Sunday, May 31, 2009

Denying Communion

In my last post, there was a statement that "the denial of communion is intimidation".

The speakers were Catholic. When they say Communion, they meaning the ceremony involving "taking of the Eucharist" - the bread transmuted into the literal body of Christ.

As a Protestant, I would speak of "communion" - fellowship and meeting with other Christians.

The Catholic version is more serious. Denying the Eucharist is denying a means of grace, potentially damaging to one's eternal state. Total eviction from the Church could be interpreted as causing one to lose one's salvation (if you believe there is no salvation outside the Church).

But, there is agreement that some form of discipline is needed, as commanded by Matthew 18:15-19.

That gets back to the meaning of love. Is it loving to deny the truth? To carry on meeting and associating with someone who disagrees with fundamental teaching? Is not the most loving thing to be truthful? Even if it is hard.

Perhaps feeling the hard consequences will bring someone to right thinking.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Common Ground on Abortion

Interesting discussion on Obama's comment that we should find "common ground".

The first guy is just wrong. His whole argument supporting voting for Obama is built in a vacuum. It amounts to "Obama is going to do good stuff, so we should vote for him."

After time mark 19:05 - "The denial of communion is intimidation". This is worth a post in itself.

He makes a reference to the Sermon on the mount. This is a good point for theology. The sermon on the mount is not instruction for how we should live. It is a demonstration of the crushing weight of the Law, of salvation by works. It is not a guideline of how we should live, but rather a demand of how we must live if we are to have salvation by works.

Voting against Obama is making the "perfect the enemy of the good". That is just hilarious.

The second guy speaks much more boldly and clearly. I like him.

In the Q&A, the first guy is asked to justify his statement about intimidation. He then goes on about how opposition to Roe has failed, so we can vote for Obama with a clear conscience.

Near 1:10:00, the first guy says we are making ESCR seem ok, because it's not "in the womb". So, location determines rights? (which the second guy addresses well)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

ASC and lung cancer

Interesting development using adult stem cells in mice, from Science Daily. Here adult stem cells from bone marrow are genetically modified to deliver killing proteins to tumors.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Stellar Distances

I have long wanted to review the process of measuring distances in deep space. It is not as simple as might be believed...

On earth, we measure short distances with a glance. A baseball player knows just how far it is to first base, and how hard to throw the ball. A car driver has a little more trouble, dealing with greater distances and higher speeds.

Look at an airplane in the sky. Is it big, fast and far - or small, slow, and near? Look at a picture of two airplanes with only sky around. Are they about to collide? Or miles apart?

We can measure these things using triangulation. Taking two measurements a known distance apart, and calculating the differences in the angle and length.

What about when the object is in space?

The largest "known" distance we can use is the diameter of the Earth's orbit (2 AU). This is fairly small in the grand scheme of things, so our triangle collapses to a line.

There is an article on Science Daily discussing the standard method for measuring large distances in space - the "Type 1a Supernova".

This method is dependent on many assumptions. Namely, that our models of stellar evolution are correct (models which rely on undiscovered dark matter).

I'm not certain that these measurements are wrong, but they are open to interpretation and error. I will need to pull some data from star catalogs, where you can see the distance to stars shifts - due to revising the underlying calculations.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Let's Talk About Sex

Albert Mohler has given me the opportunity to talk about a topic I have been meaning to get to for a long time.

I am going to focus more on a sermon by John Macarthur (which I, sadly, don't have a link for). John was talking about some statistics he had seen about sex.

There are some good stats from the US government, probably similar to what John was looking at.

An average couple has sex for a few hours a week. A really active couple might have sex for a few hours a day (7-14 hours per week).

Compare that with:
  • 56 hours per week sleeping (33%)
  • 40 hours per week working (24%)
  • more than 17 hours watching TV (5.1*.5*7)
  • 8 hours eating and drinking
I'm not sure where they hide the data for driving to and from work. It's got to be at least 15 minutes each way, probably 30 or 60 for a lot of people... Plus all the driving for groceries, etc. Could be easily 10 hours a week or more.

Now imagine that someone would reject the Good News of salvation, because it would interfere with their watching television. Or the way they drive to work. It would be ridiculous.

Sex is less of a percentage of our day than any of these things.

Yet, for sex, people would turn the world upside down. Reject Christianity, the Bible, hearing the Good News, even friendly relations with other people.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Constitutional Creationism

An interesting article on Science Daily. I am most interested in one comment:
"The studies say that more than 25 percent of biology teachers do not know it is unconstitutional to teach creationism."
Apparently 100% of the editors of this article do not know it is not unconstitutional to teach creationism.

The Supreme Court has found it unconstitutional for a state law to require the teaching of creationism.

It is not illegal for a teacher to teach whatever they feel is appropriate to their class (subject to their working agreement with the school administration).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dinosaur Proteins

I've previously commented on the repeatability and falsifiable nature of evolution science. The claim of 65 million year old t-rex proteins has gone back and forth a couple of times (with some saying it is an error, and others supporting it).

Now, we have 80 million year old hadrosaur proteins.

Give me 80 million years, and we might be able to repeat the experiment (although no one is sure how to set up the experiment...)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

ASC and Blood Vessels 2

I posted previously on a clinical study using adult stem cells to rebuild blood vessels. There is another researcher advancing similar techniques in the Netherlands.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Rationalist's Dilemma

The rationalist must be completely fair in his decision making. Otherwise, his notion of "truth" will be slanted towards his preconceptions (which I argue is true for all rationalists).

Science Daily has coverage of a scientific study showing this notion of "tabula rasa" is unfounded:
"The findings of this research show that risk preferences may be manipulated – while the person making those decisions is unaware of it."
The Bible tells us that the mind of the unrepentant is unable to comprehend the things of God:
"because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be" - Romans 8:7
Not only that, but that their minds do not work correctly, at all, whatsoever:
"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." - Romans 1:25
"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient" - Romans 1:28
The Greek word translated "reprobate" means "worthless" or "rejected".