A Tale of Two Cosmic Cities

first_imgTwo organizations have prepared curricula presenting grand panoramas of cosmic history.  Each is divided into seven modules – but that is where any similarity ends.  One is a completely materialistic and evolutionary view composed by scientists and educators from NASA and the federal government and major academic institutions and corporations.  The other is a completely Biblical, theistic view put forward by Answers in Genesis, a creationist group.  Here they are in summary outline form:Cosmic Voyage:  A curriculum named Voyages Through Time was developed by the SETI Institute partnership with NASA Ames Research Center, the California Academy of Sciences, and San Francisco State University with major funding from the National Science Foundation (Grant IMD #9730693), NASA, Hewlett Packard Company, Foundation for Microbiology, SETI Institute, and Educate America, according to an article “Astrobiology 101” on Space.com.  The website of Voyages Through Time shows seven headings:The Curriculum:  The overview module stresses the important of key “overarching goals” to be taught students in the year-long curriculum: evolution as cumulative changes over time, the various processes underlying these changes, the differing time scales and rates of change, the connections and relationships across these realms of change, and science as a process for advancing our understanding of the natural world.Cosmic Evolution:  This module teaches that “The universe, the totality of all things that exist, is thought to have begun with an explosion of space and time and the expansion of a hot, dense mass of elementary particles and photons, that has evolved over billions of years into the stars and galaxies we observe today.”Planetary Evolution:  As the title implies, this module teaches that all planets “formed from the same spinning disk of dust and gas,” implying Earth is a cosmic accident that happened to provide an environment suitable for life.Origin of Life:  This module recognizes a lack of scientific understanding, but promises light in the future: “Current evidence from the rock and fossil record indicates that life on Earth began about 3.8 billion years ago.  Yet how life first formed, or even how the biochemical precursors of life developed, and under what conditions these events happened, are not yet understood.  The origin of life is an area of active research, with considerable debate among scientists from various disciplines.”Evolution of Life:  This fully Darwinian module exhibits peppered moths, uniformitarian dating methods, phylogenetic trees and other evolutionary icons to present standard Darwinism: the entire diversity of life on the planet emerged from a universal common ancestor through an unguided process of mutation and natural selection.Hominid Evolution:  The sixth module teaches that humans are products of the same unguided, natural process that produced the first life and all other creatures.Evolution of Technology:  The final module continues its portrayal of evolutionary history up to our present human civilization.  Students are shown the “timeline of major events throughout the history of technology in the context of the evolution of everything, beginning with the Big Bang about 15 billion years ago.”  They are assigned a poster project to show how technologies of the future may evolve.    Nothing is mentioned in the final module, apparently, about the ultimate fate of mankind or the “heat death” of the universe in which all life, and rationality, presumably will have long ceased to exist. :  A curriculum from Answers in Genesis, a private creationist organization funded primarily by private donations and no government grants, takes a very different approach to cosmic history.  The “Seven C’s” outline, first proposed by AIG president Ken Ham in one of his books (see article) also forms the “walk through history” structure of AIG’s Creation Museum that opened last year (05/26/2007).Creation:  The universe began as a purposeful act of an omnipotent, personal God.  The stars, the Earth, all life, the angels and mankind were created in the six days of creation outlined in Genesis 1.  Man and woman were created in the image of God.  They were rational and spiritual beings from the start.  The creation was good and innocent.Corruption:  The first human pair, Adam and Eve, believing a lie of Satan (who had previously led an angelic rebellion), disobeyed God and fell into sin, as described in Genesis 3.  This separated mankind from God and brought a curse upon the world.  Death came because of sin.  The first child committed the first murder.Catastrophe:  The world became filled with violence.  Only Noah believed God; he and his family were spared on the Ark (Genesis 6-9) while God judged the Earth with a world-wide Flood.  This had major consequences in geology and the subsequent environment for life after the survivors spread out over the earth.Confusion:  After the Flood, people again strayed from the Lord and sought to build their own pagan empire.  God confused their languages at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11).  This began the origin of separate nations, languages and cultures, as people separated from one another to the far reaches of the earth.  