The Truth about Zika Virus and Microcephaly

Facts about Zika virus and Microcephaly.microcephaly

Is there a cause and effect link or merely a correlation of unrelated events? Here is the story and the facts so far.  In October 2015 an increase in microcephaly was reported in Brazil. A Brazilian doctor, Adriana Melo, at IPESQ, a research insti­tute in Campina Grande, was the first to report a firm link between Zika and microcephaly. Several months before, there had been an outbreak of Zika virus throughout Brazil. The increase in microcephaly cases occurred only in a coastal state in the northeast of the country.

90% of the 1709 cases of microcephaly and birth defects were concentrated in this limited area. Of this number 1153 were diagnosed as microcephaly. There was no increase in other parts of the country, including an adjoining coastal state with a similar population, which only had 3 cases. This suggests there may be other contributing factors. Socio-economic factors may contribute since most of the mothers of the microcephalic babies were young, single, black and poor, living in small cities near larger cities. Additionally, this same northeastern region has always had the highest incidence of microcephaly in Brazil.

A study by the Latin American Collaborative Study of Congenital Malformations (ECLAMC) called for more controlled studies, and concluded that the data so far is inconclusive of a cause and effect link between Zika infection in the first trimester of pregnancy and microcephaly and similar nervous system defects. For an English translation of the original Portugese summary of the ECLAMC studies, see http://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/7.33594!/file/NS-724-2015_ECLAMC-ZIKA%20VIRUS_V-FINAL_012516.pdf

This report discusses weaknesses in the methods used by IPESQ, recommendations for further studies and several other factors that may have caused or contributed to the birth defects as listed below.

  • Rumor may have caused over reporting due to active searches and over diagnosis. Brazil health authorities estimate that as many as 2/3 of cases are normally not reported to authorities. If the estimate is correct, this would partially account for an increase, but not the degree reported, so other factors must be involved. However, Brazil reports a rate of 0.5 per 10,000 births compared to EUROCAT of 2.85 per 10,000 births, indicating a gross under reporting.
  • Broadened criteria for microcephaly diagnosis from 3 standard deviations to 2 standard deviations below normal average age and sex adjusted head circumference, and no confirming follow up brain scans or autopsies in most cases.
  • Zika infection in the first trimester of pregnancy cannot be confirmed at the time of birth because the virus is short-lived in the body and will not be present in the mother. Unless the mother was diagnosed early in her pregnancy, occurrence and connection cannot be confirmed.
  • In the original studies other known causes were not ruled out such as STORCH (syphilis, toxoplasmosis, “other,” rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex), prematurity, diabetes of the mother and fetal alcohol syndrome, a major cause of microcephaly in Brazil.
  • Also not ruled out are possible co-infections with dengue or chikungunya, both present in the population in recent outbreaks. The dengue virus is similar to the Zika virus and difficult to differentiate in tests.
  • A low rate of yellow fever vaccination also seems to correlate to this incident. Yellow fever virus is similar to Zika virus and vaccination may offer some immunity to it.
  • At IPESQ Bovine diarrheal virus (BVDV) was found in brain tissue of 3 fetuses in a later study. This virus does not usually infect humans but is known to cause birth defects in cattle. If true, this may be significant, but Dr. Adriana Melo suspects it may be a contaminant in the sampling or testing procedures.
  • Contaminated water was not considered, although it is common for small cities without proper sanitation and water purification to have biologically contaminated water.
  • Nutrition was not considered in this study other than a mention of general socio-economic influences, although the CDC, NIH and other agencies recognize folic acid (a B vitamin) deficiency as one of the leading causes of neural tube defects (NTD), including microcephaly, anencephaly, and spina bifida. In a recent NIH study they found that other micronutrients may decrease the risk of NTD occurrence, including thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), betaine (a B vitamin), vitamin A, retinol (A1), vitamin C, vitamin E and iron.

