Friday, November 10, 2017

Ten Scientific Reasons to Believe the Bible



According to the bible the universe had a beginning. ("In the beginning...")
According to science, the universe had a beginning. 

According to the bible, the stars existed before the earth. ("God created the heavens")

According to science, the stars existed before the earth. 

According to the bible, the earth was originally amorphous. ("The earth was formless.")
According to science, the earth was originally amorphous, formless. 

According to the bible, early in earth's history it was covered with water. ("There was darkness on the surface of the water.")
According to science, early in earth's history it was covered with water. 

According to the bible, early in earth's history sunlight did not reach the surface of the earth. ("Darkness on the surface.")
According to science, early in earth's history sunlight did not reach the earth's surface. 

According to the bible, the level of light reaching the surface of the earth changed over time. ("Let luminaries appear in the expanse.")
According to science, the level of light reaching the surface of the earth changed over time.

According to the bible, plant life came before animal life. 
("Let the earth put forth grass.")
According to science, plant life came before animal life. 

According to the bible, aquatic animals came before land-based animals. ("Let the waters swarm with living creatures.")
According to science, aquatic animals came before land-based animals.

According to the bible, humans came into existence after all the plant and animal life was already in existence. ("Let us make man.")
According to science, humans came into existence after all the plant and animal life was already in existence. 

According to the bible, all humans alive today descended from a single pair of humans. ("Become many and fill the earth.")
According to science, all humans alive today descended from a single pair of humans.

That's ten things a bible writer somehow knew, that science later proved to be correct. And that's just the first chapter. An open-minded person might be wise to ask: 



"How did the bible writer know about these major steps in the formation of earth? And how did he get them in the right order?" 

If I held out to you a black bag containing ten marbles I'd numbered one through ten and asked you to draw them out one at a time, in order, what are the odds you would draw out the "one" marble first, and the "two" marble second, and so on?  

You would have better odds of winning the lottery - four times, back to back. If you don't believe that God inspired the bible writer to get those details right, how do you explain it?

The bible also refers to the earth as "hanging on nothing" (Job 26:7) at a time when most 'educated' people believed the earth rested on the back of a celestial elephant. It also refers to the earth as round (Isaiah 40:22) at a time when most people believed it was flat. 

The Jewish law outlined in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers displays an uncanny understanding of hygiene. Details of the law include burying human waste, quarantining potentially contagious patients and burning infected garments. this at a time when the best medical minds of the day often prescribed incantations and camel dung.

Ecclesiastes 1:7 contains a description of what sounds an awful lot like the water cycle. Psalm 104:6-8 describes a cycle of mountains falling until they are under water while other mountains rose above the water - a process called geodynamics only recently beginning to be understood by science. 

The simple fact is, there is no adequate explanation for humans having this knowledge back when the bible was written down; unless those humans were, as they admitted repeatedly, inspired by God. 

The real reason many people find that idea distasteful today is not the scientific aspect of it. People don't want the bible to be true because of the moral aspect of it. If the bible is true, then they are obligated to follow its moral guidelines. If they can prove it is false or faulty, then their conscience is clear. 

There is a simple logic to it: If God exists, He created man. If He created man, then it stands to reason that He gave mankind an instruction manual to explain why we are here and how best to live our lives. If He is the almighty, then the argument that the bible is faulty, or is the work of men, or incorrectly translated, falls flat - I mean, if you were all powerful, and someone else wrote a book of lies and half-truths and claimed it was from you, would you let that stand? 