False religions sprung up – many with distant but corrupted memories of the Flood, and of the one true eternal Creator God.Christ:  Since the Fall (Genesis 3:15), God had promised a Redeemer, the “seed of the woman” who would crush the serpent Satan’s head.  In the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4), the promise of God’s prophets was fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Luke 4:16-21).Cross:  God’s righteousness demands that sin be punished.  Christ took the punishment for man’s sin on himself at Calvary.  His sacrifice offered a full pardon for sin, and his resurrection demonstrated the power of God to raise from the dead all who have put their trust in him.Consummation:  The curse will be lifted at the end time when Christ returns in glory.  God will create a new heavens and a new earth, where the redeemed of all ages will rejoice with God forever. Augustine of Hippo was an influential Christian theologian and philosopher of the 5th century.  He was well acquainted with the pagan and secular worldviews of his age as well as the Biblical worldview.  In his classic The City of God, he contrasted the pagan and Christian views of reality by portraying them as two cities: the city of the pagans, and the city of God.    The city of the pagans consists of people who live by their sense impressions alone.  Their philosophers build systems of the world from the imagination of their own hearts.  The common people fear natural and political disasters, such as the fall of Rome that had recently occurred in Augustine’s time, and face death without hope or with false hope.    The city of God, Augustine said, consists of those who trust God’s revelation.  They live their earthly lives in hope of heaven, like Abraham, who “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10).  They walk by faith convinced in the trustworthiness of God’s promises.    The two cities are thriving in 2008 with zeal like that of a presidential campaign.  Both have a message, a mission, and the means to propagate their contrasting views of reality.Among the dozens of arguments that could be debated back and forth between these two opposite world views, let us consider just two: one piece of evidence, and one logical argument.  The logical argument is this: to argue anything, you need confidence in unseen realities that are true, universal, necessary and certain, such as the laws of logic, the validity of inductive and deductive reasoning, the correspondence theory of truth (that our sense impressions relate to an external reality), the correspondence of human rationality with truth, and the moral superiority of telling the truth instead of lying.  None of these things can evolve from an explosion of matter and energy in time.  Remember, they told us that this constitutes the “totality of all things that exist.”  So unless the evolutionists wish to violate their own principles by claiming that these intangibles are real, true, universal, necessary and certain (i.e., by plagiarizing from the theists), their world view has been falsified at the starting gate.    Before getting into the piece of evidence, allow one aside on a practical note.  You see that the evolutionary world view is being promulgated by the government, corporations, and leading scientific and academic institutions.  If the previous argument makes sense to you, you may wonder how it is possible that so many smart people could believe a self-refuting proposition.  If that is a problem, read this article at AllAboutScience.org.  Consider also that the pagan, evolutionary worldview is ancient.  Most leading Greek and Roman philosophers were evolutionists – even those who believed in pagan gods, because to them, the gods evolved, too, from a primordial chaos.  Having a majority of leading intellectuals promoting the secularist world view, therefore, is as old as Rome or Babel – or the antediluvian world, for that matter.  Don’t be surprised.  Truth is not a function of majority vote, popularity, or political power.In our civilization, the Darwinists usurped the scientific institutions in the 19th century (01/14/2004 and 02/25/2007 commentaries) and have systematically marginalized the members of the city of God who had dominated scientific inquiry since Augustine.  So the evolutionists who control Big Science today should be considered no different from a situation where Druids, Gnostics or Epicureans were to wrest the institutions of power and portray themselves as the “scientists” or soothsayers of their day, and use public funds to promote their religion as the cultural truth.    Realize that there is no possible way under heaven for mortals to know any of the cosmic evolutionary stories that were presented above in the secular diorama.  It amounts to a grand, sweeping creation myth for today’s secular culture.  The reigning shamans strive to maintain their power over the propaganda outlets.  That is why, as a minority of the population, they work so diligently with lawyers and special-interest groups to guarantee that the “accepted” cultural myth be inculcated, without contradiction, at the secular monasteries (public schools), where students are unwitting novitiates into the cult, and in the courts, academies, media and government institutions.  