by Kyle Butt, M.A. ... Shrewbot’s Synthetic Whiskers Detect God


Shrewbot’s Synthetic Whiskers Detect God

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

Tiny shrews use their whiskers to locate prey and navigate.
The Etruscan pygmy shrew is a contender for the smallest mammal in the world. But its diminutive size does not detract from its amazing design. Since this little critter is blind, it must rely on its whiskers to navigate and find food. The whiskers of this tiny shrew are highly sensitive and extremely efficient. In fact, the shrew’s whiskers work so well that researchers have been studying them in an attempt to equip robots with similar technology.
Robotics experts from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory in England have been working on a new machine they call Shrewbot. Shrewbot is a small robot fitted with synthetic whiskers that mimic those of the Etruscan shew (Moon, 2012). The primary advantage of this “touchy” technology is that the bot does not rely on vision. Researchers suggest that the sense of touch will enable the bot to explore “dark, dangerous or smoke filled environments” (2012).
When scientists copy designs in nature, it is called biomimicry. At Apologetics Press, we have written several articles about this field of research (see Biomimicry). Each new instance of this practice underscores the intelligent design within the natural world. The implication is simple. If brilliant scientists find complex, proficient designs in nature that are more efficient than any man-made designs, then the Designer of the natural world must be more intelligent than any human designer. It is ironic that one of the world’s smallest mammals provides such a “big” piece of evidence for the existence of God—the Intelligent Designer.


Biomimicry, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&topic=66.
Moon, Mariella (2012), “How the Etruscan Pygmy Shrew Inspired a Bewhiskered Disaster Relief Robot,” http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/etruscan-pygmy-shrew-inspired-bewhiskered-disaster-relief-robot-154004920.html.

From Jim McGuiggan... Jean Paul Sartre and Martin Luther

Jean Paul Sartre and Martin Luther

The atheist Jean Paul Sartre in his 1943 play The Flies caricatures a Christian moaning in light of his sins.

"I stink…I am a mass of rottenness…I have sinned a thousand times, I am a sink of ordure [obscenity, foulness], and I reek to heaven." Jupiter/Zeus responds, "O worthy man!"

Sartre had an immediate political message for his people who were grovelling under the jackboots of Hitler's forces and the Vichy French who collaborated with the Nazis. A member of the French Resistance, Sartre called his people to make a commitment and not to live like cows to be herded and milked and slaughtered. He shared with Nietzsche before him a hatred for this sickeningly passive view of life with its "kick-me-again-it's-all-I-deserve" outlook.

The political nature of the play gave Sartre the chance also to express his existential philosophy (which comes close to worshipping "choice"). The difference between a real human and an animal is that the human has the capacity for choice, the capacity to transcend pressures whether from culture or some other outside source. To grovel and to allow others to tell you how to live and what to think, Sartre insisted, is to reject the one thing that makes humans different from animals. If you will not make a personal commitment where do you differ from a donkey?
For this reason and more Sartre was anti-religious and believed that Christianity produced snivelling wimps whose life was sucked out of them by religious authorities. They spoke for "God" and told the people they were all sinners and could do nothing worthy so no wonder all they ever talked about was their sinfulness; and what a pack of crawlers they saw themselves to be, leaving a slimy trail behind them anywhere they went. So the opening quotation speaks to Christians as well as to the French people.

There is something sickening about the way we go on and on about how sinful we are and there is a toxic kind of teaching that would make us believe that when we pour unbridled scorn and derision on ourselves that God responds, "O worthy man!"

T.E. Jessup had a similar point in mind when he repeats the doggerel that made the rounds a few generations ago:

Once in a saintly passion I cried in deepest grief
O God my heart is filled with guile
Of sinners I'm the chief.
Then came my guardian angel
And whispered from behind,
Vanity my little man
You're nothing of the kind.

I'm thinking not of a healthy confession of our sinfulness but of that pathological obsession with it that paralyses us and keeps us from growth in holiness and vibrant righteousness. I'm including the belief (promoted by the ignorant) that we're not taking our sins seriously if we don't bleat and moan ceaselessly about the evil within us. The truth is we take our sins most seriously when we reflect on the cross of Jesus and truly commit to its meaning rather than inwardly and constantly rehearsing our sins in all their gory details. It's only in the cross that the world's great wrongs are taken with the seriousness with which they deserve. But isn't it astonishing that He who takes our sins more seriously than we can imagine doesn't go on and on and on about them, but speaks forgiveness and then issues a call to vibrant righteousness, to moving on and forgetting the past? This unending whining over our sins, this culture of confessing how evil we are can become addictive, a perverse pleasure.

