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December 14, 2003

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Rosetta Stone replicas (7.5 inches), ancient Egyptian plaque replicas, small  Egyptian canopic jars. Don't forget our coins of the Bible, Roman emperors, and Greece. Free shipping now for those in the USA until Christmas. See our products page.

Religion in the News

Saddam captured in raid.

Carl F.H. Henry, Theologian and First Editor of Christianity Today, Dies at 90
Thinker helped to shape many evangelical institutions and efforts, from higher education to ecumenism. By Beth Spring and CT Staff. See h

CT Classic: Standing on the Promises
In this 1996 article, former CT Editors Carl Henry and Kenneth Kantzer evaluate evangelicalism in light of its 20th-century developments.

The Postmodern Crackup
From soccer moms to college campuses, signs of the end. By Charles Colson with Anne Morse.

Censoring Christmas
Public Christmas displays, like the Ten Commandments, are allowed—as long as they don't mean anything religious. By Rob Moll.

Does Fuller Seminary program really oppose evangelism of Muslims?
Stories in the Los Angeles Times and Associated Press over the weekend have potential to create a problem for Fuller Theological Seminary and its president, Richard Mouw. "One of the nation's leading evangelical Christian seminaries has launched a federally funded project for making peace with Muslims, featuring a proposed code of ethics that rejects offensive statements about each other's faiths, affirms a mutual belief in one God, and pledges not to proselytize," Times religion writer Teresa Watanabe begins her story.

Shut Up and Embrace Diversity
Some find "tolerance" intolerable. Compiled by Rob Moll.

Rebuilding Afghanistan U
How Christian scholars are using their heads to change people's hearts at universities worldwide—including the one Osama bin Laden used to roam. By Agnieszka Tennant.

The Dick Staub Interview: Mary Poplin Calls Claremont Her "Calcutta"
After seeking God through telepathic spoon bending exercises, this professor found God, and with the help of Mother Teresa, her calling.

Books & Culture Corner: Books, Books, Books!
We begin our annual roundup. By John Wilson.

Film Forum: Christian Critics Hail Third Rings,  by Jeffrey Overstreet.
I joined several Christian press film critics in Los Angeles last week to see an early screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The screening was an overwhelming experience—the film surpasses its predecessors in many ways, especially in the Department of Jaw-Dropping, Eye-Dazzling Spectacle. But regarding the way that Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh adapt this chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien's story, they have made many changes that must be discussed. Check next week's Film Forum for some in-depth debate.

Hard-wired for God
Only something extraordinary could entice the Carmelite nuns of Montreal to break their vow of silence and venture out of the cloister: They have joined forces with science to look for a concrete sign from God -- inside the human brain (Anne McIlroy, The Globe and Mail, Toronto).

Science in the News


Physicists Lead The Field In Solving A Major Mystery Of The Big Bang. Brighton - Dec 11, 2003
A Sussex-led team of scientists is ahead in the race to solve one of the biggest mysteries of our physical world: why the Universe contains matter.

Citing Scadding (1981): Another Example of Poor Creationist Scholarship.
Creationists often quote a paper by Steve Scadding as proof that vestigial structures are not evidence for evolution. Scadding's paper was in error as was quickly pointed out in the same journal by another researcher. Furthermore the creationists misrepresent this twenty-year-old paper. This article is a useful case study of what is wrong with the creationist practice of quote mining.

Higher Concepts and Advanced Aliens. Moffett Field - Dec 08, 2003
Astrobiology Magazine (AM): Religion and science have been intertwined throughout history, and although these two modes of thought are seen as separate and antagonistic realms today, the ties still exist. You note how they are both based on belief systems; for instance, Occam's razor - the theory that the simplest explanation must be correct - is a scientific belief that may or may not be true. Could you comment on the relationship between science and religion today?

The God Hypothesis: Discovering Design in Our "Just Right" Goldilocks Universe by Michael Corey.
Michael Corey has written an excellent book about the anthropic principle and design in the universe. Corey's writing style is quite readable and engaging. The book does an excellent job leading you through the various theistic and naturalistic theories about how the universe came to be the way it is. In the end, we are left with the conclusion that intelligent design is a far superior model than random chance as an explanation for all the "coincidences" required to enable human beings to live in the universe.

Cave colors reveal mental leap.
Red-stained bones dug up in a cave in Israel are prompting researchers to speculate that symbolic thought emerged much earlier than they had believed. Symbolic thought - the ability to let one thing represent another - was a giant leap in human evolution. It was a mental ability that allowed sophisticated language and math. New excavations show that a red color made from ochre was used in burials 100,000 years ago, much earlier than other examples of color association.

