Did Nye Lie About the Trees

Nye Ham

No. He just leaved a few things out…[did you get it: “leaved”. Like a tree has leaves!…Yeah, I liked it too.]

Trees are dated by counting rings, and as such the oldest single tree in the world, by ring count, is a bristlecone pine in California that is currently unnamed and is about 5,000 years old (3). Don’t worry, research don’t cut them down. They just drill a hole.

Unnamed Bristlecone Pine

The oldest tree’s age of about 5,000 matches very closely with a literal timeline for the Bible’s flood that God used to kill almost everyone on the planet because…

“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  (Genesis 6:5 ESV)

The trees that Nye mentioned are clonal trees meaning that they spread by cloning themselves into new sprouts that shoot out of the roots. Thus a huge grove can be a set of clones. That means that you can get a tree with a ring count of 96 years, but it is actually older by attachment to older clones, but no one can be sure how much older because we don’t know how many clone generations came before it. The tree below that Nye showed is very young (even “new” by tree standards), but the roots are a little older. I mean, look at it. It’s like a sad, lonely, balding, baby Christmas tree. It makes me a little emotional. *tear*

Old Tjikko is an allegedly 9,550-year-old Norway Spruce tree, and is the world’s oldest living individual clonal tree. The tree was carbon dated by the root system under the tree, not counting tree rings. (2)

Nye’s Old Tjikko was dated 9,550 years old using carbon dating, a method of dating that is very wild in accuracy as Ham explained and gave examples of in the debate, and apart from assumptive carbon dating (1), these tree age dates are often very rough estimates; we’re basically guessing. For example, the oldest clonal tree according to Wikipedia is assumed, in line with evolutionary assumptions, to be 80,000 or maybe 1,000,000 years old. That’s pretty accurate…-ish…Nope, nevermind.

It’s amazing to get into some of the research and see how many times small tricks like this were played on listeners during the debate. The meme at the top would draw many to believe the rings were counted all the way to 9,550 years to disprove the flood of Noah, when actually, the oldest trees in the world, California’s bristlecone pines, align perfectly with the timeline of the Bible and a worldwide flood about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.

Crazy.

If the Bible is trustworthy in its testimony of an event as outrageous as a worldwide flood, then does it tell the truth about the Son of God too?

You know where I stand: Nothing is better than Jesus.

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(1) http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/does-c14-disprove-the-bible

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Tjikko

(3) http://www.livescience.com/29152-oldest-tree-in-world.html

Lying about the President (Part 1)

You mean people lie to save face, and get a little attention?…I’m shocked, aghast, and other cool synonyms.

Put simply, we are all liars.

To suggest otherwise is not optimism, it is either ignorance of people because you are still a toddler or it is a willful denial of nearly observable fact. We should all be optimistic that people won’t lie in a given situation (The world would halt without trust), but let’s not P.C. and sugar coat our criminal records. We’re liars.

King David knew it:

“I said in my alarm, ‘All mankind are liars.‘”  (Psalm 116:11 ESV)

That’s why God made it one the ten most basic moral laws (The Ten Commandments):

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”  (Exodus 20:16 ESV)

Come on, you remember “that” time. Think about your past. It wasn’t the only one, but you remember “that” one. I’d bet that we all remember our “one” lie.

A personal favorite from my own long wall of shame was when I arrived in Idaho and, for fourth grade Show and Tell, I shared a song that I “wrote” about the Mario Bros. that bore a striking resemblance to the theme song of the Mario Bros. Cartoon. Coincidence? I know right! I was shocked too – that I would create a song that was almost identical to the theme song of a syndicated cartoon. What are the odds? Mind. Blown…or Morals. Sold.

Even now, in my vast sea of maturity and character, I fight the urge to exaggerate things that totally don’t matter at all, for a better laugh, a better image of me for others, or a better angle for me to escape conflict. I have at times been willing to do a little bad to do me a little good, and that is scary.

The human will sell his or her integrity readily for a little attention and a little self-glorification. And this is one reason why God, in justice, will dump His wrath on us and send us all to Hell. That’s right; Liars go to Hell. Hitler, Charles Manson, the Teletubbies, and Liars:

“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.”  (Proverbs 19:9 ESV)

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”  (Revelation 21:8 ESV)

Does that sound extreme to you? Well, you’re right to feel that way. Jesus summed up the moral expectation of law this way:

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:48 ESV)

Ok, be good all the time everybody, but “lying”? Hell? really?