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Monday, October 2, 2017

How Do We Know the Signs of the Times are Being Fulfilled



300 years ago, when war between England and France spread across half the globe, many believed they were seeing The Sign of the Times. However, Bible scholars of that generation said, ‘This is not the end. The good news of the kingdom has not been preached worldwide.’ (Matthew 24:14)

250 years ago, Babylon the Great – the world’s false religions taken as a conglomerate – was so strong she crowned and removed kings, made laws, punished wrongdoers, and collected taxes. (Revelation 18:1-4) Even in pre-constitution America, churches were given parishes by the state. They made laws, collect taxes and punished wrongdoers. Today, there are only ten countries remaining in Europe where the state gives money to the church, and every one of those countries gives taxpayers the right to opt out of supporting the churches. In most countries today churches have no power over politicians and little over the people. In the United States there is a law - rarely enforced - against churches influencing elections. There is more and more talk about removing the churches' tax-exempt status. If religions were outlawed tomorrow there would be very little protest from the general population.

120 years ago, no one would have found it noteworthy for someone or some group to say “Peace and Security!” Peace was the norm right up until World War broke out. When world events in the near future prompt a cry of ‘Peace and Security!’ it will be a significant departure from what we've become used to. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

105 years ago, if anyone had said, “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as they were from creation’s beginning,” (2 Peter 3:4) it would have been a reasonable question. Anyone who has said it since World War One, however, can be viewed as exactly what the prophecy calls them: ridiculous.

75 years ago, anyone who suggested that man had the potential to ruin the earth would have been locked up in an asylum. (Revelation 11:18) That view changed with the detonation of atomic bombs in the 1940s. When the world calmed down after WWII, people tried to go back to normal lives. But they were shocked out of their complacency in 1962 when Rachel Carson revealed in her book “Silent Spring” that, rather than “Better living through chemistry,” as the ads were saying, mankind’s chemicals were threatening to destroy the earth. Today no one questions the very real possibility of man ruining the earth.

65 years ago, The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom reached a milestone 100 languages, giving it the ability to serve 85% of the world’s population. The other 15% represent languages spoken by fewer than 1000 people each, and in most cases they speak other, more common languages. The Watchtower is the most widely read magazine on Earth. It’s website, Jw.org, is the most widely translated website on earth, currently in over 900 languages, available to more than 95% of the earth’s population. When it reaches 944, it will be available to 98.8% of the earth’s population. There is virtually no person on earth whose only language is so unknown that he cannot hear the good news of the kingdom. (Matthew 24:14) 

50 years ago began what has been called ‘The Golden Age of Terrorism.’ Jesus foretold “Fearful sights and from heaven great signs.” (Luke 21:11) According to Greek scholar A.T. Robertson, the word used here means: 
Terrors. This rare word phobêthra is used only here in the N.T. It is from phobeô, to frighten, and occurs only in the plural as here.” 
While it’s true that people could have understood “terrors” in many ways over the centuries, what we now think of as “terrorism” began with plane hijackings in the 1960s and an attack by Palestinians on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. Combined with the ‘terrors’ of nuclear weapons mounted on missiles, satellite surveillance, snipers on rooftops firing down into crowds, stealth drones firing rockets, air-borne radiation from broken reactors and other pollution coming down “from the heavens,” we have seen unprecedented ‘fearful sights and great signs’ in our lifetime.

This generation: Jesus said quite explicitly “when you see all these things, know that he is near at the doors…Truly I say to you that this generation will BY NO MEANS pass away until all these things happen.”  (Matthew 24:33, 34) Since the things discussed here have stretched over the past 120 years or so, there could be no one person who saw them all. But those anointed 'brothers of Christ' who did see - and understood that they were seeing - the Signs of the Times starting from World War One did actively share their observations, and discuss the significance of them, with other younger anointed brothers of their generation. The last possible anointed brothers of that generation are now in their fifties. BY NO MEANS will they all die before the end comes. 

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Stuff I wish I had known when I was in Junior high school science class.





