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Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies

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April 13, 2003

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Religion in the News

TV Specials: This past week on PBS: "Peter and Paul and the Christian Revolution" See
Tues, April 15 thru Fri, April 18 on the History Channel: "In the
Footsteps of Jesus"
Sun, April 20 on the Discovery Channel: "James: Brother of Jesus"
"Check your local listings"

Voodoo gets official recognition...
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haiti's government has officially sanctioned voodoo as a religion, allowing practitioners to begin performing ceremonies ranging from baptisms to marriages with legal authority. See

The Dick Staub Interview: Marcia Ford on Christian Misfits: The author of Memoir of a Misfit describes her eccentric family and her faith journey. See

The Pain of Gain: How Much Is Enough? describes how we turn to fleeting satisfactions and away from God. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby. See

Where is religion's spirituality? | The crux of the difference between religion and spirituality is this: While each religion subscribes to a unique body of beliefs, spiritual experience is the same for all people in all religions at all times (Mary Ford-Grabowsky, Newsday). See,0,2415556.story?coll=ny%2Dviewpoints%2Dheadlines

You don't need to believe in God to learn from religion | The common messages of Christianity, Judaism and Islam are too valuable to be ignored (Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian, London). See,3604,930241,00.html

'Left Behind': The revelation revolution keeps spinning | Book 11, "Armageddon," comes out Tuesday (Minneapolis Star-Tribune). See

11th Circuit Picks at ACLU Arguments Against Ten Commandments | "All our laws are derived from the Ten Commandments," says Senior Judge Phyllis A. Kravitch (Fulton County Daily Report). See

Teens sue school over Bible club | Kent students say they were barred from forming group (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). See

Secretary of Education Rod Paige under fire for support of Christian schools
"All things equal," U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige told Baptist Press earlier this week, "I would prefer to have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation for the values of the Christian community, where a child is taught to have a strong faith. Where a child is taught that, there is a source of strength greater than themselves." See

Don't mail Christian materials to soldiers, says U.S.
The post office in Lenoir, North Carolina, told Jack Moody that he couldn't mail Christian comic books and a book of Bible verses to his son, who is stationed as an Army National Guardsman in the Middle East. U.S. rules prohibit mailing  "any matter containing religious materials contrary to Islamic faith," a postal clerk explained. This morning, the Rutherford Institute, a civil and religious liberties organization, is suing the U.S. Postmaster General over the rule. See

Postal Service: Go ahead and send Bibles to the Mideast
With the threat of a lawsuit looming, United States Postal Service Vice President Azeezaly Jaffer explained to reporters that postal regulations don't bar Americans from sending religious materials to overseas military personnel. "The regulation is intended for mass mailings, but there is nothing precluding a family member from sending a Bible or Torah or Quran or whatever the case may be to a soldier that is stationed there," he told the Associated Press. See

Relief workers carrying gospel ignite debate The image of Bible-toting missionaries marching into Iraq as Christian soldiers is inaccurate, they say (Sarasota [Fla.] Herald-Tribune). See

Science in the News


Creationism vs. evolution central debate behind rejection of textbooks: The Blount County Board of Education denied the adoption of three new biology textbooks because they teach evolution but do not cover creationism. See

Evolution's new line: By Dr David Whitehouse. The tree of life has a new branch. Genetic studies show that the group from which insects were thought to come, the Collembola, turns out not to be closely related to insects after all. See

Did the human race evolve from worms? Beijing - Chinese scientists believe that new discoveries support a theory that man ultimately descended from worms, state media reported on Wednesday. Fossilised ancient worms found in the south-western Yunnan province represent the "first step" in a long evolutionary process that eventually led to the human species, the Xinhua news agency said. See

Gaps in Scientific & Religious Education: Grace Wolf-Chase: Are religious scientists being too quick to jump on the "Anthropic bandwagon"? Are we so certain of the cosmological details? Don't recent discoveries suggest a caution before we force God into yet-another box? See

University Of Georgia Scientists Plot Key Events In Plants' Evolution
A new University of Georgia study, just published in Nature, demonstrates key events in plant evolution. It allows scientists to infer what the gene order may have looked like in a common ancestor of higher plants. And it shows one way plants may have differentiated from their ancestors and each other. See


In Baghdad, looters are descending on artifacts
Gold and silver from ancient royal tombs, a priceless harp from 2,600 B.C., a solid bronze bust of King Naram-Sin. These and countless other artifacts from the birthplace of civilization were left defenseless yesterday as Iraq descended into chaos. See

Scientist defends account of exodus Colin J. Humphreys of Cambridge University also says that Mount Sinai, where Scripture says Moses received God's Law, is located in Saudi Arabia, not Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. He details his ideas in a readable new book, "The Miracles of Exodus: A Scientist's Discovery of the Extraordinary Natural Causes of the Biblical Stories" (HarperSanFrancisco). (Associated Press). See

Tel Rehov excavations near Beit She'an support biblical account of David and Solomon The findings, reached through carbon dating by scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, have particular significance to the running debate among archeologists about the authenticity of the biblical account of the two kings, and the period and extent of their reign (The Jerusalem Post). See and

Carbon-Dating Supports Solomon's Stature. New findings erode a contentious theory about the Biblical king. See (must be a member).

