Invasion of Amoral Intelligence!

Invasion of Amoral Intelligence!

Recently there have been many articles and news stories about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Some leading scientists are worried about what may happen in the future as machines or robots become available with higher levels of AI. Already we have “Weak AI” with computers and phones speaking in human-sounding voices and answering our questions. The next step is “Artificial General Intelligence.” That would be a general-purpose speaking machine that can think and perform specific tasks better and faster than humans. The main concern here is the loss of jobs that humans now perform. Perhaps we need to be concerned about an invasion of amoral intelligence.

What worries or even frightens some experts in the field is “Artificial Superintelligence.” We are talking about an artificial intellect that could outperform the most brilliant human minds, achieve new levels of creativity on its own, and display social skills that could not you could not distinguish from humans. It would be able to continue learning at a fantastic speed, shape its own future, and act in its own interest. Its desires and motivations could be very different from the interests of its creators or humanity as a whole. It could develop its own agenda even to the destruction of humans. This is the stuff of science fiction movies, and the current prediction is that somewhere between 2040 and 2050, science could achieve this level of AI.

Human life is guided by a conscience that our Creator put into us. Every human being recognizes that there are moral values and that some things are right and good and other things are wrong and evil. No matter if this moral sense becomes distorted by teaching, experiences, or even mental illness, it is still there. Even an atheist such as Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer has some limits, even though he argues that humans are just animals not deserving status above any other species and that parents should have a month to decide whether to keep or euthanize their newborn children. That seems like a shocking moral code, but an Artificial Superintelligence would not necessarily have even those moral limitations.

Humans have a built-in moral quality because God created us in His image. The result of humans making a machine with superhuman thinking abilities and no moral conscience should cause us to step back and carefully consider the possible invasion of amoral intelligence.

— Roland Earnst © 2021

Bloodletting – Life Is In the Blood

Bloodletting – Life Is In the Blood

For almost 2000 years, from ancient Greece to the nineteenth-century, the most common procedure performed by surgeons was bloodletting. The doctors would cut the patient to allow blood to drain because they thought this would drain disease from the body. In truth, if it didn’t kill the patients, bloodletting at least left them weaker. The medical establishment didn’t realize that life is in the blood.

Even though William Harvey disproved the effectiveness of bloodletting in 1628, doctors (and barbers) still practiced it for another 200 years. It can take a long time for false ideas to be abandoned, even by doctors and scientists. In some areas such as China and the Middle East, people still practice a form of bloodletting today known as hijama or cupping.

While they were still practicing bloodletting, doctors began to experiment with blood transfusions. Early experiments in the seventeenth-century involved transfusions of animal blood into humans, usually with disastrous results. Doctors didn’t realize that there are different blood types among humans and even among animals. Different blood types have a different molecular structure in the red blood cells. If a patient is given blood of the wrong type, it can cause a reaction that can be fatal, because the patient’s immune system attacks the foreign blood cells as invaders.

In 1901 Karl Landsteiner found that mixing blood from different patients sometimes caused clotting. This led him to classify blood into three types—A, B, and O. Scientists have discovered more blood groups since then, making transfusions much safer today.

If those who practiced bloodletting had paid more attention to the Bible, they might have realized much sooner that it was a bad idea. “The life of every creature is in the blood” is stated twice in Leviticus 17 verses 11 and 14. With that admonition, God commanded the ancient Israelites to refrain from eating blood and to sacrifice the blood of animals to cover their sins. But the final redemption for sins came when “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood” (Romans 3:25). Life is in the blood, and eternal life is in the blood of Christ.

— Roland Earnst © 2021

Quasar Brighter Than 100 Billion Stars

Brighter Than 100 Billion Stars

It’s 2.5 billion light-years away, and brighter than the over 100 billion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy combined. If it were even as close as 30 light-years from us, it would appear as bright as the Sun, which is only eight light minutes away. Before anyone ever saw it, scientists detected it by the radio waves that it sends out.

In 1963, astronomer Allan Sandage was the first to observe quasar 3C 273 with a telescope. Quasars are the brightest objects in the known universe. They’re massive discs of particles that surround a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy. They emit intensely powerful energy as the black hole sucks the life out of matter and pulls it into its abyss. The energy is brighter than 100 billion stars.

The cloudy streak in the picture from NASA’s Hubble Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 is a jet of energy that was fired off by the quasar at some time in the past. That streak is 200,000 light-years long! It would be impossible to survive in a galaxy with a quasar in its center. The intense energy from the quasar would destroy life while the black hole devoured the matter. We can be thankful that this quasar is so far away, even though it is one of the nearest.

