Sunday, October 10, 2010

Children of God

I was at an immigration reform meeting yesterday (Oct 9), and there was a short service before the speeches. We had the back and forth readings of the leader and the congregation, and the gist of the readings were that people should be treated with dignity even in foreign lands. The immigration situation is a mess, and I have sympathy on both sides of the issue. I think that the claims of immigrants that the jobs they take are not wanted by anyone else must be a bit of an exaggeration. Since I've been looking for work, I know how bad it is out there to find a job.

Yet, the people of Latin America have extremely little, and they become desperated enough to try anything for survival for themselves and their families. I've been to see their living situations, so I know that end of it. In a perfect world we would all try to share fairly, but the unfortunate thing is that this is not a perfect world. There is crime in places where there could otherwise be people living peacefully. There are too many resources used by a small number of people. We are all familiar with the problems.

The point I want to make, though, is that in that small service we had, the last line was about all of us being Children of God. It was the kind of thing that you read because you are just reading along and haven't read through the thing before to see if you agree with everything that it says. But it bothers me afterward, because I didn't agree.

I have heard that expression used many times, but I don't know of anyplace it occurs in the Bible. I'm not a Bible expert, so maybe someone could point it out. But I do know where it says that is not true. Read the first Chapter of John. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Further down, you will see that the world was made through this Word. Then further still, the Word came to the world, but the world did not recognize Him. Though the world was made through Him, it did not receive Him. But to those who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to be called children of God.

This is what I believe. The other religions have creeds that are different than Christians. They do not accept Christ as Lord. This is not something we can ignore and make all things inclusive. This is something we each need to think out for ourselves and remember that much as we'd like other things like immigration reform, first things need to be first.

And next time, I'm going to be a lot more careful what I read out loud in any service.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Slow Blogging

Maybe the number of blogs would prove me wrong, but from what I read it seems everything is happening on Facebook anymore these days. I have not set up a Facebook page and can't imagine ever doing it. I'm not fast enough, or don't have the endurance, or whatever it takes to keep track of what everyone is communicating all at once. I have even found the blogging to be a little heavy duty when it comes to trying to keep up with other blogging sites. When I make a comment I watch for answers, and that takes time, along with all the new posts at the sites. Now that I'm trying to go back to work, I don't know if I can continue.

I want to relate here, though, one of the insights I had in coming to believe only Jesus is the Lord. Many modern minds seem to spurn the belief that only one religion can be true. But in reading the Bible you will see that the Apostles were convinced that only Jesus was the true Lord and the way to salvation. I asked myself, why would it change? What would make the Truth of that time any different now? And the answer is, it wouldn't change. Jesus Christ is still Lord. He is still the only way to salvation and a life in heaven.

It seems very simple, but in this complicated day and age, the message gets mixed. Though I'm not on Facebook, I pray for all evangelists, and I hope that this message comes through.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

To Keep On

I talked about love and joy and peace last post, and how these blessings are deep within a Christian. However, I want to make note that in hard times, it seems we can lose track of the blessings we have, even within us. In fact, inspiration seems to be needed on a regular basis, and therefore we may have to keep reminding ourselves or be reminded.

If this sounds like a mystery, it is. I have faith God provides spiritual gifts, but I seek His word for solace, and sometimes inspiration comes from unexpected sources.

The point I'm trying to make is when we are in despair from very tough times or when we see other Christians who seem to lose connection, we can't judge. But I'm urging everyone to hang on and seek God for He is good, and He can keep us going on Earth until the time comes for us to meet Him in Heaven.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Joy and Love and Hope

A writer is supposed to be good at description, but I can have trouble with this on a personal level. I have a lot of science in my blog. I had learned science in school, but after college lost faith. Although scientific fact does not necessarily render a person unfeeling, there was to me a big part missing. I also had church training, but it was in my head and not in my heart. Eventually I believe the Lord Jesus Christ rescued me from despair and hopelessness. Deep down, believing in Jesus has made a true difference in the joy, love and hope I feel. I would never give Him up, I would never exchange this for anything I had before.

This does not mean I don't have problems. But believing in the Lord has given me an added dimension to your life which helps me through when I could never do that on my own.

I've never been very outgoing, and what's in my heart does not get out nearly as much as I'd like to others. I'd like to get across the wonder and light of being Christian. I think most Christians feel that motivation.

One can accept the Lord and then go through spiritual trials. It comes from internal doubts, which can try to take away that deep hope and love and joy. Christ reassures us. He is the way, the truth and the life. He will bring us to Heaven if we believe in Him. Nothing makes me want to leave Him. Two of the reasons I feel this way are because I think He is true and because the love and joy and hope are deeper than whatever fear or doubt I have. Church teaching tells us that faith, hope and love are gifts of the Spirit. They are wonderful and give me strength.

