Thursday, April 30, 2009

Atheism's Victory 2

Albert Mohler is continuing coverage of the ARIS poll. I last commented on this issue and the pessimistic nature of my theology.

The key points:
"There is more than a little truth in Prothero's observations. Atheists are suddenly very hopeful about the secular trends and evangelicals are habitually prone to jeremiads about Christianity in cultural retreat. Nevertheless, there is more to this story than Prothero allows here."
"The real issue here is that I define Christianity in very different terms than those of either the ARIS study or Professor Prothero's minimalist use of the term."
Another interesting point:
"when he [Prothero] discusses the 'Christian America' question in his classes, evangelical Christians describe America as a multicultural nation of religious diversity while non-Christian students see the nation as pervasively Christian."
So America is "Christian", in the sense that our culture is still largely influenced by Christianity, rather than atheism or Islam. But this is "cultural Christianity". And largely inertia. Cultural Christianity is all about ignoring Biblical warnings: "that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error" Ephesians 4:14

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

ASC and MS

I commented previously on a treatment for multiple sclerosis using adult immune stem cells.

Now, a different procedure, using fat stem cells.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Last year I commented on a story showing no correlation between morphology and species relationships in birds.

Now, a similar study on worms.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Romans 1

Interesting headline from CNN:
"Why women are leaving men for other women"
I'm not particularly interested in the details, as much as the theology. John Macarthur recently said that he is fairly certain God has turned His back on America.

I agree.
"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature" Romans 1:26
I actually talked about this some last year.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Meh-wuj. Meh-wuj is whut bwings us togethah, today.

Marriage is a confusing concept for people today. Even most Christians have little understanding of what the Bible says about marriage, and being a husband or wife.

It should come as no surprise that marriage in the world is a train wreck.
"People planning to get married should think about not only how their partners support what they hope to achieve but also about how their partners support what they feel obligated to accomplish," Molden said. "We could end up with both happier marriages and more satisfied people in general."
I'll make a prediction. As long as sinful people are getting married, married people are not going to be happy or satisfied.

Our happiness cannot be dependent on our spouse, we must look to satisfaction from God for our happiness (technically, "joy" - guaranteed happiness in the world is unachievable).

Also, we cannot approach marriage as "what can I get". The Biblical approach to marriage is based on submission, service, and putting the needs of the other above ourselves.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

ESC and topical ointment

ESC supporters often talk about the ethical and responsible use of this research. I have a short post on how open this definition can be...

Now we can see how the remains of aborted fetuses are used.
"Foetal CD133+ cells might be used in the future as a 'factory' of therapeutic substances. Alternatively, synthetic replica of the conditioned medium could be produced to obviate ethical concerns surrounding the direct use of foetal stem cells."

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Value of Life

I often make the argument of replacing (using sed of course!) embryos with convicted felons (using "s/embryo/convicted felon/g").

Now, we have reason to believe this is actually happening in China.
"Organ procurement in China has been especially criticized for its reliance on executed prisoners as donors."
"A strong majority believed procurement practices were ethically sound in the U.S. and Europe, but only 4 percent believed that procurement practices were ethically sound in China."
What's worse, in China a "convicted felon" could mean a political prisoner.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ASC and Organ Donors

Report of a method to produce large numbers of stem cells, enabling bone marrow transplant and helping organ donors fight rejection.

Monday, April 20, 2009

ASC and Stroke

We have previously seen stem cells (which I assumed to be adult) used to treat stroke in rats. Now that treatment has made the jump to human patients.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

ASC and Bones

A miraculous new treatment for healing bone fractures, using adult stem cells.

Friday, April 17, 2009

ASC and Diabetes

Since the last summary, there have been several new wins for adult stem cell research:
  1. Another treatment for different forms of heart problems
  2. Forming new blood vessels
  3. Now, a treatment for diabetes

Thursday, April 16, 2009

ESC and Nerves

Good to see the morality and nobility of embryonic stem cells research. Let's expose them to some random chemicals that work on mice, and see what happens!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I just don't know what to say.

Is the most shocking part that they don't give the percentage of pre-teens having sex?

