Honolulu Chapter

Reasonable Faith Honolulu meeting

April 12, 2014

Title: Reasonable Faith Honolulu meeting
Location: 725 Piikoi St.
Description: Every 1st Tuesday of the month we meet. This is that day!
Start Time: 07:00
Date: 2014-05-06
End Time: 09:00

The Intelligently Resigned Show : The Return of the Christian Guy, Steve

March 17, 2014

Atheist Adrian Ramirez cross-examined me again for his podcast, and the result is (I think) a fairly crackling conversation. Click on the “pod” button.

And just to be clear, I assume that scripture is inerrant, but my point in the podcast was that scriptural inerrancy is not a necessary condition to be a follower of Christ. If I were to ever discover a scripture not corresponding to reality, it wouldn’t hurt my faith (unless it was The Resurrection, and I don’t see that happening):

 

http://intelligentlyresignedshow.libsyn.com/the-return-of-the-christian-guy-steve

The Intelligently Resigned Show : The Return of the Christian Guy, Steve.

Reasons To Believe : New Research Suggests Two Overlooked Functions of Junk DNA

March 13, 2014

Life scientists continue to identify new functions for so-called junk DNA. Recently, a researcher from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed out two overlooked “junk DNA” functions: 1 serving as a nucleoskeleton that establishes the volume of the cell’s nucleus; and 2 acting as a mutational buffer that protects the genome from mutations resulting from transposon and retroviral DNA insertion activity. Such results help undermine the argument that junk DNA must be leftovers of evolutionary processes, not the creation of an intentional Designer.

via Reasons To Believe : New Research Suggests Two Overlooked Functions of Junk DNA.

Wintery Knight’s debate summary

February 23, 2014

On the Sean Carroll vs. William Lane Craig God and Cosmology debate:

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/tactical-faith-will-live-stream-the-responses-to-the-craig-carroll-debate-on-saturday/

Is the universe past-eternal, according to Alan Guth?

February 23, 2014

Answer? Negative.

Those of you who saw the Sean Carroll vs. William Lane Craig debate yesterday, watched Carroll selectively quote Alan Guth. Here @ about 7:08 Guth confirms that the universe is not past-eternal. Everything that begins to exist has a cause:

RFH Meeting

February 19, 2014

Title: RFH Meeting
Location: 725 Piikoi St., Honolulu, HI 96814
Description: Video and discussion of best witnessing practices.
Start Time: 07:00
Date: 2014-03-04
End Time: 09:00

The New Atheists Are Not Philosophically Bright – YouTube

February 18, 2014

There has been a renaissance in the past fifty years in Philosophy, and the “New Atheists” are either clueless about it or in denial (I suspect the latter):

The New Atheists Are Not Intellectually Bright – YouTube (I think “Not Philosophically Bright” is more accurate, as many of these individuals are bright in their own fields).

Nice letter to the good doctor

February 16, 2014

Dr. Craig,

I wonder if you remember me. I was the dorky looking fellow hoisting about the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology at the Xenos Center in Columbus, Ohio July 10 and July 11 of 2013. I asked you four questions over the course of those two days: one regarding the ontological argument, one regarding the contingency argument, one regarding thekalam cosmological argument, and one regarding God’s relation to the Good. You answered them masterfully. I regret only that I did not get to thank you for the meteoric influence you have had in my life. If you receive and read this, please let me know or have someone let me know.

Below reads my testimonial. You can publish it if you like. All that matters to me, however, is that you read it.I

“Misery” is a unique variety of suffering to truly observe, and so I naturally remember the first time I witnessed it. During my second week of college my Catholic roommate and my “progressive” roommate had a brief discussion:

“So how do you feel about abortion?” the “progressive” inquired.

“I’m Catholic, so I don’t really support it.”

The “progressive” allowed a snide laugh.

“You actually believe in that stuff? God and all that? Ha! Oh wait, I’ll just stop now.”

The energy seemed to flush from the Catholic, and his face withered into something I can only describe as sharp, desperate misery.

My third roommate was also Catholic. He began to party with the “progressive.” One night a Catholic girl across the hall dragged his drunken form to our toilet so he could commence vomiting. A week later the girl asked whether he believed in God:

“No.”

“What? Why not?”

“I don’t know. There’s just no reason to.”