I want to tell everyone of this deep love and joy and hope. Jesus Christ can give you life and light.

I believe in Jesus Christ, the Father and the Holy Spirit. I want to be with God and His people forever. I hope you will too.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Unto Others!

I'm very excited to say my fiction mystery book, Unto Others, is available absolutely free on a Google Docs Adobe.pdf file! It is a Catholic-based book which I very much hope you will enjoy. Of course, non-Catholics can read it too. I have self-published this book on a small scale and have had good feedback. Just click on the picture to get to it. The Adobe can be read on acrobat reader, which is available free if you don't already have it. I believe the book file can also be downloaded and saved on your own computer so you don't have to be connected to the internet the whole time. You out there probably know more about this than I do.

The book is over 250 pages long, so the .pdf format takes a few minutes to download. I have found it best to wait until it says "done" in the bottom left corner before trying to do anything with it. You can zoom in to the size you are comfortable with, but that may take a little time also. The pages may appear cut off at first or blurry. I've found it just takes patience for it all to download and then it works OK. I hope it is worth the time it takes for you, because I do think the book has important messages and yet is an intriguing mystery. In fact, I hope you will tell your friends about it, especially those who enjoy mysteries!

Update 1/25/2013: I have removed my book Unto Others and booklets from the blog. I actually deleted them accidentally, but they had been there for several years and I decided not to re-load them. I hope you will enjoy the blog posts that I have not so far managed to erase.

Back to Christianity

I talked in the last post about evangelism and how I always want it to be first in my life. Somehow I got back into the subject of evolution and what different viewpoints of evolution can mean to a person's faith.

I guess I keep talking about science because I was one of the students in college, a long time ago, who got sucked into eventually believing everything is made by chance from matter and energy, and that there is no God at all needed to make our universe and everything that is in it.

Though I think that is obviously a wrong argument today, my way back did not start through reason. It was because I was emotionally miserable. I had some difficult life situations as we all do, and I saw nothing to give me hope in this life, much less in any next one.

Fortunately I had been brought up with a Christian training. Certain events took place in my life that showed me how rich Christian love can be. Though it seems I myself decided to try to go back to the beliefs once more, I think Christ was rescuing me. I found myself healing and renewed. And the same goes for problems since then. I can be scared from life's tribulations, but I feel the Lord will pull me through.

My beliefs also meant I could accept God as creator of life, which made more sense than chance. It also meant that love has meaning and morals have meaning. That especially has a profound influence on our lives and uplifts our spirits when we experience it. It builds up instead of tearing down.

The more I tried to believe, the more I really believed. I believe God exists, and I believe Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God, part of the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Christian creeds proclaim that we believe God made all that is seen and unseen.

It seems that faith and reason interweave. As I've said before, if we think at all, we can't help but reason. But this reasoning may be right or it may be wrong. I believe true faith, which is a mystery, gives us the underpinning for right reason. We can stand strong in faith when others attack it because Jesus Christ provides the foundation for us.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Open to Comments

For a while I closed my blog to comments because I took some time off from it. I like to keep track of them if I have any comments in order to answer back. I have made some comments on other blogs, but these have not generated comments here. I know I have focused a great deal on a subject which has not been of general interest, namely biological Creationism. (I think its potential is much greater than realized and could be a great evangelization tool.)

I have opened the blog to comments now, but will probably not have many new posts. I think I may be entering a new phase of life where I will be working outside the house, so I will not have the time as I did the past few years to enter posts. If you are interested, please look at past posts and topics. This blog has been helpful to me, among other things, in learning and expressing the amazing creation we have from the Lord, and for that it has been good.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Evangelism First

My husband and I had a nice vacation to visit relatives and now that I'm back I want to put together a positive-minded post.

I have been writing regularly in my blog for several years, and wrote a mystery book and several booklets. However, I had been feeling frustrated and at a stand-still with the resistance of persons against the idea of direct supernatural creation of life by God. I don't want my writing to be all about the negative interactions I have had. I truly admire creation and enjoy learning about it. I've written about it in those terms, not just in antagonism to those who don't agree. I had given some talks and debated with persons on the Internet (on a small scale). Some has been positive and successful. But then I got into negative debate, enough to discourage me about future success. So I took some time off and do feel better about things in general.

I hope to always serve the Lord as the priority of my life. We all have various gifts and can serve in different ways. I'm not very outgoing, yet I'd like to evangelize. I think of what I can do to tell someone about Christ by something I do or write. This includes prayer for those who are out in the field, doing the living work of telling the Good News.

