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July 6, 2003
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Religion in the News
Alabama Supreme Court Ten Commandments display ruled unconstitutional
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's 5,300-pound Ten Commandments monument an unconstitutional state establishment of religion. See http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/126/31.0.html
Malawi's minority Muslims riot against Christians
Angry about the deportation of five foreign nationals suspected of belonging to the al Qaeda terror network, Muslims in the African nation of Malawi rioted for two days, targeting Christians. Seven churches in two cities were damaged, as were the national offices of the aid agency Save the Children. See http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/126/12.0.html
Mel Gibson visits Focus on the Family, National Association of Evangelicals
Seeking positive reaction and response to his film The Passion, Mel Gibson screened the film to hundreds of pastors at Focus on the Family's Colorado Springs headquarters last Thursday. See http://www.gazette.com/popupNews.php?id=408774
Jerry Falwell gets control of JerryFalwell.com
Just three months after a Virginia judge threw out Jerry Falwell's case against an Illinois man's parody site, JerryFalwell.com, the Southern Baptist pastor gained control of the domain. See http://www.newsadvance.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=LNA%2FMGArticle%2FLNA_BasicArticle&c=MG&cid=1031769832166&path=!n
Vatican says celibacy rule nonnegotiable | One of the major thrusts of the document is a reiteration of Christianity's heritage in Europe (Associated Press). See http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030628/ap_on_re_eu/vatican_celibacy
Did Bush say God told him to strike Iraq?
Buried at the end of an article in the Tel Aviv daily newspaper Ha'aretz Sunday was a very, very interesting quote from Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who has been talking with President George Bush about peace in the region. See http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/126/41.0.html
Bush says Federal Marriage Amendment may not be necessary
Yesterday, he was asked if he supported the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. "I don't know if it's necessary yet," Bush said (video | audio). "Let's let the lawyers look at the full ramifications of the recent Supreme Court hearing. What I do support is the notion that marriage is between a man and a woman." See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1097-2003Jul2.html
White House to Congress: Let religious organizations use religion in
In a position paper released to members of Congress, the White House says "religious hiring rights" are part of faith-based organizations' civil rights, and should not be restricted even if the organizations receive public money. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28678-2003Jun24.html
Sojourners editor wants to inspire people to improve the world | The biggest conflict facing people of faith today is not between belief and secularism, says Jim Wallis. It's between hope and cynicism. (San Antonio Express-News, Tex.). See http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=180&xlc=1018255
Going It Alone
We should take heed when much of the world says it distrusts us.
By Philip Yancey. See http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/007/46.72.html
Christian History Corner: From Beer to Bibles to VBS
How America got its favorite summer tradition.
By Steven Gertz. See http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/126/43.0.html
Science in the News
The Dick Staub Interview: Are Darwinists Immoral?
Benjamin Wiker says Darwinism isn't science per se: it's just a reiteration of a 2,300-year-old philosophy. See http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/126/23.0.html
Issues 1-20 of Creation/Evolution are now available online at
Frank Sonleitner's Creation/Evolution Update 2001 is now available at
Sonleitner reviews recent scientific advances that bear on the creationism/evolution controversy.
New Look at Human Evolution. Reading the cracked brown fragments of fossils and sequences of DNA, scientists have found clues that the story of human origins has more convolutions than previously thought. The account of our shared human heritage now includes more controversial plot twists and mysteries. See http://www.sciam.com/special/index.cfm?sc=I100194
A flexible theory of evolution Nature July 3, 2003 p.16
GERDIEN DE JONG AND ROSS H. CROZIER review Developmental Plasticity and Evolution by Mary Jane West-Eberhard doi:10.1038/424016b Full Text (members only).
Evolutionary biology: Polygamy and parenting Nature July
3, 2003 p.23
In most animal groups, females put more effort into rearing children, and males compete for female attention. But what about seahorses and pipefish, in which males invest the most in offspring? doi:10.1038/424023a Full Text (members only).
