Rusty Archives


In, what locals refer to as the “southland”, otherwise known as southern California, we have our fair share of commuter traffic. Actually, I think we have more than our fair share. It’s said, and more often hoped, that the commute on Friday mornings is lighter than the other work days, hence the term “Friday-morning-light”. As is often the case, though, reality bites back harder than you’d like.

Here are some Friday-morning-light tidbits for your perusal:

Intelligent Design is often ridiculed as not being science in that it is, allegedly, not falsifiable, has not produced any real predictions, and is creationism in disguise. However, what is the alternative to the notion of Intelligent Design, if not Unintelligent Design? Natural Process Evolution (aka Neo-Darwinism, Naturalism, etc.) rests on the Blind Watchmaker argument in which mindless processes, via the natural realm, are responsible for the diversity of life on planet earth.

We are told that we, as humans, have evolved to the point where we have minds that think, that reason, that design, and that engineer. Yet, if this is the case, how is it that we now seem to take our cues, as shown below, from the alleged products of a completely mindless process? Doesn’t common sense, from our evolved minds, tell us that if we see a well designed and engineered product, then it is reasonable to conclude that that product came from a mind?

Therefore, I’d like to present a series of examples that we find in nature, of MD (i.e., Mindless-process Design), and how we acknowledge the inescapable conclusion that there is design / engineering in what we behold:

Birds, Bats And Insects Hold Secrets For Aerospace Engineers

Natural flyers like birds, bats and insects outperform man-made aircraft in aerobatics and efficiency. Engineers are studying these animals as a step toward designing flapping-wing planes with wingspans smaller than a deck of playing cards.

A Biochemical Watch Found in a Cellular Heath

The discovery of biomolecular motors and machines inside the cell gives new life to the Watchmaker Argument. In many instances, this molecular-level biomachinery stands as a strict analog to man-made machinery and represents a potent response to the legitimate criticism leveled by Hume and others. The biomachines found in the cell’s interior reveal a diversity of form and function that mirrors the diversity of designs produced by human engineers. The one-to-one relationship between the parts of man-made machines and the molecular components of biomachines is startling. Paley’s case for the Creator only becomes stronger with every new example of a biomotor that biochemists discover.

As remarkable as these biomachines are, perhaps none are as provocative as the biochemical timekeeping devices discovered in cyanobacteria.

Scientists Discover Remarkable Editing System For Protein Production

Even small mistakes made by cells during protein production can have profound disease effects, but the processes cells use to correct mistakes have been challenging to decipher. Recent work by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute, however, has uncovered two surprising new methods for such editing.

[tags]blind watchmaker, creation, creationism, darwin, darwinism, evolution, hugh ross, id, intelligent design, ken miller, michael behe, naturalism, old earth creationism, phillip johnson, reasons to believe, richard dawkins, stephen jay gould[/tags]

Science Saturday: Progressive design of the internal combustion engine

[Note: Cross-posted at New Covenant]

As a follow-up to my February 9th post, Science Saturday: Declaring the existence of transitional species post, I’d like to give you a lesson plan (of sorts), with the purpose of illustrating the concept of gradual, progressive engineering and design.

Read the rest of this entry

On the silly meme

It looks like Mark O. tagged me with the Celebrity meme. I’ve listed it below (note, I’ve masculinized the list because writing (and reading) “s/he” drives me up the wall).

If you could spend 24 hours with a celebrity:

1. Who would he be?
2. Where would you expect him to bring you?
3. Where [what] would you bring him?
4. What would you like to do with him?
5. What’s the one thing you’d been always wanting to ask the celebrity?
6. If he didn’t treat you well, would he be your favorite celebrity?
7. What would you give to him as a gift before saying goodbye so he’d remember you?
8. Tag 3 people.

I’m not so sure that I agree with Mark’s assessment on the word “celebrity”, though. I mean, other than the Lohan / Spears / Hilton drivel that floods the news sites, I’m not very familiar with who the common famous people are. For instance, when Heath Ledger died, I had to look up who he was (but, I would have bet that he was an actor).

Maverick that I am, I’m also deviating from Mark’s conclusion that the celebrity still be alive (much less, in show business).

So, here goes:

1. The “celebrity” I pick is (are) Lewis & Clark. Why both of them? Well, think about it, no one evers speaks of the “Lewis Expedition” or the “Clark Expedition” – they refer to the trip the Corps of Discovery made as the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

2. I would expect them to bring me adventurous accounts (of their trip), heretofore unknown to historians.

3. Given that they would have to travel through time to speak with me (or, vice versa), I would bring them news, both good and bad, of how the United States has progressed in the last 200 years.

4. I would like to visit the place, from their adventure, that they considered the most exciting.

5. I would want to ask them how (and if) they thought their expedition would impact the growth of the new country.

6. I’d probably have a little less respect for them because, based on the accounts of their journey, they appeared to be forthright and honorable men.

7. One of the many books which chronicled their journey, as a memento of the gift they gave the U.S.

8. Bonnie at Intellectuelle, Ilona at TrueGrit, Tom at LotharBot.

Science Saturday: Declaring the existence of transitional species

(Cross-posted at New Covenant)

At the Thumb, we have a post titled, The Inner Fish speaks: Neil Shubin makes a guest appearance on Pharyngula, in which we’re given a glimpse into how natural process evolution views template fossil forms which appear fully functional for the environment, and time, in which they existed: They’re declared as gap-filling transitional forms (the kind OEC types like myself say don’t exist).

The human ancestor in question, this time, is the fish Tiktaalik roseae. Yes, that’s correct, a fish. How, you may ask, is a fish an ancestor of us humans? Well, you see, it all has to do with the fact that the bone structure of the fish fins is eerily similar to the bone structure for human hands. Over time, it is supposed, such early structures transformed into the variety of similar structures we see today. For the Tiktaalik roseae this, Great Transformation, is but one of the many transformations that obviously occurred  over the millions of years of life’s history. Watch this clip from the PBS series, Evolution, particularly noting the quick animation of a fin to hand skeletal structure. Or take a look at the Flash animation, on page 1, from this NOVA site. (note: Evidence for Evolution, a NOVA Vodcast from 11/9/07, provides another glimpse of the thought processes involved here)

But wait, there’s more.

Read the rest of this entry

Mark Steyn at CPAC

Townhall has some video of Mark Steyn, at CPAC. A couple of excerpts:

He quotes Gerald Ford as saying,

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.”

To which he adds,

A government big enough to give you everything you want, isn’t big enough to get you to give any of it back. And that’s what the Europeans have.

Take the time to watch it all.

That was then, this is now: Children living in a decadent culture

Police question teens about nude cell pics (HT: Why Homeschool)

FARMINGTON [NM] — Police are questioning a group of teenagers accused of trading nude pictures over cell phones.

The six or so Farmington Junior High School students took pictures of themselves and traded the images, Farmington Police Lt. Shane Whitaker said Tuesday.

“They’re sharing amongst an inner circle of friends. It’s all consensual, they’re not sharing them with adults,” he said.

A parent of one of the kids found the pictures on the child’s cell phone and called police. That led police to begin investigating and start questioning the teens.

The 13 and 14-year-old boys and girls have been taking pictures of their own genitals and breasts.

“They’re taking pictures of themselves and sending it to another friends,” Whitaker said.

The kids who have been questioned told detectives they did it “kind of as a joke.” It could potentially be a crime, however. Police said they expect to take the case to the Davis County Attorney by the end of the week to decide if there will be any charges filed against the teens.

New Book “Stop Dressing Your Six Year Old Like a Skank”

Among pint-sized cheerleaders, itty-bitty beauty queens, and in the malls of America, the sassy-sexy look isn’t just for teens anymore.

Some say younger girls are going shorter and barer — taking their cues from characters like the Cheetah Girls, the Pussycat Dolls and the Bratz dolls — and some observers are saying they’ve had enough.

The Rise of the Pornogogue, III

Here in the Ocean State we’ve recently had a small parental uprising.  A ninth-grade teacher at Cumberland High School assigned a collection of short stories and essays called My Life as a Loser, edited by Will Clarke and John McNally, Ph.D.  I’ve searched three of our local libraries for a copy of the book, with no luck.  From what I can gather, reading the Amazon reviews, the stories on the controversy in the Woonsocket Call, and the defense of the book by Clarke and McNally, it’s a book meant to elicit empathy for the loners and losers in high school, and is supposed to appeal to the teenagers because they know the difficulties the characters are going through: bad hair, a clumsy attempt to put on a rubber for the first time, and being unpopular yet running for student government.  Casual obscenities and crudities abound.  There’s also the obligatory snort of contempt for the “Christian” girl who uses her religion as a cloak for sleeping around.  And there’s a reference to a woman having sex with a dog.  This, then, is what at least one teacher thought would be just the thing to open the minds of ninth graders at Cumberland High School.

Evangelism in the U.S.: Sell the benefit

One of the biggest issues I have with the evangelical church in America is its obsession with capitalism. Or, I should clarify, the philosophy of capitalism.

Maybe it’s my Calvinistic bent, but I cringe every time I read about church growth programs, evangelistic methodologies, and cool, innovative ways to trick reach the lost with hip sermons.

I guess that’s why, when purusing the posts at Lifehacker, I was impressed with one titled, Give a Presentation like Steve Jobs. Kevin Purdy, the Lifehacker author, links to Deliver a Presentation like Steve Jobs, from BusinessWeek, and states:

BusinesssWeek gets a communication coach to analyze Steve Jobs’ latest Macworld keynote speech and pull out 10 tips that us mere mortals can apply to our own presentations. One strategy in particular seems to be what makes Jobs’ product introductions stand out from the typical “gee whiz” events:

Sell the benefit. While most presenters promote product features, Jobs sells benefits. When introducing iTunes movie rentals, Jobs said, “We think there is a better way to deliver movie content to our customers … most of us watch movies once, maybe a few times. And renting is a great way to do it. It’s less expensive, doesn’t take up space on our hard drive…” Your listeners are always asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?” Answer the question. Don’t make them guess. (emphasis in original)

How close is that methodology to the so-called evangelistic pitch we often hear in churches today? Rather than hear the Biblical idea that we are all sinners, we’re presented a notion which purports to sell the benefit of having a personal relationship with Jesus. Rather than hearing that God commands us to repentance, we hear messages which pander to the “What’s in it for me?” question our listeners are always asking themselves.

Think about it, the next time you’re in church.

What if we win? (v. 10)

Seven al Qaeda killed in Miqdadiyah

The latest Coalition raid in Miqdadiyah occurred on Jan. 3, resulting in seven al Qaeda fighters killed. Coalition special forces, part of Task Force 88, the hunter-killer teams assigned to hunt al Qaeda’s networks, “targeted associates of an al Qaeda in Iraq leader allegedly responsible for coordinating and directing a large terrorist group, and carrying out executions in the Diyala River Valley region.” Coalition forces called in an airstrike on a safe house, killing two al Qaeda operatives. Five additional al Qaeda terrorists were killed in a follow-on raid.

Taliban commander killed in clash in South Waziristan

The Pakistani military has killed a senior Afghan Taliban commander during a clash in the tribal agency of South Waziristan. Saifur Rahman Mansour, the Taliban commander during Operation Anaconda, was killed in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency, Iranian Press TV reported.

34 al Qaeda killed in day’s fighting during Phantom Phoenix

Coalition and Iraqi security forces were active on Thursday and Friday in fighting as part of Operation Phantom Phoenix. Two senior al Qaeda in Iraq operatives were killed along with 32 foot soldiers during fighting in Arab Jabour, Miqdadiyah, and the Samarra region. Another 34 al Qaeda fighters were reported captured.

Cross-posted at New Covenant.

To evolve morality

A fatal flaw for the notion of natural process evolution is that it has no way to explain the abstract. In a world of the strictly natural, what are we to make of, say, love?

At the pro-evolution site, Panda’s Thumb, we see a post titled, Evolution of altruistic cooperation and communication in robot societies. The author states,

Discovery Magazine reports on a continuation of experiments involving evolvable robots, communication and concepts such as altruistic cooperation and lying.

By the 50th generation, the robots had learned to communicate—lighting up, in three out of four colonies, to alert the others when they’d found food or poison. The fourth colony sometimes evolved “cheater” robots instead, which would light up to tell the others that the poison was food, while they themselves rolled over to the food source and chowed down without emitting so much as a blink.

Some robots, though, were veritable heroes. They signaled danger and died to save other robots. “Sometimes,” Floreano says, “you see that in nature—an animal that emits a cry when it sees a predator; it gets eaten, and the others get away—but I never expected to see this in robots.”

Fascinating how simple processes of variation and selection can explain the evolution of altruism, cooperation as well as cheating. What has ID done recently that increases our understanding of how cooperation, cheating and altruism arose?

Is he serious? A contrived experiment (PDF), with designed parameters, mimicking established social group characteristics explains the evolution of altruism, cooperation as well as cheating?

Be on the lookout, whenever natural process evolutionists attempt to explain the abstract, they always end up sneaking in the back door and stealing concepts that don’t belong to them. You see, in the world of naturalism (i.e., the strictly natural), there is no basis with which one can declare that some action is altruistic or someone is a cheater. Without an objective moral understanding that altruism is good, and cheating is wrong, the words lose their meaning.

Get ready for more, or fewer hurricanes

From MSNBC, Study on hurricanes, warming creates storm,

Global warming could reduce how many hurricanes hit the United States, according to a new federal study that clashes with other research. The new study is the latest in a contentious scientific debate over how manmade global warming may affect the intensity and number of hurricanes.

Have we in the cultural west, in the midst of our technological advancement, nurtured a generation of self-absorbed humans? Have we, by providing what is probably the most Utopian existence known to mankind, also laid the foundations for a nation of teenage adults?

Consider what author Vicki Courtney details on her blog Virtue Alert. In The Bribery (part one), she describes her surprise at discovering her college-age son’s dating habits, or lack thereof. Per Courtney,

Yesterday, I was writing away on the culture’s attitudes about dating for my new book and feeling disturbed that many of our Christian youth have conformed to the culture’s mindset. Now, let me just state that I am all for “hanging out in groups” in the middle and high school years. In fact, I encouraged it with my own children and we even added a gameroom onto our house to provide a safe “hang-out” place. I don’t personally feel that our teens are ready to tackle the responsibility of being in a serious “dating” relationship that often ushers in physical temptations, emotional trauma (and drama), and so forth…

I share this background for the sake of revealing a downside to this “hang-out-with-your-friends” model that many Christian parents have endorsed in their homes (including myself). As I was researching for my book, I began to see evidence of a trend where dating is all but extinct on college campuses, having instead been replaced by “hanging-out” or “hooking-up.” I have written on this in the past in my “Your Girl” book and grieved that many of our daughters will fail to experience the excitement of an old fashioned “date.” You know the kind where the boy works up his nerve to call, drives over to pick-up his date, takes his date out to dinner/movie and actually picks up the tab, and then politely drops his date off at her doorstep with no expectation of anything further…

Upon further reflection, Courtney decides to ask her son about the dating methodologies he and his friends practice. From her conversation,

Mom: “Hmmm….So, let me ask you this: Let’s say you are hanging out with your “group”… and you meet a girl in the “group” and you think, ‘Wow, I might want to get to know her better.’ So, what do you do?”

College boy: “Uh, well I had that happen with one girl, so I just texted her later to see if she wanted to ‘hang-out’ and just come over and watch The Office, or something.”

Mom: (beginning to hyperventilate) “Wait a minute. Let me get this straight: You asked her to get in her car and drive over to your apartment to watch an episode of The Office? And then, at the end of the evening, she got into her car and drove her little self home (insert sarcastic tone, here)?”

College boy: “Yeah, pretty much.”

Mom: (praying out loud) “Lord Jesus, where did I go wrong?” (to son): “And at what point in the process do you ask her out on a real-live date?”

College boy: “I don’t know. Nobody really expects that.”

I’m wondering. If nobody really expects to be asked out on a real date, then what would be the basis for developing an intimate (in the encompassing and not the erotic sense) relationship? Certainly, in times past there has been that convenient little concept known as the “arranged marriage”, yet, in today’s “my rights above everything else” culture I guess we (as men) simply text the particular female we’re interested in, offering them the privilege of our company, at our place of residence, as long as they provide their own transportation. How much longer until the female in question is also asked (by text) to stop by the local Chinese take-out, so as to provide the evening’s nourishment?

Courtney rightly questions whether or not Christian women should take a stand and expect Christian men to act like men and actually ask them out on a date, pick them up, take them somewhere, and drop them off at home. Unfortunately, she is finding out that those women who do take such a stand often find themselves left at home, alone, because the men males simply find other women who are all too ready to acquiesce to the “text date”.

Many homeschoolers have been promoting the notion that there are no “teenagers” in our midst. Rather, there are “young adults”. While the cultural notion of “teenager” mandates that they be adolescent in nature, seeking fun, and having little or no responsibility, the notion of “young adult” extols the virtue of responsibility and how it ties in with privileges. The young adult is given responsibility which, in turn, leads to earned privileges. Fail at the responsibility, lose the privileges. Excel at the responsibility, earn more privileges. It kind of sounds like – real life – doesn’t it?

Interestingly enough, this notion of the myth of adolescence is gaining popularity in secular culture. It is a topic I hope to discuss, at length, in the future.

In the meantime, I leave you with a YouTube clip, providing an extreme example of what can become of a young adult-age male in a teenager-based culture. (HT: Ron’s Bloviating)


And now, from the left coast

I would like to thank the “powers that be”, at Stones Cry Out, and Doug, for graciously inviting me to be a part of this group blog. I am honored.

Being the group’s official West Coast Stone, and being a native Californian, I will do my best to maintain a distinctly southern Californian flavor to my contributions here (whatever that may mean). I tend to write about cultural issues and I also delve into the topics of apologetics, homeschooling, evolution, intelligent design, photography and theology. I dabble in politics, but have already become weary of the 2008 Presidential race (especially since my man Fred tossed in the towel). So, I suppose I’ve become a “Stuck with Romney” man.

With regards to my Christian faith, I grew up in an Assemblies of God household yet, while I still attend an AG church, I would describe my theological stance as CAG (i.e., Calvinistically Assemblies of God). My favorite Christian authors and teachers include, but are not limited to: R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Greg Koukl, Hugh Ross, J.I. Packer, C.S. Lewis, and J. Budziszewski.

Looking forward to this journey.

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