I think those of us who talk about Creation care about how God is perceived. Those who insist on theistic evolution (indirect creation and evolution of life) worry that atheists will reject what they think is ignorant of knowledge (even if this perception is incorrect). Those who believe in direct supernatural creation believe the discussion of it in the classroom will bring students' imaginations closer to the possibilities of God's touch and then God Himself. Young-Earth Creationists are concerned about Scriptural Truth and that people will not be turned away from them.

The theistic evolutionists also are afraid that science will suffer if we say about unknown aspects of life that "God did it." Yet we can keep on discovering life as it is, and seek knowledge for medicine and the like under the auspices of systems biology. This is what many researchers are already doing with their computer analyses of genes, proteins and other cell processes. They don't have to know how or whether something evolved to see how it works now. In fact, wrong speculation about evolution can mislead theory, such as the case of thinking that all non-coding DNA was "junk DNA." This has proven false and slowed down research in this area for many years. We need the clear theory-neutral facts, and if researchers want to speculate on theory, they should do so in clearly marked separate sections of their paper.

Christians should want to put our solidarity in Christ at the forefront, then work out our other concerns with each other. Though science is important, evangelism for Jesus Christ is much moreso. The body lasts only so long in this world, no matter how well our medicine works. The everlasting life of the soul is our more important concern. Consider the verses of Paul in 2 Corinthians when he says in 5:4, "While we live in our present tent we groan; we are weighed down because we...wish to have the heavenly tent envelop us." Now, I very well know we want to treat children for cancer and have them live to their full earthly life-span, but Paul appreciated the greater power of God. Paul said in v. 6, "He has fashioned us for this very thing..."

I want to serve the Lord in the forefront in my life.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Creation Science for Biology

I'm very pleased to announce that my new booklet, Creation Science for Biology, is now on my website. It is similar in some ways to my previous booklet, Faith, Science and Intelligent Design. But I found my theology was too different from the Intelligent Design Advocates who repeated that the Designer of life "could be anybody." Though I know they have their reasons for putting their description of design in nature this way, some of them are Christian. I feel the Christian should not equivocate about design and creation, and state openly and clearly about the Creator. There is only One choice for us, and that is God. We state this in our creeds, such as you can see written out in the booklet.

I hope you will make use of this booklet and learn from it, as from the one further down on the right column called Heaven's Passport. This has factual information about Jesus Christ with references. This booklet also can be easily read online or printed out. (On my printer, I set for booklet and 2-sided printing. Sometimes printers tell you the wrong way to put it back in, so unfortunately you may have to re-do it if you get the second side upside-down. You may want to start with a 2-sided draft.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Just the Facts

I remember watching Dragnet as a kid. I loved Jack Webb, and of course Harry Morgan is one of Muskegon's own. The famous line "Just the Facts, Ma'am" came from the the way witnesses and other involved persons would get off the track, wasting the time of investigators.

There are many researchers, scientists and teachers who are brilliant and have done a great deal for the world by their discoveries in medicine and the like. This is certainly not to be taken for granted.

But, however important scientific progress is in this life, there is another life to come that is even more important. This is because it lasts longer, has to do with the state that our souls will be in, and relates to the God who made us in the first place. We just can't forget about that in our fear of disease or hunger in this world.

Evolution is a very tricky subject. Though we look for patterns in biology to learn how to manipulate problems, these patterns are present whether they came from evolution or elsewhere. The idea of evolution as something that helps find the patterns is not necessarily true. In fact, it has delayed some progress in the past because things that are present were not expected. We need a proper analysis of what we find in DNA, protein and other parts of the cell at the present time instead of insisting on evolution as past, present and future answers to all our questions.

There is a great paper by Douglas Axe in the first issue of BIO-complexity about the "Search Problem" also known as "Sparse Search." This shows the vast number of amino acid combinations that do not have function as compared to those which do. Axe is a researcher that has devoted his time to studying proteins, the cell machinery that take on specific shapes for specific jobs. This is a great article to read about facts of biology. You can get the pdf article from the abstract here. There is no answer for this problem of how the cell formed with so many non-functional proteins around to get in the way of working ones (or, in the case of DNA, nonfunctional sequences of codes). Some are nearly the same, but many are very different. Axe answers the challenges I've heard to this problem.

Scientists are frustrated when some of us say there may never be an answer as to how life began. They say just because we don't know now doesn't mean we'll never know. That could be true, but it is time for them to admit that we don't know the whole story of evolution at present. That is the proper analysis for now. Evolution, along with origin of life, is in the same state. You can't insist that something is a fact, when the facts, even though they may answer a few things, do not answer all the questions.

