At first glance, I thought this was something straight out of the fever swamp section of the National Enquirer newsroom or maybe even the Midnight News, but, no, the following news report was produced and appeared on a credible Israeli news outlet.
The claim being reported is that by using 3D imaging made possible by advanced infrared technology, a team of scientists and archeologists were able to create a digital history of a storied building in the Jerusalem area where Christian tradition claims the Last Supper was held.
Do I accept that this effort has actually discovered a means of recreating the room where Jesus had the Last Supper? To be honest, I am quite skeptical. The imaging is of a room, but not necessarily the room. Watch the segment and share your thoughts.
Right up front, let me say this post is not meant to spark an evolution vs intelligent design debate. I have my views, others have theirs and odds are good we don’t agree on every point.
But one thing everybody can definitely agree on is there is an all-but-inexpressibly amazing degree of creativity, variety and fascination in the world of living things, including Beetles capable of long-jumping incredible distances, dolphins with unmatched maneuverability, and shrimp capable of seeing the invisible energy known as heat.
This intriguing trio is the subject of a new post from the Discovery Institute’s EN that I highly recommend to everybody. Yes, the EN folks are highly critical of modern evolutionary theory, but put that aside as you read. Here’s a sample:
“The apparatus responsible for this exceptional jump is hidden inside the beetle’s hind legs and is relatively simple. It contains only three sclerotised parts and a few muscles. Yet, it is, in reality, a highly efficient ‘catapult,‘ able to propel the beetle at a distance hundreds of times its body length.”
You may have heard or read recently about a team of paleo-anthropologists and other researchers who found some string-like material at a dig in Southern France from the era when Neanderthals were around.
Why is this significant, especially if you work on Capitol Hill? Well, if Neanderthals had the intelligence and dexterity to create string, that says something fundamentally important about them and modern human beings. Are we exceptional, as we think?
Reasons to Believe biochemist Dr. Fazale Rana discusses this finding and its potential significance to our understanding of human origins in the following video. It’s a half-hour video, which is a good bit longer than the norm here on HillFaith, but it’s a fascinating topic that deserves serious attention:
What is the most basic question of all? How about “why is there something rather than nothing?” That’s even more basic than “why am I here” or “what is the purpose of my life?”
Philosopher Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716) was a German polymath (i.e. extraordinarily smart person) and logician who said the most fundamental question of all was precisely that, why is there something rather than nothing.
His conclusion was that the answer to the question brings us face-to-face with the absolute necessity for the existence of God. Otherwise, nothing else, including us, would exist. It’s what philosophers and theologians today refer to as “The Contingency Argument.”
The following video from reasonablefaith.org provides an entertaining and thoughtfully accessible explanation of the how and why:
Mark Twain famously remarked about how “lightning” and “lightning bug” look and sound an awful lot alike, but they are two entirely different things. Philosopher Kenneth Samples sees much the same relationship between “science” and “scientism.”
That difference is hugely significant for Members of Congress, and even more so for their staffers, who must know the difference if they are to render the most credible and useful advice and analyses for their law-making bosses.
Take an introductory astronomy or physics class on a typical college or university campus these days and at some point there will be a great deal of attention paid to the Three Laws of Planetary Motion discovered by Johannes Kepler, one of the chief movers of the Scientific Revolution.
What will almost certainly get little or no attention in the class will be the fact that Kepler was a believing Christian who recognized the deep theological implications of those laws. The reason little is said about Kepler’s faith is the myth that Christianity and science are opposites.
In the following video, historian Michael Keas takes viewers on a detailed and enriching review of the facts that make clear Christianity was an enabler of science beginning very early on and without it much of what we take for granted today might well not be with us:
You’ve almost certainly never heard of Ota Benga, a diminutive young man taken from the Belgian Congo early in the first decade of the last century, and literally put on display in New York City in a cage with a monkey.
There is much discussion in America’s public forums about the country’s historic racism, with the New York Times’ “1619 Project” being among the most notable. But the Times defended putting Ota Benga on display in a cage, as did many of the most respected scientists of the day.
