Spectrum.

Take a Closer Look.

If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.                                                   

                                                                                                            John 8:31-32

 

 

In this blog, I’ll be exploring subjects of general interest/concern, as our societies become increasingly wicked, depraved and deceived.

 

The Dark Side of Transgender Medicine

 

How the Media Manipulates Truth

 

Cogito Ergo Sum

 

The Secular Case Against Homosexuality

 

Our Fragile Home

 

The Anti-Social Network

 

A Form of Child Abuse

 

Cool stuff you never hear in Church

 

The Rise of Homeschooling

 

James Clerk Maxwell: a Great Life Lived

 

Reasonable Faith: An Interview with Professor Alvin Plantinga

 

Doubting Dodgy Science

 

Evaluating World Views

 

Depraved Minds

 

The Beauty of the Creation

 

The Preciousness of Free Speech

 

Walking your Way to Good Health

 

Did the Eye Really Evolve?

 

Unholy Alliance: when Dodgy Science Merges with Theology

 

The Truth about UFOs

 

The Rise of Neo-Paganism

 

From Spiritual Shipwreck to Salvation

 

The Rise in Euthanasia Killings

 

The Greatest Story Ever Told

 

Holocaust Survivor

 

Coming Soon to a Town Near You: The Rise of Bestiality

 

The Death of Naturalism

 

From Gaypo to Paedo

 

When Scientists Lose the Plot

 

The Sixth Mass Extinction Event in Our Midst

 

‘Depth Charging’ the Values of the Ancient World

 

The Truth about the Fossil Record

 

AI

 

The Language Instinct

 

Not the Same God

 

Greening the Deserts

 

Moving the Herds

 

Evolutionary Atheist gets his Facts Wrong…..Again

 

Distinguished MIT Nuclear Physicist Refutes Scientism

 

Pursuing Truth

 

The Dangers of Yoga

 

Pseudoastronomy

 

Get thee right up thyself! : The New Transhumanist Religion

 

The Biblical Origin of Human Rights and why it’s a Problem for Atheists

 

A Closer Look at the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

 

Winds of Change: Prestigious Science Journal Concedes Design

 

A Distinguished Chemist Speaks the Truth

 

The Scourge of Pornography

 

Eye

 

Bart Ehrman Debunked

 

An Evil Generation Seeks After a Sign

 

Decimation of Global Insect Populations

 

The Spiritual Suicide of a Once Christian Nation

 

Mass Animal Deaths Worldwide

 

Not Going Anywhere

 

UN Report: World’s Food Supply under ‘Severe Threat’ from Loss of Biodiversity

 

False gods of the New Age

 

From Abortion to Infanticide in the “Land of the Free”

 

Sports Personalities Speak Out Over Transgender Athletes

 

Magonus Sucatus Patricius

 

Celebrating a Killing

 

Human “Out of Africa” Theory Debunked

 

The Other Side of the Rainbow

 

Vintage James Tour: How to Cook Up a Proto-Turkey

 

Big Brother Watching

 

Follow the Evidence: The Problem of Orphan Genes

 

Follow the Evidence: The Genius of Birds

 

The Butterfly Enigma

 

Man’s Best Friend

 

Darwinian Evolution On Trial Among Biologists

 

New Fossil Finds Thwart Human Evolutionary Predictions

 

Global Persecution of Christians

 

 Ratio Christi

 

Questions About the Qur’an

 

Engaging with Islam

 

Calling Evil Good

 

Parousia

 

Tall Tales From Yale: Giving up Darwin.

 

More on the Proto-Turkey:  Dr. Tour Responds to Cheap Shots from the Pond Scum Merchants

 

Good Riddance: Despicable British TV Show Axed after Death of Participant

 

There’s Heehaw Out There…ken.

 

The Fastest Growing Insanity the World has Ever Seen

 

Pharmakeia

 

Darwinism & Racism: Natural Bed Fellows

 

The Modern Root of Anti-Semitism

 

Jesus & Archaeology

 

A Victory for Common Sense: Transgender Weightlifter Stripped of his Medals

 

The US Equality Act: A Plea for Caution

 

Reunited: Music & the Human Spirit

 

Gladys Wilson

 

1st Century Christian Insight: The Didache

 

The Clothes Maketh the Man

 

Why Some Books were Left Out of the Bible

 

Why the Human Mind is not Material

 

What God Thinks of Scientific Atheism

 

For the Love of the Creator

 

An Essential Component of a Modern Education

 

Peace Cross

 

Earth: “Presidential Suite” of the Universe

 

How to Really Stand Out in a Crowd

 

Straight from a NASA Scientist: Jewel Planet

 

The Singularity

 

No Life Without Super Intelligence

 

Darwinism as a Cargo Cult

 

Body Plan Development Raises New Headaches for Evolutionists

 

Membrane Biochemistry Stymies Evolutionary Origin of Complex Cells

 

Science Speaks: Common Abortafacients Harmful to Both Mother & Child

 

Biblical Ignoramus Twists the Words of Christ

 

Apologia Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

 

Attention Parents: American Psycho Association Promoting Polyamory to Pre-Teens as ‘Ethical.’

 

The Only Rainbow God Recognises

 

Calling Time Out on Evolutionists’ Failure to Explain The Cambrian Explosion

 

7 Reasons to Reject Replacement Theology

 

Psychiatric Diagnoses are ‘Scientifically Meaningless’ Study Shows

 

Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God

 

Universalism Debunked

 

The Prosperity Gospel Debunked

 

New Science Reveals First Cellular Life to be “Amazingly Complex”

 

New Law Firms Being Established to Counter the Rise in Christian Persecution

 

Playing the Numbers 32:23 Game

 

Multiple Lines of Scientific Evidence Converge on 3rd Century BC Age of the Famous Isaiah 53 Scroll.

 

Meet the Gestapo

 

Exposed: Theologians Deceived by Darwinian Ideology

 

New Insights into the Shroud of Turin

 

What we Know and Do Not Know About the Human Genome

 

Debunking Da Vinci Code Tosh

 

Sorry: No Such Thing as “Gay” Penguins

 

Genetic Entropy

 

Dunderheid Alexa

 

The Extinction of Reason

 

A Biblical Perspective on Diet

 

Revelation: Number of Transgender People Seeking Sex Reversals Skyrockets

 

Psychologist Debunks Pseudoscientific Explanations for Human Love & Compassion

 

The Dismantling of the Feminine

 

Disturbing Trends in the Roman Catholic Church

 

N = 402

 

The Nazareth Inscription

 

A Christian Response to Halloween

 

Seeking Methuselah

 

Beware the Enneagram

 

No Safe Spaces!

 

Pale Blue Dot

 

Encyclopedia Galactica

 

Phillip E. Johnson: A Tribute

 

The Darwinian Response to Human Life: Let the Baby Die!

 

The Best Explanation for Beauty

 

What is Feminism?

 

Insects & Light Pollution

 

Candy-Ass Christianity

 

Antiobiotic Resistance in a Post-Darwinian World

 

Adam & Eve: Redux

 

Joyce Meyer

 

Michael Behe Says No to Theistic Evolution

 

New Atheism: An Autopsy

 

Serenading an Old Girl.

 

“Progressive” Christianity as a Political Cult.

 

The Church of Satan, Sweden

 

A Rational, Christian Response to Humanism

 

More Depravity: the Sexualisation of Children

 

Shameful Humanity:  Murder of the Unborn Now the Biggest Worldwide Killer.

 

Origin Stories

 

Privileged Planet

 

Brokeness

 

Sorry Sam Smith, You’re Still a ‘He.’

 

Nature Genetics: How ‘Evolutionary Thinking’ led Biologists Astray about Pseudogenes.

 

A Kingdom Divided Against Itself: Why Evolutionary Psychology is Bunk

 

Of Melting Glaciers and Darwinism

 

First US President Addresses 47th March For Life, as theSecular Media Duck for Cover

 

Wolves Among the Sheepfolds

 

The New Science of Separate, Distinct Creations

 

That Sacred Space

 

Faith of the Fatherless

 

More Tales of Darwinian Thuggery

 

Keeping your Children Strong in the Faith

 

Former Editor of Nature Waves Bye Bye to the RNA World

 

At Scientific American: Physicist Pours Cold Water on Scientism

 

A Biblical Perspective on Alcohol Consumption

 

High Priest of a Pseudoscience Rears His Ugly Head Again

 

Another Step into the Human Immorality Sewer: Normalizing Throuples & Sologamy

 

Symptom of a Depraved Society: Scientists Now Fighting to Affirm a Basic Fact of Life: Sex is Binary

 

Speaking the Truth in Love: Where the LGBTQ Community is Ultimately Headed

 

The Power of Biblical Prophecy: The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem

 

Origin of Life Debate: James Tour versus Lee Cronin.

 

7 Rock Solid Scientific Arguments for the God of the Bible

 

SETI@Home Shuts Down

 

An Existential Crisis in Neuroscience

 

AI Hype and the End of Moore’s Law

 

Discerning Fact from Spin/Fiction in Cosmos 3.0

 

Polly’s No Statistician!

 

Why All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men Cannot Put Humpty Together.

 

COVID-19

 

The James 5:16 Phenomenon; the Healing Power of Prayer

 

Heart of Darkness: Organ Harvesting of Chinese Prisoners

 

Confessions of a (yet another) Darwinian Sceptic

 

Selflessness

 

Darwinism as a Mentally Retarding Virus

 

Who is the God of the Bible?

 

Legendary Biologist Claims Atheism has Nothing to do with Science

 

Why Nature Should Never be Worshipped

 

What ‘Evolutionary Theory’ is Really Good at Explaining: Cancer.

 

Avoiding the Most Deadly Virus of All

 

The Prince of Peace Versus the Prophet of Islam

 

Coronavirus Outbreak Spurs Record Bible Sales

 

More Tales of Woe for Darwinian Junk Science: No Such Thing as Pseudogenes

 

Earth Fine-Tuned for Space Exploration

 

Pious Frauds

 

The CCP Virus

 

By the Rivers of Babylon

 

Abiogenesis & the Tooth Fairy

 

A Whale of an Evolution Tale

 

New UN Report: COVID-19 will Produce Famines of ‘Biblical Proportions’

 

American Schism

 

An Interview with Dr. Frank Turek

 

The S-Blob

 

Neanderthal DNA & the Leviticus 18:23 Question

 

Debunking Scientific Materialism through Mathematics

 

Incompetent Experts & Bad Government

 

Intelligent Design Now Thriving in Europe

 

Cosmic Fine-Tuning: an Interview with Christian Cosmologist, Dr. Luke Barnes.

 

Ivy League Philosopher Dismisses Evolutionary Psychology as  Pseudoscience

 

Preterism Debunked

 

Ravi Zacharias(1946-2020) RIP

 

Ten Things you Need to Know about Scientism

 

Why Humans have Souls

 

Freeman Dyson: God is a Mathematician

 

J.K. Rowling Takes a Stand Against Militant LGBT Activists

 

Humans Together

 

Talking about Racism

 

Lest We Forget: William Wilberforce

 

Update on the Long Term Evolution Experiment(LTEE): Sickening News for Evolutionists

 

An Interview with Mathematician William Dembski

 

Fatherless America

 

A Technical Look at Fine-Tuning in Biological Systems

 

David Pawson(1930-2020) Remembered

 

The Colour of Christian Art

 

Date Setters

 

Punctuated Equilibrium Debunked by Researchers

 

Harari’s Fictions

 

For the Attention of Greta Thunberg

 

Why We Should Cancel Darwin

 

No Ordinary Star

 

Darwin, Africa & Genocide 

 

What Everyone Should Know About the BLM Movement

 

The Principles that Made America Great:

Part I

Part II

 

The Artifact Hypothesis Debunked

 

Why the Multiverse is Bunk

 

Why Christians Should Support Israel’s Claim to the West Bank

 

Earth’s Deep Water Cycle Fine-Tuned for Life

 

When Darwinism is Applied to Politics

 

Science Update on COVID-19

 

COVID-19: The Economic Fallout

 

Whale Evolution Further Debunked Part 1

Part 2

 

New ENCODE Results Unveil Still MORE FUNCTIONS in So-Called Junk DNA.

 

Concerning Energy

 

The Politicisation of Hydroxy Chloroquine

 

The Wonders of the Human Mind Part 1

Part II

Part III

 

God Among Sages

 

Trapped by Language: Why Biologists Can’t Avoid Teleological Verbiage

 

A Little Lower than the Angels

 

Heretic Pope Affirms Transgender Depravity

 

Latest on Orphan Genes Affirms Creationism

 

For Math Challenged Woketards: Two Plus Two Really Equals Four

 

A Critical Review of Josh Swamidass’ Book, The Genealogical Adam and Eve

 

Angels & Demons

 

Worrying Developments in the American Workplace

 

The Decadence of Gender Ideology

 

Electric Mud

 

 Strictly Come Dancing Turns Gaypo

 

The Philadelphia Statement

 

Graceland Vandalised by BLM Thugs

 

Update on Recent Desperate Attempts to Find a Naturalistic Origin of Life

 

More Bad News for Pond Scum Merchants: No Sign of ETI in New Mega-Survey

 

Netflix Promotes Paedophilia

 

Cultural Marxism

 

A Lost Generation

 

World Class Palaeontologist Debunks Ancestors to Cambrian Animals

 

Empire of the Beast

 

Religion of Green

 

How Christians Should Respond to Environmental Issues

 

Breakthrough: Intelligent Design Theory Now Being Published in Mainstream Science Journals

 

Woke Pope

 

The Great Barrington Declaration

 

The Astonishing Hypothesis

 

Facebook n’ That

 

Auschwitz Rising

 

Jesus was No Socialist!

 

Facebook Removes Ex-Gay Testimonies

 

Responding to Richard Dawkins & The Old Testament

 

The Perils of Favouritism & the New “Woke” Gospel

 

British NHS Defends Giving Sex Change Hormones to 10 Year-Olds

 

American Pastors Organising to Fight Back Against “Tyrannical” Democrat Shutdowns

 

The Rule of Six

 

The Left’s Communist Manifesto for America

 

The Origin of the Lockdown Mentality

 

The Developing Beast System : Apostate Pope Attends One World Religion Event

 

Victory for Common Sense: UK Equalities Minister Blasts BLM & Critical Race Theory

 

Update on Masks

 

No Phosphine Found In the Venus’ Atmosphere Follow-Up Study Shows

and

A New Call for the Retraction of the Original Paper After Another Analysis of the Data

and

Another Negative Report

and

Yet Another Rebuttal

 

First Eukaryotic Cells were Already Complex

 

When Scientists Make Truth Claims Outside Science

 

Warning to Masktards: A Distinguished Neurologist Speaks

 

Davos Great Reset

 

Did China Fund The Phony Joe Biden Campaign?

 

The Great American Coup

 

Democrat-Run Oregon Decriminalises Crystal Meth, Heroin and Cocaine Use, as its  Cities Burn.

 

Why Origin of Life Researchers Must Embrace Intelligent Design

 

Should Christians Ever Employ Civil Disobedience?

 

Are Bacteria Really Evolving?

 

Catholics Discuss their Apostate Pope

 

Marxism Appropriated to the 2020 US Election

 

Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed Develops Moderna Vaccine with 95% Efficacy

 

Veteran Military Chaplin Fired from US Air Force for Holding Biblical Views on Sexual Morality

 

Schooling Masktards: Multiple Studies Show Masks are Ineffective and Possibly Harmful

 

An Amusing Take on the Utah “Monolith”

 

From the USA: A Major Victory Over LGBTQ Tyranny

 

Sidney Powell’s Kraken

 

Treasure Trove of Rock Paintings Dating Back 12,500 Years Discovered in Remote parts of Colombian Rain Forests

 

Sick Morality: As Countless Unborn Humans Are Murdered, Activists Push for “Personhood” Rights for Elephants

 

Galapagos Finch “Evolution” Debunked

 

After Weighing the Evidence, Medic Ditches Theistic Evolution for Intelligence

 

Some Effects of Transgenderism

 

Leaked: Biden Administration Urged to Persecute American Conservative Christians

 

Advanced Computer Models on Earth’s Long-term Habitability Continue to Affirm its Extreme Rarity/ Uniqueness

 

Raven Intelligence Raises More Problems for Evolutionists

 

I’ll Own What I Choose to Own and my Happiness is none of your Damn Business……Comrade!

