Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Christian, Wake Up!

I like to be in control. Last night I realised yet again how helpless we really are. Growing up in America, you somehow have this feeling that all things can be controlled and that circumstances can be solved by thinking about what to do. We have be working on a landscaping project. We had some drainage problems, so last night we were digging a trench. It was getting late, and it was rather dark. Someone pointed out that there was a fox next to our house under the bush watching us. We were all rather tired of the whole digging thing, so Dad took off chasing the fox. He was almost by the house when somehow he tripped and fell straight down our window well head-first. There was a brief second of shock as everyone saw this happening, but then my siblings took off running and screaming. I'm more the type that just freezes up and can't do anything. Finally I ran for the house to get the phone. I could hear Dad yelling, so I knew he was at least conscious. It's at times like this that you realise how totally out of control we are, how fragile life is, and what really matters. It's at times like this that you'll often hear people say, "I actually prayed." Someone called 911 just as I looked down into the hole. My dad was on his back with his feet up in the air. His left ankle was snapped right off. His leg and his foot made a 90 degree angle with his foot going to the left. Ugg. The ambulance and firetruck came and somehow got him out of there. They got him to the hospital where they found that his ankle/leg was broken in four different places. They had to do a surgery within six hours to clean it out because the bone had been sticking out and he had been cut. They did so, and it went well. He will be going in for surgery again tomorrow to try to get it all straightened out. He will have to have surgery again next week. With him going in head first, it is amazing that he doesn't seem to have anything wrong with his neck or back. As I was trying to get to sleep last night, I started thinking about how the only certainty we have is the certainty of uncertainty. Why is it as soon as something like this happens, we're all on our knees praying? When we have had things pretty easy recently, we start thinking that we can live autonomously and we feel like we're in control of everything. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we shouldn't be praying when something traumatic happens, but shouldn't we feel just as dependant on God whether we're in some major crisis or not?

Maybe this incident is my wake up call.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I don't like cats very much. I never have, and I probably never will. No offense to anyone who has one and loves it to death.

Cats are very sneaky creatures. Most people decide they love cats when they get them as kittens. As the kitten bats yarn and does pretty much what a cat is "supposed" to do, you hear all the "Ahhh"s. As the cat grows up, people decide that their cat isn't quite as fun as when it was little. If they spoiled the cat from a young age, they now wake up with claw marks all over themselves just because the cat wanted to go out. The cat is already starting to own the master. Cats know how to make up for thoroughly scratching their pets, however. With a purr and a curving tail, they'll soon take your heart once more. We won't talk about the scars left over from that eventful night, however. Cats eventually get you so tuned in to their schedule that they will have you up before the crack of dawn to get them breakfast if they so desire. Why is it, however, that the human pet gets more and more attached to their master in the shape of a lump of purring fur? Is it the fact that their master sits on the their lap as they read a book, pawing at every page as they turn it? Or is it the fact that the human pet likes allergies? I never will figure it out. As a cat eventually gets old and worn out, the human now starts feeling a pang for when their evil, sneaking master might die. They do everything to comfort it, from helping it onto cushions to sleep at night to buying and blending special cat food for their bedraggled cat that no longer has any teeth. And then it dies. Oh, what a sorrowful day! Pictures of their lost master are hung everywhere to remind them of their days in bondage. A special plot of land is bought to bury their furry "friend" in, and the vet sends a sympathy card. After several years, they finally get over it. Then they repeat the same mistake - for the third time in fact - and fall for that cute little kitten with the blue eyes.

As you can see, I don't really like cats, and in my opinion, cats are good for nothing much more than catching mice. There is one cat, however, that even I like. He doesn't shed, and he doesn't leave you with a runny nose, eyes watering, and sneezing. The Pink Panther. Cool, calm, and collected, he takes care of himself. He solves his own problems, never bothering you to let him out.

Now, that is my idea of a cat.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Siamese and Burmese Gerbils!