While we are on facts, many philosophers are telling us that we can know God by facts. This is an accepted argument made by Aquinas, but we have only to look around us and see many thinking people who do not believe in God. The problem is that facts in this world are very complicated things. In the Bible, Paul said that we can know God through the things which are made (cf. Rom 1:20). But, did Paul know the composition of rocks? Did he understand electromagnetic radiation? He was awed by the stars, but did not understand what made them glow. There is something that is deeper than facts going on here. I think God made us to understand creation and design, and we can acknowledge it to Him or not. Paul also said that men did not glorify God but their hearts were darkened (cf. Rom. 1:21). This is where today's philosophy is falling short in insisting on philosophical materialism alone. This is because that is what seems most "logical" to them. They can't let go because it threatens their conception of facts. But God can do as He sees fit, and if He made life directly by Supernatural means, the facts will point in that direction. This is the logic they are missing and unfortunately it leads to keeping out those who see it from being able to join in the discussion (at least the classroom discussion). As to Christians who insist on theological evolution, where God makes everything indirectly, they may be misled by these materialists. At least they see the design of the universe and magnify the Lord.

Facts, as we see, can be very helpful, but our minds are affected by attitudes and misconceptions. It may be impossible for individuals to start with "just the facts," which is why fair discourse is so important.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our Great Hope

In this blog I had given an emphasis to Intelligent Design Theory (ID), as you can see from the post topics at right. But mostly the point from those is that you can see design from nature. What I have repeated in the blog and a booklet about ID that I had written was that for Christians, not just anyone can be the designer, as the ID people often say. For a Christian, the logical conclusion is that God was the designer.

I don't know if the term "design" really helps the situation. Creation Science advocates have said all along that God supernaturally created the creatures, including humans. So, I feel I want to change my viewpoint to Creation Science, oriented to biology. Now, Creation Scientists often believe that the Earth is only thousands of years old, instead of the billions that most scientists advocate. They are known as Young Earth Creationists. I don't know how old the Earth is and, though I think there can be much research done there, I find enough to do with trying to keep up with biology.

There are many people who are already involved with Creation Science, so I don't know how much I'll take up the struggle for understanding this aspect of God's work from now on. This re-orientation will take a little time to get used to. I want to see what is out there in the way of books from the Creation Science rather than Intelligent Design point of view. Often writers start out on one project and end up on another. I don't know where I will go from here.

Last winter, I had wanted to write a book about proteins for the layperson in order to give them some idea of the amazing world inside our bodies. I know it is being studied in science classes, but a lot of adults have missed out on the explosion of new discoveries in the last few decades.

But, there are several things which have happened to change my mind about doing a book, at least in the way I had planned. One is that I had met great resistance to the idea that completely materialistic, naturalistic evolution of species may not be providing the answers we have expected ever since Charles Darwin's theory became so widely accepted. I not only wanted to write about proteins but teach students from the angle of direct supernatural design/creation. I contacted many schools and groups, but was mostly turned down, even though I have degrees in animal science and veterinary medicine. For many years religious people resisted Darwin's idea of slight changes and natural selection for the differences we see in animals. Now the extreme is at the other end, where any ideas of direct supernatural creation are resisted very strongly (though they say it is OK to believe God made creation if He designed it all to happen before the Big Bang). I have been disappointed in the lack of fairness I expected from people to be willing to hear the other points of view.

But I found another problem coming from a fault of my own. I admit not only disappointment but anger at them for making the culture so inhospitable for the Christian message for the next generation. Though I tried not to show my anger to others, I know how I have felt.

It is humbling to know our own faults. The effort we take to look at them helps us realize how unpleasing we ourselves sometimes are. I was actually feeling a hopelessness in my life from these events. Yet I went through reflection and prayer and know there are some things that always brings me back to hope. One of the greatest is the fact that Jesus Christ, God's own Son, came to Earth, lived a perfect life, and died for my sins. He rose on the third day and ascended to Heaven. He told us that if we believe in Him, we will have everlasting life and love with Him.

That gives me hope indeed.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Protein Wonders



The only problem with showing people the wonders of proteins is to know where to start. There is such a variety of amazing molecules, it boggles the mind. These pictures are seen in magazines and on the Internet, but some places are especially good, I think, for learning about them. I'll assume I'm speaking to a beginner, but this applies for anyone.

When I was in college, I learned about physiology, but a lot of it had to do with which hormone was floating to which organ. In vet school, we were concerned about disease and medicine. There was not the access to microbiological structures as there is now. But, one of the things they taught us there was how to teach ourselves. They knew science and medicine would keep changing and we had to be able to keep up. In my case, it was "catch up," since I had been away from practicing for a while.


But now I enjoy looking at the proteins and reading about their structures and functions. The proteins form parts of larger structures. Sometimes there are many duplicates of the same protein within the whole mechanism.

There are many links and one database can lead to another. I have spent a few years on this blog, learning about them and putting together different descriptions. I invite you to look around. I think it is set up well because I have links to certain basic points. Some are inside my own website and some connect to others.