Otherwise the common-sense observation that design demands a Designer would be too obvious.    Some of their methods for achieving and maintaining dominance are: shaming the opposition (see ridicule and intimidation), linking their doctrines with “science” (see association and bandwagon), refusing to seriously consider opposing arguments (see card stacking and sidestepping), and clouding the problems of their story in generalities (see glittering generalities and equivocation).  For other techniques see the Baloney Detector.Now, on to just one piece of evidence among many that could be raised in support of the city of God.  Without controversy, scholars know that the book of Isaiah was written long before Christ.  Regardless of what one thinks of the Old Testament, one cannot deny the book of Isaiah precedes the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth by at least a century and a half (liberal view) or seven centuries (conservative view), because a complete manuscript was found in its entirety in Cave 1 at Qumran when the pre-Christian Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947; portions of 21 other copies of Isaiah were subsequently found.  If you agree with this so far, now read the following excerpt from Isaiah carefully, and ask yourself, about whom is the prophet writing? (Isaiah 52:6-53:12).  Read the section now and come back.    This is just one of dozens of Old Testament passages, beginning as far back as Genesis 3, that were fulfilled literally in Jesus Christ.  Jesus himself announced his presence as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (cf. Isaiah 61 and Luke 4).  More of these Old Testament prophecies are discussed in the recent DVD The Case for Christ.  They were powerful enough pieces of evidence, in combination with many other arguments and evidences from creation and history, to convince hardened skeptic Lee Strobel that the Bible’s world view was true.  In the film, he challenged viewers to make it a project to look at the evidence fairly, and come to a point of decision.    You may not be ready to hang out with Ken Ham or other creationists, whom the media love to portray as Bible-thumping buffoons (as if media portrayals are any guide to how to think about things).  You may have many more questions about science and the Bible.  At least start considering what city you will call home.  Does anything else matter? (Isaiah 55).(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Zolani Mahola: the face of fresh

first_img15 May 2007Singer Zolani Mahola has been a busy woman of late. “Doo Be Doo”, the chart-busting track that charmed millions of South Africans, has also propelled her band Freshlyground into the international arena. Freshlyground was the opening act for UK pop star Robbie Williams’ South African tour in 2006. They followed that up by giving the world a foretaste of the 2010 South African vibe at the Fifa World Cup closing ceremony in Germany, before scooping the 2006 MTV Europe Music Award for Best African Act.Earlier this year they were chosen by the South African government to perform at the unveiling of Parliament’s new logo.In between, they’ve been doing gigs for their loyal local fans and travelling the world from Joburg to Japan, getting their passports stamped in Belgium, France, Zimbabwe, Holland, Italy, Mozambique, Germany, Namibia and Mauritius along the way. Phew!As to why the band is such a hit with the global audience, Mahola remains modest.“I think that it is the same reason non-South Africans have fallen in love with Bongo Maffin, Johnny Clegg, Bayethe and Simphiwe Dana, to name only a few. There is life in our music! There is a depth of feeling in the expression, a certain joy that many other cultures have perhaps lost.”Freshlyground’s sound is distinctively southern African, yet defies classification, combining elements of kwela, folk, jazz, indie rock and Afro pop. Its eclectic nature gives their music broad appeal, enabling them to cross cultural boundaries.Rainbow bandThe way the band members, coming from contrasting musical and racial backgrounds, seem to blend so effortlessly has also caught the attention of the international media. Both Time magazine and The Washington Post have labelled Freshlyground the personification of South Africa’s “rainbow nation” ideal.While that may seem like a lot of pressure to put on the performers, Mahola takes it in her stride.“It is something to be proud of, for sure, although it also feels very normal,” she says. “It feels to me like people should be in harmony with each other. We don’t have to all be friends, but I think there is a basic humanity we all share that is unlearned as we grow up. The illusion of separatism is a human construct, I think … Of course we are different, but that difference is something to celebrate; not to use to keep us apart.”Each of the band members – who hail from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe – contributes something different to the sound. The Eastern Cape’s Mahola attributes her own musical style to the traditional Xhosa ceremonies she took part in.