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Intelligent Design On Another Planet?

by: Babu G. Ranganathan:

Imagine finding a planet where robots are programmed so that they can make other robots just like themselves from raw materials.

Now, imagine an alien visitor coming to the planet and, after many years of studying these robots, coming to the conclusion that since science can explain how these robots work and function there's no reason to believe that there was an ultimate intelligent designer behind them.

The analogy above certainly is not perfect but it is sufficient to reveal the fallacious thinking of those who attack intelligent design behind life and the universe.

Chance physical processes can produce some level of order but it is not rational to believe that the highest levels of order in life and the universe are by chance. For example, amino acids have been shown to be able to come into existence by chance but not more complex structures such as proteins which require that the various amino acids be in a precise sequence, just like the letters in a sentence. A single cell has millions of proteins.

There is no innate chemical tendency for amino acids to bond with one another in a sequence. Any one amino acid can just as easily bond with any other. The only reason at all for why the various amino acids bond with one another in a precise sequence in the cells of our bodies is because they're directed to do so by an already existing sequence of molecules in our genetic code. Without being in a proper sequence protein molecules will not function.

The sequence of molecules in DNA (the genetic code) determines the sequence of molecules in proteins. Furthermore, without DNA there cannot be RNA, but without RNA there cannot be DNA. And without eiether DNA and RNA there cannot be proteins, and without proteins there cannot be either DNA or RNA. They're all mutually dependent upon each other for existence!

If humans must use intelligence to perform genetic engineering, to meaningfully manipulate the genetic code, then what does that say about the origin of the genetic code itself!

If the cell had evolved it would have had to be all at once. A partially evolved cell cannot wait millions of years to become complete because it would be highly unstable and quickly disintegrate in the open environment.

The great British scientist Sir Frederick Hoyle has said that the probability of the sequence of molecules in the simplest cell coming into existence by chance is equivalent to a tornado going through a junk yard of airplane parts and assembling a 747 Jumbo Jet!

Considering the enormous complexity of life, it is much more logical to believe that the genetic and biological similarities between all species is due to a common Designer rather than common biological ancestry. It is only logical that the great Designer would design similar functions for similar purposes and different functions for different purposes in all of the various forms of life.

What if we should find evidence of life on Mars? Wouldn't that prove evolution? No. It wouldn't be proof that such life had evolved from non-living matter by chance natural processes. And even if we did find evidence of life on Mars it would have most likely have come from our very own planet - Earth! In the Earth's past there was powerful volcanic activity which could have easily spewed dirt containing microbes into outer space which eventually could have reached Mars. A Newsweek article of September 21, 1998, p.12 mentions exactly this possibility.

Contrary to popular belief, scientists have never created life in the laboratory. What scientists have done is genetically alter or engineer already existing forms of life, and by doing this scientists have been able to produce new forms of life. However, they did not produce these new life forms from non-living matter. Even if scientists ever do produce life from non-living matter it won't be by chance so it still wouldn't help support any argument for evolution.

We also know from the law of entropy in science that the universe does not have the ability to have sustained itself from eternity. The existence and complexity of the universe point to a Supreme Designer and Creator!

Those advocating the teaching of intelligent design are not demanding that Darwinian theory no longer be taught. Rather, the advocates of intelligent design want the merits of both theories taught side by side when the issue of origins is covered in science classes and textbooks. This is only fair.

Science cannot prove we are here by either design (creation) or by chance (evolution), but students should have full information available to decide which position science best supports.

What we believe about life's origins does influence our philosophy and value of life as well as our view of ourselves and others. This is no small issue!

Just because the laws of science can explain how life and the universe operate and work doesn't mean there is no Maker. Would it be rational to believe that there's no designer behind airplanes because the laws of science can explain how airplanes operate and work?

Natural laws are adequate to explain how the order in life, the universe, and even a microwave oven operates, but mere undirected natural laws cannot fully explain the origin of such order.

An organization of highly qualified scientists, known as the Institute for Creation Research (www.icr.org), has published some excellent books and material supporting faith in intelligent design for life and the universe.