A week later, he fell into depression.

I met the first Catholic (the “miserable” one) a year later for lunch. He was struggling ceaselessly with anxiety and despondency. He told me that he had become a resolute atheist. He asked me what I thought about God:

“I’m an agnostic,” I allowed tepidly.

“Why?”

“I haven’t found any good reason yet to believe it.”

“No, I mean, why not a full-blooded atheist?”

“I imagine there are probably some persuasive scholars on the theistic side.”

“Like who?”

“Swinburne… uh, and… what’s his name? Will Craig Lane [sic], I’ve heard he has some good—“

The newfound “full-blooded” atheist wrenched his face up with disgust.

“Craig?”

“Yeah.”

“Stay away from that guy.”

And I did.II

My professors adored me and divined that I would become a prodigious historian. I was not happy like I was as a young Catholic, but my skeptical reductionism had yielded for me success as an alienated, but thorough scholar. CNN, my professors, Nietzsche, Foucault, and popular cinema crushed my theistic intuitions into uncertain wisps of memory, and so I resolved to put the idea of God “on hold.” God became something of a curious amusement for me, a petrified abstraction among many, an unexamined metaphysical insight at best and a social pathology at worst. I was happy to evacuate such a peculiar bourgeois artifact from my past and hang it on the mantle. After all, according to three “basic” philosophy texts that I had read, metaphysics had become antiquated after the advance of science and God had been retired; Paul Tillach, it seemed, would be your best and only bet if you were interested in God.

And oh how my despair amused me! My past harassed me endlessly with whispers of intelligibility and meaning I knew could never resolve, the present lurched in and out of focus like oppressive geometry, and the future grew dark and arid with disease and death. I became violently sick often and would roam about sleepless for days.

“I’m just like Raskolnikov!” I mused feebly, “How modern! Or perhaps post-modern… no,existential is a safe bet…”

Three elements palliated this state of affairs: (1) A brief passage about Plantinga’s ontological argument in a small philosophy textbook that my sister bought me. (2) Someone lending me The Brothers Karamazov. (3) You, above all.III

Little by little I began to analyze the question that I had indefinitely placed “on hold.” I began with Theism and Atheism of the Great Debates in Philosophy series (Jack Smart v. J. J. Haldane), but upon taking extensive notes, I scored the debate a draw. I then started watching online segments of Lawrence Kuhn’s Closer to Truth after work, but Kuhn always managed to neutralize the theists’ arguments. One night, I thought I would watch Kuhn interrogate that Craig character just to see how much of a charlatan he was. You defied all of my expectations. Not only did you manage to answer all of his questions exhaustively and tersely, but you anticipated his objections and actually rendered him speechless after you exposited the advent of Borde-Guth-Vilenkin. Speechless! I had never seen that before. You even seemed to urge him forward a bit out of pity (“… Well, it’s by no means an open and shut case,” you offered). I watched several more of your segments, and though I was not convinced of theism, I determined who could convince me of it if it was at all possible.

I consulted a blog entitled “Common Sense Atheism” that appraised you as the victor of every debate you had ever had about God (two other atheist blogs grudgingly admitted the same). The atheist blogger said that there were only seven debates that you may have lost: those against Sinnott-Armstrong in the book God?, Dacey, Stenger, Parsons, Kagan, Bradley, and Tobash. I bought the book God? and watched all but the Bradley and Tobash debates. Of these, the best debate indeed occurred in God?, and after extensive note-taking, I scored you the winner. I resisted the conclusion, as I figured I had not yet seen the best that the atheists had to offer and I scored you low on the Resurrection argument. For some reason, however, I couldn’t stay away; I watched you eviscerate Erhman, Hitchens, Harris, and Law. As my first year of graduate school wore on, I became a masterful debater and a concise presenter, for which I gained a considerable reputation. None of the “progressives,” self-proclaimed “anarchists,” or atheists suspected that a dreaded theist had conferred such skills to me!

I was confident Rosenberg would finally end your streak on February 1, as I heard he had been meticulously studying your tactics. I watched in shock as he immediately resorted toad hominem (he claimed you “do not listen” and always use the same arguments, despite the fact that you were using two new arguments, and then attacked the debate format as too “adversarial” to be productive), then brandished the old “uranium decay” and “Euthyphro” objections without at least acknowledging that you had addressed them before. My scoring system favored you in a landslide victory. I became a deist.