A hair-raising theology lesson | The message of The Million Volt Man: Science actually provides evidence of a divine plan for creation (Daily Herald, suburban Chicago). See http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=305&ncid=305&e=1&u=/cdh/20030624/lo_cdh/ahairraisingtheologylesson
Few contenders so far for creationist's reward for proof of evolution | Kent Hovind has a quarter of a million dollars burning a hole in his pocket. He'll give it to anyone who can convince him that evolution is more than just a theory. (Stars & Stripes). See http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=15556&archive=true
Darwin faces a new rival | A Roseville high school parent urges that 'intelligent design' also be taught in biology (The Sacramento Bee). See http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/story/6901932p-7851550c.html
Evolution vs. creation | The debate continues to flourish (The Express-Times, Penn.). See http://pennlive.com/living/expresstimes/index.ssf?/base/living-0/105609998312250.xml
Lehigh professor shakes up Darwinists | In his research, Michael Behe concluded Darwin's evolution did not hold up for molecules. (The Express-Times, Penn.). See http://pennlive.com/living/expresstimes/index.ssf?/base/living-0/105609994812250.xml
Putting belief aside: pragmatism versus the Bible | "A necessary evil" is how Richard Edlin, a Christian educator and advocate of parent-controlled schools, views the Higher School Certificate examinations (The Sydney Morning Herald). See http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/06/24/1056449246004.html
Schools must spark thinking | The Shawnee Mission School District should be commended for its handling of the Inherit the Wind controversy (Jay Sjerven, The Kansas City Star). See http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascitystar/news/opinion/6133826.htm
Science and religion cease fire | The Biotechnology Industry Organization and the National Council of Churches signed a pact here to open channels of communication between them about the promise and potential perils of biotechnology (Wired News). See http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,59395,00.html
Observational Concessions of Young-Earth Cosmology An audio Hugh Ross discussion at http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/creation_update/Archives.asp
29+ Evidences for Macroevolution. Creationists continually claim that there is no evidence for macroevolution. This section of the archive provides more than 29 examples, none of which are simply an extrapolation from "microevolution." This update focuses on the evidence for common descent from vestigial structures, a commonly misunderstood concept. See http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/
Human genome (30 Jun) - Stored in the human genome, perhaps, is the record of human evolution and existence on this planet. Many say, however, that this history and the benefits it may unfold for human health cannot be found in the single, essentially complete human sequence--99.9% similar to any other human sequence. It's the 0.1% difference that should tell the tale--not only of migration, war, technological achievement, and conquest--but also of the differences that confer susceptibility to complex, multigenic diseases. See http://www.the-scientist.com/yr2003/jun/research1_030630.html
Unlocking the Mystery of Life, a documentary about the "intelligent design" movement cowritten by Stephen C. Meyer, Director and Senior Fellow of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, is airing on individual PBS stations across the country. Because NCSE has received many inquiries about Unlocking, we have added a section to our web site for information and opinions about it: See http://www.ncseweb.org/article.asp?category=19
The true meaning of Jesus: a matter of faith, not of history | Scholarship questioning the Gospels' events amplify deeper meaning (Craig Eisendrath, The Baltimore Sun) See http://www.sunspot.net/features/booksmags/bal-bk.god29jun29,0,3597771.story?coll=bal-artslife-books
Lost, found treasures showcased in Baghdad
National Museum offers a peek at the Nimrud collection.
