Kipling's Just So Stories Flickr

How To Think: Kipling’s Just So Stories

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Just So Stories (Photo credit: @notnixon)

Years ago my parents got a book on cultural literacy for us to study. We didn’t have to take tests, but Dad delighted in reading the bits that told how woefully ignorant people were without knowledge of certain literature and historical events. How would we know what someone was talking about if we didn’t know the context of the phrases and keywords they used? So, we learned just enough Shakespeare, Lord of the Flies, and many others to be well-educated whether we liked it or not.

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‘The crab that played with the sea’ by Rudyard Kipling

One such cultural reference I often run into while reading Creationist articles is Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories.”

You can read the whole book with Kipling’s original illustrations HERE. Many of the stories deal with how animals got to be the way they are. You will quickly notice that the expected vocabulary of an upper class child in 1902 was far greater than today’s!

Why are we so fond of mentioning an odd set of fantasy stories from 100 years ago? Because the kind of reasoning that Kipling used to “explain” animals’ appearance and behavior happens all the time. Except, nowadays, the scientists expect us to believe their inventions are true history.

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Pakicetus inachus, a whale ancestor from the Early Eocene of Pakistan, after Nummelai et al., (2006), pencil drawing, digital coloring (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A prime example of this is the Evolutionary account of the development of whales.  First, have a look at what Berkeley has to say about how they believe whales came into existence.  You will notice right away that they don’t dare claim any other animal as the “direct ancestor” of the whales. In fact, when you examine their lovely opening diagram, none of the “direct ancestor” connections are filled in; they are all lines where something is assumed to have existed.

 How To Think: Kiplings Just So Stories

Oh, wait! We meant THIS is the real ancestor of the whale

Even some of the skeletons shown, like Pakicetus, aren’t at all what Berkeley makes them out to be. Berkeley knows quite well that all we actually have of Pakicetus is its skull, but do you find that out on the whale evolution page? Hardly. If they were honest with the facts, people would laugh at them.

Creation Ministries International has taken on another of the supposed transitional forms leading up to the whale which Berkeley mentions. Their article, Rodhocetus and other stories of whale evolution, isn’t too long and has a great drawing showing how much guesswork went into the artist’s version. They also discuss the different stories Evolutionary biologists have come up with to get from land mammals to whales.

As you can imagine, we Creationists enjoy writing about whales. In fact, the Institute for Creation Research even mentions “just so” stories in their main article on Scientific Roadblocks to Whale Evolution.

Here are more articles talking about the impossible puzzle God set for us when He created whales:

ICR: Ways That Whales Display Their Creator

Answers in Genesis: Another Whale of a Tale: Creationists Without a “Whimper”?

AiG’s long, detailed article comparing the story of whale evolution to the story of truck evolution: Walking Whales, Nested Hierarchies, and Chimeras: Do They Exist?

And some articles talking about “Just So” stories in Evolution:

A Just-So Story for Every Occasion at Evolution News and Views

“Just So” Stories of Evolution by Creation Moments (you can listen or read the transcript)

Proposed evolution scenarios are just-so stories (a discussion of statements by Talk.Origins) at CreationWiki. The blue boxes are the original statements and the white are the Creationist responses.

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:21 

People knew God, but they did not honor him as God, and they did not thank him. Their ideas were all useless. There was not one good thought left in their foolish minds. They said they were wise, but they became fools. Instead of honoring the divine greatness of God, who lives forever, they traded it for the worship of things made to look like humans, birds, animals, and snakes. Romans 1:21-23 Easy-to-read Version

NASA-Galaxy Cluster Silhouette of Debaters

Is Focusing on Young Earth Creation a Distraction?

300px Debate Logo.svg Is Focusing on Young Earth Creation a Distraction?

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.

300px A scientist Is Focusing on Young Earth Creation a Distraction?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.

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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.

2719967521 995c4d0e3d m Is Focusing on Young Earth Creation a Distraction?Sure, 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

Marsh Blooms

Can You Spot the Common Ancestors? Part 1

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“Evolutionary tree showing the divergence of modern species from their common ancestor in the center. The three domains are colored, with bacteria blue, archaea green, and eukaryotes red.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Continue reading

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Recommended Resources: Persuaded by the Evidence

 Recommended Resources: Persuaded by the Evidence

With the help of family and friends, I’ve been collecting Creation resources to check out and sort based on importance for you. This is one I’ve been wanted to share most. It’s going in the top-tier spot, aka “your family needs this!

