Human Rights Repository

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone– God speaking to Job (38:4-6)

 

The current vision of ‘rights’ held by Progressives (the “anointed”) as contained in a quote from Thomas Sowell, economist:

“The anointed want to eliminate stress, challenge, striving, and competition. They want the necessities of life to be supplied as “rights” ~ which is to say, at the taxpayer’s expense, without anyone’s being forced to work for those necessities, except of course the taxpayers.
Nothing is to be earned. “Self-esteem” is to be dispensed to school children as largess from the teacher. Adults are to have their medical care and other necessities dispensed as largess from the government. People are to be mixed by race and sex and whatever else the anointed want to take into account, in order to present whatever kind of picture the anointed think should be presented.
This is the vision of human beings as livestock to be fed by the government and herded and tended by the anointed. All the things that make us human beings are to be removed from our lives and we are to live as denatured creatures and directed by our betters. (emphasis mine)
Those things that help human beings be independent and self-reliant ~ whether automobiles, guns, the free market, or vouchers ~ provoke instant hostility from the anointed.”

Today I am asking questions. Explore with me the idea of ‘rights.’

 The fundamental notion of Human Rights comes from…random genetic behavioral adaptations, the social constructs of a group of dabbling socio-political philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and John Stuart Mill, or as emanating from Kant’s Golden Rule-like categorical imperatives or as ad hoc thoughts based on current information… or ultimately and essentially from a Sovereign God?

 Let’s start with what we do know about rights and where they emanate from.

Our US Declaration of Independence states that God Himself bestowed our rights and liberties upon us:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.).

 Hold the “self-evident” thought for a second. Before discussing that a priori concept, I think we can all agree that all men are created equal (some people being more equal than others if you accept materialism’s income inequality as a proper test of justice. The concept of collective envy ruminating as social justice which soon demands tyranny, is wonderfully portrayed in George Orwell’s Animal Farm.)

An “inalienable right” defined: a right according to natural law, a right that cannot be taken away, denied, or transferred. In other words, you don’t own the right to rights. They are a priori, naturally occurring.

Where does natural law come from? We understand legal rights as being those rights determined by man-made laws. But natural law, where does natural law come from?

 Some ideas of natural or inalienable rights at the very least dates back to the Greek Stoics – Hellenistic Philosophers were concerned about cosmic determinism and free will. They maintained that proper behavior, not words alone but well-meaning-self-limiting actions, revealed one’s non-predetermined or free will “rights.”

 Later, Catholic law would take up the strophe. Then it passed to the Middle Ages after which it coursed through the Reformation then the Enlightenment and right up to my post today.  I write this post within a God-bestowed natural law and a man-made legal right of free speech. How convenient!

 Are natural rights only generated from reason as Immanuel Kant ‘reasoned’ or are they God-given and then realized? Atheists might prefer man-made reason as opposed to an Intelligent Designer. But the source of their own reasoning is left outside the premises (yeah, I know).

 But, If we start with a Intelligent Designer who spoke the Big Bang into existence and then, as most scientists do, recognize an orderly precisely tuned universe held together by four fundamental physical constants called gravity, the strong and weak nuclear forces and electromagnetism and the thought that perhaps all four constants are manifestation of a single underlying and unifying force then we eventually and evidentially return to an Intelligent Designer.

This Intelligent Designer (ID) decided, that after everything had cooled down from the monstrously hot plasma occurring from the Big Bang, that out of the annihilating ’battle’ between the equal forces of matter and anti-matter, that matter would ‘carpe diem’ –seize the day.

This programmed mismatch of matter over antimatter became our physical Genesis, our physical beginnings. We came forth out of God’s spoken word as Remnants of an exploding universe. And, this genesis is recorded in the elements and compounds that compose our very bodies. But there is more to us than what you see and carry around with you.

 Now, this same Designer wrote the book on His universe – the Holy Scriptures. This book doesn’t lay out the physical constants. The Book assumes them to be already at work.

 It is from man’s earliest recorded philosophy book The Book of Job that we learn about God’s ways with mankind. The discourse between God and man ultimately leads to Job’s sevenfold blessing but not without a lot of hard lessons learned about a human’s ‘rights’ along the way. The Intelligent Designer didn’t have to speak at all but he did speak and made Himself known. He gave Job the right to speak but up to a point. This is natural law in early human drama.

 In Genesis we learn that God gave man and woman the ‘right’ to eat of every tree in the garden except for a certain tree. “Don’t go there,” God said. “That is not your right.” This is natural law revealed in the earliest human drama known to man.

