Punch Lists & RFIs

            Punch lists are lists of unfinished or substandard work compiled by the superintendent while “walking” the jobsite.

            These lists can be notes written on scratch pads using a rigid clip-board, or formal company checklists used during the successive phases of the construction.

            By examining punch lists for all of a company’s projects, any practices or materials causing problems on several projects can be identified, with the aim of ultimately reducing each problem to a non-repeating, historical issue relegated to the past.

RFIs (requests for information)                   

            Requests for information (RFIs) are written questions submitted to the architect or engineers by the builder or a subcontractor (through the builder) and involve conflicts or omissions on the plans, in the specifications, or some issue in the construction. 

            RFIs can also simply be a text or email of a problem in the construction using a smart-phone, sent to the architect or one of the engineers along with a follow-up telephone call, then memorialized also in a written RFI to document the problem and the solution.

            RFIs from a number of past projects can be a goldmine of information that can be organized and analyzed to be used in a checklist format to proactively debug the design plans for similar current and upcoming projects.

            Because RFIs generally are described and illustrated in sufficient detail and answered with equal specificity in addressing the problem or issue, RFIs are ready-made in that they can simply be applied to current and future upcoming projects to determine if similar conditions might produce similar questions or problems.

            Eliminating RFI’s proactively upfront before the actual construction begins can greatly improve all aspects of the project, from obtaining more accurate bids to avoiding time-consuming stoppages in the work.

            During the construction, quickly answered RFI’s eliminates the costly manpower inefficiency of having to temporarily move tradespeople around on the jobsite to other areas while a question or conflict is resolved.

            Having potential future RFI’s answered upfront while the project is still on paper is the best outcome for the builder, the designers, and for field personnel in terms of efficient time-management.

Timeless Foresight Needs Explaining 2

            Biblical-quality journeys of faith need the environment of time.

            The biblical narrative stories of faith simply cannot happen if people possess timeless foresight.

            God created time without the feature of divinely timeless foresight to enable people to enter into a personal relationship with God that actualizes through highly specified events and circumstances spread-out over time, having dimensional length.

            This would otherwise not be possible within the split-second durations of timeless foresight being dimensionless.

            Hebrews 11:1 in the New Testament defines biblical faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

            God’s personal participation adds the two missing ingredients of timeless foresight and absolute goodness into the life-scripts He writes for the biblical narrative stories of faith, and for walks of faith for today’s Spirit-led Christians. 

            This helps explain the meaning of Hebrews 11:6.

”But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

            This incredible feature of time purposely lacking foresight and foreknowledge tells us something vital about the real Christian life. 

            It tells us that God crafted time in such a way as to enable human beings to enter into the new covenant relationship with God the Creator of the universe, of every believer knowing God from the least to the greatest (Jer. 31:31-34).

            Finally, to round-out this discussion of timeless foresight, in the biblical record God does not have three potential back-up people lined-up to fulfill the role of Abraham to be the “father of faith,” should Abraham falter. 

            God does not have a Plan B and a Plan C person to step-in should Abraham fail in his difficult and challenging calling.

            Like the heads and tails of line-segments of an illustrated flow-chart schedule of activities having definite milestone dates, the uncertainty of trial-and-error entering into the sequence of activities in the biblical narrative stories of faith starting with Abraham to Joseph to Moses to Joshua to the Israelites in Canaan, cannot allow for any additional time to accommodate for being “behind schedule.”

            God possesses the timeless foresight to know in advance that each person of faith will succeed and fulfill their calling “on time.”

            Otherwise, the incarnation of Jesus Christ might have to occur in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th century A.D., which is nonsensical.

            Like the living organisms that enter into existence having architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits that functionally fit into their unique geological eras of biodiverse and ecological environments, the architectural body-plan and lifestyle habits of the life-script for Jesus Christ must enter into existence in first-century Israel.

            The milestone dates in the biblical narrative stories of faith come and go on-time and on-schedule because God possesses divinely timeless foresight.

            This is the direct opposite of the random serendipity of trial-and-error, Darwinian evolution.

            Well-defined and highly specified purposes predominate in the short durations of human lives starting and finishing on-time in the Bible.

            This head-to-tail sequence of activities on a strict timeline schedule, not allowing for the uncertainty of trial-and-error evolution, is also consistent with the Cambrian Explosion of new animal types starting around 535 million years ago. 

            Fully formed, complex organisms appear suddenly in the fossil record with no lead-up precursors.  No transitional intermediates are found in the Precambrian rock strata that would explain the immergence of the many new architectural body-plans in an instant of geological time in the early Cambrian Period.

            This is why the fossil record over geological time exhibits new, fully-developed organisms entering suddenly, persisting mostly unchanged for a period of time called stasis, then disappearing out of the fossil record through extinction.

