Monday, July 28, 2014

MILLER-UREK EXPERIMENT, STANLEY MILLER, OPALINE, HAROLD UREY, 1953, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, LIFE FROM NON-LIFE, ABIOGENSIS, SPONTANEOUS GENERATION, AMINO ACIDS, BUILDING BLOCKS OF LIFE, LEFT HANDED AMINO ACIDS, PROTEIN, OXYGEN, METHANE, EARLY EARTH ATOMOSPHERE

THE MILLER-UREK EXPERIMENT 

Hello everyone! How are all of you doing? We are well here, working our way through the hot and stormy summer months. One of the activities I do is teach the youth at my church creation science. The subject of the famous Miller-Urey experiment came up and so I want to enlighten all of you the same as I informed my students about this experiment. 

Some of you may remember mention of this experiment in your science classes in regards to “proof” that amino acids--the building blocks of life--had been generated from this experiment. But for those of you who don’t remember let me refresh your minds…

In 1953 Harold Urey an advisor from the University of Chicago, and his 23 year old graduate student Stanley Miller, conducted what became a famous  biochemistry experiment. “The Miller-Urey experiments involved filling a sealed glass apparatus with the gases that Opaline (a Russian scientist) had speculated were necessary to form life—namely methane, ammonia and hydrogen (to mimic the conditions that they thought were in the early atmosphere) and water vapor (to simulate the ocean). Next, while a heating coil kept the water boiling, they struck the gases in the flask with a high-voltage (60,000 volts-an excessive energy input) tungsten spark-discharge device to simulate lightning. Below this was a water-cooled condenser that cooled and condensed the mixture, allowing it to fall into a water trap below.”1





But this begs the very logical question of how did Miller know what the atmosphere was like billions of years ago? It is easy to see that Miller assumed the early earth’s atmosphere was different from today. He based his starting chemical mixture on the belief that the early earth had an atmosphere that contains no free oxygen. Why? Because it is well known in the field of science that biological molecules (specifically amino acid bonds) are destroyed in the presence of oxygen, making it impossible for life to evolve. Oxygen is a poisonous gas that oxidizes organic and inorganic materials here on earth. It would be lethal to any organisms that has no protection against it. So unless protection against oxygen “evolved” the same time that the amino acids formed, the bonds would have been immediately broken. Therefore, in order to avoid this problem, evolutionists, including Opaline, Urey and Miller,  propose that earth’s first atmosphere did not contain any freestanding oxygen. But is there any evidence at all to support this, or is it all based on the assumption that evolution must be true? No, there isn’t any evidence. There is no proof that
Earth ever had a non-oxygen atmosphere. As a matter of fact, earth’s oldest rocks contain evidence of being formed in an oxygen rich atmosphere. Recent literature suggests there is far more oxygen in the early atmosphere than anyone imagined. H-m-m….this is the first problem with Miller’s experiment. Lets go on….

“Within a few days, the water and gas mix produced a pink stain on the sides of the flask trap. As the experiment progressed and the chemical products accumulated, the stain turned deep red, then turbid. After a week, the researchers analyzed the substances in the U-shaped water trap used to collect the reaction products. The primary substances in the gaseous phase were carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen (N2). The dominant solid material was an insoluble toxic carcinogenic mixture called ‘tar’ or ‘resin’, a common product in organic reactions, including burning tobacco.”2 This is the second problem; and intelligent being altered the process. In later experiments Miller removed the tar because he knew nothing could survive in this cancer producing mixture.

But in the first experiment the tar was analyzed by chromatographic techniques that revealed a number of substances had been produced. However no amino acids were detected during this first attempt, so Miller modified the experiment (removed the carcinogenic) and tried again. “In time, trace amounts of several of the simplest biologically useful amino acids were formed—mostly glycine and alanine. The yield of glycine was a mere 1.05%, of alanine only 0.75% and the next most common amino acid produced amounted to only 0.026% of the total—so small as to be largely insignificant. In Miller’s words, ‘The total yield was small for the energy expended.’ The side group for glycine is a lone hydrogen and for alanine, a simple methyl (-CH3) group. 
“Miller was attempting to illustrate how life’s building blocks (amino acids) could have formed by natural processes. However, throughout the experiment Miller relied on years of intelligent research in chemistry. He purposely chose which gases to include and which to exclude. Next, he had to isolate the biochemicals (amino acids) from the environment he had created them in because it would have destroyed them. No such system would have existed on the so-called primitive earth. It appears Miller used intelligent design throughout the experiment rather than chance processes.”3 Problem number two continues.