Life on Earth is possible because we have no black holes or quasars near us. We think the universe reveals the work of an amazing Master Designer. We agree with Dr. Allan Sandage, the first person to observe a quasar, when he said, “Science makes explicit the quite incredible natural order, the interconnections at many levels between the laws of physics…Why is the design that we see everywhere so truly miraculous?… As I said before, the world is too complicated in all its parts and interconnections to be due to chance alone.”

— Roland Earnst © 2021

Does God Exist? Today Year 5

Does God Exist? Today Year 5

With the start of 2021, we are beginning Does God Exist? Today year 5. This website features the kind of information found in the “News and Notes,” “Dandy Designs,” and, occasionally, “Book Reviews” columns in our printed quarterly publication. However, because Does God Exist? Today is published daily, the information is more up-to-date. This website continues to grow in its worldwide outreach, thanks to our loyal followers.

In addition to the daily posts on this Does God Exist? Today website, we have daily posts on our Facebook page. That page continues to get the attention of people around the world. The posts on the Facebook page deal with evidence for design in living things. We have dealt with that topic for years under “Dandy Designs” in our printed publications. In 2021, we hope to expand that topic with a new website.

Also, we want you to know about our DoesGodExist.tv website (Does God Exist? Media), where you can view our entire video series. Also, on that site, you will find access to our audio series and other materials.

It is essential that you know about our original website DoesGodExist.org. There you can read the current issue of our printed journal plus many other articles of interest.

Thank you for following our posts. We appreciate your feedback and support. You make it possible for us to tell people around the world that God exists and that He loves them. You can help us reach more people by sharing links to our posts on this website and sharing our Facebook posts.

As we begin Does God Exist? Today year 5, we pray that 2021 will bring blessings to you and your family.

— Roland Earnst © 2021

Christmas Holly Is a Reminder

Christmas Holly Is a Reminder

It’s an evergreen tree that can live for 500 years and grow up to 33 feet (10 meters) tall. However, it usually doesn’t live for more than 100 years or grow taller than 10 feet (3 meters). It is often associated with Christmas because people use it in wreaths and garlands, and you see it pictured on many Christmas cards. What does European (or English) holly (Ilex aquifolium), also known as Christmas holly, have to do with Christmas?

The connection to Christmas goes back to medieval times in Europe. People said that the sharp-pointed evergreen leaves reminded them of the crown of thorns Christ was forced to wear at His crucifixion. The berries, which are red during the Christmas season, reminded them of the blood Christ shed, and the white flowers stand for purity.

European holly grows as a tree or a bush. The berries are mildly toxic to people and harmful to dogs or cats. However, they provide winter food for birds, rodents, and other animals. The flowers are sources of nectar for bees and butterflies. European holly grows in shady areas in forests, and it can form a dense thicket along forest borders. Because it is a dense evergreen with sharp points, people often use it for privacy hedges.

In its native areas of Europe and other regions, holly is an ornamental plant admired for its beauty. However, since people brought it to North America’s west coast, it has become an invasive species. It thrives in the shade of forests and crowds out species native to that area. Washington state has called it a weed.

Like other plant species, European holly has an ecological niche to fill. Problems often arise when people do something to upset the balanced relationship that God has designed into nature. From the beginning, humans have done things to upset our relationship with God. That brings us back to Christmas and the reason God came to Earth in the form of a human who lived a pure life and shed His blood on the cross to redeem us. Christmas holly reminds us of that.

— Roland Earnst © 2020

Best Meteor Show of the Year

Phaethon gave us the Best Meteor Show of the Year

This year, 2020, has been a bad year for many things. However, it should be a good year for the Geminid meteor shower. It usually is the best meteor show of the year, but this year it might be even better. It will peak tonight in the late hours of December 13 and early hours of December 14.

If you are familiar with meteor showers, you know that they are caused when the Earth, on its journey around the Sun, passes through the remnants of a comet. As comets travel through our solar system, the Sun’s heat vaporizes the outer layers of those rocky snowballs leaving debris in the comet’s path. When our planet crosses that path, tiny rock fragments enter our atmosphere and burn up as friction with the air superheats them. The annual December Geminid meteor shower is different and not caused by a comet.

One difference is that the Geminids are younger than other annual meteor showers, which people have observed for hundreds or thousands of years. People first observed the August Perseids in A.D. 36. The Lyrids, which occur in April, were recorded by the Chinese in 687 B.C. However, the Geminids were first seen in December 1862. Since then, they have returned every year, and they have gradually become more numerous as they reach more than 100 meteors per hour.

