News Icon

Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies

Site Map | Contacts | Links | Newsletter |  

October 19, 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

Pope John Paul II marks 25 tumultuous years
The pontiff's role in shaping events is unrivaled by any cleric in modern history. Aides say he now wants to use his illness as inspiration (Los Angeles Times).

After plagiarism charges, National City Christian Church pastor takes leave
Alvin Jackson, the most prominent pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which he also serves as moderator, is taking a leave of absence to "regain strength—emotionally, physically and spiritually," The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Sacred Mysteries: Iraq's Chaldean Christians
Bishops want recognition of Chaldeans at least as an ethnic group (Christopher Howse, The Daily Telegraph, London).

Bible wars in public schools: No truce in sight
Suggestions to alleviate the plague of lawsuits over Bible courses and clubs (Charles Haynes, First Amendment Center).

On this they do agree
Evangelicals take the lead in human-rights activism (Allen D. Hertzke, The Wall Street Journal).

School may close Chicago homeless mission
The Pacific Garden Mission has been home to legendary evangelists like Billy Sunday, a famous weekly radio drama and thousands of homeless men who are offered a meal, a bed and a prayer (Associated Press).

America obsessed with future apocalypse
There is no work in all literature that has been more misunderstood, prostituted, exploited and abused than the Bible's final book, titled simply in the Greek, "Apocalypse of John." (Tom Harpur, The Toronto Star).

Never-Ending Gardens
Bruce Wilkinson and his son teach the hungry to feed themselves. By Timothy C. Morgan.


Sterling Disagreement
Christopher Hall and John Sanders continue their debate over open theism. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

Scholar's book sees schism in Gospels
In recent years, books such as Elaine Pagels' have brought more information about the diversity of early Christianity to the public (The Miami Herald).

Hell, yes
There's more to Jonathan Edwards than "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal).

Is Jonathan Edwards history?
The contested legacy of the great Puritan—and what it tells us about religion in America today. (John Wilson, Beliefnet).

Groundbreaking Book Uncovers Bush's Beliefs
For those who might question whether the 43rd president of the United States has genuine faith, a groundbreaking new book will be full of surprises.

Apocalypse Without the Beasts
A high school teacher finds the sacred in all the "wrong places."
By Greg Taylor.


Hollywood's Luther
From 95 Theses to 112 silver-screen minutes (Thomas Hibbs, National Review Online).

Will movie spark talk of Christian values?
Would Jack Chick's views dissuade you from seeing his film or screening it for your congregation? Religious leaders respond (Los Angeles Times).

Science in the News

ASA Meeting: You are cordially invited to join ASA members and friends for the 7th meeting of the Eastern Pennsylvania Section of the American Scientific Affiliation.  Topic: Days of Creation: Why Christians disagree over the meanings of Genesis and modern science. We will be meeting at Eastern College in Saint Davids, PA on Saturday November 8, 2003 starting at 1:30 PM until 4:45 PM. Cost: $10.00 (students and spouses free) RSVP by November 6th Alan McCarrick Panelists are Paul Humber, David Wilcox, Robert Newman, Stephen Meyers, and Frank Roberts. Campus directions and map:

Free science journal hits press
New journal challenges pay-per-view science. October 10, 2003


Setting The Evolutionary Record Straight On Darwin and Hutton. Cardiff - Oct 16, 2003
Writing in this week's issue of Nature, Professor Paul Pearson relates how he discovered an account of the theory - regarded as one of the most important in the history of science – in a rare 1794 publication by geologist, James Hutton.

How the species became
One of the ironies of Charles Darwin's On The Origin of Species is that while it provides ample evidence that new species evolve from existing ones, it doesn't tell us much about how it happens. Speciation remains one of the biggest puzzles in biology. Mathematical models however, have shed new light on the problem. When applied to the "undramatic" instances of speciation, some very interesting results are produced. Far from being a surprising phenomenon, maths indicates it would be very odd if speciation did not occur. The principle is known as "symmetry-breaking". Species diverge because of an unmanageable loss of stability. (New Scientist magazine 10/11/03 subscribers)

For 30 years, it seems, researchers searching for the brain's "pleasure centre" may have missed the mark, by confusing pleasure and desire. That's the view of a group of neuroscientists who are evolving a new model of how and where pleasure is registered in the brain. The emerging theory suggests that, far from being a heady, human pursuit, pleasure may be a very simple and evolutionarily ancient invention. The role it plays in decision-making is leading some researchers to see it as a fundamental biological process that evolved long before humans did. (New Scientist magazine 10/11/03 subscribers)

Evolution: Single-gene speciation by left–right reversal Nature Oct. 16, 2003 p.679
A land-snail species of polyphyletic origin results from chirality constraints on mating.


Geneticists report finding Central Asian link to Levites
Researchers have traced the 'genetic signature' which occurs in more than half the Levites of Ashkenazi origin to Central Asia.

High-tech lasers have been used to unlock the secrets of Stonehenge.
The work at the ancient site in Wiltshire has already uncovered two carvings which are invisible to the naked eye.


