12/28/20

Autonomous Control of Creation by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4154

Autonomous Control of Creation

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Autonomous Control and "Mother Nature"

Engineers regularly work with control systems. Autonomous control is a step beyond remote control. Remote control applications allow manual issuing of commands through some sort of transmission device (i.e., a remote controller) that controls something else (e.g., a robot or television) located some distance away from the controller. Autonomous control, on the other hand, uses a computer program to issue the commands. The computer becomes the controller, instead of a human being. It is common knowledge in the engineering community that autonomous control is a subject that is of particular interest today. From autonomous control of ground vehicles (Naranjo, et al., 2006), to autonomous missile guidance systems (Lin, et al., 2004) and aerial vehicles (Oosterom and Babuska, 2006), to autonomous aquatic vehicles (Loebis, et al., 2004) and satellites (Cheng, et al., 2009), and even to autonomous farming equipment (Omid, et al., 2010), notable success is being made in this area of technology.

The amazing thing from a Christian perspective, however, is that many engineers—the designers of the scientific community—are becoming aware of the fact that the world around us is already replete with fully functional, superior designs in comparison to what the engineering community has been able to develop to date. Biomimicry (i.e., engineering design using something from nature as the blueprint) is becoming a prevalent engineering pursuit. However, some engineers are not interested in copying creation in their designs since they simply cannot replicate many of the features that the natural world has to offer. They are realizing that the created order oftentimes comes equipped with natural “sensor suites” whose designs surpass the capability of engineering knowledge to date. Animals possess amazing detection, tracking, and maneuvering capabilities which are far beyond the knowledge of today’s engineering minds, and likely will be for many decades, if not forever. An insect neurobiologist, John Hildebrand, from the University of Arizona in Tucson, admitted, “There’s a long history of trying to develop microrobots that could be sent out as autonomous devices, but I think many engineers have realised [sic] that they can’t improve on Mother Nature” (Marshall, 2008, p. 41). Of course, “Mother Nature” is not capable of designing anything, since “she” is mindless. The Chief Engineer, the God of the Bible, on the other hand, can be counted on to have the best possible engineering designs. Who, after all, could out-design the Grand Designer? In spite of the deterioration of the world and the entrance of disease and mutations into the created order, after some six millennia, His designs still stand out as the best—unsurpassed by human wisdom.

Controlling the Living

Recognizing the superiority of the natural world, the scientific community has become interested in learning how to remotely control living creatures instead of developing robotic versions. This line of thinking certainly adds new meaning to God’s command to mankind to “subdue” and “have dominion” over the created order (Genesis 1:28). One of the ways in which animal remote control is being done is by implanting electronics in animal bodies that are subsequently used to manipulate the movements and behaviors of the creature. Hybrid creatures such as these are known as bio-robots or cyborgs. Cyborg research has been conducted since the 1950s, when Jose Delgado of Yale University implanted electrodes into the brains of bulls to stimulate the hypothalamus for control purposes (Marshall, 2008). Since then, the list of remotely controlled animals using electrode implantation has grown to include:

  • sharks (i.e., spiny dogfish; Gomes, et al., 2006; Brown, 2006)
  • rats (Talwar, et al., 2002; Li and Panwar, 2006; Song, et al., 2006)
  • monkeys (Brown, 2006; Horgon, 2005)
  • mice (“SDUST Created…,” 2007)
  • chimpanzees (Horgon, 2005)
  • frogs (Song, et al., 2006)
  • pigeons (“SDUST Created…,” 2007)
  • cats (Horgon, 2005)
  • gibbons (Horgon, 2005)
  • cockroaches (Holzer, et al., 1997; “Researchers Develop ‘Robo-roach,’” 2001)

Cornell University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and Arizona State University at Tempe are working on developing flying insect cyborgs, including hawkmoths and green June beetles (Ray, 2010; Sato, et al., 2008; Sato, et al., 2009; Bozkurt, et al., 2008). The University of Florida in Gainesville used electrodes to remotely control rats specifically for detection of humans (for search and rescue scenarios) and explosives (Marshall, 2008). Non-invasive remote creature control projects are underway as well. M.I.T. used virtual fencing coupled with Global Positioning System (GPS) for tracking and autonomously herding cows by implementing auditory cues and shock reinforcement to keep cows within a desirable area (Correll, et al., 2008; Schwager, et al., 2008).

There is beginning to be more interest in the prospect of remotely controlling canines as well (“Grand Challenge…,” 2010). Engineers realize that dogs can traverse a variety of terrains more efficiently than humans or robots and are effective at guarding territories, carrying out search and rescue missions, as well as providing guidance for the visually impaired. They also have an amazing sense of smell that makes them capable of detecting explosives, narcotics, tobacco, pipeline leaks, retail contraband, and even cell phones and bed bugs (“Detection Services,” 2010). Since engineers have not developed a device that can compare with a canine’s ability to detect odors, the use of canines for these applications is attractive. Although other creatures, such as rats (Marshall, 2008), have a keen sense of smell, canines are more appealing, especially due to their innate ability to interact with humans. Thus, using canines for these purposes is attractive to engineers, and the ability to remotely control a canine for many of these purposes is an even more attractive goal. Many scenarios could be envisioned to illustrate cases where the presence of a dog handler alongside a canine could be an impossibility (e.g., tight areas in search and rescue operations) or undesirable (e.g., scenarios where the handler should not be visible or in harm’s way). In a recent event in Afghanistan, a bomb detection canine detected an explosive a moment too late. The canine handler lost his left leg and received other serious injuries (“Grand Challenge…,” 2010). Remote control capability or autonomous guidance likely would have significantly altered the outcome of this unfortunate event, as well as many others.

Since engineers cannot yet develop an adequate robotic solution to this problem, the Office of Naval Research funded a research project to develop such a solution—a research project I was heavily involved in at Auburn University while engaged in doctoral studies. The Canine Detection and Research Institute (CDRI) at Auburn University demonstrated that detection canines can be remotely controlled using a canine vest we developed that was equipped with a tone and vibration generator (Britt, et al., 2010). However, many cases could easily be envisioned where the canine would be out of sight from the handler (e.g., moving behind a distant building), at which time remote control capability becomes useless. Therefore, the next natural step was to automate that remote control capacity (i.e., autonomous control of the canine).

Since canines can traverse a variety of terrains more efficiently than humans, and possess a natural array of “sensors” used to detect and locate items of interest that robots are not readily equipped with, many aspects that pose problems to unmanned ground vehicles are inherently removed with the canine. Canines can execute the low-level decision making that is necessary for rerouting their local path to avoid obstacles or unfavorable terrain. We proved with notable success that canines can be tracked using GPS, inertial sensors, and magnetometers (Miller and Bevly, 2007; Miller and Bevly, 2009a; Miller and Bevly, 2009b), as well as be autonomously guided along desired paths to distant end points (Miller, 2010; Britt, 2009). More important, this system was designed without having to develop the technology that would be required for a complete robotic solution. Instead, a pre-designed creature, already developed by the Chief Engineer, was utilized. In the interest of not plagiarizing Him, I happily reference His incomprehensible work, although, unfortunately I cannot speak for all of my doctoral colleagues.

CONCLUSION

How ironic that those who are designed, design based on the Designer’s designs, while simultaneously claiming that those designs are not designed. How could mindless rocks, dirt, gas, or slime bring about the amazingly complex designs we see in the World? Personifying inanimate materials such as these with names like “Mother Nature” does nothing but tacitly admit that some Being is in control of the natural order. The frontlines of the engineering community today—bringing about unparalleled technology, more advanced than any society in the history of mankind—cannot come close to replicating the designs around us. Engineers are forced to borrow from God’s design portfolio (oftentimes plagiarizing Him—not giving Him due credit for His designs). What a testament to the greatness of the Chief Engineer’s created order! We may be able to try to fix some of the damage that has been done to the created order due to sin and entropy, but in the words of John Hildebrand, quoted earlier, we certainly “can’t improve on” God’s design. Rather than plagiarizing Him, let all engineers know, “He who built all thingsis God” (Hebrews 3:4, emp. added).

