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News

Saturday Selections - March 16, 2019

Turning pro-choicers into pro-lifers in seconds? (2 min)

Ray Comfort has another 30-minute pro-life film, coming out on May 9. It will be freely available on Youtube then, though you can download it now for $20 here to help fund it. Check out the trailer below!

Beyond bias: 3 strikes on the New York Times

It used to be that, as much as we knew the mainstream media spun the facts, we counted on them not to manufacture them. However, as this short article from Marvin Olasky reveals, now even the venerable Gray Lady, the New York Times, has gotten ridiculously unreliable.

Parents: peace is not the absence of conflict

While it isn't always possible to be free of conflict, we can show our children how peace can still be had.

Has bioluminescence evolved 40-50 times?

Bioluminescence is the light that comes from living things, and it can be found in creatures as diverse as spiders, fish, fireflies, squid, and even mushrooms. This is a problem for evolution, where common traits are often presented as evidence of common descent – creatures who share a trait are thought to have descended from a common ancestor, maybe millions of years ago, who first had that trait. But no one thinks mushrooms and squids had a common glowing ancestor. So does that mean bioluminescence evolved many times over? That would be remarkable!

Meanwhile, creationists see common traits as indicators of a common Designer who knows what works, and thus uses these traits repeatedly.

Is Social Justice just?

In this book review, Denny Burk shares how social justice practitioners have:

"...left behind a liberal ideal of justice for the illiberal ideal of retributive and distributive justice. Retributive justice involves punitive social action against historically privileged groups while distributive justice requires redistribution of goods and capital to historically oppressed groups."

In contrast to this group-focused social justice, Christian justice involves treating people not as groups, but individually, without partiality for rich or poor, black or white, man or woman, etc (Lev. 19:15, Deut. 1:16-17, Gal. 3:28).

Real men rise early (4 min)

David Murray offers men practical advice in his Christian Man Academy, this time focussing on the benefits of a set morning routine.

News

Saturday Selections – Feb. 2, 2019

New government regulations shut down church program feeding the homeless Everyone understands that because government laws impact thousands and even millions, the government won't be able to anticipate all the consequences their laws will have...like shutting down a mission that fed homeless people. But why don't we see those unforeseen consequences – those unanticipated harms – as a reason for the government not to make many laws? Homeschooling parents in Germany lose right to educate their children Parental rights aren't just fragile in Germany (and Alberta and BC, etc.). Many attacks are government-led, but this past month a social media campaign was begun to #ExposeChristianSchools, asking people to share their horrible experiences in Christian schools. However, as WORLD magazine's Laura Edghill shares, Christians took the opportunity to "expose" the wonderful and caring education they received. Reformed seminary president is now NFL coach Many are happy that a sincere, Reformed, and very public, Christian is now the coach of the Indianapolis Colts. But this former Reformed seminary president is also very publicly working on Sunday, and what message does that send? When your child is disobedient... When a child sins, parents often deal with just the immediate act. But sin is a process and parents need to deal with how our child got there in the first place. Here's how to tell if scientists are exaggerating If they can't explain simpler things, then we have no reason to believe scientists when they say they've got something far more complicated all figured out. What is money? (1 hour) If you've ever wondered what money is, and how it gets its value, this 1-hour documentary will be intriguing. It is funded by Steve Forbes, a gold-standard proponent, and while it allows opponents to be heard, that bias does come out. You can watch the trailer below, and the whole documentary here. ...

News

The leading cause of death in the world

The leading cause of death in 2018 was not heart disease or stroke or AIDS or cancer or traffic accidents. In a Dec. 31starticle, Brietbart.com’s Thomas D. Williams, reported that: There were more deaths from abortion in 2018 than all deaths from cancer, malaria, HIV/AIDS, smoking, alcohol, and traffic accidents combined. Williams, using numbers from the World Health Organization (WHO) and from Worldometers, reported that while 8 million people died from cancer, and 5 million from smoking, 41.9 million died from abortions. The fact-checking, and left-leaning website Snopes.com questioned Williams’ abortion numbers, but not in the way you might have expected. They noted his figure was probably much too low – in the most recent data they could find WHO reported an average of 56 million abortions annually. While there are government initiatives to reduce deaths by traffic accidents, and there are celebrity-led campaigns to fight AIDS and cancer, there is nothing comparable for abortion. In fact, instead of trying to lower the number of deaths via abortion, the world is now encouraging the celebration of those deaths. And yet when we look at WHO's 2016 list of the top ten causes of death, abortion kills more than all ten combined. So if fighting abortion deaths isn't a priority in the world it must be among Christians. Reformed blogger Samuel Sey made a similar point about Canada. In his November 9 post on his blog SlowToWrite.com he noted: 370, 000 Canadians die a year – 100,000 of them die from abortion....Every year, 100,000 babies in Canada are ripped apart, limb-by-limb, from their mother’s womb. Abortion is the most grotesque and widespread human rights violation of our time. Its the leading cause of death in Canada and America. And that won’t change unless Christians like you and me become the leading cause for its abolition....