Priceless gold jewelry from 900 B.C. - including large bracelets, necklaces, and a crown inlaid with images of winged girls - went on display briefly yesterday as the Iraqi National Museum opened its doors for the first time since the war. See http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/6231382.htm
Raided Lost Ark returns home | A replica of the Biblical Ark of the covenant, or tabot, has been taken back to Ethiopia and an Irish doctor was responsible (BBC). See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3034860.stm
Pharaoh's chariots found in Red Sea? | 'Physical evidence' of ancient Exodus prompting new look at Old Testament (WorldNetDaily). See http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=33168 For problems in Ron Wyatt's discoveries see http://bibleandscience.com/wyatt.htm
Scholars defend authenticity of biblical-era artifact | "What you have here is a case of dueling scholars," says Ben Witherington III (United Methodist News Service) See http://www.umns.umc.org/03/jun/328.htm
Looking for a cross to bear? Check eBay | None of the nearly 95,000 of us who trooped to the Royal Ontario Museum and examined the box that had supposedly contained the bones of Jesus' brother James was surprised to hear it's been declared a fake (Slinger, The Toronto Star) See http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&col=968793972154
Vatican puts museum collection online | Site allows visitors to take a virtual reality tour of some of the dozen museums and galleries that make up the Vatican collection, zooming in on a frescoed panel in the Raphael Rooms or viewing Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel with a three-dimensional video (Associated Press). See http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030624/ap_on_en_ot/vatican_virtual_art http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html
Dead Sea Scrolls on Display Outside Israel. June 18, 2003 Fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, considered one of the greatest archeological discoveries of the 20th century, went on display in a Montreal museum Tuesday, the first time they have been out of Israel. See http://travel.discovery.com/news/afp/20030616/scrolls.html
of Jesus Ossuary
New Tests Bolster Case for Authenticity Edward J. Keall
The James, brother of Jesus bone box cracked last fall on its way to its first public exhibit. But there was a silver lining: During restoration, the box underwent a series of scientific tests. Read the results in this BAR exclusive! See http://www.bib-arch.org/bswb_BAR/bswbba2904f2.html
William G. Dever
You wouldnt think that agreeing on a name for the intersection of Biblical studies and archaeology would be so difficultbut it is. A senior excavator describes the ideological battles that make finding a name so difficult. See http://www.bib-arch.org/bswb_BAR/bswbba2904f3.html
in the Time of Jesus
Could the words of Jesus have been recorded in his lifetime? Based on how common writing was and on the variety of writing materials used, the answer is a surprisingly strong Yes. See http://www.bib-arch.org/bswb_BAR/bswbba2904f1.html
Archaeology(2 Jul) - A cavern resplendent with Aboriginal cave art encompassing 4000 years is being hailed in Australia as the most important find in half a century. The cave was discovered by a backpacker in a remote and almost inaccessible part of Wollemi National Park in New South Wales. See http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993901
Foam is 'most probable cause' of Columbia's breakup
It is investigators' strongest statement on the Feb. 1 shuttle disaster. A final report is due in July.
In their strongest statement on the Columbia disaster, investigators said yesterday that flyaway foam was "the most probable cause" of the wing damage that brought down the space shuttle almost five months ago.
( By Marcia Dunn, Associated Press, 06/25/2003 03:01 AM EDT)See http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/6162529.htm
Meteorite Reveals Signs of Life from Space. June 26 Unique carbon building blocks of life called fullerenes did indeed crash to Earth in meteorites, new British research has found. The work by Peter Harris from Reading University has provided the first direct evidence of fullerenes a special type of carbon molecule associated with the origins of life in meteorite samples. The analysis of samples from the Allende meteorite which fell on Mexico in 1969 is published this week online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. See http://dsc.discovery.com/news/afp/20030623/meteorite.html
Vast Conveyer Belts Drive 11-Year Cycle Of Solar Maximum. See http://www.spacedaily.com/news/solarscience-03o.html
Flying Shotgun In Deep Space. Huntsville - Jun 30, 2003 - The solar system is littered with clouds of dust--some of them uncharted. Earth encounted one such cloud last Friday, June 27th. writes Dr. Tony Phillips in his latest report for NASA Science News. See http://www.spacedaily.com/news/meteor-03b.html
New Gemini Spectrograph Rivals View From Space. London - Jul 02, 2003 - Gemini Observatory's new spectrograph, without the help of adaptive optics, recently captured images that are among the sharpest ever obtained of astronomical objects from the ground. See http://www.spacedaily.com/news/telescopes-03q.html
Gamma-Ray Detectives Close In On 30-Year Old Mystery. Paris (ESA) Jul 2, 2003 - Cold War intrigue, international politics and hi-tech astronomy were the key ingredients for one of the most amazing and mysterious scientific discoveries of all time, which took place exactly 30 years ago. See http://www.spacedaily.com/news/gamma-03g.html
Universe Slightly Simpler Than Expected. Gainesville - Jun 23, 2003 - The universe just became a little less mysterious. Using images from the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers at the University of Florida have concluded that two of the most common types of galaxies in the universe are in reality different versions of the same thing. See http://www.spacedaily.com/news/cosmology-03u.html
Astronomers Find 'Home From Home' - 90 Light Years Away. Liverpool - Jul 03, 2003 - Astronomers looking for planetary systems that resemble our own solar system have found the most similar formation so far. British astronomers, working with Australian and American colleagues, have discovered a planet like Jupiter in orbit round a nearby star that is very like our own Sun. See http://www.spacedaily.com/news/extrasolar-03k.html
Far planet could have Earthlike relative
Astronomers say the orbit of the gas giant suggests a solar system very similar to our own.
