zealots will be weeded out.

In his book, Douglas Axe addresses the bias of many in the scientific community and has experienced it first hand as his research points to Intelligent Design. The focus of his research revolves around the proteins in our body. He points out what every biologist knows, that the proteins make up the cellular activity in our bodies. He likens them to the various parts of a car, and the vehicle is the cell. Without the components (carburetor, breaks, radiator, pistons, tires, etc.), the car would not function. The pieces would just lay on the roadway, inactive and non-functioning.

Each protein is made up of a strand or chain of amino acids, and these chains, when in the correct sequence fold up and create a three-dimensional structure. The genetic code and genes tell the amino acids how to connect and fold. In turn, DNA needs proteins to replicate, but proteins need DNA instructions to know what to form. So which came first, the chicken or the egg?

But the problem goes much deeper than that. Whether proteins or DNA came first is just one of several million-dollar questions, but we also need to know how DNA became a carrier of information to build proteins. DNA and proteins depend on each other for their existence, and researchers know it must be solved, or Darwin’s evolutionary theory is dead in the water.

Stephen Meyer, the author of Signature in the Cell, wrote, “At some point, DNA must have arisen as a carrier of the information for building proteins and then come into association with functional proteins. One way or another, the origin of genetic information still needed to be explained.”4 In other words, we can concede for a moment that functional proteins came about by an evolutionary process, (I don’t believe that) but who came up with the blueprint of instructions to assemble them? We can ask who made the various car parts on the street, (yes it would be nice to know), but we can also ask who wrote the directions on the assembly?

As far as Darwin’s theory of natural selection, we have to ask when did natural selection take place in the process? Obviously, we have to have an initial functioning cell arranged so that it survives. Natural selection does not explain the arrangement or assembly but rather after it has been living.

Jim Tour, a brilliant chemistry professor who has been listed as one of the top ten chemists globally and one of the top 50 most influential scientists in the world today, has some thoughts on natural selection. “If one asks the molecularly uninformed how nature devises reaction with such high purity, the answer is often, ‘Nature selects for that.’ But what does that mean to a synthetic chemist? What does selection mean? To select, it must still rid itself of all the material that it did not select. And from where did all the needed starting material come? And how does it know what to select when the utility is not assessed until many steps later? The details are stupefying, and the petty comments demonstrate that sophomoric understanding of the untrained.”5

We can conclude that RDIF technology came about by random, unguided natural processes over a period of millions of years. We can say the tiny, various microchip components came together and began to function despite what our intuition tells us. We can see that it has significant advantages over the commonly used barcodes, including more information. We understand that it would be a superior method to process data and move merchandise. We can concede it was random processes over eons of time that created this technology, but the question remains who wrote the directions for the arrangement?

“No matter what form the message takes the information being conveyed always originates in a mind. Information can’t be separated from the activity of an intelligent agent. And this connection makes this property a potent marker for intelligent design.”6 Atheists or theists all know that the process that controls our body, starting at the molecular level, contains massive amounts of information. There is no known example of information arising from arbitrary input.

Sources:

  1. Zukerman, Wendy. “The evolutionary psychology of believing in God.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC.net, June 10, 2014, https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/the-evolutionary-psychology-of-believing-in-god/5512982 [] []
  2. Crick, Francis. “Conclusions”, What Mad Pursuit, New York, Basic Books, 1988, pg 138 []
  3. Nagel, Thomas. “Logic”, The Last Word, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997, 130-131 []
  4. Meyer, Stephen C. “Self-Organization and Biochemical Predestination.” Signature In The Cell, Harper One, 2009, pg 235 []
  5. Axe, Douglas. “Seeing And Believing.” Undeniable – How Biology Confirms Our intuition That Life Is Designed, Harper One, 2016, pg 195 []
  6. Rana, Fazale. “The Artist’s Handwriting.” The Cell’s Design-How Chemistry Reveals The Creator’s Artistry, Baker Books, 2008, pg142 []

My Great Uncle Nemo and Aunt Dory

Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

Many of us have a favorite aunt or uncle who fill our memories with fond thoughts and feelings. I have very few memories of my own uncles, but I remember my father’s sister, Aunt Jessie, with great fondness and love. One of the last times I saw her, I was picking my mom up after dropping her off to visit Aunt Jessie. They had spent the day together and I picked up my mom early evening. They came out of the house laughing in such a fit they were wiping their eyes. I asked them what they had been drinking, which then extended the laughing fit.

It was quite a sight, two old women, well into their 70’s, laughing hysterically to the point that breathing became difficult and their faces were flushed. I told them to knock it off before they both had a stroke and dropped dead right in front of me. Their laughter subsided for a moment while they considered that morbid thought, then continued even louder than before. Why the thought of their having a stroke and dropping dead in front of me would cause such activity was beyond me. Of course they had not been drinking, but simply enjoying each others’ company as only a life long love and friendship can.

NemoDoryprehistoric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art work by Rebecca Glazier

(Age 12)

The theory of evolution states that if we were able to trace our ancestors back in time, some 4 billion years, we would find that the first life, our first ancestors, were single cell life forms. In 1868, Ernst Haeckel published his book, Natural History of Creation. In this, he proposed that embryos in their early stages show the similarities between the species, and since we are all related, the early stages look nearly identical. The term for this is called ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Repeat that to someone, and if they don’t mistake it for a foreign language, you just might sound highly educated. The picture below 1 is from Haeckel’s early works and lectures, which have since been shown to be quite inaccurate, but these pictures have remained in text books in one form or another for most of the 20th century and beyond.

