James Irwin, Lander, and Flag on Moon

Creationist Astronauts

Astronaut James Irwin gives salute beside U.S....

Astronaut James Irwin gives salute beside U.S. flag during lunar surface extravehicular activity (EVA) (Photo credit: George Eastman House)

The other day I saw an article over on Cowboy Bob’s Question Evolution website. He was talking about an article on one of America’s first astronauts, Colonel James Irwin, and his faith in Jesus, his Creator.

This got me thinking about astronauts and Jesus.

I’d remembered hearing the first broadcast from the moon was of the astronauts reading from Genesis chapter one. You can read about it on NASA: Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Broadcast. They hadn’t landed, but it was the first time human beings had orbited the moon and those verses are what they decided to share with the rest of us!

Here’s the audio people on earth heard:

 

English: Astronaut Edwin E.

Astronaut Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin

It turns out this event is just the start of the story. When the first two human beings did land on the moon, before stepping onto the surface, one of them took the time to celebrate his connection with Jesus. Buzz Aldrin had brought a little communion set (tiny wafer of bread and vial of wine) for when they’d safely arrived. So just before Armstrong stepped outside, telling us about his “one small step”, his fellow astronaut had dedicated himself again to his Savior and Maker.

These 5 men are just the beginning of the list of astronauts to recognize their Creator:

I found a treasure of info on The Christian Network:

Astronaut Charles Duke stated,

“I used to say I could live ten thousand years and never have an experience as thrilling as walking on the moon. But the excitement and satisfaction of that walk doesn’t begin to compare with my walk with Jesus, a walk that lasts forever.”

Addressing a joint session of Congress, September 16, 1969, Commander Neil Armstrong stated:

“To those of you who have advocated looking high, we owe our sincere gratitude, for you have granted us the opportunity to see some of the grandest views of the Creator.”

And more on this article by Chuck Colson:

To look out at this kind of creation and not believe in God is to me impossible.
– Astronaut John Glenn

It wasn’t just the first generation of space explorers willing to speak out either:

In 1983, Colonel Jack Lousma wrote about his experience of God in outer space and even the difference zero G had on his Bible reading routine.

Astronaut Michael P. Anderson, STS-107 payload...

Astronaut Michael P. Anderson, STS-107 payload commander, is pictured on the aft flight deck of the Earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Columbia.

Two of the astronauts who died when the Columbia crashed in 2003, Rick Husband and Michael Anderson, were members of the same church in Texas. I love this bit from the article remembering their lives:

“[Their pastor] said that although both men rarely told people that they were astronauts, they looked for opportunities to tell others about Christ.

English: Astronaut Patrick G. Forrester

Astronaut Patrick G. Forrester

Patrick Forrester, an astronaut on the shuttle Discovery in 2009, took a little piece of an airplane up with him. It was the plane Jim Elliot and Nate Saint flew as missionaries. Forrester thought this would be a great way to tell people about the need to go into all the world and tell others about Jesus!

Interestingly, I found out about Forrester on a page talking about the trouble atheists have given NASA for not muzzling the faith of their astronauts. The last thing the Enemy wants is for kids to find out how being in space makes God all the more real to many people!

I can’t find a page on this story, but you can listen to the broadcast like I did. Just back in 2013, an astronaut called Jim Dutton (who has piloted the shuttle Discovery), spent time on the International Space Station (ISS) and brought along some “light” reading on a CD. It was a copy of Dr. Walt Brown’s creationist book In The Beginning! How awesome is that?

This article is getting crazy long, but I have to include one last guy:

Colonel Jeffery N. Williams has spent a huge amount of time on the International Space Station. You can check out the badges he’s earned HERE.

What’s most exciting is you can read about his love for Jesus and outer space in a book he’s written called The Work of His Hands. You can order the book from the publisher, but I liked the Institute for Creation Research’s write-up about it best. Plus you can support their work that way.

Here’s a quote to get you started: First Things: An Amazing Story of Discovery and Faith: Colonel Jeff Williams’ Space Voyage

My relationship with God does not hinge on my looking at Earth from orbit and experiencing that “small whisper” that is so evident in creation. True, life-transforming faith in God and relationship with Him is based not on a whisper, but a shout—the shout of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, in His work on the cross as revealed in the supernatural revelation of the Bible.

« To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. » The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

Extras!