Researchers Discover The Earliest Known Relative Of Marsupial Mammals
An International team, including scientists from Carnegie Museum of Natural History, have discovered the most primitive and oldest know relative of all marsupial mammals.


German "Stonehenge" Is Oldest Observatory
A vast, shadowy circle sits in a flat wheat field near Goseck, Germany. No, it is not a pattern made by tipsy graduate students. The circle represents the remains of the world's oldest observatory, dating back 7,000 years. Coupled with an etched disk recovered last year, the observatory suggests that Neolithic and Bronze Age people measured the heavens far earlier and more accurately than scientistshad imagined.

Early farmers warmed Earth's climate
Our tampering with climate did not begin just a few centuries ago, but 8000 years before with the birth of agriculture, suggests a new study.

'Lost' sacred language of the Maya is rediscovered.
A living Rosetta Stone for Maya hieroglyphs? Ch'orti, spoken by a small group of Guatemalans, has been identified as the descendant of the ancient Maya elite's language.

Telephone's Real Inventor in Doubt. Dec. 9, 2003
Documents marked "confidential" that recently were found buried in the archives of the Science Museum in London suggest British telephone executives covered up the fact that a German science teacher invented a working telephone 13 years before Alexander Graham Bell created a somewhat similar device. In 2001, the U.S. Congress issued a resolution that suggested Bell gained his 1876 patent by use of "fraud and misrepresentation." The resolution gives credit to yet another inventor, an Italian-American named Antonio Meucci, who worked in Bell's laboratory. Meucci, according to the resolution, did not have sufficient funds to patent his own telephone invention, which the resolution indicates Bell may have copied.


Firestorm Of Star Birth Seen In A Local Galaxy. Baltimore - Dec 08, 2003
This festively colorful nebula, called NGC 604, is one of the largest known seething cauldrons of star birth in a nearby galaxy. NGC 604 is similar to familiar star-birth regions in our Milky Way galaxy, such as the Orion Nebula, but it is vastly larger in extent and contains many more recently formed stars.

Rings Around The Planets: Recycling Of Material May Extend Ring Lifetimes. Boulder - Dec 09, 2003
Although rings around planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are relatively short-lived, new evidence implies that the recycling of orbiting debris can lengthen the lifetime of such rings, according to University of Colorado researchers.

Planet-formation Model Indicates Earthlike Planets Might Be Common.
Astrobiologists disagree about whether advanced life is common or rare in our universe. But new research suggests that one thing is pretty certain – if an Earthlike world with significant water is needed for advanced life to evolve, there could be many candidates. In 44 computer simulations of planet formation near a sun, astronomers found that each simulation produced one to four Earthlike planets, including 11 so-called "habitable" planets about the same distance from their stars as Earth is from our sun.

Interstellar Hydrogen Shadow Observed For The First Time. San Francisco - Dec 09, 2003
More than a year before the Cassini spacecraft arrives at Saturn, the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) has made the first in situ observations of interstellar pickup ions beyond the orbit of Jupiter. This is the first major discovery using data gathered by CAPS, destined to reach Saturn in July 2004.

The Big Crunch. Moffett Field - Dec 09, 2003
Cosmologists model the end of the universe as The Big Crunch-they roughly reverse the simulations of how the expansive Big Bang might have spawned all the stars and planets. But for those interested in what is happening between the bang and the crunch on those uncountable number of planets, the big crunch can mean something different.

Trail Of Black Holes And Neutron Stars Points To Ancient Collision.
An image of an elliptical galaxy by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has revealed a trail of black holes and neutron stars stretching more than fifty thousand light years across space. The trail of intense X-ray sources is evidence that this apparently sedate galaxy collided with another galaxy a few billion years ago.

NASA Scientists Use Radar To Detect Asteroid Force. Pasadena - Dec 08, 2003
NASA scientists have for the first time detected a tiny but theoretically important force acting on asteroids by measuring an extremely subtle change in a near-Earth asteroid's orbital path.

Whitehouse Pops Trial Lunar Balloon On Launch.

Mars Is Just Around The Corner. Paris - Dec 11, 2003
After a journey of 400 million km, ESA's Mars Express is now approaching its final destination. On 19 December, the spacecraft is scheduled to release the Beagle 2 lander it has been carrying since its launch on 2 June.


Engineered pig organs survive in monkeys
Humanised kidneys appear to thwart first round of rejection.

SARS vaccines speed towards clinic
Researchers urge caution to avoid jabs pitfall.

Warm-Blooded Plants?
OK, there's no blood, but they do make their own heat. Research heats up on why some flowers have the chemistry to keep themselves warm.