In subsequent experiments Miller was able to produce amino acids. However, “producing amino acids is not the hard part. The difficult part is getting the right type and organization of amino acids. There are over 2,000 types of amino acids, but only 20 are used in life. Furthermore, the atoms that make up each amino acid are assembled in two basic shapes. These are known as left-handed and right-handed. Interestingly, all amino acids that make up proteins in living organisms are 100 percent left-handed. Right-handed amino acids are never found in proteins. If a protein were assembled with just one right-handed amino acid, the protein’s function would be totally lost. As one PhD chemist has said: Life requires polymers with all building blocks having the same ‘handedness’—proteins have only ‘left-handed’ amino acids. . . . But ordinary undirected chemistry, as is the hypothetical primordial soup, would produce equal mixtures of left- and right-handed molecules.”4  And a
introductory chemistry textbook has written in it: “All the proteins that have been investigated, obtained from animals and from plants from higher organisms and from very simple organisms—bacteria, molds, even viruses—are found to have been made of L-amino [left-handed] acids.”5 This is the third problem Miller came up with, the wrong results.

But could there be a chance, however slim, that life could evolve from non-life? “What have scientists calculated the probability of an average-size protein occurring naturally to be? Walter Bradley, PhD, materials science, and Charles Thaxton, PhD, chemistry, calculated that the probability of amino acids forming into a protein is: 4.9 x 10191. This is well beyond the laws of probability [chance] (1x1050), and a protein is not even close to becoming a complete living cell. No matter how large the environment one considers, life cannot have had a random beginning. . . . There are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (1020)2000 = 1040,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced (obtained) even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.”6

Sadly, despite the fact that the Miller experiment did not succeed by producing only left-handed amino acids (the building blocks of life), textbooks that teach our children continue to promote the idea that life could have originated by natural processes (from non-life). “For example, the following statement from a biology textbook misleads students into thinking Miller succeeded: By re-creating the early atmosphere (ammonia, water, hydrogen and methane) and passing an electric spark (lightning) through the mixture, Miller and Urey proved that organic matter such as amino acids could have formed spontaneously. First, note the word proved. Miller and Urey proved nothing except that life’s building blocks could not form in such conditions. Second, the textbook completely ignores other evidence, which shows that the atmosphere always contained oxygen. Third, the textbook ignores the fact that Miller got the wrong type of amino acids—a mixture of left- and right-handed. The Miller experiment (and all experiments since then) failed to produce even a single biological protein by purely naturalistic processes. Only God could have begun life.”7
One other thing I would like to point out. “If we were to grant the evolutionists’ assumption of no oxygen in the original atmosphere, another fatal problem arises. Since the ozone is made of oxygen, it would not exist; and the ultraviolet rays from the sun would destroy any biological molecules. This presents a no-win situation for the evolution model. If there was oxygen, life could not start. If there was no oxygen, life could not start.”8 Problem number four. Wouldn’t that be great to see this information in our public schools!

Until next time,
Willow Dressel

This week in the night skies; for the northern hemisphere; “Friday, August 1. At dusk this evening, the Moon forms the lower-right end of a very long, curving line of celestial objects. Counting to the Moon's upper left, these are Spica, Mars, and Saturn. This day is Lammas Day or Lughnasadh, one of the four traditional "cross-quarter" days midway between the solstices and equinoxes. More or less. The actual midpoint between the June solstice and the September equinox this year comes at 2:40 a.m. August 7th Eastern Daylight Time (6:40 UT). That will be the exact midpoint of astronomical summer.”9

For the southern lats; “The Southern Delta-Aquarids meteor shower runs from from 12 July to 23rd August, peaking on Wednesday July the 30th. The number of meteors you will see depends on how high the radiant is above the horizon, and how dark your sky is. This shower is fairly faint, with the highest rate of around a meteor every 4 minutes.”10 

References:


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

RAPID GROWTH DINOSAUR, ROBERT BAKKER, WARM BLOODED DINOSAURS, DRAGONS, JUVENILE DINOSAUR, DINOSAUR EGG

DOES THE DINOSAUR FIT THE SIZE?

Hi there to all you good people out there! I’ve sure had some hectic days this week, but even so, I was able to spend some quality time with our precious Lord Jesus. It’s awesome that He’s so big He has the time and room for everyone!

