Sex Recession Cause

“Sex Recession” Cause
There is little doubt that there has been a radical change in sexual behavior in the past 25 years. Moral acceptance of premarital sex is at an all-time high. Birth control is easily accessible for all ages. People can find hook-up partners on dating apps without leaving home. Online porn is a major industry in today’s world. Websites are selling sex toys and vibrators to promote masturbation. How can there be a sex recession?

Liberals maintained that all this was good and that freedom from old norms would lead to what they called “sexual fulfillment.” What the numbers are showing is just the opposite. The number of sexually active high school students has dropped from 54% to 40% in the past 25 years. People in their early 20s are 2.5 times as likely to be abstinent as GenXers were at that same age. Dating apps have turned out to be addictive games that produce more frustration than connection.

The New York Times recently published a report on the “sex recession.” Writer Ross Douthat said that the trend mentioned above “has led to the growing alienation of the sexes from one another. In our new sterility, ‘virtual sex’ has become the opiate of the frustrated masses.” Editorials in the media have blamed everything from porn to the record number of people under 35 who are living with their parents.

When God gave the beautiful oneness that marriage brings, He then gave admonitions about how to use the gift of sex. When we follow God’s guidelines, sex can give fulfillment, relationships, security, and freedom. Genesis 2:24 stated the relationship God intended, and the Bible is full of teaching about avoiding the corrupted misuse of sexual relationships.

Atheists and skeptics have challenged these teachings saying they are unrealistic and merely an attempt to deprive us of potential pleasure, but just the opposite is true. God’s instructions are to designed to give us freedom, joy, and the maximum pleasure. When we misuse the power of sex, the result is catastrophic. The “sex recession” is proof of what happens when we fail to follow God’s instructions.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
Data from The Week, November 30, 2018, page 17.

Self-Imposed Plagues

Self-Imposed Plagues
We have received several emails bemoaning the cost of the storms and wildfires that have caused significant damage and some deaths in every country in the world. Some of the writers have suggested that God is responsible for all the bad things that have been happening. We have pointed out in previous articles how the massive destruction of hurricanes and wildfires are really a product of human mismanagement. But an even greater issue is the cost of self-imposed plagues.

Popular Science in the winter 2018 issue on page 26 published some data on what the magazine calls “The Plagues We Made.” The article uses data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here are some of the numbers:

-Cost of the opioid crisis in 2015 – $504 billion
-Cost of firearm violence – $229 billion
-Opioid overdose deaths in 2016 were five times what they were in 1999
-Years of life lost to opioids in 2016 – 1,681,359
-Years of life lost to gun violence in the U.S. in 2016 – 916,869
-Americans killed by guns in the U.S. per day – 96.2 – 59% of those are suicides

These self-imposed plagues are taking more lives than the so-called “natural” disasters. As our country moves away from God and deeper into a “survival of the fittest” mentality, these numbers are guaranteed to increase.
–John N. Clayton© 2018

Homeopathic Medicine Lawsuit

Homeopathic Medicine Inventor
Homeopathy is a medical system based on the belief that a substance that causes disease in a healthy person can cure a sick person if it is diluted enough. Homeopathic medicine was invented in the late 1700s by a German named Samuel Hahnemann (pictured).

Some religious groups embrace homeopathy or the related naturopathy believing that God created all life with the ability to heal itself. They frequently quote Genesis 9:1-3 as the starting point for the need for plants and minerals to sustain human health, because the meat now included in human diets would not meet the medical requirements. They also quote Acts 10:9-16 as part of the change that took place in the human diet that made it necessary for plants and minerals to provide supplements.

We would suggest that the hermeneutics of using those passages in that way is dubious. There is no doubt that nutrition is a part of good health, and supplements can be useful in maintaining health. But whether a plant or mineral could replace the effectiveness of penicillin or modern antibiotics is debatable. Some today are making claims about homeopathic medicine for curing disease with no scientific support. CVS is the largest pharmacy chain in the United States with 9800 stores, and they promote homeopathy by placing homeopathic remedies on their shelves alongside scientifically-proven medications.

