Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | July 29, 2015

What Is A Blue Moon?

Full moon of March 19, 2011

We all understand that the phrase,
Once in a blue moon,” refers to a rare event. But what exactly is a Blue Moon?

This Friday July 31 will be a Blue Moon. What does that mean?

Blue Moon was once defined in such a complicated astronomical manner that it was practically impossible to decipher. But the modern meaning for Blue Moon is that it is the second full moon of a calendar month.

Typically calendar months have a single full moon. But July 2015 had a full moon on July 2 and will have a second full moon, called a Blue Moon, in two days on July 31.

Sometimes Blue Moon refers to an “extra moon,” such as the 13th full moon of a calendar year. Also, the third full moon of a season which has four can be called a Blue Moon; the first, second, and fourth (last) are regarded as the regular full moons of the season, and the third one is considered the extra or blue moon.

Today a Blue Moon has nothing to do with the color Blue. Blue moons are usually grayish white in color, just like normal full moons.

However, on rare occasions the moon does look blue. This is likely the origin of the centuries-old expression “once in a blue moon” to mean a rare event. The rare blue color is caused by unusual atmospheric interference.

Map showing Krakatoa in the Sunda Strait
between Java and Sumatra

Krakatoa Turns Moon Blue

The Indonesian volcano Krakatoa blew in 1883 before earthquake magnitudes were measured, but it’s estimated to be of magnitude 8.8 – 9.2, one of the largest ever. Surges were recorded on tide gauges 6,000 miles away in Alaska and 11,000 miles away in the English Channel. The explosion is believed to be the loudest sound ever heard in modern history. People reported hearing it 3,000 miles away.

Following the Krakatoa explosion, the moon looked blue for many days. Clouds of volcanic ash ascended through earth’s atmosphere and acted as a blue filter, turning the moon “blue.”

Many volcanic ash particles are 1 micron (=0.001 mm) across. This is about the wavelength of red light, so red light was blocked and scattered by the Krakatoa ash. The ash clouds acted as a filter by only allowing blue light of much shorter wavelength to get through, thereby making the moon look blue.

Huge forest fires can have the same effect on the appearance of the moon.

Sometimes when the moon is low on the horizon it looks red. Tiny droplets in the atmosphere, much smaller than a micron across, scatter the blue light but let the red through. Red-color moons are much more common than blue-color moons.

Friday’s Blue Moon will hit its peak fullness around 6:42 am EDT Friday morning. So you can get a good view of it either Thursday night or Friday night. Look for it above the eastern horizon just after sunset. During the night, it will cross the southern sky to set on the western horizon at sunrise.

The last Blue Moon was August 31, 2012. The next few Blue Moons will be January 31, 2018, March 31, 2018, and October 31, 2020.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Have you ever seen a bluish-colored moon? Do you know what caused it?
  2. Why does earth have a moon? Of what benefit is it?
  3. How would life be different without the moon?
  4. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday July 29, 2015 A.D.

It is the Lord of hosts who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding He stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 51:15)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | July 22, 2015

Is There Alien Life in Space?

20100806-Alien Imagination

The notion that life exists in galaxies far, far away has long intrigued mankind. This speculation has led to numerous science-fiction movies, TV shows, and books. Could it be true?

Will scientists ever find actual hard evidence of alien life in space? A mammoth new effort is now underway to answer this question.

World-famous British physicist Stephen Hawking and billionaire Russian Internet entrepreneur Yuri Milner announced a $100 million 10-year project to determine if intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe. In London, England, on Monday July 20, 2015, Hawking and Milner unveiled their Breakthrough Listen project at The Royal Society (the United Kingdom’s national academy of science).

A third of the money will be used to investigate the million stars closest to earth. These funds will pay for 20% of the observing time on the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the CSIRO Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia.

Another third of the money will be used to build new equipment, and the remaining third will pay astronomers.

Hawking said,

“There is no bigger question. It’s time to commit to finding the answer — to search for life beyond Earth. We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know.”
(Stephen Hawking announces biggest ever probe into alien life, USA Today, 7/20/2015)

Milner also announced Breakthrough Message. This is a $1 million competition to create messages to send out to potential civilizations of alien life forms.

Jupiter and its 4 Galilean Moons (top to bottom): Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto

Jupiter and its 4 Galilean Moons
Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto
(from top to bottom)

Life on Moons?

Some people speculate there may be life on moons of our solar system, particularly on Europa and Enceladus, because both have water.

Europa is the sixth-innermost moon of Jupiter, the sun’s largest planet. It’s the smallest of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons, which were all discovered by Galileo in 1610. Slightly smaller than earth’s moon, Europa has an icy surface and an oxygen atmosphere.

