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I have created this website so that those who are interested may see the details of what makes The Old Wise Man tick.

 

The site is designed to eventually serve as an internet ‘hub’ for my studying and explorations. You will find all sorts of information, essays, links and general comments that I produce in regards to the various topics that I explore.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam, Evolution, Creationism, Atheism, Abortion, Euthanasia are just some of the topics that I intend to cover here.

I certainly don’t claim to be an authority on these subjects, but would simply like to make available the information that I have learnt to those who would similarly like to look into these subjects.

I will provide reference books, podcasts and web links and concluding essays for all those who wish for a bit of a head start into the subjects.

 

This project is only in it's infancy, and as such is constantly evolving and growing. As time permits I will add more and more information and links. So keep checking the "Recent Site Activity" tab on the left sidebar to see what’s new!

                                                       

                                                        If you want to discuss anything, you can post a comment, question or complaint on my forum.

                                                        Or alternatively feel free to email me at the address below.

  

My e-mail is: theold_wiseman@hotmail.com

 


 

 

The Canberra Declaration is a call to our national Australian leaders to protect life, defend marriage, support family, secure our religious freedom and safe guard our children. The values listed in the Canberra Declaration are under threat!  They are being attacked and undermined on many fronts, by dedicated and devoted enemies. The Canberra Declaration was drafted by a number of Christian leaders from many denominations with a heart for the nation and was released on 23 July 2010. The authors and foundation signatories were both encouraged and inspired by recent similar declarations in Westminster and Manhattan.  While these values are under threat throughout the world; we fight to defend these values for Australia and for Australia's children.

To show your support of these fundamental Christian values, please sign the petition.


The Old Wise Man's Blog

A Biblical Blueprint Meets the Fire Code and the Neighbors

posted Jun 17, 2011, 3:50 PM by The Old Wise Man

Dordrecht Journal
Michel deGroot for The New York Times

Johan Huibers has spent the past few years building a full-size replica of Noah's ark in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. More Photos »

By JOHN TAGLIABUE
Published: May 29, 2011

DORDRECHT, the Netherlands — If Noah had run into the modern nanny state, or nimby, or a few of the other obstacles that Johan Huibers has been facing, the animal kingdom might look a lot different today.

Multimedia
Michel deGroot for The New York Times

Mr. Huibers, left, instructing a worker. More Photos »

Michel deGroot for The New York Times

Mr. Huibers hopes to finish in July and use it as a teaching tool in Dordrecht and elsewhere. More Photos »

Mr. Huibers, 60, the successful owner of a big construction company, has spent the last few years building an ark, identical in size to the one Noah is said in the book of Genesis to have built: 300 cubits in length, or 450 feet; 30 cubits high, or about three stories; and 50 cubits, or 75 feet, wide. The cubit of the Bible, Mr. Huibers said, was the distance between finger tips and elbow, or in his case roughly 18 inches.

He is building the ark out of Swedish pine, because some versions of the Bible describe the wood God ordered Noah to use as “resin wood,” which Mr. Huibers says is pine.

“We should finish by the middle of July,” he said, leading a visitor through the ark’s cavernous decks, still rich with the smell of fresh pine. “Maybe later.”

Unlike Noah, Mr. Huibers had to conform to Dutch fire safety standards. To do so, he installed a special anchor that qualifies the 2,970-ton ark as a building, rather than a vessel. Moreover, he will have to paint the ark, inside and out, with three coats of fire-retardant varnish. (Noah covered his ark with pitch, making it waterproof but hardly fire retardant.)

And then there are the neighbors.

“The ship takes away our view,” complained Gerrit Kruythoff, 65, who has lived with his wife and family for 42 years in the trim brick row house next to the disused shipyard where Mr. Huibers is toiling, with the help of two of his three children and a handful of friends.

“We used to have a view all the way to the river,” Mr. Kruythoff, a retired employee of the big DuPont chemical works here said. “You could see the ships passing by.”

He has not lodged a formal complaint, he said, because his home, with those of several neighbors, will soon be torn down anyway, to make way for a new residential development on the site of the former shipyard where the unfinished ark stands. By then, the ark will have sailed.

Actually, this ark is not the first that Mr. Huibers has built. He first began dreaming of an ark in 1992, shortly after a heavy storm lashed the coastal region north of Amsterdam where he lives. His wife, Bianca, a police officer, opposed the idea.

“She said no, but by 2004 I had built a smaller ark, 225 feet long, to sail through the Dutch canals,” he said. It became a minor sensation. He charged adult visitors $7 to board it.

“More than 600,000 people came, in about three years,” he said. He said he made about $3.5 million, enough to clear a profit of $1.2 million.

But it was not about money. “It is to tell people that there is a Bible,” Mr. Huibers, a spry man with a quick sense of humor said. “And that, when you open it, there is a God.”

“It’s a simple meaning,” he said. “A lot of things in the boat lead you to think. We make people curious.”

