A Constitutional Amendment

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“The President of the United, the Vice-President of the United States nor any administration cabinet head (e.g. Secretary of State) shall engage in no partisan political activity of any sort – this applies to partisan fundraising, speeches, books, fund raising dinners or anything of the sort that is partisan politics. Nor shall any of the afore mentioned elected and appointed officials use any, repeat, any government property or services for partisan political purposes (e.g. Air Force-1)“

We elect a person to be President of the United States of America … all of America, and not the President of a particular political party or political philosophy.  For the last 6 years we have not had such a president … we have had a president of the Democrat Party, and in particular a president of the Progressive wing of the Democrat Party, which seems to be its majority. The rest of us have been kicked to the ditch.

What we have witnessed in the last 6 years is a president who could more accurately be described as the Vice President of Marketing, or Marketing Manager of the Democrat Party. We have seen this man board that very expensive Boeing 747 on average what seems like twice a week to raise funds for a particular political movement.

Most of us who have had a working career of any duration, who have been in the military or have stayed at home to raise a family realize that  even though the demands of the job are many, and at times conflicting and pressing, when you are on the job at the factory, the office, on the ship or at the home front … you realize that you must place your primary focus  on the primary job at hand.

Our current President, the President of the Democrat Party and Marketing Manage of the Democrat Party has his primary focus on his particular political party and agenda. He can’t possible be focusing even a sizable minority of his time and energies on being the President of the United States of America. It’s just not reasonable to believe he is doing so. 

So let us help future Americans, and future American Presidents and their inner circles by forcing them by Constitutional amendment to be the actual leaders of the American People  …  all American people – to uphold and market and champion  the values that have made this nation that “shining city on the hill” that has attracted so many contributors to these shores,  attracted by liberty and opportunity … to build the nation both economically and strategically so as to continue to be that “exceptional nation” that has defended  liberty throughout the world.

Don Johnson – Sept 2014

Irresponsible Choices: Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell

Irresponsible Choices – Thomas Sowell – Page full

The latest Gallup poll indicates that 14 percent of the people “moderately disapprove” of Barack Obama’s performance as president and 39 percent “strongly disapprove.”

Since Obama won two presidential elections, chances are that some of those who now “strongly disapprove” of what he has done voted to put him in office. We all make mistakes, but the real question is whether we learn from them.

With many people now acting as if it is time for “a woman” to become president, apparently they have learned absolutely nothing from the disastrous results of the irresponsible self-indulgence of choosing a President of the United States on the basis of demographic characteristics, instead of individual qualifications.

It would not matter to me if the next five presidents in a row were all women, if these happened to be the best individuals available at the time. But to say that we should now elect “a woman” president in 2016 is to say that we are willfully blind to the dangers of putting life and death decisions in the hands of someone chosen for symbolic reasons.

If we were to choose just “a woman” as our next president, would that mean that any criticism of that president would be considered to be a sign of being against women?

No public official should be considered to be above criticism — and the higher up that official is, the more important it is to hold his or her feet to the fire when it comes to carrying out duties involving the life and death of individuals and the fate of the nation.

We have not yet had a Jewish president. If and when we do, does that mean that any criticism of that individual should be stigmatized and dismissed as anti-Semitism? What of our first Italian American president, our first Asian American president?

Human beings of every background are imperfect creatures. When they are in a position high enough for their imperfections to bring disasters to more than 300 million Americans, the last thing we need is to stifle criticism of what they do.

It is by no means guaranteed that this country will survive the long-run consequences of the disastrous decisions already made by Barack Obama, especially his pretense of stopping Iran’s becoming a nuclear power. Obama may no longer be in office when those chickens come home to roost.

If we wake up some morning and find some American city in radioactive ruins, will we connect the dots and see this as a consequence of voting to elect an unknown and untried man, for the sake of racial symbolism?

Among those who look around for someone to blame, how many will look in the mirror?

Presidents already have too much insulation from criticism — and from reality.

When President Calvin Coolidge caught everyone by surprise in 1928, by announcing that he would not run for reelection, despite a prosperous economy and his own personal popularity, he simply said, “I do not choose to run.” Coolidge was a man of very few words, despite his knowledge of multiple languages. Someone once said that Coolidge could be silent in five different languages.

But, when he later wrote a small autobiography, Coolidge explained the inherent dangers in the office of President of the United States, especially when one person remains in the White House too long.

“It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion. They are always surrounded by worshippers. They are constantly, and for the most part sincerely, assured of their greatness.

“They live in an artificial atmosphere of adulation and exaltation which sooner or later impairs their judgment. They are in grave danger of becoming careless and arrogant.”

Of presidents who served eight years in office, he said, “in almost every instance” the last years of their terms show little “constructive accomplishments” and those years are often “clouded with grave disappointments.”

