Friday, February 28, 2014

Double Function: DNA Code and Duons

Cells are the "building block of life", they form organisms. Inside, DNA resides, storing the instructions that tell how to build proteins. Protein are made up of something called called amino acids. The instructions in the DNA are called genes. However, the DNA has other functions as well, it regulates some of the cell's activities.

DNA code seems to have multiple layers of information, from molecular tags. Much of the information outside of the DNA is called the epigenome.

While genes and epigenomes are interesting, there is evidence that DNA itself, the four letters that make up the DNA (A, T, C, and G), contain at least two layers of information. One that directs the sequence of the amino acids to make protein. The other helps regulate where types of molecular machines can copy the code to make RNA, an intermediate between DNA and protein. This is a regulatory function. These instructions are found many places on the DNA code. However, some of it is found coded right with the genes, in the same sequences that code for protein!

The sequence of the DNA is "nonrandom". This means that these genes are highly specified. They need to be, they are carrying at least two layers of information on some genes. The writers of the below study state the following: "The information architecture of the received genetic code is optimized for superimposition of additional information." This causes a simultaneous encoding of amino acids and regulatory information within exons, the parts of the gene that code for protein.

We only see information come from a mind. In this case, we have two layers of information, in the same "text". Think of reading a book. Now what if you turned the book and read it in another direction, ore even backwards. While doing this, the author has written more information that is with in the same text that you were just reading. You have a very compact book with couple layers of information. Just one layer of information points to a creator. However, given that we find at least two layers of information makes it even more stunning. Two layers makes it even more stunning and exponentially points to a mindful origin.

Stergachis, A. B. et al. 2013. Exonic Transcription Factor Binding Directs Codon Choice and Affects Protein Evolution. Science. 342 (6164): 1367-1372.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Paint On The Wall

Paint on the wall. Yes, it does have significance to a house, but structurally what does it do? Do we as Christians sometimes focus on the "paint" instead of structurally issues? Do we quarrel over silly issues that have no long term ramifications and just cause division?

Yes, we can say they are important , but are they really? Are we focused on obeying Christ and the apostle's doctrines, or do we go about making up our own teachings that they knew nothing about?

Do we learn so we can teach others? Do we grow so we can affect others? What are you doing for the sake of Christ?

We each have been given at least one gift, what is yours and what are you doing with it? There is a war going on, are you just sitting there worried about the "paint on the wall", or are you doing something for the kingdom? Are you lifting the curse, saving lives from both spiritual and physical pain and death? Be intentional, be bold, be true, be merciful.

Follow Christ's example and teachings.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Did Jesus Come Today?

What if Jesus came to your church today?

Matthew 25:31-46 tells us when we do things for others, we are doing them for Christ. In that spirit, what if a stranger came to your Church, would you treat him like Jesus? What if she comes with less expensive clothes than yourself? What if his speech did not possess the best grammar? What if she was a little smelly?

What would you do?

Would you feel that she is "not being respectful to God" so she should leave? Would you treat him ill to his face, when his back is turned, or have disparaging remarks when he left? Would we be a judge of her by her outward appearance, a poor women in vile raiment (1)?

Two of my stories.

I could give a number of stories but let me give two. Once I was approached by a man in need of twenty dollars. Not having the slightest idea if he was telling me the truth, I wanted to keep him accountable, however in this case I could not. As it turned out, I did not give him the money. Reliving that moment, I think I was wrong. Many ask for money who really don't need it, I have seen it happen. In this case, I should have just given him the money, I really think he really was telling me the truth. Plus, it was Christ's command (2). I failed.

Recently a man came to church. He was not dressed fashionably nor with expensive clothing like everyone else. He came with a limp and a hardship story. His vocabulary was not always "kosher", not bad nor immoral, but not elegant and "correct" by some's standards. Once he was talking to some of the kids at church. He was preaching the gospel to them. Was he saying every word right? I am not sure, I heard only some of his thoughts. But I do know that he kept their attention and told them that Jesus was the only way.

What if that was Jesus? 

What if he came and his speech was not polished nor having the correct terminology? What if....

Did we treat him with respect? Did we disparage him behind his back? Did we shun him? Did we....

Was he sent by God? Was he....

(1) James 2:1-4 "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?"

(2) Matthew 5:42 "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Geckos and Robots

Gecko; Source (1)
Geckos are truly awesome creatures. One intriguing attribute is that they can walk on walls and ceilings. There is a secret however to this ability. Researchers have been trying to elucidate this secret for some time, and have come up with technology to mimic geckos toes. This includes glue, tape and a rubberized material used to make a gecko robot.