Jupiter has 62 moons, but the Galilean moons are the four largest. One of them, Ganymede, is the largest moon in the solar system. Earth’s moon is fifth in size.

Enceladus was discovered by William Herschel in 1789. It is the sixth-largest and ninth-innermost moon of Saturn and contains water and carbon. Saturn’s largest moon Titan is often proposed as a location for life also; it’s the solar system’s second-largest moon.

No definite evidence of life has been found on any moons in the solar system, however.

From Where Did Life Come?

Panspermia is the speculative belief that life originated in outer space and was seeded on Earth and other astral bodies by comets, asteroids, and meteorites. Proponents overlook that panspermia, literally “seeding everywhere,” does not explain the origin of life. It just moves the problem elsewhere in the universe.

Senior astronomer Seth Shostak from California’s SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) speculated: “Maybe life was seeded on earth – it developed on comets for example, and just landed here when these things were hitting the very early Earth. It would suggest, well, life didn’t really begin on the Earth, it began as the solar system was forming.”

The oft-repeated claim that life on earth was seeded from outer space is a worldview-generated belief, not a conclusion based on evidence. To date, there is absolutely no substantiation for it. There is no evidence for life originating in space, nor any evidence that life on earth was seeded from space. It’s simply a belief.

Another popular explanation for life is abiogenesis, the belief that life arose spontaneously from non-life. No evidence supports this belief either. It has never been observed to occur, and no explanation exists for how non-life could assemble and organize the vast amount of information needed for life. The information content in the DNA of a single human cell exceeds that of the Library of Congress.

Unregenerate man jumps at any non-Biblical explanation for life that comes along. Bereft of grounding in truth, he falls for anything, no matter how wild and unbelievable the explanation is.

Over the last half-century, thousands of meteorites have been rigorously examined for evidence of life – with no success.

Even if life is unquestionably proven to exist on a meteorite from space, this would prove neither abiogenesis nor panspermia. Nobody would have observed it arising from non-life, nor would we know its true origin.

Moreover, evidence of life on a space meteorite would not address these fundamental issues:
How did life’s inert building blocks initially originate?
How did they supposedly self-organize into living creatures?
How did the “spark of life” originate?
Where life began is very different from how life began.

Life From Earth

If remnants of life are someday discovered elsewhere in the solar system, it’s possible that they originally came from earth, rather than life on earth having come from them.

How could this be?
Genesis suggests a possibility: Noah’s Flood. Prior to the Flood there were huge subcrustal reservoirs of water (“the great deep,” Genesis 7:11). When Earth’s crust ruptured and “the fountains of the great deep burst open” with expulsive energy far surpassing that of volcanoes, bacteria-laden mud and water could have been propelled into space.

Thus its conceivable seeding could have been generated from Earth rather than vice-versa. If someday bacteria are found on meteorites, they could have originally come from Earth.

In fact, seeding by earth happens today. Scientists have found micro-organisms in earth’s upper atmosphere that floated up from earth on wind currents. From there they are pushed out into the solar system by the sun’s solar wind. As they pass by other planets like Mars, the planets’ gravitational attraction would pull some of earth’s micro-organisms to its surface.

Thus an earth-centered “reverse panspermia” is possible. Life goes out from earth into space, rather than coming to earth from space.

Waste of Money

Milner’s and Hawking’s Breakthrough Listen and Breakthrough Message projects are a huge waste of $101 million. Some ancillary benefits may be received from the research, but no evidence of extraterrestrial alien life will be found.

As many have said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And extraordinary evidence for extra-terrestrial physical life is totally absent. In fact, there’s not even any tentative evidence. I’m confident this new effort will not find any evidence, much less extraordinary evidence.

We know from the history book of the universe how life originated on earth, and it did not come on meteorites or comets from space. The Almighty created the universe and all life in six days about 6,000 years ago. And, according to the Genesis record, He created life directly on earth, not out in space.

There is no evidence that Yahweh created physical life anywhere else in the universe. With the exception of angelic spiritual beings, the life Yahweh created is on earth.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Why do you think people are so caught up in finding alien life in space?
  2. What evidence would be sufficient to convince you that there is alien extra-terrestrial physical life in the universe?
  3. If you had an extra $101 million dollars to spend, how would you spend it?
  4. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday July 22, 2015 A.D.

It is the Lord of hosts who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding He stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 51:15)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | July 15, 2015

What Are These Iron Relics?

