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October 5, 2003

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News Clippings From Around the World

Don't Forget Triassic Park Work Day
We have set aside Saturday October 18, 2003 as a work day at Triassic Park in St. Peters, PA. Everyone that wants to help out is welcome to come and lean a hand. We want to put up some fence, put down some gravel, clear some brush, knock down some blocks, and pick up trash. If it rains, we will postpone it until October 25, 2003. Bring some work gloves. Come any time between 11 AM and 5 PM. See for directions. If you might be able to help you can send us an e-mail at

French Creek Mines
The Institute for Biblical and Scientific Studies, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, still has a great opportunity to save the French Creek Mines in St. Peters, PA from destruction by land developers. The French Creek Mines are famous for their unusual mineral specimens. We want to preserve and restore the mines. The mine shaft itself would remain buried. We would like to restore the old railroad station as a museum with mineral displays from these mines. The cost of the property is $85,000. We can obtain half of this money with easement grants, but we still need to raise at least another $40,000 before the property is sold to others. There may be some that could give a donation for a tax write off to help us save the mine, or could loan us some money. If you know anyone that might be interested in helping us out financially to save the French Creek Mines, please let me know. You can contact Dr. Meyers by e-mail at Pictures of the mines are at

Religion in the News

John Paul II announces 31 new cardinals
The 'princes of the church' are named earlier than expected, raising more questions about the 83-year-old pope's health (Los Angeles Times).

Holy Marriage
How it ravishes our souls. An exclusive excerpt from Philip Yancey's Rumors of Another World.

The Dick Staub Interview: Philip Yancey, the Rumor-Monger
The author's latest is written not for Christians, but for those on the "borderlands of belief."

The Good Effects of the Good News
A convert from Islam answers critics hostile to the Christian mission. Jonathan Bonk reviews Lamin Sanneh's Whose Religion Is Christianity?

The Defender of the Good News: Questioning Lamin Sanneh
The Yale historian and missiologist talks about his conversion, Muslim-Christian relations, Anglican troubles, and the future of Christianity. Interviewed by Jonathan J. Bonk.

Disciples of Christ leader busted for "borrowing liberally" from Lew Smedes, Baltimore Sun
Speaking of 9/11 rememberances, The Washington Post reports that Chalice Press has withdrawn its book on the tragedy: Shaken Foundations: Sermons From America's Pulpits After the Terrorist Attacks. Disciples World, a magazine of the Disciples of Christ denomination, found that more than half of one of its chapters was lifted without attribution from How Can It Be All Right When Everything Is All Wrong?, a 1982 book from the late Lew Smedes. The rest of it, it turns out, was largely culled from a Baltimore Sun article.

Church-and-state standoffs spread over USA
From Winder, Ga., to Everett, Wash., Americans are squaring off in courthouses, classrooms and city halls over religious monuments in government buildings and parks (USA Today).

Campus Collisions
Why InterVarsity Christian Fellowship was "derecognized" at some of America's leading universities. By Andy Crouch.

Promise Keepers' VP ascends to presidency
Thomas Fortson, a former General Motors executive who has served as a Promise Keepers executive vice president through seven tumultuous years, was named Wednesday as president of the Denver-based Christian men's movement.

A film of biblical proportions
Controversial evangelical cartoonist Jack Chick makes film debut with "The Light of the World." (Rancho Cucamonga Voice, Calif.). I use to love to read Chick tracts, but sadly, much of the information in the tracts is not true.

Science in the News


The Drake Equation Revisited: Part I. Moffett Field - Sep 30, 2003
The Drake equation was developed as a means of predicting the likelihood of detecting other intelligent civilizations in our galaxy. At the NASA forum, Frank Drake, who formulated the equation 42 years ago, moderated a debate between paleontologist Peter Ward, co-author of the book Rare Earth, and astronomer David Grinspoon, author of the forthcoming book Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life.

ICR and Master Books have just announced the publication of a new edition of The Biblical Basis for Modern Science, by Dr. Henry Morris, updated and enlarged from the original edition published in 1984. That first edition proved popular as a textbook and general reference book on Bible-science relations, with approximately 120,000 hardback copies in use. So far as known, it is the only book with comprehensive chapters on the relation of the Bible to each of the major sciences (biology, geology, astronomy, ethnology, etc.—fourteen in all), plus six appendices, nine tables, an extensive bibliography, and three indexes. This edition contains 480 pages and 33 illustrations. In its new paperback format, the price is only $13.99. The book can be purchased through ICR's online store. For my review of his book see //

How did freshwater and saltwater fish survive the Flood?
By Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland, Ed. Don Batten. "This suggests that the ability to tolerate large changes in salinity was present in most fish at the time of the Flood.  Specialization, through natural selection, may have resulted in the loss of this ability in many species since then."

