The Advice of a Seagull

To all my friends who are unbelievers – that is those who believe there is no God … to all who believe I was formed strictly and completely from molecules bumbling around and bumping into each other and other things out there that could be bumped into.

Seagull in flight by Jiyang Chen.jpg

Find a quiet spot where lots of us congregate … say the fantail of one of those gigantic cruise ships that seem so popular these days.

Relax … take a few deep breaths … and just watch us for a while.

Notice how I sit so calmly all bundled up with no sign of anything that could suddenly sprout out of my body and take me soaring to the currents of the wind above you … just a compact bundle of beautiful white stuff that for the time being at least, whose function is to just to keep me warm.

Notice how smooth I look … how I face into the blowing wind and how that white stuff just lays down so nicely around my body.  I happen to think … and others of your type … think I am a beautiful sight to lay eyes upon … what do you think.

Then I take flight. That soft white stuff all of a sudden but very gracefully, unfolds itself and I am lifted to soar on the winds … and you take a quick breath in amazement. You wish you could do the same, but alas that is reserved for the likes of those such as me.

Now watch my wings as they dip and catch the nuances of the sky. With hardly a motion I turn this way and that as I search for a morsel that will keep my hunger satisfied. My eyes are keen as they scan to and fro looking for that floating morsel.

Watch as another of my type joins me and we soar together … then another joins … then another … and then another … and another.

Watch as one of us thinks the very spot I occupy on the rail is the very one he needs … strange because there’s plenty of room to either side. But I acquiesce and fly off.

Watch my feathers … that white stuff … as they reach out to the wind.

Watch an individual feather as it reacts to the changing wind … I can’t see the wind, but each of my feathers knows how to use the currents. Notice the subtleties of that single feather as it reaches out to the air and to the wind, while at the same time reacting to the changes it senses. It seems that even that one feather knows the direction I desire and helps to guide me there.

Now watch a different feather, perhaps that one close to my body and try to see how it contributes to my flight.

Now watch yet another feather … yes, that one close to my elbow in the inside of the wing – see if you can catch how it helps me soar or float gently right above your head.

Watch as my wings show an overlapping pattern of feather types … different types that optimize the flow of the winds passing across them; long feathers, strong yet slender, and contoured to direct the flow of the wind to a particular purpose. A succession of smaller feathers that soften the turbulence generated by the powerful strokes generated by my muscles as I fly into the wind seeking a higher vantage point.

Watch my tail … watch how it twitches and flutters and gives me stability as I soar and then dive to the water’s surface and collapse to a compact waterproof bundle afloat on the sea.

As I soar high above the sea I notice a flight of my cousin birds … the pelicans, unpack themselves from a frame that seems to me impossible to fly … and yet they do. As I watch their graceful flight skimming the top of the sea I ponder (that is of course if I were able to ponder … which I of course cannot do) but nevertheless I ponder as I watch their majestic formation of flight. I ponder as I watch them take a steep climb, circle around and then plunge into the sea to grasp a beak full of fish … then settle down as I do into a compact waterproof bundle of feathers onto the rolling sea.

Don Johnson – November 2014

Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants

Who we are as individuals and as cultures can to a large extent, and for better or worse,  be traced to those shoulders we have stood on. The expression often heard from someone of great renown is “I stood on the shoulders of giants.” 

We don’t even have to be people of great renown to realize the truth of that phrase. The influence of those in our lives, at all stages is evident … our parents, our teachers, our pastors, priests and rabbis … our comrades in arms … our mentors of all sorts provide the platform upon which we advance our own horizons and strive to reach our dreams.  And don’t forget, those shoulders provided most of us what was needed simply to grow into responsible adulthood. 

In my own career in software development, seldom did I arrive as the new found shining light of invention and innovation … no, on the contrary, the vast majority of my career was spent in building on what others who had come before me had built, and many times those who came before were contemporaries … my colleagues that I rubbed shoulders with on a regular basis.

Modern science and the world it has brought us is a good example of building from the shoulders of giants

The relative ease and comfort in which most in the modern world lives is tribute to the achievements of the giants of science throughout the centuries.  Take a look at the long list below to see the broad sweep of progress and accomplishments  credited to great men of science … giants.                             

