Student-to-student ministry baptizes 1,200

The University of Eastern Africa, Baraton (UEAB), outreach ministry, baptized 1,200 students during the institution’s annual rally on May 27.

The guest speaker Prof. Ramesh Francis, Dean School of Science and Technology, UEAB, emphasized that “the gospel to be preached just before the second coming of Jesus is not a new gospel. It is as old as eternity. But it has specific features relevant to the people living at the close of the earth’s history.”

The message amplified the rally’s theme “Beyond Samaria”. The students were encouraged to go out of their way and reach the perishing world through their dedication for the Lord.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Korso Gude urged the students to embrace Adventist education because “it is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers” in preparation “for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.”[1]  He encouraged the students to consider UEAB as their destination of higher learning.

Dr. Rei Kesis, UEAB, Chaplain said the ministry enables students to grow in their love for Jesus as they minister to others. The University trains outreach members on evangelism, effective Bible study, prayer and leadership among others key areas for them to be effective witnesses.

The annual rally culminates the ministry of UEAB students, faculty and staff who mister to various institutions, particularly non-Adventist, every Sabbath.

The outreach members, in some Sabbaths travel more than 300 kilometers to reach some of the schools. “We have come to learn that whether we have money or not, every Sabbath we have to go out to minister,” says Ms. Fiona Ntinyari, the group Organizing Secretary.

Ms. Ntinyari articulated, during a Friday outreach meeting in which they organize on how to reach various schools that usually sends letters of invitation, that the student-to-student ministry has made their faith to grow as they experience God providence every Sabbath.

The outreach ministry has seen students, while in school, accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior through baptismal; against the wishes of parents who threaten them with rejection and abandonment of school fees payment.

But every year such students have stood on their ground, leaving the consequences to God. “From the past cases God has never disappointed those who have stood for Him against all odds,” says Mrs. Anne Katamu, who went through severe punishment when she was baptized and started attending the church on Sabbath, adding that “when someone gives his or her life to Jesus – the new life in Jesus compels others to make a choice for Him.”

Mrs. Katamu, who is a staff at UEAB, says although she went without food in some days accompanied with beatings to attend the church on the Sabbath it was worth it. The love of God touched her family and they are all Seventh-day Adventist.  His stand made her parents to hold her at high esteem as a young girl of principles.

Government officials led by Mr. Raymond Jembe, the Assistant Sub-County Commissioner, Chesumei Sub-County, Nandi County and a Chairman of Nandi County Peace Forum Rev. Rono attended and appreciated the organization of the event that is molding law-abiding and peace loving citizens.

More than 13,000 students from 306 secondary schools and institutions of higher learning from various parts of the country attended the rally.

 

 

[1]White, Ellen Gould: Education. Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1903; 2002, S. 13

First black female accepted into Johns Hopkins neurosurgical residency program

Nancy Abu-Bonsrah attributes the achievement to God’s guidance

By Kimberly Luste Maran

On March 17, shortly after 26-year-old Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, originally from the Ashanti Region in Ghana, received the news that she had been accepted into the residency program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s neurosurgical department, she posted this on Facebook: “What a way to begin the Sabbath! I still haven’t processed it yet, but this is such an honor and a privilege to join the department at Hopkins to begin this next phase of my career.”

Abu-Bonsrah, a Seventh-day Adventist, is the first black female neurosurgical resident to have been accepted into the Johns Hopkins’ program in its history, which spans more than 100 years. According to a CNN report, the prestigious program, ranked second in the country, accepts just two to five residents. Ben Carson, now the United States secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is one of the program’s most notable alumni.

 

From Ghana to Johns Hopkins

The daughter of Seth and Georgina Abu-Bonsrah, she moved with her family to the United States at 15 years old when her father became an assistant director for monitoring and evaluation for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), which is located in the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Living in Maryland for the past 11 years, Abu-Bonsrah attended Hammond High School and then Mount St. Mary’s University where she received a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry and chemistry before joining the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine program in 2012 to pursue a doctor of medicine. Graduating medical students decide on specialties when they apply for residency. Abu-Bonsrah chose neurosurgery.

