Category Archives: Athiesm

Asking the Right Questions:

Kinesin
(Click on the image or the following link)

Asking the Right Questions: My Visit to Brown University and MIT 

No – this was not my, AYFPs visit, but rather a fellow named Brian Miller.

Some excerpts:

“ … Several of the participants had never heard the evidence for design, so they were visibly struck by its weight and the enormity of its implications. The questions were particularly thoughtful, sincere, and relevant. They were also very common in such discussions, so I thought I would address each of them.  … “

“ … The students commented that they very much enjoyed the discussion, since they never hear the design perspective. And the vast majority wished to stay connected with the sponsoring groups for future conversations. If only all academics could learn to ask the right questions and demonstrate such open mindedness and such a desire for truth. … “

This article is quite fascinating. As the two excerpts point out, some (many?) students at these prestigious universities had never heard the design perspective as applied to biology and life. This is not surprising since the Darwinian evolutionists have had a censoring choke hold on such discussions for many years (see my article at: https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/ball-state-university-intelligent-design-my-7-disappointments/).

So it is quite refreshing that perhaps a toe-hold has been established in the land of Ivy League (I live just a short bus ride from Yale).

I have to wonder though if these events were actually sanctioned by Brown and MIT, or were they off campus and sponsored by some rebellious truth seeking students.    Dr. Miller refers to ‘sponsoring groups ‘ so perhaps it’s wishful thinking on my part to think that Ivy has actually stepped up to taking a look at Intelligent Design – but it seems that some of the students are looking.

Dr. Miller has a BA in Physics from MIT and a PhD in Physics from Duke.

 

Don Johnson – March 2017

How can taking the life of an innocent human being be Constitutional?

For years I have asked the question “How can taking the life of an innocent human being be Constitutional?”

Consider:
— the target of the abortion is alive, as a distinct entity, from conception and has never been anything but alive.

— the target of the abortion is a human being and has never been anything else. He or she has never been a worm, a bird, a cabbage, a monkey, a fish or any other life form other than a human being.

— the target of the abortion, never having entered into the human society, is as innocent as can be imagined.

— the abortion does indeed take this life.

Constitutionally:

— this life has been taken without “due process of law” as required by the US Constitution.

— the presumption of innocence, Constitutionally granted in criminal cases, is denied to the object of abortion.

— legal representation is denied to the object of abortion as is the right to confront the accuser.

— presentation of legal charges and a jury trial of peers is denied to the object of abortion.

Again I ask “How can the taking the life of an innocent human being be Constitutional?”

 

Don Johnson – January 2017

Announcing My New Book

 

image
(click on the image above)

Take a look at my new book where I take on the Atheist-Darwin crowd.

It’s a quick read with lots of punch  — drop a comment back to let me know what you think.

 

Excerpt:

I remember those nights as a kid laying out in the backyard on a clear Montana night. Laying out in that mummy bag gazing in wonder at the night sky and … just thinking …

How many stars are out there? How big is the universe? Does it have an end? If it has an end … then what’s beyond? How did it get there? How did I get here? How can there be something that has no end? Are there answers?

I think most of us have had such nights, and for many of us such wonder continues …

I’m one of those whose mind seems never to stop with the wondering … I just can’t shut it off — not that I want too.

So this is a collection of thoughts, conversations and writings that I’ve collected over the years. Thoughts and study that go back many, many years. The pages to follow come from my thinking and study on these issues, from my blog and from internet dialogs I’ve had with various people, mainly commenters like myself who seem to be passionate about the same questions and issues. Many have quite the opposite views as me, but that’s OK.

Don Johnson – January 2017

Books Every ‘Seeker’ Should Read

image
(Click above to read the article)

A friend posted this article originally titled “26 Books Every ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’ Seeker Should Read.” I didn’t catch why she excluded “religious” seekers from her list. Nevertheless, a worthy topic, and one I would like to expand on to include this “seeker” – me – and a list of my own that have influenced me in my 73 years of life.