Relic 1

The two iron relics hooked together
as I found them

I found the pictured relics on a forest hike in Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula. They are solid iron and entirely covered with a thick coat of rust. What are the relics?

I found them in a heavily wooded area that was once home to a mammoth logging operation over a century ago. Nearby were two ancient log cabins. A few miles away is an operating stone quarry. For what were the relics used?

It appears as if one or both pieces could have been broken off from larger instruments, but I have even less idea of what those larger implements could be. What are these iron relics?

I have no idea what the relics were used for, but I am absolutely certain that they had a purpose and use. I am sure they were designed by someone.

Is it reasonable to believe that these solid iron relics were formed through the action of natural forces? Could wind or rain or earthquakes or floods or sunlight or storms have formed these two relics and hooked them together as in the first picture which shows how I found them?

Relic 2

The two iron relics separated

Obviously not. Nobody could truly believe that. Even though I have no idea of their purpose or from what they came, I know for certain that they were designed.

Now as can be seen from the pictures, these relics are fairly simple. They do not compare in complexity with a sextant, watch, or cellphone. And they are far simpler than any single organelle in a living cell or any organ of the human body.

Even though we have no idea who made these relics or for what they were used, it would be absurd to deny that a conscious, intelligent, intentional being designed them. If it is so obvious that these simple relics were designed, how can we deny that the much more complex structures of nature were designed?

Several years ago in a large country hardware store I saw a wall covered with old tools and implements of unknown purpose. A sign requested anyone knowing the purpose of any of the tools on the wall to please share that information. Dozens of tools hung on the wall, tools of completely unknown origin and use. Neither I nor any of the many men working in the store or passing through the store had any idea for what the implements were intended. Yet no one would deny that they were designed by someone for a specific purpose. (I wish now that I had taken a picture of the wall.)

Design is obvious; you don’t even need to know an object’s purpose to know that it was designed. And the existence of a design implies the existence of a designer.

The complexity of all of nature, including the amazing design of the human body, testifies to the Designer and Creator of the universe. He is Yahweh, the God of the Bible.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:18-23)

Questions to Ponder
  1. How do you think these iron relics were used?
  2. Were they part of a latching/locking mechanism for one of the log cabins, or were they artifacts from a logging or quarrying operation?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday July 15, 2015 A.D.

It is the Lord of hosts who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding He stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 51:15)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | July 8, 2015

Transformed by Fire

Notice the 5-foot-high stack of firewood pallets beyond the campfire.

Pallet Campfire
Note the 5-foot-high stack of firewood
pallets behind the campfire.

Firewood Pallets

Inspecting my firewood pallets at a campground.

Nails glowing in the fire

Nails glowing in the fire

Readers of this blog know that pallets are the primary source of firewood on our camping trips. I collect discarded pallets for free firewood. I enjoy cutting up pallets and watching them blaze.

Most pallets I rescue are made out of untreated hardwood, although a few are pine, cedar, or fir. Pallets make great firewood because the boards are dry and well-seasoned. Standard pallet construction facilitates air getting to the burning boards, so pallets burn vigorously with especially good flames. Stacking them cross-wise makes a great bonfire.
(See Not Every Wife Would Climb Into a Dumpster… for more about firewood pallets with pictures.)

Of course many of the nails that hold the pallets together end up in the fire. After the wood has burned away from the nails, the heat of the fire makes them glow a beautiful strong bright orange.

The intense heat of the fire has another effect on the nails which I discovered this year. It removes their temper. After being heated to a red-hot glow in the fire and allowed to cool, the nails are much softer and easier to bend than nails pulled from the pallet before burning.

S-Hooks Shaped from Nails

Some S-Hooks I shaped from nails

My wife has enjoyed using nails rescued the next day from the ashes to make artistic creations like mobiles. I pick the bigger ones out of the ashes and bend them into S-hooks which have many uses when camping.

Bending these nails for mobiles and S-hooks is much easier than using unfired nails for the same purpose. The S-hooks are still plenty strong.

In contemplating this, I saw a parallel with life.

Nails losing their temper in a fire is analogous to people being humbled through suffering. Yahweh sometimes uses suffering to remove stiff-necked pride. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in the 6th century BC is a good example:

All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’ Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. “But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever. … Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (Daniel 4:28-34, 37)

Baking iron nails in a fire till they glow red-hot softens them and destroys their temper. Likewise, Yahweh uses the trials, temptations, and stresses of life to bend His children into shape.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. … And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:18, 28)

So next time you are going through a trial, imagine yourself as a nail being heated in the fire. You are being “softened” so that the Creator can bend you into a more perfect instrument.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Think of a situation where you felt like a “fired nail.” How did it affect your character?
  2. What Scriptures have challenged you regarding the purpose of life’s trials and sufferings?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Bible-Science Guy logo

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday July 8, 2015 A.D.