When it is finished, the ark will be a kind of teaching tool. Panoramas will tell the story of Noah; live animals will bring the pageant to life. (At the moment, only birds in cages and hens and roosters live on board.) Two conference rooms will seat a total of 1,500 people.

Not all of Mr. Huibers’s neighbors object. “It’s beautiful inside and out, the stairways, the doors,” gushed Annie van der Luytgaarden, who regularly walks her dog Spikey in the shadow of the ark. “I’ve already asked if I can join on the maiden voyage,” Ms. van der Luytgaarden said, cracking a smile. “I’ll do the dishes.”

Others, however, wondered how seaworthy it was. “It’s not very nautical; it’s top heavy,” said Bas Keyzer, 46, sipping a beer in Linda van Kooten’s Upside-Down Cafe. “But it certainly looks like the ark.”

Indeed, Mr. Huibers admits he had to make concessions. The ark is built on 25 steel barges drawn together to form a basin. A heavy steel frame keeps it rigid. Asked about this, he replied, “It’s much easier to make a wooden ark.” Yet modern safety requirements made changes necessary.

Ms. Van Kooten, who has run the cafe for eight years, called the neighborhood complainers “black sheep.”

“They never had a beautiful view,” she said. “It was a shipyard.”

In some sense, Dordrecht, a quaint city of red brick buildings with a population of about 118,000 at the confluence of three rivers, is the ideal place for an ark. The city has been swept by floods numerous times, including the devastating St. Elizabeth’s floods of 1421, and most recently in 1995.

Now, Dutch cities like Dordrecht face even higher water levels as global warming lifts the level of the sea. In recent years ambitious measures have been taken to cope. A vast area of farmland to the east and south of Dordrecht — known as the Biesbosch, or Forest of Bulrushes — has been given back to the water. Now, when river waters around the city rise, former farmlands are flooded.

“It’s called the room for the river project,” said Piet Sleeking, 60, Dordrecht’s first alderman. “Instead of building the dikes higher, we are giving the rivers and canals more room.”

But if city officials do not see the ark as a refuge from rising waters, they do see it bringing salvation another way. Unemployment, Mr. Sleeking said, was “still a problem, it’s higher than the rest of the Netherlands.” Townspeople, he said, warming to the topic, “see the ark as an opportunity, in relation to the town.” He added, “There could be hundreds of thousands of tourists, so for the city it would be a good thing.”

For his part, Mr. Huibers sees a role for the ark far beyond Dordrecht. He has sent a letter to the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, requesting permission to bring the ark there for the Olympic Games next summer. Investors from Texas have visited, urging him to bring the ark to Galveston.

He even discusses the ark with business associates in Israel, where his construction company is active. “The Israelis are curious,” he said. “But they say it’s not a Christian ark, it’s a Jewish ark. They say I stole it.”

More Proof That Dinosaurs Lived with 'Later' Creatures

posted Jun 9, 2011, 4:38 PM by The Old Wise Man

 

 

by Brian Thomas, M.S. *

According to evolution, dinosaurs lived during an age when birds and non-reptile land creatures were either present in just a few "primitive" forms or not at all. But a recent National Geographic online interview offered a summary of fossil discoveries made in a dinosaur-bearing deposit in Madagascar. And like most dinosaur deposits—but unlike museum dinosaur displays—it was richly endowed with plenty of non-dinosaur fossils.

The issue of whether dinosaurs co-existed with a wide range of other creatures is critical, because evolution's version of dinosaur history directly contradicts the history attested in the Bible. According to evolution, dinosaurs dominated certain "times" millions of years ago. But according to Scripture, all animals and plants had been created by the end of the sixth day. If the former is true, then dinosaur fossils should primarily be found by themselves. But if the latter is true, then dinosaur remains should be found mixed with those of birds, mammals, and all kinds of plants.

Medical doctor Carl Werner undertook an extensive investigation of evolution. His results are published in a series of books and videos. He explained his prediction about dinosaur strata and fossils in the video titled Evolution: the Grand Experiment, Episode 2, Living Fossils:

If evolution was not true, and if animals did not change over time, I should be able to find modern-appearing plants and modern-appearing animals in the dinosaur rock layers. And this is in fact what I found.1

But to find them, he had to go behind the museum display scenes that omit them and into the scientific literature. In an interview with Creation magazine, Werner said that dinosaur rocks contained "fossilized examples from every major invertebrate animal phylum living today" and "cartilaginous fish…boney fish…and jawless fish," as well as "modern-looking frogs and salamanders." Mixed in among dinosaurs are "all of today's reptile groups" and "parrots, owls, penguins, ducks, loons, albatross, cormorants, sandpipers, avocets, etc."2

David Krause of Stony Brook University in New York has been digging fossils in a Cretaceous deposit in Madagascar for over ten years. The interview with National Geographic highlighted his "most interesting and important finds," and the array of remains he's discovered lines up with what Werner found—plenty of non-dinosaur kinds located in dinosaur rock layers.3

Along with dinosaurs, the finds included an extinct bird named Rahonavis, a short-bodied crocodile-like creature called Simosuchus, and a toad that Krause and his colleagues named Beelzebufo. Other than having been about twice the size of today's largest toads at 10 pounds, it was just like a modern toad.

