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February 23, 2003

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ASA Spring Meeting this Saturday: Dr. Thomas Davis will be speaking on March 1, 2003.  He is a Palestinian archeologist and can speak on current issues in relating archeology to the scriptures.  As usual with many topics, the real picture is neither the minimalist view that the Bible says nothing useful for the archeologist nor the overly idealist view that every detail of OT history has been proved.  This should be another good one. We will be meeting at Emmanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church near Wilmington, Delaware at 12:30 PM. (  ). Cost will be $10. For more information e-mail Alan at  

Religion in the News

In old Vatican papers, new light on Nazi era
The church's prewar archives show an appeal for help on behalf of the Jews, and an apparent effort to intervene.
The first documents from newly opened Vatican archives dealing with the Roman Catholic Church's relations with Germany on the eve of World War II are beginning to emerge, including a letter seeking papal intervention against the Nazis written by a famed Jewish convert to Catholicism, Edith Stein. See

Weeping Mary withdrawn from church display | A statue of the Virgin Mary - the subject of scientific tests after apparently "weeping" an oil-like substance—has been taken off display in a Catholic church south of Perth. (Sydney Morning Herald). See

Islamic Jihad says it won't strike at U.S.
The Islamic Jihad group said yesterday that it would not attack American targets to retaliate for the U.S. arrest of four alleged members and the indictment of four others on terrorism-related charges. See

Why we should agree to disagree | Amid the continuing disagreements, though, it is easy to lose sight of things that both Muslims and Christians want to affirm. (The Guardian, London) See,2763,897130,00.html

Mormon Scholar Under Fire: Anthropologist says Latter-day Saints' teaching wrong about Native Americans. By John W. Kennedy. See

Wheaton College Allows Dancing for All, Drinking and Tobacco for Non-Undergraduates Illinois law drives complete overhaul of school's conduct code. Compiled by Ted Olsen. See

Some May Be Offended by Biola Exhibit on Reaching Culture: Compiled by Ted Olsen. See

Focus on the Family calls for boycott of Big Brothers-Big Sisters
Focus on the Family devoted its radio program yesterday to discussing mentoring (audio), and one of its main points was calling for a boycott of mentor program Big Brothers-Big Sisters for its mandating local chapters to allow homosexuals to work with children in the program. See

Some voice concern over president's religious rhetoric | Both President Bush and Osama bin Laden fervently assert that God is on their side (The Boston Globe). See

Biblical animals return to the Holy Land | In 1969, the Israeli Nature Reserves Authority initiated a program to reestablish animal species into the areas where they once lived (CBN News). See

Calvin goes to college | J. David Hoeveler's dense, fascinating Creating the American Mind is subtitled "Intellect and Politics in the Colonial Colleges," but it is religion that plays the largest role (The Wall Street Journal). See,,SB1045536415679233343,00.html

Religion Matters, Says David Brooks: "It's now clear that the secularization theory is untrue," David Brooks writes in a must-read piece for The Atlantic Monthly. See

Bono's American Prayer: The world's biggest rock star tours the heartland talking more openly about his faith as he recruits Christians in the fight against AIDS in Africa. By Cathleen Falsani. See

Openness Season: Theologians Pinnock and Boyd like to take the Bible at "face value"--but is that enough? Reviewed by Christopher A. Hall. See

Getting Cynical About Ourselves: An interview with Mark Ellingsen, the author of Blessed Are the Cynical By David Neff. See

Books & Culture's Book of the Week: Another Third Way? The mixed record of Catholic social thought. By Christopher Shannon. See

Science in the News


In Texas, a Darwinian debate | Religious student protests professor's question on evolution (The Washington Post). See

Ministries say expeditions to archaeological sites support creationism (San Antonio Express-News). See

State school board debates 'intelligent design' | One member calls it 'screwball science,' another finds it 'fascinating' (The Charleston Gazette). See

Two Chemical Processes Point To Possible Origin Of Life: Tempe - Feb 17, 2003 - Some of the most important evolutionary events in Earth's history didn't just create new organisms -- they created new fundamental biochemical processes. And where do biochemical processes come from? They evolve from other biochemical processes. See

Teeth Evolved Twice: Primitive jawed fishes had chompers of their own design. See

A Genetic Tryst in the Testes: New gene cobbled together from extra copies may have been important in human evolution. See

Squirrels' Evolutionary 'Family Tree' Reveals Major Influence Of Climate, Geology
The first-ever genetic delineation of nearly all existing squirrel groups suggests not only some surprising branchings in the squirrels' family tree. The study also reveals strong evidence that geological and climatic change influenced how their ancestors evolved and spread over 36 million years from just one part of ancient North America to nearly all of today's world. See

A scientist searches for mysticism | A review of Rational Mysticism: Dispatches From the Border Between Science and Spirituality (Los Angeles Times). See,0,2815377.story?coll=cl%2Dbooks%2Dfeatures


A rare look at Bible history | Dead Sea Scrolls display in Grand Rapids is unique (The Toledo Blade). See

Joseph's Tomb destruction 'very serious,' says PM aide | Gissin gave no details as to how the tomb will be protected, but added that the desecration of holy sites cannot be taken lightly (The Jerusalem Post; must register).

