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Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Earth from top to bottom and the afterlife from Heaven to Hell.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 NKJV

Our Amazing Planet explores Earth from its peaks to it mysterious depths.
Source, Exploring the wonder and beauty of planet Earth through exclusive news, features and images.

A lot of what the site, above, presents is quite interesting, at least when they don't try to put the ruling paradigm spin on things.   How fascinating is it that life is found miles above sea level and miles below, that life is not just based on energy from the Sun, but there are forms of life that depend upon sulphur or methane without a trace of sunlight and there are forms of life present in both remarkable cold and intensely hot conditions.   The reason for this is simply that God designed life to be able to spread across the entire planet vertically and horizontally.

The logical response to the findings of the last two generations should have convinced one and all that God created.  We've discovered fine-tuning of the Universe and Solar System and Earth.   We've discovered DNA and learned that it is a medium of transmission for exceedingly complex codes that we are still trying to understand.   We've discovered systems and biological machines that we hope to copy since they are far more efficient than the ones we have thought up ourselves.  We've discovered that bacteria have languages, that there are algorithms built in to organisms like ants and bees that are beyond our capabilities to design for ourselves.  We have found that organisms are hardware, software and operating systems far more sophisticated than anything we can make and also that the cell is more complex than a Chrysler factory.   We consist of trillions of cells, but we also have within us both information and life that are not natural in origin.  Furthermore, there are ten microorganisms living in us and on us for every cell that we possess and many of them are absolutely essential for us to live.   We are like planets carrying tens of millions of inhabitants, more complex than we can actually imagine and mysteriously able to be creative, think abstractly and also take our thoughts on journeys within that fourth dimension that we ourselves cannot escape.   We are trapped in this time, now, but our minds can consider the future not just remember the past.   The human being is an astonishing work of engineering and yet we don't give any praise to the Designer?!

Cre-Evo headlines has some interesting thoughts on the subject of the amazing, amusing and often frustrating human being:

Appreciate Your Gifts     05/29/2011      

May 29, 2011 — We like to showcase stories of amazing animals, but humans are special, too.  What animal can boast some of the qualities that science has recently reported?
  1. Math brain:  Studies of Amazon tribespeople show that they have an innate understanding of Euclidean geometry, even without ever learning it at school.  For the BBC News, Jason Palmer reported, “Tests given to an Amazonian tribe called the Mundurucu suggest that our intuitions about geometry are innate.”
        People in the Mundurucu tribe only have approximations for numbers, and no language for geometry, but they showed comparable skill to French and US schoolchildren, even exceeding them in some ways.
        The researchers believe this shows that geometry is intuitive for humans: “they seemed to have an intuition about lines and geometric shapes without formal education or even the relevant words.”  They even grasped some non-Euclidean geometry better than some westerners, such as understanding that parallel lines on a sphere can intersect.
  2. Baby skill setLive Science posted a gallery of “Nine Brainy Baby Abilities,” including innate knowledge of social power, mind meld with dogs, following others’ moods, dancing, mimicking, learning during sleep, rudimentary math abilities, ability to learn language, and innate ability to judge character.
  3. Infant rationality:  A study in Science was titled, “Pure Reasoning in 12-Month-Old Infants as Probabilistic Inference.”1  Whether they can or Kant make a Critique of Pure Reason is a question for philosophers.  The abstract said,
    Many organisms can predict future events from the statistics of past experience, but humans also excel at making predictions by pure reasoning: integrating multiple sources of information, guided by abstract knowledge, to form rational expectations about novel situations, never directly experienced.  Here, we show that this reasoning is surprisingly rich, powerful, and coherent even in preverbal infants.  When 12-month-old infants view complex displays of multiple moving objects, they form time-varying expectations about future events that are a systematic and rational function of several stimulus variables.
    See also the Live Science review of this paper.  It commented that robot designers have biomimetics on their brain: “The goal, [Joshua] Tenenbaum [MIT] said, is a sort of ‘reverse engineering’ of infant cognition that might help robotics developers build machines that interact with the world more like the human brain does.”
  4. Beautiful brain:  Behind the outward shows of rationality are amazing cells.  Science Daily posted a color picture of the brain’s most common cell, the astrocyte.  “Long considered to be little more than putty in the brain and spinal cord, the star-shaped astrocyte has found new respect among neuroscientists who have begun to recognize its many functions in the brain, not to mention its role in a range of disorders of the central nervous system.”  A group of researchers at the University of Madison-Wisconsin has now succeeded in culturing some of these cells in a lab dish.
        Other animals have astrocytes, don’t they?  “Astrocytes, some studies suggest, may even play a role in human intelligence given that their volume is much greater in the human brain than any other species of animal,” the article answered.  They are involved in every brain function.
  5. Blind as a bat:  The BBC News, Medical Xpress and Live Science discussed how the blind can develop a sixth sense, a kind of echolocation, that helps them navigate in the absence of vision. “Some blind people are able to use the sound of echoes to ‘see’ where things are and to navigate their environment,” Live Science said.  “Now, a new study finds that these people may even be using visual parts of their brains to process the sounds.”
        In fact, even sighted people can learn how to echolocate.  This raises the interesting idea that humans are “over-engineered” for perception, but through lack of practice fail to use all the latent abilities available to them.
  6. Power stroke:  When you switch from walking to running, your body switches gears.  The power in walking comes from the hips, but when running, the body switches to get its power from the ankles, an article on PhysOrg discussed.  Researchers at North Carolina State measured this “tradeoff” that occurs automatically; humans just take it in stride.
Microsoft has a novel take on human beings: use them as antennas.  Live Science reported that since the human body gives off detectable electromagnetic signals, the signals could be harnessed to create a home automation system that learns the layout of the house, then automatically responds to the body.  Some day you might turn on lights when you walk into a room, use gestures to turn up the thermostat or control the volume of music, or operate appliances without knobs or switches.
    The human body is a natural antenna, the article said.  “It reliably picks up the electromagnetic signals that emanate from all electrical systems and appliances in the home.  These ambient signals can be used to create an affordable home automation system that controls household electronics with a pat on the wall or even a simple hand gesture.”
    Many are already familiar with the Wii and Kinect game consoles that respond to body movements, and light switches that respond to hand clapping.  Tapping into human electromagnetic signals opens up new vistas.  The possibilities for “controller free living” are virtually limitless, reporter Leslie Meredith said.
    A visitor from the past would probably worry he was seeing witchcraft if a wave of the hand could turn on the lights – but it would just be a clever application of manipulating plain old natural forces, like the old theremin musical instrument that fascinated 1920s viewers with music made by a wave of the hand (see Theremin World).  When humans can get cats to respond to gestures, then they’ll really have something.

1.  Teglas, Vul et al, “Pure Reasoning in 12-Month-Old Infants as Probabilistic Inference,” Science, 27 May 2011: Vol. 332 no. 6033 pp. 1054-1059, DOI: 10.1126/science.1196404.
Have you ever seen an animal make shadow puppets of human beings?  Why not?  Parrots can talk and sing, but they don’t reason about parallel lines on spheres.  Gorillas make gestures, but they don’t write software to turn up the music with them.  Peregrine falcons are fast, but humans make jets that fly faster than sound.  Whales are great divers, but humans build submarines that study life at deep-sea vents.  Birds navigate by the stars, but humans build spacecraft with star trackers that orbit distant planets.  It seems we have some bragging rights.  Let the one who designed these innate capabilities in himself cast the first boast.
Next headline on:  Human BodyMind and BrainBiomimeticsAmazing Facts

  Five molecular motors that move you: 05/30/2007.

