Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Man Can Do Nothing Better

...than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. ~Ecclesiasties 2:24

People have asked me recently how it's going with the two girls. My response has been fairly consistent.

"I'm not having fun."

Don't get me wrong: We're doing quite well. The girls seem to have adjusted marvelously. We've got a solid routine. They eat well. They sleep well (well, naps are different, but bedtime is fine). They've got their "please" and "thank yous" down. They love the park. The love playing with blocks. They get along. They're both coming along with potty training. All good things.

But me... I've rediscovered just how much I don't find joy in children. Not that I don't like kids. I do. But my mom said it best: "Luke likes it when kids come to him on his terms." And once you're watching kids, you have to meet them where they are. As Brittany's mom said: "You have to play with them at their level."

So, again: "I'm not enjoying it."

Brittany asks me, "Weren't you having fun?" after we've been roughhousing or building with blocks while giggles filled the house.

"It wasn't torture," I tell her.

But then I recall a conversation I had with my older sister a few years ago. I'm not sure how the topic came up, but she put the question to me, "So, Luke, what do you do for fun?"

"Fun? Umm... I write. ...I like movies. ...I... I guess I don't have fun." Never before had that thought crossed my mind. My natural exuberance about life masks this general apathy when it comes to my personal experience.

Those ideas collided today.

Kids is one of the few areas of life that people ask about our enjoyment. Granted, we ask about other elements here and there--did you like dinner? did you have fun on that ride? how was the movie? But those are events, not phases. College and work are probably the two closest proximities. But our enjoyment of these has much more to do with the environment and tasks we preform. Kids seems to question your humanity by your connection with the munchkins.

Perhaps my answer is biased by the simple fact that I just don't have fun much.

If that is the case, I take comfort in "the teacher" who suggested that I can do no better than enjoy ice cream, bed time, and what I do.

And I do.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Evolution vs. Creationism - Part9

[Long posts scare me. Read time: 5.25min]

I have to return this book tomorrow, so I'm going to whip through the rest of it very quickly.

In Chapter 4, Scott presents a very interesting overview of the scientific community prior to the 20th century. Covering a wide range of people from Plato to Pope Pius XII, Scott points out some of the difficulties that Darwin's ideas faced. For instance, the idea that the world was stable and mostly unchanging [74]. She points out that many discoveries, however, challenged this view. For instance, discovery of the Americas lead to major rethinking of theological as well as scientific assumptions [76]. The scientific community of the mid-nineteenth century considered science to lead to "positive finality. Anything less than certitude was deficient." [80] Darwin's ideas were thus sometimes rejected as not rigorous enough and mere speculation... even though his methodology has since become the standard of science [81]. Scott also claims that Christians reject evolution because of a belief in Special Creation [81] or a need for a Design and Purpose [82].

Scott then discusses some of the political/religious reasons why Americans tended to reject Darwin's ideas despite the fact that, "[by the] mid-twentieth century in Great Britain, Europe, and North America, the scientific community no longer questioned whether evolution occurred." [86]

Scott appears to all but bemoan the lack of centralized education as the reason Americans still don't teach evolution in class [87-88] but then agree with the ACLU that teachers should be given free speech when it comes to teaching evolution [94]. Thus, as long as the educators teach what she likes, she seems willing to flip sides. This is not uncommon for us humans, but an editor should have pointed this out to her.

Chapter 5 covers the "invention" of Creation Science. Scott cites the uneasiness of Fundamentalist parents as more and more students attended high school in early 1900s. [91] My Alma Mater is credited as laying the foundation for Fundamentalism [92] and evolution is rejected for it's incorrect association with German ideals and the robber barons [93]. Scott then talks about the "three-ring circus" of the Scopes trial [93-96] which did little for either side of the controversy [97].

It was Sputnik, Scott claims, that pushed our government to promote science in the classroom... and science was evolution. This lead to a major resurgence of evolution in high schools which had all but disappeared in the years after Scopes [98]. The rest of the chapter is a brief look at the legal history of Creation Science in the courts with a culmination of the Lemon test and other rejections of religion in the classroom.

Most of chapter 6 is dedicated to taking down Intelligent Design. Scott criticizes irreducible complexity by pointing to Behe's mouse trap and the scientists who have made less complex versions [117-118]. Of course, she never cites any of these or gives an example, so these "less complex" options may not actually detract from Behe at all.

