Archive for January, 2007

Material

Posted: January 26, 2007 in Theo/Philo, Uncategorized

 

cloning-cell.jpg
The message incessantly being beamed out from the worldview satellite is, that we are nothing but material.

Whatever is distinctive about someone is not to be celebrated, as that distinction is an accident,there are no intents just accidents-so much for a meritocracy.

We occupy a space on a sliding scale of complexity which makes us no different in essence from animals,witness the crumbling of that old Berlin wall the Judeo Christian consensus, that marked ‘Man’ out as distinctive from the beasts.

The vacuum that this consensus left, has been filled with,amongst other things, a materialistic closed universe ,that sees no reason for ‘man’ to be distinguished -and so ‘man’ must saunter back from his position of spoilt nobility to get back in line with the apes,elephants and the rest.

Exhibit one,Spain’s recent decision to grant Apes equal rights with Man,this reminds me of that TV program Planet of the Apes.

The Archbishop of Pamplona and Tudela, Fernando Sebastian, has said :

“We don’t give rights to some people – such as unborn children, human embryos, and we are going to give them to apes,”

Man is material -what do we do with material ?We manipulate it .We dominate it ,we eliminate it ,we reproduce it,we improve upon it.

All of this shifting of opinion regarding the value of ‘Man’ is due to a turning away from an external reference point,the reference point that brought freedom and stability to those countries that adopted it.

The reference point of the Judeo Christian worldview. Has been ditched,this has lead to a dilemma, as expounded by among others Francis Schaeffer:

‘There are, as we have seen, two problems concerning man and his dilemma. The first of them is the fact that man is personal, different from non man, and yet finite. Because he is finite, he has no sufficient integration point in himself. Again, as Jean-Paul Sartre put it, if a finite point does not have an infinite reference point, it is meaningless and absurd….The second point concerning man and the dilemma of man is what I call the nobility of man ..the wonder of man and yet also with his horrible cruelty that runs through the warp and woof of man history.’

Imagine using a ruler to measure the length of something,the ruler is the reference point by which we know the length of anything. Remove the ruler and we are free to make up our own lengths for things -of course we are freer but also now we are unable to tell whether our guestimates about length are right or wrong and so as scripture says :’everyone does what is right in there own eyes’.

This materialistic view point leads to many inconsistencies -which exist because the materialistic worldview does not fit with day to day experience.

For instance from Nancy Pearcey’s book ‘Total truth’:

‘..Steven Pinker of MIT, a leader in the field of cognitive science, and his best selling book How the Mind Works. The message of science,Pinker writes, is that the human mind is nothing more than a data-processing machine, a complex computational device. At the same time, he goes on to say, the very possibility of morality depends on the idea that we more than machines-that we are capable of making free, uncoerced, undetermined choices. Here s how he states the dilemma: “Ethical theory requires idealizations like free, sentient, rational, equivalent agents whose behaviour is uncaused,” and yet “the world as seen by science, does not really have uncaused events.”’

C.S.Lewis says in the way only he can :

‘If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents – the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts – i.e., Materialism and Astronomy – are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk-jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.’

Materialism as expressed through Science cannot explain the moral aspect of ‘man’s’ character,it would rather we were complex machines,genes are our past,present and future and so your honour I did it because my genes made me.

Advertisements

lama.jpg 

(Program to destroy the Christian religion in
Burma)
 

No, this is not fantasy, I wish it was. The Telegraph has reported on a leaked document, the source of this text is a Burmese government ministry.From the document: ‘There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practised”

Its Government policy!

From the Telegraph:

‘In Koh Kyi village, in Arakan State, a monk backed by the military burnt down the local church. In another state, 300 monks were allegedly sent by the regime to forcibly convert the populace, all of whom belonged to the Chin ethnic group, which is mostly Christian.’

Sounds like a final solution, sounds like fascist rhetoric, a nation unified by religion. Not tolerating other beliefs, actively seeking out and killing those of other beliefs specifically Christians.

The Burmese Government it seems does not like its citizens to have freedom to believe or think.

Here is a link to an interview with a Christian Leader in Rangoon,from Christian Freedom International.

If you pray –please do so for those caught in this hellish situation. 

  

 

I can’t see anything!?!

Posted: January 17, 2007 in Theo/Philo

fingerprints.gif 

Information arrives exclusively via our senses. That makes sense!This understanding of things depends on a chain of logical ideas, inferences, which move from expectation confirmed by experience to a clearer understanding of events, where one event causes the next.We make sense of what is and what isn’t, from a combination of information coming to our senses plus the inferences we make.When thinking about those pesky big questions of life, inferences and logic can be used to ‘see’ that which cannot be sensed any other way –for instance the atom (see how the language of our senses are used to describe understanding).

