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Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies

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April 27, 2003

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Religion in the News

Letter from Kabul. Religious freedom still in jeopardy under new Afghan government. By a veteran Christian leader in Afghanistan. See

Alistair Begg on The Beatles. The author and pastor talks about the Fab Four's cry for "Help" and why no one answered it. See

Pink Slips at Nonprofits. Ministries close offices, curtail staff costs to cope with donation decline. By Timothy R. Callahan. See

Trial for Jibla Baptist Hospital murders opens with confession
In court Sunday, Yemeni Muslim Abed Abdulrazzak Kamel not only admitted killing three American missionaries December 30. He bragged about it. "I acted out of a religious duty . . . and in revenge from those who converted Muslims from their religion and made them unbelievers," he said. See

Do Arab Christians have a future? | In the last 30 years, Arab Christians have attempted to weather several storms: the Lebanese war, the intifada and Israeli violence, the Iranian revolution and the resurgence of Islamic revivalism and now the war on Iraq (George Emile Irani, The Daily Star, Lebanon). See

Christians are making technological inroads in evangelizing | In Iraq, and throughout the Islamic world—using satellite TV, radio, cassette tapes and videos—Christian groups claim they are having more success than ever evangelizing Muslims, despite the obvious tensions created by war and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. (Associated Press). See

Waiting for marriage: Silver Ring Thing promotes abstinence | Program is not focused on religious beliefs as much as it is on mature decision making (Valley News Dispatch, Penn.). See

Baptist missionaries won't resign
The six missionaries told by the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board to either resign or be fired for "clearly and publicly stat[ing] positions contrary" to the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message say they won't quit, reports Associated Baptist Press. See

The Quran: See and

Bible Corner

Pondering Paul. The Psychology of Paul explores how a zealous persecutor became Christianity's greatest evangelist. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby. See

St. Paul converted by epileptic fit, suggests BBC | Or maybe it was a freak lightning bolt. Anything but Jesus, really. (The Daily Telegraph, London). See

Scientific views of Biblical miracles | Professor Colin Humphreys claims in a new book that phenomena described in Exodus can be shown to have natural causes, which science can explain (BBC). See also

Science in the News


Texas Tech Professor Drops Evolution Belief Requirement. See

An Unexplored Genomic Terrain in a Handful of Dirt. The studies, which were undertaken with the aid of high school students from Pennsylvania and New York, have also uncovered evidence supporting the theory that mycobacteriophages undergo constant random genetic mixing in the wild. These free-flowing associations produce a mélange of recombinant viruses, with the weaker strains weeded out in survival-of-the-fittest competitions. See

A Rocky Start: Fresh take on life's oldest story. A new origin-of-life theory holds that life began within the confines of iron sulfide rocks surrounding hydrothermal vents at the ocean bottom. See

Sars virus 'mutating rapidly' The virus thought to cause Sars is constantly changing form, say scientists - which will make developing a vaccine difficult. See

Debating the fastest evolution on record. More than 500 species of brightly colored fish called cichlids live in east Africa's Lake Victoria. Prized by aquarists, most of these fish cannot be found in any other lakes in the world. They have evolved a dizzying variety of roles: insect eaters, leaf choppers, snail crushers and scale scrapers, to name a few. See

Gould and God. A Devil's Chaplain
by Richard Dawkins edited by Latha Menon. See

The Dynamics of (Radiometric) Dating by Roger Wiens, Ph.D.
Scientists agree that radiometric-dating techniques offer the most concrete evidence of any dating system for answering questions about the age of Earth. Yet, many people challenge the accuracy of radiometric dating, and misinformation describing the various radiometric techniques abounds. See



Assessing the Jehoash Inscription
No sooner did an inscription purporting to describe repairs to the Jerusalem Temple come to light than scholars began to question its authenticity. Two such scholars explain why they have concluded the inscription is a fraud.

