I’ve been hearing the charge that there’s no reason to think the contraceptives Hobby Lobby refused to subsidize (Plan B, Ella, and two types of IUDs) are actually abortifacients, so I was happy to see that Josh Brahm of the Equal Rights institute had collected a series of articles by Dr. Rich Poupard of the Life Training Institute, along with an interview with Dr. Poupard on “How Should Pro-Lifers Talk about Birth Control?” to address this controversy (which is mostly centered on Plan B).
Read through the articles here and watch the interview below. Here’s the bottom line from one of the articles:
Let me contrast Plan B and Ella. Plan B is basically synthetic progesterone, and is merely a larger dose of a form of oral contraceptive that has been used for years. Ella is a progesterone antagonist, which means that it works by blocking the effect of progesterone. The only other progesterone antagonist on the market at this time is mifepristone, otherwise known as RU-486, the abortion pill....
In the case of Plan B – there is no direct evidence that it decreases the receptivity of the uterine lining to an embryo that is attempting to implant. There is some indirect evidence that has concerned many in our movement, but there is also evidence from both animal studies and human studies that indicate no post-fertilization effects from Plan B. In the absence of clear evidence, I urge caution, but cannot state that using Plan B is wrong because of its post-fertilization effects. Lots of my older posts on this topic can be found here....
What about Ella? I will show in following posts that just about everything that I stated about Plan B is completely different than Ella. Ella has been shown conclusively to have an adverse effect on the uterine lining. Investigators admit that if taken in higher doses, Ella will cause an abortion just like her sister RU-486. This is not an emergency contraceptive drug – it is a low dose abortifacient.
William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, helped lay the foundation for modern physics. He was also a mathematician, engineer, and inventor. His most significant work was developing the laws of thermodynamics with James Joule. He invented submarine telegraphy and worked on the project laying the trans-Atlantic telegraph line. He was the first scientist to be honored with a peerage and received 21 honorary degrees. His work "portended the relativity theory and quantum theory."
He did not believe evolution could explain the creation of man and the variety of life, which angered Darwin and Huxley. He believed God created, and his scientific inquiry led to greater worship for the Creator.
We feel that the power of investigating the laws established by the Creator for maintaining the harmony and permanence of His works is the noblest privilege which He has granted to our intellectual state....As the depth of our insight into the wonderful works of God increases, the stronger are our feelings of awe and veneration in contemplating them and in endeavoring to approach their Author ... So will he [the earnest student] by his studies and successive acquirements be led through nature up to nature's God.
Overpoweringly strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie all around us and if ever perplexities, whether metaphysical or scientific, turn us away from them for a time, they come back upon us with irresistible force, showing to us our nature, the influence of free will, and teaching us that all living beings depend on one ever-acting Creator and Ruler.
We only know God in His works, but we are forced by science to admit and to believe with absolute confidence in a Directive Power – in an influence other than physical, or dynamical, or electrical forces.
He was President of Largs and Fairlie Auxiliary of the National Bible Society of Scotland from 1904-1907.
George Cuvier launched modern vertebrate paleontology. He originated the major classification of living things based on the nervous system: Vertebrata, Articulata, Mollusca, and Radiata. He also proved persuasively that animals did go extinct, which was doubted at the time. He was a Christian who believed God had created the world with all the variety of living things and that all modern species descended from their original pairs.
Cuvier believed that all living things existed in their essential forms without significant evolutionary change, and organisms are functional wholes. He rejected common descent and evolution because any change in form would destroy the functional whole. Cuvier thought that the functional signs of an organism could be detected in any part, and he had an unusual ability to accurately reconstruct animals from small remaining pieces. He also studied strata extensively and would entertain audiences by examining the exterior of a rock that contained a fossil and accurately predicting what they would find when workmen chiseled away to expose the remains inside.
Cuvier began his career as the tutor for the son of a wealthy man, but was invited to move to Paris and appointed to the Napoleonic University of France. He served in various roles throughout his career, spanning Napoleon, three kings, and revolution. He was considered to possess one of the finest minds of his time.
You've seen plants referred to by their scientific names, such as Rosa rubiginosa. That form of naming plants and other living things was introduced by a Christian who was a scientist named Carolus Linnaeus. He was born in Sweden in 1707 to a Lutheran pastor. He showed interest in nature from his childhood, and eventually pursued science at the University of Uppsala. His interest was motivated by a theme that keeps popping up among Christian scientists featured on this blog: They believed the world was created by God, and therefore orderly, and able and worthy to be studied. This is the principle that generated tremendous scientific investigation.
Linnaeus developed the modern taxonomy system. Though it's been changed over time, it is the basis for categorizing and naming living things.
For Linnaeus, species of organisms were real entities, which could be grouped into higher categories called genera (singular, genus). By itself, this was nothing new; since Aristotle, biologists had used the word genus for a group of similar organisms, and then sought to define the differentio specifica – the specific difference of each type of organism. But opinion varied on how genera should be grouped. Naturalists of the day often used arbitrary criteria to group organisms, placing all domestic animals or all water animals together. Part of Linnaeus' innovation was the grouping of genera into higher taxa that were also based on shared similarities. In Linnaeus's original system, genera were grouped into orders, orders into classes, and classes into kingdoms. Thus the kingdom Animalia contained the class Vertebrata, which contained the order Primates, which contained the genus Homo with the species sapiens – humanity. Later biologists added additional ranks between these to express additional levels of similarity.
Linnaeus based plant classification on their reproduction, which was considered rather scandalous at the time. "[O]ne opponent, botanist Johann Siegesbeck, called it 'loathsome harlotry'. (Linnaeus had his revenge, however; he named a small, useless European weed Siegesbeckia.)"
Linnaeus experimented with hybridization of plants and animals. But he rejected the notion of evolution, which was already introduced at his time long before Darwin popularized it. He believed that there was a limitation in the changes a species could undergo, being set in its creation. The potential for change was present at God's creation.
The concept of open-ended evolution, not necessarily governed by a Divine Plan and with no predetermined goal, never occurred to Linnaeus; the idea would have shocked him. Nevertheless, Linnaeus's hierarchical classification and binomial nomenclature, much modified, have remained standard for over 200 years. His writings have been studied by every generation of naturalists.
William Harvey was a physician and scientist in the 16th and 17th centuries who was the first to demonstrate how the circulatory system worked. He described how the arteries, veins, valves, lungs, and heart worked to circulate blood – and he was amazed at God's design and purpose in the systems of the body. He enjoyed studying how God had made things to work.
Harvey considered science a godly vocation and was motivated by the idea that the Creator had made things in an orderly way that could be understood and studied.
Harvey’s primary achievement, the explanation of the circulation of the blood, was occasioned in part “by asking why God put so many valves in the veins and none in the arteries.” He believed that nature does nothing “in vain.”
He was physician to King James 1 and King Charles. He was also the first to propose that humans and mammals reproduced by a sperm fertilizing an egg.
It takes some imagination to grasp how radically different ancient worldviews were from our Western perspective. Much of what we now take for granted as being common sense was not actually common throughout human history. Rather, our particular worldview was built over time on a foundation of unique ideas, and Rodney Stark, author of How the West Won, argued in a recent radio interview that it’s the Western view of God that made the biggest difference for us:
It’s pretty obvious…that the Judeo-Christian concept of God held the key to the rise of the West, and that is the belief in a rational Creator God, because that had the implication, then, that the creation was itself rational—that is to say, it obeys rules. The rules are reasonable, rational. Consequently, since humans have the ability to reason, it might be possible to discover the rules of the creation. And that was the whole basis of science.
Science only happened in the West. And the reason it happened [is] because only in the West was science plausible. Elsewhere, it was thought that the universe was eternal, that it was mystical, that it was beyond understanding and human comprehension. We could meditate on it, but we couldn’t try to discover the rules that made it work.
People like Newton believed that there were rules to be discovered, and the marvelous thing, of course, is there were rules that could be discovered.
So in one sense, the greatest scientific theory of all is that the universe is rational. And it’s been tested again and again, as people have discovered these rational rules by which everything works. That’s the key to the whole rise of the West.
Very often, atheists will lump all ancient religions together, imagining that any belief in the supernatural necessarily conjures up a chaotic, unpredictable universe in the minds of the believers. But it was actually the opposite with Christianity. It was only a belief in the biblical God that rescued people from a chaotic-universe mindset.
Atheists need to use their imaginations to strip away what our culture has unreflectively absorbed from Christianity and think about how they would see the world if Christianity had never existed.
Imagine if at the beginning of human history every human being had a naturalistic understanding of the universe—everything was thought to have come together randomly, as atoms happened to bump into atoms, with no reason for its existence. No design, no purpose to the way the universe developed. That foundational idea would have invoked not the view of today’s naturalist scientist (whose view grew out of our culture’s ancient Christian belief in an ordered universe), but a worldview every bit as chaotic as any that rested on capricious gods. Who, in a culture developing under a belief in a meaningless, random universe where something might at any moment come out of nothing, would have thought to search for rational, predictable natural laws?
An atheistic understanding of the universe does not naturally lead to the pursuit of science, nor does a supernatural view automatically lead there. Only in a culture with a belief in a rational, orderly, sovereign Creator—where it’s believed a reasonable mind is behind things—would science be likely to appear. And a look at world history backs up that conclusion.
Now let’s take this one step further: No worldview other than one with a Creator would likely have brought people to science, and yet it turns out that science is an accurate way of discovering truth about our world—that is, the scientific laws predicted by a worldview with a biblical concept of God, and unexpected in any other worldview, actually exist.
"For some, the wonder may be that a monk contributed anything at all to science. Don't people in monasteries spend all their time praying, singing, and fighting off dirty thoughts? Not so the friars of the St. Thomas Monastery in Brno, the Czech Republic." Gregory Mendel, the father of genetics, entered the monastery in 1843, uneducated but intelligent. The abbott recognized his intelligence and sent him to the University of Vienna. When he returned to the monastery, he engaged in the rigorous intellectual life there. "St. Thomas was a vibrant center of science and culture. Its friars taught and researched in philosophy, mathematics, mineralogy, and botany. The library housed many scientific works."
Mendel subjected the basic observations of how attributes are inherited to scientific and mathematical rigor. He studied one trait at a time in his pea plant experiments, describing how dominant and recessive genes work. He is part of a legacy of scientists who believed God created an orderly world that we could study and know.