The "cell" is the basic unit of our bodies. Humans have about 100 trillion cells. Proteins are one of the working components of our cells. The pictures here are of one amazing set of proteins, ATP Synthase and the machinery that copies the DNA code to make proteins, RNA Polymerase. You can go to the links and read my description. ATP Synthase is an energy-storing machine. Don't worry if you can't understand all the terms or what I've said. Enjoy the wonders of them. Eventually, if you are interested and keep working on it, you'll understand more. You can also click on the pictures here to get a better look.

One of my favorite sites is the RCSB Protein Data Bank Molecule of the Month by David Goodsell. The RCSB stands for Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics. That sounds complicated, but the descriptions and pictures in Molecule of the Month are meant for a general audience. You can go there to get a good idea of the amazing variety of proteins and how they work. The proteins are listed alphabetically in the link I have given, but you can make your way around by going to the home page and the current one if you like. That is pictured prominently there.

Many sites have help manuals. I hope you enjoy learning about them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Design v. Non-design


Most people are familiar with atoms. They have a center made of positive and neutral particles, called the nucleus, with a cloud of negative electrons encircling it. It is amazing to me that the number of these particles make such a big difference in the way the atoms combine with each other to make the huge variety of things we see in the world, including the world itself. These atoms move in a zigzag way which we call "random" and they combine with each other depending on their qualities, but also where they happen to be near each other "by chance."

Many people assume that randomness is the same as non-design, and order is the same as design. I do not believe this is correct, and I think it causes some confusion when we talk about design in nature, especially what we see in biological systems. I want to explain what I mean.

As I said before, the random movement of atoms is important for certain things. It helps mix the molecules in our atmosphere so we can breathe. Imagine walking into a pocket of air that has no oxygen. Where would we run to find it? Without random movements, we couldn't have mixtures of liquids with two or more things. They would otherwise stay separated, like water and oil but worse.

Therefore, if God made everything, the random movements of the atoms were also part of the design. Randomness is not opposite design. Genesis 1:2 tells us (New American Bible, USCCB): the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Leaving aside the word "waters," the opposite of design seems to be a dark abyss--nothingness or the void. Perhaps "waters" is metaphorical. That goes along with our Nicene Creed in which we say we believe God is the Creator of all things seen and unseen.

It is a feature of Intelligent Design Theory to see design in the workings of DNA and proteins in the cell. The trouble is, they compare it to randomness, when this is also design. So they are not proving design, just the discrepancy between biological and non-biological formations. Now this discrepancy is important, but it does not define design. That is why faith is really more important than science. If you believe, it sets the groundwork for studying the rest of God's creation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Random Cont.

The fact that atoms and molecules make random movements in gas and liquid affects how they interact. There is a theory called the "Collision Theory" which describes the interaction of molecules to form various substances. It is not hard to visualize, as shown in the picture. The random movements are accounted for in the calculations, related to the Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics as discussed in the previous post. It's not necessary to know all the mathematics to understand that atom and molecule interaction is random in nature. And, as the caption of the picture notes, the concentrations of the atoms can affect how much they interact. A higher temperature can affect the movements so that more particles collide when they are hotter, but higher temperature does not give more order to the movements. The properties of the atoms and molecules can affect how they interact, but as we procede we can see how we can narrow down our focus so that we can eliminate some of the factors which would make it impossible to figure.

For example, the pre-life ocean and atmosphere may have changed from the way was at the very start of things to what it is now. We may never know what the beginning concentrations of various atoms and molecules were. This limits our knowledge in certain ways. We don't know how many carbon atoms were available to interact with hydrogen atoms. But there are ways to theorize about these things, and many scientists for years have been trying to figure out how molecules could form into life.

Just recently a new paper came out saying that it doesn't look good for pre-life replication and biological-type behavior of atoms and molecules. This is what I've been saying--that chemistry rules at this level, while biologists were trying to impose biological laws on chemistry. They are not the same. The new research is described by Douglas Axe of the Biologic Institute here, and an abstract of the article is here.

The randomness we are talking about here is what we usually mean with the term "chance." We are talking about nature and not the supernatural. Now there are laws that govern the planets, such as gravity, but gravity is not going to make atoms form into proteins. Atoms of different elements have different chemical properties, such as charges and types of bonds between them. I will get into that more next time.

And, we can still apply probabilities in some cases. We know what the cell has now, so we can look at what needed to take place to get us to the present composition. That, also, I will address in the future. I hope you will read the Axe article and the abstract through the links I have supplied above.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Randomness


I am working on a book about evolution and Creation. I'd like to coordinate my blogs with the book and I am just starting. I may find eventually I want to change things, but I hope to at least make some progress this way.