It is the Lord of hosts who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding He stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 51:15)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | July 1, 2015

Rejected Fawn Is a Star

Dragon

Dragon

Rudolph the legendary red-nosed reindeer, immortalized by Gene Autry in 1949, is not the only deer to experience rejection. Dragon, a white-faced deer, may not go down in history like Rudolph, but he was rejected by his mother and is now attracting attention in Michigan.

Bunny, a piebald whitetail deer, birthed male twin fawns the end of May. She immediately started stomping on one of them trying to kill it. Ranch co-owner Hilary Powell rescued the fawn before the doe could kill it.

The Powells named the fawn Dragon. At two weeks of age Dragon was the star of a fascinating wildlife tour when we visited Deer Tracks Junction in Cedar Springs, Michigan on one of our camping trips. Deer Tracks Junction is a working ranch and animal preserve.

Dragon is a handsome animal with completely milk-white face, legs, and underside. He has sparkling blue eyes and a pink nose.

DeerTracksJuncSign

Piebald deer like Bunny and Dragon have a genetic defect that produces large white areas on the coat. The defect occurs in less than 1 percent of whitetail deer. In addition to white patches, the piebald genetic defect often causes impaired vision, hearing, and kidney function. Dragon is deaf.

Bunny rejected Dragon immediately after birth and tried to stomp him to death. You can still see one of the doe’s hoof marks on the fawn’s hide.

In the wild, does typically kill piebald fawns. Their white coloring keeps them from blending with foliage when trying to hide. The mother doe instinctively does not waste resources on a fawn that won’t make it.

We saw Dragon on our tour, and I even fed him goat milk from a bottle.

BibleScienceGuy feeds Dragon

BibleScienceGuy feeds Dragon

We saw fawns that had been born that very morning along with numerous does and bucks.

It was interesting to spot newborn fawns hidden in grass beds as we drove through the ranch. Fawns have no smell for two weeks. Predators that happen across them will ignore them since they are odorless.

Tiny fawns are often assumed to be abandoned when humans see them lying alone. Actually, the mother is simply keeping her distance except for nursing intervals, so that her scent is not picked up by the fawn, thus spoiling its “imperceptibility” if it were no longer scentless.

The petting farm portion of Deer Tracks Junction is a bargain at $3, or if you take the wildlife tour, the petting farm is included in the $11 admission for the tour.

BibleScienceGuy pets mini-pigs

BibleScienceGuy pets mini-pigs

The petting farm has goats, mini-donkeys, bunnies, pigs, and chickens.

The petting farm buildings and grounds include many innovative play areas and challenging climbing elements, to keep active youngsters intrigued. The vintage ranch theme is beautifully executed, with each creative element a feast for the eyes plus clean and comfortable besides. Everything has been designed and built by the Powell family working together.

On the ranch tour we saw elk, Tibetan yaks, reindeer, and some 150 whitetail deer from multiple generations.

The deer eagerly ate maple leaves and twigs from our hands. They switch to oak in the fall to clean our their digestive tracts as oak has an antibiotic effect.

BSG Feeds Bull Elk by Hand

BSG feeds bull elk by hand

Yaks are males and the female is called a nak. So if you are visiting Tibet and someone asks you to milk a yak, you can tell them you don’t have the knack!

We saw bull and doe reindeer, both with impressive racks. Reindeer are the only deer where both males and females sport antlers.

I fed some of the majestic bull elks double handfuls of oats. They snarfed it out of my hands faster than I can eat a spoonful of oatmeal!

I felt the velvet on the elks’ huge racks. In the fall during rutting season you cannot get near the bulls to feed or touch them. They are extremely aggressive and fight constantly.

BSG-Elk Antler Velvet

BSG feels velvet on elk antlers

I also held last year’s antlers from one of the prize bulls. Each antler weighed about 20 lbs.

Every spring the whitetail deer produce about 100 fawns, most of which are sold when old enough.

The ranch also makes money off their champion bull elks. A single straw of elk semen, which will impregnate one doe, ranges from $100 to $22,000 depending on the quality. You can get 150 straws from a bull in a single annual draw.

Why do people have to buy elk semen to impregnate their elk does? Why haven’t scientists figured out by now how to make artificial elk sperm?

BSG-Elk Antlers

BSG holds 40 lbs of elk antlers

The complexity of a sperm cell is far beyond man’s ability to thoroughly understand, much less replicate.