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) on June 29, 2018, filed a lawsuit against CVS. They told the Superior Court of the District of Columbia that homeopathy is a pseudoscience and that CVS is in violation of the Consumer Protection Procedures Act. They are demanding that CVS provide “corrective advertising, marketing, labeling.” The suit says that CVS persists in deceiving its customers about the effectiveness of homeopathic products. “Homeopathics are shelved right alongside scientifically proven medicines, under the same signs for cold and flu, pain relief, sleep aids, and so-on.” An example given by the CFI is Arnicare Arthritis which I have seen in drug stores as providing relief for arthritis pain. Tests have shown that a placebo gave as much relief as Arnicare Arthritis.

Some religious groups in our area have stores that sell homeopathic medicine and make claims that are not backed up by scientific testing. Greed and a lack of integrity among promoters of homeopathic cures have caused a lot of pain and a few deaths among religious people who think homeopathy is a biblical injunction. Read all labels carefully and pay attention to data offered by medical organizations before trusting any drug or supposed medication.
–John N. Clayton © 2018

Data from Skeptical Inquirer, November/December 2018, page 5-6.

Beneficial Fungus Called Smut

Beneficial Fungus Called Smut
Those of us who have grown sweet corn have almost always had to fight smut. That black and gray growth on corn looks disgusting. It is actually a fungus known scientifically as Ustilago maydis, and it has been around for a long time. Even though we dislike it, in some ways smut is a beneficial fungus.

Archaeologists studying ancient Puebloan people have found significant amounts of corn smut spores in their feces. That indicates that maize (corn) made up as much as 80% of the diet of ancestral Puebloan people and it included a great deal of the fungus.

One of the mysteries of ancient peoples in America is why they didn’t have nutritional diseases that were common in the world at that time. The most serious of those was the skin disease pellagra which is caused by a lack of niacin (vitamin B3) in the diet. The amino acid that prevents pellagra is missing from the maize but is present in high concentrations in the smut.

We generally have a negative attitude toward fungi, but there are many examples of beneficial fungus. Remember that penicillin was derived from a fungus. Now we find corn smut also offers a benefit. God has a use for everything He created, but sometimes it takes us a while to figure out what that use is.

We have a children’s book about beneficial fungi, and you can see it online HERE.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
Reference: Archaeology, November/December 2018, page 20.

Ultimate Food Source

Ultimate Food Source - Antarctic Krill
One of the great necessities that a planet must have to support life is an ultimate food source that everything can eat. It must be highly nutritious, exist over a long time, and have very little waste. Modern oceanography has uncovered such a food source in an unlikely place. They found it in the frigid Antarctic ocean waters. The form of life is a small shrimp-like creature called Antarctic krill (Euphasia superba).

The amazing thing about these creatures is their abundance. Scientists found one swarm that covered several square miles and ranged in depth from 60 to 600 feet (12 to 180 m). They estimated the total weight of this one swarm is 10 million metric tons. That is equivalent to one-seventh of the entire planet’s weight of fish and shellfish caught in a whole year. It would amount to 98 pounds for every person in the United States.

Krill are rich in protein and have negligible bone and shell material. They consume microscopic animal and plant organisms as their primary food. Krill are near the bottom of the ocean food chain providing food directly or indirectly to everything in the ocean, including whales.

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography did the original studies of this particular swarm. Data from other oceanographic research ships show that krill swarms are common in the ocean. Since they can even be turned into food for humans, Antarctic krill seem to be God’s ultimate food source for all living things on this planet.
–John N. Clayton © 2018

Hamburgers Without Beef

Is Hamburgers Without Beef in Your Future?
There has been a lot of hype about red meat and its potential damage to our health. The FDA held its first public hearing about growing meat in the laboratory instead of using cattle–or for that matter fish or birds. The challenge is to produce hamburgers without beef.

One process that scientists are experimenting with involves growing “cultured meat” in the laboratory from real animal cells. The other idea is to create “meat” from plants with the protein and taste of real beef hamburgers without beef. Beef production is the top emitter of greenhouse gases, and growing beef from cows emits over 100 times more greenhouse gases than plant material would emit to produce the same amount of meat. Patrick Brown of Impossible Foods in Redwood City, California says “Animals happened to be the technology that was available 10,000 years ago for making meat. We stuck with that technology, and it’s incredibly inefficient by any measure–and destructive”.

When Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot introduced the first combustion steam-powered vehicle in 1771, it offered significant advantages over the horse. In 1898 urban planners in New York were concerned about the 50,000 tons of horse excrement that 175,000 horses in New York City were producing every month. Ten years later Henry Ford introduced the Model T which eventually eliminated the problem. How long will it take for plant-produced beef to solve the environmental and health problems caused by the use of cows to produce food? The beef industry is huge in America, hamburgers without beef are likely to be available in Europe and Asia before they are accepted here.

Some people believe that Christians cannot eat manufactured meat on religious grounds. Even those who go back to the meat prohibitions of the Old Testament will find no support for forbidding plant-produced hamburgers. In Genesis 9:3, God told Noah that he could eat of any “green plant,” but the law placed massive restrictions on eating animal-based protein. In 1 Corinthians 8:8-13 and in Romans 14:1-5 Paul expressed concern over the influence of Christians who because of their freedom to eat anything, might pose a problem for those who don’t understand that food is not a religious issue. Romans 14:17 summarizes this by saying, “The kingdom of God is not about meat and drink; but righteousness and peace…” In 1 Corinthians 10:25-27 Paul tells Christian to eat whatever is set before them “asking no questions.”

The silly aspect of religious concerns about eating manufactured foods is that we already do it. Think of the list of manufactured foods that we eat now. They include artificially produced fruits and vegetables such as tangelos, and hybrid apples, corn, and tomatoes. Other food substances include margarine, soy milk, artificial sweeteners, butter spray, etc. We copy God’s design of the foods we eat to enlarge the food supply of the planet and avoid waste.

Food chemistry is highly complex, but the more we understand the creation, the closer we get to the Creator. Let us thank God that we don’t go to bed hungry. Also let us thank God He has given us the ability to meet the needs of the hungry as we understand how we can produce and use these new foods, including hamburgers without beef.
–John N. Clayton © 2018

Data: Science News for September 29, 2018, page 11, “Dreaming Up Tomorrow’s Burger” or read it online HERE.

Does Earth Have Enough Food?

Does Earth Have Enough Food?
When God put the first man upon the Earth, He told him to take care of the garden–to dress it and keep it (Genesis 2:15). We have not done a very good job of keeping the Earth, and the result has been disastrous in a variety of ways. When Noah left the Ark, God told him, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. As I gave you green plants, I give you everything.” (Genesis 9:3). Did God give us enough? Does Earth have enough food to feed our growing population?

The first point we need to make is that we waste most of the food we grow. Various research groups give different estimates of what percentage of our food is either discarded, spoiled, or not harvested properly. All studies of this topic have shown numbers indicating that we waste more than 75% of the food that is available.

One area where we do not use food efficiently involves plants and animals that grow at astronomical rates. Some fish and water invertebrates can produce many thousands of eggs from a single female. The Ocean Conservancy has called attention to the growth rates of mahi-mahi, an ocean fish found in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. That species offers a vast supply of meat for harvesting. In one year of growth, the mahi-mahi can attain a length of over four feet, and the fish can reproduce as early as four months of age.

God has provided a wide variety of food sources for us. Does Earth have enough food to feed a growing population? Yes, we do have the potential to produce enough food for all people on Earth to eat. World starvation issues are due to our failure to develop food resources and to our massive waste of food. It is not because God didn’t give us enough to supply our needs.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
Data from Splash published by the Ocean Conservancy for Fall 2016, page 3.

Ultimate Fluid Machine

Ultimate Fluid Machine
Imagine designing a fluid system to maintain a complex machine. The system must be able to flush any waste from all parts of the machine. It must be able to supply energy to every part of the machine, even though those parts operate in different ways. It must be the ultimate fluid machine.

The machine must function in an environment where getting enough air for it to run is an issue, so your fluid system must carry oxygen to every nook and cranny of the machine. The fluid system must also transport materials that can fight any invader, and if there is a leak in the fluid system the system must be able to flush the opening and seal the leak immediately!