It might seem strange to start a book about evolution with Brownian (random) motion of atoms, but that is what I am thinking of doing. A major problem we face in understanding evolution is in the concepts of chance and randomness, design and non-design, and agency and non-agency. We can add to the problem when philosophy becomes involved, because this discipline uses the terms "necessity" and "contingency." These terms are sometimes used in place of non-random and random. I think it is important to stay as simple as we can, which is hard enough. I'd like to talk about the physical description of random. If you think in the way of philosophical terms, I'd like you to drop that for a while.

In 1827, the botanist Robert Brown noticed pollen particles floating in water under a microscope, or so the story goes. They showed a jiggling type of motion, neither sitting still nor moving in a smooth path (something like the blue line in the picture here).

At the time, scientists did not even know if separate atoms existed. Some thought they did, but others didn't, and they were not proven.

Scientists came to speculate that we could use these random movements to understand physical phenomena. Though we could not see the atoms, we could guess that they were each separate and had movement in various directions. This is what Albert Einstein did in a famous 1905 paper, Investigations on the Theory of the Brownian Movement, to prove the existence of atoms. Then, to complete the cycle, we could take all of the atoms as a whole, using the probabilities of each of them put together to even better understand their movements. This is what Ludwig Boltzmann and James Clerk Maxwell did. They worked out what is called the "Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, which describes velocity of gas atoms or molecules in terms of statistical, probabilistic distributions."

I'll go further in talking about atoms and the categories of design I mentioned above next time, but I want to make the point about physical "randomness" here. Atoms have internal thermal energies that make them move in these zigzag patterns which we can't even theoretically predict. These are inherently random. What's more, we have found with quantum physics that particles within atoms, such as electrons, are not determined to exact positions and momentums by measurements, but have probabilities of being at certain places.

Perhaps the concept of "random" is difficult for us because we want to be in control, and to know all the answers. Humans do amazing things and they constantly strive to do more. That is a wonderful thing--look at all we have done and the diseases we have cured. But our drive must not be so strong that we can no longer find humility.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Catholic Creationism


Many cringe when the word "Creationism" comes in the same sentence as science. We have learned to separate the two, but the separation is uneasy, and underlying problems are coming to the surface.

When I started thinking about writing a book about evolution, I considered myself an advocate of Intelligent Design Theory. I still admire the efforts the advocates have made on behalf of science. They have pointed out deficiencies in mainstream biology, especially concerning the theory of evolution. I will describe Intelligent Design Theory in the book and use many of the same arguments they do.

But there are some significant differences between my own point of view and that of Intelligent Design Theory. The ID advocates seem to assume they compare design and non-design in science. When you believe God made everything, that does not work. Many people confuse complexity vs. randomness with design vs. non-design, but randomness has its own design and purpose. That is one idea that will be difficult to understand, but worth the trouble it takes.

To start, Genesis says there was a void before God created anything. So the void is opposite design, not randomness.

The atmosphere is filled with different atoms and light molecules. These light molecules move around and knock into each other in the form of gasses. Also, in liquids, water molecules move around and allow other elements to move around in them. We have all seen dye dropped into water and break apart to diffuse through the water.

If there was not random movement of molecules, many things wouldn't work. Early scientists realized that gasses move through space and containers in a way that pressure, temperature and volume could be affected. The gasses could do work such as movement of a steam engine when they were heated sufficiently. And in liquids, we can wash dishes because dish-washing liquid does not stay in one place in the water.

If we believe that God made everything, we can accept that random movement of molecules is one part of the whole design. The question is, then, how do we tell biological systems are also designed? The answer lies at least partly in the fact that the physical and chemical laws that work with random molecules and the way they interact do not put biological systems together by themselves.

I cannot keep up with all the specific arguments which evolutionists and IDists continue to wrangle about. There are experts in specific fields from both sides, and all you have to do is follow a few of the ID websites to learn of the battles. I am trying to keep my own book as straightforward and simple as I can, yet try to show the remarkable world of cell biology. Throughout all, the focus is on Creationism and how Catholics as well as other Christians can best deal with the scientific and religious tensions now arising.

We may ask, why bother? There are many reasons. If parents teach their children God made the world, yet teachers and professors constantly push total materialistic evolution instead of creation, the child will tend to choose one over the other instead of integrating. I think this is what has happened in our country over the last century, to the point where life is not seriously viewed as sacred. It may be one of the main contributions to the mindset which allows for abortion and illicit behavior. Even worse, some have a deep-seated distrust of whether there even is a God. If nature can do the work, why is God necessary?