There’s a Bible we left on the moon

Read about how God got through to Col. Irwin while he was on the moon to get him past just being a “bump on the log” Christian.

There’s a short article on Urban Christian News talking about all the Christians in space. Here’s the best bit:

“…religious objects–crosses, Bibles, icons, prayer cards–are among the most common personal items taken into space, said Johnson Space Center spokesman James Hartsfield.”

If you were on a tiny, thin, space craft, wouldn’t you want a close connection with the God Who is There- no matter where “there” is?

Interested in astronomy? You’ll want to join the 4th Day Alliance. They’ve got lots of great info including links to NASA’s Lost Bible Quotations

Silhouette of Debaters

Is Focusing on Young Earth Creation a Distraction?

Debate Logo

Next week, a scientist with the Institute for Creation Research is participating in a debate with another Christian. Each man will be doing their best to prove their position is the most reasonable and the other’s is not only wrong, but damaging to Jesus’ kingdom.

What topic is so important believers are willing to hold a formal debate at a seminary to see who can convince more people?

Did God create the world by speaking it into existence in less than a week not too long ago? or did He use Evolution over millions of years to bring us to where we are today?

One of the things we are likely to hear from the Evolutionist is that focusing on Creationism, especially Young Earth Creationism, turns unbelievers away from Jesus. Christians who believe God used Evolution tell us

  • No one will take us seriously if we ignore science like we do
  • We make ourselves look unnecessarily foolish
  • We close people’s hearts to the gospel by focusing on such an unscientific interpretation of Genesis chapter one

Let’s see how well these ideas hold water when we look at them carefully.

English: A child's drawing of a scientist.Do Young Earth Creationists ignore science? I’ve collected a couple important links on my For Teens page. The first encourages young people who take Genesis at face value to enter the sciences. We need lots of new people to search for the truth we find in the natural world. Then the first link under the skeptics arguments shows just how many active scientists don’t believe in evolution.

We don’t ignore science, we just refuse to interpret it the way the world wants us to.

IMG_2603

IMG_2603 (Photo credit: ~dolldreamer~)

The second point seems reasonable and serious. Who would put on a silly hat before heading out to witness? But, are we doing something unnecessary that could be avoided?

Here’s what God told us about how the world looks at everything He says, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” I Corinthians 1:18

The only way to avoid looking foolish to unbelievers is to never tell them about Jesus’ cross or anything else God considers important. The reality that Jesus is powerful enough to use words to create everything (John 1:1-4 and Genesis 1) is awfully important. If He made it, He owns it. If He didn’t, He doesn’t.

Contortionist, posed in studioSure, people will think we’re foolish, but they thought Jesus was crazy, too (John 10:20). What’s more, although people who reinterpret the days of Genesis to mean long ages or even evolution can’t, the rest of us see what they’re doing. To believe both millions of years and the Bible you have to be really good at mental gymnastics or give up.

The last point is the most serious of all. How horrifying it would be to have someone’s eternal soul at risk because I wouldn’t drop some picky detail! But is this the reality we face?

The other week I heard a testimony at church. This person was at their wits’ end and knew something in their life had to give. Here’s what they said, “it was either atheism, or Jesus. Evolution was stupid, so Jesus won.”

For several years now, this person has been following God more and more closely because they first acknowledged Him as Creator.

A few days later, I caught the trailer for Creation Today’s new movie on Genesis. They’re bringing us into the process by raising funds to add 3-D technology to make this a top notch movie experience. Turns out the director found Jesus when he realized there really was a Creator God.

Then, watching the Galapagos Islands movie, I heard a bit of the producer’s testimony. He found Christ by reading Henry Morris and George Whitcomb’s classic the Genesis Flood.

All three of these people directly tied their choice to follow Jesus to the Creation/Evolution debate.

The truth is, the closer we stick to God’s Word, the more His power can flow through us. A God strong enough to speak the universe into existence in a matter of hours is powerful enough to transform me.

For more, check out these articles:

Answers in Genesis: Feedback: Are We Wasting Our Time?

Wake Up Shepherds!

Seven reasons why we should not accept millions of years

Creation Ministries International: Hebrew scholar affirms Genesis (how Theistic Evolutionists have to turn their brains into pretzels)

Dr. Gurney a testimony of following God both as an Old Earth and then Young Earth Creationist

Dinosaur-Bone-Wikimedia-Commons

Carbon-14, Archaeology, Dinosaurs, and Why You Should Care

The sculpture of an animal at Gobekli Tepe, cl...Some time ago I wrote about a temple complex near the mountains of Ararat which everyone agrees is really old. In fact, archaeologists date it to 8,000 BC (or earlier) even though the style is quite ‘advanced.’

