December 2010


In a previous post I addressed the “lottery” objection to the probabilistic argument against a naturalistic origin of life: “Just as the odds of winning the lottery are low, and yet people win the lottery all the time, so too the odds of forming life by chance may be low, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible.”  I argued that unlike a lottery, the probabilistic resources available to form life are so unfathomably low that there is no reason to expect a winner in chance’s game of life.  To prove my point, I compared the number of possible events in the whole history of the universe (10139)—the probabilistic resources—to the probability of a 250 gene organism forming by chance (1:1041,000).  The odds of life forming by chance came up trillions upon trillions upon trillions of times short, and thus there is no rational basis on which to affirm that life originated by chance.  What I didn’t realize then was that I had severely over-estimated the odds.

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Justin Taylor pointed to a 2003 essay by Robbie Low in Touchstone magazine discussing a 1994 study in Switzerland on how the church attendance habits of moms and dads affects the future attendance of their children:

  • If dad does not go to church = only 1 out of 50 kids will become a regular churchgoer
  • If dad is a regular churchgoer (regardless of mom’s attendance) = 66-75% of kids will become regular or irregular churchgoers
  • If dad is an irregular churchgoer (regardless of mom’s attendance) = 50-66% of kids will become regular or irregular churchgoers
  • If dad is a regular churchgoer but mom is not = >66% of kids will become regular or irregular churchgoers
  • If dad does not go to church but mom is a regular churchgoer = only 33% of kids will visit a church
  • If neither mom nor dad go to church = only 20% of kids will visit a church

While I suspect American cultural differences could mean these statistics are not entirely transferable to America, clearly a lot rests on our shoulders dads!

A new Gallup poll reveals Americans’ views on creation:

  • 40% believe humans were specially created by God 10,000 years ago (creationism)
  • 38% believe God used evolutionary processes to create human beings from less advanced life forms over millions of years (theistic evolution)
  • 16% believe humans developed from less advanced life forms over millions of years without any aid from a divine being (naturalism/atheism).

The number of theistic evolutionists has not changed much over the past 30 years, while there has been a slight decrease in the number of creationists (down from 47% in 1993) and a slight increase in the number of naturalists/atheists (up 7% from 1982).

One of the weaknesses of this poll is that it presents these three views as if they were the only options.  Jay Richards wrote a short post elaborating on this point.  Nevertheless, it does illustrate an important point: the vast majority of Americans do not buy into the materialistic paradigm of Darwinism.

Switzerland wants to de-criminalize adult, consensual incest.  What do you think of this move?  Do you think incest should be de-criminalized?  All of it, or just certain forms (e.g. de-criminalizing incest between siblings, but keeping father-daughter incest illegal)?  

For Christian readers of this blog who may disagree with it, I would like to know how you reconcile your opposition to incest with examples of incest in the Old Testament.

When it comes to the issue of abortion, both opponents and proponents support the freedom of choice and the sanctity of human life.  Those on the pro-choice side, however, think a woman’s freedom to choose trumps the life of the unborn.  Those on the pro-life side think the sanctity of the life of the unborn trumps a woman’s freedom to choose.  How do we break the impasse? 

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Check it out here.  Very cool.

A New York Times blog called Disunion is recounting the period of the Civil War in nearly a day-by-day fashion, of what happened 150 years ago.  So for example, yesterday’s post recounted December 9, 1860. 

If you love history, or enjoy learning about the Civil War era, you should follow this blog.  I imagine it will continue for several more years to come, following the Civil War through its completion.  Reading this blog is like reliving the entire era.  I have learned so much. 

They began posting on October 30, so it’s not too late to read all the posts to-date.  Right now, Lincoln has been elected as President, and South Carolina is moving for succession. 

Today’s post is about the distribution of slaves in America.  They have an interactive map you can view, created by the United States Coast Survey shortly after the 1860 census, that provides both a numerical and visual representation of where the slaves resided.  It even tells you how many free people versus slaves inhabited the Southern states.  South Carolina had 402,542 slaves, constituting 57.2% of the state’s population!  In the 15 states represented, nearly 1 in 3 of the citizens were slaves.  Check it out.

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