Scientists Decode DNA Of Bacterium That Cleans Up Uranium Contamination And Generates Electricity

Mustard-root Map Breaks New Ground Tracking Gene Expression.
Focusing on the root of a small flowering mustard plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, a research team led by Duke University biologist Philip Benfey created a detailed mosaic of cells showing where and when about 22,000 of the plant's roughly 28,000 genes are activated within growing root tissue.

Keep Your Skin Soft in Cold Climets.
Cold, dry winter air, low humidity caused by indoor heating, and hot showers and baths are all factors that rob your skin of moisture during the winter.

Over-exercising, especially when coupled with an eating disorder, can lead to stress on the heart, according to Akron Children's Hospital in Ohio.

Earth Science

Roast dinosaur off the menu?
Giant meteorite impact 65 million years ago may not have set the world on fire.

Huge Dinosaurs Floated. Dec. 10, 2003
Sauropod dinosaurs, the largest terrestrial animals ever to have lived on our planet, could float like corks in water, according to computerized buoyancy tests on recreations of sauropods that lived during the Mesozoic Era, which lasted from 248 to 65 million years ago.

Seismic Monitors Detect Physical Changes Deep Within Faults. Houston - Dec 08, 2003
Seismologists have long known that the buildup of forces along fault zones cause the physical properties of rock and sediments to change deep inside the Earth, at the level where earthquakes occur. Based upon new findings, researchers believe they may be able to design active seismic monitoring systems that continually monitor these subtle changes, looking for telltale signs of an impending earthquake.

The Ultimate In "Full Body" Scan Goes Deep Inside Earth. Princeton - Dec 08, 2003
Like doctors taking a sonogram of a human body, Princeton geoscientists have captured images of the interior of the Earth and revealed structures that help explain how the planet changes and ages.

Students Get Insider's View Of Earth. Ann Arbor - Dec 08, 2003
Blue, red and white waves dance inside a ball-shaped structure on a computer screen, colliding, careening and stretching in peculiar ways. This, explained University of Michigan geophysicist Peter van Keken, is what happens inside Earth when an earthquake occurs.

The Measure Of Water: NASA Creates New Map For The Atmosphere. Pasadena - Dec 08, 2003
NASA scientists have opened a new window for understanding atmospheric water vapor, its implications for climate change and ozone depletion.

The Caucasus Glaciers In The Past, Present And Future. Nalchik - Dec 08, 2003
Hydrometeorologists have counted that within the last century the area, volume and length of the Big Caucasus glaciers decreased steadily. The process continues now and will go on in the future. Along with that, the quantity of glaciers grows.

Physics of envelopes sheds light on ice sheets
Ripping experiments show how stick and slip leads to jagged edges.

Gemstone Geography: New technique discerns emeralds' beginnings.
Water molecules trapped inside the minuscule channels of an emerald harbor telltale signs of the gem's geographic origin.


Centenary of particle pioneer
Cecil Powell won Nobel for discovering the pion and firing up a new field of physics.


Researchers Develop Means To Help Stress Sufferers.
Try as we may to suppress memories of highly stressful experiences, they nevertheless come back to bother us – even causing attacks of intense fear or other undesirable behavioral impairments. Now, a group of German, Israeli and British scientists and students have found that a gene-based approach offers promise for development of a treatment that can suppress these reactions, while not impairing memory itself.

8 Keys to Beating Stress

How to Tell If You're a Workaholic

Worried to Death: Lifelong inhibitions hasten rodents' deaths.
In rats with a fear of novel situations, an exaggerated hormonal response to minor types of stress adds up to a shorter life than that of bold rats.

Jokes activate same brain region as cocaine
Humour tickles drug centre that gives hedonistic high.

Pretty women scramble men's ability to assess the future
Men lose the ability to think rationally when they see beautiful women, suggests new research.


NEC Develops World's Smallest Transistor. Tokyo (AFP) - Dec 09, 2003
Japan's computer giant NEC Corp. has developed the world's smallest transistor in a breakthrough which could lead to the production of a supercomputer the size of a desktop PC, a report said.

E-Mail "Cluster Bombs" A Disaster Waiting To Happen. Bloomington - Dec 11, 2003
Internet users can be blind-sided by e-mail "cluster bombs" that inundate their inboxes with hundreds or thousands of messages in a short period of time, thereby paralyzing the users' online activities, according to a new report by researchers at Indiana University Bloomington and RSA Laboratories in Bedford, Mass.

Beetle's jet may inspire new engines
The beetle can bombard enemies with 500 chemical squirts a second, an efficiency that would delight aircraft engine designers.