Books published by ICR cover various issues such as the origin of life, genetic and biological similarities between species, the limits to biological variation and natural selection in nature, the fossil record, the age of the earth, etc.

Sincerely,
Babu G. Ranganathan
(B.A. Bible/Biology)
www.religionscience.com

Other helpful resources:

www.creationscience.com

www.ChristianAnswers.Net

www.religionscience.com

Scientific Evidence for a Young World: http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=1842

About The Author


Babu G. Ranganathan is an experienced Christian writer. He has his B.A. with academic concentrations in Bible and Biology. As a religion and science writer he has been recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis Who's Who In The East. The author has a website at: www.religionscience.com

April 30, 2006 | 10:20 PM Comments  {num} comments

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How do you choose where to donate to charity?

There are a great number of organizations asking you to
donate to charity today. There are a vast amount of causes
where you could donate to charity. Should you donate to
charity? And when I do donate to charity how do I choose?
Perhaps, a good starting point is why should I donate to
charity? There are so many great reasons to donate to
charity. Let's deal with a few of them here. If you donate
to charity you will see tangible benefits in the form of tax
breaks. Nobody likes to pay the government. By deciding to
donate to charity you will be taking your money out of the
government's hands. For some people that is reason enough to
donate to charity.

Well, before we get into this too deeply maybe the first
question to ask is why donate to charity? Well, believe it
or not there are more reasons to donate to charity then we
can cover here. We will just touch on a few of the somewhat
obvious reasons to donate to charity. Each and every year we
pay our government in the form of taxes. If you're like most
people you would have no problem choosing to donate to
charity money that otherwise would go to the government.
That one reason alone is more than enough for some people to
choose to donate to charity.

Were you ever in need? Why not make those that helped you be
the beneficiary of your decision to donate to charity? So
many of us have had times in our lives when we couldn't make
it on our own. Now that things are better for you, donate to
charity by giving back to these charities. If you donate to
charity and in turn help someone who once helped you it
makes a perfect circle of charity.

Ever thought to donate to charity in the form of a memorial
gift? If a lost loved one had a charity that they cared
deeply about you can carry on their caring even though they
are no longer here. Donate to charity and you can keep their
passions, their concerns, and the things that mattered the
most to them alive. The charity gets a much-needed donation
and you get to get to do so much more than just donate to
charity.

Also, think back and ask yourself if there ever was a time
when you needed a charitable organization's help? If you're
looking to donate to charity what could be better than to a
charity that once helped you? If someone was there for you,
donate to charity and you return the favor. You donate to
charity and someone else benefits just as you did. What if
you donate to charity in someone else's name? Have you lost
someone who was a strong supporter of a certain charity?
Donate to charity as a gift to their memory. Now your
decision to donate to charity is one you will never forget.

The best people to donate to charity are those who share the
values and vision of the charity. If you are going to donate
to charity try to find one that is working for a cause close
to your heart. No one has a problem deciding to donate to
charity when they are 100 percent behind what the charity is
doing. Why to donate to charity? Why not? There are so many
reasons to donate to charity. Find the reason to donate to
charity that truly clicks with what you believe. Then, your
decision to donate to charity will never be something you
regret.


Alan J Smith is the webmaster of
Donate to
Charity
which is an excellent place to find
chairty links, resources and articles.
For more information on this
article, please visit: http://www.donatetocharityonline.com/

April 29, 2006 | 4:11 PM Comments  {num} comments

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Dead Whales: Andros Island Residents Slam Atlantic Undersea Testing and Evaluation Center (AUTEC)
Related to country: Bahamas


Andros Residents Slam AUTEC:

By Erica Wells -
Nassau, Bahamas:


FRESH CREEK, Andros - As officials from the government and AUTEC met in a private meeting at the U.S. military base near this quiet settlement yesterday, a small group of concerned Andros residents protested outside, demanding answers to a long list of questions that they say have long been ignored.

That meeting was called to address concerns that activity at the base, specifically sonar testing, may be harming sea life in the area. In less than two months, three whales have stranded in the area of the base, including two beaked whales – a group of rarely seen, deep-water species.

Although it was a small group of residents that gathered outside the base, their convictions were strong.

