News Icon

Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies

Site Map | Contacts | Links | Newsletter |  

February 9, 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

Columbia Astronauts Mourned, But Their Faith Is Celebrated     

Seven heroes, seven faiths Columbia crew represented wide variety of spiritual paths ( / Beliefnet). See 

Where science and religion join hands Astronauts' faith may come as a surprise to those who think science and religion are on irreconcilable paths (Mark O'Keefe, Newhouse News Service). See 

Focus on the Family pulls back
James Dobson's Focus on the Family has announced that it is eliminating 100 positions from its staff of 1,300 (that's about 8 percent). Of those positions, however, 66 are unfilled, so the ministry is only laying off 34 employees. They are the first layoffs in the organization's 26-year history. Focus on the Family is also cutting $5 million from its $130 million budget this year. "Some programs will be eliminated or drastically reduced in scope," Dobson said in a January 30 memo to his staff, but he didn't say which ones. See 

Gaps between pulpits and pews What fewer people seem to realize is that there is an even bigger gap between pastors and the people who are leading their national churches (Terry Mattingly). See 

Faithful ponder stewardship of the planet An environmental movement is sweeping churches, synagogues and mosques (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.). See 

Campolo calls evangelicals to 'face facts' about Middle East  "Unless we stand up and speak for justice on behalf of the Palestinians, we are going to lose the missionary struggle in the next hundred years" (Canadian Christianity). See 

The final frontier Depending on whom you ask, stem-cell research is either a medical godsend or further proof that God is dead (LA Weekly). See 

How much does God know? A theology group may move to expel two members for asking the question (The Philadelphia Inquirer). See 

O'Hair death mastermind dies in prison David R. Waters, who masterminded the kidnapping and murder of atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair and her family in 1995, succumbed to lung cancer last week (San Antonio Express-News). See 

Iraq's Christians: Caught in the Middle, Again: If the looming war breaks out, 350,000 Iraqi Christians will be caught in a West-East conflict eerily similar to 4th-century events. By Collin Hansen. See 

God's Own Dictionary: You won't believe the words that didn't exist until the first English translations of the Bible. An interview with Stanley Malless, author of Coined by God. See 

Jews and Christians: Seeing the Prophets Differently
Rolf Rendtorff
Christians picture the prophets as fierce rebels who take on the worst wayward kings. In Jewish tradition, the prophets are the ultimate insiders—the keepers of the law. In these divergent views may lie some roots of anti-Semitism. See 

The Religions of Ancient Israel
by Ziony Zevit review by Beth Alpert Nakhai 

Man 'raised from dead' plans to tell town what it was like More than 200 people turned up to watch a man apparently being resurrected from the dead two days after his family had been given his death certificate (Leatherhead Advertiser). (I am very skeptical of this report.) See 

Vatican's view: Go easy on mystic-crystal stuff
The Vatican weighed in yesterday on feng shui, crystals, and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius in a new document designed to address whether someone can still be a good Christian while taking yoga class. See 

Science in the News

God and Science: A Public Dialogue: Messiah College has developed a comprehensive project entitled “God and Science: A Public Dialogue.” Supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, this series of events seeks to engage legislators, educators, clergy, students, and community members in a positive, constructive public conversation on science and religion, and to develop greater understanding as to how these two important areas inform each other. All events feature guest lecturer Dr. Edward Larson, a prominent historian, legal scholar, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of several books, including Evolution’s Workshop: God and Science in the Galapagos Islands. You may also visit our web site at for more information on Dr. Larson and the “God and Science” events. You may also contact Dr. Edward Davis, Distinguished Professor of the History of Science, Messiah College ( Information about Edward J. Larson available at: 

Tues, Mar 25 7:30 - 8:45 pm.  Public lecture, “Eugenics, Human Gene Testing and Genetic Discrimination,” in Brubaker Auditorium (Messiah College campus).  Free.  Directions to the college are available at:

Wed, Mar 26 9:00 am - noon:  Seminar on “Creationism and the Law,” Grace United Methodist Church, Harrisburg, PA.  By invitation only.  Interested persons should contact Professor Davis. 7:00 - 9:00 pm.  Public event on “God and the Galapagos,” Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, Harrisburg, PA.  ( $10.  Tickets available from Messiah College box office.   717-691-6036. A showing of the IMAX film Galapagos (45 mins), followed by a lecture (45 mins) by Larson, “God and Science in the Galapagos Islands,” with questions/answers (30 mins)

From June 23-27, Messiah College will offer a workshop on evolution and creationism for secondary science and social studies teachers.   Clergy and college faculty are also invited to attend.  Interested persons should contact Professor Davis.

Today's vision of the science of tomorrow: See 


Getting the lies out of creationism: Unleashing the Storm; Answers in Genesis critique of Dennis Peterson's new book: Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation. See

Did Martin Luther Get Galileo In Trouble? David Lindberg talks about the early relationship between science and faith and his own journey on the subject. See 

Professor's snub of creationists prompts U.S. inquiry A biology professor who insists that his students accept the tenets of human evolution has found himself the subject of Justice Department scrutiny (The New York Times). See 

Creationists' evolving argument Is a scientist expected to entertain all points of view on whether, say, the Earth travels around the sun or risk being called a bigot? (Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe). See 


Spy Photos Reveal Ancient Middle East Road Network
Mon January 27, 2003 03:54 PM ET
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Bronze Age inhabitants of what is now modern-day Iraq, Syria and Turkey traded and traveled more widely along a network of highways than previously thought, archeologists studying newly released U.S. spy photographs said on Monday. See 

Temple tablet or forger's art?
Patina fits, words don't; Joseph Brean and Simcha Jacobovici; National Post, January 31, 2003. See{176A9D7E-A3F9-40E9-922E-C5B9A7E6B0BE}

Discoveries could rank with biggest biblical finds Further analysis is needed on two artifacts in Israel (Associated Press). See 

Not a shard of truth Sensational claims have been made about bones found in Qumran, but no, this is not John the Baptist, say the heads of the dig (Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv). See 

The Unluckiest Church: Archaeologist predicts the future is grim for the ancient church's site. By Ted Olsen. See 

Geologists investigate Trojan battlefield: Homer's description of the Trojan battlefield in his classic poem the Iliad is accurate, say scientists. See For online translation of the Iliad see 

Human migration (Feb 3, 2003) - Early humans approximately 100,000 years ago traveled from Africa to Asia via a southern route that likely passed along the coasts of what are now Pakistan and India, according to researchers at Oxford University. See 


Earliest Star Chart Found: Jan. 29 — A 32,000-year-old ivory table has revealed what might be the oldest image of a star chart, according to new research to be published by the European Society for Astronomy in Culture. See 

NASA Does Not Discount Impact Of Foam Debris: Houston (AFP) Feb 07, 2003 - NASA was again mulling the theory that a piece of foam broken off the space shuttle Columbia during lift-off could somehow have caused Saturday's tragedy. Meanwhile, Aviation Week has reported on that 'High-resolution images taken from a ground-based Air Force tracking camera in southwestern U.S. show serious structural damage to the inboard leading edge of Columbia's left wing, as the crippled orbiter flew overhead about 60 sec. before the vehicle broke up over Texas.' See 


The bad gene stops here
A year ago, a group of Abington fertility specialists became the first in the Philadelphia area to offer the ultimate in genetic selection. See 

DNA May Give Tip As to When You Will Die: Jan. 31, 2003 — The nubbly tips of your chromosomes may give you a pointer as to when you will die, according to research published on Saturday in The Lancet, the British medical weekly. The tips, called telomeres, protect the ends of the chromosomes — the coiled lengths of DNA that are studded with genes, the chemical recipe for life — rather like the plastic ends on shoelaces. They are gradually worn away every time a cell in the body tissue divides and replicates. The theory, often debated, is that worn-out telomeres cause chromosomes to fuse together, boosting the risk of cell malfunction or uncontrolled cell death and thus giving rise to killer disorders such as cancer and heart disease — ailments that coincidentally are widespread among the elderly. See 

