The Need for a Company-Wide Construction Program

            After establishing a debugging program, the formation of a comprehensive, standardized, company-wide construction system is the second most important thing that company ownersand top managers can do to improve the construction.

            A company-wide construction program involves information, policies & procedures, tasks, and standards that uniformly apply to all of a company’s projects.

            For example, a mass-production tract housing builder may have 10 large projects under construction. 

            Three of the projects may have grade-A quality superintendents, four of the projects grade-B quality superintendents, two of the projects grade-C quality superintendents, and the 10th project may have a field superintendent that is performing at a grade-D quality level.

            This is not an unusual scenario. 

            This arrangement will function and complete tract houses that get sold and turn a profit for the builder. 

            This scenario is the reality for builders around the world, in variations on the same storyline, for builders having multiple projects competing with other builders for qualified field superintendents.

            The problem here goes back to the point that owners and managers of building construction companies with backgrounds in real estate, finance, accounting, or law, delegate 100% of the field management to experienced superintendents and project managers.

            This produces the unintended consequence of the 10-project company in the example above of 10 different approaches to running the field construction, ranging from grade-A quality down to grade-D quality.

            A building construction company that relies upon the superintendents and project managers to bring in their own management and leadership systems, in lieu of the company having its own optimum system in-place and successfully operating, will create problems and conflicts throughout the company.

            From the human resources department in the main office constantly in search of grade-A superintendents to staff the field, to the sales teams on every project trying to satisfy new homebuyers with less than perfect houses, this lack of a company-wide construction program permeates operations from top-to-bottom.   

            A building construction company that has as many different approaches to the field management of the construction as the number of superintendents running each jobsite, produces an environment that can plague the entire company. 

            This can be the case even with three to seven competent superintendents out of ten, in the example above.

            The general customer service formula in business of spending 80% of the time on 20% of the customers, applies to the problem projects engaged in constant “putting out fires.”

            The solution to this common reality in mass-production tract housing construction is for large companies to have uniformly comprehensive construction programs that create the environment for all 10 projects in the example above to be running smoothly at the same high-quality level, even with field personnel who start-out as grade-C and grade-D superintendents.

            If every field superintendent is operating at grade-B or above because the system that is in-place within the company does not allow for the admittance of numerous design and construction mistakes, then the building construction company increasingly begins to control its own destiny in an ever improving and self-correcting process.

            A company-wide construction system attempts to get everyone on the same page, going in the same direction, with the same philosophy.

            It takes the best methods and procedures within the company and tries to standardize these methods to bring everyone up to the same high standard.

            One of the best arguments for starting a company-wide construction system is that the system stays with the company and is not dependent upon key field personnel coming and going.

            No project should waste time learning from a mistake already experienced on another project within the company. 

            The means for accomplishing this goal is a company-wide, comprehensive system of information, along with well-defined polices & procedures that give the building construction company a uniform direction in its construction practices. 

            Comments?

Limited Physical Terrain

            Comparative anatomy also becomes a non-issue today as an argument in favor of Darwinian evolution.

            This issue only has relevance if we start with the materialistic program of small-step, continuous biological development, one new and different cell-type at a time.

            Once we admit into the discussion the evidence of forward leaps in nature that produce end-point fit and function at the first introduction of new architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits, this requires blocks of new and different cell-types in grouped clusters that in practical terms transcends above materialistic causations.

            That Darwin would propose the comparative anatomy of similar features as an argument for gradual continuity reveals a mindset limited to the factors of distance traveled in terms of beneficial features, divided by measurable time within our four-dimensional reality.

            This approach will not allow for the possibility of blocks of cell-types in grouped clusters as the explanation for the vast diversity of life, because this entertains the input of information by a timeless Mind/Being who can only be identified through circumstantial evidence, curiously being the same type of evidence used by Darwin.

            Adding blocks of cell-types in grouped clusters still maintains true relationships, just not according to the worldview of naturalistic materialism.

            As has been said elsewhere in this book, adding new genetic information in blocks of grouped clusters to effectuate fit and function, is entirely consistent with common descent.

            The accurately generous thing to say about Darwin’s use of comparative anatomy as an argument in favor of macroevolution is that it was close but still off-target.

            The same can be said for many scientific hypotheses at their inception.

            Today we can save ourselves a lot of time by side-stepping all of the arguments put forward in the last 160-plus years of Darwinism regarding the importance of comparative anatomy…either confirming or not confirming the small-step, gradual continuity of common descent.

            Agatha Christie may type her book Murder on the Orient Express one letter at a time, but her daily writing output of 500-1,000 words or more is created as a block of grouped story-telling information.

            In tract housing construction, the first-floor wall framing proceeds one 2×4 stud at a time, but daily progress is evaluated on the number of houses having the first-floor wall framing completed as a grouped output.

            When we look at the natural living world, why would we not recognize the same presence of intelligent designing agency in a functioning elephant that we acknowledge to exist within an automobile driving past us down the road?

            The comparative anatomy of similarly common features has nothing to say whether common descent was achieved one new cell-type at a time, or by blocks of new and different cell-types introduced in grouped clusters.

