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March 16, 2003

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Religion in the News

Alleged abductor's religious beliefs got "stranger and stranger every day."
Nine months after being abducted, 15-year-old Elizabeth Smart has returned home. Smart, taken by knifepoint from her Salt Lake City home June 5, is reportedly healthy and alert. However, there are signs that the abduction took a psychological toll. Yesterday morning Smart's father said he had no doubts that Elizabeth was brainwashed by Brian David Mitchell, who was excommunicated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. See

Christian leaders push plan "to defeat Saddam Hussein without war"
Leaders of Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches, as well as Sojourners head Jim Wallis, say the U.S. shouldn't go to war against Iraq. No news there. But what is news is that they're pushing a six-point plan to remove Hussein from power without war. See

Some see Iraq war in Scripture | Fundamentalists say the end is near (Los Angeles Daily News). See,1413,200~20954~1230768,00.html

The Struggle to Love: If the Holy Spirit is in us, why can't we love one another? By David P. Gushee. See

Methodist bishop promotes universalism on Larry King roundtable on Christianity and war
Bishop Melvin Talbert, ecumenical officer of the United Methodist Church, said on Larry King Live (transcript) that Muslims will be saved and should not be evangelized. "They are on their way just as certain as I'm on my way. And what we need to do is to be tolerant with each other and not assume that our way is the only way," he said last night. The view was strongly opposed by King's other guests, including Bob Jones, Max Lucado, and John MacArthur. See

Good to Great's Leadership Model Looks Familiar to Christians: The author of the bestselling business book says his findings on successful leaders led him to the New Testament. An Interview with Jim Collins. See

DMX retiring from hip-hop, plans to read his Bible | Will continue acting career ( See

Crafting an impact in hymnland | Unsatisfied with church's traditional sound, five teenagers sat down with drums and electric guitars to ''grungify'' meaningful hymns (St. Petersburg Times). See

Is the Pope Catholic . . . Enough? | Mel Gibson is making a movie about Jesus and he's financing an ultraconservative church near Los Angeles. His father couldn't be prouder—but his views may be even more unorthodox (The New York Times Magazine). See

Saint J. R. R. the Evangelist: Tolkien wanted his Lord of the Rings to echo the "Lord of Lords"--but do we have ears to hear? By Chris Armstrong. See

Science in the News


Dr. Stephen Meyers' debate with Dr. Kent Hovind now available online at

Underground Fish Back Darwin: Mexican cavefish throw new light on evolution in the dark. See


Is It or Isn't It? Hershel Shanks
For the second time in recent months, an inscription seemingly connected to the Bible has gained worldwide attention. But is the purported King Jehoash text authentic or a very clever fake? See

Grant Jeffrey in his book The Signature of God claims that there are Israelite writings of the Exodus in the Sinai Desert. Dr. John Eccles examines this claim in detail with pictures. See

Oldest human footprints found on volcano
Three primitive humans who scrambled down an Italian volcano more than 325,000 years ago left their mark. See

World's Oldest Wheel Found? March 10, 2003 — A 5,100- to 5,350-year-old wooden wheel recently was found in Slovenia buried within an ancient marsh. See

Dry Spells Doomed the Maya: New evidence suggests severe droughts collapsed civilization. See

Neanderthals (11 Mar) - Contact between modern humans and Neanderthals was fleeting at best, with no interbreeding. There has never been any conclusive evidence that the two species did interbreed, but it has always been a possibility. And just a few years ago, in 1999, scientists in Portugal found the 25,000-year-old skeleton of a boy who seemed to have been a hybrid, the offspring of Homo sapiens (modern humans) and Homo neanderthalensis. See


Physicist Hopes To Rewrite The History Of The Universe: Toronto - Mar 10, 2003 - Professor emeritus John Moffat of physics has his own ideas about relativity. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Albert Einstein's famous theory has formed the backbone upon which cosmology experts have sought to explain how the universe began and eventually how it will end. See

Rising Storms Revise Story Of Jupiter's Stripes: San Antonio - Mar 10, 2003 - Pictures of Jupiter, taken by a NASA spacecraft on its way to Saturn, are flipping at least one long-standing notion about Jupiter upside down. See

Solar System's Giant Jupiter, Now Has 52 Satellites: Paris (AFP) Mar 10, 2003 - Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, now has 52 moons, thanks to a flurry of 12 satellites discovered by astronomers last month. The team discovered seven new satellites in early February and a few days later uncovered another five, according to a report on the website of the University of Hawaii. See

Extrasolar atmosphere
The first known planet with an atmosphere outside the solar system is losing mass at a rate of 100 million tons per second. &

Hubble Captures Blazing Small Galaxy: March 7, 2003 — The latest image by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captures the center of a small galaxy ablaze with the light of thousands of stars young and old. See


A Conversation with James D. Watson: To mark the 50th anniversary of James Watson and Francis Crick's discovery of the structure of DNA, Scientific American's Editor in Chief John Rennie recently spoke with Watson in his office at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, where he was director for 25 years. Watson reflected on the origins of the double helix discovery, the current state of molecular biology, and controversies surrounding genetic science. See

Tough Nut Is Cracked: Antibody treatment stifles peanut reactions: Researchers have successfully demonstrated the first preventive drug treatment against peanut allergy. See &

'Sleep Debts' Accrue When Nightly Sleep Totals Six Hours Or Fewer; Penn Study Find People Respond Poorly, While Feeling Only 'Slightly' Tired
Those who believe they can function well on six or fewer hours of sleep every night may be accumulating a "sleep debt" that cuts into their normal cognitive abilities, according to research conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. What's more, the research indicates, those people may be too sleep-deprived to know it. See

Common Painkillers May Help Protect Against Alzheimer's Disease
In a breakthrough study, UCLA scientists have found that common painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen may actually dissolve the brain lesions -- or amyloid plaques -- that are one of the definitive hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. See

Pheromones (14 Mar) - Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia have found that exposure to male perspiration has marked psychological and physiological effects on women: It can brighten women's moods, reducing tension and increasing relaxation, and also has a direct effect on the release of luteinizing hormone, which affects the length and timing of the menstrual cycle. See

Human nature (6 Mar) - Is there such a thing as human nature - something fixed and hard wired, or something primarily plastic? Is the essence of human nature to change human nature? See

Earth Science

Changes In The Earth's Rotation Are In The Wind: Greenbelt - Mar 10, 2003 - Because of Earth's dynamic climate, winds and atmospheric pressure systems experience constant change. These fluctuations may affect how our planet rotates on its axis, according to NASA-funded research that used wind and satellite data. See

Strange Deadfellows: Dinosaur, Crab Fossils Reveal Ecosystem Secrets
For centuries, they wouldn't be caught dead next to each other. But now a team of geologists directed by Joshua Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, have found a well-preserved fossil of a crab within inches of a tail vertebra from a massive plant-eating dinosaur. See


Breaking the old speed limit posted by one Albert Einstein in his 20s, this book deploys a racy and provocative text to convey its popularized content of a new cosmology. See