“There is a lot of theatre and music involved in many if not all of the rituals,” she explains. “I try to bring a celebratory quality to my style of singing and to the lyrics, of course.”Township girlBorn in Port Elizabeth on 19 July 1981, Zolani Mahola was raised in the townships of Kwazakhele and New Brighton. She believes it is the heart of the people that is the Eastern Cape’s most valuable asset.Some of her favourite memories are of childhood Christmases, “. family coming to PE [Port Elizabeth] from all over the country, all the kids in the family playing together. I remember being taken to the beach around those times, braais, Happy Valley … fun times.”Mahola first attended Kama Primary and later St Dominic’s Priory and Trinity High School. It was at Trinity that she first got involved with a drama group and realized that “being onstage was a very comfortable and energizing space”.Her road to success, Mahola says, “started with someone having faith in me, which gave me the courage to believe I stood a chance in this field. That first someone was my drama teacher Isobel van der Linde.”Given new confidence and a firm foundation in her performance art, she left Port Elizabeth to study drama at the University of Cape Town.It was as an actress that many South Africans first got to know Mahola. She starred in the series Tsha Tsha as Boniswa, a character from rural Peddie in the Amathole district.“I really enjoyed playing that character because she was so strong and self aware,” Mahola says. “She was a good example to girls and young women growing up in an environment that often does not give value to their emotional well-being or to their dreams. She was able to show girls around the country that actually it is possible and necessary to put themselves first, whether it be in terms of a sexual relationship, career-wise or even in a family setting.”The role of Boniswa also drew on her own experiences. “There is a certain strength or toughness in the personality of the character which I think that perhaps most township girls share.”Despite losing her mother at a very young age, Mahola had an excellent role model in her father.Personal, universal“My father did the best he could under very difficult circumstances. I love him. Nomvula (the title track from Freshlyground’s current album) is indeed a tribute … It is a ‘thank you’ to the people who brought me into this world. That said, I think it is a universal song, even though it contains very specific details about my life. There is something in the mood of the song that people really connect with, regardless of whether they speak isiXhosa or not.”Sung in isiXhosa and English, the lyrics of Mahola’s songs range from catchy, upbeat and fluffy to introspective and sad, but they are always relevant to people’s lives. Zithande, for example, tackles relationships and HIV/Aids. And it’s something that Mahola feels very strongly about.“It hurts that people are disappearing. It hurts that kids cant be kids any more in many situations … that they have to take on and see things that no child should be exposed to. It hurts that a woman can be faithful all her life and be infected by a husband who has multiple partners.“A lot of it is sore,” says Mahola, “but I believe that people are becoming more aware, and with the greater availability of anti-retroviral medication, we can only hope for the best. The Treatment Action Campaign is one organisation that has done a lot of work on destigmatising HIV/Aids, on gender relations and on challenging government to make treatment more available to our people.South African realities“It is important that all of us get involved, from government to businesses to the entertainment industry to mothers taking care of children orphaned because their parents were infected and died.”The reality of South Africa, its sorrows as well as its joys, infuses the music of Freshlyground – and that is what has earned the musicians their adoring fanbase.“I take a lot from people,” Mahola says. “As Brenda [Fassie] once sang, umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu, we learn humanity from those around us, they help to make us real in a way.” The band is working hard on recording material for a new album, due out in September. In line with their plans to release internationally, Freshlyground has signed with Sony BMG Africa.This article was first published in Eastern Cape Madiba Action, winter 2007 edition. Republished here with kind permission of the author.last_img read more

More Trouble for File Sharing: Virgin to Monitor in UK