None of these showed any hint of transitioning from one form to another, as Darwinism predicts, but instead each was found fully formed. And who knows what other birds, amphibians, and possibly mammals were discovered by the team in Madagascar that have yet to be publicized.

Dinosaur rock layers contain all kinds of creatures from all kinds of habitats, including those of both land and sea.4 Evolution can provide no explanation for this circumstance. It is completely to be expected, however, if these creatures were created all together and then deposited in catastrophic mudflows powered by the year-long, world-destroying Flood and its residual effects.

References

  1. Werner, C. 2011. Evolution: The Grand Experiment, Episode 2, Living Fossils. DVD. AVC Films. A video clip from this DVD is available at thegrandexperiment.com.
  2. Batten, D. 2011. Living fossils: a powerful argument for creation. Creation. 33 (2): 20-23.
  3. Moffet, B. S. 2011. Unearthing the Story of Madagascar, Fossil by Fossil. National Geographic Daily News. Posted on newswatch.nationalgeographic.com May 17, 2011, accessed May 24, 2011.
  4. Hoesch, W. A. and S. A. Austin. 2004. Dinosaur National Monument: Jurassic Park or Jurassic Jumble? Acts & Facts. 33 (4).

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on June 8, 2011.

Untitled Post

posted May 28, 2011, 12:18 AM by The Old Wise Man

Being a Young Earth Creationist (YEC), I have tended to view Neanderthals as a highly diverged race of humans. There is very little evidence to suggest that they are anything other than this.

But one thing that I had never considered before, is the thesis explained by the author of this video; that the collection of skeletons known as Neanderthal were actually highly intelligent, bipedal apes.

 

 

Of course this would not be a surprising revelation to any evolutionist, but how would this fit into a YEC theory? The bottom line is that there is no reason why God would not have created a highly intelligent species of ape that fully aligns with what the author of the video describes. This animal would certainly have been given safe passage by Noah on the Ark during the Global Flood, and flourished afterwards in the frigid ice age continent of Europe.

 

The only thing in this video that I couldn’t take seriously was the claim that the vastly distinct Neanderthals were mating/raping human females resulting in healthy offspring.

If there is anything that we know for sure in biology it is that different types of animals that have been totally separated for tens, or hundreds, of thousands of years CAN NOT produce viable offspring. This just does not happen.

The reason why the author suggested that humans and Neanderthals have mated in the past is because that DNA of Neanderthals closely aligns with humans. This fact, coupled with their virtually identical physiology of modern human, is what leads YECs to assume that the two are only different races of humans.

 

Neanderthal: Profile of a super predator

 

So is he right? The only thing that we can know for certain is that nothing is certain! As contradictory as this sounds, it is true. Skeletons tell us very little about the functioning of the organism. The whole farce with the coelacanth should serve as an important lesson.

 

True or not, I can appreciate the author thinking outside the box. It is certainly a very exciting thesis!

21st Century Parenting

posted May 9, 2011, 3:01 AM by The Old Wise Man

MOTHER'S Day is a time to reflect on the sacrifices of motherhood and whether we are giving the best of ourselves to our children.

Originally Published in The Sunday Mail
 
MOTHERHOOD can be as rewarding as it is disappointing, as uplifting as it is exhausting. There is little that eclipses the warm fuzzies from a child's love, cuddles and kisses or the tingle of pride when our kids do their best.
On the flip side, children try our patience, let us down, worry us sick and invade our personal space (no sooner do we reclaim our right to go to the bathroom alone than we're at them for rifling through our wallets or checking our text messages).Infuriating and adorable, kids irrevocably change our lives. They give us purpose and, at some fundamental biological level, we feel useful because we have procreated and helped ensure the survival of the species.

Stop right there.Motherhood is not about us. It is about them, those fledgling human beings we are releasing into the world.Children do not exist to bring us joy, look after us in our dotage or imbue us with a sense of fulfilment. They are not fashion accessories or pets we acquire to make us feel good or feel alive.We don't own them; they belong to the world.Mothers and, of course, fathers have an enormous responsibility to raise emotionally intelligent human beings who will make a positive contribution to society.

It is not enough to love our children.We need to do more than "sit and talk to them in the beauty of nature", as octomum Nadya Suleman said in feeble defence of her inability to financially support 14 children on her own after adding eight test-tube babies to her brood in 2009.While children can survive without designer labels, high-tech gadgets and fancy holidays, they need more than Suleman's "grass and worms" to turn out right.They need boundaries, discipline and positive role models. Feeling safe and secure is paramount. Children have always needed these things, but they are getting less of them these days.

