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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Global Dumbing - "The rest of the story"

The rest of the story....


I Was On the Global Warming Gravy Train

By David Evans

I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry. When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened that case. I am now skeptical.

In the late 1990s, this was the evidence suggesting that carbon emissions caused global warming:

  1. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, proved in a laboratory a century ago.
  2. Global warming has been occurring for a century and concentrations of atmospheric carbon have been rising for a century. Correlation is not causation, but in a rough sense it looked like a fit.
  3. Ice core data, starting with the first cores from Vostok in 1985, allowed us to measure temperature and atmospheric carbon going back hundreds of thousands of years, through several dramatic global warming and cooling events. To the temporal resolution then available (data points more than a thousand years apart), atmospheric carbon and temperature moved in lockstep: they rose and fell together. Talk about a smoking gun!
  4. There were no other credible causes of global warming.

This evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we are absolutely certain when we apparently need to act now? So the idea that carbon emissions were causing global warming passed from the scientific community into the political realm. Research increased, bureaucracies were formed, international committees met, and eventually the Kyoto protocol was signed in 1997 to curb carbon emissions.

"Correlation is not causation, but in a rough sense it looked like a fit."

The political realm in turn fed money back into the scientific community. By the late 1990s, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too.

I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn't believe carbon emissions caused global warming. And so were lots of people around me; there were international conferences full of such people. We had political support, the ear of government, big budgets. We felt fairly important and useful (I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet!

But starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence above fell away. Using the same point numbers as above:
  1. Better data shows that from 1940 to 1975 the earth cooled while atmospheric carbon increased. That 35 year non-correlation might eventually be explained by global dimming, only discovered in about 2003.
  2. The temporal resolution of the ice core data improved. By 2004 we knew that in past warming events, the temperature increases generally started about 800 years before the rises in atmospheric carbon. Causality does not run in the direction I had assumed in 1999 — it runs the opposite way!

It took several hundred years of warming for the oceans to give off more of their carbon. This proves that there is a cause of global warming other than atmospheric carbon. And while it is possible that rising atmospheric carbon in these past warmings then went on to cause more warming ("amplification" of the initial warming), the ice core data neither proves nor disproves this hypothesis.

  1. There is now a credible alternative suspect. In October 2006 Henrik Svensmark showed experimentally that cosmic rays cause cloud formation. Clouds have a net cooling effect, but for the last three decades there have been fewer clouds than normal because the sun's magnetic field, which shields us from cosmic rays, has been stronger than usual. So the earth heated up. It's too early to judge what fraction of global warming is caused by cosmic rays.

There is now no observational evidence that global warming is caused by carbon emissions. You would think that in over 20 years of intense investigation we would have found something. For example, greenhouse warming due to carbon emissions should warm the upper atmosphere faster than the lower atmosphere — but until 2006 the data showed the opposite, and thus that the greenhouse effect was not occurring! In 2006 better data allowed that the effect might be occurring, except in the tropics.

The only current "evidence" for blaming carbon emissions are scientific models (and the fact that there are few contradictory observations). Historically, science has not progressed by calculations and models, but by repeatable observations. Some theories held by science authorities have turned out to be spectacularly wrong: heavier-than-air flight is impossible, the sun orbits the earth, etc. For excellent reasons, we have much more confidence in observations by several independent parties than in models produced by a small set of related parties!

Let's return to the interaction between science and politics. By 2000 the political system had responded to the strong scientific case that carbon emissions caused global warming by creating thousands of bureaucratic and science jobs aimed at more research and at curbing carbon emissions.

"Science has not progressed by calculations and models, but by repeatable observations."

But after 2000 the case against carbon emissions gradually got weaker. Future evidence might strengthen or further weaken it. At what stage of the weakening should the science community alert the political system that carbon emissions might not be the main cause of global warming?

None of the new evidence actually says that carbon emissions are definitely not the cause of global warming, there are lots of good science jobs potentially at stake, and if the scientific message wavers then it might be difficult to later recapture the attention of the political system. What has happened is that most research efforts since 1990 have assumed that carbon emissions were the cause, and the alternatives get much less research or political attention.

Unfortunately politics and science have become even more entangled. Climate change has become a partisan political issue, so positions become more entrenched. Politicians and the public prefer simple and less-nuanced messages. At the moment the political climate strongly blames carbon emissions, to the point of silencing critics.

The integrity of the scientific community will win out in the end, following the evidence wherever it leads. But in the meantime, the effect of the political climate is that most people are overestimating the evidence that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming.

I recently bet $6,000 that the rate of global warming would slow in the next two decades. Carbon emissions might be the dominant cause of global warming, but I reckon that probability to be 20% rather than the 90% the IPCC estimates.

I worry that politics could seriously distort the science. Suppose that carbon taxes are widely enacted, but that the rate of global warming increase starts to decline by 2015. The political system might pressure scientists to provide justifications for the taxes.

Imagine the following scenario. Carbon emissions cause some warming, maybe 0.05C/decade. But the current warming rate of 0.20C/decade is mainly due to some natural cause, which in 15 years has run its course and reverses. So by 2025 global temperatures start dropping. In the meantime, on the basis of models from a small group of climate scientists but with no observational evidence (because the small warming due to carbon emissions is masked by the larger natural warming), the world has dutifully paid an enormous cost to curb carbon emissions.

Politicians, expressing the anger and apparent futility of all the unnecessary poverty and effort, lead the lynching of the high priests with their opaque models. Ironically, because carbon emissions are raising the temperature baseline around which natural variability occurs, carbon emissions might need curbing after all. Maybe. The current situation is characterized by a lack of observational evidence, so no one knows yet.

Some people take strong rhetorical positions on global warming. But the cause of global warming is not just another political issue, subject to endless debate and distortions. The cause of global warming is an issue that falls into the realm of science, because it is falsifiable. No amount of human posturing will affect what the cause is. It just physically is there, and after sufficient research and time we will know what it is.


David Evans, a mathematician, and a computer and electrical engineer, is head of Science Speak. Send him mail. Comment on the blog.

