Sunday, May 27, 2007

"Maybe I should have waited until after I received tenure"

With the publication of the book The Privileged Planet by Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, the dawning of Darwin's demise continued to brighten.

But now it appears that Darwin's frantic factophobes continue to flail at the dawning light, this time in the American heartland of IOWA.

But the dawn cometh nevertheless.

In the Iowa case, the denial of tenure to highly published Iowa State University astronomer Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez appears very suspiciously related to his interest in the intelligent design ("ID") movement. Specifically, Dr. Gonzalez' book The Privileged Planet went crossways with a bunch of faculty at ISU. As reported ( by World Magazine, May 26, 2007:
"Two years ago, on the heels of Gonzalez publishing his pro-ID book The Privileged Planet, Iowa State religious studies professor Hector Avalos circulated a petition calling for university faculty to denounce ID as non-science. Avalos, an avowed atheist, procured the signatures of 120 faculty members and generated what Gonzalez calls "an extreme level of hostility against me."

As the World Magazine article reports, Gonzalez ruefully comments, "Maybe I should have waited until after I received tenure."

Gonzalez has appealed the tenure denial, a process that has a very low chance of success. The appeal, filed May 8, has a drop-dead date of June 6 for possible reversal by ISU President Gregory Geoffroy.

So how should the folks who desire truth and open inquiry respond? I like the answer posted May 27, 2007, on
by Ken Connor, Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC. Connor is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who represented Governor Jeb Bush in the Terri Schiavo case. Connor's commentary suggests to us that the folks who want their version of "science" to be a speech-free zone are now running scared - really scared. Here is Connor's take:
"It seems that many scientists and academicians who hold views contrary to Dr. Gonzalez have concluded that the best way to avoid debate about the evidence for intelligent design is to simply deny jobs to those who will not affirm their atheistic worldview. The fact that these scientists, who are supposedly open to following the evidence wherever it leads, have resorted to blatant discrimination to avoid having this conversation speaks volumes about the weakness of their position. They realize their arguments are not sufficient to defeat the intelligent design movement and they must, therefore, shut their opponents out of the conversation. All the evidence suggests that it is unjust that Dr. Gonzalez was denied tenure and that this ruling should be overturned on appeal. Nevertheless, what happened to Dr. Gonzalez is a reflection of the growing strength of the intelligent design movement, not its weakness."

So .... Take heart! Stand up! Speak out! Go buy a a few copies of The Privileged Planet and spread them around.

Surely, the dawn cometh!

Respectfully submitted,

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Slippery Helium is a Story to be Told

It was a great day for young earth creationists (YECs as some refer to us).

"When was that," you say? It was the day the the RATE Project published their results for helium diffusion in zircons.

"Helium diffusion in zircons?!?!?!" you say? Indeed. Read on.

There was this "tiny mystery" of the unusually high concentrations of helium (a common product of uranium decay) in zircons (special crystalline structures oft found in granite). It seemed that if the zircons embedded in granites were billions of years old, their radiological helium should be substantially lost from the crystalline structures. Institute for Creation Research (ICR) scientists in the RATE ("Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth") Project predicted in the year 2000 that diffusion rates of helium in zircons, if measured, would be found to be so high that it would provide very strong evidence of "recent" accelerated nuclear decay. If verified, this prediction would be a strong blow against the uniformitarian philosophy of "billions of years."

Well, verify it did. If you have not heard, the diffusion rates for helium in zircons tracked spectacularly well with the published RATE predictions. And the diffusion rates suggested by a uniformitarian old-age hypothesis failed miserably, missing the mark by about five orders of magnitude (by a factor of 100, 000). Cool, huh?

Of course, people (pagan and old-earth Christians alike) who loathe YECs will level any criticism they can at this work. Even from the "good guys" there is some bad noise. You may have heard of some criticism of YECs by Christian astrophysicist Hugh Ross ("Reasons to Believe"). After Dr. Ross finished a lecture at Lewis and Clark College in Portland about three years ago, I asked him about the helium diffusion measurement results. I was quite taken aback when he berated the RATE scientists for using such a "slippery" atom as helium, and then launched into a ten-minute non-dialogic diatribe against YECs. I was stunned at his lack of a substantive scientific response. The stories I had heard of his arrogance began very quickly to compute.

A year or so later, I happened to be sitting at a breakfast table with two of the RATE authors, one of whom was principal author Russ Humphreys. I related to Dr. Humphreys the "slippery" comment by Hugh Ross, to which Dr. Humphreys replied, "Well, duhhhh. That is why we looked at helium, exactly because it is so slippery. It should not be retained in the zircons for billions of years."

"Well, duhhhh!" A perfect response to critics of a job well done. My hat is off to ICR and the scientists of the RATE project.

Take a look at the result in the leading figure, then run the link to read the paper if you like the gory details.

Except for the scorn and acid hate language from the doctrinaire Darwinists and from questionable friends, it is a great time to be a creationist.
Respectfully submitted,


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." ..The 4th Commandment.

Sorry again you Darwin despisers. Here is another post that takes strong precedence over throwing shovels of dirt on Darwin's cadaver.

The fourth of the ten commandments given on Mt. Sinai says, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." So where and how do we apply that in our society today? It is important to think clearly on this one since our Lord then says, "for the Lord your God will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name." (Exodus 20:7, NIV)

I wrote to the Oregonian newspaper a few weeks ago about the cartoon "ZITS," which is usually very clever and humorous. I expressed concern that "ZITS" has used the expression "ohmygawd" at least four different days in the last couple of years. I expressed to the Oregonian that taking the Lord's name in vain is not right, and is offensive to a broad Oregonian readership that believes that God's name should be held with awe and respect. The name of God is not a subject for practiced casualness.

At least they finally answered after my third email asking for an explanation of the paper's editorial policy permitting such. The answer?

"I apologize for the fact that no one responded to your complaint about the comic strip Zits. We certainly respect your opinion, but a cartoon strip in which a teenager says "Oh My Gawd" in reaction to his parents cuddling is simply the way young people talk and common vernacular."

Three observations:

(1) The newpaper's responder is certainly correct that the expression is in the comon vernacular. Is there a responsibility of conscientious Christians and Jews to challenge the common vernacular and let people know that "God will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name?" It seems so. When we hear the name of God or Jesus used in an inappropriate way, we can say, "Please be careful what you say. God (or Jesus as the case may be) is a friend of mine. He is Creator of Heaven and earth, and Savior. His name should be used only with respect." And if someone replies, "That only applies to YHWH, not to the common term 'God' which we use", I would say that smells like a copout.

(2) The Oegonian respondent did not say that the concerns were passed on to the ZITS author or authors. Hmmmm.

(3) The Oregonian response was seriously lacking in thoughtfulness and insight. Has it been so long ago that terms like "spic", "wop", "Jap", "nigger", "gook" and others were in the common vernacular? Inapproprite language in the common vernacular is not an excuse for continuing, but rather an opportunity for correction. And if this is true for terms we use to refer to the human created beings, how much more does the common vernacular need cleansing of disrespect of our God YHWH, Creator of Heaven and earth, Savior, Sustainer, and Final Judge?

May we, by His mercy, tremble at His word and in awe of His name.

Respectfully submitted,


After the April 18, 2007, slaughter of 3 Christians in Turkey, a letter to the Global Church of Jesus Christ

A letter to the Global Church from The Protestant Church of Smyrna

Dear friends,

This past week has been filled with much sorrow. Many of you have heard by now of our devastating loss here in an event that took place in Malatya, a Turkish province 300 miles northeast of Antioch, the city where believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26).

On Wednesday morning, April 18, 2007, 46 year old German missionary and father of three Tilman Geske prepared to go to his office, kissing his wife goodbye taking a moment to hug his son and give him the priceless memory, "Goodbye, son. I love you."

Tilman rented an office space from Zirve Publishing where he was preparing notes for the new Turkish Study Bible. Zirve was also the location of the Malatya Evangelist Church office. A ministry of thechurch, Zirve prints and distributes Christian literature to Malatya and nearby cities in Eastern Turkey. In another area of town, 35 year old Pastor Necati Aydin, father of two, said goodbye to his wife, leaving for the office as well. They had a morning Bible Study and prayer meeting that some other believers in town would also be attending. Ugur Yuksel likewise made his way to the Bible study.
None of these three men knew that what awaited them at the Bible study was the ultimate testing and application of their faith, which would conclude with their entrance into glory to receive their crown of righteousness from Christ and honor from all the saints awaiting them in the Lord's presence.

