Exposed: National Geographic’s War On Science

The March 2015 cover of National Geographic magazine blares its issue theme, the War on Science. Truth be told, there is a war against science in our culture.  The attack on authentic science is led by entities such as National Geographic. Principal strategies exploit people’s gullibility and general ignorance of scientific methodology and history. Tactics include conflating multiple events and name-calling for those who do not fall in line with politically correct viewpoints, even citing truth while simultaneously ignoring it. Joel Achenbach’s cover story is a case in point.

Achenbach quotes Geophysicist Martha McNutt: “Science is not a body of facts. Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not.”  Yet he says of skeptics: “Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts.” There is no agreed upon body of facts; skeptics seek independent sources of information and interpretation because they challenge not facts but orthodoxy?

There exists alongside the science described by McNutt a faith called Scientism. Adherents believe a precept true not because they tested it but because they received it from professors with doctoral degrees and grant money. Such faith flies in the face of authentic science from the get-go; yet Achenbach can only tisk-tisk at people who refuse to worship at its altar.

His error is compounded – in monumental ignorance – when he conflates doubt about a round earth and a faked moon landing with skepticism about climate change and evolution. Nobody with an IQ in double digits doubts the roundness of the earth; it has been observed since antiquity. Conspiracy theories of faked moon landings persist, but – again – they are ridiculous; such a conspiracy would require the unbroken silence of literally thousands of NASA employees for half a century and counting. The jury is in.

Evolution and climate change are horses of differing colors. Although evolutionary theories flourished at least a century before Darwin, no scientific proof has ever been offered in the form of – say – DNA samples from various evolutionary stages of the same animal, missing links discovered, or reproducible results under laboratory conditions. Some theorists howl that this bar is set unfairly high, but this bar has never been moved according to the scientific method. Whether evolution is true can be debated; that it has not been proven is beyond dispute. And given the inconsistencies of evolutionary theory down the decades against the changelessness and progressive verification of God’s Word, my money remains on the Creator.

Our science writer makes another sophomoric mistake when he pits young earth creationists who claim an earth thousands of years old against scientists noting four-plus billion years of planetary age. He seems unaware of the growing number of scientists who accept the older age of the world while declaring its created origin at the hands of an Intentional Creator. And then there is climate change.

Achenbach refers several times to people who deny climate change occurs. I have never heard of anyone who denies it. Climate changes from one season to another and from one era to another. The dispute is over whether causation is due to human activity. Skeptics point out two factors. The first is that warming periods have always flanked ice ages. Greenland (for example) was much warmer a thousand years before an industrialized economy than it is today. The second is that recorded changes are simply not catastrophic. Hysterics shriek of shrinking polar ice caps and a reduction in polar bear numbers. However, the northern ice cap has fully recovered from its quarter-century ago retreat, the southern cap grew rather than shrank, and polar bears are up by twenty percent since 1990.

If the jury is in on the shape of the earth and our journeys to another body, we must say – with respect to evolution and climate – the case has yet to reach a jury. Achenbach concedes that “Scientific results are always provisional, susceptible to being overturned by some future experiment or observation.” His own words make his arrogant condemnation of those who do not bow at the altar of scientism absurd.

Of course, this drivel is not limited to National Geographic. The February 19 edition of Reasons to Believe addresses the newest darlings of Scientism and their assertion – trumpeted by mainstream media as though it were a Holy Grail – that the universe is itself eternal and therefore uncreated. Physicists Ahmed Farag Ali (Benha University, Egypt) and Saurya Das (Lethbridge University, Canada) and their paper, “Cosmology from Quantum Potential,” are “supposed” to have “corrected” Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Their paper originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Physics Letter B.

Of course, if this is true, it also corrects the Bible and its opening statement–“In the beginning God created…”–right out of any authority. Dr. Hugh Ross, Founder and President of the Reasons to Believe Foundation, is an internationally recognized astrophysicist who believes in Intelligent Design. Ross offers four reasons why we need not shred our Bibles just yet.

