Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What If Fossil Fuels Are Young?

In today’s culture, we refer to someone as a “snake oil salesman” when he or she is clearly trying to sell something that they know doesn’t work. The term dates back to early American times (if not earlier) when traveling salesmen would sell cure-all substances, including actual “snake oil,” to a town’s naïve public only to disappear to the neighboring town the next day to continue selling to another naïve public. The term caught on as more and more worthless products earned the informal label of “snake oil.” Decades later, the products have changed, but some of the tactics remain the same. For example, today there is another oil that the scientific community has fraudulently sold to the public at large – 650 million year old fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels (like crude oil) are generally believed to have formed by natural processes like anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms, including plants. Most scientists declare the age of such fossil fuels to exceed 650 million years. But, has this age ever been proven? Is there evidence that proves a much younger age?

In December of last year, engineers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) announced that they have stumbled upon a simple process that takes raw algae and turns it into crude oil within minutes. They have licensed the process to Genifuel Corp., a Utah company, in order to scale it up to industrial levels. PNNL noted that the resulting crude oil can be used for aviation, gasoline or diesel. Interestingly, this simple process is more effective than prior methods due to its unique use of a combination of moisture, heat and pressure. But this discovery did not cure their blindness regarding the age of fossil fuels. They even went on to declare, “In a sense, we are duplicating the process in the Earth that converted algae into oil over the course of millions of years. We're just doing it much, much faster.” But, is "duplicating" 650 million years even possible in just minutes? Much less than duplicating, is it even possible to just simulate 650 million years in minutes? The answer to both questions without a shred of doubt is “No.”

For a moment, let’s put aside PNNL’s discovery of obvious evidence favoring the relative youth of fossil fuels. How can anyone even begin to prove that fossil fuels are 650 million years old? How can anyone systemically prove that it takes 650 million years for fossil fuels to form? The answer to both questions is “Nobody can.” There are no means available to us to measure this. You can only assume such an age and hope that any available evidence backs your assumptions. But, there is no data that even suggest such a bloated age. Therefore, before PNNL's discovery, they could only point to the age of the related fossils.

However, the primary method for aging a fossil is to use the age of the rock strata in which it was found. And, the primary method of aging rock strata is to use the age of its fossils. In other words, the ages of the fossils (and the strata) are determined through circular reasoning, which is false logic.

But the circular reasoning does not stop there. The scientific community also points to the process/age of crude oil to further support their insistence upon an even longer assumed age of the earth. In other words, since they believe that oil took 650 million years to form, the earth must be at least 650 million years old. Did you follow that? They use circular reasoning to arrive at the age of fossils at 650 million years old. Then, without systemic proof, they concluded that it must also take 650 million years for those fossils to decompose into crude oil. Therefore, if crude oil took 650 million years to form, then the earth must be at least that old. But, PNNL’s discovery of producing crude oil from raw algae in just minutes is factual evidence to the contrary. And, PNNL’s process does not duplicate or even simulate 650 million years. In fact, what we can easily conclude is that PNNL’s minutes-long process simulates a period of time we would consider to be ... young. And, there is no process that can simulate a 650 million year process in minutes.

In addition to circular reasoning, there is another logical fallacy being employed on the aging of crude oil. The scientific community continues to be guilty of “Cherry Picking” or the “Fallacy of Incomplete Evidence.” This is committed when someone points to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a more significant portion of related cases or data that contradict that position. In the arena of science, this is widely considered a hallmark of poor science or pseudo-science. Rigorous science (the only true brand of science), looks at all the evidence rather than cherry picking only the evidence that supports a desired conclusion. What is even worse is, in this case, we have zero systemic evidence supporting a 650 million year process. But, we have pretty clear evidence that crude oil can and does take form over much younger periods of time. And, therefore, the probable youth of crude oil (and fossils for that matter) does not support the age of the earth at over 650 million years. But, the scientific community ignores this factual evidence in favor of loose and circular assumptions. 

Further, the scientific community stubbornly twists this evidence to claim it supports their declaration of 650 million years of age when any reasonable analysis proves the exact opposite. Isn’t that the malpractice of science? They can prove my charge of malpractice wrong by recognizing PNNL's discovery as evidence worthy of reversing their intellectually failed course. Sadly, for this reversal, we should not hold our breath. That is because such a reversal moves them towards acknowledgement of the God of the Bible, which is outside of their atheist bias.

Proverbs 13:16 says, “In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.” In this case, the scientific community is clearly guilty of flaunting their folly. As Christians, we should be encouraged by this growing body of scientific evidence supporting the truth of the Bible. And, we must humbly reason with those blinded by a scientific community apparently comprised primarily of modern day snake oil salesmen.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Are Bibles A Threat?

Even though the country of Switzerland maintains a military force, their foreign policy with regards to military conflict is almost always neutrality. Even throughout the entire struggle of World War II, they refused to take sides. However, their World War II posture in light of what was clearly happening around them begs the question of whether neutrality is truly neutral. After all, was it neutral to aid the aggressor (Hitler’s Germany) with access to banking, etc.? Is laundering currency and gold stolen from slaughtered Jews neutral? Is neutrality in the face of historic atrocity a moral option? Is neutrality on such matters moral deception rather than high ground?

Another more modern day example of militant neutrality occurred in Wisconsin in late 2013. A guest that was staying at the University of Wisconsin-Extension was offended by the placement of a Bible in their room. This contrived “offense” evolved into a complaint which was followed by a formal letter issued from The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) demanding the Bibles be removed. The letter claimed that the Bibles constituted an endorsement of Christianity. By placing the Bibles inside public accommodations, the FFRF argued that "religious neutrality was being abandoned." The school’s Chancellor responded by removing the Bibles stating, “We want to make sure all guests are comfortable in our lodging.” But, is "neutrality" constitutionally mandated? If so, how does the presence of a Bible breach neutrality? Is a Bible placed in the top draw of a night stand a threat to anyone? If the presence of a Bible breaches neutrality, doesn’t the public removal of all Bibles also breach neutrality? Isn’t over-accommodation of militant atheism the opposite of neutrality?

In truth, more often than not, “neutrality” is not neutral at all. In the case of Switzerland during World War II, their neutrality was the near moral equivalent of endorsement. And, in America, removing Bibles innocently placed in visitors' rooms is further accommodation of atheism at the expense of religious freedom.

I realize atheism is cleverly hiding behind the deception of neutrality. But, as this blog has pointed out in multiple posts, atheism is just as much a religion as Christianity if not more so. In fact, atheism requires more faith than Christianity. The distorted logic displayed in the FFRF’s demand is ironic. But, what the FFRF failed to prove was how anyone is harmed by the presence of a Bible. Who is the victim that they are protecting? What exactly is the damage or threat being averted? 

The Constitution and other laws were written to restrict and punish violators because violators threaten the freedoms or lives of others. Such laws are not written to silence Christians or to eliminate a Bible from being present in a public forum. Given the context in which the Constitution was written and the public/official practices of its Framers and Signers, it is beyond obvious that nobody responsible for the drafting and passage of the Constitution supported the removal of Bibles from any location. That is because such a government mandated posture is in fact unconstitutional, whereas the presence of a Bible in the top draw of a night stand is not. And, the Constitution is not meant to protect anyone from being offended.

Religious neutrality is not even mentioned in the Constitution. What is in the Constitution is the freedom of religious expression and the prohibition of Congress from establishing a national religion. To that end, the word neutrality does not exist in the Constitution nor is it implied. And, certainly, the presence of a Bible is not a violation of the Constitution, even in a publicly funded institution.

Is it any wonder that we never hear of examples where items related to other religions are similarly removed? Why only the Bible? Why are yoga classes not treated as endorsement of Hinduism? Why are activities promoting Zen not treated as endorsement of Buddhism? Why is Islam immune from such censorship? The truth is that those advocates for silencing Christianity are not actually concerned about the freedoms of others or the harm to others. They are only concerned with eradication of the God of Christianity from our public discourse. And, that is in fact an unconstitutional agenda. What is even more sad is the growing number of "christians" who defend this politically correct and one-sided brand of neutrality.

As Christians, we must realize that all conflict is part of the larger conflict - spiritual warfare over the souls of mankind. All other wars and conflicts are just subordinate and contributory battles within the larger spiritual war. And, in this larger spiritual war, Jesus, our King, Lord and General, said in Matthew 12:30, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” With Jesus, there is no neutrality. And, since Jesus determines the ultimate reality, neutrality is in fact a clever deception. With Jesus, behaving as Switzerland is aligning with His opposition. Despite the irony that Switzerland’s symbol is the cross, in spiritual warfare, there is no Switzerland. Rather, siding with “neutrality” offends our King. In this war, and most if not all battles, you must think clearly, critically and Biblically. Then, you must decide who you would rather offend, your fellow man or He who wages war for your eternally beneficial destiny?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How To Live Without God

Earlier this year, Pastor Ryan Bell, controversially announced for 2014 that he was “living for a year without God.” His declaration came after 22 years of serving as a pastor in a Seventh-day Adventist church. Agreeing to separate from his church due to “theological concerns,” it seems separation from his “faith” is soon to follow. His declaration also included his plan of how he was going to pull it off. “For the next 12 months I will live as if there is no God. I will not pray, read the Bible for inspiration, refer to God as the cause of things or hope that God might intervene and change my own or someone else’s circumstances.” But, Bell’s declaration begs some questions. Is it even possible to live even one day without God, much less one year? Does his "how to" sound like it can work? Is Bell deluding himself or are Christians deluding themselves?