            What if Darwinism is wrong?

            The idea of a vast amount of time for chance to produce biological diversity, is the opposite of a timeless God of the Bible downloading or switching-on the release of blocks of genetic information in width-less durations of zero time.

            In terms of the Cambrian Explosion, what is the difference between biological development spread-out over ten-million years starting at 535-million years ago, or the instant introduction of new creatures fit and functional for survival in a moment of time?

            I can envision new creatures initially immerging into existence at the prototype level of being 98 or 99 percent complete for fit and function, but like Darwin’s finches having the genetic capacity for mutation/selection to adapt more perfectly to changing environments.

            The God of the Bible producing new creatures all at 50 to 75 percent capacity, with the remaining process of development left up to chance, does not make much sense to me.  

            What is not compatible in biology is not God versus science, but the materialism that requires small-step, incremental progression one cell-type at a time, versus blocks of new and different cell-types introduced in grouped clusters to produce instant fit and function within complex biodiversity and ecosystems.

            If Darwinism is wrong, it could not be more wrong.

            At the fundamental level of a skeletal explanatory framework, Darwinian evolution in 1859 could not be more inaccurate and misleading.

            If the fossil record is one of sudden appearance, the longevity of unchanging stasis, and again the sudden disappearance of extinction, then the concept of gradually increasing complexity using the accumulation of functional features to produce the diversity of life we see today, is not factually evident.

            Why can’t an elephant or a finch-bird be derived from an amoeba through chance spread-out over even an eternity of time?

            This requires a coordinated series of complex, specified, and coherently integrated blocks of genetic informational inputs, that mesh somehow within the counter-productive realities of sudden appearance, the unchanging longevity of stasis, and the sudden disappearance through extinction.

            These are two dichotomies that are irreconcilable in a materialistic program, but easily understood within the program of a free-will thinking, divine Creator introducing and then removing life-forms according to His will, while maintaining ever-increasing complexity through the gradual incline of new and different cell-types to support new architectural body-plans and their accompanying lifestyle habits.

            Comments?

Modern Management’s Role in the Construction

            A fundamental problem in mass-production tract-housing construction today is that many owners and managers of large development companies are more familiar with marketing and sales rather than building construction.

            The master builder of the past, who knew business, design, and construction from the ground up has been replaced by MBAs and CPAs whose expertise is in acquiring land, sales-pitching projects to investors, and securing financing. 

            The corporate office is often comprised of people who have never poured a yard of concrete or hammered a 16-penny nail.  This lack of hands-on experience creates a technical leadership vacuum at the top of the housing development company.

            Thus, the entrepreneurial energy and creativity that could go into innovating faster, better, and less expensive methods of construction is channeled almost entirely into financing, marketing, and architectural refinements. 

            Housing construction has therefore remained virtually unchanged for the past 60 years, going back to the invention of tract housing.

            Architectural styles, structural designs, building codes, fixtures, and appliances have all improved but houses are still being assembled using the same methods and techniques that existed when I started my career in construction roughly 50 years ago studying construction technology in junior college in 1971.

            Housing development company managers who do not have a construction background do not know where to begin to initiate changes that would be beneficial to building construction. 

            Development company owners and managers with backgrounds in real estate, finance, law, and accounting seldom promote innovation in the technical area of the business because they do not understand or are not interested in the nuts-and-bolts details of building construction.

            This lack of construction experience in the management of large housing development companies is not pointed out here merely for the sake of being critical. 

            Instead, it underscores a deeper problem that exists throughout the housing construction industry. 

            When housing development company owners and managers consciously or unconsciously distance themselves from the technical side of their business, and concentrate solely on finance, marketing, and architecture, the construction operations in the field suffer.

            The major obstacle to improving housing construction is that housing development company owners and managers do not realize that they are the key players to start the improvement process.

            MBAs, CPAs, and real estate people should not be expected to have the technical knowledge and practical field experience to analyze the construction.  But they are in positions that can commit and allocate the time and resources necessary for more effective and extensive construction analysis and debugging.

            Upcoming sections cover in-house sources of information that can be used to identify a particular company’s construction problems and mistakes.  These sources include:

  • punch lists
  • inspection cards
  • red-lined plans
  • requests for information (RFIs)
  • subcontractor extras
  • homebuyer walkthrough sheets
  • customer service complaint letters

            Jobsite records archived from previous projects are sometimes not even kept, much less analyzed, condensed, and organized to be made available to project managers and superintendents starting new multi-unit tract housing or condominium projects.

            This lack of lessons-learned information transferred to new projects is a lost opportunity.  If past design and construction issues are not provided for new and future projects…then each new project must be individually analyzed and debugged from scratch…as if past history did not exist and the construction company was a new start-up company building its first project.

            The new project superintendent cannot collect this past, documented, company-specific information or allocate time upfront for constructability analysis using this information if it does not exist, for pre-planning and proactive debugging before the start of the actual construction.

            The only people who can collect this design and construction information on an on-going basis and budget the time for upfront planning and analysis for proactive mistake prevention are the company owners and managers. 

            If company owners and managers do not see the need to debug the construction on a project-by-project basis using lessons learned on previous projects, this opportunity task will simply not get done.