 

Another Defeat for Darwinian Junk Science: the Thymus is Not a Vestigial Organ

 

Argentinian Socialist Government  Legalises Abortion

 

Morons in da House

 

Requiem for the American Republic

 

A Catholic Priest Comments on the Consequences of the 2020 US Election

 

Warring Against the Beast

 

Darwinian Time Trees Don’t Work, New Analysis Suggests

 

Battle for the Soul: Surviving a Chinese Communist Re-Education Camp

 

The New American State Religion- Wokeness

 

Conservatives: You Gotta Get Your Kids out of Illinois Public Schools

 

New Geochemical Research Findings Affirm the Genesis Creation Account

 

An Interview with Dr. John Sanford

 

Illinois Christian High School Student Faces Disciplinary Hearing after Refusing to Take a Class on Deviant Sexual Behaviour

 

Did the American People Really Vote this Guy in?

 

The Curious Case of Ivermectin

 

Mormons

 

Burn it Down!

 

New Zealand: where Capitalism Triumphed over Socialism

 

Hitting Woke Big Tech & the Fake News Media where it Hurts

 

More Bull from the Masktard King

 

The Devout Catholic

 

Yet Another Putative Human Evolutionary Ancestor Debunked 

 

Marxist Pope Francis Pushes Great Reset

 

Revisionist View of Homosexuality Debunked

 

Poisoning of the Youth: A look at Amerika’s New, Ultra-Woke School Curriculum

 

From Newsweek: Transgender Man Warns Others About the Dire Health Consequences of Her Actions

 

The Wonders of Honey

 

Curbing Wokeness & Cancel Culture: UK to Introduce Legislation which will Fine Universities that Limit Free Speech

 

It Happened on Your Watch: How the Rise of Evil is Destroying American Cities

 

 

Great Reset Creep’s Plan to Destroy the American Agricultural Industry

 

Lessons for the USA: Venezuela’s Experiment with Socialism Falters as it Embraces Privatisation

 

New Insights into ‘Super’ Earths Suggest they’re Uninhabitable

 

Insane Biden Administration Destroying Girl’s Sports

 

Amazon Quietly Removes Book Criticizing Transgender Ideology

 

WokaCola

 

Just Like You!

 

Dozens of House Democrats Requesting Biden to Relinquish Sole Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons

 

What the Equality Act Means for Ordinary US Citizens

 

Great Reset Creeps Suffer a Propaganda Crash

 

Why Darwinian Junk Science Remains Popular with the Pagan Masses

 

Levity

 

Another Evolutionary Icon Bites the Dust: Beta Globin Pseudogene Shows Functionality

 

Are Electric Vehicles Really the Future?

 

Prehistoric Cave Art & The Imago Dei

 

Vatican Clarifies its Position on Same Sex Relationships – Declares them “Sinful”

 

Where Cancel Culture Naturally Leads

 

Self-Evident Truths

 

New York Columbia University’s Woke Graduation

 

Long-term Study from 10,000 Generations of Yeast Cells Reveals Devolution not Evolution

 

What the Green New Deal is Really All About

 

Avi Loeb’s Oumuamua Alien Hypothesis Debunked

 

What Everyone Needs to Know About the Proposed Vaccine Passports

 

America: Land of the Insane

 

Son of the Devout Catholic

 

Mars & Nestle Join the Woke Brigade

 

Attention Parents: What the Sexually Depraved are Now Teaching Your Children 

 

What Next? Incest?

 

Ten Reasons why Birds are Not Living Dinosaurs

 

An Open Letter to John Kerry

 

Covidian Masktard Evolution

 

Debunking More Pseudoscience: New MIT Study Shows Social Distancing Rules Are Completely Pointless

 

From a Leading UK Journalist: Biden is Smashing America’s Moral Compass

 

You What? Even the Spineless CNN Calls out Biden as a Masktard

 

Obama Administration Scientist Admits “Climate Emergency” is Bunk

 

Richard Dawkins’ Desperate Claims about the Origin of the Bacterial Flagellum Now Disproven

 

Fighting the Marxists: US States Begin to Ban the Teaching of Critical Race Theory in Schools 

 

Sickos: Have a Very Happy Woke Birthing Person Day!

 

Woke British Universities Could Face Fines for Suppressing Free Speech/De-platforming Guest Speakers

 

Journey out of Mormonism

 

Fighting Back: Concerned Ohio Parents Take a Stand Against the Teaching of Marxist Critical Race Theory in Public Schools

 

Marxist Ideologies Infiltrating the US Military

 

Darwin’s Tree of Life Finally Gets the Chop

 

Imago Dei

 

Covid 19: What We Now Know

 

Evidence for the Biblical Exodus

 

Gaps Everywhere in the History of Life!

 

For the Memory of Shang Di

 

From Prager: How to Re-Take A Nation from the Marxist ‘Democrats’

 

The Transgender Contagion Corrupting the Youth of the World

 

Nickelodeon Ratings Crash Amid LGBTQ Push

 

News from Canada: Campaign for Sexual Immorality Extended From a Month to a Season

 

Who did Allah Love in Eternity?

 

Critical Race Theory: A Crash Course

 

Pushing Back: Australian Parliament Bans the Teaching of Critical Race Theory in the School Curriculum

 

Long Awaited Pentagon UFO Report: A Big Fat Nothing Burger

 

Landmark Study on Heme Biosynthesis and Storage Raises Major Headaches for Evolutionists- Spectacularly Confirms Intelligent Design

 

Culture Wars: France Tells US  ” Keep your Wicked Wokeism to Yourself!”

 

O’ Biden Regime Spying on Prominent Conservative TV Personality

 

Welcome to the New Cult of ‘Safetyism’ 

 

Wokecabulary

 

Allan Sandage: An Astronomer’s Journey to Faith

 

Climate Models: Worse than Nothing?

 

Trump Goes After the Big Tech Bottom Feeders

 

From Trans to Frankenstein

 

More Bad News for Evolutionists: Landmark Study Shows Endogenous Retroviral (ERVs) Play an Essential Role in the Immune System

 

US Military Goes Woke

 

While America Leans Ever Closer to Communism, Cuban People Take to the Streets to Condemn it

 

What the Darwinist and Transgender Lobby Share in Common

 

 Sex Mania-Induced Societal Psychosis

 

What Next? Climate Lockdowns?

 

Inspired by Crystal Meth?

 

Inflation

 

Trump Discusses  Arizona Audit Findings and the Biden Regime’s Disastrous Record in Government

 

About Kamala

 

The Covid-19 Files: The Curious Case of Sweden

 

An ID Prediction Concerning CRISPR Gene Editing

 

7 Lies your Kids Pick Up in the Secular World and How to Correct Them

 

The Link Between the Political Left and Paedophilia

 

Evolution of Daphnia Debunked

 

COVID-19 Survivors Display Stronger, Better Immunity to the Virus than Vaccinated Individuals

 

Massive Increases in Home-Schooling Across USA

 

British Bull Corporation(BBC) Goes Woke

 

Mark Zuckerberg Launches Church of Beelzebub

 

Why Biblical Justice Trumps Social Justice

 

The Wonderful World of Diatoms

 

Distinguished Scientist Breaks Down the Climate Change Hoax

 

Forgive Them Lord, for They know Not What They Do: Brainwashed Gen Z Sleepwalk Their Way into Socialism

 

The Ministry of Truth Comes to Life

 

Antipodean Darkness: Australia Bans Peaceful Protests Against Abortion

 

Agenda 2030

 

What to Make of the 6th IPCC Report

 

Antipodean Control Freaks

 

Manning UP

 

Hungary: a Beacon of Christian Freedom 

 

The Taliban and their Worldview

 

Stop the Mandate

 

The Rise of Systems Biology

 

New Peer Reviewed Study Suggests the Sun and not Human-Derived Carbon Dioxide is Driving Climate Change

 

The Masktards Who Live by Lies

 

Why Atheists Can’t Think Straight

 

Arthropods Amaze Engineers!

 

Normalising Sexual Deviancy in Scottish Schools

 

Peppered Moth Evolution Debunked

 

Deflating the Multiverse & the New Atheists

 

The Mystery of Life Lies Beyond Science

 

From The Times of London: US 2020 Presidential Election was Rigged

 

Vindicating Michael Behe: More Evidence for Devolution and Not Evolution: Yeast Splicosome was More Complex in the Past than Today

 

Why Pronouns Matter……but not in a Woke Way

 

UK Athletic Equality Group Deems Trans Sports Unsafe And Unfair

 

Francis Collins & His Moral Failings

 

How the Maggots at Facebook Helped The O’ Biden Marxist Regime Over the Line

 

Leading Mainstream Science Journal Now Waving Bye Bye to Junk DNA

 

Wikipedia Slides Down the Leftist Sewer

 

More Facts for the Brainwashed Masktardii

 

Did Humans Evolve from Ape-like Ancestors? The Evidence is Surprisingly Weak!

 

Marxist Kalifornia’s Attack on Smart Kids

 

William Lane Craig: Heretic

 

Green Murder

 

A Critical Review of Yuval Harari’s Sapiens

 

Why We Should All be Sceptical of Human Evolution

 

It’s Official: Roads are Racist!

 

The Fables Told by Evolutionary Psychologists

 

A Visit to the Museum of Lies

 

Masktards on Planes

 

From Norway: Santa Turns Gaypo

 

Vicar of the New World Order

 

Conversion Therapy

 

Tales from an Ozzy Covid Quarantine Camp

 

The Depravity of Gen Z

 

Go to Work on an Egg

 

The Benefits of Traditional Marriage

 

Ethnos Against Ethnos at a Denver Elementary School

 

Reflections on the Launch of the James Webb Space Telescope

 

Deception: NASA Hires ‘Theologians’ to Study Humanity’s Reaction to ET

 

More Tales of Woe for Brainwashed Darwinistas: The Bacterial Flagellum Could Not Have Evolved

 

When Wokeness Comes Back to Bite the Hand that Feeds

 

Problems with Common Ancestry 

 

Why Evolutionary Explanations of Adam & Eve Fail

 

Why Climate Change Alarmists Embrace Authoritarianism

 

Cambrian Explosion Occurred in Just 410,000 Years New Study Reveals

 

Jordan Peterson Resigns His Chair in Protest of the Wicked & Woke University of Toronto.

 

Wicked Scottish Government Pushing to Criminalise Biblical Views on Marriage and Sexuality

 

The Roman See

 

A Message for Young Americans

 

More Education for the Masktardii

 

Told You So: Lockdowns Accomplished Nothing

 

Biology of Second Reich Censored by the Evolutardii

 

Collapse of the Communist News Network(CNN)

 

Kalifornian Junkies

 

Homology

 

What You Need to Know About January 6

 

The Paedophile Files

 

Buddhism Debunked

 

Klaus Schwab: a Closer Look

 

Kalifornian Child Murderers

 

The Wicked US Democratic Party’s Attack on Christians

 

The Illusion of Evidence-Based Medicine

 

Christian Transhumanism Debunked

 

The New Woke Religion

 

Ditching Disney

 

Schooling Darwinistas: Species Pairs & The Waiting Time Problem

 

The O’ Biden Regime’s Ministry of Truth 

 

US Public & Private School Pushing Sexual Perversion

 

2000 Mules: How the US 2020 Presidential Election was Stolen

 

Church of Scotland Now the Church of Sodom

 

Top Ten Dystopian Ideas Discussed by the Invertebrates at the WEF

 

Perilous Times Ahead for Australian Christians & Conservatives

 

Curse Amulet

 

What the Early Church Taught about Abortion

 

New York Slimes Embraces Inflation as a Marxist Virtue

 

The Long Road To ‘Positive’ Paedophilia Part 1

Part 2

 

Sentient AI Debunked

 

Surviving the Month of Sodom

 

Woke Ozzie Politician Loses the Plot

 

Keeping Up with the Paedophile Agenda

 

Woke Capitalism & ESG

 

Debunking the Green Credentials of EVs

 

Legalising Psychedelic Drugs in Kalifornia

 

Tim Kelller’s Woke Gospel

 

Transgender Teen Speaks Out About How She Destroyed Her Body

 

Achtung: How the Left Plan to Seize Control of US Local Election Offices

 

Crisis in the US Military-The Root Causes

 

The Dangers of Universal Basic Income

 

The Desperation of Panspermia Adherents

 

Joe Bama’s Monkey Pox Czar

 

Mainstream Newspaper Highlights the Many Problems of Darwinian Junk Science

 

Go Woke, Go Broke

 

Mammoth Support for Devolution

 

The Federal Bureau of Intimidation(FBI)

 

Converging on a Creator

 

Shameful CDC Finally Come Clean on Natural Immunity

 

Chicago Public Schools Promoting Looting & Burning as a Means of Achieving ‘Equity’

 

The Cult of Greta Thunberg Falls Apart

 

LGBs Turning on the Ts

 

What the Great Reset Really Entails

 

The Wonder of Water

 

Scotland’s Child Sex Guru

 

Nobel Prize Winning Developmental Biologist calls Transgenderism “Nonsense”

 

Zoophilia

 

Return of the Dark Ages

 

Technocrats & Misanthropes

 

JWST Affirms a Cosmic Beginning

 

NASA Goes Woke

 

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

 

Update on Jabtards & Masktards

 

Depraved Heart: What the Scottish National Perverts (SNP) Want Taught in Scottish Primary and Secondary Schools

 

Yum Yum in My Tum

 

What a Top Chemist and Mathematician Think About Darwinian Junk Science

 

Attacking the Big Bang

 

The New Eco-Terrorists

 

Comparing the US Democrat Party to the CCP

 

Counting the Cost of the Lockdowns on our Young People

 

UK Universities Urged to Go Woke on Mathematics Teaching

 

Sounding the Alarm on ESG

 

COP 27: Epic Failure

 

Human Male Fertility Showing Rapid Decline Globally

 

Why the Notion of “Abrahamic Religions” is an Ecumenical Farce

 

Another Amusing Takedown of “Professor Dave”

 

Life After Death Redux

 

9 Exciting Careers for Gender Studies Graduates

 

 New Climate Change Cult Issue their ’10 Commandments’

 

War Against Humanity: Evil Dutch Government Shuts Down 3,000 Farms

UK Woke Watch.

                                   

                    An essay first published in Salvo Magazine Vol 59

As America goes, so goes the rest of the world. There’s a great deal of truth to that saying, especially now that we live in an era of 24-7 news, where ideas and movements spread faster than the Covid-19 virus. The rise of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, cultural Marxism and the Woke Revolution has politicized many institutions across the United States and has now reached all the way across the Western world, where it is now influencing liberal democracies like Australia, New Zealand, the nations which comprise the European Union, and here in the UK.

Wokeness is political correctness gone mad. It’s a new secular religion with ‘social justice’ being its new god, and ‘cancel culture’ its military wing. Its despotic power seeks to make western institutions jettison conservative mores and lose faith in their own ideals. The defining characteristics of wokeness are arrogance, ignorance and irrationality in equal measure.

Not long after we saw the horrific pictures on our TV screens of statues being torn down across the USA throughout the summer of 2020, violent protesters in the city of Bristol, UK, toppled a statue of Edward Colston, a prominent 17th century slave trader and dumped it into Bristol Harbor. UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, quickly condemned their actions in a tweet;

“People have a right to protest peacefully & while observing social distancing but they have no right to attack the police. These demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery – and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve. Those responsible will be held to account1.”

The events in Bristol triggered the removal of several other statues across the UK including, Robert Milligan, Thomas Guy and Sir Robert Clayton2. Not content with removing the memory of slave traders from our streets, the same mob defaced a statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, Westminster, which had to be boarded up by police2.

                                                   Snowflakes

Our hallowed educational institutions have also become fertile breeding grounds for the woke movement. At Oriel College Oxford, an angry mob called for the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes, insisting that he was a white supremacist, colonialist and racist. Although Oriel College did agree to remove the statue, the decision was reversed owing to the financial cost of undertaking such a measure4.

But Oxford University represents the tip of the iceberg. Today, some 90 per cent of British Universities have actively banned or cancelled guest speakers because their ‘controversial’ views offend them5. Over the last several years it has become such a problem that the UK government had to enforce new laws prohibiting this vicious cancel culture, with fines of up to £500,000 should they continue to de-platform people6.

Yet the woke movement has penetrated many more of our national institutions in the UK, including the National Trust, the Church of England, the Police, the BBC and the British Army. In the wake of the George Floyd tragedy, the National Trust sped up the publication of a 2018-commissioned study linking many of the grand houses under its wing to slavery and colonialism7. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with learning about our colonial past, but when the National Trust insisted that all volunteers must undergo ‘unconscious bias training,7 it led to some resignations in protest. They also pushed the wearing of LGBTQ+ rainbow badges and lanyards on its employees to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Britain, removing those individuals from interacting with the public who conscientiously objected to wearing them7.

