Helicobacter pylori eradicated! My battle won in 2017!

Helicobacter pylori is a nasty bacterium that inhabits the stomach and GI tract of a large percentage of the world’s population. It can cause many symptoms, some very serious. Credit: Wikipedia

On December 21, 2017, I received the result of my last test (a h. pylori antigen stool test) to see if I have eradicated the helicobacter pylori (h.pylori bacteria) overgrowth in my body, which caused me so much pain and suffering for the past 10 years, especially when trying to overcome them this year (2017). The result of that test was that those horrible bugs have been eliminated. No h. pylori were detected! That is absolutely great news. Believe me, it is not something you would wish on your worst enemy.

During these past 12 months, particularly, I have had many scary symptoms that made me think that this was the end for me. It has been a long journey that seemed like it would never end, with periods of suffering great pain and a lot of anxiety. The anxiety was not some much about dying, as I am prepared to depart this world to be with the Lord. The anxiety was more about the pain and suffering, that it would continue. Overall my body weight dropped from 73 kg to 63 kg, losing a kilogram per week, with no end in sight. The h. pylori had so affected cells in my stomach that I had no desire to eat anything. And based on my calorie calculations I should have maintained body weight but due to a compromised gut I was losing weight rapidly.  I got down to a body weight that I have not had since being a teenager.

My story

I did not want to write this report until I got a negative result back from a h. pylori test.  And I write the following because of all the online forum comments I read, when I was going through some very hard times, that help me enormously. I hope my testimony might help others likewise. The wide variety of symptoms made it very hard to believe a single cause was possible. But as it now turns out most of the strange and varied symptoms I experienced were due to an h. pylori overgrowth in my stomach.

One of the earliest episodes I can remember occurred in Madrid Spain in 2006. I was attending a theoretical physics conference and one lunch, after drinking a single glass of red wine (as they do there) I started to feel dizzy, and very strange feeling came over me, as though all the blood rushed out of my head. I became extremely fatigued even to the point I found it hard to climb a few steps. I developed chills and cold sweats. One waitress asked me if I was alright, looking at me as though I had just seen a ghost. I also had gastric reflux but I had had that for years and had not considered it to be any sort of problem.  I left the conference for the refuge of my hotel room and rested. The next morning I felt pretty much normal again but after the lunch that next day it all returned just as before. This really worried me — not only that I had these symptoms but also I developed chest pains on my left side and down my left arm.

The next day I was to fly to Israel to visit with Prof. Carmeli of Ben Gurion University. I thought about my heart but also thought if I was developing a heart problem I would be better off in Israel. The next morning I went to the airport feeling very sick, with chest pains and cold sweats, and very fatigued. I tried to put on a good face as El Al airline security personnel interview you personally. Thankfully I arrived safely and went straight to the Carmeli’s house. On arrival Mrs Carmeli said to me: “You look awful!” She also said if I was not feeling better she’s take me to the hospital the next morning. I wasn’t better and she took me in to Beer Sheva General Hospital. I presented with all the symptoms of ischemia and so they tested me for this. In fact, they were so concerned they checked me into their cardiac unit, asked me if I could call any close relative, and tested me for any evidence of a heart attack. They required I do a stress test on a treadmill but I was so fatigued I could not get up to the diagnostic heart rate. Nevertheless they released me after 2 day finding no evidence of a heart problem. They said they do not know what was causing all the symptoms. Continue reading

The Cosmological Argument and an eternal big bang universe

The beginning of the universe in time is the single biggest bug-bear for the secular cosmologists. They must eliminate the need for the beginning in order that they can eliminate the need for the Creator Himself. If you have an origin in time, you can argue that anything that exists, and had a beginning in time, also had to have a Creator.

This is the Cosmological Argument. And if the big bang cosmologist agrees the universe exists and began to exist at some moment in time past, then it also had to have had a cause–a first cause. That first cause can only have been an infinite Creator, who is greater than the universe itself.

Some long age/old earth Christian apologists use this argument starting with the assumption that the big bang was a real historical event. That also is a flawed approach even though they use valid logic after the fact. Their initial assumption–their starting premise–is not a fact (or cannot be proven to be a fact) and hence the rest of their argument fails.