            This topic of discussion again illustrates the differences between housing construction and other types of manufacturing. 

            Housing development company owners and managers unfamiliar with building construction incorrectly assume that housing construction is so similar and repetitive that it was thoroughly debugged sometime decades ago in the distant past, like a single assembly-line producing a particular model of tennis rackets is initially debugged. 

            They further assume that the benefits of this already accomplished industry-wide debugging are now common knowledge in the field and only slight differences remain to be resolved between projects.

            Owners and managers unfamiliar with building construction think that by hiring an experienced and qualified field staff, and providing good subcontractors, they have exhausted the limits of their possible influence over the course of the construction.

            They are partially correct from a functional standpoint.  New housing construction projects do get completed, smoothly or not. 

            The evidence that supports the notion that more can be done by owners and top managers to benefit the construction, is the existence of many of the same design and construction problems reoccurring on project after project.

            Part of the problem also exists in the overconfidence and overreliance that people unfamiliar with building construction place in architects, engineers, subcontractors, and tradespeople. 

            Specialization does produce expertise, but it also multiplies the number of areas where less than absolute perfection in each area can add up to a lot of small problems overall.

            For owners and managers to assume that the plans are 100 percent accurate and error-free, and that each subcontractor and tradesperson can do everything correctly because each is a specialist, is not being realistic. 

            Recognizing that everything cannot be 100 percent correct should signify that a strategy is needed, initiated and supported by upper management in terms of data collection and man-hour allocation investment to proactively identify and remove any remaining conflicts or problems.

Limited Physical Terrain 3

            Typology and Increasing complexity in biology are not in conflict.

            Blocks of new and different cell-types in clustered groups, each assembled genetically in the arrangement and folding of amino acids to build proteins using the blueprint information in DNA, reaffirms and maintains the typological worldview prevalent before Darwin.

            The ideological difficulties that appeared inexplicable in 1859 to Darwin, inherent in individual creation, over the advances of the past 160-plus years in science, now disappear.

            These difficulties disappear through the character and quality of the complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information absolutely everywhere we look in the natural living and non-living world.  

            If God exists as the Creator of the universe, then there is no ideological dichotomy between the supernatural and the natural.

            Because of the explosion of information about our natural environment available today, the difficulties in explaining the causations of the phenomena in nature, have from 1859 to 2022 switched from arguing against intelligent agency to arguing for intelligent agency.

            The issue of the fixity of species disappears today when the concept of nature makes no sudden leaps, in support of amaterialistic worldview, is jettisoned overboard.

            As a Christian, I admit to being a vitalist, but not in the manner of ascribing biological development to undefined, occult-like inner forces.

            Empirical, fact-based information is not occult.

            Information that defines the architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of elephants according to their genetic make-up…as to type…is as factually evidential as the mechanical engineering of an automobile.

            The mystery involved in DNA or mechanical engineering is no longer the mechanics, but the origin of the structured organized complexity that produces end-point fit and function.

            Where does the ability to design an automobile using mechanical engineering come from?

            The complex, specified, and coherently integrated character of information is the mysterious underlying force, that used to be pre-Darwin vitalism.

            But this underlying database of information is now so   complex and interwoven that it has passed-up the agency-free, research methodology of scientific materialism.

            A multitude of forms makes perfect sense if blocks of new and different cell-types in groups of 10 or 20, are manufactured in the cell using DNA and developmental gene regulatory networks, then released by Intelligent Agency within width-less durations of zero time to produce functionally mature organisms ready to enter into existence into biodiverse ecosystems.

            This is the diametric opposite of gradual biological development using the method of blind trial-and-error over vast periods of time.

            Goldschmidt’s hopeful monster made no sense because it was stuck within the paradigm of scientific materialism.

            Replace this mindset of naturalistic materialism with intelligent designing agency, enabling saltation-like inputs of genetic information in blocks of grouped clusters to produce the common descent of end-point fit and function along the expanse of geological history, absent the need to find non-existent transitional intermediates, and many of the great mysteries in biology are resolved.

            For Darwin the choice of the skeletal explanatory framework of atheism is what was defective in his theory of biological evolution.

            Typology works beautifully in this alternate program of blocks of cell-types coordinated in clustered groups, because the essence of each type of living organism is always introduced at its completed and functional iteration.

            The continuity of common descent, the fixity of species, change over time, and the vast diversity of life on earth, no longer makes sense within Darwinian evolution, but now makes sense only within the worldview of admitting an intelligent designing agent.

Management’s Role in Debugging the Design Plans

            Housing development company owners and managers can lead the way in ensuring the accuracy level of the design plans. 

            Probably in no other area is upper management in a better position to help improve quality and efficiency in the construction, than to secure good building plans.

            Two common misconceptions exist in the building industry, however, that tend to obscure and excuse design errors.  These must be understood before any progress can be made.

            The first misconception is the idea that it is the expected duty of field people to take incomplete, inaccurate, and unclear plans and work-out all the bugs during the construction, using the established means and methods standards of the industry.