Residents say they simply want to know if any testing carried out by the U.S. military base has anything to do with the recent whale strandings and what is behind what they describe as depleted fish stocks.

They also want to know why government officials did not meet with residents to learn their concerns first, before attending Thursday’s much-anticipated meeting at AUTEC.

"I want to know why the government ministers went into the meeting without having a meeting with us first." said Stephen Smith, a local government representative who was among the protestors.

Kino Mackey, a resident of Cargill Creek who was part of yesterday’s protest, wants to know what is behind what he says is a change in the surrounding marine environment.

"I’m a diver. I go overboard and see the marine life daily," Mr. Mackey told The Bahama Journal. "There’s been some great changes…I know there is something serious going on. There’s a lot of questions that we would like to ask and concerns that need to be addressed."

Residents have drawn up a list of more than 40 questions on a range of issues, including the whale deaths, laws and protection for whales, and general questions regarding AUTEC.

Those questions were formulated at a public meeting in Behring Point on Wednesday night.

Some of them are: How many whales have stranded since 1965 – the year the base opened? What have scientists found out about the whales they have analysed? What laws protect whales and fish and coral in The Bahamas from sonar and other things that disturb the ocean? What is in the AUTEC agreement? Does AUTEC own the land it is on and the sea it tests in?

Said Elan Anderson, a former AUTEC employee of 28 years: "The reef is dying, everything is dying and there is something that is causing it. We are not sure if it is [AUTEC] but we want to know. I don’t know why we shouldn’t know what the reasons are.

"We really want to find out what is going on in this country by AUTEC and I think Bahamians will be satisfied once they know what is going on and why the whales are dying and why the reefs are dying. That’s all we want to know."

All of the residents that The Journal spoke with yesterday said they would readily attend a government town meeting if it meant getting some answers to their questions.

Now the residents are waiting on a report from Thursday’s meeting, which has been described by Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Leslie Miller, as "exploratory."

While a press briefing was scheduled to follow the meeting, The Bahama Journal was not accommodated on yesterday’s press trip to Andros arranged by the U.S. Embassy, and was denied access to the base near Fresh Creek.

Andros activist Margo Blackwell, whose invitation to the base was one of several to be withdrawn late Wednesday, said the issue of ocean noise and its impact on marine life reaches far beyond the island of Andros.

"This is a lot bigger than the people in Andros," she told The Journal outside of the base yesterday. "This whole issue affects our entire country and indeed it is a global issue. I think what you saw today and last night, and when you hear the concerns over the last two months they are indicative of a real cry for some sense to be brought to this situation."

U. S. whale experts who have become aware of the Andros whale strandings agree that intense sources of sound like those used on the AUTEC range are capable of affecting a wide class of ocean life.

"Whale mortalities, though an obvious focus of concern, are only the tip of the iceberg of sonar’s harmful effects," according to a briefing paper prepared for yesterday’s meeting by the National Resource Defense Council [NRDC] out the U.S.

"Marine mammals and other species depend on sound to navigate, find food, locate mates, avoid predators and communicate with each other. Flooding their habitat with man-made, high intensity noise interferes with these and other functions."

Glen Gaitor, senior fisheries officer on Andros, was disappointed that he was denied access to Thursday’s meeting, even though he was directed to attend the meeting by senior officials in the Department of Marine Resources.

"I work with [Andros residents] everyday and they trust me, and it would mean a lot for them to know that the fisheries officer was in on the meeting and could report back to them," he said.

Senior local government officials attended the meeting yesterday and reportedly said that AUTEC officials denied that any activity at the base was connected to the whale deaths. Also attending Thursday’s meeting was Minister of Environment Dr. Marcus Bethel, and Deputy Chief of Missions at the U.S. Embassy, Dr. Brent Hardt.

Mr. Gaitor said that while fishing stocks have gone down, to a degree, the reason behind it is unclear.

"There’s a lot of claims [about AUTEC and the environment] but I can’t deny or confirm them," he said.