The Climate Debate: When Science Serves the State

by N. Joseph Potts

Posted March 2, 2005

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.Enron: $1 billion writedown of retained earnings, followed by $618 million quarterly loss. 21,000 put out of work in ensuing bankruptcy. CFO Andrew Fastow sentenced to ten years in prison. Jeff Skilling and Kenneth Lay arrested and charged with federal crimes.

Worldcom: $10 billion inflation of profits through failure to record expenses. CFO Scott Sullivan reduces prison term through plea bargain in which he cooperates with prosecution of former CEO Bernie Ebbers, now on trial.

Arthur Andersen: auditor of Enron and Worldcom loses accounting license in consequence of these and other scandals and is liquidated, putting 65,000 employees worldwide out of work. Sarbanes and Oxley launch Congressional initiative resulting in the eponymous act of Congress to curb future abuses of corporate trust.

United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) sponsors adoption of the Kyoto Protocol by most industrialized nations around the world, with estimated costs of legally binding compliance estimated at over $150 billion per year. The chief promotional artifact in the proceedings, the "hockey stick" historical temperature chart of IPCC Third Scientific Assessment Chapter Lead Author Michael Mann, is shown to be based on a computer program that produces hockey sticks from over 99 percent of ten thousand samples of random noise fed to it. Stephen McIntyre, retired Canadian minerals consultant, demonstrates numerous other defects and distortions in both the data and statistical methodology, ultimately the subject of a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal of February 14 and a follow-up editorial on February 18.

Anyone sent to jail on that last one? That biggest one, by far? No.

Any charges? No, and none anticipated.

Lawsuits? None yet (possible reason: too many plaintiffs).

Any bankruptcies? Certainly not of the IPCC, nor of the tax-funded agencies that paid for the research that culminated in the hockey stick.

What about the auditor? There is no auditor. No audits? No, except for the self-funded undertaking of McIntyre and partner Ross McKitrick, and Dr. Mann has cut them and apparently everyone else off from further information on the mysterious process that "proved" an episode of global warming in the Twentieth Century and pointed to human activity as the guilty party.

Congressional action? Well, the US Senate has declined to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but that’s about it.

Government investigation? Despite the fact that the US government funded eleven out of the twelve "Funded Proposals" cited in Dr. Mann’s curriculum vitae, it neither conducts audits of the results reported nor requires that information be made available to others for conducting audits at their own expense and initiative.

But the Kyoto Protocol remains in force and legally binding.

Government and science have found each other, and the spawn of this marriage look set to destroy global wealth on a scale that will render the greatest of history’s wars trivial by comparison. The ultimate outrage of all this is that the people who are subjected to the ravages of the wrong-headed policies promoted by these self-seekers are taxed to pay for the production of this junk science to begin with.

Scientists, like the rest of us, have among their number many members of a certain very dangerous group: those who would govern. And like the governing class everywhere, they seek to govern without the encumbrance of having to tolerate dissent from those who pay their salaries and experience the consequences of the policies they emplace.

Indeed, they resist inquiries from the unannointed into the bases of their pronouncements and, while feeding on the tithes exacted from the unwashed, insist on handing their pronouncements down as dicta that may not be questioned. The flavor of this may be discerned palpably in a visit to realclimate.org, a Web site launched early this year by climatologists and other "scientists" (today’s codeword for priest).

This Web site expresses the "frustration" felt by real scientists who have to contend with the inquiries and ignorance of non-scientists who are inflamed by their petty suspicions that they are being oppressed in the name of bogus theories. As well, it provides an eight-point set of standards for article comments (which are required to be "constructive" among other things). In "language your parents could understand," the Web site provides a "Dummies’ Guides" to its subject, and the impression that they truly regard their audience (and parents) as dummies is irresistible.

What the site does not provide in its Links section is a link to the Web site of the opposition, the more-modestly named climateaudit.org, set up about the same time to publicize flaws detected in the data and mathematics of the "hockey stick" found by semi-retired minerals consultant Stephen McIntyre of Toronto. Yes, this site does provide a link to realclimate, and doesn’t seem to qualify comments or commenters. Some of the comments on climateaudit are hostile to articles and comments on the site, while over at realclimate, things are eerily more-harmonious. I’m always grateful when the propagandist’s hand is so easily discerned.

Actually, as described in the Wall Street Journal editorial of February 18, two climatologists, Willie Soon and Sallie L. Baliunas, had the temerity to advance criticism of Mann’s article in 2003. The tsunami of protest from the academy against this suggestion that man may not be warming up his planet after all would have made Trofim Lysenko, the Soviet Union’s quack official geneticist of the 1930s, proud.

The "fact" of global warming is today as entrenched in the government-sponsored academy as ever was Lysenko’s theory that acquired traits, such as selfless devotion to the common good, could be inherited by the children of parents so indoctrinated. In the abject retraction by the journal that carried Soon and Baliunas’s heresy, Climate Research, they announce the resignations of their editor-in-chief and two other editors.

Peer review, the overrated orthodoxy-dominated system by which journal articles are supposedly vetted, has turned into a mechanism for enforcement of the ruling paradigm, if it was ever anything else. Among other things, it did not catch the errors in Mann’s seminal article. But peer review, which is not only unpaid, but highly political as well, has as a matter of practice never entailed what McIntyre calls an "audit" of the data and mathematics involved in developing the conclusions arrived at in an article.

Because of this, not only do journals not make a practice of publishing the data and algorithms behind the development of the conclusions, but peer reviewers virtually never have occasion to request the information either. A few exceptions such as the journals of the American Economic Association, have begun to appear.

Michael Crichton, whose current novel State of Fear describes a vast hoax perpetrated on a fearful world by rogue climatologists, is predictably excoriated on realclimate. Crichton stands to make a very large amount of money from acting on the skeptical side of this controversy.

But the greatest credit must go to the unpaid Stephen McIntyre and his partner in this quest, Ross McKitrick. They are the ones who first blurted out: "The professor has no clothes!"

