A Framework for Assessing Truth

I am a skeptic by nature.  What I mean by this is:  if you tell me that A causes B, I cannot accept that at face value.  You must tell me by what mechanism does A cause B.  I apply this to just about everything that I am analyzing.  A good understanding of organic chemistry, physiology and biology can really help when trying to decipher whether a particular course of action is likely to be effective or just a waste of time and money.

The internet is a wealth of information and an overabundance of unsubstantiated claims.  To support the dissemination of this information, wherever you look, someone is trying to sell you something  and that’s what keeps the internet alive!

Many of the controversial debates – vaccinations, GMO’s, alternative medicines, etc. consist of one side making assertions and the other discounting them.    The problem I see is that often each side is demanding absolute proof from the other side that what they are asserting is truth.   In the real world, truth is a probability estimate – and there’s always a margin of error.  We can say that it’s highly unlikely that there exists a black swan with white polka dots, but we can’t absolutely know since we can’t survey every square inch of the universe to make certain that there is indeed no black swan with white polka dots!  (thanks to Ravi Zacharias for the illustration).   When looking at biological systems, we must seek for the best possible explanation, proposing the mechanism of action for the observed effect.  Experiments can be performed that can demonstrate similarities and differences.   For instance, we know that candida flourishes in the presence of iron.  Remove iron from the environment and candida languishes.  Red blood cells need iron to form hemoglobin.  Remove iron from the diet and anemia can result.

When debates occur over what causes or exacerbates autism, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses, there are many proposed answers to the questions.   Processed foods, vaccinations, sugar, GMO’s, plastic containers, microwaves, teflon, barbecue grills, air pollution, coal, nuclear energy, high frequency electronic waves, etc. are some of the proposed facilitators of modern ailments.   What I want to hear from the proponents of each theory of cause and effect, is this:  what is the cellular action of each of these cause agents?  How do they affect the human biology?  Don’t just say: “it’s poison”.  Tell me what normal cellular function is disrupted – and prove it.   When the problem is properly assessed, then the solution can be developed.

I don’t believe GMO’s cause cancer.  I don’t believe vaccinations cause autism.  I don’t think electric wires cause schizophrenia.  Or that space aliens are experimenting on random humans.   I do believe that much of what we think is settled science, is not really settled.  The human body and mind is much more complex than we can imagine and there is much yet to be discovered.  Here’s to more science and less rhetoric.

 

Thoughts on Abortion

Abortion has to be one of the most heinous acts known to humanity.  It is the final act in a string of acts that leaves destruction in its path.  Like a tornado – it is preceded by dark clouds, accompanied by terror and followed by debris.  Abortion is a permanent solution proposed for a problem perceived.  It is an act of desperation committed to avoid the consequences of lust, impatience, or lack of restraint.   It is an age-old problem with age-old consequences.

In today’s world, techniques have been developed that may reduce the consequences of the pregnant woman.  But it has never reduced the consequences to the infant involved – it always kills, if the process works as designed.

The arguments for abortion are these:  1) The mother’s health, mental status, economic status, social status, etc. are more important than the life of the infant.  2) The infant’s potential quality of life would not validate his or her existence.  3) The infant is not really an infant human until it is achieved (fill in the blank) age, therefore it is not murder.  4) Society is served by reducing the number of (fill in the race/ethnicity/handicap) children born.  5) The earth will be overpopulated if we don’t reduce through abortion.

The arguments against abortion are these: 1) Science says that at conception, the embryo is human – not other life form. 2) Setting a time frame cutoff for viability is a moving target.  Technology advances have changed what we once thought as the limits of viability.  3) Acts of murder are considered morally reprehensible in every society – the only degree of difference being the value of the victim to society.  4) No one knows the future.  To cut off a life because we speculate that it will hinder another’s full development is just that – speculation.  5) We do not really know what our earth is able to support.  Many population theorists have been proven wrong because their predictions were based on existing technology.

The problem of abortion goes far beyond the act of abortion itself.  What is the cause of abortion?   We have a society that no longer values the sacredness of sexuality.   We no longer see ourselves as made in the image of God with sexuality as a gift that unites man and woman in a way no other communion can duplicate.   We have made it into a pleasure vehicle, a medium for selling other stuff, a worship of ourselves.   The fact that sexuality is the means by which we fulfill God’s command – to multiply and fill the earth – becomes a hindrance to free use of the gift.  Restraint becomes a curse instead of a means of heightening the enjoyment of the gift.    We have a selfish, self-centered society that has never grown beyond an infant’s need for attention and fulfillment without thought to the sacrifices others make.   Abortion has become the cure for carelessness, the back-up plan for impulsiveness, lack of self-control, the concealer of many sins of greed and lust.

So what is the solution to this problem?  1) Recognize it for what it is: murder of an infant – not a product of conception, a zygote, embryo, or fetus.  2)Examine the root causes of abortion.  Human beings make selfish, self-centered choices and put themselves and all who come into contact with them in danger due to those choices.  3) Reach out to the ignorant with the Good News – Christ came to set us free from the consequences of bad choices – not by invalidating or covering up those choices, but by giving us grace in the midst of dealing with consequences and by giving us His mind.  Having the mind of Christ helps us make better choices.   The security of being buried with Him to sin and alive with Him unto God, gives us confidence to defeat the temptations of our human weaknesses, the lure of empty promises that the world makes, and the illusions that Satan projects to draw us away from our real life with God.   4) Bring to every situation the Word of God.  Our God is not an aloof, disconnected powerful being.  Our God suffered as a human, endured every temptation known to mankind, lived life perfectly as a human being without succumbing to the sin that drew our foreparents out of the garden, died and was raised again.  As He is seated in the Heavenly places physically, so we are seated there spiritually.  We only have to draw on that power to live life with hope and purpose.

Abortion must be fought – not just because it destroys a baby – but because it subtly tells a woman that she does not have a future with that baby – that she is not smart enough, strong enough, capable enough to find a path and purpose for herself and her child.   It is disrespectful to the baby, to the woman and to God, who gives life.  Let’s do more to make abortion a choice no one would ever make!