How could such extreme complexity have evolved through random genetic mistakes, all the while remaining functional and improving at each step?

Is it believable that the female’s equipment and egg cell evolved continually in sync with the male?

Evolution is just too unbelievable for a logical person to believe. There must be an intelligent Creator who is responsible for all that we see. He is the God of the Bible.

Stuffed Grizzly in DTJ lobby

Stuffed Grizzly in DTJ lobby

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Deer Tracks Junction. It was an up-close look at a small slice of Creation. The many marvels we saw megaphoned the glory and wisdom of the Almighty.

I recommend Deer Tracks Junction for everyone, from small children to grandparents, as they have activities of interest for all ages.

They even have a delicious ice cream shop for those who just want to enjoy the stuffed animal displays in the lobby. These exhibits include bears, lions, water buffalo, and more in active poses.

Questions to Ponder
  1. What aspect of Creation do you think is most difficult to believe that it was not created but rather evolved?
  2. What is your opinion of preserving a genetically inferior animal through human intervention and bottle feeding? Should humans interfere when the parent seeks to execute defective animal offspring?
  3. It is legal to sell human sperm. What moral or ethical concerns does this raise in your mind?
  4. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Bible-Science Guy logo

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday July 1, 2015 A.D.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
(Job 12:7-10)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | June 24, 2015

Taunting Kepler

Squirrels and chipmunks are a common sight in our backyard. Gray squirrels, reddish brown squirrels, and black squirrels cavort in our yard along with darting chipmunks.

The backyard is also a romping ground for our 15-month-old Jack Russell terrier Kepler. We named our puppy for the Biblical creationist, mathematician, and astronomer Johann Kepler (1571-1630) who discovered the three Laws of Planetary Motion.

Sometimes this multi-use backyard is not serenely peaceful. The rodents love to taunt Kepler, staying just out of his reach in a tree or on the fence.

Kepler will intently watch these little playfellows through our sliding glass door. When released through the door, he will bolt straight out toward one. The rodents will perch just out of reach and chatter at him.

KeplerHoldsChipmunk

But one day last week a male chipmunk miscalculated. Kepler caught him!

Maybe the watching squirrels will learn a lesson and stop taunting him, but I doubt it!

Sadly, I did not get to watch Kepler demonstrate his God-given expertise. By the time we went out, it was all over. It surely happened as soon as Kepler went out the door after his morning meal.

The chipmunk was still quivering, so we knew Kepler had just caught it. We decided to let him eat it (to save a bit on dog food), but he was no longer hungry. He only carried it around the yard, dropping and picking it back up multiple times and pushing it around with his nose. Finally he buried it under grass clippings, leaves, and sticks.

Kepler noses his dead chipmunk

Kepler noses his dead chipmunk

We disposed of it. Later he searched and searched but couldn’t locate it. He’ll just have to catch himself another one.

Some may feel squeamish about what Kepler did, but Jack Russell terriers were bred to do exactly what Kepler did — catch and kill small game.

Kepler’s chipmunk kill is a result of Adam’s sin. Animals were not originally created to kill each other, but Yahweh cursed all of creation as a result of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
(Romans 8:20-22)

Eventually at the restoration of creation to its original state, the wolf will live and graze with the lamb without killing and eating it…and Kepler will play nicely with chipmunks and squirrels.
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little boy will lead them.
Also the cow and the bear will graze,
Their young will lie down together,
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra,
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.
(Isaiah 11:6-9)

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing
And her people for gladness.
I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people;
And there will no longer be heard in her
The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.
No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days,
Or an old man who does not live out his days;
For the youth will die at the age of one hundred
And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred
Will be thought accursed.
They will build houses and inhabit them;
They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They will not build and another inhabit,
They will not plant and another eat;
For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people,
And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.
They will not labor in vain,
Or bear children for calamity;
For they are the offspring of those blessed by the Lord,
And their descendants with them.
It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord.
(Isaiah 65:17-25)

Who taught Kepler how to catch chipmunks and squirrels? I have never taught or trained Kepler on how to catch them. The Creator built this capability into Kepler’s DNA. Imagine the complexity of that coding job! No human has any idea how to write that code in the DNA. This is another way in which little Kepler glorifies his Creator — by doing very well what he was well-designed to do.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Every creature glorifies its Creator. How does your favorite animal glorify the Creator?
  2. Have you felt the exhilaration of watching someone do just what they were created to do? Describe the occasion.
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the prequels on our puppy Kepler:
Why I Named Our Puppy “Kepler”
Kepler’s Kind
Kepler’s Lopsided Trade
Kepler’s Amazing Nose
Kepler’s Business Card
Kepler & the Psycho Squirrel

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday June 24, 2015 A.D.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
(Job 12:7-10)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | June 17, 2015

Invasive Species

Campground Naturalist Sam
Holds Unwanted Poster for a sea
lamprey. Note sea lamprey mouth
at lower right (click to enlarge).