First, the paper was published in the journal’s theory section, not in the astrophysics and cosmology section. The theory section is intended for speculative work, and the authors make no claim to have proven anything; they do not even go so far as to offer a new theory.

Second, the authors do replace so-called classical geodesics with so-called quantum trajectories. A geodesic is a standard way of looking at space; it is the shortest distance between two points, and cosmologists always think in such terms because alternatives are by definition untestable. According to standard classical Physics, all geodesics lead at some point to what is called the Singularity – the beginning or go-spot from which the universe begins. These authors say something like, “But if we could believe in the new way of tracing trajectories, there would be no point of origin and thus no beginning of the universe.” “If” is the operant term; the reasoning is circular to the effect that if the authors were correct, they would be correct. Whatever.

The third reason is that Farag Ali and Das posit a tiny particle called a gravitron as able to account for the new perspective. This is a hypothetical particle because its theorized mass is orders of magnitude tinier than what could be tested. Science deals with observed phenomena; what cannot be observed might make dinner conversation but is mere speculation for scientific purposes – like elves and orcs. Without a testable feature, the existence of a gravitron is scientifically irrelevant.

Finally and fourthly, Farag Ali and Das appeal to Quantum Physicist David Bohm’s quantum potential theory – the operant term being “potential” here. Bohm was known for his intense interest in New Age Mysticism and the paranormal. The quantum potential he cites is his term for a reality buried beneath physical reality. Bohm simply re-defines space, time, and causality to make possible an argument for an eternal Universe – as opposed to an eternal and loving God. Ross says: “One can always appeal to the unknowable to argue against something’s existence…However, arguments regarding the universe’s origin, God’s existence, and God’s hand in creation must be founded on what scientists (can) know, not on what we don’t (or cannot) know.”

Authentic science provides an excellent platform for discovering what is and is not real. No one should believe this or that solely because the Bible says it – much less because this or that scientist says it. The Bible exhorts readers – in 1 John 4:1 – to test the spirits, to subject even Its revelation to tests of authenticity. The book is not a science text; yet it stands up to scientific scrutiny well. Such phenomena as cyclonic wind patterns – instead of the wall front patterns posited until the nineteenth century – were first revealed in the Old Testament and later tested and found accurate.

Even the first verses of Genesis give a correct order of creation when we consider that an earthbound observer would see the creation unfold just as depicted. Yes, this observer is symbolic – there were no human observers in the first days or epochs of creation – but we need to remember God’s oft-stated purpose in composing His Book is to reveal Himself to His people. As I mentioned earlier, I’ll put my money on God – and especially when scientific verity is the point of challenge. He sticks to His story and depends on a straightforward presentation of what we are seeing while having the mental discipline to think skeptically about it.

There is a war on science underway. The best response is to observe, measure, test, and evaluate with the rational capacities God gave us and rely on His Spirit to guide our faculties. It would be awesome if the practitioners of scientism called off the war and let the best ideas win in the marketplace of authentic science. It is best of all to reflect that God is at peace on His throne in spite of their rantings.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

‘But This Is Different; This Is An Emergency': The Audacity Of California’s Assisted Suicide Proponents

The testimonies at the Senate Health Committee hearing on assisted suicide (SB 128) were heartfelt and heartrending.  Leading the way was the impassioned plea of Brittany Maynard’s mother, Debbie Ziegler, that there be no more cases in which a terminally ill adult of sound mind is forced to leave her family and friends to seek death with dignity in a strange place. Of course, everyone knows “Thou shalt not kill.” But – we were told by every witness in favor of the bill becoming law – this is different; this is an emergency.

Brittany Maynard was twenty-nine years old when she took her own life on November 1, 2014. Diagnosed with glioblastoma – an aggressive form of brain cancer thought incurable and known to be pain-filled and debilitating – she made a very public decision to end her life before the onset of most of its symptoms rather than deal with the pain and indignity of running its course. She has become – in death – the public face of a burgeoning movement to hasten death in cases like hers. The spearhead is a group called Compassion and Choices – a new name for the old Hemlock Society – whose very existence is based on one lie after another.

