On the morning of September 15, 2017, Cassini ended its life in fiery destruction. Cassini was a space probe orbiting and studying Saturn, and by all measures, Cassini exceeded expectations.
NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency worked together on the Cassini-Huygens space exploration project. The mission was to study Saturn along with its moons and rings. NASA launched the spacecraft in 1997, and it arrived near Saturn and went into orbit around that planet in 2004.
The Huygens (pronounced hoy-guns) lander module, provided by the ESA, separated from the Cassini probe and landed on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, in 2005. The parachute landing was successful, and the probe sent out data for about 90 minutes. In that brief time, scientists learned much about the surface of that distant moon. Viewed from Titan’s surface, the Sun appeared about the size and brightness of a car headlight 150 meters away. The Huygens probe took pictures and told us that Titan’s surface is dotted with rivers, lakes, and oceans made of methane and ethane. It also has dunes up to 300 feet (91 meters) tall.
Meanwhile, the Cassini probe continued to orbit Saturn and send back amazing and beautiful pictures of its rings and moons for 13 years. Cassini helped us to learn more about the moons of Saturn. The planet has at least 53 moons and possibly eight more. We learned that the moon Enceladus is covered with a liquid water ocean with a surface layer of ice 19 to 25 miles (30 to 40 km) thick. Geysers of water erupt from cracks in the ice. The rings of Saturn are a constantly changing collection of ice particles and small rocks. Saturn has hurricane-like storms at both poles and a hexagon-shaped jet stream at the north pole. How long is a day on Saturn? That’s hard to determine because it is a gas planet and not all parts of it move at the same speed. Scientists estimate a little more than 10 hours.
Cassini exceeded expectations by surviving seven years of travel to Saturn plus 13 years orbiting the planet. As it ran out of fuel, scientists sent it hurtling into Saturn’s atmosphere to burn up so it could not contaminate any of Saturn’s moons by crashing into them.
We now have a redesigned website for the videos, audios, and printed materials that we publish. Our materials are designed to help people know that God exists and that the Bible is His word. We invite you to visit www.doesgodexist.tv.
On that redesigned website you can watch the entire DOES GOD EXIST? video series. We recently added four more programs for a total of 36! You can also listen to the 26 sessions in the DOES GOD EXIST? audio series. For no cost, you can watch and listen to John Clayton presenting evidence for God. You can also watch the videos with Spanish subtitles or see another video series with Mandarin Chinese translation.
If you want to purchase DVDs or CDs of the programs, you will find a link to our store on that site also. There is also a link to a page where you can donate to our work (tax-deductible in the USA). The link is secure, and we don’t give or sell your information to anyone.
DoesGodExist.tv also has links to our other websites. We have one website devoted to the subject of why an almighty, loving God would allow pain and suffering. We have another which allows children to watch any of our children’s videos or read any of our children’s books free of charge. There is another one which features many “Dandy Designs” in the world around us which testify to a Designer. (By the way, that site is scheduled for an upgrade next.)
On the redesigned website you will also find a link to our Facebook page. We post daily evidences of God’s design on Facebook, and the page has more than 20,000 followers around the world. As you probably know, we publish a quarterly printed DOES GOD EXIST? Journal. Current and back issues of that magazine are also available to read online using a link on DoesGodExist.tv.
Those of you who work with children know that we have 16 Children’s books dealing with the wonderful natural world around us. Six of those books were authored by Charlsy Ford of Temple, Texas. These include our books for elementary students explaining Eagles, Kangaroos, Fungi, Animals of the Cold, Frogs, and God Creating Humans with a Spiritual Nature. Charlsy died on Friday August 11 from burns suffered in an accident on her farm two days before. Charlsy was talking with us two days before the accident about some new books we are working on. She was a creative and hard worker, and we will miss her.
Here is a link to her obituary.
The September 2017 issue of Reader’s Digest has an interesting article titled “Have Bestsellers Become Dumber?”(Page 118). The article contains data on the grade level of New York Times bestsellers over the years. That refers to the reading grade level needed to comprehend the text. In 1960 that level was eighth grade, and in the 2010s the level is grade 6. This calls us to think about the reason for this dumbing down of the best sellers.
In our materials, we have talked about fog indexes, which indicate how clearly the literature expresses its ideas. The Gunning fog index shows the reading level a person must have to understand what the written material is saying. We strive to be clear in what we present.
The problem with this dumbing down is that the public cannot read and understand material that is academic and documented concerning facts about the cosmos. Since many scientific journals and reports are written at a college graduate level, getting factual information is impossible for much of the American public. As a result, the public relies on someone else to tell them what to believe.