1. Fermi’s Paradox: Scientists estimate that there are 100 billion planets in the Milky Way. Not the universe – just our ‘neighborhood,’ our galaxy. Many of them are older than earth. If life can come into existence spontaneously it potentially could have done so 100 billion times, creating hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of intelligent systems long before Earth even sent out its first man-made radio wave. By now, those other intelligent systems should have invented long range space travel. Wouldn’t their explorations have focused on all the signals coming from Earth? So the question propounded by rocket scientist Fermi was, Where is everybody? Space around earth should be a celestial traffic jam of UFOs every night.
2. Science claims the “Miller-Urey” experiments created life in a test tube in 1952. The Miller-Urey ‘primordial soup’ consisted of hydrogen, methane, and ammonia. Methane and ammonia are both waste products of LIVING things. Very little of it is found in non-biologic formations, and none is found in the sediment layers that predate life. That's kind of like starting with some eggs and saying, "Watch me make a chicken."
3. Amino acids have a ‘twist,’ referred to as being “right-handed” or “left-handed.” The fewer than 20 amino acids created by Miller-Urey were equally divided between “right-handed” and “left-handed.” But amino acids that make up living things are all left-handed.
4. Amino acids also come in alpha and beta. Miller-Urey’s amino acids were equally divided between both. But living things use only alphas.
5. Amino acids are not life. They are the building blocks of polypeptides. The total number of polypeptide combinations from 20 amino acids is 20 to the 146th power, yet only 50 of those combinations are the correct ones for life.
6. Polypeptides are not life, either. They are the building blocks of proteins. The possible number of protein combinations from 50 polypeptides is a number a thousand times larger than that one. Yet out of that immense number, only 250 of those proteins are the right ones for creating a living organism.
7. The right 250 proteins are not life, either. They are simply the building blocks used to create the DNA and structure of all living things. 
8. While amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, amino acids do not ‘join’ to form proteins. That would be like suggesting that bricks join themselves to form a brick wall. Rather, unprotected proteins – such as a conglomeration of amino acids floating in a primordial soup – break down into amino acids.
9. The simplest protein known is ribonuclease. Its ingredients are 17 different amino acids. But it is a chain 124 amino acids long, in exact order. The first two amino acids in the chain are lysine and glutamic acid, in that order. Of the 17 amino acids relevant to this protein, what are the odds of a lysine amino acid linking to a glutamic acid in a primordial soup containing billions of amino acids? If the soup was made entirely of those 17 amino acids and nothing else, the odds are still 1 in 289.
10. What are the odds of those two amino acids, linked in the correct order, linking to threonine, the 3rd amino acid in this protein? 1 in 4,913. With each additional amino acid in order, the odds grow exponentially. To get all 17 linked in the right order, the odds have been calculated at one chance in a number that would be written as a 1 followed by 552 zeroes. That's more than the number if characters in this paragraph and the one above it. That is a larger number than the number of seconds the universe has been in existence. It is a larger number than the total number of atoms in the universe.
11. And even if they did somehow manage to link up, they are still unprotected, floating around in a primordial soup, with no way to replicate. And self-replication is one part of the definition of life.
12. We said earlier that the simplest organism that could be called living would consist of 250 different proteins. None has been found in nature, so they’ve taken the simplest known form, a bacterium with 901 base pairs in its DNA, and are working at stripping away parts of that DNA to make it simpler. They have managed to get it down to 473. But at 472, it is no longer living. And to create an organism with 473 base pairs requires 531,000 instructions, each happening in the right order, at the right time.
13. Now, go back to the amino acid question at the top. Remember, right handed versus left handed, and alpha versus beta? Imagine a bag full of billions of mixed Legos – red, green, white, and blue. Suppose you want to build a white spiral staircase of Legos. Imagine drawing Legos out of the bag, one at a time, 531,000 times, and only getting white ones.
Oh, and just to be fair, you can’t use your eyes, your hands, or your intelligence…
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Worldwide Letter-writing Campaign Protests Proposed Religious Ban



A huge news story is being almost completely ignored by the media.

Post offices across the country are running out of international stamps. Facebook is blowing up with pictures of people writing letters. The Guinness people are watching to see if this letter-writing campaign will make it into their Book of World Records. (The current record-holder for a letter-writing campaign is 900,000 letters written for Amnesty International.) What’s the story?