DISCIPLINE SCIENTIST

ANTISEPTIC  SURGERY

JOSEPH LISTER (1827-1912)

BACTERIOLOGY

LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)

CALCULUS 

ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727)

CELESTIAL MECHANICS

JOHANN KEPLER (1571-1630)

CHEMISTRY

ROBERT BOYLE (1627-1691)

COMPARATIVE  ANATOMY

GEORGES CUVIER (1769-1832)

COMPUTER SCIENCE

CHARLES BABBAGE (1792-1871)

DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS

LORD RAYLEIGH (1842-1919)

DYNAMICS ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727)
ELECTRONICS JOHN AMBROSE FLEMING (1849-1945)
ELECTRODYNAMICS

JAMES CLERK MAXWELL (1831-1879)

ELECTRO-MAGNETICS MICHAEL FARADAY (1791-1867)
ENERGETICS LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)

ENTOMOLOGY OF
LIVING INSECTS

HENRI FABRE (1823-1915)
FIELD THEORY MICHAEL FARADAY (1791-1867)
FLUID MECHANICS GEORGE STOKES (1819-1903)
GALACTIC ASTRONOMY WILLIAM HERSCHEL (1738-1822)
GAS DYNAMICS ROBERT BOYLE (1627-1691)
GENETICS GREGOR MENDEL (1822-1884)
GLACIAL GEOLOGY LOUIS AGASSIZ (1807-1873)
GYNECOLOGY JAMES SIMPSON (1811-1870)
HYDRAULICS LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519)
HYDROGRAPHY MATTHEW MAURY (1806-1873)
HYDROSTATICS BLAISE PASCAL (1623-1662)
ICHTHYOLOGY LOUIS AGASSIZ (1807-1873)
ISOTOPIC CHEMISTRY WILLIAM RAMSAY (1852-1916)
MODEL ANALYSIS LORD RAYLEIGH (1842-1919)
NATURAL HISTORY JOHN RAY (1627-1705)

NON-EUCLIDEAN
GEOMETRY

BERNHARD RIEMANN (1826- 1866)
OCEANOGRAPHY MATTHEW MAURY (1806-1873)
OPTICAL MINERALOGY DAVID BREWSTER (1781-1868)
PALEONTOLOGY JOHN WOODWARD (1665-1728)
PATHOLOGY RUDOLPH VIRCHOW (1821-1902)
PHYSICAL ASTRONOMY JOHANN KEPLER (1571-1630)

REVERSIBLE
THERMODYNAMICS

JAMES JOULE (1818-1889)

STATISTICAL
THERMODYNAMICS

JAMJAMES CLERK MAXWELL (1831-1879)
STRATIGRAPHY NICHOLAS STENO (1631-1686)
SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY CAROLUS LINNAEUS (1707-1778)
THERMODYNAMICS LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)
THERMOKINETIC HUMPHREY DAVY (1778-1829)
VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY GEORGES CUVIER (1769-1832)

And look at some of the notable inventions and discoveries of these giants of science.

CONTRIBUTION

SCIENTIST

ABSOLUTE TEMPERATURE SCALE LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)
ACTUARIAL TABLES CHARLES BABBAGE (1792-1871)
BLAISE PASCAL (1623-1662)
BIOGENESIS LAW LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)
CALCULATING MACHINE CHARLES BABBAGE (1792-1871)
CHLOROFORM JAMES SIMPSON (1811-1870)
CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM CAROLUS LINNAEUS (1707-1778)
DOUBLE STARS WILLIAM HERSCHEL (1738-1822)
ELECTRIC GENERATOR BAROMETER MICHAEL FARADAY (1791-1867)
ELECTRIC MOTOR JOSEPH HENRY (1797-1878)
EPHEMERIS TABLES JOHANN KEPLER (1571-1630)
FERMENTATION CONTROL LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)
GALVANOMETER JOSEPH HENRY (1797-1878)
GLOBAL STAR CATALOG JOHN HERSCHEL (1792-1871)
INERT GASES  WILLIAM RAMSAY (1852-1916)
KALEIDOSCOPE DAVID BREWSTER (1781-1868)
LAW OF GRAVITY ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727)
MINE SAFETY LAMP HUMPHREY DAVY (1778-1829)
PASTEURIZATION LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)
REFLECTING TELESCOPE ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727)
SCIENTIFIC METHOD FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626)
SELF-INDUCTION JOSEPH HENRY (1797-1878)
TELEGRAPH SAMUEL F.B. MORSE (1791-1872)
THERMIONIC VALVE AMBROSE FLEMING (1849-1945)
TRANS-ATLANTIC CABLE LORD KELVIN (1824-1907)
VACCINATION & IMMUNIZATION  LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895)

