Janice Boekhoff
 

Devotion

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

John 20: 24-25

Have you ever found yourself weighted down by questions? I naturally question things and I find I have more in common with doubting Thomas than I’d like to admit. But here’s the funny thing—God made me this way—and yes, He did it on purpose. You see, God’s not afraid of our questions. He doesn’t run away from our doubts. If we bring those questions to Him, He meets them head on with truth and love.

But what if we don’t bring the questions to Him?

Therein lies the problem for most of us. We buy into the fear that our questions raise. When our logical minds don’t have all the answers, we fear trusting God. Sometimes, we even fear what other people might think when we don’t know how to answer our own questions. But if we try to test God—to make Him quiet all our doubts—He is disappointed by our lack of faith.

God made us to turn our questions to Him. He reveals the answers to us when we need them and almost always after we’ve already demonstrated our faith in Him.

Each day, we can trust Him, even before the questions arise in our minds. Because He is perfectly good, holy, and just. He is trustworthy. He’s done nothing to deserve our lack of faith. Even if bad things have happened in our lives, He has been faithful. And He has rescued us from this life.

Dear Lord, thank you for the inquisitive minds you have given us. Help us to turn our questions to You and to grow in our faith when we don’t have the answers. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Fun Science Fact

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Alien Autopsy

Yes, it’s still October so it’s still hoax month on my blog! This one is one of the most elaborate hoaxes of the twentieth century. In 1995, Ray Santilli, a British music and video producer, released footage of an autopsy on an alien that he claimed crashed in Roswell, New Mexico in 1945. Supposedly, he bought the film–contained on 22 film reels–from a retired military cameraman.

In 2006, Ray Santilli confessed to the hoax (the same time that he released a comedy movie based on the hoax called Alien Autopsy). The alien body was created by sculptor, John Humphreys, who also played the part of a surgeon in the film. The innards of the alien consisted of sheep brains, raspberry jam and chicken entrails.

Although autopsy experts weren’t fooled by this hoax, many UFO believers were. This film propelled the notion of aliens at Roswell into popular culture.

References: http://hoaxes.org/archive/permalink/alien_autopsy, http://www.livescience.com/742-story-alien-autopsy-hoax.html

 

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/536728722/”>jurvetson</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

Haeckel’s Faked Embryos

 

I graduated with my geology degree in the year 2000 and of course I still remember most of what my professors drilled into me about rocks, dinosaurs and evolution. One of the key phrases I was made to memorize is “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” Weird, huh? Say that to your friends three times fast and they might commit you to a mental institution.

This strange phrase has a specific meaning: embryological development (ontogeny) progresses through (recapitulates) the same changes that occurred during evolution (phylogeny). Basically, evolutionists believed (and some still believe) that in the womb vertebrate embryos progress through the previous stages of evolution before developing into a vertebrate (an organism with a backbone).

Too bad this idea is completely false. And the research this theory was originally based on was fraudulent.

Called the biogenetic law, this theory was first published by Ernst Haeckel, a German biologist, in 1866. Haeckel produced a series of drawings to prove his theory. These drawings were discredited as early as 1874 and yet the sketches found their way into a 1901 book called Darwin and After Darwin. Ever since then, these drawings have been cited in textbooks everywhere as fact and proof of evolution.

The textbooks I studied to get my geology degree included Haeckel’s drawings. It made sense to me, as someone who believed in evolution, that you would be able to see evidence of it in embryos. I had no idea I was looking at false evidence.

Even today, many biology textbooks will say evolution is evident in embryological development, although they wisely leave out Haeckel’s drawings. But even this isn’t true. Early vertebrate embryos are quite different. Haeckel faked the evolutionary progression by obscuring the differences and highlighting the similarities between embryos of fish, salamander, turtle, chicken, pig, cow, rabbit and humans. He even changed the scale, in one case where the difference in size was 10 fold, to make the embryos appear similar (for a picture of Haeckel’s drawings compared with the actual embryos click here, it’s the second set of pictures).

Why would Haeckel misrepresented these embryos? To prove the case of a common ancestor.