Is it possible to live even the smallest amount of time without God? The answer is no. God is all around us, providing for us, loving us, and ultimately breathing life into and through us. To prove that, here are a few more questions Bell would be well served to ponder: How is it possible to sleep without God? Why do you think that you can’t stop breathing voluntarily? Why do you think that you can’t stop your heart from beating voluntarily? Why are the beginnings of a baby’s heart beating such a mystery? God is the sustainer of all life and the source of all that living things need to live. And, He sustains it so well. We walk into grocery store after grocery store and should be amazed at the provisions of God that are stacked from floor to ceiling and wall to wall in almost every city in the developed world. And God keeps giving without end. Even the oxygen that we breathe for granted and the water we drink is supplied to the vilest among us without restraint. But, the greatest thing that God offers all of us every day is His love through His Gospel. Without love ("God is love"), life is impossible. And, we all express love towards others due entirely to God’s love for us and our attempts to imitate Him consciously or subconsciously. It is impossible to live without Him. What Bell fails to admit is that it is presently impossible to live in complete separation from God. Therefore, Bell is destined to spend 2014 in self-inflicted delusion.

In fact the Bible gives us a vivid glimpse of precisely what it is like to exist without God. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 says, “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” Hell is Hell for one reason and one reason alone – God is not there.

In the Bible’s Gospel accounts Jesus describes Hell many times. In seven of those instances, He describes Hell as a place where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Luke 13:22-30 for example) There are only a few concepts that Jesus repeats using identical wording every time. This description of Hell is one of those few. I believe He was emphasizing a very serious point. Why in Hell will people react with weeping and gnashing of teeth? Is it because of darkness or fire? Does the Bible explicitly identify the cause for these reactions? The reason why there is weeping and gnashing of teeth in Hell is primarily because there is total separation of God’s image-bearers from the source of their image.

Every fiber of our being was designed to constantly receive and sense God. Every cell in our body exists and is satisfied by the subconscious bathing in His presence. Separation of ourselves from God might be like people who have lost a limb, and continue to feel itches where there is nothing to scratch. They go through tortured frustration knowing the itch, like their limb, should not exist. That is similar to existence without God. Except, without God, every microscopic component of our entire body both inside and out will itch with unbearable pain for lack of the One they were designed to feel. And, there is nothing that can satisfy this need. This all-consuming "itch" will be the truest of torment.

This biological reality was best evidenced by a series of experiments conducted during the 1990s. They were designed to determine if sensory deprivation was an effective means of torture. Volunteers were placed into sealed, sound-proof chambers with no light and their ears blocked from all sound. The chambers were partially filled with water that was controlled to stay at body temperature and maximum buoyancy. As the volunteers floated in the water, it was as if they sensed nothing at all. They felt nothing, heard nothing, and saw nothing but blackness. The results were horrific. Below is an excerpt from the study reports:

“Technically, total sensory deprivation is very difficult to achieve [Auerbach, 1996].  However, in severe deprivation environments noticeable differences emerge.  White-out conditions, prolonged isolation, or a highly structured environment intensifies the altered state experience.  If brain stimulation from sensory inputs is eliminated or greatly altered the brain begins to ‘fill in’/compensate for the change.  Hallucinations likely result; all perceptual experience is being drawn from internal sources.  Loss of identity, difficulty meeting basic survival needs, apathy, and depression have been known to occur in a total sensory deprivation environment.  Research subjects typically find the experience intolerable within only 4 days [Wallace & Fisher, 1991].”

And, many of the volunteers required extensive psychiatric treatment following the experiments. Hell will be so much worse than that because God was still present in those sensory deprivation chambers. That luxury will not be afforded in Hell.