            The biblical narrative stories of faith are complex, specified, coherently integrated, and time-sensitive, because unguided, accidental, trial-and-error life-scripts are too serendipitous to achieve the mission-plans of God. 

            They are potentially too time-consuming if left to chance happenstance.

            The biblical narrative stories of faith are a tightly interwoven and connected series of life-scripts that do not allow for the introduction of unwanted trial-and-error wrong turns and course-corrections in their storylines, in the time-consuming reactive mode of evolutionary, progressive development.

            But the through-line theme of redemptive salvation enabling research programs into the knowledge of good and evil, is too worldly unconventional to be the product of human invented, fictional mythology.

            The biblical people of faith do not completely fall apart and fail, part-way in time into the course of their faith-journeys, requiring God to enlist new people to take their place.

            This is one more compelling piece of evidence for the divine inspiration of the Bible, of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts that could not be the product of human literary invention.

Identifying Construction Bugs

            In-house sources of information that housing development company owners and managers can use to identify construction problems and mistakes include the following:

  • building inspection correction cards
  • superintendent punch lists
  • RFIs
  • red-lined plans
  • homebuyer walkthroughs
  • warranty complaint letters
  • subcontractor extras
  • subcontractor advice
  • meetings with field employees
  • incentive programs

            Without hitting this same nail on the head too many times, the individual jobsite superintendents or project managers are not in a position to collect this information from all of a company’s projects, or to initiate a company-wide debugging program.

            Again, the development company owners and managers must first recognize the need to research the information, then delegate someone within the organization to do the research, collect the information, and have the time and resources to coordinate and disseminate this information.

            Each source of information that should be researched is described in more detail in the following sections.

Inspection Cards                                          

            Building inspection corrections are code violations missed by the subcontractors and the jobsite superintendent(s), yet noticed by the building inspector during inspections. 

            These violations are usually written on correction cards or paper “slips” issued by the inspector.  A copy is given to the construction jobsite.

            These individual inspection cards can be collected at the completion of every project, organized and analyzed at the main office, and then used to discover violations that can be proactively prevented on current and future projects, especially those building code problems that have occurred more than once. 

            Building code violations highlight good construction practices that should be corrected and implemented on every project.

            For example, if a particular building inspector requires that loose sawdust and wood shavings, produced from the framing straight-edging operation, be cleaned off the top flat surfaces of metal fireplace fireboxes for the framing inspection, then adopt this as a standard policy on every project.

            If another building inspector on another project wants the insides of FAU platforms in garages cleaned out of all debris for the framing inspection, do it for all projects.

            If an inspector requires insulation at perimeter rim-joists, or uncut factory-edges of water-board drywall at bathroom floors, or electrical plastic outlet boxes on two-hour garage ceilings labeled 2-C for ceilings instead of 2-W for walls, adopt these as standard procedures on every project.

            The goal is to identify the specific corrections building inspectors are “calling” on different projects and organize them onto a single checklist for use on all of the company’s projects. 

            This checklist when followed, essentially relegates past building code corrections to one-time past occurrences that will not re-surface again to cause time delays and non-productive repair work.  

            By analyzing the building inspection cards for every project, after the project construction is completed, any subcontractor practices or materials causing building inspection corrections resulting in time delays can then be identified as future preventive information.

            The builder should not allow a subcontractor to cut corners to save money or make a job easier, based on a calculated risk that the building inspector might miss the problem.

            The old-fashioned concept that the builder should purposely leave a few things for the building inspector to find so that the inspector feels like they are doing a good job, is nonsensical.  The daily interest costs on construction loans are too large to waste five minutes playing mind-games with the building inspector and the city/county building department.

            The builder should aim for successful inspections every time. 

            After a few months of good inspections demonstrating the builder’s commitment to achieving perfect code compliance, the building inspector can begin to relax about the high-quality of the construction and not look so closely at everything. 

            This makes the building inspections go smoothly and rise above the adversarial “gotcha” mentality that sometimes exists between the builder and the building inspector on some projects.

            One of the first steps therefore toward the goal of debugging building inspections is to collect the inspection cards from all projects and then identify the issues that are occurring. 

            Each project manager and superintendent can then be educated and informed about building inspection problems early on, upfront before the start of the next new project, so that everyone in the field is at the same advanced point on the learning curve.

Timeless Foresight Needs Explaining 1

            Animal instinct in the natural living world does not possess, does not exhibit, timeless foresight.

            The reality of life is experienced in-the-moment for absolutely every living organism, including humans.

            A leopard on the African savanna plains resting comfortably in the noonday shade, hidden up underneath the canopy inside a large tree cannot thoughtfully plan several hours ahead-in-time until the evening sunset at 8 o’clock, when the leopard knows through timeless foresight that its unsuspecting prey a gazelle will conveniently stop to graze directly below this tree.

            A leopard does not possess timeless foresight. 

            Within the program of natural instinct, constrained and channeled into the narrow, forward march of time the leopard hunts its prey in-the-moment.

