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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Did Scientists Create Life?

By Gauranga Kishore Das for on 17 Jun 2010
From ISKCON News

With the recent announcement by the scientific community of the creation of a living organism using synthetic DNA many people are wondering about the religious implications of this achievement. Religion has long claimed that God created life. Will the developments of modern science disprove this crucial part of the religious worldview?

In response to the latest achievements of a group of scientists of the Venter Institute, headed by microbiologist Craig Venter, headlines read: Scientists Create First Self-Replicating Synthetic Life. Such headlines may have the religiously faint of heart amongst us worried that science is laying siege to the empire of theistic belief, the idea that life comes from God, the idea that there is more to life than physical laws, the belief in a soul that resides within and animates the body.

Should we be questioning our beliefs in light of this new discovery?

First, we should be clear on exactly what has been done because some of the headlines like the one above may be misleading. The scientists of the Venter institute have not created life, they have synthetically replicated the DNA sequence of a micro-organism, removed it's original DNA and replaced it with the synthetic DNA. The experiment was a success and the cell began to reproduce.

So what has really been done could be described as a DNA transplant, which is significantly short of creating life.

When asked in an interview on CNN whether he had created life Venter responded, "We created a new cell. It's alive. But we didn't create life from scratch. We were created, as all life on this planet is, out of a living cell."

Venter and his team did not create life, they implanted synthetic DNA into a living microorganism. Practically, this is a big breakthough in the field of microbiology that could have some very important implications in the future, but despite this new breakthrough in genetics, the core philosophical issues still remain untouched in regards to the fundamental nature of life.

The most fundamental question of religion and philosophy is: how did we get here? Until Darwin came along, there was no non-religious answer to this question. Darwin made it possible for a person to be an intellectual atheist, at least superficially. Darwin's answer was random variation or what we now call random mutation. Darwin's basic scientific idea of variation and natural selection was an amazing insight into how species can change and adapt over time, but huge questions still remain.

Is it really possible for one species to change into another? Up until now, there has not really been any evidence of this. The fossil record has not been unforthcoming in its support of Darwin's hypothesis. Species seem to appear in the fossil record fully formed and disappear the same way when new fully formed species take their place.

Genetic evidence seems to strongly confirm Darwin's idea of common ancestry. However, common descent doesn't prove Darwinian evolution to be true, because what really makes Darwin's theory controversial is not the idea of common descent but the idea that the primary force at work in the evolutionary process in randomness, not divine intervention.

All questions about evolution aside, there are still many questions about how the very first living organism arose. The Miller Urey experiment proved that amino acids could be randomly generated in a certain environment but this is far different from life. Even if it is someday shown exactly how life could have come about by totally material processes, and exactly which genetic mutations led to the creation of every organism on the plant, even if we could have a totally naturalistic explanation for all life, we are still left with the problem that these events are so highly improbable that a naturalistic explanation remains.

The odds are so stacked against the creation of life and the evolution of species by Darwinian processes that the generation of life from natural elements and the creation of new species requires a supernatural explanation. The esteemed Carl Sagan estimated that the possibility of human life being randomly generated at 10 to the 2,000,000,000. This number is so large it is practically impossible to fathom.

Borel's law states that any event with odds of less than one in 10 raised to the fiftieth power is impossible. This is because the number of atoms in the universe is only estimated to be ten raised to the eightieth power.

The odds against the creation of life are almost infinitely more than the number of atomic particles in the universe!

The improbability of life can be extended out further into the universe to include fundamental laws of nature. One example is the expansion rate of the universe in relationship to the forces of gravity. Stephan Hawking comments, “Why did the universe start out with so nearly the critical rate of expansion that separates models that recollapse form those that go on expanding forever, that even now, 10 thousand million years later, it is still expanding at nearly the critical rate? If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in 100 thousand million, the universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached its present size. . .It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.”

Even Francis Crick had to admit, "An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going."

The huge improbabilities regarding the existence of life, ranging from the physical laws of the universe, to the creation of the universe, to the individual events in the creation of life, and the evolution of one species into another, lead me to believe there is a conscious force guiding the apparently random processes.

Although the latest achievements of molecular biology are amazing, which may have profound implications for the advancement of science and technology, they are still far short of creating life. And the creation of life in a laboratory would still be far short of life being randomly generated in a universe that is perfectly suited to support life.

I personally don't think that life will be able to be created artificially. BUT even if life is created artificially I don't think it weakens the theological position. Venter and his team spent the last 15 years and over forty million dollars to create and implant their synthetic DNA into a living cell. There doesn't seem to be anything random about that. Rather it only seems to strengthen the design hypothesis.

Rather than disprove the God hypothesis, the advancements of modern science only seem to strengthen it. The more we learn about the Universe, the more we learn about life, the less likely it seems that it could all just be an accident. The more we learn, the more we see the evidence for design, and the more we see the unseen hand of God at work in the universe.

I think Harry Rimmer said it perfectly: “I fail to see how the natural man can scoff at the faith of a Christian who believes in one miracle of creation, when the unbeliever accepts multiplied millions of miracles to justify his violation of every known law of biology and every evidence of paleontology, and to cling to the exploded myth of evolution.”

Monday, June 28, 2010

The End Is Nigh

A fascinating and confronting article from author, educator, and speaker Richard Heinberg on the realities of the end of the age of petroleum. Click here to read the whole article.

Once again, I must repeat: we’re not even close to running out of oil, coal, gas, or most minerals. But we face a convergence of entirely predictable but severe consequences from the depletion of the concentrated, high-grade resources at the top of the pyramid: less affordable and more volatile commodity prices; worse environmental impacts—cumulative, mutually reinforcing impacts—both from accidents and from “normal” extraction operations; declining resource quality; declining EROEI for fossil fuels; and the need for massive new investment both to grow production levels, and to keep environmental consequences at bay.

And all of this is happening just as investment capital (needed to fix all these problems) is becoming scarce. In short, the monetary and non-monetary costs of growth have been rising faster than growth itself, and it looks as though we have now gotten to the inevitable point where growth may in fact no longer be an option.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster reminds us that, of all non-renewable resources, oil best deserves to be thought of as the Achilles heel of modern society. Without cheap oil, our industrial food system—from tractor to supermarket—shifts from feast to famine mode; our entire transportation system sputters to a halt. We even depend on oil to fuel the trains, ships, and trucks that haul the coal that supplies half our electricity. We make our computers from oil-derived plastics. Without oil, our whole societal ball of yarn begins to unravel.

