Paul George’s MVP Play Shows How Pacers Have Evolved

Paul George will win the NBA MVP.  As of right now, there is no doubt in my mind, all hometown Pacers bias aside. There isn’t a player that has a more complete game than him right now in the league. If Wednesday night at MSG was any indication, Paul George has quickly become the clutch, give-me-the-damn-ball superstar that most NBA teams that win a championship have. But it isn’t just his ability to score or even his lockdown defense that’s made him great this year, it’s been his leadership. George laid his foundation as a defensive player and would consistently be matched up on the opposing team’s best player night in and night out. He then coupled that defensive ability with a bit of scoring ability going into last year. But last year at this point, the Pacers were struggling to find their identity in the wake of their leader Danny Granger being sidelined with a long-term knee injury.

 

“Last year I would’ve deferred, I would’ve looked to have someone else take this role,” George said of how the game’s final minutes played out, with every single play being draw up for him. “This year, this time around, I’m going to be more aggressive. I’m more confident with myself. I had to learn myself.”

 

George didn’t quite understand the void he needed to fill in Granger’s absence at that time. Fast-forward a year later and it is now without a doubt his team. He now has complete control of this team on both ends of the floor. George entered the fourth quarter shooting just 5-15 from the floor but scored 15 of the Pacers final 19 points. The Kobe Bryant’s and Lebron James’s of this game carry their team when it’s needed most even if they haven’t performed well all night. After sinking three cold-blooded free throws that brought up eerily similar memories of last years game one Eastern Conference Finals bout with Miami, George and the Pacers clamped down in overtime to seal a win that showed the grit of a championship-caliber team.

 

And with that, the Pacers may finally have the missing piece to a championship puzzle. An MVP superstar named Paul George.

 

 

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A Case For A Creator

Currently, there are two hypothesis regarded as supportable regarding where life came from.

Darwinian Hypothesis
Biologist Jonathan Wells stated “Like all other scientific theories, Darwinian evolution must be continually compared with the evidence. If it does not fit the evidence, it must be reevaluated or abandoned-otherwise it’s not science but rather a myth.”

If you chose to embrace Darwinism, you claim the following:

-Nothing produces everything
-Non-life produces life
-Randomness produces fine-tuning
-Chaos produces information
-Unconciousness produces conciousness
-Non-reason produces reason

From this alone, pure logic states that you need to take a blind leap of faith. The central pilars of evolutionary theory will quickly rot away when exposed to scrutiny.

For example: naturalistic processes have utterly faild to explain how non living chemicals could somehow self assemple into the first living cell. Biochemist Klaus Dose states: “At the present all discussions on principle theories and experiments in the field either in in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance.

The fossil record has stubbornly refused to to confirm the grand claims of Darwinian Transitions. Despite inumerable discoveries since Darwin’s day, “the intermediates have remained as elusive as ever.” Rather than harmonize into a consistant case for Darwin’s theory, the fossils are a discordant cacophany that cannot reasonably account for the monumental heaps Darwinism must make, for example, between fish and amphibian, or amphibian and reptiles.

The most glaring deficiency is the biological Big Bang, also known as the Cambrian Explosion. The majority- or according to some experts, all- of the world’s forty phyla, the highest category in the animal kingdom, virtually sprang forth with unique body plans more than 500 million years ago. The sudden appearence of these radically new life forms, devoid of prior transitions, has turned Darwin’s Tree of Life on it’s head.

Darwin predicted that in due time, new discoveries would explain away this quantam leap in biological complexity. In reality, they have only made matters worse. The excuse that transitory creatures were too soft or small to be fossilized withers under examination. Alternate theories like Stephen Jay Gould’s “punctuated equilibrium” dash themselves on the rocks of reason. Darwin’s own assesment is still more accurate than a century and a half later: the Cambrian Explosion is “inexplicable” under his hypothesis.

While there are deficiencies of Darwinism, I became convinced, however, that evolution is a confirmed fact- as long as it’s defined to micro-evolutionary variations we see in plants and animals. Undeniably, a considerable amount of change and diversification has taken place over time, however, there is simply insufficient evidence from which to draw the radical conclusion that large-scale, macro-evolutionary transitions have occured.

In short, the amount of faith needed to maintain belief in the most sweeping and controversial claims far excedded what is warrented by hard evidence of science. On top of that, naturalism has absolutely no credible explanation for how the universe cam into being in the first place. This failure of the naturalistic and Darwinist ideas opened the door to considering the other hypothesis- that both the universe and the life it contains are the product of an intelligent designer.