Jesus' Brother's "Bone Box" Closer to Being Authenticated. Questions raised about the authenticity of a 2,000-year-old ossuary thought to have once held the bones of James, the brother of Jesus, may be a step closer to resolution. See

A judgment about Solomon
Evidence supports Hebrew kingdoms in biblical times.

Mounds of Mystery
Gabriel Barkay
For more than a century, archaeologists have been puzzled by a score of odd mounds to the west of ancient Jerusalem. But thanks to Biblical passages and similar structures in Cyprus, our author finally solves the mystery. See

'Earliest writing' found in China
By Paul Rincon. BBC Science.
Signs carved into 8,600-year-old tortoise shells found in China may be
the earliest written words, say archaeologists.
The research is published in the journal Antiquity.
News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences - Issue 92 - 5th April, 2003

Archaeoastronomy Links Stone-Age Tomb Builders With Sun. Dublin - Apr 22, 2003 - Scientific research at the prehistoric Passage Tomb Cemetery at Loughcrew, one of Ireland's premier archaeological sites, is revealing new data on the astronomical orientations of the passage tombs and relationships in the way they are laid out. See and

Ancient Cave Dwellers Age Even More. New study suggests South African hominids lived 4 million years ago. See also

'Eve' Came From East Africa. April 24, 2003 — "African Eve," the female ancestor of all humans, likely hailed from East Africa, according to a recent study. See

Doubt cast on age of oldest human art. If the rock art in the Chauvet cave is 30,000 years old, it is the most ancient example of human art in existence and the implications for the evolution of culture are immense. This date is accepted and celebrated by archaeologists. But could it be wrong? See


The Radar Search For Martian Water. Dublin - Apr 22, 2003 - Until the last few years, Mars has been regarded as a cold, arid world that lost most of its water long ago. However, recent observations by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey spacecraft have provided tantalising evidence that huge amounts of water may be hidden just below the surface. See

Parallel Universes. Is there a copy of you reading this article? A person who is not you but who lives on a planet called Earth, with misty mountains, fertile fields and sprawling cities, in a solar system with eight other planets? The life of this person has been identical to yours in every respect. But perhaps he or she now decides to put down this article without finishing it, while you read on. The idea of such an alter ego seems strange and implausible, but it looks as if we will just have to live with it, because it is supported by astronomical observations. See

Private human spaceflight project revealed
An exotic-looking spacecraft and mother ship is unveiled, aiming to be the first private venture to take people into space. See

Technion-CERN Scientists Predict Supernova. Geneva - Apr 22, 2003 - A team of theoretical physicists, Shlomo Dado and Arnon Dar at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology and Alvaro De Rujula CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, Switzerland, has developed a theory to account for the mysterious gamma ray bursts that come from the depths of the Universe. See

Rutgers Scientist Sees Evidence Of 'Onions' In Space
Scientists may have peeled away another layer of mystery about materials floating in deep space. Tiny multilayered balls called "carbon onions," produced in laboratory studies, appear to have the same light-absorption characteristics as dust particles in the regions between the stars. See

Saturn’s moon Titan, is where orange haze forms an atmosphere ten times as thick as the one on Earth. Because so little light can escape its atmosphere, Titan is shrouded by an opaque curtain that has prevented planetary scientists from learning much about what lies beneath the haze. But work published today in the journal Science provides the clearest picture yet of Titan's surface. The findings indicate that the moon is covered, at least in part, by frozen water. See

Space Telescope Used To Trace Formation, Evolution Of Planetary Systems
Astronomers soon will look at dust disks evolving around Milky Way stars to learn if solar systems like ours are rare or commonplace. See

Total Lunar Eclipse: May 15-16, 2003. When the Bible talks about the moon turning to blood, I believe it is talking about a lunar eclipse when the moon turns a dark reddish color. See


Less sleep over time slows brain, study finds
People who think they can function well on very little sleep may be deceiving themselves. A University of Pennsylvania study has found that people who got even six hours of sleep a night over a two-week period began to perform as poorly on brain-function tests as people who did not sleep at all for two days straight. See