Scott next points out that Behe misrepresents the process of evolution. Rather than building piece by piece "like stringing beads", natural selection can build useful, less complex pieces that could form together to make an ultimately irreducibly complex feature [118]. Again, she offers no hint as to how these could, via mutation, combine. She also mentions the "scaffolding" idea: Masons build irreducibly complex arches by supporting the arch with scaffolding before placing the capstone. "The now superfluous components can be removed by natural selection," Scott points out [119]. And while she goes on to criticize Behe's "God of the gaps" argument [119], I don't feel that it is fair to say that her view of evolution is scientifically backed with the gaping holes in her own thinking.

It's true: Science may "come up with an additional mechanism" that fills in these gaps [119], but to put such faith in a current idea that has no cited basis in reality feels far-fetched to me. This is especially poignant when Scott later strips away the "dichotomy between 'natural' and 'intelligent' ...because some of the agents on the 'intelligent' side are actually 'natural'" including "extraterrestrials (if such beings exist)" [122]. Which reminds me of a lesson at Biola: If God exists, then we add nothing outside of reality to support our beliefs. Thus, arguably, the most natural force in the universe is God.

Scott makes an excellent observation, however:
Enamored of an ideological, political, or social goal, it is all too easy to misrepresent or ignore empirical data when they do not support the goal; certainly Creation Science is infamous for doing so. [126]

As is, it seems, the education community as well.

Scott next complains that "Intelligent Design proponents ... exploit public confusion about 'Darwinism' to promote doubt about evolution." [127] I'm convinced that if people like Scott actually defined "evolution" and stuck with the definition, IDers wouldn't be able to so easily sway people. Unfortunately for her, Scott seems unable to keep her own theories straight in her writing and has all but confused me more than once. It is little wonder there is confusion in the general public.

In the last few pages of her own writing in this book, Scott finally mentions the reasons I've always been less than convinced of evolution: The evidence against it. Yet Scott seems unwilling to accept that "evidence against evolution exists" [129]. Why? She doesn't say. But she does say, "Presenting evidence against evolution per se is only bad science" [130]. Ironic, since she's spent the rest of her work promoting the wonders of science's corrective measures when faced with evidence.

She concludes her words with a reminder that while evolution is a theory, it is not "just" a theory because theories are "the best [explanations in science]" [130].

I stopped reading on page 135 when Scott mentioned, "I do not present evidence for evolution" because it is the consensus of the scientific community and you'd need to read scientists or take college classes. This, after the opening when she criticizes IDers for not letting her reproduce their writings because their articles would not do their theory justice. [xviii]

So, now again, half way through a book on evolution, I learn that there is none to be found here. Despite my clear request for a book with the evidence.

Final thoughts on this challenge to come...

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Evolution vs. Creationism - Part8

[Long posts scare me. Read time: 3.5min]

Scott spends pages 54-56 talking through the symbolism found in Genesis. My dad has blogged about this before, and there are interesting things to consider in all that.

But then Scott presents us with two huge straw men which she burns in passing. In describing a continuum of Biblical literalists to philosophical naturalists she also tacks on creationists to evolutionists. But wait, there's more! Her first two examples of "creationists" are... flat earthers and geocentrists.

Got that?

She's got two beliefs that are utterly separate from creation as examples of the foolishness of creationism. Granted, they are both part of a literalist continuum of Scripture, but it is completely wrong to include them in a creation/evolution scale.

Somehow she also wants us to equate Young Earthism with Flat Earthism as well. [57]

Now she begins an overview of the various segments of her supposed continuum. A few points worth mentioning:

"The basic body plans of major phyla that appear in the 'Cambrian Explosion' are seen by most [Young Earth Creationists] as evidence of Special Creation." [60] No footnote for further study. No mention of how she got to this idea. No hint as to where we can go to find out why the "Cambrian Explosion" is (or is not) evidence for creation. Nothing. In typical fashion for this work. I'm appalled that the "Internet Bookwatch" would say, on the back of this book, that Scott adheres "to the highest standards of academic research"... when she references nothing of importance. Ever.

Similarly, she states, "In proportion to the mission activity, little scientific research is performed by [Institute for Creation Research] faculty." [61] That doesn't surprise me much. I have no trouble believing it's true. But if you're going to make such a statement, giving some hint as to where she got that idea is essential to prove she isn't just a windbag.

I do appreciate her inclusion of this quote from Matt Cartmill:

Many scientists are atheists or agnostics who want to believe that the natural world they study is all there is, and being only human, they try to persuade themselves that science gives them grounds for that belief. It's an honorable belief, but it isn't a research finding [67].