Speaking of large sizes, did you ever wonder how the young of the large dinosaur (dragon) kind ever reached their full size with so many predators? After all, even a small--lets say a sheep or
 
 

horse size--T. rex would be just a nice snack for a full grown, adult Allosaurus. But all the large dinos were once very small, like when they first hatched and shortly there after. Certainly many of the young did succumb to predators. “Many reptiles grow throughout their lifetimes, gradually tapering off with age. An example is the Nile crocodile, the largest of the living reptiles. Some mammals, such as elephants, also grow slowly throughout their lives. The largest dinosaur fossils, therefore, may be from creatures that had lived for centuries.”1 But how did the hatchlings ever survive years of development to finally outgrow the large carnivores? You might be surprised…

“Two evidences suggest a rapid early growth rate for the dinosaurs. First, few half-grown dinosaur fossils have been found. Thus, dinosaurs may have rapidly passed through their juvenile phases. It may also be that specimens having smaller, fragile bones simply did not often survive the burial and fossilization process. Second, dinosaur bone texture, especially for the stegosaurs, shows evidence of rapid youthful growth. Robert Bakker (a paleontologist) estimates that stegosaurs may have grown from an egg to five tons in just one decade (Bakker, 1986)...In general, large dinosaur size also provided defense against attack from smaller foes. In the animal world there is a measure of safety in large size. Predators rarely attack something that is big an strong enough to injure them.”2 It seems God had provided for survival of the large dinosaurs by coding their DNA for rapid juvenile growth.

In addition to that, there is the very real problem of weight vs. volume. For example an animal whose size is doubled (2[length, height, and width]), will only have its bone strength increase about 3/2nd of that (22) because the bone’s supporting strength depends on the cross-sectional area.  So, “Animals much larger than the dinosaurs would require bones too bulky to be practical. Notice that bone size must increase substantially out of proportion to animal size. King Kong and Godzilla can exist only in movies--not in the real world. The same area-volume reasoning also limits the
possible size of trees. Perhaps you have seen the wide trunk needed to support a 350-foot redwood tree.”3

God has thought of every detail so get out there and enjoy His wonderful world!
God bless and take care!
Willow Dressel

This week in the night skies; for the northern lats; “Summer is hardly more than a third over, astronomically speaking. But already the Great Square of Pegasus, symbol of the coming fall, heaves up from behind the east-northeast horizon at dusk and climbs higher in the east through the evening. It's balancing on one corner.”4 

And for the southern lats;  “Comet C/2014 E2 Jacques is bright enough (magnitude 6) to potentially be seen in binoculars, but it is low to the horizon, and the rapidly brightening sky this week soon overwhelms it. Look to the left of the bright star Elnath (the tip of the horn of Taurus the Bull) with strong binoculars (at least 10x50's) for a fuzzy dot in the very early twilight. The New Moon is Sunday July 27. Jupiter is lost in the twilight. Mars and Saturn are prominent in the evening sky. Venus is prominent in the morning sky. The crescent Moon is close to Venus on the 25th, and Mercury on the 26th.”5


References:
1-3DeYoung, Don, PhD. Why Were Dinosaurs so Large? Creation Matters, Volume 19, Number 3, May/June 2014,p 5.

Monday, July 14, 2014

RAINBOWS, SUN DOGS, SUNDOGS, REFRACTION, REFLECTION, RAINDROPS, PRISM

RAINBOWS  AND  SUN DOGS

Hello all my fine friends out there!

How has your week been? We had some mighty thunderstorms here with a lot of great lighting displays. And it has been and answer to many peoples prayer for rain! Then after the rain often there are rainbows! I always love to see rainbows against dark thundery skies, don’t you?


And speaking of rainbows….here are a few things you might not know….

It all has to do with angles. When the sun is lower in the sky (morning and afternoon) the light rays are more horizontal. And when these horizontal rays of sun hit a falling raindrop the light is bent (by refraction [the simple act of bending light]) in two ways. Light entering the upper area of a spherical raindrop bends, is reflected internally, then departs at a 138 degree deviation. This constitutes the red light  spectrum. When sun rays strike the lower end of a droplet, it two is bent by refraction, is reflected internally, then exits at an approximate 232 degree divergence. This is the violet end of the light spectrum. This prism action of each drop of rain water causes the dispersal of the component colors of white light (all the primary and secondary colors). So the light that leaves the drop of water, having been broken down into these two angles, forms the primary and secondary rainbows we often experience after thunderstorms. And that’s how rainbows are formed! 



So what is a sun dog? Sun dogs (also called ice halos or parhelia) are also formed from the prism effect. They are the sometimes colorful or white lights in the sky often making a halo at 22 degrees around the sun or moon. It is not the same as a rainbow because the refraction occurs from hexagonal (six-sided) ice crystals. Because hexagonal ice crystals compose the section of a 60 degree prism, they separate the colors of white light. Often you will see high intensity spots of light on the halo known as the parthelic arc. This occurs because “A portion of the ice crystals are flat hexagonal plates and they tend to orient themselves with flat side horizontal when falling through the air….when the sun is at the horizon, they (parthelic arcs) can appear to be slightly outside it (the halo 22 degree arc) at higher altitudes and will flare into a white tail leading away from the 22° halo. Under appropriate conditions the tail may extend far outward on the horizontal ‘parhelic circle’. This extension of the sun dogs is reflection from the vertical sides of the flat hexagonal ice crystals.”1 Sun dogs got their name from the Arctic people in the far north. Often when a parthelic arc is present it is so bright that the rest of the arch is overlooked, and often there are two parthelic arcs present. Thus they were referred to as sun dogs!

