Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our family to yours. I hope everyone has a good holiday. Even if you believe in global warming, I hope Santa brings you something nice this year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Book Review: The Case for a Creator

Lee Strobel was an award winning journalist with the Chicago Tribune. Both he and his wife were atheist. That changed when his wife announced that she had accepted Jesus Christ as her personal savoir. Strobel set out to examine the evidence and prove she was wrong. He found out that the evidence actually pointed towards Christianity, and Strobel himself became a Christian. His experiences trying to prove Christianity wrong were set down in his first book, The Case for Christ. This book is his third in the series. In it, he examines the latest scientific evidence to see if science supports the theory of a personal Creator, or rejects it in favor of other theories such as the one purposed by Charles Darwin.

The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God is broken into a series of interviews with an assortment experts in various scientific fields. I am constantly challenged to discuss my positions on global warming with scientist and academics. Mr. Strobel has done just that with this book. He examines some of the latest discoveries in biochemistry, DNA, astronomy, cosmology, physics, and the consciousness. His discussions are with current professors and research scientist in each of the fields. At the end of each chapter, Mr. Strobel includes a list of other works if the reader wishes to dig deeper.

Two of the arguments I was most impressed with in this book involve fossils and cellular biology. When Darwin purposed his original theory of evolution, he knew that the fossil record didn’t support his argument. He was aware of the explosion of life recorded through fossils during the Cambrian period. Darwin believed that discoveries made in later years would reveal fossils that showed intermediate stages leading up to this period. Instead, discoveries made since Darwin have shown there was a much greater explosion of life than Darwin thought, and the intermediate stages he predicted have still not been discovered. If the theory of evolution is correct, we should have seen a progressive series of fossils leading up to the Cambrian period. Instead, a wide range of life simply appears with no prior fossil record.

Darwin also provided his own test that would refute his theory. Darwin stated, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Unfortunately for Darwin and his present day supporters, that is exactly what has happened. In his book, Mr. Strobel discusses this with Dr. Michael J. Behe. Dr. Behe shows that microscopic entities such as the moving cilium and the bacterial flagellum cannot possibly be formed from, “…numerous, successive, slight modifications.”

If Darwin’s theory of evolution can’t account for life on Earth today, then what can? After reading The Case for a Creator, the latest scientific evidence points towards a unique, timeless, personal Creator. Far from faith and science clashing in our society today, they actually complement each other.

I would recommend this book to all of my readers who believe there is no God in the Universe. While faith can never be scientifically proven, it can’t be disproven either. And if we are to practice legitimate science, we have to look for conclusions that fit all of the scientific evidence. In today’s scientific world, that evidence fits the Creator.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Quick Notes, Issue Two

Welcome back to another issue of the critically acclaimed Quick Notes. Once again, here are a few bullet points for your general information, enjoyment, and to spur your mind:

Approval Ratings – Bush 34.3 %, Congress 25.0 %.

Waterboarding—A retired CIA agent has spoken publically about the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah. Zubaydah was the first “high level” Al – Qaeda terrorist captured after September 11th. During the interrogation, the CIA decided that Abu Zubaydah was not going to cooperate with conventional interrogation methods. The interrogators asked and received permission to waterboard him. According to the retired agent, Mr. Kiriakou, Abu Zubaydah broke in about 35 seconds. From that moment on he was described as cooperative. Mr. Kiriakou said that the intelligence gained from this terrorist directly lead to the saving of American lives.

This is as close as we (hopefully) get to a real world example of the “ticking time bomb scenario”. In this case, I think the CIA did the right thing. And while we are speaking of waterboarding…

What did she know, and when? It turns out that Democratic and Republican law makers were briefed in 2002 on waterboarding. The list of those present include current Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Washington Post article that broke this story said that the reaction of Mrs. Pelosi was not recorded. However, the reaction of those briefed ranged from muted acceptance to encouragement to go further. This sounds like a far cry from the indignant outrage the Speaker uses in today’s world to discuss this same topic.

Omaha. The shooter who killed eight last week before killing himself said he was going to be famous. To date, it seems the media is willing to go along with his plans. Just as the Virginia Tech shooter wanted fame, so to did this disturbed individual. The media needs to stop releasing the names and photos of these people. While it may not stop all of them, taking the “famous” incentive away from these murders seems an easy step to take.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

"Our Nations Symphony of Faith"

Having just introduced everyone to a new format future post, I am going right back to the original format for this post. Mitt Romney gave a speech last week that I feel is worth devoting an entire post to. There has been a lot of coverage in the media regarding Gov. Romney’s faith. Last week, Gov. Romney decided to answer some of those concerns with this speech. Much of the coverage surrounding this speech has compared Mitt Romney to John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy gave a similar speech to a group of Protestant Preachers the month before the election that would see him become the nation’s first Catholic President. Many in the media compared Gov. Romney’s speech to that speech even before the speech was delivered.