“It’s possible I could be a Christian,” I ruminated, “but it will take several years of extensive reading at least. I probably won’t convert, but at least the option is faintly open.”IV

On May 4, 2013 at 4:00 AM, I became a Christian. I do not know how to properly articulate what happened to me. I was working on my cultural anthropology readings when I felt a tide of realization. But it was not simply a realization; the intuition pulsed so strongly that it hatched into an encounter. Jesus reached out to me, and I could not contain my emotion. I never had believed such a thing would happen to me, and when others recounted such events, I felt nothing but incredulity. And there I was, finally reunited with the God I had spurned so bitterly nearly five years ago.

I attend graduate school in southern California. I called my Mom to tell her the good news. She recommended that she and I attend a Xenos apologetics event with her coworker (who is a member of that fellowship) during my Summer Break in Ohio. I vaguely alluded to you at the mention of apologetics, and my mom asked what your name was.

“William Lane Craig.”

“Okay.”

“If I am ever on my death bed, and I can Skype with one person, that is the person with whom I would like to speak.”

“Hm.”

And by complete coincidence you came to that conference during my brief stay in Columbus, Ohio.

And I never thanked you.

Thank you.V

I hope someday I can meet you in person again. Until then, this is all I can offer you as an article of my gratitude. I hope that you have learned something new about the secular pressures we have to endure as young Westerners, and how consistently and grievously they rupture our lives. My story also yields some insights into the importance of the internet in reaching younger people, other skills one can adopt from observing your debates, and how one atheist can effortlessly de-convert any theist when the latter lacks good reasons to justify his belief.

I know I am not a good person. Like that peasant woman in Aloysha’s parable, I have so few onions to grasp on my precarious ascent toward salvation, if any at all. But there is time yet, and I have such an honorable model in you.

I know I owe Christ for hatching my heart, but I owe you for exacting the first crack in the shell.

Thank you again,

–Kyle 

Physicist Paul Davies starts to say something sensible about how to go about looking for extraterrestrial life | Uncommon Descent

February 3, 2014

I give Davies credit for at least admitting to the enormous complexity in the simplest form of life:

The underlying problem is complexity. Even the simplest bacterium is, at the molecular level, staggeringly complex. Although we have no idea of the minimal complexity of a living organism, it is likely to be very high. It could be that some sort of complexifying principle operates in nature, serving to drive a chaotic mix of chemicals on a fast track to a primitive microbe. If so, no hint of such a principle has been found in laboratory experiments to re-create the basic building blocks of life.

On the other hand, if life arose simply by the accumulation of many specific chemical accidents in one place, it is easy to imagine that only one in, say, a trillion trillion habitable planets would ever host such a dream run. Set against a number that big — and once you decide a series of unlikely accidents is behind the creation of life, you get enormous odds very easily — it is irrelevant whether the Milky Way contains 40 billion habitable planets or just a handful. Forty billion makes hardly a dent in a trillion trillion.” 

Physicist Paul Davies starts to say something sensible about how to go about looking for extraterrestrial life | Uncommon Descent.

Free sample of the audio version of my book

January 28, 2014

You can hear a sample HERE:

*Note: this is probably the most complex of the nine arguments in the book, so if it sounds complex, don’t let that deter you. If you see it in print HERE while hearing the narrator, you’ll get it.

And here’s a code for a  free audio version: HWLEQ45FUFJGF

1. Visit http://www.audible.com/at/redeem
2. Enter the download code into the “Redeem Your Promotional Code” field and click “Redeem”.
3. If you’re not an Audible customer you’ll need to create a new Audible.com account. Don’t worry, you can use your Amazon account to do this.
4. Follow the instructions. You’ll have 1 credit applied to your account.
5. Go to my book’s listing: “What Your Atheist Professor Doesn’t Know (But Should)”
6. Add it to your cart. When you check out you’ll see an option to apply the free credit.

These are first come-first served, so if it doesn’t work, don’t be bummed; just check back in now and then (I have a few more codes to post).