            Hypothetically, human beings possessing timeless foresight combined with the knowledge of good and evil, yet lacking a third component of absolute moral goodness, would potentially be perfectly successful criminals in being able to plan perfect robberies.

            One problem here is that the police would also possess the timeless foresight to be able to anticipate the robbery and take perfect steps to prevent it, when the future moment in time came.

            If humans possessed the timeless foresight of knowing in advance future outcomes, then gambling in casinos or at race tracks, entering into a civil lawsuit against another person, and reading a murder mystery book or a romance novel would no longer have purpose and meaning. 

            This is because the outcomes, the endings, would already be known ahead of time in advance.

            Lack of timeless foresight is one reason why we like reading murder mystery books, spy thrillers, and romance novels because we do not know the outcomes.

            But we can cheat, turn the pages to the end of the book, and take a sneak-peek at the story ending.  I confess I have done this sometimes, when the story is so full of suspense, I cannot wait to see how it will end.

            Motion pictures capture our attention for two hours in the movie theater because they condense the events of a larger story like The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars down into a two-hour long feature film. 

            This reduces the story down to as short a time-period as we can achieve yet still tell the full story.  A two-hour movie is typically as close to zero-duration timeless foresight as we can humanly produce.

            We have to watch the entire movie from start-to-finish for two hours because we do not possess the timeless foresight to be able to take-in the whole movie in a split-second flash of time.

            The same thing occurs in reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace over a six-week period (I am a slow reader).  The interest is generated, is artistically created by the book writer based upon the absolute certainty of the absence of timeless foresight of the book reader as long as the book is read from front to back without skipping ahead.

            Two things here we know for sure: that human beings do not possess divine timeless foresight, and that we do not possess absolute moral goodness.

            All three complimentary components: the knowledge of good and evil, timeless foresight, and absolute goodness must be in-place and functioning simultaneously for free-will, thinking life-forms like human beings to have lives that operate at the highest optimum level of perfection.

            The knowledge of good and evil, if only timeless foresight is added to the mix without the third component of absolute goodness, creates a nightmarish reality of competing multiple foresights good and evil in an exponentially broadened cat-and-mouse scope of interacting outcomes.  This would produce a complexity well beyond the cause/effect stability experienced in our current one-dimensional time trajectory.

            This would be a reality too complex to follow even in the classic television series The Twilight Zone.

            But absolute goodness without the independence of free-will choice inherent within the knowledge of good and evil, of not having the capacity to freely choose between the broad array of moral concepts, would produce the equally undesirable reality of human beings that are mere robots.

            The third possible option of having timeless foresight alone, without the knowledge of good and evil and without absolute moral goodness, would be a bizarre reality that is unimaginable.

            Yet curiously, human beings do clearly possess one of the legs of the three-legged stool, the knowledge of good and evil, without possessing either timeless foresight or absolute moral goodness.

            From the standpoint of illuminating biblical-quality faith, the fact that humans have the knowledge of good and evil eliminates the atheistic philosophy of naturalistic materialism from consideration as a plausible explanation for reality.

            Naturalistic materialism is eliminated from reality because of the dilemma of how and why a material causation alone could produce the incredible human possession of the knowledge of good and evil, without also including the components of timeless foresight and absolute moral goodness as complimentary to the knowledge of good and evil.

            Having one the three legs of the stool without the other two, points to deliberate, intentional design.  It does not point to random and mindless happenstance of trial-and-error.

            Of equal power arguing for intelligent design, is the fine-tuned moderation of time narrowly advancing in a one-dimensional direction forward, yet lacking the all-important feature of the foresight to be able to see ahead into the future. 

            Timeless foresight is of invaluable worth.

            Its curious absence from the reality of human existence points towards thoughtfully planned, scaled-back moderation that has brilliant intelligent design written all over it. 

            Darwinism assumes by definition zero intelligent design utilizing foresight. 

            Traditional Darwinian evolution allows absolutely no architectural and engineering design through premeditated forethought, because to allow design into the mix also invites a super-intelligent Designer God into human scientific investigation, which is anathema to the materialistic worldview.

            Yet the one and only area in human experience where we do exercise extremely accurate, pinpoint timeless foresight is in the design and assembly of complex systems. 

            We exercise timeless foresight in manufactured products like hybrid cars, computer software applications, the construction of commercial buildings and residential houses, and in storyline scripts for movies, television, and fiction and non-fiction books, for examples.

            People are by nature prolific intelligent designers and can see ahead in time to visualize the final outcomes of human created things.

            How does this square with Darwin’s tree-of-life based upon common descent linked by an unbroken hypothetical chain of ancestors, when in-the-moment animal instinct shows no signs whatsoever of being able to go beyond the strict limitations of time? 

            Animal instinct shows no capacity to step-up into the cognitive, creative freedom of timeless foresight to envision future, inventive productions.