Why would they claim this site is so old when they want us to believe people back then were simple, wandering nomads? I discovered it was because of Carbon-14 dating of the charcoal buried among the stones.

Now, the question is, why did the C-14 give a date so old when we know the world hadn’t even been created 10,000 years ago? That question has been niggling at the back of my brain ever since. This past week I ran into enough information to start searching for the answers and you should have seen me shout when I ran into them!

Everyone knows Carbon-14 levels are NOT constant through time

Atmospheric nuclear weapon tests almost double...

Atmospheric nuclear weapon tests almost doubled the concentration of radioactive 14 C in the Northern Hemisphere, before levels slowly declined following the Partial Test Ban Treaty.

The other day I found out scientists are sure there was some kind of cosmic ray burst back in the late AD 700s. They know because trees living at that time have an “observed excess of carbon-14”. That means, they dated to much younger than we know they really are.

If things can have “too much” C-14, isn’t it possible for differences in the past to cause other things to have “too little” C-14?

Amazingly, I heard to the answer less than an hour after asking the question. I was listening to an interview with the author Dr. John F. Ashton who wrote the book Evolution Impossible.  Towards the end of the program, Dr. Ashton mentioned how earth’s magnetic field keeps cosmic rays out which prevents extra C-14 from being produced in the first place.

Of course, I already knew earth’s magnetic field is keeping those rays out, I just didn’t realize these rays made C-14!

Everyone knows Earth’s Magnetic Field is weakening

Diagram of Earth's magnetic field lines includ...

Diagram of Earth’s magnetic field lines including magnet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a little hard to find a website willing to admit this without being Creationist, but National Geographic has an article on it. Do they figure out the world can’t have lasted as long as Evolution requires because of this fact? Oh, no, they just say it’s going to slow down and then start up again in the opposite direction (as they claim it’s been doing for billions of years). We’ll see how that one works out.

To find out how fast the magnetic field is fading, I checked out the Institute for Creation Research which specializes in this area. Turns out scientists have observed a drop in the magnetic field of 7% since we started studying it in 1835. ICR’s scientists figure at current rates it loses half its power in just 1,400 years. Even in Jesus’ time it would have been more than twice as strong than it is now. Wow!

Everyone knows Cosmic Radiation forms Carbon-14

I found a simple explanation of this process at an .edu website, but the web page background is really hard to read. Here’s what they say:

Carbon-14 is created from nitrogen-14 in the upper atmosphere of the earth. Radiation from the sun collides with atoms in the atmosphere. These collisions create secondary cosmic rays in the form of energentic neutrons. When these neutrons collide with nitrogen-14 in the atmosphere carbon-14 can be created.

First Solar Radiation Storm of Solar Cycle 24 ...

First Solar Radiation Storm of Solar Cycle 24 [HD Video] (Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)

The reason C-14 works so nicely to date things is that plants absorb it all the time they’re growing and everything eating plants gets the plants’ C-14 into their tissues.

I just “happened” to run across another Creation Science radio show to listen to while I’m waiting for a new episode of the Creation Today Show. Guess what the first program I listened to talked about: Carbon-14 and those trees with higher levels than normal! Dr. Don Clark explained the C-14 in our bodies today has only been there for about a year or so since we keep cycling it out somehow. Cool!

So…

Einstein's BlackboardIt isn’t very scientific to assume the level of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere has always been exactly the same as it is today. But, if you make adjustments for a much stronger Magnetic Field, you might just get dates matching the Bible’s. Horrors!

Oh, yes, we’ve just found Carbon-14 in dinosaur bones. What does that tell you?

The beginning of your word is true: and every one of your righteous ordinances endure for ever. Psalm 119:160

Cosmic Rays aren’t the only things that mess with Carbon-14, check it out on my post HERE

Answers in Genesis has a whole chapter on Carbon-14

Bible Archaeology has an article on Carbon-14 and other Radiometric Dating methods

Carbon-14 isn’t the only particle produced by cosmic rays, Beryllium-10 and Chlorine-36 are made in a similar way. The paper I found is horribly long, but you can find out more on pages 33-39 of A Christian Response to Radiometric Dating by Dr Tasman B. Walker PDF

Read lots more about the Magnetic Field:

ICR: Magnetic Field Data Confirm Creation Model

and The Earth’s Magnetic Field Is Young

Answers in Genesis: #5 Rapidly Decaying Magnetic Field

Small Complete Fossil Vertebrate

Just what is a fossil?

