6/22/15

From Mark Copeland... Evangelism Made Personal Principles For Teaching In Evangelism (Tips To Remember When Trying To Teach Others)



Evangelism Made Personal

Principles For Teaching In Evangelism

(Tips To Remember When Trying To Teach Others)
Should you decide you are ready to begin teaching others, having an idea of what material and method (mult-lesson, one-lesson, etc.) you plan to use, there are several principles to keep in mind that can increase the likelihood of success. For example...

BE "CLASS" CONSCIOUS

Rather than getting into religious discussions when it is not convenient (such as at work), always think in terms of turning religious inquiries into an opportunity to set up a class or home study with the person. There are several advantages of doing this:
  • Those who are not seriously interested in spiritual matters will not consent to a study; therefore this will distinguish between the truth seekers and those who are not
  • It gives you time to carefully prepare your lesson(s)
  • A discussion of religious matters is more productive when there is ample time, and the Bible is open to answer any questions
  • There will be fewer hinderances should the person decide to obey the gospel at that time
Setting up a class is easy, just ask! If the person says no, then just leave them with an open invitation to a class anytime in the future.

SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD

This principle is key to any effective communication, whether it occur in business, family relationships, or religious discussions. Applied to teaching others, it would involve:
  • Asking questions, then listening carefully to what the other person is saying
  • Occasionally repeating what they say, to make sure you properly understand them
  • Endeavoring to know their own doctrine as well if not better than they do themselves
  • Trying to put yourself in their place, imagining what they must feel like to have their cherished beliefs challenged
This will not only improve your ability to effectively communicate with them, but will also increase the likelihood they will reciprocate by carefully listening to you!

DISAGREE WITHOUT BEING DISAGREEABLE

People will frequently disagree with you, though some may later change their minds. How can we disagree without being "disagreeable?" How can we discuss religion without getting into arguments that generate a lot of heat but little light? Here are suggestions based upon the Scriptures:
  • Maintain a spirit of gentleness and humility; but for the grace of God you would be lost too! (Ga 6:1)
  • Refuse to be drawn into religious quarrels; if a discussion degenerates into one, admit your own faults and suggest the study continue at another time (2Ti 2:23-24a)
  • Don't try to teach until you are able to teach (2Ti 2:24Jm 3:1-2)
  • Be patient; some people take longer than others (2Ti 2:24)
  • If necessary to correct someone who opposes you, do so with humility (2Ti 2:25)
  • Remember the wisdom of Solomon: "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness." (Pr 15:1-2)
It might help to maintain patience and humility, if we keep in mind that Paul says those in error are in "the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (2Ti 2:26). The only way they can escape is through the proper and delicate use of "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ep 6:17).

ANSWER QUESTIONS BY LETTING INQUIRERS READ IT FOR THEMSELVES

When people ask questions, it is best to answer them with the Scriptures. Use an OPEN Bible to answer their questions. Better yet, have them read it out of their own Bibles. There are several reasons for doing this:
  • They are more likely to understand the point you are trying to make if they can both read and hear it
  • It is hard for them to disagree with what they can read for themselves in their own Bible
  • You gain their respect and confidence that you are only teaching the Word of God, and not the ideas of men
So as often as possible, let them answer their own questions by having them read it for themselves!

USE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS TO SET UP FUTURE STUDIES

A fear many people have in teaching others is that they will be asked a question for which they do not know the answer. But such questions can be advantageous if handled properly! Here is how:
  • Don't try to bluff your way through a subject you are not prepared for; gain respect for honesty by admitting your need to study further
  • Use that difficult question as a reason to continue the study on another occasion; explain that to give an answer the question deserves, you will need to study more and come back at another time
What might at first appear to be a stumblingblock to a teacher can actually be an a stepping stone for increased opportunities!

CLOSE EFFECTIVELY

After you have presented the material in your lesson(s), you need to ask for a response. This can often be the most difficult part of teaching, for now you are asking the person to make a judgment about the truthful- ness of what you have been saying, and to make a decision as to whether they will obey it. To close effectively, you might ask the person the following questions...
  • "Does this make sense?"
  • "Is there anything I have said that you do not understand?"
  • "Have I been teaching you anything other than what the Bible teaches?"
Assuming the person answers favourably, you then need to make the actual request. Here is where I differ from some approaches, which to me sound like subtle ways to move someone to do something they really don't want to do (sort of like a salesman trying to make a close with someone who is really not sold on the product!). Since conversion occurs only when our faith is working in cooperation with God's power (Col 2:12), it is absolutely necessary that the prospect has truly come to faith and repentance before they are baptized.
Therefore, I believe a simple and direct question is all that is necessary: "Would you like to obey Christ now and be baptized for the remission of your sins?"
If the person says no, you might ask why not, and depending upon the answer, study some more or set up a time for future study. In any case, let the person know that you are always ready to study further should they be interested, and that you are always available should they decide to obey the gospel. Remember, what you sow today may take time before it finally brings forth a harvest.
Finally, a thought or two about...