Unfortunately, the secular message comes from many former or so-called Christian Institutions. We must think about our beliefs and stand where we must.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

One Person's Evolution

I am starting to work on my book. I'm not working with an editor yet. I'm just gathering information and ideas. I am thinking my introduction may include something about myself. Since I wrote something out, I'll put it here:

When I read Michael Behe's first book, Darwin's Black Box (Touchstone, 1996), it was my introduction into Intelligent Design Theory. I was immediately taken by the fresh look at biology, and it made much sense. He talked about the concept of Irreducible Complexity to describe microbiological systems that all interact with each other. Without each part, the system loses its function. Then he asked how these complicated systems could evolve by the small steps that Darwinian evolution predicted. Charles Darwin had introduced that concept many years ago (in 1859) in his famous book, The Origin of Species. Starting with something very simple, Darwin said, the animal kingdom developed over time and became more complex.

After that, I gathered and read all I could about Intelligent Design Theory (ID). I have a science background (BS in animal science from Penn State and veterinary medicine degree from University of Penna.). I also earned a certificate in theology (Aquinas College, Grand Rapids). I had thought of applying for a master's degree in theology, but the programs I looked at had nothing to say about ID, and so I continued to study on my own. I remembered one professor at vet school had said their main focus was to teach us to teach ourselves. They figured they couldn't cover everything in four years, and they inspired us for life-long learning.

At first I thought of myself as an ID proponent, but started seeing their approach as different from my own. I recently realized that my stance does not quite fit into their movement, although I still truly admire some of the breakthroughs they have made and keep making. They are second to none when it comes to pointing out certain faulty thinking in today's biology scene. My blog reflects my enthusiasm for ID. But I think the Intelligent Design approach also has its faults, which I hope to clarify as I go along.

When I was in veterinary school, I liked physiology better than medicine but didn't want to work in a laboratory. I practiced for a while in various aspects of the field, but was discontent to the point where I stopped. I worked and volunteered in social justice concerns for our church and community for quite a few years. I joined a writing group with my husband and wrote a few fiction books (self-published on a very small scale). And then I started blogging.

I have written about various subjects, but I keep coming back to the issue of biological evolution and whether or where it truly has scientific evidence. I've actually written quite a bit already about that in my blog. I work to inform people of the complexity of life. I'm pretty slow but I'm persistent.

I've wondered many times in the past what my life plan actually is, but for some of us it doesn't fall into place so easily. Though plans can change over the years, I always ask God to guide mine as much as He will. It's been a very interesting journey.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Comparitive Genetics

There have been several long comment lists to posts about evolution at the First Thoughts blog of the magazine, First Things. I was happy to be able to contribute some comments. The first post is called "A Walk to the Moon" by Joe Carter. Then Dr. Stephen Barr presented more opinion in a subsequent post on First Thoughts blog called, "Re: A Walk to the Moon." Many have been related to evolution and the new discoveries being found in comparative genomics.

I had followed many of the ID arguments in the pages of First Things when Cardinal Christoph Schonborn and Dr. Stephen Barr were first exchanging their thoughts about design in nature. Cardinal Schonborn had written a letter, "Finding Design in Nature," in the New York Times on July 7, 2005. I also had read the letters to the editor at the time and in some of the years following.

The exciting part about the new genomics is that it allows us to compare organisms at the level of the gene. Eugene Koonin, director of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has been writing for the past few years about the discoveries being made. One of the most startling discoveries is this, from "The Biological Big Bang Model for the major transitions in evolution" (Biology Direct, 2007 2:21):
Major transitions in biological evolution show the same pattern of sudden emergence of diverse forms at a new level of complexity. The relationships between major groups within an emergent new class of biological entities are hard to decipher and do not seem to fit the tree pattern that, following Darwin's original proposal, remains the dominant description of biological evolution. The cases in point include the origin of complex RNA molecules and protein folds; major groups of viruses; archaea and bacteria, and the principal lineages within each of these prokaryotic domains; eukaryotic supergroups; and animal phyla. In each of these pivotal nexuses in life's history, the principal "types" seem to appear rapidly and fully equipped with the signature features of the respective new level of biological organization. No intermediate "grades" or intermediate forms between different types are detectable.
Why has this discovery not been heralded from the rooftops? With any transition of understanding, it takes time. It took hundreds of years for the whole of humanity to assimilate and accept the change of view that Copernicus brought about. The switch from an Earth-centered solar system to sun-centered involved religious as well as scientific understandings. Also, science is complicated and not everyone can or will take the time to study the specific underlying mechanisms. On the other hand, today we have almost instantaneous communication and educational systems in place. I hope people will soon realize the implications.

Koonin himself is oriented toward describing all phenomena in terms of scientific materialism. Therefore he proposes a "Big Bang" model for these unexplained transitions in life. It includes very fast evolution mechanisms. However, slow evolution is hard enough to explain, much less fast evolution. He says it all when he starts his speculations with "I propose..."