REFERENCES

Bozkurt, A., R. Gilmour, D. Stern, and A. Lal (2008), “MEMS Based Bioelectronic Neuromuscular Interfaces for Insect Cyborg Flight Control,” IEEEMEMS2008 Conference, pp. 160-163.

Britt, W. (2009), “A Software and Hardware System for the Autonomous Control and Navigation of a Trained Canine,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Auburn University, Summer.

Britt, W.R., J. Miller, P. Waggoner, D.M. Bevly, and J.A. Hamilton (2010), “An Embedded System for Real-time Navigation and Remote Command of a Trained Canine,” DOI 10.1007/s00779-010-0298-4.

Brown, S. (2006), “Stealth Sharks to Patrol the High Seas,” New Scientist, 2541:30-31, March 4.

Cheng, C., S. Shu, and P. Cheng (2009), “Attitude Control of a Satellite Using Fuzzy Controllers,” Expert Systems with Applications, 36:6613-6620.

Correll, N., M. Schwager, and D. Rus (2008), “Social Control of Herd Animals by Integration of Artificially Controlled Congeners,” Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Simulation of Adaptive Behavior, pp. 437-447.

“Detection Services” (2010), Amdetech: Protection Through Detection, http://www.amdetech.com.

Gomes, W.J., D. Perez, and J.A. Catipovic (2006), “Autonomous Shark Tag with Neural Reading and Stimulation Capability for Open-ocean Experiments,” Eos Trans. AGU, 87(36), Ocean Sci. Meet. Suppl., Abstract OS45Q-05.

“Grand Challenge: Smart Vest for Detector Dogs” (2010), National Aerospace & Electronics Conference, http://www.naecon.org/challenge.htm.

Holzer, R., I. Shimoyama, and H. Miura (1997), “Locomotion Control of a Bio-Robotic System via Electric Stimulation,” International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Grenoble, France.

Horgon, John (2005), “The Forgotten Era of Brain Chips,” Scientific American, 293[4]:66-73.

Li, Y. and S. Panwar (2006), “A Wireless Biosensor Network Using Autonomously Controlled Animals,” IEEENetwork, 20[3]:6-11.

Lin, C., H. Hung, Y. Chen, and B. Chen (2004), “Development of an Integrated Fuzzy-Logic-Based Missile Guidance Law Against High Speed Target,” IEEETransactions on Fuzzy Systems, 12[2]:157-169.

Loebis, D., R. Sutton, J. Chudley, and W. Naeem (2004), “Adaptive Tuning of a Kalman Filter via Fuzzy Logic for an Intelligent AUV Navigation System,” Control Engineering Practice, 12:1531-1539.

Marshall, J. (2008), “The Cyborg Animal Spies Hatching in the Lab,” New Scientist, 2646:40-43, March 6.

Miller, J. (2010), “A Maximum Effort Control System for the Tracking and Control of a Guided Canine,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Auburn University, Winter.

Miller, J. and D.M. Bevly (2007), “Position and Orientation Determination for a Guided K-9,” Proceedings of the IONGNSS, Ft. Worth, TX.

Miller, J. and D.M. Bevly (2009a), “Determination of Pitch Effects in Guided K-9 Tracking,” Proceedings of the JSDE/IONJNC, Orlando, FL.

Miller, J. and D.M. Bevly (2009b), “Guided K-9 Tracking Improvements Using GPS, INS, and Magnetometers,” Proceedings of the IONITM, Anaheim, CA.

Naranjo, J.E., C. Gonzalez, R. Garcia, and T. Pedro (2006), “ACC+Stop&Go Maneuvers With Throttle and Brake Fuzzy Control,” IEEETransactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, 7[2]:213-225.

Omid, M., M. Lashgari, H. Mobli, R. Alimardani, S. Mohtasebi, and R. Hesamifard (2010), “Design of Fuzzy Logic Control System Incorporating Human Expert Knowledge for Combine Harvester,” Expert Systems with Applications, 37:7080-7085.

Oosterom, M. and R. Babuska (2006), “Design of a Gain-Scheduling Mechanism for Flight Control Laws by Fuzzy Clustering,” Control Engineering Practice, 14:769-781.

Ray, Neil (2010), “The Cyborg Beetle: Progress or Ethical Deterioration?” The Triple Heliz, Issue 10.

“Researchers Develop ‘Robo-Roach’” (2001), VNUnet UK: UNU-MERIT—I&T Weekly, Issue 7, United Nations University, http://www.merit.unu.edu/i&tweekly/i&tweekly_previous.php?issue=0107&issue_show=7&year=2001.

Sato, H., C.W. Berry, B.E. Casey, G. Lavella, Y. Yao, J.M. Vandenbrooks, and M.M. Maharbiz (2008), “A Cyborg Beetle: Insect Flight Control Through an Implantable, Tetherless Microsystem,” IEEEMEMS2008 Conference, pp. 164-167.

Sato, H., Y. Peeri, E. Baghoomian, C.W. Berry, and M.M. Maharbiz (2009), “Radio-Controlled Cyborg Beetles: A Radio-frequency System for Insect Neural Flight Control,” IEEEMEMS2009 Conference, pp. 216-219.

Schwager, M., C. Detweiler, I. Vasilescu, D.M. Anderson, and D. Rus (2008), “Data-Driven Identification of Group Dynamics for Motion Prediction and Control,” Journal of Field Service Robotics, 25[6-7]:305-324.

“SDUST Created Remote-Controlled Pigeon” (2007), Shandong University of Science and Technology, http://www.sdkd.net.cn/en/news_show.php?id=65.

Song, W., J. Chai, T. Han, and K. Yuan (2006), “A Remote Controlled Multimode Microstimulator for Freely Moving Animals,” Acta Physiologica Sinica, 58[2]:183-188.

Talwar, S., S. Xu, E. Hawley, S. Weiss, K. Moxon, and J. Chapin (2002), “Rat Navigation Guided by Remote Control,” Nature, 417[6884]:37-38.

Australia's Unique Animals by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1137

Australia's Unique Animals

by  Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

Q.

How do creationists explain the origin and distribution of Australia’s unique animals in terms of a young Earth and a worldwide flood?

A.

Explaining the origin of Australia’s marsupial population, and especially its uniqueness to that one isolated southern continent, is difficult for evolutionists and creationists alike. Marsupials such as kangaroos, opossums, wallabies, and koalas seem unusual, but monotremes (i.e., the echidna and the platypus) are even more puzzling. The main difference between marsupials and most other mammals centers on the reproductive system. Marsupials give birth prematurely and allow the fetus to develop in an external pouch. In other mammals, excluding the monotremes which lay eggs, the fetus develops within the uterus and is attached to, and nourished by, the placenta.

Perhaps the most interesting fact about marsupials is that they nearly all have non-marsupial equivalents in other parts of the world (see Dobzhansky, et al., 1977, Figure 9.3, p. 267). The kangaroo has a similar role to the antelope roaming the African savanna. The wombat resembles a badger, and even has a backward-pointing pouch so that it will not fill with dirt while burrowing! There also are many small marsupials that have rodent counterparts. Evolutionists attribute such similarities to “parallel evolution” in both homology (being alike in form) and analogy (occupying a corresponding niche). That is, they believe that these marsupials and their placental peers developed independently; they share similar characteristics, but took two different paths to get there (see Simpson and Beck, 1965, pp. 499-501). A common ancestry, combined with similar forces of natural selection, evolutionists assert, will result in the same sort of changes through time. This common ancestor is thought to be the opossum because it is a marsupial and is found in other areas of the world apart from Australia.

According to evolutionary theory, the opossum was a primitive mammal living 200 million years ago on a single southern land mass called Gondwanaland. When parts of this supercontinent divided into what are now Australia and South America, the opossums were separated geographically. Over eons of time, so the story goes, the Australian descendants of the opossum developed into the various types of marsupials seen today. However, in South America, they “evolved” placentas and eventually migrated to North America and Eurasia.

These evolutionary ideas suffer from a number of problems, as listed below:

  • There are no intermediate fossils (“transitional forms”) showing the development of the various marsupials from an opossum or opossum-like ancestor. Further, to suggest that one type of mammal could arise by supposed evolutionary mechanisms is incredible enough, but the chances of having both placental and non-placental forms evolve in the same way, at the same time, and in different regions, are remote to say the least.
     