OVERCOMING OBJECTIONS

In a similar vein I differ with some on how to handle objections. Certainly we should ever be ready and willing to answer objections that are raised. But again, unless "you believe with all your heart" (Ac 8:36-37), God's blessings provided in baptism will not be found! Therefore, we need to be careful not to apply undue pressure. While we want to encourage others to obey the gospel, we must make sure that the decision is theirs.
So be careful to let gospel of Christ be the converting power, not "persuasive words of human wisdom" (1Co 2:4). If a person understands what the gospel says, a simple request accompanied with an earnest plea for obedience to Jesus Christ should suffice.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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God, Prophecy, and Miraculous Knowledge by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=5149

God, Prophecy, and Miraculous Knowledge

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The honest-hearted person who comes to recognize God’s existence and contemplates His marvelous nature cannot help but stand in awe of His omniscience. As the psalmist professed,
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether…. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell [sheol], behold, You are there (139:1-4,6-8).
The Bible declares that God “knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21), that His eyes “are in every place” (Proverbs 15:3), and that “His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5). Simply put, God “knows all things” (1 John 3:20). He has perfect knowledge of the past, the present, and even the future. Job was right to ask the rhetorical question, “Can anyone teach God knowledge?” (21:22).

GOD’S OMNISCIENCE AND THE DIVINE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE

God’s omniscience and proof that the Bible is the Word of God is inextricably woven together. The main, overarching reason that the Bible can be demonstrated to be of divine origin is because the writers were correct in everything they wrote—about the past, the present, and the future. Such a feat is humanly impossible. “With God,” however, “all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). An omniscient, omnipotent God could produce written revelation for His human creation that was flawless in its original production. He could guide uneducated men to write about events that occurred thousands of years before their time with complete accuracy. He could “move” (otherwise) ordinary men (2 Peter 1:20-21) to write flawlessly about any number of contemporary people, places, and things. He could even guide men to write about future events with perfect accuracy. He could—and He did.
Mankind can reasonably come to the conclusion that mere human beings did not pen Scripture because human beings are not omniscient. An uninspired person cannot, for example, foretell the future. Yet the inspired Bible writers did just that—time and again (e.g., Ezekiel 26:1-14,19-21; see www.apologeticspress.org for more information). Is it not logical, then, to conclude that the omniscient Ruler of the Universe gave us the Bible? Interestingly, though the atheist does not accept the Bible as “God-breathed,” even he understands that if the Bible writers predicted the future accurately, then a supernatural agent must be responsible for the production of Scripture (see Butt and Barker, 2009, pp. 50-51).

IS THERE ANOTHER POSSIBILITY?

Some might surmise that a Bible writer practicing pagan divination could also have accurately recorded what would happen in the distant future (in Tyre, Babylon, Jerusalem, etc.) because Satan or some wicked spirit-being revealed the information to him. Such a conclusion, however, is unjustifiable for a number of reasons:
  • First, the prophets condemned all sorts of witchcraft, including divination and soothsaying (Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Jeremiah 27:9-29:9). Thus, they would be condemning themselves if they were actually diviners and soothsayers.
  • Second, since God, by His very definition, is the only omniscient, omnipotent Being (cf. 1 John 4:4), neither the created and fallen devil nor any other non-eternal spirit-being (Colossians 1:16; 2 Peter 2:4) can choose to know whatever he wants. He may be able to acquire knowledge quickly from other beings or from personal experience, but ultimately, wicked spirit-beings can only have knowledge of what the Creator allows them to know (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:11). If, for example, a wicked spirit-being knew of future events, it would be due to the omniscient Ruler of the heaven and Earth granting him such knowledge for His own purposes. “Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it?” (Lamentations 3:37). Simply put, no one accurately foretells the future unless God informs him of it. [NOTE: Diviners may occasionally and vaguely predict something that comes to pass, but such guesswork or weathermen-like predictions are far from the revealed, supernatural foreknowledge of God, which was revealed during Bible times to His true spokesmen.]
  • Third, God revealed throughout Scripture that those who accurately foretell the future are genuine prophets of God. Jeremiah wrote: “When the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent” (28:9). On the other hand, those who prophesy things that do not come to pass, “the Lord has not sent;” “they prophesy falsely” (Jeremiah 28:15; 29:8-9). “‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). If non-God-inspired diviners could actually have foretold the future by the power of some wicked spirit-being, then how could the honest-hearted person ever know for sure what and who to believe and obey? Concluding that pagan diviners have been given power by wicked spirit-beings to flawlessly foretell the future contradicts what the true, inspired prophets of God taught, and prevents truth-seekers from being able to know truth.

CONCLUSION

God Almighty is the only omniscient, omnipotent Being. Only He knows everything. Ultimately, He alone knows the future—the revelation of such Divine thoughts being one of the chief ways man has logically concluded that a particular message was actually God-inspired. It seems quite dangerous to conclude that fallen spirit-beings know the future and have revealed such miraculous information to wicked diviners. Yes, uninspired fortunetellers have doubtlessly been tempted and influenced throughout the ages by powerful forces of darkness, but such beings are non-omniscient “deceiving spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1), who take after their “father, the devil,” “a liar” in whom “there is no truth” (John 8:44).
*Originally published in Gospel Advocate, March 2015, 157[3]:27-28.

REFERENCE

Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Designed To Fly by Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2391