I have been thinking about the idea of atheism and the burden of proof. This idea was postulated by Anthony Flew (ex-atheist-new deist) in his essay ‘The presumption of Atheism’ can be seen from this quote of Antony Flews: My presumption of atheism is closely analogous to the presumption of innocence in the English law…the onus of proof…is up to the theist: first, to introduce and defend his proposed concept of God; and, second, to provide sufficient reason for believing that this concept of his does in fact have an application.’The presumption is that an atheist does not need to prove his/her position with any proof of any kind; it is for the theist to do the leg work and show God.I m having a difficulty with this position, currently I disagree with it.Here’s why:

  1. Atheism is distinctive from the agnostic in that the atheist claims a position of knowledge-knowledge that says there is no God. Whereas the agnostic is still scratching his head over that question.
  2. It is impossible to prove the negative assertion ‘There is no God’; the only exception to this rule is if the person hoping to prove this negative assertion possesses all knowledge through all time and is present throughout all space.
  3. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence  William Lane  Craig says:

Now clearly there are cases in which the absence of evidence does constitute evidence of absence.  If some one were to assert that there is an elephant on the quad, then the failure to observe an elephant there would be good reason to think that there is no elephant there.  But if someone were to assert that there is a flea on the quad, then one’s failure to observe it there would not constitute good evidence that there is no flea on the quad.  The salient difference between these two cases is that in the one, but not the other, we should expect to see some evidence of the entity if in fact it exists.Thus, the absence of evidence is evidence of absence only in cases in which, were the postulated entity to exist, we should expect to have some evidence of its existence.  Moreover, the justification conferred in such cases will be proportional to the ratio between the amount of evidence that we do have and the amount of evidence that we should expect to have if the entity existed.  If the ratio is small, then little justification is conferred on the belief that the entity does not exist.’

Atheists claim there position is the default one, because deities are bolted on only after the initial assumption has been shown to be faulty. This assumption along with the presumption of burden of proof resting with the theists is groundless. To say “I don’t see something” is as much a statement of knowledge as the statement “I do see something”.If no burden of proof rests with the atheist then a baby as a default person, is technically an atheist. This reduction in the meaning of the word atheist is the price to be paid when no substantiating claims are needed. 

phagepacking_1_original.png

Quite some time ago I was fortunate, well I think fortunate is the right word to describe being on a course concerned with a virus called Lambda λ.This virus is a bacteriophage infecting the bacteria E.Coli.Lambda is distinctive among it viral brothers in that it can exist in two states, either a lysogenous state or a lytic one.

 Lysogeny is where the foreign genetic information of the lambda virus is brought into the bacterium and becomes fused and part of the hosts own DNA ,the advantage for the virus is that subsequent generations of e.coli will not only inherit there parents good looks but also the lambda phage.The other lifestyle choice of the lambda virus is the more usual lytic life cycle, where the newly injected viral DNA uses the cellular machinery in the bacterium to produce many copies of itself, leading to cell bursting (lysis) releasing the viral particles to reek havoc on other unsuspecting e.coli.

The mechanisms underlying the lifestyle choices of lambda include regulated termination and anti termination of transcriptional elongation, proteolytic control of regulatory molecules, antisense control of gene expression, multiple start sites for transcription, DNA looping, feedback loops etc.

The mechanisms above represent the means of ‘decisions’ and constitute an algorithm; that is a set of instructions much like those used by computer programmers. If ‘A’ is greater than ‘B’ then ‘C’.From an origins point of view, just how did these mechanisms for making decisions evolve?

J.T.Trevors and D.L.Abel published a paper in Cell Biology International called ’Chance and necessity do not explain the origin of life.‘  in which they state:  Thus far, no paper has provided a plausible mechanism for natural-process algorithm-writing…It is difficult to understand how natural processes could have generated the following aspects of life in such a short time: 

(1) a genetic operating system with which to recordprogramming instructions, (2) the programs themselves for production or assemblyof every individual building block, biochemicalpathway, and metabolic cycle needed for even thesimplest protometabolism to develop, and 

(3) a coding system with which to translate triplet codon‘‘language’’ into polyamino acid language.  Life-origin specialists should appreciate that the generation of instructions is a separate and distinct problem from that of devising a language system with which to record those instructions.We must not only find models for specific genetic programming, but for the genetic operating system.’ 

There are many instances of genetic switches and algorithms within nature; it seems that an exclusively naturalistic worldview cannot ignore these switches and will need to explain in purely physical terms, not only the origin and density of information, the origin of the operating system of the cell including the ability to have multiple responses to an event and to ‘decide’ which response is appropriate.