In a Johns Hopkins statement, Abu-Bonsrah said, “I am very much interested in providing medical care in underserved settings, specifically surgical care. I hope to be able to go back to Ghana over the course of my career to help in building sustainable surgical infrastructure.”

“I am fortunate to have been born in a God-fearing household, one in which we were encouraged to seek the guidance of God in all that we do,” said Abu-Bonsrah in an email interview.

“I deeply believe that without God paving the way for me and serving as a lamp unto my feet, I would not have made it thus far. My family, my husband, and my church family, the Washington Ghanaian Seventh-day Adventist Church, have likewise been incredibly supportive. They have indeed been the wind beneath my wings and their prayers have continued to sustain me. The Lord has blessed my hard work and I am eternally grateful for His bounty. I hope that I will likewise be a blessing to everyone I come into contact with.”

Receiving the Match
Abu-Bonsrah found out she was slated to begin residency training this summer at Johns Hopkins on March 17, known as “Match Day.” On the third Friday of March each year, fourth-year students at medical schools across the U.S. discover where they’ll be continuing their professional medical journey. Students are given an envelope that will reveal where they will begin training. The opening of the letter at a set time has been considered a rite of passage since the 1950s for physicians-in-training. A Johns Hopkins release explains that “matches are selected using a computer algorithm that matches the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs in order to fill the available training positions around the United States.”

“I will be matching into neurosurgery, a field that I am greatly enamored with, and hope to utilize those skills in advancing global surgical care,” said Abu-Bonsrah, who is married to Kwabena Yamoah, a third-year medical student at the University of Maryland.
The young doctor will continue her medical training in a seven-year residency program while at the hospital. In a March 24 Facebook post she wrote, “It has been a whirlwind couple of days . . . we have been sincerely touched by all the support and well wishes! It is indeed an honor and a privilege to have been granted this opportunity to be a part of the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery Department as a resident, with its rich history of pioneering surgeons.”

Abu-Bonsrah added, “It is truly humbling to be a part of such a legacy and to have so many inspired by our story. We are excited for the journey ahead and ask for continued prayers.”

The Path to Medicine

The interest in becoming a physician started early for Abu-Bonsrah. In Ghana, where she completed her middle school education, students were generally encouraged to study certain subjects based on their aptitude once they entered high school. For Abu-Bonsrah, that was the sciences — with the intention of eventually pursuing medicine. “I seized on the advice of my academic mentors and also felt that I would be able to positively contribute to my community by being a physician,” said Abu-Bonsrah, whose desire to pursue neurosurgery was borne out of shadowing experiences in Ghana during her junior year winter break from Mount St. Mary’s University.

“I had an opportunity to spend some time in the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. It was there that I experienced the uniqueness of neurosurgery as well as the general lack of access to care,” explained Abu-Bonsrah. “Not only was I impressed by the surgical skill and fascinated by the anatomy, I was also stunned by how overwhelmed the surgeons were. Ultimately, I felt that this field would help me marry a love for the field with a desire to serve. I cannot wait to go back and serve, not only in Ghana, but in other low resource settings.”

Excited for the future, Abu-Bonsrah told Johns Hopkins that she wants to be remembered for “serving my community, whether it is through providing quality surgical care or helping mentor the next generation of surgeons.”

Her Community Responds

Abu-Bonsrah, who has been involved in mentoring through her work at Johns Hopkins, is already an inspiration to some. Young adult Adaeze Okorie posted this comment on Facebook on March 26: “Congratulations, Nancy, on all your hard work paying off! You inspire young African-American girls like me to continue on my premed track despite the setbacks we may face, because someday we can get to where you are. You’re truly an inspiration and I pray for many more successes in your life. God Bless!”

According to a Ghana SDA News Facebook Post on March 19, Abu-Bonsrah’s friend’s tweet (Twitter name Mizpeh) announcing the news received more than 21,000 likes and has been retweeted more than 10,000 times on Twitter in less than two days. As of March 27, that number has grown to 57,000 likes and 23,000 retweets. Ghana SDA news reported that Maame Jane, who knows Abu-Bonsrah from Ghana, said, “She’s one of our finest. Very humble.”