Designed To Fly

by Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by A.P. staff scientist Dr. Fausz, who holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and serves as liaison to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.]
I have a wonderful story to tell you—a story that, in some respects, out rivals the Arabian Nights fables.... God in his great mercy has permitted me to be, at least somewhat, instrumental in ushering in and introducing to the great wide world an invention that may outrank the electric cars, the automobiles, and all other methods of travel.... I am now going to tell you something of two...boys.... Their names are Orville and Wilbur Wright, of Dayton, Ohio.... These two, perhaps by accident, or may be as a matter of taste, began studying the flights of birds and insects.... They not only studied nature, but they procured the best books, and I think I may say all the papers, the world contains on this subject.... These boys (they are men now), instead of spending their summer vacation with crowds, and with such crowds as are often questionable, as so many do, went away by themselves to a desert place by the seacoast.... With a gliding machine made of sticks and cloth they learned to glide and soar from the top of a hill to the bottom; and by making not only hundreds but more than a thousand experiments, they became so proficient in guiding these gliding machines that they could sail like a bird, and control its movements up and down as well as sidewise.... When they became experts they brought in, as they had planned to do, a gasoline engine to furnish power, and made a little success with their apparatus before winter set.... At first they went only a few hundred feet; and as the opportunity for practice in guiding and controlling it was only a few seconds at a time, their progress was necessarily very slow.... This work, mind you, was all new. Nobody living could give them any advice. It was like exploring a new and unknown domain.... Other experiments had to be made in turning from right to left; and, to make the matter short, it was my privilege, on the 20th day of September, 1904, to see the first successful trip on an air-ship, without a balloon to sustain it, that the world has ever made, that is, to turn the corners and come back to the starting point.... [T]o me the sight of a machine like the one I have pictured, with its white canvas planes and rudders subject to human control, is one of the grandest and most inspiring sights I have ever seen on earth; and when you see one of these graceful crafts sailing over your head, and possibly over your home, as I expect you will in the near future, see if you don’t agree with me that the flying machine is one of God’s most gracious and precious gifts (Root, 1905).
Photograph of the Wright brothers’ historic first flight at the moment of takeoff
Credit: Library of Congress, LC-W861-35
The sense of wonder expressed by Mr. Amos Ives Root at witnessing success in the Wright brothers’ struggle to achieve flight may be difficult to fathom. Air travel has become so commonplace in our society, the sight of modern flying machines “sailing over” our heads and homes catches our attention only for a moment, if at all. Though the first public account of the Wrights’ achievement was reported only in a humble beekeeping journal and drew little public notice, the invention described here led to nothing less than a revolution in transportation, a complete transformation in military strategy and tactics, and ultimately, the technological impetus to reach not only for the skies, but for the stars. And it all began, as Mr. Root notes, with “studying the flights of birds and insects.”
The Wright brothers’ methodical research and testing formally established the discipline of aeronautical engineering, but they were not the first aeronautical engineers. In fact, there were many, three of whom were Sir George Cayley, Otto Lilienthal and Samuel P. Langley. The Englishman Cayley, described as the “Father of Aerial Navigation,” like the Wrights, experimented with gliders and tested the lift characteristics of airfoils (wing cross-sections). Cayley’s airfoil testing apparatus, however, moved the airfoil rotationally which, after a few turns of the mechanism, caused the surrounding air to rotate with it, significantly decreasing the lift and reducing the accuracy of the measurements (Anderson, 1989, pp. 6-12). The Wright brothers used wind tunnels for airfoil testing, which is the preferred testing method even today (though modern wind tunnels generally are much larger).
Otto Lilienthal could be considered the world’s first hang glider expert, due to the way his gliders were configured and operated. Lilienthal, like Cayley, used a rotational device to measure aerodynamic forces on airfoils. He died in 1896 when the glider he was flying hit a gust of wind that pitched the nose of the vehicle upward causing it to stall, or lose lift, and plummet to the ground (Anderson, pp. 17-19). Hearing of this accident, the Wright brothers decided to put the “elevator” (control surface that regulates vehicle pitch) on the front of their flying machine. The elevator on most modern aircraft is at the rear, just below the vertical tail fin.
Samuel Pierpont Langley was contemporary with the Wright brothers, serving at that time as secretary of the Smithsonian Institute. Langley was one of the first to experiment with powered flight, successfully flying two small, unmanned vehicles—outfitted with steam engines—that he called aerodromes. When the Department of War commissioned him to develop a manned air vehicle, he decided to switch to a gasoline engine, which he attached to a larger version of one of his aerodromes. Unfortunately, the two test flights attempted by Langley with his manned aerodrome were miserable failures. The second of these failures occurred on December 8, 1903, just nine days prior to the Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (Anderson, pp. 21-26).
It is notable that all of these pioneers of aviation shared a fascination with the observation and study of flying creatures. Consider the following conversation with Samuel Langley, as recalled by Charles Manly, who piloted Langley’s ill-fated experiments:
I here asked Mr. Langley what first attracted his attention to aerial navigation. “I can’t tell when I was not interested in it,” he replied. “I used to watch the birds flying when I was a boy and to wonder what kept them up.... It finally occurred to me that there must be something in the condition of the air which the soaring birds instinctively understood, but which we do not” (Manly, 1915, Image 62).
In 1900, Wilbur Wright wrote a 17-page letter to Octave Chanute, a prominent mechanical engineer who, like Lilienthal, experimented with hang gliders. In this letter, Wilbur outlined the program of aeronautical research that he and his brother were about to undertake. He began the letter with a discussion of his affinity for flight and flying creatures, as follows:
Dear Sir:
For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man.... My general ideas of the subject are similar [to] those held by most practical experimenters, to wit: that what is chiefly needed is skill rather than machinery. The flight of the buzzard and similar sailors is a convincing demonstration of the value of skill, and the partial needlessness of motors. It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge & skill. This I conceive to be fortunate, for man, by reason of his greater intellect, can more reasonably hope to equal birds in knowledge, than to equal nature in the perfection of her machinery (Wright, 1900, Image 1, emp. added).
These and numerous other references to bird observations attest to the fact that birds were a dominant source of inspiration for these early aeronautical researchers.
In fact, mankind has observed birds and dreamed of flight throughout recorded history, as evidenced by the ancient Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus. Daedalus is said to have fashioned wings of wax and bird feathers so that he and his son, Icarus, could escape imprisonment on the isle of Crete. The legend says that Icarus, in spite of his father’s warnings, flew too close to the sun, the wax in his wings melted and he perished in the Mediterranean Sea below. While this story is fictional, it certainly reflects the imaginative desire of its author to “take to the air” as a bird. As John D. Anderson, Jr., stated in his foundational text on the aerodynamics of flight: “All early thinking of human flight centered on the imitation of birds” (1989, p. 3). Having no flying experience, it is only natural that man, in his desire to fly, would seek to imitate the readily observable creatures who openly display their capability.
And capable they are! Birds are highly specialized both physiologically and instinctively to perform their marvelous feats of flight. Flying birds are uniquely configured for flight in their structure, musculature, profile, metabolism, and instinctive knowledge. Wilbur Wright accurately characterized this in his letter to Chanute when he referred to flying birds as “nature in the perfection of her machinery”—a feature which he said man could not reasonably hope to equal (Wright, 1900, Image 1). It is most interesting to study, as did the pioneers of aviation, the specific qualities of birds that make them wonderfully adept at riding the wind.
Perhaps the most visible feature of bird flight is the motion (i.e., “flapping”) of the wings. A bird’s wings move in such a way as to produce both lift and thrust simultaneously. Man has never successfully imitated this capability, either in the manipulation of artificial wings in the manner of the Daedalus myth (though many have tried), or mechanically in the tradition of Leonardo DaVinci’s “ornithopter” concepts, prompting Anderson to state that “human-powered flight by flapping wings was always doomed to failure” (1989, p. 4). Indeed, it was the observation that birds sometimes flew without moving their wings, via gliding and soaring, that ultimately led to the success of heavier-than-air flight, through the realization that “fixed wing” flight was also a possible design solution.