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is an outspoken atheist. He has made harsh statements against all religions. In his book The God Delusion, he uses the vilest terms to describe “the God of the Old Testament.” Then he goes on to say that God is not only a delusion but a “pernicious delusion.” However, in a backhanded way, Dawkins admits anti-Christian discrimination. He has admitted that Christianity is treated differently from Islam, and coincidentally that Christians are more gracious and forgiving than Muslims.
Dawkins was scheduled to speak in August at an event in Berkeley, California, sponsored by a public radio station. Dawkins was supposed to be speaking concerning his newest book coming out this month–Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist. Residents in the San Francisco Bay area reported to the radio station some comments concerning Islam in The God Delusion. They also pointed out a tweet from Dawkins in which he said, “”Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today.” When the powers at KPFA radio heard that, they promptly canceled Dawkins’ speech. They sent a letter to those who had purchased tickets telling them, “We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn’t know he had offended and hurt–in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people.”
A response letter from the Dawkins Foundation referred to him as “one of the greatest intellects of our time” and called the accusation that he had used “abusive speech” toward Muslims “baseless.” Dawkins himself stated, “The idea that I have engaged in abusive speech against Islam is preposterous…I have indeed strongly condemned the misogyny, homophobia, and violence of Islamism.”
In a letter written to the radio station by Dawkins, he stated, “I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that. Why do you give Islam a free pass?” In other words, Dawkins can feel free to criticize and mock Christianity, but not Islam. Could that be because Christians are more gracious and forgiving? Could it be that he can insult Jesus and his followers and not fear for his life? Would he be able to do the same against Mohammad and his followers? I don’t think so. His words are a backhanded compliment to the faith he has frequently criticized.
There is another aspect of the decision by the radio station. The public radio station canceled the speech stating “KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech” and “we do not support abusive speech.” Would they have canceled because of Dawkins’ “hurtful speech” or “abusive speech” toward Christians? His vile words about the God of the Bible in his book The God Delusion would certainly qualify as “hurtful” and “abusive” toward the faith of Christians and Jews. I am confident that the radio station would not have canceled because of those words. Even Richard Dawkins admits anti-Christian discrimination exists in the media and academia.
To see what religion is true, look at what the system produces. Matthew 7 records the words of Christ, “Every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit … therefore by their fruits you shall know them” (verses 17-20). One of the areas of evidence is in the field of medicine including nursing and Christian faith.
Someone sent us a section copied from a textbook for nursing students titled Fundamentals of Nursing, Human Health, and Function. The text was published by Lippincott, and the editors are Ruth Craven and Constance Hirnle. The book was from the Washington Hospital School of Nursing. We mention that to emphasize that this is not a religious publication, but a textbook used to teach nursing in one of the finest nursing programs in the country.
In Unit 2 of the book, there is a section titled “Highlights of the historical evolution of professional nursing.” This section traces how modern nursing came into existence. The history of nursing begins with the period up to A.D. 500. In those early centuries, the book says, “Christians working in close association with an organized church primarily provide care.” The book records a deaconess named Phoebe in A.D. 55 AD who identified the need for nurses and for hospitals to care for the sick. The first general hospital began in Rome in 380 AD founded by a Christian woman named Fabiola. The book then jumps to 1836 when a training school opened in Germany where Florence Nightingale was trained. Nightingale said she felt a “calling from God” and began a training school herself in London in conjunction with the Crimean war. She is known as the founder of modern nursing.
The book concludes “Men and women committed to the church spread the philosophy of Christianity while providing nursing care to the ill. Religion’s influence raised the social position of nursing by placing more value on human life. Compassion, charity, and willingness to serve were qualities associated with nurses. Deacons and deaconesses (individuals working for the church ministry) were designated to perform services for the sick. Deaconesses functioned as visiting nurses, dedicating their lives to charity work.”
FEW CAN FISH? We saw the following article on the editorial page of the Phoenix Republic in December of 1991. We don’t know who wrote it, but we thought it was worth sharing with you.
Anyone Can Talk: Few Can Fish
Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves. Fishermen.
And, lo, there were many fish in the waters all around. In fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish, and the fish were hungry.
Week after week, month after month, and year after year, those who called themselves fishermen met in meetings and talked about their call to go fishing.
Continually they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. They sponsored costly nationwide and worldwide congresses to discuss fishing and hear
about all the ways of fishing, such as the new fishing equipment, fish calls and whether any new bait was discovered.