N. Joseph Potts studies economics at his home in South Florida.

~~~~~~~

By the way, I have sent a query to a scientist acquaintance concerning some recent specific dendrochronology questions....stay tuned!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Creation versus Evolution - Basics continued

I just loved this comment: "For those keeping score, that's
Science: 1x10^2346789 Creationism: 0."

This is a real kool-aid drinker here. I am not so foolish as to think that only Creation Science is actual science, but for some reason this person thinks that Creationism is against science. Perhaps this is because this person doesn't understand science. In pure form, science is unconcerned with worldview and that is certainly true in operational mode.

Being a creationist or an evolutionist usually makes no difference when it comes to science, that is, operational science in which systems and operations that are observable and testable today are studied in order to make discoveries that benefit mankind. It only makes a difference when grant dollars are being passed out for historical science research, really, or in matters of historical (or origins) science itself.

I have stated that I do believe that a lot of money is being thrown at attempts to prove that evolution has occurred and evolution-related issues and I do believe that money and time is wasted.

Incidently, since creation science has an answer to the advent of the Universe and the beginning of life itself, maybe right now it is creationism 2, atheistic evolutionism 0. But we go on...

The complexity of living beings
- I find it either pathetic or hilarious that the SETI project is underway. The folks who are scanning the skies for SETI are looking for any evidence of intelligent patterns in the noise and light that are coming from outside of the Earth. Here is the statement of purpose for the SETI Institute.

The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.

The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach.

Founded in 1984, the Institute today employs over 100 scientists, educators and support staff. Research at the Institute is anchored by two centers. Dr. Jill Tarter leads the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research as Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI. Dr. Frank Drake is the Director for the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe

Sponsorship

Institute projects have been sponsored by:

  • NASA Ames Research Center
  • NASA Headquarters
  • National Science Foundation
  • Department of Energy
  • US Geological Survey
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
  • International Astronomical Union
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • David & Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Paul G. Allen Foundation
  • Gordon and Betty Moore
  • Universities Space Research Association (USRA)
  • Pacific Science Center
  • Foundation for Microbiology
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Hewlett Packard Company
  • William and Rosemary Hewlett
  • Bernard M. Oliver
  • And many others

The Institute welcomes support from private foundations or other groups/individuals interested in SETI. Each funded effort (135 separate multi-year projects funded since 1984) is supervised by a principal investigator who is responsible to the Board of Trustees for the conduct of the activity.

Organization Status

The SETI Institute is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1984 (California Corporation #1261957). The Institute is a scientific and educational organization governed by the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, and the Institute's Federal identification number for reporting and tax purposes is 94-2951356.

All contributions to the Institute will be used to further the goals described above and are deductible to the donor for both State and Federal income tax purposes.

~~~~~~~

I could go on about the hundreds, yes, thousands of home computers giving processing time to the SETI project and all of the money dedicated to looking for ET. The Phoenix Project gets sky-scanning time to look for intelligent signals from the skies. But whether or not you support this search, I ask you this: If intelligent code coming from outer space means a non-human intelligence, then why isn't this same point of view in use when studying the makeup of life itself????



Would SETI recognize an intelligent message if they saw one?

One would think that to establish that any signal from space came from an intelligent source, it would need to contain coded information. (Any language system is coded information.) This would be a sign of intelligence because it always takes (greater) information to produce information, and ultimately information is the result of intelligence. Many years ago, the very first radio signal was received from space. It was called LGM-1. A regularly repeating blip had evolutionary astronomers very excited. Co-discoverer Jocelyn Bell-Burnell said:

‘One of the ideas that we facetiously entertained was that it might be little green men [emphasis added]—a civilization outside in space somewhere trying to communicate with us.’8

LGM-1 actually stood for ‘Little Green Men-1’, which gives you some indication of what they were expecting to find. However, the radio signal was from nothing more than a pulsar, a very dense celestial object, probably formed from a star that has undergone gravitational collapse. As it rapidly rotates, it emits regular ‘pulses’ of radio waves. (In contrast to the complex DNA code, or the writing on this page, a repeating signal actually has a very low level of information.)

The SETI Project, Falling “Floppy Discs,” and A Major Missed Implication
by Kyle Butt, M.A.

SETI is the acronym that stands for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. For some time prior to 1981, the Federal Government pumped millions of dollars into the construction of high-tech satellites overseen by NASA that were designed to scan the skies in an effort to detect messages, codes, signals, or signs from intelligent life forms on other planets. In 1981, however, federal funding for this program ceased, but this roadblock in the search for alien intelligence did not stop the program. Currently, the Planetary Society stands as the major player in the SETI project. Thousands of volunteers all over the world have put their desktop computers to work, equipped with a program that filters information and radio signals from satellites. These computers are looking for patterns in signals that would suggest the existence of intelligence in outer space. Such prestigious institutions as Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley have joined the search. In the past, renowned scientists like Carl Sagan adamantly pushed for the funding and expansion of the SETI project (McDonough, 2004).

What, then, are these scientists and volunteers hoping to find in the data collected from their satellites, observation equipment, and computer analyses? They are hoping to find patterns or codes in radio or laser signals that contain some type of communication from an extraterrestrial intelligence. On the Planetary Society’s Web site, under the heading of Frequently Asked Questions, the question is posed: “How could we possibly understand signals from another civilization?” The answer given to this question is:

Even though we and an alien civilization would not have a language in common, there are ways to communicate that should be understandable to intelligent beings. Mathematics, physics, chemistry, and astronomy contain fundamental laws that provide a common “language” throughout the universe. Television pictures are a way of communicating that do not even require a common language to understand (“Frequently Asked Questions...,” 2001).

We can see that mathematical patterns, codes, languages, algorithms, and various other “fundamental laws” would be accepted as evidence that some type of intelligence did exist. The premise that can be surmised from the SETI program is that intelligence could be recognized and distinguished from non-intelligent, natural explanations; the required criteria for this recognition being some type of code, mathematical sequence, physical patterns, etc.

Suppose we were to send a man to the moon, and tiny floppy discs started falling to the moon’s surface. Upon inspection of these discs, the astronaut discovers they contain intricately coded information. Suppose further that he is able to decipher this code. Upon doing so, he discovers that the instructions contained in the code, if followed precisely, would produce a machine that could convert sunlight and minerals into food edible by humans and animals. Such an amazing find would receive world-wide recognition to say the least. And there would be no doubt that these discs had originated from an advanced intelligence. Yet, this hypothetical lunar scenario has a terrestrial equivalent.