A Little Knowledge Without Ethics     05/28/2011      

May 28, 2011 — A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  When is knowledge enough?  And can a lot of knowledge be a dangerous thing, too?  Whether little or much, knowledge without ethics empowers evil.
  1. Imbalance in India:  Ultrasound is a wonderful invention that allows images inside the human body.  In India, however, where culture and economics puts a premium on the male sex, its use has had devastating consequences.  PhysOrg reported, “In Indian families in which the first child has been a girl, more and more parents with access to prenatal ultrasound testing are aborting a second female in the hope that a subsequent pregnancy will yield a boy, said the study, published in The Lancet.... Between 1980 and 2010, they estimate, four to 12 million girls were aborted because of their sex.
        The government has tried to stop the practice, but in a country where corruption is rampant, laws are easily set aside.  “A 1996 government regulation designed to prevent the use of ultrasound for prenatal sex determination is widely flouted, the researchers say, pointing out that few health providers have been charged or convicted.”  A little bribe goes a long way.  This could not have happened before science brought the technology to know the sex of an unborn baby, but where does the fault lie?
  2. Imbalance in China:  The Three Gorges Dam was a monumental engineering effort in China that worried environmentalists and ethicists because of potential damage to the land and its people.  Now that the reservoir is full, New Scientist reported, those worries have been realized.
        Landslides, pollution, and economic upheaval with dire consequences for many displaced people are the result.  The BBC News added that 1.3 billion people were displaced by a project that was the “contentious scheme even before it was approved.”  Ignoring warnings that it would cause an “environmental catastrophe,” the government went ahead with the project.
        Last week, in an unusual move, the government admitted “that the Three Gorges dam has caused significant environmental problems.”  But they remain unfazed by the consequences.  In fact, they are going to build more dams.
  3. Endangered species:  The Endangered Species Act has impacted many businesses and homeowners, depriving property owners of rights to use their land in freedom because of the claims of scientists that certain species would be adversely affected.  “For more than 40 years,” Science Daily reported, “the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has published the Red List of Threatened Species describing the conservation status of various species of animals.”
        Now, however, an international team is calling for a reassessment of the definition of endangered species.  Are the one-size-fits-all criteria currently in use too simplistic?  “Our results challenge the application of the same sets of threat criteria across living organisms and across regions,” the team said, admitting that “identifying which species are most at risk can be difficult....”  While each case must be judged on the evidence, one wonders how many human beings have been deprived of their freedom, and what has been the impact on society and the economy, from the application of simplistic standards of assumed knowledge.
  4. Climate change:  For most of the past decade, global warming has been a doomsday scenario guaranteed by the scientific consensus unless drastic changes in the world’s economies were made.  States have passed carbon taxes; the federal government pushed for cap-and-trade legislation; bodies of world governments agreed to make draconian cuts in emissions that would cripple their economies.
        Many scientists still believe the threat is real.  Maybe it is, but the IPCC, the world body that had been trusted with the scientific data to back it up, got caught in an embarrassing credibility crisis over the Climategate affair in 2009.  Subsequent investigations found conflicts of interest and sloppy data gathering by the panel.  Nature News discussed the latest moves to repair the damage and reform the IPCC, while a growing number of climate skeptics have claimed the threat is either overblown or unreal, leading to questions about how many nations and people might be suffering unnecessarily over a “little knowledge” about climate processes that may be too uncertain for human beings to grasp.
  5. Government funding:  Recent TV news reports mocked government spending to the National Science Foundation for apparently frivolous projects like a shrimp on a treadmill, a robot that folds towels, and a study to discover if boys like trucks and girls like dolls.  Senator Tom Coburn in particular had brought some of these projects, buried in NSF reports, to light.
        The NSF didn’t take this lying down.  Live Science responded that some scientists “cry foul” over Coburn’s report, calling it “misleading” and “out of context”.
        Whether or not researchers can back up the worth of their pet projects is one thing.  Reporter Stephanie Pappas did quote Coburn’s focus, “It is not the intent of this report to suggest that there is no utility associated with these research efforts.  The overarching question to ask, however, is simple.  Are these projects the best possible use of our tax dollars, particularly in our current fiscal crisis?”
  6. Fatherhood:  An article on PhysOrg pointed to the grim realities of fatherless families, but attributed the causes to poverty and lack of education.  Yet numerous men achieved success in spite of those causes.  George Washington Carver was an orphan, was dirt poor, was discriminated against, and yet became a highly successful and benevolent scientist.  Is it possible that the researchers behind the report are confusing causes and effects and ignoring other factors?  How many times has the government tried to eradicate poverty and ignorance, only to make problems worse?
        Such questions need to be asked before accepting the opinions of “economists, sociologists, and public policy experts” in academia.  The “experts” undoubtedly omitted to include input from the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family and other conservative organizations that might beg to differ on the causes and cures of fatherless families.  In fact, a survey of the ideology of the researchers behind this study might be illuminating.  How many of them view government as the solution to all social ills?
There’s an exhibition on display at Trinity College Dublin called “Human+: The Future of Our Species”.  Even the leftist-leaning journal Nature found some of the art, supported by the Wellcome Trust, unsettling.1  Anthony King wrote about the exhibit that challenges what it means to be human.  “Genetics and artificial intelligence figure prominently among its themes of augmented abilities, authoring evolution, extended ecologies, life at the edges and non-human encounters.”
    Some of the exhibits include a man transplanting an ear onto his arm, a robot that makes threats to critics, a robot that makes viewers ill at ease by imitating their facial expressions, a film showing robots boring holes into human bodies, and a place where viewers can get genetically tested for a gene that is claimed to cause high risk behavior.  This particular piece caught King’s eye:
Taking a still darker turn is the sculpture Euthanasia Coaster.  Should medical wonders allow us extended lifetimes, boredom may bedevil us.  Julijonas Urbonas imagines a humane and thrilling exit: death by roller coaster in the form of an exhilarating 500-metre drop followed by a series of loops, the G-forces of which would kill passengers in a state of intense euphoria.