In an era of yummy mummies and weekend dads, many adults are more concerned with satisfying themselves than parenting their kids.With 40 the new 20, they're squeezing children in around their busy social schedules and insatiable appetite for stuff.Consumerism and divorce have helped fuel an unprecedented narcissism in parents and we don't have to look to extreme cases like Suleman for proof.

Narcissistic behaviour includes neglecting the family to impress others, blaming others instead of taking responsibility for your actions, being overly involved with your own hobbies, interests or addictions, and expecting others to meet your emotional needs, according to Professor Nina Brown, author of From Children of the Self Absorbed: A Grownup's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents.

Yep, there's even a self-help book on the subject.Selfish parents are damaging society. Being too preoccupied to set and enforce boundaries tells kids that rules don't matter, you can do what you like, and this can breed anti-social behaviour.It's also incredibly unfair on children to use them as sounding boards, as emotionally needy parents want to do.

Kids should not be treated as confidantes and asked "how would you feel if Daddy were to live somewhere else?" or told "we're having trouble paying the mortgage so we may need to sell the house and change your school".Talk about too much information. Such situations might never eventuate yet children are left panic-stricken at the very thought of their world being turned upside down.Children do not have the maturity to deal with adult pressures.As much as we might think that kids are more sophisticated than they were 20 or even 100 years ago, basic human development has changed little over time.

Children require stable, nurturing environments in which their emotional and physical needs are met.I'm not saying run yourself ragged being the household doormat but accept that parenting demands sacrifice and your kids come first.
 
Honouring such selflessness is the reason that Mother's Day was created.Anna Jarvis, who pioneered Mother's Day in the US in 1914, became disgusted by the rampant commercialism of the day and fought against it until she died."A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world," she said.Doing more for our children than anyone in the world is a big call. It demands dedication and focus, especially in light of a survey published last week which found Aussie mums in paid employment spend just over two hours a day with their children.

Whether it's 137 minutes or 731 minutes a day, we must make time count, and this means switching off from our own concerns and giving the best of ourselves to our kids, regardless of what we get in return.

 

Dinosaur Fossil 'Wasn't Supposed to Be There'

posted Apr 26, 2011, 10:47 PM by The Old Wise Man

 
by Brian Thomas, MS
 
Workers with the Canadian energy company Suncor unearthed ankylosaur remains while mining oil sands near Fort McMurray in Alberta. The carcass of the four-legged land creature was not flattened, as is the case with many fossilized vertebrates. But most strangely, it was found in an area known primarily for fossilized marine creatures.

Previous vertebrate fossils found in this oil sand formation were marine reptiles, like the ichthyosaur and plesiosaur. Marine invertebrates such as clams and ammonites are the more typical fossils found in the region, so a large, land-living ankylosaur "wasn't supposed to be there."1

But finding a mixture of fossilized marine and land creatures together is not an unusual occurrence. For example, the famous dinosaur beds in the Morrison Formation at Dinosaur National Monument contain logs, clams, snails, and mammals.2

And the Institute for Creation Research's front lobby features a juvenile hadrosaur taken from the Two Medicine Formation—a sandstone formation which extends from the east side of the Rocky Mountains eastward to Edmonton, Canada—that was fossilized alongside marine clams and snails, as well as birds, mammals, and other dinosaurs.

Medical doctor Carl Werner actually used fossil-related criteria as a test for evolution.2 He reasoned that if the evolutionary story were true and that dinosaurs lived in a unique "Age of Reptiles," and if everyday natural processes were responsible for their fossilization, then no fossils of creatures from other "ages"—for example, creatures that had not yet evolved—should be mixed up with dinosaur fossils.

But Werner found that a fossil mixture of very different kinds was typical. He told Creation magazine:

Paleontologists have found 432 mammal species in the dinosaur layers….But where are these fossils? We visited 60 museums but did not see a single complete mammal skeleton from the dinosaur layers displayed at any of these museums.3

Werner also learned that dinosaur-containing rock layers have "fossilized examples from every major invertebrate animal phylum living today," and that dinosaurs were mixed in with varieties of fish, amphibians, "parrots, owls, penguins, ducks, loons, albatross, cormorants, sandpipers, avocets, etc."3 If museums displayed these real fossils instead of adorning dinosaur dioramas with feathers, then the evolutionary story that "dinosaurs evolved into birds" would be quickly seen as the fiction that it is.4

There are many other examples of land-dwelling dinosaur fossils mixed with sea creatures.5 This kind of evidence is to be expected if a world-destroying flood was responsible for the bulk of the world's fossils, dinosaur and otherwise, considering that "the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered."6

References

  1. Gordon, J. Rare dinosaur found in Canada's oil sands. Reuters, March 25, 2011.
  2. Werner, C. 2008. Living Fossils. Evolution: The Grand Experiment, vol. 2. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press.
  3. Batten, D. 2011. Living Fossils: a powerful argument for creation. Creation. 33 (2): 22. Emphasis in original.
  4. Thomas, B. Fixed Bird Thigh Nixes Dino-to-bird Development. ICR News. Posted on icr.org June 22, 2009, accessed April 13, 2011.
  5. Thomas, B. Canadian 'Mega' Dinosaur Bonebed Formed by Watery Catastrophe. ICR News. Posted on icr.org July 13, 2010, accessed April 6, 2011.
  6. Genesis 7:19.