In his book, The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins purports to show how life in this Universe could have evolved over millions of years. He claims to present information that shows that complicated life forms such as humans could have arisen from non-living substances by tiny, gradual steps over eons of time. In chapter five, he begins a discussion on DNA, and attempts to explain how such amazing codes of information could have arisen through natural processes. In his introduction to that chapter, however, he makes a startling admission that, to the honest reader, is impossible to explain in terms of naturalistic evolution. He discusses a willow tree that sits in his garden, shedding its “cottony” seeds through the air, to the ground and the passing water in the canal. In his discussion of the seeds, he explains that each seed contains DNA that, if allowed to grow, will produce another willow tree. He then explains briefly some of the coding capabilities of DNA and the instructions found in it for growth. Referring to these seeds and the DNA they contain, he makes the following statement: “It is raining instructions out there; it’s raining programs; it’s raining tree-growing, fluff-spreading, algorithms. That is not a metaphor, it is the plain truth. It couldn’t be any plainer if it were raining floppy discs” (1996, p. 111).

It is ironic, is it not, that the very coded mathematical information that, if found on the Moon, would be hailed as proof for the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence, when found on the Earth, is viewed by many as the product of a mindless, multi-million-year random process. How is it that such prestigious academic institutions such as Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley spend thousands of man hours and millions of dollars searching the skies for mathematical codes, radio signal patterns, etc.? And yet when they find such patterns, in biological, terrestrial organisms, they attribute them to non-intelligence. The logical implication in this situation continues to be missed by many of the major players in the scientific community: if complex coded information is found anywhere in the Universe, it proves that it was put there by a superior intelligence. If such is not the case, why waste time scanning the skies for these patterns? Dawkins’ book attempts to explain away this implication when it comes to coded information found on Earth, but it fails completely. Such an obvious, logical implication cannot be explained away. In truth, the coded information found in the DNA of living organisms points overwhelming to the fact that these organisms were design by an intelligent Being.

REFERENCES

Dawkins, Richard (1996), The Blind Watchmaker, (New York, NY: W.H. Norton and Co.).

“Frequently Asked Questions About the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence,” (2001), [On-line], URL: http://www.planetary.org/html/UPDATES/seti/SETIFAQS.html

McDonough, Thomas (2004), “Two Decades of SETI,” [On-line], URL: http://www.planetary.org/html/UPDATES/seti/seti-history.html.



The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that everything is running downhill in the Universe, from energy to entropy. Different scientists and organizations state this in differing ways but all agree with the above statement.

Rooms tend to get messy. Tires wear out and eventually flatten. Faces get wrinkly. Pictures fade. We see the Second Law in operation all around us.

"All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not to increase it." Dr. Lee Spetner.

Evolution, which has not been observed, must go directly against the Second Law. It is a random process, not driven by any intelligence. Yet, at the very core of living beings there is DNA, a remarkably complex system which is the very definition of design.

Astonishing DNA complexity uncovered

by Alex Williams

When the Human Genome Project published its first draft of the human genome in 2003, they already knew certain things in advance. These included:

  • Coding segments (genes that coded for proteins) were a minor component of the total amount of DNA in each cell. It was embarrassing to find that we have only about as many genes as mice (about 25,000) which constitute only about 3% of the entire genome.
  • this means that probably the whole genome is used by the cell and there is no such thing as ‘junk DNA’

    The non-coding sections (i.e. the remaining 97%) were nearly all of unknown function. Many called it ‘junk DNA’; they thought it was the miscopied and mutation-riddled left-overs abandoned by our ancestors over millions of years. Molecular taxonomists routinely use this ‘junk DNA’ as a ‘molecular clock’—a silent record of mutations that have been undisturbed by natural selection for millions of years because it does not do anything. They have constructed elaborate evolutionary histories for all different kinds of life from it.
  • Genes were known to be functional segments of DNA (exons) interspersed with non-functional segments (introns) of unknown purpose. When the gene is copied (transcribed into RNA) and then translated into protein the introns are spliced out and the exons are joined up to produce the functional gene.
  • Copying (transcription) of the gene began at a specially marked START position, and ended at a special STOP sign.
  • Gene switches (the molecules involved are collectively called transcription factors) were located on the chromosome adjacent to the START end of the gene.
  • Transcription proceeds one way, from the START end to the STOP end.
  • Genes were scattered throughout the chromosomes, somewhat like beads on a string, although some areas were gene-rich and others gene-poor.
  • Photo sxc.hu

    Because of evolutionary notions of our origin, our DNA was supposed to be mostly ‘junk’, leftovers of our animal ancestry.  This has proven to be yet another evolutionary impediment to scientific progress.

    Because of evolutionary notions of our origin, our DNA was supposed to be mostly ‘junk’, leftovers of our animal ancestry. This has proven to be yet another evolutionary impediment to scientific progress.

    DNA is a double helix molecule, somewhat like a coiled zipper. Each strand of the DNA zipper is the complement of the other—as on a clothing zipper, one side has a lump that fits into a cavity on the other strand. Only one side of the DNA ‘zipper’ (called the ‘sense’ strand) makes the correct protein sequence. The complementary strand is called the ‘anti-sense’ strand. The sense strand is like an electrical extension cord where the ‘female’ end is safe to leave open until an appliance is attached, but the protruding ‘male’ end is active and for safety’s sake only works when plugged into a ‘female’ socket. Thus, protein production usually only comes from copying the sense strand, not the anti-sense strand. The anti-sense strand provides a template for copying the sense strand in a way that a photographic negative is used to produce a positive print. Some exceptions to this rule were known (i.e. that in some cases anti-sense strands were used to make protein) but no one expected the whole anti-sense strand to be transcribed.

