Books Read in October

The Cell’s Design (Reasons to Believe): How Chemistry Reveals the Creator’s Artistry
by Fazale Rana
Top Amazon Review:
When Darwin contructed his theory of evolution by random mutations and subsequent “survival of the fittest”, which included the emergence of new body forms which led to new species, genera, etc.up to even new phyla, he and his followers where under the impression that the cells in an individual of each species were very simple, consisting of a cell wall which enclosed a “glob” of undifferentiated protoplasm in which floated the cell’s nucleus in which the material that controlled reproduction and inhertitable characteristics (called ‘genes’) resided. Reproduction of a cell was a simple process in which first each of the genes divided in two and then the cell (by reason of some unknown signal) split into two cells, each with its own portion of the genes.

The author of this text leads the reader through a precise, detailed description of actually how incredibly complex an indiviual cell really is, and how that complexity, both in the multitude of diverse components that a cell contains, and the exacting diverse functions that these individual components each must perform on schedule for the cell to remain alive, makes Darwin’s premise about a cells ability to mutate and thereby create new cells with new functions incredibly naive, and, more importantly, extremely improbable.

Rama carefully documents the detailed descriptive journey through the cell with a continuous stream of references to supporting citations for published studies by a host of international research scientists working in the relevant fields of cellular biology, physics, and chemistry, including those engaged in the evolutionary aspects of those sciences. As one makes one’s way through the material, it soon becomes very apparent that Darwin’s theories about how evolution proceded are far from universally accepted in the scientific community. And as modern research has increasingly revealed the complexities of the cell, it is also apparent that science has yet to satisfactorily explain how life itself first came into existence, and how new species and new body forms (genera, families, orders, classes, phyla) arose in the relatively short time (geologically) that life has existed.on earth.

One aspect of the book will undoubtedly blind those who have an unalterable (and, perhaps, irrational) personal bias against any hint that something other than scientific materialism (as it defines itself) may be involved in the formation and function of the universe. That is the author’s stated belief that a Supreme Being is the only rational explanation for how the complexities of all living matter, from the simplest one celled organism to humans, that science has now uncovered have been able to come into existence and survive. To denigrate the author and reject the unarguable validity of the contents of the book detailing the complexities of living cells, complexities that science itself has revealed, and which raise real questions about their origin, because of the author’s personal beliefs, would be the mark of a very small mind, indeed.
2 star Amazon review: Book best for use in bible studies
ByDanielon March 9, 2017
Book is at the high school level. Not much philosophy. Alot of graduate lvl sources. Book best for use in bible studies, but wont help teach anything else

My review: Honestly, it doesn’t look to me like any of the negative reviews are by people who read the book, so I couldn’t give them any weight.  Take the above.  I just did a high school biology course with my son, and while I recognized some of the terms, the content of this book was much more complicated and complex.

I only read to chapter 9 of this 14 chapter book, {page 168 of 283 pages, with another nearly 100 pages of footnotes and index). I stopped because I was mainly reading it to see if I could recommend it to others for high reading, and I can’t.  It was very, very stiff, loaded with technical terms and advanced biology. It’s not at the high school level. There’s plenty of philosophy and science and not any Bible to speak of in the first nine chapters (which is fine, that isn’t the kind of book it is). I really wanted to love it but it’s for people with more heavy hitting science background than I have.

Culture Shock! Philippines (a guide to customs and etiquette, Alfredo and Grace Roces)- my copy is about 20 years old and so a bit outdated, but the one at Amazon is updated and pretty recent. I’ve now read two Culture Shock! books- the Philippines and Korea editions, and I highly recommend them. Many other travel books these days focus on dating culture and nightlife, and these books are about living in the culture without giving too great offense, understanding and appreciating the country, people, and culture. If you’re looking for something to include in your studies of other countries, this series is highly recommended.

And The Word Came With Power, by JOanne Shetler with Patricia Purvis- Joanne Shetler was a missionary and translator to a remote tribe in the PHilippines in the 70s. This is her story (and the story of the Balangao people), and it was and is a remarkable story. Suitable for probably ages ten and up (possibly younger as a read aloud, although the opening chapter of the horrible helicoptor crash is pretty gruesome reading). 5 stars as long as you keep in mind a younger reading audience.