I found:
"More than one-third of youth in the study reported engaging in precoital touching behaviors. Among the students who engaged in precoital behavior, 43 percent reported having engaged in sexual intercourse."
.334 x .43 = 0.143362; 14%

Ok, so 1 in 7 pre-teen is having sex. That is shocking, at least to me. How does anyone think 12 year olds having sex is possibly good in any way?

Of course, the researchers get to be shocking too:
"These findings are alarming because youth who start having sex before age 14 are much more likely to have multiple lifetime sexual partners, use alcohol or drugs before sex and have unprotected sex, all of which puts them at greater risk for getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or becoming pregnant"
Err, so the only negative thing about this is that they might get a horrible, incurable disease; or become pregnant? What about, you know, children having sex in the first place?
"'We need to develop prevention programs that address the needs of students who are not yet sexually active in order to promote skills and attitudes to help them wait until they are older to have sex,' Markham said. 'And we need to provide skills and knowledge related to condoms and contraception for youth who are already sexually active.'"
"The study recommends that sexually active students also need to receive accurate and factual information and services related to STDs and pregnancy testing, as well as skills for future abstention and risk reduction for those who intend to remain sexually active."
How can a 12 year old "intend" anything? Don't adults have a responsibility to guide and limit those intentions?

At least abstention is in there somewhere!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


There is an amusing article at Science News, describing the current state of cosmology. I would like to go into some of the underlying science at some point (particularly, techniques for measuring distance, and age).
"Inflation became popular, though, because it solves several problems."
These problems being:
  1. space (as measured) is flat, although it should be curved (to remove the notion of a "center")
  2. space is uniform at the macro level, but non-uniform locally (space should be uniform throughout, or non-uniform throughout - uniformity implies structure or communication)
Of course, when data spoils your theories, you could throw out your theories.
“If you want quantum fluctuations to explain all the structure in the universe, you need something like inflation”
Or you could make up a lot of stuff that hasn't been measured (or even better, can't be measured!)

Like inflation, and then dark energy to drive the inflation.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Biological Canon

Canon (from ruler or model) is the definition of what is correct. In post-modern science, this is always up for grabs (no firm foundation).

An interesting article at Science News reviews the canon of "common descent".

The most interesting point being from Norman Pace:
"The whole issue of prokaryote-eukaryote was taken as a truth when it was still just conjecture. Prokaryote was a figment of imagination that got canonized in the institution of biology rather than the question remaining open."
I haven't seen a good counter for that, just "we have new canon now". Now, there are four different stories!
  1. Three domain tree - what is at the common root? where is the proof?
  2. Eocyte tree - this is closest to the original theory
  3. Web of life - this seems to abandon the notion of common descent
  4. Ring of life - not sure how this is different than three domain or web
Here we see another tenet of post-modernism - everyone has their own truth!
"'Any discussion of the tabling of prokaryotes should be scrapped until' the origin of eukaryotes is better understood, [Michael] Dolan says."
This is actually quite reasonable - "I don't know" would be a better answer to a lot of questions...
"But Pace says he has enough information to justify relegating prokaryote to the history books. 'It’s got to go!' he says. 'It’s intellectually no longer tenable.'"
Perhaps it is "perverse" to disagree?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Post-modern Truth

I posted a quote earlier on the post-modern notion of truth. We can see it in action at Science News.

The key point is:
"Peking Man date[s] to 780,000 years ago, roughly 200,000 years earlier than usually thought, scientists say"
Here is the Stephen Gould quote again:
"Moreover, 'fact' does not mean 'absolute certainty.' The final proof of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science, 'fact' can only mean 'confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent."
The first part is important, logic and mathematics achieve certainty - because they are not about the empirical world (they are self-contained, and purely in the realm of thought).

The second is my point - "Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth". What was true yesterday ("Peking man is 580,000 years old") is today a total lie (because he is now 780k years old). Any "fact" of science could be overturned tomorrow. There is no certainty, no foundation.

The third is the most ironic. Saying it is "perverse" to disagree. The literal meaning is "twisted". Merriam-Webster gives the first definition as "turned away from what is right or good" - a value statement. What is "good"? Apparently, agreeing with evolutionists is good, and disagreeing is evil.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

God and Kirk Douglas

I'm always interested in greater insight into a person's theology (because theology influences everything).