Scott concludes the chapter by stating,

both supporters and deniers of evolution argue erroneously that because science utilizes methodological naturalism (and quite successfully), science therefore also incorporates philosophical naturalism. Unfortunately, such a confusion makes communication about science and religion, or creationism and evolution, more difficult. [68]

And I would agree.

Of course, arguing from erroneous couplings and citing no evidence also makes discussion more difficult as well.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Monday, September 07, 2009

Evolution vs. Creationism - Part7

[Long posts scare me. Read time: 3.5min]

Eugenie Scott now turns her attention to "Beliefs: Relgion, Creationism, and Naturalism" where she reminds us again that the natural world is not all that people think about; there are parts of reality that science can't examine. [47] This is, perhaps, "the most important reason scientists restrict themselves to materialistic explanations" [50].

She begins by stating that all religions seem to have "a belief in something beyond the material world, an Ultimate or Absolute or transcendent reality" [47]. And the ethical systems of human societies are "usually, though not universally ... strongly influenced by religion" [48].

Two thoughts:

  1. Non- or irreligious people do have a code of ethics. In fact, they are often easily perceived as more ethical than their religiously motivated, intolerant neighbors who are steeped in the blood of religious history. A closer inspection of this perception would, I believe, be very beneficial to everyone; unfortunately, that is far beyond the scope of this post.
  2. While I think it is perfectly fair for Scott to say that ethical systems are "strongly influenced" by religion, I think it is also essential that we recognize that often societal ills are perpetrated by those who are acting outside of their religious code. For example: Pornography use is rampant within the Christian church, but that is outside of the Christian ethic. I think there are fascinating implications to this reality, but--again--that is beyond this post.

Scott next points out that religion often asks the question of motivation: What is the motivation behind a natural disaster? Were the gods angry? These kinds of questions show a "blended" spiritual and natural worldview [49].

But just because we in the Western world accept a natural explanation for a "natural disaster" that does not mean that God was not involved... merely that He can use the natural world. Though, remember, the Bible does seem to show a certain impartiality to the righteous and the unrighteous.

Scott then quotes St. Augustine who makes a good case for not relying on the Bible to inform our views of natural world: If the Christian maintains "foolish opinions about the [natural world based on Scripture], how then are [others] going to believe those Scriptures in matters concerning the resurrection ... and the kingdom of heaven?" And much like Newton, it is wise to take on a natural philosophy and look for laws within nature. [49]

Yet it is entirely possible to stick with a "methodological naturalism" as opposed to a "philosophical naturalism" [50]. Scientists who are Christian often hold to the former, but there are those who go to the latter extreme and thus reject anything beyond the physical world.

Scott then mentions much of what I wrote in Part 2 stating that, "The Catholic Church rejected [geocentrism] partly on scientific grounds" but also because of their interpretation of Scripture [51]. I would also remind us to think of the political motivations as well.

"It is important to define terms and use them consistently," Scott tells us. [51] Too bad she has so infrequently taken her own advice thus far.

She then talks about "Origin Myths" which "are 'true' even if they are fantastic and deal with impossible events [because they] encapsulate important cultural truths" [52]. And I think that is fair; CS Lewis (or, perhaps, Tolkien?) called Christianity the one true myth. Too bad she does not include her own origin myth on page 27 in this mix.

I'll pause here and let you take a break. We'll continue this chapter in the next post.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Evolution vs. Creationism - Part6

[Long posts scare me. Read time: 6min]

Scott tells us: Darwinism is natural selection, not evolution. Again: There is a difference between the phenomenon and the mechanism that makes it happen. In short, if we take "repeated iterations of randomly generated solutions, combined with selection of the characteristics that meet the necessary criteria, [we'll get] a series of solutions that more closely approximate a good solution" [34].

In other words: The key difference between natural selection and Perry Marshal's Random Mutation Generator is that Perry's lacks the part that selects only the mutations that make up proper words... or, at least, recognizable approximations like kthxbai.

Conclusion: Natural selection works with already operating systems where at least a part of the population can function in a different situation. Hang onto that idea because it is, I think, the crux of the failure of this chapter--and probably, this book (if not the entire "theory" in question here).

Scott continues: Thus, natural selection is genetic differences within a population that leads to those who are better suited for the environment to naturally reproduce more than the others. [35] Natural selection is not based on chance, but rather luck. Those who are "lucky" enough to have the genes for a situation procreate. Nothing "chance" about it. [36]

I think it's rather lame to replace "chance" with "luck" ...but whatever. It's her book. Though, I was struck by how closely this kind of verbal quibbling resembles the tension between freewill and predestination.