I finally found a siamese and a burmese gerbil. I have been looking for these two colors of gerbils for quite some time, and I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw them for sale. These two colors are relatively new, and they are both difficult to find in Colorado. Well, now I've got them both. Two young males. They are probably close to ten weeks old. I don't plan to breed them, but I may do so around the Christmas season. I have a couple young females that are about the same age that I think would produce some nice colors (and spots!).
The siamese: The burmese:The two together:
Evil Mango trying to frighten his soon-to-be victims:Mango soon found out that the siamese had sharper teeth and that the burmese had a bigger temper, so he backed off and is now the bottom of the pile.Three happy gerbils that were not so happy for me to put them in a box.I've had them for a few weeks now, but I still haven't named them. They'll probably forever be "Siamese" and "Burmese". I also have the two young females that are unnamed.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Who Are You?

Recently, I finished reading Francis Schaeffer's How Should We Then Live?. Though I found it to be a little depressing to realize how society is deteriorating, I also found it interesting to see how much the thoughts and philosophies of a time determine what happens.

One obvious thread that follows through the whole book is how man thinks of himself. With a Christian base, we know that we are the image-sons of God. We are His special creation. We did not happen by chance, and we are not machines. We are recipients of His grace and love. Following history through post Roman times, this idea becomes less and less. Today, people reject it all together. When did it happen, though? It certainly didn't happen over night, but how did we get from point A to point B? In this post, I hope to give a very light overview of how this happened. In each paragraph, I will be addressing different time periods. Please don't get the idea, however, that because they're in different paragraphs, they have nothing to do with each other. History builds on itself. This essay also builds on a past article I wrote about Art and History.

The Middle Ages - After the breakdown of the Roman empire, many technical things about art were forgotten. The art in catacombs was very simplistic, yet it portrayed real people in a real world. By the mid-sixth century, realism was abandoned, and artists had a preference for the fantastic and unreal. This art became characterized by symbolic mosaics and icons. One good thing about this was that the artists made their mosaics and icons as a witness to the observer and strove for more spiritual values in their art. The bad thing was that in this form of art, nature and humanity were completely set apart. This art had beauty, but in its zeal to express spiritual ideas, it missed the fact that real people in a real world which God had made were important things. Finally, a humanistic element was added. The authority of the church started taking place over the Bible. Depicted in art, we see that man is able to merit the merit of Christ. Later in the Middle Ages, the Catholic church did start using this idea to their advantage. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, philosophers, such as Thomas Aquinas, started to turn man's thinking to become even more humanistic. Thomas Aquinas relied heavily on Aristotle for his ideas. Pope Urban IV had forbidden the study of Aristotle in universities in the year of 1263, but Aquinas managed to have him once more accepted. There was a result of this acceptance. Look at Raphael's The School of Athens.
Plato, Aristotle's teacher, is the one with his finger pointed upwards. This represents how he pointed towards absolutes or ideals. Aristotle, on the other hand, is the man in the middle with his hand spread out towards the earth. This represents his emphases on particulars. Aquinas brought this emphases on individual things into the late Middle Ages' philosophy, and it set the stage for the Renaissance. Starting with man alone (as in looking only at particulars), there is a huge problem with trying to explain the meaning and ultimate meaning for these particulars. Humanism has never found a way to arrive at universals or absolutes that gives meaning to morals and even existence itself. There was some good that came from Aquinas's teaching. Before, there was little or no emphasis on the normal, everyday world. These things do have importance because they were created by God. However, his emphases on autonomous particulars did have a big effect, and it set the stage for the Renaissance.