On the other side of town, ten young men all under 20 years old put into place final arrangements for their ultimate act of faith, living out their love for Allah and hatred of infidels who they felt undermined Islam. On Resurrection Sunday, five of these men had been to a by-invitation-only evangelistic service that Pastor Necati and his men had arranged at a hotel conference room in the city. The men were known to the believers as "seekers." No one knows what happened in the hearts of those men as they listened to the gospel. Were they touched by the Holy Spirit? Were they convicted of sin? Did they hear the gospel in their heart of hearts? Today we only have the beginning of their story.
These young men, one of whom is the son of a mayor in the Province of Malatya, are part of a tarikat, or a group of "faithful believers" in Islam. Tarikat membership is highly respected here; it's like a fraternity membership. In fact, it is said that no one can get into public office without membership in a tarikat. These young men all lived in the same dorm, all preparing for university entrance exams.

The young men got guns, bread knives, ropes and towels ready for their final act of service to Allah. They knew there would be a lot of blood. They arrived in time for the Bible Study, around 10 o'clock. They arrived, and apparently the Bible Study began. Reportedly, after Necati read a chapter from the Bible the assault began. The boys tied Ugur, Necati, and Tilman's hands and feet to chairs and as they videoed their work on their cell phones, they tortured our brothers for almost three hours*

[Details of the torture--extremely gruesome content in this paragraph
* Tilman was stabbed 156 times, Necati 99 times and Ugur's stabs were too numerous to count. They were disemboweled, and their intestines sliced up in front of their eyes. They were emasculated and watched as those body parts were destroyed. Fingers were chopped off, their noses and mouths and anuses were sliced open. Possibly the worst part was watching as their brothers were likewise tortured. Finally, their throats were sliced from ear to ear, heads practically decapitated.]

Neighbors in workplaces near the print house said later they had heard yelling, but assumed the owners were having a domestic argument so they did not respond. Meanwhile, another believer Gokhan and his wife had a leisurely morning. He slept in till 10, ate a long breakfast and finally around 12:30 he and his wife arrived at the office. The door was locked from the inside, and his key would not work. He phoned and though it had connection on his end he did not hear the phone ringing inside. He called cell phones of his brothers and finally Ugur answered his phone. "We are not at the office. Go to the hotel meeting. We are there. We will come there," he said cryptically. As Ugur spoke Gokhan heard in the telephone's background weeping and a strange snarling sound.
He phoned the police, and the nearest officer arrived in about five minutes. He pounded on the door, "Police, open up!" Initially the officer thought it was a domestic disturbance. At that point they heard another snarl and a gurgling moan. The police understood that sound as human suffering, prepared the clip in his gun and tried over and over again to burst through the door. One of the frightened assailants unlocked the door for the policeman, who entered to find a grisly scene. Tilman and Necati had been slaughtered, practically decapitated with their necks slit from ear to ear. Ugur's throat was likewise slit and he was barely alive.

Three assailants in front of the policeman dropped their weapons.
Meanwhile Gokhan heard a sound of yelling in the street. Someone had fallen from their third story office. Running down, he found a man on the ground, whom he later recognized, named Emre Gunaydin. He had massive head trauma and, strangely, was snarling. He had tried to climb down the drainpipe to escape, and losing his balance had plummeted to the ground. It seems that he was the main leader of the attackers. Another assailant was found hiding on a lower balcony.

To untangle the web we need to back up six years. In April 2001, the National Security Council of Turkey (Milli Guvenlik Kurulu) began to consider evangelical Christians as a threat to national security, on equal footing as Al Quaida and PKK terrorism. Statements made in the press by political leaders, columnists and commentators have fueled a hatred against missionaries who they claim bribe young people to change their religion. After that decision in 2001, attacks and threats on churches, pastors and Christians began.

Bombings, physical attacks, verbal and written abuse are only some of the ways Christians are being targeted. Most significant is the use of media propaganda.
From December 2005, after having a long meeting regarding the Christian threat, the wife of Former Prime Minister Ecevit, historian Ilber Ortayli, Professor Hasan Unsal, Politician Ahmet Tan and writer/propagandist Aytunc Altindal, each in their own profession began a campaign to bring the public's attention to the looming threat of Christians who sought to "buy their children's souls". Hidden cameras in churches have taken church service footage and used it sensationally to promote fear and antagonism toward Christianity.
In an official televised response from Ankara, the Interior Minister of Turkey smirked as he spoke of the attacks on our brothers. Amid public outrage and protests against the event and in favor of freedom of religion and freedom of thought, media and official comments ring with the same message, "We hope you have learned your lesson. We do not want Christians here."

It appears that this was an organized attack initiated by an unknown adult tarikat leader. As in the Hrant Dink murder in January 2007, and a Catholic priest Andrea Santoro in February 2006, minors are being used to commit religious murders because public sympathy for youth is strong and they face lower penalties than an adult convicted of the same crime. Even the parents of these children are in favor of the acts. The mother of the 16 year old boy who killed the Catholic priest Andrea Santoro looked at the cameras as her son was going to prison and said, "he will serve time for Allah."

The young men involved in the killing are currently in custody. Today news reported that they would be tried as terrorists, so their age would not affect the strict penalty. Assailant Emre Gunaydin is still in intensive care. The investigation, centers around him and his contacts and they say will fall apart if he does not recover.

The Church in Turkey responded in a way that honored God as hundreds of believers and dozens of pastors flew in as fast as they could to stand by the small church of Malatya and encourage the believers, take care of legal issues, and represent Christians to the media. When Susanne Tilman expressed her wish to bury her husband in Malatya, the Governor tried to stop it, and when he realized he could not stop it, a rumor was spread that "it is a sin to dig a grave for a Christian." In the end, in an undertaking that should be remembered in Christian history forever, the men from the church in Adana (near Tarsus), grabbed shovels and dug a grave for their slain brother in an un-tended hundred year old Armenian graveyard.

Ugur was buried by his family in an Alevi Muslim ceremony in his hometown of Elazig, his believing fiance watching from the shadows as his family and friends refused to accept in death the faith Ugur had so long professed and died for.
Necati's funeral took place in his hometown of Izmir, the city where he came to faith. The darkness does not understand the light. Though the churches expressed their forgiveness for the event, Christians were not to be trusted. Before they would load the coffin onto the plane from Malatya, it went through two separate xray exams to make sure it was not loaded with explosives. This is not a usual procedure for Muslim coffins.

Necati's funeral was a beautiful event. Like a glimpse of heaven, thousands of Turkish Christians and missionaries came to show their love for Christ, and their honor for this man chosen to die for Christ. Necati's wife Shemsa told the world, "His death was full of meaning, because he died for Christ and he lived for Christ… Necati was a gift from God. I feel honored that he was in my life, I feel crowned with honor. I want to be worthy of that honor." Boldly the believers took their stand at Necati's funeral, facing the risks of being seen publicly and likewise becoming targets. As expected, the anti-terror police attended and videotaped everyone attending the funeral for their future use. The service took place outside at Buca Baptist church, and he was buried in a small Christian graveyard in the outskirts of Izmir.

Two assistant Governors of Izmir were there solemnly watching the event from the front row. Dozens of news agencies were there documenting the events with live news and photographs. Who knows the impact the funeral had on those watching? This is the beginning of their story as well. Pray for them.

In an act that hit front pages in the largest newspapers in Turkey, Susanne Tilman in a television interview expressed her forgiveness. She did not want revenge, she told reporters. "Oh God, forgive them for they know not what they do," she said, wholeheartedly agreeing with the words of Christ on Calvary (Luke 23:34). In a country where blood-for-blood revenge is as normal as breathing, many many reports have come to the attention of the church of how this comment of Susanne Tilman has changed lives. One columnist wrote of her comment, "She said in one sentence what 1000 missionaries in 1000 years could never do."

The missionaries in Malatya will most likely move out, as their families and children have become publicly identified as targets to the hostile city. The remaining 10 believers are in hiding. What will happen to this church, this light in the darkness? Most likely it will go underground. Pray for wisdom, that Turkish brothers from other cities will go to lead the leaderless church. Should we not be concerned for that great city of Malatya, a city that does not know what it is doing? (Jonah 4:11)

When our Pastor Fikret Bocek went with a brother to give a statement to the Security Directorate on Monday they were ushered into the Anti-Terror Department. On the wall was a huge chart covering the whole wall listing all the terrorist cells in Izmir, categorized. In one prominent column were listed all the evangelical churches in Izmir. The darkness does not understand the light. "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also." (Acts 17:6)

Please pray for the Church in Turkey. "Don't pray against persecution, pray for perseverance," urges Pastor Fikret Bocek. The Church is better having lost our brothers; the fruit in our lives, the renewed faith, the burning desire to spread the gospel to quench more darkness in Malatya …all these are not to be regretted. Pray that we stand strong against external opposition and especially pray that we stand strong against internal struggles with sin, our true debilitating weakness.

This we know. Christ Jesus was there when our brothers were giving their lives for Him. He was there, like He was when Stephen was being stoned in the sight of Saul of Tarsus.

Someday the video of the deaths of our brothers may reveal more to us about the strength that we know Christ gave them to endure their last cross, about the peace the Spirit of God endowed them with to suffer for their beloved Savior. But we know He did not leave their side. We know their minds were full of Scripture strengthening them to endure, as darkness tried to subdue the unsubduable Light of the Gospel. We know, in whatever way they were able, with a look or a word, they encouraged one another to stand strong. We know they knew they would soon be with Christ.

We don't know the details. We don't know the kind of justice that will or will not be served on this earth. But we pray-- and urge you to pray-- that someday at least one of those five boys will come to faith because of the testimony in death of Tilman Geske, who gave his life as a missionary to his beloved Turks, and the testimonies in death of Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel, the first martyrs for Christ out of the Turkish Church.

Reported by Darlene N. Bocek (24 April, 2007).

Submitted with my deepest respect for the 3 brothers and their families,

Christians slaughtered in Turkey? "Ho hum" sez our Oregonian newspaper

Sorry, you Darwin despisers. This one is about torture and murder on the other side of the world. Back to Sir Charles D. at some other time.

If you know much about the history of the Armenians and Turks about a century ago, you will know of the systematic and thorough ethnic cleansing (most generally by murder rather than by exile) resulting in deaths of millions of Christians who refused to convert to Islam and hence were executed "Daniel Perl" style. My good friend here in Portland, today chief auditor of a major Oregon firm, is grandson of one brave Armenian woman who refused to recant faith in Jesus and lost her head in a public execution.

So that was 100 years ago - a long time ago - and all that is past. Right?

Wrong. On April 18, 2007, three Christian leaders were viciously tortured for several hours and murdered in Malatya, Turkey. Shortly after, I wrote to the Oregonian newspaper and asked why no coverage. Their answer?

.... Of course that doesn't mean we don't include national and international stories. Our A section is, for the most part, devoted to them. However, if none of our wire services had the story you refer to, it likely won't appear in The Oregonian. If you'd like, you are welcome to complain to the Associated Press at

Can you imagine? The august Oregonian - our reliable and dependable family friend - publishes "all the news that matters to Oregonians" and yet asked me to do their job and encourage their news service to do a better job of providing relevant news!

This morning I Googled "Christians murderd Malatya Turkey" and got 901 hits. Reuters had it. Yahoo News had it. CNN had it. Spiegel even translated into English for us.

You can do the same Google and get the scoop. So who needs the Oregonian?

It all reminds me of the bumper sticker I saw on a dump truck shortly after Oregon's Senator Packwood was outed by the Washington Post for groping ladies who had the misfortune to be seated next to him at fancy dinners with long overhanging tablecloths:
"If it matters to Oregonians, it is in the Washington Post."

If you Google as I did, you can pick up a number of news sources to add to your favorites list. If the Oregonian wants to continue to slide into irrrelevancy, I guess so be it. Let 'em go.

For my favorites list, I added:

I will post the complete (translated) text of a letter from a Christian in Malatya in a separate post. In the meantime, the list of victims of the "religion of peace" (according to President Bush) continues to grow. Keep your eyes open, 'cause it seems a lot of folks are not going to be watching for us.

Respectfully submitted,