In light of what Gary had to say about the Book of Daniel, I wanted to share some articles that dealt with the time period in which it was written.
Tektonics: Daniel Defense
At the beginning, J.P. talks about the Maccabean theory:
Generally, the Maccabeean theory holds that the Book of Daniel was written around 168-165 B.C. Most modern radical critics hold that the book was completed in it’s final form at that time, but some allow for parts of Daniel (mainly chapters 1-6) to have an earlier date prior to 168-165. Some say the editor in the 2nd century used certain traditions to compose the final form of Daniel.This next article (published in 1992 by the late Dr. Gerhard Hasel) focuses on evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls:
Thus the canonical acceptance of the book of Daniel at Qumran suggests an earlier origin of the book than the second century B.C. In 1969, based on the evidence available at the time regarding the Qumran Daniel texts, Roland K. Harrison had already concluded that the second century dating of the book of Daniel was “absolutely precluded by the evidence from Qumran, partly because there are no indications whatever that the sectaries compiled any of the Biblical manuscripts recovered from the site, and partly because there would, in the latter event, have been insufficient time for Maccabean compositions to be circulated, venerated, and accepted as canonical Scripture by a Maccabean sect” (Harrison 1969: 1127).
Subsequent to this, he stated that based on the Qumran manuscripts, “there can no longer be any possible reason for considering the book as a Maccabean product” (Harrison 1979: 862). The most recent publications of Daniel manuscripts confirm this conclusion.
This is not, of course, to assert that all who hold to a late-date of Daniel are anti-supernaturalists! There are many good, “moderate” evangelicals who hold to this view--although I suspect it is more often due to the realities of controlling paradigms in scholarly discussion. Controlling paradigms are necessary for extended research, and actually for finding the holes in the paradigm. For specialists outside of a specific field (e.g. paleography), trying to utilize insights and results from a different field (e.g., Danielic studies), dependence on the latter’s controlling paradigms may be the only option--there being no practical way for them to validate it outside of their specialty. So, by themselves, they are not ‘evil’. But when the paradigm becomes a ‘social force’ against renewal, innovation, new paradigm suggestion, and self-critical analysis, it takes it’s place in the hall of “stifling and oppressive traditions”…In the final section of this series, I will show how I think a late-date view can be harmonized (in good conscience) with high-views of Scripture and Jesus’ words in the Gospels. I think the position is difficult to maintain, but I do feel that it can be granted as possible/ reasonable.
More than two decades ago, the renowned astronomer Carl Sagan wrote that “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. This is a clear prescription for disaster.” Unfortunately, Sagan’s warning remains as true today as ever: American culture is deeply infused with an anti-intellectual distrust of scientific knowledge, a failure to understand the nature of peer-review, and an unwavering predilection for conspiracy theories and pseudoscience. 
It’s not true that every effect has a cause! That’s just a convenient way of talking about certain features of the macroscopic world of our everyday experience, one that is not applicable to how nature works at a deeper level. When you want to tackle questions about the fundamental nature of reality, it’s necessary to leave behind concepts of “cause and effect” and replace them with “the laws of physics.” Those laws take the form of patterns relating different parts of the universe to each other, not relationships of causality. So a better question is: what does our best understanding of the laws of physics tell us about the origin of the universe, and why it might exist at all? The answer is “not much.” This is a case where we have to be humble. The universe might have had a beginning, or it might have existed forever, we just don’t know. There’s certainly no reason to think that there was something that “caused” it; the universe can just be.
Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa. Surprising evidence ... a subsurface ocean ... one of humanity's sharpest eyes in space ... could this be the discovery of extraterrestrial life?
This, admits the New York Times, “complicate[s] the story of evolution of early life from chemicals ... .” No kidding! According to conventional geology, these microbe colonies existed on the heels of a period when Earth was undergoing heavy asteroid bombardment, making it virtually uninhabitable. This early date, adds The Times, “leaves comparatively little time for evolution to have occurred … .” That is an understatement. These life forms came into existence virtually overnight, writes David Klinghoffer at Evolution News and Views. “[g]enetic code, proteins, photosynthesis, the works.” This appearance of fully-developed life forms so early in the fossil record led Dr. Abigail Allwood of Caltech to remark that “life [must not be] a fussy, reluctant and unlikely thing.” Rather, “[i]t will emerge whenever there’s an opportunity.” Pardon me? If life occurs so spontaneously and predictably even under the harshest conditions, then it should be popping up all over the place! Yet scientists still cannot come close to producing even a single cell from raw chemicals in the lab.
Gratuitous evil is evil that God would not permit. In Alvin Plantinga’s terms, God would not actualize such evils either strongly (i.e. by directly creating them) or weakly (i.e. by allowing free creatures to commit them). A gratuitous evil is one that God would have no morally sufficient reason for actualizing (strongly or weakly). God has a morally sufficient reason for actualizing an evil e in a world W if and only if e is necessary in W for some good g, and W, containing both e and g, is better (by whatever criterion) than any world W*, actualizable by God, where W* contains neither e nor g. Put simply, where W is the real world, God permits evil e because e is necessary for the realization of good g, and g is realized, and the world with both e and g is better than it would be with neither e nor g.