Witnesses testified the bill has built-in safeguards to ensure decisions to die will be made by mentally competent patients only–that manipulations and coercion by unscrupulous loved ones and medical professionals seeking transplant materials will be deflected, that copycat suicides by otherwise healthy people will not spike, and that the experience in those states and nations sporting assisted suicide has been uniformly good.  No evidence was presented to support these claims because there is no truth to any of them; the proposed law has no enforceable mechanisms, and the experience in Belgium and the Netherlands has been ghoulish. But the biggest lie is that suicide is mandated by incurable conditions like Maynard’s glioblastoma; the reality is that the disease is being cured as we speak at Duke University, according to CBS News’ Scott Pelley in a report released four days after the senate hearing.

This is truly an emergency, but it is not different. It is not different from any of the other lies the enemy of all life is forever foisting on the people for whom the Son of God gave His life.

Don’t get me wrong. I was a witness myself at that senate hearing; I heard Debbie Ziegler testify, and I know she spoke the truth as she understood it. She believes she speaks for her daughter and for others like her. She is wrong. Dead wrong.

Glioblastoma patients are being treated with a disabled form of the polio virus – God makes all things for an eventual good purpose – and going into remission from the disease. But – the critics will say – what about Parkinson’s and ALS and other debilitating diseases and brain injuries and such? The twin realities are these: there are no patients who cannot be made comfortable during their last days, as medical experts testified to an unmoved senate panel; and there is no way to prevent a person from taking his own life if he is determined to do it. But there are waves of copycat suicides in the otherwise healthy population; there are high incidences of depression and other mental conditions in the people who consider – and may choose – a “medically desperate” end to life. In thirty years of ministry that includes suicide intervention, I have never met anyone who regretted being given a breathing space to think things through a bit more.

The reality is that ethical norms are in place for protection against destructive behavior, not for the inhibition of freedom. And a principle that cannot stand against an emergency is not worth much when times are good, either.

In California alone, we claim “emergency exceptions” to ethical norms when we permit non-physicians to perform abortions. (The emergency exists because so few docs are willing to perform them.) We claim “this is different” when we authorize medical marijuana and taxes disguised as fire prevention fees. (There is no medical reason for smoking wacky weed when the active ingredient is available in a bottle and that fee – if it is so necessary – can be enacted according to law.) We have emergency water rationing and a proposal to raise the top of Shasta Dam – something our governor has dreamed about for years – which will not generate a drop of water in the state. Contracting with Israeli firms to build desalination plants is an approach that could solve California’s water woes forever, but it requires visionary thinking instead of pretending more storage will generate more water. But the biggest emergency we have is voters who keep re-electing the people who do whatever they want whenever they can claim, “But this is different; this is an emergency.” Many of these kool-aid drinkers are Christians.

The National Day of Repentance is calling for a week of prayer and fasting beginning April 30 – the next scheduled National Day of Repentance – and going through May 7, the National Day of Prayer. These two ministries are partnering to call our state to repentance – re-focus on God – and seeking His face in our present emergency. Some will think this a silly exercise, and they are welcome to their view. For those who think – at the very least – nothing is lost by taking the Word of God seriously as it is spoken in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, go to www.dayofrepentance1.org for details and encouragement. Our emergency is far broader than a mere lack of rain. The good news is that God’s solution is far deeper and more fruitful than what can be covered in a news conference.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Here’s Why Christians Need To Retake The ‘Sons Of Issachar’ Test

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I was recently asked to post a purported prophetic word on the National Day of Repentance website. It said – in view of the pattern of lawlessness in government at all levels – it was time for the children of God to recognize He has blessed our faithfulness and given us favor at this time to stand against this very lawlessness. I gave it a “thumbs down” because it was clearly not a word from the Lord our God. How did I know? It flunked the Sons of Issachar test.