Image credit: National Park Service

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on April 14, 2011.

Flying Fish

posted Mar 6, 2011, 11:38 PM by The Old Wise Man

When I first heard of these ‘flying fish’ I wasn’t too surprised. After all, fish can reach some pretty fast speeds under water. So it is not too much of a stretch of the imagination to believe that fish ejecting themselves above the water at speed and using their enlarged fins, could fly maybe tens of meters.

 

But I was absolutely stunned when I saw how grossly I had underestimated their flying capabilities. These little fellas can fly up to 70kph and sometimes as far as 400 meters! Check them out.
 

Amazing Flying Fish

Possessed Boy?

posted Mar 3, 2011, 1:14 AM by The Old Wise Man

Jamaican Boy Thrown Around By Ghost

Is this a genuine case of demonic possession or a ‘bully’ poltergeist? The movement of the boy in the video definitely excludes the possibility of the boy throwing himself around. The movement is definitely caused by something other than the boy himself.

 

The only possible ‘natural’ explanation that I can think of is that maybe some sort of barely visible string or fishing line could be attached to his leg and chair which is violently pulled by someone else hiding behind the scene somewhere.

Though if this is the case then surely the reporter and cameraman, who were very close, would clearly notice it. Also notice the face of the mother immediately after the first movement. She is definitely surprised, scared and horrified, it is not the face of somebody who is trying to perpetrate a hoax.

 

Anyway, have a look and make up your own mind.

Origins Breakthroughs of 2010: Paleontology

posted Feb 13, 2011, 9:36 PM by The Old Wise Man

Origins Breakthroughs of 2010: Paleontology

by Brian Thomas, M.S. *

Every year brings new scientific discoveries that shed light on the past. The Institute for Creation Research is dedicated to the study of origins from a biblical perspective, and ICR News has compiled what it considers to be the top findings related to origin studies from 2010. This article examines paleontology, and will be followed by features on breakthroughs in astronomy and the genome.

Feathers, Pigments, and Bone in Fossils

Like 2009, the year 2010 produced an array of studies on stunning soft tissues from fossils that are supposed to be millions of years old. The problem for evolutionary long ages is that soft tissues are known to decay quickly, within only thousands of years. And this problem only gets worse with each additional fossil tissue find.

For example, an extinct variety of penguin was found fossilized in South America, and its plumage was compared to that of modern varieties. The fact that this fossil still exhibited feather colors, and the reasonable assumption that the original penguin feather melanosomes should no longer exist after "36 million years," was not emphasized in the reports.1

Several fossils were analyzed in 2010 for specific proteins, even though proteins should no longer exist after having been encased in rocks for untold millions of years. For example, the iconic Archaeopteryx bird was shown to have original bone fragments and feathers, not just impressions left in the rock.2 Likewise, researchers found original carbon from dark pigment structures in a fossilized Sinosauropteryx dinosaur.3

Whole Insect, Skin, and Blood Residue Fossils

Some of the best-preserved fossils are those of insects entombed in amber. Amber forms very quickly from resins made by certain trees and is produced more copiously when those trees are damaged, as would occur in a catastrophe. Two major amber deposits were discovered in 2010, one in Australia and one in India. In both cases, the insects, animals, and plant parts trapped within showed very few signs of decay.4,5

A shrimp from Oklahoma was found in a rock layer and assigned an evolutionary age of over 300 million years, but it still had muscle tissue in its tail.6 The limestone in which it was buried most likely would have formed during the year-long Flood of Noah, and is thus only about 4,400 years old.

The fossil with perhaps the best-preserved original tissues was that of a mosasaur, an extinct marine reptile, found decades ago in Kansas but only described this year. It had mummified skin, original retinal material in its eye cavity, and decayed hemoglobin residue that was still colored red.7 This was followed by another mosasaur discovered in South Dakota with skin, cartilage connected to its bones, and original organic stomach contents.8

Conclusion

Based on how quickly animal bodies of known age have decayed, it is reasonable to conclude that certain organic structures such as pigments and pigment-containing melanosomes, collagen (skin and cartilage), keratin (feather) proteins, hemoglobin (blood) proteins, and muscle cells could resist decay for a few thousand years when encased in rock. But a few thousand years is nowhere near the massive time spans that evolutionary history requires.

This past year saw more reason to abandon the idea of millions-of-years evolutionary history in favor of the thousands-of-years framework testified by God's revealed Word.

References

  1. Thomas, B. Giant Penguin Feather Poses Problem for Long Ages. ICR News. Posted on icr.org October 19, 2010, accessed December 27, 2010.
  2. Thomas, B. Archaeopteryx Fossil Shows 'Striking' Tissue Preservation. ICR News. Posted on icr.org May 19, 2010, accessed December 28, 2010.
  3. Thomas, B. Feathered Dinosaur Debate Exhibits Young Earth Evidence. ICR News. Posted on icr.org February 8, 2010, accessed December 28, 2010.
  4. Thomas, B. Cache of Amber in India Looks Young. ICR News. Posted on icr.org November 5, 2010, accessed December 27, 2010.
  5. Thomas, B. Fantastic Australian Amber Supports Young World. ICR News. Posted on icr.org July 7, 2010, accessed December 27, 2010.
  6. Thomas, B. 'Remarkably Preserved' Shrimp Is 350 Million Years Old? ICR News. Posted on icr.org November 18, 2010, accessed December 27, 2010.
  7. Thomas, B. '80 Million-Year-Old' Mosasaur Fossil Has Soft Retina and Blood Residue. ICR News. Posted on icr.org August 20, 2010, accessed December 28, 2010.
  8. Thomas, B. How Long Can Cartilage Last? ICR News. Posted on icr.org October 29, 2010, accessed December 28, 2010. 

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on January 6, 2011.

Unborn babies may “be planning their future”

posted Dec 14, 2010, 1:30 AM by The Old Wise Man   [ updated Dec 14, 2010, 1:39 AM ]

Unborn babies may “be planning their future”

What now for the abortion lobby?

by Dr Jonathan Sarfati

Published: 9 December 2010(GMT+10)

A recent article1 in New Scientist, a journal known for its atheopathy, began with the intriguing paragraph:

“Could a fetus lying in the womb be planning its future? The question comes from the discovery that brain areas thought to be involved in introspection and other aspects of consciousness are fully formed in newborn babies.”

These are the resting state networks (RSNs), AKA the “dark energy of the brain”, which are active even when a person is asleep. One of them, the “default mode network”, may be involved in thinking about the future.

‘Brain areas thought to be involved in introspection and other aspects of consciousness are fully formed in newborn babies.’—article in New Scientist, November 2010

What brought about this question was the research of David Edwards and colleagues at Imperial College London,2 who scanned the brains of 70 babies, many of them premature, with MRI (co-invented by creationist Raymond Damadian). They found that “RSNs for vision, touch, movement and decision-making were largely complete by 40 weeks, as was the default mode network.”

Naturally, this has implications for the pro-life issue, but not necessarily what many people think.

Humanity of the unborn: is it the issue?

Some creationists have argued on the lines of: Whether the unborn is human is not the issue. The main issue is that the Bible commands us not to murder.

This is fallacious. Murder by definition is intentionally taking an innocent3 human life. So before we can know if the command even applies in the first place, we must establish that the subject is human. Indeed there is overwhelming scientific and biblical evidence for this. For example, see this Baby Steps video below, based on 4D (real time) ultrasound.

Baby Steps video from American Life League: Using 4D ultrasounds, the film shows the baby in the womb from 8 weeks through to birth.

In fact, the humanity of the unborn is old news. For example, fetal surgery has been performed for decades, and by definition treats the unborn as a patient. I once had the privilege of sitting next to a fetal surgeon on an airplane, and he described some of the fascinations. For example, he has operated on the fetal heart, “about the size of a pecan.”

Edwards’ research is yet more evidence of pre-natal human life. But even if the opposite were found, it would not prove that the baby was not human. After all, adults in deep unconsciousness might not have any brain activity involved with planning for the future, but it is wrong to kill them. The reason is that they are still human beings.

The same sort of issue came up with a (disputed) study earlier this year claiming that unborn babies don’t feel pain for the first 24 weeks. But if that means it’s OK to kill them, then by the same reasoning it is permissible to kill patients under anesthesia, and those with a rare disorder that makes them unable to feel pain (Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy (HSAN)). See When does the unborn baby feel pain? And does it matter for abortion opposition?).

Pro-lifers should keep returning to this key issue—the humanity of the unborn—when dealing with all the usual pro-abortion rhetoric, as shown in Antidote to abortion arguments. Many conversions from pro-abort to pro-life have resulted from this one issue, as we have shown in Refuting contrived pro-abortion arguments.

It was ultrasound evidence that convinced the former NARAL activist and abortionist Dr Bernard Nathanson that abortion was wrong, even though for many years he remained an atheist. His documentary on the abortion of an 11-week baby, Silent Scream, has convinced many women not to abort their babies, e.g. “Erica”:

Dear Silent Scream Website,

I just wanted to write a quick note to say thank you. I was supposed to have an abortion today and I was up all last night researching abortions on the internet. I came upon your site and couldn’t stop thinking about it. It had a profound effect on me.