In conclusion, the “link” between Zika virus and microcephaly is far from proven because the original studies lacked scientific discipline and controls. More studies are needed to clarify what role the virus may play in these birth defects. However, it is probably best to take a precautionary approach until more is known.

Is it time to bring back DDT to eradicate the mosquitos that carry Zika and other diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever and other diseases? Over 80% of infectious diseases are caused by insects. Assumed adverse environmental and health effects of this important insecticide have failed to materialize in many repeated controlled studies over the last 40 years. See “DDT: A Case Study in Scientific Fraud,” by J. Gordon Edwards, PhD entomology, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004, at http://www.jpands.org/vol9no3/edwards.pdf

References:

“Eclamc Final Document – V.3, Summary and conclusions of Documents 1-5,” December 30th, 2015 http://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/7.33594!/file/NS-724-2015_ECLAMC-ZIKA%20VIRUS_V-FINAL_012516.pdf

“Neural Tube Defects and Maternal Intake of Micronutrients Related to One-Carbon Metabolism or Antioxidant Activity,” US National Institute of Health, Angela L. Chandler1, Charlotte A. Hobbs1, Bridget S. Mosley1, Robert J. Berry2, Mark A.Canfield3, Yan Ping Qi2, Anna Maria Siega-Riz4, Gary M. Shaw5, and National Birth Defects Prevention Study, in Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2012 November ; 94(11): 864–874. doi:10.1002/bdra.23068.

  1. Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Little Rock, AR 72202
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  3. Birth Defects Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas
  4. Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition, University of North Carolina School of Public Health, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  5. Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California

“Brazil’s birth-defects puzzle, Zika virus might not be only factor in reported microcephaly surge.” By Declan Butler, 28 July 2016, Nature, Vol. 535, Page 475-6.

“Zika epidemic uncovers Brazil’s hidden birth defect problem,” by Alex Cuadros, March 1, 2016, Washington Post

Disease Transmission by Arthropods,” E. J. L. Soulsby and William R. Harvey, Science 176, no. 4039 (1972): 1153–1155.

“DDT: A Case Study in Scientific Fraud,” by J. Gordon Edwards, PhD entomology, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004, at http://www.jpands.org/vol9no3/edwards.pdf

 

 

 

 

To the Student who dreams of a Carbon free life

To the Student who is dreaming of a Carbon free life

  • First, sell your car, bicycle or other means of transportation – they were made using carbon based fuels, cars use fossil fuels and even crude handmade carts drawn by animals use and emit carbon (fodder – excrement & CO2). Even electric cars were made with carbon based fuels and use electricity from fossil fueled power plants.
  • Never buy or use solar panels or wind generators – they were produced using carbon based fuels and require fossil fueled power plants as back-up when sun and wind are absent.
  • Sell your house or give up your apartment – it was made by using carbon based fuels, uses fossil fuels to heat and cool, whether with carbon based electricity or directly from oil, gas, coal, wood. Never shelter from weather or use any heat in cold weather.
  • Sell your household goods – Chairs, tables, beds, sheets, towels, etc. – all were made using fossil fuels.
  • Sell your appliances and electronic gadgets – they were made using carbon based fuels and get their electricity from fossil fueled power plants.
  • Never drink purified water from a water system – pumps and purification all run on and were made using fossil fuels. Drink only “natural” water from streams, complete with parasites, bacteria and viruses.
  • Never buy or use any paper, plastic, cloth, wood, metal or glass products, including books and paper money, pens, pencils, dishes, pans, etc. –all are produced by using fossil fuels.
  • Never use any cleaning products, soap, cosmetics or shaving or hair care materials or implements – they were all made from and with carbon based fuels.
  • Remove and give away all of your clothes and shoes – they were made using fossil fuels, use water, detergents and electricity for cleaning and ironing.
  • Don’t buy food from stores – it was transported, processed and kept fresh using fossil fuels.
  • Never cook your food – it takes heat ultimately produced by carbon based fuels.
  • Stop eating – you are using carbon based foods and excrete carbon pollutants.
  • Stop breathing – you are emitting CO2.
  • Your short, miserable life is now over and your dead body is now polluting the planet.

Dreaming of Carbon Free Living?

To the Student who is dreaming of a Carbon free life

  • First, sell your car, bicycle or other means of transportation – they were made using carbon based fuels, cars use fossil fuels and even crude handmade carts drawn by animals use and emit carbon (fodder – excrement & CO2). Even electric cars were made with carbon based fuels and use electricity from fossil fueled power plants.
  • Never buy or use solar panels or wind generators – they were produced using carbon based fuels and require fossil fueled power plants as back-up when sun and wind are absent.
  • Sell your house or give up your apartment – it was made by using carbon based fuels, uses fossil fuels to heat and cool, whether with carbon based electricity or directly from oil, gas, coal, wood. Never shelter from weather or use any heat in cold weather.
  • Sell your household goods – Chairs, tables, beds, sheets, towels, etc. – all were made using fossil fuels.
  • Sell your appliances and electronic gadgets – they were made using carbon based fuels and get their electricity from fossil fueled power plants.
  • Never drink purified water from a water system – pumps and purification all run on and were made using fossil fuels. Drink only “natural” water from streams, complete with parasites, bacteria and viruses.
  • Never buy or use any paper, plastic, cloth, wood, metal or glass products, including books and paper money, pens, pencils, dishes, pans, etc. –all are produced by using fossil fuels.
  • Never use any cleaning products, soap, cosmetics or shaving or hair care materials or implements – they were all made from and with carbon based fuels.
  • Remove and give away all of your clothes and shoes – they were made using fossil fuels, use water, detergents and electricity for cleaning and ironing.
  • Don’t buy food from stores – it was transported, processed and kept fresh using fossil fuels.
  • Never cook your food – it takes heat ultimately produced by carbon based fuels.
  • Stop eating – you are using carbon based foods and excrete carbon pollutants.
  • Stop breathing – you are emitting CO2.
  • Your short, miserable life is now over and your dead body is now polluting the planet.

 

AGW Claims vs Truth – Claim 6. Temperatures are hotter than in the last 100,000 years

Global Temperatures 2500 BC to 2040 AD
Global Temperatures 2500 BC to 2040 AD

Claim 6. Temperatures are hotter now than they have been in the last 100,000 years

Truth: This is clearly an unsubstantiated myth meant to scare people into compliance with drastic environmental regulations.  The climate modelers have eliminated the Medieval Warm Period, which was hotter than it is today, and it was a time of prosperity. It was hotter in the 1930s than it is today. However, the American “Dust Bowl” of the 1930s was not due to warming. It was caused by opening up vast areas to farming that were poorly suited to it and a years-long severe drought. Based on historical accounts, ice cores and tree rings, modelers have dismissed the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age by claiming that they were not global phenomena but were limited to Europe and North America. More recent and more detailed ice core studies, etc. have shown that both of these periods were indeed global. Over the last 100,000 years, temperatures have been far hotter and far colder than the present.  Who can say what “normal” global temperature is when it is always changing?  Should we attempt to freeze the present day conditions as the ideal, or should we take a more reasonable approach to an ever changing climate?

15 climate chart - 11K yrs vs CO2
11,000 year record of Temperatures vs. CO2

AGW Claims vs. Truth – 5. Developed countries are to blame for increased manmade carbon dioxide because they use most of the fossil fuels.

Global coal consumption

Truth: This is partially true. Industrialization is steadily increasing in developed and developing countries such as China and India. While developed countries are putting restrictions on themselves, international agreements exempt developing countries from such restrictions. These increases more than offset any gains from restrictions on developed countries.  However, see previous post AGW Claims vs. Truth – 2 & 2b for why we shouldn’t worry about increased CO2

In addition to industrialization, increased cooking fires and subsistence agriculture to feed an increasing population are also significant contributing factors. CO2 is CO2. There is no escape clause for renewable sources. It doesn’t matter whether it is from fossil fuels or burning dung or wood. Increased population in developing countries means more slash and burn agriculture and more cooking and heating by burning organic material. The modelers assume that renewable sources are exempt as causes because it is a renewable source. This is faulty thinking. Slash and burn agriculture of one acre releases a tenth of the carbon dioxide as ten acres. Subsistence agriculture is harmful to the environment because it results in depletion of soils so that it is necessary to clear more forest lands.

Subsistence farming requires burning to release the nitrogen for crops. Modern agriculture releases far less carbon dioxide than subsistence farming, so keeping people in poverty makes no sense unless your aim is to control or reduce the population in developing countries. It would be better if we helped developing countries develop modern agriculture and industry so they can clean up their act. When people are worried about how to feed their families, there is little time or incentive to do anything about pollution or the environment. In many underdeveloped countries the tradition of having as many children as possible is mostly due to the high rate of mortality in infancy and childhood from unchecked diseases, poor diet, indoor air pollution and poverty. Without the incentive of high infant and childhood mortality, family size and populations could naturally stabilize.

World Life Expectancy Map
World Life Expectancy Map which tracks well with Poverty Rates
LifeExpectancy_GDPperCapita - wiki
Life Expectancy vs. GDP per capita, 2009, World Bank

 

Opening Scientific Exploration

What do we really know about our world? What is fact and what is opinion? What is knowledge and what is belief, and can we know the difference? Isn’t science about facts and religion about faith? Well, not entirely. Science, with all of its trappings of mathematics, still is subject to interpretation, ie, belief, based on assumptions. There is as much faith in science as in anything else we do. Consensus and computer models do not change a belief into a fact.

DO WE KNOW:

  • that there was a Big Bang that started the universe?
  • that black holes, parallel universes, exotic dark matter or dark energy exist ?
  • how all of the elements and physical laws originated?
  • how the galaxies, stars, the solar system, planets, the Earth or the moon were formed?
  • the true distances to other galaxies?
  • the age of the universe, our galaxy or the Earth?
  • that the universe, including space itself, is expanding?
  • that the fourth dimension or multiple dimensions exist?
  • that a dimension known as space-time exists?
  • what gravity is?
  • what time is?
  • what life is?
  • that life spontaneously arose from a soup of chemicals?
  • that all species evolved gradually from a common ancestor?
  • that the mind is just a program created by the brain?
  • what consciousness, thought or memory are?
  • what sleep is?
  • what instinct is?
  • why we have free will and are not just robotic slaves to our genes?
  • why we have abilities and skills that are not necessary or are detrimental to survival?

The answer to most of these and many other questions about science and our understanding of our world is MAYBE, NO, or PROBABLY NOT.

The bad news is that we don’t know as much as we thought we knew.

The good news is that we don’t know as much as we thought we knew.

Bringing some accepted scientific “facts” or the evidence supporting them into question will not tear down our knowledge base. On the contrary, it will open doors to more exciting discoveries, unconstrained by fixed paradigms[1] or established systems into which they must be fitted. By questioning everything, we can look at all things with fresh eyes and with minds open to all possibilities, regardless of established beliefs. This should lead to more scientific study and discoveries, not less. Robust scientific theories and real facts will be strengthened by such questioning.

Only the theories without proper basis or support will suffer. Even those will benefit from fresh approaches that may come closer to solving some of the remaining mysteries than is currently possible. It is to our benefit that true understanding can develop unconstrained by dogma[2]. Fixed dogma tends to constrain and inhibit new knowledge, especially if the new knowledge does not fit neatly into the established picture.


 

“Michael Faraday warned against the tendency of the mind ‘to rest on an assumption’ and when it appears to fit in with other knowledge to forget that it has not been proved.”

W. I. B. Beveridge, The Art of Scientific Investigation


 

[1] Paradigm – A picture or view of reality into which all facts and beliefs must fit.

[2] Dogma –established opinion put forth as authoritative, especially without adequate grounds.