The Renaissance - Aquinas's thinking was soon felt in art. Art had been flat and without depth. Mary and Christ were not portrayed realistically. However, there came a change. Giotto (1267-1337) started giving man and nature a place. Then humanism struck again. A strong liking for everything ancient, especially from Greece and Rome, came about, and it became clear that the human autonomy that many of the Renaissance humanists had in mind referred exclusively to the non-Christian, Greco-Roman world. Renaissance humanism steadily went toward modern humanism in that man is totally autonomous and independent. Man was placed at the center of all things. Many advances in art were made during this time as man and nature were placed higher. Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci made huge strives in the field and were both quite successful. Man was portrayed as being perfect, and his humanistic features were capitalized on. Man was proud. Man was confident. Man was independent. Eventually, there came a shift toward Plato’s ideas of universals. Leonardo da Vinci tried desperately to paint these universals, but on his humanistic base and with trying to find his universals by observing particulars, he never was able to. To sum up the Renaissance, we could say that the main thrust was confidence in man and the seeking of what could give meaning to life and what universals could give morals and life itself meaning.

The Reformation - Before starting, I must remind everyone that the Renaissance and Reformation were happening at the same time. As the Renaissance was happening in southern Europe, Reformation ideas formed in the north, but they were at the same time. The Reformation dealt with the same basic problems as the Renaissance, but the Reformation thinking gave drastically different answers. John Huss’s keeping with the true teachings of the Bible taught that man could not be independent. Man could not earn his salvation either. With a Renaissance frame of mind, Aquinas stated that man’s will was fallen but not his mind, resulting in people thinking that they could simply "think out" all problems and come to a conclusion. With the Reformed view, however, the Bible is the only final authority. I am not stating that the Reformation was perfect. It had its problems, but with its Biblical base, it had no problem explaining the meaning of individual things because it had its universals. The Renaissance taught an autonomous man, but the Reformation taught there was an infinite-personal God who cared about them. With its teaching of man’s centrality of all things, the Renaissance could come up with no meaning for life or for particulars. With a Biblical base, man has dignity because he is the image-son of God. He is not programmed. Along with man, all life had dignity, and with this teaching, all people were made equal and were all equally guilty because of the fall. Because all were equal, anyone could come to God through Christ. The Reformation both understood the greatness of man and the cruelty of man. These ideas came out in art also. Ordinary people and ordinary events were seen as being great, so artists started painting people and nature. Rembrandt was an important artist of the time. One of his paintings, Raising of the Cross (see below), shows his thoughts.
Notice the man in the middle who is raising the cross. This is Rembrandt himself. A self portrait of who he saw himself being. He is noble, but he is also cruel. He too raised the cross of Christ, along with all of us. Rembrandt’s paintings are lofty, but they are also down to earth. Of course, the Reformation didn’t bring about social or political perfection, but it did bring about a vast and unique improvement to society. Because of their views on man being fallen, they realized that government needed checks and balances. This brought opportunity for freedom in society without chaos. Look at Paul Robert’s Justice Lifts the Nations below.
This mural shows how Paul Roberts realized that man was fallen and that he needed absolutes to live by. Justice lifts the nations. Lex Rex. The law is king. This thought change of the Reformation was in northern Europe. Meanwhile, the Renaissance ideas in southern Europe were not going too well.

The Enlightenment - Coming off of Renaissance ideas, France, looking across the channel at England, saw this change that took place in England. To be quite frank, they were very impressed. They saw the problems in their society, and they saw how England had changed without little or no bloodshed. They wanted to do the same. Voltaire, a famous French philosopher, saw this "Bloodless Revolution" and wanted to model their own revolution off of it. France tried hard to reproduce the same conditions as England ended up with, but with Voltaire’s humanistic Enlightenment base, their revolution resulted only in bloodshed and chaos. France declined so much that the authoritarian rule of Napoleon Bonaparte resulted. The Enlightenment started with man absolutely, and it ended in chaos. The Enlightenment taught that man and society were perfectible. Deism was their religion. To them, God had indeed created the world, but He no longer had contact with them. With this world view, they started looking back to pre-Christian times to find meaning and value.

Modern Science Takes Off - I must pause to say that the rise of modern science was also happening at the same time as both the Reformation and the Renaissance. Early Christian scientists believed that science did not conflict with the Bible and that because of the rationality of God, every occurrence could be traced back to its antecedent. The world was created by a reasonable God.