            Bee hives, beaver dams, and spider webs are produced by instinct and not by deliberative, free-thinking, flexibly creative contemplation.

            This reality between thought and instinct creates a huge gap between human beings and the rest of the natural living world, a gap that is unbridgeable by materialistic processes, by any stretch of the imagination.

            Human beings can design and manufacture an automobile, a physically tangible thing, that functionally operates for years and for hundreds of thousands of miles of driving, using the future-looking vision of timeless foresight and foreknowledge.

            But a young man and woman getting married at age 20 cannot see ten or twenty years ahead into the future, of either the husband or the wife or both entering into extra-marital affairs, sadly and tragically ending the marriage. 

            We cannot foresee our kids going off to college and falling-in with the wrong crowd, becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs.

            We cannot see into our future the contracting of a deadly disease that takes our life before reaching the age of 40 or 50.

            There is an old axiom that applies here: “If we don’t know where we are going then any road will take us there.”

            We know precisely where we want to go when we design an automobile, a new house, or a computer software application.  We know where we want to go when we start-out to write a murder mystery, biography, or technical book because we can visualize a rough outline in our mind’s-eye, in the creative area inside our heads.  

            But the capacity for timeless foresight for human beings stops at a certain point. 

            This is something that argues for the participation of an intelligent designer God and for the over-the-top brilliance of creative imagination in terms of intent and impact in the targeted, moderated, purpose-driven crafting of the dimension of time in service to mankind.

            Time as we currently know it creates the singularly unique context for the exploration and discovery of a fuller understanding of good and evil, which would not be possible if the other two legs of the three-legged stool were added of timeless foresight and absolute goodness.

            I do not think an answer to the question of why God cannot create human beings who possess divine timeless foresight and foreknowledge, and possess the divine attribute of absolute moral perfection, exists in this present world. 

            This might involve the impossibly unachievable goal of creating billions of junior-level divine gods, like the impossibility of creating square circles, or one-ended sticks, or married bachelors, or making two-plus-two equal five.

            But only premeditated intention, the thoughtful choice-making between multiple possible realities of intelligently guided moderation could produce something as well-defined and having a targeted function as precise as time.

            Trial-and-error, hit-and-miss, accidental dumb-luck, fall-into-place on its own, or some form of directional self-assembly could not plausibly be the explanation for the fine-tuned essence of time.

            Time is an intelligently designed thing, a created reality for a definite purpose.

The Design Plans

            Nearly every construction activity is dependent upon some previous activity being done correctly.

            For example, the installation of steel hold-downs for structural wood posts depends upon the anchor bolts being correctly placed in the concrete foundation or the concrete floor slab.

            Adequate clearance space for door casing to fit inside a coat closet or in a narrow hallway depends on the rough door openings being laid-out and framed correctly, starting with enough dimensional space given on the architectural plans.

            Wood beams in the floor framing cannot be mistakenly designed in the structural plans directly underneath the location of a bathroom toilet shown on the architectural plans, blocking the drainage piping.

            Roof rafters and ceiling joists must be laid-out and framed so that ceiling flush lights (can lights), can be centered typically above bathroom sinks.

            Thousands of other small details must be correctly implemented early in the construction in anticipation for activities that come much later in the construction.

            Because the construction is divided up among so many different subcontractors and specialized building trades, the only person in a position to integrate all the pieces is the jobsite superintendent.

            When the anchor bolts are slightly off correct layout, or placed too high or too low, or do not have all of the concrete wire-brushed off the anchor bolt threads, the concrete subcontractor may no longer be on the jobsite to hear the framing subcontractor complain about it.

            The concrete subcontractor may not even be aware of these problems when it leaves the jobsite.

            Builders need to rethink how the design plans are created in terms of the number of mistakes and problems that could be reduced during the construction, if certain things were illustrated better and included quality-control debugging information.

            The subcontracted and highly specialized nature of housing construction today could benefit from better architectural, mechanical, and engineering plans.  Plans should be the product of analyzing the construction in reverse, and then filling in the many gaps and questions that exist between the various trades.

            This requires knowing upfront the many questions and issues resolved by the superintendent and the tradespeople out in the field and proactively placing this information in the design plans.

            How to get a clothes dryer vent out through an exterior wall, or how to get a water heater vent through the various structural wood members to the roof, or the ceiling joist and beam layout to coordinate with can-lights, sound speakers, and other mechanicals for a coffered ceiling in a dining room, or how to get a kitchen range hood vent duct out to and through an exterior wall without having to frame a dropped soffit…these and hundreds of other questions could be pre-answered on the design plans, illustrated in three-dimensional views if necessary. 

Is a Solely Material Universe Plausible?

            From the beginning of our lives as babies and small children, we are conditioned internally and by our surroundings to take things for granted.