I still went to the clinic and went through the blood testing and watched their video….then came the ultrasound; I begged the nurse to let me see my baby; I felt that I had to see. As soon as I saw my child on the ultrasound I knew I couldn’t do it.

The clinic can absolutely NOT convince me that that living child inside me wasn’t going to feel anything. I saw the heart beating, and he moved his little hands (almost like a wave). I think God intervened and lent me a message that I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life.

My nurse was very compassionate (which I thought was odd) I asked her for a picture of my baby and she explained that she wasn’t allowed to do that. She also explained that she wasn’t supposed to show me the ultrasound screen either. Well, she broke the rules and gave me a picture anyway.

Thanks to the nurse at the clinic and to your video I made the right decision. I’ll be having the baby in 7 months and am looking forward to meeting my little miracle in person.

Thank you a million times over,

Erica

With this new evidence, it might mean that girls might reconsider abortion, knowing that they’re not ‘just getting rid of it at the fish stage’ but prematurely destroying the future of their baby even as he/she might have been thinking/dreaming about it—perhaps even making plans.

And with this new evidence, it might mean that girls like Erica might reconsider abortion, knowing that they’re not “just getting rid of it at the fish stage” but prematurely destroying the future of their baby even as he/she might have been thinking/dreaming about it—perhaps even making plans.

Another atheist who became a pro-lifer is Nat Hentoff. One influence he cited was the inadvertent one by the ‘bioethicist’ Peter Singer:

“The pro-life groups were right about one thing, the location of the baby inside or outside the womb cannot make much of a moral difference. We cannot coherently hold it is alright to kill a fetus a week before birth, but as soon as the baby is born everything must be done to keep it alive. The solution, however, … is not to accept the pro-life view that the fetus is a human being with the same moral status as yours or mine. The solution is the very opposite, to abandon the idea that all human life is of equal worth.”

Hentoff accepted one premise, but argued the opposite: there is no difference but location between babies before and after birth, but killing babies after birth is wrong, therefore killing babies before birth is wrong. He cited people like the black militant Rev. Jesse Jackson:

“Don’t let the pro-choicers convince you that a fetus isn’t a human being. That’s how the whites dehumanized us … The first step was to distort the image of us as human beings in order to justify what they wanted to do—and not even feel they’d done anything wrong.”

Humanity of the unborn: necessary but not sufficient for pro-life view

The above creationist misunderstanding seems to stem from what should be a caricature of the moral argument for God. We are often accused of saying that atheists can’t do good. No, what we say is: of course atheists can be good without God, but that the whole idea of good and evil has no objective meaning under their philosophy. See Bomb-building vs. the biblical foundation. More recently, the Jewish libertarian columnist Jeff Jacoby gave a lucid summary of the argument:

“Can people be decent and moral without believing in a God who commands us to be good? Sure. There have always been kind and ethical nonbelievers. But how many of them reason their way to kindness and ethics, and how many simply reflect the moral expectations of the society in which they were raised?

“In our culture, even the most passionate atheist cannot help having been influenced by the Judeo-Christian worldview that shaped Western civilization. …

“For in a world without God, there is no obvious difference between good and evil. There is no way to prove that murder is wrong if there is no Creator who decrees “Thou shalt not murder.” It certainly cannot be proved wrong by reason alone. One might reason instead—as Lenin and Stalin and Mao reasoned—that there is nothing wrong with murdering human beings by the millions if doing so advances the Marxist cause. Or one might reason from observing nature that the way of the world is for the strong to devour the weak—or that natural selection favors the survival of the fittest by any means necessary, including the killing of the less fit.

“It may seem obvious to us today that human life is precious and that the weakest among us deserve special protection. Would we think so absent a moral tradition stretching back to Sinai? It seemed obvious in classical antiquity that sickly babies should be killed. …

“Reason is not enough. Only if there is a God who forbids murder is murder definitively evil.”4

As shown above, because atheists can do good deeds (humanly speaking), they can be convinced by the humanity of the unborn to become pro-lifers.

But not all of them do good. E.g. the above-mentioned Peter Singer draws the opposite conclusion to Hentoff: that infanticide is also permissible. At least he is in the good company of the current President of the USA.

For a historical precedent, Hentoff cited Dr Leo Alexander (1905–1985), who was a chief medical adviser at some of the Nuremberg trials of the Nazis. Alexander pointed out5 that the eugenics and euthanasia policies had “small beginnings … the acceptance of the attitude … that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived.” But after the camel had managed to get its nose into the tent, it wasn’t long before its whole body was in, and the human displaced. Alexander wrote:

“Gradually, the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted and finally all non-Germans. But it is important to realize that the infinitely small wedged-in lever from which this entire trend of mind received its impetus was the attitude toward the nonrehabilitable sick.”

Hentoff likewise saw the danger of dehumanizing the unborn—not only wrong in itself, but a dangerous slippery slope.