What do you see as a common thread among these giants of science? I’ll let Dr. Henry Morris, from whom I borrowed these lists explain how they came to be included:

“The criteria for inclusion are only the following: (1) the scientist was a person of real achievement and significance in the development of science; (2) he or she was a professing Christian (any denomination) who believed in the inspiration of the Bible; (3) he or she believed that the universe, life, and man were directly and specifically created by the transcendent God of the Bible.” 

We have arrived in our modern science and technologically based world  thanks to the minds, the curiosity, and the passions for discovery of the giants listed above. Linger again at the lists and imagine a world where such people did not exist, or worse, were not allowed to think and wonder. You don’t even have to imagine such a world … study the history of the civilizations, cultures and religions around the world and through-out the centuries of recorded history.

Where do you find the rise of science? In the Hindu nations of the world? In the Islamic nations of the world? In the Buddhist nations of the world?  in the pantheistic religions of the world? In the atheist nations of the world such as the Soviet Union, Communist China, or North Korea? 

In none of those times or places do you see the rise of science and the scientific method. Where you do find the rise of science is from within the Biblically based Judeo/Christian tradition, and only from there.

                             ————————————

But then in more modern times  the much more sophisticated and enlightened minds took over and declared the giants of old to be null and void. A wall was built around “science” and only the anointed priesthood were allowed in, and those with a contrary, and more historically based view of reality were stymied and stopped at the barricades.   

The early days of the Berlin Wall

We now have the truths of Materialism which holds:

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.

and Naturalism which holds:

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.[2]

And here some of it’s most strident adherents speak their wisdom:

“ …the “Big Bang” was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics.” Stephen Hawking

“ … 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

“If you look at the universe and study the universe, what you find is that there is no evidence that we need anything other than the laws of physics and the other laws of science to explain everything we see. There’s absolutely no evidence that we need any supernatural hand of god.” — Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist

And read some of what is said by these modern day prophets towards people of faith (I assume these would also apply to those giants listed above):

“Faith can be very very dangerous, and deliberately to implant it into the vulnerable mind of an innocent child is a grievous wrong.”
Richard Dawkins

“The take-home message is that we should blame religion itself, not religious extremism – as though that were some kind of terrible perversion of real, decent religion. Voltaire got it right long ago: ‘Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.’ So did Bertrand Russell: ‘Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do.”
Richard Dawkins

“If you don’t understand how something works, never mind: just give up and say God did it. You don’t know how the nerve impulse works? Good! You don’t understand how memories are laid down in the brain? Excellent! Is photosynthesis a bafflingly complex process? Wonderful! Please don’t go to work on the problem, just give up, and appeal to God.”
Richard Dawkins

“Religion may be a quest for the truth, but it has no way of finding the truth, or verifying what it claims to find. Our knowledge of what God is like has not advanced one iota over the ideas of the 1500s.
And insofar as theological interpretation has changed, it’s done so not as a result of faith’s quest for truth, but of pressure from science and secular morality. Really, can any theologian, philosopher, or scientist tell me anything about God now that we didn’t know 500 years ago? Then ask a scientist what we know now about science that we didn’t know in 1500.”
Jerry Coyne

“Come on, readers, give me one example of a question that religion has answered to everyone’s satisfaction—one example of a “truth” found in religion’s quest for truth.”
Jerry Coyne

I may be mistaken Professor Coyne, but I believe any and all of the works of those cited above as the Giants of Science would satisfy your challenge … and much beyond.
   … Except for this note from a commenter at NCSE:

*Note: “Scientific” obviously precludes you using any theological opinions, biblical verses, pseudoscience texts or gullible references to your favorite, reality-denying, fact-free, science-ignorant, parasitic, god virus infected DI, AIG & CRI websites….