            We put our faith and trust in the parenting skills of our parents.  We accept as truth what we are taught in elementary school.  We live our lives in functioning bodies that at a basic level automatically and without thought takes-in breathes into our lungs, digests food in our stomachs, and engineers physical and intellectual growth from childbirth to adulthood. 

            And for the most part we assimilate into the local, cultural standards and mores of the historical era and geographical region we are born into.

            These and a thousand other things we take for granted.

            If we are fortunate enough to be exposed to the concept of critical-thinking, this begins in the home through enlightened parents, or introduced through an exceptional teacher in high school, or encountered in college courses of study, or modeled through a Spirit-led, apologetics-minded Christian church pastor or teacher.

            But many people in a number of different fields are naturally inquisitive and analytical enough to question the conventional wisdom of the things that many of us take for granted.

            This comes from an innate sense of independence of thought and will, that is unique to human beings.

            The dynamic between the free-thinking of questioning the currently accepted wisdom and the opposite imperative to fit-in and “not make waves,” is the fascinating region of creative innovation and invention that produces ever-improving governments, literary genres, styles of music, new clothing fashions, new and different recipes for cooking foods, the variety of sports, a free-and-fair journalistic press, and innovative scientific investigations to name a few.   

            This brings to mind the humorous saying: “The definition of a pioneer is someone who gets shot in the back with arrows.” 

            At its best and highest ideal, the modern Scientific Revolution is a fact-based exploration of the many questions inquisitive human beings have about the origin and function of the organized complexity we observe in the natural living and non-living world.

            The mandate of scientific investigation is to take everything apart, to be free to question every phenomenon in existence in the reality of this universe, to explore through the scientific method the real truths that underlie the operation of the things we sometimes erroneously take for granted.

            This began with the extraordinary revelation by Copernicus in the 1500’s that our planet earth revolves around the sun, extending all the way to our modern times of the discovery by Watson and Crick in 1953 and 1957 of the complexity of the genetic information contained within DNA, accurately called the language of life.

            As mentioned in an earlier essay, if we watch on You Tube on the Internet the lecture “The Origin of the Elements”[1] by Dr. Edward Murphy, then follow this up by watching “Gunter Bechly Explains What The Fossil Evidence Really Says,”[2] then take a short tea or coffee-break and come back to watch “The Return of the God Hypothesis: Interview with Stephen Meyer”[3] in which he describes the quantum physics occurring at the Big Bang beginning of the universe, the legitimate question then arises as to whether a purely materialistic universe is factually or even theoretically plausible anymore?

            This fundamental question can now be asked and answered by a more informed modern man, comprised of scientists and laymen alike, of what is a universe and how and why did our particular universe attain its remarkably organized complexity?

            At the most fundamental level of analytical thinking, how would the initial conditions at the first split-seconds of the universe generate such exquisite realities as light, gravity, the expansion rate of the cosmos, and the elements of the Periodic Table into complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information to produce function…a phrase I have borrowed throughout this book first coined by Dr. William A. Dembski.[4]

            It is hopelessly difficult now to connect all of the dots from the first introduction of hydrogen, helium, and lithium at the time of the Big Bang extending all the way through 13.7-billion years to the sophisticated architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of human beings supported by 215 different cell-types…using the materialistic model of blind, mindless, indifferent, trial-and-error, accidental, and undirected processes.

            The complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated systems of information in the natural world have too much targeted detail to organize by accident in small steps from previously nothing physical to the coordinated function we observe and take for granted today.

            Modern science has uncovered evidence that reveals purpose-filled trajectories towards well-defined outcomes in a dizzying number of coordinated realities in the natural world, that always trend towards mature function.

            It is inconceivable at the Big Bang that matter and energy on their own could coalesce into well-ordered essences that are saturated with clearly discernable purpose, that by definition must exclude a near infinity of other options that would lead to trial-and-error failures.

            We can follow at the atomic level first the creation of hydrogen, helium, and lithium to the incredibly fine-tuned formation of oxygen and carbon inside super-hot stars, that must collapse and explode as supernovas to spread the full array of the other elements of the Periodic Table out into the cosmos to become part of planets like our earth, and living physical bodies like our own.

            To credit these past events to mere random and undirected processes is logically absurd in this new Age of Information.

            We can follow the dots that connect the formation of our planet earth through the near infinity of individual events that have a progressive theme running through all of the past geological eras to achieve the finalized and completed outcomes we observe today.

            The idea that matter and energy could self-assemble all of this into realizable function must be rejected as hopelessly untenable.

[1] The Origin of the Elements, by Jefferson Lab, November 20, 2012 with Dr. Edward Murphy, University of Virginia.

[2] Gunter Bechly Explains What The Fossil Evidence Really Says, published by Discovery Science, November 23, 2021.

[3] The Return of the God Hypothesis: Interview with Stephen Meyer, streamed live on May 13, 2020 on Dr. Sean McDowell.