But the era of cheap, easy petroleum is over; we are paying steadily more and more for what we put in our gas tanks—more not just in dollars, but in lives and health, in a failed foreign policy that spawns foreign wars and military occupations, and in the lost integrity of the biological systems that sustain life on this planet.

The only solution is to do proactively, and sooner, what we will end up doing anyway as a result of resource depletion and economic, environmental, and military ruin: end our dependence on the stuff. Everybody knows we must do this. Even a recent American president (an oil man, it should be noted) admitted that, “America is addicted to oil.” Will we let this addiction destroy us, or will we overcome it? Good intentions are not enough. We must make this the central practical, fiscal priority of the nation.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Animal-Cruelty Syndrome

Click here to read the full article from the New York Times

"The connection between animal abuse and other criminal behaviors was recognized, of course, long before the evolution of the social sciences and institutions with which we now address such behaviors. In his famous series of 1751 engravings, “The Four Stages of Cruelty,” William Hogarth traced the life path of the fictional Tom Nero: Stage 1 depicts Tom as a boy, torturing a dog; Stage 4 shows Tom’s body, fresh from the gallows where he was hanged for murder, being dissected in an anatomical theater. And animal cruelty has long been recognized as a signature pathology of the most serious violent offenders. As a boy, Jeffrey Dahmer impaled the heads of cats and dogs on sticks; Theodore Bundy, implicated in the murders of some three dozen people, told of watching his grandfather torture animals; David Berkowitz, the “Son of Sam,” poisoned his mother’s parakeet.

But the intuitions that informed the narrative arc of Tom Nero are now being borne out by empirical research. A paper published in a psychiatry journal in 2004, “A Study of Firesetting and Animal Cruelty in Children: Family Influences and Adolescent Outcomes,” found that over a 10-year period, 6-to-12-year-old children who were described as being cruel to animals were more than twice as likely as other children in the study to be reported to juvenile authorities for a violent offense. In an October 2005 paper published in Journal of Community Health, a team of researchers conducting a study over seven years in 11 metropolitan areas determined that pet abuse was one of five factors that predicted who would begin other abusive behaviors. In a 1995 study, nearly a third of pet-owning victims of domestic abuse, meanwhile, reported that one or more of their children had killed or harmed a pet.

The link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence is becoming so well established that many U.S. communities now cross-train social-service and animal-control agencies in how to recognize signs of animal abuse as possible indicators of other abusive behaviors. In Illinois and several other states, new laws mandate that veterinarians notify the police if their suspicions are aroused by the condition of the animals they treat. The state of California recently added Humane Society and animal-control officers to the list of professionals bound by law to report suspected child abuse and is now considering a bill in the State Legislature that would list animal abusers on the same type of online registry as sex offenders and arsonists.

When I spoke recently with Stacy Wolf, vice president and chief legal counsel of the A.S.P.C.A.’s Humane Law Enforcement department, which focuses on the criminal investigation of animal-cruelty cases in New York City, she drew a comparison between the emerging mindfulness about animal cruelty and the changing attitudes toward domestic abuse in the 1980s. “It really has only been in recent years that there’s been more free and accurate reporting with respect to animal cruelty, just like 30 years ago domestic violence was not something that was commonly reported,” she said. “Clearly every act of violence committed against an animal is not a sign that somebody is going to hurt a person. But when there’s a pattern of abusive behavior in a family scenario, then everyone from animal-control to family advocates to the court system needs to consider all vulnerable victims, including animals, and understand that violence is violence.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tastes Like Chicken: The Quest For Fake Meat

Click here to read the full article from TIME

"The desire to eat meat has posed an ethical question ever since humans achieved reliable crop production: Do we really need to kill animals to live? Today, the hunger for meat is also contributing to the climate-change catastrophe. The gases from all those chickens and pigs and cows, and from the manure lagoons that big farms create, are playing a part in global warming. So the idea of fake meat has never been more alluring. What if you could cut into a juicy chicken breast that wasn't chicken at all but rather some indistinguishable imitation made harmlessly from plant life?"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

UN Urges Global Move To Meat And Dairy-Free Diet

From our friends at Viva Vegie!

Big report out of the UN. Must see. - Pamela Rice


UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet

Lesser consumption of animal products is
necessary to save the world from the worst
impacts of climate change, UN report says

Felicity Carus

112-page online version at:

A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to
save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the
worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said

As the global population surges towards a
predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western
tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products
are unsustainable, says the report from United
Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP)
international panel of sustainable resource

It says: "Impacts from agriculture are expected
to increase substantially due to population
growth increasing consumption of animal products.
Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for
alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial
reduction of impacts would only be possible with
a substantial worldwide diet change, away from
animal products."

Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the
report, said: "Animal products cause more damage
than [producing] construction minerals such as
sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and
crops for animals are as damaging as [burning]
fossil fuels."

The recommendation follows advice last year that
a vegetarian diet was better for the planet from
Lord Nicholas Stern, former adviser to the Labour
government on the economics of climate change. Dr
Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN's
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
has also urged people to observe one meat-free
day a week to curb carbon emissions.

The panel of experts ranked products, resources,
economic activities and transport according to
their environmental impacts. Agriculture was on a
par with fossil fuel consumption because both
rise rapidly with increased economic growth, they

Ernst von Weizsaecker, an environmental scientist
who co-chaired the panel, said: "Rising affluence
is triggering a shift in diets towards meat and
dairy products - livestock now consumes much of
the world's crops and by inference a great deal
of freshwater, fertilisers and pesticides."

Both energy and agriculture need to be
"decoupled" from economic growth because
environmental impacts rise roughly 80% with a
doubling of income, the report found.

Achim Steiner, the UN under-secretary general and
executive director of the UNEP, said: "Decoupling
growth from environmental degradation is the
number one challenge facing governments in a
world of rising numbers of people, rising
incomes, rising consumption demands and the
persistent challenge of poverty alleviation."

