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Author Topic: Biblical Creation vs. Evolution  (Read 146397 times)
Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #1215 on: November 10, 2008, 05:08:38 PM »

Myco-diesels and the Age of the Earth
by Brian Thomas, M.S.*

A newly-discovered Patagonian fungus named Gliocladium roseum can produce various alcohols and hydrocarbons, including octane.1 The fungus lives inside the ulmo trees of South American rainforests and has specialized cellular machinery that enables it to digest sugars—including the difficult-to-digest cellulose—and convert some of it into what are now being called “myco-diesels.”

This find presents two profound implications, both discussed in a study published in the journal Microbiology. One is the potential of using this fungus to produce fuel from cellulose, a heretofore expensive process. Biofuel production has been limited due to the need to add cellulose-digesting enzymes to cellulose vats. Existing microbes would then convert the material to “bio-diesel.” G. roseum does this in just one step. The paper’s authors wrote, “Certainly, it is both timely and interesting that G. roseum can utilize cellulose for the production of hydrocarbons given the enormous volumes of foodstuff grains currently being utilized for alcohol (fuel) production.”1

Thus, this new microbe offers a method for producing fuel from inedible cellulose (an insoluble polysaccharide), rather than from edible grains. This has the potential to disengage the fuel market from the food market and reduce the rising costs of both.

The second implication of this discovery regards the formation of crude oil in the earth’s past. As the Microbiology article states:

    Most geologists view crude oil and natural gas as products arising from the compression and heating of ancient organic substances over the course of geological time. In view of this work, perhaps it is not unreasonable to speculate that some hydrocarbons in the earth’s upper mantle may have arisen via the fermentation of plant materials by fungi under conditions of limited oxygen.1

G. roseum works its magic best when there is low oxygen, and creation scientists would expect low oxygen levels in the continent-sized mass vegetation burial produced by Noah’s Flood. Researchers have demonstrated in laboratories that vast ages are not required to form such materials as limestone or coal. Diamonds can be produced, given the right chemical environment, in twelve hours.2

If, in contrast to the standard geological models, G. roseum rapidly produced what became crude oil from Flood-buried plant matter, then this is yet one more reason to doubt the evolutionary dogma that the age of the earth must be counted in millions of years rather than thousands.

References

   1. Strobel, G. A. et al. 2008. The production of myco-diesel hydrocarbons and their derivatives by the endophytic fungus Gliocladium roseum (NRRL 50072). Microbiology. 154: 3319-3328.
   2. Coghlan, A. 2003. From greenhouse gas to precious gem in one easy step. New Scientist. 2405: 17.
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« Reply #1216 on: November 10, 2008, 06:36:13 PM »

In other words, Christians Unite will be the opposite of our public schools.

Hello I am new and haven't even had time to introduce myself yet but thought I would just make a quick comment on the school part of this discussion.
I'm from the UK Northern Ireland to be precise but just as in the USA the schools here teach the E word as fact and just as in the USA we are now reaping the rewards of this for when God is taken out of the schools so the devil moves in.
I can't be the only one who makes the connection between school massacres and the absence of God in schools?
If children are being taught they are blobs of goo what is there to love or live for, now I'm not saying that I was never affected by this error in teaching because it is so pervasive I have to think about everything connected to this and check it in scriptures to be sure.
But it is maybe one of the advantages of having little faith that believing Creation by God is much easier than the alternative!
As a local Gospel singer here says " From Genesis to Revelation, I believe it all".

Hello Sparky88UK,

WELCOME!


I'm late in welcoming you because I've been gone. I sincerely hope that you enjoy Christians Unite, and I look forward to having fellowship with you.

Most of us here believe as you do that the Bible is 100% TRUTH from cover to cover. YES - Genesis is the ONLY TRUTH about CREATION, and we see WONDROUS EVIDENCE of the CREATOR everywhere we look. GOD'S Evidence is overwhelming, and HIM as the CREATOR is the only thing that makes sense. It is very sad to see how much damage that people like Darwin have done, especially to our children. It's a pretty important task for Christians to teach their children the TRUTH about GOD AND CREATION. Things have progressed to the worse in many of our public schools, and it's past time to homeschool our children. Things much worse than evolution are now being taught, and our children are too important to tolerate this. Our primary goal with our children hasn't changed:  BRING THEM UP IN THE LORD! We already know this is GOD'S Will, and HE Will equip us for this task if we just pray and ask HIM.

Love In Christ,
Tom

James 1:2-4 NASB  Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
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« Reply #1217 on: November 11, 2008, 02:56:20 PM »

The Gamburtsev Mountains: An Antarctic Mystery
by Brian Thomas, M.S.*

Antarctica has for years puzzled researchers who submit to long-age theories, especially after the Gamburtsev mountain range in central Antarctica was discovered in 1957. These mountains are about as big as the Alps, yet are buried under nearly a mile and a half of ice. As of October 2008, an international team of research scientists is preparing to survey the range in detail. They hope the investigation will provide clues to how such large mountains were formed in the interior of the continent.1

A standard, long-age model for mountain formation holds that continental plate margins slowly buckle upward when they collide. But “both the existence of these massive mountains in the absence of known active tectonism and their inaccessible location in the middle of Antarctica have contributed to their mystery.”2 Thus, the standard model does not fit the observations.

The global Flood detailed in Genesis, which was powerful enough to cause such land mass formations, provides a possible answer to this mystery. Considerable creation science research has already been conducted regarding the formation of mountains in general, the earth’s past Ice Age, and the earth’s present ice caps. According to the creation model, the Flood deposited extensive amounts of sediment. While still soft, the sediments were deformed and uplifted, and water running off the continents carved further mountains.