Walking from East to West, Ravi Zacharias- I like listening to him speak.  I haven’t read any of his books.  I will see if I can find another one to give him a fair shake.  I found this one somewhat rambling and not as compelling as his speaking.  I also had hoped for more ‘east to west,’ information on Indian vs western culture.  there was some, but not as much as I’d hoped for.  Parts of it moved me to tears, parts of it felt like just name-dropping.  3 stars, but it’s possible that it’s just the right book for you or somebody you love.  He does talk about the emptiness he felt in his life as a child and young man and of a suicide attempt he made when he was around 20, and those portions of the book were particularly poignant.  I was also deeply moved by the story of his 17 year old translator when he was evangelizing in Viet Nam during the Viet Nam war.

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer- a lovely, moving little book for private devotional reading.  5 stars.

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ARound and ’round the media goes, where it stops, nobody knows

I don’t really believe the qualifying words which I’ve italicized in this tale.
Earlier today @realdonaldtrump’s account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee. The account was down for 11 minutes, and has since been restored. We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.

Donna Brazile, who fed Hilary Clinton at least one debate question in advance, now accuses Clinton campaign of rigging primaries, internal corruption, unethical finances, and sucking the Democrat party dry.

The Press Attacks WSJ for Criticizing FusionGPS — Without Confessing That One Of Their Sources Attacking the WSJ Is… A FusionGPS Employee

Media and leftist figures blasted Trump for calling for death penalty for NYC truck driver terrorist, but not for Vegas terrorists. Er. Duh.

NBC reports that more celebrities, newsmakers shared the phony Russian tweets. Pretty hilarious. Russia was working for Hilary. Here are some of the Russian ads.

‘Republicans are evil, we’re the good guys’ is not very nuanced, is it? More here.

Donna Brazile has some explosive accusations:
“I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.”
It’s odd how Brazile waited a year to tell anybody the primaries were rigged and she knew it, and by odd I mean nakedly self-serving.
Althouse thinks we need a special prosecutor and independent investigation.

WaPo gives four Pinnochios to anybody repeating the Democrat talking point that working class families will see increased taxes from the GOP tax plan. it’s the opposite:
“Meanwhile, more than 97 million (80 percent) will receive a tax cut. Doing the math the same way the JEC staff did, we come up with an average tax cut of about $450 for those 97 million households.

Indeed, at the far end of the chart, you will see that every quintile on average receives a tax cut — not a tax increase.

In any tax bill, there are going to be winners and losers. The top quintile receives the biggest average tax cut, both in dollars and change in after-tax income — but also has the largest percentage (32.3 percent) of households that will face a tax increase.

“There are different ways to approach the TPC estimates,” Veal said. “Key Republicans have been asked whether they could guarantee that no middle-class family will get a tax increase under their plan. Our calculation shows that some households — 8 million — making under $86,100 will receive an increase based on TPC’s estimates.”

By the time we contacted the DPCC about the error, The Fact Checker’s questions must have circulated.

“Once we realized that the original report could have been clearer, we updated it immediately,” a spokesman said. Now the updated report makes clearer that 8 million households could face a tax increase — though again it fails to acknowledge that most people would have a tax cut.

The inaccurate tweets remain.

The Pinocchio Test

In their haste to condemn the GOP tax plan, Democrats have spread far and wide the false claim that families making less than $86,100 on average will face a hefty tax hike. Actually, it’s the opposite. Most families in that income range would get a tax cut. Any Democrat who spread this claim should delete their tweets and make clear they were in error.”

Former abortion practitioner testifies before Congress about her regrets:
“The doctor condemned abortion saying, “Because we can’t see what they will become, we sacrifice unborn babies for the people we can see. Our society has been subjected to extreme propaganda. We have sanitized our language to make abortion more palatable.”

Aultman described how she referred to unborn babies as “fetuses” when killing them in abortions but as “babies” when they were wanted and she regretted the incongruity. She also recalled the “tiny but perfectly formed limbs, intestines, kidneys, and other organs” of aborted babies — whose parts Planned Parenthood sells after abortions.

She also recalled a woman who had multiple abortions and little moral qualms with aborting another baby.

“What struck me was the apathy of the first patient and the hostility of the second towards the fetus, contrasted with the sorrow and misery of the woman who knew what it was to have a child,” Aultman testified. “I realized that the baby was the innocent victim in all of this. The fact that the baby was unwanted was no longer enough justification for me to kill it. I could no longer do abortions.””