I will begin in my late teens when I was dating my wife of now 53 years. She was a Roman Catholic, and I thought if this young romance is to go anywhere, perhaps I should learn a little of her religion. I had little or no religious beliefs, let alone knowledge, but I did understand that Catholicism was the oldest religion, and therefore if there was a “true” religion, this was most likely it. I don’t recall thinking of the many other religions – Islam, Buddhism, Judaism … I wanted to know about the “real” one — I was a “seeker.”

So at the age of about 18 I frequented the local library and started to read about Catholicism. I have no recollection of the books I looked into, but suffice it to say that this brief experience began my life as a “seeker.”

A few years later I would fall under the influence of my girlfriend’s older brother – an Atheist. Gordon had a persuasive gift of gab, and me being a “seeker” he had a ready student and introduced me to Atheism and Existentialism, hence the first books on my list.

    • Why I Am Not A Christian  — Bertrand Russell.
    • No Exit  — Jean Paul Sartre
    • Being and Nothingness – Jean Paul Sartre
    • The Playboy Philosophy – Hugh Hefner

Skipping ahead a few years, married and back in college after a time working and a Navy tour, I read books like this one:

    • The Passover Plot  — Hugh J. Schonfield
      A book “debunking” the Jesus myth.

So during those years I guess I considered my “seeking” finished and I settled into a world view of evangelical Atheism – yes I was outspoken and mocking of all things religious.  I’m sure there were other books from that era, but I don’t recall. The ones listed above were certainly the most influential in my life.

So at a ripe old age of early twenties, I settled into my “know it all” world view of Atheism.  This lasted to age 36.

I’ll list the books that transformed my life (and that of my family as well) from that point on, beginning with the earliest:

    • The Late Great Planet Earth  — Hal Lindsey.
    • There’s A New World Coming – Hal Lindsey
    • The Rapture  — Hal Lindsey
    • Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth  — Hal Lindsey
    • Others by Hal Lindsey

Lindsey’s books unexpectedly caught my attention when I innocently picked up his Late Great Planet Earth  book back in 1980. I thought I was going to read a fanciful yarn akin to Erich von Däniken‘s “Chariots of the Gods.” What I got instead was Lindsey laying out a case claiming that today’s current events line up with the prophetic Biblical writings of thousands of years ago describing the “last days” of planet earth. This was like getting hit upside the head with a 2×4 and got my attention and interest. 

Lindsey wrote his book in the 1970s in the midst of the Cold War  when the Soviet Union was a strong and prominent player on the world stage and Communism was on the march in many parts of the world. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, it appeared that Lindsey might be off the mark in highlighting Russia as one of the key players in the “end times” scenario. However, Russia is once more prominent as a world power, and in fact is now positioned in the Middle east (Syria) whereas it was not in the 1970s – something to pay attention too.   

There are many other thinkers and writers on Biblical Prophesy and I have read a number of them  — some good and others not so good (an exercise for the student?). But let me move on …

Lindsey’s books, along with my study of the actual Biblical passages he highlighted, launched me out of atheism and into Christianity. But I was a total rookie and had many questions and internal conflicts. The following are some of the books and ministries that helped this “seeker” through those oft-times confusing times.  

I could go on and on, but let me conclude …

During this period of seeking and growth back in the early 1980s, I actually did read the Bible through from cover to cover.  One of the surprises I found, as one of the worlds foremost experts in that book that I had not previously opened,  were the many  practical lessons useful for living a full life … how to be a better husband, father, friend, employee, boss, brother, son, citizen …

So I would encourage you as a fellow “seeker”, don’t stop at being just a “spiritual seeker”, but press on to seek the whole banquet that will fill that hunger within you.

 

Don Johnson – January 2017

 

 

 

 

Intelligent Design and the Manufacturing Process

In my working days we built a complex distributed system consisting of 4 subsystems distributed over a large geographical space,  interconnected with data links and including a subsystem containing a multitude of fast moving and maneuvering jet fighter aircraft.

In constructing these systems, we used a process called ‘Engineering Release (ER)’ where the various components of each subsystem, as well as the subsystems themselves, were released to manufacturing via a series of ‘Shop Travelers.’ These travelers contained detailed instructions on how the components were to be manufactured and assembled as well as a detailed parts list. 

When the manufacturing process was complete, the various components and subsystems were integrated and tested in a lab setting, and then deployed and tested on site for use by fighter squadrons.