Embryo2

 

 

 

 

 

This shows Haeckel’s illustrations of eight embryos in their various stages. Each stage is labeled as follows.
F – Fish
A – Salamander
T – Turtle
H – Chick
S – Pig
R – Cow
K – Rabbit
M – Human

In his book, Signature In The Cell, Stephen C. Meyer points out that Haeckel was a stanch materialist, (someone who believes the only things that exist are energy and matter), and that life could be explained by natural processes. “For Haeckel, finding a materialistic explanation for the origin of life was not just a scientific possibility; it was a philosophical imperative.”2 Why would some wish to disprove the existence of God? For many it is a freeing experience, thinking that they are not to be held responsible for their behavior and actions in this life. The thought of being self-governing, without restraint, appeals to many today, and did in Haeckel’s generation also.

The term, ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, which some of you may have seen in your biology text books, simply means the embryo stages of different animals are similar because of their evolutionary heritage. This theory which was promoted by Haeckel, is no longer mainstream, but is still considered by some to have merit, and consequently shows up in various text books 3 even today. Their use in text books is often a subtle plug for evolution, along with other evolutionary evidence. I spent some time this week looking for other science text books that display Haeckel’s embryos in one form or another. Below is a picture out of a 7th grade science book that has been used in the local school districts, published by Glencoe McGraw-Hill in 2000.

Embryo1asmall

 

 

 

 

These kinds of drawings and their discrete efforts to promote evolution should be noted by parents of Jr. high and high school levels. Parents should look at their children’s science or biology books and see what information they teach on evolution, or if you’re taking biology in Jr. High or High School, take a look yourself for this kind of content. Granted the above picture is a watered down version of Haeckel’s embryos, but the implication is obvious. One feature of the above picture which they refer to as gill slits are not gill slits at all. In fact, they are not even slits, but simply folds around what will become the neck of a human embryo. These folds develop into the lower jaw, tongue, and necessary glands. We don’t even have the DNA instructions to form gills, because we have not evolved from a Nemo, a Dory, or a primordial soup hundreds of millions of years ago.

The human embryo receives its needed oxygen through the umbilical cord and never at any point from gills, gill slits, or any other method. Never at any point during the embryos development is ontogeny, (mode of production); recapitulates, (repeating); phylogeny, (evolutionary development and history). Furthermore, what is labeled as a tail is not a tail at all. During the early embryonic stages, the spine develops faster than the legs and arms, giving it the appearance of a tail. What we are, and what we are to become, is more than what we can observe on the surface.

Our DNA code, and a code must come from a language, and language must come from intelligence, is our blueprint of design. If you have a design, you must have a designer; if you have a blueprint you must have an architect. Much like the framing of a house, garage, or a store, which look the same at first, but then the finished product and purpose is quite different, so too is the development of the embryo. At first, the buildings all look box like, with 2×4’s and 2×6’s surrounding the structure, but look at the blue print and you can see that the plan and purpose for each building type is significantly different.

The Christian Answers Network puts it this way. “Notice, this is exactly what we would expect as evidence of good creative design and engineering practice. Suppose you were in the bridge-building business, and you were interviewing a couple of engineers to determine whom you wanted to hire. One fellow says, “Each bridge I build will be entirely different from all others.” Proudly he tells you “Each bridge will be made using different materials and different processes so that no one will ever be able to see any similarity between the bridges I build.” How does that sound? Now the next fellow comes in and says, “Well, out back is your yard and I saw a supply of I-beams and various sized heavy bolts and cables. We can use those to span either a river or the San Francisco Bay. I can adapt the same parts and processes to meet a wide variety of needs. You’ll be able to see a theme and a variation in my bridge building, and others can see the stamp of authorship in our work.” Which fellow would you hire?”4

In 1993, The Northern Star, a regional newspaper published in New South Wales, Australia, ran an article about a boy who had a fragment of cartilage removed from his neck. It was reported to have been fish gill cartilage, but after an investigation it was proved to be false. Nevertheless, in the article the reporter explained how in the early stages of the human fetus, fish gills develop, which as you now know, is utterly false and just continues to spread evolutionary misinformation. And this from a main stream newspaper.

I was chatting with someone last week about public schools and college. My impression was that she wished her boys had not attended college, or that they had attended a ‘Christian’ college instead. I think many of us may feel the same way, but it is important to understand what we may be promoting with that kind of mind set. Insulating our children from the teachings of evolution, humanistic philosophy, and other world religions will only delay the inevitable. Sooner or later with friends, other family members, at school, or in the work place, they will come across something counter to what we have taught them, and if they have just been insulated, they will be anything but prepared to deal with the evidence counter to their belief. Our mind set should be to immunize, or vaccinate them, not to isolate them.

 

Sources

1. Hopwood, Nick. “Pictures of Evolution and Charges of Fraud.” www.hps.com.ac.uk. University of Cambridge, 2006. http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/people/hopwood/haeckel.pdf. Web. 10 May 2013.

2. Meyer, Stephen, C. Signature in the Cell. New York: HarperCollins, 2009. Print.

3. Luskin, Casey. “What Do Modern Textbooks Really Say About Haeckel’s Embryos?” www.discovery.org. Discovery Institute, 27 March 2007. Web. 8 May 2013.

4. Parker, Gary. “Does the human fetus temporarily develop gills, a tail, and a yolk sac?” www.christiananswers.net. Christian Answers Network, 1998. Web. 7 May 2013.

Other sources
http://www.acts17.net/2013/03/ernst-haeckels-phony-embryo-drawings.html
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2007/03/14/fishy-gill-slits
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2007/05/the_textbooks_dont_lie_haeckel_1003664.html
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n3/graphic-fraud
http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c024.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecH5SKxL9wk

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