Archive for 2012

Computer Woes

 

Have you ever taken your car to a mechanic to have it repaired, only to have it quit “ailing” as soon as you get it to the shop? The mechanic then has the problem of trying to fix something that isn’t showing symptoms, and has to base his diagnosis on hearsay.

I had something similar happen to me just recently with my work computer. It was freezing up and jumping from window to window. I tried several fixes on my own, but to no avail, and so I took it to a computer repair shop. After backing up all the documents, the first thing the technician did was reinstall Windows 7, which meant losing all the downloaded programs on the computer. He then ran the computer, which seemed to be working fine.

So I took the computer home, put it to work, only to discover it was still doing the same things as before. So it was back to the shop for another diagnosis. Next try was turning a sensitive motion detector off and resetting the main “bios”. I then took it home to find out it was still not working.

So it was back to the shop to replace the memory with some spare memory the technician had on hand. Home again to discover it was still not working. Only thing that hadn’t been changed at this point was the hard drive (that actually tested to be working fine) so we changed it out.

Again, everything was working fine at the shop, but as soon as I got it home and hooked everything up … same problem. So back to the shop to put the other hard drive back in (it still had reloaded documents on it) to save time.  After rebooting the computer, it finally showed the ailing symptoms. It took awhile, but we finally traced down the culprit … it was the software of my mouse! After uninstalling the software, and getting a new mouse, the problem was solved.

Now I am working on getting several key programs working (that worked before, but not now) to get back up to full speed. I have to admit that computer technology has made it easier for communication and developing and presenting information, but sometimes the stress they produce can be borderline exasperating!

 

Lanny Johnson

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Lions, Gazelles and Evolution

 

At one of the universities that we spoke at recently, a paper was circulated in support of evolution. One of the explanations of evolution was natural selection, or more commonly called, the survival of the fittest. The idea presented was that a lion which managed to catch and eat a gazelle just slightly increased the general speed of the population of gazelles by weeding out a slower one.

On the other side, slower lions can’t catch the faster gazelles and consequently do not eat as well. Therefore, they can’t fight off the stronger, well-fed lions in their struggle for a mate.  Therefore the lion’s speed is linked to the gazelle’s speed.

While this type of natural selection seems obvious, it still does not demonstrate evolution, since gazelles remain gazelles and lions remain lions. Also, one might wonder with all those millions of years to perfect their speed, why both lions and gazelles aren’t yet running at the speed of sound! Perhaps the lions or the gazelles should have turned their attention to developing rifles.

By the way, natural selection or survival of the fittest was actually proposed first by a creationist, Edward Blythe, 24 years before Darwin’s publication of his book, On the Origin of Species. (See  the January/February 2000 edition of Think & Believe.)  The idea back then was that natural selection actually is a conservation mechanism to weed out the misfits and to keep the population strong. Minor changes in speed, color changes, etc. are great to talk about. They can play a role in natural selection, but they merely demonstrate variation with the created kinds and not how evolution from cells to people takes place. For more information and articles on natural selection and why this does not prove evolution, go to our website and search for “natural selection.”

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Designated Infested Water

 

While I was taking a walk at a lake on this speaking trip in Minnesota, I ran across a sign that caught my attention. It said, “THIS IS A DESIGNATED INFESTED WATER.” Now what did that mean? Does this mean it is OK to infest this lake with anything one would choose? Is it safe to live near the lake? What crawls out in the middle of the night? I certainly wondered what would bite or attack me if I dared to swim in this lake.

Milfoil

As I looked into it, this lake received this designation since it harbors what is now considered a noxious weed that grows in the water. It is called milfoil. It was described to me as having a long leafed stem that grows from the lake bottom then tops out on the surface of the water like an umbrella.

I am sure there are valid reasons why it has been labeled noxious, but when I found out what the plant was, the thought came to me that it might provide a wonderful place for big fish to hang out. Wherever they grow, I can imagine an avid fisherman would also be found there. I also found myself daydreaming about the time years ago, when I had hooked a huge fish in a similar fishing environment. If I had been using a heavier line that would not have been so easily broken, I might have seen more than just the tail fin of that fish (a good 8 inches wide). Yep, I wouldn’t mind going back to that noxious weed bed on that lake!