            It is widely believed that it is easier and cheaper for the tradespeople to coordinate, to work-out the design kinks during construction than it is for the architect and engineers to spend the time to get the design totally correct while still on paper. 

            In this mindset it is taken for granted that architects and engineers can advance their designs graphically (and economically) only so far on two-dimensional paper, and then the people in the field must resolve the remaining omissions and errors in three-dimension as the construction progresses.

            Many people both inside and outside of the industry believe that part of the satisfaction of working in the field comes from solving design and construction mistakes.

            The stereotypical advertisement in the newspaper that shows a sketch of several people with their shirt sleeves rolled-up, blueprints under the arm, looking through a builder’s level or pointing and giving directions, implies that solving problems in-the-moment in the reactive mode in the field is both satisfying and expected.

            This is a gross misconception.

            If we are to take seriously the goal of approaching the machine-like efficiency of the fixed assembly-line in mass-production manufacturing, with a minimum of bugs, then it must be understood that there is nothing satisfying about being overwhelmed on a daily basis with the incoming barrage of nuts-and-bolts problems in-the-moment that surface without warning over the course of the construction due to incomplete information on the design plans.

Limited Physical Terrain 2

            The gradualism of vitalism does not disappear with Darwinian evolution.

            The gradualism of Lamarckian vitalism[1] must still be evident in Darwinian evolution, just replaced by random and undirected trial-and-error…mutation/selection being the motive fuel instead of undefined, inner vital forces displaying outward purpose and direction.    

            The gradual continuity in biology does not go away with Darwinism.  In Darwinism it merely shifts over into the worldview of naturalistic materialism.

            But surprisingly, the concept that species are immutable becomes a non-issue when either a continuous chain of increasing complexity is produced one new and different cell-type at a time (nature makes no sudden leaps), or new cell-types are introduced in grouped clusters producing instantly mature function (nature making recognizable leaps as seen in the fossil record).

            Continuity exists in both cases.

            But the one new-and-different cell-type at-a-time program must proceed within the materialism of small-step transitions achievable through trial-and-error natural selection, whereas the other program of grouped clusters of new cell-types must rely upon an outside intelligent agent releasing the packages of information that can create new amino acid folds to produce new proteins…to then construct new and different cell-types to build elephants rather than giraffes.

            Both vitalism and Darwinian evolution need more terrain for trial-and-error, progressive development, which we do not observe in nature.

            The question of whether species are immutable or not is only an issue of concern within a materialistic worldview that by definition cannot and will not admit intelligent agency.

            In materialism, continuity one small-step at a time (nature makes no sudden leaps) is the glass ceiling that limits biology.

            But modern science has added evidentiary meat to the bones of the ancient Greek debate regarding a material or non-material causation of this universe.

            The evidentiary facts do not identify who the intelligent designing agent is, but they factually make the case for the inescapable need for intelligent agency underlying the organized complexity we see everywhere in the natural world.

            Where the ancient Greek philosophers argued pre-scientifically through logic using speculation in-place of empirical evidence, modern science has replaced speculative conjecture with complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information to describe much of the causations of phenomena in the natural world.

            Species are easily mutable if the God of the Bible is releasing through gene regulatory networks and epigenetic factors, entire blocks of new and different cell-types in clustered groups that produce immediate function, as the discontinuities in the geological record clearly show.

            The fantastic irony in 2022 is that the “hopeful monster” hypothesis of evolution by saltation put forward by Goldschmidt in his 1940 book The Material Basis of Evolution, in an attempt to close the obvious gaps between living organisms in the common descent program, is that he is correct if we replace within the equation of biological development, the factor of scientific materialism with the alternate factor of intelligent agency. 

            The infinitude of connecting links required by materialism disappears when the simple move from one new and different cell-type at a time, is made to adopting the more plausible program of new and different cell-types being introduced in blocks of clustered groups.

            This better concept produces new and varied life-forms entering into existence at the end-point of functional development to immediately engage into the fast-lane of survival and reproduction.

            Intelligent agency working within width-less durations of zero time to produce immediate function at the end-points of development, removes the untenable requirement of a vast larger sized earth having more surface area, to provide the increased terrain for trial-and-error, accidental development to play-out. 

            Intelligent agency places the creative process genetically inside living cells where we know there is adequate DNA information to produce the vast diversity of life, rather than the externally-driven impetus of mutation/selection through survival pressures that produces only the microevolutionary changes we see in Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos islands.


[1] A worldview prior to Darwin that attempted to explain the design apparent in nature to as-yet not understood inner driving natural forces, termed as vitalism.

Limited Physical Terrain 1

            In our modern world today, we have many more realities we can utilize to form theoretical, skeletal explanatory frameworks in which to conduct scientific research programs.

            As one area of research expands into two or more new avenues of interest to investigate in the natural world, the breadth and depth of knowledge increases at an exponential rate, which then likewise increases the number of new explanatory stories needed to add meaning, structure, and intelligibility to the raw data.

            This modern reality also generates enumerable possible analogies that can be spun-off these skeletal explanatory frameworks which permeate science, that were non-existent in 1859 when Darwin published The Origin of Species.