This note summarizes precisely why the Giants of Science have been rendered null and void by the more modern versions of scientists … no logic … no evidence … no reasoning … no facts … no reading or critical analysis of anything religious or divine …  or even anything of a contrary point of view … nothing at all will persuade the religionists of modern day Atheism. The only thing that will change these hearts and minds is the gentle hand of divine Grace. The Grace dispensed unexpectedly by the Judeo/Christian God of the Bible … just as in the case of John Newton and Saul of Tarsus, nothing else can break through to such hardened souls and minds …  “We must not let a divine foot in the door.” Lewontin

And here are some other comments from the laymen in the field; these comments are taken from the National Center For Science Education blog at http://ncse.com/blog

“Oh, there are many fictional books that try to deny evolutionary biology. I was in the bookstore the other day before a movie and, as usual, I visit the Science section. There I saw a copy of “Darwin’s Doubt.” I took it upon myself to move it to the section for religion and faith.”  Wilgus

“Wow! You have laid bare your core ignorance.”
“Your ignorance is amazing because the only beliefs in science are that the cosmos is natural, and that the cosmos is knowable. Your supernatural beliefs, by definition, do not belong to any science.”
Wilgus

“I see that BC’s crapitude has now been removed. Good to see how reality can obliterate fantasy where it is so inappropriate. Thanks for the community support in sanitizing this valuable & nice meeting room – just a few more vermin to eradicate [emphasis mine]….”  CdnMacAtheist

During my year long tenure in the back and forth with commentators on NCSE, in particular CdnMacAtheist, I have had the following charges leveled against me … primarily and almost exclusively because I hold to Intelligent Design and Creationist points of view:

  • I have been accused of child abuse because I believe in the right of parents to teach Biblical creation in churches and in the home.
  • I have been accused of being a pedophile because I suggested to a young intern at NCSE to take a look at Intelligent Design ideas and materials.
  • I have been accused of being a traitor for being a veteran, taking an oath and then violating that oath by believing in and advocating Biblical Christianity.
  • I have been accused of sedition … same rational as above.
  • Lately I have been likened to those who advocated and preached slavery in the American South prior to the Civil War.
  • The usual insults if IDiot, anti-science, ignorant, stupid, uneducated etc.  …
  • I am vermin to be eradicated.
  • I am the cause of all war, famine, torture and other human depravity.
  • I have been accused of being an RCC (I assume that means Roman Catholic Church) … I’m not.

Since the Giants of Science have now been excised from the history and practice of science, I hope they feel welcome in my house. That leaves the house of Dawkins, Wilgus, Coyne, CdnMacAtheist  and their band of fellow Materialists rather empty.
Perhaps the void is filled with Dawkins, Coyne, and Lewontin … oh yea and Wilgus.

Don Johnson – October 2014

 

A Report From the Tsunami Devastated Region of Japan

Don Johnson:

Another report from Reidun … same place, the tsunami devastated region of Northern Japan