Economics, News

The $33/hr minimum wage?

As of January 1, the minimum wage in New York City was boosted to $15 an hour, a more than doubling of the $7.25 minimum wage of just six years ago. Three days later The New York Times published a piece with the provocative title: The $15 Minimum Wage Is Here. Why We Need $33 an Hour. Author Ginia Bellafante didn’t exactly demand $33 as a new minimum wage or at least didn’t set a timetable to reach that number. She did argue that the new $15 minimum wouldn’t do much to meet New York City workers’ needs and “the war” for an adequate living wage had to continue. Bellafante cited a report by New York’s largest food bank, City Harvest, which calculated that a “single parent with two school-age children…would need to make nearly $69,427 a year” which works out “an hourly wage of just under $33.” But is need a good basis for a minimum wage? If a single mom needs $33, a married couple with two kids could get by with just half that. So maybe $15 is a good number after all? But then what of that single mom? And what if, instead of just two kids, she had four? Then she would need a lot more than just $33, so should we be looking at a $50 minimum wage, or even higher? If you see a problem with that idea, you’re recognizing something that many minimum wage proponents do not – that the basis for wages isn’t employees’ needs. Consider our own buying habits. We don’t buy a car from Ford because Ford needs the money – that’s not a consideration. When we head to Safeway and find out that a dozen bagels are on sale for $5 we might buy them. But not at $10 a dozen – they aren’t worth that to us. So whether we buy them or not depends on what value they return to us for the money we have to hand over. It’s no different when employers buy labor. They aren’t buying our labor out of a charitable impulse – they are looking to get good value for their money. And like us, if something is overpriced, they aren’t going to buy. That’s why a minimum wage of $50 would be disastrous. Many of us aren’t worth $100,000 a year to an employer so if $50 were the minimum wage, we would be out of work. We would be unemployed because our labor was overpriced by government mandate. While $15 is a lot lower than $50, not everyone is worth that either. Unskilled workers might not be able to produce $10 or even $5 an hour of value, or at least not until their employer trains them. If the law says they have to be paid $15/hr that makes them unemployable. It may not even be the unskilled worker who pays the price. Take as example a business that employed high school students at minimum wage, and also employed a single mom who made a bit more. When the owner needed help running the business he began training the single mom to become a manager, and increased her salary to go along with the new responsibilities. Then the minimum wage went up and the owner had to increase the pay of all his high school students. That money had to come from somewhere and the end result was that the owner had to let his manager-in-training go, because he had to use her wages to pay the students. This government-mandated increase, legislated as a means of helping the poor, didn’t help her. High schoolers who had already been happy with their wage got more, but a single mom lost a good job. The government might have meant well, but they didn’t do well. There is a Christian case to make against the minimum wage and any number of verses could be cited. Prov. 14:31 tells us to be kind to the poor, and while that is the professed intent of the minimum wage, that is not its effect on the least skilled. Just as relevant is Prov. 27:14 which tells us that mere good intentions are not enough – we actually have to be kind. In the online discussions of this article Luke 6:31 was raised: "Do to others as you would have them do to you," as in employers should pay their employees what they would think fair, were their positions reversed. True enough, but this verse is applicable the other direction too. Don't want your job banned? Then don't ban other people's jobs. There are any number of reasons why someone might be happy to work for wages below a government-mandated minimum. Someone might want to work for free as an intern instead of spending thousands learning the same skills in university. Low-skilled or no-skilled workers might want to get a foot in the door so they can work their way up to higher paying positions. Some low-paying jobs have fringe benefits, like a parking lot attendant I knew who could do his university homework during his shift. Mentally handicapped people who can't do as much as others might still enjoy work. Elderly folks who can't move as quickly as they once did might appreciate a job that doesn't demand a high output. And students might prioritize flexible hours over big bucks. Do these sound like positions that need to be banned? Should it be the government's job to make working for less than $15 a crime? God warns against arrogance (Daniel 4:30) but when a government makes minimum wage laws it is making decisions for millions and presuming it can price the value of people's labor better than they can themselves, and better than individual employers can. Our governments are trying to manage our economy in a hands-on way that requires them to be near all-knowing and have miraculous powers. But they are not God, and they can not make everyone worth $15/hr. by government decree. In humility, our governments need to recognize that their powers and knowledge are limited, and they are simply not up to that task of running an economy. Is it any wonder, then, that God never asks them to? This article has been expanded by a couple of paragraphs to answer some of the questions the original version prompted. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Jan. 26, 2019