Sartre has it right when he has a character say, "Clytemnestra is indulging in our national pastime, the game of public confession. Here everyone cries his sins on the housetops.... So you can imagine her delight when she finds someone like you, someone raw and young, who doesn't even know her name, to hear her tale of guilt. A marvellous opportunity! It's as if she were confessing for the first time."

It's more than potentially addictive—it's potentially boring; even we the confessors can find it boring and so we're tempted to embellish and exaggerate to make it more interesting and easier to tell. A pox on it! And a pox on all teaching that leads us to believe that we should be obsessed with our sins. All our talk is wasted on those who care nothing for holiness and all those who are sensitive to every little thing that wounds the Master's heart don't need our religious nagging even if we're throwing in verses here and there that disguise the truth that we're nagging.  There are poor souls who are ill and part of their illness is that they can't stop acting as though they were God, punishing themselves without ceasing. They sneer at every good and wholesome thought that comes into their minds—"You have your nerve to think such things—you, who only last week were…" They jeer at themselves every time they purpose to be involved in a worthy cause or speak a word for God. "Aren't you the perfect hypocrite? Do you think that will make up for…?"  These sad souls need lots of help but whatever else they need they need to come to know that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is not the Jupiter/Zeus of The Flies. He has no pleasure in endless self-despising.

If you are able—get up and move on, passionately follow the dream God has set in your heart of a glad-hearted righteousness and on the way to it, as Luther has taught us: Sin boldly!  

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

From Mark Copeland... Paul's Missionary Policies (Acts 14:21-28)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                Paul's Missionary Policies (14:21-28)


1. Following the attempt on Paul's life in the city of Lystra...
   a. The next day Paul and Barnabas went on to Derbe - Ac 14:20
   b. Where they preached the gospel and made many disciples - Ac 14:21

2. At this point, Paul and Barnabas began to retrace their steps...
   a. Visiting many of the places where they had established churches
   b. Finally returning to Antioch of Syria where they had started

[In this lesson we will review "Paul's Missionary Policies" that we can
glean from his first missionary journey.  But first, let's briefly


      1. Lystra - where Paul healed a lame man, but then was stoned
      2. Iconium - where Paul had spent some time, but the fled an
         attempt to stone him
      3. Antioch of Pisidia - where Paul preached the gospel in the
         synagogue until expelled from the region 

      1. Exhorting them to continue in the faith
      2. Telling them to expect tribulations for the kingdom of God

      1. With prayer and fasting
      2. Commending them to the Lord 

      1. Perga - from where John Mark left them earlier - Ac 13:13-14
      2. No mention was made of them preaching before, but now they do

      1. Attalia - a city on the coast of Pamphylia
      2. Antioch of Syria - the place from which they began their journey

      1. To the church that had sent them - cf. Ac 13:1-3
      2. Telling how God had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles

[At this point Luke mentions that Paul and Barnabas stayed a long time
with the disciples at Antioch of Syria (Ac 14:28).  Looking back over
Paul's first missionary journey, let's glean what we can about...]


      1. He preached the gospel of Jesus Christ - Ac 14:7,21
      2. As commanded by Jesus Himself - Mk 16:15-16

      1. He made disciples by preaching the gospel - Ac 14:21
      2. Not just baptizing them, but teaching them as disciples - cf. Mt 28:19-20

      1. Today, missionaries often establish missions (i.e., parachurch
      2. Paul's policy was to establish churches - Ac 14:23; cf. Ro 16:16

      1. Which may explain why he retraced his steps - Ac 14:21-22
      2. Which explains why he visited them again and again - Ac 15:36,41; 16:1-5; 18:23

      1. These were bishops (overseers), also known as pastors 
         (shepherds) - Ac 14:23; 20:17,28
      2. Older men who had to meet certain qualifications - cf. 1Ti 3:1-7; Tit 1:5-9
      3. The quick appointment may be due to Jewish converts, already
         well versed in the Word and who may have served earlier as 
         elders in the synagogues