Collector's attorney blasts Antiquities Authority. Lior Bringer, an attorney for the antiquities collector who gave the state the "King Jehoash inscription" on Monday, launched a blistering attack on the Antiquities Authority and the police yesterday for their treatment of his client. See

Roman pipeline kept water flowing. Ancient aqueduct at Aspendos was a hydraulic masterpiece. See

Widespread Cannibalism May Have Caused Prehistoric Prion Disease Epidemics, Science Study Suggests
Human flesh may have been a fairly regular menu item for our prehistoric ancestors, according to researchers. They say it's the most likely explanation for their discovery that genes protecting against prion diseases -- which can be spread by eating contaminated flesh -- have long been widespread throughout the world. See


Dark matter doesn't move in mysterious ways. Visible matter's elusive counterpart jiggles like gas. See

Astronomers Find "Naked" Galaxies, Devoid Of Dark Matter. Dublin - Apr 09, 2003 - An international team of astronomers has discovered that "dark matter", the mysterious material that seems to make up most of the mass of galaxies, is not as all-pervasive as previously believed. See

Ice telescope draws useful blank
First evidence from Antarctic neutrino detector announced. See

It's A Nova, It's A Supernova, No It's A Hypernova. Ann Arbor - Apr 08, 2003 - Two billion years ago, in a far-away galaxy, a giant star exploded, releasing almost unbelievable amounts of energy as it collapsed to a black hole. The light from that explosion finally reached Earth at 6:37 a.m. EST on March 29, igniting a frenzy of activity among astronomers worldwide. This phenomenon has been called a hypernova, playing on the name of the supernova events that mark the violent end of massive stars. See

Galileo Discovers Amalthea Rocks. Pasadena - Apr 11, 2003 - NASA's Galileo spacecraft serendipitously discovered seven to nine space rocks near Jupiter's inner moon Amalthea when Galileo flew past that moon five months ago. See

Sun's Role In Climate Change Continues To Spark Controversy

Prolific NASA Orbiter Adds Thousands Of Photos To Mars Album
The winds of Mars leave their marks on many of the 11,664 new pictures being posted on the Internet by the camera team for NASA's Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission. The images are available on the Internet from the Mars Orbiter Camera Gallery at:


Human cloning hits a hurdle
The method used to clone Dolly the sheep cannot be used on primates, a study on monkeys suggests. Cloning humans is going to be a lot tougher than many scientists had thought, according to Pittsburgh researchers who say they have repeatedly failed in their efforts to clone monkeys. See

Genetics (6 Apr) - Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists have used a powerful gene-mapping technique to produce the clearest picture yet of all the genes of an animal - the microscopic worm Caenorhabditis elegans (better known as C. elegans). Scientists believe the same technique may be used to bring the current, somewhat blurry picture of the human genome into sharper focus. See

SARS, the mysterious respiratory illness that is crisscrossing the globe, has claimed at least nine more victims since Saturday. The disease's overall mortality rate, approximately 4 percent, is roughly equal to that of measles, but the uncertainty surrounding its cause and how it spreads continues to make it a serious public health issue. In addition, the threat of SARS continues to disrupt international business and tourism. See

Cocaine addicts get a high before the hit
Audiovisual cues associated with taking the drug produce a surge in brain chemicals, a study in rats reveals. See

Earth Science

Mass-extinction controversy flares again. Core from asteroid crater fuels debate on what wiped out the dinosaurs. See

Maine Crater Related to Dino-Killer Asteroid? April 3, 2003 — The evidence is still skimpy, but there is a chance that the dino killer asteroid was not alone when it walloped the Earth 65 million years ago. A possible second crater, at least as big or bigger than the famous Chicxulub crater off Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, may have been created by a second hit moments after Chicxulub and off the coast of Maine. See

Drilling to cast light on climate change. Cores from two African lakebeds will take researchers back in time. See


New Fusion Method Offers Hope of New Energy Source
April 8, 2003 By KENNETH CHANG
Scientists from Sandia National Laboratories have reported that they achieved thermonuclear fusion, in essence detonating a tiny hydrogen bomb. See

Double coup for nuclear physicists. Rare reactions give glimpse of Universe's beginnings. See

Scientists Produces Fusion Neutrons In Sandia's Z Machine. Philadelphia - Apr 08, 2003 - Throwing its hat into the ring of machines that offer the possibility of achieving controlled nuclear fusion, Sandia National Laboratories' Z machine has created a hot dense plasma that produces thermonuclear neutrons, Sandia researchers announced today at a news conference at the April meeting of the American Physical Society in Philadelphia. See

Surprise To Physicists -- Protons Aren't Always Shaped Like A Basketball
When Gerald A. Miller first saw the experimental results from the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, he was pretty sure they couldn't be right. If they were, it meant that some long-held notions about the proton, a primary building block of atoms, were wrong. But in time, the findings proved to be right, and led physicists to the conclusion that protons aren't always spherically shaped, like a basketball. See

Strung Out on the Universe: Interview with Raphael Bousso: The Holy Grail for many of today's theoretical physicists is a complete quantum mechanical theory of gravity--useful for understanding the behavior of black holes, big bangs, and whole universes. But bridging the gap between the smallest and largest constituents of reality will probably require a few totally new concepts (and shake our faith in some old ones). One researcher looking for these missing pieces is Raphael Bousso of Harvard University. See

Einstein not yet displaced 
GEORGE ELLIS reviews Faster Than the Speed of Light: The Story of a Scientific Speculation by Joćo Magueijo
Controversial theory of varying speed of light still lacks a solid foundation.
Full Text for members only.

Atomic physics: A new spin on magnetometry 
The capability to measure small, localized magnetic fields is valuable in biology as well as physics. A new device, based on spin-polarized alkali atoms, achieves better sensitivity and resolution than before. Full Text for members only.


Rare Colossal Squid Found in Antarctica. April 3, 2003 — An extremely rare, dangerous squid with swiveling hooks on its tentacles for snagging prey has been captured in the Ross Sea in Antarctica, say scientists in New Zealand. The body, or mantle, is 2.5 meters long (about 8 feet). The total length, including the tentacles, is 6 meters (19.5 feet). The largest giant squid specimen he has seen has a 2.25-meter-long (7 feet) mantle, O'Shea said. See