But what would these apologists, like W.L. Craig or H. Ross, say when the secular big bang theorists continue to push towards the elimination of the origin in time, even the big bang beginning itself?

Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel is quoted (September 21, 2017) in an article in Forbes titled “The Big Bang Wasn’t The Beginning, After All”:

The conclusion was inescapable: the hot Big Bang definitely happened, but doesn’t extend to go all the way back to an arbitrarily hot and dense state. Instead, the very early Universe underwent a period of time where all of the energy that would go into the matter and radiation present today was instead bound up in the fabric of space itself. That period, known as cosmic inflation, came to an end and gave rise to the hot Big Bang, but never created an arbitrarily hot, dense state, nor did it create a singularity. What happened prior to inflation — or whether inflation was eternal to the past — is still an open question, but one thing is for certain: the Big Bang is not the beginning of the Universe! [my emphases added]

He states his belief as if fact, i.e. that the big bang definitely happened, even though cosmology is not actually science. See Cosmology is Not Science! His theory has no super-dense initial singularity.  But he assumes, as fact, an early period of cosmic inflation (which is a best speculative), which eventually finished and gave rise to the hot big bang fireball that the rest of this universe allegedly evolved from. He leaves open the question whether the universe was eternally inflating in the past, but the one thing he is certain of is that the big bang was not the beginning of the universe. Others have proposed an eternal universe that eventually explodes in a big bang.

Eliminate the need for the big bang to be the beginning in time and eventually they hope they can eliminate any need for the Creator Himself. After all didn’t the universe create itself?

Quite obviously not. For, in the beginning God created the universe (Genesis 1:1).

Related Reading

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Romans 8:18-23

For the past 6 months I have been battling various health issues. The major one has been gastritis caused by a helicobacter pylori (h. pylori) bacterial infection in my stomach causing stomach erosions, much pain, loss of appetite, nausea and many other symptoms. This has been a difficult time of ups and downs in my health and I have not been able to research or write much on creation based issues. I have not yet got an ‘all-clear’ on the eradication of the bugs but I am hoping for that very soon, Lord willing!

During this time I have listened to many very good sermons (really Bible studies) by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones (which may be found at mljtrust.org).

The following three sermons cover the very important creation relevant verses found in Romans 8:18-23


Creation Delivered

Important deductions about evolution; the creation’s hope of deliverance; the grounds of this hope; the glory of Christ; of His people and of creation.


Paradise Regained

Sermon #3176
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The manifestation of the sons of God; the glorification of the body; physical and spiritual perfection; our reserved inheritance; the creation’s share in our glory; Paradise regained.


Death and Heaven

The eternal state and the millennium; death and heaven; glorified bodies on a glorified earth; Satan’s final defeat; effects on our outlook in this world; groaning and waiting.

Book review: “An Appeal to Reason” by Jim Gibson

“An Appeal to Reason” is subtitled “Examining the evidence of origins in the evolution verses creation debate”. The author, Jim Gibson, employs a witty and, in some cases, sarcastic style. He intends the book to appeal to the younger generation, who have little knowledge of the facts surrounding the story that is now taught universally in the education system of the origin of life on this planet. Evolution is marketed as a fact—as the true history of life on Earth. The author points to many scientific discoveries that contradict that story. Published by Tate Publishing, Oklahoma, USA (2014) and available from Amazon.com.

The book is wide-ranging in its subject matter, yet does not load the reader with too many or superfluous details, yet provides sufficient explanation to show that the biblical creation model of understanding the history of the universe and life on Earth is a far better explanation than that offered by the evolution story.

Jim Gibson’s approach to the subject is different to the approach I have read in many other creationist publications that deal with similar material. It is fresh, insightful and challenging to anyone willing to open their mind and use commonsense and reason in understanding the evidence—both present day observations and accounts from history as recorded by scientific observers over the past few hundred years. Therefore I recommend it to everyone.