      1. The early church did not practice "apostolic succession" - Ac 12:2 (James was not replaced)
      2. Instead, apostles left the churches to the grace (providence) of
         God - Ac 14:23; 20:28-32

      1. The church at Antioch of Syria had sent Paul on this journey
         - Ac 13:1-3
      2. It was only proper to report back to them what took place - Ac 14:27


1. Paul's missionary policies were actually those of the Holy Spirit...
   a. Who sent Paul and Barnabas on their journey - Ac 13:1-4
   b. Who undoubtedly guided them in the work that they did

2. Today, many churches and missionaries involved in foreign work...
   a. Establish missions instead of churches
   b. Create paternalistic oversight of indigenous churches

3. Such practices are without scriptural authority...
   a. Paul and Barnabas established independent, autonomous congregations
      - Ac 14:23; 20:28
   b. They commended such congregations to God's Word and God's care
      - Ac 14:23; 20:32

If we desire to increase the kingdom of God (and not denominations of 
men), then we do well to study carefully and apply faithfully the 
policies of those like Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

From Gary... Bible Reading June 8

Bible Reading 

June 8

The World English Bible

June 8
1 Samuel 9, 10

1Sa 9:1 Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor.
1Sa 9:2 He had a son, whose name was Saul, an impressive young man; and there was not among the children of Israel a better person than he. From his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.
1Sa 9:3 The donkeys of Kish, Saul's father, were lost. Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with you, and arise, go seek the donkeys.
1Sa 9:4 He passed through the hill country of Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they didn't find them: then they passed through the land of Shaalim, and there they weren't there: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they didn't find them.
1Sa 9:5 When they had come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, Come, and let us return, lest my father leave off caring for the donkeys, and be anxious for us.
1Sa 9:6 He said to him, See now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is a man who is held in honor; all that he says comes surely to pass: now let us go there; peradventure he can tell us concerning our journey whereon we go.
1Sa 9:7 Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?
1Sa 9:8 The servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have in my hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way.
1Sa 9:9 (In earlier times in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he said, Come, and let us go to the seer; for he who is now called a prophet was before called a Seer.)
1Sa 9:10 Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come, let us go. So they went to the city where the man of God was.
1Sa 9:11 As they went up the ascent to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said to them, Is the seer here?
1Sa 9:12 They answered them, and said, He is; behold, he is before you: make haste now, for he is come today into the city; for the people have a sacrifice today in the high place:
1Sa 9:13 as soon as you have come into the city, you shall immediately find him, before he goes up to the high place to eat; for the people will not eat until he come, because he does bless the sacrifice; and afterwards they eat who are invited. Now therefore go up; for at this time you shall find him.
1Sa 9:14 They went up to the city; and as they came within the city, behold, Samuel came out toward them, to go up to the high place.
1Sa 9:15 Now Yahweh had revealed to Samuel a day before Saul came, saying,
1Sa 9:16 Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man out of the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel; and he shall save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked on my people, because their cry is come to me.
1Sa 9:17 When Samuel saw Saul, Yahweh said to him, Behold, the man of whom I spoke to you! this same shall have authority over my people.
1Sa 9:18 Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, Please, where the seer's house is.
1Sa 9:19 Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer; go up before me to the high place, for you shall eat with me today: and in the morning I will let you go, and will tell you all that is in your heart.
1Sa 9:20 As for your donkeys who were lost three days ago, don't set your mind on them; for they are found. For whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you, and for all your father's house?
1Sa 9:21 Saul answered, Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? why then speak you to me after this manner?
1Sa 9:22 Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the guest room, and made them sit in the best place among those who were invited, who were about thirty persons.
1Sa 9:23 Samuel said to the cook, Bring the portion which I gave you, of which I said to you, Set it aside.
1Sa 9:24 The cook took up the thigh, and that which was on it, and set it before Saul. Samuel said, Behold, that which has been reserved! set it before yourself and eat; because to the appointed time has it been kept for you, for I said, I have invited the people. So Saul ate with Samuel that day.
1Sa 9:25 When they had come down from the high place into the city, he talked with Saul on the housetop.
1Sa 9:26 They arose early: and it happened about the spring of the day, that Samuel called to Saul on the housetop, saying, Up, that I may send you away. Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad.
1Sa 9:27 As they were going down at the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us (and he passed on), but stand still first, that I may cause you to hear the word of God.