Geophysicist John Baumgardner wrote in 2005 that “when the catastrophic driving processes shut down, the zones with the thickened crust [piles of sediment] promptly moved toward a state of what is called isostatic equilibrium, resulting in many thousands of feet of vertical uplift.”3 And as the newly formed continents rose up, the water that had covered them washed much of that sediment into the now lower ocean basins. The majority of this work could have been accomplished in one year.

In a remarkable description of this process, Psalm 104:6-8 says “Thou coveredst it [the earth] with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.” Both scriptural and scientific evidence at this point seem to indicate that the Antarctic continent bobbed upward toward the end of the Flood year, and the waters that had covered it drained into the ocean, carving huge valleys and leaving behind the steep-sided Gamburtsev mountains in mid-continent.

References

   1. Amos, J. Survey targets 'ghost' mountains. BBC News. Posted on bbc.co.uk December 13, 2006, accessed October 29, 2008.
   2. Cox, S. E. et al. 2007. Detrital apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He evidence for early formation and slow erosion of the Gamburtsev Mountains, East Antarctica. 10th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences, August 26-31, Santa Barbara, CA. U.S. Geological Survey and the National Academies; USGS OF-2007-1047, Extended Abstract 193.
   3. Baumgartner, J. 2005. Recent Rapid Uplift of Today's Mountains. Acts & Facts. 35 (3).
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« Reply #1218 on: November 12, 2008, 11:50:27 AM »

The Gamburtsev Mountains: Where Did the Ice Come From?
by Brian Thomas, M.S.*

Research is currently underway to scan the Gamburtsev mountain range, which is around the size of the Alps and stands in the middle of Antarctica. It is also covered by about 2,000 feet of ice, and thus was originally detectable only by the seismic equipment used by its Russian discoverers in 1957. This new study, however, will combine ice-penetrating radar technology with seismic information to map the submerged range in more detail, in the hope of solving some of the mountains’ mysteries.1

One question is, how did so much ice get there in the first place? “Ice sheet history is poorly known”2 and the current speculation is that the Gamburtsev range spawned the glacial nuclei, which then spread from the mountains to eventually cover the whole continent in a process that took millions of years. However, it would seem that more than mountains and cold air would be required. For one thing, where did the water come from to make the ice?

The ice cover over the mountain range (and continent) has been a thorny problem for slow-and-gradual, long-age thinkers because in general “much cooler summers and copious snowfall are required, but they are inversely related, since cooler air is drier.”3 Radical changes, like those that would have been generated by the global Flood recorded in Genesis, were necessary to produce these mega-glaciers. The Flood would have heated the oceans, causing waters to evaporate intensely. This would have fueled extensive precipitation and snowfall.4 The Flood likely also churned debris into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight and thus slowing the melting of accumulating snow and ice.

Although many more factors would be involved than can be included here, research continues to demonstrate the plausibility of using the Bible’s accounts of early earth history to interpret what we observe. It will be interesting, indeed, to see what this current study will discover under the Antarctic ice.

References

   1. Buried Antarctic Mountain Range Shouldn't Exist at All. Live Science. Posted on foxnews.com October 27, 2008.
   2. Barker, P. F. et al. 1999. Antarctic glacial history from numerical models and continental margin sediments. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 150 (3): 247-267. The Antarctic ice sheet contains over 6.5 million cubic miles, equal to the volume of 4 percent of today’s ocean.
   3. Oard, M. 1987. The Ice Age and the Genesis Flood. Acts & Facts. 16 (6).
   4. Vardiman, L. 1996. Cooling of the Ocean After the Flood. Acts & Facts. 25 (7).
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« Reply #1219 on: November 14, 2008, 08:40:25 AM »

MythBuster Mistakes Evolution for Science
by Christine Dao*

The popular Discovery Channel show MythBusters not only entertains, it also does what science education is supposed to do: promote critical thinking through hands-on experience. The show focuses on Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman as they test the truth of various urban legends through empirical investigations. Their experiments range from the practical (seeing whether a pickup truck has better fuel efficiency with the tailgate up or down) to the wacky (building a rocket out of sandwich meat) to the not entirely legal (breaking out of a Mexican prison using salsa).

Although neither Savage nor Hyneman have formal science backgrounds, both are hailed by some academics for their ability to interest young students in science through their show. “When Jamie Hyneman and I speak at teacher conventions, we always draw a grateful crowd. They tell us Thursday mornings are productive because students see us doing hands-on science Wednesday night on our show MythBusters, and they want to talk about it,” Savage wrote in a column for the September 2008 issue of Popular Mechanics.1 He went on to list three suggestions for improving science education in America, all of which make sense to some degree: engage the students in hands-on applications rather than just passive lecture; allot more funds for equipment to foster that hands-on experience; and learn from mistakes, which are often better teachers than the originally desired results.