Another president chosen for demographic representation (whether by race, sex or whatever), and further insulated from criticism and from reality, is the last thing we need.

                            ————————————————–

I am currently reading The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam. The book devotes a great deal of space to General Douglas MacArthur, and very little of it complimentary, and much seems to align with what Calvin Coolidge had to say in the above quoted segment:

“It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion. They are always surrounded by worshippers. They are constantly, and for the most part sincerely, assured of their greatness.

“They live in an artificial atmosphere of adulation and exaltation which sooner or later impairs their judgment. They are in grave danger of becoming careless and arrogant.”

There may be another side to the MacArthur story, a side more favorable to the general. But the picture Halbertson paints is of a man out of control and in dangerously independent charge of a very powerful American military in Asia. That Truman eventually fired him seems in retrospect, and again through the lens of Halbertson, fully justified and indeed long overdo. If this picture of the general is accurate, then what we had was a very dangerous and a very bad man.

The advice of Calvin Coolidge as relayed through Thomas Sowell is advise that the American people would be wise to heed. We don’t need to elect yet another president  based on a persons outward characteristics. We need to elect a leader, to paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr., based on the content of his/her character and not on his/her race or gender.

Don Johnson – Sept 2014

Adm. McRaven Urges Graduates to Find Courage to Change the World

I’ve been making our bed every morning ever since this Seal Team Admiral told UT graduates they should do this.

The strange thing is that I actually started making our bed every morning … several weeks before the Admiral’s speech  … strange, but I like it.

Does The Universe Have A Purpose?

Spiral Galaxy M100

This is a very good question … a question often directed to religious people … and a question directed to me, a Christian, recently that gave me serious pause.  Do I believe or even think much about the question? Do I even have an answer to the question?

The serious atheists flings such a question at one of faith as if it were a lethal spear, intended to inflict much harm.

Here is a small selection of thoughts from several very prominent scientists who have given the question much thought. The question of any of them being atheist is but a side issue to the very personal question for me … Does The Universe Have A Purpose?

“Does the universe have a purpose? I’m not sure, But anyone who expresses a more definitive response to the question is claiming access to knowledge not based in empirical foundations. This remarkably persistent way of thinking, common to most religions and some branches of philosophy, has failed badly in past efforts to understand and thereby predict the operations of the universe and our place within in.” astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson

“We don’t know what’s driving 96% of the universe,” Tyson said. “Everybody you know and love and heard of and think about and see in the night sky through a telescope: four percent of the universe.” astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson

[I respect Tyson’s agnostic stance here in cautioning against claiming access to knowledge not based on empirical foundations, but it should be extended to the Atheistic Materialistic/Naturalistic world view as well.]

  “I am not religious because I do not think the universe has any single purpose. Instead, I believe that ‘purpose’ itself is left up to an intelligent mind to impose upon reality, which is rightfully unconscious, which is why justice is arbitrary, freedom is imagined and nobody can solve the infinity problems in the arrow of time; because there was no beginning for a superhuman agency to have intervened in.” Internet Blogger

“The universe itself doesn’t have a purpose, nor is there one inherent in the fundamental laws of physics. But teleology (movement toward a goal) can plausibly be a useful concept when we invent the best description of higher-level phenomena, and at the human level there are purposes we can create for ourselves.” Physicist Sean Carroll 

“The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends on how well we know this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.”  ― Carl Sagan

Part of my message is that we’re not central to the purpose of the Cosmos. What happened to me makes us all seem very small.  Carl Sagan,

After having given the question some serious thought in recent days, here is my thinking on the question as a Bible believing Christian.

I believe the Bible when in the very first words it proclaims “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  Have I proved the existence of God, or have I discovered someone who has unequivocally proven with touchable, smellable,  visible proof that you and I can walk down the block and see for ourselves?  No … no … no! Bottom line is that it is a matter of faith … informed faith, but nevertheless  – faith.

But so is the proclamation from another prominent modern day scientist
“ … tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged” Stephen Hawking

Both statements are statements of faith, and as far as I know neither rises to what would be conclusive truth, as is humanly possible to perceive, either as science or as proof beyond the shadow of doubt in the courtroom.

So given my faith position, how do I answer the question Does The Universe Have A Purpose?

My answer is – the universe does indeed have a purpose. Further, the purpose of the universe is: personally, specifically and individually aimed directly at me … little old me living ‘somewhere between immensity and eternity in my tiny planetary home.’

Further along in the book of Genesis, we see the creation accounts of specific things in the heavens and the earth, in particular we see the creation of mankind. We also see that mankind was created with free-will. I can choose to do one thing or the other … I can choose to do good things or I can choose to do bad things – even terribly awful things,  it’s my free choice and it’s called liberty but it can be abused. I can even choose to believe in the God of the Bible, or any of a large number of gods, or I can choose to believe in no gods. It’s my choice.