Why? Because Persuaded by the evidence is all about people. It has enough eye-crossing science-speak for me to hold off giving my kids until they’re about 13 or so, but that’s just part of the focus. This book is about how these scientists and others came to dedicate their lives to Jesus and recognize Him as the Creator God. Which means a lot of people who don’t care much about science will connect to this book.

Being a lady, I found this book much better than a romance story. You have the same tension wondering how they will find their Savior: What did it take? What held them back? How did God break through to them in the end? What most attracted them to Jesus? And the best part is, I have the same Lord and Savior! Ahhh, the wonder of it! icon smile Recommended Resources: Persuaded by the Evidence

So, for girls, this is especially good. For guys: well, it’s all written by guys, so there’s nothing mushy about it.

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For young people, It addresses a lot of the questions and doubts they experience now, or will when college starts. A few stories were of men who stayed firm about the Bible their whole lives, but the rest came out of the Evolutionary worldview.

For parents, some tell how they strayed from the Bible’s account and came back later; which is particularly important as their stories can serve as warning for us to avoid the same mistakes.

Some had never been exposed to anything but Evolution. Some became Jesus’ followers first and then struggled with the Bible’s claims about origins. A few accounts are from the early 20th Century when very little Creationist material was available. Their stories are all over the map in every way.

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Large parts of this book are filled with the science leading them to doubt the Evolutionary storyline and turning them to the claims of the Creator God. The subjects range from “why are there still continents if the world is as old as claimed?” to “how can we know right from wrong if everything is random?” Lots of people saw the impossibility of Evolutionary changes producing the order and complexity we see in living creatures.

The last section of the book is a treasure in itself. It is accounts of some founders of the modern Creationist movement. Did you know Dr. Henry M. Morris rose on the shoulders of other outspoken men of God and science? Dr. Duane T. Gish, Dr. Gary E. Parker (who has a particularly poignant story), and Dr. Andrew Snelling are all in here. Morris, Gish, and Snelling are names you can’t avoid in our field. How delightful to know their stories of God leading and preparing them for the places they fill!

I recommend this book for every home which has teenagers or older living in it (yes, that means you, parents). icon smile Recommended Resources: Persuaded by the Evidence

In the same way, my words leave my mouth,
    and they don’t come back without results.
My words make the things happen that I want to happen.
    They succeed in doing what I send them to do. Isaiah 55:11

Christian Book Distributors sells the book for $10.99

Creation Today sells the book for $11.99

The Institute for Creation Research has another review to check out as well.

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Science in the Bible: Floodwaters “Going and Coming”

icr home2 Science in the Bible: Floodwaters Going and Coming

One of the most exciting things about the modern Creation Science movement is how each group fills a need and appreciates the others, recognizing them as other members of God’s ministry. The Institute for Creation Research is one of the big players in this movement and without their science, we would have a much harder time exposing reality.

Although all science will support the Creator, there are some areas where Evolutionary thinking will never do the work needed to seek out the truth. The last thing radiometric dating worshipers would want to know is how many millions of years old newly laid lava dates to. Many areas like this would be very difficult for us without scientists who believe the Bible doing the work themselves.

This is something ICR is on the cutting edge of and I am very grateful!

Another area where ICR is top notch is deep Bible study. Since my teen years I’ve been bugged by cs4k bible Science in the Bible: Floodwaters Going and Comingpreachers who say, “I’ve barely scratched the surface” of the Word and just go on to the next topic/passage. I don’t want to just “scratch the surface”, I want to mine the depths of God’s treasures! When I read ICR’s Days of Praise, I find men who are willing to get down and dirty with the Scriptures. I’ve even written to tell them how much I appreciate this during times when it isn’t possible for me to do it for myself (if you write a nice note, they’ll probably publish it, too).

Today I want to talk about my favorite example of this kind of study. The Hebrew words in Genesis 8:3 hold a wealth of meaning that would be impossible for a normal translation to even touch on. Then, when a geologist gets ahold of the original text, all kinds of realities come into focus.

And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. Genesis 8:3

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Straight forward enough isn’t it? If you look at a bunch of translations, you aren’t likely to find out anything more than in the KJV. But, that’s before you break into the Hebrew!