An eagle’s long, broad wings are effective for soaring. To help reduce turbulence as air passes over the end of the wing, the tips of the end feathers are tapered so that when the eagle fully extends its wings, the tips are widely separated.
Birds do fly by flapping their wings, however, and the “secret” lies in the wing’s two-part structure. The inner part of the wing is more rounded in shape and moves very little, thus providing the majority of the lift. The outer part of the wing, on the other hand, is flatter, has a sharper edge, and executes most of the “flapping” motion, by which it produces both thrust and some lift. The outer part also serves another important purpose in flight. In his letter to Chanute, Wilbur Wright further stated:

My observation of the flight of buzzards leads one to believe that they regain their lateral stability when partly overturned by a gust of wind, by a torsion of the tips of the wings (1900, Image 4).
That is, birds turn the outer part of their wing to a higher angle relative to the wind to generate more lift on one side, and to a lower angle, reducing the lift, on the other side. This causes the bird to “roll,” in modern aerodynamic vernacular, in order to restore its lateral balance. Wilbur went on to explain his “wing-warping” design for accomplishing lateral stability based on this “observation of the flight of buzzards.” Modern aircraft use “ailerons,” small hinged surfaces on the back side of the wing and near the tip, to provide this lateral balancing, but the aerodynamic principle is the same. [NOTE: The next time you fly, try to sit just behind the wing and note the ailerons moving up and down frequently—keeping the aircraft balanced.] It should be no surprise that the muscles of a bird are specially configured, in size and positioning, to perform the motions of flapping and wingtip torsion. Clearly, the wing of a bird is highly specialized in both structure and musculature to provide the lift, thrust, and lateral equilibrium required for flight.
In the early pursuit of human flight, it was a challenge to design a machine that was light enough to fly, but strong enough to survive the flight. All of the Wright brothers’ aerodynamic research to optimize lift would have meant very little had they been unable to design a structure that weighed less than the lift their wings were able to produce. The Wrights used spruce, a strong, lightweight wood, for the frame of their aircraft and covered the frame with muslin cloth. Had they used significant amounts of metal in their structural design, as in modern aircraft, they would not have succeeded. They also had to design and build their own engine since existing designs did not provide satisfactory power-to-weight ratios. Sufficiently strong, lightweight, structural materials, and an engine that maximized power for minimal weight, were critical factors in the Wright brothers’ success.
Birds are light enough to fly due in large part to several properties of their body structure, including bones that mostly are hollow, and an impressive covering of feathers. The mostly hollow structure of bird bones provides a light, yet strong, framework for flight. Solid bones, like those possessed by other creatures and humans, would render most birds much too heavy for flight. As evolutionist and noted ornithologist Alan Feduccia stated:
The major bones are hollow and pneumatized [filled substantially with air—JF].... [S]uch bones as the lightweight, hollow humerus are exemplary of this structural complexity (1999, p. 5).
Bird beaks also are made of lightweight horn material instead of heavier jaw and teeth structures. Feduccia noted, “[I]t is dogma that the avian body is characterized by light weight” (p. 3), and points out that even the bird skin is “greatly reduced in weight and is paper-thin in most species of flying birds” (p. 10). By far however, the most innovative structural feature contributing to the general flightworthiness of birds is the feather.
The phrase “light as a feather” has to be one of the oldest and most-used clich├ęs in the English language. Yet, light as feathers are, their unique structure makes them sufficiently strong to stand against the aerodynamic forces that a bird’s wings routinely experience. The central shaft or “rachis” (Feduccia, 1999, p. 111) of a feather is an amazing structure, incredibly strong and stiff considering its negligible weight. Feather vanes are composed of fluffy strands, called barbs, that protrude from the shaft. Each barb has small hooks that attach to ridges on adjoining barbs. This characteristic allows feathers to maintain their shape to keep airflow around the bird as streamlined as possible. In fact, Feduccia observes that because of their asymmetry, “flight feathers have an airfoil cross-section” (p. 111), so they must maintain their shape to keep the bird aloft. When these hooks become detached, they have to be carefully aligned to reattach, which is accomplished in remarkable fashion by a bird’s instinctive preening (Vanhorn, 2004). Without a doubt, the feather is one of the most amazing and highly specialized structures in nature.
Diagram of a feather
Illustrated by Thomas A. Tarpley
© 2004 AP