Both of these phenomena in the heavens declare the glory of God. In chapter nine of the book of Genesis, scripture documents that the rainbow is a symbol of Gods covenant to never again destroy the earth with a world wide flood. And both of these phenomena are highly organized reflecting God sense of an intelligent designer who creates all things with a sense of order (as opposed to an evolutionists explanation of random selection). One other thing I would like to point out in relation to God and rainbows. The Hebrew word used in Genesis nine of the Bible for bow is arch and is the same word utilized elsewhere as in “bow (arch) and arrow”. So not only did God give us his covenant or promise to not flood the planet again, but He also gave us a sign of His protection….the “arch/bow” of the rainbow.

May you look at rainbows with a deeper understanding from now on!
God bless and take care,
Willow Dressel

This week in the night skies; northern hemisphere; “Wednesday, July 16. If you have a dark enough sky, the Milky Way now forms a magnificent arch high across the whole eastern sky after nightfall is complete. It runs all the way from below Cassiopeia in the north-northeast, up and across Cygnus and the Summer Triangle in the east, and down past the spout of the Sagittarius Teapot in the south. Thursday, July 17. The Big Dipper, high in the northwest after dark, is beginning to turn around to "scoop up water" through the nights of summer and early fall.
The waning Moon, nearly at last quarter, rises around 11 or midnight and climbs high in the early-morning hours. Far in its background is Uranus, magnitude 5.8. Locate it with binoculars or a wide-field telescope. Friday, July 18. Last-quarter Moon (exact at 10:08 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, USA). The Moon rises around midnight tonight, shining in Pisces.
Early Saturday morning before dawn, the faint asteroid 611 Valeria will occult an 8.7-magnitude star in Pisces for observers along a track crossing northern Mexico, Texas, the Deep South (including the Atlanta area) and the Carolinas.”2 

In the southern hemisphere; “Saturn is high in the evening sky, and was at opposition on June 11th. Saturn is visible most of the night. Saturn is high enough from around 8 pm for decent telescopic observation and sets around 2:30 am.  Saturn is in Libra near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion and forms a line with the two brightest stars of Libra. Morning sky on Wednesday July 16 looking north-east from Adelaide at 6:30 am ACST.  Venus forms a triangle with the bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. Mercury is at its closest with Venus. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at equivalent local times….Venus was at its furthest distance from the Sun on the 23rd of March, and is slowly sinking towards the horizon. Venus is a clear gibbous Moon shape in a telescope. Venus forms a triangle with the bright red stars Aldebaran and Betelgeuse. During the week Venus comes closer to the horizon, and the rapidly climbing Mercury.”3

References:
O”Quinn, Jonathan, D.P.M., M.S., Creation Matters, Vo. 19 No 1, Jan/Feb 2014, pg. 9, produced by the Creation Research Society:
1http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/HBASE/atmos/halo22.html



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ANTARTICA, VEGETATION, TREE STUMPS, SURVIVE DARK MONTHS


MYSTERY OF ANTARTICA VEGETATION




Hi guys!
This week is going to be just a short note as I am running behind again but I really want to get a little something out. So here’s some food for thought.

This article is from Creation Matters, Vo. 19 No 1, Jan/Feb 2014, pg. 9, produced by the Creation Research Society:

“Fossilized stumps of tropical trees show that Antarctica was once forested. A photo of a tree stump sticking out of the ice begins a report on LiveScience about “weird forests” that once sprouted in the land of the midnight sun. Leaf impressions and tests of carbon by the university of Kansas show that a mix of deciduous an evergreen trees one grew there. The stumps are estimated to be late Permian in age according to the evolutionary timescale (250 million year old). Researchers can examine the wood cell patterns under the microscope to try to resolve how trees grew without sun for half the year. 
In order fore forests to have grown on this now icy continent, evolutionists surmise that “Some 250 million years ago, during the late Permian and early Triassic, the world was a greenhouse, much hotter than it is today.”

What they are missing is that if a forest had survived for over 250 million years, there would be a lot more evidence of it that what we have found. And it still doesn’t answer how the vegetation survived year after year of 3 + months of almost total darkness.
But God could easily take care of that….

Take care and God bless!

