Thursday, June 30, 2016

Human Value

Every day I check out the topics going on in the Catholic Answers Forums (CAF). The link to the home page of CAF is here:

http://forums.catholic.com/ ,

At CAF I often gravitate toward discussions about abortion. My book, Biotech Swirl, is about experimentation of human life from the embryo through the fetus and even into adult human beings. It is also about how human life can be cheapened when viewed from certain perspectives. In my opinion this is too often from the sterile worldview of scientists. Of course other factors are at play, such as the unwillingness of women to go through with a pregnancy for various reasons. But where do the women get the idea that the fetus is not really human? It can be rationalized in various ways, but these days the culture of science feeds into this idea. It is ironic, because you would think they would recognize the embryo is human. But instead they want to dissect and manipulate the embryo and/or fetus either for other people who are patients (already born paying customers), or for potential parents who want perfect children, as in in-vitro-fertilization clinics.

A part of my book explains some things about the biology of our bodies, especially at the cellular level. That may seem out of place, but it is meant to show how amazing are our bodies and that we are indeed wondrously made. Cells are the basic unit of biology, and their detail can show how valuable we are. Everyone needs to be treated as precious, including embryos and fetuses. The question is, how do we get everyone to see this value?

Well, we all have our ways to work for the Lord and there are many good people working right now in Right to Life offices and other forms of the movement. I’ve tried to contribute by writing Biotech Swirl, to blog on the magnificence of our biological makeup, and to make occasional comments on CAF. I don’t know how long my part of the effort is to continue along this vein. It depends on where I discern God is calling me. I try to do my best each day wherever that way leads.

Soul on Fire

For the past few years, I've had a music video at Christmas. I didn't do it this past Christmas--I guess I didn't have time to look very far. But now, Third Day, my favorite contemporary Christian band, has come up with another hit, Soul on Fire. It also features All Sons and Daughters. I like the music quite well, although the lyrics are for those who may feel they have drifted from God. It talks about coming back to God after wandering away from Him. I don't feel I've left God since I came back a long time ago--maybe the song reminds me of that time. For any of you reading this, perhaps you feel closer to God some times more than others. In any case, I'll put this video in my blog on this last day of June. I hope you enjoy it.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mary Magdalene

In this post I mostly want to give you a link to a story about the change from what is called a "Memorial Day" of Mary Magdalene to a higher honor of "Feast Day" for her in the Catholic Church. Apparently Pope Francis requested this, and it is very fitting. As the story at the link relates, the Virgin Mary had been the only woman honored by a Feast Day, while the male Apostles and some other men were given this tribute. Since St. Thomas Aquinas (13th Century), Mary Magdalene has been known as the “Apostle to the Apostles” because she had seen the Risen Lord first and was commissioned by Him to tell the Apostles of His Resurrection.

https://cruxnow.com/global-church/2016/06/10/new-feast-touts-mary-magdalene-paradigm-women/ .

It was said we should treat Mary Magdalene as a paradigm. That is what many women have been trying to do: to follow the Lord as completely as they can. Some women feel they are being called by God to service as Deacons, but Church leadership denies that call. It is heavy-handed of these leaders to think they know how God is calling all individuals. Pope Francis said in his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, Section 37:
We [Church leadership] also find it hard to make room for the consciences of the faithful, who very often respond as best they can to the Gospel amid their limitations, and are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations. We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them.
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20160319_amoris-laetitia.html .

Though Pope Francis was referring to married couples in his Exhortation, his statement applies to leadership and laypersons in general.

A letter just came out from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Church in which the interaction between Church hierarchy and particular movements of the laity are discussed. It says the Bishops should not squash the charisms of the laypersons in which they feel moved by God for certain works in the Church. On the other hand, the laypersons are supposed to respect the hierarchy in what they do. The link for this article is here:

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=1014267  .

It takes wise leaders to get the right balance and that is about impossible except with God's help. Discernment should be done together, not separately.

Perhaps as Church leaders realize Mary Magdalene is deserving of a Feast Day, they will recognize women are deserving of being heard.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Supernatural Creation

I believe that Creation has had direct supernatural intervention (called Special Creation), both at the beginning of life and along the way from simple organisms to human beings. I don’t know if the “days” mentioned in Genesis 1-2 lasted 24 hours or were long ages, but I believe there was a direct supernatural element in the formation of humans.

So why do I believe this? I have a tendency to think of biology. With biology there are vast numbers to consider. The first in this vein is the number of our cells, the basic unit of biology. I’ve seen estimates that humans have about 10 to 100 trillion cells, all working together. How big is a trillion? A trillion is one million (already a big number) times one thousand times another thousand. So take all that times 10 to 100 and you have the number of cells of an adult human being. We’ll say 50 trillion as a rounded number for discussion. More information on the cell is here:

http://creationwiki.org/Cell_biology .

These 50 trillion cells all start with one cell from union of a sperm (from the male) and an egg (from the female) that meet through sexual intercourse. Now this first cell is already a wonder. It contains molecules inside—made of atoms which combine in specific ways. A central molecule is DNA, which is in the form of a code to make other molecules. DNA looks like a ladder twisted along its long axis and the steps or rungs are composed of smaller molecules that follow a precise order. Parts of the DNA are known as "genes." More information and pictures of DNA are here:

http://creationwiki.org/Deoxyribonucleic_acid .

At specific times, these rungs separate in the middle and are copied for the code in order to make other working molecules and more cells. The rungs of the ladder, more officially known as “bases,” in the human number 3.2 billion in each cell. Yet the average cell is only about 10 to 100 microns long. This equals about 1/250th to 1/2500th of an inch long.

So 3.2 billion DNA bases (the rungs) are active in almost all new cells that come from the division of the first cell and the next and the next etc. The DNA has to be copied in the right way for differentiation into the right kind of cells as they come about during the divisions. The cell products have the effect of making the right cells for eyes, ears, nose, bones, muscles, inner organs, skin, and everything else that makes our physical bodies.

The organization of the growing human in the womb, baby, child and adult must be regulated by genes which are made up by the DNA. Some regulation comes from the DNA and some from the egg cell to form the body orientation.

All the while, cells need to be able to use food to make the right kind of energy for them to keep growing and dividing. As mentioned before, the DNA has genes, and these make proteins that do the work of the cell, such as copying DNA.

These are among the facts that make me believe humans needed direct supernatural intervention to be formed. I hope you will consider these numbers too. Don’t let others tell you they would be easy to come about. Neo-Darwinian evolution involves chance—just atoms that happen to come together with no guidance. Though evolutionists invoke natural selection of the fittest, there has to be something from which to select if you are to have neo-Darwinian evolution at all.

I don't believe the original DNA sequences needed for life came about by chance. I don't think we'd have the tiniest cell, much less a human, if it were not for the direct intervention of God.