Scott: Natural selection is survival of the fit enough. "The process of natural selection works more like a tinkerer than an engineer" much like building guitars out of toilet seats and strings... using what you have rather than designing it from the ground up. [37]

I think what Scott is secretly referring to is the flawed nature of the world. It's almost as if she is unconsciously saying, "It's far too messy to be designed by anything like that Christian God." But she doesn't say it. She merely makes these rather odd statements and drifts on.

I am very glad Scott includes this definition: Speciation happens when a population becomes reproductively isolated from the others of its kind. [42 emphasis hers]

I've long known of the struggle to define the term species. And Scott's definition does little to clear things up. For this definition could include speciation if a human population was put on one side of a wall and the rest of us kept on the other side. Granted, she is right in that we will likely see a shift in the evolution of these two groups. But a new species of human? The definition is shaky, but I'll go with it (because at least she's defining something).

But in the end, after having said little more than what is paraphrased above, Scott wants us to know one very important thing: Man is not descended from monkeys. Far from it! No, man is merely related to monkeys via a common ancestor.

So, I am not a descendant of my Uncle Earl. That would be preposterous! But Earl and I are both descendants of my Great Grandpappy Joe.

And that makes it all better.

Only those with with *no* understanding of human relations would believe that "I came from my Uncle Earl."

I had a biology teacher who said that his biggest peeve was that people said humans were descended from apes. Somehow this was huge for him (and others) because we are not descended from them, but rather descended like them from a common earlier thing. I'm still not sure why that bugged him so much. If someone learning English misapplied the idea of the word Uncle to mean Predecessor instead of Relative, I wouldn't get bent out of shape. I may politely correct this minor slip, but my foreign friend would still get the gist of what was happening.

Which has lead me to the following observations:

  1. Scott (and many others) get all bent out of shape with a few specific definitions, and yet fail to clearly define most everything else in their discussion.
  2. It seems that "common ancestor" is the "right" answer simply because it's nebulous whereas apes are concrete. I have yet to hear an explanation of any kind from anyone as to why this distinction is so important.
  3. Scott quoted no science--as she defined it in the previous chapter--that indicates any kind of macro evolution. None.
  4. Instead, she gave very nice details about how rabbits have adapted, birds have diversified, and fish have splintered in various species.
  5. Thus, in a chapter dedicated to evolution, Scott presented absolutely no scientific data--which is explained in detail the chapter before--that points to macro evolution.
  6. Therefore, Scott has shown that evolution only works in the horizontal way with organisms already in place that come pre-built with the ability to adjust.

Therefore, what I understand to be the case still holds true: Change does happen within things via natural selection and genetic mutations. But no data has yet to arise that scientifically demonstrates vertical progression between the species.


And this is the book written by the "Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, the leading advocacy group for the teaching of evolution in the United States." [273] If she can't come up with any data or information, it is little wonder people still seriously question the scientific backing of this idea.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

[Added 8/28/09: Humans are from apes after all. Greg does want us to remember, however, that there's no such thing as "human exceptionalism"...]

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Evolution vs. Creationism - Part5

[Long posts scare me. Read time: 2.5min]

Scott starts out her chapter on evolution proper with a red herring. And a very big and very red one at that. After stating that "most people" define evolution as "man evolved from monkeys" she goes on to point out that "surely no one believes that only males evolved" [23].


Her definition of evolution is "a cumulative change through time" [23]. And this change is seen in astronomy, geology as well as biology. But focusing solidly on the evolution that is really in question requires the definition of living things sharing common ancestors leading directly to decent with modification; the leading mechanism of this is natural selection.

Scott then drifts into abiogenesis after mentioning the big bang. She actually quotes the Miller-Urey experiment [24]. This is utterly ridiculous considering I, as a high school student, wrote a paper that exposed the gaping hole of chirality in this experiment. I find it completely dishonest to continue to present this data as anything other than a nifty idea that failed. And as a scientist--as she talked in great length last chapter--she should have moved on.

But she doesn't. Over the next few pages she tries to impress us with her use of vocabulary and ultimately tells us that we just don't know that much about the origin of life. But! "Once life evolved, biological evolution become possible. ...Life had to precede evolution!" [27]


Life evolves. Then evolution can start.

<nods emphatically> See!?!

