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God Wants You to be Complicit With Nazis. Really. It Says So In His Book.

November 13, 2009
by

Answers in Genesis is the organization that operates the Creation Museum, a building where logic, evidence and reason go to die, so their intellectual depravity is old hat.

Well, their moral depravity is apparently boundless, too. As you know, one of the ten commandments is the injunction against lying. It’s a good rule of thumb, but anyone who has taken Philosophy 101 has confronted the scenario “what if you were hiding Jews during the Holocaust and Nazis asked you if you knew where any Jews were.” Generally, people who are not sociopaths arrive at the conclusion that it’s acceptable to lie under those circumstances.

Answers in Genesis encourages you to take the sociopathic way out.

Seriously.

In the situation of a Nazi beating on the door, we have assumed a lie would save a life, but really we don’t know. So, one would be opting to lie and disobey God without the certainty of saving a life—keeping in mind that all are ultimately condemned to die physically. Besides, whether one lied or not may not have stopped the Nazi solders from searching the house anyway…As Christians, we need to keep in mind that Jesus Christ reigns. All authority has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18), and He sits on the throne of God at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33; Hebrews 8:1)…It is not for us to worry over what might become, but rather to place our faith and obedience in Christ and to let Him do the reigning. For we do not know the future, whereas God has been telling the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).

Atheists are often accused of portraying religion as cartoonishly evil, then attacking the straw man they have devised. It’s pretty clear that in this case, these Christians have done the heavy lifting.

Of course, it’s implicit in my criticism of these fucking assholes that I am taking as an axiom that moral actions are those which reduce human suffering. That’s clearly not the Christian way. That’s why the protection of blastocysts and the disenfranchisement of gays are treated like the foremost moral issues in a world dealing with AIDS, genocide, and crushing poverty. Boy am I glad I am not a Christian.

Thanks to Pharyngula for drawing attention to this insanity.

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71 Comments
  1. JoJo permalink
    November 13, 2009 1:59 pm

    philosophy 101 appreciates the shout-out

  2. Ian permalink*
    November 13, 2009 2:05 pm

    What is truth?

  3. dkapson@gmail.com permalink
    November 13, 2009 2:12 pm

    A couple Romans oughta feed these guys to the lions.

  4. Jonathan permalink
    November 13, 2009 5:13 pm

    I am pretty sure that the phrase “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” which is the exact quote, is referring specifically to the courts and legal proceedings. Nowhere in the bible does it say never to lie.

    For the most part I agree with you about fundamentalists of all faiths, but I don’t think they are representative of the whole, although they are a loud bunch. Anyway, these guys are idiots.

    • Barry permalink*
      November 13, 2009 5:29 pm

      For better or worse, the Christian understanding of the phrase “false witness” is more expansive than the definition you provide. This isn’t to say that you’re wrong, but in order to interpret what AiG was saying, it’s useful to apply their definitions.

    • November 14, 2009 6:30 pm

      Hey Jonathan.

      You said: “Nowhere in the bible does it say never to lie.”

      Well, you could look these up for starters:

      Isaiah 57:11
      First Timothy 1:10 and 4:2
      First John (not the Gospel of John) 4:20
      Revelation 21:8
      Ephesians 4:25
      Colossians 3:9

      May God bless you, especially this Thanksgiving,
      Steve

  5. Jonathan permalink
    November 13, 2009 6:07 pm

    Well, I am not saying that the book should be taken literally, but just look at how the phrase is used in context:

    http://www.topical-bible-studies.org/21-0024.htm

    Deuteronomy 19:16 – 21 makes the meaning of ‘false witness’ especially obvious

    • Korbie permalink
      November 13, 2009 7:43 pm

      You know those Christians can’t read. Context? What’s context? They quote-mine all the time.

    • November 14, 2009 6:34 pm

      One big thing those Laws show us is that we are all guilty (and, yes in context, they are good Laws. Oh I can imagine where you may go now. But……it’s all good.)

      • Korbie permalink
        November 14, 2009 8:22 pm

        I don’t know how certain things in the Bible may be considered good in any context. If it were, we’d still be following the stuff there, especially in the case of the Old Testament.

        Besides, it’s quite clear that the laws given are only granted towards the ingroup, that of Christians, rather than universal. This is one of those things that very much kills the aspect of a good law. You’d see these laws being given, and then they would say, okay, let’s go and destroy another civilization. The idea that there are people that are beneath you is not a good one. That if you’re doing something against a person that is not in your group and the laws don’t follow is not a semblance of a good and moral law.

        Besides, a lot of that stuff anybody can think of. Quite a number of laws were pilfered from other religions and civilizations. Not lying should be self-evident. Not murdering should be self-evident.

  6. Korbie permalink
    November 13, 2009 7:42 pm

    I get now why those Christian priests told the Hutus about where the Tutsis were hiding in the Rwandan Genocide.

    This is such utter stupidity. By his logic of all people will die physically, why not just let everyone die now? At least the good thing is that quite a few people will be maddened by this man’s words. The bad thing is that a few people may even follow this man’s words.

    • November 14, 2009 6:52 pm

      Please don’t broad brush stroke all of us. I just go to the Bible. Abraham partially lied to save Sarah. Sarah lied about something she laughed about before the Lord. So, there have been lies for safety’s sake or plans to kill enemies. Yes, in the Bible. I am saddened and often frustrated at how too many Christian teachers or “leaders” can make too much of a biblical value legalistically, or just foolishly; as in not being quite truthful to save Jews. I, as (are you ready?) a born again, Bible believing, creationist and pastor of a very small church due to the fact in large part that I teach people what they need and not how to get what they want; take exception of that Nazi statement purportedly from AIG.

      You may still call me a fool or idiot for the other things cited about myself, but again; please don’t brush stroke us all. BTW, Jesus said if you call anyone a fool or an empty head or similar, you are guilty enough to go before…..well, you can read him in Matthew 5:22. There was nothing wrong with Jesus and his words. They were all true and right. We are all the guilty ones and we humans love trying to self-justify ourselves in so many ways. Still, the guilt remains. Still the provision is available for forgiveness. (John 3:12-21 and more)

      May God bless you.
      Steve

      • Barry permalink*
        November 14, 2009 7:28 pm

        I am glad you reject that teaching on AiG’s website. Insofar as you do, you show yourself to be a more thoughtful, compassionate, and reasonable person than AiG would have you be.

        Whether or not Jesus’ words are perfect is another issue for another day. Perhaps in the near future, I will write a blog post about why I think Jesus was wrong about many things.

        Until then, lets try to limit this conversation to a manageable number of topics. Otherwise, we wind up talking past each other and not giving due attention to the points we’re trying to make.

        Cheers.

    • November 15, 2009 7:59 pm

      The purpose of all those Laws of Moses was to do two main things: one, to reveal there is something wrong with us. We cannot and will not keep them. We are sinners. And two, they we meant to show us our need for and even point toward the ultimate sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus, who was to take our sins on himself and die and rise again from the grave to reconcile us to God; something the Laws could never do. The Laws only showed us our sin and our need for a Savior. In fact, the New Testament makes it clear is a Christian goes back to trying to justify him or herself, or tries to perfect him or herself by the Law again, they fall under a curse because they bypass all Christ crucified accomplished for us.

      As to the armies of Israel killing other nations; these nations were very, very wicked nations. They would do things like sacrifice their own children in fire to false gods or idols. God’s judgement was a big part of Israel taking the land and doing away with them. They deserved it. Like the beltway sniper recently deserved what he got by way of capital punishment. The nations invaded and dealt justly by Israel, of course, did greater and more extensive crimes than that.

  7. November 14, 2009 10:06 am

    Barry,

    You do not; repeat, do NOT know Dylan’s code.

    And unless you have the degree of arrogance that labels those who believe otherwise than you as the uninitiated, or worse, you can read this clarifying truth from Answers In Genesis:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/top-ten/myths-about-creation

    Please don’t be willingly ignorant staying only with what you have heard or read. (II Peter 3:5-7) Study either Intelligent Design or Creation evidences, if you can, too.

    Very interesting from recent science: the moon may just have a whole lot of water, too! (but that was supposed to have been a molten blob that just cooled over “billions” of years!)

    “Spirit on the water, darkness on the face of the deep” as he sings like back there in Genesis.

    • Barry permalink*
      November 14, 2009 11:13 am

      Steve,

      Not only do I not know Bob Dylan’s code, I don’t even know that it exists! By all means, enlighten me.

      As for creationism, let me first address your perception that I am ignorant of creationist “scholars”. I am familiar with the speeches, debates, and writings of Kent Hovind, Ken Ham & the Answers in Genesis All-Stars, Duane Gish, John Morris Pendleton, and The Discovery Institute. I am quite familiar with the Bible itself.

      I have also read Dawkins, Darwin, Shubin, de Waal, and Johanson.

      Unlike the apologists, the scientists don’t take their conclusions from an ancient book of mythology. Repeat: Creationism is not only wrong, but profoundly so; it misses the entire point of investigation by starting out with unwavering conclusions. No matter what evidence is uncovered by working scientists, Creationists will torture it into fitting the biblical framework or ignore it because it’s too difficult to deal with. You never hear a creationist discuss bioinformatics or endogenous retroviruses.

      Next, you bring up the water on the moon. I think you misunderstand what the LCROSS revealed. The moon isn’t home to vast lagoons or anything like it. Rather, the water was deposited by asteroids or hydrogen from solar winds onto areas that maintain temperatures several hundred degrees below zero. In no way is the moon’s formation called into question by the existence of some water on its surface. Your argument is the equivalent of looking at someone wearing clothes and concluding that the clothes are proof that the person could not have developed in her mother’s womb. It’s a non sequitur.

      You finish your comment with another Bob Dylan quotation. I am glad you’re a Dylan fan, and again – I am all ears as to your theory about his code.

      I would just like to add that nothing you bring up in your comment contradicts the utter moral bankruptcy of a Christian who would deliver Jews into the hands of a Nazi rather than protecting them by lying. I do not relish the idea that some of my neighbors embrace such an anti-humanistic position.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • November 14, 2009 11:42 am

        Barry,

        Well, of course you were not there for the icy asteroids or solar winds. That is your interpretation not based on falsifiable, science with experimentation. Yours is a faith, and so is mine. But the evidence mounts for ID or creation, and even Answers In Genesis museum is planning a Darwin section that acknowledges adaptation and change (evolution) and mutation within species; but never evidence for cross “kinds” which is apparent, compared to species within kinds. There is where people get confused. God seemed to have build the DNA info in place in light of what species would need to adapt in a very fallen world. Sounds like merciful program gates within the DNA coding to me.

        Bob sings at one point in Ain’t Talkin’, Just Walkin’: “My loyal and much loved companions, they approve of me and share my code. I still practice a faith that has long been abandoned (but not by him), ain’t to altars on this long and lonely road.” No reed to religious altars. That was abolished in Christ crucified; that final altar. As for Dylan lyrics: as he said one time, just listen to the words. If you have other specific lyrics that hint at something similar to what I mentioned, please ask and I can give my, what I think would be a reasonable interpretation. Bob has never denied his faith of the late ’70s and early ’80s. He took a break for some years, as I recall, and then came back recording with way to much code for believers to ignore. And more, he has spoken of his hero and then sand about Jesus. But then, since you are not a believer; do you still want to know more on that? I would be happy to reply with specifics, while honesty not trying to force read into something. Again, as he himself said, just listen to the words or the music.

        And here’s a link from our site about a famous atheist who made the turn around recently. It’s only about three minutes. He emphasized the chemistry and the biology he could not escape; not to mention things Einstein pointed out (though Einstein, it appears, never really got on board believing; but who knows just before he died).

        http://www.biblechurch.us/CBC/Famous_Athiest_Now_Believes.html

        Always wanting to persuade lovingly,
        Steve

        “remember the verses”

      • Barry permalink*
        November 14, 2009 12:27 pm

        Thanks for your response, Steve.

        You are absolutely right that I did not personally witness icy asteroids or solar winds. But that’s irrelevant for several reasons. First and foremost, you haven’t said how water from any other source contradicts a scientific explanation of the moon’s origin. Second, one need not witness an event in order to draw inferences from evidence left by that event. That’s precisely how trials work; juries are presented with evidence and are expected to come to a conclusion about an event that they have not witnessed.

        As for your evidence for creation – you’re wrong. Whatever distinction you draw between the classification of “kind” and species is irrelevant. Vast amounts of evidence point to the common ancestry of all life. I am not an expert at presenting that evidence, but many experts have provided such presentations. I recommend you read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins. If you do so with an open mind, you will be amazed by the evidence for common ancestry of all life.

        In case you’re unwilling to read the book, I will simply ask you: if all of the basic “kinds” of life were created within just a few days of one another, then why don’t you find aardvarks in fossil beds from the Jurassic period? Why are birds and elephants absent from the Burgess Shale?

        As for your idea about Dylan’s lyrics – it’s interesting, but I don’t think it holds up. First of all, Christianity isn’t long-abandoned. There are plenty of Christians around. Like you! Second, saying there are no altars on the road he navigates speaks again to the fact that his faith is an abandoned one. If you’re the last practitioner of a certain faith, then you would not expect to find temples of that faith anywhere you go.

        I am not saying that my reading is THE correct one, or that yours is necessarily wrong, but I don’t think you’re justified in saying you’ve cracked a code in Dylan’s lyrics if I can create an equally-plausible interpretation instantly.

        I think you also make the mistake of conflating the narrative voice in his songs with the artist. There is no reason to assume that “I” in any given Bob Dylan song refers to the man who wrote the song. If his entire catalog were an autobiography 50 years in the making, that would be an exercise in abject narcissism. Just like when reading the Bible, you need some sort of clear hermeneutic to interpret Dylan’s lyrics. How do you know that the “I” who practices the long-abandoned faith isn’t the fictional “I” who married Isis and watched a guy freeze to death?

        Finally, I watched the Flew video. That he has accepted a deistic belief system is no skin off my back. Lots of people believe lots of things. But he makes a HUGE assumption in his argument – he says IF the natural world’s complexity implies the existence of a creator, then the biological world’s greater complexity is even more evidence for the creator’s existence.

        The problem is with the “if”. The complexity of the natural world does not require a creator, so it’s unnecessary to take the next step along with Flew.

        Thanks again for commenting.

      • Barry permalink*
        November 14, 2009 5:54 pm

        Thanks for your latest response, Steve,

        First off, I ask that when you comment from now on, please use the “reply” button at the bottom of the message to which you’re replying. For some reason, the comments have gotten out of order. This happened once before in a comment-heavy thread. Sorry for the inconvenience. I have to work out a way to eliminate the technical problem.

        I am not asking about the “place” that fossils are found, I am asking about the time. In the layers that contain dinosaurs, you never find humans. You never find fossil bunnies in the pre-Cambrian. In other words, the fossils are laid down precisely how the theory of evolution would predict. The Burgess shale does not contain mammals, birds, lizards or any type of animals familiar to us. Instead, it contains extraordinarily primitive creatures.

        As for Flew – first off, he was never an evolutionary scientist. He is a philosopher. Secondly, there are many philosophers with whom I do not agree. I don’t know why you think that my views are in any way beholden to the caprice of some guy I don’t know. To be totally honest, I had never heard of Anthony Flew until fairly recently, so he was not influential in my rejection of gods. How is it hypocritical for me to remain unaffected by his beliefs, just as I have always been?

        As for Bob Dylan’s Christian “code”, I remain unconvinced by your reasoning. It certainly doesn’t seem like the lyrics “I’ve got the pork chop/she’s got the pie/she ain’t no angel/neither am I” fit into your scheme. He written so many songs that it’s easy to point to some lyrics that comport with your interpretation and others that contradict it. To be sure, biblical imagery has long been woven into his songs, but I don’t know that they support your conclusion (except of course for his three explicitly evangelistic albums from about 30 years ago.) As you know, the darkness on the face of the deep comes from the Old Testament, and – if it is indicative of his personal religiosity at all – could indicate Judaism as easily as Christianity. But again, I don’t see much value in speculating about the man’s religious positions. His personal convictions are not important to me.

        Finally, I note that you have twice referred to me as willingly ignorant. I am not offended; it takes a lot to make me cry. However, you have ducked several topics from the original blog post and from our subsequent conversations.

        – My original contention that Answers in Genesis espouses a disgraceful position of complicity with Nazis. I certainly do not contend that all Christians follow such a perversely unethical code of conduct, but AiG endorses it. In so doing, they forfeit any legitimacy they may have in the area of morality.

        – The subjects of bioinformatics and endogenous retroviruses. A working understanding of either concept lays bare the foolishness of creationism.

        – My contention that one need not witness an event to understand that event. I used the analogy of a trial, in which we trust a jury to consider evidence and reach a conclusion despite not having witnessed the events in question.

        – The simple truth that creationists do not investigate anything. Rather, they consult their presuppositions in order to issue pronouncements about scientific discoveries.

        – The presence of water on the moon is irrelevant to discussions of the moon’s origins.

      • Jonathan permalink
        November 14, 2009 6:06 pm

        The wonderful thing about music and poetic lyrics is that they can be interpreted in different ways, making them somewhat universal.

        This is the national review’s list of the top 50 conservative rock songs of all time. Yes, Dylan made the list:

        http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NzZkNDU5MmViNzVjNzkzMDE3NzNlN2MyZjRjYTk4YjE=

        This is not to say that most of the artists listed identify themselves as conservative. But a fan takes a great song and make it his/her own.

      • November 14, 2009 6:14 pm

        Hmmm. I would need to verify some things in time that you stated. That’s one of the things I have noticed in these debates where creationists without PhDs (or whatever) are hit with a veritable plethora of either technical statements or things not heard before, when there is so much by way of locations and what’s to be where, etc. etc.

        It’s just that (isn’t it?) there would have to be billions upon billions of transitions between kinds (not species, like different apes) for evolution to be seen as absolute fact. So many proofs have been debunked over time. There simply is not a huge collection; the kind there should be. Come on, you know that to be true.

        BTW, did you read those 10 things creationists are often falsely accused of? Any response to that? Here is the link again: http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/top-ten/myths-about-creation

        I’ll keep saying until you say “stop already”. . . .
        May God bless you.

        (apart from how he already has) Thanksgiving is coming up you know.

        Steve

      • November 14, 2009 7:02 pm

        I am also reminded about the disappointment a number of scientists recently felt when they realized they had to admit that different dinosaurs were most likely from the same species; just different. It was a really bummer for them, quite likely because they want those transitions so, so bad. Too often they will “find” them or read them into something that is not a scientific method. It is a zealous hope so they can avoid the God part of existence.

      • Barry permalink*
        November 14, 2009 7:23 pm

        Steve,

        Let no one ever tell you you’re not a prolific and zealous defender of your faith.

        I strongly recommend The Greatest Show on Earth. If you’re uncomfortable putting money in Dawkins’ pocket, borrow it from the library. The book clearly lays out huge amounts of evidence for evolution, including the transitional species you asked about earlier. Before you levy long-debunked critiques at the theory of evolution, you should be sure you understand as much as possible about what scientists have actually discovered.

        As for the 10 myths about creationism on AiG’s website, I disagree with most of them. The two I accept – that creationists do believe in some degree of change and that intelligent design is different from creationism – are trivial.

        Feel free to keep posting comments on the blog. I would never want to stifle a conversation. However, until you respond to bioinformatics, ERVs, the ability to use evidence to reach a conclusion about events you haven’t witnessed, the lack of scientific research by creationists, and the presence of water on the moon having no bearing on the age or origin of the moon, I will not be responding to your posts. If we’re going to have a conversation, I don’t want either of us to talk past the other.

        I will be happy to respond to any points you make once you have addressed these outstanding issues.

        Take care,

        Barry

      • November 14, 2009 7:50 pm

        Sure, I can do that. Not afraid to. I have already read from evolutionists and those who were and why they changed. And I will make a serious attempt at finding Dawkins book. However, Dawkins has fallen short from his side for certain. Nothing out of context either, unless one wants context to mean going as broad as one is finally satisfied with. That could be futile and unending. So, we need to be fair about context and admit to ourselves, in truth, when the context really WAS enough.

        And I will look into views on bioinformatics and ERVs (that’s some sort of lunar vehicle, right?)

        Uh, not serious there.

        Also, as you suggested, varying views (you do allow those I hope for the sake of the scientific search) on the ability to use evidence to reach a conclusion about events you haven’t witnessed, the lack of scientific research by creationists, and the presence of water on the moon having no bearing on the age or origin of the moon. Are you saying this moon thing is completely out of bounds because you have settled it no matter what else may come to light?

        Thanks for keeping things where they should be; a step at a time on the issues at hand. That’s actually a good scientific principle, too, of course. So, I continue looking forward to your responses under your rules.

        Bless you.
        Steve

      • Barry permalink*
        November 14, 2009 7:58 pm

        I am not saying that the moon thing is out of bounds. I am saying that the presence of water has no bearing on its age. I am open to arguments to the contrary, but I don’t think they’re likely to be terribly persuasive.

      • November 14, 2009 8:14 pm

        Hey again Barry.

        I was just going to write back. I am glad you said you are at least open to arguments. So, on the other items you said were up for discussion or debate, I can safely assume that you are not (like certain University professors may do) just accepting a yes man? So long as we are dealing with facts and admitting where things are not?

      • Barry permalink*
        November 14, 2009 8:17 pm

        I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question.

      • November 14, 2009 8:20 pm

        I meant you will accept reasoned disagreement if based on fact, correct? Things that can be checked out, etc., on those items you cited.

      • Barry permalink*
        November 14, 2009 8:23 pm

        Assuming that it’s legit, of course I will.

      • November 14, 2009 10:20 pm

        Ok. Thanks.

      • November 14, 2009 7:36 pm

        I mentioned your hypocrisy. I should clarify and try to be humble here. All Christians are recovering hypocrites, including myself. We stumble. Too many of us will not admit it. Kind of like an addiction. But we have One who has forgiven us and that motivates us to grow

      • Barry permalink*
        November 14, 2009 7:49 pm

        As I said earlier, it takes a lot to make me cry. Don’t worry about it.

        Still, not caring what Antony Flew thinks is not hypocritical. I never pretended to give a shit about the guy’s beliefs.

      • November 15, 2009 8:11 pm

        But Carl Sagan was a philosopher, too; along with Stephen Hawking and others who may wear the “scientific clothes” but still pontificate philosophically when evidence is nonexistent. Sagan’s work is full of it.

  8. November 14, 2009 4:57 pm

    Barry,

    Why not one species found in one place, and another not found in another place? Well, the world is extremely huge for us tiny little humans. One reason. Still you do find billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth from a global catastrophe that would mix things up quite well, at least in part. 75% of the continents are covered by marine sediment with fossils thousands of feet thick (The Flood). Certain fossils are found on high plateaus and near tops of mountains that “should not” be there. Continental upheaval with rapid collision can be a major scientific cause of mountain ranges from such collisions. This may go against the indoctrinated status quo, but there you go.

    How ’bout Dylans comments on the Spirit on the water and darkness over the surface of the deep? Aside from that (since you did not comment on that song), H20 was in massive abundance before God said “let there be light” according to Genesis one. Now scientists are finding more and more ancient water evidences in so m any places in space. We all agree the scientific facts are there; we simply look through different glasses to interpret the evidence. Similar with other evidences. They are not, repeat, NOT falsifiable; non repeatable; we were not there. Rock samples have been taken to independent, reliable labs and dated at millions of years old, when it was known these fragments were only hundreds or thousands of years old. So, tremendous built in assumption are in place for rock daters: decay rate always the same, no or little parent element present when decay began, no outside influence. You could read the RATE book available through AIG.

    And Flew didn’t put it the way you wanted to see it: “if” to “then” argument. It is clear he stated it was the chemistry, and the biology. Darwin would have been shocked to know all we know about a single living cell. All he could see then was a blob. Now it’s like a Saturn rocket compared to a paper airplane in its complexity. And on and on I could go, but still; for you to simply say lots of people believe lots of things in Flew’s case? That’s a kind of pharisee-like hypocrisy. Flew has been a world famous atheist and renowned evolutionary scientist for a long time, right up there with the “best” they can offer. Now, you simply write him off like that? What will you do if or when the next atheist changes? And there have been others, though not having books at Borders to dupe the masses. Will you at least examine carefully and extensively, and even interview for their conclusion? But to say, “Well, heck, people believe what they want.” Kind of like you do, you mean; and the facts be cursed.

    Back to Dylan: interesting Dylan will conclude his tour with three concerts with Dion. Dion became a Christian, too; similar to Bob’s testimony from years ago. Dion even has his spiritual journey on his site in his own writing. Both turned more to “secular” songs but not without spiritual reasons. While Bob does not have his spiritual journey written by him in short form as Dion does, Bob’s site, Columbia’s and others, do have links that take you to his Gospel music easily, and other reading of his spirituality that reveal his embedded Christian code. This is true. It is just there. But I think Bob might prefer it as his Messianic Jewish code. Ain’t Talkin’ again. You have to read the whole song. A missing gardener. Unending suffering given in a gentle and “apologetic” sense. And you misinterpreted what you did cite: Bob said he is still practicing a faith. Who abandoned it? America has in significant ways, Europe certainly has, but most significantly Judaism abandoned their own Messiah and only a remnant share his faith. But again, he is still practicing that faith. Why else would he use the word faith? In what? The no altars part is a big part of what Christ crucified means. Calvary was the final altar where God spoke fully and completely about what was done with our sins. No more need for religious stuff like altars and relics and religious institutions to get to God, like Bob has said he has nothing to so with. Now it’s a relationship with God Himself through His risen Son and Messiah.
    One concert not long ago he said he was going to sing about his hero. And he did. It was Jesus. But then you might say, “Lots of people believe lots of things” and so what.

    May God bless you as you yield to truth like Romans 1:18-22, then of course John 3. Please remember, like Bob even said about his songs, you have to read the words. It is not good to be willingly ignorant. Everyone should go where the truthful facts (not non-falsifiable so-called scientific interpretations) take them.

    Most sincerely,
    Steve

  9. November 14, 2009 5:15 pm

    Of course you will not mention the historic account of Christian Corrie ten Boom who rescued many Jews by hiding them in her home. Other instances could be repeated. And there may have been “lying” involved when you define lying all the way; what is said or inferred or not said nor inferred. It is foolish and immature to use one small statement from somewhere and broad brushstroke all Christians in all history, really, whether present or ancient history.

  10. November 14, 2009 8:17 pm

    I keeping getting these subscription management notices. I keep going there and check the boxes and click ok each time I make a comment. Is this necessary? Any way it can be stopped?

    • Barry permalink*
      November 14, 2009 8:20 pm

      I’m sorry – I am not sure. I already sent an email to our tech consultant, so I will mention that to her also.

  11. Korbie permalink
    November 14, 2009 8:43 pm

    If you want to check out some things quickly, I highly recommend http://www.talkorigins.com. It’s extremely well done in presenting the evidence for evolution. The evidence for evolution is presented here: http://talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/.

    Just a note though, some of the things on that site may be a little technical., but I have not had much difficulty understanding any of the concepts. Remember, ignorance does not equate to untruth. But if you want something easier to understand Dawkins’s book, The Greatest Show on Earth, is very good. I’ve heard Jerry Coyne’s book, Why Evolution is True, is even better, though I’ve not had time to read it just yet.

    There are also tons of videos on youtube regarding the subject and some are very easily accessible to a nonscientist.

    As said, nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Nothing in biology that we know right now can be understand unless evolution is accepted, so I’m hoping you’re not going to be simply denying an entire branch of science here.

    Remember to not make up your mind unless you have heard both sides of the argument. Consider both arguments to be possible, look at the evidence for both sides and see which side is more plausible. If you haven’t even looked at some of the evidence for evolution, of course your thoughts would be predisposed towards creationism. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re absolutely true. Always be prepared to change your mind if the evidence says otherwise.

    • November 15, 2009 7:50 pm

      I went to talk origins around the time is first came on the net back around the mid 90s as I recall. Then I think you could even post your own comments, debate at bit, and more. Now it looks like just articles, etc. One thing I have discovered is that an evolutionist and creationist can look at the same evidence (fossils) and just interpret them differently. Then when things are discovered, as when rocks only hundreds or thousands or less years old, are dated to be a billion or millions of years old due to built in assumptions in the dating methods, then we are talking about interpretation, but not honest science. We don’t know the original conditions, contents, and rates of decay in rocks over the ages. That much is true. So, it comes down to assumption.

      And I looked over the ape and human skulls. Really not very many. So much can happen over not too much time. Weathering factors. Chemical factors. Decay factors. Disease and decomposition factors. Catastrophic factors. Who knows what else may have given those, usually, parts of skuls their final appearance? Even modern human skulls can take on various forms, some quite extreme. It all comes down to what one is looking for, and why. Again, it is the glasses one chooses to put on to view the evidence through, even though we all agree the evidence for something is there.

      I have also noticed, like on talk origins, so many times you can find words or synonyms for “we suppose therefore” or “perhaps” or “it appears that” or “it could be assumed” or “this leads us to believe that maybe”, etc. etc. You might find these types of words buried deep within the plethora of technical language that goes on and on. But, nevertheless, they can be seen. Thus, they are not absolute conclusions; as in evolution is a fact. It is not. It is an interpretation.

      • Korbie permalink
        November 15, 2009 9:07 pm

        I’m guessing you haven’t looked at it all that much.

        It’s true that talk origins may have too much technical jargon. That’s why I highly advise you to read one of those two books I talked about. They’re much simpler. You will never get an absolute conclusion in science. It’s just pure logic. But you can never get an absolute conclusion in anything. Everything in science is not conclusive. That’s why we call everything theories even though they should be considered fact already, and that’s what evolution is. You may have heard of the germ theory of disease. That’s right, germs are just a “theory.” Heliocentrism is also just a theory. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that not being conclusive means that it’s not correct. Far from it. This is more like 99.99% correct, but we’ve got to put in that little bit where we may be misled and that this isn’t the real world, that we may be living in the matrix or something; that’s all that is.

        Now, first of all, would you suggest it mere coincidence that 5 dating methods all correspond to the same date? For example, in the case of carbon-14 dating, we can check that against historical writings and other such things like tree rings and they all come out to be exactly the same. This thing is an entire branch of science. Are you assuming that all the people in that science knows less than you? That they didn’t have the same questions you did? And they’ve tested the radioactive decay in different conditions like extremely hot climates and the such; the results never varied. There are no assumptions here. You’re the one assuming that the people are wrong. We’ve already got evidence for our reasons to accept carbon dating. If you’re assuming something’s wrong and you’ve got nothing to back it up, then your thoughts are invalid in any stage of the world. And please read those books; they address your concerns with much more detail than I.

        The differences between ape and human skulls. There may be small differences, but there are noticeable differences aren’t there? That’s entirely the point. Evolution takes a heck of a long time and changes can happen very slowly. Our common ancestor with the chimps and bonobos lived approximately 6 million years ago. That is an extremely small amount of time in evolutionary terms. Evolution is just small changes in allele frequency over time and, given time, that will eventually build up into huge changes. Plus, there are tons of other fossils out there. Again, you’re making assumptions here and you’ll have to back those claims up if you want to be taken seriously. Are you suggesting that the 250,000 fossil species that have been found have all been weathered somehow? Some sort of decay factor and catastrophic disaster befell upon them all? This is playful ignorance. Please don’t make such assumptions if you haven’t even looked at the evidence. Please don’t make such assumptions when you haven’t even begun to understand what you’re saying. Don’t think scientists haven’t addressed your concerns already. They’re much smarter and knowledgeable about the subject than you and I. There is also the peer review process in place so that other scientists can check if the findings are correct.

        So again, all your concerns are addressed elsewhere. There isn’t a conspiracy with the scientists here.

      • November 15, 2009 11:16 pm

        Why would extremely hot temperatures prove the amount of original parent elements compared to daughter elements when the decay began back in time, and rates of decay over time may have changed?

        Also, since you brought up carbon-14, carbon-14 dating is not used to date rocks at millions of years old. Some scientists have estimated the ages of diamonds to be millions to billions of years old using other radiometric dating methods. So why has carbon-14 been found in diamonds originally buried about a hundred miles beneath the surface when carbon-14 could not permeate the diamond, not to mention that far beneath the surface if any c-14 made it that far anyway? The c-14 “should” have disappeared long before the diamond became a diamond if millions or billions of years is true. Because of their hardness, diamonds (the hardest known substance) are extremely resistant to contamination through chemical exchange. Since diamonds are considered to be so old by evolutionary standards, finding any c-14 in them would be strong support for a recent creation.

        You see, these are simple step-by-step items to consider. There is no need to talk about what a theory is compared to a fact when you have these couple of items of evidence, and many more, to consider carefully first. Although I understand it can be stimulating to expound and expand on what makes this a that or that a this.

        All radiometric dating methods are based on assumptions about events that happened in the past. If the assumptions are accepted as true (as is typically done in the evolutionary dating processes), results can be biased toward a desired age. In the reported ages given in textbooks and other journals (or peer reviewed papers before they make it to the journal stage), these evolutionary assumptions have not been questioned, while results inconsistent with long ages have been censored. And you said there isn’t a “what” with certain scientists here? When the assumptions were evaluated and shown faulty, the results supported the biblical account of a global Flood and young earth. We Christians should not be afraid of radiometric dating methods. Carbon-14 dating is really the friend of Christians, and it supports a young earth.

      • Barry permalink*
        November 15, 2009 11:36 pm

        A point of clarification – carbon dating is used to date organic matter, not rocks. The whole premise of carbon dating is that living things take in carbon, and dead things do not take in carbon. By measuring the decay of C14, you can figure how long ago the sample was alive.

        As for the laws of Moses – again, I don’t want to discourage you from talking about them, but this isn’t really the post for that (actually, evolution didn’t come up in my original post either, but that cat’s out of the bag at this point.) It’s REALLY helpful to limit subject areas we’re talking about in order to keep the conversation focused. We have all the time in the world to talk about the relative merits of biblical passages.

        Finally, though I am still waiting to hear Steve’s thoughts on bioinformatics, endogenous retroviruses, the lack of valuable work done by creationists to further the understanding of origins, and the other topics I brought up, there is one line of argument that I take exception to. You have repeatedly claimed that the conclusions reached by science versus those of creationism are a matter of presupposition. You freely admit that the Bible provides the “glasses” through which creationists view the world. There is no similar authority for scientists. The starting point of creationism is an ancient book. The starting point for scientific inquiry is a question. Creationists know that their conclusions will be extensions of their premise. That is not how science works. Your analogy is false.

        Finally, it is evidently impossible for creationists to discuss evolution without dragging in a huge number of irrelevant subjects into the question. An evolutionary biologist (probably a redundancy, since biology does not make sense without evolution) does not concern herself with the age of the earth, the age of the moon, or – with some important exceptions – fossils. The best work in evolutionary science is being done in genetics. Your unsupported, conclusory pronouncements about eroded skulls are absolutely impotent when viewed in light of the vast knowledge gained from genome sequencing. Fossils are sooo 19th century. They’re important, but totally eclipsed by DNA.

      • Barry permalink*
        November 15, 2009 11:37 pm

        Hahah. Two “finallys” in that comment. I can’t even shut myself up!

      • November 16, 2009 3:12 am

        Many consider the Cambrian fossil record to be the most powerful refutation of Darwinian evolution. Charles Darwin realized that the fossil evidence did not support his theory of gradual, step-by-step evolutionary development. He hoped that future generations of scientists would make the discoveries necessary to validate his ideas. Today, after more than 150 years of exploration fossil evidence of slow, incremental biological change has yet to be excavated. Instead, we find a picture of the rapid appearance of fully developed, complex organisms during the outset of the Cambrian geological era. Organisms that embody almost all of the major animal body plans that exist today. This remarkable explosion of life is best explained by the existence of a transcendent intelligence.

      • Barry permalink*
        November 16, 2009 3:57 am

        What you call “rapid appearance” actually took place over tens of millions of years. People who consider that to be a refutation of evolution are making the same mistake you make. Pre-Cambrian life was generally soft-bodied, and as such could not fossilize well. The Cambrian Explosion marks the first time that animals left good and lasting evidence for scientists to study. Not one shred of evidence points toward anything that transcends nature; you’re acting like Cinderella’s sisters, chopping off toes to fit the slipper.

      • November 16, 2009 4:54 am

        No, no. You were not listening, or reading well. There have been soft bodied fossils found. Check out China, for one. And not one shred? Really sounds like a “scientific” mind they won’t see it if on a plate.

      • November 16, 2009 4:58 am

        Tens of millions of years? Proof? And the Cambrian layer, whether soft bodied or not, should have untold billions upon billions of specific and precise transitions, but they do not. Or were all transitions between anything too soft bodied to survive as a fossil? Give me a break.

      • November 16, 2009 5:07 am

        More for the soft body argument (sigh).

        If you live near the seashore or like to visit marine aquaria, I’m sure most of the animals there are quite familiar to you. There are some jellyfish floating in the background. On the bottom, you can find sea urchins and sea lilies, members of the starfish group; a couple of snails; sponges; lampshells; and members of the earthworm group. That large fellow stretched out along the right side is a nautiloid, a squid-like animal that is a member of the most complex group of invertebrate animals we know anything about (the cephalopod mollusks). The nautiloid belongs to the group of animals that has an eye somewhat like ours, as I mentioned in the first chapter.

        The “first” or simplest community to leave abundant fossils, the lower “Trilobite Seas” (Cambrian System), contains almost all the major groups of sea life, including the most complex invertebrates, the nautiloids, and the highly complex trilobites (inset above). Darwin called the fossil evidence “perhaps the most obvious and serious objection to the theory” of evolution.

        What does this illustration show? A picture of present-day sea life off the Florida coast or around some tropical island? No, not at all. It pictures not sea life today, but the “first” or simplest community of plants and animals to leave abundant fossil remains. This illustration shows life in the so-called “Age of Trilobites” (what I’ll later call the “Zone of Trilobites”).

        Trilobites, by the way, are fascinating creatures. Many trilobites, such as the one pictured in the inset in Fig. 23, had extremely complex eyes. When I take students snorkeling and scuba diving, I have to warn them that organisms and objects underwater appear closer and larger than they really are (so that big, nearby shark is really smaller and farther away!). Some trilobites didn’t have that problem. They had double-lens systems that made the corrections for underwater vision, sort of “hand-crafted prescription face masks,” masterpieces of design.

        Trilobites belong to the same complex group that insects do (the arthropods). Unfortunately, no trilobites are known to be alive today. Trilobites are very famous as fossils, however, and may have a lot to tell us about how life began. As my paleontology professor, an evolutionist, said: “Never let anyone tell you a trilobite is a simple animal.”
        Suppose we could scuba dive in the ocean back when the trilobites were alive. If we compared life in the trilobite seas with what we see in the oceans today, what would we say? “Look at all the new forms of life, the increased variety and greater complexity!” No, that’s not what we would say at all. Rather, we might say, “What happened? Where did everything go? What happened to all the trilobites? Where are all the lampshells? There used to be several thousand species of lampshells (brachiopods); now only a handful are left!” We might also wonder what happened to the great nautiloids, so much bigger and more varied in the Cambrian seas than those today. Today, the only shelled squid we have is the modest pearly nautilus.

        Decline and even extinction, not evolution, is the rule when we compare fossil sea life with the sort of marine invertebrates we find living today. In fact, all major groups, except perhaps the groups including clams and snails, are represented by greater variety and more complex forms as fossils than today.

        It’s hard to imagine how absolutely crushing this evidence is to evolution. Suppose, for example, that you had a burning desire to find out where snails came from. You search the fossil evidence all over the world, all the way back to the “beginning,” the “first” abundant fossils in Cambrian deposits, and, sure enough, snails come from snails. Where did the most complex of all the invertebrates, members of the squid and octopus group, the cephalopods, come from? Again, you search through all the fossil evidence, all the way back to the very “beginning,” and, sure enough, “squids” come from “squids.” In fact, the first “squids” (cephalopods), the nautiloids, are more impressive than most modern forms. And, of course, trilobites seem only to come from trilobites. There’s no evidence they evolved from, or into, anything else.

        In other words, you find snails and squids and trilobites as fossils; you don’t find “snids” and “squails” and “squailobites,” or some other in-between form or common ancestor. The “missing links” between these groups are still missing.

        In fact, few scientists, if any, are still looking for fossil links between the major invertebrate groups. The reason is simple. All the groups appear as separate, distinct, diversified lines in the deepest fossil-rich deposits. Evolutionists are well aware of these facts, of course, and several have admitted that this “explosion” of life in Cambrian (“lower trilobite”) rock seems to favor the concept of creation.

        The sudden appearance of a multitude of complex and varied life forms at the very bottom of the fossil-rich portion of the geologic column is now routinely called the “Cambrian explosion.” A far greater variety of basic body plans is present among Cambrian fossils than among life forms along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, perhaps the richest life zone today! Evolutionists had expected life to begin with a few simple life forms thrown together by time, chance, and chemistry, and they had expected the variety and complexity of life to build gradually as natural selection culled the best from random mutational changes. Although it’s still taught, the Cambrian evidence renders this classic view flatly false!

        To a creationist, Cambrian fossils are simply the descendants of the created (and corrupted) kinds first buried in the catastrophe of Noah’s Flood. When I was a graduate student trying to decide between creation and evolution, the Cambrian fossil evidence made it very hard to believe in evolution, but very easy to accept what the Bible says about Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, and Christ.

        Evolutionists have come up with just about every explanation for the Cambrian explosion except the Biblical model. Francis Crick, the Nobel laureate who argued chemical evolution was impossible on earth and must have occurred on another planet, followed up by suggesting that the “seeds of life” arrived on earth in some sort of rocket ship that accidentally or deliberately hit the earth, giving life an explosive extra-terrestrial “jump start.”

        Many evolutionists still cling to their traditional belief that life did start slowly and gradually on earth, but that the evidence rotted away since the early forms lacked the hard parts that make the best fossils. The Cambrian explosion, then, is simply an explosion of hard parts occurring simultaneously in many different animal groups. Besides being an appeal to faith rather than an inference from science, the “hard part hypothesis” requires multiple mathematical miracles for the repeated origin of gene sets for hard parts by time-and-chance in different lines. The view also contradicts the most reasonable of all evolutionary assumptions, that complex features, like hard parts, have descended by variation from a common ancestor in which the feature originated by just one “miracle,” not many miracles after the lines diverged.

        The hard-part hypothesis also contradicts the fossil evidence. Although rare, soft parts do preserve, and, although rare, Precambrian fossils are found. What does the Precambrian soft-part evidence tell us about life before the Cambrian deposits were laid down?

        Evolutionists used to say that they would have found the ancestors of Cambrian life there if only the evidence hadn’t rotted or been destroyed by heat in the rocks. That “excuse” no longer works. Although most Precambrian rock is the igneous and metamorphic type unsuitable for fossil preservation, we have now discovered great stretches of Precambrian sedimentary rocks that could and should have preserved soft parts and the common ancestors of the diverse and complex Cambrian life—if any such evolutionary ancestors existed.

        Actually, Precambrian fossils strongly support the creation concept. My wife, Mary, and I have found soft-bodied jellyfish and members of the earthworm group (annelids) in the famous Ediacara beds of South Australia. What lessons do we learn from the “oldest” animal fossils? Once a jellyfish, always a jellyfish; once an “earthworm” (annelid), always an “earthworm.” Most people think of segmented worms as fish bait, but to a biologist, they are marvelously complex. The “lowly” earthworm, for example, has five “hearts,” a two-hemisphere brain, and a multi-organed digestive system. It looks like Precambrian animal fossils are telling us the same thing about the origin of life that Cambrian fossils are: living things look as if they were created well-designed to multiply after their kinds and to fill the earth with stupendous and soul-satisfying variety!

        Creation is also supported by our ability to use the same criteria to classify both living plants and animals and those found as fossils. Even among extinct types, we don’t find “in-between forms,” or forms that are any harder to classify (when the fossil evidence is complete enough) than plants and animals living today.
        Most people just assume that fossils and evolution go hand in hand. Some people even seem to think that “believing in” fossils is almost the same as “believing in” evolution. We’ve been so thoroughly indoctrinated with “educational” materials and entertainment touting evolution, that it’s hard even to think that fossils argue so strongly against evolution and for the Biblical outline of history.

        Could I be right about that? Is there anyone else who thinks that the fossils argue against evolution? Yes, indeed … Charles Darwin, for one. That’s right, Charles Darwin, the father of the modern concept of evolution. Darwin thought that the fossil evidence was “perhaps the most obvious and serious objection which could be urged against the theory [of evolution].” Why? Because he knew some of the same things that we know about fossils.
        Darwin’s chapter on the fossil evidence was titled “On the Imperfection of the Geologic Record.” In that chapter he dealt with “the sudden appearance” of groups of fossils in the lowest known fossil-bearing strata (the Cambrian). When it came to intermediate links (those types of fossils supposed to show how one kind of life evolved into others), Darwin wrote the following:

        … intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic change, and this is perhaps the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory [of evolution]. [Emphasis added.]

        So Darwin was faced with a conflict. Theory (evolution) and facts (fossils) didn’t agree. Which was he going to throw out, the facts or the theory? Darwin chose to throw out the facts. Normally, of course, a scientist doesn’t do that. But Darwin had reason, or at least hope, for doing so. He blamed the conflict between fact and theory on “the imperfection of the geologic record.” In his time, the science of paleontology (fossil study) was just getting under way. He hoped that as new fossil evidence was unearthed around the world, the “missing links” would be found to support his theory.

        But, it’s now well over a century since Darwin made that statement, and we’ve unearthed thousands of tons of fossils from all over the world. What does all this massive amount of evidence show? Have we found the “missing links” required to support the theory of evolution, or have we merely unearthed further evidence of variation within the created kinds?

        David Raup reviews the evidence for us. He has been the curator of the famous Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. That museum houses 20% of all fossil species known, so Raup is in a position to speak with considerable knowledge about the fossil evidence. The title of his article in the Field Museum Bulletin is “Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology,” and the thrust is repeated and expanded in a second article.2,3
        Raup starts by saying that “most people assume that fossils provide a very important part of the general argument made in favor of Darwinian interpretations of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true.” He then quotes the same passage from Darwin that I did, and points out that Darwin was “embarrassed” by the fossil evidence. He goes on to say that we now have a rich body of fossil knowledge, so that we can no longer blame the conflict between evolutionary theory and the fossil facts on the “imperfection of the geologic record.” He mentions also, as I did, that Darwin expected those gaps in his theory, those missing links, to be unearthed by future discoveries. Then Raup summarizes those discoveries:

        Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded … Ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information. [Emphasis added.]
        What a statement! Darwin said that the fossil evidence was perhaps the most obvious and serious objection against his theory. Raup is saying that 120 years of research have made the case for Darwinian evolution even worse. Raup says we have “even fewer examples” now, since new evidence has forced evolutionists to change their minds about examples, like the horse, that were once used. (For details, see the masters thesis by Walter Barnhart,4 a student of mine, and the book by Gish.5)

        Raup goes on to say that “we still have a record which does show change, but one that can hardly be looked upon as the most reasonable consequence of natural selection.” In comparing fossil forms with modern forms, we do see change all right, but it’s not the kind of change associated with natural selection. It’s simply variation within the created kinds, plus decline and even extinction, reflecting corruption and catastrophe.

        Raup is still an evolutionist, but he’s beginning to argue for “survival of the luckiest,” instead of “survival of the fittest.” Condemning with faint praise, he says, “natural selection as a process is okay. We are also pretty sure that it goes on in nature, although good examples are surprisingly rare.” Genetic studies suggest that mutation-selection could not lead to evolutionary change; the fossil evidence seems to confirm that it did not.

        Raup then tries to argue that “optimal engineering design” is the best evidence of evolution—exactly the same kind of evidence that Harvard geneticist Lewontin concedes as the best evidence of creation! One of the reasons evolution continues to survive is that paleontologists believe geneticists have the real evidence, and geneticists believe that paleontologists have the evidence, and so on around the various specialties within biology, each man passing the buck for evidence to the next man. Since professionals in different disciplines rarely talk with one another about such matters, the myth of overwhelming support for evolution continues.

        After he bemoaned the repeated failures of evolution to come to grips with the fossil evidence, paleontologist Niles Eldredge6 laments that the only alternative is “Special Creation.” As we have seen, the fossils of invertebrates, the most abundant by far of all fossils, do offer strong support for the concept of creation, specifically the Biblical concepts of Creation-Corruption-Catastrophe-Christ. But let’s look now at fossil evidence from other groups.

      • November 16, 2009 5:21 am

        But, I doubt if the other groups would matter to you. Call me a liar!

      • Barry permalink*
        November 16, 2009 8:20 am

        The proof that the Cambrian explosion occurred over tens of millions of years is well documented. I recommend the book Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould if you want to read more about the Burgess Shale, the amazing record of the explosion.

      • Barry permalink*
        November 16, 2009 8:27 am

        All transitions are not too soft-bodied to survive. I don’t have any idea where you got that from what I said. Look, pre-Cambrian life was really primitive. Of course! The Cambrian explosion marked the first time that “fossilizable” animals came into existence.

        If creationism were true, there would be one or two homo sapiens or bunny fossils in with the wiwaxia and hallucinogenia. Good luck finding them.

        As for subsequent transitional forms, read a book. There are so many, it’s crazy.

        Your insistence that they don’t exist is not an acceptable position. If you have an alternate theory about say tiktaalik or ambulocetus or austolapithacus, provide it. Otherwise, your argument is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting “la la la” when you hear something you’d rather not.

  12. November 15, 2009 1:17 am

    Barry,

    Since the main title of this blog had to do with lying to Nazis to save Jewish lives, or any others, I thought it appropriate to include this copy of a comment I sent to AIG. Since you are not a Christian, there will be things hard to understand, but at least I wanted you and others to know there are many of us believers who endeavor to handle the Bible accurately. Thanks.

    Dear AIG,

    I am responding to Bodie Hodge’s exchange about lying to Nazi’s to save lives of Jews. Would you respectfully pass this on to Bodie? I did not know how else to contact him but this way. He did not have his email address posted, nor did I find any other AIG email address.

    My wife and I are founding members of the Creation Museum, have visited twice, plan on visiting as often as we can in the future, have many AIG videos and other materials, and thank God for what you are doing. Your outreach is linked more than once on our church’s site.

    I do have concerns about Bodie’s dialogue with another writer. There have been non-Christians on the web who have, as they are prone to do, essentially cut down all of AIG as immoral and Christians as idiots. Wrong? Yes. But I can understand their thinking.

    And we as believers must understand those we save from death, or do not, may not be believers ready for eternity, whereas they may become believers if we saved their lives. Please keep that in mind in relation to the idea that we all die anyway due to sin, as your article noted, or words similar. But again, this is lying solely to save someone from imminent criminal or wartime death. Also, to use Stephen’s defense of the Faith when he could have lied does not, in any way, fit this argument. Why not say the same for any or all martyred Christians? That is an entirely different matter. They were standing for the Gospel alone, and not standing in front of a door to protect a physical life.

    The psalmist said in his alarm that all men are liars. This is true. In fact, I believe the battle between the sinful nature and the Spirit Paul wrote of in Romans 7, is in large part a battle not to lie to ourselves, God, or others. The Spirit is the Spirit of truth, so I trust you catch my drift here. And Paul even said he failed many times. Now, some may say this was an expression of Paul’s pre-conversion experience; but the context does not allow it, especially the way Paul transitions into Romans 8 with “no condemnation” for we who are in Christ in spite of our failings.

    Another point. In Galatians Paul came down strong on legalisms. It doesn’t matter which ones. They were trying to perfect themselves by the Law, period. And they were under a curse because of it. Christ is the end of the Law for we who believe, Paul teaches. But what I am trying to say here is that legalism is a lie, too; it is lying about the absolute sufficiency of the finished work of the cross for our justification and sanctification for time and eternity. It is a kind of lie to not rely on the Spirit of grace and holiness, and instead rely on Law or legalisms. As Paul said to the Corinthians, when with them he determined to be concerned about nothing but “Christ crucified.”

    So, free to lie? Of course we are not. I hate lying. But what is also untruthful is to even entertain words to others about what may or may not have happened during the incident with the Hebrew mid-wives that is not written there. Its reasonable conclusion (and Romans 12 tells us God’s will is reasonable, based on what is written; not on what is not written), is that the mid-wives said something not true to save the Israelite’s babies. That is it. Nothing more needs to be said, or should be said, lest we lie by having others think the mid-wives may have been thinking something they were not. It was not written. I am sorry to say, but this is a kind of lie, too. The Word of God admonishes us not to go beyond what is written. And even though Bodie did not say his explanation was written in Scripture, still, especially for immature minds, they may say “yes” to his explanation due to their respect of Bodie, when it was not so.

    The only reasonable conclusion based solely on what is written? The mid-wives lied to save Israelite lives. That’s all. God in his mercy and grace, even during those times, was not about to punish them for it. Quite the contrary. Due to the serious time and nature of a deliverance event that would unfold through the baby Moses, God blessed the mid-wives. It does not say for the lie, but for their courage in saving those most important lives. Today, we are not at all under Law, but under grace. If Bodie’s family was in danger of imminent death, I would, yes, lie to save their lives if I knew my lie would do so; or even most likely would do so. Bodie would thank me and God as he embraced his wife and children once again.

    But, a very serious point here. Unbelievers read things like this, take what they cherry pick out of it, and use it against us. The NT teaches our conduct and speech is to be blameless before unbelievers so they have nothing to charge us with. And this includes getting into unbiblical suppositions about those who in fact did lie and God never so much as rebuked them for it, due to the time and context and deliverance purposes. I believe this is a legalism that makes us Christians look, well, as was cited above. (And other lies happened in Scripture, too, for similar purposes, with not so much as a rebuke from God because it was during a powerfully important purpose.)

    And, please, the account in Acts where the two died instantly before Peter should not have been part of the argument. This was a lie before Apostolic Authority when the Gospel’s reputation was at stake in a very significant way in that early Church. God does not smite believers that way today for lying. He will convict them. If they are listening, they will confess. God thoroughly forgives (I John 1:9). They will confess to the one lied to. God is honored and they continue the journey with Him. As James says, we all stumble in many different ways. Sin is sin. Now, if we refuse to repent, God can discipline His own in any way he chooses; but it will be most loving and fatherly and just and for our holiness. But not as part of a serious death sign today meant under direct Apostolic Authority shunned when the Scriptures were still being formulated, as with those lying before Peter and the Church. So very much was to follow in the Epistles concerning how God relates to the Church at large later on, and right up to today, in what is now this age of grace. This also really comes down to rightly dividing the Word of Truth, too.

    I praise Him for His patience and grace and mercy and long-suffering with me. I pray this is helpful both now and in the future.

    God bless you. My wife and I will be praying for your wonderful ministries in the days to come.

    Sincerely in His grace,

    Steve Sorensen, Pastor
    Community Bible Church
    Highland, Maryland

    http://www.BibleChurch.US

    • Barry permalink*
      November 15, 2009 11:33 am

      I’ll be interested to hear what Bodie Hodge has to say.

      • November 15, 2009 8:04 pm

        I will let you know if he responds and if so, how he responds to the main premise.

  13. November 15, 2009 11:51 pm

    The “Law” item was simply my response to someone else on this post. And I plan on looking into those other items.

    Perhaps you have read my response to Korbie earlier this evening on c-14 and diamonds.

    • Barry permalink*
      November 15, 2009 11:57 pm

      Yeah. I am not scolding you, Steve. Just trying to keep things orderly so we can have a focused discussion.

  14. November 16, 2009 3:30 am

    Here’s a fine bioinfomatics response for ya!

    From the University of Montreal comes “another argument against intelligent design,” if the press releases can be believed.
    Québécois and French researchers have published a new study in Nature postulating the characteristics of the so-called “Last Universal Common Ancestor” of all life, or LUCA. But the press release notes that the “3.8-billion-year-old organism was not the creature usually imagined” and that the study “changes ideas of early life on Earth.”
    But just how, you ask? Study coauthor Nicolas Lartillot, a professor of bioinformatics at the University of Montreal, reports, “It is generally believed that LUCA was a heat-loving or hyperthermophilic organism. . . . However, our data suggests that LUCA was actually sensitive to warmer temperatures and lived in a climate below 50 degrees.”
    And what data is that, you ask? Lartillot continues, “We identified common genetic traits between animals, plant, bacteria, and used them to create a tree of life with branches representing separate species. These all stemmed from the same trunk—LUCA, the genetic makeup that we then further characterized.” In other words, whatever we all have in common, that must have been what LUCA was.
    According to the release, the research supports the idea that earliest life on earth used RNA as opposed to DNA, though the release doesn’t explain how. But there’s a twist, as the release reveals:
    RNA is particularly sensitive to heat and is unlikely to be stable in the hot temperatures of the early Earth. The data of Dr. Lartillot with his collaborators indicate that LUCA found a cooler micro-climate to develop, which helps resolve this paradox and shows that environmental micro domains played a critical role in the development of life on Earth.
    What it sounds like to us is that the evolution-driven conclusions of these researchers run completely contrary to what evolutionists believe about the early earth. To solve the problem, they posit cooler “micro-climates,” without any evidence, that conveniently bypass the contradiction. Now that takes faith!
    So far even the most widely accepted evolutionary scenarios for the origin of life rely completely on imagination and guesswork and are wholly based on presupposing that life evolved (e.g., by extrapolating back to the supposed LUCA). That actually doesn’t surprise us; when dealing with the unrepeatable past, operations science (experiments, repeatable results, falsifiable hypotheses) doesn’t work. It all comes down to presupposed stories about the past.

    • November 16, 2009 4:00 am

      Here’s a great response on endogenous retroviruses for ya, too:

      Scattered in human and animal genomes are a class of repetitious genetic elements called endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), which bear sequence homology to retroviral genomes. They constitute about 8% of the human genome. Evolutionists assume that all endogenous retroviruses are remnants of germ line infection by exogenous retroviruses. However, the essential beneficial function of some ERVs and complex interaction between ERVs and other host DNA sequences suggest that some retroviruses were created in the cell as part of the host genome. The original ERV elements were endowed with the ability to package themselves in proteins and lipids and leave the host cell as infectious particles. Thus we speculate exogenous retroviruses were derived from endogenous retroviruses (exogenization, as opposed to endogenization). The ability of retroviruses to transpose within the host cell or to infect another host may have been designed for protein-coding, for gene regulation, and for DNA repair by homologous and non-homologous recombination. After the Fall, retroviral elements have been degraded by mutations. Retroviral insertion into the host genome also became deregulated, causing insertional mutagenesis. Deregulation of exogenous retroviruses resulted in pathogenesis.

      The Problem of ERVs

      Retroviridae is a family of enveloped RNA viruses that utilize reverse transcription during their replication cycle and integrate their DNA genome into host cell chromosomes. The integrated viral DNA (provirus) is characterized by long terminal repeats (LTR) flanking gag, pro, pol, and env genes. Some genera, the complex retroviruses, encode accessory nonstructural proteins such as rev, tat, etc., by alternative splicing.

      Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are DNA sequences in eukaryotic genomes that are homologous to proviruses in gene sequences and organization. Some are capable of packaging RNA genomes into viral particles for intracellular transposition or intercellular transmission. However, most ERVs, especially human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), contain premature stop codons, frameshifts, substitutions, and deletions, so that they are incapable of expression, let alone transposition and transmission (Belshaw et al. 2005).

      Most biologists assume endogenous retroviruses are remnants of ancestral germ line infections (Belshaw et al. 2005). Since humans and primates share similar ERVs, not only in sequence but also in position, it is assumed that exogenous retroviruses infected the common ancestor of both (Belshaw et al. 2005; Bonnaud et al. 2005). The best alternative explanation is that orthologous ERVs were created to occupy similar genomic loci in separate species by a single designer to carry out similar physiological functions.

      If ERVs were created in the cell in the beginning, at least some exogenous retroviruses may have been derived from endogenous viruses when viral particles were released from the cell by budding—exogenization. While the ability to exit the host cell and transmit between individuals is designed, uncontrolled infection and deregulated insertion of retroviruses have caused much havoc in the post-Fall world.

      And God Saw That It Was Good

      Beneficial functions of ERVs

      Geneticists are increasingly aware of the beneficial functions of transposable elements, including ERVs, for the host cell. ERVs are known to be involved in a wide range of physiological processes of the host. (1) Direct coding of proteins. ERVs are highly expressed in reproductive tissues (ovaries, testes, placenta, etc.) and the early embryo. There is a confirmed case of essential ERV function, that is, syncytins, encoded by the env gene of ERVs in human, apes, sheep, and rodents. For exogenous retroviruses, the fusogenic property of the env glycoprotein causes membrane fusion between the viral envelope and the host cell membrane, enabling the viral core to enter the cell. Cells infected by a retrovirus may fuse with one another since env products are expressed on host cell membrane before viral release. The env product of ERVWE1 and ERV-FRD of human and primates, as well as the endogenous Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (enJSRV) in sheep and similar ERVs in mice, are expressed on the membrane of trophoblast cells during early embryonic development, leading to cell fusion and formation of syncytiotrophoblast, which is essential for the production of chorionic gonadotropin and development of the placenta. Sheep embryos in which syncytin production is inhibited by antisense oligonucleotides were aborted.

      Beside cell fusion, another possible function of ERV proteins is the role of the env glycoprotein in maternal tolerance of the semiallogeneic fetus. Many retroviral env proteins contain a conserved immunosuppressive domain. The human syncytin-2 and the murine syncytin-B have both been shown to be immunosuppressive. In addition, the transmembrane subunit of Molony murine leukemia virus as well as the full-length env protein of HERV-H were able to protect engrafted allogeneic tumor from host immunity in laboratory mice. If as claimed, these sequences were exploited de novo after endogenization of an ERV (exaptation), a burden of proof lies on evolutionists to demonstrate such vital functions could ever arise without catastrophe to the host.

      ERVs, especially their LTR, may provide regulatory sequences for nearby genes (Conley, Piriyapongsa, and Jordan 2008). Multiplicity of ERV copies offers synchronized regulation of interspersed genes (regulatory suites); while transposition of ERVs confers flexibility to the genome, reshaping it at different stages of life and in different environments). The former is exemplified by the finding that ERVs offer alternative promoters and first exons for a significant proportion of genes expressed in the oocyte and early embryonic cells of the mouse, while the latter is seen in yeast Ty elements, which are more actively transposing than animal ERVs.

      The yeast Ty elements are homologous to animal ERVs, except they do not have an env gene and therefore are never transmitted between cells. Like many ERVs, the Ty1 elements are activated during sexual reproduction. Most Ty elements are repressed in diploid cells. In haploid cells, Ty3 and Ty5 are mobilized by pheromones through multiple pheromone-response elements in their 5′ LTR). Since the yeast does not form complex reproductive structures such as the placenta, the role of Ty elements in sexual reproduction should be either for gene regulation or for DNA recombination. In addition, the Ty1 elements are mobilized under nutrient depletion to induce invasive/filamentous growth. Interestingly, Ty1 contains a filamentous responsive element (FRE) superimposed on the coding sequence of a structural gene (TY1A, a homolog of gag), and the FRE responds to specific transcription factors of the cell to activate cellular genes downstream of the insertion site. Because the FRE sequence is multifunctional (both coding and regulatory), it is multiply constrained, which undermines the proposal that FRE may have evolved within a proviral gene.

      The pol polyprotein of ERVs, which includes the reverse transcriptase, integrase, etc., is essential for retrotransposition. In the case of yeast Ty elements, the viral capsid proteins (homologues of gag products) are also essential for mobilization, as they form the virus-like particle (VLP), in which reverse transcription occurs. The capsid proteins may also guide and protect the cDNA before integration.

      ERV activities are often associated with DNA damages and play a role in repair mechanisms. It has been shown that ERVs are activated when the cell is irradiated with UV or treated with chemical mutagens). One piece of evidence that ERVs are involved in DNA repair is that ERV fragments, including entire LTRs, are sometimes captured between reconnected ends of double-strand breaks. (This indicates that not all solo LTRs are results of ERV deletions). Since double-strand breaks are involved in important cellular functions such as meiotic recombination, the availability of ERVs and other repetitious elements in certain chromosomal regions may constitute the structural basis of recombinational hotspots. In addition, newly synthesized cDNA of the yeast Ty elements are known to recombine with pre-existing elements based on sequence homology. This process can effectively repair degenerated ERV elements. The same mechanism of recombinational repair of ERVs may also exist in human and animals. The env gene is the best preserved structural gene in many human and animals ERVs. Enabling intercellular transmission of retroviruses, the env gene provides a mechanism for cells to repair ERV genes using an exogenous virus. Without the env gene (for example, intracisternal A-type particles of mouse whose env gene has been degraded), ERVs can only repair each other within the same cell by RNA-mediated gene conversion.

      Obviously, recombination between proviral elements at non-homologous chromosomal positions (ectopic recombination) will create large-scale chromosomal rearrangements. This is rare, presumably prevented by separation of chromosomal domains within the nucleus and recombination control mechanisms.

      Viruses may occasionally package genetic fragments of the host cell into progeny viral particles and carry them into a new host or to new loci within the same host genome, a process known as transduction. The avian leukosis virus (ALV) can transduce small RNA genes between hosts. Some members of HERV-K14I are found to carry portions of a cellular gene called transient receptor potential channel 6 (TRPC6), and is probably responsible for the spreading of the sequences in the human genome. While viral transduction is an important mechanism of horizontal gene transfer in bacteria, the biological significance of retroviral transduction in eukaryotes is unclear.

      If an ERV is expressed in a cell, re-infection by a related exogenous retrovirus is prevented through interference. The env protein of an ERV that is inserted into the cell membrane will interfere with the corresponding exogenous virus by receptor competition. This protects the cell from being overloaded with retroviruses. For example, enJSRVs can block the entry of exogenous JSRVs because they all utilize the cellular hyaluronidase-2 as a receptor (Spencer et al. 2003). It is noteworthy that defective ERVs are no less interfering. Two enJSRVs, enJS56A1 and enJSRV-20, contain a mutant gag polyprotein that can interfere with the late stage replication of exogenous JSRVs). Thus interference between defective and replication-competent retroviruses provides an important mechanism of ERV copy number control.

      Regulation of ERVs by the cell

      Complex collaborations between ERVs and other components of the eukaryotic genome further argue for the creation of ERVs as parts of the cell. In the case of human syncytin-1, sequences from another ERV, MaLR, provides a placenta-specific enhancer, which, in collaboration with the LTR of ERVWE1 itself, regulates the temporal and spatial expression of the syncytin. While the regulatory sequences are targets of general and placenta-specific transcription factors, syncytin proteins must recognize the right membrane receptor to induce fusion of cytotrophoblasts. All of these viral and non-viral factors must be present simultaneously for placenta development.

      Transposition of yeast Ty elements occurs at a fairly low frequency, and is activated by cellular and environmental signals such as DNA damage, nutrient depletion, and pheromones. Transposition of ERVs in modern human genomes is rarely documented, if it occurs at all. Activities of human and animal ERVs are primarily regulated at the transcription level. Just as the LTR of some yeast Ty elements contains pheromone responsive elements, the LTR of some HERVs contains putative steroid response elements. Transcription of HERVs responds to sex hormones, demonstrating a temporal pattern during the menstrual cycle of a female. Epigenetic control also plays a key role in the regulation of ERVs. Global demethylation and remethylation of the cellular genome during gametogenesis and early embryotic development leave a window of ERV de-repression. Transposition during gametogenesis is less detrimental to the host species, because of the overwhelming surplus of gametes, especially sperms.

      It has been noticed recently that integration of human and animal retroviruses into the host genome is not entirely random. For example, the murine leukemia virus prefers transcription start sites, while the human immunodeficiency virus prefers to insert in actively transcribed genes. While the preferred sites of modern pathogenic retroviruses may have deviated from the intended targets at the time of their creation, the phenomenon does suggest precise insertion as a designed feature of retroviruses. The yeast Ty elements demonstrate even stricter target site preference. Some Ty elements reside upstream of genes transcribed by the eukaryotic RNA polymerase III (Pol III), such as tRNA genes; others are found in heterochromatin regions such as telomeres. Targeting of Ty3 requires interaction between Pol III transcription factors (TFIIIB and TFIIIC) and the viral integrase, while insertion of Ty5 involves interaction between a chromatin structural protein (Sir4) and the integrase. Even the orientation of Ty insertion is specified by host proteins. Insertion within heterochromatin represses transcription of the Ty elements, which runs contrary to the conception that retroposons are “selfish” elements whose only goal is to increase their own copy numbers at the cost of the host cell. Directed integration may also partially explain the positional “conservation” of orthologous ERVs in human and primate genomes.

      Another aspect of ERV regulation is copy number control. There is a genome-stabilization mechanism known as homology-dependent gene silencing (also called cosuppression) that inhibits the mobility of transposable elements as their copy numbers increase. As mentioned above, expressed ERVs can interfere with re-infection of corresponding exogenous retroviruses thereby preventing further endogenization. Ty elements exhibit strong cosuppression even without transcription of the suppressing element, through a mechanism that may involve direct Ty-Ty interactions.

      A Tale of Two ERV “Cousins”

      The findings of comparative genomics around the syncytin-1 loci is especially challenging to creationists. The gene is well conserved among hominoids— humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons, but not in the Old World Monkeys (OWMs, also known as Cercopithecidae, such as baboons and rhesus monkeys) or New World Monkeys (NWMs, also known as Platyrrhines, such as marmosets and galagoes). While it is conceivable that monkeys use mechanisms of placenta development that are different from those of the hominoids, what is most puzzling is that OWMs do have an orthologous ERV-W element but it has been degraded by nonsense mutations and frameshifts, and therefore not encoding an active syncytin protein. So it appears that an ERV-W provirus “integrated into the germ line of a Catarrhine ancestor,” that is, a common ancestor of Cercopitheques and hominoids, followed by “two different evolutionary pathways in Cercopithecidae and hominoids, a genetic drift versus domestication, respectively”. So the presence of an inactivated ERV-W in OWMs simultaneously argues for the idea that ERVs are optional add-ins to the primate genome and the idea that humans and monkeys have a common Catarrhine ancestor!

      But is the monkey ERV-W really nonfunctional? A study of up-regulated genes in the endometrium of female rhesus monkeys during their monthly window of receptivity identified a transcript that is 92% identical to the human syncytin-1. The temporal pattern of its expression indicates a function of the element in simian reproduction, even though it cannot be translated into a complete protein. Many genes in the genome are transcribed but not translated. Apparently degraded open reading frames do not necessarily mean junk sequences. Most DNA sequences in the genome are multifunctional. Besides encoding RNA or proteins, they must simultaneously form genome-wide patterns such as nucleosome binding sites, which is probably another reason that ERVs must be repetitious.

      So the ERV-W elements in OWMs and hominoids are not necessarily related by descent, but are created to perform related functions in different primate families. This view is supported by another related finding of an ERV-H element immediately upstream of the ERV-W element. Unlike the ERV-W, the ERV-H element is present in NWMs, as well as in Catarrhines. However, the element is so different between Platyrrhines and Catarrhines that different symbols, ERV-H(p) and ERV-H(c), are used, and they are considered “lineage specific,” implying independent origins. So even evolutionists sometimes acknowledge that orthologous sequences at similar loci are not necessarily phylogenetic twins.

      Monkeys’ placentas require syncytiotrophoblasts. There is another syncytin gene, syncytin-2, encoded by the env protein of ERV-FRD, which is conserved in human, apes, OWMs, and NWMs. Syncytin-2 has immunosuppressive as well as fusogenic properties, suggesting its involvement in maternal tolerance of the fetus; while syncytin-1 is only fusogenic. Like many other physiological processes, cell fusion during placenta development is designed to be accomplished by redundant genes. In addition to syncytin-2, monkeys may have other syncytins encoded by genes in different loci. Interestingly, mice also have two syncytins (syncytin-A and B), encoded by ERVs that are not orthologous to ERVWE1 or ERV-FRD. One of them (syncytin-B) is immunosuppressive, and the other (syncytin-A) is not. Syncytin is encoded by yet another unrelated ERV, enJSRV, in sheep. Because the lack of syncytin homology does not support common ancestry of rodents, ruminants, and primates, evolutionists tautologously describe this as convergent evolution. It is better understood as a common placentation blueprint employing multiple ERVs in multiple mammalian orders.

      “Spontaneous Generation” of Retroviruses

      If ERVs were indeed created in the beginning, were modern exogenous retroviruses derived from ERVs? The concept of exogenization is not new. Prions have been thought to arise from mutation of a normal cellular gene, and the mutated form can then be transmitted horizontally to another host. Early in the quest for endogenous retroviruses, it was discovered that treating normal chicken cells with ionizing radiation or carcinogens stimulated the release of infectious ALV. Likewise, the murine leukemia virus (MLV) can be induced from virus-free cell cultures chemically. The switch between horizontal and vertical (genetic) transmission of retroviruses present a chicken-egg enigma of origins. Since ERVs are shown to be integral functional parts of cellular genomes, endogenous viruses predate exogenous ones, although simultaneous creation of endogenous and extracellular viruses cannot be ruled out.

      The biggest challenge to the idea of exogenization is that exogenous retroviruses include groups of complex retroviruses which have no endogenous counterparts. The fifth edition of Field’s virology lists seven retroviral genera, namely, Alpharetrovirus, Betaretrovirus, Gammaretrovirus, Deltaretrovirus, Epsilonretrovirus, Lentivirus, and Spumavirus. The first three genera are considered simple retroviruses, while the rest are considered complex. Complex retroviruses have small accessory proteins encoded by alternatively spliced transcripts that are absent in simple retroviruses, such as rex and tax of Deltaretrovirus, tat, rev, vpr, vpu, vif and nef of Lentivirus, tas/bel-1 and bet of Spumavirus. These accessory proteins are nonstructural proteins involved in viral replication or pathogenesis.

      There are three classes of HERVs corresponding to Betaretrovirus, Gammaretrovirus and Spumavirus, most of which are simple viruses. HERV-L, which is related to Spumavirus, does not have a detectable env gene, let alone accessory genes which are typically encoded by alternatively spliced env transcripts. No HERVs are found in the other retroviral genera, even though these genera include exogenous human viruses. For example, there are no endogenous human lentiviruses, even though HIV is the best known exogenous human retrovirus. How might the exogenization hypothesis explain the origin of some complex retroviruses with their accessory proteins?

      First, some HERVs do encode accessory proteins. Even though HERV-Ks are homologous to Betaretrovirus, they encode an accessory protein called rec, whose function is analogous to rex of Deltaretrovirus and rev of Lentivirus, transporting unspliced and singly spliced viral transcripts out of the nucleus for translation (Magin-Lackmann et al 2001). Rec may not be the direct ancestor of rex or rev, but it proves that ERVs are not necessarily simple, and they may contain, or did contain, ancestral accessory genes. Second, there are complex ERVs in animals. Recently, an endogenous lentivirus was discovered in European rabbits. The element contains tat and rev in locations similar to those of exogenous lentiviruses. Most other features of Lentivirus are also well preserved, including the rev responsive element. Katzourakis et al stated,

      Based upon the above, it is tempting to speculate that lentiviruses in rabbits, or perhaps other, related lagomorphs, might represent the precursors of modern exogenous lentiviruses. In accordance with this idea, the ancestral geographic range of the European rabbit (southern Europe and northwest Africa) overlaps that of many species now harboring exogenous lentiviruses, including cattle, horses, and (wild) cats.
      So the hypothesis of exogenization depends on cross-species infection of retroviruses. This is not a new idea either, since HIV has long been speculated to be derived from simian immunodeficiency viruses. There are numerous cases of non-parallel relationships between the phylogeny of the ERVs and the phylogeny of the host species. In a study of ERV-W LTRs in hominoids, the LTRs did not cluster according to host species, but demonstrated a wide overlap across species. One LTR element was 100% identical between orangutan and gibbon sequences. The authors of the report explained these findings as evidences of “independent evolution” between host and viruses. Moreover, there are indications of ERVs jumping across host species over large taxa spans. For instance, the baboon ERV, BaEV, is very closely related to the endogenous RD114 virus in cats by antigenicity and sequence homology. Likewise, the koala endogenous retrovirus, KoRV, is highly similar to the gibbon endogenous retrovirus, GaRV. There is even a type of ERVs, known as xenotropic viruses, which do not readily re-infect cells of their own host, but prefer cells of other species in vitro and in vivo. For example, the endogenous ALV of chickens prefers cells of quail, pheasants, and turkey to chicken cells. Xenotrophic ERVs may have been created to exchange genetic elements between species, but their ecological significance remains unclear.

      “Thou shalt surely die.”

      Degeneration

      In his book Genetic entropy and the mystery of the genome, Dr. John Sanford pointed out the degeneration of genomes and predicted the extinction of the human race. So the apparent degeneration of ERV elements in vertebrate genomes is real. All known HERVs show varying degrees of deletions and substitutions. Oftentimes, the original viral genes are mutated beyond recognition. Analysis of non-synonymous and synonymous mutations showed that HERV elements have been subjected to purifying selection. Selection may be on the level of the virus, for the propagation of the fittest virus, or on the level of the host, for the preservation of the fittest host. For those ERVs whose genes are only partially preserved, such as ERVWE1, selection seems to be based on their benefit to the host. Homologous recombination between degraded ERV genes and nascent cDNA of replication-competent retroviruses may have slowed down the degeneration of ERVs. Since selection on replicating viruses is more affordable, simultaneous existence of exogenous retroviruses provides a means to preserve ERV genes.

      Global degeneration of ERVs is attested to by efforts to regenerate HERV-K(HML-2). Lee and Bieniasz first attempted to generate an infectious HERV-K113, an element that has intact open reading frames (ORFs). However, as they tried to express the viral structural proteins with plasmid constructs, the proteins were poorly expressed and inefficiently processed, leading them to conclude that intact ORFs do not mean intact functions. Later they took a different approach, based on the assumption that all ERV elements have sustained random mutations. By aligning ten relatively intact HERV-K(HML2) elements, including HERV-K113, they generated a consensus sequence and artificially synthesized a presumed “ancestral ERV” (HERVK CON), which proved to be infectious! Viral particles were released from the packaging cell line, and were able to form loci in target cells. Therefore, it appears that at least some HERV elements were created to be infectious.

      Degeneration of host and viral genomes has led to deregulation of ERVs. For example, some vitamin-synthesizing genes in the human genome have degenerated, leading to our dependence on dietary vitamins. There is a report that modification of histones in human and mouse cells by a vitamin (biotin) suppresses the transcription of ERV elements, and deficiency of the vitamin enhances ERV activities in human and Drosophila, destabilizing chromosomes in cell cultures. As to Ty elements, mutation of diverse yeast genes that affect chromatin structure/function de-represses their transposition. In addition to enhanced activities, imprecise, random, or even perverted ERV insertions in the post-Fall world would be expected to cause devastating mutations, which we now briefly consider.

      Pathogenesis

      Retroviral activities after the Fall disrupt cellular functions. From the time they were discovered, retroviruses have been known to carry oncogenes which directly cause cancer in the infected host. Endogenous retroviruses in modern genomes are generally oriented away from genes, on the complementary strand of DNA antisense to genes, or in introns. This may be due to design rather than selection, and it implies the detrimental nature of random insertions. There might have been perfectly controlled retrotransposition in the beginning, but afterwards deregulated retroviral insertions have been linked to mutations and carcinogenesis. In one report, the 3′ LTR of a retroviral gene inserted in the c-Ha-ras proto-oncogene of rat caused over-expression of the gene and was responsible for development of mammary cancer. In this case, the carcinogen, MNU, worked through activation of the endogenous retroviral element. Moreover, it has been proven in transgenic mice that retroviral insertion can cause recessive lethal mutations. In humans, HERV-K was once called human teratocarcinoma-derived virus (HTDV) because viral particles were first observed in human teratocarcinoma cell lines. There are other evidences of HERV involvement in human cancer, although the causal relationship between retroviral activation and carcinogenesis is still foggy. HERV activity has also been connected to autoimmune diseases.

      Re-endogenization

      Why are murine and avian ERVs more intact than HERVs? Infectious ALV and MLV can be activated from normal animal cells by mere radiation or chemical treatment, while it took great efforts to generate an infectious HERV. Are animal ERVs really younger? At least some animal ERVs should be just as old as HERVs, such as those that encode syncytin-A and B of Muridae. Indeed, the ERVs containing syncytin-A and B are both of single copy and “extremely degenerate,” without recognizable gag, with short pol stretches and solitary LTRs. Despite that the mouse genomes is littered with abundant ERVs, few are currently known to be beneficial. So it is possible that some of the ERV categories, especially the more intact ones, are results of recent invasions. It has been demonstrated that MLVs that infect the ovary or embryo can be endogenized and transmitted as Mendelian genes. Many HERV loci exhibit allelic frequency polymorphism and positional polymorphism, which may reflect recent proliferation of ERV elements, whether by re-infection of germ line or retrotransposition. Re-endogenization of exogenized retroviruses may not have been harmful before the Fall if proviral insertion was precisely controlled, but genomic insertion of modern exogenous retroviruses, especially deregulated insertion of fallen viruses from a different species against which there is no immunity, should now be mostly destructive. Evolutionists coined the words “molecular domestication” to account for the beneficial function of ERVs after supposedly random endogenization. While this cannot be totally ruled out, it is an exaggeration of its creative power to say “humans are descended from viruses as well as from apes”.

      ERVs were created to encode co-regulated proteins and to regulate dispersed host genes. Retrotransposition adds to the flexibility of the cellular genome, while intercellular transmission enables ERVs in horizontal gene transfer and homologous repair. Common design and controlled activities may explain the similarities between human and primate ERVs, while deregulation in viral replication and integration is responsible for the pathogenesis of modern retroviruses. Re-endogenization of degenerated exogenous retroviruses is mostly detrimental.

      Predictions and Expectations

      (1) Despite massive degeneration since the Fall, creationists expect to find more examples of complex, interdependent functions between ERVs and the host genome, which challenges the conception that ERVs are add-ins to pre-existing genomes.

      (2) Discoveries are expected concerning the details of the interaction between ERVs and host cell DNA repair and maintenance, which would not be anticipated if ERVs were originally “selfish” exogenous entities.

      (3) We expect more examples of degenerate and impaired functions, which may be repaired or restored by relatively small modifications (as with HERV-KCON).

      (4) In line with their original design, creationists anticipate more examples of functional gene transfer by retroviruses between cells of the same host, between members of the same species, and possibly even between different species.

      • November 16, 2009 4:17 am

        And on lack of valuable work done by creationists to further the understanding of origins? Oh please. I am not convinced you would care if more were given that could persuade you. Actually, there is so much out there. I could send you so many places. However, do you have a quite specific question in this regard? I could try. Sigh……..

        Say, do you know how that first bit of matter got here? Do you know how the very first living cell got here? (please, let’s not take a ride on the backs of crystals) Do you know why scientists do not know what 90-some % of the universe consists of and so they call it dark matter or dark energy? Do you know that, truthfully, no one really knows what quasars are? It could go on. Gamma ray bursts? It could go on. The time light travel distance problem for big bangers? It could go on. But I will stop for now.

        But ya see, if there is a God (and there is), he will have created in ways we cannot fathom; and he would hold things together in ways we could not fathom because our searching would be limited because we are his creations with limitations extreme; but we have a conscience to give him thanks or not. Many choose not and they will be unthankful forever . . . literally. His eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so they (you?) are without excuse. God is really known, but there is this refusal to honor him as God or give him thanks. God will have to refuse them on that day because he is a good and just God. Like Dylan sings in Ain’t Talkin’ (but of course he is in his lyrics): “The suffering is unending. Every nook and cranny has it’s tears. I’m not playing, I’m not pretending. I’m not nursing any superfluous fears.” So, all this is really, really serious stuff; for time . . . and eternity.

      • Barry permalink*
        November 16, 2009 8:16 am

        Steven,

        Please tell me about a creationist laboratory, studying creationism, producing results with practical applications. Or, if you can’t do that, how about a creationist experiment that rivals Richard Lenski’s long-term, thorough documentation of useful evolutionary change occurring without intelligent direction in a laboratory?

        You go on to list a bunch of unanswered questions. Of course I don’t have the answer to them! I am just some guy. But, I am a guy who sees you plugging “god” in as an answer to these questions without data to back it up. You’re making a god of the gaps argument. That’s treading on some dangerous ground; essentially you’re banking on no naturalistic answer being found for any of your questions. By tying that to god, you need to figure out where to push god back to when those questions are answered. If history could teach you one thing, it’s not to be against science.

        With the exception of the origin of the cell, every quandary you posed is entirely irrelevant to evolution itself. As I have pointed out before, it’s so common for creationists to lash out wildly at various scientific disciplines rather than to specifically focus on evolution, which is the change in allele frequency over time. You may wonder why people characterize creationists as antiscience. This is it, Steve. You have accused physics and astronomy of fudging the speed of light, an extraordinarily well-understood concept, in order to make your story look better. You offer god as a conclusory answer to the many important questions that should be asked about dark matter. This is not an invitation to progress, it’s an invitation to give up. Oh, god did it! I guess I don’t need to study that mystery anymore.

        Am I thankful that I exist? Yes. I am thankful to my parents, their parents, and so on. The people who actually contributed to my existence. If you want to add a merciful, wrathful “spirit on the water” into the list of entities to which you’re thankful, be my guest. But don’t shit all over science in the process.

      • Barry permalink*
        November 16, 2009 8:47 am

        Commenting on this thread is now closed. It’ss simply too hard to follow. Let’s move the conversation over to this new thread: http://wp.me/pwYH6-nw. Please take a look at the rules over there before posting.

    • Barry permalink*
      November 16, 2009 4:01 am

      Let me get this straight. You are taking one study, saying its findings are incomplete – that they essentially form a hypothesis upon which further research is warranted- and saying that this is a valid refutation of the entire field of bioinformatics? Um. No. Try again.

      • November 16, 2009 4:49 am

        Ok. Here’s more on bioinfomatics. I try again. But what are you doing?

        History of “junk” DNA
        A geneticist, Susumu Ohno, was the first to coin the term “junk” DNA in 1972.1 He used the term to refer to pseudogenes (commonly thought of as defunct relatives of known genes that do not code for proteins), but with time its meaning broadened to include all non-coding DNA (DNA that does not contain genes and does not produce proteins).1 Ohno stated, “The earth is strewn with fossil remains of extinct species; is it a wonder that our genome too is filled with the remains of extinct genes?”1 Due to his evolutionary presupposition, he assumed that non-coding DNA was merely a “genetic fossil” that may have been useful somewhere in our evolutionary past but had been discarded as we evolved into more complex, higher organisms. Since this “junk” DNA was no longer needed, it would not be under selective pressure, and mutations could accumulate without any harm to the organism.

        Unfortunately, for many years this notion that non-coding DNA was not functional (“junk”) actually inhibited science. Many scientists didn’t spend their time studying it because of their evolutionary presuppositions that it was worthless DNA. It is rather an ironic situation, since many times creationists are accused of inhibiting science because of their presuppositions (the God-did-it-so-there’s-nothing-more-to-study idea; but in reality, it’s just the opposite—“God did it” so we have every reason to study it!). Creationists for many years have argued that non-coding DNA is not junk (see ‘Junk’ DNA: evolutionary discards or God’s tools? and “Junk” DNA Is Not Junk) because of their presupposition that God intelligently designed all DNA and it does have a purpose (granting that DNA has been negatively affected by the curse and some of its original functions may have been lost).

        ENCODE Pilot Project findings

        The ENCODE Pilot Project studied 1% of the human genome or approximately 30 million bases spread throughout the genome.2 To their surprise, the scientists discovered that much of the “junk” or non-coding DNA was actually transcribed into RNA and was functional.

        Most biology textbooks relay the genetic dogma that “one gene=one protein.” Proteins consist of a coding region and regulatory regions in the DNA. The coding region of the DNA (commonly called a gene) is transcribed into RNA (messenger RNA) and “read” to make a protein which carries out many of the functions of the cell. The regulatory regions determine many aspects of the protein production such as when the protein is made, how much is made, how long it’s made, etc. Many regulatory regions have already been identified in the DNA (typically close to the gene), but it was known that many more had to exist for the complex level of protein regulation that exists in the cells. Was it possible that this information might exist in the “junk” or non-coding DNA?

        “Junk” or non-coding DNA was not thought to be transcribed (this is typically reserved for genes); however, the ENCODE Pilot Project discovered that almost all DNA is transcribed into RNA.2 Ewan Birney, a coordinator of ENCODE at the European Bioinformatics Institute in England, states, “The genome looks like it is far more of a network of RNA transcripts that are all collaborating together. Some go off and make proteins; [and] quite a few, although we know they are there, we really do not have a good understanding of what they do.”3 It appears that many of the regulatory regions of proteins may be transcribed into RNA and serve their function as RNA (other examples exist such as microRNAs and siRNAs). Thus, rather than being linear and one dimensional the genome should be viewed as a three dimensional network (does this sound familiar—evolutionary tree vs. creationist orchard?). ENCODE discovered some of the functions of the RNA transcripts including the regulation of transcription, replication of DNA, and the structure of chromosomes (which likely plays a role in the regulation of protein production).2 This may help account for the fact that even though we only have 20,000-25,000 genes in our DNA, we produce 100,000-300,000 proteins.
        Even the definition of the word gene will need to be rewritten. A common definition of the word gene is “a section of the DNA that encodes a specific functional product (protein).”4 One group working on the ENCODE Pilot Project has suggested, “A gene is a union of genomic sequences encoding a coherent set of potentially overlapping functional products.”5 Due to the complexity of the genome, it seems a bit like trying to define the undefinable.

        What does the future hold?

        Here are just a few of the many quotes from scientists commenting on the ENCODE Pilot Project results:
        Tim Hubbard, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, “We are now seeing the majority of the rest of the genome is active to some extent.”3

        Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), “There’s a lot more going on than we thought.”6

        Eric Green, scientific director of NHGRI, “The take-home message [from the ENCODE results] is, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is really complicated.’”6

        I couldn’t agree more! As a molecular geneticist by training, I can honestly say that much of what I learned in college and graduate school will need to be completely rewritten.

        Scientists are making plans to study the remaining 99% of the genome in a similar fashion. It is hoped that studying the non-coding sequences will lead to a greater understanding of disease processes. The likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes has already been linked to mutations in non-coding sequences.6

        I read the ENCODE Pilot Project results with great enthusiasm as it spoke volumes for the complexity that the Creator God has designed and His intelligence in doing so. It also reinforced the fact that beginning with biblical presuppositions in any type of science (historical or operational) is supreme. It is interesting to ponder how much sooner this type of research might have been employed had many scientists recognized the hand of God in creating the genome rather than the cruel effects of time and chance.

        The human genome was not the only one studied by ENCODE. Part of the project involved comparing the sequences of the “junk” or non-coding DNA across 23 different mammalian species such as mouse, dog, elephant, rabbit, cow, and chimp. The scientists did this because of their belief in the evolutionary relationships (common ancestry) relating all mammals. Rick Weiss of the Washington Post states that Ewan Birney, a coordinator of ENCODE at the European Bioinformatics Institute in England, said that, “The expectation was that many of the most active DNA sequences in humans would be prevalent in other mammals, too, because evolution tends to save and reuse what works best.”1 Their expectation is that non-coding DNA will be conserved (similar in sequence among species) because it is functional—just as many of the genes (protein-coding regions) are conserved. Rather than believing in a common Designer, God, who used similar parts in different organisms, they believe in common ancestry (no God), where similar parts are “save[d] and reuse[d].”

        Surprising findings

        What they found shocked them! The ENCODE Project Consortium states, “Surprisingly, many functional elements [of the non-coding DNA] are seemingly unconstrained [not conserved] across mammalian evolution.”2 This means a large portion of the non-coding DNA among the 23 different mammalian species studied was not conserved (or similar). It appears that approximately 50% of the non-coding DNA that was found to be functional was not conserved.2 On the flip side, 40% of the non-coding DNA that was conserved has no known function.2 This 40% will be further studied because of their belief that if it is conserved, it is important and does have a function (just not one that is testable yet).2 What about the 50% that is not conserved? What explanation may account for this and what further study should be done? While explanations may abound, further study may be inhibited.

        Not “junk” DNA but “neutral” DNA

        While the scientists involved in the ENCODE Pilot Project aren’t ready to call the 50% of non-coding DNA that isn’t conserved really “junk,” they are prepared to say it’s “neutral.” The ENCODE Project Consortium states, “This suggests the possibility of a large pool of neutral elements that are biochemically active but provide no specific benefit to the organism.”2 Weiss of the Washington Post states that Birney says, “But more than half [non-coding DNA elements] were not found in other creatures, which suggests they may not be important in people, either.”1 Birney goes on to say, “I think of them as gate-crashers at a party. They appeared by chance over evolutionary time … neither to the organism’s benefit nor to its hindrance. That is quite an interesting shift in perspective for many biologists.”1 In some ways it seems we may be back to square one when it comes to the importance of “junk” or non-coding DNA. The scientists will admit it has a function, but because of their evolutionary assumptions, they assume that if it’s not conserved it’s not important. If it’s not considered important, it won’t be further funded or studied.

        However, a possible role for this “neutral” DNA has been proposed. “This pool may serve as a ‘warehouse’ for natural selection …” writes the ENCODE Project Consortium.2 Another article states, “Thus, it is plausible that many biochemically functional but biologically inert [neutral] elements exist in the human genome and provide evolutionary potential from which new functions may arise.”3 Basically the scientists are suggesting that over time and with the “help” of mutations, this “neutral” DNA could be altered to perform entirely new functions that would allow microbes to become monkeys. The problem is that mutations lead to a corruption or a loss of information, not gain, so it is doubtful that time and mutations would allow the DNA to gain a function. Even if the DNA did gain a new function, it would be due to the altering of current genetic information and not new genetic information, which is required for molecules-to-man evolution.

        Creationist view

        Most biblical creationists would not view the ENCODE Pilot Project findings as surprising but intriguing and further confirmation of what we already know to be true from the Bible. That God created humans and different “kinds” of animals (Genesis 1). We would expect the DNA between humans and the kinds of animals to be similar yet different. For example, the ENCODE Pilot Project found that the protein coding regions of DNA (genes) are more likely to be conserved among mammalian species than the regulatory regions (typically found in the non-coding DNA) controlling the production of the protein.3 It seems reasonable that God would use the same proteins (workhorses of the cell) among organisms but regulate them differently depending on the organism. Much like an artist would use the same paint colors on two different pieces of canvas but use them differently to make completely different paintings. It is also possible that the non-coding DNA among mammals was more similar at one time (part of God’s original design) but has since degenerated as a result of the Fall. A future research effort should be made to compare non-coding DNA within a kind (e.g.. tiger, lion, domestic cat within the cat kind) and between kinds (e.g., cat kind vs. dog kind). My guess is that non-coding DNA will be more similar within a kind than between kinds.

        Conclusion

        Speaking of the finding of functional non-coding DNA that is not conserved among mammals, the ENCODE Project Consortium states, “This is perhaps the biggest surprise of the pilot phase of the ENCODE Pilot Project, and suggests that we take a more ‘neutral’ view of many of the functions conferred by the genome.”2 Again because of their evolutionary assumptions that if it’s not conserved (based on the assumption that it should be because all mammals share a common ancestor) it’s not important, almost half of the junk DNA is being relegated to a category in which it may not be further studied. Once again we see evolutionary ideas inhibiting science. As creationists, “junk” DNA, whether conserved or not conserved among species, is important and should be studied. Further studies will elucidate more the awesome design of the almighty God.

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