 Boundaries, like physical constants that keep us from spinning out of control, were set in place for mankind. Do most anything but don’t do ‘these’ things I have told you about. You have this right but not this right. There are only God-known reasons for specific dos and don’ts. This is natural law.

 Example: God decided that if the weak nuclear force, this specific one out of the four physical constants, if it varied at all from its constant ‘duty’ it would mean the instant destruction of our planet by the sun. I’m glad God is not fickle. He deals in constants.

 Well, man’s free will, unlike gravity, is free to transgress some of God’s prescribed boundaries. So, knowing this beforehand, God wrote things he wanted his people to know in stone – the Ten Commandments. This is natural law.

 “Thou shalt…” is not a warranty list of dos and don’ts that would keep the manufacturer happy and out of the picture if you practiced them. This list is an acknowledgment of our natural rights within prescribed boundaries, within constants. This list is the first Bill of Rights and it is not open-ended. It is constrained by justice in dealing with your fellow man.

Something to think about: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

Self-evident truth? Like the four physical constants that scientists have discovered and then verified and now count on to be the same day after day?

As stated above, mankind is endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that are self-evident. Truths, inalienable rights, natural law…self-evident. Sound familiar?

The Apostle Paul wrote about self-evident truth in Romans Chapter 5:

Romans 5:18

For the wrath of God is unveiled from heaven against all the ungodliness and injustice performed by people who use injustice to suppress the truth. What can be known about God, you see, is plain to them, since God has made it plain to them. There are, of course, things about God which can’t been known and seen: namely, his eternal power and deity. But ever since the world was created, they have known and seen in things that he has made. As a result, they have no excuse: they knew God, but didn’t honor him as God or thank him. Instead, they learned to think in useless ways, and their unwise heart grew….they did not see fit to hold on to a knowledge of God, God gave them up to an unfit mind, so that they would behave inappropriately. (emphasis mine)

 “They learned to think in useless ways…”

 Johns Stuart Mill proposed that truth and virtue originate from unconventional wisdom and by living as a non-conformist also known as his ‘experiments in living. Mill didn’t reflect on the Big picture.

Self-centered individualism and thinking in useless ways with unwise hearts while refusing acknowledgment of God have become the ‘constants’ of our souls. It has made us self-indulgent and ‘preachy’ about Human Rights while denying the self-evident truth.

  At all times we are free to acknowledge God and discourse with Him or not. God’s grace as revealed in Jesus’ death and resurrection allows us to have a discussion with Him about our sin. The natural law is still in place but be we are now able to abide by it using the Constant power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not come, as he said, to destroy the law and the prophets. The natural law he planted as a cornerstone is still there.

 Man’s pride, his ‘right’ to be atheistic may keep him from discourse with God, but God is Constant. He is righteously faithful to his word.

 It is important to note that the single underlying, unifying assumption behind the list of “Ten” is that mankind has been given freedom to do whatever he wills, even fly, (but only within the constants of physics).

 We all agree that Man was created with natural rights ~ a freedom to act. But after the Fall man’s rights lost their constant factor, their electromagnetic compass needle which always pointed toward God.

 Inalienable rights are great but to be of any meaning they need the boundaries and the foundation cornerstone of natural law already in place whereby we align our lives with self-evident truth.

 Without that compass needle or the cornerstone our ‘rights’ have become “values”, values that ‘search’ much like valence electrons looking for a place to park in a hook-up culture. One’s identity is no longer elementary and stable. And, our human rights crusades end in cruel and foolish anti-human jokes such as Global Warming.

 The idea of Human Rights. Does it come from…random genetic behavioral adaptations, a French philosopher, from ‘experiments in living,’ ad hoc thoughts based on current information, an inordinate desire to “want the necessities of life to be supplied as rights” or from an Intelligent Designer who set them in place in order to show His love for us?

 A nation that returned to God would be a nation that returned to Intelligent Design, to its cornerstone… and to its right mind. And, Human Rights could then be lazar-aligned from a fixed place in the universe.

 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?
Job, 4. 17

 

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
Job, 13. 15

 

“Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.

They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.
Job, 14. 1

 

Miserable comforters are ye all.
Job, 16. 2

 

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion’s belt?

Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?

Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

“Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water?

Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?

Who gives the ibis wisdom or gives the rooster understanding?…

Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?
Job, 38. 31-41

 

 “Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox.