Cross-section of two barbs showing how their barbules “hook” together.
KEY: A. Shaft (Rachis); B. Vane; C. Barbs; D. Hooked barbules; E. Ridged barbules.
The magnitude of the Wright brothers’ accomplishment was due to the fact that it involved powered flight of a heavier-than-air vehicle. They had to design their own engine to obtain a sufficient power-to-weight ratio. Likewise, the musculature of birds, which provides their “power” for flight, also is specially configured. First, “the major flight muscles [comprise] a disproportionate amount of the body’s weight” (Feduccia, 1999, p. 3). Feduccia also observed:
The main muscle arising from the keel and responsible for raising the wing for the recovery stroke in modern birds is the large supracoracoideus, and it has unusual features that allow it to perform this function (p. 10).
Feduccia further notes that the bird’s sternum is “keeled,” meaning that it has a forward protrusion to accommodate attachment of the “extensive flight musculature” (p. 10). Indeed, the bird’s muscles and its skeletal structure are uniquely built for flight.
Birds are not only structurally specialized for flight, however. The almost constant flapping of wings requires a tremendous amount of energy. Significantly, flying birds possess a metabolic rate that is much higher than most other creatures. This allows them to consume high-energy foods and convert that food efficiently enough to supply the large quantity of energy required for flight. Feduccia comments that “birds are highly tuned metabolic machines” (1999, p. 1). High-energy fuel is not the only requirement for a high metabolism, however. Such high-rate energy conversion also requires significant amounts of oxygen. A bird’s lungs are unlike those found in any other creature. Birds do not have to breathe out, as do other vertebrates. It is not difficult to see how breathing out would be detrimental to flight; this would be much like the thrust reversal mechanisms used on modern aircraft to slow them down after landing, though on a smaller scale. Instead, the lungs of a bird are configured to allow air to flow through and out the other end, after it has acquired oxygen from the air much more efficiently than the lungs of other animals (Feduccia, p. 388). The oxygen obtained is sent to sacs throughout the bird’s body, helping to maintain balance and supply the oxygen as directly as possible to the hard-working flight muscles. The metabolic system of the bird is unique in the animal kingdom, and perfectly suited to a flying creature.
The Wright brothers could not have known all of these facts regarding bird metabolism or the specifics of the structural specializations that make birds flight worthy. They were, however, highly impressed with the ability of birds to manipulate their physiology to control their speed and direction of flight, and to perform amazing acrobatic feats in the air. A critical piece of the Wrights’ success in developing the first practical aircraft is the “three-axis” control system that they devised. The wing-warping that controlled the “roll” orientation of their aircraft has already been discussed. The wing-warping, however, also provided steering control of the aircraft, working with the rudder (the Wrights had observed that gliding/soaring birds would generally “roll” into turns). The steering orientation of an aircraft is known as “yaw.” Finally, the elevator control surface provided regulation of the “pitch” (nose up/down) orientation of their aircraft. While it did provide full control of all three of these “axes,” the Wright design was “statically unstable,” meaning that if the pilot let go of the controls, even for a very brief period of time, the machine would crash. In contrast, most modern passenger aircraft are designed to be statically stable.
This constant expenditure of control effort was physically exhausting; nonetheless, the Wright brothers became highly skilled pilots as a result of practicing with their machines. This pursuit to control the aerodynamics of their machine is consistent with Wilbur Wright’s stated belief that “man, by reason of his greater intellect, can more reasonably hope to equal birds in knowledge” (Wright, 1900, Image 1, emp. added). Eventually, the “fly-by-wire” concept was developed whereby computers came to perform many of the flight control functions that the Wrights had to actuate manually. Coupled with statically stable aircraft designs, fly-by-wire made flying much less strenuous for the pilot. Human beings, unlike birds, have the ability to analyze and understand concepts like aerodynamic forces and, in turn, manipulate that understanding to their own benefit.
Though birds certainly do not come close to man in intellect, they are quite masterful in controlling their bodies and wings to achieve remarkable maneuvers in the air. Human beings in aircraft have never duplicated many of the flight maneuvers that birds perform with apparent ease. This fact is illustrated by recent, and ongoing, research studying how birds use vortices (regions of rotating air) that are created at the front (leading) edge of their wings to create lift (Videler, et al., 2004), as well as how they turn sharply at high speed (Muller and Lentink, 2004). Leading edge vortices are used in supersonic aircraft with small, delta-shaped wings to provide additional lift while landing, but Muller and Lentink suggested that the principle can be further exploited to increase significantly the maneuverability of these aircraft.

A V-22 Osprey can rotate its engines to transition from hovering to forward flight and vice versa.
Credit: ©Boeing 2008
How is it, though, that birds know precisely when to flap, twist the tips of their wings, pull their head back to change their center of gravity, fan out their tail feathers, sweep their wings back to manipulate leading edge vortices, glide, soar, preen, etc.? Langley was addressing this very question when he said, “It finally occurred to me that there must be something in the condition of the air which the soaring birds instinctively understood, but which we do not” (Manly, 1915, Image 62). Birds must instinctively know how to control properly their physiology for flight, because they certainly do not have the reasoning ability of humans that would allow them to hypothesize about the nature of air movement and verify their reasoning experimentally, as did the pioneers of human aviation. Yet in spite of this reality, a bird coming to rest lightly on top of a fence post eclipses everything humans have been able to accomplish in 100+ years of concentrated flight design. Even aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capability like the AV-8 Harrier and the V-22 Osprey cannot pinpoint a landing that accurately. How did birds arrive at this instinctive knowledge?