 

Italiano: Saurexallopus, a four toed dinosaur ...

Saurexallopus, a four toed dinosaur or bird trace fossil

Last week on facebook I shared someone’s photo of a museum display that proclaimed “fossil. n.: any evidence of life more than 7,000 years old.”

I had a bit of a lively debate discussing what exactly a fossil would be.  The best they could come up with was that a fossil is something turned to stone by pressure and time with no organic material remaining.

Most educational sites are much more careful to use a definition that is accurate, I rather like the acrostic Stories in Stone uses to explain how something qualifies for the title Fossil:

Petrified Araucaria mirabilis Cone; Age: Juras...

Petrified Araucaria mirabilis Cone; Patagonia, Argentina

Found

Only in

Sedimentary

Stones

Indicating

Life

Although even that will show to miss some real fossils.

Museums seem to be more forceful trying to make fossils prove their claim that the earth must be old.  Here’s what the Natural History Museum of San Diego says about them:

Fossils are the remains and/or traces of prehistoric life. The critical factor is age. Fossils have to be older than 10,000 years, the generally accepted temporal boundary marking the end of the last Pleistocene glacial event.

OK, they don’t care about the pressurization (very wise) or organic remains, they just try to make them so old the Bible must be lying.  Wikipedia’s Fossil page was honest enough to admit that claiming fossils MUST be 10,000 years old is “arbitrary” [which means they just decided it should be that without a good reason].

So what is a fossil really?  Here are the types of things scientists call fossils (from Enchanted Learning):

  • mold fossils(like when you press a toy into playdough and pull it back out)

    Fossil Homeosaurus maximiliani Paris, Gallerie...

    Fossil Homeosaurus maximiliani Paris, Galleries of Paleontology and Compared Anatomy

  • cast fossils (when something else fills in that shape)
  • trace fossils = ichnofossils (fossilized nests, gastroliths, burrows, footprints, etc.)
  • true form fossils (fossils of the actual animal or animal part)

This last one, where the animal or plant is still there (more or less) is divided into these sub-types:

  • unaltered preservation (like insects or plant parts trapped in amber, a hardened form of tree sap)
  • permineralization=petrification (in which rock-like minerals seep in slowly and replace the original organic tissues with silica, calcite or pyrite, forming a rock-like fossil – can preserve hard and soft parts – most bone and wood fossils are permineralized)

Did you catch that?  Those dino bones we love to visit are petrified just like the teddy bear in the spring.  And as we know, they stink, so there is still organic material in there that wasn’t replaced by minerals.

Tree bark fossil called Lepidodendron, 005411

Tree bark fossil called Lepidodendron, 005411 (Photo credit: Black Country Museums)

  • carbonization=coalification (in which only the carbon remains in the specimen – otherelements, like hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen are removed)

Sometime I will get around to all the amazing things we find in coal.  Notice that coal is made from a living thing (a plant) that has lost other elements leaving only the carbon behind.

  • recrystalization (hard parts either revert to more stable minerals or small crystals turn into larger crystals)

Do we have trouble with fossils just because we believe God made the world only about 6,000 years ago?  Not a bit.  We would if we didn’t believe in a global catastrophe, but the Bible carefully explains that to us as well.

On the 17th day of the second month, when Noah was 600 years old, the springs under the earth broke through the ground, and water flowed out everywhere. The sky also opened like windows and rain poured down. The rain fell on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights. That same day Noah went into the boat with his wife, his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives.

Every living thing on earth died—every man and woman, every bird, and every kind of animal. All the many kinds of animals and all the things that crawl on the ground died. Every living, breathing thing on dry land died. In this way God wiped the earth clean—he destroyed every living thing on the earth—every human, every animal, everything that crawls, and every bird. All that was left was Noah and his family and the animals that were with him in the boat.  Genesis 7:11,21-23

Ancient Farming Terraces, England Wikimedia

Ancient Technology: Farming Terraces

The Banaue Rice Terraces in Luzon Island, Phil...