But where the MythBusters host falls short—along with the rest of the secular scientific world—is in confusing observable present processes (on which empirical science is based) with theories of what happened in the unobserved past. In a Popular Mechanics podcast, Savage comments:

    The newspapers talking about evolution versus creationism is very much an attack on science as a type of religion—believing that the scientific method is some type of religious belief. And it’s not! That kind of attack absolutely is damaging science exploration across the whole country. I do think that’s a significant problem. And until we can get our head out of the sand and realize that science isn’t about truth—it’s why this debate about the “theory of evolution” bugs the h*** out of me. What scientists mean by theory is very different than what people think.2

Interestingly enough, the word “science” comes from the Latin term scientia, which means “knowledge.” If the pursuit of science “isn’t about truth,” what is the point in doing it? And although the scientific method is not “some type of religious belief,” it only operates within an individual scientist’s interpretive framework. The scientist’s belief system (whether based on evolution or creation) will influence how he or she interprets an experiment’s results.3

Like most in the pro-evolution camp, Savage assumes that the theory of Darwinian evolution is fact, and that belief in evolution is necessary in order practice true science. This is little more than a myth, and few can “bust” it better than Kepler,4 Boyle,5 Newton,6 Faraday,7 Maxwell,8 Mendel,9 Pasteur,10 and many other scientists whose work fathered the modern scientific disciplines in use today. The scientists mentioned here, by their own published words or lifestyle testimonies, conducted their science within a creationist framework. There is even strong evidence that Mendel and Pasteur—who were both ridiculed for their research at first—worked respectively to disprove Charles Darwin’s hypotheses on pangenesis (the blending of hereditary traits) and abiogenesis (life arising from non-life), both of which were imperative to support Darwin’s theory of descent with modification.

Savage and Hyneman have demonstrated that conducting good experimental science starts with curiosity and a passion to explore the unknown, and that it can also be entertaining and an important tool to tap into the creativity of young innovators. But unobservable natural processes of the past are beyond the scope of empirical science, and both academia and popular culture should be wary of equating the pursuit of truth with a still unproven theory.

References

   1. Savage, A. MythBuster Adam Savage: 3 Ways to Fix U.S. Science Education. Popular Mechanics. Posted on PopularMechanics.com September 2008, accessed November 11, 2008.
   2. Sullivan, M. Adam Savage’s Plan to Banish Boring Science Education & More: Back-to-School PODCAST. Popular Mechanics. Posted on PopularMechanics.com September 2, 2008, accessed November 11, 2008.
   3. Baumgardner, J. 2008. Exploring the Limitations of the Scientific Method. Acts & Facts. 37 (3): 4.
   4. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: Johann Kepler. Acts & Facts. 37 (3): 8.
   5. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: Robert Boyle. Acts & Facts. 37 (4): 8.
   6. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: Isaac Newton. Acts & Facts. 37 (5): 8.
   7. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: Michael Faraday. Acts & Facts. 37 (Cool: 8.
   8. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: James Clerk Maxwell. Acts & Facts. 37 (9): 8.
   9. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: Gregor Johann Mendel. Acts & Facts. 37 (10): 8.
  10. Dao, C. 2008. Man of Science, Man of God: Louis Pasteur. Acts & Facts. 37 (11): 8.
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« Reply #1220 on: November 20, 2008, 04:47:17 PM »

How Did Marine Organisms End Up in Tree Sap?
by Brian Thomas, M.S.*

A team of French experts in paleoenvironments has discovered algae and several bits of marine life that are completely encased in amber, a hard substance thought to originate from hardened tree sap. Amber is renowned for preserving exquisitely detailed fossils, often of insects.

In their study published in the November 11 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors note that “it has been supposed that amber could not have preserved marine organisms” because amber is produced in forests, not oceans.1 The researchers only reported what they saw and didn’t attempt to interpret how the amber formed or how the marine fossils were trapped in it.

Elsewhere, however, those who hold to the model that the earth was primarily shaped by “slow-and-gradual” geological processes have interpreted amber fossils as being the preserved remains of creatures from forests that existed millions of years ago. Creation scientists have presented many reasons to be skeptical about this interpretation,2 and the fact that algae have been found trapped in what was once tree sap indicates that the amber’s formation and deposition most likely involved an enormous, water-related event.

    Consider that amber deposits are vast, buried, often associated with lignite coal deposits, were transported and sorted, originated from tree sap that was later crystallized, is often found in odd shapes, pressed into odd nooks and gaps, and that it is broken or damaged tree branches that produce copious sap.3

When taken together with these other features of amber deposits, it becomes evident that some kind of massive, cataclysmic flood is responsible for the production of amber. A news report of these new findings proffered an alternate explanation:

    The presence of these marine organisms in the amber is an ecological paradox. How did these marine species become stuck and then trapped in the conifers’ resin? The most likely scenario is that the forest producing the amber was very close to the coast.4

The key to understanding amber formation may not be the proximity of the forest to the coast, however, but the events related in the biblical record regarding Noah’s Flood. At that time, the ocean overreached its coastal boundary and inundated the forest! It is likely that the flood waters first broke trees apart, transported the shattered timber, and then deposited the remaining pieces. These would have extruded large quantities of sap, which would have engulfed nearby creatures and then, at the bottom of the flood waters, hardened into amber. Marine algae trapped in amber ought to finally prove a flood-based interpretation.