In choosing the God of the Bible as indeed the one and only creator God of the universe, we close in on why I see that the purpose of the universe is personally directed towards me.

A few of Bible verses sets the cosmological stage here:

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. Psalm 19:1

For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:18)

I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.  Psalm 139:14

He answered  [speaking of Jesus]: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourselfLuke 10:27

… because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse … Romans 1:19-20 

By freely choosing this God of the Bible – the God described from Genesis thru Revelation, the full scope and breadth of this God opens up before me and draws me to Him … the one who created the heavens and the earth. 

If I am in the high Sierra Nevada mountains on a clear night and look up at the infinite but countable  stars, planets, galaxies and constellations, I see them not as just an awesome and spectacular array in the night sky begging for exploration and explanation, but I am able to experience the night sky as did King David in saying “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.”  I see them as directed personally towards me individually so as to draw me towards, and show me, a creator that could have done so magnificent a thing.  The night sky draws me to a strong desire to one day meet that creator when I will behold Him … face to face.  That’s not to say that others who don’t believe as I do don’t also see and sense the same grandeur … the same majesty. Indeed they do, but are they able to see it as if it is all directed specifically to them?

When I study the modern day findings of biological and cellular science, I again see at the very smallest level of life that, again as King David said  “… I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.”   That this miracle of  life that has been  remarkably and wonderfully made I can now see for myself …  thanks to the creative mind of created man,  and I can see it as  pointed specifically, personally and individually to me. I can see this in a variety of ways … in the embryonic development of a chicken egg where the full body plan of the chicken is shown after just two days of development … followed by the twenty some days till the bird escapes and becomes the chicken.  This remarkable development tells me –  no … it shows me, that contained within the very first second of the fertilization of the egg,  that the egg contains not only a type of  blueprint of that life to follow, but the very mechanism of its manufacture. 

A few years back I wrote on what I labeled The Problem of “Massively Complex Synchronicity.” In that essay I tried to capture the sheer magnitude of life and its complexity and design. Since then I continue to find amazing findings and discoveries from the world of the life sciences. A good place to start is with a set of wall charts produced by Roche, a large biotech company.  These charts, Biochemical Pathways, “provide a graphical overview of the most important biochemical pathways all in one place.”

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I don’t presume to say that Roche takes a particular position on evolution/creation/Intelligent design;  I don’t know and I suspect they are silent on the matter.  I use the wall charts here as sort of an umbrella under which one could reasonable infer design at the cellular level (i.e. life itself). One who has commented about the charts is   Don McLeroy at To My Listening Ear.   

So what else have I found under this umbrella?

Peer-Reviewed Science: What the Field of Systems Biology Can Tell Us About Intelligent Design

When Biologists Think Like Engineers: How the Burgeoning Field of Systems Biology Supports Intelligent Design – Evolution News & Views

Systems Biology as a Research Program for Intelligent Design | Snoke | BIO-Complexity

Specialized Retinal Cells Are a “Design Feature,” Showing that the Argument for Suboptimal Design of the Eye “Is Folly” 

Confirmation of a Creationist Prediction Becomes Even More Stunning | Proslogion

A model of the vertebrate retina, showing the Müller cells (image by Dr. Jens Grosche, Universität Leipzig, found in reference 2)

Wavelength dependent optical fibres in the mammalian eye

Researchers Suggest Molecular Machine Is Irreducibly Complex – Evolution News & Views

Look at and consider the following video:

 

About Us | Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical ResearchAbout Us | Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Biological Information – New Perspectives A Synopsis and Limited Commentary. My Limited Review of This Synopsis and Limited Commentary — (Don’t be intimidated by this title) | A Yearning for Publius

Imagine How It Happened! “Evolution Presents” the Ribosome, “Nature’s Masterpiece”

 

The Workhorse of the Cell: Kinesin

If Nature’s Designs Weren’t So Good, Engineers Wouldn’t Be Rushing to Imitate Them – Evolution News & Views

The Challenge of Design in Nature | A Yearning for Publius

UD Commenter (and US Navy veteran), ayearningforpublius, on: “The Challenge of Design in Nature” | Uncommon Descent

“I’ve grown accustomed to your face . . . ” — headlining a comment by ayearningforpublius to pose the question of origin of a significant case of FSCO/I . . . functionally specific, complex organization and/or associated information | Uncommon Descent

And the following pictorial caught my eye recently from Why Greta Christina’s critique of God-guided evolution misses the mark | Uncommon Descent

In looking at the above pictorial and mentally stepping through the steps involved in translation, my mind came back to those days when I was directly involved in the software process of detecting a message embedded in a stream of data entering our system. The message(s) occupied only a percentage of the available bandwidth, so what we had was a mixed stream of random bits with periods of ‘system specific’ messages.
The technique of extracting these messages is quite similar to that described in the RNA Translation wherein the detecting system looks for a sync pattern – a predetermined specific bit pattern (e.g. x’0E0E0E0E’),and then starts clocking in the following bits until it encounters a predetermined pattern of stop bits, at which point it terminates the message and passes it to data storage for use by downstream processes. Alternatively, the message processing could terminate after a predetermined fixed number of bits.

