Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sin Is Irrational

Hmm, hot on the heals of yesterday's post, we have some more data to ruin a rationalist's day.

Quote of the day:
"The more elaborate ethical debates that we engage in are largely attempts at post-hoc rationalizations of our earlier decisions. "
Now, if this can happen in a clear cut economic sense, how can the rationalist be sure it's not happening every day, in every way?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sin Is Illogical

Sin causes several problems for the rationalist.

The first being, "What is sin?" Without an objective standard, it causes a lot of confusion and division.

The second being, "Why do we sin?" Not the easy sins - like lying to protect our image, or things we can never get caught for that benefit us.

Big sins, stupid sins.

Like, say, Eliott Spitzer.

The story is only tenuously connected to Spitzer, especially with a comment like:
"when people operate above or below a certain level of moral self-worth, they instinctively push back in the opposite direction to reach an internally regulated set point of goodness"
Yea, I've spent my whole life prosecuting bad people, so I'll balance it out by engaging in some prostitution.

This story flows a lot better when you think about it in terms of sin.

Man inherently understands sin (although he may consciously reject it). This understanding drives justice.

Man is also self-righteous (believing himself more good than he really is), and works-righteous (doing good to cancel out bad he has down).

This is achieved largely through justification (man is self-justified, that is, made right in his own eyes; according to his own standards).

A man like Spitzer would say, "I have worked hard, I deserve this". Or "It is only a small thing, I can stop any time". Of course, he is enslaved to sin (Romans 6:17).

That is the overwhelming sinfulness of sin.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nothing Becomes Everything

Ars Technica has coverage of a topic I covered earlier in "People will believe anything - except the Bible".

One hundred years ago, the idea that "nothing exploded to become everything" would have been laughed at. Now, it is rapidly becoming the standard atheist cosmology.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

ASC and Leukemia

Interesting article at Science Daily.

Here, they are comparing the use of stem cells from the patient (nonallogeneic, or autologous) or from a donor (allogeneic). ESC are effectively always allogeneic.

The findings indicate that allogeneic treatments only benefit medium and high risk patients.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Homosexual Animals

An article I wanted to touch on briefly at Science Daily.

The first point is the interesting tendency towards the argument, "Animals do it, so it's ok!"

The second is an evolutionist / creationist point.

The creationist would say, "Homosexual behavior in animals is a product of the Fall (even leading to genetic changes). It is representative of our rebellion, and refusal to honor the image of God. The animals are simply reflecting that behavior in us."

The atheist would say "Homosexual behavior has evolved over millions of years."

But what about Christian evolutionists? If homosexual behavior is genetic, and is encoded in base pairs from millions of years ago, is it reflective of Creation before the Fall?

Is it part of God's "good" order?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cosmological Measurements

A very revealing article at Science Daily.

Interesting details:
  • A star shrinking by 15% in 15 years, no one knows why

  • Changes in methodology in just the past year have moved the star from 430 ly away to 640 ly (an error of 48.9%).

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cosmological Time

Time and distance are used almost interchangeably in cosmology. Measurements pertaining to either can be critical in evaluating truth claims.

The referenced article at Science News is a good case for why we should be skeptical of "computer models" (I know, I used to write models of computer hardware).
"By including in their model previously ignored features such as the maximum possible rate of rotation and subtle shifts in the observed radio frequency due to a pulsar’s motion across the sky, the team finds that some millisecond pulsars are up to 10 times younger or 10 times older than earlier estimates suggest."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Obama, Islam, and Tolerance

I can't help but laugh at modern (or post-modern) man.

Christians are intolerant because they:
  1. Proclaim what they believe to be true (the Gospel), and ask other people to consider the repercussions of it (repent and be saved)
  2. Proclaim that Jesus is the only way to be saved
But Muslims can invade a territory, set up sharia law, have a special tax just for infidels, deny common freedoms (like proclaiming the truth as you see it, in #1 above) - and they are considered tolerant, because they didn't put the people to the sword (which would be the normal behavior).

Excellent summary at Insight Scoop.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stellar Distance 2

I previously mentioned a method for measuring distance in space using novae.

There is another method, called cepheid. The Wikipedia article is a good place to start.

