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July 27, 2003

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Religion in the News

Bill Bright Dies at 81
Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ and one of the most successful evangelists of the 20th century, fought pulmonary fibrosis since his diagnosis in late 2000—but he never feared it. Bright took his last breath Saturday at his Orlando home, surrounded by his family. See

Carmen Renee Berry's Unabashedly Consumerist Handbook to Ecclesiology
The author of The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church helps seekers find their best congregational fit. See

Traditional Values Coalition, accused of lying and bribery, is banned from Capitol Hill for a year
Is Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) involved in bribery and extortion? Those are just some of the accusations being leveled against it this week. What's more, those accusations are coming from prolife conservatives, furious over the organization's campaign to stop a bill allowing the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and Europe. See

Robertson's role in GOP questioned
The televangelist's stands often seem extreme. Some wonder if they hurt party outreach efforts.

Abuse scandal far deeper than disclosed, report says | Victims of clergy may exceed 1,000, Mass. Attorney General estimates. See

Ft. Worth's Tyndale Theological Seminary ordered to pay $173,000 fine for awarding diplomas, calling itself a seminary
Concerned about diploma mills, the Texas Legislature in 1975 passed a law barring unaccredited schools from using the word "seminary" in their titles and from using "bachelor, master, and doctor" in their degree titles. See

Turning the Mainline Around
New sociological studies show that evangelicals may well succeed at renewing wayward Protestantism. See

Breakthrough Dancing
A look at the one of the most creative youth ministries in Hong Kong—if not the world. See

Is the Babywise method right for you? | What you should know about Babywise and Growing Kids God's Way  by Gary Ezzo(TulsaKids). See

Challenging the Qur'an | A German scholar contends that the Islamic text has been mistranscribed and promises raisins, not virgins (Newsweek International). See

A view from the experts: Modern society still needs spirituality (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Science in the News


Hydrothermal Vent Systems Could Have Persisted Millions Of Years, Incubated Life
The staying power of seafloor hydrothermal vent systems like the bizarre Lost City vent field is one reason they also may have been incubators of Earth's earliest life, scientists report in a paper published in the July 25 issue of Science. See

NASA Research Seeks To Discover If Comets Seeded Life. Greenbelt - Jul 18, 2003 - NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center will lead the effort to discover if comets supplied the raw material for the origin of life on Earth, and if they could do so for alien worlds, as part of its participation in NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) research. See

New clues to identity of first genetic molecule
TNA resembles DNA and RNA in almost every respect, but is simpler - now researchers show it can be assembled by natural enzymes. See

An Evolutionary Fast-Track In Which The Hunted Outwit Their Hunters. Ithaca - Jul 18, 2003 - In the fishbowl of life, when hordes of well-fed predators drive their prey to the brink of extinction, sometimes evolution takes the fast track to help the hunted survive -- and then thrive to outnumber their predators. See

Teaching creationism muddies the waters of science education | When a school district teaches a pseudo-scientific theory espoused by a religious community as scientific fact, it crosses a line (Art Coulson, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.). See

David Sloan Wilson says plankton can tell us a lot about God and human morality. By Andrew Brown. David Sloan Wilson's career as a biologist started with zooplankton in the depths of the ocean and has ascended to God. He is convinced the same theoretical tools can be used to analyse the patterns of animal behaviour and human belief; and that the kinds of equations that tell you whether fish will be brightly or dully coloured, depending on the part of a river they live in, will also tell you why Calvinism thrived in 16th-century Geneva but the church of England is in decline today. See,12982,1004403,00.html

Darwin and the Barnacle: The Story of One Tiny Creature and History's Most Spectacular Scientific Breakthrough by Rebecca Stott. See

Darwin and Design : Does Evolution Have a Purpose? by Michael Ruse. See

Deeper Than Darwin: The Prospect for Religion in the Age of Evolution by John Haught. See


James Ossuary Owner Arrested on Fraud and Forgery Charges. Israeli police arrest owner of the James ossuary and Joash tablet. After a six-month investigation, Israeli police on Monday arrested antiques collector Oded Golan on charges of fraud, forgery, using forged documents, and perverting the course of justice. In recent days, investigators searched Golan's home and storerooms, including a workroom on his roof where they say he forged antiquities. "A number of other 'antiques' in various stages of production were uncovered," reports the Tel Aviv newspaper Ha'aretz. Also on Golan's Tel Aviv roof, "without any security or protection from the elements," was Golan's most famous possession—an ossuary that apparently once held the bones of "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." Is this treatment of the ossuary another indication that the ossuary is a fraud, or that Golan is merely careless? After all, when he shipped the ossuary for display and testing at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, he packed it so poorly that it cracked—right in the middle of the inscription. Now even the ROM's Ed Keall, who has been one of the main scholars saying the ossuary is authentic, says Golan might have intentionally damaged the bone box to make testing harder. "I'm afraid at this stage I can't discount anything," he told The Ottawa Citizen. "The story's so bizarre." See