While the news is busy arguing about to what extent Russia may have interfered in the recent American election, Russia has been quietly, dramatically restricting the freedoms of one specific group of their citizens.

Maybe you read that and say, ‘Well, it is Russia, after all; aren’t they always restricting their citizens?’ No, actually. After the Soviet Union ended, Russia became a democratic society, with a constitution and everything. Section One Chapter 2 of that document reads:
“Everyone shall be guaranteed the right to freedom of conscience, to freedom of religious worship, including the right to profess, individually or jointly with others, any religion, or to profess no religion, to freely choose, possess and disseminate religious or other beliefs, and to act in conformity with them.”
That’s even clearer than the freedom of religion guaranteed by the United States constitution.

In spite of that guarantee, the government of Russia has petitioned their Supreme Court to brand Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremists, in the same league as ISIS. If that move succeeds it will become illegal for the 170,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in that country to meet for worship, to discuss the bible with others, or even to read the bible in their own homes. The case is scheduled to be heard on April 5, 2017. 

In response, the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses has asked all 8,000,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide to write to six key officials in Moscow, including Vladimir Putin himself.

From the United States, mailing those six letters to Moscow costs about $7. In some other countries, it could cost a family a significant portion of their monthly income. Yet, based on reports on Facebook, Jehovah’s Witnesses, their friends and business associates are pitching in with a will. Total cost of postage, according to one Facebooker, will be over $55 million, based just on the U.S. rate. 





If 8,000,000 people each send six letters, another Facebook mathematician calculated, the Moscow post office can expect a stack of mail nearly 19 miles high! 




A handful of other websites have circulated the news about the impending court decision and the letter-writing campaign against it:

Rochester, NY: Jehovah’s Witnesses plead for freedom, mercy, in Russia crackdown 

The University of Missouri’s Religion News Service: Jehovah’s Witnesses Fear Russian Government may Ban Them 







Ghana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and Zambia websites also reposted the news release from jw.org.

Headlines from pro-Russian news sources have a somewhat different outlook. Russia’s English-language Sputnik reads:
Enough is enough! Jehovah’s Witnesses face Ban
On Tuesday, the Helsinki Commission, which includes U.S. Senators and congressmen, condemned the planned Russian legal move. 

While their sentiments are appreciated, the millions of letters pouring in from around the world are far more likely to sway Moscow than a handful of American politicians. 

If your local news outlet hasn't covered this story, please feel free to send them the link to this column.




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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Is Medical Marijuana for Christians?


Marijuana is now legal to use for medical purposes in 28 states. Eight states have legalized its recreational use. But it is still illegal federally. That means:

  • If you work for the federal government, you can’t use marijuana for any reason.
  • If you work at a job regulated by the Federal Transportation and Safety board, such as truck driver, you can’t use marijuana. The same is true of many jobs in the healthcare field.
  • Your prescription doesn’t exempt you from employer drug tests… they can legally fire you if you test positive for marijuana.
  • You can’t use it if you live on federal property or in federally-assisted housing, such as Section 8.
  • If you are in a legal marijuana business accepting credit card payments via most banks runs you afoul of federal banking laws. And, of course, you can’t take any business deductions on your federal taxes, since the IRS considers your business illegal.
In 2013, the Justice department released what came to be called the Cole memo that significantly altered the cannabis landscape. It made clear that the federal government was going to lay off cannabis in states where marijuana was legal, with the exception of 8 specific criteria. These are:

  • Distribution to minors;
  • Marijuana revenue going to criminal enterprises, gangs or cartels;
  • Diverting marijuana from states where it is legal to other states;
  • Running a marijuana business as a cover for an illegal business, such as illegal drugs;
  • Violence or the use of firearms in connection with a marijuana business;
  • Contributing to drugged driving or other adverse public health risks;
  • Growing cannabis on public (federal) lands;
  • Using marijuana products on federal property.
 Of course, this could all change under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a staunch opponent of legalizing marijuana.