It is important to note that this methodology is dependent on the assumption that these stars are behaving the way that we believe they are, and that our estimates of measuring the distance to some of them is correct.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ASC and blindness

"World-first breakthrough" at Science Daily.
"The research team ... harvested stem cells from patients’ own eyes to rehabilitate the damaged cornea."

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Danger of Continualism

iMonk is always beset by Catholics trying to convert him. I have my occasional running battle with atheists.

Over at Pyromaniacs, they fight with anyone who isn't strictly orthodox - although there seems to be a trend towards emergents and continualists (the opposite of cessationist).

Of course, this leads to more polemical posts against them, and additional reading of books (to explore the state of the church).

Digging through my archives, I found this interesting post (from April).

This really captures the dangerous aspects of this theology. I can attest that the dangers Dan speaks of here are real - there are people who are being negatively impacted by this dangerous theology.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Multiple Universes

I think my new favorite saying should be, "People will believe anything - except the Bible". An article on Science News discusses the new theory of multiple universes.

I must investigate this notion of inflation, I thought it was much older than the article is saying:
"the anthropic implications of a multiplicity of universes, which owe their newfound importance to a popular astrophysical theory called inflation... Alan Guth of MIT, who invented the inflation idea in 1980...For a tiny fraction of a second, Guth proposed, the universe expanded exponentially, explaining why the visible cosmos is now so uniform in temperature and structure."
It was my understanding that inflation is used to explain why far objects are farther away than speed * time (that is, objects have been observed further away than the accepted age of the universe would allow). This notion of inflation explaining the uniformity of the universe puzzles me.

The other thing puzzling me is the use of averages to tell a story. I'm not sure if this is a new science thing, or a literary thing. It is most telling in Stephen Baxter's book "Manifold Time". There, he basically argues that this is the last generation, because if our population was going to expand immensely, on average, you would expect to be a part of that immense population.

This idea is actually used twice in the article:
"calculate the average temperature of space in those that remain, humans should measure a cosmic temperature that is not very far off from that average."
"If Boltzmann brains dominated the cosmos, humans would be rare, so your very existence implies that the average habitable universe must be young enough to restrain the odds of Boltzmann brain formation."
I don't understand this at all. The median name is Smith or Mohammad. Not everyone has that name. There are twelve people with my surname. Does that mean I shouldn't exist?

Thursday, June 4, 2009


It's always fascinating to get the perspective of a faithful and consistent post-mil, like Doug Wilson.

Now Wilson has a response to the murder of the famous abortionist Tiller.

The first part is rock solid (and is continuing a theme he has covered many times). Vigilantism is always wrong, because government is established by God. We cannot break the laws of the government in order to "do good" (because the act is automatically evil - being a rebellion against God-given authority).

The second part is where I always get confused...
"You will get something like 995 responses to the effect that the devil is the god of this world...But this is all wrong. Jesus is the God of this world." [emphasis his]
I think it is related to the principle of "now and not yet". Yes, Jesus is Lord of all. But the world is in rebellion - sin remains. It is only when Jesus comes again that all rebellion will be put down, and Jesus will reign completely. That is what Revelation 5-7 is all about (the sealed scroll is the title deed to the Earth). It is a future event.

Wilson alludes to Matthew 28:19 ("Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"):
"commanded us to disciple the nations, teaching them all that Jesus commanded" [emphasis his]
The word translated "nations" is "ethnos". It means a group of people related in some way (tribe, ethnic group, nation). A collection of people, not a system of laws. We cannot baptize a Constitution. A country cannot be Christian.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ASC and heart disease

Additional research into using adult stem cells to cure heart disease.

I have commented previously on two other treatments.

This one is still in the animal test phase, while the other two are in human trials.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ASC and disease

Pretty cool development reported by Science Daily.
"After taking hair or skin cells from patients with Fanconi anemia, the investigators corrected the defective gene in the patients' cells using gene therapy techniques pioneered in Verma's laboratory. They then successfully reprogrammed the repaired cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells ... The resulting FA-iPS cells were indistinguishable from human embryonic stem cells and iPS cells generated from healthy donors."
Reprogramming cells like computers - like I said, cool.