Recently we attended a campground talk on invasive species in the Great Lakes. An invasive species is defined as a non-native species. Most are environmentally harmful, although this is not always the case.

Around a dozen invasive species inhabit the Great Lakes, but the talk focused on these five: sea lamprey, zebra mussel, Eurasian water-milfoil, Eurasian ruffe, round goby.

Five Invasives

The sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) is an eel-like jawless fish 12 to 20 inches long with a suction-cup mouth filled with sharp teeth. Sea lampreys are parasites. They attach to other fish, chewing a hole and sucking their blood. This “kiss of death” scars and often kills the host fish.

Fish have been found with as many as four lamprey suck-marks. During its lifetime a sea lamprey will kill over 40 pounds of fish.

Sea lampreys feed on salmon, lake trout, steelhead, whitefish, walleye, and lake sturgeon. They contributed to the collapse of the lake trout fishing industry on the Great Lakes.

Sea lampreys are native to the Atlantic Ocean, but they are now in all five Great Lakes and many tributaries. The greatest concentration is in northern Lake Huron. They entered the Great Lakes in the sea water ballast of freighters as did the other four invasives.

The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) is a fingernail-sized barnacle with alternating dark and light stripes on its shell. Zebra mussels grow in clusters that attach to hard surfaces. They clog water intake pipes and pumps at power plants and water treatment plants, costing millions of dollars annually.

The clusters also attach to boat motors, hulls, and dock pilings. They attach to native clams and mussels, and the accumulated weight of the cluster prevents the mussel from opening, thereby smothering it.

Zebra mussels wash up on beaches where their sharp shells cut people’s feet. Zebra mussels consume vast amounts of plankton which disrupts native food chains.

Zebras were first discovered in 1988 in Lake St. Clair. They have since spread to all the Great Lakes and many inland lakes and streams.

The Eurasian ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus) is a small brownish fish that will fit in a man’s hand. Sharp spines on its top and bottom fins discourage larger fish from eating them. The ruffe has a huge appetite and devours food normally eaten by native fish. Ruffe populations mushroom rapidly as they reproduce in their first year with females producing up to 200,000 eggs per season.

The round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) is a small bottom-dwelling fish with a big head and frog-like bulging eyes. Despite growing no longer than seven inches, it’s an aggressive fish which crowds out other native species. It takes over favored habitats, spawning grounds, and feeding areas from native species. They eat the eggs and young of other fish.

The round goby was first discovered around 1990 in the St. Clair River which runs from Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair. We were camping right on the St. Clair River when we learned about the round goby invading the river near where we sat.

Eurasian water-milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) is a water weed. With feathery leaves and long, stringy stems, EWM forms thick vegetation mats in lakes and rivers that block sunlight needed by native aquatic plants that provide food and shelter for fish. EWM chokes boat propellers thereby hindering boating, as well as swimming and fishing. EWM grows like a weed; from the tiniest plant fragment it can take over an entire inland lake. Plant control costs run to many millions of dollars annually.

When You Cross Jack Russell with Harley Davidson…

PorkchopMotorcycle

…you will get the invasive species pictured here that camped near us in the campground.

Pork Chop is the name of the Jack Russell terrier on the motorcycle. By definition he would be considered an invasive breed. The breed was developed in England by Parson Jack Russell to hunt small game and later imported to the U.S.

Pork Chop rides on the motorcycle as shown barking loudly for the whole trip. We could always tell when the owner left or returned to the campground — more by the barking than by the roar of the Harley. This particular 7-year-old dog from Louisville, KY got its name from stealing a pork chop off his owner’s plate.

Our Jack Russell terrier Kepler and Pork Chop became friends at the campground. Kepler watched his comings and goings on the motorcycle with keen interest.

The term “invasive species” is somewhat artificial. At creation, every species was invasive, yet none was harmful at that point. Every land species after Noah’s Flood was initially invasive.

Yahweh designed flora and fauna to reproduce after their own kind (Genesis 1:11-13,21-22,24-25). As they proliferate, life kinds will naturally spread out and invade new areas.

A more valuable designation than “invasive” is “environmentally harmful.” Many dog breeds have been developed overseas and imported to the U.S. They are invasive but not harmful.