The Church of England seems equally keen to preach the woke gospel. During the Black Lives Matter riots in the USA, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, commissioned a new Church of England guidance8 suggesting that artefacts linked to slavery and colonialism could be removed from churches simply because some people might find them ‘disturbing.’

In August 2021, the UK Police Force unveiled a new fleet of cars adorned with the LGBTQ+ rainbow to ‘fight social injustice.’ The move was received with almost universal scorn, with some commentators calling them ‘Clown Cars’ that will only encourage more criminals onto the streets. Perhaps the most scathing rebuttal came from Harry Miller, a former police officer and founder of the campaign group, Fair Cop. Speaking to the Telegraph, Miller said, “We don’t see the Met with special cars for knife crime, even though the number of stabbings in London is appalling. The problem is that the second you see a rainbow car, you know that it is a police force that has made its mind up about some very contentious issues. You no longer see a police car or a police officer who is there to support everyone, from all political persuasions, without fear or favor. They have literally tied their colours to the mast and painted their cars with their political leanings. They are painting rainbows on their cars when we have figures showing that only seven per cent of violent crime ends in a prosecution. They have moved from policing crime to policing thoughts and speech, because it is easier9.”

The BBC, that long-trusted bastion of journalistic excellence has also gone woke. The corporation produced a video called “Understanding Sexual and Gender identities10,” in which they claimed there were 100 different genders! Thankfully, after a storm of protest, they removed the video from their platform. Now the BBC are conducting a gender census to see which of their employees identify as male, female or non-binary to better address ‘gender-related pay gaps.’ Furthermore, they recently tweeted that they will not tolerate any dissent on transgender issues and are willing to inform the police concerning the most egregious ‘offenders.11‘ Not surprisingly, that also sparked a large public backlash, with people complaining that the corporation was just wasting taxpayers’ money.

Finally, in one of the sickest moves yet enacted on British soil, the thoroughly immoral leftist, devolved nationalist Scottish Government is introducing new legislation allowing children as young as four to undergo gender transition, without parental consent, as well as mandating schools to include transgender literature on the curriculum12. Although the move was almost universally described as ‘risible’ and ‘shocking,’ even by the mainstream press, there is no effective political opposition to the nationalists’ woke agenda to stop them in their tracks.

                                          Rebels Without a Clue

So, just like the USA, Britain faces the same war on wokeness that is tearing society apart at the seams. Seen in a Christian light, God has given them over to a Romans 1 ‘reprobate mind.’ But there are welcome signs that the Brits are fighting back, by launching anti-woke TV channels like GB News, and a small number of determined and influential journalists who refuse to be silenced by the woke mob. Furthermore, the British government has summarily dismissed and banned the teaching of Marxist concepts such as critical race theory, intersectionality and white privilege in UK schools, deeming these ideologies harmful to a multi-cultural British society13. You can hit the BBC where it hurts them simply by switching off. Personally, I wouldn’t trust them even with the weather. But a lot of resistance to this immoral movement is also being fostered in sound parental guidance, as well as through the exercising of the general public’s democratic right to air its concerns to local politicians. Though it’s probably too late to turn the tide, let’s hope more brave individuals will join the dissenting ranks to stave off the worst instances of ‘wokery’ in the UK!

 

Neil English has put down roots in Scotland and is the author of seven books on amateur and professional astronomy. His 650-page magnum opus, Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy, explores the history of telescopic astronomy from a Christian perspective.

 

                                                  References

  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52954305
  2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-52977088
  3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52949014
  4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-57189928
  5. https://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/nine-10-uk-universities-free-speech-restrict-rankings-joseph-rowntree-cardiff-ediburgh-newcastle-oxford-a7577381.html
  6. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9569835/University-principal-faces-calls-QUIT-allowing-intolerant-cancel-culture.html
  7. https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/05/27/the-woke-drift-of-the-national-trust/
  8. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9565545/Church-artefacts-likely-removed-following-contested-heritage-guidance.html
  9. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/08/22/police-pin-hopes-rainbow-cars-drive-hate-crime/
  10. https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1390071/bbc-news-defund-twitter-gender-identity-video-transgenderism-public-broadcaster-ont
  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWSUqxCDYJw
  12. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9888899/Scotland-let-pupils-aged-FOUR-change-gender.html
  13. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/20/teaching-white-privilege-is-a-fact-breaks-the-law-minister-says

 

De Fideli.

Earth Story.

Chosen Planet

An Essay Originally Published in Salvo Magazine Volume 51

Updated periodically as new science emerges

 

 

For this is what the Lord says—

he who created the heavens,

 he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth,

 he founded it; he did not create it to be empty,

 but formed it to be inhabited— he says:

“I am the Lord, and there is no other.

                                                                                                             Isaiah 45: 18

Just a few short decades ago, the Earth was considered to be an ordinary planet, orbiting an ordinary star, lost in a vast galaxy of other stars, amid myriad other galaxies populating the Cosmos. Mindless processes produced the first living organisms, we were told, which slowly evolved over the eons to produce creatures like us1. This secular myth was accepted hook line and sinker by the uneducated masses after its promotion by God-denying ‘high priests’, including the late Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins, and mindlessly parroted by a generation of science journalists unwilling to dig any deeper. Yet, with the exponential rise of human knowledge, this worldview is being radically over-turned by an avalanche of new science, that paints an entirely different picture of our world: one in which its exceptional properties for supporting a long-lived biosphere for the express benefit of humanity in particular, is coming to the fore; where life itself ‘terraformed’ the Earth under Divine instruction.

An Anomalous Solar System

Many lines of evidence show that the Earth is old; 4.543 billion years with an uncertainty of just one per cent. But the circumstances under which our planetary system was shaped were very unusual. Formed from the gravitational collapse of a vast cloud of gas and dust, the proto-solar system condensed into a relatively thin disk with the neonatal Sun at its center. The inventory of elements endowed to the solar system might have turned out to be much like any other were it not for the presence of at least two relatively close-by supernova events2 which helped eject it from a nursery of other stars, but which also enriched the primordial solar system with relatively large quantities of heat-generating radioactive elements such as aluminum 26, thorium and uranium3. The aluminum 26, with its short half-life of 730,000 years, provided enough thermal energy to remove excess levels of volatiles including water, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide which would have scuppered the future emergence of living creatures on our world. In contrast, the very dense and long-lived radioactive elements like uranium and thorium sank to the center of the primordial earth, where their prodigious heat has kept the planet in a geologically active state over billions of years.

The most recent research on star formation shows that the Sun is far from being an average star4. Indeed that distinction goes to stars with masses roughly 50 per cent less massive than the Sun, with luminosities only 5 per cent as bright and surface temperatures of 3600K4, comprising some 80 per cent of all the stars in the Universe. Many more are smaller L dwarfs that are unable to fuse hydrogen in their cores, or larger stars than the Sun that have much shorter lifespans. In the words of the  University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank;

Please stop calling our Sun an “average star. It is philosophically dubious and astronomically incorrect.4 ”

The Moon-forming event, which is thought to have occurred about 100 million years after the neonatal Earth formed5, in a highly improbable, oblique collision with a Mars-sized object, helped remove still more volatiles from the primordial Earth, allowing it to eventually form relatively shallow oceans where the continental land-masses could eventually emerge from the sea floor.  The debris from this cataclysmic event formed a relatively large Moon in close proximity to the Earth, helping to stabilize its orbital inclination and over time, to slow down the rotation rate of our planet from just 5 hours shortly after the Moon’s formation, to its present leisurely rotation period of 24 hours.

For the first few hundred million years after its formation, the Earth would have looked black and golden from the vantage of outer space, from the vast amounts of solidified magna cooling on its surface as well as the prodigious levels of volcanic activity spewing out hot lava from the planet’s interior. Frequent collision events with smaller space debris like asteroids would also have exacerbated these hellish conditions, but eventually the prodigious levels of water vapor outgassed from its interior would have transformed our lava dominated planet into a blue water world still devoid of continental landmasses.5 But just as soon as the Earth cooled down enough to enable liquid water to flow on its surface, life appeared.

Life Terraforms the Planet

The standard evolutionary story is that life began as simple organisms and gradually progressed to more complex forms with the slow march of time, but the best scientific evidence now suggests that this life was already complex and biochemically sophisticated. This is based on isotopic evidence6,7 from the analysis of ratios of carbon and sulfur isotopes in sedimentary rocks laid down over 3.5 billion years ago. Since these biochemical processes have an absolute requirement for highly complex protein enzymes to have been present, it completely eludes an evolutionary explanation. Then why did our Creator choose to begin Earth’s life story with microbes? The answer has less to do with evolution than it has with chemical sophistication. The simple answer is that microbes are, by some considerable margin, the hardiest creatures ever to have lived on our planet.

Microbes are the die-hards of the living world, being capable of surviving in very hot and cold temperatures, high and low pH environments, and can even thrive in a cocktail of toxic chemicals and radioactive environments. Once the planet cooled enough to allow the first microbes to survive, they were set to work removing a plethora of poisonous substances from the primordial Earth. In these early times, the Earth’s surface would have had large amounts of so-called vital poisons, substances that are required in small amounts for more complex life to thrive, but in higher concentrations, can prove lethal; substances like iron, copper, zinc, molybdenum, arsenic, boron, selenium and iodine, to name but a few. In their soluble forms such vital poisons would have stunted any new life forms coming on the scene but in chemically transforming these elements8 into insoluble ores and minerals, microbes not only  removed such vital poisons from the Earth’s water environments but also formed large deposits of the valuable minerals that are now mined for their use in high technology devices. This also makes sense from a creation point of view, as more complex organisms are far more sensitive to these toxins than microbes are. One other benefit that life brought to the Earth is that it greatly enriched the planet’s mineral and gemstone tally. According to Dr. Robert Hazen, a world-leading mineralogist, Earth has the greatest diversity of mineral species of any body in the Solar System.5 Over 4,600 mineral species have been identified on Earth. In contrast, Mars probably has about 500 and Venus about 1,000 at the most. What’s more, Hazen discovered that life processes formed about two-thirds of Earth’s mineral species5.

Recent oxygen isotope evidence shows that ongoing plate tectonic activity produced nearly all the continental landmasses by about 2.5 billion years ago.9 The fact that just 29 per cent of the planet’s surface area is covered by dry land appears to be highly fine-tuned. Greater land surface areas would induce too little precipitation in the interior of those ancient continents, preventing life from gaining a hold in these places. On the other hand, land areas significantly less than 29 per cent would not be able to re-cycle enough valuable nutrients between the land, the sea and the atmosphere to maintain a healthy biosphere.

The earliest lifeforms extracted energy from these minerals without the need for molecular oxygen, but the introduction of photosynthetic microbes radically transformed the early biosphere, paving the way for the introduction of advanced lifeforms. One way to get a handle on how early oxygenic photosynthesis occurred on Earth is to study so-called Banded Iron Formations (BIFs)comprised of iron rich clays containing magnetite and hematite. The early oceans had high concentrations of soluble iron, but when it reacts with oxygen, it forms an insoluble rust-like substance that serves as iron ore today.

Such studies reveal that BIFs were first laid down about 3.0 billion years ago, continuing up to about 1.8 billion years ago.10 This coincides with the microfossil record of life, which shows that oxygen-dependent complex cellular life (the so-called Eukaryotes) made its first appearance around 2 billion years ago.11The rise in atmospheric oxygen also created the ozone layer, which protected future life on land from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. The emergence of oxygen-generating photosynthesis had other effects that are not immediately obvious. When the Sun was born, it was about 30 per cent less luminous than it is today, but as it aged, its luminosity increased with the result that the amount of thermal energy received by the planet also increased. Photosynthetic organisms removed great amounts of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide and generating oxygen which reacted rapidly with another greenhouse gas, methane. In so doing, photosynthetic organisms served to counteract the tendency of the aging Sun to overheat the planet.12 The remains of these and other unicellular creatures settled to the bottom of the oceans where they formed vast sediments that were compressed over time to produce natural gas and oil reserves so important to human civilization today.

After a long cooling phase coinciding with the formation of the supercontinent, Rhodinia5, signs of the first large(macroscopic) multicellular lifeforms appeared about 600 million years ago in an event known to palaeontologists as the Avalon Explosion, where scientists have uncovered the first evidence of simple animal lifeforms. It is unclear however whether these bizarre creatures were animals or plants but what is clear is that in the space of a short 410,000 year period starting around 541 million years ago, 80 per cent of all existing animal forms appeared in the fossil record, with no credible evolutionary antecedents3,22. Paleontologists studying the so-called Cambrian Explosion have found no transitional forms in layers immediately pre-dating this period in Earth history. Moreover, the land was being prepared for the arrival of vascular plants by fungi who began breaking down rocks into soil as early as about 1000 million years ago14.  It is difficult to conceive how any blind process like Darwinian evolution could produce such stunning biological complexity and diversity in such a short space of time without any foresight.

In recent times, a greater appreciation of the interplay between life and plate tectonics has been appreciated. Without plate tectonics, our planet wouldn’t have a climate stable enough to support life over billions of years of time. That’s because plate tectonics takes center stage as a planetary thermostat in a process called the “carbonate-silicate” cycle.13 Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dissolves in rainwater to form carbonic acid, which dissolves silicate rocks. The by-products of this erosion, or “weathering,” are conveyed to the oceans where they are ingested by organisms—such as tiny planktonic foraminifera—and incorporated into limestone (calcium carbonate) shells. When those creatures die, they fall to the bottom of the ocean and pile up as sediments, creating new raw materials used by humanity. The introduction of life on planet Earth also increases the amount of water subducted into the mantle, where it functions as a kind of lubricant, facilitating motions between plates. It also lowers the melting point in the mantle, which leads to more volcanism and therefore more continent building. So, without life speeding up the weathering at the surface as well as the sedimentation rate on the sea floor, the fraction of the surface covered by continents would be far smaller.

Plate tectonics has other, hitherto unforeseen consequences for the maintenance of the Earth’s strong magnetic field.  By accelerating the transfer of heat to the surface, plate tectonics induces convection in the liquid iron outer core of our planet. What’s more, it’s the dynamic outer core that generates our planet’s magnetic field, which protects Earth’s atmosphere and oceans from excessive erosion and desiccation from the solar wind as well as all surface life from dangerous cosmic rays.

The fossil record attests to several mass extinction events that occurred over the long history of our planet.14 Research has shown that these devastating events are followed by equally spectacular mass speciation events, uncannily similar to the scenarios described in Psalm 104. According to Christian astronomer, Dr. Hugh Ross, these events proved crucial for maximizing both the quantity and longevity of Earth’s life.15 By ensuring that the right quantities and kinds of life are present at the right times, our Creator employed these organisms to remove the just-right quantities of greenhouse gases from Earth’s atmosphere so as to compensate for the Sun’s increasing brightness. According to Ross, one would expect God to intervene periodically to remove life no longer appropriate for compensating for a brightening Sun and then replace it with life that is more efficient at doing so. Finally, in the last few hundred million years, vast deposits of coal and oil were produced from the remains of plant life that flourished on land during the Carboniferous and Permian (360 to 250 million years ago) periods, which was necessary for the launch of the industrial revolution.

Jewel Planet

Seen in the light of these new scientific discoveries, it is apparent that the Earth is a highly fine-tuned planet that has sustained a very stable environment over 4 billion years for the flourishing of life. And that same life transformed our world beyond recognition to make it ideal for humans to thrive in. This consensus is now being expressed by other scientists, who have noted Earth’s amazing properties. Influential books like Donald Brownlee and Peter Ward’s Rare Earth18: why complex life is are in the Universe, David Waltham’s Lucky Planet19, John Gribbin’s Alone in the Universe20 as well as Privileged Planet21by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards, all seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet. Far from being a humdrum planet orbiting an ordinary star, the Earth was designed by a mind vastly more advanced than our own. And I give God all the glory!

 

Neil English is the author of several books in amateur astronomy. His latest historical work, Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy, is published by Springer-Nature.