Subject: sunset in Takayama, Shichigahama, Japan
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2014 02:06:17 -0700
Beautiful sunset now at 6 pm . is so beautiful, 1 am in Seattle, You are heading in to our Wednesday , we are just closing it out.
A beautiful day.
I went with Teddy and her daughter -in -law , Tina, to a knitting class at the temporary housing .
In spite of it all they are cheerful , chatty and funny/
They are an inspiration to us all.
I have taken pictures of the empty fields where the houses once stood before the tsunami.
Looking at Tina’s pictures right after the tsunami , the destruction is terrible , just like we saw on TV.
I am feeling overwhelmed by what I see, even though things are cleaned up now, yet empty.
Franklin Graham is the president of Samaritan purse.
Sp is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world since 1970.
Sp sent sent an initial response team to Japan with a 747 with 93 tons of relief supplies to Sendai, Miyagi preficture,
They set up operating centers here in Shitigahama , Kesennuma, and Ishinomaki.
They needed housing for the relief workers.
The summer homes here on top of the hill became that housing , as there were no hotels , nor housing to be found at that time.
Teddy became the land lord here at Takayama in charge of housing the workers, Tina became a contact person and camp manager and also their official photographer , she was then first one to take pictures of Sendai’s totally destroyed airport.
A 747 filled with 93 tons of relief items from the US, from SP who partnered with the U S airforce , unloaded the 747 at Yokota Airforce base on March 19, 2011.
Meanwhile through much hard work and the help of the US , the airport in Sendai had opened again, , US c17 military aircrafts ferried the relief items to Sendai.
The Sp volunteers that came helped mud out houses, and helped in all that horrible cleanup that had to be done, and later on helped with new constructions,
Pete and Tina Sawka put togehter the final Samaritan Purse report for japan, 2011-2012, with pictures and design , a farewell banquet was held in 2012.
I am gleaning my information from this report and also from daily conversations with Teddy and Tina Sawaka.
Sp left a nice van for Teddy to use in her now ministry to the temporary housing people, her ministry is call ” Yarn alive japan,
http://www.yarnalive.com
http://www.facebook.com/yarnalive
People from all over Japan is donating yarn , three boxes daily arrive by UPS,
Her sister’s house next door is filled to the ceiling with yarn , from room to room,
Teddy is now in the process of building a warehouse with class rooms, Just last night the city OK. her permit.
She has an architect and carpenter , the wood is even cut for the building, now she simply needs the funding to put it all together, 300 000$ is needed.
Teddy is drowning in yarn, her ministry is a community project.
the ladies are knitting things for needy people,
A shipment has already gone out once to the refugees in Syria and Jordan,
A new shipment is going out now in the end of this month, via England .
The people who themselves have lost it all , now want to bless others who likewise have lost everything ,
By focusing on other needy people, they no longer look at their own pain and loss,
Helping others give them great joy .
It was a tremendous joy for me to meet these joyful ladies today ,
to comfort others with the comfort we ourselves are comforted with .
On the wall in the room today was a Japanese picture, I Japanese writing. : together we live, tomo ni ikiru .
I am sorry I am not able to attach any pictures to this letter. I somehow do not have the right wire from my I pad to connect to my laptop .
Joyfully
mom
Reidun

Originally posted on A Yearning for Publius:

Reidun Harjo is my cousin. She and her husband Kjell and their children were missionaries to Japan for well over 20 years, and Reidun still has contact with people over there. Kjell was killed in a car accident several years ago, but we still see Reidun almost yearly.

We first met the Harjos in the 1990s when they spent time with us on their way back to Japan. Kjell preached in our church there and we quickly grew fond of them.

Here’s Reidun’s report

————————————————————–

Dear everyone ,
I left Seattle for Japan September 30 with Hawaiian Airline .
My flight from Seattle was delayed over two hours due to a scratch on the airplane . This had to be inspected by the experts .
We were scheduled to leave at 8:45 am.
Now we had to wait a couple of hours for people to wake up in Honolulu ,because…

View original 696 more words

A Report From the Tsunami Devastated Region of Japan

Reidun Harjo is my cousin. She and her husband Kjell and their children were missionaries to Japan for well over 20 years, and Reidun still has contact with people over there. Kjell was killed in a car accident several years ago, but we still see Reidun almost yearly.

We first met the Harjos in the 1990s when they spent time with us on their way back to Japan. Kjell preached in our church there and we quickly grew fond of them.

