Sunday, February 28, 2010


I continue to be impressed by how un-Biblical thoughts always result in the exact opposite effects of Biblical ones.

This can be seen repeatedly in the Women's Liberation movement. Rather than empowering and helping women, the effects have been to demean and impoverish women.

We have seen this in free sex (for men), and (sex selection) abortion.

Now, Albert Mohler has an excellent analysis of no-fault divorce:
"Demanded by those who claimed that no-fault divorce would be more humane... no-fault divorce has allowed millions of men to abandon their families and leave their children and former wives to poverty. The statistics are clear enough — men who divorce their wives and no longer live with their children generally improve their standard of living over the next few years. The family left behind generally has the opposite experience, with children and former wives living at significantly reduced income levels."
God hates divorce. He hates it because it mars the image of Christ and the Church - which is what marriage is all about. He also hates it because it is inevitably unjust - allowing men to take advantage of women.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

ASC and Spinal Cord

A long promise, short return of ESC has been spinal cord injuries... at Science Daily we see experiments making progress in rats - using ASC.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Science of Global Warming

(continuing from part one)

We have seen that the Earth could potentially be quite cold (5 C). The atmosphere plays a large part in keeping the temperature comfortable.

Another part is the oceans.
"the ocean can store as much heat in its top three meters (10 feet) as the entire atmosphere does"
That is an interesting statement, which I would like to walk through...

The atmosphere contain 5e18 kg of gases. The surface area of all the oceans is 3.61e18 cm^2.

One liter of water is 10 cm deep under 100 cm^2 surface area (1e3 cm^3). 3 meters deep gives us 1.08e19 cm^3, or 1.08e16 L. One liter of water weighs 1 kg (at the temperature and pressure we care about).

The heat capacity of water (in the temperature range we are interested in - 5 to 30 C) is 4.2 J/gK (this should be familiar as the value of one calorie).

That gives us a total heat capacity of 4.54e19 J/K. That is a lot. Total world consumption of energy is 4.74e20 J per year. That's enough to raise surface ocean temperatures 10 degrees.

The total amount of water in the hydrosphere is 1.4e21 kg (about 100,000 times that amount). One part in 100,000 is in the atmosphere (the rest being in the oceans). The temperature varies from 12-20 C near the top (1,000 m) to 4 C in the depths.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Depression and Hope

An interesting study at Science Daily:
"participants who scored in the top third of the Religious Well-Being Scale were 75-percent more likely to get better with medical treatment for clinical depression"
I don't like to say too much about these sorts of survey studies, but it is interesting. Anyone without God literally has no hope.

Now, anyone who came to realize that would understandably feel depressed. In fact, it is only by being ignorant or in denial (or drugged out of your mind) that you would not feel it...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Par for the Course

An excellent review of the Tiger Woods scandal and apology by Albert Mohler.

Mohler captures the heart of the problem:
"The distinction between the Christian and Buddhist worldviews is laid bare for all to see... We believe that he will not find salvation in renouncing all desire. We would hope instead that he might hear the Gospel and desire Christ."
Buddhism (and much of today's "Oprah theology") calls for the believer to abstain from sin. But this has two problems:
  1. It denies the powerful attraction of sin (simply saying "sin is destructive" is not the whole truth)
  2. It provides no power for avoiding sin (power which only comes from God)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Prenatal Surgery

With all the talk of abortion, its nice to see the science of the womb being used for some good.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Interesting takes from Science News and Science Daily:
"shows that the accretion scenario, believed by many to be the most likely one, does not contribute more than a few percent to the observed type 1a supernova rate in [elliptical] galaxies"
Always nice when one's models are totally wrong. But never fear!
"the only viable alternative is the merger of two white dwarfs; therefore they are the likely cause of the majority of type 1a supernovae"
I can't imagine anything else, so the unlikely thing must be likely.