References

   1. Gerard, V. et al. 2008. Evidence for marine microfossils from amber. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 105 (45): 17426-17429.
   2. Sherwin, F. 2006. Amber: A Window to the Recent Past. Acts & Facts. 35 (7).
   3. Thomas, B.Fossilized Gecko Fits Creation Model. Institute for Creation Research News. Posted on icr.org September 8, 2008, accessed November 14, 2008.
   4. Marine plankton found in amber. Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique press release, November 12, 2008.
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« Reply #1221 on: November 22, 2008, 08:46:33 AM »

Study Shows Nanoparticles Contribute to Cell Damage, Aging
by Brian Thomas, M.S.*

Among many possible environmental factors, scientists have long suspected that certain combinations of nanoparticles contribute to cell damage, aging, and eventually death. That hypothesis has been confirmed in a recent study that observed these ultrafine molecules, some of which can penetrate cell membranes and wreak havoc.1

Biogerontology has definitely shown that “aging arises from the accumulation of damage resulting from a lack of capacity to protect, maintain, and repair somatic tissues over time.”2 Diet, and atmospheric, magnetospheric, or even radioactivity changes are possible contributors to cell damage. Another study from biotechnologists at the University of Delaware also documented certain other nanoparticles that were taken into pumpkin plants, showing a possible way for nanoparticles to be introduced into foods.3

In the human body, these DNA-damaging factors are counteracted by DNA repair mechanisms. It is possible that some DNA repair capacity was lost at the population bottleneck, when the worldwide human population went from an unknown but vast number down to eight in approximately 2348 BC.4 A problem is that when the repair mechanisms themselves become compromised, then the remaining DNA is particularly susceptible to further damage.

The wrong amounts of sugar or amino acids, the presence of free radicals, and now perhaps nanoparticles contribute to cell death and therefore aging. The Bible speaks of a time when men lived extraordinarily long lives on earth, and a time when this longevity will be reestablished.5 Whatever factors contribute to cell death today will have to be dealt with biochemically when longevity returns to humanity.

It is not known how God will do this, though it is clear that some additional system would be required that provides constant upkeep to refresh both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. There is no doubt, however, that the One who created life in the first place is fully capable of restoring human bodies to their original “very good” state here on earth.6

References

   1. Salonen, E. et al. 2008. Real-Time Translocation of Fullerene Reveals Cell Contraction. Small. 4 (11): 1986-1992.
   2. Murphy, M., and L. Partridge. 2008. Toward a Control Theory Analysis of Aging. Annual Review of Biochemistry. 77: 793.
   3. Bryant, T. UD researchers show that plants can accumulate nanoparticles in tissues. University of Delaware press release, November 11, 2008.
   4. Genesis 7:11-13.
   5. The Bible records that before the Flood, the lifespan of humans measured in the hundreds of years (Genesis 5). Isaiah describes that in the future new heavens and new earth, a 100-year-old person will be considered a child (Isaiah 65:17-20).
   6. Genesis 1:31.
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« Reply #1222 on: November 25, 2008, 09:04:29 AM »

Darwin’s Mockingbirds Show Neither ‘Rigid Creation’ Nor Evolution
by Brian Thomas, M.S.*

The Natural History Museum in London recently opened a new exhibit that features mockingbirds that Charles Darwin collected during his travels around the Galapagos Islands in 1835. He observed they were unlike the mockingbirds in other South American regions. Jo Cooper, one of the museum’s curators, told the Associated Press, "It struck him immediately that [th]is was a very different bird: it's bigger, it has this dark chest, the bill is quite long…and that really made him start thinking."1

However, what might have struck Darwin as a “very different bird” looks to others like slight variations within the same bird kind. In any case, all the birds presented in the display are, in fact, undeniably mockingbirds. Darwin had legitimate scientific grounds, by virtue of the different features he noted, to challenge a “rigid creation” model of origins, one that assumes that all living creatures have descended unchanged from their first created parents. The variations that Darwin observed, however, pose no threat to standard, current biblical creation models, which recognize that living creatures can adapt to environmental or other changing factors (a process known as microevolution, or “horizontal” change).

Like the paleontologists of his time, as well as today’s observers, Darwin did not actually see any differences that represented transitional links between basic reproducing kinds, including “Darwin’s finches” on the Galapagos Islands. If the theory of descent with modification is true—that all organisms today evolved gradually from one single living thing over eons—then there ought to be evidence for it. Most fossils should show transitional states, but instead they show distinct kinds fully formed, even in the lowest (“earliest”) sedimentary rock layers.

Scientific observation and experimentation should reveal at least some hint of lower-to-higher biological development, but they don’t.2 It seems that though the scientific evidence does not favor rigid creation, it also does not support its polar opposite: Darwin’s view of total genetic plasticity, or morphing between kinds. Both scientific observation and the biblical record document that life produces life, and like produces like.

But if Darwin did not develop his “descent with modification” idea from the evidence, then where did he get it? History shows that his grandfather Erasmus, a medical doctor and prolific poet and writer, introduced Darwin to these concepts at an early age. One line from Erasmus’ 1794 book Zoonomia reads:

    In the great length of time, since the earth began to exist, perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind, would it be too bold to imagine, that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament.3

Unfortunately, those who visit London’s Museum of Natural History will only be given Erasmus Darwin’s imaginative interpretation, as filtered through his grandson, of mockingbird origins—that they arose from non-birds. Science has not documented these changes between kinds. All evidence points to the exact situation described in the Bible: that each creature reproduces after its own kind. Therefore, though it’s unpopular, favoring observational science over fanciful Darwinian doctrines is the better choice.

References

   1. Barr, R. Darwin's mockingbirds feature in London exhibit. Associated Press, November 15, 2008.
   2. Thomas, B. Bacterial Evolution in the Laboratory? ICR News. Posted on icr.org June 16, 2008, accessed November 18, 2008.
   3. Darwin, E. 1794. Zoonomia. Dublin: P. Byrne and W. Jones.