Hey, I know this is a major threat in the lakes that shouldn’t be taken lightly. And yes, I also know this a creationist blog site. However, life isn’t only about arguing with those atheists and evolutionists! It can be about truly enjoying God’s marvelous creation at the end of a fishing rod! Unfortunately, I had to settle for good memories as I didn’t bring my fishing rod on this trip. Bummer! Guess, I had better go prepare for a lecture or write another article!

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Not Always So Big

 

I have found that there are a lot of misconceptions about dinosaurs. I normally always start off each dinosaur talk showing 2 dinosaurs models (see pictures) – a Stegosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus Rex. After identifying the dinosaurs, and holding up the Stegosaurus, I will ask, “How many of you believe that at one time there was a Stegosaurus this exact size walking upon the earth? If you believe that, raise your hand.” Usually only a very few hands will be raised. Then I ask, “Then how many of you believe that there wasn’t a Stegosaurus this exact size walking upon the earth?”  Normally, a majority of those present will raise their hands.

I will then hold up the T-Rex and repeat the questions.  Again, the majority will vote that there never was a T-Rex that exact size walking upon the earth. I then hold up a replica (exact copy of the real thing) of an Oviraptor egg, explaining that most scientists today believe that dinosaurs were hatched from eggs.

Then I share that a fossilized egg of a Stegosaurus has been found. The scientist knew it was a Stegosaurus because using  x-ray they were able to see the baby Stegosaurus still inside of the egg … and that egg was just a little smaller than my model Stegosaurus. So, yes at one time there was a very small Stegosaurus running around on the earth – when it hatched out of the egg!

Brachiosaurus eggs

Even the very large Brachiosaurus, who grew to be about 80 feet long, came from relatively small eggs (two eggs stuck together in lower right corner of the enclosed picture).

To date, they have never found an egg of T-Rex that they know for sure was a T-Rex. However, by comparing the size of eggs of other dinosaurs that have been found and identified, and then comparing it to the adult dinosaur’s size, and then comparing it to the size of an adult T-Rex, many scientists now believe that when T-Rex hatched out of an egg it was probably about the size of my T-Rex model.

Wow! So if you were able to catch a T-Rex when it hatched out, you could put a collar on it and walk it like a dog … or carry it around on your shoulder like a parrot. But you couldn’t do that for too long, because T-Rex did grow to be a very large dinosaur!

 

Lanny Johnson

 

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Flying Out

Once again, Mary Jo & I boarded the airplane headed to Minnesota to speak at 3 universities. (See the events on our home page to find specifics.)

Getting ready is always an issue. If we were driving, we’d just throw things in the car and head down the road. Of course, the car would have the appearance of an overstuffed storage unit on wheels since “one more thing” doesn’t make much difference. However, even packing for an auto trip isn’t as easy as it sounds but flying out is a different animal altogether.

This time, I added an extra seminar in Minnesota at a church and needed to take more resources for people as it was too late to ship them out. (This is another consideration that auto travel doesn’t require.) That means the suitcases that would normally be used for clothes are now mostly filled with books and videos. Not wanting to break the bank by paying for extra baggage fees, we try to pare that down and stay just under the weight limit. Deciding what will fit and what will stay back makes for interesting discussions between Mary Jo & I. (Are you sure you really want that?????) Our handy dandy “accurate” scale was a big help in keeping us from paying huge oversize fees except for the fact that it gave readings of + or – 4 pounds on the same bag within seconds of each weighing. Oh, well, the bags made it through the check-in process fine so we must have judged the weight correctly.

Our almost 3 year old grandson wanted to come along this morning. As much as we would have loved to take him, there was no room in the suitcase. However, if we had our car…  Anyhow with him along, it would certainly change the flavor of our university lectures coming up this week.

Now that we are here, we must change our focus from the weight of bags to even weightier issues – how to best present the material for the next two weeks so that students can be released from the “heavy burden” of the lie of evolution!

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

My God

We received the following comment in response to my last blog (Biomimicry – Imitating God’s Design):

“It is disingenous [sic] to say that scientists learn from God just because humans have observed and mimicked nature as a way to improve physical items.  No, scientists and humans can learn from animals and nature.  You (and no one to date) have not done anything to prove that animals and nature have come from your God.

Please keep that in mind when composing your future blog posts in the “weeks to come”, Lanny.

And your closing sentence, which I suspect was intended to be humorous, only underscores your severe lack of understanding of how evolution (a fact that has been accepted by the overwhelming majority of respected scientists from a wide variety of disciplines) works.”

