examinescience

A personal journey into the world of Science and Human History

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Dr. Ken Miller and the Missing Chromosome

A friend of mine suggested I listen to a YouTube video about evolution by Dr. Ken Miller. I had never heard of him before, so I gave it a look (took me too long to agree to that, by the way). Anyway, I listened to it and, if you dare, you can too:

So there are four points about the video I want to point out. First, Dr. Miller calls himself a believer in God toward the end. I thought that was most intriguing, though I had heard of Catholics doing that in the past. I think other non-evangelical sects do that too. Anyway, what I got from that is that it is possible to be a Christian and believe evolution occurred as a pathway to how we got here. I discuss the flip side of this situation in point four.

This leads me to point two. If evolution occurred, and if the 48 verses 46 chromosome issue is a fact (I’m still researching it), and if God does exist, then at what point did he first talk to humans? Was Lucy (Australopithecus Afarensis) God’s friend? What about Neanderthal? Or just Homo Sapiens like Abraham? This is a working thesis of mine, but it’s taking so long to develop it that I’m afraid it’s going to burn on the back burner where I’m letting it simmer way too long.

Third, and this actually struck me earlier in the video, he speaks about losing a pair of chromosomes. I appreciate him looking into it enough to realize that we didn’t just lose the chromosomes. In fact, any time a person is born without a Chromosome, it’s called monosomy, which is how we get females with Turner’s Syndrome. Humans can be born with an extra chromosome as well, and that is called trisomy, which is what causes Down’s Syndrome.

I’ve always held that mutations are bad, however they occur in nature. My daughter’s disease (cystic fibrosis) is a prime example. There is nothing good about the disease, yet plenty good about the individual (Samantha). In our quest for understanding science and the Bible, we cannot just assume that the chromosome issue (or genetics in general) has an easy answer or that it fits easily in the overall story. Dr. Miller is correct on that issue, though it was on of his least-labored points.

Fourth, Dr. Miller also inadvertently brings up the issue I’m most concerned about. In this one video, he purports to essentially destroy intelligent design and prove that we are descendants of apes. Yet at the end he calls himself a Catholic and believes in a God that wouldn’t mislead us. This seems to be the ultimate contradiction. It’s also one of the reasons I am very close to closing the door on the Gap Theory…it looks like a doctrine that would come from a God trying to trick us.

But what kind of God does Dr. Miller believe in then? And who is this god? The God I believe in led his original followers to write about him in a way that made him out to be the creator of everything. Dr. Miller’s god does not seem to be this being.

Of course my research is not complete. Dr. Miller’s argument, though seemingly rock solid, is but one area of research for me. Until next time…

Status of the Book

I wrote a few months ago that I was writing a book. Unfortunately, that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. I do have a working title now. Guess what??? It’s called, Examine Science! I know, right?

Actually, the full title is, “Examine Science: A Father’s Journey into Science and the Bible.”

The title speaks to the fact that, when this started, I simply wanted to find out what science had to do with the Bible. I started where I was…cystic fibrosis. My first examination was to discover that cystic fibrosis has been around longer than Ussher thinks we’ve been on earth.

A cool title isn’t all that I’ve done. Aside from doing a good amount of research on cystic fibrosis (found in great detail on this blog), Lucy (Australopithecus Afarensis), and the age of the earth, just to name a few things.

Oh, and I typed upwards of 16,000 words. Yeah…that. I had another 7-8 thousand words too, but I’ve cut it and started developing it into a different book. My word count equals approximately 60 double-spaced pages.

My goal is 50,000 words, so I’ve got a considerable amount of writing to accomplish. I’m in no real rush either. Examine Science won’t be an epic, 150,000 word monster, but I do want it to be fairly comprehensive as a primer in Christian research. My goal finishing date is the end of my time on USS Hue City (CG 66), sometime next summer. I plan to polish it early during my next tour and then get published. My main focus this year is still periodicals, but I’m progressing on this as well.

This brings us to the issue. I keep setting the book aside, and this blog for that matter, because I’m scared no one is going to publish this book. I have enough rejection slips as it is. I can’t imagine how many rejections I’m going to garner from this sort of research. Research, mind you, that the rest of the world has already accomplished and much of the more “liberal” church denominations already accept. Yet I’m awful concerned it will be laughed out of the room.

I can publish independently. I’ve done it several times, often for things that I wish I had tried to do traditionally. The plan will undoubtedly be to attempt to publish traditionally and then decide within a year or so if I need to publish independently. Stay tuned! 

Romans 1:20- The Key Verse for my Research

 

img_0246Before we even get going, let me share with you the verse in question:

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Romans 1:20 is what I call the 2nd intersection of God’s creation revelation. Through the apostle Paul, God informed his followers that creation would support his claims as Creator. What does this mean? I propose 2 points.