Willow Dressel

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

DIVINE PROVISIONS, ADAPTIONS, SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, EVOLUTION, TIMBERMAN BEETLE, TIBETAN ANTELOPE, HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINS, BOMBARDIER BEETLE, GREYLAG GOOSE, PEKIN DUCK, ALTRUISM


                             DIVINE PROVISIONS


         Well hello all you fine people out there! This time of year we
are just about smack in the middle of the hot season or the cold one. I hope wherever you’re at the weather isn’t too extreme. But then if it is we have warm clothes and heat of some sort and hats, or cool clothes, shade and if we are fortunate, some sort of cooling system. And of course God gave us the brains to do something about our circumstances if the extremes are getting the better of us.

But what about all the critters out there, in the great outdoors? Well, the Lord has provided for them too during creation week. He installed information on their DNA strands that has been passed down generation after generation all the way to today’s creatures. Thus their bodies have been enable to adapt to allow them to live in extreme climates. Let’s look at some amazing examples…


There is a little beetle named the Siberian timberman beetle (Acanthocinus aedilis). This little insect is able to live in one of the coldest places on our planet. How? “Hibernating timberman adult beetles and their larvae have a high capacity for super-cooling, tolerate freezing well, and are able to tolerate temperatures that would kill other insects. During the winter months, these insects accumulate high concentrations of polyol, approximately 1,500 mmolal. Polyols depress the supercooling point of these insects (like antifreeze in your car’s coolant system).”1 In addition the more delicate larvae have greater glycerol concentrations which again act like antifreeze giving them greater protection. And these larvae’s cutical have low water permeability which helps them from becoming dehydrated. The timber beetles can tolerate cooling as low as -34.6F (-37C) degrees. Amazing stuff!

Another example is found in warmer climates. “The tiny bombardier beetle (Brachinini) could not possibly have evolved. His defense mechanism is amazingly complicated, and could only have been created with all the parts working together perfectly. From twin ‘exhaust tubes’ at his tail, this beetle fires into the face of his enemies boiling-hot noxious gases with a loud pop. How can this be? German chemist Dr Schildknecht discovered that the beetle mixes two chemicals (hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone) which would usually form a dirty ugly mixture. The well-designed beetle uses a special ‘inhibitor’ chemical to keep the mixture from
reacting. How then can the explosion instantaneously occur when needed?Dr Schildknecht discovered that in the beetle’s specially designed combustion tubes are two enzymes called catalase and peroxidase which make chemical reactions go millions of times faster. These chemicals catalyze the extremely rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen and the oxidation of hydroquinone into quinone, causing them to violently react and explode—but not so soon as to blow up the beetle, of course! Common sense tells us that this amazing little insect cannon which can fire four or five ‘bombs’ in succession could not have evolved piece by piece. Explosive chemicals, inhibitor, enzymes, glands, combustion tubes, sensory communication, muscles to direct the combustion tubes and reflex nervous systems—all had to work perfectly the very first time—or all hopes for ‘Bomby’ and his children would have exploded!”2 

Back to the cold country, high in the mountain steppes and semi-desert areas of the Tibetan plateau (Himalayan mountains), the Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii) carves out its living. Through the comparison between Tibetan antelope who’s habitat is over 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) high and other plain-dwelling mammals, scientists could identify adaptive traits in the Tibetan antelope in genes associated with energy metabolism and oxygen transmission. This  identifies that genes involved in energy metabolism efficiently provide energy in conditions of low partial pressure of oxygen (PO2). Which of course is the case in the  high altitudes of the himalayan mountains. In addition, research revealed that the Tibetan antelope have signals of positive selection for genes involved in DNA repair and the production of ATPase (used in cell repare construction). Considering the exposure to high levels of ultraviolet radiation, positive selective genes related to DNA repair may be vital in protection of the Tibetan antelope. I live at almost 5,000 feet altitude, but if I go higher in the mountains and start hiking with vigorous steps, I don’t get very far before I am light headed and gasping for air. These antelopes behave like any other antelope or deer, grazing and running around, chasing each other, playing like as if they were at sea level! Again, amazing!


And last but not least is my favorite. It is an example of not just adaption to environmental conditions, but emotional adaption in the form of altruism. Because evolution underscores the significance of organism’s reproductive self interests, it would be an impossibility --evolutionary speaking--for an animal to have the behavior of selfless devotion to the welfare of other organisms. But that is not what we totally see in nature. Get a load of this! Jonathan C. O’Quin, D.P.M.. M.S., wrote an article for the Creation Research Society’s “Creation Matters”  journal (March/April 2013 Vol 18, No. 3) where he relates a personal experience. “While I was in graduate school in Raleigh, NC, a female Greylag goose at a nearby lake died, leaving her mate grief-stricken but not abandoned. Nearly one month later, a female Pekin duck at the same lake, who had just lost her mate, hatched seven ducklings, four of which survived. In what can only be described as a special provision of our loving Creator, the male Greylag goose literally adopted this family of ducks, assuming every responsibility of a biological parent. This unlikely pair successfully cared for and raised the ducklings to maturity. This offers a powerful testimony not only to the Lord God’s boundless and sometimes unexpected love, but to His ability to turn desperate circumstances around for His glory.” 