China Puts Man In Orbit Joining Elite Space Club With Russia And US. Jiuquan, China (AFP) Oct 15, 2003
China Wednesday launched an astronaut into space aboard the Shenzhou V craft in a historic mission which catapults the country into an elite club alongside Russia and the United States. The Long March II F rocket carrying the capsule blasted into clear skies from the remote Gobi desert in north China's Inner Mongolia at 9:00 a.m.for a 21-hour flight that will see the craft orbit the Earth 14 times.

Leonid 2003 Will Be Weak But A Double Show.
An unusual double Leonid meteor shower is going to peak next over parts of Asia and North America. Bill Cooke of the Space Environments Group at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center explains: "Normally there's just one Leonid meteor shower each year, but this year we're going to have two: one on Nov. 13th and another on Nov. 19th."

Rocks Could Reveal Secrets Of Life On Earth - And Mars. Glasgow - Oct 13, 2003
A new UK project could help detect evidence of life on Mars and improve our understanding of how life evolved on Earth. The aim is to develop a technique that can identify biomolecules in water that have been trapped in rocks for millions to billions of years.

Live Fast, And Die Young. Boston - Oct 16, 2003
Massive stars lead short, yet spectacular lives, as a new multi-wavelength image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and optical telescopes shows. X-ray (blue) and optical (red and green) data reveal dramatic details of a portion of the Crescent Nebula, a giant gaseous shell of gas created by powerful winds blowing from the doomed massive star HD 192163.

Universe could be football-shaped
Finite cosmos may be smaller than we think. October 9, 2003.

Astronomers date Universe's 'cosmic jerk'
The point when the repulsive force of dark energy overwhelmed gravity and started the accelerating expansion seen today is revealed.

Astronomers find first 'dark galaxy'
The black cloud of hydrogen gas and exotic particles is devoid of stars, which could explain why there seem to be so few dwarf galaxies.


Teens' Diets Often Backfire.
Adolescents who dieted frequently actually gained more weight each year than other children, says new research.

Hepatitis-like drugs could treat allergies
Virus plus gene may protect against asthma. October 9, 2003

Rejection a Real Pain, Brain Study Shows
It seems the old adage about sticks, stones and hurtful words may need some revision. The results of a new study suggest that social rejection elicits a brain response similar to the one triggered by physical pain.

Popping a pill could fix gene defect
An experimental drug produces a working protein even though the gene remains defective - the approach could be an alternative to gene therapy.

Bone Marrow Fusion With Nerve Cells May Repair Damage, Stanford Researchers Say (October 16, 2003)
Bone marrow cells can fuse with specialized brain cells, possibly bolstering the brain cells or repairing damage, according to research from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

'No health benefit' from prayer
The world's largest study into the effects of prayer on patients undergoing heart surgery has found it appears to make no difference (BBC).

Earth Science

Pterosaurs Stranger Than Ever. Oct. 9, 2003
New pterosaur fossils and studies are revealing just how unusual these huge, flying reptiles from the dinosaur era were. Based on current findings, many pterosaurs, which lived on nearly every continent during the Mesozoic Era from approximately 248 million to 65 million years ago, possessed tweezer-like heads, body fur and incredibly large, varied head crests.

Bull Mastodons In Deadly Combat; Sound And Fury From Silent Bones
The American mastodon, a massive, tusk-bearing relative of elephants, inhabited much of North America until its extinction just 10,000 years ago. New studies of bone damage on fossil remains of mature mastodon males---aided by 3-D computer graphics---indicate that some died of wounds inflicted by the tusks of other males.


Einstein Got It Quite Right. Durham - Oct 16, 2003
Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity states that information cannot travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. In some highly specialized "fast-light" media, however, some experimental physicists believe they have seen light travel faster.

New Quarktet: Subatomic oddity hints at pentaparticle family.
Evidence for the second particle ever found to include five of the fundamental building blocks known as quarks and antiquarks suggests that a whole family of such so-called pentaquarks exists.

New Material Breakthrough: Super-hard Graphite Cracks Diamond.
It is hard to imagine that graphite, the soft "lead" of pencils, can be transformed into a form that competes in strength with its molecular cousin diamond.


Purple frog delights scientists.
It has to be one of the strangest looking frogs ever discovered. "It is an important discovery because it tells us something about the early evolution of advanced frogs that we would not know otherwise because there are no fossil records from this lineage," says Franky Bossuyt, of Free University of Brussels, Belgium. DNA analysis suggests the common ancestor of the animals lived 130 million years ago, when the planet's landmasses were joined together into a giant supercontinent called Gondwana. Its subsequent break-up would have sent the frogs on a diverging path of evolutionary development.

Startling Deep-sea Encounter With Rare, Massive Greenland Shark (October 16, 2003)
During a recent submersible dive 3,000 feet down in the Gulf of Maine a HARBOR BRANCH scientist and sub pilot had the first face-to-face meeting ever in the deep sea with a rare Greenland shark. The docile 15-foot creature gently rammed into the submersible's clear front sphere before turning and swimming slowly away.