 

Charter Day a reminder of where American greatness began

By Prof. Nicholas Miller

If we hope to make America great again, it would be good to know what made America great to begin with.

March 12 is a good time to reflect on this question, as it is Pennsylvania Charter Day, where we remember King Charles II’s Charter to William Penn in 1681, along with Pennsylvania’s Great Law of 1682.

Penn believed that the principles of these documents were foundational, not only for Pennsylvania, but would serve as “the seed of a nation” – and indeed as an example for many nations.

What were the principles that Penn found so important to the greatness of a state? The Charter and Great Law make provisions for: judicial fairness, rule of law, and due process; a representative, accountable legislature; and an executive committed to the civil rights and liberties of the people. Penn placed a special emphasis on the equal treatment of people of all religious beliefs, a conviction rooted in his dissenting Protestant biblical and philosophical conceptions of the rights of individual conscience given by a divine Creator.

These commitments to open, accountable government, the rule of law, and religious freedom and ethnic diversity, led to Pennsylvania becoming a magnet for immigrants from many nations of the world. English Quakers, German Moravians, French Huguenots, British Baptists, Dutch Anabaptists and Mennonites, European Jews, and Catholics – all outcasts somewhere – soon streamed into Philadelphia and its environs. There they found a new home of almost unparalleled inclusion and equality (Rhode Island offered similar legal standards but was far removed from the center of the colonies, both geographically, in commercial success, and in popular awareness.)

The results of this influx were startling. While Boston and New York had been founded decades earlier, Philadelphia soon passed them in population. It rapidly became the largest and most commercially successful city in the American colonies. By the 1720s, Philadelphia was considered the “Athens of North America” and the most cosmopolitan city on the continent.

What Penn had dreamt indeed came to pass – his commonwealth did become the model, “the seed,” for the new American nation, and eventually for many nations around the world. Some point to Roger Williams’ Rhode Island as the precursor to American pluralism, and others to the Virginia of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. These no doubt played a role. But the founders themselves, including Jefferson and Madison, more often pointed to Pennsylvania as the model for the new national American government.

The success and prosperity of Pennsylvania, located in the heart of the American colonies, showed that religious and ethnic diversity was not an obstacle to governmental and commercial success. Rather, it was seen that these qualities could be part of the engine to achieve such successes. This example was not lost on the founders. Not on Jefferson, who called Penn “the greatest lawgiver the world has produced.”

Neither was it lost on Philadelphia native Elias Boudinot, who later founded American Bible Society. As a member of the first Congress, Boudinot chaired the House Select Committee that drafted the First Amendment, which chartered religious freedom and pluralism on Pennsylvania’s progressive model of liberty.

I think it no coincidence that our national Constitution was written in Philadelphia, surrounded by the diversity and prosperity of Penn’s experiment in government. But the critical point is that Pennsylvania’s success, its greatness, was not based on business acumen or industrial might. Rather, that commercial skill and prosperity was itself a result of a commitment to underlying principles of open, accountable government, an evenhanded, independent judiciary, and a principled embrace of religious and ethnic diversity.

In seeking a return to American greatness, we would do well to keep these foundational values in mind.

The writer is a scholar adviser to the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center coming to Independence Mall, a professor of church history at Andrews University in Michigan, and author of “The Religious Roots of the First Amendment” (Oxford, 2012). Contact: nicholas@andrews.edu.

 

When He Takes Over

When the Holy Spirit, takes over my life

I cease to be, I die to self and sin

My mind, my words, my actions, my motives

Becomes His: To think, to speak, to act, to live.

 

Oh! For the presence of God, I pray for

To receive heaven’s greatest gift, of all

And be filled with the Holy Spirit

To think, to speak, to act, to live like Jesus.

His Victory, My Victory

Time to pick flowers
And let the thorns alone.
Time to bask in sunshine
And repent the winters of darkness.
Flowers and sunshine
To tune my heart
As thorns and darkness
Breathe their last time
Of blood and suffering
Knowing their defeat is sealed
Signed on the Cross
Sealed with Sun of Righteousness,
Resurrection.
Of victory and glory
I sing
Thorns and darkness
Defeated eternally.
My lord’s victory, my victory
Of power and glory
Of flowers and sunshine
I sing, I live: I love.