Yahweh gave Adam oversight responsibility. So it’s appropriate for man to determine habitation bounds for species. However, I would make these judgments based not on whether or not a species is invasive (non-native), but rather on whether it’s harmful.
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28)

Questions to Ponder
  1. Have you experienced harmful effects from an invasive species, perhaps in your garden or landscaping?
  2. What are examples of beneficial invasive (non-native) species?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday June 17, 2015 A.D.

It is the Lord of hosts who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding He stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 51:15)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | June 10, 2015

Pulling Nails

The Bible-Science Guy pulling nails at a campground

The Bible-Science Guy pulling nails
at a campground

Regular readers of this blog know that we frequently go camping.

And you know that the primary firewood for our campfires is pallets.
(See Not Every Wife Would Climb Into a Dumpster… for more about firewood pallets with pictures.)

I enjoy cutting up the pallets for firewood or taking them apart to re-purpose the wood and nails for other projects.

Sometimes the sharp end of a nail on one side of a pallet board is quite bent and twisted. However, when I get a hold of the nail’s head on the other side of the pallet board with my claw hammer and pull it out, the extraction process mostly straightens out the nail as it is pulled back through the board.

In contemplating this, I saw a parallel with life.

Violently wrenching the nail back out of the board exerts pressures on the nail which mostly straighten it. Likewise, Yahweh uses the trials, temptations, and stresses of life to shape His children into perfection.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. … And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:18, 28)

So next time you are going through a trial, imagine yourself as a nail being pulled out of a board with a hammer’s claw at your neck. Take comfort that you are being straightened!

Questions to Ponder
  1. Think of a situation where you felt like a “pulled nail.” How did it affect your character?
  2. What Scriptures have challenged you regarding the purpose of life’s trials and sufferings?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday June 10, 2015 A.D.

It is the Lord of hosts who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding He stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 51:15)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | June 3, 2015

The Beautiful Mind

John Nash

Mathematician John F. Nash

Beautiful Mind mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr. (1928-2015) and his wife Alicia were killed when their taxi hit a guard rail and another car on the New Jersey turnpike on May 23.

They were only 20 minutes from home after an exhilarating trip to Norway where Nash had just been awarded the prestigious million-dollar Abel Prize for his work on nonlinear partial differential equations. He valued the Abel Prize even more than his earlier Nobel Prize.

The Abel Prize is often described as the “Nobel Prize for Mathematics.” It’s named for the Norwegian algebraist Niels Henrik Abel (1802–1829) who first proved that no algebraic formula exists for solving 5th degree and higher polynomial equations, like the quadratic formula solves 2nd degree equations. Abel also invented group theory which has wide applications throughout mathematics and physics.

In 1994 Nash won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his 1950 Ph.D. dissertation in game theory (on the mathematics of decision-making) which is now a cornerstone of modern economic theory. He made seminal contributions to cryptography, algebraic geometry, differential geometry, and partial differential equations. His results are used in many fields including economics, computer science, artificial intelligence, accounting, politics, and military theory.

John & Alicia Nash

John & Alicia Nash
Reception honoring Nash for the Abel Prize
March 25, 2015 at Princeton University

I remember studying some of Nash’s research papers in grad school, particularly the Nash Embedding Theorem on embedding manifolds in Euclidean space.

When he died Nash was a senior research mathematician at Princeton University. The 2001 movie A Beautiful Mind starring Russell Crowe told his life story based on the 1998 book of the same title by Sylvia Nasar.

Nash suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. He began to recover with the help of Alicia and friends when he decided to reject delusional thinking:

“I spent times of the order of five to eight months in hospitals in New Jersey, always on an involuntary basis and always attempting a legal argument for release. And it did happen that when I had been long enough hospitalized that I would finally renounce my delusional hypotheses and revert to thinking of myself as a human of more conventional circumstances and return to mathematical research. In these interludes of, as it were, enforced rationality, I did succeed in doing some respectable mathematical research. … Gradually I began to intellectually reject some of the delusionally influenced lines of thinking which had been characteristic of my orientation. This began, most recognizably, with the rejection of politically-oriented thinking as essentially a hopeless waste of intellectual effort. So at the present time I seem to be thinking rationally again in the style that is characteristic of scientists.”
(Nash, Nobel Prize Autobiographical Essay, 1994.)

Schizophrenia is a devastating and complex affliction. Most with this diagnosis must seek multiple approaches to treatment, and in God’s mercy many do find improvement.