An Index to Creationist Claims.
A collection of creationist claims which aims to be comprehensive. It includes brief rebuttals and, in many cases, pointers to more information.

The Quote Mine Project: Or, Lies, and Quote Mines.
The collecting of quotes to attack evolution is often called "quote mining" and is a very common tactic used by those who wish to deny evolution or modern evolutionary biology. A creationist on the newsgroup posted a large collection of such quotes which he copied from a creationist website. This resulted in other participants looking up those quotes. The results, gathered in the Quote Mine Project, show that many of the quotes are blatantly out-of-context.

Unintelligent designs on academic freedom
The academic freedom that so incensed Bill Buckley as a student at Yale decades ago is now acting to protect a conservative scholar under fire at Baylor U. (The American Spectator).

Yellowstone Microbes Tapped To Settle Species Question (September 29, 2003) — Whether microbes--the little guys of the planet--belong to one big gene pool or to numerous smaller, discrete ones doesn't sound like the stuff of controversy. But among the microbiologists of the world, the issue is big enough that the National Science Foundation has put up $5-million to try to settle the question using microbes in Yellowstone National Park.

What Are The Chances? Mathematician Solves Evolutionary Mystery (September 29, 2003)
For the last two years, Iosif Pinelis, a professor of mathematical sciences at Michigan Technological University, has been working on a mathematical solution to a challenging biological puzzle first posed in the journal "Statistical Science"*: Why is the typical evolutionary tree so lopsided?


Date of the Exodus:
Recent  research has identified Kadesh-Barnea with Tel Masos in the Northern Negev. This CONFIRMS the Exodus' Kadesh Barnea is a Late 13th or early 12th Century BCE settlement.

On The Antiquity Of Pots: New Method Developed For Dating Archaeological Pottery (September 30, 2003)
The contents of ancient pottery could help archaeologists resolve some longstanding disputes in the world of antiquities, thanks to scientists at Britain's University of Bristol. The researchers have developed the first direct method for dating pottery by examining animal fats preserved inside the ceramic walls.

Spy Tales
Rose Mary Sheldon
Meet the James Bonds of the biblical world, the secret agents who scouted out the Holy Land, sought breaches in Canannite defenses, and single-handedly brought down evil enemy empires.

Who Wrote Second Isaiah?
William H.C. Propp
Scholars have long suspected that two different authors, living 200 years apart, produced the Book of Isaiah. The first tells us his name is Isaiah. Might the second author have embedded his name in his his text, too?

The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls
by James C. VanderKam and Peter Flint review by Sidnie White Crawford.

National Geographic: Treasures of Egypt.

Early Andean Cultures Part Of Intensive Silver Industry; New Evidence Suggests Major Metallurgy Took Place Earlier Than Originally Believed (September 29, 2003)
The examination of sediments from the Bolivian Andes suggests that ores were actively smelted earlier than originally thought--providing evidence for a major pre-Incan silver industry, says a University of Alberta professor, part of a team which conducted the research.


Light shed on dark matter
The outstanding mystery of modern astronomy may finally have been solved. Researchers believe they may have discovered the identity of the Universe's mysterious dark matter - the matter which cannot be seen as it emits no electromagnetic radiation but must outweigh visible matter by at least a factor of seven. The researchers believe that gamma rays coming from the centre of our galaxy carry the hall marks of these ghostly particles.

What's the Moon Made Of? Oct. 1, 2003
Space researchers have used invisible X-rays, reflecting off the surface of the moon, to find out what our nearest solar neighbor is made of and how it was formed. The research, done at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., found oxygen, magnesium, aluminum and silicon present over a large area of the Moon's surface.

MSSS Adds Another 10,000 Surveyor Images To Database. San Diego - Oct 01, 2003 - Thousands of newly released portraits of Martian landscapes from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft testify to the diversity of ways geological processes have sculpted the surface of our neighboring planet.