Up until the late 1800s, cannabis farming was common, even encouraged. The fibrous cannabis plant, called hemp by most growers, was a terrific source for paper, rope and fabric. The word “canvas,” in fact, stems from the word “cannabis.”

According to some sources, the war against marijuana was spurred in the 1920s and 1930s by William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper empire, abetted by DuPont Chemical. Hearst had significant timber holdings and feared they would be devalued by a growing hemp-based paper industry; DuPont wanted people to use their newly created oil-based nylon products instead of hemp products.

“William Randolph Hearst hated minorities,” says one of his biographies, “and he used his chain of newspapers to aggravate racial tensions at every opportunity. Hearst especially hated Mexicans. Hearst papers portrayed Mexicans as lazy, degenerate, and violent, and as marijuana smokers and job stealers. The real motive behind this prejudice may well have been that Hearst had lost 800,000 acres of prime timberland in Mexico to the rebel Pancho Villa.” In fact, it is said that he ordered his newspapers to use the word “marijuana” rather than hemp or cannabis, because of the word’s Mexican connotation.

According to the DEA:

·         “The Institute of Medicine conducted a comprehensive study in 1999 to assess the potential health benefits of marijuana and its constituent cannabinoids. The study concluded that smoking marijuana is not recommended for the treatment of any disease condition. In addition, there are more effective medications currently available.”
·         Marijuana contributes to crime. “Nationwide, 40 percent of adult males tested positive for marijuana at the time of their arrest.”
·         “According to the National Institutes of Health, studies show that someone who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day.”

Given all this, then, why the Cole memo? Because, hundreds of thousands of people across the country are using marijuana for medical reasons, despite the DEA’s claims that it has no medicinal value.

That shouldn’t be surprising: my brother and sister-in-law take the cooking spice turmeric for muscle and stomach pain. The AMA may not acknowledge any medicinal value to it, but don’t try to take it away from my brother. He has told me of his wife waking up crying with leg cramps that go away within minutes of taking turmeric.

And there are, of course, literally hundreds of other ‘alternative’ health cures that users swear by, from laser light to okra, despite there being no scientific studies proving their efficacy.

On a trip to Oregon in 2010 I had occasion to visit with a medical marijuana user I’ll call John.
John suffered for years with arthritis and neuropathy in his feet. “Sometimes, when I get up in the morning and put my feet on the floor, I fall flat on my face,” he said. Before using marijuana, he took Vicodin nearly every day, but he got tired of living in a fog. “Plus, it’s expensive.” He was spending $60 to $70 a month on Vicodin before he got approved to grow and use marijuana.

He was affiliated with an organization called Oregon Green Freedom, who helped him get started growing a marijuana strain called “Agent Orange.” Under Oregon law he was allowed to possess 18 juvenile plants and 6 mature plants. He grew it organically. “I’ve tasted some that was grown in containers indoors, and you can taste the Miracle-Gro,” he said. I didn’t ask whether he could taste the horse manure he fertilizes his plants with.

John puts about two ounces of marijuana buds in a quart of glycerin, and lets it steep in the sun on the window sill for a couple months. Only the buds are used. “The rest of the plant just becomes compost.”

 I asked about getting high. He said, “Buds harvested early are better for pain relief; a later harvest produces more of a high. So I harvest early.”

He used about a tablespoon a day of the tincture to control the pain of the arthritis and neuropathy. It had also helped him with the nausea of chemotherapy the previous year when he had cancer. The tincture takes about 30 minutes to work. Would smoking it work faster? “It might, but smoked marijuana tends to go to your head. I need it to go to my feet.”