And, as in nature, this process of message detection was but the beginning of a chain of events producing a useful and desired product of providing visual products used by combat aircrews in training for their mission of defending against adversaries.

So here again, it seems we have an analogy between a design in nature and a design at the hands (and minds) of human Intelligent Designers.

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There is much more, but these are a few that have caught my attention in recent months. They caught my attention because of the scientific research presented, and in keeping with the main thought of this essay, they point the arrow of the  purpose of the universe to me individually and specifically – because “I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.”  Psalm 139:14

In the physical and materialistic sense of the Cosmos, to paraphrase Carl Sagan: Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity in my tiny planetary home …  I indeed am an insignificant piece of dust, and indeed will return to dust when my earthly life is done. 

But when I seek God, and seek his perspective of who I am in this vast Cosmos, I find something quite different. I find a god who singles me out in this vast universe … I find a god who created me in his own image … I find a god who is concerned about me, a lonely individual in a very large and scary place … I find a god who advocates for me individually when I am enslaved and oppressed … I find a god who cares for me if I am a widow or an orphan … I find a god who tells me that I am my brothers keeper and I should be concerned for and help others! … I find a god who holds me personally accountable when I wrong others.

Throughout  this essay I have been talking about me, the big “I”, and how I have been singled out …  and perhaps you are aghast at the arrogance of such a stance. You should be, so now let me complete my thoughts here and expand this “singling out” to others.

I said at the beginning of this essay that mankind was created with free will, and we can either choose or reject the God of the Bible as the one true creative god among so many to choose from. I freely chose this path many years ago after a considerable amount of struggle.

Like many, I wandered in, around and through the many religious, cultural and philosophical ideas that present themselves in any generation. I had very little religious upbringing, but being American was raised in a culture that had a fundamental Christian underpinning. I briefly studied Catholicism when first dating my, then future, wife. I succumbed to the then popular  atheist teachings of   men like Bertrand Russell, and read the many then popular “debunking’s” of Christianity such as The Passover Plot. I was captured by the hedonistic Playboy Philosophy of Hugh Heffner which tantalized me with an offer of my own Playmate of the Month …  each month?  I dabbled in drugs … marijuana, which mainly depressed me … and mescaline which resulted in the absolutely most frightening experience of my life. I found my self on the road to alcoholism, although  I don’t know how close or far I was away from that destination – but I knew I was on that road. I found myself married with two children, a couple of cars, a nice house, a good job, a loving wife … but I had no real or deep interest in any of that – I was just wanting to get through the next day.  

But then at age 36 I found myself in an unexpected place … a place that at once was a place of new direction and at the same time a place of confusion. I came under the influence and teaching of Biblical end-times prophesy, in particular the writings of Hal Lindsey of The Late Great Planet Earth fame.  This book and others by Lindsey compelled me into a study that I then and now would characterize as “Is this guy crazy? How can any of that be true? He’s a nut” 

My study expanded from Lindsey into the Bible itself, Gideon hotel  bibles including one I actually stole. I needed to know more, and the truth source for me was ironically, the Bible. Actually the Bible, Lindsey’s books and current events as they unfolded from front pages and newscasts. I began to see the correlations that Lindsey talked about.   

“He answered [speaking of Jesus]: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Cutting to the chase here and getting to the bottom line, I was drawn to a local church with a very good teacher/pastor and a very supportive and loving congregation. Over the next several years, the verse above became clearer and clearer, and I began to see that it was speaking to all of me as a person; heart-soul-strength-mind. The mind part is especially important because it taught me that understanding and believing the Bible and seeking God is a continual intellectual as well as spiritual effort and one that does not require “blind faith” in the words of ancient and ignorant “goat herders.”  Thus my citing of the many recent scientific and technical discoveries I’ve noted above.

So have I been “singled out” as the one for whom the universe has purpose? No indeed, I understand now that each and every person now living, or who has ever lived on this small and lonely blue dot has been singled out and can claim,  as I have, that the universe has purpose, and that purpose is specifically me – no matter who I am, no matter where I live – no matter the circumstances of my life.

It’s a matter of free will choice!

I’ve answered the question  “Does The Universe Have A Purpose?” for me personally, but each person ultimately must answer that question as a matter of their own free will choice.  My hope is that this essay of mine will offer a few things to think about for others as they ponder the choice.