The panel, which drew on numerous studies
including the Millennium ecosystem assessment,
cites the following pressures on the environment
as priorities for governments around the world:
climate change, habitat change, wasteful use of
nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilisers,
over-exploitation of fisheries, forests and other
resources, invasive species, unsafe drinking
water and sanitation, lead exposure, urban air
pollution and occupational exposure to
particulate matter.

Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy
products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater
consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of
the world's greenhouse gas emissions, says the
report, which has been launched to coincide with
UN World Environment day on Saturday.

Last year the UN's Food and Agriculture
Organisation said that food production would have
to increase globally by 70% by 2050 to feed the
world's surging population. The panel says that
efficiency gains in agriculture will be
overwhelmed by the expected population growth.

Prof Hertwich, who is also the director of the
industrial ecology programme at the Norwegian
University of Science and Technology, said that
developing countries - where much of this
population growth will take place - must not
follow the western world's pattern of increasing
consumption: "Developing countries should not
follow our model. But it's up to us to develop
the technologies in, say, renewable energy or
irrigation methods." © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Germs In Soil Might Give Learning A Boost

By Randy Dotinga for Health Day News on 25 May 2010
From ISKCON News
Perhaps Yasoda should not have scolded baby Krishna for eating dirt thousands of years ago?

Could certain germs help you learn more easily? New research suggests bacteria could indeed, at least if you spend time outdoors and inhale or consume them.

Researchers looked at mycobacterium vaccae, a kind of natural bacteria that's found in soil. People ingest or breathe in the germ when they spend time in nature, researcher Dorothy Matthews of The Sage Colleges in Troy, N.Y., said in a news release.

Previous research suggested that the germ, when heat-killed and injected into mice, boosted levels of serotonin and lowered anxiety levels. Since serotonin levels are associated with learning, Matthews and her colleague Susan Jenks decided to feed the live bacteria to mice and see if they did a better job of learning a maze than control mice who were not fed the germ.

The mice who ate the bacteria "navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice," Matthews said.

The mice did a better job navigating the maze even after they stopped dining on the bacteria, the researchers reported, although a statistically significant effect appeared to disappear three weeks later.

The findings suggest that the germs "may play a role in anxiety and learning in mammals," Matthews said, and speculated it's possible that "creating learning environments in schools that include time in the outdoors," where the germ is commonly found, "may decrease anxiety and improve the ability to learn new tasks."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Disaster In The Amazon

From Bob Herbert in the New York Times

BP’s calamitous behavior in the Gulf of Mexico is the big oil story of the moment. But for many years, indigenous people from a formerly pristine region of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador have been trying to get relief from an American company, Texaco (which later merged with Chevron), for what has been described as the largest oil-related environmental catastrophe ever.
“As horrible as the gulf spill has been, what happened in the Amazon was worse,” said Jonathan Abady, a New York lawyer who is part of the legal team that is suing Chevron on behalf of the rainforest inhabitants.

It has been a long and ugly legal fight and the outcome is uncertain. But what has happened in the rainforest is heartbreaking, although it has not gotten nearly the coverage that the BP spill has.

What’s not in dispute is that Texaco operated more than 300 oil wells for the better part of three decades in a vast swath of Ecuador’s northern Amazon region, just south of the border with Colombia. Much of that area has been horribly polluted. The lives and culture of the local inhabitants, who fished in the intricate waterways and cultivated the land as their ancestors had done for generations, have been upended in ways that have led to widespread misery.

Texaco came barreling into this delicate ancient landscape in the early 1960s with all the subtlety and grace of an invading army. And when it left in 1992, it left behind, according to the lawsuit, widespread toxic contamination that devastated the livelihoods and traditions of the local people, and took a severe toll on their physical well-being.

A brief filed by the plaintiffs said: “It deliberately dumped many billions of gallons of waste byproduct from oil drilling directly into the rivers and streams of the rainforest covering an area the size of Rhode Island. It gouged more than 900 unlined waste pits out of the jungle floor — pits which to this day leach toxic waste into soils and groundwater. It burned hundreds of millions of cubic feet of gas and waste oil into the atmosphere, poisoning the air and creating ‘black rain’ which inundated the area during tropical thunderstorms.”

The quest for oil is, by its nature, colossally destructive. And the giant oil companies, when left to their own devices, will treat even the most magnificent of nature’s wonders like a sewer. But the riches to be made are so vastly corrupting that governments refuse to impose the kinds of rigid oversight and safeguards that would mitigate the damage to the environment and its human and animal inhabitants.

Pick your venue. The families whose lives and culture are dependent upon the intricate web of waterways along the Gulf Coast of the United States are in a fix similar to that of the indigenous people zapped by nonstop oil spills and the oil-related pollution in the Ecuadorian rainforest. Each group is fearful about its future. Both have been treated contemptuously.

The oil companies don’t care. Shell can’t wait to begin drilling in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska, an area that would pose monumental problems for anyone trying to deal with a catastrophic spill. The companies pretend that the spills won’t happen. They always say that their drilling operations are safe. They said that before drilling off Santa Barbara, and in the rainforest in Ecuador, and in the Gulf of Mexico, and everywhere else they drill.

Their assurances mean nothing.

President Obama has suspended Shell’s Arctic drilling permits and has temporarily halted the so-called Arctic oil rush. What we’ve learned from the BP debacle in the gulf, and from the rainforest, and so many other places, is just how reckless and inept the oil companies can be when it comes to safeguarding life, limb and the environment.

They’re dangerous. They need the most stringent kind of oversight, and swift and severe sanctions for serious wrongdoing. At the same time, we need to be searching with a much, much greater sense of urgency for viable energy alternatives. Treating the Amazon and the gulf and the Arctic as if they were nothing more than toxic waste sites is an affront to the planet and all life-forms that inhabit it.

Chevron doesn’t believe it should be called to account for any of the sins Texaco may have committed in the Amazon. A spokesman told me that the allegations of environmental damage were wildly overstated and that even if Texaco had caused some pollution, it had cleaned it up and reached an agreement with the Ecuadorian government that precluded further liability.