            For example, anyone living in Southern California in 2022 understands the concept that after putting a few warm-up miles on a recently purchased new automobile, that upon the first time entering onto one of our major freeways our new automobile must get quickly up to at least 65 miles per hour on the on-ramp in order to blend safely into the flow of traffic (except during the start-and-stop traffic congestion at rush-hour).

            There is no such thing as entering onto the 405 freeway in a 1920 Ford Model-T automobile having a top-speed of 30 miles per hour, and then safely navigating into the number two lane with the other automobiles driving 70 miles per hour.

            This analogy regarding the immediate required fit of adequate velocity on the freeways of Southern California, of having an automobile that can enter into the fast-lane and survive within the biodiversity of different models of modern automobiles all driving within the narrow parameter of 65 to 75 miles per hour, was obviously a concept unavailable to the people of Darwin’s time.

            The required conditions of driving on roadways in 1920 for the Ford Model-T no longer apply to the high-speed freeways of today, not only in the vehicles being driven but also in the quality of the roads.

            But what is most important to understand from this modern analogy, that was not accessible in 1859 to help formulate accurate scientific theories, is that there is no space or lanes on the modern freeway set-aside or designated for experimental, trial-and-error, incrementally improving automobiles half-way towards fully functional development.

            A person owning and driving a 1920 Model-T as a member of a local classic car club, can get from one weekend classic car show to the next by using the non-freeway surface streets, or by going in-mass as a large group early in the morning on one or more of the freeways staying exclusively in the far-right, slow lane.

            But a person owning a classic, old-model car would not venture-out daily into the morning commuter traffic at 5 A.M. on the major freeways of Southern California into traffic going 70 to 75 miles per hour, in a vehicle only capable of driving at a top-speed of 30 to 35 miles per hour.  

            And we do not see on these freeways a mix of experimental vehicles all blending together at various speeds, of one-man solar powered vehicles, or one-man aerodynamic human-powered bicycles, or battery powered skateboards, or hybrid cars that can also fly, or jet-propelled cars that can travel at a top-speed of 400 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

            These major freeways in Southern California do not have 10 lanes going each direction, with some lanes being used within the common range of 65 to 75 miles per hour, and the remaining lanes set-aside for a hybrid-blend of vehicles still in the trial-and-error, experimental phases of development.

            The obvious, crossover question we can draw from this analogy to the natural living world, is do we see unlimited physical terrain on the African savanna plains for as-yet undeveloped cheetahs having a top running speed of only 35 miles per hour, chasing as-yet not fully developed Thompson’s gazelles with a top running speed of 30 miles per hour, in areas separated from fully developed cheetahs and Thompson’s gazelles running at top speeds of 70 mph and 65 mph respectively?

            And are there additional intermediate zones where we find Cheetahs with top running speeds of 20 mph, and still other incremental zones with cheetahs having variable running speeds of 40 to 60 mph?

            Do we see giraffes off in another area of a vastly larger continent of Africa, with half-way developed neck lengths feeding on the leaves part-way up trees mid-height, in a separate geographical zone set-aside for an enumerable number of developing organisms, all part-way along their journey towards their full architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits?

            One of the modern daggers through the heart of the worldview of naturalistic materialism is that there is not enough physical terrain to support the concept of a blind, mindless, accidental, trial-and-error, gradual process to reach function for the ten-million living species on earth…utilizing small-step, transitional, progressive development.

            Our earth would need many more times its surface area to support the quality of trial-and-error development that Darwinian evolution contemplated, similar to the ten or more lanes going each direction on our major freeways to accommodate a varied blend of vehicles all going at different speeds.

            What should have been obvious to Charles Darwin observing the finches on the 13 islands of the Galapagos Archipelago, is that these finches were already at their functionally developed phase of being able to drive 70 mph in the fast-lane, on the freeway of the unique biodiversity and ecology of these slightly varied islands.

            What appeared to Darwin as microevolutionary adaptation, might be analogous to these finches as they flew the relatively short distances (for birds) in the long-ago past to spread-out over these 13 islands, as speeding-up from 65 mph to 70 mph to changes lanes on the freeway, to move into a slightly faster lane.

            Darwin did not observe macroevolution actually taking place in the finches living on these islands, but observed differing finches all existing at the mature levels of survival and reproduction…of change having already occurred.

            All of Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos Archipelago at the time he observed them, were in essence driving on the freeway at 70 mph.

            As a layman reading books and watching presentations and debates on the Internet, if I am not mistaken the Galapagos Island chain does not have the necessarily broad ecosystem to support birds-of-prey. 

            There is not a profusion of small rodents as prey for hawks, eagles, and owls, and there are no small cats to catch and eat finches.

            It would appear that Darwin’s finches have no serious predators on these islands situated roughly 600 miles west of the South American continent at the equator.

            Because the Galapagos Archipelago is an island chain with limited surface area separated by water, the finches are the perfect test-tube subject for highlighting limited physical terrain that validates the concept of living organisms entering into existence at the completed end-points of development…able to immediately enter from the on-ramp into the fast-lane of the freeway at 65 to 70 mph in order to be able to survive and to reproduce.