Design Hypothesis
Evidence of Cosmology
Thanks to scientific discoveries of the last fifty years, the ancient kalam cosmological argument has taken on a powerful and persuasive new force. As described by William Lane Craig, the argument is simple yet elegant:

First, whatever begins to exist has a cause. Even renowned skeptic David Hume didn’t deny this first premise. In fact, atheist Quentin Smith’s contention that “we came from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing” seems intuitively absurd.

Second, the universe had a beginning. Based on the data, virtually all cosmologists now agree the universe began in the Big Bang at some specific point in the past. Craig stressed that even alternate theories for the origin of the universe require a beginning…

The conclusion then follows inexorably from the two premises: therefore,. (third).. the universe has a cause. Even once-agnostic astronomer Robert Jastrow conceded the essential elements of Christianity and modern cosmology are the same: “The chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.

Evidence of Physics
One of the most striking discoveries of modern science has been that the laws and constants of physics unexpectedly conspire in an extraordinary way to make the universe habitable for life. For instance, said physicist-philosopher Robin Collins, gravity is fine tuned to one part in a hundred million billion billion billion billion billion.

The cosmological constant, which represents the energy density of space, is as precise as throwing a dart from space and hitting a bulls-eye just a trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter on Earth. One expert said there are more than thirty physical or cosmological parameters that require precise calibration in order to produce a universe that can sustain life.

Collins demonstrated that chance cannot reasonably account for this “anthropic principle” and that the most-discussed alternative — that there are multiple universes-lacks any evidential support and ultimately collapses upon the realization that these other worlds would owe their existence to a highly designed process.

This evidence was so powerful that it was instrumental in Patrick Glynn abandoning his atheism. “Today the concrete data point strongly in the direction of the God hypothesis,” he said. “It is the simplest and most obvious solution to the anthropic puzzle.”

Evidence of Astronomy
Similar to the fine-tuning of physics, Earth’s position in the universe and its intricately choreographed geological and chemical processes work together with exquisite efficiency to create a safe place for humans to live.

For example, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and science philosopher Jay Wesley Richards said it would take a star with the highly unusual properties of our sun — the right mass, the right light, the right age, the right distance, the right orbit, the right galaxy, the right location — to nurture living organisms on a circling planet. Numerous factors make our solar system and our location in the universe just right for a habitable environment.

What’s more, the exceptional conditions that make life possible also happen to make our planet strangely well-suited for viewing and analyzing the universe and our environment. All of this suggests our planet may be rare, if not unique, and that the Creator wanted us to be able to explore the cosmos.

“If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence,” said Harvard-educated astrophysicist John A. O’Keefe of NASA. “It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.”

Evidence of Biochemistry
Darwin said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Biochemist Michael Behe has demonstrated exactly that through his description of “irreducibly complex” molecular machines.

These complicated, microscopic contraptions, such as cilia and bacterial flagella, are extremely unlikely to have been built piece-by-piece through Darwinian processes, because they had to be fully present in order to function. Other examples include the incredible system of transporting proteins within cells and the intricate process of blood clotting.

More than just a devastating challenge to Darwinism, these amazing biological systems — which far exceed the capacity of human technology — point toward a transcendent Creator. “My conclusion,” said Behe, “can be summed up in a single word: design. I say that based on science. I believe that irreducibly complex systems are strong evidence of a purposeful, intentional design by an intelligent agent.”

Behe’s argument has proven impervious to challenges by skeptics. While obviously there will be future discoveries in biochemistry, Behe pointed out that they will not be able to negate the complexity that has already been discovered — and which is best explained by a Creator.

Evidence of Biological Information
The six-feet of DNA coiled inside every one of our body’s one hundred trillion cells contains a four-letter chemical alphabet that spells out precise assembly instructions for all the proteins from which our bodies are made. Cambridge-educated Stephen Meyer demonstrated that no hypothesis has come close to explaining how information got into biological matter by naturalistic means.

On the contrary, he said that whenever we find a sequential arrangement that’s complex and corresponds to an independent pattern or function, this kind of information is always the product of intelligence. “Books, computer codes, and DNA all have these two properties,” he said. “We know books and computer codes are designed by intelligence, and the presence of this type of information in DNA also implies an intelligent source.”