1. Creation itself will tell us what God did at the creation point. What this means, I’m afraid (for some of you) is that the evidence of modern science must fit in somewhere with the creation story. Otherwise, there is no creation story. Since it is mankind reading the Bible who has placed a restriction on the age of the earth, not the Bible itself, we must learn to work through our presuppositions and find the truth from the Bible AND creation.

2. In the end, when all of the dust settles, people will be without excuse. If God did create the world, and if modern scientists ought to be able to learn about his creative acts through creation, then they are wildly off base when they claim it happened by chance. While Paul was talking more about pagan gods and Roman deities when he wrote Romans 1:20, we can reasonably extrapolate that to our modern situation.

My research continues of course, but I believe fervently that there is a viable intersection between the data that modern science is presenting and our ancient scriptures. I’m not completely certain as to what that intersection looks like, but I keep progressing down the road to find out. Stay with me on this journey and we’ll find out together!

Alienating ourselves from Culture

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, 1925

Clarence Darrow, a famous Chicago lawyer, and William Jennings Bryan, defender of Fundamentalism, have a friendly chat in a courtroom during the Scopes evolution trial. Darrow defended John T. Scopes, a biology teacher, who decided to test the new Tenessee law banning the teaching of evolution. Bryan took the stand for the prosecution as a bible expert. The trial in 1925 ended in conviction of Scopes. ca. 1925 Dayton, Tennessee, USA

As I write this post, I’m in the middle of researching the Scopes Monkey Trial, wherein a Tennessee school teacher by the name of John Thomas Scopes violated the Butler Act of 1925 and taught evolution in his local high school. As some of you know from your high school history, this was the modern equivalent of Galileo and the Roman Catholic Church.

The entire thing was a sham. The ACLU wanted a test case to run up to the Supreme Court and the fundamentalists wanted to prove that they were more powerful than the liberals of the time.

Quick side note: This is a theme reoccurring today. Replaced by evangelicals, the religious establishment is still trying to prove it is more powerful than liberal ideology. In fact, if you go back to the New Testament, Jesus ran into the same problem when he tried to talk to the Pharisees and Sadducees of his day. Any time a religious sect is in power, they try to stay in power. This is very frustrating for the following reason: The possibility of even some form of evolution “poisoning” the evangelical establishment will result in the most vehement response. Instead of taking the time to effectively evaluate the information, like William Jennings Bryan, they lash out and attack.

Normally, I don’t get involved in this issue. I avoid most Facebook debates like the plague. It’s just not worth it. I’d rather debate in person anyway because I can manage the situation better. I wish William Jennings Bryan had done the same thing. The Scopes Monkey Trial was the historical predecessor of modern Facebook debates. It was all yelling and arguing without a single forward idea made.

It did manage to do one thing…it alienated fundamentalists from American society. Now, granted, fundamentalists had been heading this way for a long time and most believed God wanted them alienated from society. However, instead of having a method of working themselves into a conversation with society, which could have led to the gospel witness, fundamentalists torched any possibility.

My hope through this journey is that, in addition to discovering some answers about how the creation account differs and matches reality, we can bridge the gap between society and the gospel, to introduce the former to the latter. To that end, it will never be my desire to alienate myself from society and culture.

To keep up with this project and to learn how to engage culture, sign up here.

New Posting Schedule for ExamineScience

As things settle out here at the ExamineScience project, I want to proceed with a posting schedule that allows for better writing, better research, and better use of my time. I want to write constantly for this blog, but alas, the full time job is just that. I am able to continue researching the science record on my spare time, but that doesn’t even account for the writing. Anyway, I need to slow down so I can write better.

My goal is to present good research regarding the evolution/creation debate and to do so with as little bias as I can. Going forward, I hope to post in-depth research that will help you in your own research journey.

If you’re interested in writing for ExamineScience, I’m very willing to entertain the idea. Drop me a note at dan@navychristian.org and we’ll get started! Otherwise, I’ll see you every few weeks. Thanks for understanding!

Becoming an Expert

Stay with me on this one:

So I have an apparently  irreconcilable problem – I’m not an expert scientist. I do not hold degrees in the field of biology, paleontology, physics, or any other field of science. My undergrad is in management and my graduate work was in religion. In the former I learned how to better manage people who worked with and for me and in the latter I learned about religion, specifically Christianity, in greater detail. Furthermore, I got those degrees from lesser-known schools. Oh, Liberty University is known, but not for academic reasons.

At best, I will always be an amateur scientist and theologian. Neither field would actually want to accept my input unless I produce stellar results. The most they would do is maybe…maybe…tolerate me if it is justifiable.

So I’ve concluded that I’m not an expert. What drives me then? Same thing that drives most everyone…my children. I want them to do well in school. I don’t want them confused or laughed out of class. Instead, I want them armed with the best research my limited resources can procure. I want them on par with their non-Christian classmates. I want them to be respected by their science teachers.