Regards,

Don Johnson – Sept 2104

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nice People of New York City

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We’ve just spent a couple of delightful days in New York City with our friends Fran and Neil from Butte Montana.

The fellow above sitting with Diana is Jim, an inspector for a utility company who stopped by as we were having coffee before our day in “the city”.  Nice fellow and we had a good time together.

Later on we went into the Central Park Conservatory, Garden, a beautiful garden with plenty of gorgeous flowers and plants and maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers. We talked with some of these people and it was obvious they were proud of their garden, and their city.

Conservatory Garden in Central Park

On the way out of the garden we (actually I) accosted one of the volunteers and asked if she could spare a quarter for a beer. I soon changed my pitch and begged a quarter for the bus so the four of us could go to lower Manhattan.  She soon realized I was just some foolish old fellow striking up a conversation (actually, we were digging in purses and pockets for change), and she looked diligently for that quarter while rummaging through her own purse while telling us of the attractions we shouldn’t miss while visiting her city. A very nice New Yorker wanting to share her city with us visitors.

We finally got on the bus and set off to lower Manhattan.  While on the bus I was fascinated and awed by some of the architecture I was seeing along the way. As we passed by the Woolworth building and I was straining my neck, the lady behind me started to tell me about the building and its beauty both inside and out.

Top of the Woolworth building

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Finally at the end of our stay, Diana & I took the subway to the Metro North Harlem train station. It was not clear to us if the train right before us on the track was the one to New Haven – it was 6:15 and our train was scheduled for 6:17 on that same track – so we got on, still a bit confused. Well a nice New York lady sitting on the bench outside the train realized that we had just boarded the wrong train and called us off the train – just in time as it was about to leave the station … thank you Nice New York Lady.  

And let me not forget the friendly New York cop on the street. They are always ready to help with directions for the lost tourists like us.

Don Johnson – August 2014

Dang me, dang me … they oughta take a rope and hang me

This from one of my most ardent admirers –

CdnMacAtheist:

Don said: Best regards and keeping it civil, Don.

Mac: I don’t consider it ‘civil’ to mention ‘grandkids’ 6 times while proselytising for the god virus, unethically advising & immorally encouraging indoctrination of innocent youth into the faithism drug addiction Don has been suckered into by his uneducated, simplistic submission into reality-blind, ignorant, belief in myths – without any good, supportable, testable scientific evidence.

I am trying to keep to the request by NCSE to be civil by holding back on my well-evidenced, accurate, rational & educated descriptors that I’ve used against your 191 intrusive, unwanted comments here.

Suffice it to say that I’ve made my feelings extremely clear in the past & anyone can look in my Comment History to see far more clearly how I treat your antics & tactics, which I still see as subversive, seditious, treasonous, unAmerican, illegal in Science Education & thoroughly disgusting, insidious behavior from a so-called adult.

Your mental conditioning & religiously directed social output is clear evidence of the damage that religion & faith do to otherwise sane humans, which is why this NCSE organisation is so badly needed in this massively troubled world – just look around at all the problems ‘created’ by folk who believe in various gods & are willing to kill or die according to their personal interpretations of ‘His Word’.

You & your type make me sick, ashamed that our species can stoop so low, ‘manufacturing’ lunatics who constantly undermine the magic of reality & who abuse the highly improbable fact of being alive in this awesome universe.

I wish there was a Hell for you to go to when your one, sick, sad life is done.

You can follow the train of discussion which generated this comment at Say What? The Dallas Morning News.

This is the blog site of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) where I have been intrusive now for many months.

And why you ask have I been so intrusive over these many months,  at a place where my point of view is clearly not welcomed … ?

Because, as I see it NCSE, is a very influential and powerful organization whose primary mission is to insure that the only view of science, and in particular the origin and emergence of life, is the view of neo-Darwinism to the total exclusion of any other … and further, to actively censor even the discussion of anything else at all levels of education in American schools from Kindergarten to Post Graduate.  I have several problems with this:

First of all I abhor the very  idea of censorship, which I view as a necessary and historically consistent step on the road to tyranny.  (What I find very ironic however, is that the NCSE blog itself is open for discussion and does get a fair amount of opposing opinion, including my own … and in a very ironic sense, I genuinely appreciate NCSE for allowing my comments and my opposing views.)

I participate in this discussion here at NCSE because I wish to see full and civil discussion of the various views of life …  its origin and its emergence. I wish to see our young and old citizens alike availed of the opportunity to see, read and study the best thinking on these matters. I resist what I see as a concerted, powerful and directed effort to turn our young students into atheists.

I participate because I see that the very beginnings of modern science, in so many areas, came about through men holding a theistic view of reality – the God Hypothesis if you will.