[4] William A. Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science & Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1999).

Quality-Control Versus Bugs

            Another aspect of reoccurring construction problems is found in confusing design and construction bugs with quality-control. 

            Debugging and quality-control, although closely related, are different.

            Craftsmanship can be defined in quantitative and qualitative terms: how plumb and straight are walls, how flat are floors free of humps and valleys, how many coats of paint achieve full coverage, etc. 

            These qualifications can be defined in fractions of inches or degrees of judgment, and can be controlled by making the adjustments of taking more time to do a better job or spending more money for better performing materials.

            Quality is therefore directly affected by effort, care, motivation, judgment, and intentional resolve.

            Bugs, on the other hand, occur regardless of best intentions or performance levels simply because they surface by surprise.

            Foreknowledge of mass-production assembly-line type construction bugs is pure informational knowledge and has little to do with attitudes or motivation.

            When company owners and managers talk broadly about improving construction efficiency and quality, they miss the point entirely.  Technical issues cannot be resolved using a broad-brush management approach, at least not in manufacturing industries like building construction.

            Real debugging and quality-control starts at the nuts-and-bolts level, then goes up through the organization.  To be effective, the discussion must move from the general to the specific.

            Preventive problem-solving and debugging provides the housing development company owners and managers an opportunity to impact the efficiency and quality of the construction without themselves being construction experts. 

            They can collect, process, organize, manage, and disseminate the debugging information so that the knowledge acquired, of lessons-learned on past jobs can be applied to present and future jobs.

            Housing development company owners and managers must initiate housing construction quality and efficiency for it to evolve beneficially. 

            As previously stated, they are the only individuals in a position to gather and maintain the required information…and budget the necessary time to analyze it. 

Can Chance Create Complex Things?

            In Michael Denton’s 1985 book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, in chapter 13 entitled Beyond the Reach of Chance[1], he describes in terms of mathematical probability the difficulty of constructing single words of varying lengths using the method of chance substitution.

            In what I consider to be a brilliant and irrefutable argument, the reasoning goes something like this.

            There are only so many words that can be found in the English language having one letter only.

            When we start with the first letter “a” then bingo, we find a word.  As we progress through the rest of the 26-letter alphabet, the only other one-letter word I find is the lowercase letter “i” when it is capitalized to “I.”

            I do not see any other single letters that form a word.

            What this first attempt at finding English words starting with single letters tells us is that two usable words “a” and “I” are found, but 24 other single letters are useless, throw-away “junk” as possible candidates.

            Michael Denton calls this illustrative example of looking for a small number of functional words within a vast sea of possible gibberish, of searching for a small amount of truth surrounded by a large amount of possible error…the process of a random search strategy.

            Moving-on to two-letter English words, starting at the beginning of the alphabet letter “a” we find the usable words ad (short for advertising), am, an, as, and at, if I have not missed any other possibilities.

            Moving-on to the next letter “b” in the alphabet, I find the two-letter words be and by.

            Moving next to the letters “c” through “m” using this random search strategy of plugging-in letters to find English words, using a quick search I see only the words do and go.

            As we go through the possible combinations of alphabet letters having lengths of one letter to seven letters, for example, such as the word “perfect” compared to the nonsensical combinations of letters like clxkzuf or mckflqh, we have gone through an ocean of gibberish to find a small pond of meaningful and sensical English words.  

            When we combine letters, spaces, and punctuation marks into meaning sentences such as: “Time waits for no man,” using the rules of English grammar, syntax, and semantics…the process of a random search strategy to find meaningful sentences “within the infinite space of all possible combinations of letters”[2], becomes a hopeless and unfruitful endeavor.

            In this essay, I would like to expand upon this concept to explore some realities easily understood by the common layman in the street to be so complex as to be beyond the reach of chance.

            The human male sperm has 23 chromosomes, and the female egg has 23 chromosomes.  When these two join together, they form a single cell which begins to divide into a developing embryo at the successive rate of 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32 cells leading to a fully developed child at childbirth.

            But at some milestone point along this process the internal information exists inside these multiplying cells that says it is time to produce an umbilical cord and a placenta.

            It is easy to see how this wonder-of-nature could be taken-for-granted by the general populace because it is so commonplace. 

            But what is the tally of letters, spaces, and punctuation marks translated into the language of biological genetics, that accurately differentiates between possible useless gibberish to safely guide this process of a functional umbilical cord connecting mother with developing child inside the mother’s womb, through the intricate successive steps to reach a successful outcome, having no room for error?

            The atheistic paradigm of scientific materialism requires that function in embryonic development must be obtained through blind, mindless, accidental, trial-and-error, random, and undirected processes…being the defining features of a random search strategy.

            By what logic, for the man on the street, can the information tally needed to produce an umbilical cord and a placenta at just the right time in the womb of the human mother, be reduced down to the simplicity of the random search for two or three-letter words “within the infinite space of all possible combinations of letters,” when this database of genetic information would likely fill an entire book.