Here’s Reidun’s report

————————————————————–

Dear everyone ,
I left Seattle for Japan September 30 with Hawaiian Airline .
My flight from Seattle was delayed over two hours due to a scratch on the airplane . This had to be inspected by the experts .
We were scheduled to leave at 8:45 am.
Now we had to wait a couple of hours for people to wake up in Honolulu ,because they had to ask the experts over there for advice , finally people in Seattle checked out the plane.
All this made me miss my plane from Honolulu to Japan.
I was beginning to look forward to an overnight stay there
To my amazement Hawaiian Airline held the airplane to Japan for me for over an hour, . I came trotting into that airplane like some VIP.
I have to use wheel chair service at the airports .
Hawaiian Airline is the friendliest and best service I have ever encountered .
I arrived Safely in Sendai  , a city north of Tokyo on time
Here I am staying with my friend Teddy Sawka , she and her husband Ron have been our friends out here since 1976.
We all came out as young missionary families , we met at the Japanese language school .
Here in Northern Japan the biggest shock and greatest sorrow is to see all the remnants left from the Tsunami 3 years ago .
Miles and miles of coast line now empty fields with empty foundations where once houses stood and all the trees gone too.
Over 200 000 are still homeless ,
My friend Teddy has a wonderful ministry going amongst the ladies called :Yarn alive”
She is teaching them not to look at their own losses because that makes them loose all hope .
She is teaching them to focus on the needs of others and to help them
They knit baby blankets for the new born at hospitals  , blankets for the elderly , They have sent a huge load of blankets to the refugees in  Syria and Jordan .
Knitting for others gives them purpose for living ,and much joy .Yarn is being donated from all over Japan now
She is in the process of raising funds for a_ warehouse with classrooms to hold all the yarn,
This weekend I went up North to Miyako city, Iwate  Prefecture , where we helped plant a church 37 years ago .
We came up there to plant a church from scratch , no other missionaries there , not knowing a_ soul there .
We were so lovingly welcomed home by the pastor and his wife .I had not been up there for 19 years now , a heart warming reunion ,I felt right at home again .
Teddy and I had to park the car a b!block away from the church.
As I came out on the sidewalk to walk up to church I see two ladies waving outside  the church .
The one lady began running down the street arms outstretched until she reached me  She fell about my.neck and wept loudly , for joy of seeing me again and with sorrow over the loss of pastor Harjo .
The other lady. Came running close after  , we stood there all three of us weeping loudly and hugging.
It was a heavenly reunion , what a day that will be when we all will meet again in heaven.with all our loved ones there .
These two ladies are our two first church members .
The now pastor wife at the church follows a close third.
I got to share in the Sunday morning service in Japanese for the first time in 15 years since I have been back to Japan.
With the Japanese Bible in hand I found the words and expressions of my heart to share with them.
This visit back to my home church in Japan was simply heaven!y, dear and precious .
During the tsunami 500 people in Miyako perished .
The small neighboring town of Taro was simply drowned and is no more .
2000 people were left homeless, some have received new homes by now  , still1500 remain homeless in temporary housing .
Pastor Iwatsuka of our church visits the people daily , he is doing an amazing job among them
It is a huge and demanding and ongoing. Ministry .
I have many more stories to tell,but my fingers get tired from writing
The experiences and impressions after only one week out here is overwhelming
I am home .
Love you all.
Reidun.

The Bridgeport CT Rescue Mission

The following is a blog post I posted at the National Center for Science Education – A Ringer in the Contest, Part 2 | NCSE

———————————————————————

Since much of the commentary on this site is religious, and since most of the commentary is of a bigoted and destructive nature, I thought it appropriate and timely to relay an event my wife and I attended last night.

The event was a fund raiser for the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, a Christian ministry reaching out to the homeless, addicted and hungry in the Bridgeport CT area.

The event was well attended, and I hope very financially successful.

Two speakers filled the evening:

Mike spoke first, was very articulate and transparent as he told his life story beginning in high school – Mike is now 37 years of age. He told of his beginnings with drugs in high school. He told of his marriage at age twenty and his first two children. He told of his graduation to crack cocaine and eventually a heroin addiction. He told of his third and forth child, and his constant lies to his wife and family concerning his destructive live style – destructive not only to him, but to those around him. He told of receiving divorce papers from his wife who could no longer tolerate his destructive life and influence on her for children.

Mike told of his increasing desperation and alienation from life, and his desertion of his family.

Mike told of his finding the Bridgeport Rescue Mission and their year long in-house rehabilitation program. Mike entered the program and stuck with it through the year. Mike told of the life at the mission with daily Bible devotions, prayer and fellowship with others like him who had made bad decisions in life. Mike told of the teaching and mentoring he received in learning how to reenter society as a contributing human being.

Mike concluded his story by recounting his difficulty and painful reconciliation with his wife and family – but reconcile they did … with new purpose in all their lives. The family came on stage and it was a beautiful sight.

The next speaker was Dave Draveky – http://www.cbn.com/tv/14291323….

You may remember Dave from several decades ago – a young major league pitcher approaching this peak of his career, and the fulfillment of his lifelong dreams. Then it all came crashing down as Dave contracted cancer in his pitching arm and lost his arm as well as his baseball career to the dreaded disease of cancer.

Dave recounted some of that trauma, but spent most of his talk in recounting his time yesterday with the men, women and children of the rescue mission. Dave related to much of what the people of the mission were living through … the loss of dreams and the agony of a crushing life.

Dave closed his talk by moving back to Mike’s story and with the picture of that reunited family … fresh on our minds and asked if “Mike and his family was worth sharing some of our wealth and time?” I know what my answer was.

