Month: March 2015

Christian/Theistic Macroevolutionists??

Macroevolutionists postulate that all forms of life came from one single cell that has come to be commonly labeled as a “common ancestor.”1 It is reported that this common ancestor was subjected to factors such as the inevitable passage of time, processes associated with natural selection, and other random changes in the its genes also known as mutations, which caused it to develop new characteristics through a process known as microevolution.
Something of interest is that over the past decades the number of Christian/theistic macroevolutionists has increased, significantly. These individuals believe that God caused life to appear on earth, but that he used common ancestor cells to start a process of gradualism, which is the theory that species evolved slowly, incrementally over many generations. The result of such a process was speciation, that is, one species branched into another species or into two or more species. They postulate that God orchestrated the process of macroevolution to bring about different forms life from lower life forms until, finally, these lower life forms developed into more complex life forms such as the human race.
Basically, the implication of this theory is that we are all remotely related to all species; all forms of life. If we eat them, don’t we become cannibals of some sort? For instance, if I eat a chicken, am I not eating one of my relatives? I guess it really does not matter?
All this would make sense if there was something in the fossil record to substantiate the claims of gradualism. For example, why is it that the fossil record does not show even one animal species in the process of transitioning into another life form? As Dr. Geisler indicates, “the fossil record should be filled with some type of combination of a fish in a transition stage as it is becoming an amphibian (say, fishibian), or a mixture of a reptile in transition as it is becoming a bird (say, reptibird).”2
One question I have for Christian/theistic macroevolutionists is: if mankind is a product of gradual evolution from lower animal forms, at what stage in the process of evolution was he given the image of God and became a living soul?

Sources

1 T. Wallace (2007). Five Major Evolutionist Misconceptions about Evolution. The True Origin Archive. Accessed from http://www.trueorigin.org/isakrbtl.asp

2 Norman Geisler & Peter Bocchino (2001). Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith. Bethany House Publishers. Bloomington, Minnesota. pp. 156

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Water Day this Sunday!

the biology of belief

Water is essential to every living being and therefore unifies us all!

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The Ramifications of “Killing God”

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher, a son of a Lutheran minister. His father died when he was five years old. Probably the loss of a father at such a tender age is what led him to detest religion with an unbridled fervor.
Among his literary works is the controversial parable known as the Parable of Zarathustra. In this parable, Nietzsche wrote about a momentous, cosmic catastrophe, the “death of God.”1 A mad man (probably symbolic of Nietzsche himself) announces the “death of God” to a jeering crowd of skeptics gathered in a market place for no apparent reason. The mad man proclaims hysterically, “God is dead…we have killed him.” Of course, that is impossible in the literal sense, for God is self-existent and uncaused. He is the only One whose reason for his existence lies within himself. What Nietzsche was doing here was heralding nihilism, which rejects religion and moral principles. By rejecting them, Nietzsche understood that he was rejecting their Source.
But the ramifications of having “killed God” are not lost on Nietzsche: “How can we the murderers of all murderers comfort ourselves? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now?” The magnitude of his pronouncement had the potential to unhinge the very order of life on earth, rendering everything meaningless. With the “death of God” comes the erosion of all values and morals, and the introduction of anarchy and lawlessness and unprecedented violence. Using metaphors and similes, Nietzsche admitted that nihilism could be calamitous as mankind would attempt to become his own god: “Do we not ourselves have to become gods…?” The repercussions of assuming such a morally autonomous position would result in a ghastly a debacle. Although the parable is presented in a pendulous and ambivalent manner by being both liberating and disastrous, the bottom line is that this kind of worldview would inevitably usher in an era in which the relevance of the Moral Law would be questioned if not rejected. Everything would become permissible, to echo Dostoevsky. A few decades after Nietzsche came individuals such as Sigmund Freud and others who claimed that religion was nothing more than a basic infantile intellectual level, probably classified as being at the bottom rung of the evolutionary ladder.
At the heels of the birth of such a worldview, came the 20th century; so far regarded as the bloodiest and most violent century.2 Slowly, as mankind distanced himself from the dictates of the moral values, life began to lose its sacredness. This trend continues as we hear of people getting shot or maimed or stabbed or bludgeoned to death for the most trivial reasons. Mankind is, indeed, straying through “infinite nothing.” As belief in the moral values began to wane, a wave of darkness began to encroach upon humanity, true to Nietzsche’s prophetic pronouncements: “Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning?”
Nietzsche himself spent the rest of his life in an insane asylum and in the care of his family. He was silent most of the time. In his book, The Last Journey of Jack Lewis: A Conversation of C.S. Lewis with Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud, Chang-Wuk Kang claims that “When he was in an insane asylum toward the end of his life [Nietzsche] recited Bible verses from time to time.” He was only 46 years old when he died in 1900.