Old Earth Creation Science Testimony – Why I Left Young Earth Creationism, by Glenn Morton

January 1, 2014

This is an interesting article that was shared with me by an atheist. Nobody HAS to believe one way or another on the age of the earth, but we all should consider the consequences of various doctrines we hold. If any particular doctrine functions like a “poison pill”, it’s obviously very important to think very deeply about that doctrine. Given the fact that the Hebrew of Gen. 1 is compatible with both views, ask yourself the question: “Is this a hill to die on (or for others to die on)?”:

Old Earth Creation Science Testimony – Why I Left Young Earth Creationism, by Glenn Morton.

A Universe from Nothing? Dr. Krauss Explains Nothing – Cross Examined – Christian Apologetics | Frank Turek

October 24, 2013

Seems like Dr. Turek picked up a copy of my book! Or maybe the Holy Spirit steered us to the same truths (wouldn’t be the first time that happened).

Anyway, this is a pretty good article showing how Krauss’ entire argument depends on an equivocation. Pretty rich for a guy who (falsely) accused WLC of dishonesty!

One minor note: Quantum Mechanics isn’t limited to only the sub-atomic realm, but extends to some super-atomic matter (but which still is extremely tiny): 

A Universe from Nothing? Dr. Krauss Explains Nothing – Cross Examined – Christian Apologetics | Frank Turek.

Meeting

October 4, 2013

Title: Meeting
Location: 2040 Nuuanu Ave. recreation room
Start Time: 7 pm
Date: 2013-10-07
End Time: 9-ish

▶ Programming of Life – YouTube

October 4, 2013

MUST WATCH video, done with Dr. Don Johnson (two earned PhD’s; one  in Chemistry and one in Computer and Information Sciences). You won’t believe how complex the coding is in every cell…your body has literally hundreds of quadrillions of computers in it, some operating with triple layers of encryption!:

▶ Programming of Life – YouTube.

New RTB Online Publication

September 25, 2013

Inside

Geophysics: Earth: God’s Great Symphony
Earth Design: Earth’s Chlorine Abundance: Fine-Tuned for Life
Biochemistry: God’s Providence, Man’s Dominion, and Synthetic Biology
Two Books Revelation: Historic Christianity’s “Two Books” of Revelation
Physics: Fine-Tuning and the Speed of Light
Earth Design: Earth’s Fluctuating Oxygen Levels Support Biblical Creation
Biochemistry: Cars and Cells: How Trade-offs Make Good Designs
Systems Biology: Song of the Intestine: So Kill Me, Maybe
Triune God: The Triune God Is Love
Educator’s Help Desk: Saving Faith
Bible Bookend: Creation in Color


Online Publication
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“Honesty, Transparency, Full Disclosure” and the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem | Reasonable Faith

September 25, 2013

Hat-tip to Dr. Wallace Marshall of RF Charleston:

Vilenkin vindicates Craig, exposes Krauss. Q&A 336: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/honesty-transparency-full-disclosure-and-bgv-theorem

This is dynamite, and will be so encouraging to those of you who watched Craig patiently endure Krauss’ barrage of belittling remarks throughout their three dialogues in Australia last month. Before reading it, get the context by clicking on this video of the Melbourne dialoguehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xcgjtps5ks and fast-forwarding to the 50:00 mark (watch until about 57:00). And boost and post this wherever you can.

“Honesty, Transparency, Full Disclosure” and the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem | Reasonable Faith.

The “Hardware” of Life Argument for an Intelligent Designer, part 3 – Honolulu Church & State | Examiner.com

August 12, 2013

Another excerpt from my new book What Your Atheist Professor Doesn’t Know (But Should):

Just recently, a vastly more complex gear-driven, seven-engine, magnetic-guided flagellar bundle was discovered. Here is an piece on it fromwww.evolutionnews.org:

Souped-Up Hyperdrive Flagellum Discovered

Evolution News & Views December 3, 2012 5:05 AM | Permalink

Get a load of this — a bacterium that packs a gear-driven, seven-engine, magnetic-guided flagellar bundle that gets 0 to 300 micrometers in one second, ten times faster than E. coli.

If you thought the standard bacterial flagellum made the case for intelligent design, wait till you hear the specs on MO-1, a marine bacterium described by Japanese researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Edited by Howard Berg, Harvard’s mastermind of flagellum reverse engineering, this paper describes the Ferrari of flagella.