But the teachers did not fish; they only taught fishing. Some spent much time in study and travel to learn the history of fishing and to see faraway places where the Founding Fathers did great fishing in centuries past. They lauded the faithful fishermen of years earlier who handed down the idea of fishing.
Many who felt the call to be fishermen responded. They were commissioned and sent to fish. And they went off to foreign lands … to teach fishing.
Now it’s true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish every day. They received the ridicule of some who made
fun of their fishermen clubs. They anguished over those who were not committed enough to attend the weekly meetings to talk about fishing.
These fishermen built large and beautiful buildings called Fishing Headquarters. The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish.
One thing they didn’t do, however: they didn’t fish. All of the fishermen seemed to agree that what was needed was a board that could challenge fishermen to be faithful in fishing.
The board was formed by those who had the great vision and courage to speak about fishing, to define fishing, and to promote the idea of fishing in faraway streams and lakes where many other fish of different colors lived. Large, elaborate and expensive training centers were built whose purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology.
After all, were they not following the one who said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”?
Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don’t catch fish were really not fishermen, no matter how much they claimed to be. Yet, it did sound correct.
Is a person a fisherman if year after year he never catches a fish? Is one following if he isn’t fishing? If Christ were to return to this Earth today in physical form, would He find us fishing, or would he find us organizing, talking about fishing, and making plans to build the best Fishing Headquarters anywhere? – Anonymous
Is it true that few can fish? It’s up to you to decide.
DOES GOD EXIST? maintains a Facebook page with daily postings. We often get skeptic challenges and questions from those who are seeking for answers. We want to share the following conversation from Facebook. The article we posted was about the design of kidneys. The article ended like this:
…Science has not created a perfect kidney machine to replace the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s model in spite of years of research and the work of our brightest medical and engineering minds. We think this is a design that’s more than dandy–it’s magnificent.
SKEPTIC 1- creation of god ??? please stop kidding yourself ..
DGE?- Does the idea that there might be a Creator disturb you?
SKEPTIC 1- the idea there might be a creator doesn’t disturb me at all .. we are probably the creation of some alien form. What is disturbing me is the amount of lies religions are built on … you don’t actually think god created us do you? …and if you do, tell me your version of how it possibly happened
DGE?- You seem to believe that we were created by some “alien form.” What evidence do you have of that? What are the “lies religions are built on?” I don’t have my own personal version of how God created us. It’s in the Bible.
SKEPTIC 1- Why would i read the biggest lie ever written ??? Imo you are the one with a lot to learn if you believe all that (….)
DGE?- How can you say the Bible is “the biggest lie ever written” when you have never read it. Who told you what to believe?
SKEPTIC 1- I don’t believe we have been created by an alien species but I think that this theory is far more plausible than a man made god created to control people … He didn’t give us the ability to learn .. Evolution did … Science is proving everyday that god doesn’t exist yet we still have people who believes these lies … You’re free to believe in what ever suits you.
DGE?- Science is not proving that God doesn’t exist. It’s really difficult to prove that anything DOESN’T exist. Just because you have never empirically verified something does not mean that it doesn’t exist. We can’t see, touch, taste, smell, or hear God directly, but that does not mean that God doesn’t exist. You could say the same things about love, but you can see the evidence of love in people’s lives and in the things that it causes. So also you can see the evidence of God in people’s lives and in the things he has created.
BELIEVER 1- Really it takes more faith to believe this all just happened than to believe a Great God designed us! Nothing comes from nothing!!!
SKEPTIC 2- some supernatural sky daddy made everything is a lot more fantastic than the Big Bang and evolution which is absolute certain. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
DGE?- If your concept of the God you don’t believe in is “some supernatural sky daddy” then I have to agree with you. I don’t believe in that kind of God either. The Big Bang is evidence of a beginning. The Bible has said that there was a beginning ever since Genesis 1:1. From Aristotle to the 20th century (Over 2000 years) science said that the universe was eternal. Scientists had to reluctantly accept the fact that there was a beginning when the evidence became overwhelming in 1965 with the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation. Scientists finally had to recognize that the Bible was right–there was a beginning. By the way, “Big Bang” was a derogatory name coined by a scientist (Fred Hoyle) who was critical of the idea of a beginning of the universe. You say, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” To claim that the universe just came into being out of nothing with no Creator and that non-living matter turned into complex life without any intelligent guidance are extraordinary claims. Where is your extraordinary evidence?
