News Icon

Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies

Site Map | Contacts | Links | Newsletter |  

August 24, 2003

Note: Due to the archiving policies of the various news Websites some links on this page may no longer be valid. All links will take you away from the IBSS Site - use your browser's "back" button to return to this page.

Religion in the News

Thousands Rally in Montgomery for Ten Commandments Display
Ruling called "effort to set the stage for religious persecution."

Doubt and Meaning
Joni Eareckson Tada's poignant memoir probes God's use of suffering.

The Unintentional Ethicist
How three assumptions about God can shape the moral choices we are called to make. An excerpt from My God and I by Lewis B. Smedes

Audit's lesson was 'painful' for evangelist 
Hank Hanegraaff and auditors won't say how much was repaid to the Christian Research Institute or by whom. Critics allege whitewash (Los Angeles Times).

Astrologers fail to predict proof they are wrong
Good news for rational, level-headed Virgoans everywhere: just as you might have predicted, scientists have found astrology to be rubbish (The Daily Telegraph, London).

The Christian-Muslim divide 
Christians have tended to respond in one of two ways: Some want to learn about Islam and find common values, while others stress fundamental dangers in Islam that need to be confronted (The Wichita Eagle).

Atheists find their comfort in numbers 
This weekend, leaders of seven like-minded but distinct national groups will participate in the Minnesota Atheists Conference, which organizers say will be an unprecedented gathering of freethinkers of various persuasions (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.).

Faith and works 
Lisa Jardine reviews For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and The End of Slavery by Rodney Stark (The Washington Post).

A push to map the mystical
As researchers study how spiritual experiences happen inside the brain, theologians question the point (The Baltimore Sun).

Science in the News

Wagner Free Institute of Science Fall Courses

  1. Natural History Since Aristotle. Starts Wednesday 9/24/2003 at 6:30 PM at Wynnefield Branch of the Free Library.

  2. An Introduction to the Study of Insects. Starts Thursday, 9/25/2003 at 6:30 PM at Academy of Natural Sciences.

  3. Ornithological Exploration. Starts Monday, 9/29/2003 at 6:30 PM at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

  4. Ancient Graves and Modern Cemeteries. Starts Wednesday, 10/1/2003 at 7:00 PM at the University of Pennsylvania Museum.


The Dick Staub Interview: The Long War About Science
Larry Witham, the author of Where Darwin Meets the Bible and By Design, talks about faith, science, and how the battle has evolved.

RATE group reveals exciting breakthroughs!
A few years ago an initiative was undertaken to research thoroughly the whole area of Radioactivity and the Age of The Earth.  The RATE project began as a cooperative venture between the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), the Creation Research Society (CRS) and Answers in Genesis (AiG). For the latest RATE discoveries see For a different view see

Evolution teaching unlikely to change
Biology teachers who understand evolution generally teach about it; creationist teachers generally do not (John Richard Schrock, The Wichita Eagle).

Speakers gear up for textbook battle on evolution issue
The State Board of Education will hold its second and final hearing on the textbooks Sept. 10. Already, more than 80 people have registered to testify (Houston Chronicle).

Evolution backers launch counter-offensive in Texas textbook fight 
Religious leaders, scientists and parents unveil campaign Stand Up For Science as state Board of Education prepares to adopt new biology textbooks this fall (Associated Press).

Scientists At TSRI Create New Strain Of Yeast With 21-Amino Acid Genetic Code
A team of investigators at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and its Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology in La Jolla, California is introducing revolutionary changes into the genetic code of organisms like yeast that allow these cellular factories to mass produce proteins with unnatural amino acids.

Open access (21 Aug)
Debate over open access to scientific articles is steadily moving into the mainstream, with the publication this month of an editorial in The New York Times, a recently introduced Congressional bill to promote open access publishing, and a television commercial sponsored by the Public Library of Science (PLoS), a California-based group that plans to launch an open-access journal in October.


Final Reports on the Yehoash Inscription and James Ossuary from the Israeli Antiquities Authority.

Faking Biblical History
What happens when you try to mobilize archaeology--at any cost--to prove the Bible "true"? by Neil Asher Silberman and Yuval Goren.

Cloak & Trowel
The romantic image of archaeologist as adventurer fuels much of the speculation linking archaeology with espionage. A look at the facts behind the fiction by David Price.

Quarry Excavations
Egyptian archaeologists have recently removed dust and debris from the famous granite quarry in Aswan in an effort to learn more about the massive obelisks of ancient Egypt. Their excavations have uncovered not only many obelisk-shaped pits where the monuments were cut from stone, but also the remains of a harbor at the quarry site, more evidence that the Nile was used to transport the enormous obelisks. Other discoveries include an inscription from the reign of the pharaoh Tuthmosis III that records his order for two obelisks to be delivered from the quarry to the temple of Karnak.

Field Museum Archaeologists Discover Tomb Under Zapotec Residential Complex In Oaxaca, Mexico
On a high hilltop terrace in Oaxaca, Mexico, a team of Field Museum archaeologists discovered a 1,500-year-old underground tomb while excavating a palace-like residence. Although it was near the end of their excavation season, they dared not leave the tomb unexplored. News of this find at El Palmillo was sure to get around, and looting would follow. As it was, workers had to guard the tomb every night until the tomb was excavated.

Lice & Clothes (18 Aug)
Adam and Eve may have put on fig leaves while still in the Garden of Eden but a study that looked at the most intimate of pests -- body lice -- suggests that humans started wearing clothes 70,000 years ago, scientists said on Monday.

Early Settlement Site in Pa. Debated
AVELLA, Pa. -- Evidence that humans inhabited western Pennsylvania some 16,000 years ago -- thousands of years earlier than most scholars believe -- is still dividing archaeologists, 30 years after blade tools and materials to make beads were found in a rock shelter.