See video promo from Tate Publishing. But note the book is no longer available at Tate Publishing. See update below. Continue reading

Book Review: “Setting Aside All Authority” by Christopher M. Graney

The book “Setting Aside All Authority” comprises 10 chapters, 270 pages. The last half of the book is largely made up of two appendices: (A) the first English translation of Monsignor Francesco Ingoli’s essay to Galileo (disputing the Copernican system on the eve of the Inquisition’s condemnation of it in 1616) and (B) excerpts from the Italian Jesuit astronomer Giovanni Battista Riccioli’s reports on his experiments with falling bodies. The book is published by the University of Notre Dame, 2015.

Cover of the book. The cover image is taken from Riccioli’s New Almagest (1651). Note the heliocentric system (top left) compared to the Tychonic hybrid geocentric system (bottom right).

The main thesis of the book challenges the notion that around the time of Galileo, and the beginning of the Copernican revolution, opponents of the heliocentric worldview, championed by Galileo, were primarily motivated by religion or dictates from the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.

The author, Christopher M. Graney, uses newly translated works by anti-Copernican writers of the time to demonstrate that they predominantly used scientific arguments and not religion in their opposition to the Copernican system. Graney argues that it was largely a science-versus-science debate, rather than church authority-versus-science as often incorrectly portrayed.

In the 1651, the Jesuit Giovanni Battista Riccioli published his book the New Almagest wherein he outlined 77 arguments against the Copernican system (pro-geocentrism) and 49 arguments in favour of it. Most arguments against the Copernican heliocentric system could be answered, at that time, but Riccioli, using the then available telescopic observations of the size of stars, was able to construct a powerful scientific argument that the pro-Copernican astronomers could not answer without an appeal to the greatness of God.

Graney largely uses Riccioli’s New Almagest, which argues in favour not of the Ptolemaic system but of the hybrid Tychonic system, where the Earth is immobile at the centre of the universe, the sun, the moon and the stars circle the earth; but the planets circle the sun. Riccioli built on the work of the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, and built a strong scientific case against the heliocentric system, at least through the middle of the seventeenth century, which was several decades after the advent of the telescope.

The main two arguments presented in the book, both scientific, are the size of stars and the effect on falling bodies.

Falling bodies

If the earth were rotating, then a falling body should hit a point on the surface of the earth at a definite distance from a vertical line to the surface, if dropped vertically. The same argument could be made for cannon balls fired in different directions on the earth’s surface. These type of discussions and arguments carried on for a century, and even Isaac Newton got involved. What we now know as the Coriolis force, a ‘fictitious’ force, resulting from the rotation of the planet on the fired or dropped objects could not be measured with the required precision in the 17th century.

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The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning and the Universe Itself? Part 11

Part 11 and the final part of my review of the book: “The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning and the Universe Itself,” by Sean M. Carroll. Part 10 is found here.

Caring

In the last section of the book titled “Caring” he opens the first chapter with a quote from Carl Sagan’s wife. In response to people who knew Sagan was not a believer, seven years after his death his wife, Ann Druyan, wrote:

“We knew we were the beneficiaries of chance … That pure chance could be so generous and so kind … That we could find each other … in the vastness of space and the immensity of time….  The way he treated me and the way I treated him… that is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.” (pp.387-8)

This then leads to the question of the afterlife. Being a naturalist Carroll does not believe in such. He states though that he would like to continue living in some fashion after death, but only if it was pleasant and if he was not “tortured by ornery demons” (p.388)

And he writes that it takes courage to face up to the finitude of and the limits on our existence. Thus he agrees with Druyan that it was only chance that she met Sagan. The message here is that man is just another animal and not any more important that a sea slug. By chance we meet our spouses—there is no more meaning in our existence than chance.

“Ideas like ‘meaning’ and ‘morality’ and ‘purpose’ are nowhere to be found in the Core Theory of quantum fields, the physics underlying our everyday lives.” (p.389)

But he tries to add meaning by saying that these are emergent ways of talking about our human-scale environment. Nothing more.

“The source of these values isn’t the outside world; it’s inside us.” (p.389)

We could discuss where such ideas have ultimately led to. In the 20th century alone at least one hundred million people were killed, directly or indirectly, by atheistic despotic regimes, which were the invention of man’s values. Nazi Germany eliminated the handicapped because of ideas from inside the mind of man—ideas that were based on humanist Darwinian thinking.

