Saturday, July 9, 2016

Witnessing A Debate Between Ark Encounter creator Ken Ham and Bill Nye, the Science Guy"


A second unscheduled "debate" between Ken Ham, who built the new Ark Encounter at Williamstown, Kentucky, and Bill Nye "the Science Guy," best known as the host of a children's science show that ran on PBS from 1993 to 1998, occurred this past Friday, July 8, 2015 in front of hundreds of people, including myself and others from Clear Fork Baptist Church in Albany, Kentucky at the Ark Encounter. The first one occurred at Ham's previous project, the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, seven miles west of the Cincinnati Airport, in November of 2014.

The Ark is part of a ministry that teaches Old Testament stories as true historical events. Nye had previously called the ark "a danger to the nation's science education" and had said he hoped it would never be built, because it would "indoctrinate children into this extraordinary and outlandish, unscientific point of view." The ark opened to the public last Thursday, July 7, 2016.

A few weeks ago, Ham had publicly invited Nye to tour the life-size Ark that opened July 7, and offered to personally show him through. Nye accepted. Apparently Bill is the host of an upcoming science documentary and wanted to bring along a video crew as they walked through the Ark. It really turned into an almost 2 hour debate as they walked through all three decks of the Ark. Both Ham and Nye agreed to video the entire discussion as they walked. Numerous children, teens and adults swarmed around them as they passionately interacted as the audience grew.

Like the previous day, which was opening day, there were thousands of visitors at the Ark Encounter on Friday and a large group of them had a unique opportunity they will never forget. Nye challenged Ham about the content of many of the exhibits, and Ham challenged Nye about what he claimed and what he believed. It was a clash of world views. At one point Ham asked Nye: what would happen to you when you die? He said when you die "you're done." Ham then asked Nye why he was concerned about what is being taught at the Ark if when we die we're "done."


The Ark Encounter is four levels, including the ground floor. The exchange between Ham and Nye moved from level to level. It began on the third level where, coincidentally, a few from my church group were at. Three of us stumbled upon the exchange minutes after it began and quickly notified others via cell phone to come watch. As you can see in the above photo, which I took, myself and two others in my group stood within arms reach of Nye and Ham and we were able to both photograph and record what we saw and heard. You can see photos on my Facebook page.

We couldn't believe our ears when Nye told Ham that it's "not crazy to believe we descended from Martians." Ham responded by asking Nye if it was "crazy to believe we descended from Adam and Eve!" The interaction between Ham, Nye and the crowd lasted two hours. Young people also came up and spoke with Nye and asked him questions, and challenged him. Specifically, we witnessed an exchange between Nye and a young lady from Iowa. One member of our group even asked Nye a couple of questions.

Ham is also the founder of Answers in Genesis, an apologetics ministry dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. When Ham mentioned AiG's PhD scientists, Nye said they were all incompetent, so Ham encouraged Nye to speak with them. Ham had opportunity to share the gospel with Nye a number of times as they strolled through the Ark.

As they made their way through the first floor in front of life-size models of Noah and his family who were depicted praying, Ham asked Nye if he would mind if he prayed, and could he pray for him. Nye responded that Ham could do whatever he wanted, that he couldn't stop him. So while a large group of people were gathered around, Creation Museum and Ark Encounter creator, Ken Ham, publicly prayed for Bill Nye, the Science Guy. Ham asked Nye if they could be friends. Nye replied that they could be acquaintances with mutual respect, but not friends.

Ham later wrote that he never expected their meeting would turn into a two hour debate, but he said sometimes those spontaneous happenings can be very fruitful and exciting. Ham said it was so fitting that with the opening of the Ark Encounter, this massive ship is being used to witness to such a well known personality. The meeting between Ham and Nye ended with a friendly handshake. For more information on the Ark Encounter, a world-class themed attraction that is now open to the public, go to arkencounter.com. I highly recommend it.



Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Simon & Garfunkel - The Complete Collection (Columbia, 1980)

Simon & Garfunkel - The Complete Collection (1980), 60-song, 5-LP vinyl box set(P5 15333) manufactured by Columbia Special Products and originally made available by mail-order via Tee Vee Records.