A recent interview with Kirk Douglas at CNN reveals some of his theology:
"I have studied religion, and I have concluded that there is some power. We don't understand it. Nobody really saw the Pearly Gates or hell."
"I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not; or whether out of the body, I know not; God knoweth), such a one caught up even to the third heaven. And I know such a man (whether in the body, or apart from the body, I know not; God knoweth), how that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." This is Paul, writing in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. Also, we have the words of Jesus, who sees everything.
"you must care for others. That's the correct religion, I think. You have to learn eventually to care for other people. My mother said once to me -- and we were very poor -- but my mother said, 'A beggar must give something to another beggar who is worse off than he.' And that has stuck with me. ... If people give whatever they can give to help other people, we will solve all of the problems of the world."
Two things: one, that's works righteousness (what we do makes us acceptable); two, if it's so simple, why doesn't everyone do it - the problem is sin.

Please pray for Mr. Douglas, that God would convince him that the truth can be known.

Friday, April 10, 2009

America and Islam

Albert Mohler, as ever, has some insightful analysis of President Obama's speech to Muslims.

But, I am most interested in the theology, particularly post-millenialism and what it means to be a "Christian nation".

Can any nation be "Christian"?

A person is a Christian, when he admits he is a sinner (deserving of God's wrath), turns from a life of sin, and trusts in Jesus to have paid the price for sin. At that point, he is an adopted child of God.

Can a nation repent and trust? Does God adopt a constitution or set of human laws?

Is a nation whose majority population is Christian, then Christian? Was Rome, or any Roman city, before Constantine?

Does a Christian nation need to "turn the other cheek" when attacked, to "do good to those who oppress you", to "give without expectation of repayment"?

How would any such nation survive aggression?

I don't believe a nation can be Christian (Christian-based, yes). But nations can be Muslim, as Mohler says...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

ASC and Blood Vessels

Another win for adult stem cells!
"'We can select the right stem cells from the patient's own bone marrow and put them back in the area of ischemia to allow these cells to coordinate the formation of new blood vessels.' says Hess"
"a multi-center clinical trial now underway in Houston, Texas, involving 21 patients with end-stage peripheral artery disease"

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Some say that dispensationalism is "pessimistic" eschatology (as opposed to postmillenialism, which is optimistic).

I think the charge is largely true. Dispys see no promise from God that things are going to get better (not that they can't get better).

The important thing is, which is true? That is something I will need to go into more depth for.

Albert Mohler (a dispy like me) has several posts pertaining to the ARIS poll. I commented on one. There was a second (on March 27), which I did not comment on. Now, there is a third.

It is interesting to contrast the outlook of dispy's (Mohler and myself) with those of post-mils (like Doug Wilson at Blog and Mablog).

To the dispy, whatever happens is business as usual. We have no expectation that the Church will improve society - in fact, we expect the Church and society to be at odds (if the Church is doing its job correctly).

The post-mil is more vocal (my favorite Wilson quote on why post-Christian Europe has not devolved yet is, "the prodigal son didn't run out of money right away").

But how is a post-mil not depressed by this turn events? After struggling for 1500 years to expand around the world, and 200 years to separate Church and State (in the proper way, where the State acknowledges equal rights come from our equality before our Creator) - now to see the nation backsliding.

I don't get it.

My hope is not in the progress of the Church against the world. Like Mohler:
"Still, I hope I did not reflect too much gloom in my analysis. This much I know -- Jesus Christ is Lord, and His kingdom is forever. Our proper Christian response to this new challenge is not gloom, but concern. And our first concern must be to see that the Gospel is preached as Good News to the perishing -- including all those in post-Christian America."
Our hope is in Jesus, and His return.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ASC and Heart Attacks

We've seen that adult stem cells (ASC, specifically from bone marrow) are already being used to treat heart disease (angina).

Now, there is a separate study using bone marrow cells in heart attack patients.

These are not the same study. The first study had 167 participants, who did not have angioplasty or stents. The second involved 31 patients who had received angioplasty and stents.

Monday, April 6, 2009

ESC and Teeth

Good news for lovers of embryonic stem cell research!

Some day, in the dark future, embryonic stem cells may be used to give you new lips!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Loving Death

Proverbs 8:36 "But he that sinneth against Me wrongeth his own soul: All they that hate Me love death."