  • The humble opossum has been nominated as the ancestor of all mammals because it is supposed to be so “primitive,” having a relatively small brain and no “specialized” characteristics. But the opossum has thrived virtually unchanged in many parts of the world. In general, marsupials often are considered less “advanced” because they lack the complex internal reproductive system of placental mammals. However, they possess many other characteristics that could give them an edge over their placental counterparts. For instance, a female kangaroo can nourish two young ones of different ages at the same time, providing the appropriate formula from each teat. Unlike placental mammals, marsupials can suspend or abort the embryo deliberately if adverse conditions arise. And, of course, the pouch provides a superior place of protection for the young marsupial. Yes, marsupials are different, but they are not inferior.
     
  • The distribution of marsupials is not well-answered by evolutionary theories. According to Michael Pitman, “the most diverse fossil assemblies have been obtained from South America and, later (Pliocene), Australia” (1984, p. 206). That is, according to the fossil record, the marsupials already were well-defined as a distinct group before the separation of Australia from other continents. Thus, geographic separation cannot be as significant to their development as evolutionists like to think. An alternate, biblically based model is as follows:
    1. It is reasonable to suggest that God created the various kinds of marsupials. Hence, the many varieties of opossums, kangaroos, wallabies, and so on, most likely have arisen since the time of creation.
       
    2. There could be any number of reasons that God created both placental and non-placental forms. One possibility is that marsupials were created for a specific environment. For example, on the African savannas or North American plains, animals migrate to different areas according to the seasons, and range over huge tracts of land in search of better grazing. However, vegetation patterns in Australia do not allow such flexibility. The unique characteristics of marsupials that allow them to survive in a tough environment are indicative of good design, not blind evolution.
       
    3. Representatives of marsupial kinds went into the ark and were carried through the Flood. Any other varieties not in the ark became extinct with the Flood (and now exist only as fossils).
       
    4. After the Flood, marsupials may have migrated to Australia across land connections or narrow waterways. Perhaps there is a supernatural element involving the second point made above. That is, God, having created specially equipped creatures, may have directed them to settle in Australia in particular. If God can arrange for all the animals to go to Noah (Genesis 6:20), then He very well could assist and direct them in their migration from Ararat once they left the ark (Genesis 8:17).
       
    5. There is no need to postulate long periods of time for whole-scale movement of animal kinds over the Earth. Initial studies by Richard Culp show that there are minimal differences between many North American, European, and Asian varieties of certain plant and animal species (Culp, 1988). The lack of dissimilarities, and the occurrence of unique animal or plant assemblages in various parts of the world (not just Australia), may be evidence for a rapid resettlement in relatively recent times. This would be consistent with the Genesis account.

    REFERENCES

    Bartz, Paul A. (1989), “Questions and Answers,” Bible-Science Newsletter, 27[7]:12, July.

    Culp, G. Richard (1988), “The Geographical Distribution of Animals and Plants,” Creation Research Society Quarterly, 25[1]:24-27, June.

    Dobzhansky, Theodosius, F.J. Ayala, G.L. Stebbins, and J.W. Valentine (1977), Evolution (San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman).

    Pitman, Michael (1984), Adam and Evolution (London: Rider).

    Simpson, G.G. and W.S. Beck (1965), Life: An Introduction to Biology (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World), second edition.


Atheists' Design Admissions by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5492

Atheists' Design Admissions

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Atheistic philosopher Paul Ricci summed up the Teleological Argument for the Existence of God well when he said, “[I]t’s true that everything designed has a designer…. ‘Everything designed has a designer’ is an analytically true statement.”1 There are an infinite number of design examples that present themselves to us when we study the natural realm—a problem for Ricci and his atheistic colleagues, to be sure. We have documented dozens of such examples in the past (see the various “Design” topics in the “Existence of God” category on our Web site), but consider the following points in addition to those examples of design. It is one thing for theists to provide positive evidences for the existence of design in the Universe, but it makes the job much simpler for theists when naturalists themselves admit evidences for design. Here are five areas of science where scientists openly acknowledge design in nature.

#1: “We Need to Figure Out Who Wrote the Laws of Science.”

Famous atheist, theoretical physicist, and cosmologist of Cambridge University, Stephen Hawking, clearly highly reveres the laws of science. In 2011, he hosted a show on Discovery Channel titled, “Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” In that show, he said,

[T]he Universe is a machine governed by principles or laws—laws that can be understood by the human mind. I believe that the discovery of these laws has been humankind’s greatest achievement…. But what’s really important is that these physical laws, as well as being unchangeable, are universal. They apply not just to the flight of the ball, but to the motion of a planet and everything else in the Universe. Unlike laws made by humans, the laws of nature cannot ever be broken. That’s why they are so powerful.2

Hawking, in obvious awe, acknowledges that the laws of nature exist, are unbreakable (i.e., without exception), and apply to the entire Universe—not just to the Earth. But that admission by the evolutionary community presents a major problem for atheism. Humanist Martin Gardner said,

Imagine that physicists finally discover all the basic waves and their particles, and all the basic laws, and unite everything in one equation. We can then ask, “Why that equation?” It is fashionable now to conjecture that the big bang was caused by a random quantum fluctuation in a vacuum devoid of space and time. But of course such a vacuum is a far cry from nothing. There had to be quantum laws to fluctuate. And why are there quantum laws?...There is no escape from the superultimate questions: Why is there something rather than nothing, and why is the something structured the way it is?3

Even if Big Bang cosmology were correct (and it is not), you still can’t have a law without a law writer.

In “Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” Hawking boldly claimed that everything in the Universe can be accounted for through science without the need of God. This is untrue, as we have discussed elsewhere,4 but notice that Hawking does not even believe that assertion himself. He said, “Did God create the quantum laws that allowed the Big Bang to occur? In a nutshell, did we need a god to set it all up so that the Big Bang could bang?”5 He provided no answer to that crucial question—not even an attempt. And he is not alone. No atheist can provide a reasonable answer to that question.

The eminent atheistic, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist of Arizona State University, Paul Davies, noted Hawking’s sidestep of that question in the “round table discussion” on the Discovery Channel following “Curiosity,” titled, “The Creation Question: a Curiosity Conversation.” Concerning Hawking, Davies said,

In the show, Stephen Hawking gets very, very close to saying, “Well, where did the laws of physics come from? That’s where we might find some sort of God.” And then he backs away and doesn’t return to the subject…. You need to know where those laws come from. That’s where the mystery lies—the laws.6

Writing in New Scientist, Davies asked, “How did stupid atoms spontaneously write their own software...?”7 In a more extensive discourse on the subject in The New York Times, Davies said,

[W]here do these laws come from? And why do they have the form that they do? When I was a student, the laws of physics were regarded as completely off limits. The job of the scientist, we were told, is to discover the laws and apply them, not inquire into their provenance. The laws were treated as “given”—imprinted on the universe like a maker’s mark at the moment of cosmic birth—and fixed forevermore.... Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are. The answers vary from “that’s not a scientific question” to “nobody knows.” The favorite reply is, “There is no reason they are what they are—they just are.” The idea that the laws exist reasonlessly is deeply anti-rational. After all, the very essence of a scientific explanation of some phenomenon is that the world is ordered logically and that there are reasons things are as they are. If one traces these reasons all the way down to the bedrock of reality—the laws of physics—only to find that reason then deserts us, it makes a mockery of science. Can the mighty edifice of physical order we perceive in the world about us ultimately be rooted in reasonless absurdity? If so, then nature is a fiendishly clever bit of trickery: meaninglessness and absurdity somehow masquerading as ingenious order and rationality.... Clearly, then, both religion and science are founded on faith—namely, on belief in the existence of something outside the universe, like an unexplained God or an unexplained set of physical laws.8

In conclusion, Davies highlighted the fact that naturalists have a blind faith when assuming that the laws of science could create themselves free from an “external agency”: “[U]ntil science comes up with a testable theory of the laws of the universe, its claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus.”9 Bottom line: there must be a rational origin of the laws of science. In 2016, Davies reiterated, “The ballyhoo about a universe popping out of the vacuum is a complete red herring. It just dodges the real issue, which is the prior existence of the laws of physics.”10 In an article titled “Taking Science on Faith,” Davies responded to the assertion that the existence of a multiverse could account for the origin of the laws of science, saying,