Founders of Modern Science – men having a Biblical world view:

Leonardo de Vinci … Johann Kepler … Francis Bacon … Blaise Pascal … Robert Boyle … John Ray … Nicholas Steno … Galileo … Robert hook … William Harvey … Christian Huygens … John Harris … Isaac Newton … Thomas Burnet … William Whiston … John Woodward … Carolus Linnaeus … Jonathan Edwards … Will Herschel … Michael Faraday … Humphrey Davy … Georges Culver … Timothy Dwight … Benjamin Silliman … Samuel F.B. Morse … Charles Bell … Joseph Henry … William Buckland … Charles Babbage … David Brewster … Matthew Maury … James Simpson … James Joule … John Herschel … John Dalton …

And a few more notable  scientists from more modern times:

Gregor Mendel … Lois Pasteur … Henri Fabre … Lord Kelvin … Joseph Lister … James Clark Maxwell …

       … and others.  

Look for the life stories and accomplishments of these men – you can use Wikipedia, but a compact rendering of these men can be found in Men of Science Men of God by Henry Morris.

Many of todays neo-Darwinists and atheists such as Gerry Coyne and  Richard Dawkins would seem to rationalize, minimize – if not outright dismiss the Biblical world view of these great scientists and place the post Darwin Materialist/Naturalist world view at the head (the only head) of the class.

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Having studied this evolution/creation controversy for a number of years now,  I have come to see that there are many serious flaws and unanswered questions surrounding this very dominant view of evolution as the total and sufficient explanation of life on this planet – let alone the explanation of the origin of the universe itself. These flaws exist at the philosophical and ideological foundations, as well as in the evidentiary story line.   

Starting at the philosophical/ideological level, is the underpinning definitions of Naturalism and Materialism upon which much of modern science rests – from Wikipedia:

Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are the result of material interactions.

Naturalism is “the idea or belief that only laws of nature (physical law) (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) and forces operate in the world; the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world.”[1] Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.

From these underpinnings come assertions of fact from some very prominent men of modern science – the smartest men in the world – such as:

“ … tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged” Stephen Hawking

“Creation … , really does amount to something complicated springing spontaneously into existence.”  Richard Dawkins

“The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be  … .” Carl Sagan

These assertions, among others in a similar vein, by these very influential men – as well as the very definitions they are derived from, seem to demonstrate an enormous arrogance and a sense – indeed a claim – of omniscience not even claimed by the Bible. You see, to make such claims and indeed to assert them as foundational fact, requires the one making such claims be sitting at a place outside of time and the universe itself – viewing all of time and the unfolding of all matter and energy in all of its forms from the very beginning.

Why do I say the Bible makes no such claims of omniscience? Doesn’t the Bible claim “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.?” AndIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.?”

Yes it does, but the difference is that the Biblical writers attribute this omniscience to someone who is beyond time and space, to one who does sit at a place outside of the universe itself – including time. They do not place themselves in such a place of time.

The very human and very limited human Materialist/Naturalist thinker and writer, in contrast, puts himself in that exalted position.   

Moving to the “scientific” or evidentiary basis of evolution, we immediately bump up against the Materialism/Naturalism definition defined above along with the proponents of such views. We bump up against this wall because with these definitions they have very neatly erected a  very high wall with themselves inside the wall, and any dissenting view outside the wall. This is very clearly pointed out as follows: [emphasis mine]

‘Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
                 Professor Richard Lewontin,

And there are many serious objections to the world view of the neo-Darwinist that should be openly available to the public, and there are many trying to break through that wall of separation – both from within and without. A few of note are:

Uncommon Descent | Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Evolution News & Views

The Institute for Creation Research

Darwin’s God

Who Made God?

And my own blog which you are reading now …  I don’t claim any advanced degrees or hands on experience, especially in the field of biology and the life science, nor cosmology or astro-physics, but I have accumulated many of my own thoughts on the topics as well as highlighting the works of others as noted above. These can be found by clicking on CATEGORIES on the right side of the main page, and also from   CREATION-EVOLUTION on the top most menu bar on the blog.

There is much offered, and rather than repeating it here, let me point out a few articles by myself and others.

Some Basic Evolutionary Questions | A Yearning for Publius  This highlights a significant list of unanswered questions and concerns about the theory of evolution. Thanks to Dr. Cornelius Hunter for this list, as well of a few of my own questions.

The Origins of the Universe … Simple or Complex, Your Choice: Part 1 | A Yearning for Publius

The Origins of the Universe … Simple or Complex: Part 2 … The Problem of “Massively Complex Synchronicity” | A Yearning for Publius

But any of these thoughts, and especially any of the proponents of these thoughts, are immediately cast as being in the arena of  pseudo-science and superstition – simply because proponents of Intelligent Design or Creationism (not the same thing) refuse to abide by the Materialistic/Naturalist dogma. Along with this is the common debate tactic of personal destruction by way of insult and personal attack as illustrated by my lead in quote above.