The secret of this mind boggling ability is biologically multilevel. Geckos feet and legs are lined with lamellae (image B), these are small ridges that form flaps. On each of these there are hairs called setae (image C & D). These little hairs divide into microscopic hairs called spatula (image E). These spatula attach to its climbing surfaces by weak chemical bond called Van der Waals forces. However, the spatula only stick in one direction. Detachment is easy, but the design is complex, they have rotational ankles so they can "stick" and then rotate to "un-stick".

Gecko's feet; source (3)
Researchers visioned a robot with the same wall climbing abilities. To mimic this sticking action, they designed a rubber-like material that has micro hairs on the surface. This adhesive does not just have hairs, but also the same lamellae design mimicked from the gecko. Lastly they attached this material to their robot called "Stickybot" (2)

What I find just a little curious is the quantity of research time (probably years), the amount of money needed, the vast knowledge base and many minds to make this thing work. The technology, chemical design and engineering also should not be forgotten. However, this Stickybot is still not as finely designed as our little lizard friend. Silly how a mindless process can do more amazing things they our brightest minds. Don't forget we copied this "mindless" design. I wonder....

(1)Gecko image 1:
(2) More about the Stickybot:
(3) Gecko image 2:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Things I Have Learned From Dr. Steven Meyer

Throughout the years I have listened and have learned from Dr. Steven Meyer. I agree with most concepts he presents, but do take exception to others. However, this post is not about this arguments, rather his methods and tactics in presenting and talking to those who oppose his views. I am impressed by how he handles himself in conflicting situations. Because of this, I have tired to isolate attributes that I can learn from.

There are three main categories: his personal attributes, his conflict handling persona, and how he argues his case.

Personal Character

He comes across as intellectual but illustrative, making the complex simple. His dress and demeanor does not draw attention away from his arguments. I remember him and his arguments, not some sort of jazz, fancy or sloppy clothing. While intellectual, he is still modest and minimizes himself in debate. He ignores it when people don't call him "Doctor" or when others minimize his credentials.

Handling Conflict

When I see him in conflict, he handles himself well. I think part of this comes for confidence and knowledge of the subject material. However, he is open to critique and is fair minded. He admits mistakes and he is willing to learn from his antagonist. He critiques the arguments rather than his antagonist. Lastly, he is quick witted and he is open to dialog with anyone.

Arguing His Case

I like how he argues his case. He makes modest claims which have much evidence. He uses what I would call "minimalist argumentation method," he focuses on things that provide the best arguments and gives the greatest evidence supporting those arguments. In other words, he uses only few topics but gives powerful arguments for them. This gives him less "turf" to defend. This allows him to stay focused and reduce sidetracking. Other issues are often baited in front of him, he does not budge, he stays focused and argues for his modest claims.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Knowledge Puffeth Up?

I have heard said that “knowledge puffeth up, so we should not study the Bible," it causes pride and we should not have pride. The Bible really does say that "knowledge puffeth up". However, this reasoning transgresses the first principle of exegesis by taking a teaching out of context. Also it is self refuting.

The Bible passage says, "Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth" (1 Corinthians 8:1). What is missed is that the sentence before says "we all have knowledge." With the above line of thinking, we all have knowledge, so we all are proud. I think you see the problem. It just does not make sense if we read it that way.

It must mean something deeper, which it does. I will challenge you to find that deeper meaning, read the whole chapter in context! (Maybe I will post on that topic later.)

However, I want to point out another failure in thinking. For one to be able to read and understand this verse (even a deviant interpretation), one has to have some knowledge and reason. Second, this person "studied" the Bible to find this verse.

I think you can see the problem. This person is inadvertently saying that they themselves are proud because they have biblical knowledge and they "studied" the Bible to form this conclusion. It is like saying that all those who blog are wrong and should not do it. This thinking does not make sense after one reflects over this argument.

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When John Came to Town

...modern Christians think that if John were to walk into any conservative church today, he would feel right at home. He would find that twenty-first century western Christians think and reason just like first-century Christians living in the Mediterranean world. He would find that today’s western Christians worship in the same manner as he did and hold to all the same theological beliefs (1). 
I wonder how out of place John would feel? Would he feel like he was the poorest one in the mist? What would he think of our clothes, or lack there of? What would he think of our expensive clothing and grandiose and frequent vacations? Would he feel that Christians spend too much time and money on themselves?

Would he feel uncomfortable with our teachings? Would he not be using all the "proper Christian" terminology that we may think is important? Would he be uncomfortable with our customs and subcultures? Would he be disappointed by ungodliness he would see in churches? What would he think of laxity in his followers of telling people about the kingdom of God and helping those in need?