Another planet has been added to the list of 100 or so worlds that astronomers have discovered around distant stars - but unlike all those other planets, this one is in a solar system that might be capable of supporting another Earth. See http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/6231381.htm
New Cancer Treatment: June 14, 2003 A new cancer treatment pioneered in Australia is to be trialled by top hospitals in Europe and the United States after being hailed a major breakthrough by a Washington conference, its developers said Tuesday. The treatment, which could be available within two years, stimulates the body's immune system to make it produce more T-cells to fight cancer and, potentially, HIV/AIDS. See http://health.discovery.com/news/afp/20030623/cancer.html
Science can create babies from unborn mothers | Experts and campaigners fear the consequences of breaching an ethical boundary (The Times, London). See http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-730962,00.html
Embryology (3 Jul) - An experiment that created human "chimeras" by merging male and female embryos in a test tube was condemned yesterday as scientifically vacuous and ethically questionable by leading proponents of research into IVF. See http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_medical/story.jsp?story=421136
A new blow to
Menopausal hormone therapy, long linked to a slight increase in breast cancer risk, also makes mammograms less reliable and may delay diagnosis of breast cancer. Those findings, published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association, are the latest bad news about estrogen-progestin therapy. See http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/6162513.htm
Drug is found
to limit risk of prostate cancer
( By Rob Stein, Washington Post, 06/25/2003 03:01 AM EDT) A drug used to fight baldness and enlarged prostates also protects against prostate cancer, offering the first way men can cut their risk for this major cancer killer, researchers reported yesterday. See http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/6162515.htm
Brain Images Highlight How People Feel Pain When it comes to pain, some people are tougher than others. New findings suggest that these differences are all in the head. Researchers have shown for the first time that variation in how people perceive pain results from differences in brain activity. See http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&articleID=00080465-779A-1EF7-A6B8809EC588EEDF
Benefits of vitamin pills still up in the air
A task force found too little evidence to prove or deny the supplements prevent some diseases.
There is not enough evidence to either recommend or reject the use of vitamin supplements to reduce the risks of cancer and heart disease, an influential government advisory panel says. See http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/living/health/6206705.htm
Will wonder drug never cease?
Aspirin, a drug that's been in family medicine cabinets for more than a century now, keeps revealing new tricks. In just the last six months, studies have linked the venerable pain medication with prevention of recurrent strokes in African Americans and lower rates of colon cancer, leukemia and breast cancer. See http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/living/health/6200306.htm
Male Y Chromosome Here to Stay. June 20, 2003 The human male chromosome does have the ability to repair itself and may not be headed for extinction as had previously been thought, according to a surprising new study. See http://dsc.discovery.com/news/afp/20030616/chromosome.html also www.nature.com/nature/focus/ychromosome
Scientists Find What Type Of Genes Affect Longevity. San Francisco - Jun 30, 2003 - About 200 genes identified Tracing all the genetic changes that flow from a single mutation, UCSF scientists have identified the kinds of genes and systems in the body that ultimately allow a doubling of lifespan in the roundworm, C. elegans. Humans share many of these genes, and the researchers think the new findings offer clues to increasing human youthfulness and longevity as well. See http://www.spacedaily.com/news/life-03ze.html
Stem cells enable paralysed rats to walk
The findings suggest embryonic stem cells could have a valuable role to play in treating spinal injuries. See http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993894
From the laboratory to your plate
Genetically modified food is big business for Monsanto Co. and its scientists.