SARS Virus Jumped to Humans from Animals. April 18, 2003 — The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Wednesday that the outbreak of a new deadly respiratory disease, SARS, is caused by the coronavirus, a virus that normally affects animals. See

Green, Black Tea Said to Boost Immune System. April 21, 2003 — Certain types of tea have long been known to protect against cancer, but now US researchers have reason to believe they may also boost the immune system. The findings are very preliminary, but Brigham and Women's researchers reported that volunteers who were asked to drink 20 ounces of black tea a day demonstrated stronger immune responses to infection than they had previously, or than a control group of coffee drinkers. See

'Virgin birth' method promises ethical stem cells
Researchers are on the brink of obtaining human embryonic stem cells in a way that does not involve the destruction of viable embryos. See

Digital Cells: Computer circuits made of genes may soon program bacteria. Researchers are gearing up to create cells with computer programs hardwired into the DNA. See

Genetic Clue to Aging? Mutation causes early-aging syndrome. A gene defect that causes accelerated aging may provide insight into normal aging. See

Salk Researchers Find Receptor That Controls Obesity
A cellular receptor that balances the accumulation of fat and fat burning in the body may be a new target for anti-obesity and cholesterol-fighting drugs, according to a Salk Institute study. See

Scientists Discover Unique Source Of Postnatal Stem Cells in 'Baby' Teeth
Scientists report for the first time that "baby" teeth, the temporary teeth that children begin losing around their sixth birthday, contain a rich supply of stem cells in their dental pulp. The researchers say this unexpected discovery could have important implications because the stem cells remain alive inside the tooth for a short time after it falls out of a child's mouth, suggesting the cells could be readily harvested for research. See

Snoring Linked To Headaches
A new study finds a link between snoring and chronic daily headache. The study, published in the April 22 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology, examined the snoring habits of people with chronic daily headache and people with occasional headaches. See

Baylor Researchers Show Way To Diabetes Cure With Gene Therapy
A gene therapy developed by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine has apparently cured diabetes in mice by inducing cells in the liver to become beta cells that produce insulin and three other hormones. See

Earth Science

Scientists set sail for a 'Lost City'
Exploring the towers and microbes of Atlantic's inner space.
A crew of scientists headed into the Atlantic Ocean yesterday to survey what they call a "Lost City" of underwater towers and chimneys created by heat from the Earth's interior. See

Sediment Cores Yield Oldest DNA Yet Discovered. Researchers have retrieved from sediment cores the DNA of plants that lived nearly 400,000 years ago, making it the oldest DNA yet recovered. Analyses of these samples should help scientists paint a more detailed picture of prehistoric landscapes. See

Eye of the Tiger: Discovery about gem's structure overturns old theory. Recent research has upended a 130-year-old, previously unchallenged theory about how the semiprecious stone called tiger's-eye is formed. See


Bipolar disorder - schizophrenia (24 Apr) - A research team based at the University of Chicago has traced increased susceptibility to bipolar disorder to two overlapping genes found on the long arm of chromosome 13. The study, published in the May 2003 issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, is the first to implicate this gene complex, and the second to tie any gene, to the development of bipolar disorder, which affects 2 million American adults. See

Military psychiatry . As the fighting in Iraq comes to an end, soldiers will return home to their normal routines. How will their war experiences change them? And how can mental health professionals help soldiers put the war behind them? See

Emotional control (26 Apr) - These are times when destructive emotions like anger, fear and hatred are giving rise to devastating problems throughout the world. While the daily news offers grim reminders of the destructive power of such emotions, the question we must ask is this: What can we do, person by person, to overcome them? See

Chaos Theory May Help Explain Patterns Of Alcohol Abuse, Studies Suggest
Chaos theory, which helps scientists understand complex systems such as weather patterns and the stock market, may also help shed light on the dynamics of alcohol abuse, a new study suggests.See