Evolutionary theories of how bird flight might have evolved fall generally into two groups. The first group involves the so-called “ground-up” theories. This is the idea that dinosaurian reptiles evolved the ability to fly, after being lucky enough to sprout rudimentary wings, presumably driven by the desire to catch flying insects for food. Feduccia himself does not subscribe to the ground-up theories, but is instead a proponent of the other group, the so-called “arboreal” theories of bird evolution. These theories suggest that tree-dwelling reptiles (dinosaur ancestors in Feduccia’s view) learned to fly after first learning to glide, most likely in order to escape predators (see Feduccia’s chapter titled “Genesis of Avian Flight,” pp. 93-111). Even the gap between gliding and flying is enormous, however. Sir George Cayley is known to have successfully flown a manned glider as early as 1853, but it would be over 50 years before the first successful powered flight at Kitty Hawk, in spite of the intense efforts of many including, most notably, Samuel Langley.
Suppose for a moment, though, that either theory of bird flight evolution might be true. It is not difficult to imagine that vast multitudes of these creatures would have perished in the early process of learning to use their rudimentary flying equipment, just as many humans, like Otto Lilienthal, have died as mankind has slowly learned the intricacies and hazards of flight. If true that evolving birds had struggled through a similar process, then one would expect to find large numbers of “transitional” animals, possibly with developing wing structures, prototype feathers, or some other underdeveloped birdlike features in the fossil record. Feduccia admitted the lack of such fossils, and tries to excuse it stating, “Most bird bones are hollow and thin walled...and are therefore not easily preserved” (p. 1). He went on to suggest:
One could, technically, establish a phylogeny [evolutionary ancestry—JF] of birds, or any other group, exclusively of the fossil record, and perhaps have a reasonably good idea of the major lineages using evidence from such diverse areas as anatomy and biochemical and genetic (DNA) comparisons. Yet, even then, problems are legion. Not only is there considerable argument about the methodology that should be employed, but the search for meaningful anatomical features (known as characters) that elucidate relationships is laden with problems because, beneath their feathers, birds tend to look very much alike anatomically (p. 1).

Amazingly adept fliers, birds provide mankind with the inspiration and impetus to pursue the ability to fly.
In other words, birds look like birds, and the fossil evidence suggests that they always have. This dilemma is particularly troubling for evolutionists when it comes to feathers, where according to Feduccia, “Feathers are unique to birds, and no known structure intermediate between scales and feathers has been identified. Nevertheless, it has generally been accepted that feathers are directly derived from reptilian scales...” (p. 113). Even the feathers of the urvogel (literally, “first bird”), known as Archaeopteryx, are said to have a pattern “essentially that of modern birds” (p. 111).
Speaking of the urvogel, Feduccia at one point stated, “The Archaeopteryx fossil is, in fact, the most superb example of a specimen perfectly intermediate between two higher groups of living organisms” (p. 1, emp. added). Ironically, however, he later came very close to contradicting himself when he counters the “ground-up” theories of flight origin by observing that “most recent studies have shown Archaeopteryx to be much more birdlike than previously thought” (p. 103). [NOTE: For a refutation of the evolutionist’s erroneous claims regarding Archaeopteryx as a “missing link,” see Harrub and Thompson, 2001, 21[4]:25-31.] So, how does evolution explain the lack of fossil evidence for the evolution of birds? Feduccia explained, “All these known facts point to a dramatic, explosive post-Cretaceous adaptive radiation” (p. 404). In other words, it happened very fast in evolutionary terms (as little as five million years according to Feduccia)—supposedly too fast to leave behind any transitional fossils. Five million years is a very long time for the total absence of a transitional fossil record (all of human history could unfold more than 830 times in five million years). How convenient for evolutionists to assert that evolution occurred quickly during those periods that lack transitional fossils. Their theory depends on missing links—yet these links are still missing. As if explaining the evolution of bird flight was not difficult enough, though, evolutionists still need to explain the evolution of flight in insects, pterosaurs, and bats as well—also with no transitional fossil evidence.
It is unanimously acknowledged that the Wright brothers designed and built the first practical heavier-than-air flying machine. The contributions of Cayley, Lilienthal, Langley, and others leading to that event, are also readily recognized. However, many, like Feduccia, observe birds just as these aviation pioneers once did, but see it as the end result of millions of years of accidental, unlikely random mutations refined by a process of natural selection. Considering the complexity and multiplicity of specializations required to give flying birds their ability, this viewpoint is very difficult to swallow (pardon the pun). The structure of a bird’s feather, alone, is sufficient evidence of irreducible complexity (Vanhorn, 2004), but taking all of the bird’s specializations into account, the irreducible complexity becomes absolutely overwhelming. Even if we suppose that some animal could obtain “nature in the perfection of her machinery” by accident (an accident of miraculous proportions to be sure), how would it survive long enough to learn to use that machinery? Further, assuming it was fortunate enough to develop the physical attributes of flight and managed to learn how to use them, how could it pass that knowledge to future generations of avians without intellectual understanding? It took man, with his far superior intellect, around 6,000 years to make the first halting leaps in flight, and he has not even come close to equaling, much less surpassing, a simple bird’s mastery of the skies. No, the evolutionary explanation is quite inadequate and unscientific.