The Banaue Rice Terraces in Luzon Island, Philippines

I love mountains.  I also love stairs.  So, my first glimpse of mountains covered in rice terraces was thrilling!  Someday it would be really nice to visit some and experience them for myself (I may not have to travel so far, as you’ll see).

What I didn’t know s just how ancient these terraces are, and how common!

The most famous terraces are in the jungle of the northern Philippines.  My kids are just finishing up a missionary story about a lady who went to live in one of these valleys.  The people had been repairing and using their stone terraces for as far back as their memory went.  Our best guess is that they are 2 to 3 thousand years old.

Since I’ve run into some other terraces while studying other cultures, I decided to find out how old these terraces can be and how common they are around the world.  Here’s what I’ve found:

Terraces are a very efficient and reliable way to grow crops.  It is much simpler to divert mountain streams in times of low rain than to worry about flooding and drought. Terracing takes advantage of the warmer sunshine and air on the mountain sides.

Andenería en Moray (Perú)

Ancient terraces in Peru (we guess they were trying new techniques)

Have you ever grown a garden in a raised bed?  This takes advantage of the same conditions as a terrace.  You can control much more of the growing conditions with them.  The Incas even used different soils to grow different crops.  This is much easier in a small walled area.  There is even more on the Machu Picchu site, so please check it out.

These terraces are also the reason the mountain regions of Southeast Asia are able to support so many people.  I found a Water History page that starts out with an Evolutionary story of how they started working together in the first place.  We know that people have been forming societies since the very beginning.  The rest of the page is great at explaining the advantages these people have as well as the loss of individuality they suffer from being just one worker among many.

That’s the wonderful thing about following Jesus.  I am just a tiny part of His kingdom, but He is so big He cares about me more than I do!  What a great God to serve!

Just how many places did/do people use this kind of farming?  Have a look (I was completely blown away!):

English: Mountain of Ingushetia. Русский: Горн...

Mountain of Ingushetia showing ancient terracing (Russia, just north of Rep. of Georgia)

Although there are skeptics saying these terraces are all recent, that isn’t backed up by the facts.  As for how old these terraces could be, the paper on Malta says it all.  “Terrace construction methods have apparently changed little over time. It is only recently that some farmers have taken short-cuts and repaired terrace retaining walls with standard limestone building blocks.  Such repairs never last long.”

Our earliest ancestors were already very smart.  They were strong, cooperative (they were caring for their own family), and talented.  God’s Word predicts this kind of similarity beautifully.  He is trustworthy and cares for us!

Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.  O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalm 136:25,26

Lightning Bolt Logo

Superheroes, Evolution, and You

Superman flying down the sidewalkWhen I was a girl I wanted desperately to be able to fly like Superman. Swimming, I would pretend the tiles at the bottom of the deep end were city blocks I was gliding over. I would fall asleep imagining that I could fly. Not surprisingly, I would dream that I really was flying (my arms and legs had to pump like a swimmer’s for some reason 😀 ), but when I awoke, I was earthbound again.

This desire is certainly not unique, or even unusual. We’ve been watching birds and other creatures in flight since the dawn of time and longing to join them in the air. Many ancient cultures have stories of flying people, including the Persians, Chinese, Northern Europeans, Africans, British and the Greeks. Human beings have always wanted to fly.

This is where Evolution comes in. If you remember my Photosynthesis Quotes, you will know that, according to Evolutionary thinking, plants noticed a problem (Winter was coming), found a way to take care of it (awareness of day length would tell them when Summer was high), and developed a method to correct the problem (daylight sensitivity).

We ran into the same thing with the teacher’s guide to introducing Evolution to little kids. The sea animals noticed that they were getting eaten by the scorpion-like creature, realized they could survive by swimming away faster, so they changed their bodies to accomplish this goal.

So today, I looked around to see how common this idea of organisms running into a challenge and finding a solution is in Evolutionary thinking. Here’s another example of this notion:

The Story of Human Evolution:

“However, it was not enough to always react in the same inherited way to each type of sensation. A particular smell might indicate food in some environments but danger in others. By remembering the association between a sensation and its outcome, mistakes did not have to be made a second time and successful outcomes could be pursued more vigorously.

Worms also inherited sensitivity to touch, temperature, and light from their single celled ancestors. A cluster of light sensitive cells has the potential to form a picture, and so there was strong evolutionary pressure for such clusters to evolve into early forms of eyes.”