The multiverse theory is increasingly popular, but it doesn’t so much explain the laws of physics as dodge the whole issue. There has to be a physical mechanism to make all those universes and bestow bylaws on them. This process will require its own laws, or meta-laws. Where do they come from? The problem has simply been shifted up a level from the laws of the universe to the meta-laws of the multiverse.11

Astrophysicist and science writer for New Scientist, Marcus Chown, wrote:

If the universe owes its origins to quantum theory, then quantum theory must have existed before the universe. So the next question is surely: where did the laws of quantum theory come from? “We do not know,” admits [cosmologist Alex—JM] Vilenkin. “I consider that an entirely different question.” When it comes to the beginning of the universe, in many ways we’re still at the beginning.12

University of Oxford physicist David Deutsch said, “Even if the answer to why there is something rather than nothing were because of how quantum field theory works, the question would become why are the laws of quantum field theory as they are.”13 Cosmologist and Professor of Physics at California Institute of Technology Sean Carroll, writing in Scientific American, discussed the question of the origin of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: “[E]xplaining why low-entropy states evolve into high-entropy states [i.e., the Second Law of Thermodynamics—JM] is different from explaining why entropy is increasing in our universe.... [T]he real challenge is not to explain why the entropy of the universe will be higher tomorrow than it is today but to explain why the entropy was lower yesterday and even lower the day before that.”14 In other words, why is there such a thing as a law of nature, like the “Second Law of Thermodynamics”?

Theoretical physicist, faculty member at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and adjunct Professor of Physics at the University of Waterloo, Lee Smolin, admitted, “Cosmology has new questions to answer. Not just what are the laws, but why are these laws the laws?”15 In a 2014 interview with Scientific American, cosmologist George F.R. Ellis of the University of Cape Town, co-author with Stephen Hawking of the book The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, gave a stinging response to theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University, who argues in his book, A Universe from Nothing, that physics has ultimately answered the question of why there is something rather than nothing. Among other criticisms, Ellis said,

And above all Krauss does not address why the laws of physics exist, why they have the form they have, or in what kind of manifestation they existed before the universe existed (which he must believe if he believes they brought the universe into existence). Who or what dreamt up symmetry principles, Lagrangians, specific symmetry groups, gauge theories, and so on? He does not begin to answer these questions.16

Quantum physicist Michael Brooks agreed with Ellis in his criticisms of Krauss’ book. Writing in New Scientist, he said, “[T]he laws of physics can’t be conjured from nothing.... Krauss contends that the multiverse makes the question of what determined our laws of nature ‘less significant.’ Truthfully, it just puts the question beyond science [i.e., beyond the natural—JM]—for now, at least.”17

In his book, The Grand Design, Hawking tried to submit a way that the Universe could have created itself from nothing without God and still be in keeping with the laws of nature—an impossible concept, to be sure. He said, “Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”18 Of course, even if such were possible, he does not explain where the law of gravity came from. Professor of mathematics and Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at Oxford University John Lennox concurred. He took Hawking to task over his assertion that the laws of physics alone can explain the existence of the Universe, saying,

Hawking’s argument appears to me even more illogical when he says the existence of gravity means the creation of the universe was inevitable. But how did gravity exist in the first place? Who put it there? And what was the creative force behind its birth? Similarly, when Hawking argues, in support of his theory of spontaneous creation, that it was only necessary for “the blue touch paper” to be lit to “set the universe going,” the question must be: where did this blue touch paper come from? And who lit it, if not God?19

Simply put, a more rational statement from Hawking would have been, “Because there is a law like gravity, the Universe must have been created by God.” Bottom line: the existence of the laws of science is evidence of a Designer—even atheists tacitly admit it.

#2: “We Need to Know Who Created Life.”

In Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, well-known British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, Oxford University’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 to 2008, said concerning the possibility of intelligent design:

It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the Universe, a civilization evolved by, probably, some kind of Darwinian means, to a very, very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto, perhaps, this planet. Now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that, if you look at the details of our chemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some kind of designer. And that designer could well be a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the Universe.20

So, according to Dawkins, when we look at our chemistry—our molecular biology—(1) there could be evidence of design there, and (2) that design would imply the existence of a designer—a direct admission of the validity of the Teleological Argument. Granted, Dawkins does not directly endorse God as that Designer. Instead, he irrationally postulates the existence of aliens.

Ultimately, since there is no evidence for the existence of aliens, there can hardly be any evidence for their establishing life on Earth. Such an idea can hardly be in keeping with the evolutionist’s own beliefs about the importance of direct observation and experiment in science. Such a theory does nothing but tacitly admit (1) the truth of the Law of Biogenesis—in nature, life comes only from life (in this case, aliens); and (2) the necessity of a creator/designer in the equation.

However, notice: since aliens are beings of nature, they too must be governed by the laws of nature. Recall Hawking’s claim: the laws of physics “are universal. They apply not just to the flight of the ball, but to the motion of a planet and everything else in the Universe.”21 Evolutionary physicist Victor Stenger submitted his belief that the “basic laws” of science “hold true in the most distant observed galaxy and in the cosmic microwave background, implying that these laws have been valid for over thirteen billion years.”22 In the interview with Stein, Dawkins went on to say concerning the supposed alien creators, “But that higher intelligence would, itself, had to have come about by some ultimately explicable process. It couldn’t have just jumped into existence spontaneously.”23 So, the alien creators, according to Dawkins, have been strapped with the laws of nature as well. Thus, the problem of abiogenesis is merely shifted to the alien’s abode, where the question of the origin of life must still be answered.

Bottom line: life is evidence of design, and by implication, an intelligent designer. Writing in New Scientist, Dawkins admitted, “The more statistically improbable a thing is, the less we can believe that it just happened by blind chance. Superficially the obvious alternative to chance is an intelligent Designer.”24 Sadly, the atheist simply cannot bring himself to accept the clear cut, “obvious alternative” that is staring him in the face.

#3: “We Have to Figure Out a Way to Explain All of This Design in Nature.”

George Ellis and Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, Joseph Silk, wrote in 2014 in Nature: “This year, debates in physics circles took a worrying turn. Faced with difficulties in applying fundamental theories to the observed Universe, some researchers called for a change in how theoretical physics is done.”25 Ironically, the “difficulties” theoretical physicists have encountered have become considerable enough that going beyond nature is necessary. According to cosmologist Bernard Carr of Queen Mary University in London, a supernatural option of some sort is demanded. He warned cosmologists to accept the inevitable implications of the evidence: “If you don’t want God, you’d better have a multiverse.”26 The multiverse has, therefore, been latched onto by many naturalists to try to explain away the “difficulties” facing physicists without resorting to God, even though, among other issues with it, there is absolutely no evidence for its existence.27 Lee Smolin said, “We had to invent the multiverse,”28 and according to Lawson Parker, writing in National Geographic, it was from our “imagination.”29 The use of our imagination to determine where we came from certainly sounds like today’s “science” is moving ever further into the realm of fiction.

Regardless, notice that according to many physicists, something beyond the current definition of science is needed to explain certain things—i.e., the existence of the unobservable, supernatural realm is demanded by the evidence. Recall how Davies put it: “Clearly, then, both religion and science are founded on faith—namely, on belief in the existence of something outside the universe, like an unexplained God or an unexplained set of physical laws, maybe even a huge ensemble of unseen universes, too.”30

Besides the existence of the laws of physics, what kind of “difficulties” are physicists encountering that are forcing them to conclude that something outside of the Universe exists, and therefore, that they need to “invent” the multiverse to avoid God? Many have articulated well the problem. Read on to see a great lesson by naturalists on the need for a supernatural Designer for the Universe.