A few numbers of interest:
37.6 % of children
16.2 % of families
18.4 % of individuals
… Live below the poverty line in Bridgeport

12,000 prepared meals each month.
15,000 pantry bag meals each month
20,000 Thanksgiving meals
Emergency shelter services for men and women
Guest house for women and children

New life Discipleship program … a year long in-house addiction recovery program.

As we were leaving the event I caught a glimpse of his family going down the escalator … a husband and wife hand in hand and four happy and energetic children. A beautiful sight. Yes Dave Draveky … lives of value and worth.

Verse:

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

Barack Obama MisUnderestimated the ISIS Threat

The headline reads Obama faces backlash after blaming intel  community for missing ISIS.

This of course takes me back to the George W. Bush administration and the oft quoted “Bush lied – babies died”  mantra of the radical left. The  thrust of this profound bumper sticker foreign policy statement was that Bush lied us into the Iraq war and his lies caused countless deaths and disarray in the international community. This bumper sticker foreign policy was a significant contributor for the election of Barack H. Obama to the presidency and the furtherance of his own brand of profound bumper sticker foreign policy (leading from behind anyone?).

The Bush defense? Actually George W. Bush never put up much of a defense of his policies, and has been for the most part silent since leaving office in 2009. His defenders however, point out that virtually the entire intelligence community; foreign and domestic,  was unanimous in its assessment that the Hussein regime in Iraq was in possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and was a gathering threat for further WMD use beyond what he, Hussein, did in the past during the Iraq/Iran war.

So the Bush defense against the “Bush lied – babies died”  mantra boiled down to: Bush may have been mistaken, but did not lie. The left railed against this defense, but now we see the same defense raised on behalf of Barack Obama and his “surprise” at the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In fact, the president himself uses this defense on his own behalf.

Now let’s all board the Way Back machine and travel to that ancient time of September 2012 and look at this headline; Why is Obama skipping more than half of his daily intelligence meetings? But why should we trust a report from 2 years ago from a former Bush speech writer? Lets get a more recent update from the Government Accountability Institute at: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/09/30/good-news-obama-skips-the-majority-of-his-intelligence-briefings-n1898597 which shows our Democrat Party Marketing Manager as having attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings. Such behavior in a Commander in Chief is unconscionable and deadly … as in contributing to the deaths of who knows how many around the world. Are apologies to President George W. Bush forthcoming?

It should surprise no one that this president is surprised by anything, especially concerning foreign policy, if he has indeed skipped a significant percentage of his daily intelligence meetings. As I wrote recently in A Constitutional Amendment,

Our current President, the President of the Democrat Party and Marketing Manager of the Democrat Party has his primary focus on his particular political party and agenda. He can’t possibly 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 if the “Bush lied – babies died”  mantra holds against George W. Bush, could not a similar mantra be applied to Barack Obama … “Obama lied – nations died, are dying or are in danger of dying (Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Libya, Yemen … )”

Don Johnson – September 2014

Yale Bowl at 100 Years … Yale 49–Army 43 in Overtime

I guess we are truly New Englanders now. Today we walked the couple of blocks down to our local football stadium to partake in the festivities of the Yale vs. Army football game and all the festivities surrounding it.

When the Yale bowl opened for business in 1914 it was the largest sports venue in the world, and seated 61,446. That’s our neighborhood surrounding it.

It was the first bowl-shaped stadium in the country, and inspired the design of such stadiums as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Rose Bowl, and Michigan Stadium.

Todays game was proceeded with several hundred West Point cadets marching around and into the stadium, and West Point skydivers parachuting into the stadium carrying the game footballs.

One item that seemed to catch every ones attention was the half time show. The marching bands of the two schools combined at center field for the half time show.

An added bonus for Diana and I was that Diana’s good friend from kindergarten, Sally Held and her husband Woody have been with us for the last several days. Woody is a 40 year Army veteran who retired a few years back as Brigadier General after having served for 15 years as head of the language department at West Point … really fine people. Read about their retirement here.

Nice to be able to participate in such a momentous and historic event.

Don Johnson – September 2014

A running List of Biological Evidences of Design in Nature

10/06/2014 – Look for added content below on the “evolution of the eye.