Modern Times - First, I must be sure that everyone reading this understands that if there are no absolutes, particulars have no meaning. I am not just talking about absolutes in morals or values, I am also saying this about existence. Without absolutes, particulars become very fragmented. Modern thinking started with questioning how we know anything. Epistemology, the theory of how we know what we know, was the result. Before modern times, all non-Christian philosophers had several things in common. First of all, they believed that man was rational and could gather enough information about particulars to make universals. They also rejected all knowledge outside of man. Second, they took reason very seriously. They accepted the validity of reason and believed that with the mind, one could decide what is true and what is not. And finally, they were very optimistic. They thought that they could establish by reason what reality is, but if they failed to find it, someone later would. Coming into modern times, a new shift took place to make modern man what he is. Science shifted to everything being in a machine. This pushed God the edges of their system, and it also equally left no place for man. Man as man disappeared, and instead, a form of determined, behavioristic machine took its place. Cause and effect was applied to all science. In this closed system, there was no place for morals, and man became part of this machinery. Life became pointless and without meaning. This all set the stage for Darwinism which stated that nature was all about survival to the fittest. Ideas about reason leading to pessimism also came about during this time. Thus, a mad scramble to find optimistic answers to meaning and value outside of reason was started. Kierkegaard (1813-1855) stated that non-reason is equal to faith and optimism in the same way that reason is equal to pessimism. Modern man became a man of dichotomy, and there came a separation of meaning and values. If man is a machine, there is no longer any place for a loving, personal God, freedom, or significance. However, man, still being created in the image of God, cannot possibly live like machines. They must go against reason to come to a conclusion that says they can. Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) stated that in reason, everything is absurd. The will can act in any direction, so one should authenticate oneself by will in this purposeless world. In other words, one should do something to distinguish themselves from the world. This could be going as far as committing murder, or it could be volunteering at a nursing home. Reason is not involved with this, and nothing can show which direction the will should take. However, Jean-Paul Sartre could not even live with these values. He signed the Algerian Manifest which declared the Algerian War to be dirty, thus assigning a moral value to an event. He made a value judgment, not a leap of non-reason. He also later came to the conclusion that an individual may have a "final experience" that encourages them to think life has meaning. This final experience cannot be put into words, and it goes against reason. Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) proposed that drugs be given to healthy people to help them find "answers" in their own heads. This important drug was going to be called Soma because Hindu gods took this drug to keep them contented. Later, he openly advocated the use of drugs. This emphasis on drugs brought many rock groups into being. Hinduism and Buddhism, being introduced into the Western World, were the next leap into non-reason. These Eastern religions grope for a non-rational meaning to life and values. This spread over Western culture very quickly after Huxley’s emphasis on drugs. People tried the "drug trip," but it soon turned to an Easter religious trip where one would seek truth in one’s head with no reason. A period of psychedelic rock sprung from this because people wanted to find the experience without the drugs. The word God became the word God. No content could be put into it. George Harrison, the former Beatles’ guitarist wrote "My Sweet Lord." Many people thought he had turned to Christianity, but they soon heard the word "Krishna", a Hindu name for a god, being chanted in the background. There was no content in the name God, just a religious feeling or experience. There was no distinction between good and evil. One manifestation of God in the Hindu religion is Kali, a female god with fangs and skulls around her neck. Cruelty became equal with non-cruelty. God started to be used only for manipulation. Stepping to art, we come to the Impressionists, some great ones being Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, and Degas. They only painted what was brought to the eye, yet they questioned the light rays even hitting their eyes. Thus, their painting have a rather dreamy, hazy look. With his modern thinking, Monet came to the logical conclusion that reality becomes dreams. Post-Impressionist painters such as Paul Cezanne and Van Gough tried to solve these problems by finding a way back to reality and absolutes. They too failed.
Cezanne reduced nature to basic geometric forms to search for the universals to tie all particulars together. This gave nature a very fragmented, broken appearance. Picasso brought together the ideas of fragmentation, the noble savage, and African masks, which was becoming popular, and painting with these ideas. This marked the birth of "modern art." Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase (see bellow) carried the fragmentation idea further.