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« Reply #1223 on: December 02, 2008, 08:58:06 AM »

Self-sacrificing Cells Demonstrate a Selfless Designer
by Brian Thomas, M.S.*

Scientists have discovered that a single yeast cell gene (FLO1) expresses a protein that causes individual cells to stick to one another for protection. The cells flocculate, or form clumps “consisting of thousands of cells,”1 with the outside cells sacrificing themselves to protect the inner cells from possible harmful chemicals. These organisms have an obvious programmed behavior that mimics altruism, the principle or practice of unselfish concern for the welfare of others. But could nature have programmed it unaided, and if so, how?

The FLO1 study, published in the journal Cell, proposes that the common yeast “S. cerevisiae is also a model for the evolution of cooperative behavior.”1 The standard and often repeated mechanism for evolution involves “functional intermediates.” In this scenario, there was supposedly a series of mutation-generated biochemicals, each with new, immediately useful applications for those yeast cells. The cells from each step in that long series should be able to exist alone, being more fit than their competitors, and thus, the extant encyclopedias-worth of biological information present in the cells developed from zero information by accident and over vast time.

Functional intermediates are not even plausible when considering man-made machines; each machine is specifically designed (whether elegant or not) to serve a definite purpose. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that these researchers found evidence that the parts comprising the yeast flocculation mechanism must all be present at one time in order for it to function, thus precluding the possibility of functional intermediates. “Investing in the production of costly Flo adhesins [“sticky” proteins] is only useful when there is a sufficient concentration of other cells to form a floc,” the scientists reported.1 They also found that “flocculation is regulated by… tryptophol, as well as by the primary metabolite ethanol. Together, these results reveal a complex and tightly regulated social behavior in S. cerevisiae.”

Thus, without all the parts for this “tightly regulated behavior” in place, none of it would work. To begin with, the gene FLO1 must exist. The array of cellular equipment required to transcribe and translate that gene into a precisely-folded protein must exist. Specific biochemicals must exist that tell each cell whether or not it has joined with a neighbor. Functional intermediates are not observed and are certainly difficult to imagine in sufficient detail to render them even remotely plausible. What is observed is a programmed pattern of behavior that mimics altruism in single cells.

The research is described as showing “that even the simplest organisms are capable of sophisticated social discriminations in nature.”2 However, what it actually shows is that even the smallest organisms are not simple. The Creator’s genius is reflected from atoms to molecules to yeast to ecosystem interdependence to earth’s uniquely life-friendly placement in the universe. And in this case, His knowledge of selfless sacrifice has been hardwired into yeast.

References

   1. Smukalla, S. et al. 2008. FLO1 Is a Variable Green Beard Gene that Drives Biofilm-like Cooperation in Budding Yeast. Cell. 135 (4): 726-737.
   2. A single gene leads yeast cells to cooperate against threats. Harvard University press release, November 13, 2008.
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« Reply #1224 on: December 03, 2008, 09:02:07 AM »

New Study Makes Connection Between Religion and Lower Mortality
by Brian Thomas, M.S.

Women who attended religious services regularly lived 20 percent longer than those who did not, a recent study found.

The research, published in the journal Psychology and Health, examined cardiovascular disease and mortality rates in relation to the religious involvement of the study’s participants. Of the 92,395 post-menopausal women who voluntarily participated over an average of 7.7 years each, those who indicated the highest church attendance and the most “comfort from religion,” though they lived much longer, showed no difference in heart disease rates from those for whom religion was less important.

The study’s authors concluded, however, that while religious participation did not reduce fatalities from heart disease, overall it did decrease the risk of death: “Although self-report measures of religiosity were not associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality, these measures were associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality.”1 Thus, the researchers were surprised to discover that those who were the most religiously involved live longer by 20 percent! They initially suspected that the mechanism of “comfort from religion” led to reduced stress and thus lowered heart disease, resulting in increased longevity, but that assumption proved to be false. Now, the researchers must return to the drawing board and look for other possible causes.

Lead author Eliezer Schnall said in a Yeshiva University press release, “The protection against mortality provided by religion cannot be entirely explained by expected factors that include enhanced social support of friends or family, lifestyle choices and reduced smoking and alcohol consumption. There is something here that we don’t quite understand.”2

The study did not specify the denominational affiliations of the participants, and despite the causal link between religion and longer life that some headlines suggest, one co-author admitted, “We do not infer causation.”2 Co-author Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller also said, “The next step is to figure out how the effect of religiosity is translated into biological mechanisms that affect rates of survival.”2

The “biological mechanisms” involved may be unclear, but Scripture gives some specific connections between physical wellbeing and religious belief and practice. For example, Exodus 20:12 states, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Perhaps those in the study for whom religion was significant lived longer in part because of their adherence to this commandment. There are also several scriptural references to the principle that fearing God and keeping His commands leads to long life, such as Deuteronomy 6:2.

And Proverbs 17:22 states, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Physiologists have demonstrated that laughing causes healing endorphins to be released within the body. Possible connections between religious beliefs and the prevalence of mirth could use further investigation.

This new study offers an intriguing glimpse into the Bible’s assertions that spiritual principles and biblical practices (with “church attendance” as a corollary, probably non-causal, lifestyle) can translate into longer life.