Note: All of these items have been presented to the National Center for Science Education NCSE blog over the past year as evidence for design in nature. All of these have been ignored by the NCSE principle authors, and rejected quite vigorously by commenters on the blog as being, for example, “creationist clap trap”.  And from what I have been able to infer is without any of them actually reading the material or watching the videos presented.

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This next one is long, but very fascinating and well worth watching. I hope you enjoy it.

I would be interested in any comments anyone has on this and the other articles listed below.

 

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

10/06/2014 – **********    New content here  ******************************

Here is Richard Dawkins in his younger days demonstrating how the eye evolved. All we see here is a contrived demonstration showing mechanical and optical devices constructed by Dawkins and his aides … a short primer on basic optical principles, but no biology or evolutions shown here.

Here at about 42 minutes, is an updated version of Richard Dawkins explanation of how the eye evolved. Modern props with great video and scenery, and a young attractive advocate   … but still an entirely contrived demonstration of some basic optical principle’s with no actual biological or evolutionary content other than constant assertions that what is being shown is evolution.

 

Now here is a more up to date rendering of how the eye evolved that is considered to be the final nail in the theological idea of the eye being a designed system:

http://www.rpgroup.caltech.edu/courses/aph161/Handouts/Nilsson1994.pdf|

But read the following as a counter to that so called nail … note that the technology has changed, but the human designer produced mechanical demonstration of Dawkins and Dr. Brian Cox  are still there but now hidden in the technology of computers.

Could the eye have evolved by natural selection in a geological blink?

 

********  End of new content, but continue reading the next few items on even more study of the eye  ***********************

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.

 

Don Johnson – Sept 2014

Kick-Off Event for The Book “I Didn’t Want To Worry You Mom …”

My wife Diana and I attended the 39’th annual USS Balch-Porterfield reunion in early September, and like last year this was a memorable event. The reunion was held in Buffalo and was a week filled with activity and camaraderie amongst fellow shipmates and family members. If I have my numbers correct there were 22 of us sailors dating back to 1941 and through World War II … through the Korean War … through the Vietnam War … through the Cold War and on to 1969 when the Porterfield was decommissioned for  the final time.
Many family members were also there … sons & daughters- brothers & sisters, as well as friends, making it very much a family event. I think the total count was in the mid sixties.

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The flag you see above was the last flag flown on the Porterfield (DD-682).
The fellow on the right is Sam Thomas who was on the commissioning crew of the Porterfield in 1943 … he is called a “plank owner” and is a spry 91 years old.
The follow on the left is Steve Osbourne  who was on the decommissioning crew of the Porterfield in 1969.
The setting for this picture was the fantail of the USS The Sullivans (DD-537), a museum ship in Buffalo. The Sullivans is a Fletcher Class tin can … destroyer, the same as the Porterfield.

During this reunion I presented the video “I Didn’t Want To Worry You Mom … “ which was well received by the reunion members, and I received a number of compliments. Sam Thomas told me that “it brought tears to my eyes in places … “.  I created this video as an introduction and companion to the book, and it contains a selection of snippets representing some of the things that sailors get involved with at sea … in peace time as well as war time.

Following the video I presented a book to each of the sailors present as well as to the three widows in attendance. I also sold copies to anyone else interested.

I received many compliments for the book, both from the sailors and family members … Gene Beckstrom, a Navy veteran from WW-II and a Korean War Army veteran told me that some of the stories in the book brought tears to his eyes.  So these comments served to validate the work I have done in compiling this book, and thus I consider the 2014 Balch-Porterfield reunion to be the “kick off event” for the book and I  invite you to take a look at it at my online bookstore.

donanddiana

After returning home from the reunion I received a phone message from a 90 year old Navy veteran from World War II.  Len Lohne recently traveled as an honored guest of Honor Flight to the World War II Memorial in Washington DC, and some of us at church were asked to send cards, letters and mementos to Len as he returned from his trip. I sent a copy of the book, and Len called to thank me for the book and tell me how much he enjoyed reading it … further validation of the message I intended … to honor those who served and gave so much, as well as the family members who were left behind.

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Best regards and smooth sailing …

Don Johnson Sept 2014

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 Manager of the Democrat Party has his primary focus on his particular political party and agenda. He can’t possibly 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