...I would appreciate it if she would actually stick with definitions. I hear that's important when you're building a case.

But for now, Scott wants us to remember that the "distinction between the patterns of evolution and the processes of evolution" is important because of criticisms of evolution we will address later [27].


It's lacking.

Scott now gives us a brief history of time:
Deep time: A long period--so long it's hard to get your mind around it. Thus something magical happened.
...and then cells, invertebrates... wait:

"[D]evelopmental biologists [are astounded to discover] that very small changes in genes affecting early, basic structural development can cause major changes in body plans" [30]. Actually, small changes in genes can really mess all of us up. Though, to be fair, it is interesting that such little changes can massively affect the outcome.

More gibberish about how things may or may not have changed. And then: The four basic principles of biological evolution are "natural selection, adaptation, adaptive radiation, and speciation." [33]

Which we'll delve into more in the near future.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Monday, August 24, 2009

Evolution vs. Creationism - Part4

[Long posts scare me. Read time: 4min]

We live in a universe made up of matter and energy, a material universe. [M]ost individuals believe that the universe includes something in addition to matter and energy, but science is limited to the latter two. [pg 3]

I am so thankful that Scott started out her book with this acknowledgment. Science does not address everything, nor can it. But, for the material universe, it is well suited for the task.


Because, Scott gladly tells us, science relies on the natural world "as the arbiter of truth." [3] Unlike, say, Authority, which could be misinformed or lying; Revelation, which relies on supernatural powers with which at least someone disagrees (e.g. Greek gods, Muhammad, Mormons, Catholics can't agree on what is right); Logic, which requires that we properly understand the "real world" before it is of any practical application. [4]

But Science! Ah, Science; Science goes to the natural world for verification. Even so, Scott notes, this is "not perfect." [5] Scott then rambles on for a few pages about all the ways that Science has found itself wrong over time; constantly correcting wrong ideas, and ultimately getting us every closer to truth... but always open to further illumination. In fact, Facts are the "least important" aspect of scientific inquiry, behind Hypotheses and Laws with Theories at the top. And a Theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses." [14]

Theories aren't just hunches. Instead, they rely on "inferential reasoning"... which makes them scientific and therefore... umm... well... er... she doesn't say. But she does want us all to know that "most people" don't use the term properly. [14]

Using the powerful scientific "if/then" model, we can test even evolution scientifically. And here we go:

1. If life came from a common ancestor, then distant past things should be different from what we see today. And, Scott assures us, "this is indeed what we see." [15] But we'll have to take her word as an Authority on that because she cites nothing here (though, she hinted at possibly doing it later in this book).

2. If evolution happened, simple organisms will be in old rock and more complex ones will be in newer rock. Again, we're told this is what scientists have found. No footnotes, references, or data whatsoever. All we get is one nice scientific sounding phrase: Cambrian period.

3. We should see "connecting forms between the major groups." There isn't as much of this, Scott admits, but there are two reference titles she mentions that demonstrate "good evidence" of connecting forms. [15] I don't have access to these titles, but there are enough books published by other scientists--who have read and studied much more than I--that question this interpretation of the fossil record to leave me still skeptical. But, we could all be wrong... so... <shrug>

4. We should not see jumbled sets of fossils. And we don't. Instead, things stay in their proper layers the world over. [16] If this is true--again, no sited evidence, but she's got to be basing this claim on something--I must admit that is intriguing. I don't know what kind Logic Creationists have against this observation. I'm guessing that they'd point to a tree or something. Of course, people disagree.

Scott closes this chapter with this:

Evolution, like other sciences, requires that natural explanations be tested against the natural world. ...The heart of creationism--that an omnipotent being created--is not testable by science, but fact claims about the natural world made by creationists can be. [20]

It's petty, but I didn't realize that evolution was its own science. Does gravitation have its own science? What about electron theory?

I mean, sure, she's writing a book on the topic, but does that mean it should be its own science?

But I do appreciate her comments about science's relationship to creationism. She makes a solid point, and one that is well worth remembering on both sides of discussion.

I may flesh out these ideas more in my next post. But for now, I leave you with just this brief summary of Scott's brief glimpse into the world of science.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fail Gov

...or: How the Government Got a Reality Check

So buried deep within a blog post, the government has given us the closest thing to an apology for bad form as we're going to get.

The upside?

They are now a little clearer as to what they are looking for as far as contacting them about Health Reform is concerned, and you get another cool graphic from me:

Fail Gov

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Evolution vs. Creationism - Part3

[Long posts scare me. Read time: 2min]

I've been using the version of the book, but I'm quickly running out of preview pages.

Inter-Library Loan had better come through for me quickly! <smile>

This evening I got through the "Pillars of Creationism" after briefly glancing at the Preface.

One thing that Scott says that may be noteworthy--though, I'd never thought of it myself, nor saw it mentioned in any of the books I've read on the topic--is that Darwin proposed two major ideas: Common ancestors and natural selection. These are distinct ideas that do not rely on one another. [xxii]

I'll try to keep that in mind as the book gets going. Though I am skeptical that it will ever resurface as an issue.

"Religious objections to evolution are far more important in motivating antievolutionism than are scientific objections to evolution as a weak or unsupported theory." [xxiii] This after a mention of Christians rejecting macro evolution, which is not addressed at all here. Hopefully this critique is answered in the coming chapters. But for now, it feels really awkward to state that there are so few scientific objections to evolution after mentioning in an off-hand way the major definitional one of which I am aware.

It's just odd.

"Educators and scientists argue that a student must understand evolution to be scientifically literate, and insist that the science curriculum would be deficient if evolution were omitted." [xxiv] Sadly, despite four years in a public high school--where I took Advanced Biology among other science courses--I still do not feel like I "understand evolution"... nor do, it seems, most others, as is mentioned earlier in the book as to why Scott is writing this title: "Students [lack] enough basic science .. to understand why creationist critiques of evolution are resisted so strongly by scientists" [xvii]. Again, it's the odd combination of statements that seem to put this book off-kilter.

But I'm still in the introductory comments. I really need to withhold judgment until Scott has started presenting points. Until that time, I'm merely picking at things.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blog Love

Matt from was nice enough to send me a sticker!

And that, my friends, is totally blog worthy:

Church of No People Sticker

Thanks, Matt!

Check out Matt's Church of No People blog. His posts are often thought-provoking and funny. Just the kind of thing I like!

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Evolution vs. Creationism - Part2

[Long posts scare me. Read time: 3min]

Before I get started with this book properly, let me set a little context for this discussion.

First: There truly is nothing new under the sun. I see the current disagreement about evolutionism vs. creationism as potentially much the same as geocentrism vs. heliocentrism: The disagreement is fueled by politics, the religious institutions' fear, the lack of good data from the scientific community, and a general lack ignorance all around.

But, eventually, the geocentric model was overturned, Christians embraced the latest scientific discoveries, the misinterpretation of a few passages of Scripture were corrected, and that debate is but a blip on the map of religious history. And the realignment of religion and science ultimately changed neither.

If evolution proves to be true, I predict a similar outcome: Christians will eventually decide science has it right, they will agree they've been reading passages of their Bibles wrong, and will move on--completely undisturbed by the change. Because, honestly, what theological difference does it make?

Yes, we'd need to admit we've read our Bibles wrong. Not the first time that's happened. We'd also need to admit that some of the people we've supported were errant in their thinking. This is also hardly a new event and this too says nothing about God. There may be a few more "sticky" points in the Bible--perhaps--but we've lived with those for thousands of years as well.

Second: There is a ton of confusion--at least, I'm confused--about the use of the word "evolution" which can refer at least three different things:

  1. The natural process of diversification among species (aka "Micro"/"Horizontal" evolution). This happens and works great with Scripture.
  2. Speciation or "Macro"/"Vertical" evolution: The idea that all species have evolved from a common ancestor (what it appears the book of this series purports).
  3. Abiogenesis: The non-supernatural answer for how life got here.

What I have noticed is that I think most of the "debate" rests on a misunderstanding of the last two. The evolutionists I've spoken with say that abiogenesis is not within the theory of evolution. Speciation is the key; how life started is something else entirely. So, creationists are yelling about one thing (genesis of life) and evolutionists are yelling about another (speciation of organisms):

The Possible Confusion of Creationist/Evolutionist Debate

So when we put both perspectives on their proper side of the timeline, we see that we've been incorrectly mashing the two together. Creationism is one thing. Evolutionism is another. And I'm seeing more and more documentation that points to God designing things to evolve. Which, if true, is a win/win: Scientists were right and God is still the Creator. And, what's more: It cleanly leaves everyone where they should be.

Could it be that even the title Evolution vs. creationism is misleading? Is this book really going to focus squarely on the interpretation of Genesis 1:25: How God made everything according to its kind? Or is it honestly going to show the evidence for abiogensis that renders creation needless?

I hope to find out soon enough!

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Friday, August 14, 2009

Evolution vs. Creationism - Part1

[Long posts scare me. Read time: 3.5min]

After a rather long discussion, I finally got fed up and proposed a challenge: Give me one book that provides the overwhelming evidence for evolution and I'll read it.

And the first one recommended was this title. So I've started. And I'll be taking notes and sharing my thoughts and observations as we go along.

Right now, I'm reading the Foreword by Niles Eldredge. He states:

It seems common-sensical to [those who have absorbed evolution] to see us as the product of natural evolutionary processes--and ... new facts ... such as the astonishing 98.4 percent genetic similarity between humans and chimps ... fit right in. [pg. x]

Sadly, newer data has shown the "98.4% fact" to be astonishingly no where near as precise, nor as "common-sensical" an evidence for evolution as intoned here.

Science ... cannot deal with the supernatural. Its rules of evidence require any statement about the nature of the world to be testable... [pg. xi]

Which sounds, to me, like a great reason to limit how much "faith" [snicker] we put in science. As philosophers I've heard so often remind us: Science cannot account for scientifically why the scientific method is the best (only?) way to understand reality; those who believe that it is, do so on philosophical grounds.

Also, based on this introduction I hope to see evidence in this book for:

[Evolutionary theory's prediction 1:] more closely related organisms will share more similarities with each other than with more remotely related kin; ...there should be a single nested set of similarities linking up all of life. [Scientists are confident life evolved because we see this "nesting" take place: Rodents are similar to each other, but they also share things like cells and RNA, just as is to be expected if all life came from one common ancestor.] [pg. xi]

That's nice. Closely related things--defined by how close we deem them to be related--are more closely related than those we deem to be a more distant relative. "Capital, simply capital!"

[Prediction 2: paraphrased] Life should, through time, go from less complex to more. And we see this. [xi]

I am very interested to see what data they have on the varying levels of complexity going up the sequence, and if any of it points to good reasons to doubt creationism.

Now for an aside he tosses into the mix: [paraphrased] Biology's splits do not match man-made design advances, which along with other stuff, shows Intelligent Design to be false. [xii]

...I do hope there's more to this line of thought because that's a little too easy to topple. If, for instance, God made the world, I wouldn't have any problems believing he'd go about it differently from how we improve our computers. And, as usual, I actually like to know the "other stuff" that shows ideas to be false. I know, I'm through like that.

Creationists persistently and consistently threaten the integrity of science teaching in America--and this, of course, is of grave concern. [Paraphrased:] Their beliefs are narrow, religious and political, and that is why scientific and intellectual truth is of little concern to them. [pg xii]

Well, I'm interested in the scientific and intellectual truths scientists have come up with... that's why I'm reading this book. Therefore, I must not be a creationist, and there is no need for "grave concern" regarding my existence.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Clipping Off the Problems

I tend to pick at my toenails instead of clipping them strait across so as to avoid ingrown toenails as my wife suggests.

Oh well.

It turns out that Uncle Sam may be using our flags to make video clips clearing up some misconceptions. You can watch the videos and get a reality check at

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Fishy Government

So, I was pointed to this fishy post about Obama's Health Insurance Reform.

Which inspired me to make this:
Uncle Sam want YOU to report fishy sites

Feel free to copy the image all you want and pass it around (click it for a larger version). We need to get the word out before more "disinformation about health insurance reform" is spread around the interwebs without the government's knowledge!

Click here to report a site!

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Thursday, July 02, 2009

I Called the Police

I'd never done that before, but yesterday events forced my hand.

Granted, it wasn't 911. I used the local number. But Still. I called the police. Why? Because we've been robbed twice over the past two weeks.

Milk thieves.

We currently get our milk delivered on Wednesday mornings, around 1am, I think. And sometime between then and 6:30 when I go to get it, someone takes a gallon. And since we get the growth hormone free whole milk, that amounts to about $5. Which sounded kinda lame when the officer who came by asked how much the total value of the milk was. "About $10," I told him.

So he's going to have a night patrol car in our area for a while.

Not that that is going to actually catch the thief. It may scare him off though, which means we'd get our milk again.

But to actually catch a thief we need something more. Thus, our plotting. Hiding behind the front door with a fully charged Digital SLR, ready to throw open the front screen to grab a snapshot of the criminal... giving us a shot of their back, or, even if we could get their face there's no way we could ID them. So, we must throw open then door and take them down--which means we'll need to get some police style zip ties...

Seriously. We've spent an hour this evening plotting.

Because, you know, we gotta protect the milk.

And if we can stop someone from further progressing in a life of crime, that's good too.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sonlight 2009 Catalog

We just got our first Sonlight Catalog in the mail today!

Sonlight 2009 Catalog

My wife said, "Oh, I love catalogs! No one else can read it. ...wait, who am I turning into?"

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Eduard!

Our son turned 7 yesterday.

Kyrgyz officials also met yesterday to discuss the future of adoptions from that country.

Today is a holiday in Kyrgyzstan, so we're not sure when we'll hear anything about that meeting, but we are praying that whatever is done is done soon and is best for the children of the 65 families who have already accepted referrals and are waiting for the paperwork to start moving.

To celebrate, we had ice cream:

Birthday Ice Cream

Happy Birthday, Eduard!

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jesus and Playboy

If you have a content filter running, this post just may be the worst thing it's ever encountered.

While doing research for my last post, I quickly stumbled across some... "interesting" [read: incriminating] information. Not only was Kyla a Hooters waitress* at the time--perhaps she still is--but shortly after the incident with Southwest, she was approached by Playboy.


Yep. You know, the magazine that recently sent me an offer of twelve whole issues for only a buck a piece.

Those guys.

Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to get my wife to snap a picture so I could share the occasion with all of you <smile>.

Playboy: 12 Issues for $12

In fact, it turns out that Playboy seems to often approach the "rejected" and "disenfranchised" with open arms and camera lenses. After being rejected as a "rogue brand ambassador" for the Olive Garden, Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson put together an issue of Playboy devoted to The Girls of Olive Garden (the link is an article, not pictures <smile>).

What's interesting to me is that these girls take Playboy up on the offer and gladly pose nude for one of the largest porn--oh, I mean "Adult Entertainment"--magazines in the world.

For whatever reason, girls flock to Playboy when they feel rejected or slighted for being sexy.

All this reminds me of another time, long past, when similar girls would end up near Christ.

And that makes me wonder: What's changed?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

*If SI One was a bit much, you'll want to avoid this site

Thursday, February 12, 2009

South by Southwest

What do these two women have in common?

Kyla and Bar

They have both been on a Southwest plane.

But Kyla, well, she was deemed to be dressed a little too skimpily to be allowed on Southwest's family friendly airplanes back in 2007.

Jump forward in time with me...

Now it's 2009, and, well, something has changed.

Because Southwest recently had an unveiling for their latest plane: The SI One.

Yes, that stands for Sports Illustrated--presumably the "Swimsuit Edition" because Ms. Refaeli is sprawled across the side of the plane in what would best be describe as "skimpy apparel."

Bar and Her SI One Plane

How does one spell "hypocrisy"?

Perhaps it is S-O-U-T-H-W-E-S-T....

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Glimmer, Shred of Hope

My wife was reading some Kyrgyzstan adoption forums today that hinted that things were supposed to get moving again yesterday (January 12th).

I haven't heard anything official, so I almost don't dare to hope. But when you hear that a group is supposed to start signing dossiers this week, how can you not have a glimmer of hope?

But then there's the fear, both of it not coming true and of its possibility.

If this is just a rumor: Despair.

If it's not: Life will change forever.

So what to do with this shred of a rumor?

Pray, yes; but how?

Tears stay in my eyes, prayers in my chest, and my hope hangs precariously over my head. Is hearing unconfirmed rumblings worse than hearing nothing at all?

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Economic Crisis and Soliciting

I came home today to see the surest sign of our economic crises taped to my door:


Obviously things are so hard right now that local businesses have resorted to hiring illiterate children to tape fliers to our doors. This particular paper was taped right over our NO SOLICITING sign.

It always makes me laugh.

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Still Waiting on Kyrgyzstan

So, it's been over a month and a half since my last adoption update.

We have heard nothing in all that time.

For those of you patient enough to keep offering an occasional prayer for us, our children, and their country of origin, we still greatly appreciate it.

Perpetual prayers tend to bother me because I begin to feel like they are rote and ineffectual.

And waiting has been hard. I know that I'm adopting but it's something that I'm now passively doing. I don't feel like I'm involved in the process. I'm not excited. This whole thing seems more like an historical fact than a present reality.

I'm not feeling so great emotionally at the moment, so I don't really have anything else to say right now. It hasn't been the best day in my life.

Thank you all for your love, support and prayers.

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father