So if a passing comet does not cause the Geminids, what does? Astronomers solved that mystery in 1983 when the Infrared Astronomical Satellite discovered a small asteroid, which they named Phaethon. It travels in a very elliptical orbit around the Sun in a little less than a year-and-a-half. That orbit takes it closer to the Sun than Mercury and then beyond Mars to the asteroid belt. The asteroid becomes superheated in its close pass by the Sun. Phaethon also spins on its axis about every three-and-a-half hours meaning that the surface fries as it faces the Sun’s heat and then freezes in the cold of space. The freezing and thawing crack the surface, and the centrifugal force throws out fragments.

Most of the particles resulting from the rapid temperature change and spin are probably only about a millimeter in diameter. For that reason, astronomers believe that Phaethon was struck by another space object in the recent past, causing more meteoroids, which could explain the Geminid show’s quality. This year should be better than average, because the Moon will be new, meaning we will have a dark sky. Another thing that makes the Geminids the best meteor show of the year is that they came in at a much slower speed, so they move more slowly across the sky.

If you have clear skies and can find a dark place with an open view of the sky, you could be in for a treat. However, for those of us in the north, it will be cold. Wear warm clothes, lean back in a lounge chair, cover yourself with a blanket, and be patient. According to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the peak should occur around 8 p.m.EST December 13 (0100 GMT December 14). However, there should be plenty to see for hours before and after that.

As you look at the night sky, remember that the shepherd boy David was looking at the same sky around three millennia ago when he wrote, “The heavens declare the Glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork (Psalms 19:1).” I am sure that David enjoyed an open dark sky with no light pollution from electric lights, but he also didn’t get to see the Geminids, the best meteor show of the year.

— Roland Earnst © 2020

Mighty Powerful Sun

Mighty Powerful Sun

The power released by the Sun every second is equal to ninety-six billion megatons. One megaton is the explosive power of one million tons of TNT. That is a mighty powerful Sun.

All of that energy is released by immense numbers of tiny hydrogen atoms fusing into helium atoms at a rate of four hydrogens to make each helium. The process requires incredibly high temperatures to get it started. After the fusion, the helium atom has less mass than the total of the four hydrogen atoms by 0.7 percent, indicating that a tiny amount of mass has been converted into energy. The energy released provides heat to keep the process going and the energy that powers our solar system and our planet.

Humans duplicated the process of atomic fusion in 1952 with the first hydrogen bomb. It was repeated in 1954 with a more powerful explosion equal to fifteen megatons. To obtain the high temperature required, scientists had to use an atomic (fission) bomb to get the fusion process going.

The hydrogen bomb is the most power that humans have ever been able to release, and we hope it’s the most that will ever be released on Earth. Compare that one-time 15 megatons to the ninety-six billion megatons per second released in the Sun. Then compare our mighty powerful Sun to many other stars which dwarf the Sun’s power. The stars Rigel and Deneb each release the energy of 200,000 Suns, but even they are not the largest power generators in the universe.

All of this is already far beyond my ability to comprehend. I can only say, “Tell everyone about God’s power…his strength is mighty in the heavens” (Psalms 68:34 NLT).

— Roland Earnst © 2020

Architect-Engineer, Magician, or Chance

Architect/Engineer, Magician, or Chance

One of the things that John Clayton often emphasizes is that God is an architect-engineer. Some people see God as a magician. As John likes to say, they see God “zapping” things into existence. So which is correct— architect-engineer, magician, or chance?

If we think of God as a magician, we are rejecting science. We are like the ancients who saw magic in lightning, volcanoes, wind, fire, and everything else. They saw magic in the created things, and they worshipped the creation. So they had a god of the volcano, a god of the river, a god of the harvest, and on and on.

Science today has told us what causes volcanoes and hurricanes, so we no longer see them as gods. Science tells us how stars begin and how they die. It tells us how the elements are formed within stars. Science also tells us how our solar system developed. Plate tectonics reveals the processes that gave us today’s continents, and scientists are studying the formation of our atmosphere. We see how millions of things came together to provide us with a habitable planet. Were all of those merely fortunate accidents, or were they intelligently designed? Remember, the alternatives are architect/engineer, magician, or chance.

The greatest mystery of all is how non-living elements became life. How did those elements come together to form amino acids, proteins, RNA, DNA, and living cells? We are still far from understanding that, but it is evident that the chance of it happening without a guiding intelligence is vanishingly small.