I’d really like you all to check out the article on this over at ICR, so the rest of the post will just cover the basics for the under 12 year old crowd.

  • The word they interpreted as “continually” is really two words in Hebrew.
  • These two words mean: “to go” and “to come” plus that they kept doing it (which is why we translate it “continually”)
  • So, a more precise translation of the verse would be “the waters returned from off the earth going and coming.”

What great science can we dig out of these two words? Geologists talk about things called a “megasequence”,  “cratonic sequence”, or even just a  “sequence.” These are enormous layers of sedimentary rocks laid down one on top of another. In all, geologists recognize 6 great “sequences.” Although there are some sedimentary rocks underneath, most of them begin with the “Middle-Cambrian” layers, which we put well into the Flood Year.

These sequences are so big they cross whole continents. Not only are they well known and studied in North America, but these same layers are recognizable in Brazil, Russia, and Africa!  Of all things, you can find sequences that look “strikingly similar” across “all southern continents and also in India”.

Sounds to me like something was moving huge amounts of sediment around the world, dropping its load and then picking up more to dump in one layer after another. Maybe, instead of having to see this as an incredibly slow process, we could speed up the tape with a World Wide Flood?

Oh, but then the Bible might be telling the truth!

Something else I don’t have space for is the “going” part of this process. Geologists call it “regression” and, guess what? We are living in one: “the present has one of the lowest sea levels of Earth History.” Are you surprised?

 

And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. Genesis 9:11

Folded Rock Layers-Zion Nation Park, Wikimedia cropped-cs4k-cover-photo-leaves2.jpg AiG: Model Cross Section of the Ark

Species: How Many Bats did Noah Need on the Ark?

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This picture is quite mythical

One of the arguments you will run into “proving” the global Flood never happened is this: it is impossible to fit all the land animal species onto the ark (so therefore the whole story is a myth).  That statement (minus the parenthetical conclusion) is true!  But does the Bible require Noah to fit all the known (and unknown) species onto the ark?  Hardly!

Here’s what I saw while studying for last week’s bat post:

  • Bats are categorized by scientists into 1,000 species
  • These 1,000 species make up 25% of the known mammal species on earth (lots of sites mention these facts. You can check it out on Going Bats.org, or one of many .edu PDFs: Ohio State’s is really cool!)
  • These 1,000 species are divided into only 18 families: 17 “micro” bats and 1 family for all the fruit bats + flying foxes

Today I ran into something even more interesting.  The only group of mammals more common than bats is the rodent group:

  • Rodents are categorized into 1,814 species, of which 1,383 species are mice and rats (if 1,000 species is 25% of all mammals, that leaves only 1,186 other species for all the rest of the mammal group)
  • These rodents are grouped into just 29 total familiesaig noahs ark cross section Species: How Many Bats did Noah Need on the Ark?

Does that tell you something about how much room was actually needed on the Ark?  We know that even today new varieties of living things continue to form when a small population of animals are kept away from the rest of their kind (for example, check out the lizards that got moved from one island to another).

BTW if “Evolution” always meant what Science Daily says it means for those lizards, I’m an evolutionist. In fact, this is called “microevolution” and we Creationists have no problem with it at all.  I believe that my own family (and yours) as well as every other living thing has changed from the prototypes God first created.  However, we’re not better than the original version or turning into some other kind of creature, and neither is anything else!

 Species: How Many Bats did Noah Need on the Ark?

Argonauta species

From all of our observations, animals and plants that get separated from the main group start to look different and have genetic variations from the others.  Eventually, this sub-group may even no longer be able to have new little ones with the rest of the group.  But, does this take millions of years and produce totally new creatures with new functions?

Naturalistic Evolution has to answer that question with a “yes” because without new functions and creatures, their worldview is sunk.  But, no matter how hard we try, such radical changes have never been observed, they must be presumed and just believed in despite the facts.

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3 ornithoptera specimens

Creationists look at the same set of facts and see that it was not necessary for Noah to squeeze many thousands of bats and rodents, and stuff onto the Ark.  The “species” we divide up today could have quickly developed from just a few well chosen (by God) DNA-rich ancestors that survived the Flood.

Just how to classify living and past animals and plants is one of the big areas of Creation studies now.  I’ve written a little on what we know about mutations (the only way to get things to change that Evolutionists will admit to) vs. original genetic variety.