CONCLUSION

In the Old Testament, God asked Job: “Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars, stretching his wings toward the south?” (Job 39:26). Clearly, God’s question is rhetorical and assumes that Job would have had ample opportunity to observe birds in flight and marvel at their ability. Job may never have dreamed that man would one day share the skies with birds, so he most assuredly acknowledged that the flight of the hawk was well beyond his own understanding. All of our achievements in flight, however, have only served to underscore the meaning behind God’s question to Job. In spite of all we have accomplished in flight design, we still do not fully understand how birds, insects, and bats do what they do. We do understand, however, that they did not design themselves, we certainly did not make birds capable of flight, nor did we teach them how to fly. In fact, we must humbly admit that they taught us.
Notice that even evolutionists like Feduccia cannot avoid using words like “optimized,” “fine tuned,” “invented,” and “designed” when speaking of birds and flight. For example, Feduccia called the feather a “near perfect aerodynamic design” (p. 130, emp. added), and attributes to them an “almost magical structural complexity” (p. 132, emp. added). He further stated that “the shape and size of wings have been optimized to minimize the energy required to fly” (p. 16, emp. added), and that a bird’s metabolic system is “fine tuned” (p. 1, emp. added). And he asserted, “In order for flight to be possible, flight architecture was invented early on” (p. 1, emp. added). Feduccia also suggested:
Flight is, in a morphological sense, the biomechanically and physiologically most restrictive vertebrate locomotor adaptation permitting little latitude for new designs.... As an analogy, an engineer can construct a terrestrial vehicle in diverse configurations, but there is really only one basic design for a fixed-wing aircraft (p. 3, emp. added).
He meant for this suggestion to explain why there is little divergence, or differences in characteristics, among bird species. But he unwittingly made the point, instead, that this lack of divergence points most naturally to design. Since flight is such a “restrictive adaptation,” random processes, which depend by definition on probabilities, are much more likely to “select away” from the ability, regardless of the benefit it might hold for the animal. Thus, evolution is simply at a loss to explain the abundance, diversity, and very existence of the flying creatures that we observe. Furthermore, optimization, invention, design, and fine-tuning are not processes that occur naturally, randomly, or by accident. They occur only through focused application of intellectual ability.
Likewise, the accomplishment of December 17, 1903 was no accident. The Wright brothers could not have designed their flying machine carelessly, much less randomly, and their airplane would not have flown as it did in the absence of their skillful piloting. They did not develop piloting skills naturally or by chance, either, but through arduous, disciplined experimentation and practice. Neither could the specializations and instincts that allow birds to navigate the skies have happened by accident. No, the hawk does not fly by our understanding. Instead, the hawk, sparrow, owl, thrush, swallow, etc., fly by instinct, possessing an inherent “fly by wire” control computer designed by One whose capability far exceeds that of Orville and Wilbur Wright, Samuel Langley, Otto Lilienthal, George Cayley, or any other human being. The Wright flyer required strenuous exertion by the pilot to be able to fly, but God designed His flying machines, not only to have the capability of flight, but also to know inherently how to use it to incredibly impressive effectiveness.
It has been said, “If God had wanted man to fly, He would have given him wings.” Actually, He did. God, the Master Designer, both created the wondrous flying creatures that we observe, and gave His crowning design, man, the ability to observe, reason, and imitate. Thus, He provided both the inspiration and the means for man to achieve everything he has accomplished in his brief history of flight. So, with regard to either birds or the airplanes we see passing over our heads and homes, as Amos Ives Root observed so long ago, “the flying machine is one of God’s most gracious and precious gifts” (1905).

REFERENCES

Anderson, Jr., John D. (1989), Introduction to Flight (New York: McGraw-Hill), third edition.
Feduccia, Alan (1999), The Origin and Evolution of Birds (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press), second edition.
Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2001), “ArchaeopteryxArchaeoraptor, and the “Dinosaurs-To-Birds” Theory—[Part I],” Reason & Revelation, 21[4]:25-31, April.
Hedrick, Tyson L., James R. Usherwood, and Andrew A. Biewener (2004), “Wing Inertia and Whole Body Acceleration: An Analysis of Instantaneous Aero­dynamic Force Production in Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) Flying across a Range of Speeds,” The Journal of Exper­imental Biology, 207:1689-1702.
Manly, Charles M. (1915), “Legal Cases—Wright Co. v. Curtiss Aeroplane Co.—Affidavits: Manly, Charles M.,” The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers, January 19, Library of Congress, [On-line], URL:http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mwright&fileName=04 /04109/mwright04109.db&recNum=61&itemLink=r?ammem/wright:@ field(DOCID+@lit(wright002721)).
Muller, U.K., and D. Lentink (2004), “Turning on a Dime,” Science, 306:1899, December 10.
Root, Amos Ives (1905), “First Published Account of the Wright Brothers Flight,” Gleanings in Bee Culture (Medina, OH: A.I. Root Company), [On-line], URL:http://www.rootcandles.com/about/wrightbrothers.cfm.
Vanhorn, Matthew (2004), “Words of a Feather,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2610.
Videler, J. J., et al., (2004), “Leading-Edge Vortex Lifts Swifts,” Science, 306:1960-1962, December 10.
Wright, Wilbur (1900), “Octave Chanute Papers: Special Correspondence,” The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers, May 13, Library of Congress, [On-line], URL: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mwright&fileName=06/ 06001/mwright06001.db&recNum=0&itemLink=r?ammem/wright:@field( DOCID+@lit(wright002804)).

Are We “100% Sure” Goldilocks Planet has Life? by Kyle Butt, M.A.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=3756

Are We “100% Sure” Goldilocks Planet has Life?