I have to disagree with the opening sentence – if disingenuous is meant as, ‘Not straightforward or candid; giving a false appearance of frankness’ – I am very straightforward in my opinion that we can learn from the things that God has made. But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10. So I agree that “scientists and humans can learn from animals and nature.”  Where I disagree is the origins of those animals and nature.

In answer to the commenting individual, I would propose, “You (and no one to date) have not done anything to prove that animals and nature have come from your macro-evolution.”  Evolution has not been proved using the scientific method (A method of investigation involving observation and theory to test scientific hypotheses) of observation, demonstration and repeatability. Yes, we have observed changes within the kinds, but never observed (in life or the fossil record) one kind changing into another kind. The evolutionary tree of life is full of dashes and dots – assumptions – of how animals changed into another kind of animal, but it is not FACT based on observation.

For 20 some years I also believed in macro-evolution, and as a result did not believe in God. However, when I was really challenged to verify that belief, I could find no scientific evidence to back it up. No, I could not prove God either with science, but I was able to observe design in all living things. Design points to a designer, not to the mindless chance and accident of evolution. It was the design in nature that led me to believe in my God and the truth of His Word.

So I think I will continue to keep God in mind when composing future blog posts in the weeks to come.

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

The Flood Tank

 

This summer, I had the opportunity to speak for a Vacation Bible School and was blessed to be joined on the teaching team by Mark Sonmor. Mark had been on the AOI staff for 7 years before starting his own art company. Mark has an intense interest in Creation and currently does the art layout for our publication Think & Believe.

Besides his own lessons he taught, Mark brought several hands-on demonstrations to the VBS which helped reinforce the lessons both he and I were teaching. One hands-on activity was the Flood Tank he constructed out of a metal watering tank.  He created a raised platform in it and covered that with a plastic liner. The liner had a hole in it with a removable plug. Plenty of dirt was placed in it and then it was submerged with water. He then circulated the water and pulled the plug – allowing all the water to drain out. As the water rushed out, what was left was soft mud which had been greatly eroded. The erosional pattern looked just like the canyons we could see nearby (which could actually be seen from the tank).

In that one demonstration, many other landform features that we see on the earth were also represented, in addition to the canyons. His demonstration showed that it certainly does not take millions of years to make canyons. Time is not the key ingredient… the conditions are.

The Flood Tank gave all the participants an idea of how the worldwide Flood in Noah’s day, and its aftermaths, could have shaped the world in one brief moment in Earth history. This helped them see the truth of the Bible.

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Junk DNA ‘Junked’ – No Surprise To Me

 

As scientists study living organisms, they continue to find increasing complexity.  This is what scientists discovered when they studied the human genome in the project called ENCODE, short for Encyclopedia of DNA Elements.  As I was reading an article on the ENCODE project by Malcolm Ritter (an AP Science Writer) at denverpost.com and other articles similar to it, I was amazed at what your worldview or presuppositions will do to how you look at life.  Let me explain.

The article talked about junk DNA, but what is junk DNA?  Well, according to research, only about 2 percent of our genome actually codes for proteins.  Thus, according to evolutionary scientists, the DNA which does not code for proteins was called junk.  This junk DNA was believed to be nonfunctional, and leftovers from the process of evolution. This belief about junk DNA is very similar to evolutionary teaching about vestigial organs.

As scientists studied the human genome they were surprised.  Below are some quotes from the article.

“The work also shows that at least 80 percent of the human genetic code, or genome, is active. That’s surprisingly high and a sharp contrast to the idea that the vast majority of our DNA is junk.”

“The big surprise is just how much activity there is,” he said. “It’s a jungle.”

“The findings, reported Wednesday by more than 500 scientists, reveal extraordinarily complex networks that tell our genes what to do and when, with millions of on-off switches.”

Not only were they surprised to find most of the genome is active, they were also amazed at the complexity.

This is where our worldview affects how we view life.  Using my life as an example, I was taught evolution in school and college.  I had no concept of creation science.  I was taught life evolved from simple elements and a process that involved no intelligence.  With this worldview, or presupposition, life should be very simple and primitive, with a lot of leftovers from an imprecise process.   But over millions of years, life would ever evolve into more complex creatures.  So with the discovery of vast complexity and information in living organisms, it was a surprise.