Elephant Family Tree

Elephant Family Tree (Photo credit: Travis S.)

These creatures:

  • Remembered the connection between what their senses told them and what happened next well enough to somehow pass it on to their worm-like children
  • They just happened to start collecting light in some cells for no good reason, but then realized how useful this would be, so clung to it and put pressure on those cells to develop into eyes

So, with all the time that people have been dreaming of flying like birds, bats and things, we should be able to fly on our own, right?

Many scientists aren’t much happier with this kind of thinking than they are with our Creator God because it requires desire, planning and purpose. This guy explains the problem:

Evolution: What is an adaptation? Video Gallery

“The whole concept of an adaptation is the notion that there is a pre-existing problem and an organism solves it by adapting to the problem. For example, fins are an adaptation for swimming, so what we mean is swimming was a problem before fish had fins. The problem with looking at evolution in that way is swimming is a problem for trees too!”  Richard Lewontin

He’s right. There is no reason why those “proto” [first] organisms would have ever moved beyond their little ponds to develop any of the other abilities that complex creatures have. There is no Evolutionary explanation for why a dolphin should first start to swim so quickly and gracefully if it had been a land animal to start out with!

Once more we see that the Evolutionists want us to abandon our logical, orderly world filled with meaning and purpose for a theory of mindlessness that leaves us empty, pointless, and hopeless. The only reason I would be remotely interested in believing this notion is if I wanted to pretend that I wouldn’t be responsible for my actions.

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  Romans 1:25

The Mysterious Okapi

 

An Okapi. Taken at Disney's Animal Kingdom by ...[cryptozoology: krip-toe-zoo-ah-luh-gee, the study of evidence tending to substantiate the existence of, or the search for, creatures whose reported existence is unproved, as the Abominable Snowman or the Loch Ness monster.]

OK, I’m cheating a little on my definition because the scientific community has known about the Okapi [oh-cop-ee] for over a hundred years now, but they were in this group until 1900!

European explorers in Africa began hearing tales of an unknown creature deep in the jungle.  In 1861, a book by Phillip Gosse talked about a mysterious horned animal the locals had told him about.  Soon people began to imagine that there was an “African Unicorn.”  Then in 1887, Sir Henry Stanley, of “Dr. Livingstone, I presume!” fame, wrote a book called In Darkest Africa.  He mentioned tales of a strange, donkey-like creature in the rainforest.

English: Sir

Sir Stanley

Finally, in 1900, Sir Harry Johnston, who was the British governor of Uganda, decided to find out about this animal.  He talked to Stanley about where it was known to live, and then he helped to rescue some pygmy men who were being stolen away to show at the Paris World’s Fair.  In return for his help, the men answered his questions about the animal, told him they called it the “O’api” and got him some small pieces of hide with stripes on them.

To Johnston’s surprise, when the men showed him Okapi tracks, the hooves were split like a cow’s.  He even wondered if they were deceiving him!  Johnston had to abandon the search when everyone came down with malaria, so he asked some Belgian soldiers to send him specimens ASAP and headed back to his base.  When two skulls and a skin arrived (along with a description of it’s cloven hooves), they discovered that the Okapi was much more like a giraffe than a horse.  The Okapi was now officially known to science.

Okapi

Okapi Habitat Zone

The Okapi is still very hard for us to study in their natural habitat.  I found some articles rejoicing that they finally captured photos of wild Okapis in Virunga National Park in the highlands of the Congo way back in 2006.  They are especially happy because we were worried the Okapi had been wiped out by fighting in that area.If you see an Okapi at the zoo, you would be puzzled by how hard it is to study such a large, colorful animal.  The Okapi of today stands almost 6ft [1.8m] at the shoulder, grows to about 7ft [2.1m] long and can weigh 550lb [250kg].   They have dark, reddish-brown coats up front (which God made nice and oily to keep out the rain) and stripy hind quarters with white socks (which are actually excellent jungle camo).  Daddy Okapis have small horns much like a giraffe, but the Okapi’s flexible neck is much shorter than a giraffe’s so it won’t get tangled in all the branches of its home.