I suspect that by this time you have surmised that the complex machine we are talking about is your body, and the fluid system that maintains your body is the vascular system. To do the things we have listed (and many more things we have not included) your body has 60,000 miles of blood vessels according to the National Institutes of Health and NASA. That means that if we could take all of the blood vessels out of your body and attach them end to end, the resulting series of vessels would go all the way around the Earth more than two times.

The ultimate fluid machine exists in every human on the planet. Simply knowing that emphasizes the accuracy of the clear description of Psalms 139:14, “I will praise thee, Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works…”
–John N. Clayton © 2018

Opioid Crisis and Faith

Opioid Crisis and Faith
Between 2001 and 2016 there was a 345% increase in opioid-related deaths in the United States. In New Hampshire, opioid deaths exceeded highway deaths. We cannot overstate the magnitude of the opioid crisis in the United States. Why is this happening, and what can we do about it?

Not everyone starts using opioids for the same reason. Doctors prescribe the drugs for many people due to pain from an accident or surgery. Some never manage to get off the drugs, adding more and more to achieve a level of comfort they feel necessary. Many get opioids by raiding someone’s medicine cabinet or buying them on the street or from a friend or associate who is selling the drugs.

The bottom line in all of this is what a person believes to be necessary to achieve a state of comfort or well being. Education and psychological help seem to be the greatest need for younger people to avoid the opioid crisis. Dr. Joseph Lee who is the medical director for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Youth Continuum points out that genetic predisposition can be an issue. For that reason, teens need to know if other family members struggle with addiction. Dr. Lee also says that teaching children how to relate to the people and the world around them is critical.

Having a strong faith in God is not a guarantee that a person won’t have an opioid addiction problem. However, churches do have a unique opportunity to provide education about opioid addiction to a broad cross-section of society. People with strong religious faith also can be agents to help others get out of addiction.

Christians Against Substance Abuse (CASA) offers courses and a nationwide list of halfway houses. They also provide a directory of Faith-Based Substance Abuse Recovery and Support Groups in the United States. They have an extensive prison ministry that we work with in our own apologetics prison courses. You can see more on their website at kingscrossingprisonministries.org.

Another good source on the opioid crisis is a special issue of Citizen magazine in August of 2018, available from Focus on the Family 8605 Explorer Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80920, phone 800-232-6459. You can also find information online HERE.
–John N. Clayton © 2018

How Many Bugs Are in Your Home?

How Many Bugs Are in Your Home?
Would you like to guess how many bugs are in your home? In the fall of 2017 researchers from the California Academy of Sciences published a survey of the bugs in 50 homes in and around Raleigh, North Carolina. The researchers took 10,000 samples from basements, bedrooms, kitchens, and attics. They identified 579 species from the 304 families of arthropods known to science. Arthropods include insects, mites and, spiders.

The researchers found ants, carpet beetles, gall midges, and cobweb spiders in 100% of the homes. In many of the houses, they found booklice, dark-winged fungus gnats, cellar spiders, scuttle flies, and dust mites. Misha Leong who was the lead author of the study says that most homes contain hundreds if not thousands of individual arthropods.

It is interesting that as people move toward buying organic and buying in bulk, they are increasing the bugs in their homes. Indian meal moths, for example, can contaminate oatmeal or chew through a sweater. They lay eggs in our food and closets, and the larvae chew through packaging leaving a mess of silk and frass (waste) behind. If we use the food quickly enough we eat the eggs, and since they don’t hurt us, we don’t even know they are there.

The reality is that we have and will always have lots of bugs in our homes. Many of them are beneficial to us. Booklice, for example, eat fungi and mold. Spiders eat insects and other harmful agents including flies and mosquitoes. Harmful spiders like the black widow and brown recluse are rare. Studies have also shown that many of our chronic diseases are related to our failure to be exposed to biological diversity. Leong says, “Rooms with more kinds of arthropods may be healthier rooms.”

God did not place us in a sterile world. The more we learn of what we live with each day, the more we realize the complexity of life. Living with bugs is essential to our long-term survival. How many bugs are in your home?
–John N. Clayton © 2018