The hackneyed example is that moral evil is permitted in the world because moral evil is necessary in our world for freely-chosen moral goodness, and there is no alternate world, actualizable by God, in which the overall balance of moral goodness to moral evil is better than in the real world. Perhaps there are possible worlds in which free creatures always choose to do good, and so, in those worlds, moral evil is not a necessary condition for moral goodness. However, perhaps no such world is actualizable by God. Perhaps, all possible free creatures suffer from what Plantinga calls “trans-world depravity,” that is, the “counterfactuals of freedom” (over which God has no control) are such that every free creature will freely choose to do some evil in any world in which it exists. In this case, not even God can create worlds with free creatures and no moral evil. Therefore, so far as human creatures can know (since we cannot know the counterfactuals of freedom) perhaps even the grossest moral evils are not gratuitous. I would add that, since we cannot know the counterfactuals of freedom, then neither can we know that moral evils are not gratuitous. Perhaps God could have created a better world after all.
It is assumed that the planet is in the habitable zone of the star leading to the possibility of having liquid water on its surface. “The still nameless planet is believed to be Earth-like and orbits at a distance to Proxima Centauri that could allow it to have liquid water on its surface — an important requirement for the emergence of life,” the source said. “Never before have scientists discovered a second Earth that is so close by,” the source added.
Could life exist on Proxima b? There are several unknowns that make it impossible to say right now, according to scientists. The planet is tidally locked to Proxima Centauri, so one side may permanently face the star while the other remains shrouded in darkness. But if there is an atmosphere, it should redistribute heat across the surface, the researchers said.As an M dwarf, Proxima Centauri is prone to frequent flares and bursts of X-rays that would send down 400 times the X-ray flux that Earth receives from the sun, according to the study. Those X-rays could eat away at the atmosphere, even if one exists.And it’s also not clear whether water could have survived on the planet over the eons. The answer depends on how violent the star was in the past and where the planet originated — both of which remain a mystery.***If there were life on this planet, it probably survived either underground or deep within its hypothetical oceans, said Kaltenegger, the director of Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute, which is dedicated to the search for habitable worlds. But there’s a chance that organisms evolved to handle the extreme radiation that may reach the surface, she added, perhaps by using biofluorescence.
Dr. Tour is a giant in the field of organic chemistry. For example, he is the T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry at Rice University. For those who aren’t familiar with the academic structure of universities, only the most elite professors are appointed to a position that is named in honor of someone else. This is called an “endowed professorship,” and anyone who holds such a position is in the upper echelon of academia. He has won several awards for his outstanding research accomplishments, including being named by Thomson Reuters as one of the top ten chemists in the world in 2009. Not only is his research outstanding, but he is also an excellent teacher, having earned the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching at Rice University in both 2007 and 2012.
If you want to get an idea of how complicated it all is, he gives the details on how he made one of the many chemicals that he needed (episulfide 37). It involved starting with a pristinely-cleaned flask, a chemical that had been made and purified in a previous step, an organic solvent (not water), and two simple chemicals. Since the reaction produces heat that would destroy the process, the flask was soaked in a very cold bath so that it wouldn’t get too hot. After that, it was cooled even more. The solution was then filtered, and the resulting liquid went through another chemical reaction that produced a solid, which was (once again) filtered. The filtered solid was then washed with alcohol and dried under vacuum.
That was how they made just one of the many chemicals they had to make in order to produce a nanocar. Temperature had to be carefully regulated throughout the process, and to make that single chemical, two separate filtering steps had to be performed. Finally, to get rid of all traces of liquid, the solid had to be dried under a vacuum.
THOSE WHO THINK scientists understand the issues of prebiotic chemistry are wholly misinformed. Nobody understands them. Maybe one day we will. But that day is far from today. It would be far more helpful (and hopeful) to expose students to the massive gaps in our understanding. They may find a firmer—and possibly a radically different—scientific theory. The basis upon which we as scientists are relying is so shaky that we must openly state the situation for what it is: it is a mystery.
A man walking down the beach comes across an old bottle. He picks it up, rubs it and out pops a genie! The genie says, "In exchange for freeing me from the bottle, I will grant you three wishes."The man says "Great! I want one billion dollars in a Swiss bank account." Poof! There is a flash of light and a piece of paper with account numbers appears in his hand!He continues, "Next, I want a brand new red Ferrari right here." Poof! There is a flash of light and a bright red, brand-new Ferrari appears right next to him!He continues, "Finally, I want to be irresistible to women." Poof! There is a flash of light and he turns into a box of chocolates. ~ Edited from Christiansunite Clean Jokes
If God were all-powerful, God would be able to do something about all of the evil and suffering. Furthermore, if God were morally perfect, then surely God would want to do something about it. And yet we find that our world is filled with countless instances of evil and suffering.
“What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” ~ Mark 7:20-23