To further determine the cause of weeping and gnashing of teeth, consider also the designed purpose of Hell. In Matthew 25:41 Jesus says, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” Hell was not prepared or designed to punish humans. It was designed to punish angels. That thought alone should give us great pause. To digest this contrast, imagine punishing a mischievous puppy with the same punishment you would reserve for a ravenous wolf. The sight would be unbearable. And, yet this contrast is nothing compared to that between a punishment being designed for massively powerful angels being inflicted on much weaker and smaller humans. More importantly, we know from Hebrews 1:14 and other scriptures that angels are not physical beings, but spirit beings. Therefore, the design of the punishment of Hell should be entirely spiritual rather than physical. It is often described in physical terms in order for us physical beings to better relate. But, there is weeping and gnashing of teeth due to spiritual pain first and foremost. This spiritual pain is due to unimaginable, eternal separation from God.

It is not possible to live without God and that is why death is called death. Since life is borne of God, living without God is the equivalent of living without life. It is logically impossible. Therefore, true death (or lasting death) is the equivalent of existing in a state of permanent separation from God (or separation from life). God is the source and giver of all life. Without Him, there is no life. Therefore, without Him, those who were designed to live will suffer eternal separation from that for which they were designed. Bell is deluding himself into believing he will live a year without God. Ignoring God does not remove God from reality. Only God can do that. And, God will only do that in Hell. Ironically, in 2014, God will still bless Bell with food, water, oxygen and freely offered love during his year of ignorance.

If you are reading this, you broadly fit into one of two categories. You are either marching down the path towards eternal resurrection or down the path of eternal death. If you have up to this point chosen an eternity without God, then reading this is an urgent reminder that it is not too late to receive God’s free gift of forgiveness, eternal life and adoption into eternal familial royalty. Surrender to the One who paid everything to set you free from death so that you might have life eternal. If, however, you are on the path towards eternal resurrection, I have a final question for you. Are you to any degree blind to the horrors that await the rest of us? If so, open your eyes and react now by offering sight to the blind. After all, their lives depend upon it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ignoring the Obvious

There is a famous phrase used in conversation to refer to something obvious that is being ignored. When employed the user makes reference to the “elephant in the room.” This refers to when people are having a discussion and are ignoring something that is the last thing they should ignore. After all, how could you have a discussion in a room with an elephant present without noticing and/or dealing with the animal? Unfortunately, this is not just a phenomenon of small and/or private conversations. It is also common in large, public ones as well.

For example, in the past several weeks, a group of 74 "climate scientists" (also known as religious doomsday prophets) found themselves in a bit of a dilemma concerning their recent quest for evidence supporting their religion. By the way, we have to ask, if what they preach is not based on faith, why are they still seeking evidence? I digress. This team from Australia’s University of New South Wales, led by Professor Chris Turney, journeyed aboard the ship, MV Akademic Shokalskiy, to the Antarctic for the expressed purpose of observing the effects of global warming. After all, these zealots fully prophesy that our evil ways will result in the apocalyptic melting of the Polar ice caps. However, instead of finding the evidence they sought, they found the opposite resulting in their own peril. In fact, their ship got irreversibly trapped in freezing ice ten to fourteen feet thick. They were dangerously frozen in the ice that they preach should be melting.

When confronted with the obvious, instead of admitting the elephant in the room, they audaciously claimed this contra-evidence was in fact evidence in favor of global warming. While in one breath the team admitted, “We're stuck in our own experiment,” they insisted, “Sea ice is disappearing due to climate change, but here ice is building up.” And, stubbornly, “Despite being frozen at a standstill, the team’s research on climate change and Antarctic wildlife is moving forward.” First of all, why did they ignore the reports of record ice buildup in both polar ice caps published last year by NASA? Further, it is one thing to be trapped in growing ice that you claim is not growing. But, it goes beyond irony to intellectually insulting to then claim this is evidence supporting their religion.

And, this display of the worst brand of ignorance is not limited to the team involved. The elephant is also ignored by the media. Since December 25th, 2013, there have been 41 stories on network morning and evening news shows covering this event. Of those 41 stories, only 1 mentioned the fact that climate change had anything to do with the expedition. In fact, the networks often referred to the stranded people as “passengers,” “trackers” and even “tourists,” without a word about climate change or global warming. I wonder why?

Over a dozen times throughout the Bible, there are references to people who “hear but don’t understand,” or “see but don’t perceive.” For example, God commands Isaiah in Isaiah 6:9, “Go, and say to this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’” This dynamic is intuitive for spiritual matters that have to be discerned by the spiritually initiated. But, have you ever wondered if this can be true of matters that are physically obvious? Well, now you know.

Ultimately, God controls the sight of the blind, even those who are blind voluntarily. If you read this story and perceive the obvious, you are blessed, and should pray for the blind. If you don’t perceive the obvious, I suggest that you pray for sight.