Job, 40. 15 

 

“So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.”
Job, 42. 12

Ask Outside-The-Box-Questions and You Shall Receive

C.S. Lewis, Evolution and Intelligent design:

More outside~the~box~questions?  Look here: Biologos

The Faith Based-Materialist Myth & Baron Muchausen

Baron M pulling hair

At this point in time I do not know enough about what George Gilder believes about Intelligent Design (ID).  I don’t know his works well enough.

Who is George Gilder?  He is a Senior Fellow and Program Advisor of Technology and Democracy at the Discovery Institute.

I recently finished reading his Knowledge & Power:  The Information Theory of Capitalism and How it is Revolutionizing our World.  I am currently reading his best-selling book Wealth And Poverty (21st century edition).  I highly recommend both of these books just for the wealth of Gilder’s insights into Information Theory and its application (or not) to economics. Both books are very accessible to the reader.

Does Gilder believe that an Intelligent Designer shows up with ID blueprints in hand to tweak as ‘needed’ the evolutionary process?  Or, does he believe that ID sprang from the God’s spoken Big Bang without further manipulation required, as I do.  When I find out I will let you know.  In the mean time…

In the article below Gilder dismisses the faith-based materialist myth that all we are is material (and mind) …”that…bubbled up from a prebiotic brew.”  Intelligent design was involved from start to finish. Here, I know he and I agree.

The Materialist Superstition
George Gilder

Math and science teaching in US high schools, the richest in the world and worst performing per dollar, is a scandal, and part of the problem is biology. In all too many high schools biology classes rule the roost and dispense anti-industrial propaganda about global warming and the impact of DDT on the egg shells of eagles and tell materialist just-so stories about the eventual random emergence, after an agonizing wait of four billion years, of Britney Spears from primordial soup. But they fail to report the central testimony of twentieth century science: the paramount role of rigorous mathematical information in the universe.

About to upend the materialist evolutionary scheme in textbook biology is the same catastrophe that befell Newtonian physics at the beginning of the Twentieth Century when physicists discovered that the atom is not an “opaque massy particle” as Isaac Newton believed but a baffling domain of quantum effects. Overthrowing the Darwinian materialist paradigm is the similar discovery that the biological cell is not a “simple lump of protoplasm” as Charles Darwin believed but a complex information processing machine comprising some 50 thousand proteins in fabulously intricate algorithms of communication and synthesis. Each one of the some 60 trillion constantly changing cells in every human body stores information in DNA codes, processes and replicates it in three forms of RNA and thousands of supporting enzymes, exquisitely supplies the system with energy and seals it in conditionally permeable phospholipid membranes. As Hubert Yockey has shown in his Information Theory and Molecular Biology (Cambridge University Press, 1992) and Stephen Meyer recounts in a recent article in the Smithsonian’s peer-reviewed Proceedings, material evolution alone cannot come close to explaining this panoply of effects. Even mutations occurring in cells at the gigahertz pace of a Pentium 4 and selected at the rate of a Google search could not accumulate the intricate interwoven fabric of information, structure and function of a human being in the allotted time. Schools should continue to teach Darwinian evolution as a powerful force in intra-species adaptation. However, a successful theory of the origins of new species—new biological forms and information—still eludes biologists.

This failure is no scandal. Science still falls far short of developing satisfactory explanations of many crucial phenomena, such as human consciousness, the big bang, the superluminal quantum entanglement of photons across huge distances, even the bioenergetics of the brain of a fly in eluding the swatter. The more we learn about the universe the more widely open the horizons of mystery. The pretence that Darwinian evolution is a complete theory of life is a huge distraction from the limits and language, the rigor and grandeur, of real scientific discovery.

Everywhere we encounter it, information comes from mind. Whether in biology or in technology, it moves from the general to the specific, from the concept to the concrete, from architecture to circuitry to device physics, in top-down, hierarchical patterns. Recognizing this phenomenon, some scholars uphold a view called Intelligent Design, which attempts to pry open agnostically the issue of whether ideas and information precede or follow their material embodiment. On this central point in the philosophy of science, however, I am not an agnostic. I believethatthe notion that the intricate biological structures of the world bubbled up from a prebiotic brew and that ideas are an after-effect of a meaningless random material flux is the most sterile and stultifying notion in the history of human thought.It inspired all the reductionist futilities of the twentieth century, from the obtuse materialism of Marx to the pagan worship of a static material environment, from the Freudian view of the brain as a thermodynamic machine to the zero-sum Malthusian panic over population, treating people more as mouths than as minds.