This whole structure of understanding has now been turned on its head. A project called ENCODE recently reported an intensive study of the transcripts (copies of RNA produced from the DNA) of just 1% of the human genome.1,2 Their findings include the following inferences:

  • About 93% of the genome is transcribed (not 3%, as expected). Further study with more wide-ranging methods may raise this figure to 100%. Because much energy and coordination is required for transcription this means that probably the whole genome is used by the cell and there is no such thing as ‘junk DNA’.
  • Exons are not gene-specific but are modules that can be joined to many different RNA transcripts. One exon (i.e. one part of one gene) can be used in combination with up to 33 different genes located on 14 different chromosomes. This means that one exon can specify one part shared in common by many different proteins.
  • There is no ‘beads on a string’ linear arrangement of genes, but rather an interleaved structure of overlapping segments, with typically 5, 7, 9 or more transcripts coming from the one ‘gene’.
  • Not just one strand, but both strands (sense and anti-sense) of the DNA are fully transcribed.
  • Transcription proceeds not just one way but both backwards and forwards.
  • Transcription factors can be tens or hundreds of thousands of base-pairs away from the gene that they control, even on different chromosomes.
  • There is not just one START site, but many, in each particular gene region.
  • There is not just one transcription triggering (switching) system for each region, but many.

The authors conclude:

These results are so astonishing, so shocking, that it is going to take an awful lot more work to untangle what is really going on in cells.

‘An interleaved genomic organization poses important mechanistic challenges for the cell. One involves the [use of] the same DNA molecules for multiple functions. The overlap of functionally important sequence motifs must be resolved in time and space for this organization to work properly. Another challenge is the need to compartmentalize RNA or mask RNAs that could potentially form long double-stranded regions, to prevent RNA-RNA interactions that could prompt apoptosis [programmed cell death].’

This concern for the safety of so many RNA molecules being produced in such a small space is well-founded. RNA is a long single-strand molecule not unlike a long piece of sticky-tape—it will stick to any nearby surface, including itself! Unless properly coordinated, it will all scrunch up into a sticky mess.

These results are so astonishing, so shocking, that it is going to take an awful lot more work to untangle what is really going on in cells. And the molecular taxonomists, who have been drawing up evolutionary histories (‘phylogenies’) for everything, are going to have to undo all their years of ‘junk DNA’-based historical reconstructions and wait for the full implications to emerge before they try again. One of the supposedly ‘knock-down’ arguments that humans have a common ancestor with chimpanzees is shared ‘non-functional’ DNA coding. That argument just got thrown out the window.

Related articles

References

  1. Birney, E., et. al., Identification and analysis of functional elements in 1% of the human genome by the ENCODE pilot project, Nature 447: 799–816, 2007.
  2. Philipp Kapranov, P., Willingham, A.T. and Gingeras, T.R., Genome-wide transcription and the implications for genomic organization, Nature Reviews Genetics 8: 413–423, 2007.


~~~~~~~~

Concerning the complexity of life, these few words barely scratch the surface. Let me share the words of Dr. Gary Bates of the Creation Research Institute:

1) Scientists have never observed chemicals forming themselves into complex DNA molecules, the blueprint for life. DNA molecules do not produce new genetic information, they reproduce it. DNA appears to be designed, and information science demonstrates that information must be fully present in the beginning.

2) Mutations and natural selection reduce pre-existing information. There is no evidence of organisms evolving upward (including mankind - technological increase is not biological evolution).

3) All life in the fossil record appears abruptly and fully formed; the chains of transitional series hoped for the the evolutionists since Darwin are conspicuous by their general absence.

In terms of the complexity of life, the creation model makes a great deal of sense. DNA is a design function of life, created by the Designer, the Creator God, that functions as the blueprint for all living things. DNA and countless other instances of the incredible complexity of life, unknown to scientists in the day of Darwin, show us that life has been designed. The atheistic evolutionist must turn a blind eye to this somehow.

In my own life, the complexity of life helped cement for me the decision to abandon evolution and embrace creation. Both sides must have faith to believe their positions but it seems to me that such faith in an atheistic evolutionist is stretched to the breaking point in this instance.

Creationism 3, atheistic evolutionism 0.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Creation versus Evolution - Basics revisited

Here at this blog I post articles by others and essays by, well, me. I began this blog as a commentary blog on religion and science and politics, primarily. It appears that the creation versus evolution question has come to dominate the blog, at least at the present time. It seems like a good time to review some basic points for the benefit of new readers and to remind veteran readers.

1) Point of view, or worldview - I have a specific worldview, the set of assumptions through which I see and interpret the world. Think of a worldview as a set of eyeglasses, perhaps, through which everything you see is filtered. I have one, you have one and everybody has one, including every scientist in the world.

My worldview includes a belief in a Creator God who created the world. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and I consider myself a Christian. I am a conservative politically. I am a sports nut. I love nature and literature and music and science. I enjoy working with teenagers and volunteer my time to do so, as does my wife and one of my adult children.

Some people have difficulty with this concept, believing that their particular worldview is simply The Truth = unassailable fact. Hey, I believe that my worldview is correct but I am able to see that it is my opinion. Sadly, some folks just don't get it...No, a naturalistic atheistic evolutionist worldview is not fact, it is opinion.

2)Operational Science - operational science is the nuts-and-bolts of science. The scientific method is a staple of operational science, in which:

*a problem or question is addressed with a hypothesis
*a test is devised that tests the hypothesis
*if successful, the test is repeated several times and ways to see if the results are consistent
*if still successful, now we have a valid theory
*if the theory withstands further testing and is accepted by the scientific community as consistently true, it becomes a law.

Operational science deals with any question pertaining to matters of the here and now. Organisms and elements that can be accessed can be perused and tested. Systems that are in place and operations that are in existence now can be observed.

For instance, when our garden Hostas began to show signs of being eaten, we were glad that there were already a few theories of sluggology in place. According to previous tests, the likely culprit for our problem was the garden slug and previous tests had shown that, if we put out a pan of beer, the slugs would prefer the beer to the Hosta and crawl in only to drown.

We did find that our test, as expected, fit the theory to a "T". Slugs crawled in and they didn't crawl out. However, we also discovered that baby toads also liked the beer and we did modify the experiment by placing a kind of chicken wire over the pan so that slugs could enter but toads could not.

Our experiment supported that particular theory of sluggology concerning slugs and beer. It did solve the problem of the Hostas. It may be that, with this particular kind of Hosta and beer and slug, it could be determined someday to be a Law of Sluggology.

Yeah, the above was a little bit tongue in cheek. But it illustrates an important point, that the science that helps cure diseases and send people into space and makes engines more efficient is operational science - the science of rubber meeting road.

Operational science is happening in labs all over the globe. The idea of whether evolution may or may not be true or not doesn't enter in to operational science. It is important to emphasize that, in operational science, experimentation can yield results that can serve to more or less "prove" or "disprove" a hypothesis.

3) Historical Science - Historical science, which includes the study of origins, is not quite so neat. You can and will bring presuppositions into a lab to do an experiment in the realm of operational science, but the experiment will yield results that either support or do not support your presuppositions. In the case of historical science, experiments and observations are generally unavailable. One must take evidence found today to apply to yesterday and therefore the presupposition you bring to the problem will determine the conclusion you reach based on the evidence you view. You cannot prove or disprove your point but can only try to apply logic to intuit what must have been.

Sadly, the world doesn't understand this and many people believe that evolution, which is not even a testable theory, is a proven fact. Evolutionists have done a great job of marketing their viewpoint completely apart from the evidences available. But when you look behind the curtain of the Great and Terrible Oz of evolution, you see a little man of supposition where proven fact was believed to reside.

Evolution is not fact, it is not even a theory, it is a supposition. No one has ever proved or demonstrated evolution in action ever, at any time.

Creation is also a supposition. It cannot be tested and it cannot be proven and it has not been observed.

So please understand that in the realm of historical science, particularly in the world of creation science versus evolution science, it is all about the interpretation of evidence, period. One must simply decide for oneself which model fits the evidence best in one's own opinion.