This is all related to the yardstick used to measure stellar distances.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Carbon Dating

An informative article from Science Daily:
"As the amount of carbon -14 in the atmosphere is not constant, but varies with the strength of Earth's magnetic field, solar activity and ocean radiocarbon ages must be corrected with a calibration curve."
I think there is a typo in there, somewhere. I think it is "varies with ... and ocean ?behavior? - radiocarbon ages must..."

Frankly, any carbon-14 date before written history is based on a model, which cannot be verified. This is an update to the model.

Also, if diamonds regularly show up as being 50,000 years old (the reason carbon-14 cannot be used past 50,000 years) - is that really due to contamination? Is there no way to factor that out or be more careful? It seems to me that it is just wrong. Diamonds should contain 0 C14 (if they are millions of years old).

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Global Warming

Two funny articles at Science Daily:
The first:
"previous studies have largely overestimated mass loss from Alaskan glaciers over the past 40 years. Recent data from the SPOT 5 and ASTER satellites have enabled researchers to extensively map mass loss in these glaciers, which contributed 0.12 mm/year to sea-level rise between 1962 and 2006, rather than 0.17 mm/year as previously estimated."
.17 over .12 is 41.67% error.

Given that introduction, the title of the next article delivers the punchiline:
"How Well Do Scientists Understand How Changes in Earth's Orbit Affect Long-Term Natural Climate Trends?"
Off by almost 50%, maybe? Not very well?
"compared the current warm interglacial period with one 400,000 years ago"
This is going to end well.
"The researchers found that the current interglacial has indeed lasted some 2.0-2.5 millennia longer than predicted by the currently dominant theory... But the anomaly vanished when the researchers considered a rival theory"
So, somebody is off by 2000 years.
"Future research should more precisely narrow down the influence of orbital changes on climate"
Yes, why don't you get right on that.

Friday, February 12, 2010

ASC and Cerebral Palsy

Exciting news from Science Daily:
"For the purposes of this study, we're not looking at stem cells as a possible cure; rather whether stem cells can help change the course of these types of brain injuries in children"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Soup is a Lie

(apologies to cake lovers and Portal)

Ask any believer in evolution, and they will tell you about the all-powerful, holy, and mystical soup. Hundreds of millions of years ago, rocks gave forth soup, and the soup became you.

An interesting article from Science Daily:
"Despite bioenergetic and thermodynamic failings the 80-year-old concept of primordial soup remains central to mainstream thinking on the origin of life"
Don't worry, there is a new theory:
"geochemical gradients across a honeycomb of microscopic natural caverns at hydrothermal vents. These catalytic cells generated lipids, proteins and nucleotides which may have given rise to the first true cells... Early organisms likely exploited these gradients through a process called chemiosmosis" (emphasis added)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Some people might think I am exaggerating when I talk about the "overwhelming sinfulness of sin". Consider this piece from CNN:
"The future is 'girl.'"
That's always a good start.
"They initiated a process to crush, eradicate, annihilate, humiliate, belittle, censor, reduce and kill off the girl cell.

This was called patriarchy."

Sinful patriarchy looks like this. That does not mean the problem is patriarchy. The problem is sin. Matriarchy will be just as bad, if not worse.

"That emotions have inherent logic and lead to radical saving action."

That's not going to end well...

"The state of girl, the condition of girl -- in the world and in us -- will determine if this species survives."


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

ASC and Fat, Again

A lot of duplication on this one.

I previously noted a publication from Stanford on using fat cells for stem cell supply.

Then, researchers in Korea said the same.

Not wanting to be outdone in duping, there was another article from Stanford shortly thereafter.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Government as Savior

I don't agree with Doug Wilson on everything theologically, but I do really enjoy his writing style. Also, he often has very good insights into modern behavior.
"Every real problem identified in the movie -- for there were some substantial ones, along with the pretend ones -- was a problem created by overweening government interference in the market. And a number of times, this government interference was created by the hue and cry of reformers from a previous generation, who were demanding that those in authority 'do something'. And is this not the very definition of the modern reformer -- someone who identifies a problem and wants 'something done' -- whether or not it makes things better or worse?"
Here, Wilson is talking about food (this movie was talking about the evils of non-organic food). But I see the same thing in healthcare.

