Friday, July 5, 2013

Cambrian Explosion Explodes

The latest in the regular literary output from the Intelligent Design (ID) people has made its debut. Steven Meyer has written Darwin’s Doubt, and he acknowledges help from fellow Discovery Institute members. These guys are pretty sharp when it comes to biology.

Even if you are a regular follower of ID theory and read the Discovery Institute blog, “Evolution News and Views,” the new book gives worthwhile perspective on the breadth and depth of scientific research about evolution or the lack thereof. It focuses on the so-called “Cambrian Explosion.” This describes a geological layer of rock where many animal forms have been discovered without any build-up toward their full formation in the rock layers beneath. These findings defy the tree-like description of gradual change that Charles Darwin said would be found if he were correct about evolution. He believed the Earth started with a “simple” cell-like organism which through generations of time slowly developed into various species and forms which we know now. Meyer shows how the fossil records are not what Charles Darwin predicted.

In 2010, Meyer wrote Signature in the Cell, which is about the origin of life. So with these two volumes you have extensive descriptions of biology and the consolidation of many facts related to the evolution debate. I think Meyer is very readable and should be understandable even to beginners. These two volumes are worth the money for anyone interested in these subjects. That is because the coverage of the issues is so extensive that the two books sufficiently teach about the history up to the very latest of science concerning life origins and evolution, both for the ID and neo-Darwinian perspectives. The books are worthy enough to be read down to the last word, and they should be valuable reference books too. However, whether or not we accept that biological life was designed, Meyer thinks we may never know all the details of how it came about.

As I’ve said before, I’ve moved from this particular point of view (ID) to Direct Biological Creationism. I’m open-minded about the age of the Earth, but ID holds that it is billions of years old. The proponents also do not want to combine the science with religion, which I think is a mistake. When faith is first, true science falls into place, even when we don’t have all the answers. Research can go on to new heights, but we will also respect life in a new light. This should not be a problem in our country because America was formed in order to give people religious freedom. The problem is with the people who interpret the Constitution in the wrong way. I’m not saying you should read Scripture in public school, because I don’t want literature from all religions read in school. But there must certainly be ways to work out the freedom to say, within the confines of a public school building, that you believe God made biological cells.

To paraphrase Ephesians 4 of the Bible, when a person becomes Christian he or she sheds the old self and becomes new. When this happens, faith, not science, is first. You do not have to be a believer to be an Intelligent Design advocate. But when you become a believer, faith is the first priority even in reason, and all logic follows in line.

Monday, July 1, 2013

We Want Change

I will be putting in a new post on First Friday as I've done for a few months now.  That's the day many Catholics follow the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as I've noted elsewhere.  Today I just want to say a few words about two images I put together and display here. They represent a wooden nickel, with one side saying "Peter was Married!" and the other side saying "We Want Change!" (Bible verses concerning Peter's marriage: Matthew 8:14-15, 1 Corinthians 9:5, NABRE.)

I am interested in evangelization and it doesn't behoove a church to have infighting when they want to attract others to join them.  However, it is no secret that the Catholic Church has had a lot of problems lately between scandals and incompetency.  Most of us, I hope, realize that we have got to clean up our own act if we are going to help others toward Christ.  Of course, we admit we are sinners, but one of the points of becoming Christians is to put off the old self and become renewed in spirit (Ephesians 4, NABRE).

I like Pope Francis quite a bit and have read almost everything that he has said that's been posted on the Vatican News website.  He talks about reforming the Church and I sincerely hope he does.  But things move so slowly we think we will never get where we have to be.  We must try to release our frustration in ways that are not permanently harmful.  I had seen that some Catholics were giving wooden nickels to the Church instead of cash or checks to show their frustration with the leadership and using the real money they withheld to donate directly to worthy charities.  I forget what was written on the nickels, but I made up my own in pictures to show my wish for the collection plates until at the very least married men are allowed to be priests. Though this isn't directly related to the problems mentioned above, it would turn things in general to the direction of change for the better.
To be up front, I admit I haven't done it myself yet. But I did look up a few stores to see if they have wooden discs.  Many can't understand why Catholics still give with all the bad things happening, but the Catholic leadership does many good things like care for the poor and sick and teach children.  There is government help for some of the work, but much comes from donations.  I'd sure like to figure out a way to get money to the right place without it being diverted to the people who have gone so badly wrong.