Issachar is one of the twelve sons of Jacob, one of the twelve Patriarchs after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of the Hebrew people of the Old Testament. Jacob’s most famous son is of course Joseph, he who rescued Egypt and Israel from famine after being sold into slavery by his brothers. The sons of Issachar were said to be anointed with supernatural understanding of pragmatic times and seasons, their implications and consequences, and the currents of relationships and alliances.

The purported prophetic word flunks the Sons test because it ignores the very real bankruptcy of the Body of Christ. Yes, there is a pronounced pattern of lawlessness at all levels of government– from the President re-writing healthcare law and the First Amendment to ignoring immigration law to states taxing illegally under their laws and expelling Christian groups from university campuses for insisting leaders accept their faith. Decorated Navy Chaplain Wes Modder has been relieved of duty and banned from his men for adhering to his faith in a counseling session despite the fact his conduct is protected in federal law and naval regulations. The jury is in on government lawlessness.

But the Church has no moral high ground on which to stand. Martin Luther King’s favorite scripture – Amos 5:24 – calls for justice to flow like a mighty river and righteousness like an unending stream. Stewarding this process is the job of the Church, not the government that derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. Yet more than a third of evangelicals and an unknown number of Catholics and mainliners do not even vote – let alone vote intelligently. In California, at least, large majorities of Christians elect the leaders who re-define concepts from marriage to immigration law to suit donors instead of constituents. Non-physicians perform abortions on our daughters – this would be illegal on a family pet – and now legislators prepare to endorse assisted suicide despite overwhelming evidence it is unnecessary and open to massive abuse.

The Church stood in the eighteenth century, and a nation was founded on God’s love and liberty. She stood in the nineteenth century, and slavery was abolished. She stood yet again in the twentieth century and ushered in authentic equality and respect between the races. Where is the Church now that so fundamental a liberty as life is under unprecedented attack throughout the so-called civilized world?

Where is the Church – I mean each and every believer, not some ponderous resolution adopted in be-robed convention – in addressing the stalkers and sexual abusers in our own ranks? The percentages of leaders who engage in these behaviors or cover them up is about the same in every denomination. The percentage of pastors and preachers who address socio-moral issues from their pulpits is correspondingly small across the board. As a young priest, I informed my bishop I planned to expel an admitted stalker from my congregation if he refused to leave his victim alone; the bishop told me I could expect no backing from him. (I did it anyway.) When do the rest of us accept responsibility to be voices for justice and righteousness, with the proviso that our personal repentance must come ahead of the repentance we call for from government and society?

The next National Day of Repentance is set for April 30. It inaugurates a week of prayer and fasting to culminate on May 7 and the National Day of Prayer. Californians are invited to our own statewide Day of Repentance on September 9. Who will show up that God might show off in our presence? Who will show up at future hearings, at the ballot boxes, and in the coffee hours of our churches and the coffee rooms of our workplaces? God’s favor is not a reward for good behavior, but it is bestowed only on those He can trust. Are we willing to become such?

California leads the nation in the blood of Native Americans on our hands, in elective suicide, abortion, family break-ups, and the addictive cycles of drugs and pornography. The Church is just as steeped in these things as any other demographic. We do have a mandate and a responsibility to address these issues in the public square. But we are going to have to re-earn the right to speak; and – ironically – speaking out as we repent is part of that re-earning. But until we do this, spare me the prophecies about God’s favor resting on us. He loves us, but He cannot be very proud of us in this hour. We need to re-take the Sons of Issachar test.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Aggression And Response — Islam And Christ

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Christianity and Islam are often compared – unfavorably – by critics who cite travesties such as the Inquisition and the Crusades to show it is religion in general that foments violence, oppression, and terror. Of course, these critics conveniently forget the Nazi Holocaust and its fifty million victims in World War II alone; to the Nazis, religion was just a pawn to be used in pursuit of power. They manage to forget – just as easily – the Communist holocausts of the twentieth century; this one claimed a quarter-billion bloody deaths, and the toll is not yet complete. It does not take a twisted religious revelation to ignite bloodlust in human beings. But God knows there are plenty of perversions alongside authentic faith; unlike people, all revelations are not created equal.