References

   1. Schnall, E. et al. 2008. The relationship between religion and cardiovascular outcomes and all-cause mortality in the women's health initiative observational study. Psychology & Health. Published online prior to print November 17, 2008, accessed November 21, 2008.
   2. Yeshiva and Einstein Study Suggests Attending Religious Services Sharply Cuts Risk of Death. Yeshiva University press release, November 26, 2008.
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« Reply #1225 on: December 03, 2008, 09:15:10 AM »

New Addition to Our Fossil Family
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.*

In our March 2008 Acts & Facts, we introduced you to Boris, the 9-foot-tall cave bear that greets our visitors in the ICR lobby, and Levi (short for Leviathan) the mosasaur, which we acquired in a natural science auction. Continuing that collection, on October 25 we purchased a rare juvenile Edmontosaurus skeleton that is over 90 percent complete. The specimen measures 10 feet long and 5½ feet tall, and will be quite impressive for our museum visitors when it has been installed. Such skeletons of nearly complete juveniles are almost unheard of, making this an extremely valuable exhibit and teaching tool.

Edmontosaurus, a member of the Hadrosaur family, is known by its prominent duck-like beak. These dinosaurs were herbivores (plant eaters) and were evidently a favorite prey of carnivorous dinosaurs, for sometimes bite marks are found on them that match T. rex tooth patterns.

There have been numerous Edmontosaurus fossils discovered, but only a few have been juveniles. The one we acquired was excavated from the Two Medicine Formation in Montana, which is dated conventionally as late Cretaceous, approximately 70 million years ago. This formation was obviously water deposited, consisting of a mixture of terrestrial sediments and volcanic ash. In close proximity were fossils of both a second juvenile and a partially complete adult, giving rise to fanciful stories of mother and siblings crossing a river and being suddenly trapped in rising water.

Evolutionary scientists need to remember that fossils are not "snapshots of life," but are rather buried carcasses. The animals did not necessarily live nearby, nor did they necessarily die nearby. The only thing we know for sure is that they were all buried there, in a transported death assemblage, and do not automatically represent an intact ecosystem. They may have lived some distance away and then were drowned, transported, and buried with plants and animals from completely different environments.

The deposit speaks of monumental, catastrophic processes quite unlike similar depositional processes today. The volcanic sediments are not simply air-fall from a volcanic cloud; rapidly moving water currents were required to transport this volume of material. The thick layer of sediments must be from a distant source, for no local source matches, and the formation can be traced laterally for hundreds of miles. No sluggish stream built up the strata of the Two Medicine Formation.

The Edmontosaurus fossil that ICR purchased was offered at auction here in Dallas, but it had no bidders. ICR was able to negotiate a substantially reduced price, for which we are thankful. The auction brochure described the skeleton as "mounted on a beautifully designed minimalist base, custom fitted with high quality castors for ease of mobility." The base was described as "intelligently designed."

Isn't it interesting that anyone can recognize evidence of design except for those who evaluated this intricate skeleton? It evolved, according to evolutionary thinking, by random mutation and mindless natural selection, with no intelligence involved. ICR plans to house this specimen in a future museum on our Dallas campus, and we look forward to using it to counter such ludicrous claims.

* Dr. Morris is President of the Institute for Creation Research.
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« Reply #1226 on: December 03, 2008, 09:22:53 AM »

Surface Features Require Rapid Deposition
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.*

Geologists now accept that catastrophic processes are necessary for the deposition of nearly all rock types. Only a short time was needed to form each bed of sediments (which eventually hardened into sedimentary rock). But how much time elapsed between the deposition of one bed and the deposition of an overlying bed? One clue is to recognize that the various features present on the top surface of each bed would not last very long if exposed. These features had to be covered rather quickly, before they had a chance to erode or be destroyed.

One very common feature, seen in many rock layers in many locations, is the presence of ripple marks, which form as water moves over a surface. These can frequently be seen on a beach after the tide has receded, and can also be seen on the ocean bottom where a particular current direction dominates. In many other places we see what have been called raindrop impressions, although these fragile markings may actually be blisters that formed as air bubbles escaped from rapidly deposited underwater sediments. Animal tracks are also common. In any case, these surface features, which had to be formed in soft sediment or they would not have existed at all, are very fragile, and if present on any surface--whether soft unconsolidated material or hard rock--will not last very long.

Keep in mind that almost every sedimentary rock layer was deposited under water. Every geologist agrees with this. Unless erosion dominates locally, sediments normally accumulate on an ocean bottom, lakebed, delta, beach, lagoon, stream bank, etc., in the presence of water currents. If subsequent events lift the deposit up out of the water, erosion and/or non-deposition will result. But if a zone stays under water, it will continue to be subjected to water action and will either receive more sediment or be eroded. In such an active environment, ripple marks can be preserved only if they are quickly buried by overlying materials, so that they are protected and thus have time to harden into rock.

In many places around the world, ocean-floor sediments have solidified into rock and are now uplifted onto continental surfaces. Ripple marks and similar features are readily seen in many locations, "frozen" into solid rock. Many examples come readily to mind for anyone who spends time out of doors. Sometimes one can observe several layers of rock stacked on top of one another, each displaying obvious ripple marks. The ripple marks in different layers may be in varied orientations, indicating that the water currents responsible for deposition shifted rapidly and erratically while deposition continued. There must have been a continued supply of sediments, but how could all the ripple marks be preserved?

If such a mark is exposed on any surface, under water or above water, it will soon erode and be washed away, especially in soft, unconsolidated sediments. Even on a hard rock surface, markings will erode in a few decades. There is no possibility that fragile features will last if unprotected for millions of years, waiting to be re-submerged and buried, and thus protected from destructive forces. We cannot determine exactly how much time passed between the deposition of two adjacent layers simply by looking at ripple marks, raindrop impressions, animal footprints, etc., but we can conclude that much less time passed than it takes for surface features to be eroded and disappear.

