Honolulu Chapter

Archive for 2014

“Why think about God? After all, no one knows whether there is a God, much less which God is real. Well, I am not as sure as you that no one knows. If God exists, then he knows, to be sure. He would have no identity crisis. Besides, we ought not claim that no one knows that there is a God until after we have done our thinking about God. So one reason to bother thinking about God is to see if you can find good reasons to think that there is a God. Another reason is to see if you can find good reasons to think there is no such person as God.”

via Why Thinking About God Matters | Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes.

Since the genetic code was deciphered in the 1960s, scientists have assumed that it was used exclusively to write information about proteins. UW scientists were stunned to discover that genomes use the genetic code to write two separate languages. One describes how proteins are made, and the other instructs the cell on how genes are controlled. One language is written on top of the other, which is why the second language remained hidden for so long.

“For over 40 years we have assumed that DNA changes affecting the genetic code solely impact how proteins are made,” said Stamatoyannopoulos. “Now we know that this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture. These new findings highlight that DNA is an incredibly powerful information storage device, which nature has fully exploited in unexpected ways.”

via Scientists discover double meaning in genetic code | UW Today.

“One of Western University’s strengths is X-ray CT scanning technology, specifically of objects up to 40 cm in size. This is perfect for digitizing artifacts the size of clay tablets. With the university’s microCT scanner, researchers such as Andrew Nelson can render the exterior — and interior — of any object.

With the touch of a button, the object was scanned, reconstructed and fully rendered using more than 3,000 individual images, allowing for high-quality visualization and inspection.

A digital database of archaeological artifacts can thus be made available to researchers around the world — a huge improvement over storage in warehouses. Speaking of warehouses, the university has intelligently designed that, too. In association with McMaster University and the Canadian government, Western’s “Sustainable Archaeological Repository” (SAR) can store 90,000 boxes of artifacts in its 18,000 square foot facility. Digitizing some of the millions of objects catalogued thus far will open these boxes to the world, allowing “anyone at home … access” to the history of civilization.”

via Intelligent Design in Action: Archaeology – Evolution News & Views.

How Does God Foreknow Free Choices?

Greetings,

I have been listening to and reading a lot of your material over the last year, and have been learning a lot – not least from the Defenders podcast. I’ve been searching in your material for the answer to a specific question, but haven’t found it – and therefore I write you now.

I’m trying to sort out the matter of free will and God’s foreknowledge, and I’ve come to understand that there is no contradiction between God’s foreknowing a free choice, and that choice being truly free. Foreknowing doesn’t equal determining.

But – here is my question: How? How does God foreknow what I would freely choose? I can see how he could foresee my choices if I was determined to make a specific choice, based on my genetics/upbringing/situation. But then the will isn’t free – is it?

If God knows the position and speed of every particle in the universe – then he could foresee every future event, where the cause/effect is within the realm of materia. But our free choice isn’t.

So – in short: By what means can God know what I would freely choose?

Thanks for your time, and for your great work in the Lord.

Paulus

Norway

via How Does God Foreknow Free Choices? | Reasonable Faith.

How do we answer supposed Bible contradictions and difficulties? Below are all solutions from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). This covers every major Bible difficulty from Genesis to Revelation. This material is copyright © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. Used by permission.

via Answering Bible Difficulties.

This is a great resource, even if you don’t agree with every solution.

Marcelo Gleiser is a theoretical physicist at Dartmouth College who treads dangerous ground from time to time. He writes a regular commentary for NPR in which, in the past, he has admitted that even taking the origin of simple life on Earth as a given, the development of complex life poses an additional, extraordinary riddle. With only Darwinian evolution as a resource, to assume that complex biology is out there among the stars as well as on our planet is a tough one to swallow.

Now he provocatively acknowledges that science can shade over into the faith, when scientists cling to ideas beyond the point where the evidence has turned against them:

via Dartmouth Physicist: When Science Shades Over Into Faith – Evolution News & Views.

“At some future period not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes…will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest Allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as the baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla” (Charles Darwin,”The Descent of Man”, 1874, p. 178).

via The racist implications of several common atheist beliefs – Honolulu Church & State | Examiner.com.

Truthbomb Apologetics: On the Miracle of Christmas.

Good article, including the quote: “That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.” Agnostic Astronomer Robert Jastrow.

Btw, please subscribe!

“‘Through RTB’s Visiting Scholar Program, we often have the pleasure of hosting and working with experts in various fields of study. Earlier this year, RTB welcomed Dr. Russ Carlson, a biochemist who has contributed to important research on complex carbohydrates and taught at the University of Georgia for 26 years. Russ received his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Colorado in 1976, and currently serves as an emeritus professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and of the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.”

via Reasons To Believe : Science and Faith: An Interview with a Biochemist.

Very interesting recent genetic discoveries:

“According to the researchers, mutations of genes are not randomly distributed between the parental chromosomes. They found that 60 percent of mutations affect the same chromosome set and 40 percent both sets. Scientists refer to these as cis and trans mutations, respectively. Evidently, an organism must have more cis mutations, where the second gene form remains intact. “It’s amazing how precisely the 60:40 ratio is maintained. It occurs in the genome of every individual – almost like a magic formula,” says Hoehe. The 60:40 distribution ratio appears to be essential for survival. “This formula may help us to understand how gene variability occurs and how it affects gene function.”

Duality in the human genome.

Very important observations by Dr. Ann Gauger, reflecting on mutation rates calculations by Durrett and Schmidt. Tens of thousands of mutations (minimally) are required for the transition from a chimp-like creature to a human. Yet:

“They calculated it would take six million years for a single base change to match the target and spread throughout the population, and 216 million years to get both base changes necessary to complete the eight base binding site. Note that the entire time span for our evolution from last common ancestor with chimps to estimated to be about six million years. Time enough for one mutation to occur and be fixed, by their account.”

So we need tens of thousands of mutations, and the time available allows for ONE! What does this tell us?

via The Real Barrier to Unguided Human Evolution – Biologic Institute.