Americans may not know it, but most eat genetically modified food daily. Two Midwestern scientists are largely responsible. Eighty percent of the nation's soy crop is genetically engineered with a gene from a hardy bacterium that makes soy resistant to a popular weed killer. Fully one-third of U.S. corn contains a gene from another bacterium that kills bugs. See http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/living/health/6200313.htm
Deep below ground, bacterium feasting on toxic waste is found
Scientists have identified a microbe that gobbles up toxic waste deep underground, offering a potential way to clean up a particularly nasty chemical that has contaminated the water underneath hundreds of the nation's industrial and military sites. See http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/6222957.htm
Behavior Of Arctic Ocean Ridge Confounds Predictions. Arlington - Jun 30, 2003 - The discovery that an ocean ridge under the Arctic ice cap is unexpectedly volcanically active and contains multiple hydrothermal vents may cause scientists to modify a decades-long understanding of how ocean ridges work to produce the Earth's crust. See http://www.spacedaily.com/news/tectonics-03m.html
AGI Launches Earth Science World ImageBank. Alexandria - Jun 30, 2003 - Do you want to include a scenic mountain photo in a presentation? Or show a picture of an erupting volcano to your students? The American Geological Institute (AGI) is proud to announce the launch of the Earth Science World ImageBank, a free service, with high-quality, fully-indexed images. See http://www.spacedaily.com/news/earth-03q.html
Carbon loss by deciduous trees in a CO2-rich ancient polar environment Nature 7/3/03 p.60 DANA L. ROYER, COLIN P. OSBORNE & DAVID J. BEERLING First paragraph See http://www.nature.com/cgitaf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v424/n6944/abs/nature01737_fs.html
Experiments Validate 50-Year-Old Liquid Metal Hypothesis. Huntsville - Jul 02, 2003 - NASA-funded researchers recently obtained the first complete proof of a 50-year-old hypothesis explaining how liquid metals resist turning into solids. See http://www.spacedaily.com/news/materials-03v.html
Pentaquark discovery confounds sceptics
A brand sub-atomic new particle - whose mass was predicted six years ago - is detected at labs in Japan and the US. See http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993903
Learning A Little More About Nothing, Gets Thrown A Spin. Newport News - Jul 03, 2003 - Measurements taken using Jefferson Lab's CEBAF Large Acceptance Spectrometer (CLAS) are telling us more about how matter is produced from "nothing," that is, the vacuum. See http://www.spacedaily.com/news/physics-03i.html
Opposites do not attract in mating game
People search for partners of similar income, attractiveness and education, suggests new research - stability may be the reason. See http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993887
Schizophrenia (1 Jul) - People at risk of developing schizophrenia may soon be identified years before they develop any symptoms, psychiatrists have said. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/3036656.stm
Development - education (23 Jun) - Constructivist pedagogy draws on Piaget's developmental theory. Because Piaget depicted the emergence of formal reasoning skills in adolescence as part of the normal developmental pattern, many constructivists have assumed that intrinsic motivation is possible for all academic tasks. This paper argues that Piaget's concept of a formal operational stage has not been empirically verified and that the cognitive skills associated with that stage are in fact "biologically secondary abilities" (Geary and Bjorklund, 2000) culturally determined abilities that are difficult to acquire. Thus, it is unreasonable to expect that intrinsic motivation will suffice for most students for most higher level academic tasks. See http://human-nature.com/ep/articles/ep01127137.html
Harvesting Hydrogen Fuel from Plants Gets Cheaper. A major roadblock to widespread use of hydrogen-powered electric vehicles, which emit water vapor as a byproduct and could cut greenhouse gas emissions substantially, is the cost and trouble associated with producing a suitable supply of hydrogen. Last year scientists reported having developed a technique to harness the fuel from biomass, but the catalyst required for the reaction was too expensive to be commercially viable. The same researchers have now discovered a different catalyst that works just as well--at a fraction of the cost. See http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&articleID=00070192-5939-16A80A84189EEDF
New Species Discovered in Bolivia. June 27, 2003 Seven species previously unknown to science two frogs, two snakes, a pair of toads and a new lizard were recently discovered in the mountains of Bolivia, said the BP Conservation Programme in a recent press release. See http://animal.discovery.com/news/briefs/20030623/bolivia.html
Scientists ponder mysterious beached remains
19th Century Museum Specimens Help Plan Reintroduction Of Endangered Tiger
Examining the DNA of museum specimens can fill information gaps caused by the lack of living animals in key locations. This is what two scientists have done to help guide the reintroduction of the Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle into areas from which it has been wiped out by human activity. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030630111021.htm