~~~~~~~

The Big Things First - The big questions about who we are and how we got here cannot be answered in terms of proofs. So we can only look at evidences and decide, according to logic and in accordance with our worldviews, what makes sense.

Where did everything come from?

"
Edward Tryon, Nature Magazine, 1973: "I offer the modest proposal that our Universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time."

Atheistic Evolution says that everything came from a natural cause. However, no cause is discernible so we need an "uncaused cause." The answer from this camp? The Big Bang. One of the latest versions of this Bang is Guth's Grand Guess, an inflation model of the aforementioned Bang. Guth himself says, "The Universe burst into something from absolutely nothing - zero, nada. And as it got bigger, it became filled with even more stuff that came from absolutely nowhere." April 2002 issue, Discover Magazine.

What follows is all the instances that scientists have observed in which something comes from nothing:
*
*
*
Still there? Yep, no evidence. However, there is the First Law of Thermodynamics:

First Law of Thermodynamics

The first law of thermodynamics is often called the Law of Conservation of Energy. This law suggests that energy can be transferred from one system to another in many forms. Also, it can not be created or destroyed. Thus, the total amount of energy available in the Universe is constant. Einstein's famous equation (written below) describes the relationship between energy and matter:

E = mc2

In the equation above, energy (E) is equal to matter (m) times the square of a constant (c). Einstein suggested that energy and matter are interchangeable. His equation also suggests that the quantity of energy and matter in the Universe is fixed.

So, what we see in the Universe today is that nothing is being either created or destroyed. The Big Bang is, so to speak, against the Law because such an event is never observed.

Biblical Creationism - Says that everything was created by God in a six day period of time, including time itself.

Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Creationists believe that an Eternal God created the Universe and everything in it. God is the cause of all existence. I personally see this explanation as far more logical and reasonable than "it just happened, even though it cannot happen."

There are all sorts of ways to look at all the evidences. The various Bang suppositions change on a regular basis. The likelihood is that the explanation you are willing to believe is the one that matches up with your worldview. The atheistic evolutionist would argue that it is illogical to argue that a supernatural being simply created matter from nothing. But then that same person will accept the idea of matter creating itself from nothing instead.

The Bible stands as evidence for God as the Creator of all things. If you accept that the Bible is the Word of God, then you have your answer. Big if, as we all know.

Where did life come from?

The atheistic evolutionist will say that somehow life generated from non-life. However there is another law involved here, the Law of Biogenesis:

Law of biogenesis. The law which states, life arises only from existing life. Formulated after many years of extensive observation and experimentation. The ancient greeks believed that living things could originate from nonliving matter (abiogenesis) and that the goddess Gea could make life arise spontaneously from stones. aristotle disagreed, but still believed that creatures could arise from dissimilar organisms or from soil (an early form of evolution theory). variations of this concept of spontaneous generation still existed as late as the 17th century, but towards the end of the 17th century a series of observations, experiments, and arguments began that eventually discredited such ideas. This advance in scientific understanding was met with much opposition, with personal beliefs and individual predjudices often obscuring the facts. Francesco Redi, an Italian physician, proved as early as 1668 that higher forms of life could not originate spontaneously, but proponents of abiogenesis claimed that this did not apply to microbes and continued to hold that these could arise spontaneously. attempts to disprove the spontaneous generation of life from non-life continued in the early 1800s with observations and experiments by Franz Schulze and Theodor Schwann.

In 1864 louis pasteur finally announced the results of his scientific experiments. In a series of neat experiments, pasteur proved conclusively that only pre-existing microbes could give rise to other microbes (biogenesis). thus dr. louis pasteur finally overcame the longstanding belief in spontaneous generation of life. even so (regardless of the evidence) the belief that life could spontaneously arise from non-life (abiogenesis) was still stubbornly held on to by some, including thomas Huxley ('Darwin's Bulldog').

however, the law of biogenesis is now well established and it is generally accepted by scientists that abiogenesis has no scientific validity. The medical profession and food industry rely totally on the validity of the law of biogenesis for hygiene, sterilisation and food preservation.

“There is no publication in the scientific literature—in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books—that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations.” Michael Behe in Darwin's Black Box.

Abiogenesis is also against the law, as it were. Yet it is the keystone of the atheistic evolutionists' point of view, for if life didn't just happen by chance, there had to be a Creator and certainly an atheist cannot abide the thought of a creator!

One way to get around the fact that abiogenesis has never been observed and seems to be impossible here on earth is panspermia, the idea that life began elsewhere and then was transported here.