The Columbus myth | What took Spain to the New World was unbridled political power claiming God's favor and approbation, supported by evangelical Christians, armed with overwhelming technological superiority, and driven by an insatiable need for oro (Chet Raymo, The Boston Globe). See


NASA worker's e-mail warned of shuttle risk
A NASA safety engineer warned two days before Columbia broke apart that the shuttle might be in "marginal" condition and that others in the space agency were not adequately considering the danger of a breach near its left wheels, according to internal e-mail NASA disclosed yesterday. See

Los Alamos Makes First Map Of Ice Distribution On Mars: Denver - Feb 17, 2003 - Lurking just beneath the surface of Mars is enough water to cover the entire planet ankle-deep, says Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Bill Feldman. See

Odyssey Points To Melting Snow As Cause Of Gullies: Pasadena - Feb 20, 2003 - Images from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, combined with those from Mars Global Surveyor, suggest melting snow is the likely cause of the numerous eroded gullies first documented on Mars in 2000 by Global Surveyor. The martian gullies were created by trickling water from melting snow packs, not underground springs or pressurized flows, as previously suggested, argues Dr. Philip Christensen, principal investigator for Odyssey's camera system. See

Lunar Impact Mystery Solved: Pasadena - Feb 21, 2003 - In the early morning hours of Nov. 15, 1953, an amateur astronomer in Oklahoma photographed what he believed to be a massive, white-hot fireball of vaporized rock rising from the center of the moon's face. See

Weather Cells Form Around Magnetic Storms On Solar Surface: Boulder - Feb 17, 2003 - Clusters of sunspots form their own weather patterns on the sun, according to new observations by a team of University of Colorado at Boulder researchers. See

Rivers Of Gas Could Provide Part Of Universe's "Missing" Matter: Columbus - Feb 13, 2003 - An Ohio State University astronomer and her colleagues have detected a type of hot gas in space that could account for part of the "missing" matter in the universe. See

Extra Dimensions Showing Hints Of Scientific Revolution: Chicago - Feb 19, 2003 - The concept of extra dimensions, dismissed as nonsense even by one of its earliest proponents nearly nine decades ago, may soon help solve seemingly unrelated problems in particle physics, cosmology and gravitational physics, according to a panel of experts who spoke Feb. 15 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Denver. See


Alcohol Researchers Identify A Genetic Basis Of Pain Response
A common genetic variant influences individual responses and adaptation to pain and other stressful stimuli and may underlie vulnerability to many psychiatric and other complex diseases, reports David Goldman, M.D., Chief, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and colleagues at NIAAA and the University of Michigan. See

First Population Study Of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Highlights Difficulties Facing Malaria Control Technique
The first laboratory population study of genetically modified mosquitoes identifies issues that need to be faced in the task of turning mosquitoes from disease carriers into disease fighters. Scientists from Imperial College London report that populations including genetically modified mosquitoes quickly lose their test marker gene when they are bred with unmodified mosquitoes. See

Pavlov's Flies: Researchers Identify Fruit Fly Memory Mutants; Broad Implications Seen For Treating Alzheimer's And Other Human Diseases
By teaching fruit flies to avoid an odor and isolating mutant flies that can't remember their lessons, researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York have identified dozens of genes required for long-term memory. See

Scientist Pursues Role Of Possible New Cell Type
A cell type with the potential for making the four major types of human tissue has been found in the stomach and small intestine by a Medical College of Georgia researcher. See

Are You Sabotaging Your Own Sleep? See

Earth Science

Bugs From The Deep May Be Window Into The Origins Of Life: Denver - Feb 17, 2003 - Simple life forms are turning up in a surprising variety of below-ground environments, potentially making up 50 percent of the Earth's biomass, scientists said today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting. See

An exceptionally preserved Lower Cretaceous ecosystem 
doi:10.1038/nature01420 See

NASA Goes On-Line With Extra-Tropical Storm Tracks: Greenbelt - Feb 17, 2003 - If you're a weather fanatic, or if you've just ever wondered how stormy it was around the world on the day you were born, you can now find out. Scientists working with NASA have created a free on-line atlas that shows extra-tropical storm tracks between 1961 and 1998. See


People Will Believe Almost Anything: Memories of impossible events can be implanted into people's minds. See also

Memories of Space Alien Abduction: True believers react as though they really were kidnapped by little green men. See


Tiny Nanotrains Could Power Big Changes In The Future: Seattle - Feb 17, 2003 - For Viola Vogel, thinking big naturally comes coupled with the smallest objects imaginable. According to Vogel, director of the University of Washington's Center for Nanotechnology, understanding how nature does things at the molecular level and adapting those techniques into the synthetic world could drastically alter just about every aspect of our lives. See