Furthermore, “as a Christian,” he said, “there are certain Bible principles I need to comply with for the sake of my conscience.” What principles? He listed them: “‘Cleanse yourselves of every defilement of the flesh.’ (2 Corinthians 7:1) Smoking pot would ‘defile’ my hair, my clothes, and my home.” He is also aware of 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Bad company corrupts good character." So he has to be careful marijuana use doesn’t bring him into company with those who link marijuana-smoking with unchristian conduct, especially the illicit drug community.

The principle of 2 Timothy 4:5, “You should keep a clear mind in every situation,” certainly rules out recreational drug use, but can’t really be applied to medical usage, or else Christians would have to avoid all pain remediation. But what about addiction? Romans 6:16 does say, after all, “You become the slave of whatever you choose to obey.” John said that was not a problem; for him, at least, his marijuana tincture was not addictive. “Vicodin, that was really addictive.”

Still, John acknowledges, it is a controversial matter. There is a significant stigma attached to marijuana use, and he doesn’t want to be seen as a “stoner.” When he recently requested approval for additional privileges in his congregation, a lengthy discussion ensued. Even though he had the approval of the state of Oregon, he was technically breaking federal law, making the principle at Romans 13:1 about obeying the governmental authorities a matter for his conscience to deal with. He also, at the request of the congregation, stopped supplying marijuana to other legal users who lack their own growing space – a practice allowed under the Oregon program –  because he didn’t want to feel responsible if they misused it.

A few months before our interview he took a road trip across the U.S. and had to leave the tincture at home. His user I.D. card is only valid in Oregon. So he had to pull out the Vicodan. “Which is ironic,” he said. Why? Because, he said, he knows how soon he’s safe to drive after taking the tincture, but he feels less sure of his abilities after taking Vicodan.

Speaking of driving: Since he has to carry the I.D. card at all times, if he were involved in an accident, he would be pretty much automatically at fault. A police officer seeing the card would likely send him for a urine test, which he would fail even if he hadn’t used the tincture in several days.

I asked about John on my recent trip to Oregon. His neuropathy is now gone, and he’s stopped using his tincture. I doubt if anyone has ever cured neuropathy with Vicodin.

One of my preconceptions before talking to John was that people are making up symptoms to legally get stoned. John said there is probably some of that, but, in Oregon at least, in 2010 it required a two-year medical history, as well as a lot of other hoops to jump through, to get on the program. “I doubt if too many people would go to the trouble.”

There has been relatively little research into the efficacy of marijuana. However, that is in part due to the fact that it is illegal. If you are a scientist wanting to research the medical benefits of marijuana, for decades there was only one legal source: A government-managed plot of about 500 plants at the University of Mississippi. Only recently has the government recognized the silliness of this, and begun to make it easier for scientists to study marijuana. It is widely believed that ‘street marijuana’ is considerably more potent than the strain grown at the university; also, that different strains have different medicinal uses.

With the growth of alternative health products, and the growing movement to legalize marijuana, if you don’t currently know someone who has considered using marijuana medicinally, you likely will in the near future.


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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Spread the Word: Transfusion is NOT a "Lifesaving Procedure."




It’s happened again: Still another study, this time out of Canada, proving beyond all doubt that blood transfusion is bad medicine. 

The February, 2017, World Journal of Urology contains the results of a nine-year study of bladder cancer patients who underwent a surgical procedure called radical cystectomy.

Of the 2,593 patients, 62% overall received blood transfusions. (In 2000, at the beginning of the study, it was 68%. By 2008 the number had dropped to 54%. So surgeons are slowly getting the message, but not fast enough.)


Transfused:                                                 Not transfused:

Average hospital stay:            11 days                                 9 days
Readmitted within 90 days:   38%                                      29%    
Mortality:                               11%                                      4%

And here’s the big one: Overall 5-year survival rate was 33% higher among those patients not transfused. And the cancer-specific survival rate was a whopping 39% higher among those who had bloodless surgery!