            When we apply this similar reduction to simplicity to all of the complexity we see in the natural world, the facts-on-the-ground do not align with the rhetoric of the worldview of scientific materialism.

            When I look at my own physical body, not only do I need to start with the mass of complex and highly specified information contained within the 3.5-billion bits of information contained within my DNA, but the physics, chemistry, and mathematics that describe the enumerable systems of information producing human function poses the quantitative question of whether I am a walking book of coordinated letters and sentences of information, or am I a walking and breathing, entire section of books in a typical university library?

            Apply this commonsense test to every known phenomenon in the natural living and non-living world, and the simplicity inherent in a random search strategy to produce anything complex and specified…is left miles behind in the dust.

            Up until the age of about 14 or 15, I could play tackle football in the park in my street clothes without breaking any bones, because the structural strength-to-weight ratio of my leg and arm bones are capable of withstanding the forces of running, blocking, and tackling and being tackled.

            If I am a medium-level tennis player, what is the tally of information needed to place a line-drive, flat serve in either back-corner of the opponent’s service rectangle, or hit a spinning serve that first bounces near a back-corner then curves away from my opponent?

            When playing tennis, how much biological information is actualized when during a rally I choose a particular ball hit to my forehand and I step into the shot and hit it down-the-line for a winner?

            How much information is involved in the classic words of the Rogers and Hammerstein song Some Enchanted Evening, of looking across a crowded room of people to spot my one true love?

            These few examples amidst an enumerable quantity of other realities exhibit complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information unearthed by modern science today, that preclude as nonsensical the simplistic explanations of their origin and causations as presented through the worldview of naturalistic materialism…of the reach of chance to singular produce two and three-letter words but not whole books of information that comprise actual reality. 

[1] Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Chevy Chase: Adler & Adler, 1985), 308-325.

[2] Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Chevy Chase: Adler & Adler, 1985), 308.

Construction Bugs

            Assembly-line bugs by definition are problems and mistakes that are difficult to anticipate ahead of time.

            Because no one person in construction knows everything, every person out in the field is at a different point on the uphill slope of the learning curve. 

            Some people know about and guard against certain construction problems, while other people know and guard against others.  The only way for everyone to be equally informed is to collect all the combined experience and knowledge from past projects and apply them as a whole to each new project.

            The first step toward achieving this goal is for company owners and managers to assign someone within the company this task.

            Over the years I have attended many construction meetings held in corporate main offices.  I have heard owners and managers plead, threaten, rant and rave, pound tables with their fists (an actual event I witnessed), and offer all sorts of incentive bonuses for faster construction and improved quality.

            It took me years to realize that what these owners and managers were asking for was within their reach all the time. 

            The basic research information, all of which is non-technical, to identify the bugs that cause schedule delays, budget overruns, nightmarish field problems, stressed-out jobsites, personnel turnover, and unhappy homebuyers was all obtainable from the field at any time.

            They just needed to look.

            But why should company owners invest the time and resources upfront to discover and prevent design and construction bugs? 

            Why not wait until bugs materialize during the construction and then solve them case by case after-the-fact? 

            Isn’t resolving field problems in the reactive-mode the most economical approach?

            Isn’t this why field people are on the jobsite?  Isn’t this part of their job description?

            The answer to these questions is the same reason why so much effort is spent upfront debugging the traditional mass-production assembly-line.

            The debugging of an assembly-line before full-scale production begins, benefits each and every product assembled thereafter.  When the time, effort, and costs of the initial debugging operation are spread-out over a large number of the same identical products, then the costs of that debugging operation become lower per item.

            It makes economic sense to confine the discovery and elimination of bugs to the initial trial-run period of the mass-production assembly-line, because any remaining bugs slow down or temporarily stop each subsequent production cycle.

            Every time the same problem occurs on a multi-unit tract housing or condominium project, the development company owners and managers indirectly participate in the learning process.

            If the same mistake is repeated on five projects by five different people over a period of time, the company owners and managers are experiencing the ill effects of that same mistake five times instead of only once.

            It is more cost-effective to record the mistake the first time it happens and educate everyone to prevent the mistake from happening again, because “time is money” in building construction.

            No one in the field can be expected to anticipate every potential construction problem.  Mistakes and problems are part of housing construction.  From the perspective of the person in the field, a problem that is truly a bugis unexpected and unforeseeable and therefore pardonable.

            But the housing development company owner or manager who knowingly or unknowingly participates in that same debugging event in the field four or five times over, is failing to recognize the leadership opportunity that exists here. 

            All owners and managers should be motivated to initiate a debugging process in an effort to prevent the relearning of the same housing construction lessons over and over.  