I heard a really interesting piece on NPR. They were talking about the original government intrusion into healthcare - Medicare in the 60's.

The government had a problem. Doctors were worried about having to provide care at a fixed price set by the government. The government was worried that not all doctors would accept Medicare patients (leading to confusion and possibly a "have/have not", where the poor would not have access to all doctors).

The solution? Allow doctors to charge whatever they like to Medicare.

Of course, doctors accepted this. Of course, Congress realized pretty quickly this solution was not sustainable.

The real irony (mentioned in the piece) was that prior to Medicare doctors had provided care to the elderly poor for free. Now, they could charge for these services. And - "anything you subsidize, you get more of".

This part is not as well researched, but go with the flow...
  1. Congress steps in to provide healthcare (for the elderly)
  2. Doctors charge whatever they like
  3. Costs are out of control
  4. Congress responds by trying to set prices (based on the market)
  5. Doctors respond with more tests (they are paid per test)
  6. Congress creates regulations regarding what tests can be made
  7. Doctors raise prices for everyone (prices are based on the market, which is what everyone else is paying)
  8. Insurance companies barter for reduced ("bargain club") rates, so everyone doesn't see the full price (or at least, those with insurance don't)
  9. Bureaucracies are set up to enforce regulations (wasted manpower, salaries in the system)
  10. Doctors hire lawyers and clerks to ensure they are complying (more waste)
  11. Waste results in costs going up
  12. Insurance companies raise prices to cover their overhead (bargaining, paying) - more waste, more costs going up
  13. "Healthcare crisis" declared - government called in to help (see #1)
I predict more bureaucracy, more private sector clerks, more insurance company employees - more waste. And less healthcare.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

One in Christ

I finished reading through the book of Ephesians last month, but I only got around to collecting my notes now...

There is a lot of rich theology here, it's hard for me to do justice to it in one post.

I started my outline:
  • ch 1, v 3-6 predestined to be sons
  • v 7-12 redemption, forgiveness, united, inheritance
  • 13-14 the Gospel, the Holy Spirit is our guarantee
  • 15-23 Paul's reaction - thanks and prayer
  • 2:1-3 we were dead in sin (shown in Christ)
  • 4-10 but God saved us by grace
  • 11-19 Gentiles and Jews brought together in Christ
  • 20-22 foundation of the apostles, we are built together in Christ
  • 3:1-21 the mystery of the Gospel revealed for all through the apostles
  • 4:1-32, 5:1-33, 6:1-9 our new life in Christ
Somewhere along the line, I realized each of these statements could have "in Christ" added to the end.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Flying While Muslim

An interesting article at CNN:
"I've consistently faced 'random' selections for extra screening at the airport after I decided to wear the hijab, or Muslim head covering... One time, the woman in front of me had a hairdo that could pose more of a security threat than any head scarf could."
First some reactions to the text (theology to follow): the hijab does not select you for scrutiny in and of itself. It is a symbol of theology (oops, theology got mixed in!). It is an outward expression of a theology which calls for the death of unbelievers (whether or not an individual is loyal to that theology).
"Mike Gallagher said 'There should be a separate line to scrutinize anybody with the name Abdul or Ahmed or Mohammed.' Sorry Paula Abdul and Muhammad Ali, or anyone with the world's most common name, Muhammad."
I don't know Paula Abdul's background, but Muhammad Ali changed his name. He was expressing his theology (which was not truly Muslim, but Black Muslim - which is actually totally different, although also disturbing to society).

