Friday, February 17, 2017

What a Pity the Human Animal Is: Harry Truman on Human Nature

After touring Berlin, Germany following the second world war, newly inaugurated President Harry S. Truman wrote the following in his diary on July 16, 1945:
Then we went on to Berlin and saw absolute ruin. Hitler's folly. he overreached himself by trying to take in too much territory. He had no morals and his people backed him up. Never did i see a more sorrowful sight, nor witness retribution to the nth degree.

The most sorrowful part of the situation is the deluded Hitlerian populace. Of course the Russians have kidnaped (sic) the able bodied and I supposed have made involuntary workmen of them. They have also looted every house left standing and have sent the loot to Russian. But Hitler did the same thing to them.

It is the Golden Rule in reverse - and it is not an uplifting sight. What a pity that the human animal is not able to put his moral thinking into practice!

We saw old men, old women, young women, children from tots to teens carrying packs, pushing carts, pulling carts, evidently ejected by the conquerors and carrying what they could of their belongings to nowhere in particular.

I thought of Carthage, Baalbek, Jerusalem, Rome, Atlantis, Peking, Babylon, Nineveh; Scipio, Rameses II, Titus, Herman, Sherman, Jenghis Khan, Alexander, Darius the Great. But Hitler only destroyed Stalingrad - and Berlin. I hope for some sort of peace - but I fear that machines are ahead of morals by some centuries and when morals catch up perhaps there'll be no reason for any of it. (52)

All Around the Web - February 17, 2017

Sam Alberry - Sam Allberry explains how the message of Jesus on marriage is life-giving

Trevin Wax - The 5 Weightiest Words of Love

Evangelical History - A Reformation Bibliography

The Gospel Coalition - 16 Ways to Promote Unity Amid Political Disagreement

The Gospel Coalition - 5 Things Singles Wish Married Couples Knew

Thom Rainer - Five Reasons to Recommend Books to Your Church Members

Chuck Lawless - 8 Things North American Believers Can Learn from Believers around the World

NAMB - Partnering well: Sending Church, pray for your planter

KY BCM - Experiencing the Millennials through Passion 2017

Albert Mohler - The Benedict Option: A Conversation with Rod Dreher

Babylon Bee - 7 Updates ‘The Message’ Totally Needs

Thursday, February 16, 2017

All Around the Web - February 16, 2017

Russell Moore - Does the Priority of Orphan Care Mean We Should Stop Having Children?

Eric Metaxes - Planned Parenthood and Prenatal Care

Chuck Lawless - 7 Ways to Pray for New Missionaries

Pastors Today - Pastors, Love and Honor Your Wives!

The Gospel Coalition - The Story Behind John Piper’s Most Famous Attack on the Prosperity Gospel

Mark Driscoll - The Amazing Love Story of Martin and Katherine Luther

Joel Beeke - On My Shelf: Life and Books with Joel Beeke

Panspermia in the News

If you ever question which comes first in modern science: scientific evidence or worldview, look no further than the theory taken seriously among many scientists called Panspermia which suggests life began by alien lifeforms depositing the first cells on earth. Francis Crick is often credited as being one of the first major scientists to popularize it.

Strikingly, this bizarre and philosophically motivated theory is in the news again, this time in the Boston Globe in an article entitled "A better theory of intelligent design." After dismissing the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky, the author, Jacob Haqq-Misra, writes:
But there are other alternative ideas that can explain the origin of life on Earth. One needn’t be actively religious, or even reject evolution, to consider the possibility of intelligent design. That intelligence could have originated not on some spiritual plane whose existence can never be proven but simply elsewhere in the cosmos.
He later clarifies this theory to be, well, ancient aliens:
Modern science does offer a tenable theory of intelligent design, one that does not resort to religion or pseudoscience. When considering that humans were not far off from the technological ability to transport Earth-based life to other planets, astronomer Carl Sagan and his contemporaries hypothesized that extraterrestrial intelligent beings, if they exist, might try to do the same thing. From this speculation was born the concept that extraterrestrial intelligent designers are responsible for life on Earth.
(Pseudoscience is an interesting word choice)

He then goes on to seek to provide a scientific defense of Panspermia - the idea that life can transfer from one planet to another either directly or indirectly. To his credit, Haqq-Misra admits the unlikelihood of Panspermia taking place. Nevertheless, having conceded that life must have began by intelligent design - just not by Intelligent Design - rather than by unguided chance, he is left placing his faith in aliens.

He concludes:
Directed panspermia is not the best explanation of the data available today, but it remains a scientifically grounded idea that implicates an intelligent designer as responsible for life on Earth. It makes no claims that attach it to any particular religion or creed. There’s no reason it couldn’t be taught in schools.

We have nothing to fear from teaching a genuinely scientific theory of intelligent design in public schools. In fact, directed panspermia provides an excellent vehicle for students to understand the themes of astrobiology and the complexities of evolution. Let the students examine the evidence and decide for themselves which is more likely: origin of life on Earth, or origin from afar by extraterrestrial beings. Such an imaginative exercise will push students toward the frontiers of inquiry and inspire novel solutions toward a new, scientific theory of our origins.
There is a major problem to this theory. If life is transferred from another planet to ours, how did life on that planet begin? Panspermia does not explain the "origin of species" but moves the problem back another million to billion years. God remains the most obvious explanation for life. Rocks and dirt do not create life - even simple, single cells whether on our planet or one's on other galaxies.

In the end, Haqq-Misra reveals the worldview behind much of popular science. Having rejected God as a hypothesis, they are in search for aliens. So instead of allowing science to shape their worldview, which is what they want us to believe, much of the scientific community allow their worldview to shape their science. Panspermia is just one example of that.

I will let Albert Mohler have the last word:
Talk about magical thinking. For Christians, this simply reminds us that it’s the Christian biblical worldview when it comes to creation or it’s some other form of an understanding of how intelligent life in the entire cosmos came to be. And in this case, published in the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe is an argument that dismisses the Christian understanding of Intelligent Design, indeed, the biblical account of creation, and simply replaces it with the hypothesis of interplanetary panspermia. Now that is a form of truly magical thinking. It’s also a sign of intellectual desperation.