Why academics need to learn the art of storytelling

By Frances Vavrus and Lesley Bartlett

At a recent town hall meeting in the United States, a boisterous crowd demanded a strategy from their state representatives for how to influence the governor’s views on immigration. Should citizens send the governor research documenting the effects of state policy on immigrant children, or should they call his office to cite statistics showing the negative impact of these policies on schools and universities?

No, the representatives told the eager throng of citizens: Write stories of immigrant students affected by state policy and send these to the governor instead.

Storytelling may not be how academics in the natural and social sciences typically describe their work, but the use of stories is a powerful tool to make our research more accessible and to reach wider audiences. Now, more than ever, scholars must develop strategies to communicate the results of our research to the public as a means of challenging ‘alternative facts’ and appealing to politicians’ better nature in making policy decisions.

Improving accessibility

Two key ways to improve accessibility of scholarship are telling compelling personal stories about others and narrating stories about our own research. First, we need to develop real-life scenarios of the students, faculty, families and communities affected by changes in education policy and programmes.

By turning statistics from our research into stories, we are employing a successful strategy in political communication whereby researchers contextualise a problem in an effort to persuade their audience to take action – to support a piece of legislation or to vote for a candidate who understands the impact of a policy on the lives of real people.

In the United States, higher education scholars might talk about students affected by President Donald Trump’s travel ban, enrolment crises at public universities, food and housing insecurity or crippling debt to obtain a bachelor degree. The key is to translate numerical data on these issues into evocative stories, which can be followed by relevant, persuasive statistics once a compelling image has been presented.

The second strategy for improving accessibility requires setting the scene for our research by explaining our personal connection to a topic before we present details of our discoveries. Undergraduate students, like audiences outside academia, often find the stories of the scientists as compelling as the story of the science in which they are engaged.

We can use these personal accounts as a hook if we think about the narrative arc of a story: rising action – how our interest in a topic began to grow; climax – an unexpected experience related to the topic; and falling action – how we have turned this personal experience into our primary research focus.

At this point, we can begin to delve into the details of our research and why it should matter to the audience. Finding a climactic moment in our own research story is particularly important when the topic itself, such as educational financing or personnel management, may not have intrinsic appeal to audiences outside the academy.

Influencing wider audiences

As academics improve the accessibility of their writing, we must also disseminate it to wider audiences, including policy-makers and the voting public. We must learn to convey the gist of our findings in non-technical language using examples from everyday life, common metaphors and more focused, concise arguments.

In addition, university instructors can incorporate public-facing writing assignments and presentations in their courses, which teaches students how to communicate with wider audiences and demonstrates the work of universities.

We find that students are eager to learn strategies for writing effective op-ed pieces, book reviews and blog posts and they easily use social media to convey content relevant to their courses. These activities engage students in conversations with audiences beyond their classmates and professors, thereby increasing the likelihood that scholarly readings and discussions in the classroom will influence debate with the wider public.

Risks and rewards

To be sure, there are risks for academics in engaging with broader audiences through media over which we have far less control than in a book or journal article. Being interviewed by a journalist may result in the over-simplification, or misinterpretation, of our research. Internet trolls can be vicious in their attacks, and this can be particularly damaging to early career faculty. Promotion and tenure committees will likely not value the dissemination of one’s findings through non-peer reviewed publications.

Nevertheless, readers often respond more powerfully to well-written stories than to tables, charts and graphs. At this time of budget cuts and restricted access to higher education, we need the public and the politicians whom they elect to understand fully what we do as higher education researchers and why it matters for every one of us.