Since one lifetime does not last hundreds of years, we can't wait that long to make our own decisions about whether we think science shows us there is a God. Scientific knowledge changes, but God has given us other ways to know about Himself. He has revealed Himself through His Word. The majesty of the universe suggests there is much more going on than just ourselves and our own accomplishments.

Yet sometimes we discover things that really do point the way to Him. When we see these things, it is nice to share them with others and help them understand. I hope I have been doing that here and that I can continue. After all, He is a Master beyond any master craftsman.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Negative Attitude

My previous post featured a review by David B. Hart in First Things magazine. He criticized Intelligent Design Theory (ID) as something that "can never be logically demonstrated." ID states that life is too complex to have happened by the physical and chemical laws alone. It may be that one experiment does not disprove total materialistic evolution of life. But when one after another yield negative results, one must put together the pieces.

In an example of a pre-life experiment, the scientist David Deamer dumped pre-biotic molecules into hot volcanic pools which were supposed to form higher and more plentiful molecules of life. His experiment showed that they did not only fail for form more, but disappeared themselves. This is from a UC Santa Cruz article from April 3, 2006 about his findings:

In June 2005, he [Deamer] led a team of scientists, including Russian geologist Vladimir Kompanichenko, to the Kamchatka region in eastern Russia, an area abounding in pools of water heated and sterilized by constant volcanic activity. Deamer carried with him a version of the "primordial soup"--a mixture of compounds like those a meteorite could have delivered to the early Earth, including a fatty acid, amino acids, phosphate, glycerol, and the building blocks of nucleic acids. Finding a promising-looking boiling pool on the flanks of an active volcano, he poured the mixture in and then took samples from the pool at various intervals for analysis back in the lab at UCSC.

The results were strikingly negative: life did not emerge, no membranes assembled themselves, and no amino acids combined into proteins. Instead, the added chemicals quickly vanished, mostly absorbed by clay particles in the pool. Instead of supporting life, the bubbling pool had snuffed it out before it began. Later, Deamer repeated the same experiment at Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California, with the same negative result.

Now, would Hart say that this is not science, since the results were negative? How would you disprove anything if negative findings did not count?

To disprove (total materialistic) evolution is to prove something else is going on.

There are discussions about Hart's review at First Things "A Walk to the Moon." and "Re: A Walk to the Moon." Be prepared--it garnered over 200 comments.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

First Things of 2010


Denyse O'Leary is a Catholic, Canadian writer who supports Intelligent Design Theory. She posts on William Dembski's blog, Uncommon Descent, and has lately been posing questions for commenters in contest form. In Contest 19, O'Leary has described a book review by David B. Hart in the magazine First Things. It is in the Jan. 2010 issue (no. 199) which I think will not be online for a few weeks until the Feb. issue comes out (I haven't followed FT lately but that's the way it sounds on the home page). The review is of Richard Dawkin's Greatest Show on Earth, about nature and evolution. This is the section of the review she quotes:

The best argument against ID theory, when all is said and done, is that it rests on a premise – irreducible complexity” – that may seem compelling at the purely intuitive level but that can never logically be demonstrated. At the end of the day, it is – as Francis Collins rightly remarks – an argument from personal incredulity. While it is true that very suggestive metaphysical arguments can be drawn from the reality of form, the intelligibility of the universe, consciousness, the laws of physics, or (most importantly) ontological contingency, the mere biological complexity of this or that organism can never amount to an irrefutable proof of anything other than the incalculable complexity of that organism’s phylogenic antecedents.

The reviewer apparantly has not considered mathematical probabilities, chemical laws and physical distributions of random atoms and molecules. He has taken the word of two major biology scientists. However, we have seen an inkling from the Climate-gate scandal that scientists have their own agendas and can (allegedly) bend the facts their way, helped especially by computer-shuffled statistics. One of the problems in evolutionary biology is that scientists for years have ignored these mathematical probabilities and physical and chemical laws when it comes to origin and evolution of life. They live in an insular world where there is the assumption, not the proof, of evolution. That is why the word "evolution" constantly appears in the journals. It is time for them to answer to this non-scientific behavior.

An important article by David Abel has appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling that says scientific journals should no longer publish articles that propose speculations that are exceedingly implausible. If the chance of random formation of biologically sufficient molecules for a working system (like the bacterial flagellum) is less than one in all the quantum transitions a 14-year-old universe has ever experienced, any speculation that does not seriously answer that improbability should not be published. People usually accept the conclusions of scientists. What if they are false?

I hope in my posts to come, as in past ones, to help people understand. If we are not educated by others, we must educate ourselves. When scientists work harder at keeping facts from us than supplying them, we must ask why. This is especially sad when educators are involved, as in our public and university systems.