The indigenous residents may be suffering (they’re in much worse shape than the people on the gulf coast) but the Chevron-Texaco crowd feels real good about itself. The big money was made, and the trash was left behind.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Deniable Darwin

From our friend Gauranga Kishore. Click here to read the full article

by David Berlinsky

Charles Darwin presented On the Origin of Species to a disbelieving world in 1859 - three years after Clerk Maxwell had published "On Faraday's Lines of Force," the first of his papers on the electromagnetic field. Maxwell's theory has by a process of absorption become part of quantum field theory, and so a part of the great canonical structure created by mathematical physics.

By contrast, the final triumph of Darwinian theory, although vividly imagined by biologists, remains, along with world peace and Esperanto, on the eschatological horizon of contemporary thought.

"It is just a matter of time," one biologist wrote recently, reposing his faith in a receding hereafter, "before this fruitful concept comes to be accepted by the public as wholeheartedly as it has accepted the spherical earth and the sun-centered solar system." Time, however, is what evolutionary biologists have long had, and if general acceptance has not come by now, it is hard to know when it ever will.

In its most familiar, textbook form, Darwin's theory subordinates itself to a haunting and fantastic image, one in which life on earth is represented as a tree. So graphic has this image become that some biologists have persuaded themselves they can see the flowering tree standing on a dusty plain, the mammalian twig obliterating itself by anastomosis into a reptilian branch and so backward to the amphibia and then the fish, the sturdy chordate line - our line, cosa nostra - moving by slithering stages into the still more primitive trunk of life and so downward to the single irresistible cell that from within its folded chromosomes foretold the living future.

This is nonsense, of course. That densely reticulated tree, with its lavish foliage, is an intellectual construct, one expressing the hypothesis of descent with modification.

Evolution is a process, one stretching over four billion years. It has not been observed. The past has gone to where the past inevitably goes. The future has not arrived. The present reveals only the detritus of time and chance: the fossil record, and the comparative anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of different organisms and creatures. Like every other scientific theory, the theory of evolution lies at the end of an inferential trail.

The facts in favor of evolution are often held to be incontrovertible; prominent biologists shake their heads at the obduracy of those who would dispute them. Those facts, however, have been rather less forthcoming than evolutionary biologists might have hoped. If life progressed by an accumulation of small changes, as they say it has, the fossil record should reflect its flow, the dead stacked up in barely separated strata. But for well over 150 years, the dead have been remarkably diffident about confirming Darwin's theory. Their bones lie suspended in the sands of time-theromorphs and therapsids and things that must have gibbered and then squeaked; but there are gaps in the graveyard, places where there should be intermediate forms but where there is nothing whatsoever instead.1
Before the Cambrian era, a brief 600 million years ago, very little is inscribed in the fossil record; but then, signaled by what I imagine as a spectral puff of smoke and a deafening ta-da!, an astonishing number of novel biological structures come into creation, and they come into creation at once.

Thereafter, the major transitional sequences are incomplete. Important inferences begin auspiciously, but then trail off, the ancestral connection between Eusthenopteron and Ichthyostega, for example - the great hinge between the fish and the amphibia - turning on the interpretation of small grooves within Eusthenopteron's intercalary bones. Most species enter the evolutionary order fully formed and then depart unchanged. Where there should be evolution, there is stasis instead - the term is used by the paleontologists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge in developing their theory of "punctuated equilibria" - with the fire alarms of change going off suddenly during a long night in which nothing happens.

The fundamental core of Darwinian doctrine, the philosopher Daniel Dennett has buoyantly affirmed, "is no longer in dispute among scientists." Such is the party line, useful on those occasions when biologists must present a single face to their public. But it was to the dead that Darwin pointed for confirmation of his theory; the fact that paleontology does not entirely support his doctrine has been a secret of long standing among paleontologists. "The known fossil record," Steven Stanley observes, "fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Why A Big Mac Costs Less Than A Salad

From Catherine Rampall at the New York Time Economix blog

The Consumerist recently linked to this remarkable chart:

The chart was put together by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, but its figures still, alas, look quite relevant. Thanks to lobbying, Congress chooses to subsidize foods that we’re supposed to eat less of.

Of course, there are surely other reasons why burgers are cheaper than salads. These might include production costs, since harvesting apples is probably more naturally seasonal than slaughtering cows (even though both are in demand year-round). Transportation and storage costs might also play a role, as it’s probably easier to keep ground beef fresh and edible for extended periods of time, by freezing it, than cucumbers.

Whatever the cause of the pricing change, there is little doubt that many healthful foods have gotten much more expensive relative to unhealthful ones. David Leonhardt showed this in another remarkable chart, published here last year, that displays how the prices of different food groups have changed relative to their pricing 30 years ago:


You can find his commentary on this chart here. For more on the relationship between food pricing and obesity, go here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hare Krishna Cook Plans Fast Food Chain With A Difference

By Madhava Smullen on 21 May 2010
From ISKCON News
A rainbow of flavors fresh from the field.

Adiraja Dasa, a Hare Krishna cook who authored 1989’s The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking and managed soup kitchens in Geneva, Paris and Detroit is planning to launch the first in a nationwide chain of healthy vegan fast food restaurants called “Peacemakers” in summer 2011.

If the Detroit, Michigan prototype—subtitled “Healthy, Affordable Food for Everyone”—is a success, then two others will follow in the same area in 2012.

Adiraja’s plan is to have at least one farm in each U.S. State directly supplying local restaurants with fresh, organic produce.

He has already acquired a seven-acre farm in rural Pickney, just twenty minutes drive from the Detroit Metropolitan area where the first Peacemakers will stand, on which he is growing over forty types of heirloom vegetables and feeding seventy-five families—mostly locals including customers from the upperclass Grosse Pointe area.

This, however, is only a temporary basis on which to build: In Adiraja’s final business plan, Vedic Village Educational Farms of at least 100 acres each will supply the Peacemakers chain.

“This business model of restaurants and farms working together to minimize production costs, while educating and empowering people to make smart food choices, will enable Peacemakers to provide healthy meals at current fast food prices,” Adiraja says. “And it will be great food, too: We’ll offer vegan burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads, fresh juices, smoothies, desserts, freshly baked goods, and ethnic meals, including raw/living-food options.”

Eventually, Adiraja says, dairy options will also be introduced at Peacemakers, but they will be made only from raw milk from lovingly protected cows fed with organic green grass.

It’s certainly a gulf of difference away from the mainstream fast food industry, and playing the opposite game is essentially Adiraja’s business plan—he wants to tap into the appeal of a 110 billion-dollar a year industry, but with none of its negative points.

“We, America, have been called a fast food nation eating ourselves to death,” he says. “But Peacemakers will be a fast food chain helping people to restore their health. Fast food restaurants typically make their profits largely at other peoples’ expense—damaging health and the environment, and creating jobs the average person stays no more than four months in. But we’ll get away from tractorization by using oxen to plow the fields, preserve farmland, provide the healthiest, organic, locally grown, ultra-fresh food at affordable prices, and create careers with longevity and purpose.”

Both the Peacemaker restaurants and farms will also be designed using green technology and will further drop their overhead by attracting plenty of volunteer help, according to Adiraja.

“They will also be educational centers that teach about restoring our physical health and the health of the planet,” he explains. “At the restaurants, people will be able to learn how to prepare healthy meals in their own homes; and at the farms, there will be facilities for people to stay over so that they can learn how to grow and sell organic produce for a living, eliminating the middle-man.”

And the project is for everyone: although some have dismissed Adiraja’s decision to launch his first restaurant in Detroit, a city not exactly famous for its vegetarian population, he says that this is missing the point. “This is not just for vegetarians,” he says. “The vast majority of meat-eaters will also be attracted to healthy, fresh food, even if it’s vegan—and our special diet menus for people with obesity, diabetes, and high-blood pressure will provide added value.”

Attracted by the idea and its gentle spiritual overtones of peace, helping the planet and self-realization, many have already stepped forward to help: experts in building with green technology, restaurant designers, cooks, and farm workers are waiting on the sidelines for the business plan and financing to come together.

Meanwhile, researchers and business students from Wayne State University are helping to finish the business blueprint, and various companies are showing interest in financing the project.

Adiraja feels that Peacemakers is coming at perfect time, when people are aware that something has to change in the world.

“From a spiritual perspective, to heal this planet we have to stop killing animals, treat the earth like our mother, and and get back to eating a spiritually supportive diet,” he says. “And what does it support? The realization that we’re eternal, that we have a loving relationship with our source, that we’re all related and connected, and that we all have the same purpose.

“And that’s a vision that people are really ready to hear right now.”

For more information or to get involved, email Adiraja Dasa at or call him at 313 434-5121.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Purple Pokeberries Could Unlock Solar Power Worldwide

From our friend Madhava Ghosh

by Alicia W. Roberts, Wake Forest University

South Carolina, United States — Pokeberries – the weeds that children smash to stain their cheeks purple-red and that Civil War soldiers used to write letters home – could be the key to spreading solar power across the globe, according to researchers at Wake Forest University’s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials.

Nanotech Center scientists have used the red dye made from pokeberries to coat their efficient and inexpensive fiber-based solar cells. The dye acts as an absorber, helping the cell’s tiny fibers trap more sunlight to convert into power.

Pokeberries proliferate even during drought and in rocky, infertile soil. That means residents of rural Africa, for instance, could raise the plants for pennies. Then they could make the dye absorber for the extremely efficient fiber cells and provide energy where power lines don’t run, said David Carroll, Ph.D., the center’s director.

“They’re weeds,” Carroll said. “They grow on every continent but Antarctica.”

Wake Forest University holds the first patent for fiber-based photovoltaic, or solar, cells, granted by the European Patent Office in November. A spinoff company called FiberCell Inc. has received the license to develop manufacturing methods for the new solar cell.

The fiber cells can produce as much as twice the power that current flat-cell technology can produce. That’s because they are composed of millions of tiny, plastic “cans” that trap light until most of it is absorbed. Since the fibers create much more surface area, the fiber solar cells can collect light at any angle — from the time the sun rises until it sets.

To make the cells, the plastic fibers are stamped onto plastic sheets, with the same technology used to attach the tops of soft-drink cans. The absorber — either a polymer or a less-expensive dye — is sprayed on. The plastic makes the cells lightweight and flexible, so a manufacturer could roll them up and ship them cheaply to developing countries — to power a medical clinic, for instance.

Once the primary manufacturer ships the cells, workers at local plants would spray them with the dye and prepare them for installation. Carroll estimates it would cost about $5 million to set up a finishing plant — about $15 million less than it could cost to set up a similar plant for flat cells.

“We could provide the substrate,” he said. “If Africa grows the pokeberries, they could take it home.

“It’s a low-cost solar cell that can be made to work with local, low-cost agricultural crops like pokeberries and with a means of production that emerging economies can afford.”

Alicia W. Roberts is a research writer at Wake Forest University.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Diet Of Mud And Despair In Indian Village

Two children in Ganne
Children in Ganne have to eat dried mud and silica

"We live on a day-to-day basis," Suraj says, as the faint sound of hammering echoes across the village. "What we earn is what we spend on our families in a day."

In Ganne, just off the main road about an hour south of the city of Allahabad, this is a simple fact of life.

It is home to members of a poor tribal community, who live in small huts clustered around a series of shallow quarries.

Inside one of the huts sits a little girl called Poonam. She is three years old, and in the early stages of kidney failure.

Like many children in Ganne she has become used to eating bits of dried mud and silica, which she finds in the quarry. Tiny children chew on the mud simply because they are hungry - but it is making them ill.

When reports first emerged of children eating mud here local officials delivered more food and warned the villagers not to speak to outsiders. But Poonam's father, Bhulli, is close to despair.

What can we do? We eat the mud from the quarry when we feel hungry

"What can I say," he shrugs. "We can't afford to eat properly, so how can I afford to buy medicines for her?"

"I am really worried about my daughter, but I don't know what to do next. The poor need the government's help - if we had it, we wouldn't be in such a desperate state."

People like Bhulli and Suraj make their money filling lorries with bits of rock. It takes about eight hours for five men to fill one load. They carry the stones up from the quarry in plastic washing-up bowls balanced on their heads.

One of the women in the village, Phulkari, approaches to tell us about her little boy.

"My son's name is Suraj, and he's started eating mud too," she says. "What can we do? We eat the mud from the quarry when we feel hungry."

"Where do we get the money?" she asks. "We usually eat food only once a day. Last night we went to bed without eating anything at all."