28 April 2006

April 28, 2006 | 11:20 AM Comments  {num} comments

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Dead Whales: Environmentalists Invitation To Atlantic Undersea Testing and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) Meeting Rescinded
Related to country: Bahamas


Local Activists’ Invitation To AUTEC Meeting Rescinded:

By Erica Wells
Nassau, Bahamas:


Local environmentalists Sam Duncombe and Margo Blackwell will not be attending today’s much-anticipated meeting between AUTEC and government officials after their invitation was withdrawn late yesterday.

In a letter from an official at the Department of Marine Resources, Mrs. Duncombe and Mrs. Blackwell were informed that the "invitation previously extended to you…has to be rescinded."

Mrs. Duncombe, founder of Re-Earth, told The Bahama Journal last night that while she was disappointed, she was not surprised by the news she received just before 7 p.m. yesterday, as Marine Resources Minister Leslie Miller told MPs in the House of Assembly about the team that would be travelling with him to Andros for the meeting.

Mrs. Duncombe was expecting to travel to Andros today at 8 a.m. Mrs. Blackwell, the director of the Bahamas Environmental Research Centre in Stainard Creek, lives in Andros.

The meeting was called after the death of a second whale in Andros in just over a month sparked calls for a stop to all testing in the Tongue of the Ocean until it could be determined if testing at the U.S. military base on the island had anything to do with the deaths.

Mr. Miller requested the meeting after the discovery of the second dead whale, on Big Wood Cay, and since then a third whale was found dead in the same area, not far from the AUTEC base.

The deaths have become a major issue for Andros residents, whose concerns will not be represented in person at today’s meeting but are being confirmed by environmentalists outside of the country.

According to a U.S. marine mammal expert, the probability is "high" that the recent whale deaths in Andros were related to human-produced noise in the ocean, such as sonar testing.

Dr. Marsha Green, president and founder of the Ocean Mammal Institute, said she had come to that conclusion because of the species involved and the spacing out of the strandings in space and time, and based on data from around the world and conclusions reached by the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission.

Dr. Green was referring to the three whale deaths – a sperm whale and two beaked whales -in Andros since late February, near the AUTEC base on the island.

"The characteristics of noise induced strandings include the species that strands," Dr. Green, who holds a doctorate in animal behaviour, explained to The Bahama Journal in an interview.

"Beaked whales seem to be the most sensitive to noise but other deep diving whales, such as sperm whales, are also at risk. Other species have also stranded but beaked whales are especially suspicious."

Dr. Green has been conducting research on the impact of human behaviour on humpback whales and spinner dolphins in Hawaii. She has gained international recognition for her ground breaking studies linking human compassion with scientific field research to benefit whales, dolphins and their environment, according to OMI’s website.

The doctor also pointed out that noise induced strandings usually result in more than one species being involved in the stranding and the strandings are often spread out over time and space.

"That is, not all the bodies strand at the same time. Animals can be injured and swim for days before stranding. Some most likely die at sea," she said.

However, AUTEC insists that there is no scientific evidence linking its testing to the whale deaths and every effort is taken to protect the marine environment.

Dr. Green made specific note that a Navy commissioned group of experts concluded that "the evidence of sonar causation is, in our opinion, completely convincing and that therefore there is a serious issue of how best to avoid/minimise future beaching events."

She said that AUTEC should be asked to comply with U.S. law, in terms of getting permits for exercises and in terms of using the best available mitigation procedures to avoid harming marine life.

"It appears that the Navy has not been complying with U.S. law and that has to change," said Dr. Green. "It also appears that they did not do an Environmental Impact Statement before they developed the shallow water testing range, [located in the Berry Islands]."

As it relates to the effects of ocean noise on humans and other sea life, Dr. Green pointed out that the navy’s own tests of noise exposure to humans showed that one navy diver had serious seizures after the tests.

There were also reports of civilians who were in the water and heard sonar sounds and said their lungs started vibrating and they became disoriented, she said.

According to Dr. Green, impact on other sea life include dolphin strandings, reports from fishermen in England and elsewhere that sonar use decreases their fish catch rate [as does the use of air guns, which has similar intensity to sonar] and giant squid have had exploded organs in an area where air guns are being used.

Dr. Green will be in Nassau on May 22 for a town meeting at the College of The Bahamas, and will hold a second meeting with Andros residents on May 23.