And I want them to have a good relationship with me. I don’t want them thinking that I believe in archaic ideologies that don’t mesh with what they learn to be true in class. Now, if I can provide them the best of research, and it turns out that the literal interpretation of Genesis one is plausible, then I’m going to arm them with that and who cares what their teachers think! But more likely, I’m going to realize that the world is a lot older than we want it to be (for convenience of the Bible) and that we all need to take a hard, long look at the research.

That’s all I want you to do. No agendas except to get to the truth. If the truth is that the earth was made in six literal days, then I will work to find a way to debunk evolutionists outright. If, however, six literal days, without the use of a gap theory, is irreconcilable with the scientific record, then so be it. God is powerful enough to handle it.

I think, in the end, it will be a mixture of the two.

But because I’m just an amateur, I will have to work hard on this project and it will take some time. Bear with me. It’s going to be a long ride.

Sign up HERE to stay up to date with the research.

Resources for your Research (Part One)

This is a general post on places to conduct your own research. I will create these posts periodically as I use websites, books, and other materials to write these blog posts and my book.

Part One of this post series is Young Earth and Old Earth Creation sources.

Young Earth Creation (Preferred term is Biblical Creationism)

Answers in Genesis is probably the best YEC website available, in my opinion. It is a self-professed apologetics site “dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.” When I want an overview of the current model of defense in the traditional, Fundamentalist view of Biblical creation, I go here.

Institute for Creation Research. I remember receiving, through my paternal grandma, newsletters from ICR when I was in the early years of my Navy career. She would write notes on the pages and send them to me. Sometimes they came with cookies, sometimes not. I probably have some stashed in books in my personal library still. They present their work with a thoroughly Biblical framework, which means they are also an apologetics website.

Old Earth Creation

Reasons to Believe is the best source I’ve found for OEC, though it simply states that it wants only to educate Christians on the integration of faith and science. I have come to love this site. Should I ever join a group someday, this would probably be the group, and I have enjoyed getting to know the local Jacksonville, FL chapter.

OldEarth.org The Old Earth website is full of information which seeks, in many ways, to do the same thing that I do in the ExamineScience Project. At the heart of what I believe is this old earth creationism, just as the authors of this site do. Whether you agree with them or not (and I’m still investigating it myself), it doesn’t make them less Christian to believe outside of the traditional six day creation of fundamental Christianity.

Evidence for God has a great post on what old earth creationists believe. If you’re interested in a fairly comprehensive position paper on OEC, this site has a great one to begin your study.

Got Questions has a great article on OEC that presents the information in an unbiased manner, though the author recognizes his presuppositions. Sadly, the author’s name isn’t mentioned, so I don’t have a way to thank him/her for the very good article.

As mentioned in the intro to this post, I will be creating more posts as I continue my research. My goal will always be to provide you with the best data available so you can arm your children with a better understanding of God’s creation and so you can see how you became you!

Of course I would always recommend that you go to your local library and conduct research of your own the old fashioned way…offline! I’ve enjoyed it very much myself. But, to get you started, here are some places to go. Enjoy your journey!

A Grand Starting Point

Every journey has to start somewhere. Many will want to start at the “beginning.” While I have started conducting a review of literature of the beginning of our time, my energy has been focused on a different, more recent development. That’s a relative term, of course, as I’m still beginning several tens of thousands of years in our past.

As you already know from a previous post, I am curious about the development of cystic fibrosis. As I have a daughter who has the genetic disease, and another daughter who carries the mutation, and as my wife and I also carry the mutation, I feel a special connection to the disease. I also share a connection to the approximately 25 million people in America who carry a mutation and the 30,000 who suffer from its effects.

I could expand that too, to the thousands who suffer from Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, and a host of other autosomal recessive genetic diseases. We all share two things in common. The diseases are recessive in nature, and they are deadly. They also all have a common beginning in that they were mutations of good genes.

Therefore, while I start with the science of evolution in general in determining how nature speaks God’s creative acts to us, I focus in particular on the thing that matters most to me, my daughter and her disease. If I’m to help my children understand life around them and how their genetic makeup affects who they are, I start here.

I hope you will join me. You may very well be a carrier of the disease even if you don’t suffer from it, or you may carry any number of other genetic mutations. Cystic fibrosis offers an amazing case study into the evolution (micro) of our gene pool. Therefore, over the next several posts, we will be exploring cystic fibrosis before going more generally into the study of evolution.

Click HERE to keep up to date.

Coming Soon!

LAUNCHING JANUARY 1, 2016!

The ExamineScience Project will officially launch on January 1, 2016! I couldn’t be more excited to share my research with you and to learn from you!

We will, through this very long, thorough process, learn about the evolution/creation debate so we can be better Christians, parents, and citizens.

In the meantime, please sign up HERE for the official launch email. I look forward to having you working with me!