Preceding all this of course was the necessary design work – a goal oriented, purposeful and intellectual expression of the vision of those who saw a need for such a system.

It would seem that the human cell operates on much the same scheme. A cell containing complete and detailed information describing an end product and the shop travelers that guide that cell to its final use as a heart muscle, bone brain and more.    

It’s called Intelligent Design (ID), and is the way all complex systems are constructed, whether they be human designed or the natural life we see all around us and within us.   To think otherwise is folly.

  __________________

Psalm 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you
knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand
when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Challenging Darwinian Evolution

Some of the fundamentals of Darwinian Evolution, as I understand it are:

  • The complexities of life we see all around us, and within us are assembled from the bottom up in a Natural Selection process which chooses beneficial mutations among a long series of such changes, while allowing less beneficial changes to wither away, or perhaps allowed to remain as flotsam or “junk.”
  • The resulting “designs” we see from such a process are merely illusions, the appearance of design … not actual design as we see in all of the human artifacts we dwell among such as the automobile and computers.
  • Evolution is said to be without purpose, without direction and without goals. What we may see as purpose, direction and goals are simply the result of the workings of natural processes – simply illusions of and the appearance of design,

So then why do we see purpose, direction and goals at every level of life – from the cellular level, to the systems level to the completed body plan?

We see purpose in the various machines and structures within each of several trillion cells in our bodies. We see the Kinesin motor transporting cargo from one place on the cell to another. We see the marvel of DNA which, coupled with other cellular components, represents not only a massive mass storage capability, but also represents a type of blueprint package defining all aspects of the end product body. This DNA package also contains what can be described as a complete set of “shop travelers” which, much like a manufacturing process, provides step by step instructions and bills of materials for the manufacture of the myriad parts making up the completed human body – bones, hair, brain, liver, eye, nose … and more.

And each of these subunits exhibits purpose — specific purpose.  What is finally assembled as an arm and hand for example, takes on a myriad of functional purposes such as accurately throwing a baseball, playing a musical instrument such as a violin and cradling a new born baby. Each of our vital organs play specific and necessary roles in keeping our body alive and functioning – there are goals and purpose expressed in each and every one of our body parts.

What we see and experience in the finished goal directed and purposeful human body is beautifully expressed in many ways, such as when we witness a magnificent choral and orchestral performance such as Handel’s Messiah. What we experience in that concert hall is not an illusion — it is real and is the culmination of a multitude of designs, both in the natural as well as the realm of human intelligence and ingenuity.        

About Those Self Driving Cars, Trucks and Buses

image

We hear more and more about the coming of self driving vehicles. Some are already on the road, and at least one – a Tesla – has already killed its passenger.

It seems feasible, but just a bit on the scary side don’t you think?

So how do you envisage these self driving things are being designed and engineered?

Do you see a team of mathematicians, physicists and engineers applying the known laws of science and inventing the Google car or the Tesla self-driver?

I don’t see it happening that way. Oh yea, those smart guys and gals are certainly necessary and part of the teams, but I’d wager that the front-line designers are Intelligent Design biological scientists.

What?

Yea – and what they are most likely doing is studying – for example – How Hummingbirds Avoid Collisions. You see these small agile birds have been doing this for – who knows how long.

image

But haven’t I been told for 150+ years now that “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” And now you are telling me that Intelligent Design principles can be used to develop highly complex and sophisticated machines like self-driving vehicles?  

Exactly. It’s called biomimetics, which is the study of how nature accomplishes a wide variety of things, such that those same techniques and devices can be used for human benefit such as the self-driving car.

You can bet that if biology is a part of this new technology, evolution has no part in it. Nor is it likely that human ingenuity and brilliance alone will produce the final product that must be at least as good as the hummingbird.

Scientists, as shown in the article above, are studying this amazing design in nature, and it is likely that many are using these studies for applications such as the self-driving car.

Evolution? Could take millions of years and millions of trial and error deaths to evolve  the same product.

Why not use the same technique we often use in software development – stand on the shoulders of giants and reuse that which has been previously designed and developed?

 

Don Johnson – July 2016