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein recently reported on a new planet that seems to be in what scientists call the “Goldilocks zone.” What is the “Goldilocks zone?” Very few places in our Universe maintain conditions that are suitable for life. One of those conditions is that liquid water must be present. The “Goldilocks zone” is a specific distance from any star that is “not too hot, not too cold. Juuuust right,”—a situation that allows water to remain in its liquid form (Borenstein, 2010). According to atheistic, evolutionary ideas about the origin of the Universe, in theory, there should be hundreds, thousands, or even millions of planets in our Universe that maintain conducive conditions for life to “begin.” In fact, we are incessantly informed by the media and the scientific community that it is just a matter of time before we discover other planets where life has evolved from non-living chemicals. One would think, according to the propaganda about life arising in other places, that a little liquid water and a few amino acids thrown together will inevitably produce life.

Thus, we have a report of the first Earth-like planet that could possibly “support life.” The planet, labeled Gliese 581g, is the sixth planet from a dwarf star named Gliese 581. Borenstein described the planet in the following way:
It is about three times the mass of Earth, slightly larger in width and much closer to its star—14 million miles away versus 93 million. It’s so close to its version of the sun that it orbits every 37 days. And it doesn’t rotate much, so one side is almost always bright, the other dark. Temperatures can be as hot as 160 degrees or as frigid as 25 degrees below zero, but in between—in the land of constant sunrise—it would be “shirt-sleeve weather,” said co-discoverer Steven Vogt (Borenstein, 2010).
Gliese 581g is of interest, then, because there is a chance that it could have liquid water on its surface. Of course, as Borenstein noted: “It’s unknown whether water actually exists on the planet.” What, then, is so important about liquid water, as opposed to any other constraints that are necessary for life to survive? Vogt said that “chances for life on this planet are 100 percent” since “there always seems to be life on Earth where there is water.” Wow! Look at that reasoning. This new planet might have some water, so we are 100% sure there is life on the planet. We are not even 100% sure it has water. How in the world could we be sure it has life?

The false idea that finding liquid water is the equivalent of finding biological life is easy to debunk. Take some water, kill all the microscopic organisms in it so that no life exists. Add any amino acids or “building blocks” of life that you want, then shock the mixture, blow it up, heat it, cool it, or whatever else you want to do, and see if you get life. News flash—you don’t get life! Louis Pasteur proved that almost 150 years ago (Butt, 2002). Yet Vogt boldly stated: “It’s pretty hard to stop life once you give it the right conditions” (as quoted in Borenstein). And what, pray tell, are the right conditions? Vogt can’t tell you, and neither can any other human alive. Water is certainly not “the right conditions” for life, because we can supply water to any mixture of non-living chemicals all day long for the next 20 billion years and not get life.

What, in reality, are the “right conditions” for life to begin? There is really only one: an intelligent Creator must superintend the process. “In the beginning was water,” will not produce life. But “in the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth,” will supply the necessary condition for life on Earth or any other planet—God. Beware of the false assumptions that fill the media and “scientific” discussions of other planets and life in outer space.

REFERENCES


Borentstein, Seth (2010), “Could ‘Goldilocks’ Planet Be Just Right for Life?”, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100929/ap_on_sc/us_sci_new_earths.

Butt, Kyle (2002), “Biogenesis—The Long Arm of the Law,”http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1769.

Borrowing from Other Nations by Dave Miller, Ph.D.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=2829

Borrowing from Other Nations

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

It’s no secret that the U.S. Government has been borrowing unprecedented amounts of money in an effort to stave off financial calamity (cf. Ip, 2009; Zuckerman, 2009). The sum of all recognized debt of federal, state, and local governments, international, private households, business and domestic financial sectors in America is now $57 trillion (Hodges, 2009). The majority of that debt has accumulated just in the last three decades, with 79% ($45 trillion) of total debt created since 1990. America is, in fact, the world’s largest international debtor (Hodges).
So what? Is that bad? After leading the nation for 40 years, before departing this life, Moses delivered a magnificent speech to the new generation of Israelites pertaining to their imminent occupation of the Promised Land. In his farewell remarks, God empowered him to articulate critical factors necessary to national survival. He also delineated the specific curses that would afflict the nation if it turned its back on God and His Word, as well as the specific blessings that would enrich the nation if the citizens maintained their commitment to God. Here are insightful, relevant social, political, and economic factors that beckon the attention of the United States of America.
Consider just one: In view of the economic woes facing our own nation, one feature in particular ought to give every American pause. It is listed first in the series of blessings that would characterize the nation if its citizens and leaders would “diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments” (Deuteronomy 28:1). That blessing? “You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow” (vs. 12). If, on the other hand, the nation declined spiritually by failing to obey God and keep His commandments, aliens would lend to them (vs. 44).
Economists, politicians, and all Americans should beware. The God of the Bible has articulated precisely the details of national success as well as national catastrophe. We would do well to give sober consideration to them. America is moving swiftly down a pathway to destruction—and that end result will be due to a single factor: America’s shift away from offering due respect and submission to God and Jesus Christ. The solution?
If you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God,...the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 28:1-2).

REFERENCES

Hodges, Michael (2009), “America’s Total Debt Report,” Grandfather Economic Report, June, [On-line], URL: http://mwhodges.home.att.net/nat-debt/debt-nat.htm.
Ip, Greg (2009), “We’re Borrowing Like Mad. Can the U.S. Pay It Back?” The Washington Post, January 11.
Zuckerman, Mort (2009), “Drowning in Debt: Obama’s Spending and Borrowing Leaves U.S. Gasping for Air,” New York Daily News, October 10.