            The challenging environment of the Galapagos Islands, which Darwin described as barren and visually inhospitable, yet teaming with incredibly varied and interesting life-forms, is the fast-lane of biodiversity and ecological balance.

            If we do not find Darwin’s finches or anything else part-way along a slowly developing path towards some future end-point of typologically defining essence on these isolated islands, then we will not find it anywhere else.

            If the earth can be described, in any geological era as always being a Southern California type freeway having narrowly defined parameters for the required velocity to enter into the flow-of-traffic, and to maintain a safe speed of 65 to 70 mph to blend into the predator/prey relationships of the various models of automobiles on these freeways, then the gradualism of Darwinian evolution lacks the available physical space to be considered a sensible option for explaining the vast diversity of life today.

The Thief on the Cross 4

            Is the cross of Jesus Christ petty?

            Richard Dawkins during the 2009 Oxford debate with John Lennox expresses his opinion that a hypothetical creator/physicist god of the universe merits too high a quality of grandeur to stoop to the low-level of dying on a cross for sins in the pre-modern first-century.

            But this is partly based upon his projection of his own value-judgment of the high-quality of the scientific enterprise, and of the well-deserved status and acclaim that professional scientists enjoy in our modern culture.

            Richard Dawkins says during this debate that equating a creator god of this universe with Jesus Christ on the cross, is in his words petty and small.

            I think here the “shoe might be on the other foot.”

            Postulating a creator god of the universe deserving credit for the awe and grandeur of the natural world, subtly creates an unbridgeable gulf between this marginally acceptable concept of a science-savvy god to someone like Richard Dawkins, with the other alternative of a purely materialistic Mother Nature occupying this elevated role of esteemed creator.

            According to the atheism of Darwinian evolution, Mother Nature must be an impersonal, different to outcomes, blind, and mindless purveyor and arbitrator of random and undirected events that by definition merit no appeal to grandeur and awe in the slightest.

            Chance serendipity cannot rise to the level of meriting acclaim within this context, being an impersonal entity.

            In this debate, the atheist in Richard Dawkins unthinkingly places Mother Nature up into the high category of his just barely acceptable divinely creative physicist, when in fact a blind and indifferent Mother Nature acting through random and undirected processes deserves no such elevated exaltation. 

            For the scientific materialist, granting awe and grandeur to an impersonal Mother Nature acting through random and undirected processes is in some sense a philosophical contradiction.

            Because this book is about science and biblical-quality faith, at this point I would like to make the argument that the cross of Jesus Christ is not petty or small in its deliberate intention to open-up for us an experiential research program to understand truth and error, right and wrong, and detailed fact versus empty assertion.

            This was provided for us at great personal cost to the God of the Bible.

            The awe and grandeur of the cross of Jesus Christ is exhibited in the brief but colorful story of the thief on the cross recorded in Luke 23:39-43.

            The two thieves crucified on each side of Jesus were partners in crime, caught and condemned to death (Ps. 22:16; Isa. 53: 9, 12).

            One of the two thieves in this story can size-up and recognize a fellow thief, and he discerns throughout the early hours of his time being crucified next to this other man Jesus of Nazareth that He is not a criminal, but instead there is something very special about Him.

            This one thief on the cross hears what the detractors of Jesus are saying about Him (Lk. 23:35-37) and he can probably read the words on the plaque nailed to the cross above the head of Jesus that Pilate had written about Him (Lk. 23:38; Jn. 19:19-22).

            One brilliant takeaway from this account of the thief on the cross, is that when a person meets Jesus Christ and recognizes Him as being the King that He actually is, that this changes a person and their individual destiny forever.

            When his partner in crime joins into the mocking of Jesus along with the religious leaders and the soldiers standing around the three men being crucified, this one thief rebukes his friend and then utters words coming out of his mouth that probably surprised himself as to their origin and bold decisiveness at that particular moment:

“Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” (Lk. 23:42).

            Jesus immediately recognizes salvation-quality faith and responds:

“Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Lk. 23:43).

            Pilate could have gone in the direction of faith, like this thief of the cross boldly confessing his recognition of the true character of Jesus, but instead surrendered to the political pressure of the crowd (Jn. 18:33-38).

            What adds awe and grandeur to the cross of Jesus Christ is that not only are there zero-in-number other candidates in human history or in human literary fiction that claim perfection of character, but it is literally impossible to get a perfect person all the way to the lowest form of ignominy, of Roman execution on the cross on Calvary Hill (Isa. 53), for anyone other than God.

            Jesus Christ is the blemish-free, Passover Lamb of God fore-glimpsed in Genesis 22:7-13 and Exodus 12:21-23, yet Jesus on the cross in the middle of these two thieves has taken-on the shame of sin that belongs to us, even though He had no sin Himself.

            Jesus Christ the Creator of the universe willingly takes-on the shame of being considered a common criminal dying alongside these two thieves on their crosses, because this is the only way that a perfect person could also be the blemish-free, Passover Lamb of God substitutionary sacrifice for our sins.

            Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6) yet we find Jesus being crucified in the middle of two thieves (Isa. 53:4-7, 12).