1.  Anthony King, “Art: Body work,” Nature 473 (26 May 2011), p. 451, doi:10.1038/473451a.
Do you sense the lostness of this generation?  There is no bottom in the abyss of human depravity when empowered by knowledge without ethics.  Things could get very much worse without a return to the Manufacturer’s Manual.  Fallible humans following the Manual would still make mistakes, but at least there would be a pole star to guide on.
Next headline on:  Politics and EthicsMind and BrainBible and Theology


John 3:16

New King James Version (NKJV)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

Humanity was around for about 1700 years before the Noahic Flood.  Back then there was no "aging gene" turning off refreshing of cells and men could and did live for over 900 years in some cases.   Add human depravity, knowledge, a lack of ethics and hundreds of years to devise evil and it is no wonder that God decided to wipe man and all of his civilization from the planet.   We have lots of fossils of animals and plants caught in the Noahic Flood but interestingly enough just about nothing that is human or made by humans.   God very likely struck the major areas of population and civilization with the greatest blow as the Earth became inundated with water amongst volcanoes and earthquakes and rapid tectonic plate subduction that basically "ate up" the surface of the Pangea that we think was the original continent and destroyed all devices and records of early mankind.   Only one family who kept the knowledge of God alive was entrusted with the future of the planet - Noah and his family.   Four men, four women and an ark full of land-dwelling vertebrates in a boat built like a modern ship designed to handle stormy seas.    We ARE family, for we are all descended from Noah and originally from Adam and Eve.   

Adam and Eve sinned.  God killed animals to make them skins to cover themselves.  Thus God showed mankind that blood was required to cleanse sin.   God did set out rules of behavior, punishments and sacrifices to make temporary atonement until it was time for the Son of God to sacrifice Himself to die for our sins and then rise from death to make way for a highway to heaven for those who believe on Him and trust in His Name.  Jesus Christ was the last and perfect Sacrifice for the sins of the world.   He promised to go prepare a place for us to live with Him forever in a heaven without tears.   But He warned of the fate of those who would reject Him and thereby reject the Father.  "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death." 


If man was humble and wise enough to give God the glory and seek to know Him, then life on Earth would begin to resemble a Utopian state.  But there are many men and women given over to evil and many, many more who are ignorant of the truth and too lazy to think for themselves.   Don't be one of those.  See God in the wonder and majesty of His creation and seek Him before it is all gone.   One day you will die or, perhaps, the world will end during your lifetime.  Either way, on the other side of the door marked Death is the Creator.   What you decide while you are alive in this temporal world about Jesus Christ and His gift offered to you will determine which aspect of God you encounter when you step through that door.   He will either be welcoming you into eternal joy in His presence, or preparing to judge you for your deeds done under the Sun.   Unless you are perfect, you do not wish to be measured against the Law and found wanting, for you will join the rebellious angels and Satan in Hell forever.  Why?  For the sake of a little pride?   For fear of being criticized by your friends?   Because you are too proud to humble yourself before God?   No.  Don't let anything stop you from honoring the Creator of all things.   "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall."   The very last fall into burning torment never ends.   It never ends.