Carroll tries to save the atheist position with

“If you are moved to help those less fortunate than you, it doesn’t matter whether you are motivated by a belief that it’s God’s will, or by a personal conviction that it’s the right thing to do. Your values are no less real either way.” (p.391)

That is true. But in a culture that developed from the Judeo-Christian mind-set it is not surprising that altruism in part remains in the society, even among atheists. But what is their motivation. It would seem they would be acting contrary to their selfish Darwinian belief system.

Figure 1: Christ Pantocrator mosaic in Byzantine style, from the Cefalù Cathedral, Sicily, c. 1130. Credit: Andreas Wahra – Wikimedia commons

Most societies that developed aid to the poor or the handicapped did not arrive at those ideas using man’s values. Most hospitals, aged care homes, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other outreaches (the anti-slavery movement, for example) began with Christians desiring to follow Christ’s admonition. (Matthew 25:37-40)

The unsaved sinner did not just think it would be a good idea to help the poor themselves. History tells us—Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, to name a few—that man’s ideas are decidedly selfish and destructive. The scriptures tell us (James 4:1-2) that it is from lust (or desire) that many undesirable actions and even wars result.

But according to Carroll,

“[d]esire has a bad reputation in certain circles. But that’s a bum rap.” (p.392)

And he tries to give it a positive spin, but not by mentioning any of the negative traits that desire or lust lead to. He says once we have provision of food and shelter we challenge ourselves to show some accomplishments.

“That makes sense, in light of evolution. An organism that didn’t give a crap about anything that happened to it would be at a severe disadvantage in the struggle for survival when compared to one that looked out for itself, its family and its compatriots.” (p.392)

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The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning and the Universe Itself? Part 10

Part 10 of my review of the book: “The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning and the Universe Itself,” by Sean M. Carroll. Part 9 is found here.

Consciousness

The fifth of the six section divisions of the book is titled “Thinking,” which includes chapters on the origin of consciousness. This section is very vague, perhaps because there is a major lack of any real experimental evidence in support of what gives rise to consciousness and therefore any evolutionary speculations on how it arose in a Darwinian world are very tenuous.

Carroll opens the first chapter in this section “Crawling into Consciousness” with:

“Almost 400 million years ago, a plucky little fish climbed onto land and decided to hang out rather than returning into the sea. Its descendants evolved into the species Tiktaalik roseae, fossils of which were first discovered in 2004 in the Canadian Arctic.” (p.317)

Only the second part of the second sentence has any factual basis in being a true statement. The rest here, though stated as a fact, is completely assumed—made up—just pulled out of the air. There is no evidence—fossil or otherwise—of a fish that climbed onto land and decided to stay there.

“If you were ever looking for a missing link between two major evolutionary stages, Tiktaalik is it; these adorable creatures represent a transitional form between water-based and land-based animal life.” (p.317, emphasis added)

On the same page he shows a reconstruction of a Tiktaalik roseae fish half in and half out of the water. See Fig. 1.

Figure 1: A reconstruction of Tiktaalik roseae, crawling onto land, as imagined. Credit: Zina Deretsky

The animal was more likely a fish with some mosaic like features in the same way that Archaeopteryx, a bird, had teeth and claws on its wings, resulting in claims that it was also a transitional form.1 But note Tiktaalik roseae, could not walk.2 Tiktaalik’s fin was not connected to its main skeleton, so it could not have supported its weight on land. Thus the story of it coming out of the water and walking on land is pure fiction.

Then Carroll continues with his storytelling about how a fish evolved while climbing onto land. He uses expressions like “We don’t know, but we can make some reasonable guesses.” (p.318) He then argues that the evolutionary pressure on the fish as it swims under water and its need to think quickly caused its brain to evolve to think more quickly. “A fish brain is going to be optimized to do just that.” (p.318) But this is just another statement of faith—faith in an unobserved process, based on a belief that evolution happened over billions of years.

“Bioengineer Malcolm MacIver has suggested that the flapping of fish up onto dry land was one of several crucial transitions that led to the development of the thing we now call consciousness.” (p.319)

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