Laws Produce Compliance, Not Virtue

            John Lennox in his second interview in Labastide, France on Socrates in the City says something about the limits of the laws of physics that has enormous implications when applied to all types of written laws.[1]  

            Lennox says that the laws of physics will never move a billiard ball in a million years, but a person with a cue-stick can. 

            The laws of motion can describe a billiard ball striking another billiard ball and where they will each go in terms of physics.  But first someone has to supply the movement of the billiard ball before physics can describe what happens. 

            A second example given by Lennox is that the laws of mathematics cannot create money. 

            Dr. Lennox credits C.S Lewis with the original thinking on this.

            “One plus one” will never actually put two dollars in our pocket.  We have to get the first dollar, then the second dollar, and only after this does mathematics describe the correct calculation of my having two dollars in my pocket.

            These examples by Dr. Lennox are given within the context of the discussion of the origin of the universe at the time of the Big Bang, refuting the statement by the famous physicist Stephen Hawking in his book The Grand Design (with Leonard Mlodinow, 2010) that “because there is a law of gravity, the universe can and will create itself.”

            The point here is that laws do not create anything…they do not produce anything physical.

            Laws in the natural world are descriptions, not causations.

            The laws of physics are abstract.  They cannot move a billiard ball, put two dollars in my pocket, or create the universe.

            Here may I suggest watching on You Tube: The Return of the God Hypothesis: Interview with Stephen Meyer[2] where he discusses the quantum mechanics around a singularity at the Big Bang beginning of the universe.

            Apparently, it turns-out according to quantum mechanics there must be a guiding Physicist prior to the Big Bang to manipulate the mathematics to enable an infinitely dense singularity of mass/energy to pop-out of “nothing.”

            This is similar to the need for a person to move the billiard ball using a cue-stick, the laws of physics only coming into play after something physical has happened.

            A correct understanding of this distinction when applied to human systems of government reveals the insightful truth that laws by themselves do not produce good character values and virtuous living.

            Laws that abolish human slavery will not eradicate racial prejudice.

            There are no laws that can be enacted that will universally produce unselfish kindness and thoughtfulness.

            No law could be so well-written that its wording could guarantee that every high school and college student would legitimately achieve A-grades in all math classes up to and through calculus.

            No legislated law no matter how well crafted, has the power to do this.

            To get every student to excel in mathematics requires some approach other than merely enacting a law.

            We can write laws against drunk-driving, but we cannot write laws preventing people as alcoholics from ruining careers, marriages, and families.

Extending this line of reasoning more broadly, this is why the Law of Moses cannot produce righteousness.

            The Ten Commandments written on the stone tablets by the finger of God Himself cannot produce virtue and righteousness any more than the laws of physics can move a billiard ball.

            God knows this better than anyone.

            The question then becomes: Who better moves the billiard ball in terms of perfecting our created destinies…God or ourselves?

            Who is the better life-coach…ourselves or the God of the Bible?

            Is right human living based upon the self-realization of the performance of good-works codified in laws?

            Laws accurately and fairly judge all of us, without exception, of falling short of absolute perfection?

            Or is virtue and righteousness actualized into human life through God-composed journey of faith life-scripts after the pattern of the biblical narrative stories of faith, through spiritually born-again hearts and minds motivated through free-will choice to pursue virtue (Mt. 5:6)?   

            Christians today chafe at the unbounded tolerance in our modern “liberal” culture that tolerates essentially anything and everything.

            But tolerance exists within the realm of values governed by character rather than laws.  Setting boundaries around acceptable tolerance regarding some areas in society and culture requires good character that cannot be influenced by the enactment of laws.

            We enact a number of laws like a speed-limit of 25 mph when driving a car near a school, or the requirement to wear a seat-belt while driving a car, or the mandating that elementary school children be vaccinated against communicable diseases.

            But as mentioned above, we cannot enact laws that prevent people from becoming alcoholics because this involves the character values of making right choices that fall above and outside of the effective reach of the minimum standards of laws.  

            The existence of this radically polarized dichotomy (breadth) within the contemplation of the open marketplace of ideas, of the widely disparate roles of laws and values, is inexplicable in a purely materialistic universe.

            What frame-of-reference could go beyond a purely material world to make the galactic leap of being able to discern the subtle differences between complying with laws and the higher optional choice of doing the right thing voluntarily through character values and virtue?

            Here I sense that we are exploring concepts of free-will choice that exist at the very heart of reality, transcending above the confines of matter and energy.

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”        (Rom. 1:17)

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall be no flesh justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”                                                                                  (Rom. 3:20)

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”                                             (Rom. 5:1-2)

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”                                (Rom. 8:1-2)


[1] John Lennox: Socrates in the City in Labastide, France, Part 2, Jan. 23, 2018 on You Tube.

[2] The Return of the God Hypothesis: Interview with Stephen Meyer.  Streamed live on May, 13, 2020 on You Tube, Dr. Sean McDowell.

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