Okapi sandiegoIt is the habits and home area of the Okapi that make them so hard to find.  They live all alone except to mate and raise their young.  Their home is the thick, shady jungle above 500m [1,640ft] in the volcanic highlands of the Congo. To keep from getting all tangled up, Okapis search for food along well-worn pathways that Okapis have been using for a long time.  Except for a few coughing sounds or the whistling cry of a hungry baby Okapi, they are very quiet animals.  The way they let each other know the boundary of their territory is with a tar-like scented stuff that oozes out of their hooves.  They also use that other popular scent marker you already know from watching dogs and cats: urine.

A daddy Okapi will allow ladies through to find food in his territory, but not any other males!  Okapis love their solitude so much that mother Okapis don’t even spend much time with their babies.  They will leave them in a ‘nest,’ like a deer does, and only come around to nurse the little one occasionally.  After about 6 to 9 months, young Okapis go off on their own.

An okapi cleaning its muzzle with its tongue.

An okapi cleaning its muzzle with its tongue.

One of the coolest thing about them is their dark blue tongues that they use to grab leaves and twigs, and even to clean their eyes and ears out!  Okapis also have large sensitive ears that help them keep away from their one predator, the leopard.   All these things make the Okapi one of the hardest land animals to study wild.  It’s a good thing they do well in zoos!For more on the Okapi, have a look at these sites:

Okapi Conservation Project with its history page showing an ancient carving of an Okapi in Persepolis

San Diego Zoo: Okapi

ZooBorns: Okapi with some cute pictures

Living Fossils a Creationist page (it seems we knew about Okapis first in the fossil record)

Beyond Bigfoot: the science of Cryptozoology

Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. Psalm 147:7-11

Graphic: DNA Splitting

DNA for dummies? or for the FBI?

Lego DNA I made for my wife's science class

Lego DNA

I know, I know, it’s Summer and the last thing you want to do is more “school work.”  But the past two weeks of Creation Today Shows’ interviews with Jay Seegert of the Creation Education Center have been so amazing I had to figure out a way to inspire you to watch or listen to them.  So I decided to write up a study guide.  I promise, once you’ve listened and answered the questions, you will know more about DNA than the vast majority of people out there without crossing your eyes (just blowing your brain)!

Here’s your assignment Part 1:  Listen to this episode of Creation Today Show:  Is Evolution Probable or Problematic? and fill in the blanks.

  • Evolution requires lots of _____________ and ________________ to explain how living things came to be
  • Mutations happen when something changes in a creature’s ________

BTW I wasn’t able to find how much DNA is in a teaspoon, or if this is the amount in one person or many.  Turns out a single cell holds over 5ft [1.5m] or some say as much as 3m [nearly 10ft]! So, the DNA in a single adult would reach if stretched out end to end. It would stretch to the __________ and back ___________ times (or around the ________ 2.5 million times)!

  • How is DNA like this phrase, “was it a rat I saw?” _______________
  • How is DNA more complicated than a palindrome?___________________________
  • Is this something that is easily and naturally done?  Can computer whizzes do it? ______

The analogy he gives here is especially enlightening.  Share with someone in your own words…

  • Is a mutation likely to add helpful meaning to this?____ Why? _________
  • How long are DNA reversing codes? A. a single word B. a sentence C. a paragraph D. a chapter E. more than a chapter
DNA

DNA (Photo credit: Allen Gathman)

This has already started to show you how good God is at making “secret” codes.  Now we’re really going to see how amazing His code system is!How is DNA like some Wheel of Fortune puzzles? ____________.  If you don’t know Wheel of Fortune, they spell out phrases like Jay Seegert does at this point.  If you like brain quizzes, HERE’s a set of these type of puzzles to try to solve.

OK, you can skip the last couple of minutes since it’s just closing notes.

Now on to Part 2 More DNA evidence for special creation, problems for evolution! (You can skip the first 6 minutes if you want)

  • Next level of “secret” codes in DNA: ________ bits of DNA and ________ing them together to get new info
  • How big are the sections that get spliced? Whole ________ and __________
  • Another level of information picks up pieces at regular intervals and forms ___________
  • What do mutations do to this coding system? _________________ Is this helpful? _____

Now we’re getting to real FBI stuff!

  • DNA includes data _____________________ to add more info

Here’s a whole different way of looking at the complexity of DNA

  • How long did it take you to learn to read English?  Did it happen randomly without any teachers?  DNA uses symbols to represent real things much like our alphabet (although God only needed 4 letters to do it!)
  • DNA not only has an alphabet, it also forms words using ____________ rules much like we have to study!