Record One:
1. The Sounds Of Silence
2. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright
3. Sparrow
4. My Little Town
5. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
6. A Most Peculiar Man
7. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
8. Keep The Customer Satisfied
9. He Was My Brother
10. Kodachrome
11. Somewhere They Can't Find Me
12. Bookends

Record Two:
1. I Am A Rock
2. Save The Life Of My Child
3. Peggy-O
4. El Condor Pasa (If I Could)
5. April Come She Will
6. Overs
7. The Boxer
8. Cloudy
9. You Can Tell The World
10. All I Know
11. Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
12. 7 O'Clock News/Silent Night

Record Three:
1. Mrs. Robinson 
2. Second Avenue
3. The Sun Is Burning
4. A Hazy Shade Of Winter
5. Baby Driver
6. You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies
7. America
8. Bye Bye Love
9. Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream
10. Loves Me Like A Rock
11. Leaves That Are Green
12. The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine

Record Four:
1. Cecilia
2. Anji
3. Bleecker Street
4. At The Zoo
5. Flowers That Never Bend With The Rainfall
6. Blessed
7. Homeward Bound
8. Song For The Asking
9. We've Got A Groovy Thing Goin'
10. Fakin' It
11. 99 Miles From L.A.
12. Benedictus

Record Five:
1. Bridge Over Troubled Water
2. Kathy's Song
3. Old Friends
4. The Dangling Conversation
5. The Only Living Boy In New York
6. Punky's Dilemma
7. Scarborough Fair/Canticle
8. Richard Cory
9. Patterns
10. Mother And Child Reunion
11. Why Don't You Write Me
12. A Simple Desultory Phillippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Celebrating July 4th at Hale's Mill

The possible site of Hale's Mill, downstream from Wolf River Bridge on Highway 111 in Pickett County, TN.

"On the 4th day of July 1861, near a thousand men, women and children of Overton and Fentress Counties, Tennessee, met at Hale’s Mill and celebrated the day, as had been the custom in former years. They raised a hickory pole, on which was hoisted the old flag. Dr. Hale’s daughters and their teacher, sang the “Star Spangles Banner.” Mrs. Hale, read the Declaration of Independence, and the whole concourse of people partook of a bountiful repast prepared by our women, every one of whom opposed revolution in every shape." - J.D. Hale.

The Civil War had begun twenty-two days earlier. Our ancestors thought this area was too remote to be included in any war, but it came nearly three months later to Travisville. The date was September 29,1861. The Affair at Travisville, as it became known, was the first military action of any kind during the Civil War in Tennessee. Not only in shots fired, but also in the first fatalities. Four Confederate soldiers were killed and four others were captured.

Almost four months later, on January 19, 1862, the Battle of Mill Springs was fought at nearby Nancy, Ky in Wayne  and Pulaski counties. The war coming here was inevitable. By its end, 10,500 battles, engagements and other military actions had occured, including nearly 50 major battles and about 100 others that had major significance. The remainder were skirmishes, reconnaissances, naval engagements, sieges, bombardments, etc. The engagements were fought in 23 different states and resulted in a total of over 650,000 deaths.

In October of 1845, Jonathan Hale and John Jouett began to erect grist and saw mills on Wolf River. This 100-acre property was in the area where the Farmhouse Restaurant is located on Highway 111, between Byrdstown and the Tennessee-Kentucky state line. Hale established a two-story mill and store and served as postmaster at Hale's Mill. It was said that he also operated a manufacturing facility there, producing wagons and furniture.

Hale, known as J.D.,  had been born in Stoddard, Massachusetts in the year 1817. He stood five-feet-nine inches high with a heavy build. He was rather stooped, or round at the shoulder. His head was long and narrow. His hair was a sandy color and he was said to have a gray eye. He and his wife, Pheroba Chilton (1826-1905), had seven children.

When the Civil War started in 1861, Hale and his family declared for the Union. As a matter of fact, he was among the first to denounce and expose session. The U. S. Army appointed him a captain and Chief of Scouts of the Army of the Cumberlands. In this capacity he served under General George Thomas. Hale reported on the activities of Confederate leaders Morgan, Forrest, and Wheeler. He also recruited men in Tennessee for the Union army.