Jesus ossuary' promoters unfazed by forgery arrest | Jewish filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, Gabi Barkai of Bar-Ilan University stand by the authenticity of the ossuary inscription (The Jerusalem Post). See

DNA used in attempt to solve Christian mystery | Genetic fingerprinting might soon clear up an ancient Christian mystery—the origins of medieval parchments and even the Canterbury Gospels, thought to have arrived in Britain in 579AD (The Guardian, London). See,3604,1002142,00.html

Scientists prepare to excavate Black Sea | Scientists also are interested in the ruin, because it could finally clinch the Noah flood theory that has gained the most attention for the trip — and the most criticism (Associated Press). See

Scientists explain the burning bushes in the Bible | Norwegian geologists found burning layer of turf under soil in Mali (Nettavisen, Norway). See

In the crossfire | Real-life archaeology is getting more dangerous than in the movies ( See

Texas puts Gutenberg Bible on Internet | Ransom Center edition is not the first to go digital (Associated Press). See

Human genetics (25 Jul) - Scientists studying the genetic signatures of Siberians and American Indians have found evidence that the first human migrations to the New World from Siberia probably occurred no earlier than 18,000 years ago. See

After the Ice: A global human history 20,000-5000 BC
By Steven Mithen. See a review at


Heavy Metals Rich Stars Tend To Harbor Planets. Sydney - Jul 20, 2003 - EMBARGOEDA comparison of 754 nearby stars like our sun - some with planets and some without - shows definitively that the more iron and other metals there are in a star, the greater the chance it has a companion planet. See also

Revealing The Beast Within: Deeply Embedded Massive Stellar Clusters Discovered In Milky Way Powerhouse
Peering into a giant molecular cloud in the Milky Way galaxy - known as W49 - astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered a whole new population of very massive newborn stars. See

Study Finds Dark Matter Is For SuperWIMPs. Irvine - Jul 16, 2003 - A UC Irvine study has revealed a new class of cosmic particles that may shed light on the composition of dark matter in the universe. See

Information in the Holographic Universe By studying the mysterious properties of black holes, physicists have deduced absolute limits on how much information a region of space or a quantity of matter and energy can hold. Related results suggest that our universe, which we perceive to have three spatial dimensions, might instead be "written" on a two-dimensional surface, like a hologram. Our everyday perceptions of the world as three-dimensional would then be either a profound illusion or merely one of two alternative ways of viewing reality. A grain of sand may not encompass our world, but a flat screen might. See

Supernovae Spawned Universe's First Solid Particles Astronomers have detected a cosmic dust storm surrounding the remains of a supernova, according to new research. The findings suggest that these exploded stars could be a major source of the first solid particles in our universe. See

Stream of radon There should be plenty of water on Mars. Water vapour has already been detected in the planet's atmosphere, and ice on the surface at the poles. But much of the water may be buried underground. Locating this hidden store is not easy, but radon could be the answer. This gas, produced by radioactive decay, is usually trapped in minerals. But the presence of water or ice allows it to seep up to the surface, providing a wafting signpost. See

Los Alamos Releases New Maps Of A Martian Ice World. Los Alamos - Jul 25, 2003 - "Breathtaking" new maps of likely sites of water on Mars showcase their association with geologic features such as Vallis Marineris, the largest canyon in the solar system. See

Earth Science

Earth's Birth Date Turned Back: Formed Earlier Than Believed. Boston - Jul 21, 2003 - Our planet is 50 to 90 million years older than previously thought, according to new evidence found in meteorites. Mixtures of radioactive elements, which tick away like clocks, show that most of Earth had formed only 10 million years after the sun was born as a star, which took place about 4,567 million years ago. Previous measurements indicated an Earth birth of 60 million to 100 million years after the sun's nuclear fires began to burn. See

Dino Fossil Recovered at Loch Ness. July 16, 2003 — A Scottish retiree has discovered a fossil of a 150-million-year-old reptile on the shores of Scotland's mythical Loch Ness, press reports said Wednesday. See

Search Under Way for Woolly Mammoth. July 17, 2003 — The central Japanese city hosting the Expo 2005 world exposition plans to excavate an entire frozen mammoth and display it at the fair under a multi-million dollar Siberian expedition project, organizers said Thursday. See


Gene length predicts depression risk
Some people are hit harder by stressful life events than others. See

False memories (24 Jul) - False memories are a common occurrence in the courtroom and in everyday life, and have long been considered by psychologists as a side effect of efforts to boost memory. New research from Tufts University has answered the question of how to increase memory, without also increasing corresponding false memories. See

Domestic violence (24 Jul) - Children who witness their parents using violence against each other and who regularly receive excessive punishment are at increased risk of being involved in an abusive relationship as an adult, according to a 20-year study that followed children into adult romantic relationships. In partner violence cases that result in injury, the study finds that being the victim of physical abuse and conduct disorders as a child are also important risk factors. See

Tending hungry hearts and unsettled minds | A new crop of popular psychology titles keeps pace with the national malaise (Publishers Weekly). See