Materialist versus Transcendental Views

The apparent movement of sun and planets with Earth as center Giovanni Domenico Cassini, 1625–1712
The apparent movement of sun and planets with Earth as center
Giovanni Domenico Cassini, 1625–1712

Behind all other philosophies, there are two basic ways of looking at the universe, the materialistic and the transcendental views.


NOTE: Do not confuse transcendental as used here with the so-called Transcendentalism movement of the nineteenth century which was really a Naturalistic or agnostic philosophy.


NOTE: Materialism, in the philosophical sense, is not the love of things as the term is used today, having been corrupted by the popular culture. It is really the denial of the existence of anything beyond the material world.


The materialist view says the physical universe that we see and interact with is all that there is, and it is its own explanation for being. The transcendent view says there must be something more behind and above it all, an overarching force that is responsible for existence itself and the physical laws that give order to the universe. This blog reflects my transcendental beliefs that there must be something beyond the material that is beyond the reach of science. As a transcendentalist and a scientist, I have no reservations about science and religion being compatible.

      “Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable.”                                                       

                                                                                    Albert Einstein

Since materialists only believe in what they can see and touch, pure materialists are necessarily atheists and have a great deal of reservations about religion, especially as it relates to science. Even the agnostic, who is uncertain about a transcendent quality to the universe, is not comfortable with the notion that science and religion are compatible, since he believes that there is no way for us to know about anything outside the material world.


Joke: What do you get when you cross an insomniac agnostic and a dyslexic?   Answer: A person who stays up all night wondering if there is a Dog.

                        Chico Marx (often attributed to Groucho Marx)


 

Science is the pursuit of truth about the predictable, repeatable and measurable aspects of the universe with which we can or could conceivably interact[1].

Anything beyond that is not science but philosophy, no matter how much mathematics or “supporting” data is attached. A one-time event that cannot be tested or repeated, such as the origin of the universe or the origin of life cannot be elucidated purely through science.

Materialists/atheists sometimes use the fact that we can only observe and test the physical world as proof that there is nothing else beyond that. Although science, in its truest sense, is an unbiased quest for the truth, that does not mean the people in the sciences are always unbiased or have no hidden agendas outside of science. Similarly, although religion seeks answers from a God centered perspective, man’s interpretations of God’s revealed truth may at times lead to error through misunderstandings or cultural bias.

As a Christian, I believe God’s revelations in the Bible are true, but I also believe that man’s interpretations can sometimes be wrong. An example of this from history is the supposed flat-Earth belief in the European Middle Ages, (which, by the way, is a nineteenth century myth[2]). Those few holding this belief had interpreted “… the four corners of the earth,” in Isaiah[3] and Revelation[4] to mean the Earth had four literal corners and was thus flat. What was obviously meant were the four directions.

Even at that time, the belief in a flat Earth was not widespread and a spherical Earth had been common knowledge[5] especially for sailors who clearly saw the curvature of the horizon and saw sails appear over it before the ships appeared. It was evident in earlier ages that the Earth cast a circular shadow on the moon, especially during lunar eclipses. The ancient Greeks and other cultures in antiquity knew the Earth was a sphere and actually calculated its circumference by triangulation.

     “The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice.”

                                                                        Arthur Schopenhauer

Contrary to what you may have been taught, true science and Christianity are thoroughly compatible, and Christians have contributed greatly to the foundations of science. Anyone who believes in God must also believe that God invented science and gave us the ability to understand the laws of the universe. More than any other religion, Christianity taught that God had created an orderly, understandable universe that obeys natural laws. In this view, it is left to individuals to discover what that order and those laws are.

  • Science seeks the truth of WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and HOW things happen.
  • Religion seeks the truth of WHY things happen, WHO might have caused them and for “what” ultimate Purpose.

Therefore, we would not expect science to say anything at all about the why and who of religion, or for religion to necessarily seek spiritual answers in the what, where and how of science. The two are separate but complementary parts of the whole picture. They both seek to understand our “world” but approach it from different directions. Some agenda driven scientists who campaign against a belief in God have stepped beyond science into what amounts to a religion of evangelical atheism, which is also based on faith. Just because science can only study the material world does not mean there is nothing else outside it that is beyond the reach of science.

Because they choose not to believe in God or miracles, materialist atheists choose to define a miracle as breaking the physical laws of the universe. However, it is not necessary for God to break and act outside of his own physical laws to do things we don’t understand based on our limited knowledge and beliefs.  Based on superior knowledge of a system he invented, God can use the natural laws in unique ways to do things seemingly impossible perhaps even including manipulating time and space.  Similarly, magic acts appear to break the laws of logic but are really doing something else that is hidden from the audience.

A closed minded, dogmatic scientist is an oxymoron[6] and is not a true scientist at all regardless of her credentials. Science is a developing discipline where new knowledge sometimes radically changes accepted theories. The universe is filled with mysteries and unanswered or unanswerable questions. A true scientist must keep an open mind about all possibilities and admit that some things are not known or not even knowable. It is not necessary to make up clever stories to compensate for the missing knowledge, much less teach such speculative beliefs as settled science. It is OK to say “I don’t know” unless you are pushing an agenda other than truth. When scientists fill in gaps in knowledge with clever “just-so” stories, it is a Science of the Gaps[7] and is not science at all.

As a scientist, I use the tools of science to search for truth about our world. I think it is safe to say that there are prejudices and fiercely held beliefs on both sides. But beliefs are not facts no matter how many are convinced that they are true. It makes no sense to hold on to a view that has been shown to be in error, simply because it is “accepted and established.” Nor is it useful to stoop to name calling, slurs and other put-downs of those on the other side of an issue. Consensus is alien to science and is only properly used for opinions, not facts, in cultural and political settings. Consensus can lead into egregious errors. Remember, before Copernicus and Galileo the consensus was that the entire universe revolved around the Earth. Truth is never the result of a popular vote.

     “To be a faultless member of the flock, first one must be a sheep.”

                                                                           Albert Einstein

Nowhere is it more evident today than in the subjects of evolution and the origins of life and the universe. Both sides of these questions are often so steeped in their own emotional capital that their judgment and willingness to honestly debate may be clouded. For some, there are no grounds for discussion, much less any compromises. The other side is often viewed as either evil, ignorant or having sinister hidden motives. Science by definition is the quest for truth about our world; it has no business being closed minded and dogmatic to the point of preaching against religious belief or God based on materialist beliefs and prejudices.

The actions of a scientist are closer to a religion than true science when he insists that religion is bad and that everyone must believe as he does. Unfortunately, evangelical atheism has often used science to further its “religion.” This has also been true of the Progressive and Socialist political agendas that often go hand in hand with it. Both philosophies have effectively used the all too gullible press as a weapon in their war on both religion and truth. It is impossible to separate science, politics, popular culture, religion and the role of the press in the search for truth. They are all irreversibly entangled.

Because evolution is such an emotionally charged subject, when I started to write my book I was inclined to give it a minor role compared to other mysteries. However, when I studied it further from all sides, I realized that evolution was the beginning of and the role model for promoting most of the later dogma disguised as science, and belief disguised as truth. Its presentation in the popular press rather than peer reviewed scientific journals[8], the political style of rhetoric used to promote it, and the types of defensive arguments employed, taught later generations how to promote their points of view in other fields. In many areas, science has been hijacked by materialists who promote progressive and anti-God views through philosophical story-telling disguised as science.

Evolution is also a good example of entrenched dogma that the adherents insist must be accepted without question. As such, it is closer to myth than science. Science is never chiseled in stone. It is a changing discipline where nothing and no one are held sacred or inviolable. New knowledge is always to be encouraged and should never be seen as a threat. If any area of science does stifle dissenting views, it is not science anymore; it is a religion or at least a strongly held philosophy. Unfortunately, the fields of evolution, origin of life, cosmology and particle physics have become so dogmatic that dissent or differing views are attacked, defunded and blocked from publication in scientific journals.

   “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views.”

                                                                                Albert Einstein

[1] The Capricious Cosmos by Joe Rosen, 1991, Macmillan, New York.

[2] Popularized in A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, 1828, by Washington Irving.

[3] Bible: Isaiah 11:12 – “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (King James version)

[4] Bible: Revelation 7:1 – “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.” (King James version)

[5] Bible: Isaiah 40:22 – “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants therof are as grasshoppers; that streatcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” also Job 26: 7 – “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” (King James version)

[6] Oxymoron – a combination of contradictory or incongruous words such a “cruel kindness”

[7] A takeoff on the God of the Gaps claim of atheists to characterize any belief in a creator or design.

[8] Except for the original verbal presentation of a paper on the subject to the Linnean Society.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

The problem:

A progressive, anti-God mindset has come to dominate science and many other aspects of our world. Magical thinking, hidden agendas and protection of turf have replaced the need and the pursuit of truth.

The progressive monopoly relies on three things: academia, media and government funding. Academia, rather than being the open forum for discussing diverse ideas it should be, has become a closed priesthood where dissenting opinions are repressed, punished and blocked from funding and from academic publication by biased editors and peer reviewers. The popular press, whether print or electronic, is gullible and all too eager to parrot the standard line of SQR (Status Quo Regurgitators) without question. This includes the entertainment industry. Government funding grants aimed at supporting the standard line and controlled by SQR department heads, control what research can and cannot be done.

Solutions:

A public awareness of the problems is needed, leading to an open debate and holding accountable those blocking the free pursuit of truth. More, not less, research and discovery would result. Daylight is a good disinfectant.

  • It will be very difficult to break through the progressive monopoly and inform the people of the problem so it may take a generation. That is why books like this are important. It is one more way to chip away at the imposing edifice of the progressive monopoly.
  • The public must demand that academic departments allow and encourage questions, debates and alternative research.
  • Peer reviewed publications must be held accountable for bias and advocacy that blocks publication of valid research based on alternative views.
  • The popular press and the entertainment industries must be held accountable by an informed public for biased reporting and propaganda disguised as entertainment.
  • Government funding should be minimized and scrutinized to assure that meaningful research is done and that outcomes reflect the unbiased truth.

Educate yourself so you can use logic and facts, not emotional appeals in the debate. Arguing based on the Bible won’t help your case with those that don’t believe; it will only give your opponents ammunition to claim that you are anti-science and superstitious. Stick to facts and logic. Find and support those publications, websites and blogs that point out bias and give voice to alternative views as one way of educating yourself. Be discerning about internet information sources so you don’t get misled by illogical, unsupported wild speculation on either side. Learn to recognize the difference between opinion and facts. Start blogs of your own to give others an outlet for dissent. Read the books and visit the websites in the bibliography of this book.

Tactics – Direct Confrontation:

This new challenge for each of us to reveal the truth won’t be easy. As a matter of fact, because of the typically harsh and defensive responses of the progressives, it will sometimes be downright unpleasant. Most people will avoid confrontation on those grounds, preferring to avoid conflict and remain silent. Many are aware of the problem, or at least some part of it, but few are bold enough to stand up to the elitist bullies who call them names, disparage their character and engage in hate-filled diatribes. Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about them defending their fragile egos, their territories and their control of the situation.

They will try to make you defensive and emotional like they are by attacking your character and intelligence. The key to discussing anything with them, assuming they are at all willing, is to remain calm and logical, not emotional (offended, hurt, angry, etc.). Don’t let them put you on the defensive. Stand your ground and continue to ask your questions and make your logical points in a relatively nonthreatening manner. As long as they don’t actually hit you, their tantrums and accusations mean nothing. If they manage to get you to address the issue emotionally, you have lost at least half of your argument. Not only will you be mischaracterized, but in any argument (discussion) when emotion enters, logic goes out the window.

For those of you who are confident enough, I would encourage you to enter those very debates without fear or dread with business-like or diplomatic composure. It may be useful to start with quiet discussions on milder aspects of their beliefs in private so they do not feel obligated to defend themselves in public. By all means, don’t try to defend yourself or give them counter examples to illustrate that you are not guilty of whatever their accusations are. You would be wasting your breath, falling into their trap and giving them ammunition to shoot back at you. By putting you on the defensive they have achieved half of their goal of sidetracking the discussion and making you look foolish. Their favorite game is “Got Ya!”

Let the vitriol flow over you without obvious effect. Address the facts and the possibility that their thinking might have some logical flaws or blind spots. When they lose their composure or spew slanderous remarks, that is a sign that you are on the right track because they are attempting to use intimidation to shut you up. Remain calm and repeat your point in a gentle, composed manner. Point out the logic of both points of view without sinking to their emotional level. Whatever the outcome, thank them for being willing to discuss the issue.

If you are a student, you may have to repeat the status quo line and not be too outspoken until after you get your passing grade. Remember, the professor is protecting his image to the rest of the class. In those cases, it is probably best to wait until the class is over to raise your questions in private and in a relatively non-threatening way if at all. You will have to gradually judge their tolerance for dissenting voices to see how far you can go in educating them. Some have such fragile egos that you will not be able to engage them at all. They may be unwilling to discuss their beliefs, so some finesse may be required to keep the door to communication open. Some, however, will be at least somewhat open to discussion of their beliefs.

Department heads or deans need to hear from students about those professors who are abusing their positions to proselytize or indoctrinate instead of teach. If no one complains, these leaders really don’t know what is going on. One complaint may not have any effect, but complaints from numerous students may have some effect in reining in such abuse. Talk among other students and compare notes about the professor’s behavior. Encourage others to also complain, preferably after the course is completed.

Tactics – Indirect Campaigns:

Start contacting those who control the message and the money. Write letters, emails, comment on social media, websites or blogs and phone those who can affect change. Contact members of Congress, heads of government departments, academic deans and heads of academic departments, media producers and editors, as well as advertisers of biased media. Let them know that you do not accept the bias that is exhibited. Give logical arguments for free exchange of ideas and discussions of logical alternatives. One person contacting them may not have much effect, but numerous contacts cannot be ignored. Most of these leaders and politicians assume that one letter from a proactive person represents opinions of many others not willing or able to speak out.

Darwin’s Problem with Ants

Darwin’s Claims

Worker ants of various castes and two large queens
Leaf Cutter Ants – Worker ants of various castes and two large queens

Darwin thought cells were simple bags of gel.  He knew nothing of DNA or any other cellular structures.  He believed that inheritance was through “Gemmules” that each cell shed and that traveled to the gametes (sperm and egg).  Since each cell “voted” it was called pangenesis. He believed that the life experiences of the parents were passed on to their offspring in this way. He believed evolutionary incremental changes occurred by passing these life experiences on to subsequent generations.

Darwin’s Dilemma

Colony insects were a problem for Darwin.  If life experiences were passed on, how does a queen ant, who has never experienced foraging for food, pass on the behavior of the worker ants who hunt for food and bring it back to the colony?

His theory of evolution taught that use and disuse along with adaptation to environmental changes experienced by parents were passed on and were responsible for the changes seen between species by gradual changes over time, coupled with natural selection aka survival of the fittest.  How is this any different from J-B Lamarck’s theory of acquired characteristics, which was discredited as having no foundation?  Did acceptance for Darwin’s theory and not Lamarck’s have more to do with politics and marketing than science?

Modern Evolutionary Biologists’ Dilemma

Obviously, modern evolutionary biologists found pangenesis and inheritance of acquired traits embarrassing, so, in the early 20th century they changed the theory to include genetics with an emphasis on natural selection and called it Neo-Darwinism or the Modern Synthesis. Later, they included DNA.  Although Darwin is still revered as if he had everything right, this form of Evolutionary theory is grossly different from the original Darwinian theory except for the assumption of natural selection and unlimited gradual changes producing new species over time.