This award-winning documentary produced by Discovery Science is 55 minutes in length, much longer than the typical video I post here on HillFaith. But it will mesmerize and horrify you, both for the evil it documents and the realization that those who promote the narrative underlying “1619” leave out of their account the most important truths.
There was a minor flap in some quarters of the media and other precincts of the intelligentsia a few days ago when a news photo appeared of Vice President Mike Pence leading a White House meeting of the coronavirus task force in prayer.
Among those disgusted/amused/outraged/otherwise non-plussed by the photo was evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who snapped:
What if every time you have a thought about something, anything — what’s for lunch today, how should I react when the boss wants her District weekend schedule for next week tomorrow, why doesn’t Linda stop wearing her hair like that, how much do clouds weigh — you are providing evidence for God’s existence?
Think about it (no pun intended!), how can we account for the mind when, unlike our brains, it has no measurable weight, shape or volume. In other words, what if mind is not matter, at least not as the latter is understood in terms of physical properties.
Why should you, as a loyal, hard-working member of a congressional staff, care one way or the other about this? If mind isn’t matter, there must be more to life than the merely physical.
Watches don’t just magically appear out of nothing or assemble themselves without any outside assistance, therefore there must be a watchmaker doing what scientists and philosophers today call “intelligence design.”
The preceding paragraph is a modern restatement of William Paley’s Watchmaker argument for the existence of God. Just as the watch requires a watchmaker, the universe requires a creator.
Unless you are deep into the study of cellular biology, odds are you have no idea that your body is so dependent on telomeres because they are essential to the quality and length of your life.
So what on earth is a telomere? TA Sciences begins by noting that they are “an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age,” then continues by explaining:
“Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces.Without the coating, shoelaces become frayed until they can no longer do their job, just as without telomeres, DNA strands become damaged and our cells can’t do their job.”
Quantum Mechanics demonstrates beyond any shadow of doubt that the universe can be explained entirely by the physical properties of matter and how they interact, so there’s no longer any place for God, right? Right???
Not so fast, says Mind Matters’ Eric Holloway.
“If human observers are necessary for physical final causality to occur, how do humans come to have the capability in the first place? This question points to a yet even higher source of final causality that extends beyond the human realm, and is responsible for the final causality that humans exhibit,” Holloway writes.
Even if you are like me and are universes away from being able to claim to understand Quantum Mechanics, Holloway’s analysis will likely fascinate you and it will certainly give you some important new insights about our world and how it got here. Go here.
It is a commonplace belief among prominent contemporary atheist thinkers that the universe is strictly materialist, with nothing remotely non-material, or “spiritual,” as has been commonly understood for thousands of years.
But John Lennox, the British mathematician, philosopher of science, and Oxford professor emeritus, detects some interesting trends among the atheists he often debates in public forums.
“I think we’re getting to the state now where serious atheist thinkers are beginning to re-examine the kind of naturalism that reduces everything to physics and chemistry,” Lennox said during a recent discussion with Talk Radio’s Dave Rubin on The Big Conversation.
Check out this excerpt in which Lennox explains and includes examples:
Scientists are steadily adding new measures to the already lengthy list of aspects of the universe that illustrate how it is incredibly finely tuned to allow the existence of life on Earth.
Take for example the relationship of the energy of the universe to its mass. If that relationship was off by an incomprehensibly tiny one part in 10 to the 10 to the 123rd, I wouldn’t be here composing this post and you wouldn’t be reading it.
The following video from Philosophy Professor William Lane Craig’s reasonablefaith.org group lays out multiple examples of how incredibly, amazingly fine-tuned our universe is.
The logical inference from the precision and multiplicity of these measures is that the universe isn’t here by chance, it must have an intelligent designer, or, that is, God:
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It is not uncommon to hear the claim that human thoughts and choices are actually nothing more than the product of material processes of neurons acting and reacting within our physical brains.
Put another way, our minds are illusions. We only think we think of our own free will. As Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist and atheist advocate, put it in a 2011 interview with Britain’s The Guardian: