Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Can Science Help Us Live Forever?

"It’s not really a matter of living forever, it’s just a matter of not wanting to die." (Aubrey de Grey)

Dr. de Grey (photo at right) directs the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) project, in which he has defined seven causes of aging, all of which he thinks will be completely overcome soon. Furthermore, he insists that eternal youthfulness can be enjoyed, people living for centuries in a splendid balance of the life force just as if they were 20-25 years of age.

And de Grey's utopian vision isn't just for some distant future. Oh, no. The breakthroughs are going to start -- any minute now. Indeed, he thinks that the humans who will end up living for a thousand years are among us right now, perhaps people who are already past age 60.

Of course, de Grey's hopes to defy death are sheer fantasy. For not only have his theories and experiments failed over and again to produce the slightest movement towards anti-aging, they are based on an inescapably fatal flaw. Science, which is merely the study of God's creation, cannot be used as a weapon against His purposes. And it is God that has clearly decreed, "It is appointed unto men once to die, and then the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)

No one escapes.

However, here's the good news. Man can conquer death through resurrection. But that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ, accepting the sacrifice for sin that He provided by dying in our place on the cross.

Man's hope for eternal life cannot be found in de Grey's wishful thinking any more than it could in Ponce de Leon's mythical Fountain of Youth. Eternal life (of a grander quality than de Grey has ever dreamed) is found through the singular sacrifice of Jesus. "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water which I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14)

Michelangelo once wrote that "Death destroys a man, but the idea of death saves him." So true. The great artist understood that the inescapable reality of death provides the motivation to effectively prepare for it; specifically, by receiving Christ's atoning sacrifice in man's behalf. Jesus said "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die." (John 11:26)

I'm afraid that no matter what the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence attempt to do about it, death is going to come to Aubrey de Grey. And to you and me too. Therefore, instead of wishful thinking, science fiction, whistling through the graveyard, or any other distractions, men must face the hard fact which is death.

And in squarely facing it, make sure of your salvation from death through the triumph of Christ's resurrection.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you." (1 Peter 1:3-4).

Monday, June 23, 2014

Top Ten Lessons from Noah and the Ark

“The Entry of the Animals into Noah's Ark” 
(Jan Brueghel the Elder, painted in 1613.)

There are a lot of important life lessons to be learned from Noah's experience with the ark. Simple but profound lessons.

Here's my list of the top ten.

1) Don’t miss the boat! Listen to what God says and do

2) Plan ahead.  Once Noah got the design specs from God, he acted ahead of the crisis.

3) Don’t be deterred by criticism or unpopularity. Once the Lord has set the agenda, you stay on task.

4) Appreciate nature in the way God has designed it.  Stewardship of His creation is a serious responsibility.

5) Stay alert for action, whatever your age. Noah was 600 years old when he became a ship maker. (He was even older when he became a sailor.)

6) We’re all in the same boat, baby. Help each other out.

7) Avoid loneliness – travel in pairs.

8) Learn to be patient and accept God’s will. Sometimes that means you’re a builder; sometimes a zookeeper. Other times, you’ve just gotta’ float awhile.

9) As long as you put your trust in the Lord, even the very worst of life's storms can be weathered.

10) Do your duty to God no matter how difficult it may seem at that time. For, in His time, there will come rest from your efforts. Plus there's the beauty and security of the rainbow too!

Friday, June 20, 2014

On Fortune Tellers

I once had an interesting discussion after being asked by a non-Christian friend about fortune telling. I told him that I could get a higher percentage of predictions picking weekly winners in the NFL than any psychic he could name. He agreed that would probably be true if I were matched against people who only claim to be psychic. But then he asked, “Denny; what about the real deal? What do you think about someone who really can read the future, someone like Jeane Dixon?”

I was glad he asked because I had done a bit of research into the matter, including details on the lady who has (to date) been America’s most famous seer. “Well,” I began, “the late Jeane Dixon was certainly the most celebrated fortune teller of my time, mainly because of her syndicated newspaper column. But there were her books too, astrological guides that included charts for dogs, cats, your daily meals and so on. But, I’m afraid I’ve got to disappoint you. Mrs. Dixon couldn't tell the future better than anyone else. Just check her record. In reality, she wasn’t a fortune-teller; she was only a fortune-guesser. And not a particularly good one at that.”

My friend seemed skeptical. "How then did she become so famous?"

I replied, "How did Tiny Tim become famous? Because he was talented? Of course not. Johnny Carson, the National Enquirer, and the rest of the media make people celebrities for all kinds of goofy reasons. But in Jeane Dixon's case, I can assure you, her star status wasn't something she earned. She simply gave away a huge amount of predictions and then conveniently remembered only the 10 or 15% that could be liberally interpreted as coming true."

"No kidding?"

I gave him a few examples. “When Mrs. Dixon just started to cash in on the popularity of horoscopes and fortune-telling in the early 50's, she made a pretty famous prediction. She said that World War III was going to begin in 1958. That error cooled her jets until the tabloids of the 60's were looking for wild attractions. They hauled Mrs. Dixon out again. She promptly assured Americans that the Vietnam conflict would be over by 1966. She was only nine years off, poor thing. Must have been a short in her crystal ball."

"She also predicted there would be a cure for cancer in 1967. She predicted Fidel Castro would be overthrown and tossed out of Cuba in disgrace before the year 1970 was out. Of course, Cubans are still waiting for that one. She predicted there would be universal peace by the year 2000. And how about her confident assertion that Russia would be the first nation to put men on the moon?"

"But hey; I can't forget my favorite," I finally added. "On October 19th, 1968, Mrs. Dixon predicted that the last thing on Jackie Kennedy’s mind was any possibility of remarriage. And then, bingo, the very next day, headlines announced to the world the wedding of Jackie and Aristotle Onassis.”

No, I assured my friend, I would feel no pressure from a prediction contest with even a "pro psychic" like Jeane Dixon. "We would all be in the guessing game together. The fact is that there is only one source of accurate, dependable information about the future."

“I know, I know,” my friend said laughingly. “Forget the psychic hotlines and read the Bible instead.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Monday, June 16, 2014

I Received a Letter Today from President Obama

Yes, of course, it was just a form letter but, after writing several letters to the White House in recent years, it was the first time there was ever a response. Thank you, Mr. President.

However, I must point out a few ironic elements in your note.

1) You say "abortion is a heart-wrenching issue." Why do you think that? Is it because, no matter what slogans or hype or convoluted justifications are used, everyone realizes that abortion kills a human child? Indeed, Mr. President, abortion is not merely a heart-wrenching matter, it is a violent, blasphemous heart-destroying act. And, though you claim such things are above your pay grade, you know this quite certainly.

2) You remind me that you are "committed to protecting a woman's right to choose." That is hardly arguable, is it? Your record on abortion -- not just protecting it, but promoting it, defending it, glorifying it, and financing it -- is the most extreme in political history. Yet, once again, this proud statement of yours lacks honesty and intellectual value. A woman's right to choose...what? The tearing apart of her child by a suction machine? The barbaric dissection of her baby by sharp curettes? The cold-hearted corrosives of saline and other poisons that bring a torturous death to the developing baby?

You are committed to that

3) Your letter goes on to make claims about preventing unintended pregnancies, helping moms and kids, and so on. But really, Mr. President, do you really expect the public to buy that, especially those who are aware of your intense partnership with Planned Parenthood, the nation's mega-abortion corporation that also excels in promoting (and enabling) sexual promiscuity? No, Mr. President, that's not going to fly.

4) And finally, the reminder of your promise regarding your administration's transparency is a particularly weak part of your note. For it's awfully hard to forget the seemingly innumerable scandals which, in fact, emphasize just the opposite. On one hand, there's your insistence about transparency. But, on the other hand, there's the matters of NSA, IRS, Benghazi, Fast & Furious, secret White House logs, talking points that deny clear truths, stonewalling, dissembling, distraction, blaming, lost e-mails, the epidemic of forgetfulness when officials are questioned by Congress or the press, repression of press access, revisionist history, and more.

Mr. President, I do indeed thank you for your letter. But, I'm afraid, I found it quite unsatisfactory. Therefore, I will continue to pray for you (as I regularly do), asking God to bless and protect you, to give you wisdom and guidance, but also to awaken your conscience to your part in the appalling destruction of prenatal life that is occurring in our era. 


Friday, June 13, 2014

What Should You Call An Abortionist?

What should be the descriptive term for doctors who perform abortions?

Well, let’s see now, the doctor who takes care of your feet is given a special designation for that particular field – he’s called a podiatrist. In the same way, one routinely refers to a heart doctor as a cardiologist. The doctor who gives you anesthetic before an operation is an anesthesiologist. And a doctor who treats the nervous system is a neurologist. So, doesn’t it simply make sense to use the term abortionist to describe a doctor who specializes in that particular...uh, operation?

Timothy Lamer, a writer for World Magazine, once conducted a search of America’s foremost newspapers in which he looked specifically at the nomenclature of abortion. In a one-month period, these newspapers had 39 references to dermatologists. Not even in one instance were they referred to as a skin doctor or skin care provider. But when it came to abortion, it was a much different story.

The word “abortionist” showed up only 8 times and almost all of those were used in the somewhat negative term "anti-abortionist." Ant that term applied, of course, to those people who believe preborn children shouldn't be killed.

But describing the fellows who perform the abortions, the newspapers used the term “abortion doctor” 21 times and “abortion provider” 36 times.

One can certainly understand an abortionist being ashamed to admit what he is in public. But why does the so-called independent, objective press strain so hard to provide cover for them?

That is a pretty clear example of cultural collusion...and journalistic irresponsibility.

Planned Parenthood Flunks Embryology 101

“Q: My friend says that life begins when the egg and sperm join together. I say that it begins when a baby takes its first breath. Which of us is right?”

That was the question once posed in a Q&A section of Planned Parenthood’s website. How did Dr. Vanessa Cullins, PP’s vice president for external medical affairs, answer it?

She wrote, “All kinds of people — theologians, philosophers, scientists, lawyers, legislators, and many others — hold very different views about when life begins. In fact, both the egg and the sperm are living things before they meet and join. There's no real argument there. The really hot question is, ‘When does being a person begin?’ Most medical authorities and Planned Parenthood agree that it starts when a baby takes its first breath.”

That answer, of course, is not merely incorrect. It is a lie.

“Most medical authorities” wouldn’t think of denying the clear and incontrovertible facts of embryology. Neither would practicing physicians, academics, parents, or the general public. But the greedy interests that run the nations’s largest abortion corporation? They make that absolutely preposterous claim because they don’t care a whit for science. Or morality. Or the lives of children. Or the longterm health and well-being of women.

No, Planned Parenthood cares about profit and the ongoing escalation of the abortion culture.

Lying is just part of the business plan.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

"The Security of Hope" (The Latest Letter from Vital Signs Ministries Is Up)

Dear Vital Signs friends,                                                                                           
The May LifeSharer letter was actually started twice but circumstances arising from an even busier-than-usual schedule last month interrupted both of those efforts.  The result is that the May LifeSharer has now morphed into a May/June LifeSharer!  So perhaps I should have made the salutation “Dear patient and understanding LifeSharer friends” for I know you have been very good in accepting with good grace those times (pretty rare actually) when we’ve been unable to get out our monthly letter. 

The fact is that even this LifeSharer is being written in a very hectic week, one that suggests June may be almost as packed as May.  This week includes Saturday morning prayers and public witness at the Planned Parenthood abortion mill, two early morning Panera’s meetings, a luncheon we’re hosting today for old friends, revising the next “When Swing Was King” volume, writing for Vital Signs Blog and the Book Den, writing this LifeSharer letter and getting it in the mail, mowing the lawn and working in the gardens, and conducting a funeral service in central Nebraska.

But what of those busy activities since our last letter? Well, since I hope to include a few thoughts about the Bible’s perspective on hope later on in this letter, I only have space for a few highlights…

Read the rest of Denny’s Vital Signs letter right here.

Monday, June 09, 2014

When Poisons Are Mislabeled

We recently received a note asking about a particular "birth control" product being sold by Walmart. However, the product in question is less a prophylactic than it is an abortifacient. Thus, we sent our friend this note:

Dear -----,

The pill you are talking about is "Plan B One Step."  It went out on the shelves last July.  It is usually in the aisle next to condoms, tampons and sanitary napkins, instead of behind the pharmacy counters.  Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Target, etc. all put it out and now anyone can buy it. 

What exactly is the deal with Plan B? Well, it isn't good. In fact, it's dastardly...and deadly.

Below are some links to pieces Denny did on the blog about the Plan B pill. Thanks for the inquiry.

A Closer Look at the “Morning After” Pill

When Is the Beginning Not the Beginning?

A Progressive Priority: Abortifacient Drugs for Young Girls

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Parrying the Blow

The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. 

People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. It is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists. 

It is no answer to say, with a distant optimism, that the scheme is only in the air. A blow from a hatchet can only be parried while it is in the air.

So wrote G.K. Chesterton in the opening paragraph of Eugenics and Other Evils (1922).

Tragically, the hatchet blow of humanist eugenics was not parried by the Church in those days when it could have been and so we now struggle against a "culture of death" that has become all too entrenched.

Yes, we will fight and fight gladly the terrible things the eugenics movement has started (abortion, the disrespect for the institution of family, an anti-child mentality, euthanasia, genetic engineering, and so on) but Chesterton's words remind us of how much more difficult is the struggle when God's people slumber through the first alarms.