            Mark Twain in his classic book The Prince and the Pauper, describes the benefits to be acquired by the young prince going-out into the real-world incognito, that will enable him to someday rule his people with enlightened justice and a compassionate perspective based upon this first-hand interaction as a commoner-in-disguise with the common people living within his future kingdom.

            But the distinction here of Jesus Christ taking upon Himself the shame of being “numbered among the transgressors” as He is being crucified in the middle of two thieves, is that this incredible downshift in status is not directly for His benefit.

            This sacrifice is instead for the benefit of us being able to go out into the world through our imperfect yet redeemed “earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7) to learn the genuine truth about good and evil, like this young prince in Mark Twain’s story, of getting outside the palace walls in the disguise of a commoner to discover the real-world.

            Jesus Christ on the cross sets us free from the bondage to sin, but He does not set us free from our imperfect moral natures (Jn. 8:36; Gal. 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:16; Col. 3:1-3).

            When believers someday in the future are in heaven, Jesus will sit on His throne in all His glory.  But Jesus will also get outside of the Holy City to walk amongst His people like He did when He walked the earth, and speak with them through the same quality of a resurrected body like we will inhabit.

            Jesus can talk to this one thief alongside Him as both another common human being the thief can relate to, but also as “Lord.”

            This is the awe-inspiring, science-savvy physicist god of Richard Dawkins exhibiting the character traits of divine love and humility to a perfection unheard of in all of human history…standing alone atop all of literary fiction and non-fiction.

            The contrast between the two thieves illuminates a reality in this world, of belief and unbelief, that cannot exist in a purely material universe.

            This then begins to give us some factual evidence upon which to differentiate truth from error in the moral realm of personal relationships, which is not subjective but objective.

            Equally important, Jesus through this sacrifice on the cross enables the redemptive salvation that was in-play throughout the Old Testament, to come into clearer focus as the gospel message goes-out to the Greco-Roman world of the Gentiles in the first-century.

            Jesus Christ the Son of God on the cross between two thieves could have been legalistically dismissive and aloof, answering the one thief by saying something like: “too bad, you made your bed, now sleep in it.”

            But Jesus is humbly taking-on the persona of a criminal numbered amongst criminals, because He is taking our lowly place on the cross that we deserve as wayward rebels and criminals (Isa. 53).

            Another enormous takeaway from this account of the thief on the cross and his encounter with Jesus Christ being crucified next to him, is that God can work with faith and trust in Him.

            A perfect God being brilliant pure light and absolute goodness, and possessing divinely timeless foresight, can work with the bare minimum of people exercising faith and trust in Him.

            Redemptive salvation by grace through faith in Christ sets-up the program of investigative research through the four-wheel drive vehicle of a fallen yet redeemed imperfect character…inhabiting an “earthen vessel” (2 Cor. 4:7). 

            This gives believers the precise lens we need to be able to comprehend the subtle nuances of the broad array of moral concepts contained within the knowledge of good and evil, like the precise focusing knobs we turn to find clarity using a microscope or a telescope.

            The concept that the Creator God of the universe is the only person capable of inventing and implementing a research program where I can journey-out into a risk-filled adventure of faith in which it is guaranteed that I will make mistakes, and that the deliberate intention is that I can learn by these honest mistakes without jeopardizing my eternal salvation…is anything but petty and small.

            The concept that redemptive salvation is based around the Creator God of the universe being the only person capable of a morally perfect life to qualify as the Passover Lamb of God substitution to take our place on the cross of execution, out of a perfectly unselfish motivation that opens-up for us a genuine exploration into the knowledge of good and evil…is sublimely brilliant. 

            This is an idea that far exceeds the awe and grandeur that scientific materialists ascribe to the physical world we study through science, because the physical world and the cross of Christ both ascend to the peak and the pinnacle of awe and grandeur, because they were both imaginatively created within the mind of God.

            Scientific materialists study the natural world through the well-deserved acclaim of being investigative scholars.

            But this creates the artificial gap between experts and non-experts, which results in the projection by Richard Dawkins of a hypothetical divine physicist as creator of the universe, deserving the same high-status in character like himself.

            But this story of the thief on the cross exhibits a broad range of character for the God of the Bible that portrays in action the amazing ability to combine absolute goodness with a level of divine humility that can share equally the shame of the cross alongside two thieves, while at the same time inaugurating the most love-filled research programs into the knowledge of good and evil.

            This program of redemptive salvation closely mirrors the deliberate intention underlying the orderly and intelligible openness of the natural world for human scientific investigation.

            I would posit here that this concept of Jesus Christ living a perfect life as recorded in the four New Testament gospels, and confirmed afterwards by His broad and exhaustive impact upon mankind ever since, that He could make it all the way to Calvary for our sakes is as deeply profound as any mystery we investigate in the natural world through science.

            The origin and experiential functionality of this concept is incomprehensible within the open marketplace of ideas in a purely material universe devoid of purpose and meaning.

            Like the need for detailed evidentiary facts to explain the origin of DNA in living cells in the 2009 Oxford debate between John Lennox and Richard Dawkins, the explanation underlying the cross of Jesus Christ must dig deeper than the generalized assertion that the creator of the universe cannot be so petty and small as to humble Himself as the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for sin, in a pre-modern, first-century Israel.