By David Warmflash and Benjamin Weiss

"Most scientists have long assumed that life on Earth is a homegrown phenomenon. According to the conventional hypothesis, the earliest living cells emerged as a result of chemical evolution on our planet billions of years ago in a process called abiogenesis. The alternative possibility--that living cells or their precursors arrived from space--strikes many people as science fiction. Developments over the past decade, however, have given new credibility to the idea that Earth's biosphere could have arisen from an extraterrestrial seed...."

Yes, in this way atheistic evolutionists move the problem to somewhere else in unobserved space at some unobserved time. Oddly enough, there have recently been two fields of scientific study established, being astrobiology and exobiology. The cynic in me says that such fields were developed to help NASA receive funding and keep the dollars flowing into the SETI project.

At any rate, here are the instances of extraterrestrial life that have been observed by scientists:
*
*
*
Yes, there are no instances. But how about the number of times that life has been observed to come from non-life here on earth?
*
*
*
Again, there are none.

Creationists believe that God created all life, as recounted in Genesis chapter one. The Bible has an explanation for the source of all life, God.

~~~~~~~

Those who are determined to keep God out of the discussion are doing so based upon their worldview and not because it is good science. Virtually every field of science was established by a Creationist. Sir Isaac Newton would be the most influential founder of physics and Galileo Galilei would be included in the discussion, Sir Francis Bacon was the founder of the scientific method. Here is a chart from
50 Nobel Laureates and Other Great Scientists Who Believe in God. Notice how most of these 16-21st century fathers of science were believers in a Creator God. IV
Isaac Newton Founder of Classical Physics and Infinitesimal Calculus Anglican (rejected Trinitarianism, i.e., Athanasianism;
believed in the Arianism of the Primitive Church)
Galileo Galilei Founder of Experimental Physics Catholic
Nicolaus Copernicus Founder of Heliocentric Cosmology Catholic (priest)
Johannes Kepler Founder of Physical Astronomy and Modern Optics Lutheran
Francis Bacon Founder of the Scientific Inductive Method Anglican
René Descartes Founder of Analytical Geometry and Modern Philosophy Catholic
Blaise Pascal Founder of Hydrostatics, Hydrodynamics,
and the Theory of Probabilities
Jansenist
Michael Faraday Founder of Electronics and Electro-Magnetics Sandemanian
James Clerk Maxwell Founder of Statistical Thermodynamics Presbyterian; Anglican; Baptist
Lord Kelvin Founder of Thermodynamics and Energetics Anglican
Robert Boyle Founder of Modern Chemistry Anglican
William Harvey Founder of Modern Medicine Anglican (nominal)
John Ray Founder of Modern Biology and Natural History Calvinist (denomination?)
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz German Mathematician and Philosopher,
Founder of Infinitesimal Calculus
Lutheran
Charles Darwin Founder of the Theory of Evolution Anglican (nominal); Unitarian
Ernst Haeckel German Biologist,
the Most Influential Evolutionist in Continental Europe
Thomas H. Huxley English Biologist and Evolutionist,
Famous As "Darwin's Bulldog"
Joseph J. Thomson Nobel Laureate in Physics, Discoverer of the Electron,
Founder of Atomic Physics
Anglican
Louis Pasteur Founder of Microbiology and Immunology Catholic


Darwin, Haeckel and Huxley kind of stand out as sore thumbs in this list, eh?


Then there is the father of modern rocket science, Werner Von Braun, who said, "I find it...difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe." from Ann Lamont's 21 Great Scientists Who Believed The Bible.

Dimitrov's online book also contains a list of 20th century Nobel Laureates in the sciences...

Albert Einstein Nobel Laureate in Physics Jewish
Max Planck Nobel Laureate in Physics Protestant
Erwin Schrodinger Nobel Laureate in Physics Catholic
Werner Heisenberg Nobel Laureate in Physics Lutheran
Robert Millikan Nobel Laureate in Physics probably Congregationalist
Charles Hard Townes Nobel Laureate in Physics United Church of Christ (raised Baptist)
Arthur Schawlow Nobel Laureate in Physics Methodist
William D. Phillips Nobel Laureate in Physics Methodist
William H. Bragg Nobel Laureate in Physics Anglican
Guglielmo Marconi Nobel Laureate in Physics Catholic and Anglican
Arthur Compton Nobel Laureate in Physics Presbyterian
Arno Penzias Nobel Laureate in Physics Jewish
Nevill Mott Nobel Laureate in Physics Anglican
Isidor Isaac Rabi Nobel Laureate in Physics Jewish
Abdus Salam Nobel Laureate in Physics Muslim
Antony Hewish Nobel Laureate in Physics Christian (denomination?)
Joseph H. Taylor, Jr. Nobel Laureate in Physics Quaker
Alexis Carrel Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Catholic
John Eccles Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Catholic
Joseph Murray Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Catholic
Ernst Chain Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Jewish
George Wald Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Jewish
Ronald Ross Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Christian (denomination?)
Derek Barton Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Christian (denomination?)
Christian Anfinsen Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Jewish
Walter Kohn Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Jewish
Richard Smalley Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Christian (denomination?)

Now as it happens some scientists who associate themselves with a faith are not classic creationists, such as Einstein. Einstein did believe in God, but was unsure what form God was to be encountered and exactly how much He was involved in things at present.

Do you believe in creation or evolution? I suggest very strongly that it is your worldview that drives your belief. One reason that I post this blog is because I do believe that worldviews can be changed with strong evidences and logic. I am one who came all the way from classic evolutionist to creationist after I decided that I needed to look carefully at the evidence and think for myself.

The evolution versus creation debate begins with origins. Where did the Universe come from? Where did life come from? The atheistic evolutionist can only say that he believes by faith that they somehow just happened.

Next, we'll look at some questions that come immediately after the first two very obvious questions. By the way, if you are an evolutionist and want to argue that the first two points are not even about evolution, sorry, I just don't buy it. You have to have a Universe and you have to have living organisms in order to begin even discussing evolution and if those who believe in evolution want to concede that God created the Universe and then created life, then, frankly, what do we need evolution for anyway? The next logical step is to concede that God made life as we know it today and that evolution is not worth discussion.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Biblical Law - question and answer

Commenters often claim I ignore their questions. I did answer this one, but it has come up again so I want to put it in the form of a post and make it abundantly clear: The commenter is in black, I am in blue and the Bible is in red.

My question was:"Could you give us a rundown on which laws no longer apply, and which do, because of Jesus getting himself killed? You say the "ceremonial" stuff is out, but there's a lot of "stoning" for what appears to be non-ceremonial action/thought."Unless you are saying all the laws are out since Jesus got nailed, I'm still waiting for the answer. And waiting, and waiting, and.....