Accusations keep coming in Hollywood- four women have accused Danny Masterson, That 70s Show star (and a scientoligist) of violent rape. Scientology cult has gotten involved and stalled the case.

Married priests in special circumstances within the Catholic church?

VA race– Ralph NOrtham ad portrays all Gillespie voters as murderous racists. Northam claims he didn’t endorse it and had no idea, but his campaign claimed it as an in-kind contribution.

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The names of the victims in New York’s most recent terror attack

Heartbreaking. Five Argentinan men, friends since high school, visiting NYC for the trip of a lifetime. Friends. Husbands. Fathers. Sons. Brothers. A Belgian tourist, wife, mother. Two Americans.

Mowed down by a immigrant who never should have been let in. He came on a diversity lottery and contributed nothing but heartache and heavy expenses. This is the diversity he brought. This is his gratitude.

He had already prompted an FBI investigation of his activities 2 years ago.

These 8 people are dead because of a mindless bleeding heart immigration program. Their families are devastated because we pretend diversity itself is a net gain no matter what and we will not vet the people most likely to take terror to our streets because we would apparently rather innocent people die than guilty people get stopped and some innocent strangers get asked for extra paperwork or, gasp, told they cannot come into our home.

This is not charity. It isn’t hospitality. It is not compassion. It is madness.

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Redefining a Cell

How the Internet of cells has biologists buzzing
Networks of nanotubes may allow cells to share everything from infections and cancer to dementia-linked proteins.

It’s pretty interesting. Here’s just a short excerpt:
“The work has captured imaginations. “It was a seminal paper,” says Okafo. “Prior to that there was still some scepticism about whether these phenomena existed in vivo.” But it’s not clear whether Winkler’s results apply to other scenarios. Various sorts of brain cell are known to send out cell protrusions as they grow and proliferate. The tubes that Winkler’s team reported are much larger than the ‘tunnelling nanotubes’ that were originally described by Gerdes, and, unlike most tunnelling nanotubes reported so far, contain microtubules — filaments that move components around in cells. However, Winkler thinks that his work provides evidence for a broad role for tunnelling-nanotube-like structures. He thinks they may not be able to reach full size in culture, and the tubes he does see vary considerably in length and thickness. Winkler recalls discussing his work with Gerdes before Gerdes’ death in 2013. “He said that this was what the field was waiting for. It was exactly the proof that he thought we could find.”

In other fields, too, the tubes are gaining traction. Eliseo Eugenin, who studies HIV at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, suggests that HIV-infected cells send out multiple nanotubes filled with virus to reach uninfected cells. Circulation and one-on-one cellular contact would be too inefficient to cause the rapid amplification of the virus seen in newly infected patients. “The mathematics don’t work,” he says. He thinks that other researchers are sceptical of nanotubes because they are unable to reconcile themselves to the idea that cells are constantly exchanging materials, including genetic information. “Our definition of a cell is falling apart,” Eugenin says. “That is why people don’t believe in these tubes, because we have to change the definition of a cell.”

Battle lines
When the definition of the cell is at stake, it is little wonder that scepticism remains strong. Emil Lou, a cancer researcher at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, says his grant proposal to hunt for and characterize nanotubes in human cancers was pooh-poohed because a reviewer was not convinced that the structures existed.

Others argue that they do exist — but only in the rarefied world of the Petri dish. Michael Dustin, an immunologist at the University of Oxford, UK, says that he has seen cells in dishes form structures that would never occur in the dense tissue of an organism. For example, white blood cells primed to produce antibodies produce a “beautifully symmetric” bull’s-eye pattern in a dish, very different from the chaos and asymmetry they show in the body.”

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The Pursuit of Truth

Gilbert de Tournai in the 14th century: “Never will we find truth if we content ourselves with what is already known… Those things that have been written before us are not laws but guides. The truth is open to all, for it is not yet totally possessed.

Fra. Giordano in Florence in 1306: Not all the arts have been found; we shall never see an end to finding them. Every day one could discover a new art.”

Li Yen-chang in China around the same era, : If scholars are made to concentrate their attention solely on the classics and are prevented from sipping into study of the vulgar practices of later generations, then the empire will be fortunate indeed.”

From Rodney Stark’s Victory of REason

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