Since almost every layer gives demonstrable evidence of having been laid down rapidly and catastrophically, and since nearly all such catastrophic layers have surface features that were not eroded, one can reasonably conclude that the whole sequence of rocks was deposited by different episodes in a dynamic, water-charged, and sediment-laden event--such as the one described in Genesis 7 and 8.

* Dr. Morris is President of the Institute for Creation Research.
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« Reply #1227 on: December 03, 2008, 09:23:29 AM »

Jellyfish Reveal the Recent Hand of the Creator
by Frank Sherwin, M.A.*

Jellyfish (Scyphozoa) are truly fascinating creatures with a vague and imprecise evolutionary record. Evolutionary scientists Daphne Fautin and Sandra Romano state, "The four extant cnidarian classes [including jellyfish] are identifiable as early as the Ordovician, but evolutionary relationships among them have been the subject of much debate."1

They appear in the fossil record complete and fully formed as jellyfish, as creation science predicts.2 Precambrian jellyfish fossils have been found in the Ediacara beds (formerly Vendian) of south Australia, along with the complex annelids (segmented worms). Indeed, one would think a Flood geologist (Genesis 6-9) wrote the following in regard to the rapid fossilization process that preserved these Ediacaran organisms:

    Ediacara biota is not found in a restricted environment subject to unusual local conditions: they were a global phenomenon. The processes that were operating must have been systemic and worldwide. There was something very different about the Ediacaran Period that permitted these delicate creatures to be left behind. It is thought that the fossils were preserved by virtue of rapid covering by ash or sand, trapping them against the mud or microbial mats on which they lived.3

Ten jellyfish fossils that were discovered in Utah document a very rapid burial and sedimentation event--such as one would expect from a flood, perhaps? The burial was so rapid that tentacles and the unique bell shape are clearly seen.4 One can appreciate just how fast these creatures would have to be buried to preserve such detail--especially since they are about 95 percent water. Because of this discovery, National Geographic reports that jellyfish origins must be pushed back "205 million years."4 But they are still jellyfish.

Another trove of "500-million-year-old" fossil jellyfish was discovered in 2002 in the Upper Cambrian Mt. Simon-Wonewoc Sandstone in central Wisconsin.5 Ronald Pickerill of the University of New Brunswick states, "They must have been buried extremely quickly."6 Creation scientists agree--by a catastrophic event 4,000+ years ago.

Regardless, evolutionary scientists maintain that these creatures evolved from unknown non-jellyfish ancestors and were "the planet's first swimmer."7 Such a faith statement is based on Darwin's philosophy of "descent with modification," not on actual observation. A recent Popular Science article described how engineer John Dabiri and his graduate students study complex vortex rings produced by swimming jellyfish. They are involved in a field called biomechanics, where scientists and technologists attempt to copy the structures and functions of creations found in the living world. Sadly, virtually all scientists involved in biomechanics give credit to the creation, not the Creator.

Despite evolutionary assumptions, jellyfish appear as 100 percent jellyfish in the sedimentary record with all indications that they were buried rapidly in a worldwide catastrophe. Researchers study and mimic the extant (living) forms today to take advantage of their unique design features. Creation scientists alone appreciate that the incredible variation and complexity of the jellyfish reveals not time, chance, and natural processes, but the recent hand of the Creator.

References

   1. Fautin, D.G. and S. L. Romano. Cnidaria: Sea anemones, corals, jellyfish, sea pens, hydra. The Tree of Life Web Project at tolweb.org, hosted by the University of Arizona.
   2. Sherwin, F. 2007. The Eyes of Creation. Acts & Facts. 36 (7).
   3. Ediacara biota. Wikipedia.org.
   4. Photo in the News: Fossil Jellyfish Discovered in Utah. National Geographic News. Posted on nationalgeographic.com October 31, 2007.
   5. Clarke, T. Jellies roll back time. Nature. Published online January 30, 2002.
   6. Ibid. See also Hagadorn, J. W., R. H. Dott and D. Damrow. 2002. Stranded on a Late Cambrian shoreline: Medusae from central Wisconsin. Geology. 30 (2): 147-150.
   7. Thompson, K. 2008. The Jellyfish Engineer. Popular Science. 273 (5): 62.

* Mr. Sherwin is Senior Science Lecturer.
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« Reply #1228 on: December 03, 2008, 09:24:46 AM »

More Than Just 'Complex'
by Brian Thomas, M.S.*

A certain amount of confusion has existed over the use of the term "complex." In the past, creation scientists have used it to refer both to unique arrangements, and to unique, specified arrangements. Evolutionists have capitalized on this ambiguity, insisting that creationists are ignorant of nature’s creative abilities. For example, evolutionary biologist P. Z. Myers reacted to an Acts & Facts article by asserting:

    The lesson of Darwin is that unguided natural processes have the ability to generate complex functionality, so it takes more than just showing complexity and function to demonstrate purpose. Creationists don't understand that at all, so they keep whining "it's complex"!2

The reason that "the lesson of Darwin" is rejected by creationists is not because they don't understand it. Rather, it is because they rightly observe that "unguided natural processes" cannot generate both complexity and functionality, referred to as "specified complexity” by Leslie Orgel in his 1973 book The Origins of Life.3 And it is the functionality conferred to a machine by the exact "specification" of its parts that demands a non-natural, purposeful origin.