The difference is as stark as it is simple. All religions other than Christianity – even Judaism unfulfilled – are about things to know, from concepts to behaviors. Christianity alone places total reliance on a Person to be known. Are there concepts to be known in Christ and hope held out of personal encounters with God – theophanies – in other faiths? Yes and yes. But at the end of the day, it is all about what we know on the one hand and Who we know on the other. The distinction holds unless and until we twist the very revelation we have been given to make us comfortable with sin done in its name. Such aberrant interpretation has always been available.

The Inquisition was a perverse effort on the part of perverted Christians to force lapsed or (those seen as) irregular Christians to embrace the Faith as the inquisitors understood it. It began in France in the mid-thirteenth century and soon progressed from ostracizing the convicted to burning them at the stake. By the time it had spread to Spain, those placed on trial included Jewish converts to Christ suspected of reverting, unconverted Jews, and – rarely – invading Muslim POWs.

The Crusades were a much more noble adventure in their creation but still subject to perversion – a reality that should provoke repentance from Christians without shaming us before Muslims. First preached in 1095, the Crusades were a response to Islamic aggression dating back centuries. Islamic founding prophet Mohammad launched nearly thirty jihads – understood as wars of conquest in the name of his religion. After attacking and conquering the Arabian Peninsula and what is modern-day Israel, his successors occupied Spain and invaded Italy and France over three centuries. Europe lacked the cohesion for aggressive response, although Charles Martel stopped the Muslim advance in the 723 Battle of Tours. The Pope called for a Crusade only when new Islamic brutalities combined with closing the Holy Places in Israel to pilgrims after 1090.

A series of wars were fought under the banners of the Crusaders over the next three centuries; Holy Lands were recovered and again lost to Islam. All this was nothing other than defense and response against aggression. Aberrations came in the form of gratuitous attacks on Byzantium – heart of the Orthodox side of Christendom – the slaughter of numerous Jews and even some Christian pilgrims. These acts were as inexcusable as the Islamic brutalities that preceded them. That they were perversions of the faith – nonetheless – is demonstrated by the reality that no text in Old or New Testament condones violence against the innocent. To the contrary – and this includes those thought heretical – the scriptural norm is a Christ who says, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and “I came that they might have life and that abundantly,” without reservation or qualification. His followers instruct each other to “Bless and curse not” because His will is “That none should perish.” “Behold I stand at the door and knock” is His model for drawing us into His Kingdom. Jesus always stands on the granting of privilege by those for whom He sacrifices His life – not ours – and never on entitlement.

Islam, on the other hand, was born in violent conquest and is true to itself when it goes to war. Following the outburst of her first three centuries – and another three centuries of war with the Crusaders – Islam invaded Europe again in 1481’s victory at the Battle of Otranto. Thousands of civilians were rounded up and slaughtered for the “crime” of not being Muslim. Sulieman the Magnificent attacked Vienna in 1529 and was thrown back, but not before cloning the civilian slaughter made infamous at Otranto as his parting salvo. Vienna was again attacked in 1683; this time, the advance on Europe was blunted until our own time. The Levant – including Israel – was ruled with iron hand by Ottoman Turks (Islamists) until 1917. All North Africa has been under Muslim domination more than a thousand years, and the Barbary Pirates of Libya and Morocco fought for their caliphs and sultans in the first foreign war against the then-fledgling United States in 1804-5. Islam has expanded exclusively through brutality and aggressive war from birth, but what is my point?