 

 

 

 

References

  1. Sagan, C. Cosmos, MacDonald Futura Publishers, London, 1981.
  2. Eric Gaidos et al., “26Al and the Formation of the Solar System from a Molecular Cloud Contaminated by Wolf-Rayet Winds,” Astrophysical Journal 696 (May 10, 2009): 1854–63.
  3. Ross, H., Elemental Evidence of Earth’s Divine Design; https://reasons.org/explore/publications/nrtb-e-zine/read/nrtb-e-zine/2010/03/01/elemental-evidence-of-earth-s-divine-design
  4. Frank, A., What is the “Avergae Star” like? Hint: It’s not like our Sun: https://bigthink.com/13-8/average-star/
  1. Hazen, R. The Story of Earth, Penguin, 2012.
  2. Allen P. Nutman et al., “≥3700 Ma Pre-Metamorphic Dolomite Formed by Microbial Mediation in the Isua Supracrustal Belt (W. Greenland): Simple Evidence for Early Life?” Precambrian Research 183, no. 4 (December 15, 2010): 725–37.
  3. Yanan Shen et al, “Isotopic Evidence for Microbial Sulphate Reduction in the Early Archaean Era,” Nature 410 (March 1, 2001): 77–81.
  4. Gadd, G.M., Metals, minerals and microbes: geomicrobiology and bioremediation https://mic.microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/micro/10.1099/mic.0.037143-0;jsessionid=CfnAVoIxE-Nxln81QM-D2S0N.x-sgm-live-02
  5. N. Bindeman et al., “Rapid Emergence of Subaerial Landmasses and Onset of Modern Hydrologic Cycle 2.5 Billion Years Ago,” Nature 557 (May 23, 2018): 545–48, https://doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0131-1.
  6. James, H.L. (1983). Distribution of banded iron-formation in space and time. Developments in Precambrian Geology, 6, 471–490.
  7. Simonetta Gribaldo et al., “The Origin of Eukaryotes and Their Relationship with the Archaea: Are We at a Phylogenomic Impasse?” Nature Reviews Microbiology 8 (2010): 743–52.
  8. Ross, H. Improbable Planet, Baker Books, 2016.
  9. Ross, H., Cambrian Explosion Becomes More Explosive:                                   https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/cambrian-explosion-becomes-more-explosive
  10. https://theconversation.com/complex-life-may-only-exist-because-of-millions-of-years-of-groundwork-by-ancient-fungi-117526
  11. Walker, J.C.G., Hays, P.B., & Kasting, J.F. A negative feedback mechanism for the long-term stabilization of Earth’s surface temperature. Journal of Geophysical Research 86, 9776-9782 (1981).
  12. Melott & Bambach, “Do Periodicities in Extinction—With Possible Astronomical Connections—Survive a Revision of the Geological Timescale?” Astrophysical Journal 773 (August 10, 2013).
  13. Ross, H. Mass Extinction Periodicity Design; https://www.reasons.org/explore/publications/nrtb-e-zine/read/nrtb-e-zine/2013/12/01/mass-extinction-periodicity-design
  14. Brownlee, D. & Ward, P., Rare Earth, Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe, Springer, 2000
  15. Waltham, D., Lucky Planet, Icon Books, 2015
  16. J., Alone in the Universe; Why our Planet is Unique, John Wiley, 2011.
  17. Gonzalez, G. & Richards, J, The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery, Regnery Publishing, 2004.
  18. Ross, H., Cambrian Explosion Becomes More Explosive: https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/cambrian-explosion-becomes-more-explosive

 

 

                                                                                                                       

De Fideli.

Lights in the Sky- Seeing Through The UFO Phenomenon.

At the end of June 2021, after months of hype all over the internet and a string of sensationalized reports by the main stream media, the Pentagon released a 9 page report1 on the subject of 144 Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena(UAP) documented in recent years by the US government. Millions of people all over the world anxiously awaited the findings from that report but were ultimately left disappointed and frustrated because the same report was completely inconclusive and never even mentioned the word ” extra-terrestrial” or ” alien.” Instead, the report merely stated that,

“Most of the UAP reported probably do represent physical objects, given that a majority of UAP were registered across multiple sensors, to include radar, infrared, electro-optical, weapon seekers and visual observation1.

But the Pentagon report was presaged by further hype fuelled by Harvard Astronomer, Avi Loeb, who released a sensational book, Extra-terrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life beyond Earth2, in February 2021, in which he claimed that an asteroid nicknamed Oumuamua, which passed through the outer solar system in a highly unusual orbit in late 2018, displayed signs of artificiality, both in terms of its of movements and physical properties. Since then, several natural explanations have been forwarded by scientists to explain the behaviour of Oumuamua, but predictably, those were largely ignored by the media. A few months earlier in December 2020, Haim Eshed, a retired army general and former head of Israel’s Defence Ministry’s space directorate, claimed in an interview that Earth has been contacted by a “galactic federation” of extraterrestrials,3 and that “they have been waiting until today for humanity to develop and reach a stage where we will understand, in general, what space and spaceships are.”

Stories such as these form the basis of a multi-million-dollar industry in the form of books, documentaries, the internet and Hollywood Sci-Fi blockbusters, entertaining countless millions of curious individuals across the world. But why are some people captivated with UFOs and extra-terrestrials and on what basis do they believe in their existence? Furthermore, how should we, as Christians, respond to such events?

 Test everything; hold fast to what’s good4

That famous quote from St Paul, writing to the Church in Thessalonica, provides a great place to start. The secular world has been fed a staple diet of evolutionary ‘science’ that powerfully affects the way many people think. The reasoning sounds both rational and straightforward, at first glance; life evolved on Earth and our planet is one of countless quadrillions scattered across the Universe. Life therefore must have taken hold on many worlds, and in many epochs, so it’s reasonable to expect that intelligent spacefaring aliens exist.  Unfortunately, though, the latest science is casting severe doubts on this worldview.

For one thing, there are now serious doubts that evolution, as described by biologists, really happened. The origin of life is a profound mystery and given the astonishing complexity of even the simplest living cells, there is effectively zero chance that it happened by accident5. Furthermore, the fossil record, which scientists have now unearthed in great detail, doesn’t show any evolutionary progression over the 3.8 billion years or so since its inception. Instead, it reveals many extirpation events followed by equally rapid speciation episodes, in contrast to the expected gradualism of Darwinian evolution. Simply put, we can be reasonably confident that if a scientific theory approaches the truth, the uncertainties become smaller over time. The problem with the evolutionary paradigm is the opposite – the error bars are increasing… and rapidly.

Coupled to this is the growing realization that most of the planets orbiting other stars, both within our galaxy and in myriad other galaxies scattered across the cosmos, are now considered very unlikely to harbour habitable worlds. For example, as much as 80 or 90 per cent of all the stars that exist are cool red and brown dwarfs that would require their habitable planets to be located far too close to their surfaces to be warm enough to allow liquid water to exist. Yet the same stars are highly unstable, firing off dangerous high energy flares and ferocious stellar winds that would damage fragile living systems5. What’s more, when you factor in all the other requirements for a viable biosphere, Earth stands out like a proverbial sore thumb as being very special indeed!

We therefore suffer somewhat from what scientists call observational bias;  because we see our planet teeming over with life, we naturally assume the same thing happened on countless other worlds.  But, as the distinguished organic chemist, James Tour, quipped.

 ” Life should not exist. This much we know from chemistry. In contrast to the ubiquity of life on Earth, the lifelessness of other planets makes far better chemical sense5.”

Biblical Guidance

So, if there is life out there, and intelligent life in particular, it must have been placed there by God. Yet the Biblical narrative gives us other clues about whether space-faring ETs exist or not.  The secular world view posits that humans emerged from other lifeforms accidently, but the Bible makes it clear that the Earth was first prepared before humankind was placed here. Living things made Earth habitable for humans and continue to provide a life-support system for human flourishing. Would God create worlds packed with life without placing sentient beings on them? That’s a good question, but I suspect not.

Similar conclusions are reached by the Christian astronomer and young earth creationist, Danny Faulkner(PhD Astronomy Indiana University), in his book, UFOs & ETs; a Biblical and Cultural Exploration of Aliens.6 Faulkner squarely lays the blame with the brainwashing of the general public in accepting evolutionary thought:

“We must realize that nearly all discussion about such matters has been within an evolutionary framework. That worldview assumes the plurality of worlds-that life has arisen on many other planets in the universe, and that life on at least some of those planets is intelligent. Hence, in the evolutionary worldview one might expect that extra-terrestrial aliens will visit Earth from time to time. However, Christians ought not to adopt an evolutionary worldview. Instead, we ought to base what we think about on the Bible, not the ideas of men. Evolution is clearly contrary to Scripture, and so life only exists where God created it. While the Bible does not explicitly state that God created life only on Earth, the clear implication from Scripture is that God made life only on Earth and that man is the centre of God’s attention. Therefore, within a Biblical worldview, one would reject the plurality of worlds idea and would not expect extra-terrestrial aliens to have visited Earth(or even to exist)6.”

Furthermore, we read in the passages of Scripture that Jesus died “once for all7.”  If there are other civilizations out there, did Jesus die for them too? Some theologians have suggested that these beings might have not fallen, as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden, and so were in no need of a Saviour. But we read that the entire creation is groaning8 and that God has reserved this current Universe for a fiery destruction9. If those putative civilisations exit elsewhere in the Universe, they too will perish and that would make God a monster, which is clearly a theological non sequitur!

 Occult Connections

But there appears to be a more sinister facade to UFOs and ETs. Many in-depth studies conducted over many decades have shown a strong connection between these phenomena and the occult, and which often involve narratives that serve to undermine Christianity in particular. In their now classic work, Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men: A Rational Christian Look at UFOs and Extraterrestrials9, astronomer Hugh Ross, theologian, Kenneth Samples, and political scientist, Mark Clark, showcase many studies linking the obsession of the New Age movement with extra-terrestrials and flying saucers. They conclude that, while most of these sightings can be discounted by natural phenomena, hoaxes or human-made technological devices, a small number of residual cases cannot be explained away and display properties that suggest that they are real but non-physical in nature, that is, these events are demonic in nature and represent deceptions by fallen angels who can move inter-dimensionally, at one moment looking real and the next, vanishing into thin air.

To my mind, our culture’s fascination with spacefaring aliens merely represents a post-modern form of idolatry, a convenient distraction from the things we ought to think about. Unwilling to accept the reality of an omniscient Creator, they resort to imagining beings far in advance of our own as new gods who will solve all of humanity’s problems. Yet, as I’ve explained earlier, this is little more than fanciful thinking that has no basis in scientific reality. I suspect that, in the end, the only aliens we’ll ever meet are our neighbours. So, as Jesus taught us, we ought to love our neighbours as ourselves!

 

 

  1. https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/assessments/Prelimary-Assessment-UAP-20210625.pdf
  2. Loeb, A., Extra-terrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life beyond Earth, Houghton Miffin Harcourt, 2021.
  3. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/weird-news/former-israeli-space-security-chief-says-extraterrestrials-exist-trump-knows-n1250333
  4. 1 Thessalonians 5:21
  5. English, N., Origin Stories, Why Life is Beginning to Seem Very Special Indeed, Salvo #50
  6. Faulkner, D., UFOs & ETs; a Biblical and Cultural Exploration of Aliens, 2015, Answers in Genesis Press.
  7. Romans 8:28
  8. Romans 6:10
  9. 2 Peter 3: 7
  10. Ross, H, Samples, K., and Clark, M., Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men: A Rational Christian Look at UFOs and Extraterrestrials, Nav Press, 2002.

Dr Neil English is the author of seven books in amateur and professional astronomy. His latest work, Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy, showcases four centuries of visual astronomy and the many Christian personalities that shaped its progress.

 

De Fideli.

The Wonder that is Israel.

 

Raising of the Ink Flag, marking the end of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Image credit Wiki Commons.

Originally Posted April 24 2019.

Updated May 23 2021

 

On that day I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands.

Ezekiel 20:6

Any unbiased reading of the Bible will soon reveal that the Creator of the Universe has had a long and enduring relationship with the Jews. This people group were the first humans to forge a relationship with God, where He made Himself known to them and guided their founding of a nation in a relatively tiny strip of land on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The Biblical narrative accurately portrays much of the history of the ancient Jewish nation and modern archaeological research is unveiling more and more details that affirm the historicity of their story, despite militant opposition from secular academics, who have been proven wrong time and time again.

Mlp of Israel and Judah in the 9th century BC. Image credit: Wiki Commons.

Originally the land promised to the Jews by God actually stretched from the Nile to the Euphrates:

In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,  And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

Genesis 15:18-21

 

We also read the same thing in the opening passages of Joshua:

Cross the Jordan River. Lead these people into the land that I am ready to hand over to them .I am handing over to you every place you set foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert  in the south to Lebanon in the north. It will extend all the way to the great River Euphrates in the east (including all Syria) and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 

Joshua 1:2-4

 

Because of their unfaithfulness to their God, the former glory of the kingdom established by David and his son, Solomon, was gradually but inexorably wrenched from them because of their reluctance to follow Torah, as well as their eagerness to seek out and worship the false gods of the surrounding nations and the inter-marriage of their nobles with the nobility of foreign cultures(and against God’s wishes). As a result, ancient Israel and Judah suffered many waves of conquests by foreign imperial powers including Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Byzantium and the various waves of Islamic invasions over the centuries and millennia. Israel ceased to be a free nation about 2,600 years ago being occupied by foreign powers throughout much of this time.

The Mereneptah Stele, dating to the 13th century BC, has the earliest known reference to Israel as a nation inscribed on it. Image credit: Wiki Commons.

For much of its history, the Jewish people have suffered terrible persecutions under various powers, culminating with the attempt of the evil Nazi regime to exterminate them from the face of the Earth. Still, despite these perils, they have bucked all the odds to maintain their culture and religion; indeed they are the only truly ancient people that exist through modern times. After World War II, the United Nations created a homeland for the remaining Jews, which culminated in the declaration of independence of the modern state of Israel on May 14 1948. The declaration was immediately condemned by all the surrounding Arab nations and was immediately attacked, leading to the Arab-Israeli War (1948-9). No superpowers came to the aid of the young nation but miraculously, the Israeli’s won. Less than twenty years later, Israel was once again attacked by a coalition of Arab nations including Syria, Jordan and Egypt in June 1967. Though attacked on three different fronts and greatly outnumbered in terms of troops, tanks and aircraft, the conflict lasted just six days, with Israel, miraculously, emerging victorious. Thus, Israel had to work hard from the outset to establish its borders, rapidly developing an excellent military machine that staved off aggressive behaviour by its surrounding enemies, and which remains so to this day.

In the 73 years since its founding days, the story of Israel has been one of astonishing prosperity, so much so that many Bible believing Christians accept it as a clear and unambiguous miracle in our times. Furthermore, it is clear that while the majority of contemporary Jews do not accept Jesus as their Messiah, the Lord would not make a complete end of them, but established them again for the sake of a minority who have(or will) come to accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Furthermore, the Bible foretells that this tiny little nation will play an important role in converting many unbelievers to the true God during the Great Tribulation period, otherwise known as the time of Jacob’s Trouble.

Most denominational Christians however, have been taught the false doctrine of replacement theology, which assumes that the modern Church has taken the place of Israel, and as a result, know very little about how Israel will play a central role in God’s ultimate plan for the salvation of many people. This was essentially my thinking for most of my life, as I continued in my walk with the Catholic Church, being largely ignorant of Biblical knowledge. We had no Bible in our home(my neighbours had none either), and no Sunday Schools when I was growing up. Indeed, I saved up some pocket money to buy a children’s Bible in my youth and only purchased my first ‘real’ Bible:- an old King James Version:- as a graduate student during my time at the University of Dundee in the mid-1990s. But this is equally true of many Protestant denominations, which teach nothing at all concerning the true role of Israel in God’s redemptive plan for humankind. Only when I began to read the Bible for myself, as a non-denominational Christian, that I rejected the notion of replacement theology.

With the Lord, there is the Church and then there’s Israel; they are not one and the same.

With Israel, it’s personal.

Consider the particular interest our Lord has expressed in the land of Israel;

For the land you are going in to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you came. There you planted your seed and watered it by foot, like a vegetable garden.  But the land you are crossing over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, drinking from the rain of the heavens it drinks in water.  It is a land that Adonai your God cares for—the eyes of Adonai your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year up to the end of the year.

Deuteronomy 11:10-12

The prophet Ezekiel writes:

 

Therefore say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord God: Not for your sa ke do I act, house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name, which you desecrated among the nations to which you came.

Ezekiel 36:22

So what’s it all about then? In a phrase, the execution of Absolute power!

Israel is God’s land; He gave it to the Jews.

The prophet Jeremiah writes:

Thus says the Lord, “If My covenant for day and night stand not, and the fixed patterns of heaven and earth I have not established, then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.’”

Jeremiah 33: 25-26

In other words, the Lord would sooner abolish the laws of nature than renege on His promises to Israel.

In Ezekiel 37, God states explicitly that His covenant with Israel is for all time:

I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever.

Ezekiel 37:26

So let’s take a closer look at the remarkable rise of Israel in the modern psyche. As a nation state, Israel is tiny,  with a land area of just 21,000 square kilometres, smaller than Wales(or the US state of New Jersey)  and ranking about 150th out of the 200 or so nations on Earth. It’s population is currently 9 million, of which 75 per cent identify as Jew. But with antisemitism on the rise worldwide it is estimated that as much as half the entire global population of Jews will be living in Israel by 2030.  The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Israel is $410.5 billion, ranking it as the 31st richest nation in the world. Its per capita annual income is even more impressive though, at $42,000 per annum, making its citizens the 25th richest nation in the world; on par with the average UK dweller. Israel is also home to more millionaires per capita than any other country in the world, with over 7,200 millionaires with collective assets of approximately $45 billion. What is more, Israel’s economic wealth far exceeds that of all the surrounding (Muslim and non-democratic) nations. The life expectancy of the average Israeli is 82 years, where it poles as the 8th longest among the other nations of the world. Israel’s age demographic though is astonishing and contrary to every other developed nation currently in existence. 25 per cent of the population are under the age of 14 and 40 per cent are aged 25 years and younger. Only 11 per cent of the Israeli population is aged 65 years and older!

This very youthful population is also highly educated; 45 per cent of Israeli’s hold a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent; higher per capita than any other nation on Earth. Their official language is Hebrew, for centuries considered an all but dead language, but thanks to the efforts of Jewish linguists, is now widely spoken and thriving. Curiously, though Israel is one of the most technologically advanced nations currently in existence, her citizens are taught little or nothing about Darwinian evolution in public schools, which dovetails with the ideology’s current fall from grace as a proper science of origins. And yet, Israel is a shining light in the emerging biotechnological and agricultural industries, both of which require an excellent knowledge of the life sciences.

Because of more or less incessant terrorist threats from foreign regimes, Israel has one of the best trained professional armies in the world. The so-called Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) has about 150,000 full-time members and over 400,000 reserves. All Israeli citizens over the age of 18 are obliged to undergo two years and eight months of military service for men and two years for women, although many seek exemptions on religious, psychological and physical grounds. This rise in military power also comports with the Biblical narrative, which describes the desolate land of Israel being revived from a “valley of dry bones”(see Ezekiel 37):

So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

Ezekiel 37:10

Despite more than half of the land being desert and only 20 per cent being arable, Israel is a world leader in irrigation technology. In addition, it’s de-salination technology is now being exported to other nations (the US state of California, for example, is now steeply committed to using these technologies). The north of the country receives a plentiful supply of rain but the south is much more arid, with the result that water transport and use is carefully regulated. The statistics are impressive; agriculture’s share of total water use fell from more than 70% in 1980 to 57% by 2005, and is projected to drop to just 52% by 2025, according to a recent report. Many nations around the world have benefitted greatly from Israel’s lead in this regard. Indeed this small nation has become the fruit basket of Europe and the Middle East, growing and exporting over 40 different types of fruit. Indeed, 95 per cent of all Israel’s food is homegrown, supplemented by imports of meat, grains, coffee, cocoa and sugar. Israel also produces most of the flowers sold in Europe(especially during the winter months), with an industry estimated to be worth $60 million. These flowers are almost exclusively grown on 214 hectares of land.

A Lemon grove in the Galilee. Image credit: David Shankbone.

Just as the Bible informs us, Israel has truly become “a land of milk and honey.” Specially bred, disease-resistant cows produce the highest amounts of milk per animal in the world, with an average of 10,208 kilograms of dairy in 2009, according to data published in 2011 by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, outperforming cows in the US (9,331 kg  per cow), Japan (7,497), the European Union (6,139) and Australia (5,601). Honey production in Israel is prodigious, with more than 100,000 apiaries scattered across the country and exported to many other nations around the world. And despite the alarming decline in bee numbers in almost every other country, Israel’s bee populations have not endured such decimation, thanks to the implementation of a number of ingenious management strategies. Indeed, the Israeli department of agriculture estimate that the value of their bees as vehicles of pollination is worth more than 30 times the value of the honey they produce! In 1948, only about 400,000 acres of land in Israel could be tilled. Today it stands at over a million acres, with productivity increasing by a factor of 16 per unit of water used. And instead of growing strains of wheat that are waist high, as is the case in most other nations, Israeli farmers cultivate new varieties that only grow to knee height and so require far less water to bring them to maturity.

In the spheres of technology, Israel ranks as the 8th most powerful nation in the world. Outside of Silicon Valley, California, Silicon Wadi on the coastal plains just outside Tel Aviv  has the highest number(over 3,000 as of 2019) of IT start-up companies in the world. The first anti-virus software was formulated here, as was the first voicemail technology, and all manner of memory sticks that we use in our everyday lives. Motorola, Microsoft, Celebrite and Intel all have major investments here. The oil industry is booming at an unprecedented rate in Israel with valuable, high-grade crude oil and natural gas reserves found in the Negev, the Golan Heights and most recently off shore in the Leviathan and Tamar fields. Analysts suggest that the energy reserves in these newly discovered sites could power the nation for another 300 years! What’s more, it is expected that Israel will become a major supplier of petrochemicals to the European nations by building under-sea pipelines across the Mediterranean.

In recent years, geologists have assessed Israel’s mineral wealth. In particular the rapidly evaporating Dead Sea has an estimated $5 trillion of minerals salts including, calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium chlorides, bromides and iodides, phosphates and other resources. Even the mud dredged up from the Dead Sea floor has important medicinal properties that many people will pay for. Moreover, an extremely rare mineral, Carmeltazite, hitherto thought to form only in outer space was recently found in Israel, which, owing to its rarity, is potentially more valuable than diamond.

By most anyone’s standards, the story of the re-birth of Israel is a remarkable phenomenon. Look how much they have achieved in only one human generation! But all of this was foretold in the prophecies of Ezekiel, most likely dated to 7th century BC:

Thus says the Lord God, “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken and will do it.”

Ezekiel 36:33-36

And yet, the Biblical narrative also suggests that this new-found prosperity will attract the eyes of power-hungry nations surrounding it, like a proverbial moth to a brightly lit lamp:

After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them. You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.”

‘Thus says the Lord God, “It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan, and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the centre of the world.’ Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you, ‘Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?’”’

Ezekiel 38:8-13

The Bible also asserts that Israel is the centre of the world as God sees things:

Thus says the Lord God, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the centre of the nations, with lands around her.

Ezekiel 5:5

And when we look at Israel’s geographic location, it indeed lies at the hub of three continents; Africa, Europe and Asia.

The Bible also confidently predicts that Israel will always attract trouble makers and that eventually all the nations will be gathered against her under the auspices of the Anti-Christ:

It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.

Zechariah 12:3

The Book of Jeremiah also makes it clear that when the Jews come back in the land after being scattered among the nations, they will do so without the ark of the covenant:

Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days,” says the Lord, “that they will say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore.

Jeremiah 3:16

And what do we see today? Israel back in the land without the ark! This was quite simply unthinkable at the time it was written, since it was indispensable to their worship.

What is more, the ancient nation of Israel was divided up into two kingdoms- the northern territory of Israel, and the southern territory of Judah, in the reign of king Jeroboam I,  and remained so. But the prophet Jeremiah informs us that when the people come back in the land in the latter days, there would no longer be such an administrative division:

In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.

Jeremiah 3:18

What is the ‘northern land’ referred to in this verse of Scripture?

It could well be Russia, as some 1.2 million Israeli citizens originated there.

Isn’t the Bible remarkable for its accuracy? Surely, we are living in the times of fulfilled prophecy!

Already, we can see this gradual build-up (a Biblical “hook in the jaw”) with the hatred expressed by the politicians of many countries toward Israel as well as pervasive antisemitism(an irrational hatred of the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which is both trans-generational and global in reach). Sadly, one of Israel’s greatest enemies is the United Nations(UN). For example, Syria bombs its civilians with chlorine gas, China tortures dissidents, Venezuela restricts access to food, and Burma is engaged in the ethnic cleansing of its Muslim minority. Yet despite these atrocities, the UN Human Rights Council trains the bulk of its diatribe on, you’ve guessed it, Israel!

At the time of writing, 31 UN members don’t recognise the state of Israel. Additionally, the nations of Bolivia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Qatar and Venezuela have suspended ties to Israel. Most of these nations do not want the state of Israel to exist. There are also several countries, most notably Egypt, that recognise the state but almost always vote against it. That is how far-reaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become!

The UN has chosen to oppose Israel at nearly every turn because of the influence and encouragement of all of these member states. On the UN security council, Israel has the support of the U.S’s power of veto and is therefore safe from most harmful resolutions, but in the general assembly the anti-Israel countries almost always win out. The most recent example of this was the decision to condemn the United States for recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital even though they have every right to claim it as their own. That resolution overwhelmingly passed. But if the UN were nicer to Israel, every Muslim majority country in the world (except Albania and a few others) would withdraw from the organisation and thus would lose all of its influence over the Muslim world. There would be no more peacekeepers in Syria and Iraq, no nuclear weapons inspectors in Iran, etc. To my mind, the UN has strategically chosen to alienate Israel, over dozens of others. As a result, most Israelis are rightly suspicious of the UN to the extent that it’s somewhat of a mystery why they haven’t yet severed all ties with the organisation.

The so-called ‘Palestinian conflict stems from the claim that Palestinians are a valid ethnic group of people who occupied the land along with the Jews. But this claim is a complete lie, as anyone who has studied classical history can attest. Not once is the term ‘Palestine’ referred to in the Bible. Indeed, it actually derives from about 135 AD, when the Roman Emperor Hadrian (reigning from 117-138 AD), who in the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, laid waste Jerusalem and ostracised the Jews from the city, re-naming it, Aelia Capitolina after himself(Publius Aelius Hadrianus). Moreover, Hadrian re-named the province, Syria Palaestina, in a derogatory reference to Israel’s ancient and wicked enemies, the Philistines( originating from Greek stock).

Yet it is important to remember that both the UN and the state of Israel were both founded on very similar principles: the exercise of democracy, liberty, national self-determination, as well as freedom from persecution and the respect for basic human rights. But the simple truth is that the vast majority of countries that oppose Israel respect none of these principles, as their actions so clearly demonstrate. Moreover, most of them don’t even care for an independent Palestine either. They just view Israel as a convenient scapegoat. It is tragically ironic that the UN, an organisation that has done so much good for the world, is siding with tyrannical regimes rather than a nation that clearly shares its own values!

This is especially prescient in light of what was witnessed by the world when Israel was condemned by most of the international community who accused them of genocide in the 11-day long war with the terrorist organisation, Hamas, which took place in May 2021. Despite the fact that Hamas initiated the conflict by firing rockets – a few thousand in all – into Israel from the Gaza Strip. The corrupt mainstream media fanned the flames of antisemitism by siding with the Palestinian terrorists, resulting in mass protests and wicked violence against Jews all over the world. Some of the participants in these protests included Biblically illiterate(read clueless), ‘nominal’ Christians. Furthermore, such events are prophesised to escalate as we get closer and closer to the triumphant return of Christ to the Earth.

Sunset on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. Image credit; Andrew Shiva.

The Bible also tells us that the people of Israel will not be uprooted again:

I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;
They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them;
They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.
 I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,”
Says the Lord your God.

Amos 9: 14-15

All of those prophecies have now been fulfilled.

Israel, a vibrant, liberal democracy, is here to stay no matter what evil intentions the goat nations plot against her. This is in spite of the majority of their people’s stubborn unbelief in the true Messiah they had rejected 2,000 years ago. That said, the Messianic Jewish population (who accept Yeshua as their Lord and Saviour) has increased ten-fold to ~30,000 in just a decade! Truth be told, Israel is actually one of the most secular nations on Earth, with Tel Aviv having risen to notoriety in recent years as the gay capital of Europe/Middle East. The Bible addresses the spiritual blindness of Israel in both the Old and New Testaments;

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

“He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
    and understand with their heart, and turn,
    and I would heal them.”

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.

                                                                                                                John 12:36-41

Jesus Christ ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and the Bible tells us that He will once again set foot on it at His second coming, where He will fight against those nations wishing to destroy Israel:

Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.

Zechariah 14:3-4

So, we’re living in exciting times; times that most unbelievers are completely oblivious to; but that too was foretold. Israel is indeed the timepiece for understanding the climactic events in world history.

So keep watching Israel, the Biblical ‘fig tree’ and pray for the peace of Jerusalem(Psalm 122:6), as we are instructed to.

 

Neil English is the author of a large historical work; Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy.

 

De Fideli.

A Form of Child Abuse.

If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
                                                                                                                  Matthew 18:6

The immortal words of Jesus Christ attest to His great love and care for children. He warned us about the grave dangers of indoctrinating young minds to the ways of the world. Yet, our educational institutions, all the way from kindergarten through University, place a maximum emphasis on teaching children that all of the grandeur of the natural world can be explained by known natural laws and actively discourage children from entertaining thought processes that appeal to the supernatural or the divine. But these findings fly in the face of recent research conducted by psychologists that reveal something altogether different:- that young children, irrespective of whether they are brought up by parents in a religious or a secular home, are strongly disposed to thinking that many natural phenomena have been intentionally created by non-human agents or a deity of sorts and, furthermore, ascribe purpose to natural objects. Sadly, by the time children reach adolescent ages, much of this design intuition is suppressed by educational and/or cultural conditioning as they fully engage with our secular societies, teachers and parental influences(1)

Beginning in the late 1920s, the Swiss child psychologist, Jean Piaget, came to some very surprising conclusions about young minds. In particular, he showed that, contrary to popular belief, children are not merely less sophisticated thinkers than adults, they are capable of thinking in radically different ways to adults. In particular, Piaget described children as ‘artificialists,’ who drew their subjective intentional experience to conclude that all things were created by people or intelligent agencies for a purpose(2). As such, Piaget concluded, children are broadly inclined to view natural phenomena, whether living or non-living, in teleological terms. For example, clouds are for ‘raining’ and lions are for ‘keeping in a zoo.’ Furthermore, when Piaget asked children how natural objects originated, they frequently identified ‘God’ as the cause. And not only that, they perceived this God as anthropomorphic, having an overarching authority of its own, like some kind of ‘super parent’ and could even formulate a mental representation of such an agency despite its intangibility to the senses(2).

Intuitive Theists
Piaget’s assertion that young children were incapable of distinguishing between human and non-human causes proved controversial though, and subsequent studies have shown that he was wrong on some of these issues. Young children can, in fact, identify some natural causes. Yet he was correct in saying that children start out with the intuition that the natural world was made for a purpose. Back in 2004, University of Boston child psychologist, Deborah Kelemen, provided strong evidence that young children (4-7 years of age) are “intuitive theists” who are “disposed to view natural phenomena as resulting from non-human design(3).”

Further work conducted by Kathleen Corriveau, also based at Boston University, conducted a study of 66 kindergarten children aged between 5 and 6 years, from religious and non-religious backgrounds(4). In the study, the children were presented with 3 different narratives; religious, historical and fantastical. Across the board, children thought the historical narratives were true. When it came to the religious narratives though, children brought up in religious homes were more likely to accept it as true than their counterparts raised in secular homes. The most striking difference Corriveau et al found came from the presentation of the fantastical narrative, where 87 per cent of the secular kids rejected as false, as compared to only 40 per cent of kids raised in religious homes(4). That said, Corriveau concluded that “religious children have a broader conception of what can actually happen.” What is more, she added, “exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children’s differentiation between reality and fiction.”

What I found most striking is how these child psychologists reacted to their own findings. For example, Kelemen suggested an ‘interventive’ learning program in a storybook format (where have we heard that before?!) to ‘help’ them develop greater ‘scientific literacy’ at an early stage(3). For Kelemen at least, the correct way to think is to uncritically believe in unguided evolution, where the encouragement of religious streams of thought are portrayed negatively, specifically as a form of indoctrination.

Born Believers
Building on these findings of the University of Boston psychologists, Justin L. Barrett, based at the Centre for Anthropology and Mind at the University of Oxford concluded in his recent book, Born Believers, that “children tend to believe that the world has order and purpose and that there is a supernatural element to the origin of this order(5).” Indeed, Barrett further added that, “a child’s playing field is tilted towards religious beliefs.” Furthermore, he raises a very provocative question- what if the indoctrination, as implied by Kelemen, involves teaching children not to believe in God? What if there are tangible benefits to not only nurturing but further developing the ‘intuitive theists’ within every child? In this capacity, Barrett further suggests that religious thinking enriches the imagination and is absolutely vital for contemplating reality itself. After all, even the most ardent materialist would be hard pushed to deny that every now and then, the unusual or even the ‘fantastical’ can and even does happen. Tacit examples include peer-reviewed, clinically documented medical miracles that defy any rational explanation(6). Furthermore, Roger Trigg, a collaborator with Barnett at the University of Oxford’s Ian Ramsey Centre added these comments to Barnett’s findings;

“This project suggests that religion is not just something for a peculiar few to do on Sundays instead of playing golf. We have gathered a body of evidence that suggests that religion is a common fact of human nature across different societies. This suggests that attempts to suppress religion are likely to be short-lived, as human thought seems to be rooted to religious concepts such as the existence of supernatural agents or gods, and the possibility of an afterlife or pre-life(7).”

Clash of Worldviews
These research findings made by psychologists are at direct odds with sentiments popularly expressed by atheists. For example, Richard Dawkins, who has adopted a hard-line stance on raising children with religion stated that we should be instilling in children a healthy degree of scepticism, teaching them that “‘it’s too statistically improbable for a prince to turn into a frog.” The irony has not gone unnoticed on me though, given the stupendous odds of life emerging from lifeless molecules and evolving into higher organisms. Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the three dimensional structure of the DNA double helix, also waded into the same argument when he reminded biologists that they “must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved(8).”

Molecular biologist Douglas Axe at Biola University, in his excellent book, Undeniable; How Biology Confirms our Intuition that Life is Designed, wholeheartedly agrees that children are born believers in a designing intelligence at the heart of living systems but extends it further to include cognitive science. He writes:

“The children whose simple view of life has proved superior to the view endorsed by the Royal Society and the National Academy also have a simple view of consciousness. Their view begins to take shape in infancy, with games like peekaboo where small hands over small eyes form a screen that momentarily isolates the inside world from the outside world…..Through countless learning moments like this, children build a connection between their inside world and the outside world, a connection far more profound than anything technology has given us(9).”

For Axe, the overwhelming richness displayed to us by the outside world is thoroughly complemented by an equally rich inner experience, “almost as if the two were made to go together(9)” So what materialists like Dawkins and Crick are actually saying is that we should completely ignore what is, in reality, intuitively obvious. Axe continues:

“In our childhood, if not since, our design intuition assured us that life could only be the handiwork of God, or someone like him. As universal as this intuition is, though, it is almost universally opposed by the technical experts on life. None of us have been able to erase the intuition but many of us struggle to defend it against this professional opposition – or even to know whether it ought to be defended(9).”

What does all of this smack of? We are, in effect, being asked to believe our lying eyes. At least that’s the way Frank Turek, a leading Christian apologist, sees it. In his book, Stealing from God: Why Athiests Need God to Make their Case, Turek brings his readers’ attention to the mind-boggling complexity of the living cell, replete as they are with molecular machines far in advance of anything humans can currently build. He writes;

“Our brains are the instruments through which we have thoughts, but the thoughts themselves are immaterial products of your immaterial mind. And it is our minds that make us rational, conscious agents, with the ability to make choices(10).” So what does all this mean? According to Turek, “it means that you shouldn’t abandon your common sense intuitions for the nonsense ideology of materialism(10).”

Scientific Language to the Rescue
But Turek also alerts us to another aspect of the design intuition that even secular scientists, unconsciously or not, engage in. And it pertains to the language used to describe the incredible molecular machines operating at the nanoscale in living systems. These are such engineering marvels “that biologists can’t help but describe their parts with engineering names. There are molecular motors, switches, shuttles, tweezers, propellers, stators, bushings, rotors, driveshafts etc. And together they operate with unrivalled precision and efficiency(10).”

What Turek is driving at here is that, regardless of whether the scientists accept or reject design as a real phenomenon in nature, their language compels them to describe it as such. This important point went largely unnoticed until relatively recently, but some scientists have begun to sound the alarm bells. Professor Randolph M. Nesse based at the Center for Evolution and Medicine at Arizona State University had these words to say regarding the state of emotion research;

“….progress in emotions research has been slowed by tacit creationism. By tacit creationism I mean viewing organisms as if they are products of design, without attributing the design to a deity. Few scientists attribute the characteristics of organisms to a supernatural power, but many nonetheless view organisms as if they were designed machine(s(11).”

Nesse urges his readers to be more reflective about couching the language of emotion research in terms of Darwinian materialism, but seems unaware that this ideology is now being ditched by leading life scientists because it simply doesn’t work and has had its day in the sun(12). Seen in this light, Nesse’s arguments seem counterintuitive at worst and self-defeating at best. After all, if the language of design best describes the workings of the human mind or any other living system for that matter, and if it’s perfectly intelligible when couched in those terms, it seems downright silly to me to make active steps to changing it! Worst still for Nesse, by describing living systems in terms of designed artefacts, scientists have opened up a brave new world of biological research called biomimetics, which, as its name implies, seeks to model new engineering structures by mimicking the genius designs at the heart of living things. What’s more, it’s already achieved spectacular success. For example, by studying the antics of swarming honeybees, engineers arrived at novel solutions to designing telecommunications networks, and in studying the complex aerodynamic motions of dragonflies, produced remarkable refinements in drone design.

In a fascinating article by the Blyth Institute(13), author Annie Crawford argues that since teleological(that is, design and purpose in nature) language is so deeply embedded in centuries of biological enquiry, it simply cannot be abstracted away without either partial or complete loss of intelligibility to the audience it is intended to be presented to. Crawford goes further still:

“It is disingenuous,” she writes, “to continue pretending that teleology is or can be divorced from biology. Indeed, it is the teleological character of life which makes it a unique phenomenon requiring a unique discipline of study distinct from physics or chemistry(13).”

In summary then, the design intuition appears to be hardwired into the human psyche, and while it is actively suppressed in our secular educational systems from kindergarten through University, it cannot be entirely eradicated. St. Paul expressed these conclusions with astonishing accuracy in his letter to the Romans:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:20

What is more, human language reinforces this intuition, irrespective of whether or not we believe in creation or not. The more we learn about the world around us, the more it screams of design. And far from being a hindrance, the design intuition has proven to be spectacularly successful in cutting edge scientific and engineering research.

If it ain’t broke, why even begin to fix it?

References & Bibliography
1. Wells, J., A Child’s Intuition of Purpose in Nature is No Accident; https://evolutionnews.org/2018/06/a-childs-intuition-of-purpose-in-nature-is-no-accident/
2. Piaget, J. The Child’s Conception of the World, Joan and Andrew Tomlinson, trans. (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1929), 253.
3. Kelemen, D., “Are Children ‘Intuitive Theists’?” Psychological Science 15 (2004), 295–301.
4. Coriveau, K. et al, Judgments About Fact and Fiction by Children From Religious and Nonreligious Backgrounds, Cognitive Science, 39(2):353-82, 2015; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cogs.12138
5. Barrett, J.L, The Science of Children’s Religious Belief, Simon & Schuster, 2012.
6. Strobel, L., Does Science Support Miracles? New Study Documents a Blind Woman’s Healing, The Stream May 16 2020; https://stream.org/does-science-support-miracles-new-study-documents-a-blind-womans-healing/
7. Humans ‘predisposed’ to believe in gods and the afterlife, Science Daily, July 4 2011, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714103828.htm
8. Crick, F., What Mad Pursuit, (Basic Books, 1988), 138.
9. Axe, D. Undeniable; How Biology Confirms Our Intuition that Life is Designed, Haper One, 2016
10. Turek, F, Stealing from God; Why Atheists Need God to Make their Case; Navpress, 2014
11. Nesse, R.M. Tacit Creationism in Emotion Research; http://emotionresearcher.com/tacit-creationism-in-emotion-research/
12. Behe, M. Citrate Spiral Death: https://evolutionnews.org/2020/06/citrate-death-spiral/
13. Crawford, A. Metaphor and Meaning in the Teleological Language of Biology, https://journals.blythinstitute.org/ojs/index.php/cbi/article/view/55/75

Dr. Neil English is the author of seven books in amateur and professional astronomy. His latest work, Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy, shows how, over the centuries, the majority of astronomers held to a strong Christian faith throughout their careers.

 

De Fideli.

 

Caveat Emptor!

 

August 30 2019

As you may gather, I’ve taken a keen, active interest in testing out binoculars with an aim to providing my readers with good quality products that won’t break the bank. As part of that process, I needed a few entry-level models to compare and contrast them with other products purporting to provide better optical quality. In one transaction, I purchased an Eyeskey labelled 8 x 32 roof prism binocular on August 5 2019 from eBay. It was brand new and set me back £37.79, taking about two weeks to ship directly from China to my home in Scotland.

Here is a photo of what I received:

The Eyeskey Package.

Here is a close-up photo of the Eyeskey binocular; the reader will note the texturing of the armoring and distinctive tripod adaptor cover

The Eyeskey 8 x 32 roof prism binocular.

Here is what it looks like from the ocular end:

Note the plain 8 x 32 & Bak4 Prism labelling on the focus wheel.

And here is a photo of the tethered rubber objective lens covers as well as the thumb indentations on the underside of the binocular:

Note the tethered rubber objective covers and thumb indentations on the Eyeskey.

After inspecting the Eyeskey binocular and its accessories, I recalled another binocular, marketed by a company called Avalonoptics.co.uk, which I had come across in a previous internet search.

Here is Avalon’s 8 x 32 Mini HD binoculars( all images taken from their website):

Avalon 8×32 Mini HD Binoculars BLACK

Here is an image of the entire package:

Here is an image of the writing on the focusing wheel:

Note the thumb indentations on the under side of the barrels on the Avalon:

And here is an image of the tethered objective covers on the Avalon:

 

Next, I took a look at the specifications of both models.

You can view the Avalon specs here

And here are the Eyskey specs( source eBay):

8561-8X32_01

Both claim to be fully multicoated, are nitogen filled and fog proof, but there is no mention of a phase coating on either model.

There is a few differences in the quoted specifications. The advertised field of view is 6.78 degrees for the Eyeskey and 6.9 degrees for the Avalon model; quite close. Eye relief is quoted as 18mm for the Eyeskey and 15mm for the Avalon, but these figures can often be incorrect or at least misleading(as I will explain in another up-and-coming binocular review). The Eyeskey has an advertised weight of 18.3 oz = 519 grams, whereas the Avalon has a quoted weight of 416 grams.

Weight can also be misleading though, as it can vary according to whether you include the lens covers and strap etc.

The boxes look pretty similar with just different logos on them, same goes for the neck strap and generic instruction sheet.

Now for the price comparison:

Eyeskey 8 x 32: £37.79

Avalon 8 x 32 Mini HD: £119(recently discounted 20% from £149)

Finally, have a look at this youtube presentation of the said Avalon Mini HD binocular here.

Is the Eyskey 8 x 32 model worth the £37.79?

I suppose for what you get it’s a bargain.

But what about the Avalon?

I’ll leave that up to you to decide!

Caveat Emptor!

 

Update: September 16 2020

I have been monitoring a website that sells Avalon binoculars and noted a number of irregularities that continue to concern me. If you click on this link, you’ll see a model called the Avalon Titan ED 10 x 42. If you scroll through the marketing blurb and the specifications of the binocular, its main feature is ED glass. But there is no mention of phase coatings, type of multi-coating, or dielectric coatings, the material out of which the chassis is constructed etc which I would expect given the very high price of the binocular; a whopping £1099 UK! You will also note that the packaging looks very similar to the Eyeskey model featured above, with a generic (one page) instruction sheet. To say the least, I would have expected far more technical information about such an expensive binocular, especially when it retails for more than top branded models from Zeiss and Leica, for example.

I dispatched an email to the said company a week ago, where I asked why the Titan model(weighing a whopping 1.3 kilos) was so much more expensive than their other models given the very sparse information provided on the website. I received no response. I sent another email to the company yesterday and it too has fallen on deaf ears!

 

The company has also produced a number of dodgy youtube videos  and have even used a ‘mathematical ecologist’ ( ooooh) to flog their gear.

The same website sells Zeiss Terra ED binoculars at greatly marked up prices. For example, the Terra ED pocket ( 8x 25) glass is on sale for £489 UK in comparison to nearly all other retailers( ~£250).

Needless to say I am deeply suspicious of this company and would continue to caution customers to tread carefully in order to avoid disappointment.

 

 

Neil English debunks many telescopic myths in his new historical work, Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy.

 

De Fideli.

 

Paradigm Shifts.

The Story of the Solar System: The Primordial Earth - skyatnightmagazine

Originally Published in Salvo Magazine Volume 50

“Life should not exist. This much we know from chemistry. In contrast to the ubiquity of life on Earth, the lifelessness of other planets makes far better chemical sense.” So writes Professor James Tour, one of the world’s foremost synthetic organic chemists, based at Rice University in Texas. Intimately acquainted with the latest research in prebiotic chemistry, Tour has expressed severe skepticism that a plausible naturalistic mechanism for the origin of life will be found any time soon. But he goes even further:

 

“We synthetic chemists should state the obvious. The appearance of life on Earth is a mystery. We are nowhere near solving this problem. The proposals offered thus far to explain life’s origin make no scientific sense. Beyond our planet, all the others that have been probed are lifeless, a result in accord with our chemical expectations. The laws of physics and chemistry’s Periodic Table are universal, suggesting that life based upon amino acids, nucleotides, saccharides and lipids is an anomaly. Life should not exist anywhere in our Universe. Life should not even exist on the surface of the Earth.”1

Dr. Tour’s views have surfaced at a time when astronomers have been peering into the depths of space, searching for intelligent signals from hypothetical alien civilizations. Yet although they have been listening for more than half a century, ET has not chimed in. The quest to detect life beyond the Earth is admittedly in its infancy, but the negative results thus far produced have caused more than a few scientists to question the underlying assumptions made by the early pioneers in the quest to find extra-terrestrial life: Frank Drake and Carl Sagan.

Despite what the general media report, there are a number of serious problems with the standard origin-of-life models, for which their proponents have failed to provide good answers. For example, life on Earth requires a source of homochiral molecules, that is, molecules that are capable of rotating the plane of polarized light either to the left (L) or to the right (D). Specifically, life invariably requires L amino acids and D sugars. But so far, chemists have been unable to identify a plausible natural mechanism by which these left- and right-handed biomolecules can be generated at the high level of purity necessary for the first cells to form. Indeed, such molecules can only be synthesised under highly constrained laboratory conditions, using purified (read bought in) reagents, which have little or no relevance to the environment of the early Earth. And while meteorites have been found that contain small amounts of amino acids, they invariably are shown to contain equal amounts of L and D isomers (technically known as a racemic mixture).

In short, no conceivable naturalistic scenario could result in the generation of the large, stable ensembles of homochiral ribose and homochiral amino acids that all naturalistic origin-of-life models require, affirming why no such natural sources have ever been found.2 I recently asked Dr. Tour directly if the problem of homochirality had been solved, and he firmly responded, “No; it is far from solved.”

 

The Phosphorus Conundrum

The element phosphorus is vital for the proper functioning of living cells, being a constituent of both RNA and DNA, as well as of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the universal energy currency of all known life forms. But recent work conducted by Cardiff University astronomers suggests that phosphorus could be scarce in many parts of the universe. “Phosphorus is one of just six major chemical elements on which Earth organisms depend,” says Dr. Jane Greaves, and it is crucial to the compound ATP, which cells use to store and transfer energy. Astronomers have just started to pay attention to the cosmic origins of phosphorus and found quite a few surprises. In particular, phosphorus is created in supernovae—the explosions of massive stars—but the amounts seen so far don’t match our computer models. I wondered what the implications were for life on other planets if unpredictable amounts of phosphorus are spat out into space and later used in the construction of new planets.3

 

The Cardiff team used the UK’s William Herschel telescope, situated on La Palma in the Canary Islands, to measure the levels of phosphorus and iron in the Crab Nebula, a well-known supernova remnant. They compared those figures to measurements taken earlier from another supernova remnant known as Cassiopeia A (Cas A). Their preliminary results proved very surprising. While the measurements of Cas A showed relatively high levels of phosphorus, those from the Crab Nebula showed far lower levels. “The two explosions seem to differ from each other, perhaps because Cas A results from the explosion of a rare type of super-massive star,” said Dr. Phil Cigan, another member of the Cardiff team. “If phosphorus is sourced from supernovae,” added Greaves, and then travels across space in meteoritic rocks, I’m wondering if a young planet could find itself lacking in reactive phosphorus because of where it was born? That is, it started off near the wrong kind of supernova? In that case, life might really struggle to get started out of phosphorus-poor chemistry on another world otherwise similar to our own.4

 

Re-evaluating the Drake Equation

Ever since the American astronomer Frank Drake introduced his famous eponymous equation in the early 1960s, astronomers have produced widely varying estimates of the number of extant extra-terrestrial civilizations present in the Milky Way Galaxy. Until fairly recently, the estimates varied from 10,000 to a few million. Countering these estimates, some scientists have re-examined the so-called Fermi Paradox, posed by the distinguished Italian physicist Enrico Fermi in the form of a question: If the universe is so large, with innumerable habitable planets, then why have we not detected any sign of ET?

A team of scientists and philosophers based at the Institute of Humanity in Oxford University has taken a new look at the reasoning behind the Drake equation, and found that its optimistic expectations are linked to models like the Drake equation itself. The problem, as these researchers point out, is that all such models “implicitly assume certainty regarding highly uncertain parameters.” Indeed, following an analysis, they concluded that “extant scientific knowledge corresponds to uncertainties that span multiple orders of magnitude.” When these uncertainties are introduced, the outcome is strikingly different: “When the models are re-cast to represent realistic distributions of uncertainty, we find a substantial ex ante probability of there being no other intelligent life in our observable universe, and thus that there should be little surprise when we fail to detect any signs of it.” This result, they assert, “dissolves the Fermi paradox, and in doing so removes any need to invoke speculative mechanisms by which civilizations would inevitably fail to have observable effects upon the universe.”5

 

Questioning the Mediocrity Principle

Over the past few decades, astronomers have discovered thousands of exo-planets orbiting nearby stars, so that now there is little doubt that the number of planets in the observable universe likely exceeds the number of stars. Exo-planet hunters have discovered that many of these planets orbit their stars within the so-called habitable zone—that narrow annulus around a star that allows for the stable existence of water on a planet’s surface. Nevertheless, as geologist Peter Ward and astronomer Donald Brownlee argued in their highly influential book, Rare Earth; Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe,6 many of the features of planet Earth that have made it suitably equipped to allow both microbial and complex life to flourish on it over billions of years are likely very rare in the rest of the Universe.

For instance, the vast majority of potentially habitable exo-planets orbit low-mass red dwarf stars, which make up 75 percent of all the stars in the galaxy.7 These stars are much more active than sun-like stars, thus exhibiting higher rates of flaring than does the Sun. Many such stars also generate strong stellar winds that could strip away the atmospheres of their planets.8 And many planets are located so close to their parent stars that they have become tidally locked, meaning that they do not rotate on an axis but constantly present the same face to their stars as they move in their orbits. Yet another issue pertains to the potential of gravitational perturbations of a habitable planet by its neighbouring planets. Even small changes to the orbital characteristics of a planet could extirpate any developing life that might exist upon it. All these conditions raise many problems for the development of any hypothetical life forms on the surface of these planets over long periods of time.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is currently being utilized in a special program called HAZMAT—Habitable Zones and M Dwarf Activity Across Time. And the early results from the program do not look encouraging. Preliminary data on just a dozen young red dwarf stars show that the frequency of flaring is much higher in them than in stars like the Sun; they typically emit flares with energies that are between 100 and 1,000 times higher than those of their elder counterparts. The most energetic red dwarf flares, dubbed Hazflares, are far more energetic than the most energetic flares ever to come from the Sun. “With the Sun, we have a hundred years of good observations,” says Parke Loyd, a member of the scientific team involved in the project.

And in that time, we’ve seen one, maybe two, flares that have an energy approaching that of the Hazflare. In a little less than a day’s worth of Hubble observations of these young stars, we caught the Hazflare, which means that we’re looking at superflares happening every day or even a few times a day.9

So-called super-earths—worlds larger than the Earth but smaller than Neptune—have recently been identified as possible candidate worlds for the development of life, but there is as yet no scientific consensus on whether they can maintain or even allow plate tectonic activity to occur in their crusts. Without plate tectonics, there will be far less efficient nutrient re-cycling, which would greatly hinder the flourishing of hypothetical life forms.

In March 2019, a team of astronomers based at the Australian National University dealt yet another blow to the prospects of finding viable exo-planetary biosystems. Modelling the magnetic fields of a large number of exo-planets, the astronomers concluded that planets with a strong magnetic field, like Earth, are likely to be very rare. “Magnetic fields appear to play an essential role in making planets habitable, so I wanted to find out how Earth’s magnetic field compared to those of other potentially habitable planets,” says Sarah Macintyre, the lead author of the paper.10 “We find most detected exo-planets have very weak magnetic fields, so this is an important factor when searching for potentially habitable planets,” she added.

Life on Mars or Venus?

Scarcely a year goes by without the question arising of whether or not Mars has microbial life. This issue was brought into sharp focus in June 2018, when NASA scientists announced the discovery by the rover Curiosity of organic matter in the soil of an ancient lakebed.11 But “organic matter” means different things to different people. Simply put, matter that is carbon-rich is not necessarily derived from biogenic sources.

More broadly though, if evidence of either extant or past life on Mars is uncovered, it might well also be discovered that such life originated on Earth. Indeed, it is estimated that over the 4-billion-year history of life on Earth, so much terrestrial soil has found its way to Mars that the Red Planet can boast an average of 2 kilograms of terrestrial soil per square kilometre of its surface (or about 11.3 pounds per square mile).12 It is certainly possible that some microbial life was delivered there along with the soil—in fact, the discovery of either extant microbial life or microfossils on Mars or the recent claim of life in the clouds of Venus might well be anticipated. If that happens, astrobiologists will need to consider the possibility that it came from Earth before claiming that any such life originated on these worlds. The popular media, pushing sensationalism, would never be so cautious.

Questioning Biosignatures on Exo-planets

Oxygenic photosynthesis by plants is the mechanism that produces the vast majority of the molecular oxygen in the terrestrial atmosphere. So for several decades, astrobiologists have speculated that the detection of oxygen in the atmosphere of an exo-planet would provide good evidence that life must exist there.13 While the detection of substantial levels of this gas would certainly be suggestive of the presence of plant life as we know it, it pays to remember that there are established abiotic mechanisms (mechanisms derived from non-living sources) that also can generate substantial molecular oxygen.

A group headed by Chinese astronomer Feng Tian of Tsinghua University published two interesting papers in 2009 that show that stars having less than 50 percent of the mass of the Sun (i.e., the majority of stars) emit copious quantities of hard UV rays and soft X rays throughout their long nuclear burning phases of up to 10 billion years.14 They also showed that when a lifeless exo-planet possessing carbon dioxide in its atmosphere is irradiated, the rays can break down the CO2 into carbon atoms and molecular oxygen. Over time, the carbon atoms, being less massive, escape into space, leaving the molecular oxygen behind. Tian’s calculations show that this molecular oxygen can reach concentrations of a few percent and so might be confused with a genuine biosignature.

 When a team of chemists from Johns Hopkins University simulated the atmospheres of exo-planets beyond the solar system, they found that they could create simple organic molecules and oxygen under various scenarios without the mediation of life.15 “Our experiments produced oxygen and organic molecules that could serve as the building blocks of life in the lab, proving that the presence of both doesn’t definitively indicate life,” says Chao He, assistant research scientist in the Johns Hopkins Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. “Researchers need to more carefully consider how these molecules are produced.” Up-and-coming missions, such as the highly anticipated ones utilizing the James Webb Space Telescope, would need to take results like these into account before jumping to any firm conclusions about the habitability of a candidate planet. As a case in point, the recent flap in the media about the detection of phosphine on Venus, upon further analysis, showed that the biomarker in question was not,  in fact, present in statistically significant levels.

In a recent development, a team of planetary scientists led by Li Zeng at Harvard University estimated that as many as 35 percent of exo-planets may have impenetrable water oceans hundreds of kilometres deep.16 But while NASA has long adopted the mantra, “follow the water,” the same scientists caution that these planets are very unlikely to be habitable. Their fathomless ocean worlds would generate pressures millions of times greater than those found on Earth, resulting in exotic, rock-like ice formations many kilometres deep (such as ice VII) covering their floors. Such conditions would prevent any nutrient recycling from occurring, thus rendering these planets sterile.

Call for Caution

Investigating whether extra-terrestrial life exists or not is a profoundly important and interesting scientific endeavor, but at this point, there are good grounds for remaining skeptical about whether it actually exists. Given the arguments raised in this article, it is entirely reasonable to think that life might be extraordinarily rare in the universe, perhaps even unique to Earth. Only time will tell.

 

Notes

  1. James Tour, An Open Letter to My Colleagues (August 2017): http://inference-review.com/article/an-open-letter-to-my-colleagues.
  2. Hugh Ross and Fazale Rana, Origins of Life (RTB Press, 2014).
  3. “Paucity of phosphorus hints at precarious path for extraterrestrial life” (Apr. 4, 2018): eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/ras-pop040318.php.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Anders Sandberg et al., “Dissolving the Fermi Paradox” (June 8, 2018):

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1806.02404.pdf.

  1. Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth; Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe (Copernicus Books, 2000).
  2. “Superflares from young red dwarf stars imperil planets,” NASA News (Oct. 22, 2018):

https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/news/1527/superflares-from-young-red-dwarf-stars-imperil-planets.

  1. O. Cohen et al., “Magnetospheric Structure and Atmospheric Joule Heating of Habitable Planets Orbiting M-Dwarf Stars,” Astrophysical Journal 790 (July 2014): doi:10.1088/0004-637X/790/1/57.
  2. Ibid., note 7.
  3. “Strong planetary magnetic fields like Earth’s may protect oceans from stellar storms,” Royal Astronomical Society (Mar. 14, 2019): https://m.phys.org/news/2019-03-strong-planetary-magnetic-fields-earth.html.
  4. Jennifer L. Eigenbrode et al., “Organic Matter Preserved in 3-Billion-Year-Old Mudstones at Gale Crater, Mars,” Science 360 (June 8, 2018): https://doi:10.1126/science.aas9185.
  5. Ibid., note 2.
  6. Carl Sagan et al., “A Search for Life on Earth from the Galileo Spacecraft,” Nature 365 (Oct. 21, 1993): nature.com/articles/365715a0.
  7. Feng Tian, “Thermal Escape from Super Earth Atmospheres in the Habitable Zones of M Stars,” Astrophysical Journal 703 (Sept. 2, 2009): https://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/96200/Tian-2009-THERMAL%20ESCAPE%20FROM.pdf;sequence=1; Feng Tian et al., “Thermal Escape of Carbon from the Early Martian Atmosphere,” Geophysical Research Letters 26 (Jan. 31, 2009): https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2008GL036513.
  8. Chao He et al., “Gas Phase Chemistry of Cool Exoplanet Atmospheres: Insight from Laboratory Simulations,” ACS Earth Space Chemistry (Nov. 26, 2018): https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsearthspacechem.8b00133.
  9. Li Zeng et al., “Growth model interpretation of planet size distribution,” PNAS (Apr. 29, 12019): pnas.org/content/early/2019/04/23/1812905116.

 

 

Neil English has been following developments in pre-biotic chemistry and astrobiology for the last 25 years. He holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and a BSc(Hons) in physics & astronomy. His latest book, Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy (Springer, 2018), explores four centuries of visual astronomy. The article first appeared in Salvo Magazine Summer 2019. You can support his ongoing work by making a small donation to his website. Thanks for reading!

 

 

De Fideli.

A Short Commentary on the NIV Bible.

My Largeprint NIV 2011 (Anglicised)Reference Bible.

‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord,
    ‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
    and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
    and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
    The Lord Our Righteous Saviour.

                                                                                    Jeremiah 23:5-6

Preamble

There’s an old Chinese saying, “May you live in interesting times.”  There’s no doubt that we do and then some. At a time in history when humanity is at its most creative, its most technologically advanced, a time when scientific knowledge has been increasing exponentially, it is also a time when mankind has begun to unhinge itself from the timeless truths and morals rooted in the Judeo-Christian faith, which held much of the western world together through a common culture and creed for centuries and millennia. Church attendance began to decline in the mid-20th century, slowly at first and then more rapidly, when in the twenty first century, many of these beautiful and age-old centres of Christian worship have been transformed into pubs, restaurants and nightclubs. This is part of what the Bible calls the ‘great falling away,’ where the end of days is characterised by a small, healthy, recalcitrant Church of true believers walking the narrow path, loyal to God’s unchanging message. I believe these trends to be no accident; this falling away was augured from the foundation of the world.

Deceived by silver-tongued atheist evolutionists (read fools) who disseminated their godless(and false) ideologies in best-selling glossy books and prime-time television documentaries proclaiming that we’re not made in the image of God, as the Bible uniquely attests, and that we are only highly evolved animals, our morality was destined to take a steep nose-dive. Abortion, once outlawed in all civilised nations is now fair game in many of the same nations, where today it has become the leading cause of death in the west, outstripping heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The same is true of homosexuality. Scarcely a quarter of a century ago, surveys consistently showed that the vast majority of people were firmly against it on moral grounds. Today, as activists in positions of power have lobbied(I would say bullied) our governments to normalise it, it’s now all over our television screens – morning, noon and night. And while one or two per cent of people identify as such, I find it truly alarming that nearly every second programme beamed into our living rooms has a theme or story related to these deviant sexual lifestyles. What’s more, for a career in modern showbizz, being openly gay has almost become a prerequisite!

So I don’t watch TV anymore and carefully vet all programmes my kids choose to watch, lest their minds be caught up in this campaign for immorality.

Men are now marrying men, and women do the same. They are raising children in homes where the traditional roles of father and mother are no longer considered important. With single-parent families now the norm, children grow up without the steadying influence of a mother or a father. Small wonder so many of our little ones grow up confused. And if the present trends in society are anything to go on, polyamory will become widespread and bestiality will also be normalised.

Our entertainment industries; Hollywood, sports, gaming and pornography, take centre-stage in many of our lives and have done much to erode traditional Christian moral values. Our children learn to kill efficiently and mercilessly with their joysticks, the films they watch are filled with gratuitous violence, infidelity, and blaspheming. Pornography is ubiquitous, tearing families apart. Our sports men and women and other types of celebrities have been elevated to the status of idols and we’re on our iphones more or less constantly, bombarding our senses with as much meaningless drivel as we can possibly soak up. Instead of seeking the true God, we lose ourselves in drug-induced trances. Who needs God when you have alcohol, cannabis, heroin, crack cocaine, crystal meth and so-called ‘prescription drugs’ to dope you into a false utopia?

While childhood used to be a relatively happy and carefree time of life, our young ones are now sexualised to the hilt. Indoctrinated by depraved activists with no respect for traditional values about gender or the family, the number of children receiving puberty-blocking drugs has skyrocketed in recent years, as has the number of teenagers and adults undergoing transgender hormone therapy and/or surgery. And yet, all the while, there has been an avalanche of such transgender individuals reporting that they regret undergoing such life-changing therapies, triggering severe depression in many cases and a commensurate rise in suicides among their members. This only serves to reveal the truth in all of this; transgenderism is a mental disorder, pure and simple, and many clinicians working in the field would agree with me.

With increasing wealth comes increasing materialism. We have larger disposable incomes than at any other time in human history, and yet our propensity for greed spirals ever upward and out of control. The ugly sceptre of human covetousness has led to great deteriorations in the salubrity of the natural world, with the collapse of whole ecosystems, the decimation of animal and insect populations, and all-out extirpations of hundreds of land-based and aquatic species. Without a shadow of a doubt, humans have proven to be irresponsible stewards of the planet and we won’t be given another one.

Many forms of counterfeit Christianity have emerged in recent decades. False  teachers are a dime a dozen and very effectively disseminate their lying doctrines to their sleepwalking congregations, who have ever shorter attention spans and who resent being challenged or rebuked. Whatever you believe, however unscriptural it may be, you’ll soon find a pastor willing to tickle your ears. The internet is crawling with them!

Curiously though, all of this has occurred in lock-step with increasing knowledge of our significance in the Universe. Naive and ill-thought-through faith in Darwinian evolution led many scientists to suppose that extraterrestrial life would be the rule rather than the exception. But we are now more certain than at any time in the past that our planet is extraordinarily rare, if not unique in the Universe, and that all terrestrial life is far too complicated to have evolved naturally from the everyday laws of chemistry and physics that govern everything else in the inanimate cosmos. No, life comes from the mind of God. To deny this fact is sin. Life on Earth is God’s ‘Ace card,’ and human life His Royal Flush. We ain’t going anywhere either, to the chagrin of space-age dreamers. With the possible exception of our nearby Moon, humans are unable to travel and live on other worlds. The reason is simple; our physiology precludes it.

Lawlessness has greatly increased in recent times, with hardly a day going by before we hear of another terrorist strike, protest or war breaking out. The victims of these conflicts are usually the ordinary citizens, leading to the destruction of their homes, their places of business and worship and their livelihoods. Millions of people have been displaced from their homelands, creating the largest humanitarian crisis in living memory. Christian persecution worldwide has also greatly increased in our times. Coupled to all of this, the events surrounding the prophecies of Ezekiel (Chapters 36, 37, 38 and 39) are now aligning themselves in the Middle East. You simply couldn’t make this stuff up!

The bubble has truly burst!

Bearing in mind how human society has changed in recent years, would it be unreasonable for God to express His displeasure with us?

I don’t think so!

This pandemic is a chastisement from the Living God.

The Bible informs us that God expresses His indignation with His human subjects in a variety of ways; by sending freak weather – fires, floods, droughts and blizzards as judgements. He sends plagues, pestilences and earthquakes which, like Sun and rain, affect both the righteous and the unrighteous. He turns the wicked over to strong delusion so that they wallow in their lies and seared consciences. And yet, Jesus warned us that as humans become more wicked and depraved, all of these events would increase both in magnitude and frequency, just like birth pains, toward the time of the end. And this is the world we now inhabit. In one fell swoop, by allowing(but not causing) the spread of the Coronavirus, God has silenced the idols of Hollywood, the idols of sport, and the idols of health, wealth and prosperity. He has restricted our freedoms and our civil liberties.

God now has our undivided attention and the world would do well to listen. Perhaps most importantly, God is reminding us not to get too caught up in the cares of this world and that this is not our ultimate home. Everything we possess and covet will be burned up when God finally brings this Universe to a fiery end.

Of course, none of these trends come as a surprise to Bible believing Christians, who have been forewarned about them in the words of Scripture. Christians know and understand that the world ruled by man, with no regard or acknowledgement of the Creator, is doomed to failure and always goes from bad to worse, so that it is hardly surprising all of these events are converging in this day and age. And while I’m confident that we will get through this Coronavirus pandemic, there will certainly be other and possibly bigger challenges to come, especially if wider society does not repent.  It also highlights the importance of understanding what God has planned for his people, and one of the best ways of gleaning that information is by reading the Bible.

Background to the NIV

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention, and in the case of the New International Version (NIV), it was born out of a desire to share the gospel with those who had never heard it. It’s story began with one man, Howard Long, an engineer by profession based in Seattle. Possessing a strong Christian faith, Long spent a lot of his time travelling and liked to share his faith with others. Back in the 1950s, there were only a few Bibles penned in the English language, but the one most popularly used by evangelical Christians at that time was the old King James Version(KJV). But Long soon hit a snag; quite a few of the people he witnessed to didn’t really understand the KJV, as it was written in archaic English. And that got him thinking, “can a new translation be made of the Bible in contemporary English that accurately conveys the Word of God?” That question started a decade long consultation with Bible scholars across the nation and by 1965, he had successfully received support from the Christian Reformed Church and the National Association of Evangelicals, who set up a new committee that would begin work on a brand new translation of the Holy Scriptures that was not based on any other existing translations at the time, and which would draw upon the latest Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic manuscripts. By 1966, Long had successfully garnered the support from 80 evangelical ministry leaders who established the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), an independent body overseeing the creation of the NIV.

Thus began the painstaking process of creating a new English Bible translation with the goal of attaining maximum accuracy and readability for a contemporary audience. Each book of the Bible was assigned to a translation team consisting of two translators, a couple of translation consultants and, where necessary, an English style consultant. Furthermore, another 5-strong team of scholars reviewed their work, comparing it to the original biblical texts and assessing its readability. After that, each book went to a committee of between eight and twelve scholars, as well as lay reviewers who offered constructive criticism on the translation in regard to comprehension and overall literary style. Finally copies were dispatched to working pastors, students and members of church congregations for general feedback. By 1968, the CBT secured a financial sponsor in Biblica, who oversaw the development of the NIV text, and by 1978 Zondervan became the official publisher of the newly completed NIV Bible. The first print run – amounting to a million copies – was sold out almost overnight.

The NIV was the first to use gender inclusive language, recognising that older translations tended to use male biased terminology to reflect the culture in which the Scriptures were first penned. An example can be seen in 1 Thessalonians 2:1. Here is how the KJV reads:

We beseech you, brethern……….

And in the NIV :

You know, brothers and sisters……………

The aim of the translators in producing more gender inclusive language was to make it more accessible to a female readership. In most cases, these changes are entirely inoffensive, as they do not detract from any doctrinal issue and render the text more natural sounding to a modern reader who accepts the equality of men and women as children of the Most High. But in other passages the use of gender inclusive language renders the translation somewhat corny or awkward. Take Mark 1:17 for example. In the KJV it reads:

I will make you to become fishers of men

Note how the NIV phrases the same passage:

I will send you out to fish for people

The NIV underwent its first revision revision in 1984. This version is probably the highest regarded among Bible readers and remains a firm favourite with a broad section of Christians. But in 2005, more revisions were introduced including the highly controversial Today’s New International Version (TNIV), which introduced gender neutral language to refer to people. Noting the tendency of older versions to translate humanity as ‘Mankind,’ the TNIV replaced many of the passages emphasising overtly male-centred language. An example will help illustrate the point.

Here is how the 1984 NIV translated Genesis 1:27

So God created mankind in his own image

The TNIV translates the same passage as:

So God created human beings in his own image

Many Bible commentators felt that this was a step too far, as it sought, they argued, to make the Bible more ‘politically correct.’ Taking these criticisms on the chin, the CBT brought out a new version of the NIV, discontinuing both the 1984 version and the TNIV. Called the NIV 2011, it toned down a lot of the gender neutral language introduced by the TNIV, making it more similar to the NIV 1984. Indeed the CBT stated in the introduction to the 2011 edition that, “the updated NIV you now have in your hands builds both on the original NIV and the TNIV….”

The interested reader can learn more about the NIV 2011 by clicking on the Preamble link at the top of this page.

Strking a Balance Between Two Translation Philosophies

Unlike old Bibles like the KJV, which drew upon a relatively small number of newer manuscripts( 12th century and younger), 100+ bible scholars working on the NIV included the Dead Sea Scrolls (which featured a number of Old Testament books), the Masoretic Hebrew Texts (which are the authoritative Hebrew scriptures, featuring 24 books of the Hebrew Bible), the Samaritan Pentateuch (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible attributed to Moses), the Latin Vulgate (a 4th century Latin translation made by St.Jerome that remained the official Catholic Church’s Bible for many centuries), to name but a few. All of these manuscripts were thoroughly read, translated and brought into modern English.  The translation process was long, thoughtful, and in-depth.

Some critics of the NIV have stated that many verses have been left out or placed in footnotes when compared to translations like the KJV, the New King James Version(NKJV) and the newer Modern English Version(MEV). But The CBT were justified in doing so as many of the older manuscripts discovered in the centuries after the KJV was created do not contain such verses. The decision to do this was not at all intended to deceive, as some Bible commentators I’ve read have suggested but rather to clarify them as facts. For example, the ending of Mark’s gospel is presented in italics with a heading stating that, “the earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9-20.”

The ending of Mark’s gospel (chapter 16) in the NIV 2011 is presented in italics to emphasise the fact that many of the oldest manuscripts did not contain such verses.

A curious aside: Check out this youtube link to an NIV user who was villified by KJV onlyists. Such bigotry is, unfortunately, still alive and well today

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Most modern Bible translations draw on one of two translation philosophies; so-called ‘word-for-word’ and ‘thought-for-thought’ (sometimes referred to as dynamic equivalence) The KJV, NKJV, MEV and New American Standard Bible(NASB) and the English Standard Version(ESV) are highly literal, word-for -word translations, but many readers, especially new Christians, find them to be difficult to read and understand. The NIV is a thought-for-thought translation, and so often departs from the precise wording of more literal Bible translations in order to convey the essential concepts more firmly.  That said, having read the NIV 1984, TNIV and the NIV 2011 in their entirety, I would say that all achieve a very high level of technical precision yet are easy to read. The language of the NIV is at a grade 7 level and so is suitable for all readers 12 years old and upwards. In regard to reading through the NIV 2011 in particular, I found it to be very enriching experience. And while it is a new and fresh translation, it is obviously respectful of classic translations like the KJV. The poetic sections of the NIV Bible, particularly the Book of Psalms, is arguably one of the best presentations I have personally encountered.

The author’s TNIV.

As an avid reader and collector of different Bible translations, I recognise the value of every version. What may be unclear in one rendering of the Word of God, other translations can help you arrive at a crystal clear understanding of the same text. Crucially though, the NIV, like all other modern English Bible translations, there is no change in doctrine between them. So you can be assured that in reading the NIV you will arrive at an accurate understanding of God’s message to humanity.

There has never been a better time to get back into reading the word of God, and the NIV 2011 is a great, scholarly translation that is both accurate and easy to read. But I would also recommend reading another more literal version of the Bible as well if you can. As world events continue to unravel before our very eyes, knowledge of the Bible will help you see the wood for the trees, so that you’re not frightened or caught off guard when disaster strikes. Time spent reading and applying Biblical wisdom will be added to your life.

Dr. Neil English is the author of seven books in amateur and professional astronomy. He delights in using science to debunk misconceptions about the supposed incompatability of science and faith.

 

Postsciptum:

The NIV is also available in both American an anglicised (UK) English

The NIV has also been translated into many other languages to reach millions of non-English speaking people around the world.

Like all good Bible translations, the entire text of the NIV can be accessed free online.

There are audio versions of the NIV available. Arguably one of the best is narrated by the actor and Christian, David Suchet.

The full Gospel of Mark(NIV version) can be watched here.

 

 

De Fideli.

A Brief Look at The New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Arguably the most technically precise Bible in existence today: the author’s copy of the NASB (1995  edition).

Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.  But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

Luke 10:32-33

Today we are most fortunate indeed to be the beneficiaries of wonderful Biblical scholarship that dates back five hundred years or more. Such diligence has produced a number of highly accurate translations of the Old and New Testaments in the English language, with the Authorized King James Verson(KJV), the New King James Version(NKJV) and the English Standard Version(ESV) representing just three of the best word for word renditions of the Holy Bible. As a keen reader of Scripture, I am always on the look out for new ways to improve my personal knowledge of the Bible, and, in this capacity, found yet another version to be particularly enlightening; enter the New American Standard Bible(NASB).

Like so many highly literal versions of the Bible, the NASB has an interesting history. Beginning in the 1880s, a team of American and British Bible scholars embarked on an ambitious project to update the archaic language of the KJV, producing the English Revised Version, which in turn formed the basis of the American Standard Version(ASV), first published in 1901. The ASV called upon a much larger number of manuscripts than the prestigious KJV, which were considerably older than any of the sources used to construct the KJV(mostly 10th and 11th centuries AD). And it was about this time that scholars began to notice a few small differences between the older and newer manuscripts. An example can be found in the Gospel of John chapter 5:

The KJV reads:

For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

John 5:4

Once manuscripts dating back to the 4th and fifth centuries AD began to be uncovered, it was noted that many of them did not contain this verse, suggesting that it was accidently inserted by scribes at some later time. That is why most modern Bibles have a footnote at John 5:4 which says, ” older manuscripts do not contain this verse.”

And yet, here’s how the NASB deals with it.

 

]for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.]

John 5:4

So the NASB committee decided to leave it in……with a bracket around it.

 

As Biblical archaeology unearthed more and more ancient manuscripts throughout the 20th century, culminating with the astonishing finds contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were unearthed in the Qumran Caves in the Judaean Desert between 1946 and 1956, many Bible scholars felt it was high time that a new translation of the original Hebrew and Greek tongues be constructed which benefited from these new insights. Thus, in 1959 work began on a new translation which honoured both the ASV and KJV under the aegis of the Lockman Foundation, which called upon an international team of Bible scholars and pastors from a broad cross-section of denominations to create the New American Standard Bible (NASB), which say first light as a complete work in 1971. Another revised NASB appeared in 1977(still with the old ‘thees’ and ‘thous’)  Still, as good as the original NASB was, an updated and improved version of the NASB appeared in 1995(with the ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ were modernised). This is the version I wish to discuss in this blog, though it is understood that the Lockman Foundation is currently at work producing yet another updated version of the NASB, which will appear in print in 2020.

Some Unique Attributes of the NASB

One of the first things you will notice when you start to read the New Testament in the NASB is that it highlights quotations or citations from the Old Testament in small caps. Consider 1 Peter 3:14-15

But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And Do Not Fear Their Intimidation, And Do Not Be Troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defence to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

1 Peter 3:14-15.

The small caps, ” Do Not Fear Their Intimidation……”  immediately informs the reader that this is a direct citation from the Old Testament, specifically Isaiah 8:12, but if you were reading the much more popular ESV  Bible, for example, you would never know this, since the same text is not presented in small caps. In line 3 of the above Scripture,  you also see the word, “being,” is presented in italics. This indicates that the same word is not found in the original Hebrew but was an educated guess(based on the context) by Biblical scholars to render the implied meaning as accurately as possible in modern English.This comes with the territory in any endeavour to translate one language into another.

In this way, I feel the NASB gives proper due respect to the words of Scripture, showing the reader where Biblical scholars have given their interpretation of the text in contrast to many more popular translations where such wording is not highlighted and so the student is left none the wiser.

In studying the NASB New Testament I have also come to appreciate Jesus’ own knowledge of the Old Testament. While many liberal scholars erroneously avoid prophetic texts such as Daniel and Ezekiel, the NASB reminds the reader that Jesus knew and believed on these writings, using them to assert His own position:

So He was saying, “What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, And The Birds Of The Air Nested In Its Branches.”

Luke 13:18-19

The small caps indicate that our Lord was quoting directly from the Book of Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 17:23), the prophet and priest who was taken into captivity in 597 BC during the second deportation which was imposed on the Jewish leaders and aristocracy by their Babylonian overlords.

Or consider Matthew Chapter 24, when Jesus clearly identifies Himself as the returning Messiah;

And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man Coming On The Clouds Of The Sky with power and great glory.

Matthew 24:30

The small caps in this tract is a citation from Daniel (see Daniel 7:13).

The many Christian denominations that avoid such books are, in a very real sense, depriving their congregations of the importance Jesus placed in these writings. The words of St. Paul seem especially prescient here;

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

Romans 10:14

Yet another feature of the NASB 1995 edition is the use of capitalised personal pronouns properly ascribed to deity;

God said to Moses,”I AM WHO I AM”: and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

Exodus 3:14.

Many Bible commentators have expressed the opinion that compared to other good word for word translations of Holy Scripture, the NASB reads and sounds a bit “wooden.” I understand this position, as the NASB can indeed come across as a bit awkward and hollow in places, but this was deliberately done so as to maintain the highest degree of one-to-one correspondence with the original tongues. And while no translation of the Bible in English can be said to be wholly word-for-word, since this would make the text essentially unreadable, I have personally appreciated the strident efforts the NASB translators made to anchor their choice of words in the original texts. On my own personal journey studying God’s word, I have come to admire the academic excellence that went into creating the NASB, as it was a thoroughly enriching experience, and look forward to seeing the new edition when it finally becomes available. It will not replace my personal favourite translation, the NKJV, for general use, but for serious study, the NASB will most certainly be top of my list.

A Few Examples of NASB Bibles

Good quality Bibles don’t need to cost the Earth. I personally avoid overly ornate Bibles as they are largely impractical to use on a regular basis and my rule of thumb is simple; if the Bible is too beautiful to soil, don’t use it.

That said, like many of the more popular translations, the NASB comes in a variety of convenient forms. For example, below is shown a compact large print edition of the NASB with the words of Christ in red. The cover is synthetic (leathertex) and has a lovely gold gilding as well as a smyth sewn binding:

My eldest son’s compact, red letter edition NASB.

My own personal NASB is also a 1995 edition, with a good, large font size, and wide side margins replete with copious cross-references for in-depth study;

It is not a red letter edition, but does have an 82-page concordance and a series of full-colour laminated maps of the Biblical world. The print quality is very good, with adequate line matching, although some ghosting is apparent. The 833W volume has a durable leathertex cover with a paste-down lining. It also has a good Smyth sewn binding and a beautiful gold gilding but only comes with one ribbon marker. It was not expensive.

I am also fortunate enough to own an excellent NASB study Bible which I actually acquired second-hand. It is published by Zondervan.

My personal Study Bible: the Zondervan NASB Study Bible.

The Importance of Remaining Anchored in the Word

The modern world is rapidly unlocking itself from Judeo-Christian values with disastrous consequences. Ironically, even outpsoken atheists are increasingly expressing the same concerns. Morals and values we held as ‘self-evident’ for centuries and millennia are no longer adhered to, and the consequences are all too easy to see; just look at the confused and depraved world we now live in. That is why remaining anchored in the inspired word of God is more important now than at any other time in history. Its wholesome words ground you in absolute truth and is an enduring source of comfort in a lost and dying world.

The prophet Isaiah writes;

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

Ultimately it’s a choice everyone needs to make. I pray that those reading this will not end up on the wrong side of history!

Eternity is an awfully long time!

 

Neil English is the author of several books on amateur astronomy.

 

De Fideli.