In addition, Meyer said the Cambrian explosion’s dazzling array of new life forms, which suddenly appeared fully formed in the fossil record, with no prior transitions, would have required the infusion of massive amounts of new biological information. “Information is the hallmark of mind,” said Meyer. “And purely from the evidence of genetics and biology, we can infer the existence of a mind that’s far greater than our own — a conscious, purposeful, rational, intelligent designer who’s amazingly creative.”

Evidence of Consciousness
Many scientists are concluding that the laws of chemistry and physics cannot explain our experience of consciousness. Professor J. P. Moreland defined consciousness as our introspection, sensations, thoughts, emotions, desires, beliefs, and free choices that make us alive and aware. The “soul” contains our consciousness and animates our body.

According to a researcher who showed that consciousness can continue after a person’s brain has stopped functioning, current scientific findings “would support the view that `mind,’ `consciousness,’ or the `soul’ is a separate entity from the brain.”

As Moreland said, “You can’t get something from nothing.” If the universe began with dead matter having no conscious, “how, then, do you get something totally different — consciousness, living, thinking, feeling, believing creatures — from materials that don’t have that?” But if everything started with the mind of God, he said, “we don’t have a problem with explaining the origin of our mind.”

Darwinist philosopher Michael Ruse candidly conceded that “no one, certainly not the Darwinian as such, seems to have any answer” to the consciousness issue. Nobel Prize-winning neurophysiologist John C. Eccies concluded from the evidence “that there is what we might call a supernatural origin of my unique self-conscious mind or my unique selfhood or soul.”

THE IDENTITY OF THE DESIGNER
As I reviewed the avalanche of information from my investigation, I found the evidence for an intelligent designer to be credible, cogent, and compelling…

But who or what is this master Designer?… As Craig explained… the cause of the universe must be an uncaused, beginningless, timeless, immaterial, personal being endowed with freedom of will and enormous power… The evidence of astronomy, showing that the Creator was incredibly precise in creating a livable habitat for the creatures he designed, logically implies that he has care and concern for them…

Not only do biochemistry and the existence of biological information affirm the Creator’s activity after the Big Bang, but they also show he’s incredibly creative. Evidence for consciousness, as Moreland said, helps establish that the Creator is rational, gives us a basis for understanding his omnipresence, and even suggests that life after death is credible…

…Ockham’s razor shaves away the multiple gods of polytheism, leaving us with a single Creator. In addition, the personal nature of the Creator argues against the impersonal divine force that’s at the center of some New Age religions.

In contrast, however, the portrait of the Creator that emerges from the scientific data is uncannily consistent with the description of the God whose identity is spelled out in the pages of the Bible.

* Creator? “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.”
* Unique? “You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.”
* Uncaused and timeless? “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
* Immaterial? “God is spirit.”
* Personal? “I am God Almighty.”
* Freedom of will? “And God said, `Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
* Intelligent and rational? “How many are your works, 0 Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”
* Enormously powerful? “The Lord is… great in power.”
* Creative? “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
* Caring? “The earth is full of his unfailing love.”
* Omnipresent? “The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.”
* Has given humankind purpose? “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible… every thing got started in him and finds its purpose in him.”
* Provides for life after death? “He will swallow up death forever.”

As the apostle Paul wrote two millennia ago: “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, that is, his creation, so that men are without excuse.”…

…To me, the range, the variety, the depth, and the breathtaking persuasive power of the evidence from both science and history affirmed the credibility of Christianity to the degree that my doubts were simply washed away.

Unlike Darwinism, where my faith would have to swim upstream against the strong current of evidence flowing the other way, putting my trust in the God of the Bible was nothing less than the most rational and natural decision I could make. I was merely permitting the torrent of facts to carry me along to their most logical conclusion.”

This information was found in “The Case for a Creator”, which is book I recommend for any person wishing to know more on this subject.

Thoughts On The Colts, Running The Ball and Other NFL Week 11 Happenings

-The 2013 Indianapolis Colts have quickly become this decade’s version of the 1995 Indianapolis Colts deemed the “Cardiac Colts” by fans and the like. Another halftime deficit turned into another Colts comeback victory. Where have we seen this before? This team sits atop the AFC South with an 7-3 record heading into the most critical leg of the season where teams that are still in contention want to be playing their best football. Yet, coming off their worst performance of the Chuck Pagano-Andrew Luck era, the Colts got back to what has worked for them. One thing that changed this week compared to the last for the Colts was their ability to run the ball, in particular the second half when Donald Brown took majority of the snaps in place of a ineffective Trent Richardson. It remains to be seen if the Colts got the short end of the stick on the trade for him but it’s not too early to start thinking so. Brown finished with 2 touchdowns and 80 yards on just 14 carries. This helped open up the passing game, especially for Coby Fleener who appears to be turning into Luck’s security blanket in light of Reggie Wayne being out. Fleener had his most effective game as a pro with 8 catches going for 107 yards. The defense made its fair share of stops with its most critical coming on a drive in which they appeared to be crumbling. A string of dumb-headed personal foul penalties had put the Titans in scoring position. The Colts defense stiffened and held the Titans to a field goal when a touchdown seemed inevitable. The special teams once again made a critical play in forcing a turnover that helped set up the Colts to take the lead for good. The Colts playing well for a half has become a trend. Hopefully for their sake they can start playing well for a whole game.

-I’m still a believer that teams need to not only be able to run the ball, but also be able to do so the opposing defense must honor it. Yes the NFL is now a passing team but outside of last years fluke-ish run the Baltimore Ravens had, every team that has won the Super Bowl has either run the ball well all season or been able to come playoff time. And even so, Baltimore had ran for over 110 yards in their win over Denver in last year’s unbelievable double overtime divisional game. Green Bay has been the perfect example of a team that is so reliant on its passing game that they cannot make any noise in the post-season. In the playoffs they’ve failed to advance beyond the 2nd round the past two seasons. And now, with Aaron Rodgers injured for a length of time along with very little depth at receiver, the Packers are in deep trouble until Rodgers returns. For the Packers, a strong running game being developed now could bode well for them later if they are in a position to make the post-season when Rodgers returns. The NFL is now a “passing league” but running the ball and the threat of it is what will continue to win playoff games for teams.

Other Thoughts:

-Carolina is officially a contender and quickly becoming a team no one in NFC wants to see come playoff time. The Panthers 24-20 victory over the Patriots Monday night was the exclamation on a tremendous narrative the Panthers have been writing the past few weeks. Beating the Super Bowl Hungover 49ers is one thing, but beating Tom Brady and the Patriots in primetime? Ron Rivera has went from being a surefire out next season to a potential coach of the year candidate. Cam Newton did an interview on Fox a few weeks ago that not only showed how much he’s matured but how much of a leader he’s turning into for his team. I’m impressed Cam.

-I am amazed at the way the Detroit Lions continue to play. One week they look they’ve finally turned the corner and become the team their capable of being. The next they reveal all of their flaws defensively and revert back to the same Calvin Johnson-reliant offense. The Lions SHOULD win their division and could end up seeing the Carolina Panthers come playoff time. What a matchup that would be.

Performance of The Weekend: This has to go to the Denver Broncos offensive line. All week, the national media discussed the field day the Kansas City defensive line would have against Peyton Manning’s banged up linemen. Outside of a few pressures Manning had on him, the offensive line had arguably their best performance of the season given the circumstances. Manning had ample time to dissect Kansas City’s number one defense and silenced many of the questions surrounding his high ankle sprain(s). It’d be an impressive feat if the Broncos went 3-0 in this stretch of playing Kansas City twice with New England sandwiched in between. The game in Kansas City could very well decide the number one seed.

-I’m still in shock at how disappointing the Atlanta Falcons have been. And I feel sorry for Tony Gonzalez. This isn’t how you want to go out as a player in possibly your final year (so Gonzalez says). Yet, this is what typically happens to most players who have been lucky enough to play a number of years in the NFL. We always hear about the players who get the privilege of going out on top (Elway, Bettis come to mind) but too many times it ends the way it appears to be going for Tony Gonzalez. Chris Carter comes to mind in 1998 when the Minnesota Vikings team he was on suffered a gut-wrenching loss in the NFC Championship game at home. Carter was demoralized after the loss and knew that it was probably his best shot at a Super Bowl. Carter understood his fate, I’m not quite sure Tony Gonzalez did. It’s human instinct I think to resist change and hold on to something long after its time to let go. It’s extremely hard to win consistently in the NFL and even harder to get all the way back to a conference championship game after losing it the year before. It’s unfortunate that it will likely end this way for Tony Gonzalez but its a sad fate shared by many players before and after him.

See you next week!