Although John Nash’s journey to mental stability is not typical, all of us can learn a lesson from it. Especially significant is Nash’s recovery through rejecting “delusional thinking.” The lesson is that it is essential to control one’s thinking. The Bible instructs us to think correctly and to meditate on the proper subjects. The Apostle Paul tells us what to think about:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think on these things. (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭8‬)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭2‬)

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither. And in whatever he does, he prospers. (‭Psalm‬ ‭1‬:‭1-3‬)

The Bible also specifically instructs us to reject what does not match eternal realities and the truth of Christ.
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10‬:‭5‬)

Nash Lecturing in Germany

Nash Lecturing in Germany in Jan 2010

How can each of us have a truly Beautiful Mind?
Regularly read and meditate on God’s Word. Think on what is true, right, pure, and lovely. Think about things of good repute, excellence, and praise.

The deaths of John and Alicia Nash are tragic, and we mourn their passing. It is also sobering to face the fragile impermanence of even this beautifully brilliant mind.
The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are a mere breath. (‭Psalms‬ ‭94‬:‭11‬)

In contrast, contemplating the Eternal One Who created Nash’s beautiful mind and everything it studied, awestruck worship is the only rational response!
How great are Your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep….You, O LORD, are on high forever. (‭Psalms‬ ‭92‬:‭5, 8‬)

Questions to Ponder
  1. What false ideas are influencing you today?
  2. What specific step can you take in the next hour to develop God’s kind of Beautiful Mind?
  3. What Scriptures have challenged you on the issue of godliness in mental processes?
  4. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday June 3, 2015 A.D.

It is the Lord of hosts who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding He stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 51:15)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | May 27, 2015

Mystery Structure Casts Doubt on Evolution

Look at this picture. What in the world could it be?
See if you have any ideas, before reading the answer below the picture.

Even if you have no idea what this picture is, you probably recognize design and purpose in the hardware components pictured here.

From what assembly do you think this hardware came?

Scientists and non-scientists alike recognize design in these components, even if they don’t know the purpose. Yet inexplicably evolutionary scientists look at DNA, and they conclude DNA was not deliberately designed by an intelligent agent, but rather developed accidentally through random natural processes!

How can someone recognize intelligent design in one of the simple brackets in the picture but refuse to see it in the most complex information system in the universe (DNA)?

On a recent camping trip I rescued an assembly that someone had discarded. The structure had lots of well-seasoned wood that I planned to use for firewood as well as components I planned to re-purpose for other projects.

What was the mystery structure that I rescued and re-purposed whose hardware components are pictured above?

I completely disassembled the structure in order to make it easier to burn and free up the pieces and hardware I wanted. As I did so, I was impressed with how complex the entire mechanism was, and how many creative ideas were needed to construct such a useful device.

So what was the mystery structure that I rescued and re-purposed?

. . .

It was a ceiling trapdoor with a fold-down attic ladder.

Open Attic Ladder

Open Attic Ladder

The picture above shows most of the hardware that I removed from the ladder assembly. The pictured hardware plus lots of screws, nails, rivets, and rods and many precisely shaped wooden pieces made up the fold-down attic ladder.

Now imagine throwing some taconite (iron ore) and logs into a huge cement mixer and let it churn and tumble for a million years. Will it ever produce the components needed for an attic ladder assembly?

Obviously not. An intelligent creator is needed to properly shape all the components.
(By the way, no one alive today can design and build a machine that will work for a million years.)

Suppose I give you a big boost and let you throw in the hardware in the picture and all the properly shaped boards and turn the mixer on. Will you ever get an attic ladder?

Obviously not. An intelligent creator is needed to fit the components together to accomplish the desired purpose for the assembly.

Now an attic ladder is trivial in complexity compared with a living cell which is itself elementary compared with a fully functioning organ like a liver, kidney, or brain. And one organ is much simpler than an entire living animal or human.

So why believe that a cell, organ, or organism can develop itself accidentally?

If you can’t get an attic ladder with a cement mixer, then you certainly can’t get a living being through evolution.

The attic ladder casts major doubt on the theory of molecules-to-man evolution.

There must be an intelligent designer for life. Who is it?

The Intelligent Designer is Yahweh, the Creator God of the Bible.

Questions to Ponder
  1. What guesses did you come up with for the hardware in the mystery picture?
  2. Describe an occasion when you came across a tool, device, or mechanism for which you did not know the purpose, but you were certain it was designed by someone.
  3. How do your unbelieving friends explain away obvious design in nature?
  4. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday May 27, 2015 A.D.

It is the Lord of hosts who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding He stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 51:15)

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