Lack of Sleep Linked to Risk of Heart Disease: Jan. 27 — Women who are sleep deprived or who sleep too much run a greater risk of developing coronary heart disease than women who get a regular eight hours of shut-eye a night, according to a study released Monday. See 

Purdue Researchers Connect Life's Blueprints With Its Energy Source: West Lafayette - Feb 06, 2003 - The Purdue University research team that recently created a tiny motor out of synthetic biological molecules has found further evidence that RNA molecules can perform physical work, a discovery that could advance nanotechnology and possibly solve fundamental mysteries about life itself. See 

Hepatitis B drug breakthrough: (07 February 2003) A novel class of drugs inhibits hepatitis B virus capsid formation and replication. See 

University Of Missouri Physicist Creating Vascular Tissue; Could Lead To 'Natural' Human Organs
Gabor Forgacs’ work with organ engineering is an excellent example of how current interdisciplinary research in the life sciences may have a profound impact on future generations. Forgacs, a biological physicist at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is an integral part of a research team that ultimately plans to build organs in laboratories for the purpose of human transplantation. See 

Insect Antibiotics -- Resistance Is Futile! Cecropin A Bypasses Outer Defenses To Kill Bacteria From The Inside
For antibiotics, the best way to beat bacterial defenses may be to avoid them altogether. Researchers at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered that Cecropin A, a member of a family of antibiotic proteins produced by insects, may kill bacteria and avoid resistance by entering bacterial cells and taking control of their genetic machinery. See 

Obesity Not A Personal Failing, But A Battle Against Biology
As Jeffrey M. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., argues in a "Viewpoint" article in a special obesity issue of the journal Science published Feb. 7, obesity cannot be easily explained as simply a breakdown in willpower. Genes and environment both play important roles in determining a person's body weight. He points put that "in general, environmental factors account for trends in a population over time, while genetic factors account for most of the differences in weight among individuals in present time." See 

Earth Science

Volcanic Seamounts Siphon Ocean Water Through The Seafloor: Santa Cruz - Feb 06, 2003 - Researchers have discovered a pair of seamounts on the ocean floor that serve as inflow and outflow points for a vast plumbing system that circulates water through the seafloor. The seamounts are separated by more than 30 miles (52 kilometers). See 

Researchers Find Underwater Volcano Chain Off Tonga: Kiel (AFP) Feb 4, 2003 - A German-led scientific team has discovered a chain of 20 underwater volcanoes off Tonga that could swamp the Pacific Ocean archipelago if they erupt, expedition leaders said Tuesday. The volcanoes, rising at least 1,000 metres (3,280 feet) off the seabed in waters about 1.8 kilometres (1.2 miles) deep, are grouped together 200 kilometres south of the outermost islands of the kingdom. See 

Arctic bounty of underwater plumes
The Arctic's Gakkel Ridge has recently surprised oceanographers with signs of abundant hydrothermal venting. See 

Early water on Earth: Geologists have long thought that Earth’s first 500 million years were as hot as Hades, dubbing this time frame the Hadean. The high temperatures would have prevented liquid water from condensing on the surface. But new findings on zircon grains, Earth’s oldest known terrestrial materials, suggest that the Hadean might have hosted liquid water. Recovered from the metamorphosed sediments of the Jack Hills in western Australia, the zircon grains are dated to be more than 4 billion years old and are the only geological evidence available to provide insight into the first 500 million years of Earth’s history. See 


Why do we Fall in Love? 

The Top Ten Myths of Marriage 

Grieving Parents Head for an Early Grave: Jan. 31,2003 — Parents who lose a child run a major risk of dying prematurely, according to a Danish study which suggests the stress of grief may lead to cancer, heart disease, heavy smoking and reckless drinking. See 

Child abuse (Feb 7, 2003) - Most men who were abused as boys do not go on to abuse children themselves, a study suggests. Researchers at the Institute of Child Health in London have found evidence to suggest that just one in eight continues the cycle of abuse. See 

Meditation (Feb 4, 2003) - In a small but highly provocative study, a University of Wisconsin-Madison research team has found, for the first time, that a short program in "mindfulness meditation" produced lasting positive changes in both the brain and the function of the immune system. See