In fact, the human being completely disappeared. This chance and fragmenting idea led to the absurdity of all things. Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) painted with the express purpose of showing all things to be chance. In one painting, he put a canvas horizontally on the floor and dripped paint from cans which were suspended and swinging from the ceiling.
Even this shows that he could not live by those principles. Even the swinging can of paint to create a picture by chance is going to follow universal laws of this earth. In a way, instead of this piece of art being art, it is anti-art. In the field of music, Schoenberg used his music for the vehicle of modern thought. He rejected ritual and invented the 12-tone row. There is perpetual variation, yet no resolution. In pop culture, music gave the younger generation a very fragmented view of the world. Films, seen by so many people, also showed this, especially from the ‘60s. Movies from this time show what happens when man tries to live like a machine and in non-reason. These ideas spread from mainland Europe to England and then to the United States. A generation gap took form because the older group of people from the United States still held to their old ideas of morality. However, the younger generation was being educated with this kind of philosophy. They then realized that their parents’ values were founded on nothing but dead tradition. As a Christian-dominated consensus weakened, two values were taken up: personal peace and affluence. Personal peace is the idea that you don’t want to be bothered with anything. You just want your own peace, and you don’t want to be bothered by anyone else’s problems. It does not matter whether hundreds have died in a natural disaster. You just hope it does not affect you. Affluence is just how people want more and more. They will do anything to get more. These two ideas are dominant in our society today. In the early ‘60s, many students questioned why they should be educated. They were told that they would have a better chance of making more money. They then asked why they would want to make more money? The answer? Well, so that they could send their kids to school. No wonder they revolted. To them, life was perpetual. It had no meaning. Soon, drugs were brought into the picture. Again, drugs (this time LSD) were thought of to introduce into water. The hippie movement believed that this was the answer, and off they went. They revolted against their parents’ ideas of personal peace and affluence. They wanted more to life, but drugs were not the answer. The optimism of drugs ended when key people overdosed and ended up dying. This generation ended with the same two values. Personal peace and affluence. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr., stated that law was based on experience. He also said that truth is just whatever the majority vote happens to be. Frederick Moore Vinson said, "Nothing is more certain in modern society than the principle that there are no absolutes." All is relative and comes from experience. There are no absolutes. These were the kinds of ideas that were at play. The only absolute allowed was the absolute insistence that there were no absolutes. They tried to create the perfect law constructed on nature, but this didn’t work either. Nature is both cruel and non-cruel. There began a group of "special people" - the elite - who would get to decide the arbitrary absolutes, and people were perfectly willing to give up their liberties step by step in order to pursue personal peace and affluence. The authoritarian state came to fill the loss of Christian principles. The idea of determinism started to become dominant. With this, people can blame anything a person does on the way the environment conditioned them. Society can bring what society wants, so all they had to do was construct the right environment to get people to "behave." The people who manipulate society have quite a bit of influence. In fact, they control what is taught in schools down to the lowest grades. Genetic engineering was brought into place to "help society." People accept the idea of manipulation because they have no absolute laws. They think that what is gives no clue to what it should be. Thus, it is quite easy to impose arbitrary absolutes on people. Arthur Koestler suggested that a chemical element be developed to bring man to tranquility. He also suggested that the community put this special chemical, along with a birth control pill in drinking water to force the community to accept it. There is a problem, however. Who is to be the one that controls all these controllers? The elite, of course. This group of elitists will be king. The law being king will become the king being law. Another way of manipulating is through subliminal influence. This is a way in which a message will be flashed so quickly you can’t see it throughout a film. By the time the film is over, all you can think about is what that message said. Though this way of manipulation is illegal, with arbitrary laws, it could become legal if it looked like society would benefit by it. The media is also a huge way for manipulation to get across the crowds. The media has a certain way of telling you only what they want you to think about a certain situation and leaving out other "non-important" facts. Overall, some are uncomfortable at best with the situation of our society, but most will not go to any trouble because they are just pursuing their personal peace and affluence. Here is a very good example out of Cornerstone Cirriculum's catologue from 1998 on how art change from the Renaissance/Reformation to modern times.
From the Renaissance and Reformation period:

From the Impressionist period:
From the Post-Impressionist period:From modern times:What Pollock might have painted:All of this has happened because of the ideas and philosophies behind it. In Francis Schaeffer’s How Should We Then Live?, there is a rendition of the twenty-third psalm that sums up what has happened in the progression of humanistic thinking throughout the ages.

They began- I am my shepherd
Then- Sheep are my shepherd
Then-Everything is my shepherd
Finally-Nothing is my shepherd
So, who are you? Are you the image-bearer of God who has something to live for, or are you one to follow humanistic thinking and to reject the fact that there is a loving God whose image we are created in? Though, all these thoughts about society can be quite depressing, we must remember to live by faith, living into who we are in Christ and remembering that He is ultimately in control.


Francis A. Schaeffer. How Should We Then Live?. Illinois: Crossway Books, 1976

Monday, July 7, 2008

We've Got a New Blogger!

Welcome to the world of blogging, Jason! I can assure you that in this life, it will be the one thing you regret most.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Natural Selection

Often when talking to an evolutionist or reading their materiel, you will run across the phrase natural selection. This phrase is often used when trying to prove evolution. Because it is so strongly associated with evolution, many people will get scared off by it, assuming it may as well be evolution itself. Natural selection isn’t in and of itself bad. It’s the application that evolutionists use that is bad. A simple definition may clear up some problems. Natural selection is simply the process by which favorable heritable traits become more common in successive generations of a population of reproducing organisms, and unfavorable heritable traits become less common. Sounds like a lot of garble, but it really isn’t. Let us look first at how genetics work before understanding what natural selection is all about.

Many people get scared off by genetics as soon as they see all these random letters and Punnet squares. It’s really not that hard. In fact, after breeding gerbils, figuring out genetics has become rather addicting for me. I figure out genetics like other people would do Sudoku. After I’ve unlocked something new about a gerbil’s genes, all I can do when I go to sleep, is try to figure out what their offspring might be. Just for the sake of not boring you all before I even get to natural selection, I’ll keep this very simple. On a chromosome, there is a specific place where a gene is located. This place is call the locus. There are seven known loci that exist in gerbils: A, C, D, E, G, P, Sp. Each of these letters represent how the locus will affect the gerbil. For example, the A gene controls whether the belly will be white and if there will be ticking. For each letter, there is a dominant gene (A, C, D, E, G, P) and a recessive gene (a, c, d, e, g, p). The capitol "A" will make the belly white, but a lower case "a" will make the belly solid with the rest of the coat. The two gerbil parents always give the a pup a set of letters (the letters represent the gene). These letters may be all dominant letters, all recessive letters, or some of each. The dominant gene will always be the one that shows up in the gerbil. If one gerbil parent gave a pup an A and the other gerbil gave a pup an a, the A will be the gene to show up in the pup’s coat, making that pup have a white belly. The only way to make a recessive gene (a, c, d, e, g, p) show up in a pup is for both of the parents to give the pup a recessive gene. In order for the pup to have an "a" show up in their coat, making them have the same color of belly as the rest of their coat, would be for both parents to give it an "a." Now, because both parents give their pups a set up genes, each pup has two of each letter. Thus, if one gerbil parent were to give the pup an "A" and the other gerbil were to give the pup an "a," the genetic code for its A gene would be "Aa." If one gerbil were to give the pup an "A," and the other gerbil were to give it an "A" also, its genetic code for the A gene would be "AA." And finally, if one gerbil were to give a pup an "a," and the other gerbil were to give the same pup an "a," the pup’s genetic code would be "aa." This can be repeated with all letters. For now, we’ll only focus on the A gene and the P gene. The A gene controls the color of the belly. The dominant gene (A) makes the belly white, while the recessive gene (a) makes the belly the same color as the rest of the coat. The P gene determines whether the gerbil’s eyes will be red or black. The dominant gene (P) makes the eyes black, and the recessive gene (p) makes the eyes red. It also has a lightening affect on the whole coat. Now, let’s learn something about their actual colors. This is an agouti gerbil: notice its black eyes. This gerbil does have a white belly, though you can't see it.

An agouti gerbil is the most basic color of gerbil. It wasn’t until about 30-40 years ago that they started being able to get colors besides agouti. The agouti gerbil has a white belly, meaning that it had to have an "A." We don’t know whether the second A gene is upper or lower case. Remember, there can be hidden recessive genes that won’t ever show up unless they get paired up with another recessive gene of the same letter. Notice that the gerbil’s eyes are black, meaning that it had to have a "P." It may have a "p" as its second letter, but that will not show up unless it is paired up with another "p." We will use the "-" to show that we don’t know what the second letter out of a gene is. Thus, this agouti gerbil’s genetic code for the A gene and the P gene is A-P-. Now, by knowing this agouti’s parents’ genetic code, I can say that this gerbil has a recessive gene for the second P gene and a dominant gene for the second A gene. Therefore, we know that its genetic code for the A gene and the P gene is AAPp. If I were to breed this gerbil with another gerbil that had the same genetic code, all the gerbils would have the dominant A for their A genes. Since gerbils can give either a dominant or a recessive gene to a pup, however, a recessive "p" will probably be paired up with another recessive "p" about half the time. Since both genes have to be recessive for it to show up in the gerbil’s coloring (as is the case here), the pup will have red eyes. This gerbil’s genetic code for the A gene will be AA, and its genetic code for the P gene will be pp. Because the p gene also lightens up the gerbil’s coat, this is what a gerbil with AApp genes will look like. It is called an argente.

This is just a very basic explanation of how genetics work. There are also many ways in which some of the other genes will work together to make a completely different color of coat. If you are wondering how the Punnet square works into all of this, it is just the way in which you can easily organize your genes and see how many variations you could possibly have with a given set of parents.

I may have lost many of you through that lengthy explanation of genetics, but I think it will make natural selection easier to understand.

There really isn’t a problem with natural selection itself. It is in how it is applied to evolution that is the problem. It is often said that natural selection is the driving force behind evolution. When natural selection is in action, the "selection" will only be selecting information that already existed. Face it, with everything you already know about genetics, you don’t see any possible way that you could arrange all those genes to make, say, a hamster, right? Sure you can make variations off of a gerbil that may cause the gerbil to look completely different that your original gerbil, but it is still not a hamster. Evolutionists basically will say that natural selection can add new information to the genetic code. This is not true, however. Natural selection only works with information that is already there.

From a creationist’s perspective, natural selection is the way in which organisms possessing specific characteristics survive in a given climate better than those who don’t have those characteristics. Those without the characteristics diminish in number or die. This can be seen in even noticing where certain people groups settled. Those with darker skin tended to settle down where there was much sunshine and heat. People with light complexion tended to head up north where there wasn’t as much sun and heat. Because people stayed in their own people group, darker skinned people married darker skinned people, producing babies that had darker skin. Of course, there could be recessive genes that could have caused a baby to have light skin, but in a hot, humid, bright climate without sun screen, light-skinned people aren’t going to do as well because they will run into radiation problems.

From an evolutionist’s perspective, natural selection is the way in which new information is put into genetics, causing a completely different organism to come from two parents which were the same.

Natural selection is not necessarily a bad phrase, but if you do not define what you mean by natural selection, you may lose a few friends over them thinking you have gone off the deep end. Natural selection is a very real and true thing, but not when it is used interchangeably with the word evolution.