The massive July 4th celebration that had taken place at Hale's Mill, coupled with Hale's expressions of loyalty to the United States, infuriated Confederate sympathizers. Hale's family was forced to flee across the state line to Albany, Ky for safety. Three days after the July 4th celebration, all of Hale's property was destroyed by fire. $20,000 worth of buildings and materials were burned, including Hale’s home and two other houses, a large library in Hale’s house, worker's cabins, a barn, stable, store, still house, kitchen, grist and saw mill, 1000 bushels of corn, planning machine, mortising machine, running lathe, circular saws, tolls, lumber, wagons, and furniture. In 1864, a military commission awarded Hale $25,000 in a assessment levied against those accused of burning his property.

The Civil War officially ended on May 9, 1865. The 4th of July celebration across America that year was unlike any other in the nation’s history. An uneasy mix of joy, relief, resentment and unhealed wounds was reported as Americans sought reasons for celebration after a war that nearly tore apart the country.

Three months earlier, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee had surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at a Virginia courthouse and, days later, John Wilkes Booth fatally shot President Lincoln in a Washington theater. Richmond and much of the rest of the South were in ruins, ruled by the U.S. military, while an untested President Andrew Johnson was trying to find his way forward. He looked to the 4th of July as a launching point to reunify not just the states, but also the hearts and minds of their inhabitants. “Of all the anniversaries of the Declaration of Independence, none has been more important and significant than that upon which you assemble,” he proclaimed. “Let us trust that each recurring 4th of July shall find our nation stronger in number, stronger in wealth, stronger in the harmony of the citizens, stronger in its devotion to nationality and freedom.”

For the first time in more than four years, Independence Day 1865 dawned without Americans on the battlefield trying to kill other Americans. Contemporary accounts and newspaper stories depicted a subdued, at times somber celebration in a country struggling to recover a sense of normalcy. In some places, the holiday was barely observed at all.

And so it was that on July 4, 1865, a group once again gathered at the Hale's Mill site to celebrate Independence Day, as well as the outcome of the war. They hoisted the 'old flag' and attendants fired a 34-gun salute. Hale’s daughters again sang the Star Spangled Banner and this time it was Hale who read the Declaration of Independence.

In his book, "The Bloody Shirt," Hale wrote, "In what does freedom consist? What is meant by the expression to be free, which really has no meaning at all in this connection, for the ex-slaves as a mass are not so free to be contented as they were at the commencement [of the war] in which we considered it honorable to destroy one another...what signified to the soldier wisdom, purity, patriotism, while an ounce of lead pierced him and he died in the midst of thousands of other dying men, whose last view was of their homes destroyed by fire and sword, amid the cries of their women and children perishing - all for pretended principles no one knew the merits of?"

By 1871, the Hale family had left this area for New Hampshire. Jonathan died of old age in 1896. In 2011, Tennessee honored him by erecting a historical marker near the site of Hale's Mill on Highway 111 in Pickett County. It is located beside the Farmhouse Restaurant.

Jonathan Hale, left, and Tinker Dave Beaty


Thursday, June 30, 2016

God is Able

"I needed to hear this today," she wrote on Facebook, and then proceeded to write the lyrics to a song I had composed five years earlier.

"He leadeth me beside still waters
Holding to my hand I know
Whatever path I take God is able
And though the journey that I'm on
Might sometimes be too rough and long
No matter come what may
God is able

He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me that I'm his very own
He died for me on Mount Calvary
That by his blood I might be made whole
God is able
Yeah yeah, God is able"

I wrote this in 2011 following an instance where I was confronted with the phrase, "God is able." I remember posting the words on Facebook, but I don't know how she would have come across them five years later, unless she had shared it on her page. I prefer to think that it had to be the Lord.

I have learned that what we share on social media matters, as in this case. That is why I try to be uplifting.

"If I can help somebody as I pass along
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song
If I can show somebody he is traveling wrong
Then my living shall not be in vain."


In my life, I strive to do as this songs says. So should anyone else who is interested in helping mankind. I have a radio friend in Indiana, a child from the "Peace and Love" generation of the 1960's, who once asked me, "What about that "GOD" thing?" I told her how God is able and I shared with her the same exact testimony I just shared with the lady who posted my lyrics on her Facebook page. It is the same testimony I am about to share with you.