The speech itself is one of the best speeches I have heard in a long time. Michael Medved called it the best speech of this election cycle. I would encourage everyone to read this speech not just to examine Gov. Romney as a Presidential candidate, but also because it argues religion’s place in today’s America. I think Gov. Romney’s argument is entirely correct. Gov. Romney’s speech is currently called “Faith in America”, but I think future classes will study it as the “Symphony of Faith” speech.

Early in the Speech, Gov. Romney says the following:

Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.

This is a statement that has evidence in today’s world, and a warning for future generations. The United States is the symbol of freedom to the rest of the world. As such, we allow our citizens to worship as they choose. If we start to exercise religion from our country, then we start down the path the Soviet Union took generations ago. Gov. Romney also makes the point that many people of faith have tried to make regarding the First Amendment:

No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from public domain any acknowledgment of God…as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism.

And also:

The founders…did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square.

Today’s society has taken the separation of Church and State and turned it into something our Founding Fathers would never have recognized. The founders knew that faith was an important part of society. Far from trying to ban it, they wanted to encourage every citizen to practice their own beliefs as they saw fit, without meddling from the government.

To me, the most powerful part of this speech is towards the very end. In this last section, Gov. Romney stresses that we should be thankful and take strength from the diversity of religions in our country. I can think of no more fitting way to end this post than with the paragraph that I believe will later rename this speech.

In such a world, we can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty, joined against the evils and dangers of the day. And you can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: we do not insist on a single strain of religion – rather, we welcome our nation’s symphony of faith.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Quick Notes, Issue One

Here are a few items I have wanted to post on, but haven’t had time to write my normal length post on each. I hope to make more of these types of posts. So as a reader advised (thanks Jayne), I am going to, “…go where my instinct takes me.” Here are some thoughts to discuss with your friends.

1) Iran. Much has been made about the new intelligence that Iran may have stopped its nuclear program a few years ago. I certainly hope this is true. Few things scare me as much as a fanatic who believes he can bring about a divine apocalypse and who might have a nuclear weapon. That is a very bad combination. While I hope the National Intelligence Estimate is correct, I have a few concerns. Many people on both sides of the aisle have questioned our intelligence capability in the Middle East. This is a valid question. The NIE says Iran may not have a nuclear warhead for a few years. Ahmadinejad has said he is willing to use a nuclear weapon against Israel. I say, “When in doubt, take the mad man at his word.” We should continue to act as if Ahmadinejad is pursuing a nuclear weapon. Until the people of Iran force a regime change or Ahmadinejad truly stops pursuing nuclear weapons that is the only safe course for our country.

2) Mike Huckabee. If you are following the 2008 election news at all, by now you know that Huckabee has had a surge in the polling. Many people are trying to figure out why. Some have suggested it is because he is running as a conservative. Some have suggested it is a media conspiracy to get the easiest Republican candidate to beat. Others have suggested that these supporters were always there, just waiting until the right moment to strike. I have a different take. While I disagree with Huckabee on a few key points (such as illegal immigration), he is running on a pro Fair Tax platform. I am a huge supporter of the Fair Tax. There are a lot of Republicans and Libertarians who are as well. I think his surge in numbers is coming from that. Time will tell, but the next time you hear Huckabee or see him at a campaign stop, look for a Fair Tax reference.

3) “Global Warming Kooks”. Last week, Drudge had a link to a British paper that ran an article about women in the UK who were getting sterilized to stop global warming. These women thought having children was the worst thing anyone could do to the environment. If I remember correctly, one was 29 years old and the other was 32. If you follow the global warming argument to its conclusion, this is where you end up. Time will tell how many people are willing to subscribe to this idea. There are a lot of groups who have been preaching this openly for some time. There are other groups who believe it, but are concealing that fact. Just a point to keep in mind the next time someone screams about global warming and starts talking about “solutions”.

I hope you enjoyed this column. Look for more of this type of post in the weeks to come. As always, I welcome civil comments and discussion on these topics, or any others.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Note to My Readers and a New Direction

As my regular readers probably noticed, I haven't posted on here in some time. My work responsibilities have been increasing lately, and are likely to continue to do so in the immediate future. My wife and I have also been doing some much needed remodeling in our home that has taken a large amount of my personal time. And let's not forget that the holiday's are coming up.

To that end, I am thinking of changing some of the format around here. The two things I enjoy the most about this site are posting researched essays (no matter what my global warming readers think) and debating these issues. I want to keep those two elements alive. However, that may require me to post less, or also post more "ramblings" type posts. So I am in the process of deciding how to go forward. Look for some changes, and a little bit of a different posting schedule in the weeks to come. As always, you are welcome to drop your two cents in here. I like to have my readers as involved in this site as possible.