first_imgRelated Posts Virgin Media, one of the UK’s leading providers of television / broadband / mobile / phone services, has announced plans to use deep packet inspection technology to track illegal file-sharing activity among around 40 percent of its UK network. Users whose activities are being monitored will not be informed of this fact.The tech comes from Detica, a company better known for working with government data and intelligence agencies than media files and P2P networks. Their CView product is designed to help put an end to illegal filesharing, and with ISPs showing interest, it’s unlikely that Virgin’s deal will be the last we hear about.In a lengthy document on illegal filesharing, Detica outlines how CView can be used to baseline the level of illicit filesharing then continue to measure the same activity as punitive measures are rolled out. The company believes that every ISP has an obligation to reduce illegal filesharing “by an agreed percentage over a period of time,” a goal that can only be achieved through accurate, thorough measurement of user activity – this is the very reason Detica created CView.Beyond measuring user activity on P2P networks, CView will not collect data on individual users. Raw traffic data and identification information is reportedly deleted in the closed system and cannot be accessed by a human operator. CView gathers data on peer-to-peer packets in user traffic and then inspects the packets to see whether the content is being shared illegally.Although the tech only examines aggregate traffic data, and although a Virgin spokeperson states that records will not be maintained on individual users, privacy concerns are right behind raining-on-our-parade concerns when one examines the question of monitoring user behavior. Isn’t warning, fining, censoring and/or restricting access for infringing users the next logical step?Give us your doomsday scenario – or your vote of confidence for the Detica/Virgin partnership – in the comments. jolie odell Tags:#p2p#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

India on a high ahead of ODI series against SA

first_imgInjury-hit but on a roll after drawing an engrossing Test series and winning the only Twenty20 match of the tour, India now get a chance to try different combinations before next month’s World Cup when they take on South Africa in a five-match one-day series starting here tomorrow.Dubbed challenging to start with, the African safari has been reasonably successful for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men, who avoided a Test series loss in the country for the first time earlier this month.But there have been problems to deal with and they have mostly been about players’ fitness.Already missing key players such as Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, the injury list has only grown longer with the pace duo of Praveen Kumar and S Sreesanth in doubt for tomorrow due to hand and elbow problems respectively.It is the final ODI series that India and South Africa play before the World Cup starting February 19 and both the sides would look to settle their squads for the big event through these five matches.The series is a golden opportunity for the likes of Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina to make a case for World Cup selection.They did well for themselves and the team by guiding India to a fine 21-run win in the Twenty20 match on Sunday with valuable batting contributions.The absence of biggies such as Sehwag and Gambhir now gives them an opportunity to hog the limelight in the ODIs as well but also creates the pressure of performing and performing consistently.advertisementThe series will see the return of the iconic Sachin Tendulkar to the Indian one-day fold after close to a year.The last time he played an ODI, Tendulkar became the first batsman in the history of the game’s format to strike a double hundred.The opposition in that historic match at Gwalior also happened to be South Africa and Graeme Smith and his men would be praying that the champion batsman does not do an encore.For the off-colour Yuvraj Singh, it is the final chance to convince the selectors that he is the same destructive force which won India many a matches before the stunning slump of form.On the bowling front, the ever-reliable Zaheer Khan will spearhead the attack after being rested for Sunday’s Twenty20 international but his back-up seems a little weak given the uncertainty over the availability of Sreesanth and Praveen.In case the injured duo is ruled out, Ashish Nehra and the rather inconsistent Munaf Patel would be the options for India. Harbhajan Singh will as usual shoulder the spin responsibilities.South Africa, on the other hand, would be, missing prolific all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who is nursing an injury.The veteran has been the rock around whom the South African batting has revolved as was evident during the drawn Test series.But the Proteas still have a good batting reserve with skipper Graeme Smith, the explosive duo of A B de Villiers and JP Duminy and the consistent Hashim Amla to anchor the middle-order.As for bowling, Dale Steyn has been in red hot form and has Morne Morkel and Wayne Parnell as his speed partners.All eyes will also be on the 31-year-old Pakistan-born spinner Imran Tahir, who is expected to make his debut after getting South African citizenship a few weeks ago.- With PTI inputsThe Teams (from):India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/keeper), Sachin Tendulkar, Murali Vijay, Yuvraj Singh, R Ashwin, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, S Sreesanth.South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, AB de Villiers (wicketkeeper), Jean-Paul Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Colin Ingram, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.last_img read more