Here are some pages to check out to see what the scientists are saying about all this:

Answers in Genesis: Feedback: Species and Kinds and the Ark by Paul Taylor (my hero! very readable article) and, for those of you who never get enough info, the brand new scientific article: Mammalian Ark Kinds

Institute for Creation Research (none are very long):

Creation Ministries International:

I will make a special agreement with you. You, your wife, your sons, and their wives will all go into the boat. Also, you will take two of every living thing on the earth with you into the boat. Take a male and female of every kind of animal so that they might survive with you. Two of every kind of bird, animal, and creeping thing will come to you so that you might keep them alive. Also bring every kind of food into the boat, for you and for the animals.”  Noah did everything God commanded him. Genesis 6:18-22 Easy-to-read Version

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Plastic Theories: how Gobekli Tepe fits into our Worldviews

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CreativeTools.seZPrinter-made plastic injection mold 48 (Photo credit: Creative Tools)

We are used to thinking of plastic as the stuff our cups, storage containers and toys are made out of.  But there is a much larger meaning for this word that is good to have in your word treasury (vocabulary) because it helps us think in new ways.

From BrainyQuote: Plastic, adjective:

Capable of being molded, formed, or modeled, as clay or plaster; — used also figuratively; as, the plastic mind of a child.

Pertaining or appropriate to, or characteristic of, molding or modeling; produced by, or appearing as if produced by, molding or modeling; — said of sculpture and the kindred arts, in distinction from painting and the graphic arts.

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Take some time to think about this.  The plastics we usually think about were made into the shapes we use by being molded and formed.  Then they were cooled, released and packaged for us to buy.  To be plastic means to be changeable.

Here’s the quote that reminded me of why this is important to us as Creationists:

Archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, lead researcher of the excavations, has suggested that perhaps religious worship evolved first, and this development triggered the need for agriculture. But this reversal of the standard evolutionary story only shows that man-made histories are subjective, plastic, and unreliable.

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Göbekli Tepe

The Institute for Creation Research did an article on Gobekli Tepe, a temple we’ve uncovered in Turkey.  Guess what? Surprise, surprise, the very ancient people from the area just southwest of the mountains of Ararat were really great stone carvers and very religious.

The crazy thing about their advanced skills is that archeologists put this in the “Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Period (c. 9600–7300 BC).  They could carve amazing figures and smooth stonework, but they hadn’t figured out how to throw a pot yet?  Go figure!

Somehow I knew I should search around to see if these people left signs that they liked to study the heavens.  A quick search found this book: Turkish Stonehenge: Gobekli Tepe.

[The author] discovered that Gobekli Tepe was used as a solar calendar, some 7,000 years before Stonehenge was built.

Would you look at that?  The oldest archeological evidences we have show smart, knowledgeable people doing the same things they do all over the world.

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Does this make the Evolutionary anthropologists throw in the towel and admit they were wrong about us slowly developing from stupid ancestors? Not a chance.  As ICR points out Evolution is “plastic.”  When the evidence proves them wrong, they figure out another way to have what they already believe still make sense (to them).  No evidence will ever change their mind unless their heart become plastic to God’s truth.

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BTW, your parents, teachers, TVs and everyone else is working hard to mold your “plastic mind.”  Adults have the power to mold children’s thinking in good or bad ways, to give you a foundation of truth or lies.  When people hit puberty (you’ll know what that means when it happens to you), people’s brains stop being so plastic and start to consider all the things we’ve been taught.  Some teachings you will reject and others you will cling to.  Be careful who you choose to trust and why!

Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.  Romans 12:2 NCV

PS I wanted to find out why they are so sure Gobekli Tepe dates to 10,000 BC and I found it.  Earthfiles.com has a great page about visiting the site this past Summer.  Halfway down it says, “But not until 1994 did German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, Ph.D., begin excavating layer-by-layer, carefully dating and studying the surrounding soils as he dug.”

They did Carbon-14 tests on charcoal found in the dirt that gave dates of “11th–6th millennia cal BC.”  They sure didn’t date it so far back because they were expecting really early people to be so talented! To find out what can go wrong with Carbon-14 check out THIS POST.

Update: The Genius of Ancient Man blog has written a great post on Gobekli Tepe. Don’t miss it!