According to Tim Folger, writing in Discover magazine, “The idea that the universe was made just for us—known as the anthropic principle—debuted in 1973.”31 Since then, the mountain of evidence supporting the principle has drastically grown in elevation. Consider, for example:

  • In a 2011 article, under the heading “Seven Questionable Arguments” for the multiverse, Ellis discussed argument number four: “A remarkable fact about our universe is that physical constants have just the right values needed to allow for complex structures, including living things…. I agree that the multiverse is a possible valid explanation for [fine tuning examples—JM]…; arguably, it is the only scientifically based option we have right now. But we have no hope of testing it observationally.”32 [Notice that the multiverse is “the only scientifically based option,” and yet “we have no hope of testing it observationally.” Doesn’t that make it not a “scientifically based option”?]
  • By 2014, Ellis and Silk went even further:

The multiverse is motivated by a puzzle: why fundamental constants of nature, such as the fine-structure constant that characterizes the strength of electromagnetic interactions between particles and the cosmological constant associated with the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe, have values that lie in the small range that allows life to exist…. Some physicists consider that the multiverse has no challenger as an explanation of many otherwise bizarre coincidences. The low value of the cosmological constant—known to be 120 factors of 10 smaller than the value predicted by quantum field theory—is difficult to explain, for instance.33

  • John Rennie, the editor for Scientific American, noted, “The basic laws of physics work equally well forward or backward in time, yet we perceive time to move in one direction only—toward the future. Why?”34 Carroll, along the same lines, noted that “[i]f the observable universe were all that existed, it would be nearly impossible to account for the arrow of time in a natural way.”35
  • According to Smolin,

Everything we know suggests that the universe is unusual. It is flatter, smoother, larger and emptier than a “typical” universe predicted by the known laws of physics. If we reached into a hat filled with pieces of paper, each with the specifications of a possible universe written on it, it is exceedingly unlikely that we would get a universe anything like ours in one pick—or even a billion. The challenge that cosmologists face is to make sense of this specialness. One approach to this question is inflation—the hypothesis that the early universe went through a phase of exponentially fast expansion. At first, inflation seemed to do the trick. A simple version of the idea gave correct predictions for the spectrum of fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background. But a closer look shows that we have just moved the problem further back in time. To make inflation happen at all requires us to fine-tune the initial conditions of the universe.36

  • Folger quotes Linde in Discover magazine:

“We have a lot of really, really strange coincidences, and all of these coincidences are such that they make life possible,” Linde says. Physicists don’t like coincidences. They like even less the notion that life is somehow central to the universe, and yet recent discoveries are forcing them to confront that very idea…. Call it a fluke, a mystery, a miracle. Or call it the biggest problem in physics. Short of invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible explanation: Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse…. Advocates argue that, like it or not, the multiverse may well be the only viable non-religious explanation for what is often called the “fine-tuning problem”—the baffling observation that the laws of the universe seem custom-tailored to favor the emergence of life…. [Andrei Linde:] “And if we double the mass of the electron, life as we know it will disappear. If we change the strength of the interaction between protons and electrons, life will disappear. Why are there three space dimensions and one time dimension? If we had four space dimensions and one time dimension, then planetary systems would be unstable and our version of life would be impossible. If we had two space dimensions and one time dimension, we would not exist,” he says…. [I]f there is no multiverse, where does that leave physicists? “If there is only one universe,” Carr says, “you might have to have a fine-tuner. If you don’t want God, you’d better have a multiverse.”37

  • Stuart Clark and Richard Webb, writing in New Scientist, said,

We can’t explain the numbers that rule the universe…the different strengths of weak, strong and electromagnetic forces, for example, or the masses of the particles it introduces…. Were any of them to have even marginally different values, the universe would look very different. The Higgs boson’s mass, for example, is just about the smallest it can be without the universe’s matter becoming unstable. Similar “fine-tuning” problems bedevil cosmology…. Why is the carbon atom structured so precisely as to allow enough carbon for life to exist in the universe?38

  • Greene, commenting on Professor of Theoretical Physics at Stanford University Leonard Susskind’s thinking about the multiverse, said,

Susskind was suggesting that string theory augments this grand cosmological unfolding by adorning each of the universes in the multiverse with a different shape for the extra dimensions. With or without string theory, the multiverse is a highly controversial schema, and deservedly so. It not only recasts the landscape of reality, but shifts the scientific goal posts. Questions once deemed profoundly puzzling—why do nature’s numbers, from particle masses to force strengths to the energy suffusing space, have the particular values they do?—would be answered with a shrug…. Most physicists, string theorists among them, agree that the multiverse is an option of last resort….  Looking back, I’m gratified at how far we’ve come but disappointed that a connection to experiment continues to elude us.39

  • Mary-Jane Rubenstein, writing in New Scientist, said,

Here’s the dilemma: if the universe began with a quantum particle blipping into existence, inflating godlessly into space-time and a whole zoo of materials, then why is it so well suited for life? For medieval philosophers, the purported perfection of the universe was the key to proving the existence of God. The universe is so fit for intelligent life that it must be the product of a powerful, benevolent external deity. Or, as popular theology might put it today: all this can’t be an accident. Modern physics has also wrestled with this “fine-tuning problem,” and supplies its own answer. If only one universe exists, then it is strange to find it so hospitable to life, when nearly any other value for the gravitational or cosmological constants would have produced nothing at all. But if there is a “multiverse” of many universes, all with different constants, the problem vanishes: we’re here because we happen to be in one of the universes that works. No miracles, no plan, no creator.40

Notice: Physicists cannot help but acknowledge the truth of the Teleological Argument for the existence of God. The Universe seems to have been perfectly designed—with detailed fine-tuning—just for us. Design demands a designer. Resorting to belief in the multiverse is a concession by naturalists that we have been right all along: there exists an “unseen realm.” But rather than concede God, naturalists invent the evidence-less, imaginary multiverse. Ironically, all the while the multiverse is itself a supernatural option—albeit, one without any rules concerning how we should behave, making it attractive to many.

#4: “We Need to Mimic All of the Design We See in Nature.”

One area of scientific study where scientists are admitting, many times unconsciously but forcefully, the presence of design in the Universe, is in the field of biomimetics, or biomimcry—as well as the related field known as bio-inspired design. Biomimicry is an attempt to engineer something—design something—using the natural world as the blue print. Engineers are becoming more and more aware of the fact that the world around us is already filled with fully functional, superior designs in comparison to what the engineering community has been able to develop to date.

The Web page for George Washington University’s Center for Biomimetics and Bioinspired Engineering admits: “[D]espite our seeming prowess in these component technologies, we find it hard to outperform Nature in this arena; Nature’s solutions are smarter, more energy-efficient, agile, adaptable, fault-tolerant, environmentally friendly and multifunctional. Thus, there is much that we as engineers can learn from Nature as we develop the next generation machines and technologies.”41

It would be difficult to better summarize the decisive evidence for design that is clearly evident to professional designers (engineers) when they look at the natural realm. This same mindset about nature’s design, however, is becoming widespread in the engineering community. Consequently, biomimicry is becoming a major engineering pursuit. The field of biomimicry is growing by leaps and bounds, with research centers being established all over the world, with their express purpose being to mimic the design of nature.

Some engineers are going even further. Realizing that nature’s designs are so impressive that many times we simply cannot mimic them, they are attempting instead to control nature to use it as they wish, rather than mimic it.42 Animals, for instance, possess amazing detection, tracking, and maneuvering capabilities which are far beyond the knowledge of today’s engineering minds, and likely will be for many decades, if not forever. An insect neurobiologist, John Hildebrand from the University of Arizona in Tucson, admitted: “There’s a long history of trying to develop microrobots that could be sent out as autonomous devices, but I think many engineers have realised [sic] that they can’t improve on Mother Nature.”43 Of course, “Mother Nature” is not capable of designing anything, since “she” is mindless—but notice that the desire to personify nature and give it design abilities is telling. While mindless nature has no ability to design anything, the Chief Engineer, the God of the Bible, on the other hand, can be counted on to have the best possible engineering designs. Who, after all, could out-design the Grand Designer? In spite of the deterioration of the world and the entrance of disease and mutations into the created order, after several millennia, His designs still stand out as the best—unsurpassed by human wisdom.

Do not miss the implication of practicing biomimicry and autonomous biological control. They are a tacit concession by the scientific community that nature exhibits design! Engineers are the designers of the scientific community. When we engage in biomimicry, we are, whether consciously or not, endorsing the concept that there is design in nature. It would be totally senseless to try to design something useful by mimicking something that was random and chaotic. For the highly educated, brilliant designers of the scientific community to copy nature, proves that nature must be much more than the product of random chance and accidents.44

#5: “Evolutionary Design”?