A fine example indeed of our Lord’s Divine Provisions! I would love to hear from any of you who know of other examples of altruism in the animal kingdom!

 Until next time, take care and God bless!
Willow Dressel

This week in the night skies--For the northern hemisphere; Tuesday, July 1st-5th  “Ceres and Vesta at their closest. The two leading asteroids, currently magnitudes 8.4 and 7.1, are closing right in on each other as seen on the sky. They're not far above Mars and Spica after dark. They are within 1/3° of each other for the next week and will appear closest together, just 1/6° apart, on the evenings of July 4th and 5th. (For everyone), Earth is at aphelion, its farthest from the Sun for 2014. But it's only 3% farther than at perihelion in January; Earth's orbit is nearly round and nearly centered on the Sun.”3
References:
1O’Quinn, Jonathan, D.P.M., M.S., Creation Research Society, Frozen Alive, Creation Matters Journal, 2010 Vol 15, No. 4, pg. 12.


Monday, June 16, 2014

COSMETOLOGY, WATER BOUNDARIES, BEGINNING OF UNIVERSE, EARTH HANGS ON NOTHING, ROUND EARTH, WORLD, WORLD RIDES ON BACK OF TURTLE, ATLAS

Does Scripture Talk About Astronomy?
Part I

Good day all my fine friends out there!

How have you all been this past week? It has been beautiful here except for the wind and we really, really need rain!  But it is that dry time of the year...until the monsoons come. But that won’t be until after the summer solstice (or winter solstice in the southern hemisphere) on June 21st. Here in the northern latitudes we will have the longest daylight hours of the year and in the southern lats, the longest dark hours of the year. 

Speaking of our great universe… does the Bible speak about astronomy? Yes it does. And the physical evidence of what we see out there in our great big universe supports what was written many thousands of years ago.


Isaiah 40:22 states the earth is a round (“circle of the earth.”). From our many snapshots of the earth taken in space, we know it appears as a circle. Again Job 26:10 states “He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.” “This boundary between light and darkness is where evening and morning occur. The boundary is a circle since the earth is round.”1 It often takes some thinking to understand how things were stated in the ancient times. But when you do think about it it makes perfect sense.

Job 26:7 states that God “...hangs the earth on nothing.” Again you must interpret the old language into modern scientific terminology. Job did not mean that God hangs the earth up like a Christmas tree ornament, but rather the earth hangs by itself in empty space. Other religions are way off. 





For example:
  • “The Hindus believe the earth to be supported on the backs of four elephants, which stand on the shell of a gigantic tortoise floating on the surface of the world’s waters.
  • The earth of the Vedic priests was set on 12 solid pillars; its upper side was its only habitable side.
  • The Altaic people of Northern Siberia affirm that their mighty Ulgen created the earth on the waters and placed under it three great fish to support it.
  • The Tartars and many of the other tribes of Eurasia believe the earth to be supported by a great bull.”2
  • In ancient Chinese religions the world rides on the back of a sea turtle.
  • Greek mythology places Atlas, an enormous body builder man carrying the world on his back.

It is a well know fact at least amongst astronomers that the universe is spreading out. Isaiah 40:22 states “It is he… that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.”3 Long before modern scientists discovered that the universe was expanding, God had it recorded in scripture. 

“Scripture also addresses the age of the universe. The Bible teaches that the entire universe was created in six days (Exodus 20:11). We know from the genealogies and other events recorded in Scripture that this creation happened about 6,000 years ago.”

But the physical evidence out there is consistent with a 6,000 year old timeline. And it  makes little sense when if we hold to the billions of years old and the big bang theory. 

Stay tuned next week for what exactly this physical evidence is! Until then, God bless and take care!
Willow Dressel 

This week in the night skies… the summer (in the northern latitudes) and winter (in the southern lats) solstice is June 21st.

References:


Monday, June 9, 2014

BIBLE, SKEPTIC, GOD’S WORD, LITERAL, EXTRAORDINARY, KING DAVID, DEAD SEA SCROLLS, TRANSLATIONS,TRANSCRIPTS,

BIBLICAL SKEPTICS
RED FLAG WORDS, ROOT IDEA AND PROBING QUESTIONS
PART  II

Well hello everyone! Another Monday has come around again. And with it another work week. Ahhh you might say, but look at it as a chance to minister to people God’s word.

Speaking of God’s word, we will conclude our series on biblical skeptics today. Remember the root idea behind the biblical skeptic is; The Bible is man-made (they question the Bible’s relevance, reliability and authority). And red-flag words we’ve already discussed are legends (any event in the past that can’t be explained naturalistically [scientifically], literally (a person who takes the Bible literally is naive or uneducated while “intelligent people” read the Bible with critical “sophistication”), and translations (the idea that he Bible today has many conflicting texts as opposed to the original writings).





When someone questions the Bible, “...we should first engage the Rood Idea that is the basis for their skepticism (“The Bible is man-made”). We need to present the Bible in a way they can relate to it first on a practical level, then on a transcendent level. We might start by saying something like, “I understand your skepticism. No one ever said the Bible was an easy book.” then we should ask the Probing Question: “If God really gave us a book, how would we know it came from Him?”1 

Most skeptics (and believers too) don’t understand how the Bible has been preserved and passed down through the generations. We can use the analogy of a recipe from a great aunt. But some of it’s smudged and a corner is ripped and a critical part is faded. So you call two cousins who also have the recipe and they fax you their copies. Both look different for your copy but only slightly. For example the first cousin spelled out the words “teaspoon” and “cup” and she had each step numbered. The second “cousin” used the word “stir” instead of “mix”, and “pot” instead of “saucepan”. So by crosschecking my faded copy with the other two, I can confidently identify any errors and rewrite an accurate copy.

This example demonstrates “...how scholars test ancient Bible documents. Even if some copies contain errors, become damaged, or are altered by a copyist, and accurate record can still be assembled by comparing the thousands of other manuscripts found all over the world. Even copies with errors would not all have the same errors…. Errors and corruption will stand out against the huge number of manuscripts that agree…. The vast majority of surviving Bible manuscripts have only minor variances between them (in most cases, merely single words) and no variance that affect meaning.

This is much different than what many skeptics believe. They tend to think the Bible was written similar to the “telephone” game where the outcome is much different than the original input.

When asked asked what’s so special about the Bible, we can reply “there are two ordinary reasons and two extraordinary reasons why I believe the Bible came from God and is different than any other book.

Let’s look at ordinary and extraordinary in regards to the Bible.
Ordinary:
  1. The Bible accurately depicts human nature and is honest about people. It documents their faults, failures, as well as the feats of an events’ hero. For example (amongst hundreds of examples), king David’s affair with Bathsheba and Peter turning his back on Jesus, Jonah not wanting to bring God’s message to the Nenevites, and the disciples being simple men. This is probably the most outstanding illustration that the writers were not biased. Why in the world would they include the most unflattering details about heroes of the Bible?
  2. “The Bible is historically accurate…. Secular records and archaeology repeatedly verify the Bible’s accounts of people such as king David, Pilate, the Hittites, many other s and details of places such as Sodom, Gomorrah, Nineveh, Nazareth, and Rome.
But there are many good books on human nature and history, so that alone isn’t convincing. The Bible should give us something beyond that , other wise, why should we trust it above other books?”3

Extraordinary:
  1. “The Bible predicts specific future events. It includes something supernatural that is also verifiable by recorded history. Hundreds of years before the events, the Bible predicted:
  • The rise of four specific world powers (Dan. 2:37-40; 8).
  • Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of mainland Tyre and unique defeat of island Tyre by Alexander the Great’s coalition over 250 years after Ezekiel’s prophecy (Eek. 26).
  • The four-way division of Alexander’s kingdom (Dan. 11:3-4)
  • Jesus’ crucifixion (Ps. 22).

  1. “The Bible was written by as many as (or more) forty authors thousands of years ago. Yet its teachings are consistent.
  • The consistent character of God across both testaments (i.e. God’s compassion and judgement).
  • Consistent themes across both testaments; blood atonement, unblemished lamb, only son of miracle birth as a sacrifice, virgin birth, justification by faith (not works), self identification of God, final judgement.
  • The complementary (not contradictory) accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection in the four Gospels.”4

It is pertinent we acknowledge that the Bible makes amazing claims. And that is just what we should expect from any book that professes to be the Word of God.
Take care and God bless!
Willow Dressel 
This week in the night skies; for the northern hemisphere “Thursday, June 12
Full Moon (exact at 12:11 a.m. June 13th EDT). The Moon shines in the dim legs of the constellation Ophiuchus. Look for Antares well to its right.”5  
For the southern latitudes; “Tuesday, June 10 For southernmost Africa, the Moon occults (covers) Saturn around 19 hours Universal Time. ”5 

References:
1-4 Foster, Bill. “Meet the Skeptic, A Field Guide to Faith Conversations.” Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2012. Pp 118-123.    


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

biblical skeptics, bible’s relevance, bible’s reliability, bible’s authority, the bible is man-made, scripture is God-breathed, suffering, supernatural, unnatural, bible translation, bible transmission, legends, authorship,

BIBLICAL SKEPTICS
RED FLAG WORDS, ROOT IDEA AND PROBING QUESTIONS
PART I


Hey all my good friends out there! I hope your week was as delightful as mine. With Jesus in the center of my life I can appreciate so much all the small things which enrich living.

Speaking of enrichment, many people turn to other things for fulfillment because the image of the Bible to the nonbelieving world has been shaped much more by hearsay than personal inspection and research. Because the Bible is complex and unique, it is often call out-dated, a story, legend or fairytales, and of course error-filled. Such a secular belief consists of nothing being eternal or sacred and therefore man’s ideas are governed by what is happening in the present. 

You know you have run into a biblical skeptic if objections involve;
  • The Bible’s relevance
  • The Bible’s reliability
  • The Bible’s authority

When speaking with a biblical skeptic, almost always personal issues play a major role in their unbelief. Often people see suffering in the world and think God either no longer cares or never cared to begin with. Because God doesn’t fit their idea of Him, they reject the Bible.
“The Bible’s credibility also comes under fire because of its audacity: it records supernatural events and claims to be the Word of God. Consequently, a skeptics view of the Bible is vague and confused because he usually relies on hearsay rather than an honest firsthand reading. They have decided that it must be the result of corrupted human authorship and is no more authoritative than any other book on the shelf.”1
So the root idea behind the biblical skeptic is; The Bible is man-made. When dealing with people who are skeptical of the Bible they often use words such as legends/myths/fairytales, literally, and translations (meaning of the Bible). These red flag words can alert you that you are dealing with a biblical skeptic and can be used to clarify objections concerning the Bible’s reliability. 
For example, when a skeptic uses the terms legends/myths/fairytales most likely they mean any event in the past that can’t be explained naturalistically (scientifically). “Legends don’t just pop up overnight. They take several generations to develop and to overtake historical fact. It is difficult to pass along a legend as fact when people who witnessed the events are alive to refute it. Jesus’ resurrection is a prime example. Mark wrote his account of the empty tomb only thirty years after Jesus’ crucifixion. The other three Gospels were completed within thirty years after Mark. Plenty of people were alive to dispute the empty tomb but none did (although the Pharisees contrived a story to explain it [Matt. 28: 12-13]). More significantly, Paul repeats a creedal statement about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8 that even staunch Bible critics date to within one to three years after Jesus’ resurrection-no time for a legend to have developed.”
As for the word “Literally”, a skeptic usually means that a person who reads/takes the bible literally has a simplistic, stiff understanding of the Bible. In other words they are naive or uneducated while “intelligent people” read the Bible with critical “sophistication”. “To read anything accurately, we must read it literally (i.e., according to the context, structure, purpose, and background in which it was written). Informed Christians recognize that the Bible is full of literary devices and figurative language such as metaphor, simile, metonymy, typology, allegory, personification, and so forth. The difference between us and most skeptics...is that we don’t dismiss out of hand the supernatural elements like they do. Just because the content of a passage seems unlikely to modern-day secularists...doesn’t make it figurative.” It is a real shame the the history of the Bible with all its credentials have taken a backseat to modern-day secular presumptions. 
The last red flag word we need to discuss is the word “translations”. When a skeptic uses this word he/she usually means that today the Bible has many conflicting texts as opposed to the original writings. We need to point out to the skeptic that most accepted Bible translations may differ in paraphrasing, but not in content.  And that the translations “relay on the accurate transmission of the Bible from the original languages into English or whatever the receptor language happens to be...Discoveries such as the Dead Sea Scrolls are significant because the scrolls are one thousand years older than manuscripts previously found of the same Old Testament books, yet they are virtually identical to them. This shows clean preservation of content over one thousand years, a powerful example of how carefully the Bible has been transmitted throughout the centuries.”3 
Next week we will discuss the probing question and continue with the Bible's reliability. Until then, may our Lord bless you kindly and take care of yourselves!





Willow Dressel 

This week in the night skies; for the northern hemisphere “Tuesday, May 27 Comet 209P/LINEAR, the source of last Saturday morning's meteors, is closest to Earth for the next five days. It was only 13th magnitude as of May 22nd, but if you want to try for it with a large telescope, here are our finder charts. It's south of Leo, crossing Sextans and Crater.”4  
For the southern latitudes; “Evening sky on Saturday May 31 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 18:00 pm ACST in South Australia. Jupiter is above the north-western horizon, Mercury is just above the horizon. The crescent Moon lies between them Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. At 6:00 pm if you have a level horizon free of obstructions, you can see four bright planets strung out across the sky, Mercury just above the horizon, Jupiter above that, Mars high in the northern sky and Saturn rising in the west.”5 

References:
Foster, Bill. “Meet the Skeptic, A Field Guide to Faith Conversations.” Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2012. Pp 97-107.     1-3pg. 39-55.
5http://astroblogger.blogspot.com