Of course, the airport screening areas are full of bad ideas. I doubt this one is going to help. Terrorists will just get tickets and ids with "John Smith"; they will get on the plane with a t-shirt and jeans. This is a free and open nation, we can't control these things.

But, imagine for a moment you wanted to design a system for world domination (everyone loves world domination, just ask Cobra Commander).

First you make it religious. Man is naturally religious. It will penetrate deep into the subconscious (especially if you mix in the right amount of legalism - which promotes self-righteousness). It will be propagated to children. It can win converts.

Second, you set up different modes of behavior.

Peaceful at first (when numbers are low). Encouraging conversation (doors for conversion) and "understanding" (tolerance). You target the poor, those in prison, the disadvantaged.

Then, when numbers are a significant minority, clamoring for equal (read: special) treatment. Appeals to rights and complaints against discrimination.

Finally, when numbers are sufficient, overthrow the local authorities and replace them with your own.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Post Modern Morality

An interesting article by Albert Mohler:
"what is behind [efforts to ban gay marriage] is anything other than a majority imposing its beliefs on other people." - Mohler quoting Michael Lindenberger
I actually disagree with Mohler in this case. He is right that our civilization stands on marriage (marriage creates the family unit, families make up nations). However, this alone is not reason sufficient to protect marriage - if our civilization chooses to self-destruct (by destroying marriage), that is their choice. No amount of reasoning will change their course.

Only the Gospel can change hearts and minds.

This is a holdover of post-millenialism.

Post-modern culture must decide where it is going. Without absolute authority (from God), every law is just "a majority imposing its beliefs on other people".

Thursday, February 4, 2010


A funny article from Science Daily:
  1. There are little or no treatments for humans using ESC
  2. There are lots of treatments using ASC
  3. ASC are so useful, they can even help ESC

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Interesting article at CNN.

I could rant a lot, but what's the point. I did want to pull out a couple choice quotes:
"'I'm really not for abortion ... so it's kind of a fence-riding deal,' says Macormac, a brick mason who grew up in Wichita. 'But I feel he has a right to have a business and provide for his family and take care of his business the way he wants to take care of it. That's his right as being an American.'"
Imagine for a moment that drug gangs were legal. Also, they can do drive-bys on rival gangs (perhaps in a structured manner, like the arena in Car Wars).

Would Americans feel similarly? Is it different because its drugs? Different because they're adults? Different because we have to see it? Different because killing an adult (with sunk costs in food and education - and just starting the productive phase) has higher economic cost than killing infants (with all the sunk costs just starting)?
"'People got tired,' says Lorrie Donham, a middle school science teacher. 'The only way it really affected me was when I'd have to drive down Kellogg with my young daughters and have them be exposed to these grotesque, brutal images.'"
That is really insightful. Having what the pictures represent happen everyday was not upsetting. Having it called to mind was.
"Teresa Mora, a member of the congregation who identifies herself as pro-choice.

'It got to the point we had to set up partitions so children could exit family vehicles and go into church without having to be exposed to so much of that imagery.'"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


An irritating article at Science Daily:
"The presumption that children need both a mother and a father is widespread. It has been used by proponents of Proposition 8 to argue against same-sex marriage and to uphold a ban on same-sex adoption."
That's the lead-in.

This "presumption" is based on Biblical principles. That God created the first family with a man and a woman. Many conservatives have forgotten this, and simply rely on tradition or pragmatism. This makes them vulnerable to the current study...
"The bottom line is that the science shows that children raised by two same-gender parents do as well on average as children raised by two different-gender parents. This is obviously inconsistent with the widespread claim that children must be raised by a mother and a father to do well,"
Of course, there is the definition of "do well". Does that mean "make as much money as", or "achieve the same level of education" or what? It certainly does not mean "honor God".

Monday, February 1, 2010

Skipping ASC

An interesting article at Science Daily:
"Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have succeeded in transforming mouse skin cells in a laboratory dish directly into functional nerve cells"