Intellectuals should know better. In the insight of Nobel Laureate biophysicist Max Delbruck, the spectacle of scientists attempting to reduce the mind to material brain suggests nothing so much as Baron Muchausen’s effort to extract himself from a swamp by pulling on his own hair. Claude Shannon’s information theory gives biologists a powerful new mathematical tool to use in analyzing biological structures and information systems. They should use it and teach it. To focus on random chemical mutations rather than on the majestic underlying and overarching logic of the universe reduces the presentation of biology to a confectionary zoo story, replete with cute pandas and Disney dinosaurs and free of the rigors of mathematics. This approach is less 21st century science than a retrograde retreat to 19th century materialist superstitions, which delude our students that they are learning the facts of science when instead they are imbibing the consolations of a faith-driven materialist myth. In their schools and lives, they deserve some intelligent design.

(emphasis mine)

 

 

God Saw That It Was Good and So Do I

This past week I read an engaging book by scientist Francis S. Collins:  The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.  As someone who works in the engineering field and as a believer in God the book’s discussion of science and faith being compatible piqued my interest.

 Before reading this book I did have the innate understanding that science and faith were compatible and that each discipline reinforced the other with their respective insights and revelations but prior to reading this book I hadn’t seen much credible literature discussing this premise.  Currently there appears to be plenty of antipathy between the church and science. So as one might imagine I was excited to purchase the book and evaluate a scientist’s take on the connection. I was not disappointed.

Francis S. Collins, as the back cover bio reads, headed the Human Genome Project and is one of the world’s leading scientists. “He works at the cutting edge of the study of DNA, the code of life.  Yet he is also a man of unshakable faith in God and Scripture.

Dr. Collins believes that faith in God and faith in science can coexist within a person and be harmonious. In The Language of God he makes his case for God and Science.”

 Of special interest to me is the fact that Collins (as I do) accepts theistic evolution.  In Chapter Ten he writes: 

 “This view is entirely compatible with everything that science teaches us about the natural world.  It is also entirely compatible with the great monotheistic religions of the world.  The theistic evolution perspective cannot, of course, prove that God is real, as no logical argument can fully achieve that. Belief in God will always require a leap in faith.”

 The book lays out for the reader in very accessible terms how Collins who was not raised in a Christian home came to his belief in God as a budding scientist in his twenties.  The book goes on to discuss why Collins fully accepts theistic evolution as opposed to literal Creationism and Intelligent Design.  Based on his own research Collins says the evidence is overwhelming in favor of natural evolution as God’s creative methodology.  I would agree. 

 He then further encourages the church to endorse scientific research as a resource for understanding God’s creation, therefore offering a better understanding of God.  In concert with his plea I believe every church leader should purchase this book and read its message.  There is, sadly, too much bad information being preached and taught by the Christian Evangelical church regarding creation.  This bad information makes the church look rather foolish.  Remember Galileo’s row with the church? Being raised an Evangelical I was taught that the earth was created about 6-8000 years ago and that the seven days described in Genesis Chapter One were literal days:  Poof, we just showed up on the scene.

 As an adult, though, I became skeptical of the Creationist theology but I clung to it because I had heard of no other plausible evidence to the contrary.  Evolution was routinely discounted in the Evangelical church.  In fact everything I had heard in church told me that evolution was the atheist’s version of the Christian creation. Evolution was also described as a slippery slope which would carry people away from God toward unbelief.  And worse, the church seemed opposed to science and science was something I truly enjoyed being involved with.  I would later look into Intelligent Design (ID) and had wondered if ID might be the catch-all for my belief in God’s creative act. But I was to learn that ID was flawed theory that did not take into account the nature of God.

 My change in thinking occurred a few years ago when I came across the writings of Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga from the University of Notre Dame.  Spending two and a half hours on a train five days a week over the course of several years I had been able to read and research many different science and philosophy topics. And I did this precisely because I wanted to know more about God, the nature of His being and the world around me.  This excited me no end.  I don’t read romance novels.  I find my excitement by romancing the truth.

  Through reading Plantinga’s papers, though sometimes written in difficult philosophical terms, the door of my understanding was opened wide and I accepted theistic evolution as a valid creation methodology.  I would encourage anyone to read Plantinga’s papers.