            Finally, in every essay in this book I am making the case that the God of the Bible meets all of the qualification standards of being Designer, Creator, and Ruler of heaven and earth.

            Peter mistakenly thought according to the general tenets of manhood and character that he should stand beside Jesus at His night trial, and argue all night for His innocence if need be.

            But it was not the intention of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to make the compelling case to acquit Jesus of all charges that night.

            Jesus was supposed to be the substitutionary sacrifice on the cross so that we could have the opportunity through a new and living way to go out into human life and discover through first-hand experience the subtle nuances of good and evil.

            The brilliance of the program of redemptive salvation is that this allows believers to learn by their mistakes and failures through a methodology very similar to that of scientific investigations, of aiming for good character but often falling short.

            Redemptive salvation provides the impunity needed within the risk of failure as we embark upon God-composed journey of faith life-scripts designed to actualize some portion of God’s virtue into our lives…a quality and desirability of virtue that was incomprehensible to me before I met Jesus Christ.

            This is anything but small and petty.

            The cross of Jesus Christ is deeper than quantum mechanics, the fine-tuning of the constants of physics, the information content in DNA, the origin of life on earth, and the capacity of human beings for intellectual and moral reasoning. 

            In one sense Richard Dawkins was right.

            The cross of Jesus Christ was small and petty, because it had to be small and petty to achieve its goal.

            An adventure of faith in pursuit of the knowledge of good and evil is open to me today, because the Creator of the universe Jesus Christ was willing to be small and petty according to the standards of this world, for a short period of time on earth (Isa. 9:6-7, 53:1-12, 61:1-3), for my sake.  For this I will be eternally grateful.

            If scientific investigation of the natural living and non-living world culminates in the conclusion that the universe has a Creator God as the intelligent agent behind it all, then the next remaining question to resolve is what defines good and evil.

            What character traits demonstrate a good king, good president, good CEO of a business enterprise, and a good father of a family unit?

            Is a good leader an autocratic tyrant like Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Pinochet, or Putin?

            Or is a good leader demonstrated by the God of the Bible who can embrace the lowest humility of the cross at Calvary with the divine love and determined resolution to open-up the way of redemptive salvation by grace through faith, for believers to venture-out into the research program into the knowledge of good and evil that we can experience through the joint-venture of a journey of faith with God? 

            All of this has enormous implications for how the upcoming years play-out for mankind.

Debugging Affects Quality, Time, and Money

            Quality in housing construction is affected by the extent and thoroughness of debugging because supervision time in the field is a limited resource in single-family and production tract housing.

            For example, suppose over the course of a typical three-year construction tract housing project a total of 500 previously unanswered questions must be addressed, activities in the field quality-checked, and yes/no decisions made that will take the project construction across the finish-line.

            If people in the field could hypothetically get 100 of those 500 issues resolved upfront through a company-wide debugging program, before the construction starts, then “only” 400 issues/questions remain to be resolved individually during the construction. 

            If 150 problems and questions out of the 500 could be answered upfront through constructability analysis and a checklist of past solved issues, then “only” 350 real problems remain to be resolved during the construction.

            If at the outset of the project there are 200 solutions and answers to the original 500 problems then only 300 more remain to be analyzed and resolved during the construction.

            There is a finite numerical limit to the issues and questions that need to be addressed on every building construction project, irrespective of the complexity of the construction and the magnitude of each issue or question.

            The greater the number of problems, questions, and bugs that can be identified upfront and quickly and correctly resolved while the project is still on paper, the fewer the number of problems remain to be confronted and solved during the construction. 

            This translates into more time available for genuine quality-control and manpower production, rather than spent in daily “putting-out fires” in the reactive-mode.

            A building construction project can get quickly into trouble in terms of quality when the number of latent/hidden problems inherently buried in the project are greater than what can be handled by the field staff. 

            When the field staff is constantly engaged in putting-out fires, the construction is forced into a reactive, damage-control mode which then pushes out the option for genuine quality-control and time-management.

            The benefits of spotting and resolving design and construction problems upfront, before the construction begins, cannot be overstated in terms of quality-assurance.

            Small problems and mistakes, if not caught and corrected early can adversely affect future building trades down-stream in the construction, that can snowball into multiple problems due to the commonly known phenomenon called the ripple effect.

            For example, a bowed wall framing stud by itself can be easily removed by the framer, requiring only one repair effort.

            A bowed or twisted 4×6 or 4×8 structural post in the wall framing with electrical wires running through it requires the framing carpenter and the electrician, if the post needs to be replaced.

            A bowed wall along the floor baseboard if not discovered until the wall is drywalled, painted, and the baseboard installed, requires three or more separate building trades to repair and straighten.

            A bowed wall along a bathroom floor having square-shaped ceramic tile flooring that is not discovered until very late at the time of the homebuyer walkthrough, requires not only the framing carpenter, drywaller, painter, and finish carpenter but also the floor tile installer to replace the tiles at the bowed wall after the wall is straightened.

            The longer a problem or construction bug goes undetected the worse the repair can get, especially in production tract housing involving a large number of units. 

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