The phrase, "God is Able," was something that I needed to hear back in 2003 when I was first diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy and was told my name would be the list for a heart transplant. My dad had died two weeks prior and I had three small children, the oldest being nine years old. In my darkest moment, lying there alone, weeping in that hospital bed, a lady, not a nurse, just someone who smiled at me, came into my room and handed me an envelope and then turned around and left. Inside the envelope was a card and inside the card were the words, "God is able." Ten minutes later, my phone rang. It was a close friend, a judge, who felt led to call and say to me that God is able to do all things. We both wept, I the more after all that had transpired in that hospital room within a matter of minutes. My name was taken off the transplant list the next day.

Those were not the only times that I have been confronted with the phrase, "God is able." I had read a conversation between two of my Overton County cousins. One was talking about how hard life is. The other replied that she would be to her like Aaron and Hur in Exodus 17, where Moses realized that the Israelites prevailed in battle while his hands were raised but lost ground when his hands were lowered. I googled the phrase, "life is hard," which led me to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Eulogy of the Martyred Children," on Sept. 18, 1963. It was delivered at the funeral service for 3 of the 4 girls who were killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama three days earlier.

"Now I say to you in conclusion, life is hard, at times as hard as crucible steel. It has its bleak and difficult moments. Like the ever-flowing waters of the river, life has its moments of drought and its moments of flood. Like the ever-changing cycle of the seasons, life has the soothing warmth of its summers and the piercing chill of its winters. And if one will hold on, he will discover that God walks with him and that GOD IS ABLE to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, and transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace."

I am confirmly convinced that God wants me to know that He is able, as the bible says, "to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." (Ephesians 3:20). "God is able" has become my motto. The lady on Facebook said, "I needed to hear this today." If I need to hear it daily, that is fine by me.

"GOD IS ABLE"



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Value of a Good Song


I was a junior in high school when I began my career in radio. I first worked Sunday nights. Even though the station format was country, I was allowed to play rock and roll records.

A few days after I first started, I was asked to fill in on a mid-morning shift. Sunday night's was all music and very litte commercials. It was a lot different through the week, so I was pretty nervous stepping into the 'big league' so soon. But, I was raised up in radio and had been around the station enough to know about the country artists. Twenty minutes into the shift, I cued up "Four Walls" by Jim Reeves. A minute into the song, the telephone rang. It was my grandmother. She said, "Now you're doing it! Keep that up and you'll be alright."

In that moment, my love for radio went to a depth I never imagined it would. I had learned the value of a good song. If there was any doubt about what I wanted to do the rest of my life, my grandmother settled it.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Waiting For The Right Thing To Be Done

President Obama is always talking about righting wrongs. On this anniversary of D-Day, I know of one wrong he can right: Award a Medal of Honor posthumously to First Lieutenant Garlin Murl Conner. 

He served with distinction and valor in the United States Army during World War II. He is Kentucky's most decorated war hero. He servedon the front lines for over eight hundred days in eight major campaigns. He was wounded seven times but returned to combat and continued to fight on the front lines after each wound.  

 Lt. Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Service Cross and the French Medal of Honor for his actions during 28 straight months in combat. 

Audie Murphy has always been recognized as the most decorated soldier during World War II. The Medal of Honor would give Lt. Conner one more award than Audie Murphy, thus making him America's most decorated hero of all wars. 

Before his death, Lt. Conner's commander in World War II, retired Maj. Gen. Lloyd B. Ramsey of Salem, Va., filed an affidavit saying Lt. Conner's work, while injured, provided valuable intelligence. 

"There is no doubt that Lt. Conner should have been awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions," Ramsey wrote. "One of the most disappointing regrets of my career is not having the Medal of Honor awarded to the most outstanding soldier I've ever had the privilege of commanding." 

Lt. Conner's fellow soldiers also filed affidavits crediting Conner with helping not only save the lives of fellow soldiers but being key to defeating the Germans in the battle. 

"Between the artillery strikes Conner called in and spray from his own machine gun, he killed at least 50 German soldiers and wounded twice as many. His heroic and entirely voluntary act saved our battalion. If he hadn't done what he did, we would have had to fight for our lives," said retired Lt. Harold Wigetman, a member of the red Battalion. 

Mr. President, do the right thing. Award the Medal of Honor to Lt. Garlin Murl Conner.