Today’s meeting at AUTEC will also include the ministers of foreign affairs, health and environment, along with representatives of the BEST Commission, and is expected to be followed by a press briefing.

27 April 2006

April 27, 2006 | 10:38 AM Comments  {num} comments

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) a U.S. Action Group - Helps In Andros Island Dead Whales Controversy
Related to country: Bahamas


U.S. Action Group Helps In Andros Whale Controversy:

By Erica Wells -
Nassau, Bahamas:


Environmentalists and Andros residents who are calling for a stop to all testing in the Tongue of the Ocean are now receiving "significant" assistance from an environmental action organisation out of the U.S. in their push to learn what is behind three whale deaths in the area in less than two months.

The National Resource Defense Council, which helped New Providence residents stop a multi-million dollar gated community development at the historic site at Clifton Cay in the late 1990s, is helping local activists gather the information needed to understand the issues surrounding marine mammal strandings and the causes, said Margo Blackwell, director of the Bahamas Environmental Research Centre in Andros.

With this information, activists hope to improve their chances of learning if testing at AUTEC has anything to do with the string of whale deaths in Andros.

"[The information] outlines the Navy’s responsibility and it also outlines the mammal deaths that have taken place in the same time frame, mass stranding that have occurred around the world and it shows the connection with military operations at that time," Mrs. Blackwell said.

Also featured prominently in the report from NRDC are the 2000 whale and dolphin strandings in Abaco, which marked one of the first times the U.S. Navy admitted that sonar testing was behind such an incident.

While residents report that whales have been washing ashore on Andros since the late 1960s, the first of the most recent strandings occurred in late February, when a 41-ft long sperm whale washed ashore at Behring Point, in sight of the AUTEC base. Weeks later, a beaked whale was found dead at Big Wood Cay - 10 miles south of February’s stranding – and days later another beaked whale washed ashore in the same area.

Two dead whales were also found in the Abacos over the same time period - an unidentified species of whale near Grand Cay, and a 20-ft sperm whale at Treasure Cay.

While the U.S. Embassy insists that there is no scientific evidence linking the whale deaths to specific testing at AUTEC and have emphasised that activities at the base are not harming the environment, fisheries experts are concerned that the strandings are happening too frequently in the same area to be a coincidence.

Tomorrow, a much-anticipated meeting will be held between AUTEC and Bahamian government officials at the base in Andros; however, residents fear that their concerns will not be represented.

"There needs to be some representation from Andros. I’m still waiting to see what is going to happen and who [makes up the team] that has been picked to go to AUTEC," said Mrs. Blackwell.

"There is a major concern on Andros that this be taken seriously and not be business as usual."

In the meantime, residents have organised their own meeting, for 7 o’clock tonight at Behring Point, where Mrs. Blackwell will share information about whales, sonar testing and ocean noise, and how that affects mammals and fish, "so they can understand what are some of the issues that will be dealt with, with AUTEC and the government."

"It will be a discussion, information and education sharing process, and will deal with what kinds of answers people want to have to their questions," said Mrs. Blackwell.

"I haven’t met anyone who is not prepared to see this as something serious and [feel] that their voices need to be heard."

It is very clear that the burden of proof, as it relates to what is causing these deaths, rests on the Navy and AUTEC, she said.

Mrs. Blackwell said that while she has been told by Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Leslie Miller that she has been invited to the meeting, she has yet to be contacted officially, adding that if residents are not represented at Thursday’s meeting there will be "further action."

Mr. Miller, along with Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell, Health Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage and Environment Minister Dr. Marcus Bethel, along with a representative from the BEST Commission and environmentalist Sam Duncombe, are expected to attend tomorrow’s meeting.

Mrs. Blackwell also took the opportunity to strongly deny the perception that activists are out to "shut down AUTEC."

"The issue is not about shutting down AUTEC," she said. "It’s about having responsible and environmentally sound programmes in place [at the base]. And it’s for us to have an opportunity to understand what work they do and to know and be able to check for ourselves that in fact they are doing it in a responsible way."

26 April 2006

April 26, 2006 | 10:33 AM Comments  {num} comments

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