Professor Frances Vavrus is a faculty member in the department of organisational leadership, policy and development at the University of Minnesota, USA. Lesley Bartlett is a professor in educational policy studies and a faculty affiliate in anthropology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

Unsettling Science

What You Hear May Be Fact, Falsehood, Fabrication, or Merely Fiat

By Regis Nicoll

Shortly after his historic 2008 presidential win, Barack Obama announced that his administration would make “scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.” His first “scientifically based” decision was to lift the ban on federally funded embryonic stem-cell research.1

To the president and his policy wonks, the science “was in,” settled, that such research would lead to a medical panacea. This, despite the successes of adult stem-cell research, which had already produced dozens of treatments and cures, and the failures and well-known dangers2 (not to mention the moral implications) of embryo-destructive research.

Since the ban was lifted, not a single cure has resulted from embryonic stem cells,3 while adult stem-cell therapies have continued to be phenomenally successful.4

The “scientific” label comes freighted with assumptions that a matter is factual, proven, and settled. Yet the dust-bin of science is filled with once-settled “facts” that stand as reminders that scientific conclusions can be wrong—very wrong; think of geocentrism, spontaneous generation, luminiferous aether, and the fixity of time and space, to name but a few. They should give us pause anytime we hear that some current conclusion—global warming, Darwinian evolution, overpopulation, fill-in-the-blank—is a settled scientific fact beyond dispute. As someone once quipped, he who is wedded to the science of the day will soon find himself a widower.

Causes of Error

In some cases, scientific error is due to inadequate testing and verification. For example, the Aristotelian belief that heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones was the scientific consensus until Galileo actually tested it, 2,000 years later!

In other cases, ideology and researcher bias are to blame. Take the fossil record. Ian Tattersall, curator of the American Museum of Natural History, once confessed that “the [evolutionary] patterns we perceive are as likely to result from our unconscious mindsets as from the evidence itself.” Likewise, Richard Leakey disclosed that his father, paleontologist Louis Leakey, had the habit of fitting fossils into a pre-conceived line of descent.

Sometimes the error is due to intentional misrepresentation, as in the case of the “peppered moth” photographs in Britain (“depicting” natural selection in action) or the embryological drawings of Darwin groupie Ernst Haeckel (“demonstrating” common ancestry). Sadly, these images and the “facts” they support continue to adorn textbooks today.

Then there is the disturbing number of cases involving downright fraud. Examples include: Korean scientist Woo Suk Hwang, who falsified research on stem cells; the raft of “discoveries” of so-called missing links like Java man, Piltdown man, and Peking man; and the thriving fake fossil business of China. In 2011 evolutionary psychologist Marc Hauser was forced to resign from Harvard after it was discovered that he had falsified experimental results to make them support his explanations of how human cognition evolved.5

Things have gotten so bad that 2013 Nobel-prize-winning biologist Randy Schekman has declared he will no longer submit papers to top-tier science journals because they corrupt the publication process. In his view, the “lure of the luxury journal can encourage the cutting of corners, and contribute to the escalating number of papers that are retracted as flawed or fraudulent.”6

False conclusions can also result from misinformation or ignorance, as in the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover case, where Judge John Jones ruled against allowing intelligent design (ID) theory to be taught in public schools because, he claimed, ID “fails to meet the essential ground rules that limit science to testable, natural explanations.”7 Clearly, the judge was either unaware of, or willfully ignored:

  1. testimony presented by pro-ID biologists about scientific experiments confirming ID’s predictions regarding “irreducible complexity” in molecular machines;
  2. the fact that computer software, for one thing, stands as a demonstrable test of the adequacy—even necessity!—of intelligent causation to produce the type of information found in the code of life; whereas macro-evolution, though considered “scientific,” proceeds much too slowly to be tested and, indeed, has never been observed;8 and
  3. the fact that many other areas of inquiry are considered “scientific,” yet are not amenable to observation and testing, including questions about the Big Bang (What banged? What caused it? What preceded it?), cosmic inflation, the multiverse, and parallel worlds.

Of course, it could be that the judge’s real issue with ID was not testability at all, but what he and others mistakenly assume to be a reliance on supernatural explanations.

To be clear, ID is not closed to supernatural considerations, but it neither depends upon nor promotes them. Instead, its very modest proposition is that some features of our world are best explained as being products of intelligence, whether they be the scribblings on the Rosetta Stone or the molecular sequences in DNA.

ID makes no claim that the intelligence must be of divine or supernatural origin; it just has to be “up to the task.” The intelligence of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, such as has been conjectured by scientific materialists Carl Sagan, Francis Crick, and Stephen Hawking, would fit the bill. There is nothing supernatural about that, unless one puts mind and rational thought in the category of the supernatural.

What Say the Pioneers?

Moreover, the notion that science must exclude, from the outset, the possibility of ultra-natural causes would have been unthinkable to the pioneers of modern science.

The vanguard of the Scientific Revolution—Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and others—approached the universe as an intelligible creation that was mathematically describable because of laws imposed upon it. All would have agreed with Isaac Newton’s statement that “gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who [or what] set the planets in motion.”

Newton understood that gravity is not self-explanatory; it contains no message in a bottle that says, “Brought to you by ________,” and thus, it cannot be explained solely by reference to itself. The same goes for matter, energy, or any other feature of nature. At the same time, the behaviors and characteristics we observe in nature are conducive to some explanations and adverse to others. For example, the predictable, orderly, and consistent effects of gravity are compatible with the notion of a primal law or lawgiver, and incompatible with the notion of a haphazard, random process.

A Word About Categories

To the careful observer, this should indicate that the categories “natural” and “supernatural,” as delineated in the materialist playbook, are arbitrary, if not misleading. If “scientific” explanations are, according to club rules, limited to processes involving matter and energy under the influence of physical laws, there are any number of explanations that fail to meet that definition except by fiat or a rhetorical sleight-of-hand.

As already mentioned, that includes explanations about the origin of the universe, its physical properties, and its governing laws. But it also includes questions about its “engine”—that is, the quantum potential, which can be thought of as an all-pervasive field that works within the innermost region of nature to fuel and sustain it.

In String Theory, for example, it is the quantum potential that keeps “strings”—the infinitesimal building blocks of matter—vibrating to produce the empirical features of mass, charge, and spin. In the Standard Model of physics, the quantum potential is credited with preventing the negatively charged electrons of an atom from combining with its positively charged nucleus.

Importantly, the quantum potential is neither matter nor energy, but an immaterial something postulated to explain facts (e.g., the stability of matter) that are, naturalistically speaking, inexplicable. This seems to be what quantum pioneer Werner Heisenberg meant when he stated that “elementary particles . . . form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things and facts.”

Then there’s a whole category of stuff that theorists have labeled “virtual.” This includes sub-nuclear entities that have never been detected and, indeed, do not exist, except as ethereal abstractions concocted by physicists to make sense of phenomena that make no sense without them. To put it as genteelly as possible, virtual things are little more than fanciful markers for missing pages in the naturalistic narrative.

Most telling is the acknowledgement of physicists, from Heisenberg to Hawking, that what really goes on in the quantum world is ontologically unknowable. As Neils Bohr noted, “The quantum world cannot be fully understood, nor can physical meaning be applied to its wave-function description . . . quantum mechanics only explains the external observations. It tells us nothing about the internal structure.”

I might rephrase Bohr to say, “The supernatural cannot be fully understood, nor can physical meaning be applied to its descriptions . . . supernatural action only explains the external observations. It tells us nothing about itself.”

Ideology over Truth

The fact that Bohr’s conclusion is accepted as “scientific” while mine would be dismissed as superstition betrays a commitment to ideology over truth, a commitment that evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin candidly acknowledges: “We take the side of science [naturalistically defined] in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises . . . because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.”

Such blinkered devotion is both arbitrary and unnecessary. For no matter what the cause of atomic stability—whether it is a hidden naturalistic mechanism, a pantheistic “Force,” or a theistic Hand—it is opaque to investigation, and yet it does not affect the laws and equations that describe nuclear phenomena, nor does it impede our ability to manipulate matter for technological advancement.

Moreover, limiting science to naturalistic explanations can be a science-stopper. For instance, consider two investigators, each of whom comes upon a non-functional (“junk”) strand of DNA and tries to account for its existence. One researcher believes that everything is the chance product of matter and motion, while the other is open to intelligent agency. Whereas the first will tend to lose interest in the investigation once he makes a discovery consistent with the idea that an unguided process of mutation and inheritance accounts for the DNA strand, the second will be inclined to pursue inquiry further, in order to learn the purpose of the apparent junk.

No wonder, then, that when researchers with the ENCODE Project, a five-year study9 encompassing 30 peer-reviewed papers, concluded in 2012 that 80 percent of the human genome has a biological function (up from 2 percent when the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003), the news was met calmly, with a nod and a smile, by ID theorists, while the reception of the study in Darwinian precincts was, shall we say, a bit more agitated.

A critique of the project published in February 2013 purported to “detail the many logical and methodological transgressions” the ENCODE scientists committed in reaching their “absurd conclusion.”10 Citing this critique, PZ Myers also excoriated the ENCODE scientists for failing to pay homage to the First Article of Faith of Darwinism: “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” It was a dictum the ENCODE researchers apparently ignored, as their critics disparaged them for not considering the “evolutionary context” of biological function, then charged them (them!) with committing the logical fallacy of “affirming the consequent.”11 Evidently, the Darwinistas meant the wrong consequent.

When science is ideologically constrained, when scientific inquiry cannot follow the evidence wherever it leads, when scientific findings are invalidated simply for bucking the status quo, and when scientists are demeaned for not falling in lockstep with the “brown shirts” of scientific materialism, then science is not about discovering truth; it is about imposing, through groupthink, intimidation, and bluster, a worldview that will not withstand too close a scrutiny. •

Notes
1. Dan Childs et al., “Obama Reverses Course, Lifts Stem Cell Ban,” ABC News (Mar. 9, 2009): abcnews.go.com/Health/Politics/story?id=7023990&page=1.
2. Michael Cook, “Not with a bang, but a whimper: the quiet demise of embryonic stem cell research,” Life Site News (June 4, 2013): lifesitenews.com/news/not-with-a-bang-but-a-whimper-the-quiet-demise-of-embryonic-stem-cell-resea.
3. Diane Beeson et al., Reproductive BioMedicine Online, vol. 13, iss. 4 (2006), 573–579: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1472648310606475.
4. Dave Andrusko, “‘The Healing Cell’ Touts Enormous Success Using Adult Stem Cells,” LifeNews.com (Mar. 11, 2013): lifenews.com/2013/03/11/the-healing-cell-touts-enormous-success-using-adult-stem-cells/.
5. Gautam S. Kumar et al., “Embattled Professor Marc Hauser Will Resign from Harvard,” Harvard Crimson (July 19, 2011): thecrimson.com/article/2011/7/19/marc-hauser-resigns-psychology-harvard/#.
6. Randy Schekman, “How journals like Nature, Cell and Science are damaging science,” The Guardian (Dec. 9, 2013): the guardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/09/how-journals-nature-science-cell-damage-science.
7. Kitzmiller v. Dover (Dec. 20, 2005): http://ncse.com/files/pub/legal/kitzmiller/highlights/2005-12-20_Kitzmiller_decision.pdf.
8. For instance, after a decade of inducing mutations in more generations of Plasmodium Falciparum than occurred during the supposed evolution of fish to mammals, the bacterium never evolved into a multi-celled organism; rather, it remained what it had always been, a single-celled parasite which, in some cases, developed a resistance to anti-biotic drugs.
9. “ENCODE Project Writes Eulogy for Junk DNA,” Science (Sept. 7, 2012): sciencemag.org/content/337/6099/1159.summary.
10. Dan Grauer et al., “On the immortality of television sets: ‘function’ in the human genome according to the evolution-free gospel of ENCODE,” Genome Biology and Evolution (Feb. 20, 2013): http://gbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/02/20/gbe.evt028.short?rss=1.
11. PZ Myers, “ENCODE gets a public reaming,” Pharyngula (Feb. 22, 2013): freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/02/22/encode-gets-a-public-reaming/.

Regis Nicoll is a retired nuclear engineer and physicist who is a Colson Center Fellow and Christian commentator. He currently writes for BreakPoint and Crosswalk as well as Salvo magazine, and serves as the lay pastor of an Anglican church plant in Chattanooga (www.hamiltonaf.org).

Article originally appeared in Salvo 31