Charles Darwin Day

Today is Darwin’s 205th. birthday.  He turned our world upside down, and was one of the greatest scientists of all time.

I raise my glass and drink to his memory.

Ramen

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Saturated Fat May Be Good For You

British cardiologist Aseem Malhotra writes in a stinging “Observations” column in the British Medical Journal):

Virtually all the truths about preventing heart attacks that physicians and patients have held dear for more than a generation are wrong and need to be abandoned, Malhotra writes. He musters a passel of recent research that suggests that the “obsession” with lowering a patients’ total cholesterol with statins, and a public health message that has made all sources of saturated fat verboten to the health-conscious, have failed to reduce heart disease.

Read full article: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-saturated-fat-20131022,0,2193813.story#axzz2ih8cPDPA

What is one to believe nowadays?  What I take away from this is to take medical advice with a small dose of skepticism.

Christopher Hitchens…

He was a hero of mine…I tried to emulate his wit, his intelligence, his brilliant writing, and his composure under fire.  Of course I failed, I doubt that anyone can come close to the multiple talents the man possessed.

The man could see over the horizon and visualize the past and future as one long line of human triumphs and follies.  He fought his personal battle with his immanent death with courage and unfailing determination, and in my eyes died a hero.

I mourn his passing.

Prayer…Does it Ever Work?

“…In addition, history has served as a de facto test of alternative forms of healthcare. Until approximately the last two centuries effective medical techniques to treat and cure serious illnesses were largely absent.  During that period prayer and other religious rites were commonly employed medical interventions.  Juvenile mortality rates were probably over 50% (they still exceeded 25% in 1900 Britain and the United States), young adult mortality rates were high, and average life spans were as low as two decades.  The number of children lost probably exceeded 50 billion; only a modest minority of those born made it to old age.  Significantly higher rates of mortality would have probably collapsed the human population and lead to extinction of the species, so it appears that death rates were near their highest sustainable maximum.  The evidence indicates that supportive prayer whether remote or in the presence of or by the patient has been a largely or entirely ineffective treatment for most or all of human history.  G. Paul, Journal of Medical Ethics, November, 2008 Here My emphasis

So for all of human history…up to about the 1800’s, all we had to combat disease or sickness was prayer or the witch doctor.  We, as a species, barely survived.  Enter modern science and medicine and we start to overrun the planet.  So do you think prayer (or the witch doctor) were ever effective?

We know for a fact that prayer is never effective against medical problems that are not subject to spontaneous remission or placebo effect. Medical problems such as Down’s syndrome, Spina-bifida, amputated limbs, etc. cannot, and have never been cured by prayer.

We know that prayer can never restore a heart damaged by heart attack, never restore lungs damaged by emphysema.  Humans are working on many of these medical problems, and if we survive the growing religious wars of this world, we will probably cure them.

Meanwhile, we can seriously doubt that there is a God who answers prayers, or if there is even is a God.

Addendum
Regarding that “Inerrant Bible” instructions about the efficacy of prayer:

Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

The message is restated in Mark 11:24:
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus reiterates that same message:
“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

In John chapter 14, verses 12 through 14, Jesus speaks to all of us about how easy prayer can be:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”

In Matthew 18:19 Jesus says it again:
“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Really???
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We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Probable Cause

A law that’s been on American books (and in the Constitution) forever is now biting the dust because of Presidents Bush and Obama. Breaking his campaign promises to enhance civil liberties in relation to national security the Obama administration is continuing the screwing over the American Constitution that Bush started.

“The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual’s Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.

The administration wants to add just four words — “electronic communication transactional records” — to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge’s approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user’s browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the “content” of e-mail or other Internet communication.”  From the Washington Post.

The use of National Security Letters is equivalent to the old ‘Writs of Assistance’ the British used against us here in America in pre-revolutionary times

From Wikipedia
“In practice, customs writs of assistance served as general search warrants that did not expire, allowing customs officials to search anywhere for smuggled goods without having to obtain a specific warrant. These writs became controversial when they were issued by courts in British America in the 1760s, especially the Province of Massachusetts Bay. Controversy over these general writs of assistance inspired the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which forbids general search warrants in the United States.

The NSL’s are the modern equivalent to general search warrants which are constitutionally forbidden.  Good luck on getting the administration to admit this. 😦   The American government just keeps pushing the envelope regarding how much the citizens will put up with. I think the general feeling among top officials is that they can get away with pretty much anything…if they mention terrorism.
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Towel Day

All you heathens remember that today is Towel Day. May 25th. 2010
Follow this link for list of celebrations country by country. HERE

The Bible and Neanderthals

A team of biologists led by Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany have concluded the first detailed analysis of the Neanderthal genetic sequence and determined that the Neanderthals did contribute to modern mans genes through interbreeding.  As many as 4% percent of modern humans in Europe, Asia and some other parts of the world have Neanderthals for distant relatives.

My question is how do you think this will affect the creation vs. evolution debates? The fact that “God’s People” have the blood of pre-humans that weren’t even thought of or explained in the Bible.  How does Christian apologetics reconcile an incredibly old (28,000 to +350,000 year old) race of people that could probably talk, as they had the requisite physiological parts, and we know they did make tools and bury their dead with personal items and flowers, and may have made jewelry, contributing to our gene pool.

So far it looks like the intermixing occurred in the Middle East about 50,000 to 80,000 years ago or maybe longer.  No indication yet of any mixing in Europe where modern humans entered about 45,000 years ago.  There is also no sign of mixing in any of Africa’s indigenous peoples. It is truly amazing what DNA science can tell us, don’t you think?

Someone locally ask me if I thought that the Neanderthal might be the Nephilim mentioned in the Bible and I told him I didn’t think so as the Neanderthals were short (5’2” to 5’ 4”) in stature.

Could this be the people that Cain drew his wife from?  No no no, just being silly, as we all know that Cain wasn’t real, and the last Neanderthal died out about 30,000 years ago.   🙂

Quote of the day

If we go back to the beginning, we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve their own interests. If the ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them.  Baron D’Holbach


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