What would he say to you, what would you say to him? Would you make him uncomfortable, would he make you uncomfortable?

(1) Bercot, David (2009-10-15). Will the Theologians Please Sit Down (pp. 163-164). Scroll Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Descriptions vs. Prescriptions

In a previous post I talk about some very important techniques when one is trying to exegesis Scripture. One of the most important tools at our disposal is something that is often overlooked. It is so important I want it to have its own post. It is the distinction between prescription and description.

Description, means describing something like story telling, describing occurrences and God's promises for specific person(s). In other words it is not talking to us but rather describing what happened. Compare this to prescription. Prescription is when one give you direction. Think about this way, when you go to the doctor the doctor prescribes medication, exercises, diet, or many other things. She is telling you to do something. 

Now let's look at the practical real life application of this. When Jesus talks about loving your neighbor as yourself, this is a prescription. Its a command, direction, instruction, he is telling us to do something. Same goes when it tells us not to lie and live a holy life.

Compare this to David killing Goliath. The Bible never says that we need to go out and kill Giants. It just describes the situation that was happening at that time. There is a story in Judges of a man named Jephthah who was on his way home after winning at battle. He promised God that the first thing to come from his house he would sacrifice. When he arrived, his daughter was the first to come forth. Now there are a number of interpretations of what happened next, did he really offer her upon an altar or not? No one knows for sure. However, the point is that this account is descriptive, these actions were never commanded or even encouraged for us to do the same. 

In conclusion I want to stress the difference between prescription vs description. One is an aught claim. The other is a story. As we seed in 1 Corinthians 10 and Romans 15, these stories are there for our learning.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Post Reverberations From Ham vs. Nye

I once talked to one who had a graduate degree in geology. He told me that one can't be a scientist without believing in evolution. While I already posted some of my thoughts concerning Ham's and Nye's debate, I want to take up this specific issue. After listening to Nye and many others in the social media world, I have been hearing the above concept go something like this: "you can't be a good scientist unless you believe in molecules-to-man evolution." I have two concerns one is this assertion does not follow, second I think the debate topic about if creation is good science is wrongly put, it should have been, can materialistic molecules-to-man evolution be good science.

Why does this specific issue not make sense? Let's look at a real world example. One can cook well at the same time believing in flying cookie monsters, leprechauns and mermaids. However, one does not have to believe in those to also cook well. The same goes for science, there are grounding precepts that have built the science concept over the years. These are in place no matter what a scientist believes. These included, uniformity, logic, math, repetition, drawing the best conclusions, information and peer review just to name a few things. All scientists need to believe in are things like these to do good science.

However, because science and reason have foundations upon the Christianity, one has to wounder how the belief that "you can't believe in creation and be a scientist" even makes sense. In fact, the field of science is based off the Christian world view, things are knowable, repeatable, logical, uniformity and there are ethics (right and wrong) that guides us while living life (1). God is the grounding for science. Without God, the Christian God, science probably would never taken off as an enterprise. It only took off once in history that we know of, that was in Europe. The early European scholars and scientists thought they could know why things work because they had a belief that the Christian God was rational, dependable, the creator and was lawful (1).

Even Tertullian knew that since God is a rational God, we can understand things and reason. He says the following:

Reason, in fact, is a thing of God, inasmuch as there is nothing which God the Maker of all has not provided, disposed, ordained by reason - nothing which He has not willed should be handled and understood by reason (2). 

That is why I am concerned when Christians put an artificial wall between reason and faith. This "wall" is based upon the the atheist world view. It is so prevalent in Christendom because of post-modernity and also atheist assertions. In fact it does not make sense. It is not "reason vs faith" or "science vs God." These are complimentary with each other.

I feel that a better debate question that would have put us on the offensive instead on the definitive should have gone something like this: "can materialistic molecules-to-man evolution be considered science?"

(1) Stark, Rodney (2003) "For the Glory of God", Chapter 2. Princeton University Press. page 147.
(2) Tertullian, On Repentance Chapter 1

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Better Superglue

Try using superglue in wet conditions, and you’ll find that the glue is not so super. Even epoxy doesn’t work well in water. Scientists finally decided to turn to the lowly mussel to learn how to make better glues for use in wet environments.
Marine blue musselMussels manufacture their glue under water, yet the glue can withstand the force of a thousand pounds per square inch. Mussel glue will even stick to Teflon! The mussel begins by making the glue in two parts, each part made by a separate gland. One gland produces proteins that are like resin. The other gland makes the hardeners. When these are mixed, they harden into a strand in only a couple of minutes. The mussel will make many of these strands as it fastens itself to a rock. As more of these strands are made, they begin to cross-link with one another, greatly adding to the strength of the bond. The mussel makes between five and ten different kinds of protein strands, carefully limiting the cross-linking to produce the greatest strength. Without this mix, the bond would be brittle and easily break.

Note: This post and image were taken verbatim from the below site. Please refer to this site for credits and the complete post. 

Words, Actions and Enjoyments of Some Professing Christians

It confuses and concerns me to see a professing Christian use profanity and blasphemy with no remorse (1). Also, it is disconcerting when professing followers of Christ do actions that the Scriptures teach as evil. Some openly enjoy sin, immorality and evil with no remorse or desire to flee these worldly and sinful things that we are called out from (2). In fact those who enjoy watching and approving others who do sinful acts while professing to be a follower of Christ need to be fearful (3). 

One can't go far in this world of ours without seeing evil and unrighteousness. However, we are not to participate, speak highly of, nor approve of evil. We also need to take great care of what we say. It is clear that those who do and applaud unrighteousness are bound for an eternity away from God. If you profess Christ and practice sin, repent towards God and away from this iniquity!


  • Col 3:8  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth
  • Jas 3:6-12 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
  • 1Pe 3:10  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.
  • Eph 5:4  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

  • 1Co 6:9-10  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 
  • Eph 5:3-7 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 
  • Gal 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Rev 21:8  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. 


  • Eph 5:11-12  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 
  • 1 The 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
  • Rom 1:32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them
  • 1Co 5:11  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

Ham vs. Nye

Overall, I think Ham had strong foundational points, especially philosophically. Nye seemed to be stronger on the natural sciences but weak philosophically with no grounding for his would view.

Ham talked about the fact that Nye, a materialist, has no grounding for things like reason, science and morality. If the universe, including ourselves, are just banging molecules that stick together at times, then why do we have laws like math or how can we all reason and have a fairly accurate way of understating each other? What about aesthetics? What about the laws of uniformity which science is built upon? Nye can't give good responses for these origins because first there is no grounding in his world view, second a materialistic world view tries to ignore non tangible things that “science” can't explain. In fact this concept is strange on its own because the concept of science is itself non-tangible.

On the other end, Ham could have built a stronger design argument. I saw a slide in passing that talk about it, but this topic needed more focus. Another powerfully area that I feel that he should have focused upon was the origin of information such as contained in DNA and RNA. It is not explained by materialists except via “just-so” stories. Lastly, he should have pounded away at the foundation of the materialistic view of first life. I have not been impressed with the different theories nor do they satisfy traditional scientific rigor.

Also, when asked if any piece of evidence could cause him to question his view, I think he missed a great opportunity to say what Paul said, in that if Christ did not die and was raised from the dead, his faith would be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:12-30). By saying this it would have given him more credibly. Second, it would have been a great opener for a quick discussion of the unsuccessful attack upon the Christian foundation since the time of Christ. He also could have given the evidence that we do have reliable evidence for Christ's death and resurrection from our four primary sources: the Gospels.

Concerning Nye's arguments I was impressed that he used observations of the natural world to draw his conclusions. While Ham did do some of this, (such as no new information needed for bacteria to digest citric acid, rather it is done by just a "flipped" switch on a gene in that species of bacteria) he did not seem to do as well as Nye.

While I had many concerns with Nye's views, one was that he took out of context a line from the constitution. The constitution says the following concerning congress: “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” However, on stage he made it sound as if the writers of the constitution were referring to educating our youth, not authors and inventors.

Second, for him to use the word “science” from this document is a misrepresentation of it without proper definition in that day and time. In the old 1828 Websters dictionary, published 41 years after the constitution basically defines science in the broad sense of knowledge (this book was based upon his earlier dictionary from 1806 “A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language”). This is in opposition to some contemporary definitions which only try to limit it to understanding the natural, material world through the lens of natural causes.

I feel that his view was weak when he argued that to be a good scientist and engineer one must have a foundation in materialistic understanding of “science.” This makes no sense, many if not most of the fields of science and math were started and continue to be propagated by thinking Christians and other religious people. Second, the university system was started in the middles ages with many Christians leading the way. Many of the these early Christian scholars had a great tolerance for diversity of thought and arguments from different points of view. Third, without the grounding of the Christian world view, there would not even be science, math,  reason, etc.

If you can remember only two things here, first Nye's case is foundationless because of his materialistic world view. Second his case is groundless because this world view does not make senses logically when one looks at the origin of life issue. Both issues demonstrate lack of grounding which makes his case illogical.

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