Europe's First Moon Probe Prepares For Launch
Paris - Aug 18, 2003 - Europe's first probe to the Moon, SMART-1, is about to begin a unique journey that will take it into orbit around our closest neighbour powered only by an ion engine, which Europe will be testing for the first time as main spacecraft propulsion.

Some now doubt Mars had seas but say life still possible
Researchers say there is virtually no evidence of limestone formation on Mars, a finding that suggests the planet never had oceans or seas. That conclusion, however, does not alter the possibility of life on Mars, experts say.

Dim Future For The Universe As Stellar Lights Go Out
Edinburgh - Aug 18, 2003 - The universe is gently fading into darkness according to three astronomers who have looked at 40,000 galaxies in the neighbourhood of the Milky Way.

Biggest Cosmic Explosions Also May Propel Fastest Objects In Universe
Los Alamos - Aug 18, 2003 - The most powerful explosions in the universe, gamma-ray bursts, may generate the most energetic particles in the universe, known as ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays (UHECRs), according to a new analysis of observations from NASA's Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory.


Scientists Acknowledge Animal Emotions
Aug. 15, 2003 — Researchers working in neurobiology and behavioral observation seem to be learning what pet lovers have maintained all along: animals have feelings.

Toxic Protein Could Explain Alzheimer's And Lead To Breakthroughs
Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered for the first time in humans the presence of a toxic protein that they believe to be responsible for the devastating memory loss found in individuals suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Viruses will soon have no place to hide inside the human body
By injecting magnetic nanoparticles into the bloodstream, researchers believe they can use whole body scans to reveal the location of any lurking menace. This could help doctors improve their treatments, or gene therapists assess their success. The particles latch onto the viruses thanks to an antibody overcoat, and clump together where the virus is rife.

'Sophisticated Molecular Machine' Is Found To Govern Cell's Reading Of Genetic Code
The process by which a cell reads the genetic code in its DNA in order to manufacture a protein is complex, involving dozens of enzymes and other biological molecules working together. Now, research at Cornell University, using the fruit fly as a model system, has confirmed a theory about one step in the process by showing that a protein complex known as FACT is positioned in living cells at sites where chromosomal DNA is unpacked so that its code can be read.

Microbes' 'Blueprints' Promise Insights Into Oceans, More
The world's smallest photosynthetic organisms, microbes that can turn sunlight and carbon dioxide into living biomass like plants do, are in the limelight. Three international teams of scientists, including a group from MIT, have announced the genetic blueprints for four closely related forms of these organisms, which numerically dominate the phytoplankton of the oceans.

Leading Bacterial Pathogen Is Sequenced
The complete genome sequence of a leading bacterial plant pathogen offers new ways to stave off agricultural loss and perhaps foil animal or human infection, says a Cornell University researcher.

Earth Science

Textbook Case Of Tectonic Movement Is Wrong, Says New Study
Results from an expedition to the sea floor near the Hawaiian Islands show evidence that the deep Earth is more unsettled than geologists have long believed. A new University of Rochester study suggests that the long chain of islands and seamounts, which is deemed a "textbook" example of tectonic plate motion, was formed in part by a moving plume of magma, upsetting the prevailing theory that plumes have been unmoving fixtures in Earth's history.

With Supercooling And The Right Geometry, 'Warm' Glaciers Can Trap And Transport Silt
It may take them a century to advance a few meters, but the bottoms of some glaciers churn with supercooled activity, according to an article by a Lehigh University geologist in the Aug. 14 issue of Nature magazine.


Element 110 Is Named Darmstadtium
At the 42nd General Assembly in Ottawa, Canada, the IUPAC Council officially approved the name for element of atomic number 110, to be known as darmstadtium, with symbol Ds.


Scientists have recently come to understand a great deal about the role that stress plays in the two most common classes of psychiatric disorders: anxiety and major depression, each of which affects close to 20 million Americans annually, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And much investigation focuses on developing the next generation of relevant pharmaceuticals, on finding improved versions of Prozac, Wellbutrin, Valium and Librium that would work faster, longer or with fewer side effects.

Rethinking the DSM
Christian Perring reviews Rethinking the DSM: A Psychological Perspective edited by Larry E. Beutler and Mary L. Malik.

ADHD (17 Aug)
Scientists tracking the progress of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as they became teenagers have shed new light on the link between ADHD and the risk of developing alcohol and substance use problems. The researchers found that individuals with severe problems of inattention as children were more likely than their peers to report alcohol-related problems, a greater frequency of getting drunk, and heavier and earlier use of tobacco and other drugs. The findings indicate that childhood ADHD may be as important for the risk of later substance use problems as having a history of family members with alcoholism and other substance use disorders. The study appears in the August issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

Serotonin Transporter Gene Shown To Influence College Drinking Habits
Researchers have identified a genetic factor that may predispose young people to harmful drinking habits. A team of scientists interviewed college students about their alcohol consumption and then analyzed their genetic profiles, or genotypes.

Rutgers Scientists Pinpoint Brain Cells Involved In Drug Addiction Relapse
Relapse among recovering drug addicts can now be linked to specific nerve cells in a particular region of the brain, according to a team of researchers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The discovery may help pave the way for new addiction therapies and intervention strategies.

Apparently around one-third of us suffer from CWS, otherwise known as Celebrity Worship Syndrome. You may think taking an interest in the antics of the rich and famous is a bit of harmless fun, but psychologists are starting to suspect that worshipping celebrities is the top of slippery slope that leads to depression, anxiety and psychosis. However, on the other hand are evolutionary biologists who believe paying special attention to successful individuals is among the cleverest things our big-brained species does.