Age of the Universe:
"Astronomers have just developed and applied another independent tool for measuring the cosmic expansion rate and age of the universe, and it yields the same results as all the previously employed methods: a cosmic age of 13.7 billion years. This finding adds further confirmation to the idea that the expansion rate of the universe is controlled by multiple factors, and corroborates the “big bang” model, which is consistent with the biblical account that a transcendent Creator is responsible for the creation of the universe." (Reasons to Believe) Raul Jimenez, et al., “Constraints on the Equation of State of Dark Energy and the Hubble Constant from Stellar Ages and the Cosmic Microwave Background,” Astrophysical Journal 593 (August 20, 2003), 622-29.


Drug produces faster healing and fewer scars
If clinical trials are successful, the drug could routinely be used to prevent scarring after surgery or following serious accidents.

SARS Virus Can Change Quickly And Unpredictably, Analysis Indicates
The SARS virus is capable of changing rapidly and unpredictably, which could present serious challenges for managing the disease.

Purdue Biologists' Spotlight Solves Mysteries Of Photosynthesis, Metabolism
A complete molecular-scale picture of how plants convert sunlight to chemical energy has been obtained at Purdue University.

New Insight Into Heart Failure Suggests Novel Drug Target (October 2, 2003)
By disrupting the activity of a single heart protein, Duke University Medical Center researchers eased heart failure significantly in mice with chronic high blood pressure. The finding provides new insight into the root causes of the progressive decline in cardiac function that is heart failure and suggests a novel method to prevent the deterioration.

White Blood Cell Plays Key Role In Body's Excessive Repair Response To Asthma (October 2, 2003)
Researchers in London and Montreal report that they have discovered an important link in the development of the body's response to allergic asthma. They have found that one type of white blood cell, an eosinophil, which was known to cause inflammation of lung airways, is also responsible for driving the process which leads to an excessive 'repair response' by the body.

Study Shows Link Between Antibiotics And Allergies, Asthma (October 1, 2003)
Children who receive antibiotics within their first six months of birth increase their risk of developing by age 7 allergies to pets, ragweed, grass and dust mites and asthma, according to study conducted at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Salk Researcher Provides New View On How The Brain Functions (October 2, 2003)
Scientists are developing a new paradigm for how the brain functions. They propose that the brain is not a huge fixed network, as had been previously thought, but a dynamic, changing network that adapts continuously to meet the demands of communication and computational needs.

Earth Science

Prehistoric Sea Creature Discovered. Sept. 29, 2003
British and Canadian scientists have discovered the unique fossil of a prehistoric sea creature with eyes raised like "twin towers," they reported in the latest issue of the journal Science. Living on the sea floor some 400 million years ago in what is now Morocco, the hard shelled, many legged animal is the only known complete specimen of the phacopoid trilobite Erbenochile.

North vs. Northwest: Lewis and Clark diaries provide directional clue:
Observations from the Lewis and Clark expedition may offer insight into Earth's magnetic field.

Ecosystem Changes In Polar Regions Linked To Solar Variability. Livermore - Sep 29, 2003
A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist, in collaboration with an international team of colleagues, has reported that noticeable changes in the sub-polar climate and ecosystems appear to be linked to variations in the sun's intensity during the past 12,000 years.

Plants detonated Cambrian explosion
Global cooling may have allowed complex animals to flourish.


Biological Basis For Creativity Linked To Mental Illness (October 1, 2003)
Psychologists from the University of Toronto and Harvard University have identified one of the biological bases of creativity. The study in the September issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says the brains of creative people appear to be more open to incoming stimuli from the surrounding environment.

Stanford Research Finds Gene Variations That Alter Antidepressant Side Effects (September 30, 2003)
Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center have identified a genetic marker that can explain why some people experience side effects to common antidepressants while others do not. They also found that a key liver enzyme involved in breaking down these antidepressants surprisingly played no role in the development of side effects nor in how well the drugs worked.


Advanced chip opens door to software choice
A computer chip designed to run more than one operating system at a time could break Microsoft's stranglehold on PC software.

Lasers Create New Possibilities For Biological Technology
A team of researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder has taken another step in the quest to build a compact, tabletop x-ray microscope that could be used for biological imaging at super-high resolution.

Hot Crystal: Lightbulbs and a radiation law may never be the same.
In seeming violation of one of the laws of physics, a new type of metal microstructure promises to lead to far more efficient incandescent light bulbs and also to boost the development of light-based microcircuits and heat-to-electricity generators.