Yep, in fact lying is why Hell came to exist and why Hell is open to human immigrants?

But that’s for Part 2.

Babies and the Best Knitter Ever

Title #2: Why you didn’t die at birth.

As my wife and I both looked at our newborn daughter,…

Wife:   “She has your nose.” Me:

[internally] “I’m sorry, daughter. It’s not your fault.”

When we parents think about our newborns, we often consider inherited features, meconium (don’t Google it.), Baby announcements, and the like, but after seeing two babies born in bedrooms in the sticks of North Idaho, I’m just wondering how they survived the process. With all due respect to my tornado of boom (2.5 year old boy) and squeaky paperweight (1 week old girl), the biology behind their births leaves me floored that they are still among the living. Of course, they were simply showing off by surviving in such cute fashion, but my point is there are some serious miracles to consider here. And seeing as you were probably born also, this applies to you as well:

**   Note: I’m not even gonna touch the miracles of DNA combining from two organisms to form a code to build and self-repair the most advanced neurological organism on the planet.

1. Why didn’t you die before implanting?

When you first entered Mommy’s uterus, your name was blastocyst, which sounds surprisingly manly, but not so in real life. You only consisted of several cells that were considered an intruder by Mom’s national guard. If a white blood cell were to discover you, well, let’s just say you wouldn’t be reading this list.

2. Why didn’t you die at birth?

Consider this. A prelaunch baby is well on his or her way to a scuba diving certificate after 9 months in amniotic fluids. All air arrives via Mom’s blood; thus, no lung breathing. In fact, baby lungs are usually filled with fluids and their own practice poops and pees. Even wilder, the heart doesn’t even pump blood to the lungs to pick up air. The heart has a gaping hole connecting the top two chambers, that if you had it still today would kill you, and another valve that diverts blood away from the lungs and back to the body. The lungs are not a part of your body’s working system. But, as soon as you hit the air, you expelled the fluids from your lungs, inflated them for the first time cuing your heart to seal both of the life-threatening holes in your upper chambers forever and diverting blood to the completely unused arteries leading to the lungs, where red blood cells collected oxygen for the first time. In your first breath, your body instantaneously and automatically recovered from conditions that should have lead to suffocation and cardiac arrest. No big deal though.

3. Why didn’t you die when the placenta separated?

The placenta is where mom and baby trade nutrients and waste through the blood. Baby’s survival is entirely tied to the umbilical cord. When you were born the cord was still attached to mom, but you switch your heart plumbing to solo mode. Blood still flows through the placenta to the Baby when suddenly the placenta inside mom severs from the uterus, leaving both mom and baby bleeding. At this point, Mom has significant internal bleeding and baby has one of the largest arteries in their body open like a garden hose. Yet again, instantaneously and automatically muscles on mom’s side and the baby’s side begin contractions to stop the bleeding.

4. Why didn’t you die when you cried…all…night?

God gives mom a drug that makes her love you forever, and He gives dad drugs that make him really like mom. In short, you barely made it.

5. Why didn’t you die in your teens?

The punishment for murder in most states is very harsh. That’s pretty much the only reason…Sorry about ages 13-17, Mom.

So let’s check the score:

Should have been killed by a white blood cell, but you weren’t.

Should have suffocated, but you didn’t.

Should have had a cardiac arrest, but you didn’t.

Should have bled to death, but you didn’t.

Please know that the last four lines do not come lightly. I have been sarcastic and whimsical to this point, but thinking of these dangers and the inexplicable life in my two bright-eyed children (and even in myself) causes me to type over the lump in my throat. These are miracles, and for such a description the word miracle should be reserved:

“A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency : the miracle of rising from the grave.”

Now reconsider the over-read and underappreciated glory of God in these verses:

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”  (Psalm 139:13-14 ESV)

Despite the way I often hear it read, notice that these verses aren’t about us; they’re about the Maker. Ever line speaks of the Maker except for the last. We should look at ourselves in mind, body, and soul, and our construction should cause us fear and wonder at the fact that this is all the work of a Maker. Our souls should know well that He is worthy of our fear, our wonder, and our praise.

I have to admit though. When I see that someone has actually knit a pair of gloves or a sweater that doesn’t look like a cat’s hairball, I’m impressed, and when someone knits something that looks like they bought it at a store, then I’m honestly awed. It is awesome to perfect a craft as intricate and complex and knitting can be.

Yet, I’ve see people everyday of my short life on this earth, and my response to them usually sums to about, “meh.” But the people I see daily are a confederation of miracles. A nearly endless parade of miracles brought each one of them into existence, through the birth canal, and into an oxygen-rich environment where they now exist as an imponderable orchestra of biological efficiency working in harmony so that we’ll probably survive the walk to the kitchen on our next snack run.

If I can be awed by a cable knit sweater, then how should I respond at the sight of a human?

If I can awe at the mastery shown by a knitter, then how should I respond to a God who “formed and made” (Isaiah 43:7) the human and breathed life into it’s nostrils (Genesis 2:7).

How then should I feel, how then should I respond, when I look at the helpless form of my newborn daughter or the closed eyes of my sleeping son?

Answer: I feel overwhelming, joyful thankfulness, and I respond by teaching them this same view of the world as made by and for Jesus, so that we can someday say together in praise:

Nothing is better than Jesus.

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“[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible… all things were created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:15-16 ESV)

Counting Garbage

I remember climbing into a storage loft above my mom’s mammoth workshop, and spending an hour digging through boxes of my ancient childhood oddities. I kept every kind of junk imaginable: stuffed animals, art projects from the 4th grade, entire boxes of sports cards, attendance awards from middle school, farm stickers, a chocolate coin…random.

I remember that every item that ascended from my corrugated chest was once a treasure held close to the heart. Now, I roll my eyes while chanting, “…garbage… garbage… embarrassing… garbage… what is this?… more garbage…” There was definitely enjoyment in the nostalgia of some gems, like the 3-foot plastic alligator that I used to scare my mother with in our dimly lit hallway, but mostly, I was just counting garbage as I relayed the hilarious, and sometimes awkward, contents into a row of white garbage bags. At one point, the thespian in me began channeling Sesame Street’s The Count: “One old piece of garbage, Ah ah ah. Two old pieces of garbage, Ah ah ah. Three old…” At one time, all of these things mattered greatly and played important roles in my life, but they’re not important compared to what I have now.

Over the years, I’ve come to view my former self in the same way. I’ve used so many achievements, advantages, connections, and characteristics to define myself: gamer, athlete, honor roll student, stuntman, class clown, president, flirt, Cora’s boyfriend, Hawaiian, not a loser, multicultural, leader, college student, fashionable, a good guy, servant, …my list of masks is long.

But by some miracle, I was challenged to read the Bible through a debate with some Mormons friends about evolution, fiercely presented the gospel by people who cared for me and showed it, and turned my life over to Jesus, who died for me, in an empty church sanctuary on June 5th, 1999.

Since that time, somehow, my masks haven’t mattered. They still try to creep back into my life, but now I can sincerely and joyfully say that the masks that made the old me are garbage compared to knowing Jesus and being made free by Him alone.

I remember deciding to try to memorize a passage of the Bible that was longer than a verse. After a short search, I decided that nothing better described my feelings towards Christ or my hope for my life than the words of Philippians 3:7-12.

7I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.  For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 

10I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

12I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to [own] that perfection for which Christ Jesus first [owned] me.” (Philippians 3:7-12 NLT) 

There is so much beauty in the world God has spoken into existence, and immeasurable worth in the people whom God has made in His image; yet all of it, all of them, and everything I am or claim to be, is less than Jesus. No, is “garbage” compared to Christ.

I do not say such words lightly because I revel in the winter sunrise, I cry at the tenderness of my children, I flutter at the touch of my wife, I roar myself raw as a coach and an athlete, and I wonder at both the size of the universe and the strength of a beetle. I would never bring down the value of such majesties because they scream the greatness of their Maker, but I will unequivocally bring Christ up.

I would bring Him far above and atop everything and crown Him King over all he has created for His glory. As the splendor of the full moon entirely vanishes beside the noonday sun, so too the importance of, well, anything else available in this life vanishes when placed beside Jesus, my King and Rescuer.

Daily life for me is a tight rope walk between enjoying with awe and gratitude all that I experience by sense and, at the same time, counting all of it as garbage compared to Christ who I experience by faith and the power of His Spirit at work in me.

So, here’s to counting “garbage”, and noticing that nothing, nothing, is better than Jesus.

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My son wants you all to watch this video, right now: Counting Garbage Trucks
I just want you all to obey Jesus.