Back to the data encryption:

  • To solve an encryption puzzle, you have to have the _______
  • Is this possible without a programmer?

Now you know more about DNA than most _____________.  Who are they putting their faith in? ___________________

(I don’t know about you, but I love their Genesis Series ad!! Way cool stuff!)

Four-way DNA junction

Four-way DNA junction

  • The Third level of information has to be read in __ __ (you can make a sample like this by following Wikihow’s instructions, writing a code on the finished shape and then unfolding it!)
  • There’s a backup system of info in the Cell _______ that double checks what comes out of the nucleus to make sure things match up so if something changes
  • If our DNA actually was only 2% different from a Chimp (it’s really way more than that), how many “spelling errors” would it take to produce a human being? ____________
  • These changes would fill _________ books of _____ pages each!

Wow!  I don’t know about you but this makes me want to get up and sing to our Super-Smart Creator God!!

We’re learning more about the 3D nature of DNA all the time. Here’s an article from ICR on discoveries reported in 2013: New Twist in DNA Turns Heads, Genes

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honor of your majesty, and of your wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of your terrible acts: and I will declare your greatness. Psalm 145:3-6

Don’t miss today’s Quotes and more!

Gemini Galaxies NASA

Stretching the Heavens

Gemini Galaxies NASA

Which alone spreads out the heavens, and treads upon the waves of the sea. Job 9:8

A while back I mentioned that God made a big deal about how He is “stretching out the heavens.”  I find this whole idea fascinating, so I wanted to write an article just to discuss this.

Let’s see what the Bible has to say about what God did to outer space when He made them.

Ongoing time: Job 9:8; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 44:24Isaiah 51:13; Zechariah 12:1

Past time: Isaiah 45:12; Jeremiah 10:12; Jeremiah 51:15

A Berber tent near Zagora, Morocco

The word used in all of these that we have translated as “stretched” is Naw-Taw. This is the same word used for pitching a tent in Genesis 33:19 and Exodus 33:7.  It can mean to bend away like a stream or runner changing course (Numbers 21:15; II Samuel 2:19), which is very much what modern tent poles do when you set them up!  It is also used when God or others stretch out their arm over something or someone (Exodus 15:12Joshua 8:26).

You will notice that I divided my list into “ongoing time” and “past time.”  That’s because the form of the word tells us this. The last 3 verses use the past tense and mean it happened before in a special event. The rest are in the continuing tense, which is easy in English, we just add “ing“!

Genesis chapter 1 only uses the ongoing verb form to talk about things that continued to happen after Creation Week.  For example fruit trees “yield” seed, living creatures “move”, and creeping things “creep”.  The ongoing form isn’t used to describe any of God’s creative, one-time-and-finished acts. But seven times in our list it is used to talk about God’s work of stretching the heavens out.  What does this tell us?  That we can expect to see this as an ongoing event unlike the past-only events of the 1st Week.

To my knowledge, before Einstein and his generation began taking their observations to logical conclusions, no one took the time to think through these verses and make scientific predictions.  I wish they had, because they would have been able to predict what we see happening in the universe.  As I pointed out, it was the observations improving telescopes were making that forced scientists to abandon their belief in a steady state universe.  What was it they were seeing that led them to this new way of thinking? The heavens being stretched out like a tent!

Source of light moving to the right

Source of light moving to the right

No other religion or even ‘Science’ can claim to have expected all of this.  The scientists of the early 20th Century fought hard to avoid having to face a changing universe.  But God had been telling us this for over 3,000 years!

Oh, yes!! This isn’t the end of the story.  Check out what God says He’s going to do with the heavens someday:

Of old you have laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of your hands. They shall perish, but you shall endure: yes, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as clothing shall you change them, and they shall be changed: Psalm 102:25,26 

And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falls off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. Isaiah 34:4

Let us praise the great, powerful, really smart, and holy God who made us and controls everything there is!!!

Ah Lord GOD! behold, you have made the heaven and the earth by your great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for you: You show lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompense the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name,  Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for your eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: Jeremiah 32:17-19

To show you kids what this process could look like, try an Universal Balloon experiment.

And from Creation Scientists, check out these eye-crossers:

(My favorite) Answers Research Journal: Beyond Distant Starlight: Next Steps For Creationist Cosmology

ICR: A New Creationist Cosmology: In No Time at All Part 1 and Part 2