A casual perusal of nearly any article by atheistic scientists when they are discussing the complexity of various species reveals that even they cannot help but intuitively acknowledge a designer. Such writings are riddled with the term “design,” apparently without the naturalistic writers following out the implications of that term. Phrases like, “This feature of the salamander is designed to do this,” are common place. Is it not true that the moment one acknowledges the existence of design, he is admitting the existence of a designer at some point—just as acknowledging a poem implies the existence of a poet? We simply cannot escape the evidence for design in nature and the reasoning ability that God has put within us that presses us to acknowledge His existence and ensure that those who wish to find Him will (Acts 17:26-28).

Some atheists have apparently noticed the tendency of naturalists to use such terminology. So, rather than try to rectify atheistic terminology, they embrace it and simply try to redefine the word “design.” Kenneth Miller is an evolutionary biologist at Brown University and co-author of the popular Prentice Hall high school Biology textbook that is used extensively in the United States. In his 2008 book, Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul, he admits that structural and molecular biologists, as they study the natural order, routinely mention the presence of design in their explorations. He, himself, admits that the human body shows evidence of design, pointing out examples like the design of the ball and socket joints of the human hips and shoulders and the “s” curve of the human spine that allows us to walk upright. In spite of such admissions, he irrationally claims such admissions should not be considered to be self-defeating for naturalists. According to Miller, the evidence for design in nature should be embraced. In an article published by Brown University, he said, “There is, indeed, a design to life—an evolutionary design.”45 Merriam-Webster defines an oxymoron as “a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (such as cruel kindness).”46 Another example: “evolutionary design.”

If there is a painting, there must have been a painter. If there is a fingerprint, there must have been a finger that made it. If there is a building, there must have been a builder. If there is an engine, there must have been an engineer. If there is a creation of some sort, there must have been a creator of it. And if there is design, there must have been a…. If a person completes that sentence with any other word besides “designer,” is he not being the epitome of irrational? While we understand Miller’s dilemma as a naturalist and his desire to find a way to dismiss the incessant, forceful admissions of design by his highly credentialed colleagues, he must attempt to do so through some other avenue besides merely attempting to redefine the word “design” in such a way that it does not require intent and purpose—a mind.

The silliness of irrationally postulating that the clearly designed Universe could have designed itself through evolution has not been lost to many in the engineering community. Typically, in the first semester of engineering school, an introductory course presents broad concepts about engineering. Students may learn the basic differences in the engineering fields (e.g., civil, electrical, mechanical, chemical, structural, etc.). They may spend some time considering ethical dilemmas that engineers have often faced in their careers. First-year students also usually give consideration to the design process. Even in its basic form, the design process proves to be very complex, even before considering the specialized scientific knowledge required to design a given item.

Many steps are necessary in order to get a product to the public. Consider one introductory engineering textbook’s template for the design process47:

  1. Problem symptom or expression; definition of product need; marketing information
  2. Problem definition, including statement of desired outcome
  3. Conceptual design and evaluation; feasibility study
  4. Design analysis; codes/standards review; physical and analytical models
  5. Synthesis of alternative solutions (back to design analysis for iterations)
  6. Decision (selection of one alternative)
  7. Prototype production; testing and evaluation (back to design analysis for more iterations)
  8. Production drawings; instruction manuals
  9. Material specification; process and equipment selection; safety review
  10. Pilot production
  11. Production
  12. Inspection and quality assurance
  13. Packaging; marketing and sales literature
  14. Product

The design process is unquestionably lengthy, technical, complex, and calculated. To claim that an efficient design could be developed without a designer is insulting to the engineering community. Where there is design—complexity, purpose, planning, intent—there is a designer.

Conclusion

Truly, the Universe is replete with evidences of design. So much so, that even atheists cannot help but concede that truth. It is noteworthy that leading naturalists are unwilling to suggest that the laws of nature could create themselves naturally.

  • Physicists know there must be a supernatural origin for those laws.

Similarly, more and more leading scientists are acknowledging that the existence of life is no accident either.

  • Biologists know there must be an intelligence behind it.
  • Engineers are so awed by the clear-cut evidences for design on the Earth that they have developed entire centers devoted to biomimicry—effectively plagiarizing the work of God when they fail to give Him due credit as the Chief Engineer.
  • Cosmologists gush with incredulity when they see the perfection of the created order as well, knowing that the “fine-tuning”48 that is evident in the Universe seems to have resulted in it being “custom tailored”49 for humans.

But how can there be “fine-tuning” if no One exists to tune in the first place? How can the Universe be “custom tailored,” and yet there be no Tailor? If one is to be rational—drawing appropriate conclusions from the evidence—he must recognize that there are implications to realizing that the Universe is finely tuned and tailor made. The design in the Universe demands the existence of a Universal Designer.

Endnotes

1  Paul Ricci (1986), Fundamentals of Critical Thinking (Lexington, MA: Ginn Press), p. 190.

2  “Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7, emp. added.

3  Martin Gardner (2000), Did Adam and Eve Have Navels? (New York: W.W. Norton), p. 303, emp. added.

4  Jeff Miller (2011), “A Review of Discovery Channel’s ‘Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?’” Reason & Revelation, 31[10]:98-107, /apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1004&article=1687.

5  “Curiosity…,” emp. added.

6  “The Creation Question: A Curiosity Conversation” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7, emp. added.

7  Paul Davies (1999), “Life Force,” New Scientist On-line, 163[2204]:26-30, September 18.

8  Paul Davies (2007), “Taking Science on Faith,” The New York Times, November 24, emp. added, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/opinion/24davies.html?_r=0.

9  Ibid.

10 As quoted in Richard Webb (2016), “Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?” New Scientist, 231[3089]:32, emp. added.

11 Davies, 2007.

12 Marcus Chown (2012), “In the Beginning,” New Scientist, 216[2893]:35, December 1.

13 As quoted in Webb, p. 32.

14 Sean M. Carroll (2008), “The Cosmic Origins of Time’s Arrow,” Scientific American, 298[6]:50, June, emp. added.

15 Lee Smolin (2015), “You Think There’s a Multiverse? Get Real,” New Scientist, 225[3004]:24, January 17.

16 As quoted in John Horgan (2014), “Physicist George Ellis Knocks Physicists for Knocking Philosophy, Falsification, Free Will,” Scientific American Blog Network, July 22, emp. added, http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/physicist-george-ellis-knocks-physicists-for-knocking-philosophy-falsification-free-will/.

17 Michael Brooks (2012), “The Paradox of Nothing,” New Scientist, 213[2847]:46, January 11, emp. added.

18 Stephen Hawking (2010), The Grand Design (New York: Bantam Books), p. 180.

19 John Lennox (2010), “As A Scientist I’m Certain Stephen Hawking is Wrong. You Can’t Explain the Universe Without God,” Daily Mail Online, emp. added, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1308599/Stephen-Hawking-wrong-You-explain-universe-God.html.

20 Ben Stein and Kevin Miller (2008), Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Premise Media), emp. added.

21 “Curiosity…,” emp. added.

22 Victor J. Stenger (2007), God: The Failed Hypothesis (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books), p. 115.

23 Stein and Miller, emp. added.

24 Richard Dawkins (1982), “The Necessity of Darwinism,” New Scientist, 94:130, April 15, emp. added.

25 George Ellis and Joe Silk (2014), “Defend the Integrity of Physics,” Nature, 516[7531]:321, December, emp. added.

26 As quoted in Tim Folger (2008), “Science’s Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: the Multiverse Theory,” DiscoverMagazine.com, November 10, http://discovermagazine.com/2008/dec/10-sciences-alternative-to-an-intelligent-creator.

27 Jeff Miller (2017), “7 Reasons the Multiverse Is Not a Valid Alternative to God [Part I],” Reason & Revelation, 37[4]:38-47, http://apologeticspress.org/pub_rar/37_4/1704w.pdf.

28 Smolin, p. 25.

29 Lawson Parker (2014), “Cosmic Questions,” National Geographic, 225[4], April, center tearout.

30 Davies, 2007, emp. added.

31 Folger, emp. added.

32 George F.R. Ellis (2011), “Does the Multiverse Really Exist?” Scientific American, 305[2]:42.

33 Ellis and Silk, p. 322.

34 John Rennie, Editor’s Note in Sean M. Carroll (2008), “The Cosmic Origins of Time’s Arrow,” Scientific American, 298[6]:48, June.

35 Carroll, p. 57.

36 Smolin, p. 24, emp. added.

37 Folger, emp. added.

38 Stuart Clark and Richard Webb (2016), “Six Principles/Six Problems/Six Solutions,” New Scientist, 231[3092]:33, emp. added.

39 Brian Greene (2015), “Why String Theory Still Offers Hope We Can Unify Physics,” Smithsonian Magazine, January, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/string-theory-about-unravel-180953637/?no-ist, emp. added.

40 Mary-Jane Rubenstein (2015), “God vs. the Multiverse,” New Scientist, 228[3052/3053]:64, December 19/26, emp. added.

41 “Center for Biomimetics and Bioinspired Engineering: COBRE” (2012), George Washington University, emp. added, http://cobre.seas.gwu.edu/.

42 Jeff Miller (2011), “Autonomous Control of Creation,” Reason & Revelation, 31[12]:129-131.

43 J. Marshall (2008), “The Cyborg Animal Spies Hatching in the Lab,” New Scientist, 2646:41, March 6.

44 For specific examples of biomimicry and bio-inspired engineering, see http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&topic=66.

45 As quoted in: Brown University (2008), “There is ‘Design’ in Nature, Biologist Argues,” ScienceDaily, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080217143838.htm.

46 “Oxymoron” (2017), Merriam-Webster On-line, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oxymoron/.

47 Introduction to Engineering at Auburn University: Manufacturing—Industrial and Systems Engineering (2004), (Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Publishing), pp. 10, 32.

48 Folger; Clark and Webb, p. 33; Rubenstein, p. 64.

49 Folger.

Suggested Resources

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" Private Teaching And Its Benefits (4:33-34) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                    Private Teaching And Its Benefits (4:33-34)

INTRODUCTION

1. Jesus was truly the Master Teacher...
   a. He preached often in the synagogues - Mk 1:39
   b. He taught large crowds by the sea shore - Mk 2:13; 4:1-2

2. He also taught in private...
   a. Especially regarding the parables, first told in public - Mk 4:33
   b. Which He later explained to His disciples - Mk 4:34

[The disciples of Jesus were blessed to have private instruction.  While
listening to the Word of God in a public setting is of great value, have
you considered the benefits of private teaching...?]

I. WHAT IS PRIVATE TEACHING?

   A. EXPLANATION...
      1. Simply put, it is teaching in a private setting (home, office, park bench)
      2. Just the teacher and the learner, or at the most a small group of learners
      3. Where the teaching is informal, usually a dialogue rather than a lecture
      -- Private teaching involves a more intimate, personal environment for learning

   B. EXAMPLES...
      1. Jesus and His disciples in our text - Mk 4:33-34
      2. Jesus and Nicodemus - Jn 3:1-3
      3. Jesus and the Samaritan woman - Jn 4:5-26
      4. Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch - Ac 8:26-40
      5. Peter and the household of Cornelius - Ac 10:24,33
      6. Aquila and Priscilla working with Apollos - Ac 18:24-26
      7. Paul as he taught in homes, including his own - Ac 20:20; 28:30-31
      -- The Bible is filled with examples of private teaching

[Jesus and His followers made much use of private teaching in addition
to public instruction.  To appreciate why, consider the answer to the question...]

II. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

   A. INDIVIDUAL ATTENTION...
      1. Public teaching is at best a "shotgun" approach
         a. An audience has many people with different needs, levels of understanding
         b. No one subject or lesson meets the interests of every person
      2. Private teaching can address an individual's needs or interests
         a. The need might be basic ("What must I do to be saved?")
         b. The interest might be academic ("I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this...?)
         c. The desire might be to grow in understanding ("Explain this parable to us.")
         d. The student might want to act immediately ("What hinders me from being baptized?")
      -- Public instruction cannot provide such individual attention

   B. PERSONAL QUESTIONS...
      1. Public teaching does not lend itself to asking questions
         a. Some venues traditionally frown on asking questions (e.g., during a sermon)
         b. Shy people are often are too intimidated to ask questions in public
         c. Personal questions are not always suitable for public discourse
      2. Private teaching is well suited for questions
         a. Related to one's interests or spiritual level
         b. Without fear of ridicule or interruption
      -- Private teaching allows for inquiry and follow-up questions

   C. SUPERIOR LEARNING...
      1. Successful people have their mentors and advisors
         a. Olympic athletes have personal coaches
         b. Serious fitness buffs have personal trainers
      2. The disciples benefited by their time with Jesus - cf. Ac 4:13
      3. Personal spiritual training is part of God's plan - cf. 2Ti 2:2
         a. Don't think you need a personal teacher?
         b. Then you need to be a teacher! - cf. He 5:12
      -- Private teaching provides opportunity for accelerated and advanced learning

CONCLUSION

1. Willingness to listen to public preaching and teaching is commendable...
   a. Do you listen to sermons in worship?  Good!
   b. Do you attend and participate in Bible classes at church?  Great!

2. But if you want to really get serious about your salvation and spiritual growth...
   a. Find a personal "spiritual fitness" trainer
   b. Attend a home Bible study, or start one in your home

After the two disciples walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, they said to one another:

   "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the
   road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?" - Lk 24:32

Their experience (hearts excited by learning) is often shared today by
many people who are willing to go beyond just attending church, to
become involved in the private teaching of the Word of God.

If you would like to experience the benefits of private teaching, please let us know... 
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Word of the Week: Joy by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

https://thepreachersword.com/2013/07/08/word-of-the-week-joy/

Word of the Week: Joy

joy2

“There is no virtue in the Christian life which is not made radiant with joy,” wrote William Barclay. “There is no circumstance and no occasion which is not illuminated with joy.  A joyless life is not a Christian life, for joy is the one constant in the recipe of Christian living.”

The word of the week is joy.

God’s people should be a joyful people.  Christianity is not meant to  suck the joy of life and leave us listless, disconsolate, and dispirited.  In fact, the spirit of joy is one of the great qualities that define the personality of a follower of Christ.

Consider these New testament references.

When Jesus was born the angel said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy that will be to all people.” (Lk. 2:10).

In John 15:11 Jesus said, “these things I have spoken that My joy may remain in you.”

Following Jesus, resurrected from the dead, Mary and Mary Magdalene ran “with great joy” to the tell the disciples.”

After the ascension, the disciples went back to Jerusalem with “great joy” (Lk.24:52).

When Jesus was preached in Samaria, it says there was “great joy in that city” (Ac. 8:8)

And after the Ethiopian Treasurer obeyed the gospel, he went on his way rejoicing.

When the pagan jailer in Ac 16 was baptized  “he rejoiced” 

It is little wonder then that 18 times in the book of Philippians Paul speaks of joy or rejoicing.  He speaks of the “joy of faith.”  (1:25)

There is a common thread in the Christian’s joy.  Jesus!  Jesus brings joy!  The religion of Jesus is a joyful religion.  Salvation gives birth to Joy. Receiving God’s grace produces joy.  In fact, there is a connection with grace and joy.

The Greek word for joy is “chara.” It means gladness, calm, delight or joy.  Closely related is the word for grace–“charis.”  Charis is “that which bestows on occasion pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard.”

When grace and truth came in the person of Jesus, so did joy.  True joy.  Real joy.  Genuine joy.  Not superficial feelings of happiness.  While we may use the words interchangeably, there is a difference between joy and happiness.

Happiness is based on circumstances, but Joy is rooted substance.  Happiness may be about things.  Joy is about Christ.

Happiness is external, but Joy is internal.  Physical and material things may make us happy, but joy comes from the heart. The soul.  The inner person.

Happiness is based on chance, but Joy on choice.  The word “happy” comes from an old English word “hap” which means luck, chance or accident.  Joy is a decision. A determination of the will.

Happiness is  temporary, but Joy is timeless! Feelings of happiness will ebb and flow, but joy is constant. Unbounded! Unmoved! Eternal!