 The basics of theistic evolution are clearly delineated in Francis Collins’ book and on the Biologos website.  Biologos is the name given to theistic evolution by scientist Collins.  Here are the Biologos premises/beliefs from that website:

 We believe that God created the universe, the earth, and all life over billions of years. God continues to providentially sustain the natural world, and the cosmos continues to declare the glory of God.

  • We believe that all people have sinned against God and are in need of salvation.
  • We believe in the historical incarnation of Jesus Christ as fully God and fully man. We believe in the historical death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, by which we are saved and reconciled to God.
  • We believe that God continues to be directly involved in human history in acts of salvation, personal transformation, and answers to prayer.
  • We believe the Bible is the inspired and authoritative word of God. By the Holy Spirit it is the “living and active” means though which God speaks to the church today, bearing witness to God’s Son, Jesus, as the divine Logos, or Word of God.
  • We believe that God also reveals himself in and through the natural world he created, which displays his glory, eternal power, and divine nature. Properly interpreted, scripture and nature are complementary and faithful witnesses to their common Author.
  • We believe that the methods of science are an important and reliable means to investigate and describe the world God has made. In this, we stand with a long tradition of Christians for whom Christian faith and science are mutually hospitable.
  • We believe that the diversity and interrelation of all life on earth are best explained by the God-ordained process of evolution and common descent. Thus, evolution is not in opposition to God, but a means by which God providentially achieves his purposes.
  • We believe that God created humans in biological continuity with all life on earth, but also as spiritual beings. God established a unique relationship with humanity by endowing us with his image and calling us to an elevated position within the created order.
  • We believe that conversations among Christians about controversial issues of science and faith can and must be conducted with humility, grace, honesty, and compassion as a visible sign of the Spirit’s presence in Christ’s body, the Church.
  • We reject ideologies such as Deism that claim the universe is self-sustaining, that God is no longer active in the natural world, or that God is not active in human history.
  • We reject ideologies such as Darwinism and Evolutionism that claim that evolution is a purposeless process or that evolution replaces God.
  • We reject ideologies such as Materialism and Scientism that claim science is the sole source of knowledge and truth, that science has debunked God and religion, or that the physical world constitutes the whole of reality.

 As a follower of Christ and as someone who seeks to bring people to faith in Him I see it as imperative that Evangelical church leaders (John Paul II accepted theistic evolution) come to grips with science (natural science, quantum physics, genetics, etc.) and to avail themselves of all empirical data and evidences coming out of science research.  As I see it the church and science are completely compatible.  Therefore, the church must not seek to restrain the hand of God, an evolved-incarnated hand that was once nailed to a tree, a resurrected hand that now reaches out to all of us.

 For more information about theism and theistic evolution:

 http://biologos.org/

Philosopher Sticks up for God

Alvin Plantinga

*****

Recommended Books about science and faith:

The Language of Faith:  Straight Answers to Genuine Questions by Karl Giberson and Francis Collins, Intervarsity Press, 2011

The Wonder of the Universe:  Hints of God in Our Fine-Tuned World by Karl W. Giberson, Intervarsity Press, 2012

You’re the Best Particle of Me

Did you know that Intelligently Designed quantum physics provides matchmaking services? You didn’t?  Well, recently, I read…

”…that in reality two electrons can really fit into the same energy level because they can have opposite spins.  This means that they can both fit into the lowest (symmetric) energy level and, crucially, this level decreases in energy as the atoms get closer together.  This means that it is energetically favorable for two distant atoms to move closer. And this is what happens in nature.”

 And God saw that it was not good for atom to be alone.

 (Two electrons, opposite spins?  The atoms get closer together?  Yin and Yang, Matter and anti-matter. Grace and nature. Male and female. This fundamental symmetry makes sense at the atomic level and also at the nuclear family level.  Hence the mating song “I’ve Got You Under My Spectrascope.”)

 “…This preference for two atoms to stick together as a result of sharing their electrons between them is known as a covalent bond.”…

 And the preference for two humans (Mr. Spin up and Ms. Spin down) to stick together as a result of sharing their lives in the molecule of marriage is known as intimate bonding.

 “…covalent bonding is the reason that you are not a bunch of atoms sloshing around in a featureless blob.”

 This explains a lot about my love life!  I’ve got your atomic number, buddy.

 Matchmaker, Matchmaker make me a match. A little covalence bonding is all I ask.

 The above quotes from Chapter Eight, Interconnected, from:

The Quantum Universe (And Why Anything That Can Happen Does) by Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw, Da Capo Press, copyright 2011

 You should know that…

Covalent bonding is universal: