Why Do Birds Stand on One Leg?

Why do birds stand on one leg?
Have you ever asked why do birds stand on one leg? We live on a river that has a massive number of ducks in it. When the ducks are resting on the edge of the river, they generally stand on one leg. When guests visit us, they want to know why. Ducks are not the only birds that stand and even sleep on one leg. Geese and Flamingos do the same thing.

The answer seems to be a simple matter of the application of basic physics. For an object to be stable, its center of gravity has to be directly above the point of support. In my basic physics classes, we have some demonstrations of that principle. A spinning bicycle wheel will do strange things if its pivot point is not under the center of gravity. A top that is not symmetrical will invert when spun with its round side in touch with the table. There are toys that appear to be suspended in space, but in reality, their center of gravity is located at one end which makes it look odd when it is on the edge of a table.

When you stand on two legs, your center of gravity is somewhere between the legs. That may sound stable, but in reality, it isn’t. When you stand, you waver as your body senses that any movement you make throws you off balance. There is a constant muscular effort that counteracts this movement. Just standing for a long time can be fatiguing because a lot of energy is expended to counteract this wavering.

Recent studies with flamingos show that when they stand on one leg, the center of gravity falls directly over the point that touches the ground. Standing on one leg, the bird’s body is quiescent. When the bird is on two legs, there is more muscle movement and the center of pressure on the foot touching the ground changes. If you look carefully at a duck standing on one leg, you will see that it stands a little lopsided, so the mass is completely above the point of support. In addition to energy conservation, standing on one leg allows birds to withstand cold temperatures by keeping one leg close to the body. So thermoregulation is also involved in this odd-looking design.

So if you have ever asked, “Why do birds stand on one leg?” remember this. Anytime we see something in nature that we don’t understand; it is almost 100% sure that there is a design feature involved. What the animal is doing may look strange, but it has at least one significant function. Truly we can “Know there is a God through the things He has made” (Romans 1:18-20).
Data from Science News, June 24, 2017, page 15.
–John N. Clayton © 2017

Climate Change and Evidence

Climate Change
This ministry is all about evidence. Science is knowledge, and that means evidence. We can all make our own interpretation of the evidence, but the evidence remains factual and is real science. There are people on all sides of the issue of climate change voicing opinions as facts. Christians should be concerned about the well-being of our fellow humans, and we should not be exploiters and abusers of what God has created.

When Paul wrote to Timothy, he said to avoid “oppositions of science falsely so called”(1 Timothy 6:20). Any opposition to the Bible or to belief in God will be false science because it will be opinion and not science.

Since 1873, when record keeping began, the average temperature of the planet has been 57 degrees Fahrenheit. That is an average, so in some places like the poles, it was much colder and in places like the tropical deserts it was much hotter. The last decade in which the average global temperature was colder than 57 degrees was the 1970s. In the 40 years since that time, the average temperatures have been over 57 degrees. In 2016 the average was the highest ever recorded. That number was only 1.69 degrees higher, but that is a significant amount of change.

We can argue about the cause, whether we can do anything about it, and whether humans are responsible. All of that is opinion, and much of it is based on false science–people stating opinion as fact. The fossil record shows clearly that Earth has had periods that were much hotter than today and periods that were much colder. Climate change is an issue to be concerned about politically, economically, and socially. No matter what your opinion, remember to examine the facts and base your actions on the facts, not on false science.
Reference: Popular Science July/August 2017, page 9.
–John N. Clayton © 2017

“Born This Way”–Is It True?

Born This Way Sign
The theme of many gay pride parades has been “born this way,” and the question science has been wrestling with for at least 50 years is whether that is true. Is being “gay” not something that can be chosen or changed? Rebecca Jordan-Young, a sociomedical scientist, has written a book titled Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences. The book reviews hundreds of scientific studies on sex and the brain conducted over the last 13 years. Her conclusion is that biology matters, but it is not the whole story.

The Bible makes it clear that God created man and woman with purpose and with definite roles. Romans 1:24-27 indicates that it was humans who changed “the natural use into that which is against nature” (verse 26). People have misused just about everything God has given us.

Dr. Sari van Anders at the University of Michigan says, “The science of whether sexual orientation is biological is pretty sparse and full of disparate, mixed, and unreplicated findings.” The data shows that there is no “gay gene” that causes a person to be a homosexual. A combination of genetic characteristics, the hormone pollution in our environment, and the effects produced by experiences in early childhood are all part of our sexual orientation and how we act on it. We are not all born with the same genetic factors, we don’t all have the same libido, and we have not had the same experiences in our first twelve years of life. There is much more to it than just being “born this way.”

We would add that choosing to live a life that blesses others according to the teachings of Christ will lead us to use all God has given us in unselfish, constructive ways. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 that he would prefer that all men would have the ability to live single as he was living, but that is “better to marry than to burn with passion.” He referred to his own ability of celibacy as a “gift of God.” Using our gifts in selfish, destructive ways is strongly condemned by God. Using our gifts to bless others as Paul did is what we are all called to do.
Data from USA Today 6/20/17 B1&2
–John N. Clayton © 2017

A Quiet Neighborhood is a Good Neighborhood

Beyond the Quiet Neighborhood
At a June 7 meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Benjamin Hoscheit presented information gained from studying 120,000 galaxies. The study agreed with earlier findings that our Milky Way galaxy is located in the largest cosmic void that we can observe. When scientists look one billion light-years out into the universe, they find that the cosmic density becomes much greater. The conclusion they have reached is that the Milky Way is in a relatively open area of space about two billion light-years across. We live in a quiet neighborhood.

The computer image from the Millennium Simulation Project illustrates the dense filaments of dark matter stretching through space. Galaxies are mostly clumped along the filaments. The Milky Way resides in one of the voids between those strands. What are the implications of that? Galaxies tend to be in clusters, and our cluster is called the Local Group. A typical galaxy cluster will have 10,000 galaxies close together. (Close by cosmic standards.) The Local Group has only forty galaxies, and all of them are dwarf galaxies except the Milky Way and Andromeda which are medium-sized. If there were large galaxies close to us, their gravity could distort the spiral structure of the Milky Way making advanced life on Earth impossible.

The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy—the only kind of galaxy capable of supporting advanced life. Star formation drives the spiral motion. Star formation requires the infusion of gas and dust which the small galaxies provide. Clusters of galaxies reside inside superclusters. Our Local Group cluster is on the outer fringe of the Virgo supercluster. If it were near the center of Virgo, the massive clusters there would absorb the Local Group and make life impossible. Also, our solar system is located in the best position within our galaxy at about two-thirds of the distance from the center. In the center of the Milky Way (and most galaxies), there is a massive black hole that would swallow our solar system if we were anywhere near it. If we were farther out in the spiral, the solar system would be subject to massive instability, again making life impossible.

Of course, Earth is also located in the solar habitable zone where we are not too close or too far from the Sun. One final thing to note is that in this cosmic void and the position in our galaxy, we are at the optimum location for observing all of the things I mentioned. We have an excellent view of the universe. We are in more than a quiet neighborhood. We are in the “Goldilocks Zone” where everything is “just right.”

You could say that we got lucky and all of these things, and many others, are merely freak accidents. We believe that God had a reason for putting us where we are, and has given us a purpose for being here.
–Roland Earnst © 2017

Area 51, Aliens, and God

Area 51
About once a month, on an average, we get a letter or email from someone who wants to convince us that “God” is an alien who is in control of the Earth. The people who advocate this idea say that this alien is using religion to prepare us for some devious purpose. The purpose goes all the way from turning us into food for the aliens to being foot soldiers in a cosmic war. The usual claim is that the alien headquarters in Area 51, which is a military installation in Nevada. Area 51 and a restaurant/motel nearby known as the “Little Alien” (which has the heading “Earthlings Welcome” on the sign) have been referenced in numerous books, TV shows, and movies.

“Dreamland Resort” was an old code name for the military base. The area was a research facility for Lockheed Aircraft where they developed aircraft that could fly higher than the Soviet missiles could reach and fast enough to outrun any interceptor planes. In 1960 the U-2 spy plane piloted by Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union. That led to a new project titled “Project Oxcart” which produced the spy planes A-12, YF-12, and eventually the SR-71 Blackbird. Area 51 was also involved in the development of the F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter which was kept a top secret until 1988 when a new plane called the A-22 Raptor was introduced. These planes could fly as high as 90,000 feet. Civilian aircraft cannot go higher than 40,000 feet. The testing and experiments on these aircraft gave visions from the Earth unlike anyone had seen before. To this day people are still reporting sightings of UFOs as military aircraft research continues. Remember that “UFO” (Unidentified Flying Object) simply means we have not identified what the sighting is. It does not mean an alien has abducted someone.

We have pointed out many times that life in space is not a biblical issue. The Bible does not tell us that Earth is the only place where God saw fit to create life. We have also labored to get people to understand that God is not a physical being nor is He limited by physical forces or environments. The Bible says that no one can look on God’s face and live for the simple reason that God is a Spirit and not flesh and blood. Living people cannot see a non-physical being. When people say that God is a physical being, they are creating their own badly-informed concept of God. God is not an “old man in the sky.”

For more on the nature of God, we encourage you to read “A Help in Understanding What God Is” on our doesgodexist.org website. Also, watch programs #8 and #9 in our video series on doesgodexist.tv.
–John N. Clayton © 2017

ACLU Attacks Christian Values

Protest ACLU Suit of Teachers for Praying
Protest ACLU Suit of Teachers for Praying

The stated purpose of the American Civil Liberties Union is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Founded in 1920, the ACLU was useful in racial conflicts and in situations where women were being abused. In recent years the leadership has veered off to become an atheist attack group. The ACLU has chosen almost exclusively to attack institutions and individuals attempting to have and promote moral values and individual rights compatible with Christian values.

In Missouri recently the ACLU settled with a school district that was attempting to put internet filtering software on their school computers to prevent children from accessing pornography. The school had to remove the filter. A major suit has been filed against Catholic hospital systems which do not want to participate in abortions.

Another situation involves Cynthia and Robert Gifford a couple who own a farm in New York called Liberty Ridge Farm. The Giffords host and coordinate weddings in their backyard. When they chose not to host a wedding they considered immoral; the ACLU sued them. The ACLU persuaded the New York State Division of Human Rights to fine the Giffords $10,000. It also ordered them and their employees to attend “re-education classes.”

The plaintiffs in these cases are defended by an organization called The Alliance Defending Freedom. There are many such cases listed on their website. If you are interested in this subject, you can find them at http://adflegal.org/.
–John N. Clayton © 2017

America’s Music and Immorality

America's Music
Recent studies on the direction and content of America’s music have shown something that is not surprising. Billboard.com showed some data about the content of songs since 1960. While songs mentioning love in the lyrics have remained fairly constant between 1960 and 2015, the number of songs that specifically mention sex has grown from fewer than 100 to over 1000. The percentage of top ten billboard songs that are about sex today is 92%. Of the 174 songs making it to the top ten, 161 contained lyrics about sex.

The lesson of history is that when a culture loses its moral compass, and no fixed standard of moral behavior is accepted by the general population, the society collapses. Authors who have studied the collapse of the Roman Empire have shown the close correlation between morality and survival. Our ministry attempts to get people to look at evidence that there is a God, and not just scientific evidence. There is also evidence that the teachings of Jesus Christ give us a system that works and ensures the best of life for all of its followers. As America has moved from a Christian nation to a nation where Christians are a minority, the chaos and violence have grown.

What we listen to in music reflects our priorities. America’s music tells us much about where we are as a nation. What we watch on TV, in the movies, and on the stage not only influences what we believe and accept, but what we value. Jesus taught love, unity, peace, and service to one another. Do we really want to live in a society where sex dominates not only advertising and music, but also what is presented to our young people as the objective for their lives? Read Matthew chapters 5 through 7 again, and think about the implications of not following the teachings of Jesus.
–John N. Clayton © 2017

Few Can Fish

Few Can Fish
FEW CAN FISH? We saw the following article on the editorial page of the Phoenix Republic in December of 1991. We don’t know who wrote it, but we thought it was worth sharing with you.

Anyone Can Talk: Few Can Fish

Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves. Fishermen.

And, lo, there were many fish in the waters all around. In fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish, and the fish were hungry.

Week after week, month after month, and year after year, those who called themselves fishermen met in meetings and talked about their call to go fishing.

Continually they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. They sponsored costly nationwide and worldwide congresses to discuss fishing and hear
about all the ways of fishing, such as the new fishing equipment, fish calls and whether any new bait was discovered.

But the teachers did not fish; they only taught fishing. Some spent much time in study and travel to learn the history of fishing and to see faraway places where the Founding Fathers did great fishing in centuries past. They lauded the faithful fishermen of years earlier who handed down the idea of fishing.

Many who felt the call to be fishermen responded. They were commissioned and sent to fish. And they went off to foreign lands … to teach fishing.

Now it’s true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish every day. They received the ridicule of some who made
fun of their fishermen clubs. They anguished over those who were not committed enough to attend the weekly meetings to talk about fishing.

These fishermen built large and beautiful buildings called Fishing Headquarters. The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish.

One thing they didn’t do, however: they didn’t fish. All of the fishermen seemed to agree that what was needed was a board that could challenge fishermen to be faithful in fishing.

The board was formed by those who had the great vision and courage to speak about fishing, to define fishing, and to promote the idea of fishing in faraway streams and lakes where many other fish of different colors lived. Large, elaborate and expensive training centers were built whose purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology.

After all, were they not following the one who said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”?

Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don’t catch fish were really not fishermen, no matter how much they claimed to be. Yet, it did sound correct.

Is a person a fisherman if year after year he never catches a fish? Is one following if he isn’t fishing? If Christ were to return to this Earth today in physical form, would He find us fishing, or would he find us organizing, talking about fishing, and making plans to build the best Fishing Headquarters anywhere? – Anonymous

Is it true that few can fish? It’s up to you to decide.

Skeptic Challenges Answered

Skeptic Challenges
DOES GOD EXIST? maintains a Facebook page with daily postings. We often get skeptic challenges and questions from those who are seeking for answers. We want to share the following conversation from Facebook. The article we posted was about the design of kidneys. The article ended like this:
…Science has not created a perfect kidney machine to replace the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s model in spite of years of research and the work of our brightest medical and engineering minds. We think this is a design that’s more than dandy–it’s magnificent.

SKEPTIC 1- creation of god ??? please stop kidding yourself ..

DGE?- Does the idea that there might be a Creator disturb you?

SKEPTIC 1- the idea there might be a creator doesn’t disturb me at all .. we are probably the creation of some alien form. What is disturbing me is the amount of lies religions are built on … you don’t actually think god created us do you? …and if you do, tell me your version of how it possibly happened

DGE?- You seem to believe that we were created by some “alien form.” What evidence do you have of that? What are the “lies religions are built on?” I don’t have my own personal version of how God created us. It’s in the Bible.

SKEPTIC 1- Why would i read the biggest lie ever written ??? Imo you are the one with a lot to learn if you believe all that (….)

DGE?- How can you say the Bible is “the biggest lie ever written” when you have never read it. Who told you what to believe?

SKEPTIC 1- I don’t believe we have been created by an alien species but I think that this theory is far more plausible than a man made god created to control people … He didn’t give us the ability to learn .. Evolution did … Science is proving everyday that god doesn’t exist yet we still have people who believes these lies … You’re free to believe in what ever suits you.

DGE?- Science is not proving that God doesn’t exist. It’s really difficult to prove that anything DOESN’T exist. Just because you have never empirically verified something does not mean that it doesn’t exist. We can’t see, touch, taste, smell, or hear God directly, but that does not mean that God doesn’t exist. You could say the same things about love, but you can see the evidence of love in people’s lives and in the things that it causes. So also you can see the evidence of God in people’s lives and in the things he has created.

BELIEVER 1- Really it takes more faith to believe this all just happened than to believe a Great God designed us! Nothing comes from nothing!!!

SKEPTIC 2- some supernatural sky daddy made everything is a lot more fantastic than the Big Bang and evolution which is absolute certain. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

DGE?- If your concept of the God you don’t believe in is “some supernatural sky daddy” then I have to agree with you. I don’t believe in that kind of God either. The Big Bang is evidence of a beginning. The Bible has said that there was a beginning ever since Genesis 1:1. From Aristotle to the 20th century (Over 2000 years) science said that the universe was eternal. Scientists had to reluctantly accept the fact that there was a beginning when the evidence became overwhelming in 1965 with the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation. Scientists finally had to recognize that the Bible was right–there was a beginning. By the way, “Big Bang” was a derogatory name coined by a scientist (Fred Hoyle) who was critical of the idea of a beginning of the universe. You say, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” To claim that the universe just came into being out of nothing with no Creator and that non-living matter turned into complex life without any intelligent guidance are extraordinary claims. Where is your extraordinary evidence?

SKEPTIC 2- 1) The universe *as we know it* had a beginning. It could have existed in another state. We just don’t know. 2) I simply don’t believe the claim that the universe is a “creation” by a “creator.” If a creator is claimed, that creator must be proven. That last bit is shifting the burden of proof. It equates to “prove there is no god.” It is intellectually dishonest to shift the burden of proof to the negative. The positive claim bears it.

DGE?- You say that 1) the universe could have existed in another state before the Big Bang. Where do you suppose that imaginary universe would have come from? Don’t try to suggest that the universe is cyclical. The present universe is not going to collapse on itself and start over with another Big Bang because science shows that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. It will never collapse and re-bang. Secondly, you say that 2) there is no creator because you don’t believe in a creator. I could say that there is a Creator because I do believe in a Creator. That doesn’t prove anything.

SKEPTIC 2- Also, -12 + 12 = 0. The total net energy of the universe is 0. Therefore, no creator is necessary.

DGE?- You have been reading too much of Lawrence Krauss and A Universe from Nothing. If you define nothing as an equal amount of positive and negative energy, you are not talking about nothing. You are talking about something. How about this equation, 0 + 0 = 0.

SKEPTIC 2- Evolution is a cornerstone of modern science. It is not a controversial subject, the evidence is overwhelming and from many different fields. To deny evolution is like saying the sky is orange or the earth is flat. People will just think your retarded.

DGE?- Evidence for limited evolution, especially within species, is obvious. Evidence for one kind of animal evolving into a completely different animal is sketchy to non-existent. New kinds of animals appear in the geologic record suddenly, by geologic times. There is no gradual unfolding as Darwin predicted. Consider the Cambrian Explosion.

BELIEVER 2- Only a Master Engineer such as God could have designed this handiwork. The Bible says, “I’m fearful and wonderfully made”! Modern Science can’t come up with a machine like the kidneys!

SKEPTIC 2- Science has and does… It’s called a kidney dialysis machine

DGE?- I know people who are on dialysis machines. Those machines are nothing like real kidneys. The don’t work on their own, and they are very large. Humans have never invented a device to do what the kidney does without attention, and that fits within the human body.

BELIEVER 3- The fact that you people are smart enough to have this discussion proves to me that there is a creator.

(This conversation was edited to correct grammatical and spelling errors, to clarify, and for brevity. You will find our daily Facebook postings at www.facebook.com/evidence4god.)
–Roland Earnst © 2017

Asteroids Have Value

Vesta, Largest of Asteroids

What happened to the dinosaurs? The prevailing theory for the extinction of dinosaurs involves an asteroid collision at Chicxulub in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Whether you accept that theory or not, there is no question that there are vast numbers of asteroids in space. They are apparently leftovers from the formation of the planets. At least nine times an asteroid has hit the earth leaving a crater that can be studied and mapped today. Some of the craters are huge. The largest is a crater 186 miles (300 km) wide in South Africa called the Vredefort crater. The question is, “Why would God allow such objects to exist knowing they could become a threat to life on Earth?”

First, we need to realize that such collisions are incredibly rare and so far they have never impacted humans. There are more than half-a-million known asteroids. The largest is Vesta (pictured) which is 329 miles (530 kilometers) in diameter. The smallest are only 33 feet (10 meters) in diameter. Objects smaller than that are called meteoroids. According to NASA, the total mass of every known asteroid is less than the mass of our Moon.

Scientists are studying their chemical composition of asteroids. What they have found is that they are very rich in rare-earth metals as well as iron, nickel, and cobalt. In the future, we may replace depleted resources on Earth by mining asteroids. Experts have estimated that the value of minerals in asteroids is in the trillions of dollars. Two American companies are gearing up to pioneer asteroid mining operations–Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources.

We think too small when we think that God planned for humans to be limited by the resources of Earth. What appeared to be a threat in the past may turn out to be an incredible blessing from God in the future.
Data from Discover Magazine, July/August 2017, pages 50-51 and https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/asteroids/indepth.
–John N. Clayton © 2017