THE ADDICTIVE DANGER OF SMART PHONES AND SOCIAL MEDIA (Friday Church News Notes, October 5, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143) - Following are excerpts from the BBC documentary Mind Control: The Dark Side of Your Phone - “‘Insiders told us that social media companies track vast amounts of data, every swipe and click, and analyze it in real time. Artificial intelligence then uses that to adapt what we see on our screens to keep us coming back.’ Asa Raskin, who designed the endless scroll and other popular app features, says, ‘We’re in the largest behavioral experiment the world has ever seen. You’re being tested on all the time. Things like changing the color of your like button. This shade of blue, should it be a little bit more red? And they will keep trying until they find the perfect shape and the perfect color that most maximizes your continued scrolling. Behind every screen on your phone there are literally a thousand engineers to try to make it maximally addicting. It’s as if they’re taking behavioral cocaine and just sprinkling it all over your interface.’ Asa says, ‘I don’t want my mind to be hijacked.’ So he does things like having very few apps and keeping his phone in black and white instead of color. Endless scrolling is based on a soup experiment which showed that if a bowl of soup is endlessly refilled without the knowledge of the eater, he will eat a lot more, because there is no cue that the meal is finished. Without endless scrolling, you scroll to the end of a page and have to click to go to a new page, but the endless scroll has e.‘We found that if you don’t give people stopping cues, they just keep scrolling. We found that our design techniques became so powerful that it just addicts people.’ Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and Facebook’s founding president, describes the company’s original purpose as follows: ‘How can we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible? And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever.’ The whole gambling industry is built on the unpredictability of rewards. Could our smartphones be like a slot machine or worse? The gambling industry calls all of the razzmatazz in casinos--the noise and lights and action and music--‘the juice.’ Our smartphones have juice, too. Professor Catherine Winstanley, who has done leading research on the way dopamine fuels addictions, says, “Unexpected rewards activate the dopamine experience. I think there are elements of design of apps on smartphones that seem similar to the electronic gaming. So if your smartphone is recruiting and activating your dopamine system in the same way that we think happens when people are gambling it would imply that those two behaviors could be addicting in the same way as addictive drugs.” (See also “Dopamine, Smartphones & You” by Trevor Haynes, sitn.hms.harvard.edu.)
SHOULD EVANGELISM BE NON-THEOLOGICAL? (Friday Church News Notes, October 5, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is from D. Martyn-Lloyd Jones, Preaching and Preachers, 1971: “A type of preaching that is sometimes, indeed very frequently today, regarded as non-theological is evangelistic preaching. I well remember how when an evangelistic campaign was being held in London a few years ago [Billy Graham Crusade], one of the liberal religious weeklies supporting the campaign said, ‘Let us have a theological truce while the campaign is on.’ It went on to say that after the campaign we must then think things out and become theological. The idea was that evangelism is non-theological, and to introduce theology at that stage is wrong. You ‘bring people to Christ,’ as they put it, and then you teach them the truth. It is only subsequently that theology comes in. That, to me, is quite wrong, and indeed monstrous. I would be prepared to argue that in many ways evangelistic preaching should be more, rather than less theological, than any other, and for this good reason. Why is it that you call people to repent? Why do you call them to believe the gospel? You cannot deal properly with repentance without dealing with the doctrine of man, the doctrine of the Fall, the doctrine of sin and the wrath of God against sin. Then when you call men to come to Christ and to give themselves to Him, how can you do so without knowing who He is, and on what grounds you invite them to come to Him and so on? In other words it is all highly theological. Evangelism which is not theological is not evangelism at all in an true sense” (page 65).
COULD THE EYE HAVE EVOLVED? (Friday Church News Notes, October 5, 2018, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from Seeing the Non-existent: Evolution’s Myths and Hoaxes, David Cloud: “Could the eye have evolved from a single light-sensitive spot, as evolutionists claim? First, even a ‘simple’ light sensitive spot that can actually discern and interpret light is incredibly complicated and could not have evolved by chance. Biologist Michael Behe observes: ‘We are invited by Dawkins and Darwin to believe that the evolution of the eye proceeded step-by-step through a series of plausible intermediates in infinitesimal increments. But are they infinitesimal? Remember that the ‘light-sensitive spot’ that Dawkins takes as his starting point requires a cascade of factors, including 11-cis-retinal and rhodopsin, to function. Dawkins doesn’t mention them. And where did the ‘little cup’ come from? A ball of cells--from which the cup must be made--will tend to be rounded unless held in the correct shape by molecular supports. In fact, there are dozens of complex proteins involved in maintaining cell shape, and dozens more that control extracellular structure; in their absence, cells take on the shape of so many soap bubbles. Do these structures represent single-step mutations? Dawkins did not tell us how the apparently simple cup shape came to be. And although he reassures us that any translucent material would be an improvement ... we are not told how difficult it is to produce a simple lens. In short, Dawkins’ explanation is only addressed to the level of what is called gross anatomy. ... Biochemistry has demonstrated that any biological apparatus involving more than one cell (such as an organ or a tissue) is necessarily an intricate web of many different, identifiable systems of horrendous complexity. ... Not only is the eye exceedingly complex, but the light-sensitive spot with which Dawkins begins his case is itself a multicelled organ, each of whose cells makes the complexity of a motorcycle or television set look paltry in comparison. ... Richard Dawkins can simplify to his heart’s content, because he wants to convince his readers that Darwinian evolution is a breeze. In order to understand the barriers to evolution, however, we have to bite the bullet of complexity’ (Behe, Darwin’s Black Box). Second, the eye appears in the fossil record in great variety and amazing complexity (e.g., trilobite and shrimp eyes), far beyond a ‘simple light spot.’ There is zero evidence that complex eyes evolved from simple eyes. Further, not only does sight require exceedingly complicated biological machinery, but there must be the accompanying intelligence to interpret the light signals and this must be coordinated with further complex systems that enable the creature to do something with the information. Darwinists have never demonstrated how these things evolved. They only propose ‘just-so’ stories.”
CONCLUSION: The Friday Church News Notes is designed for use in churches and is published by Way of Life Literature’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service. Unless otherwise stated, the Notes are written by David Cloud. Of necessity we quote from a wide variety of sources, but this obviously does not imply an endorsement. We trust that our readers will not be discouraged. It is God’s will that we know the times (1 Ch. 12:32; Mat. 16:3) and that we be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. The News Notes remind us that the hour is very late, and we need to be ready for the Lord’s coming. Are you sure that you are born again? Are you living for Christ? “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:11-14).
Distributed by Way of Life Literature., publisher of Bible Study Materials and reports for Fundamental Baptists and other fundamentalist, Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. OUR GOAL IN THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT OF OUR MINISTRY (REPORTS AND FRIDAY NEWS) IS NOT DEVOTIONAL. IS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THIS APOSTATE HOUR.
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