Today I have a different worldview or presupposition.  I have a Biblical creationist worldview.  According to Scripture, God is a being who is omniscient and omnipotent.  This means He is all knowing, all powerful, and I would assume a very intricate designer.  In Romans 1:20, His creation, especially in living organisms,  reflects some of His attributes.  With this presupposition, all living organisms should be very complex and full of information.  God is a perfect being, so in the beginning all organs and DNA were perfect and had a function.  But sin entered the world and now this perfect world is in a state of ageing and deterioration.  In this state of deterioration, some organs and DNA may not function as they were originally designed.

So when I read articles like ENCODE, I am not surprised the evidence fits with my world view.  I believe we will discover even more complexity and information in living organisms.  What is so exciting is that God, being the Master Engineer and Designer, has incorporated advance technology and design into His creation.  We need to study and research His creation so we can advance our knowledge and technology for the betterment of mankind.

With a Biblical creation worldview, it should inspire all of us to advance our scientific knowledge of God’s creation.  We can learn much from an all knowing God!  And by the way, God does not make junk!  You are His special creation!

 

Rich Stepanek

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Desolation Canyon – Remote, But Full of History

 

On the exploratory raft trip down the Green River, we saw a lot of geology and wildlife and all of us likely got a bigger feel for the effects of the Genesis Flood. Another very interesting dimension of the raft trip was the historical aspect.

The canyons we went through are named Desolation and Gray Canyons. Desolation Canyon is true wilderness. There are no modern roads that meander through the canyon and no train tracks for most of it. Even though it is remote, there is still a lot of human history there.  First of all, the American Indian people groups frequented this area as evidenced by ancient drawings on the rocks. More recently in 1776, the Spanish exploration teams led by Dominguez and Escalante came through. Some of their expedition is actually recorded in some of the native petroglyphs. Fur trappers and explorers like Kit Carson, who was also a guide and Indian agent, wintered in the area in 1833-1834. Captain John Gunnison scouted the area for a railroad crossing of the Green River in 1853. (He was supposedly killed by the Indians just a short time afterwards, but many historians along with Gunnison’s wife claim that the killing was ordered by Brigham Young.) Cattle ranchers also saw the low lands as an ideal place to winter their livestock and established a few ranch sites where stone buildings still stand.

Notorious outlaws saw the canyons as a good place to hide from the law. Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch, infamous from the Midwest to the deep west with their train and bank robberies, holed up in the late 1890’s and 1900 in the remote sections. Part of the group was even overtaken and shot by lawmen along the River (George Flat-nose Curry, and Joe Walker).

For the history buffs, the trip was like stepping into the past and experiencing the life of these early inhabitants. We likely pitched our tents on the very same campsites where some of these people out of the past spread their bedrolls.

Desolation and Gray’s Canyons—remote, but full of history!

 

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.

Biomimicry – Imitating God’s Design

 

Japan’s Shinkansen Bullet Train

While traveling home yesterday, we drove by Denver International Airport and saw many airplanes on their approach to land. As we looked at the underbellies of the large airplanes flying over our heads, Marilyn made the comment, “It’s amazing that something so large can even fly!”

It is amazing; especially when you consider that the technology for mechanical flight came about from man observing a part of God’s creation … the birds. Today, scientists and engineers continue to learn from God’s creation through biomimicry.

Biomimicry literally translates from the Greek as “imitation of life.” It is the idea that problems can be solved, and humans greatly benefited, by simulating or copying the processes found in biology, chemistry and geology.

Kingfisher

From biomimicry, engineers were able to solve a problem with the design of the world’s fastest train, Japan’s Shinkansen Bullet Train, which can travel at over 200 miles per hour. The first design had a very serious noise problem – every time it came out of a tunnel at high speeds it would make an extremely loud bang, due to the change in air pressure. To solve this problem, the engineers turned to one of God’s birds, the kingfisher. Because of the design of the kingfisher’s beak and head, there is very little splashing when it dives into the water. The train was redesigned to imitate the aerodynamic shape of the kingfisher’s beak and skull and the result was a train that ran faster, much quieter and uses less energy. Many other countries have “borrowed” similar designs for their trains.

In the weeks to come, I will be blogging on more imitated designs from God’s Creation that are being developed and used today. Amazingly, many of the scientists and engineers who study the design in nature still believe it all happened by chance and accident … so why don’t they just sit back and let their problems resolve themselves by mindless evolution?

 

 

Lanny Johnson

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing.  Thanks for your partnership.