Instead of being a simple helically wound propeller driven by a rotary motor, it is a complex organelle consisting of 7 flagella and 24 fibrils that form a tight bundle enveloped by a glycoprotein sheath…. the flagella of MO-1 must rotate individually, and yet the entire bundle functions as a unit to comprise a motility organelle.

To feel the Wow! factor, jump ahead to Figure 6 in the paper. It shows seven engines in one, arranged in a hexagonal array, stylized by the authors in a cross-sectional model that shows them all as gears interacting with 24 smaller gears between them. The flagella rotate one way, and the smaller gears rotate the opposite way to maximize torque while minimizing friction. Download the movie from the Supplemental Information page to see the gears in action.

Electron micrographs included in the paper show that the model is not unrealistic. These flagella really are tightly packed in a sheath, suggesting that the bundle acts like a gear-driven hyperdrive.

Here we have used electron cryotomography to visualize the 3D architecture of the sheathed flagella. The seven filaments are enveloped with 24 fibrils in the sheath, and their basal bodies are arranged in an intertwined hexagonal array similar to the thick and thin filaments of vertebrate skeletal muscles. This complex and exquisite architecture strongly suggests that the fibrils counter-rotate between flagella in direct contact to minimize the friction of high-speed rotation of individual flagella in the tight bundle within the sheath to enable MO-1 cells to swim at about 300 µm/s. (Emphasis added.)

At microbial level, that’s more than 10 body lengths per second. The authors were clearly excited by this engine, sounding like young men checking out high-performance cars, talking thrust, gear ratios and torque.

MO-1 is a magnetotactic bacterium capable of orienting its cell body along the geomagnetic field lines by using magnetosomes. The MO-1 cell has a flagellar apparatus with two lophotrichous [containing numerous flagella in] bundles. In contrast to peritrichously [flagella all over the cell] flagellated bacteria, MO-1 cells swim constantly in a helical trajectory toward magnetic north, and the trajectory changes from right-handed to left-handed without changes in velocity or direction. The cells areable to swim as fast as 300 μm/s, which is nearly 10-fold faster than E. coli and Salmonella. Although the flagella of the other types of bacteria usually work individually or by forming a loose bundle to produce thrust, the flagellar apparatus of MO-1 is a tight bundle of seven flagella enveloped in a sheath made of glycoproteins. This unique architecture appears to be essential for the smooth and high-speed swimming of MO-1.

They can’t see actual gears, of course, but physics demands that the mechanism of rotation must have something like it:

We hypothesize that, whereas each of the seven flagella has its torque-generating motor, the 24 fibrils counter rotate between the flagellar filaments to minimize the friction that would be generated if the flagella were directly packed together in a tight bundle. A schematic diagram representing our hypothesis is presented in Fig. 6. The flagella are represented as large brown gears and the fibrils are represented as small blue-green gears. The flagella and fibrils rotate counterclockwise and clockwise, respectively, as indicated by the arrows, to minimize friction (Movie S1).

Although there is no direct evidence that the fibrils can rotate freely in the opposite direction as the flagellar filaments with which they are in direct contact, we think this is the simplest interpretation to explain the superior function afforded by the complex architecture of the MO-1 flagellar apparatus.

Considering the very tight packing of the 7 flagella and 24 fibrils that are in direct physical contactwithin the sheath, there appears to be no other way for the flagella to rotate at high speed without the counter rotation of the intervening fibrils. Although the fibrils and the surrounding sheath are in direct contact, the friction between them would be small because of the stocking-like flexibility of the sheath. This design must be playing an essential role in the fast, smooth rotation of the flagellar apparatus that allows the rapid swimming of MO-1.

With powerful evidence of design like this, did the researchers become converts to intelligent design? We can’t know, but would PNAS have printed such a paper without an obligatory tribute to unguided materialistic evolution? Evolution is not mentioned until the last paragraph:

Taken together, these features of the MO-1 flagellar apparatus represent an advanced level of evolution of a motility apparatus. It is also intriguing that the same pattern of an intertwined hexagonal array in two evolutionary distant systems: the basal bodies of flagella and fibrils of the MO-1 flagellar apparatus, and the thick and thin filaments in vertebrate skeletal muscle. Similar architectures of filamentous structures presumably evolved independently in prokaryotes and eukaryotes to fulfill the requirements for two very distinct mechanisms to generate motion: counter rotation and axial sliding.

 


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