Food protests

The World Bank estimates that one third of all the very poorest people in the world live in India, and stories like those from Ganne have now inspired a national Right To Food campaign.


There have been protest rallies in the heart of Delhi, as the Indian parliament prepares to debate a new Food Security Bill. It will dictate how many people in the country get access to massively subsidised food grain.

There's no doubt that India should be able to afford to feed its people. But the devil is in the detail.

"It'll only cost the government about 1.2% of GDP to universalize a system of giving food for all, cheap food for all," says Kavitha Srivastava, the national coordinator of the Right to Food campaign.

"They can do it, if they have the political will. It's prioritising - where do you want to put the money?"

"We think it should go in building people's nutrition levels. You can't have a country which is weak, which is hungry, which is anaemic. How can you have a nation like this?"

Now the government seems to be prepared to accept a new way of defining poverty, which will increase the number of people below the poverty line by more than 100 million to about 372 million.

If you simply throw money at this'll have to throw four times the amount to get the result you want. And the government of India can't afford that.
Dr Kaushik Basu
Finance ministry economic advisor

If international poverty standards were used, the number would be much higher still - and some Indian economists believe it should be.

But whichever figure is used, the poverty line feels like a rather fictitious divide because feeding more than a billion people is a massive logistical exercise. Vast quantities of food provided by the state go missing every day because of corruption and theft.

"Food ought to be a right," says Dr Kaushik Basu, the Chief Economic Advisor at India's Ministry of Finance. "And I believe this is a movement in the correct direction."

"But what worries me at times is that we're being too glib and quick about the delivery mechanism."

Official estimates are that right across the country 75% of subsidised grain does not make it to the intended target in villages like Ganne.

"So if you simply throw money at this problem, you'll have to throw four times the amount to get the result you want," says Dr Basu. "And the government of India can't afford that. The budget will go bust."

In other words, the delivery system needs to be reformed as well - and corrupt local officials need to be taken to task. There is a long way to go.

Daunting challenge

Jean Dreze, a highly respected Belgian-born academic who has worked in India for many years, points out that the current debate is only about the most basic levels of food intake.

Packiam Dorai at a Fair Price shop
Packiam Dorai says she is regularly turned away from the fair price shops.

"For a family of five to have reasonably good nutrition, nothing like meat or fish or any such thing, but just one egg per person per day, one banana, some dhal, some vegetables, a reasonably balanced diet - it would cost more than 200 rupees ($4.4; £3) per family per day," he says.

And that is far more than the amounts being discussed at the moment.

It is a sobering reminder that feeding India is a daunting challenge - the government knows it, and the prime minister says it must be a priority. But the Right to Food Campaign insists they are not doing enough.

The Indian economy continues to grow at impressive speed, and there is no shortage of food in the country. It just isn't reaching the people who need it most, on a consistent basis.

So in Ganne they continue to eat mud. And without finding a solution here in India, the world will come nowhere near the targets it has set itself for reducing global poverty.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Aliens Among Us

FOR centuries, speculation about the existence of life elsewhere in the universe was the preserve of philosophers and theologians. Then, 50 years ago last month, the question entered the scientific sphere when a young American astronomer named Frank Drake began sweeping the skies with a radio telescope in hopes of picking up a signal from an extraterrestrial civilization.

Initially, his quest was considered somewhat eccentric. But now the pendulum of scientific opinion has swung to the point where even a scientist of the stature of Stephen Hawking is speculating that aliens exist in other parts of our galaxy.

David Sandlin

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is predicated on the assumption, widely held today, that life would emerge readily on Earth-like planets. Given that there could be upward of a billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy alone, this assumption suggests that the universe should be teeming with life.

But the notion of life as a cosmic imperative is not backed up by hard evidence. In fact, the mechanism of life’s origin remains shrouded in mystery. So how can we test the idea that the transition from nonlife to life is simple enough to happen repeatedly? The most obvious and straightforward way is to search for a second form of life on Earth. No planet is more Earth-like than Earth itself, so if the path to life is easy, then life should have started up many times over right here.

Searching for alternative life on Earth might seem misconceived, because there is excellent evidence that every kind of life so far studied evolved from a common ancestor that lived billions of years ago. Yet most of the life that exists on Earth has never been properly classified. The vast majority of species are microbes, invisible to the naked eye, and scientists have analyzed only a tiny fraction of them. For all we know, there could be microbes with other ancestral origins living literally under our noses — or even inside our noses — constituting a sort of shadow biosphere, containing life, but not as we know it.

The denizens of the hidden “alien” biosphere — let’s call them Life 2.0 — might employ radically different biochemical processes than the life we know and love. Microbiologists could easily have overlooked their existence, because their methods are focused on the biochemistry of standard life. Obviously, if you go looking for A, you will find A and not B.

One way to go about tracking down Life 2.0 is to make educated guesses about what its biochemistry might be like. Alternative microbes might, for example, have different chemical elements. One shrewd suggestion, made by Felisa Wolfe-Simon of the United States Geological Survey, is that phosphorus — crucial to life as we know it — could be replaced by arsenic. She and her colleague Ron Oremland are dredging bugs from arsenic-contaminated Mono Lake in California in search of arsenic life.

Other researchers are focusing on the handedness of molecules. In standard life, the key amino acids are always left-handed, and the sugars are right-handed. Scientists are not sure why standard life has made this particular choice; nonliving chemical mixtures tend to contain equal amounts of both left- and right-handed molecules.

If life started again, perhaps it would select different handedness for its key molecules. Should a shadow biosphere of “mirror microbes” exist, the organisms could be identified by culturing microbial samples in “mirror soup” — a cocktail of nutrients with the handedness reversed, available from commercial suppliers. Standard life would find the soup unpalatable, but mirror life would thrive on it. Some experiments along these lines are being carried out at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville. Ala.

Life 2.0 would be easier to identify if it inhabited distinct niches beyond the reach of regular life. Microbes are known to dwell in the superheated water around volcanic vents in the deep ocean, for example. Others survive extremes of cold, salinity, acidity or radiation. Yet all these so-called extremophiles that have been investigated to date are the same life as you and me. Regular life is clearly very hardy and adaptable, and can tolerate amazingly harsh conditions. Nevertheless, there will be limits. If Life 2.0 has a different chemical constitution, it may lurk in pockets at even more extreme temperatures or higher levels of radiation.

An argument often given for why Earth couldn’t host another form of life is that once the life we know became established, it would have eliminated any competition through natural selection. But if another form of life were confined to its own niche, there would be little direct competition with regular life. And, in any case, natural selection doesn’t always mean winner-takes-all. Some years ago it was discovered that simple microbes actually belong to two very distinct domains — bacteria and archaea. Genetically, these groups differ from each other as much as they differ from humans. Yet they have peacefully co-existed in overlapping habitats for billions of years.

If my theory turns out to be correct, it will have sweeping consequences. Should we find a second form of life right here on our doorstep, we could be confident that life is a truly cosmic phenomenon. If so, there may well be sentient beings somewhere in the galaxy wondering, as do we, if they are not alone in the universe.

Paul Davies, the director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University, is the author of “The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence.”

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Story Of Cap And Trade

From our friend Madhava Ghosh

There is a video called The Story Of Stuff. If you haven’t seen that yet, then you really should check it out. Of course, if you like being a mindless consumer and running dog of the industrial overlords, don’t. Because your ignorance may not be so blissful anymore.

Now there is another one out about The Story of Cap and Trade. Once you have seen the Story of Stuff, check it out.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Evolution of Cartoon Science

By Vikrama Singha Das (N.L. Stewart) for on 6 May 2010
From ISKCON News
Image: Rex May aka Baloo.
Evolution: Sophisticated science, or child's play?

National Geographic Society recently devoted an entire issue to Charles Darwin and his speculations regarding the origin of species. Their agenda was to show how Darwin's ideas are now widely accepted by scientists and researchers while most religious leaders reject Darwin due to their blind faith in scriptures. They quoted Srila Prabhupada briefly, and out of context, saying, "Darwin's ideas are nonsense."

The entire issue was aimed at showing how modern science is confirming the fundamentals of Darwin's ideas regarding the evolution of species; yet instead of providing substantial evidence, they simply glorified Darwin and offered imaginative narratives on how species might have transformed themselves through mysterious mutations. Evolutionists claim that most leading scientists now support Darwin's hypothesis that all life has evolved from simple compounds and that every species has improved itself automatically through chance mutations and the process of natural selection. National Geographic Society, Discovery Channel, Science Channel and most of the academic community, apparently, have suspended scientific thinking when it comes to the topic of evolution and the origin of species.

Before I began studying the Darwinist teachings, I expected to encounter at least a 2-star sci-fi script ramped up a few notches, perhaps, with elaborately devised academia speak. Instead of compelling mock science, however, I've found only Disney-style cartoon tales of amoebas learning to be fish, fish sprouting wings, learning to fly and breathe air, monkeys learning to make tools, build condos, wear pants, grow corn, and so on. All this is possible, the evolutionists say, by the power of innumerable, successive, genetic mutations. They believe these mutations have continuously improved millions of species over millions of years due to the principle of survival of the fittest, or natural selection.

In truth, no real evidence supports the Darwinian idea that species transform themselves into new species through mutations. Rather, modern biology has discovered the vast complexity of even primitive animals, whose life functions are perfectly controlled by genetic codes in millions of cells working in symbiotic interrelationships of unfathomable complexity. Much of the inner working of even a relatively simple organism, like a virus, are unfathomable for modern science. Similarly, modern biological sciences have barely glimpsed the highly complex symbiotic relationships between species. If not for the influence of wholesale indoctrination, discoveries regarding the mind boggling complexities of life on Earth would surely have caused most sober and intelligent people to reject Darwin's ideas immediately.

Darwin's idea of evolution is unfounded by any biological science and flies in the face of fundamental laws of physics. The belief that complex order and function comes automatically or accidentally out of chaos is not supported by any science or logic. By every known natural process, complex organizations, whether organic or inorganic, tend to degrade or become reduced to simpler forms. Nowhere has anyone found evidence that dull matter magically becomes conscious and endowed with the will to live, multiply and evolve. Instead, we see everywhere that complex living organisms are created by other living things, and when dead, devolve to simple forms of matter. Similarly complex structures, both manmade and natural, if left alone, will dissolve--not evolve. Drop billions by highly sophisticated computers in the sea, along with billions of land creatures and plants, and none will evolve into an aquatic animal. Rather, all will degrade into simple minerals and compounds.

Everywhere we see that life comes from life, as does matter. Never do we see that dull matter creates life. Life, however, produces all kinds of matter, including complex devices like cars and computers. Real scientists can easily prove that something superior, like a human being, can create inferior things like factories, computers, cars and sewage. No machine or computer, however, no matter how advanced, can become conscious or replicate itself. Even the most sophisticated device needs the human hand to turn it on. Highly complex living entities such as humans and animals must be maintained constantly by intelligence or intelligent instincts and by intricately organized biological actions and interactions such as digestion, breathing and sexual reproduction. There is nothing left to chance anywhere in the natural world. Every species requires intelligence or intelligent instincts at every stage -- for its maintenance, for its survival, for its interactions with other living things.

Yet the Darwinists believe the vast matrix of life began from a mythical chemical soup and evolved accidentally by an infinite series of random yet perfectly sequential magical mutations. Don't ask how inert matter became conscious in the first place, or became a living one cell animal with a will to live and multiply. They have no explanation at all. Nor can they create even the simplest one cell ameoba with all their advanced knowledge and equipment, so we will need to skip over this problem and jump ahead--way ahead--to species. They believe that improvements in each species come about due to genetic mutations and the process of natural selection. Although they offer no explanation why these mutations occur, or how genetic codes were created, their idea is that once in a blue moon, an organism will mutate in a way that is beneficial for its survival. Since the superior mutated being survives better than its non mutant kin, it passes on its tendency for a particular genetic mutation to future generations, thus enabling other animals within the species to inherit a beneficial abnormal trait. Finally, after a long time, this trait is assimilated by the species as a normal inherited capability. For example, the bugs that learned to flap their mutated appendages and fly survived better than their crawling ancestors and thus created a lineage of superior flying insects.

For an insect or animal to go from crawling to flying, however, takes far more than a long series of external mutations. It would require innumerable perfectly orchestrated, internal and external mutations or, in other words, a metamorphous of the entire organism. This change would need to be perfect and complete almost immediately, as in comic book fiction. Otherwise, the initial mutations in the organism, mutations not yet functional, would hamper rather than help its ability to survive. Thus the organisms with the tendency to mutate would die off quickly by the process of natural selection. This is common sense.

The way a bumblebee, housefly, or hummingbird flies is so complex that even the best minds in science are unable to grasp it fully, to say of duplicate it. Is it logical to think these amazing flying abilities are the result of a long series of lucky accidents? To go from a walking animal to a flying one requires many changes in brain function, instincts, digestion, nervous system, muscles, eating habits, bone structure, reproductive processes and a plethora of other highly complex biological features and functions. All bodily functions would need to change perfectly, in perfect coordination of interrelationships, to accommodate new survival habits and instincts based on flying. Otherwise, even with a pair of perfectly designed, matched and fitted wings fastened to its back, the poor crawler would never get off the ground. (It is easier to build an airplane from scratch than to modify a Chevy to fly.)

To imagine an aquatic species changing from breathing in water to breathing in air through a series of accidental mutations is still more fantastic. Unless each successive mutation is immediately perfect and complete in itself, such as happens only in comic book land, the organism would be a freak with decreased rather than increased capabilities for survival. What would happen to the fish that are only half way between breathing water and breathing air? How would they survive to pass on their genetic abnormalities? Imagine a fish that somehow learns to breathe on land but not how to run fast or hide or hunt. How would it survive?

The evolutionists offer no explanation why or how such mutations happen and why a tendency to mutate causes a species to evolve into an improved species. They offer no explanation how animals survive in the intermediate stages when their mutations are not functional. They have no explanation regarding why some species have thrived abundantly in primitive, relatively simple forms, never feeling the need to improve themselves by evolving into more complex life forms. Many insects, like red ants, still crawl on the ground and are thriving without flying. Monkeys and chimps, also, are content to survive in their own way, without computers and cars, as are alligators, birds, bees and sharks. Every amazing instinct and ability in every animal is inconceivable in its biological complexity and the complexity of its relationships with other highly complex living beings. The belief that all these perfect functions and interrelationships have developed by chance through beneficial mutations is an anachronism in the 21st century.

One hundred and fifty years ago people could be forgiven for believing in Darwin. Their idea of biology was extremely narrow and simplistic: a bag of blood and bile and bone tied together with bunches of nerves, muscle and tendons. Many educators in those days were eager to overthrow the influence of religious thinking, which they felt infringed on scientific advancement. Ironically, in their eagerness to discredit or transcend traditional thinking, which they considered unfounded, they embraced Darwin's belief system without critical analysis. Today, in light of sophisticated scientific research, educated and thoughtful persons should regard the Darwinian idea of evolution to be no better than comic book fantasy. Darwin's proponents, however, have effectively created a cult of blind followers within the academic community, robbing educators and students of their ability to think critically on this topic.

The evolutionist mission offers a loose system of beliefs based on superficial observations of biological similarities between species, some of which are supposedly extinct. Although it's a fact that each species shares biological traits with other species and has limited abilities to adapt in various environments, this fact provides no evidence that creatures change completely into a new species through a series of mutations. Yet, in the name of science, "evolutionary theory" has been vigorously promoted by misguided educators everywhere for nearly a century. Although the Darwin hypothesis can't be demonstrated on any level, many students blindly accept it at a young age because it's promoted in classrooms and textbooks across the nation and in various media groups, such as the ones cited above. I remember thinking my fifth-grade teacher was an upstart or a fanatic when she dared to question the evolutionary hypothesis being promoted as "likely fact" in our biology textbooks.

Some people accept Darwin's ideas for the sake of neglecting nagging questions regarding the meaning and purpose of life. Darwin's ideas offer atheists a weak excuse for denying God but fall way short of actual science. Darwin's speculations form the basis of a modern mythology that fuels dangerous cults of atheism in the academic community and the world at large.

The Vedas, a vast compendium of scriptures from ancient India, offer a more reasonable and consistent explanation regarding the origin of species. According to Vedic scriptures, such as Srimad-Bhagavatam, God, the supreme living being, creates superior living beings, known as prajapatis, and empowers them to populate various planets with various grades of species. It's logical to accept that superior beings can create progeny of equal or inferior nature through sex or other powers. It's scientific fact that living things create other living things. Srimad-Bhagavatam and other Vedic scriptures teach that God, the original and supreme person, has endowed each species with amazing abilities to survive and adapt in varieties of changing conditions on Earth. Vedic evidence never suggests that species evolve from chemicals and morph into new and better species through a series of mutations. Great sages from every culture and every age have concluded that God is the designer and creator of all that exists. He is known as the cause of all causes (sarva-karana-karanam) and the basis of all reality.

It is reasonable to accept the consensus of scriptural conclusions that the wonders of life and the cosmos were created by the omnipotent, omniscient and wonderful God. It is reasonable to accept that a living organism is animated by the consciousness of a spiritual soul, the living force. It is illogical to believe that matter and chemical reactions produce life and consciousness when in fact all practical evidence points to the opposite: matter and complex chemical reactions are created by living beings. Nonetheless, modern academia usually prefer to deny the wisdom of age-old spiritual traditions. They feel more comfortable believing that the majestic, infinitely complex and beautiful cosmos, with its millions of species of life, evolved accidentally, after planets and galaxies were formed by an exploding chunk of dead matter, which came from nothing.

Like the Big Bangers, the Darwinites recruit dishonest scientists to trumpet their cause. Such scientists are unable to repair even one broken seed or egg, to say nothing of create one. Yet they wax eloquently about the origin of life on Earth. Due to false indoctrination and a bias against God and religion, many people today have come to reject common sense and timeless wisdom for a belief in cartoon fantasy. No one, not even a child, should accept comic book teachings as a substitute for common sense and real knowledge.

[Note: By way of compromise, some Christian scientists have suggested that God creates all the species of animals and plants slowly, through gradual evolution. When asked about this idea, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the world's leading exponent of Vedic science, replied, "A chicken can create another chicken in a few weeks, but it takes God millions of years? This idea is not very good; it is not supported in the Vedas or the Bible."]