SKEPTIC 2- 1) The universe *as we know it* had a beginning. It could have existed in another state. We just don’t know. 2) I simply don’t believe the claim that the universe is a “creation” by a “creator.” If a creator is claimed, that creator must be proven. That last bit is shifting the burden of proof. It equates to “prove there is no god.” It is intellectually dishonest to shift the burden of proof to the negative. The positive claim bears it.
DGE?- You say that 1) the universe could have existed in another state before the Big Bang. Where do you suppose that imaginary universe would have come from? Don’t try to suggest that the universe is cyclical. The present universe is not going to collapse on itself and start over with another Big Bang because science shows that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. It will never collapse and re-bang. Secondly, you say that 2) there is no creator because you don’t believe in a creator. I could say that there is a Creator because I do believe in a Creator. That doesn’t prove anything.
SKEPTIC 2- Also, -12 + 12 = 0. The total net energy of the universe is 0. Therefore, no creator is necessary.
DGE?- You have been reading too much of Lawrence Krauss and A Universe from Nothing. If you define nothing as an equal amount of positive and negative energy, you are not talking about nothing. You are talking about something. How about this equation, 0 + 0 = 0.
SKEPTIC 2- Evolution is a cornerstone of modern science. It is not a controversial subject, the evidence is overwhelming and from many different fields. To deny evolution is like saying the sky is orange or the earth is flat. People will just think your retarded.
DGE?- Evidence for limited evolution, especially within species, is obvious. Evidence for one kind of animal evolving into a completely different animal is sketchy to non-existent. New kinds of animals appear in the geologic record suddenly, by geologic times. There is no gradual unfolding as Darwin predicted. Consider the Cambrian Explosion.
BELIEVER 2- Only a Master Engineer such as God could have designed this handiwork. The Bible says, “I’m fearful and wonderfully made”! Modern Science can’t come up with a machine like the kidneys!
SKEPTIC 2- Science has and does… It’s called a kidney dialysis machine
DGE?- I know people who are on dialysis machines. Those machines are nothing like real kidneys. The don’t work on their own, and they are very large. Humans have never invented a device to do what the kidney does without attention, and that fits within the human body.
BELIEVER 3- The fact that you people are smart enough to have this discussion proves to me that there is a creator.
During the past ten years, American universities have seen an incredible change in what is allowed on campus. Student groups and many faculty members are advocating that their campuses be what they call “safe spaces.” They define a safe space as an area “free of any speech that might be considered racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or offensive in any way.” Free speech is under attack since those calling for safe spaces get to define what speech falls under the category of offensive.
This is the very worst kind of censorship, and it makes any attempt at education or reconciliation impossible. It is interesting that a center of this kind of mentality is the University of California, Berkeley. Many of us remember the protests in the 1960s. At that time students complained that the university wouldn’t allow debate and discussion of controversial issues. Now at the same university students are demanding that no one should be allowed to speak who might say something the students (or faculty) disagree with. People learn best when someone challenges their beliefs because then they have to learn to defend what they believe.
Opponents have always attacked Christianity and refused to allow Christians to present the principles of Christ for debate. When you read about people responding to the message of Paul and Stephen you see people screaming to obliterate their message and fomenting violence to them physically. (See Acts 19:23-30 and 21:28-31) That violence even went to the point of making a pact not to eat until they killed Paul (Acts 23:21).
We live in a culture that is driven by many forces, and one of the most influential is journalism. Journalism is defined as follows:
Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information.
The question is whether there are any limits to what can be done to gather, assess, create, and present news and information. In April pro-life journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were charged with 15 felony counts. Their crime was publishing undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing how to “harvest fetal tissue” to preserve organs for sale. One of the charges in this case is that since Daleiden and Merritt used hidden cameras, they violated a state law that forbids recording “confidential” conversations without both participants’ permission.
President Trump has had a major war going on with journalists. No matter whether you love or hate Trump, the media has a very bad track record as far as reporting on him. The problem is that the media often interprets the news instead of reporting the news. The interpretation given by the media for many many years has been anti-Christian and pro-atheism. Studies of the beliefs of journalists at major news centers have shown a vast proportion of them have no religious affiliation. (So-called “nones.”) We have reported many cases in this journal where the bias of the reporter caused a misrepresentation of the facts. This is especially true when they are covering something immoral done by someone claiming to be a Christian.
We can expect intrusions by journalists to increase as they try to find things to denigrate Christians and the work that Christians are involved doing. In our own efforts, we have had some very bad experiences with journalists as well as some very good ones. Journalism is a great profession for a person with integrity and a willingness to report the news without distortion or bias. We desperately need to have journalists who present news and information, not opinions and agendas. Jesus told His followers to “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37)