Proving the humanity of the unborn can convert an atheist to a pro-life position—if he holds to a basically Judeo-Christian ethic of sanctity of innocent human life. But Peter Singer, the Nazis and Communists are proof that conceding humanity to a class of humans is not sufficient to protect them, if they throw out this ethic.

The above shows that proving the humanity of the unborn can convert an atheist to a pro-life position—if he holds to a basically Judeo-Christian ethic of sanctity of innocent human life. But Singer, the Nazis and Communists are proof that conceding humanity to a class of humans is not sufficient to protect them, if they throw out this ethic. This is presumably what the above creationist was trying to get across, although clumsily expressed.

Furthermore, the humanity of the unborn has long been known for millennia, well before ultrasound and other modern scientific advances. For example, one of the best-kept secrets of the anti-Christian MMM (Mendacious Mainstream Media) and government educracy is that the founding mothers of the feminist movement were staunchly pro-life. They denounced abortion as “child murder”, and argued that if they were to object to treating women as disposable property, they should likewise object to treating their unborn children that way (see Abortion: an indispensable right or violence against women?).

Yet they had less scientific evidence for humanity the unborn than we have now. Conversely, now that we have more evidence of its humanity, our cultural gatekeepers are pro-abort—including most soi-disant feminists. The only reason for the change is not advances in fetal science, but a replacement of the Judeo-Christian sanctity of life ethic with an evolutionary ethic—if such a term can even have a meaning.

Conclusion

In summary: there are two—and only two—issues to decide the abortion debate, so it’s not so difficult:

  1. Is the unborn child (‘fetus’) a human being?
  2. If so, is it ever acceptable to kill the unborn?

This latest brain scan research on premature babies provides strong support for an affirmative answer to (1). But this support was far from necessary: the case was already overwhelming. But by its very nature, this cannot tell us anything about (2): this is a moral question, not a scientific one.

 

 
 
 
  1. Collins, N., Introspection brain networks fully formed at birth, New Scientist, 1 November 2010. Return to text.
  2. Doria, V. and 12 others, Emergence of resting state networks in the preterm human brain, PNAS 107(46):20015–20020, 16 November 2010 | doi: 10.1073/pnas.1007921107. Return to text.
  3. In terms of the definition of murder, “innocent” does not mean “sinless” but its etymological meaning of in nocens or “not harming”. Return to text.
  4. Jacoby, J., Created by God to Be Good, Patriot Post, 15 November 2010. Return to text.
  5. Alexander, L., Medical science under dictatorship, New England Journal of Medicine 241(2):39–47, 1949 | doi:10.1056/NEJM194907142410201.Return to text.

Students' Freedom of Speech Speaks Volumes

posted Nov 9, 2010, 12:02 AM by The Old Wise Man   [ updated Nov 16, 2010, 6:22 PM ]

 

 

Students' Freedom of Speech Speaks Volumes

by Christine Dao

Generally, a hoard of rebellious schoolchildren is one of the last things anyone wants to encourage. But religious leaders and First Amendment advocates can cheer for some Tennessee students who, despite a ban, kept up prayer at school events.1

Hamilton County banned student-initiated prayer after the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the district superintendent in response to a complaint from a Soddy-Daisy High School student's family about prayer over the loud speakers before football games. Nonetheless, students and members of the community rallied together at a public park and then at a football game in October to pray about the ban.

In another case, a Michigan elementary school prohibited a student from handing out invitation flyers to classmates for church activities. A lawsuit was filed by the Alliance Defense Fund on the student's behalf.2 Recently, a federal court ruled that the school violated the student's First Amendment right to free speech and ordered the school district to stop enforcing its ban on students distributing flyers.3

And in a case earlier this year, Pennsylvania school authorities disciplined a student for wearing a T-shirt that read "Abortion Is not Healthcare."4 A lawsuit was filed against the West Shore School District, which later lifted the ban preventing the student from wearing the shirt. The lawsuit was subsequently voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs.

As special interest organizations and politicians try to usurp the moral future of America, it is important for Christian families with children in public schools to remember that their students have First Amendment freedoms. They have both the right and obligation to exercise their faith and speech for the sake of the gospel, especially when there are those who would illegally try to silence them.5

References

  1. Samuel, S. Tenn. Students Keep Up Prayer at School Despite Ban. The Christian Post. Posted on christianpost.com October 28, 2010, accessed November 5, 2010.
  2. Everyone welcome—except churches. Alliance Defense Fund press release, accessed November 5, 2010.
  3. Black, N. Court: Mich. Student Can Hand Out Church Flyers. The Christian Post. Posted on christianpost.com October 27, 2010, accessed November 5, 2010.
  4. Black, N. Pa. Student Free to Wear 'Abortion Is Not Healthcare' Shirt. The Christian Post. Posted on christianpost.com March 18, 2010, accessed November 5, 2010.
  5. Luke 19:37-40.

* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.

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