So let’s return to that quote. I don’t intend to do any kind of detailed rebuttal here, but a few points of clarification might be helpful:

CdnMacAtheist is Canadian, not a US citizen.

“ … I still see as subversive, seditious, treasonous, unAmerican, illegal in Science Education & thoroughly disgusting, insidious behavior from a so-called adult.  … “

Mac knows I am a Navy veteran (honorable discharge I might add), and views my being a Christian and an advocate of ID and creationism as somehow in violation of the  1’st Amendment to the US (not Canadian) Constitution.  In another response to me he accused me of pedophilia because I recommended to a young NCSE intern that she look into the idea of Intelligent Design.

So I’ll leave it up to the reader here to judge my crimes and hang me – or not.

Don Johnson – August 2014

Was Iraq Worth It? A Marine’s Answer

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The Marine’s (a combat veteran from Iraq) answer was  … “It was worth it.”

I wish I could reproduce his full Opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal, but it’s behind a pay wall if you want to read it in full, or alternatively purchase a copy of  the paper or read it at a local library. In any case, here is the on line link: 
Brian M. Welke: Was Iraq Worth It? It Was for Me – WSJ

Mr. Welke’s story resonates with me and is why I still have the picture of the young lady seen above as the background picture on my computer.  I don’t remember if she is Iraqi or Afghani, but she is the reason I tell veterans and active duty Marines, soldiers, sailors and airman, whenever I get the chance, that they have the best job in the world.    Why?

Because they have had the unique opportunity to bring liberty and opportunity, or at least the hope of same,  to the lives of many  because of their sacrifice and service on behalf of others.

I will try to bring some of Mr. Welke’s thoughts here, and then try to tie his experience to some of what I have written previously, but I would encourage you to read Welke’s account in full as from one who was there … in the arena.

“A sacrifice’s worth is not determined by outcomes.”

Speaking to the question of was it worth it …
”A far more painful question, asked of one’s self, is: What if I hadn’t tried?”

“It was in the sands of Ramadi that I learned most people want to be masters of their own fate.”

“How many nations in the course of human events have sacrificed so much to give an unfree people a shot at self-determination?  … Did Caesar conquer Gaul and then say, “Now its your turn to govern yourself.” No other country in history has defeated its enemies only to hand over the reins of government to its native population.”

I see Welke’s missive as yet another example of American Exceptionalism as I have written about here, and here, and here.

As I was reading Mr. Welke’s piece my mind immediately traveled to 1975 and the Navy Destroyer USS Kirk. I have highlighted this episode in my book I Didn’t Want to Worry You Mom … but a much fuller rendering of that great episode of American Exceptionalism is captured  at:

 The Lucky Few, The Story of the USS Kirk

and

The USS Kirk: Valor At The Vietnam War’s End : NPR

I conclude by adding to Mr. Welke’s oh-so-true statement “No other country in history has defeated its enemies only to hand over the reins of government to its native population”   … the  nations of Western Europe, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, South Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan   … and the southern states of the Confederacy following the Civil war.

 

Don Johnson – August 2014

Mosul’s Christians recount flight from historic home under ISIS threat

A sad but predictable fate is swallowing up small minorities in  Iraq.

Mosul’s Christians recount flight from historic home under ISIS threat

“We heard the gunshots outside our door, and knew the terrorists were killing Christians,” Aziz said in a raspy whisper. “But we hoped someone might rescue us. We cowered inside for two days, then knew we had to leave. We gathered some clothes and left at night.”

“There were Christians everywhere we went. In every garden, and in every door way, there are just so many with nothing and with nowhere to go.”  – Munira Aziz, 74

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I wrote about this in February 2011 and revisited the topic  last year in August 2013.

History Shows That a Power Vacuum Will Always be Filled

And before that:  the vacuum left in South Vietnam in 1975  after the withdrawal of American forces and the cut off of self defense funds for South Vietnam … and the human carnage left behind by the Communist North,  filling that vacuum and spilling over into the Pol Pot carnage imposed on Cambodia:

  The Real Heroes of Vietnam

Can we expect repeats in  Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and Israel?

Iraq and Vietnam … and Afghanistan … and Pakistan … and … and …

So what to do about it?

That’s both an individual and national question … perhaps the answer at the individual level is to stay engaged and try to help these people as individuals in ways that you can … that may be through various organizations such as The Voice of the Martyrs or Samaritan’s Purse or others.

At the national level it’s a difficult matter of somehow making our national leaders accountable and responsible to living up to our commitments and not abandoning those who have put their trust in America.

Don Johnson – August 2014

Are Google and NSA Becoming Just a Bit too Personal?

