Why we are here:

Our signature Bible passage, the prologue to John's Gospel, tells us that Jesus (the Logos) is God and Creator and that He came in the flesh (sarx) to redeem His fallen, sin-cursed creation—and especially those He chose to believe in Him.

Here in Bios & Logos we have some fun examining small corners of the creation to show how great a Creator Jesus is—and our need for Him as Redeemer. Soli Deo Gloria.


Friday, September 19, 2008

A Little Side Trip

I thought it would be good for a change to take a side trip away from the usual photo essay format of this blog and share a few items I’ve found particularly interesting or relevant. Be sure to click on the links to go to the related articles.

The most dangerous place to send your child:

My freshman orientation week at what was then called Montclair State Teachers College a half-century ago consisted of silly things like wearing a red beanie called a dink, learning the Alma Mater and maybe some non-memorable ice-breaking activities. It was somewhat intimidating to a shy eighteen-year-old—but non-life threatening. For several years now, after hearing horror stories about campus life today, I have often reflected on the thought that college might be the most dangerous place to send your child. College campuses have become in many cases dangerous physically, emotionally, philosophically and most of all, spiritually. Click here to read an article that makes the case. The author’s book might be a good investment if you have a child near college age.

Dino Classification Chaos:

In this blog I often poke some fun at over-zealous plant and animal taxonomists and even nature lovers who care more about picky species identifications than just enjoying plants and animals for what they are—fantastically complex and beautiful creations. I did it in the last post about goldenrods. Last year I lambasted botanists for messing around with one of my favorite plant genera,
Eupatorium . If biologists can get into trouble with presently existing species, imagine what paleontologists can do with extinct ones. A recent post in Creation-Evolution Headlines has many important implications, especially about what science can and can’t and shouldn't try to do.

21st Century Reading:

I finally yielded to temptation and bought an Amazon Kindle . It’s a reading device about the size and weight of a paperback book. With it you can buy, download wirelessly and read over 170,000 books from Amazon at prices much lower than the paper versions. The screen is different than a computer screen (it’s called “e-paper”) and much more comfortable to read. I can read for much longer periods without eyestrain than I can a paper book. I have begun to load the Kindle with theology, biology and some lighter material. I think the thing will eventually pay for itself, but I’ll have to maintain some budgetary discipline. To paraphrase old Senator Everett Dirksen, “$9.99 here and $9.99 there—and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

One of the fun books I’m reading now is
The Book of Animal Ignorance with strange facts about everything from aardvarks to worms. Maybe I like it for its writing style, which is about as quirky as mine.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that the 2.4 billion ants in a square mile of rain forest weigh more than four times as much as all the local mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians put together. Or that an eagle’s feathers weigh more than twice as much as its bones.

You learn something new every day!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Solidago sp.

Having recently completely blown a pretty easy plant identification based on seeing photographs, I have taken a solemn vow never to go there again—and that plant wasn’t even a goldenrod.

Adding “sp.” after a genus name may be a cop-out, or it may mean that differentiating between and among species of a particular genus is difficult, impossible—or maybe just not worth the effort. When it comes to the 60+ species of goldenrods indigenous to the northeast, I’ll go for Solidago sp. almost every time. Life is too short. Yes, there are many fairly easily distinguishable species—but life is still too short.

That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enjoy the goldenrods. They are 18K treasures in God’s jewelry armoire and we appreciate them far too little. After all, their foliage throughout the summer may appear somewhat weedy and may be easily confused for other really weedy plants. And since most species wait until late summer or fall to show off their floral finery, they have by then damaged their reputation as genuine “wildflowers.”

Another problem for our admiration of the Solidago group is that when they finally bloom, we tend to see them as mere bunches of yellow stuff, especially when we encounter massed displays in the middle of a meadow or field. That’s like looking at the ocean from a hotel window or like bird watching through the wrong end of your bins!

So dare to get cozy with the Solidagos—real cozy. Take a hand lens with you. Go ahead. Stick your nose right in there. OK, there might be a bee or a wasp doing the same; but that’s what flowers are for, after all. The bees won’t bother you—they’re too busy lapping nectar and packing pollen. Most wasps are friendly, too.

If I haven’t convinced you to go up-close goldenrod gawking in vivo, the included photos should offer a somewhat satisfying substitute. Wow! They are actually really flowers! They look like miniature daisies! Well, that’s what they are—members of the Composite family, with ray flowers and disk flowers. Each bunch or spray is like a delivery from
www.proflowers.com --but you don’t have to pay extra for the vase—and it lasts longer!

Never be satisfied with seeing “bunches of yellow stuff”—with leaving God’s gold shut up in the armoire.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Now that’s a bug—Really!

Yes, really. Whoever first nicknamed the VW beetle a bug was obviously not an entomologist. Beetles are beetles; bugs are bugs; never the twain shall meet. Actually, the car looks more like a beetle, like a ladybug, which is a beetle. So who were the better entomologists, the namers or the nicknamers? Is this getting confusing? Maybe we should ask the Beatles, who were clever enough not to spell their name like insects but after their rhythmical musical genre, which changed popular music for all time--probably for the worse.

I think we had better get back to the bug.

The pictured handsome guy is a bug, an Hemipteran. He’s flat across the back and has that shield shape, due to the fact that his forewings are half leathery and half membranous. That’s what makes him a bug. Of course, there are other differences as well. This guy has piercing-sucking mouthparts; beetles usually chew.

In my curious youth, I carried a relative of the pictured specimen, a big Hemipteran called a Wheel Bug, in the car on a family trip. I put a couple of moths in the jar with it and watched as its piercing-sucking mouthparts reduced the moths to powder in a matter of minutes. Mom and Dad were thrilled.

The photograph pictures one of the “leaf-footed" bugs, for reasons that may be obvious. Its genus is Acanthocephala—why do insects usually have names longer than their bodies?

Now that I’ve driven you buggy with this buggy drivel, I’ll just say so long for now. Don’t let the bedbugs bite—and yes, bedbugs are real bugs, although they are not as buggy in appearance as our typical pictured specimen.

Now I’ve gotcha itchin’!

Theological lesson? If it weren’t for sin and its consequences, maybe we would have only friendly vegetarian insects. Just a thought.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Plants are simply amazing—but not simple!

Click here to read an article about just one of countless examples of plant biochemistry and how plants use other creatures to do their bidding. It will also introduce you to one of the most amazing websites I have found. David Coppedge and his staff (I have never been able to figure out how many he has helping him with his site) do an amazing (there, I used that word again) job of cutting through the baloney and logical fallacies in scientific articles whose authors take Darwinian theory as proven fact. Dr. Coppedge works for JPL (Jet Propulsion Labs)

For future reference, a link to Creation/Evolution Headlines is included in the “Links to Good Stuff” over to your right. Check it often. I think you will find it....ing!