This is like the umpteenth study proving that blood transfusion is a terrible idea. Here are just a few recent examples:


“Jehovah’s Witnesses who refused blood transfusions while undergoing cardiac surgery were significantly less likely to need another operation for bleeding compared with non-Witnesses who were transfused. They were also less likely to suffer a post-op heart attack or kidney failure.”
 Can’t we, by now, safely assume that, what has been found to be true in these fields of surgery, is true in every field? Yet the same day this bladder cancer study came out, another  story was published about the new guidelines for surgeons when a patient refuses a transfusion. It was introduced with the line, 
“Blood transfusions are a common and often lifesaving procedure.”
 That article noted that doctors are frequently accused of having a God complex. Many of them cultivate an attitude of all-knowing, don’t-question-me superiority called "paternalistic medicine." In some cases it’s ego. However, another reason they do this is simply time management: A time-and-motion study showed that, contrary to the picture of them painted by TV shows like Pure Genius or  Chicago Med, doctors spend less than one third of their time at work actually seeing patients. They spend more than two thirds of their time writing notes and filling out forms to satisfy the requirements of their institution and insurance companies. That would make for terrible TV, wouldn't it? But if they encouraged questions from their patients they’d never get any work done.

Because of the intimidation factor, and considering the years they spent in medical school, plus what we assume must be hours of ongoing study, you may feel the doctor surely already knows anything you might be inclined to tell him. Not so.

Surgeons spend on average 4.4 hours a week reading medical journals. Less than 5 hours a week! I spend more time than that on Facebook. If you are a heart surgeon, how likely is it that you’re going to spend part of your precious 5 hours of reading time perusing the “World Journal of Urology”?

Of course, as the list above shows, there have been articles in heart surgery journals, too, about the advantages of bloodless surgery, just as there have been in nearly every other field, from journals about joint replacement to journals about emergency medicine.

But changing the thinking of doctors is a slow process. As cardiothoracic specialist Bruce Spiess even went so far as to say:
"Blood transfusions are a religion. They have never been safety or efficacy tested," he said. "Drug options are carefully tested and regulated through prospective, randomised double-blind testing, but blood transfusion stands apart in that it has predominantly been believed to be helpful and evolved as a pillar of modern medicine."
Blood transfusions are not life-saving. They are simply bad medicine. Click on the links, do your research. Tell everyone you know, particularly if they are in the medical field, or if they are in the media. 

Unlike those drug commercials, I'm not suggesting you "ask your doctor." I'm suggesting you "TELL your doctor." If he disagrees, find a doctor who has read something other than facebook this week. 


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 Bill K. Underwood is a freelance columnist and author of several books, including two novels - The Minotaur Medallion, and the best-selling Resurrection Day. Both are available in paperback here