Christians are too often guilty of allowing “joy killers” to rob life of its radiance.  Worry. Unresolved guilt. Selfishness. Resentment.  Fear.  These sap our spiritual strength.  Drain our spirits.  Diminish our joy.  Instead replace these negative emotions with faith.  Forgiveness.  Unselfishness.  Acceptance.  Courage.

George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “This is true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
Jesus came to give us an abundant life. But a meaningful life. A purpose-driven life. A joyful life. Even when we must endure pain, problems, or persecution. So, regardless of what happens we can echo the words of the apostle Peter:

“…Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” (1 Pet 4:13-14).

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Why Are There So Many Churches? by David Vaughn Elliott

 

https://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/01/

Why Are There So Many Churches?
by David Vaughn Elliott

Why are there so many different churches? When did all the religious confusion begin? Some would say it began with Martin Luther. However, the truth of the matter is that religious confusion started in the Garden of Eden. God said, "Don't." Satan said, "Do." If you are a student of the Bible, you know that religious confusion continued unabated from the offerings of Cain and Abel to the harlot and bride of Revelation.

It is nothing unusual, therefore, to hear this prediction via Paul: "Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats" (1 Tim. 4:1-3). Two false doctrines are named. Both prohibit what God has not prohibited. The abstinence might seem to be spiritual by denying pleasures of the flesh. However, they are actually demonic prohibitions.

Discussing the issue of teachings which do not come from God, Jesus once said: "These people draw nigh unto me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:8-9). At the end of the Bible we read this warning: "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book" (Rev. 22:18). One way of adding to God's Word is to prohibit what God has not prohibited. And, as Jesus said, if we teach such human (demonic) doctrines, our worship of God is in vain, empty, futile.

We can find specific fulfillment of 1 Timothy 4 in the second century among the Gnostic sects. Irenaeus (A.D. 130 to 202) said this about some Gnostics: "Many offshoots of numerous heresies have already been formed from those heretics we have described. This arises from the fact that numbers of them—indeed, we may say all—desire themselves to be teachers... they insist upon teaching something new... To give an example: Springing from Saturninus and Marcion, those who are called Encratites (self-controlled) preached against marriage, thus setting aside the original creation of God, and indirectly blaming Him who made the male and female for the propagation of the human race. Some of those reckoned among them have also introduced abstinence from animal food, thus proving themselves ungrateful to God, who formed all things" ("Against Heresies," Book I, Chap. 28).

Let's make some important distinctions. In Romans 14:2-3, Paul teaches: "For one believes that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eats herbs. Let not him that eats despise him that eats not; and let not him which eats not judge him that eats: for God has received him." This upholds a Christian who has a personal conviction against eating meat -- as long as he does not judge his brother. But, according to the Timothy text, if a person makes a doctrine of it and teaches that nobody is permitted to eat meat, that person is guilty of teaching a demonic doctrine.

The same distinction is true with regard to marriage. Paul was not married, and under certain situations he says it may be best not to marry (1 Cor. 7:26-28). However, he makes it clear that "should you marry, you have not sinned." So anyone can decide to stay single and even advise people that under certain situations it may be better to stay single. However, to prohibit marriage is demonic.

Why are there so many churches today? Because men and women teach their own doctrines (demons' doctrines) rather than God's doctrine. They prohibit what God has not prohibited and they command what God has not commanded. It all started in Eden, as Satan fought against God; and it will not end until Jesus returns and casts Satan into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10). In this world, there has always been religious confusion and always will be. It is up to each one of us to behave as the Bereans did when we hear anybody's teaching. They were "examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so" (Acts 17:10-11). Let's do the same. That's how I see it. How about you?

FIRST PETER by Paul Southern

 

https://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Southern/Paul/1901/peter1.html


FIRST PETER

  1. THE TITLE
  2. This book bears the name of the writer (1 Pet 1:1), and is the first of two general epistles by Peter.

  3. THE WRITER
  4. Peter was the son of Jonah (Mt 16:16,17). Before he became a disciple of Christ, he was known as Simon. He was a native of Bethsaida, but seems to have moved to Capernaum where he followed the occupation of fishing. From this work he was chosen to be an apostle of Christ and a fisher of men (Mt 4:18-22). He was brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew (Jn 1:40-42). Impetuous, brave and energetic, Peter was a leader among the apostles. He made some mistakes, but was outstanding in the spread of the gospel. He was entrusted "with the gospel of the circumcision" and was one of the pillars of the early church (Gal 2:6-8). Because of his prominence in the Gospels and in the first fifteen chapters of Acts, we know more about Peter's life than of any other of the twelve apostles. After the Jerusalem conference (Acts 15:1-29; Gal 2:1-10), we read no more of him in Acts. In Galatians 2:11-21 we read of his presence in Antioch where Paul rebuked him for his cowardice because of Judaizers. Peter was a married man (Mt 8:14; Mark 1:30; Lk 4:38), and there is no indication that he ceased to live with his wife after he became prominent as an apostle (I Cor 9:5). The New Testament says nothing about when, where, or how he died. The Catholic assumption that Peter was executed in Rome has no basis in the scriptures.

  5. THE ONES ADDRESSED
  6. First Peter is addressed to "sojourners of the dispersion." These Jewish Christians had been scattered by persecutions (1:1, 17; 2:11,12; 3:17; 4:1-4, 12-19; 5:8,9). They were sojourning among Gentiles in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia (1 Pet 1:1; 2:12). Although the epistle was addressed primarily to Jewish Christians, it did not exclude Gentiles. Peter presents the church as the true Israel of God's promise (1 Pet 2:4-10).

  7. TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING
  8. The letter was probably written between A.D. 64 and 67. It appears to have been written from Babylon (5:13), though some take the position that "Babylon" was a mystical name for Rome or Jerusalem. Nothing in the New Testament confirms this view. One theory holds that Peter used "Babylon" to conceal his actual location from Nero. Clement of Rome, Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius all claim that Peter was martyred in Rome when Nero was emperor.

  9. PURPOSE AND CONTENTS
  10. The general purpose of the letter, expressed in 5:12, was to console them in their suffering, and to exhort them to faithfulness and duty. An indirect object was to give support to the authority of Paul. Faith, obedience and patience are clearly discussed. The epistle is a summary of the consolations and instructions necessary to encourage Christians in their journey to heaven.

  11. EXERCISES FOR STUDENT ACTIVITY
    1. Study Peter's thanksgiving for the blessings of grace (1:3-12).
      1. For the new birth (3-5).
      2. For joyful faith during trials (6-9).
      3. For salvation (10-12).

    2. What obligations grow out of the blessings of grace? (1:13-25).
      1. A godly life (13-16).
      2. Prayerful worship of God because of His love (17-21).
      3. Brotherly love (22-25).

    3. Some further obligations are impressed (Ch. 2)
      1. Christian growth depends upon spiritual food (1-3).
      2. The church of Christ is a living temple (4-10).
      3. The Christian life is a journey, pilgrimage (11,12).
      4. Christians must be obedient to authorities (13-25).

    4. Some ethical relationships (Ch. 3).
      1. Wives must be in cheerful subjection to their husbands (1-6).
      2. Husbands must love their wives (7).
      3. Christians should love each other (8-12).
      4. Christians should endure persecution patiently (13-22).

    5. Encouragement for suffering saints is given (Ch. 4).
      1. Christ died for us; we should live for Him (1-6).
      2. The coming judgment should cause watchfulness (7-11).
      3. Christians should expect to suffer persecutions (12-19).

    6. Peter closes the epistle with divers exhortations (Ch. 5).
      1. There is a charge to the elders (1-4).
      2. There is an exhortation to humility (5-7).
      3. There is an exhortation to watchfulness (8-11).
      4. There are greetings from the brethren at Babylon (12-14).

    7. Topics for further study.
      1. Study Peter's loyalty to Christ, noting carefully what the apostle says about His cross, His suffering, His resurrection, His manifestation, and His exaltation.
      2. Summarize the teaching of the epistle regarding Christian brotherhood, the duties of society, and of domestic life.
      3. Using 1 Peter 3:15 as a text, write a brief paper on Giving a Reason for Your Hope.
      4. Explain the meaning of I Peter 3:18-20.
      5. What does the epistle teach concerning obedience to the gospel?

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)