For C.S. Lewis geeks only A new introduction to The Screwtape Letters has been found, and it turns out this manuscript didn't first fall into Lewis's hands, but rather a far-travelling professor friend of his. The media botched the Covington Catholic story In one of the more outrageous bits of media bungling, a group of Catholic kids at the US March for Life were condemned as racists and bullies by a media mob that wasn't interested in hearing their side of the story. And as WORLD magazine's Megan Basham noted, Christians were just as quick to jump to judgment. Who owns a woman's body? It's not who you think. Abortion advocates will chant "My body! My choice!" and pro-lifers will counter "The unborn are not your body." But even pro-lifers have it only half right. "It's not fair!" Jay Younts explains that every child's (and many a parent's) desire to get what's coming to them "is to live like a fool, to live as if there were no God..." Dutch pastors face possible criminal investigation for signing Nashville Statement Dutch pastors are facing a public backlash after hundreds took a public stance for God's views on sex. Psalm 23 from the Corner Room ...

News

Saturday Selections – Jan. 12, 2019

Parents, should we pay our children to do their chores and homework? This isn't a specifically Christian article, but it makes a point worth considering. Teach your teen how to read their Bible Our kids need to be given some basic tools to be able to read and understand the Bible. Here's some practical and helpful tips on how to equip them. Are you helping your children to despise themselves? If we let our children get away with disobedience we are teaching them to hate wisdom... and also hate themselves. When we smile... We've all experienced the power of a smile to change the mood of a room - a chipper, cheerful dad home from work can lift up the whole house, and a happy mom, ready to tickle her pre-schooler, can change that little one's trajectory for the entire day. As this article details, smiles also seem to benefit the smiler too. The sheer scale of God's creation Voyager 2 just left our Solar System and it will take another 40,000 years to reach the next nearest star... The Corner Room's rendition of Psalm 119:33-40 Wow. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Jan. 5, 2019

Is our galaxy in the center of many others? This is a tentative finding that the Institute for Creation Research urges Christians to hold onto loosely, but the data suggests that the Earth, or at least our galaxy, is in a very special, central spot amongst many other galaxies. What we read in the Bible wouldn't lay out that it would have to be so, but considering the central role of Man in all of creation, it also wouldn't be surprising to us if our galaxy was centrally located. But it sure would be unexpected for evolutionists who think everything happened without planning and intention. Skip New Year's resolutions in 2019 – make a rule of life New Year's resolutions are often a very surface-oriented attempted fix to a more foundational issue - how are we going to intentionally live our lives to God's glory? Abortion was the leading cause of death in 2018 LifeNews.com is reporting that of the approximately 100 million deaths in the world last year, 40 million were due to abortion. In comparison, the next leading cause of death, cancer, killed 8 million. Children aren't optional The average American woman is having just 1.76 children in her lifetime and the Church is following the world's lead. Why Coke is now better than Pepsi In the wake of undercover videos showing US Planned Parenthood (PP) clinics selling baby body parts, major US companies have been cutting their support for PP. That includes Coke but not, according to the group 2nd Vote, Pepsi. (These are American findings - it could be different in Canada and elsewhere in the world.) No one knows how to make a pencil If we expect our government to manage the complexities of our economy, consider this: no one on earth knows how to make even a pencil. It's a simple everyday object that costs only pennies. And yet, as Milton Friedman explains below, the making of a pencil requires the cooperation of thousands, from different countries, who don't even speak the same languages, and "who might hate one other if they ever met." This is the genius of free trade – "the magic of the price system" – that something no individual knows how to make, can get produced anyway, by mass cooperation, and so efficiently it can be sold for a trifling sum. As Leanard Read once wrote: "Skeptics of the free market are forever asking, “Well, how would the free market attend to mail delivery? Education? Or, whatever?” a person can no more explain how the free market would attend to mail delivery than his great-grandfather could have explained how television could ever emerge from free market forces! Answer honestly: I don’t know; I never will know; no one will ever know." Just as no one knows how to make a pencil. And yet it happens! ...