Sources

1 Fordham University (n.d.). Modern History Sourcebook: Nietzsche: Parable of the Madman. Accessed from http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/nietzsche-madman.asp

2 Francis P. Sempa (2012). The Bloodiest Century. Accessed from http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/item/2007/0103/book/book_sempa.html

Your Body’s Microbe Community-An Ecosystem of Its Own Kind

At the heels of the Human Genome Project came the National Institutes of Health Common Fund Human Microbiome Project aimed at encouraging and generating research resources for characterization of the human microbiota and the part they play in and on the bodies of both healthy and diseased individuals.
In a discipline called metagenomics, scientists are sequencing and analyzing the DNA of complex and uncultured microbial samples from different microbial communities. The human microbiome is a collection of microbes that inhabit the human body. Each human body is teeming with variant microbes belonging to a variety of species. They are so numerous that they outnumber the cells of the entire body by 10 to 1. This means that there are 10 microbes to one human cell. These microbes have about 100 times more genes than our genome!!! Your stomach and mine have each 100 billion bacteria for every one gram of their matter.1 The human body hosts all these microbes and many more, forming something of a microbial ecosystem. An assortment of microbes resides in the oral cavity, alimentary canal, nose, skin etc…
Scientists working with the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) are analyzing microbial genetic information in order to understand the role microbes play in etiology of disease. Each person’s microbiome is unique to them; as unique as their finger prints. Each individual can host different microbial communities on and in different sites of their body.
Scientists claim that each microbial community can be used to predict the body’s susceptibility to diseases, and other characteristics. For instance, by studying the microbiome of an individual, scientists can tell whether the person was breastfed as a child, and even their level of education. By sequencing and studying microbiomes from individuals with different diseases, they are able to establish associations between human microbiomes and disease. This is critical for identifying new diagnostic and treatment regimens.2 However, not all microbes are disease causing. Some microbes do a lot for us such as digesting food, and synthesizing vitamins.
Microbes from different sites of the body can also be predictive of other communities. This means that by examining microbes from a given site of the body, say, the mouth, we can tell what kind of community is in the person’s alimentary canal, too. This helps in the study of risk of diseases in people, and can lead to discovery of efficacious personalized therapies.
As for taking antibiotics, one has to be very careful as this can be similar to applying herbicides to the ecosystem. Sometimes, this can destabilize the system to our detriment. It can also become breeding ground for super-bugs.

Sources

Heather Kathryn Ross (2014). Is the Forest of Bacteria Inside You Your Most Precious Resource? Accessed from http://www.healthline.com/health/microbiome-discover-your-trillions-of-bacteria

Vincent B. Young, Robert A. Britton, & Thomas M. Schmidt (2008). The Human Microbiome and
Infectious Diseases: Beyond Koch. Accessed from Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
Volume, Article ID 296873, doi:10.1155/2008/296873

Musings

If you want to conquer the world, conquer yourself first.
-Fyodor Dostoevsky

This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.
-William Blake

A Dangerous Combination

A couple of years ago our nephew died as a result of taking prescription medication for his condition with alcohol. I hope the article below will help someone avoid that kind of mistake and save their family terrible pain.

Here it is….
More than a third of Americans who drink use prescription medications that could lead to serious health consequences if mixed with alcohol, a recent study said (this is not limited to the U.S.A. alone).
The numbers are even higher for seniors — nearly 78 percent of U.S. adults ages 65 and older who drink use medications, that could be dangerous when taken with alcohol, according to a study published online…in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Until this study, there had been little research that included a national sample of Americans using a wide range of alcohol-interactive prescription medications, said lead study author Rosalind Breslow, PhD, MPH, RD, an epidemiologist in the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. When alcohol combines with an alcohol-interactive prescription medication, it affects how the drug breaks down in the body and could result in risks to health, such as liver damage.
“We did the study because the combination of alcohol and many prescription medications can result in harmful side effects like falls, traffic accidents and overdoses and in some cases literally can be deadly,” Breslow told The Nation’s Health. “So because of the harms, we thought it was important to estimate how many people in the U.S. population were at risk of side effects due to interactions between alcohol and prescription medications.”
The study looked at more than 26,000 adults between 1999 and 2010 who were age 20 or older. Researchers asked participants about their prescription drug use and drinking habits. The majority of the participants were white and current drinkers, which means they drank 12 or more drinks in their lifetime and on at least one day in the past year, according to the study.
The more commonly used prescriptions among participants were drugs affecting cardiovascular health or the central nervous system, the study said. Examples of drugs that affect cardiovascular health included blood thinners and blood pressure medications. Drugs that affected the central nervous system included narcotic pain medications, such as oxycodone, and anti-anxiety medications, such as Valium. However, the study did not look at whether or how often alcohol and prescription drugs were used at the same time or at a time when an interaction would be expected, Breslow said.
Breslow said it is important for doctors to educate seniors in particular about the health risks associated with combining prescription medication and alcohol. She also noted that more research is needed on the combined use of medications and alcohol.
“Our study showed the potential scope of the problem but we didn’t have the data to estimate actual prevalence,” Breslow said. “The way to get these data is to include it in population survey questions about combined usage.”
Article by Natali McGill. Courtesy of The Nation’s Health: http://thenationshealth.aphapublications.org/content/45/2/E7.full

Marry one who loves your soul not body.

A Small Act Of Kindness Can Bring Smile On Million Faces

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Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah now that’s a treat. ~ Joanne Woodward

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