1Sa 10:1 Then Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it on his head, and kissed him, and said, Isn't it that Yahweh has anointed you to be prince over his inheritance?
1Sa 10:2 When you have departed from me today, then you shall find two men by Rachel's tomb, in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will tell you, The donkeys which you went to seek have been found; and behold, your father has stopped caring about the donkeys, and is anxious for you, saying, What shall I do for my son?
1Sa 10:3 Then you shall go on forward from there, and you shall come to the oak of Tabor; and three men shall meet you there going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine:
1Sa 10:4 and they will greet you, and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall receive of their hand.
1Sa 10:5 After that you shall come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall happen, when you have come there to the city, that you shall meet a band of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tambourine, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they will be prophesying:
1Sa 10:6 and the Spirit of Yahweh will come mightily on you, and you shall prophesy with them, and shall be turned into another man.
1Sa 10:7 Let it be, when these signs have come to you, that you do as occasion shall serve you; for God is with you.
1Sa 10:8 You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: you shall wait seven days, until I come to you, and show you what you shall do.
1Sa 10:9 It was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs happened that day.
1Sa 10:10 When they came there to the hill, behold, a band of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came mightily on him, and he prophesied among them.
1Sa 10:11 It happened, when all who knew him before saw that, behold, he prophesied with the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?
1Sa 10:12 One of the same place answered, Who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?
1Sa 10:13 When he had made an end of prophesying, he came to the high place.
1Sa 10:14 Saul's uncle said to him and to his servant, Where did you go? He said, To seek the donkeys; and when we saw that they were not found, we came to Samuel.
1Sa 10:15 Saul's uncle said, Tell me, Please, what Samuel said to you.
1Sa 10:16 Saul said to his uncle, He told us plainly that the donkeys were found. But concerning the matter of the kingdom, of which Samuel spoke, he didn't tell him.
1Sa 10:17 Samuel called the people together to Yahweh to Mizpah;
1Sa 10:18 and he said to the children of Israel, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all the kingdoms that oppressed you:
1Sa 10:19 but you have this day rejected your God, who himself saves you out of all your calamities and your distresses; and you have said to him, No, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before Yahweh by your tribes, and by your thousands.
1Sa 10:20 So Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken.
1Sa 10:21 He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by their families; and the family of the Matrites was taken; and Saul the son of Kish was taken: but when they sought him, he could not be found.
1Sa 10:22 Therefore they asked of Yahweh further, Is there yet a man to come here? Yahweh answered, Behold, he has hid himself among the baggage.
1Sa 10:23 They ran and fetched him there; and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.
1Sa 10:24 Samuel said to all the people, "You see him whom Yahweh has chosen, that there is none like him among all the people?" All the people shouted, and said, Long live the king.
1Sa 10:25 Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before Yahweh. Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house.
1Sa 10:26 Saul also went to his house to Gibeah; and there went with him the army, whose hearts God had touched.
1Sa 10:27 But certain worthless fellows said, How shall this man save us? They despised him, and brought him no present. But he held his peace.

From Gary... Knowing the unknowable

It is very hard NOT to look at the night sky and wonder "Are we alone in the universe?"!!!  There is so much misinformation (or might we say- disinformation?) out there that it seems almost impossible to know ANYTHING FOR SURE.  The media puts a "spin" on everything, so WHO DO YOU BELIEVE?  For me, the answer is simple: I believe God. Consider this...

Genesis, Chapter 1 (NASB)
Gen 1:31  God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

History has shown us the truth of the WORD OF GOD.  Jesus really lived, the apostles really evangelized the known world and there is hope for life beyond life because Jesus rose from the grave.  So, why not believe this verse from Genesis as well? If everything God made is good and God through the apostle Paul says... "Rom 8:28  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB)" does it really matter if we are alone or not?  If we are alone, then God is still God; if not, I like to think that when we are visited by our interstellar neighbors, they will confirm what we already know about the maker of the universe.  Will they look like us? Will they think and act like us? How will they view Jesus?  Don't know and in a way, I don't care; because - it will be good!!!  God has said it- that settles the matter!!!!