In 2000, shortly after I graduated, Stephen Jay Gould (a committed evolutionist) went on record saying that scientists should be ashamed of the “century of mindless recycling” that led to these drawings being used in modern textbooks. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

What could lead to over a hundred years of belief in a fraudulent idea? Commitment to the ideology of evolution.

What do you think? Why would scientists look past the evidence (or not examine it close enough) to recognize such a fraud?

References: http://www.discovery.org/a/3935, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/06/haeckels_embryos_make_multiple047321.html, http://creation.com/fraud-rediscovered

 

Devotion

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

Psalm 56:3-4

Recently we took a trip to Costa Rica (in Central America) and I had a chance to deal with one of my fears. Costa Rica is a wonderful country to visit, unless you’re afraid of heights like me. The problems started in the car before we even reached the hotel. The mountain roads are steep, made of gravel, and they hang off the side of the mountain. If you happen to miss one of the hairpin turns, the plummet down would be hundreds of feet to a fiery demise.

And then there’s the hanging bridges which bounce and shake as you walk across the span of a deep gorge. One of them had wooden planks that were falling out and I would have sworn it came from one of the Indiana Jones movies.

As if that wasn’t enough, I decided to go zip lining. Yes, I was determined to conquer this fear. A tram took us up to 600 feet off the rainforest floor and six zip lines were to take us down. Once you traveled the first line, you had to finish because there was no other way off the mountain. I watched at least ten people go down that first one, making sure no one died, before I got the nerve to try.

I stepped up, they hooked up my harness, and let me go, screaming all the way.

I prayed (and screamed) the whole way—mostly screamed—and kept my eyes shut. On the other side, I could barely breathe and I couldn’t believe I’d done it.

Shaking like a leaf, I did the next one (still screaming) and peeked my eyes open just a little. I discovered, if I could get over the fear, the view was more than beautiful. A huge valley stretched out between the jungle-covered mountains and beyond was more mountains and verdant forest. A display of majesty only God could have created and only God and the zip liners could see.

More than once my life has been just like that. If I can get over the fear (the worry, the stress), the view is spectacular and I get a little glimpse of what God sees.

Although, I didn’t cure my fear of heights completely that day (I’m never going zip lining again), I experienced the joy of stepping out in faith, knowing God was out there. What joy is awaiting you along the crazy zip line of your life? Will you look beyond your fear to see it?

Dear Lord, thank you for all the places You meet us, in our daily lives and in the terror of the moment. Give us Your peace for all those things which scare us. Help us to step out with faith in You. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Fun Science Fact

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The Nacirema Tribe

In June of 1956, Horace Miner, an anthropologist, published a paper in the journal American Anthropologist about a North American tribe with strange rituals. This tribe, called the Nacirema, used horse hair brushes in their mouths, scraped their faces with sharp ritualized instruments, and visited holy mouth-men in the hopes of drawing people to them. The Nacirema believe the body is ugly and through these daily rituals they can bring satisfaction and beauty.

Shortly, after writing the essay, Miner exposed it as a satire on the American culture (Nacirema is American spelled backward). The examples given in his essay above are of brushing teeth, shaving and visiting the dentist. While most of these rituals are not considered obsessive in our culture, merely hygienic, his point was to make us examine our relationship with our bodies.

Miner’s essay seems even more relevant today. Our obsession with beauty and perfection (at least perfection as we see it) often leads to a lifetime of self-hate. Perhaps we should heed Miner’s warning and not take ourselves/our looks/our status too seriously.

Although this might stretch the limit of a hoax because he did it just to make a point and not for money, I thought his ideas were so fun I had to include this here. Why not make up a North American Tribe just for fun? Sounds like something a crazy author like me might do. But seriously, what do we have if we can’t look at ourselves and the strange things we do with humor?

 

References: http://www.academia.edu/5378614/Body_Ritual_Among_the_Nacirema_Summary, http://prezi.com/wthiqnj5jqty/copy-of-the-nacirema/

Photo Credit: ID 23605419 © John Roman | Dreamstime.com

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