However, once that life threshold has been crossed, the accepted faith in the science community is that evolution took over from there. The accepted science dogma today is the worship of evolution. That dogma says naturalistic evolution is the god that developed all forms of life, including ourselves. For a scientist to deny that dogma is to commit heresy. Any scientist who wants to keep his or her job, credentials, prestige, or credibility must adhere to the dogma and worship the god Evolution. It all happened by natural selection acting on random mutations, and you better believe it, or at least pretend you do.

But, is chance a viable explanation? Does our everyday experience of designed things, from shovels and lawnmowers to cars and computers, tells us anything? It should say to us that those things don’t design themselves. It should be evident that intelligence, not mere chance, was involved in all of them.

Again, the alternatives are architect-engineer, magician, or chance. If we rule out chance, that leaves us with two options. If God is a magician who “zapped” everything into existence and made it look old, the study of science becomes futile. Why would God try to fool us into thinking we can study the ancient creation processes when there is no such thing?

If God is an architect-engineer, we can study the creation and see how He worked to design and engineer the universe, our solar system, our planet, and even life. We don’t see those creations as gods. Instead, we see the God who created them, and we worship Him. The bottom line is that we see evidence of God in the things He has made (Romans 1:20).

— Roland Earnst © 2020

The Does God Exist? Ministry

The Does God Exist? Ministry

The Does God Exist? ministry is an effort by John Clayton, supported by Roland Earnst, Karl Marcussen, and Linda Glover. We desire to demonstrate to anyone who will consider the evidence that science and faith are symbiotic. They support each other. We don’t pretend to have all the answers, and we are not a business and do not market our materials.

For over 50 years, we have been distributing correspondence courses, books, magazines, booklets, and audio and visual programs free of charge or on loan to anyone who requests them. This daily article website is one of a variety of resources:

DVDs and CDs can be borrowed by emailing John Clayton at jncdge@aol.com. You can also watch them free of charge on doesgodexist.tv.

Books can be borrowed at the same email address. A catalog is available on doesgodexist.org. or can be requested via postal mail at the address below.

The above materials can be purchased at cost with a credit card on powervine.biz.

Our quarterly printed journal will be mailed to you free upon request.

On the doesgodexist.org website, you can read all of our periodical publications back to 1995, as well as pamphlets, booklets, charts, and other materials.

We have two correspondence courses available postage paid on request. Our college-level course can be taken on our doesgodexist.org website.

We have a YouTube channel HERE.

We have a Facebook page with daily posts that show design in animals and plants: facebook.com/evidence4god.

You can see our daily Twitter feeds at twitter.com/powervine.

We have a website for kids where you can watch our children’s videos and read our children’s books free of charge: grandpajohn.club.

We also have special topic websites. Whypain.org deals with the issue of human suffering, and dandydesigns.org shows examples of design in nature, indicating an intelligent cause.

John Clayton is the regular speaker on Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM on zoom.com at the Dowagiac Church of Christ. You can be included by calling Karl Marcussen at 574-514-1400 or emailing him at marcusen@michiana.org.

The Clayton Museum of Ancient History is maintained on the campus of York College in York, Nebraska. This museum is promoted by Nebraska’s tourist division and includes the Foster Stanback antiquities collection with artifacts from Biblical times. The website is claytonmuseumofancienthistory.org.

We hope you will take advantage of the many resources available from the Does God Exist? Ministry.

Does God Exist? – P.O. Box 2704 – South Bend, IN 46680-2704

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Made for Another World

Made for Another World

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” Those words were written by C. S. Lewis, a professor of English literature at Oxford University and later at Cambridge University.

He wrote more than 40 books which are still in print even though he died in 1963. His writings have been translated into more than 30 languages. Some of them from the “Chronicles of Narnia” series have been made into movies by Disney.

The quote about being made for another world comes from Lewis’s book Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis experienced times when he longed for something that was just beyond his grasp. Haven’t we all had that experience? We look for beauty, but everything has its imperfections. We long for justice, but we find injustice all around us. We long for love, but people disappoint us. We desire peace, but turmoil surrounds us.

This world has many things that seem attractive to us. Food, travel, sex, pleasures of all kinds beckon us. They appeal to our senses and our inner longings, but again and again, when we obtain them, they fall short of our expectations. We say, “There must be something better.”

We believe, as C. S. Lewis did, that those desires which nothing in this world can satisfy are evidence that we were made for another world. The good things of this world are only shadows of things to come. Lewis was an atheist who came to believe and accept Jesus Christ as his savior. He still faced challenges of grief and terminal illness in this life, but his faith brought him through to another world.

We believe that God made us for another world, and He will bring us to the fulfillment of the beauty, justice, love, and peace we long for.

— Roland Earnst © 2020