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June 15, 2003

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Creation Festival 2003

The Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies will have a booth at this year's Creation Festival. It is being held at Hershey Park this year from June 25 to June 28th. Stop by and say hello! For detailed information on Creation 2003 East: See . For additional information on Hershey Park: See .

Religion in the News

O Father where art thou? | Christianity is becoming a minority faith in Europe, as church attendance falls, the clergy ages, and scandals and harsh doctrine drive people away. But the faith is reappearing—and thriving—in all sorts of unexpected places. A search for God in Europe, 2003 (Time Europe). See

New Hampshire Episcopalians elect gay bishop
Episcopalians in the Diocese of New Hampshire overwhelmingly elected V. Gene Robinson to be their next bishop Saturday, marking the first time that an Anglican diocese has picked an openly noncelibate gay man for the post. In 1990, Robinson announced that he was gay, and left his wife and two daughters. See

What would Jesus do? Sock it to Alabama's corporate landowners | Alabama's Republican governor thinks he can convince the voters that Christian theology calls for a tax system that is fairer to the poor (Adam Cohen, The New York Times) See

The evolving James Robison | To some, Robison's transformation has given him mainstream influence and standing. Perhaps as a result, he now has critics on both the right and the left (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) See

Idled hospital slated for religious revival | Bill Gothard will take over Nashville Memorial Hospital in Madison (Nashville Business Journal). See

Apocalypse soon | Evangelicals in the US believe there is a biblical basis for opposing the Middle East road map (Giles Fraser, The Guardian, London). See,10551,973445,00.html

Christian bands, crossing over | A new crop of bands has broadened the appeal of Christian rock by emphasizing musical originality rather than a sermonizing message (The New York Times). See

Film Forum: Good, Bad, and Ugly Christians in the Movies
Readers and film critics remember the best and worst portrayals of Christians on the big screen. See

Book inspires worship sensation | "The Purpose-Driven Life" has struck a nerve and sold more than 2.7 million copies, lifting it to the No. 2 spot on the New York Times' hardcover advice list. (Knight Ridder). See

Give us back our atheist pastor, says church
Remember Thorkild Grosboel, the Lutheran pastor from Taarbaek, Denmark, who was suspended for saying in a magazine interview, "There is no heavenly God, there is no eternal life, there is no resurrection"? The story gets even stranger—now hundreds of his church members have gathered to protest his suspension. See

Forced by Logic
It took philosophy and a friend to convince this atheist. By Agnieszka Tennant. See

Science in the News


Ancient skulls may be key link
The fossils, with more refined facial features, may be of modern man's immediate predecessors. Scientists in Ethiopia have unearthed what may be the oldest and best-preserved skulls of modern man's immediate predecessors, a finding that illustrates the dramatic transformation from the heavy-browed caveman look to more refined facial features. See

Human evolution: Out of Ethiopia
New fossil skulls from Ethiopia provide fresh evidence that Africa was the birthplace of modern humans, but raise new questions about the pattern of human evolution. See

Adaptive evolution drives divergence of a hybrid inviability gene between two species of Drosophila 715 Nature
DAVEN C. PRESGRAVES, LAKSHMI BALAGOPALAN, SUSAN M. ABMAYR & H. ALLEN ORR doi:10.1038/nature01679 Summary See and Drosophila genome reveals that gender-dependent selection is an evolutionary driving force. See

Evolutionary biology: Genes to make new species 699 Nature
A long-term goal of studies of the way in which new species form has been to identify the genes involved, and the forces that drive their evolution. That goal is now being realized — and natural selection plays a major part. doi:10.1038/423699a Full Text (subscription required)

Designer darwinism 686 Nature
MARK RIDLEY reviews Darwin and Design: Does Evolution Have a Purpose? by Michael Ruse. doi:10.1038/423686a Full Text (subscription required)

Early humans lost hair to beat bugs
A new evolutionary theory suggests nakedness helps reduce the damage to health caused by fur-loving parasites. See

The Chimp Genome: See

EVOLUTION: FIVE BIG QUESTIONS. Also Robin Dunbar on "intelligent design" p.38 in New Scientist Magazine, this issue. See

Book Review: Larry Witham's Where Darwin Meets the Bible, reviewed by Thomas Sheahen. Where Darwin Meets the Bible provides an excellent introduction to the controversy between creation and evolution. With an absolute commitment to neutrality that is rare in the field of journalism, Larry Witham provides readers with background information on all of the major players in the contemporary debate, and allows readers to draw their own conclusions.


Support for authenticity of book of Matthew comes from an unlikely place | Buried in ancient texts of Jewish historical works are fragments of evidence that appear to show the first book of the New Testament actually was written by one of Jesus' apostles (Kansas City Star). See

QUEEN NEFERTITI: Researchers may have found the long-lost mummy of Egypt's mysterious royal beauty. See,9171,1101030616-457370,00.html

The Spear of Christ? Is the ancient spear in the Imperial Treasury at Vienna's Hofburg Palace really the one that a Roman centurion used to pierce the side of the crucified Jesus Christ? Legend insists that it is, but science is doing its best to fact-check the story. Like the 51-cm relic itself — first mentioned in the Gospel of John — the tale of the Holy Lance, or Spear of Destiny, has been embellished over the ages. As one oft-quoted account has it: "Whomsoever claims this spear and solves its secrets holds the destiny of the world in his hands, for good or evil." British metallurgist Robert Feather has decoded some of its secrets. He addressed old beliefs with 21st century X-ray diffraction and fluorescence tests to reveal structure and composition, swab checks for organic material (like blood), and other noninvasive procedures — and found the main body of the spear to be medieval, dating to the 7th century at the earliest. Charlemagne may well have possessed the spear in 800 — and Hitler's Nazis took it from Vienna in 1938. See