News

Most overlooked articles of 2018

We've previously shared a Top-10 list of RP's most popular posts of 2018. While every article on that list was fantastic, not every fantastic article was on that list – in fact, some of 2018's best articles managed to fall through cracks in the Internet and get almost entirely overlooked. But because they deserved better we've gathered them up and are shining the spotlight on them one more time. Without further adieu, here are some of the best, overlooked articles of 2018. Very helpful book reviews 12 ways your phone is changing you We live in a very different world than just 10 years ago - always connected, and yet increasingly disconnected. How does a Christian live with suffering? It's a question we'll all ask at some point... Insightful, incredibly creative fiction Hamlet with a happy ending What if the author of the story wanted to save Hamlet and was willing to step into the story to do it? Report of a meeting that was never held As this first-century meeting makes clear, we can be confident the apostles didn't edit the Bible. On the origin of articles Some silly sorts think articles are designed, but, as this article makes plain, they aren't designed – they evolve! Parenting On reading together Reading with your children is a wonderful way to teach, encourage, and bond with them. Discipline or punishment When it comes to discipline and punishment, parents do you know which you should, and which you shouldn't, be doing? And do your children understand the difference too? Evangelism and apologetics I love apologetics Ray Comfort, on how apologetics and evangelism are not as complicated as we sometimes make them out to be. Disarming a name caller by asking them to explain their insult The quickest way to put a thoughtless critic in their place is to ask them to actually explain their criticism. Paul vs. James: Dealing with Bible difficulties and Dealing with the Bible's difficult texts Bible critics want to confound us with supposed difficulties and contradictions in the Bible. Here are a couple quick takes on how to respond in faith, and with confidence. Humor What is humor? In a world that's increasingly comedic, Christians need to know how to use humor to point to the Truth. And the first step involves seeing humor as God sees it. Insights from the Devil's dictionary The creator of the Devil's dictionary wasn't Christian, but, some of his definitions were hilariously insightful. The very best pro-life signs! Humor can be used as a weapon for Truth. Here are some great examples. BONUS: On economics, dating, and deformers G.K. Chesterton on the difference between reformers and deformers The rich get richer by making us all wealthier Faint heart never won fair maiden...

News

Saturday Selections - Dec. 29, 2018

Mutations show devolution, not evolution (3 min) Beneficial mutations do happen, but they happen via a loss of information. And such information-losing mutations offer no explanation for molecules-to-man type evolution. These beneficial mutations are, in fact, examples of devolution. Don't give your kids smartphones. Let them use yours. Tedd Tripp with one brilliant tip to help teach our children to navigate the online world. How to protect your kids in the online world An article, and 12-minute video, with tips like: "First, you are not primarily your kids’ friend. You’re their parent. So you should parent them." and "You bought the phone. You control the TV. You control the Internet. You set the boundaries in your house." The perils of banning "fake news" Do we really want governments, and social media companies like Facebook, becoming the arbitrators of free speech? That sort of cure could be far worse than the disease. Is 10,000 steps a day a magic number? Some thoughts on the 10,000 steps more and more of us are trying to get each day. What DNA duplication might look like (3 min) Watch this and consider how much thought and intention and creativity would be needed to design a complex robot that could replicate itself. ...

News

Saturday Selections - December 15, 2018

Merry Christmas from the moon On Dec. 24, 1968, three American astronauts, orbiting the moon for the first time ever, had an opportunity to give a Christmas address to one billion listening people. They chose to read Genesis 1. Using PragerU to engage the minds of your kids Tim Barnett on how, even though you won't agree with all PragerU's videos, you may find them absolutely fantastic 5-minute conversation-starters for you and your kids about things that matter. Your gut is wrong Our gut instinct is to downplay parts of the Bible that don't sound so pleasant to us, or, we suspect, to new listeners. "Jesus is the one and only way to God (John 14:6). The hearer’s gut reaction is: 'That can’t be right! It just feels wrong.' The question that soon follows is: 'Does that mean that all the other religions in the world are wrong?' When we reply 'yes,' the offense of our response can be felt." "Sadly we also see it in our churches amongst Christians. When we teach on some of those (supposedly) trickier passages, such as God’s good design for human sexuality and the role of men and women, the initial gut reaction is often anything but positive. It’s not that congregations want to openly rebel against God’s word, it’s just that 'it doesn’t feel right.'” Climate scientists aren't economists (and a few other obvious things we tend to forget) The Cornwall Alliance's E. Calvin Beisner (and National Review's Jonah Goldberg) on how, even if we were to grant that climate change is a problem, why would we think climate scientists know the best way forward? The New York Times reveals serious problems with Transgender Ideology The folks at Breakpoint highlight a Times article on the harmful natures of transgender surgeries. Was Jesus just a good teacher? Greg Koukl, channeling C.S. Lewis, with a short video perfect for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere, to help us talk about Jesus this season. ...