Every unrepentant person hates God (some are more vocal about it than others). They also love death (again, some are more vocal).

Albert Mohler has found a few who are very vocal...

Here again we see the appeal to efficiency.
"For 50 suicide attempts you have one suicide and the others are failing with heavy costs on the National Health Service. If we would have another attitude to suicide, saying suicide is a very good possibility to escape. In many, many cases they are terribly hurt afterwards sometimes you have to put them in institutions for 50 years. Very costly."
Very costly? Is cost our god? What about truth? What about doing right? These things have lost their meaning.

We like to think that all people are equally and infinitely valuable. But the reality is, real (numeric) costs can be assigned to people...

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Much of modern debate is framed in terms of rights. The right to life, the right to marry, equal rights.

For abortion, this is "reproductive rights".

An article at Science Daily made me think about this, but I am not going to address the article directly.

There is a interesting paradox for Christians.

Only Christians can make a valid claim for "God-given rights". I have yet to hear a good argument from atheists about where rights come from. Most seem to be sliding into a gray area, where rights are whatever those in power decide they are (thus driving the competition for power and influence).

At the same time, the Bible urges us not to fight for our rights - but to put aside our rights in love and service to others (to put the needs of others ahead of the exercise of our rights).

Of course, when a direct command from God is in question (such as murder and abortion), then it is right to protest and disobey (within the limits of the law).

The ultimate escalation available being to put aside our rights entirely - allowing the government to imprison or even kill us. Never to overthrow the God-given authority of government.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Episcopals and Discernment

The Episcopal Church is not famous for its discernment (see V. Gene Robinson). But there is some good news from CNN:
"Episcopal minister defrocked after becoming a Muslim"
"The Diocese of Rhode Island, where Redding was ordained, told her to leave either her new Muslim faith or the ministry. A diocese statement said Bishop Geralyn Wolf found Redding to be 'a woman of utmost integrity. However, the Bishop believes that a priest of the Church cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim.'"
You know it's bad when even CNN understands what is going on:
"There are many contradictions between the two religions. While Islam recognizes Jesus as a prophet, Christianity worships him as the son of God."
The other big one being that Christianity believes Jesus paid the price for sin (satisfying God's just wrath), while Islam believes Jesus did not die on the cross (a fate too horrible for a prophet).

Islam believes we can pay the price for sin through works.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Adult Stem Cells and Heart Attacks

There are so many wins for adult stem cells, let me summarize:
  1. Heart disease in humans (new one)
  2. Stroke in rats (I think, it didn't say)
  3. Paralysis in animals
  4. Multiple sclerosis (in humans)
  5. Muscular dystrophy (in animals)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Methods and Conclusions

This is not an April Fool's joke!

Intriguing article from Science Daily yesterday. I am not going to focus on the title ("Hundreds Of Natural-selection Studies Could Be Wrong, Study Demonstrates").

Rather, I am going to examine methods and conclusions.

Many people have an odd view of scientists and science. They think scientists are pure and noble (read Slashdot comments if you are in doubt). Seeking only the truth through holy procedures.

Scientists are people (aka fallen and sinful).

People motivated by greed and ego, pride and stubbornness. Naive ideologues and sinister schemers.

Most papers are published by graduate students and their professors. These people are measured by their output in number of papers and the quality of the conference ("publish or perish"). Corporate researchers are graded similarly (that was my job for six years).

I'm not saying there is a huge conspiracy to promote evolution.

But there is definitely not anything pure or holy in any field of research.

You do what it takes to get published.

The conference committees have certain expectations (things "look right" or "look wrong"). You don't mess around with what works. You don't question everything that came before you. You find the one small tweak on existing papers, and hope you get it done before your competitors (any good idea has been thought of multiple times, and the other guy is not more than a year behind you; probably only six months - if you're lucky).

In most fields, there is real world testing that happens after the research. Bridges fall down, microprocessors turn out with bad performance and high temperature. Rockets explode on the launch pad.

From the article:
"biologists should pair experimental data with their statistical data whenever possible. Scientists [evolutionary biologists?] usually do not use experimental data because such experiments can be difficult to conduct and because they are very time-consuming"