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Real Problem of Fake News


I cannot believe this happened to me… AGAIN!
I allowed my buddy Jerry to talk me into going to a little hole-in-the-wall taco stand for lunch. The place has like four tables. The last time we went there, a couple weeks before the election, we were discussing the news. I said something like, ‘Trump is claiming the election is rigged. I wonder whether he’ll stick to that claim if he wins?’
Before Jerry could say anything, a rabid Trump supporter came over to the table and began telling me how Awesome Trump was, how He was going to Make America Great Again (she even spoke in capital letters). I asked her whether the recent news of Trump’s disgusting remarks about women had changed her opinion somewhat, and she reacted like I’d accused Trump of being an illegal alien. That recording was fake! It was just a Hillary plot to discredit her savior Trump, etc. At this point, Jerry and I both pointed out to her that we had no horse in this race – that we were completely apolitical, neutral, don’t care who wins, that we wouldn’t be voting for either candidate.
“Not voting is the same as voting for Hillary,” she said. I don’t get the math there – maybe it’s connected to how a Hillary win would prove voter fraud but a Trump win would prove he was on the side of the angels. We finally got ourselves disentangled from her – fortunately, most people get their tacos to go at that place, and hers were getting cold.
I swore I’d never go back. Today, Jerry insisted we go - he loves the food and the low prices. What could go wrong? The election is over, I now have a better understanding of the acoustics in the place. I went.
So Jerry brought up a mutual friend who is very bright but seems to have a blind spot where it comes to ‘secret knowledge’, conspiracy theories, etc. I said my problem with conspiracy theories was what they all have in common – the teller of the story claims to have acquired some insider knowledge that the majority of us don’t have. Where’d he get it?
“Like fake news,” I said.
“What’s that?”
“Oh, you know, like that story about what’s-her-name” (I purposely didn’t say Hillary, even though I was speaking quietly, just in case the ONLY OTHER person in the café was a Trump supporter) "supposedly running a sex-ring out of the basement of a pizza parlor in Baltimore.”
“What?”
“Yeah. Totally fake story. But a guy believed it, went in and shot up the place. The FBI got involved, proved the story came from the computer of a high-level Trump supporter, who admitted he made it up.”
Before I could finish, I was interrupted by the ONLY OTHER patron in the place… you guessed it: Trump supporter. “Excuse me, I couldn’t help overhearing. Do you mind if I join your conversation?”
“Actually, I do mind…”
“That story was true! Just because you read something in the New York Times that says otherwise doesn’t make it not true! Stop being a sheeple! Hillary is running a pedophile sex ring in Washington, and they’re trying to cover it up!”
-To Jerry: “I am never eating here again, I don’t care how good their carne asada is.” –To the fat woman in the leopard print stretch pants: “You are NOT welcome in this conversation. I was talking with my friend here, NOT you. Please leave us alone.” Not that she was inclined to, but her tacos arrived.
Jerry, of course, finds all this hilarious.
Here’s why I find this serious enough to write about. In a conversation between Jesus and Pilate, Jesus said ‘Everyone who is on the side of Truth listens to me.’ Pilate sarcastically replied, “What is truth?”
2000 years ago, there was already a tendency to question the Truth – to at least doubt, to raise doubts as to whether absolute truth were even knowable.
We often hear praise for having an open mind, but what if your mind is so open that common sense completely falls out?
Jesus foretold that the Good News of the Kingdom would be preached in all he inhabited earth right before the end. (Matthew 24:14) If that is happening right now, it is reasonable that Satan will do anything to obscure it. Since he doesn’t have much of an imagination, he’s using the same old nugget – obfuscate the truth.
In the 1960s you could tell someone, for example, that when we die we return to dust, we become nothing, we exist only in God’s memory… there is no “soul” that flies off to somewhere else. To prove it, you simply cracked open your Bible (or theirs) to Ezekiel 18:4, Ecclesiastes 9:10, and John 11:11 and proved it to them. They had to choose between two, and ONLY two options: either change their beliefs to harmonize with the Bible, or live the rest of their life knowing their beliefs didn’t match that Bible. The Bible was considered the final authority. There used to be a bumper sticker that read, “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it.” I loved talking to people who had that bumper sticker.
Today, though, for more and more people, the Bible doesn’t settle anything. Show them a scripture that directly contradicts their beliefs, and they are just as likely to reply, ‘Yes, but Jung said,’ or ‘modern science has proven,’ or ‘my preacher says’ or ‘I think…’
So someone can make up a completely false ‘news’ story about a sex ring operating out of a basement of a pizza parlor (the place has no basement, btw), and ten million people believe it. Two weeks later multiple respected national news agencies can report that he admitted to the FBI that he made the whole thing up; do all ten million people admit to themselves that they were duped? No. Some do. But there are still some, a few million or so, who believe the made-up story.
Jesus only said the preaching of the Good News had to be completed before the end comes. He didn’t say – but it makes sense – that the preaching of the Good News also must be completed before humanity completely loses its ability to tell the difference between Truth and lies.

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 Bill K. Underwood is a freelance columnist and author of several books, including two novels - The Minotaur Medallion, and the best-selling Resurrection Day. Both are available in paperback here