The Law as given by God to Moses, both on the stone tablets and by further inspiration, is specified in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. The Law was part of a theocracy in which God Himself was the head and was represented by Moses and the Priesthood. Whereas the Law was given to the Jews, they were also given a choice: would they accept the Law and the God of the Law as their authority? They agreed to this.

Exodus 24:3 & 4 - When Moses went and told the people all the LORD's words and laws, they responded with one voice, "Everything the LORD has said we will do." Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said.

Thus we have what is known as a covenant arrangement, along the lines of a contract in today's terms. (I find no codicil in here about needing a temple to perform sacrifices, as there was not yet a temple, so my question to Jews today remains unanswered.) The covenant was between God and man. The people of Israel stood in for mankind as a whole, because they were the last remnant of people on earth who still worshipped to any extent the Creator God. By the way, even though the Law was given to the Jews, a non-Jew could come in to the congregation by belief and action and be one of God's people as well, just as Rahab did for one example.

Of course, people being people the Jews as a whole didn't do a very good job of keeping the Law and would, as a nation, stray. In fact, much of the Old Testament is an account of a nation that strayed from God, and came back, and strayed, and came back and so on.

The Law was for a people but also for individual people. No matter what the state of the people of Israel, individuals could be obedient or not as they would. Thus, even when the nation itself was in rebellion to God, there would be an Isaiah or a Jeremiah or an Elijah calling them back to God.

But no one man could keep the law perfectly and God knew this. He inspired Paul to write on this subject rather clearly in discussing Abraham, one of the fathers of the faith and a Patriarch in the line of the Jews. Well, The Patriarch in fact.

Romans 4: 1-3 - What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

Even Abraham was unable to do nothing but good. His "works" could not save him. The Jews could do their best to keep the Law, but they would fail and be required to give sacrifices and repent. In doing this, they were not actually atoning for their sins but they were believing and obeying their God. Thus, righteousness was 'credited' to them. The sacrifices were 'types' representing the One True Sacrifice to come, Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10: 1-7 - The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, 'Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, O God.' "

Jesus came as a fulfillment of the Law, the answer to the question of sin and redemption and presented himself to the Jewish people as their Messiah. But the ruling scribes and pharisees of that time did not want to lose their position and power and rejected the idea of Christ. They wanted a Messiah who would set up an earthly kingdom, deposing the Romans and thus taking over the world (and putting those same scribes and pharisees in places of even greater authority). They wanted a Messiah who gave them earthly things. But Jesus came to do much more than that and many Jews heard and became followers of Christ. Frankly, you could just as easily call Christian believers "Jews" and require those calling themselves Jews now to simply identify themselves as Hebrews. Because at the time of Christ there was a split between Jews who accepted the Christ and those who rejected Him.

Romans 2:29 - No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.

By that verse, I am a Jew and glad of it! In any event, when Christ died on the cross the atonement was begun and once He rose again and ascended to Heaven it was completed. Several things took place:

1) The temple veil was ripped in half from the top down, God's way of saying that He would no longer have a presence in the Temple and that the Holy of Holies was no longer there...and thus invalidating further sacrifices.

2) The theocracy of a people ruled by God, which had become a practical mockery by this time, was over. God had presented a new covenant between Himself and mankind, through Jesus, and once again this covenant was by choice.

3) Those who rejected (and reject) Christ are therefore still accountable to the Old Covenant. So when I say the ceremonial laws passed away, I am referring to the sacrifices and offerings which prefigured Christ. Christ has come and there is no longer a need to prefigure Him, obviously. When I say the Law was nailed to the cross I also mean that, for Christians, we are now to be led by the Spirit of God within us and guided by the principles of the Bible. The Law was fulfilled in Christ and we who have accepted Christ as Savior will not be judged by the Law. But rejectors of Christ are technically still under the Law so for you who will not accept Christ, all of it still applies to you and by that Law you will be judged by the Creator God after your life in this form is over.

4) Within the generation living when Christ was crucified (as he predicted specifically) the Temple was torn down stone-by-stone and the (now useless) sacrifices were ended completely.

5) The question of sin was now answered in Christ, who fulfilled the Law completely, paid the penalty for those who could not fulfill that same law, and then rose from the dead as the first of many who would live eternally with Him by accepting His sacrifice and receiving his Spirit.

II Corinthians 3:6 - He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Oh, as for the Jews finding a nailed messiah laughable, well, the non acceptance of your nailed messiah speaks for itself. Interpret their scriptures as you will, they read them quite differently.

Psalms 22:16 - Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.

Yep, nothing clear about that...in fact even though it is in poetic language (Psalms being songs to be sung rather than prose to be simply read), Psalms 22 is quite specific at times about the crucified Christ, albeit being written several centuries earlier. For instance:

Psalms 22: 7 & 8 - All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads:
"He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."


Now compare to the testimony of the actual event in approximately AD 33:

Mark 15:29-32 - And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.

or

Matthew 27:41-43 - Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

Which makes ya wonder. Shouldn't God make these things a little clearer? After all we're talking eternal damnation here!

It is crystal clear. It is abundantly clear. Jesus spent three years proclaiming it, and his disciples and followers have continued to pass on the message ever since. It is proclaimed clearly and continuously in the Bible. Here are a few of the numerous passages that directly speak on this subject.

John 14:6 - Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 3:16-18 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

Matthew 1:21 - She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

Luke 19:10 - For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

Mark 16: 15 & 16 - He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 4:10-12 - Then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is " 'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

Romans 5:1-11 - Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

I Timothy 1:3-5 - This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

No secrets here - Jesus' mission was predicted in the Old Testament, He proclaimed it while He lived, He fulfilled it in dying and resurrecting, his disciples have published it continually thereafter. There is no confusion at all, what there is, however, is choice.

Choose to accept Christ, or choose to reject Him. No mystery, no secret, and it is on you to decide.