The Exodus and the miracle Quail: This article identifies POISONOUS quail as "the plague" that afflicted Israel at Kib`roth-hatta`avah (Nu 11:31-35). See

Ships collide in search for truth | Ex-ambassador says biblical expert misled her over Malta book about St. Paul's shipwreck on Malta (Rocky Mountain News, Denver). See,1299,DRMN_21_2018328,00.html

Shroud of Turin: Stephen Mattingly believes the Turin shroud was 'painted' by bacteria from a dying man's body. See,13026,975225,00.html

British Museum celebrates 250th birthday
World's oldest national collection prepares to create virtual treasures.

Caveman: Discovery channel special on Sunday June 15, 2003 at 8 PM, EST. See


Delta 2 Launches First Of Dual Mars Rovers. Washington - Jun 10, 2003 - Delayed twice due to bad weather, NASA's launch of the first of two rovers went off without a hitch today with a successful launch at 1:58 pm (1758 GMT). The spacecraft will now begin traversing some 500 million kilometers over seven months, before dropping into Gusev crater, 15 degrees south of the Martian equator, in early January 2004. See

Odyssey Thermal Data Reveals a Changing Mars. Temple - Jun 11, 2003 - The first overview analysis of a year's worth of high-resolution infrared data gathered by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft is opening Mars to a new kind of detailed geological analysis and revealing a dynamic planet that has experienced dramatic environmental change. See

Rosetta Retasked For 10 Year Trip To Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Sacramento - Jun 11, 2003 - The European Space Agency's ambitious Rosetta mission to rendezvous with and orbit a comet nucleus for the first time -- and then dispatch a small lander onto its surface -- has just survived the most bizarre crisis imaginable. See

Big Bang 'soup recipe' confirmed
The Universe's primordial soup - a quark-gluon plasma - has been recreated in a US ion smashing experiment.


Study: Hormone can reduce the risk of premature birth
Giving pregnant women the hormone progesterone can reduce their risk of premature delivery by one-third, offering the first clear-cut way to head off this increasingly common and dangerous problem, a study found. See

U.S. acts against monkeypox
It banned sales of prairie dogs, which have spread the disease, and advised smallpox shots for some. The U.S. government banned the sale of prairie dogs, prohibited the importation of African rodents, and recommended smallpox shots yesterday for people exposed to monkeypox, the exotic African disease that has spread from pet prairie dogs to humans. See

Human arteries grown from scratch
Lab-reared vessels may provide stockpile for bypass surgery. See

Untangling the Roots of Cancer Most cancer researchers have long focused on mutations to a relatively small set of cancer-related genes as the decisive events in the transformation of healthy cells to malignant tumors. Recently, however, other theories have emerged to challenge this view. One hypothesizes that a breakdown in DNA duplication or repair leads to many thousands of random mutations in cells. Another suggests that damage to a few "master" genes mangles the chromosomes, which then become dangerous. A third challenger proposes that abnormal numbers of chromosomes in a cell may be the first milestone on the road to cancer. See

Parkinson's Disease Linked To High Iron Intake
People with high levels of iron in their diet are more likely to develop Parkinson's disease, according to a study in the June 10 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. People with both high levels of iron and manganese were nearly two times more likely to develop the disease than those with the lowest levels of the minerals in their diets. See

Earth Science

Earth's Oxygen Enigma. The most widely accepted account of life's early history is under fire. Scientists have long believed that blue-green algae arose 3.5 billion years ago, pumping out oxygen and causing the oceans to fill with rust. Over the next billion years the algae transformed Earth's atmosphere, allowing oxygen-breathing life to evolve. Carrine Blank of Washington University in St. Louis says that story may be all wrong, however. See

Devonian Death From Outer Space. Asteroid impact linked to a mass extinction 380 million years ago. See (subscription needed)


How were the speed of sound and the speed of light determined and measured? Chris Oates, a physicist in the Time and Frequency Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, explains. See

High-energy physics: Into the fifth dimension 695 Nature
Particles such as the proton can be imagined as vibrating strings. We also know that protons contain smaller, point-like particles, going against the string theory. But in five dimensions, the contradiction disappears. doi:10.1038/423695a Full Text (subscription needed)

Scientists Hunt For Universe's Primordial Matter: Exciting First Results From Deuteron-Gold Collisions At Brookhaven
The latest results from the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), the world’s most powerful facility for nuclear physics research, strengthen scientists’ confidence that RHIC collisions of gold ions have created unusual conditions and that they are on the right path to discover a form of matter called the quark-gluon plasma, believed to have existed in the first microseconds after the birth of the universe. See


Decision making (12 Jun) - In a paper reported in the June 13 issue of Science, Princeton psychologists used brain-imaging technology to study people as they made decisions that caused them needlessly to lose money and found that negative emotional states can override logical thinking. The study supports a growing area of research called behavioral economics, which departs from conventional theory by considering psychological factors other than pure logic in individual decision-making. See


Flying snakes wriggle to help them glide through the air. The animals have similar aerodynamics to a falling ribbon of paper, calculate Japanese researchers. See

Scientists find giant new coral reef off Australia. See