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This is what shows up when we enter our home address into Google Maps and then look at Street View.

Yes, that’s Diana & I sitting on our front porch minding our own business.

I know I’m paranoid, but this just adds to it. I think I’ll switch over to schizophrenia and let the other guy depress and fret over this.

Don Johnson – August 2014

Touring US Navy Warships

Over the past year I’ve had the good fortune of touring a number of US Navy museum warships as well as one currently active warship. In addition, my wife and I had the privilege of attending a reunion of the ship I served on in 1965-66, and will attend our second reunion in Buffalo in September.

Here are the ships I toured in the past year:

USS Midway  … USS Midway (CV-41)

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Having lived in San Diego most of my adult life I’ve visited the Midway on numerous occasions, usually with out of town visitors. It is a great museum ship with many of the interior compartments open for view. On the flight deck as well as in the hanger deck are many of the aircraft that once flew from these carriers.

An added bonus for me is the display of the the Tactical Air Crew Training System (TACTS), the on-line training system responsible for training the best fighter pilots in the world – Navy, Air Force and Marines. I was a software developer for that system from 1976 through 2008 and actively participated in the systems growth from 8 aircraft/ 4 missile Air to Air only … to the current generation supporting  72 aircraft/50 missile simulations plus ground to air weapons systems simulations.

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USS Massachusetts  (BB59)USS Massachusetts

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USS Joseph P. Kennedy (DD-850)USS Joseph P. Kennedy

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USS Lionfish (SS298)USS Lionfish

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PT BOATS

HIDDENSEE  … Hiddensee

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All of these ships … Massachusetts, Kennedy, Lionfish, PT Boats and Hiddensee are located at Battleship Cove at Fall River MA, a magnificent collection of ships in southern Massachusetts just north of Newport RI. The  USS Massachusetts, in particular, is well done with many spaces open to the public including a 16” gun turret and the ammo handling rooms below deck.

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USS Arizona (BB-39)World War II Valor in the Pacific

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USS Missouri (BB-63)USS Missouri

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USS Bowfin (SS-287) … USS Bowfin

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Torpedo room

40 mm anti-aircraft gun with 5” anti-surface gun  in  the background

Although much smaller than the other ships, I was surprised by how efficiently the spaces were set up, and how un-cramped it felt. On the table in the mess room, was a memo from the skipper telling of an upcoming mission where the sub would be transiting a mine infested area entering the Sea of Japan in which the skipper demanded absolute silence for  the 19 hours of the transit.

USS Turner Joy (DD- 951)USS Turner Joy

Visiting the Turner Joy was a bonus on a vacation trip to Seattle in August 2014. My Niece lives just off Bainbridge Island on the Olympic Peninsula side, and it was just a short drive to Bremerton where the ship is moored.

This ship was commissioned in 1959  as one of 18 Forrest Sherman-class destroyers which were the next generation following the smaller classes which served in WW-II and Korea. I was surprised by how much bigger this ship was than my Fletcher class USS Porterfield. The ship is well preserved, and many spaces were open to the public including the gun mounts.

She participated extensively in the Vietnam War, and was one of the principal ships involved in the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.

USS Intrepid (CV-11)USS Intrepid

Living in New Haven CT puts me just a short train ride and taxi to Manhattan where this museum ship is moored along the Hudson river in mid-town Manhattan, and I have visited several times.

Visiting an active duty US Navy warship.   

The Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62)

Visiting this ship was also an added bonus of our August 2014 trip to Seattle. The weekend we arrived coincided with Seattle’s Seafair Fleet Week which featured the Blue Angles and three Navy ships; the USS Howard (DDG-83), USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) and the USS Essex (LHD-2).  I waited in a long 2 hour line to board the Chancellorsville, but it was worth the wait.

This was the first time I stepped aboard a modern US Navy Destroyer/Cruiser class ship since I last stepped off the reserve ship USS Shields (DD-596) in 1969. It’s quite an impressive ship, and it’s size dwarfs the WW-II Fletcher class ships I served on in the 1960’s. Almost wish I could reenlist.

The future

The week of September 7, 2014 will find Diana and I in Buffalo NY for our second reunion of the USS Balch/Porterfield association. You can read my report of  our first reunion at Stepping Into a History Book: A US Navy Destroyer Reunion.

Buffalo is home port of the USS The Sullivans (DD-537) and the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park. We are looking forward to meeting once more with our newfound shipmates from the Balch and Porterfield as well as seeing the ships there. The Sullivans is a Fletcher class destroyer almost identical to the two tin cans I served on in the 1960s.

My Book

How can I close out this post without an unabashed plug for my new book!

I Didn’t Want to Worry You Mom … (But sometimes it got a little scary and dangerous out there!)

You can preview and purchase a copy by clicking  on the book image below.

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Don Johnson – August 2014