News, Science - General

Genetically-engineered babies have now been born

Human experimentation has been happening around the world for the past four decades, with research scientists actively carrying out experiments on human embryos. The stated objective, in usually something noble-sounding: to learn more about human biology, or to possibly treat some disease conditions. And while few scientists will admit to an interest in cloning people, or in actually producing genetically-altered individuals, this is the direction our society is heading. Indeed, modern society does not value unborn babies enough to protect them, and at the same time society is terribly afraid of genetic abnormalities. Under these conditions – little respect for unborn human life, and little respect for those with genetic abnormalities like Down syndrome – it would seem human cloning and gene alteration is inevitable. But it isn’t acceptable yet. That became clear when, on November 26, 2018, the scientific and medical world reacted in horror to the announcement by Dr. Jiankui He at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, that he had created modified human embryos. These embryos had been implanted in their mother, and in early November, twin baby girls had been born in China. This was a world-wide first – the first genetically-edited full-term human babies.  What happened Ever since the 1970s introduction of in vitro fertilization of human eggs with sperm outside the womb, the stage was set for scientists to experiment on such embryos. Many people, mindful of the special nature of humans at every level of development, protested against such work. Even some scientists were nervous about the implications of these experiments. However, for many, the concern was only that individuals damaged in laboratory experiments should not be allowed to develop to term. They were okay with the human experimentation – they just didn’t want these babies to be born. As a result, a general understanding was reached between ethicists and scientists, that no experiments on embryos would continue longer than 14 days – at this point these embryos were to be destroyed. The 14-day limit was chosen because it is at this point that the embryos begin to develop specialized tissues and thus becomes more obviously human (Nature July 5, 2018 p. 22). But as the experimentation has become more sophisticated, scientists have begun to promote the idea of a longer timeline for their investigations. Thus, a conference was held in May at Rice University at which 30 American scientists and ethicists discussed “whether and how to move the boundary” (Nature July 5, 2018 p. 22). About the same time, Nature magazine published an announcement concerning such research: “At present, many countries …prohibit culture beyond 14 days, a restriction that reflects the conclusions of the 1984 UK Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilization and Embryology (also known as the Warnock Report. Whether this rule should be relaxed is currently being debated” (May 3, 2018 p. 6, emphasis mine). Scientists are clearly seeking to relax the rules governing their studies. “Germ-line changes” Research on human embryos has continued worldwide since those early days. However, all parties once agreed that on no account should modified embryos be implanted into a mother and be allowed to develop. The reasons included society’s disapproval of experiments on people, but especially because such individuals would carry “germ-line changes.” Changes to most cells in the human body have no impact on future generations – these changes die with that individual. However, changes to the gametes (egg and sperm) are called germ-line changes because these modifications will be passed on to each subsequent generation. It is not that the scientists involved actually object to germ-line changes. The problem is that they want their results to be predictable and “safe.” Any uncertainties could lead to catastrophic results, ensuing hostile public opinion and big lawsuits. It would be far better to proceed cautiously. Thus, it is illegal in the US and many other countries to alter genes of human embryos or gametes. However, within the last decade, another new biomedical technology has appeared on the scene that has drastically streamlined gene editing in numerous organisms. The CRISPR-Cas9 technology has made gene editing much easier and much more precise.* Obviously, it was a mere matter of time before someone used this to try his hand at gene editing in human embryos. The scientific community offered no serious objections when Dr. Jiankui He of China presented an account of such work at a conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York during the spring of 2018. At this conference, Dr. He discussed the editing of embryos from seven couples. However, at that point, this man made no mention that any of these embryos had been implanted into their mothers. Dr. He “edits” babies to be HIV-resistant According to a Nov. 28 news item at Nature.com (David Cyranoski's "CRISPR-baby scientist fails to satisfy critics") Dr. He recruited couples in which the male was HIV positive but the female was normal. Individual sperm cells were washed to remove any viruses and the cells were injected into eggs along with CRISPR-Cas9 enzymes carrying a gene for resistance to HIV infection. A total of 30 fertilized embryos resulted of which 19 were deemed viable (able to live) and apparently healthy. These were tested for the CCR5 mutation which confers resistance to HIV infection. From one couple, two of four embryos tested positive for the mutation. One embryo carried the mutated gene on one chromosome and a normal gene on the other, while the other embryo carried the mutation on both maternal and paternal chromosomes. These embryos were implanted into the mother who successfully gave birth to twin baby girls early in November. No information was forthcoming on the fate of the other embryos, although Dr. He now says that another woman may be pregnant. The response of the scientific community has been shock and horror. But why are they so horrified? Is this not what they have been working towards? The scientific community is afraid because the risks of this procedure at this preliminary stage of research, are substantial. There are, at present, major questions as to whether the genetic modifications will actually have the desired effect. A well-known problem is that the CRISPR apparatus sometimes cuts the chromosomes at other places as well as/ or instead of the desired location. This off-target effect has been found to be a major problem in some studies. In addition, most genes are known to influence a number of seemingly unrelated traits. This phenomenon is called pleiotropic impact of one gene on other genes. These risks are particularly serious when we consider that these are germ-line changes, that will impact subsequent generations from this individual. Response The same Nov. 28 Nature.com news item declared: “Fears are now growing in the gene-editing community that He’s actions could stall the responsible development of gene editing in babies.” Indeed, a commentator on one website reflected that “if this experiment is unsuccessful or leads to complications later in life … set the field of gene therapy back years if not decades.” In view of these concerns, many individuals and medical and scientific institutions released statements expressing condemnation for this gene-editing work. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health in the United States, declared that the NIH “does not support the use of gene-editing technologies in human embryos.” The Chinese Academy of Sciences declared that Dr. He’s work “violates internationally accepted ethical principles regulating human experimentation and human rights law." A colleague and friend of Dr. He suggested that the gene-editing work lacked prudence, that it could, unfortunately, serve to create distrust in the public. Obviously, an important concern on the part of the scientists was that the promise of this technology not be rejected by the public. Dr. David Liu of Harvard and MIT’s Broad Institute (heavily involved in CRISPR research), insisted of He’s work: “It’s an appalling example of what not to do about a promising technology that has great potential to benefit society.” Dr. George Daley, dean of Harvard Medical School, summed up the feelings of many colleagues when he said: “It’s possible that the first instance came forward as a misstep, but that should not lead us to stick our heads in the sand and not consider more responsible pathway to clinical translation.” In other words, many scientists seek to continue to pursue the goals also sought by Dr. He, only the rest of them will proceed more slowly and carefully. Conclusion It is largely Christian objections to treating human embryos as things, rather than as persons (made in the image of God), that has led to the ethical rules that control this research. It is a vestige of our Judeo-Christian heritage which limits scientists from just doing whatever they want. They have to obtain permission from ethics committees to conduct their particular research program. Of course, Christians want to see this work made completely illegal, but if political realities make such a ban impossible, then we can still seek to restrict this work as much as possible. It is interesting that a news feature in Nature (July 5, 2018 p. 22) articulated the fascination and unease that some scientists derive from this work. Bioethicist Dr. Jennifer Johnston of the Hastings Center in upstate New York, reflected on the respect that the human embryo commands even in secular observers: “That feeling of wonder and awe reminds us that this is the earliest version of human beings and that’s why so many people have moral misgivings …..  It reminds us that this is not just a couple of cells in a dish.” Are there any good results from this controversy over genetically-engineered babies? Perhaps there is one. The event may cause more people to pay critical attention to the experiments that are, every day, conducted on human embryos. Let the whole world know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, from the very first cell onward, and manipulation in laboratories should have no place in our society. For further study * For more on this topic, see: Dr. Helder’s book No Christian Silence on Science pages 32-39 for a discussion on Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (ie. CRISPR). Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Sternberg’s book  A Crack in Creation: the new power to control evolution, page 281. Dr. Helder's article, providing further background to CRISPR, Natural Firewalls in Bacteria ...

News

Saturday Selections - December 8, 2018

Christian professor pressured to call male student by female pronouns The professor agreed to avoid using pronouns altogether and just use the student's last name, but that compromise wasn't accepted. Suffering well: disability and a faith that's big enough for pain Joni Eareckson Tada "understands that members of Christ’s body who can’t walk, or see, or interact on the same level as others are not only indispensable parts of the Kingdom of God, but are needed by the rest of us for our own edification and sanctification. Unfortunately, many of us in the church fail to grasp this." Porn addiction? Is it helpful to describe the hold pornography has as being an addition? Mark Sanders writes first, on 3 ways that the "disease model" – likening the pull of pornography to addiction – can be helpful. And in a follow-up article, he notes how this description falls short.  Parenting 001 In this oldie but goodie, Kevin DeYoung shares how his kids make it hard to parent like Paul Tripp - this isn't Parenting 101; DeYoung isn't that advanced. But he is funny and encouraging. (h/t to Walter Walraven) More upsets in Human Evolution "If you like scientific truths that become untrue every year or month, join the paleoanthropology guild. Anything you are told about human evolution today doesn’t match what National Geographic was proclaiming as scientific truth in the 1960s, and will probably be overturned next year." Creation/Evolution Headlines's David Coppedge has collected some of the newest human evolution discoveries that are rewriting the "facts." Heavenly Fire: the mystery of the Northern and Southern Lights (7 minutes) A stunning look into how the Auoras are created by the energy of the Sun, and how our planet's magnetic field protects us from solar radiation. As Dr. Paul Nelson puts it, "God gave us a world that, if we gave it half a chance, testifies of Him." ...

News

What’s in a name? Payless prank had people paying $600 for their shoes

Payless sells their shoes for as low as $20. So why were people paying $200, $400, and even $600 for their shoes a month before Christmas? It came down to a clever bit of rebranding. The discount shoe store hasn’t been doing well as of late, shutting down hundreds of stores last year, so in the lead-up to Christmas they were looking to make a splash. Their advertising agency proposed a publicity stunt: rent out an upscale retail location, stock it with regular Payless shoes, but relabel them as Palessi, charge 10 times more, and see if anyone buys. To really sell the stunt they decked the store out in avant-garde statues, and had champagne for the opening. It worked: as the Washington Post’s Kristine Phillips reported, at the grand opening customers gushed about the shoes. “‘I would pay $400, $500. People are going to be like, ‘Where did you get those? Those are amazing,’ a woman said as she tried on a pair of bright-gold sneakers with leopard prints.” “‘Palessi is just such high quality, high fashion, taking your shoe game up to the next level,’ said one man wearing spiked necklaces, holding a knee-high boot. ‘It looks really well made.’” “‘It’s just stunning. Elegant, sophisticated and versatile,’ said a woman, as she held a pair of floral stiletto heels.” Anyone who bought the shoes was taken to the back and let in on the stunt. And by way of an apology for the trick played on them, they were given their money back and given their shoes for free. It’s hilarious that anyone was willing to pay 1000% the going retail price – is this what it looks like to have more money than sense? But before we laugh too hard, let’s acknowledge that the trick – a new label disguising the same old, same old – is one that even a thrifty dutchman could fall for. What’s worse, it’s one we regularly pull on ourselves. After all, how often don’t we relabel our sins as mistakes? And we actually buy it! ...

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