Specification combined with complexity demonstrates purpose. For instance, the exact configuration of individual sand grains washed up on a beach is extraordinarily unlikely and therefore could be deemed "complex." However, a sand sculpture shaped like a dolphin is both complex (unlikely) and specified (set to the pattern of a dolphin's form). Arguing that waves (i.e., nature alone) can create sand sculptures because both a sculpture and the sand next to it are complex (uniquely arranged) ignores the key distinction: specification to a predetermined pattern.

Using different terms, evolutionary biochemist Jeffrey Wicken explains:

    Whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an external "wiring diagram" with a high information content.4

Machines with multiple functioning parts are complex in that their parts are uniquely arranged (i.e., lined up in an improbable array). However, any arrangement would be just as unique, just as improbable or complex, as any other. In order to function, the machine needs to have components that are specified to required parameters.

A molecular example is found in chaperonins. In cells, these barrel-shaped protein complexes shelter certain other proteins from watery environments, giving them extra time to fold into their necessary shapes. Chaperonins have a precisely-placed enzymatic active site, detachable caps, flexible gated entryways, a timed sequence of chemical events, and precise expansion and flexion capacities. Each of the parameters--size, shape, strength, hydrophobicity distribution, timing, and sequence--represents a specification. With each additional specification, the likelihood of a chance-based assembly of these parts diminishes…to miracle status.

Nonetheless, hard-core Darwinist Richard Dawkins stated,

    The creationist completely misses the point, because he…insists on treating the genesis of statistical improbability [complexity] as a single, one-off event. He doesn't understand the power of accumulation.5

Statistical improbability happens all the time, and by itself is irrelevant to the question of how life originated. Improbability with specification, however, only happens by intention, and it is this combination of qualities for which Darwinian scientists have yet to provide a naturalistic explanation.

Attributing these kinds of creative powers to nature must be a product of the willful exclusion of God, not the product of cogent observation. Since only an all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving Creator could devise nanoscopic, specified-complex, life-sustaining molecular machines like chaperonins (and the biochemical systems that produce them), and since this God is described in the Bible exactly this way, it is most reasonable to credit Him.

References

   1. Ditzel, L. et al. 1998. Crystal Structure of the Thermosome, the Archaeal Chaperonin and Homolog of CCT. Cell. 93 (1): 125-138.
   2. Myers, P.Z. Squid and bacteria don't need The Man. Posted on scienceblogs.com/pharyngula on April 1, 2008, 2:58 p.m.
   3. Orgel, L. E. 1973. The Origins of Life: Molecules and Natural Selection. New York: Wiley.
   4. Wicken, J. S. 1979. The generation of complexity in evolution: A thermodynamic and information-theoretical discussion. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 77 (3): 349.
   5. Dawkins, R. 2006. The God Delusion. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 121.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.
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« Reply #1229 on: December 04, 2008, 09:36:32 AM »

'Multiverse' Theory Fails to Explain Away God
by Brian Thomas, M.S.*

New discoveries continue to reveal the life-friendly properties of our universe, in which physical laws are seemingly fine-tuned to allow life to exist. To get around the appearance of design, secular scientists have to invent naturalistic explanations that exclude the possibility of supernatural origins. The latest of these inventions is “multiverses.”

The force of gravity, the specific masses of subatomic particles, the exact strengths of fundamental physical forces, and the distance of the earth from other galaxies and from the sun are all essential for the delicate balance needed to sustain life. Bernard Carr, cosmologist at Queen Mary University of London, told Discover, “If there is only one universe, you might have to have a fine-tuner. If you don’t want God, you’d better have a multiverse.”1

The multiverse hypothesis holds that our entire universe is only one of an infinite number of other universes. In this way, all conceivable fundamental construction parameters could exist in a vast array of alternate realities. Most of these imaginary universes would not have the right conditions for life to exist, but by a cosmic coincidence, all the life-friendly forces of our universe happened to line up correctly.

There is no evidence for the existence of alternate universes, and if a concept cannot be proved or disproved, it is not open to scientific investigation. Stanford University visionary physicist Andrei Linde seemed adamant, however, that though this theory is not scientific, it must be true because it is logically necessary. When asked whether physicists will ever be able to prove the multiverse in the absence of any hope for physical confirmation, he told Discover, “Nothing else fits the data.”

What data? Even tiny variations in planetary distances, any more or less gravity, or any other difference in the current structure of the universe would make it hostile to life. The one model that explains this data without inventing fictional, unprovable multiverses is the creation model, which presents the planned, purposeful origin of space, time, matter, and life by a Creator. The only “data” that would seem to require multiverses is the absence of God—but this is not data, it is “science falsely so called,”2 empty imaginings devoid of evidentiary support.

When atheistic bias is removed, the old teleological argument still holds: Precise specification of fundamental parameters implies a precisely-minded “specifier.” University of Texas theoretical physicist Stephen Weinberg told Discover, “I don’t think that the multiverse idea destroys the possibility of an intelligent, benevolent creator. What it does is remove one of the arguments for it.” But it does not do that. Rather, the multiverse hypothesis is a conclusion based on the assumption that there is no Creator. Whereas there may be spiritual reasons to reject the Creator, there is not a scientific or logical one.3

References

   1. Folger, T. Science's Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: the Multiverse Theory. Discover online. Posted on discovermagazine.com November 10, 2008, accessed November 26, 2008.
   2. 1 Timothy 6:20: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.”
   3. John 3:20: “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

Image Credit:  NASA, ESA, and J. Maíz Apellániz (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain)

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.
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