My point is just this: Unlike the Christian Gospel, the sacred works of Islam bristle with everything from encouragement to exhortation to behave exactly as Islamic rulers always have. Muslims are specifically instructed to conquer in the name of Allah, to lie in ambush for unbelievers and deceive them where necessary, and to burn and behead those who will not accept Allah. Although untold millions of Muslim people do not accept these dictates – they seek only to care for their families and live in peace – it is they who are not in sync with their faith. The Islamo-fascists of ISIS, Al-Qaida, and Hamas – unfortunately – stand squarely in the lineage and tradition of Mohammad and every descending Islamic ruler of note.

Christians, on the other hand, are standing in the lineage and tradition of Jesus and the Apostles only when they are – in the words of Matthew 11:2-6 – raising the dead, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and sharing good news with all who will listen. There is really no comparison between these competing revelations. There never was.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Easter — The Greatest Day Of All Time

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I preached my first Easter sermon thirty years ago. Like any neophyte, I wanted to say something about Easter – the most talked about event in history – that had never before been said. I wanted to give people a chance to think about the reality of resurrection – to understand this gift – in a fresh way. My toddler son gave me my big chance.

He had completed potty training days earlier. As we celebrated his graduation to a new level of “big-boy” life, I noticed the combination of joy and terror with which he greeted it. And Easter came to mind.

I preached that Resurrection was a lot like potty training. We tend to greet it with the joy that can only be the natural response to the revelation that all of our separation from God and from authentic life itself is just an academic issue if we embrace the most down-to-earth-up-to-heaven Person who ever lived. But we also tend to greet it with the terror of knowing we have no further chance to avoid responsibility for living our life with, for, and toward God – no binding history, no seductive temptation, and no ‘but-I-didn’t-know’ excuse. The Resurrection – the Easter event – has brought us home to stay and given us every means for staying there forever. Any place in the world we go becomes home because we bring the blood, the living water, and the Spirit of the Living God with us. He is in us. Forever and ever; for better or worse.

After the service, the senior pastor approached me, eyes wide with horror. “You said ‘poop’ in church!” Actually, I did not use the word; but it was a fine distinction at best. I gave a graphic summary of what resurrection is like for us mortals who experience it – this new life in Christ. Every parent in the room – and most of the congregation was parents and their children – knew exactly what I was trying to say, and commended me for it. Even the senior pastor had to confess I had achieved my goal – to say something new about Easter.

Truth is there is nothing new to say about Easter. It was, is, and will be the greatest day of all time. Anyone familiar with the addiction and recovery process knows the addict chose to self-medicate rather than seek authentic healing for whatever thorn is wounding his flesh. Just as familiar is the fact that there comes a point in the addiction cycle where choice is no longer an option; the addict is enslaved to the choices repeated too many times to be undone by effort – even repeated effort. Along comes the Son of God through Whom all are created. He lives among us, suffers with us, and shows us how to return to God – knowing full well it can only be accomplished through the sacrifice of His life and the gift of His Spirit. In the time ordained by the Father, He does exactly that – and rises again on the third day with the promise in His rising that all of us may rise with Him if we only consent to His being the only resurrection game in town.

What is the fruit?

Over the millennia, Christians invented social welfare. The Jews began to care for the poor first – their own – and Christians spread this God mandate throughout the world. Christians invented respect for life at all stages; Jewish prophets birthed the concept, but again it was the Christians who addressed mighty empires with the Word of God for life. (Christians – giving their lives in the arena – brought the Roman Empire to its knees over this issue and others.) And it was Christians who began and pursued the process of abolishing slavery all over the world – a process completed only with the destruction of human trafficking and Islam-fascist groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram. Christians are the only effective – read: compassionate – voice against racism today.

Christians have fed hundreds of millions via miracles and the hard work of developing new ways to grow and distribute food through the scientific disciplines they invented. Christians have healed – in the power of God – more hundreds of millions through prayers and medical advances that are also fruit of their scientific advances. More than two billion people – alive today – know joy and peace because they accept the Lordship of the Resurrected One. But it is still as scary as it is joyful.

Each time we celebrate our joy, we are reminded that its cost is the surrender of authority over our lives. It’s the same story of what is still the greatest day of all time.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom