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Archive for September, 2013

The_Creation_of_Adam

About this Series

This is the introduction to a new four-part series by one Indiana-based contributor who’s got his slant.

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This subject has been debated for many decades. At least.

One of the best known and perhaps the most seminal moment in the modern-day argument came in the Scopes trial of 1925 (formally known as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes and commonly referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial).

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, 1925

In the last fifty years, more and more scholars, not to mention every flavor of non-academic under the sun, have appeared on the debate circuit, on either side, to varying degrees of success or embarrassment, depending.

It may not be an everyday topic for everyone, but it does raise its controversial head on a fairly regular basis.

When I was a college student At Indiana State I came across a Christian scientist-scholar, Dr. Duane Gish, who really impressed me, never mind the fact that I was not to follow in his footsteps. I was impressed that he had so boldy and forcefully faced – and often faced down – his opposition. He was, perhaps at least in academic circles and creationism circles (can they possibly interlink?), the best-known.

Gish_Duane

For a bit of reading about Dr. Gish, his publications and research, and his views, go here:

http://www.icr.org/

Wikipedia

answersingenesis.org

gish - Article and Drawing Copyright 1996 Skeptic Society

There are many others. They are, most are, marginalized by any and all who don’t accept their views, of course. But their arguments haven’t gone away, and they’re not likely to. And while their arguments may have been disapproved, interestingly they have not been disproved. And so it goes.

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The Evolution-Creation Debate

By Phillip D. Sparks, PhD

You have not heard too much about this controversy recently, but it is a big factor in our mental health. I have been asked by a group here in Indianapolis to join them in their seminar presentations to churches. Churches are losing their young people in droves because they are not finding reasons to believe provided by the clergy.

I want to write a series of blogs about the issue and I hope that you benefit from the content.

The topics will include
1) Evidence for a young earth.
2) What is being taught in our schools.
3) What has been found in the rocks of Israel.
4) How the subject of Evolution/Creation affects our mental health.

Most of us believe what we think is based upon truth. Some unfortunately shape their beliefs around what they perceive will satisfy their own ego. Dr. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade, said years ago that many base their belief upon principles that will support their own moral choices. With our young people, the issue affects them in a subtle way.

Essentially they do not know where they came from or where they are going; therefore they do not have a purpose in life established by their creator. So we have a huge population that belongs to the, dah generation.

After my graduation from college the issue of creation/evolution hit me square in the face. I had been raised in the church but some of the strongest teachers in the biological sciences at Purdue University had thrown doubt into my mind that the belief system taught by my Christian Educators had any validity.

I had to find out the truth.

So I spent several years studying and researching and found out there was a basis for faith after all. I even developed a seminar that I gave at several churches in Wisconsin and Minnesota. One group even asked me to come to French Lick, Indiana to present. Now after 40 years God has led me to this group here in Indy that need some help in making presentations to groups all over the country. What I will provide over the next few weeks is a thumbnail sketch of what we present. Hope you keep on the lookout for the articles.

If you would like a seminar in your church or for your church group contact me at sparks39@tds.net.

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Next Week: Old Verses Young Earth
– – –

Read Dr. Sparks’ biography here.

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This all came about because, when I was in high school, I was told “nothing good happens after midnight.”

Well, I like to check once in a while. I was pretty skeptical at the time, but maybe not so much anymore.

iStockPhoto SLC Minilypse-Judicial Court

Those who get up early – really early – to go to work . . . or whatever it is that they’re doing instead. And it doesn’t make it to the list of AAH Early Risers Inspirationals unless it’s early.

AAH’s observations of those who manage to get up – or stay up – far beyond the rest of us, and the results. Quite an honorable endeavor, rising early, or staying up late to go to work . . . if it didn’t turn out so badly. The common theme seems to be that so much gets done by – or happens to – those who are still out and about when the rest of us are snuggled safely in bed.

Here’s the latest collection of Early Risers from around the state. The reminder for all of us? Go to bed and get a good night’s sleep. Oh, and don’t get drunk or stoned out of your mind before, during, or after.

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Very early morning: Guy gets drunk, jumps from moving pickup
Daily Journal, Franklin

We don’t know exactly what time, but let’s paint the picture and figure it’s earlier than most of us get up to be at work:

Image of Brilliance in Action: Jeffrey Kern and Dana McKie were both intoxicated

Image of Brilliance in Action: Jeffrey Kern and Dana McKie were both intoxicated

They were drunk (apparently).

It was “early Friday morning” as reported by the Franklin Daily Journal.

A guy in the bed of the pick-up (first mistake, if you don’t count the getting drunk and driving around in the first place) announced to the two in the cab he was going to jump . . .

Now, the idea that a guy actually does what he says he’s going to do, in and of itself, argues rational thinking . . . except if it’s irrational behavior. Well, apparently he either really did do as he said, or was assisted in some other fashion. Either way, he left the pickup bed and was found dead on the road way back.

Not sure when, where, or how the dominoes started falling, exactly, but “drunk”, “early morning”, and “falling” or “jumping” are the operative words in this lesson.

Now, to give him the benefit of the doubt, there are no reports that the victim himself was drunk. However, it doesn’t help his prospects when the people who are holding his life in their hands are both drunk.

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Just before 7:00 a.m: Guy gets naked, shoots off mouth, fireworks, and gun

RTV Channel 6, The Indy Channel

corey-hamersley-31068059_12014_ver1_0_640_480

. . . . .Oh yea, and it appears to have begun with a drug cocktail of some sort.

Question: Can a decision be made without any rational thought?

Answer: Yes.

We can probably figure that if all this became a public event before seven in the morning, it was in the works well before then. This guy was ambitious. Any one thing in-and-of-itself is pretty gutsy:

1) To shuck all your clothing in public,
2) To scream and curse randomly at people in public,
3) To consume a drug cocktail for fun,
4) To light fireworks at 7:00 in the morning,
5) To point a gun at a police officer and say you want to shoot one . . .

But to do all of them at once? Wow. That takes confidence. And maybe some basic level of skill.

Or maybe just drug-induced insanity.

The perpetrator, Corey Hamersley has been convicted of . . . well, a bunch of stuff, and is awaiting sentencing.

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img-Jeffersonville-teen-charged-in-connection-with-church-burglaries

1:45 a.m: Arrest of the Church Burglar

The News and Tribune, Jeffersonville

This guy could actually be looking in the right place, depending on what he really needs. This teenager, a transient, is suspected of 12-14 church break-in’s during August.

His final church visit ended when he was spotted by a police officer and took off, eventually making it the house of a “friend of a friend” and refusing to come out. After being threatened with a K-9 Assault Dog he decided to make a confession. Someone in the house said the guy “lives under a truck.”

No word on what he had been trying to get from the churches. Perhaps, under better conditions, he might find what he’s really looking for there.

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4:00 a.m: Street Fight, Brick to the Head, Jail – in that order
Tribune Star, Terre Haute

Just to clarify, the guy who got bashed in the head with the brick did not go to jail. That’s good. Getting bashed in the head with a brick is quite enough for one night.

It was the bunch of four very early risers, or more likely, very later stayer-uppers who did the deed. But this guy – the brick-in-the-head guy – was definitely in the wrong place at the right time. Makes me wonder if he got what he paid for. I dunno, but after all, if you’re in bed asleep, doors locked; nose clean with no criminal activity to your name and no criminals in your immediate circle of friends, the whole shabang, it’s not quite as likely a marauding bunch of four will just happen to make their way to you in particular and crack you in the brain with a brick. Maybe we’ll find out. Maybe we should all be a little bit better prepared for a random brick to the head. Especially at 4 a.m.

All this happened, according to the Tribuine Star, was because The Four Marauders were looking for someone. We don’t even know if they found who they were looking for.

Well, in all seriousness, the worst part of it was a baby kept up through all this and left in a car while the marauding mother was busy at her work.

I know, don’t get me started.

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Michael-Ryan-Nelson - no shirt

7:00 a.m: Meth-using moped-stealer holes up in a shed and gets caught
The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne

I have a theory: If you see a guy in public with no shirt on, watch him. He’s about to get into trouble.

Before our son was born, my wife and I liked to watch TV while eating supper. We’d watch Seinfeld and the “Bad Boys”-type real-life criminals-in-action shows. So, we began to notice just how many bad guys on these shows were wearing no shirt at the time the camera was there to document their fame. Had to be in the 95% range.

So after observing this a zillion times, I declared my theory to her.

I swear – the very next day, on the news: a father-son team are shown at a Major League Baseball game, getting up, out of their seats, angry, going over the wall and onto the field and running across the field to attack a player they are very displeased with.

No shirt. Either one of them. The very next day. Awesome.

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Here’s another one, just for confirmation’s sake: https://youtu.be/AXJDAtvK9fg

– – –

My guess is, our subject no-shirter, Michael Ryan Nelson, of Warsaw – because he had no shirt on when his portait was taken – was shirtless when driving the stolen Moped and when in his hideout shed. Just a guess.

In my opinion, he should have stolen a shirt instead of the Moped.

I’m telling you; just watch. Keep those eyes peeled. Shirtless guys. And be warned.

– – –

Andrew Sobers

Just before 3 a.m: Early-riser can’t get into nightclub, stabs people, gets shot – in that order
IndyStar.com

Ok, here’s the thing: Has anyone of you ever gone to a party, out to dinner; out anywhere at night, then, sometime after arriving, checked yourself and realized, “Gee, I left home and completely forgot to bring my gun (or knife) with me.”

I guess I have just confessed my vulnerability.

I am not arguing against legal concealed-carry. In fact, I am all for it. I just haven’t gotten there yet myself.

I’m just pointing out that so many events occur just about the way a plane crash occurs:

Any single, individual thing can go wrong, and you can probably get away with it unscathed. But when a whole bunch of things go wrong all at once, or compound, one on another, well, that’s when the crash occurs.

So what went wrong here?

1) The guy, Andrew Sobers, was up at 3:00 a.m.
2) He headed out to a nightclub.
3) He had a knife in his possession.
4) He got mad at three people.
5) He chose to stab two of them.
5) Number 3 person had decided to have a gun that same night, time, and place.
6) Number 3 person shot Sobers.

(And actually, I’m pretty sure this is just a partial list of the things that went wrong in Sobers’ decision-making process . . .)

Sobers probably would have survived any one of those factors, 1 through 5, if experienced in a vaccum. As it was, each factor occurred, essentially, simultaneously, which resulted in number 6. Number 6 was not survivable.

Plane crash.

– – –

Sexy Smoker in Kokomo

2:41 a.m: Desperate smoker attacks door with rock, walks right in half-near-naked
Kokomo Perspective

Ok – what I find most interesting in this story is the whole clothing thing.

You’ve got to select the link to the news story or the photo so you can view both images.

So here’s what I get out of it:

She busts through the glass door with a big rock. That makes a pretty big racket, I’d guess. She saunters in wearing nothing on top but a purple bra. Ok, nothing unusual so far . . . except for smashing into a store with a rock and entering wearing only a bra . . . then stealing cartons of cigarettes.

Now here’s where I get interested:

Apparently during all this, her main reason for being there – to steal a huge wad of smokes – according to the second photo, she has been able to slip on a jacket then assemble and install a purple turban-thingy on her head and head toward the door with her multi-boxes of Newports.

Talent.

I understand putting on the jacket; she’s got to free-up her hands, and all. I just don’t follow the “turban’s important to put on right now” part, but, ok. Job done.

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Attempted robbery suspect - Kokomo

1:26 a.m: Failed robber forgets weapon to reinforce demands for cash, leaves
Kokomo Perspective

Well, honestly, I don’t know what to say. The guy wasn’t ready.

By all accounts he was dressed for work. He was alert enough to get himself to the required location. But to show with no tools. Hhmmm. I guess he did what any of us might do in that case – he went home.

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awesome third-grade girl hair

10 p.m: Guy with awesome third-grade girl hair works late for cash
Palladium-Item, Richmond

Ok, we know this one does not technically fit the “early-to-rise” criterion, but we have to give this guy credit:

1) He has awesome photo-worthy hair, and
2) His willingness to work late at night is as admirable as early morning.

– – –

Here’s a quick run-down of the rest of our list:

“In the morning”: Man holding meth lab; baby lying on floor in home with drugs
The Salem Leader

3:24 a.m: Theft reported
Rushville Republican

“Early morning hours”: Arrest warrant leads to meth lab
Rensselaer Republican

4:09 a.m: Man injured in early morning shooting
The News Dispatch, Michigan City

12:30 a.m: Evansville teen, not wearing seat belt, killed in early Saturday crash
Courier & Press, Evansville

2:46 a.m: Booked for operating while intoxicated
Tribune Star, Terre Haute

I will assume “operating” refers to a motor vehicle as opposed to a medical procedure.

This particular jail log from the Tribune Star shows most bookings well into the business day, which, I am afraid, botches up my Early Riser Theory. But there may actually be something to this: If you’re going to go to jail, why not get a good night’s sleep before you go?

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They’re going up all around us . . .

Red Flags

. . . and they mean something – something we should take note of, something that should give us pause.

Here are some Red Flags that tell us there’s a problem.

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1. Everyone’s divided, and it’s right down the middle. Virtually everyone – every group, every sub-group (i.e., US Republicans are split; Dems are split), every country, every individual opinion, falls to either side of the debate (any demonstration on any street has lots of either and any side of the debate; multitudes of opinions as to what to do; whether to punish or further prevent Syria or not. We’re all stuck. The US Congress (even after a classified briefing), parliaments and administrations around the world, the White House, Conservatives and Liberals, pundits and wonks, military leaders.

The Red Flag? There is no consensus. Anywhere, on any level.

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2. President Obama’s Red Lines, indecision and inaction. We should hold our president (and those who aspire to that office) to a higher standard. And all too often some, many, respond that it’s not right to do that. He is human after all, just like the rest of us. But we want, and we should want someone who is not ordinary, but extraordinary. Consider the fact that out of roughly 350 million people, only one person rises to the top of the list as our choice. That by definition is extraordinary.

Barack Obama

And really, admit it: if we wanted just an ordinary person, just a regular guy, you could have me. But you don’t want me. I am a regular, ordinary guy. You want someone is extraordinary. I don’t want me, the ordinary; I want extraordinary.

So if we wanted someone who will do what many of us might do; that is, hesitate, be indecisive, hell . . . I can do that.

But we don’t want that. And we shouldn’t. We expect more; we expect our president to step up and be more.

He says he is confident, but President Obama cannot get himself to step up, whatever the decision, to go or not go; rather he has handed the primary decision-making responsibility for that to someone else (Congress). And even that decision – most are divided on.

. . . And I haven’t even brought up the concern over plan and strategy. Well, that is a military matter. Leave it to the experts. It is not something that should be publicly discussed. To purposefully compromise military advantage is insanity. It exposes ineptitude. Oh, never mind. That’s already happened anyway.

The Red Flag? President Obama’s indecisiveness and inaction.

– – –

3. Neighbors are not stepping up. Where is the Arab League? Governments in closer physical proximity to Syria are hesitant; some are nearly silent; some are vocal. But none, and in particular Syria’s immediate neighbors, have said they would step up and handle it “internally”, that is, within the region, say, the Arab League, for example.

The Red Flag? No Arab League. If it’s not important enough to them to step up, then perhaps we shouldn’t, either.

Photo credit Yossi Zamir-Flash90

– – –

4. Israel assumes we’ll take care of it, and expects us to, like it’s our responsibility. President Shimon Peres confidently states he believes the US will in fact attack Syria. Why doesn’t he hold such an apparent, automatic expectation of say, France, or Italy, or Greece, or the UK, or Germany? Why the US? We are, after all, rather removed, physically, relatively speaking, from the region. In contrast to the long list of other countries, why is it the US’ thing to do? Well, we know why.

We are certainly aware of the sensitivity of the fundamental issues between the Jewish State and . . . well, everyone else in the Middle East, and the history and everything else that goes into it. But there are many other possibilities. In my mind, they begin with the Arab league (so-called) and others in the immediate region.

The Red Flag? It’s too easy to expect someone else to take on another’s responsibility.

– – –

5. Russia and China apparently don’t see it. At least they don’t see it the way half the world sees it. Only issuing warning that intervention should not take place is not a solution. It’s not even helpful. Can they not find a way to be actively helpful? When there is joint Russian-Chinese involvement and a solution proposed, we’ll know how important it really is.

The Red Flag? There is no Russian or Chinese leadership
(not that the world has ever been able to count on it) and specifically, no joint Russian-Chinese inspection team on-site.

– – –

6. Timing and Timeline. Is this urgent or not? Two-year’s worth, watching and bloviating from afar. How is it so important now? After all, it seems that 1,400 people killed in a few days is nothing compared to 100,000 over two years, regardless of how they occurred.

As for the US view of the civil war in Syria, apparently as far as the President has been concerned, watching the body count steadily, rapidly rise to 100,000 (by way of mostly conventional means) is not nearly as concerning and immediate as 1% of that total number added via chemical weapons. Apparently some deaths are more equal than others.

Imagine the possibilities if the US or a broad coalition, to include all the regional players had come together in the beginning. Was there any chance at all the death toll could have been much lower? Even a chance?

And recall Obama’s Red Line declaration a year ago, so confident and strong; so forceful and inspiring and humanitarian-like, in those critical months, then weeks, then days leading up to the election. Among all the other miraculous qualities we attributed to him was also his ability to save the world from despotism. Except in this case. And we were convinced. The only thing he saved was his presidency. His Red Lines have turned out to be dotted lines.

The Red Flag? If it’s not so important to respond to the deaths of 100,000, then perhaps 1,400 is no big deal.

AP photo - 130821_angela_merkel_ap_605

– – –

7. Germany: the true Leader from Behind. Angela Merkel stated that action should be taken but that her country will not participate. Before her comments on Sunday, her Foreign Minister had already made it clear: they’re not discussing it and they’ve not been asked. Maybe we should ask them. Or maybe we should handle our foreign policy that way: we only act if we’re asked. Looks like that’s where the Israeli Rule applies: Yes it’s important enough that someone else ought to take care of it.

The Red Flag? If it’s not important enough for Germany, then perhaps it’s not important enough for us . . . or anyone else.

– – –

8. The Final Red Flag: It harkens back to the Gulf War of 1991, the campaign to evict Iraq from Kuwait. An overwhelming military coalition massed against the atrocities of Saddam Hussein and his regime’s terror.

The Telegraph - UK - syria_2129826b

Israel was not involved in any way, shape, or form. But that did not stop Hussein from exposing further and reconfirming to the world his illegitimacy by attacking a country that was not involved. On our firm and reassuring urging, Israel chose restraint and let us handle it. They certainly didn’t have to. But they understood the broader implications and trusted a friend. Such is the case here.

The Syrian government of course, has no legitimate reason to threaten or attack Israel (let alone their own people with chemical weapons). But the fact that they have speaks to a broader, deeper problem. At the very least it further delegitimizes Bashar al Assad. The time for the world to respond to another call for rescue in the Middle East has long passed.

Still, the rest of the world, our president and government included, is hesitant and in disagreement. It may seem these Red Flags contradict each other with respect to what ought to do be done by whom, if at all, and where does responsibility lie. Not so. It all speaks to the profound complexity of the matter.

The Final Red Flag? Syria’s threat to attack Israel.

AP-acquired photo

– – –

Ultimately there is really just a single Red Flag that stands squarely on Syria’s soil. It proclaims something must be done, and it is the blood of 100,000 Syrians that stains it red.

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