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February 22, 2004
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Religion in the News
Question: Operation Evil Power
If Christ has truly defeated the powers of Satan on the Cross (Col. 2:15), why do the powers of evil effectively operate in this world? Answered by Richard B. Hays.
Is a Religious
Civil War Beginning in Iraq?
American religious group ambushed as Al Qaeda reportedly tries to ignite intra-Muslim fighting. Compiled by Ted Olsen.
Arrests Dozens of Prominent Christians
At least 50 detained in fresh crackdown on house churches, reportedly promoted by new video and book releases.
By Timothy C. Morgan with David Neff in Washington, D.C.
Staub Interview: China's Christian Syndrome
David Aikman, author of Jesus in Beijing, says in 20 years Christians could have a major impact on China, and that could change the world.
to study atheism at school
Falling church numbers prompt radical syllabus reform (The Observer, London).
consensus on marriage amendment
Even authors disagree on the meaning of its text (The Washington Post).
A German scientist says people who suffer from bad nightmares should say their prayers before going to bed (Ananova).
reworks 'Passion' to mute anti-semitism
The blood pours more freely than in any Jesus film in history, but the final cut of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" takes some care to distance Jewish people from centuries-old anti-Semitic charges of deicide (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland).
"The Da Vinci Code," the best-selling novel that asserts as fact that Jesus Christ had a daughter as well as a wife, has provoked fierce opposition from Protestants and Catholics alike (The Washington Times).
a believer, but also a doubter
Abraham Lincoln was a deeply spiritual man who never embraced organized religion (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
the Bible: A heretic's handbook
A review of Killing the Buddha by Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet (The Denver Post).
If the Bible were being compiled for the first time right now, what would we put in it? Making the case for a NEW New Revised Standard Version (Cullen Murphy, The Atlantic Monthly).
Science in the News
All the latest news from the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle, one of the largest gatherings of international scientists and reporters of the year. 12-16 February 2004.
Caught In The Act
An experiment which forced E. coli bacteria to adapt or perish showed that, in a pinch, they were capable of improvising a novel molecular tool to save their skins. "The bacteria reached for a tool that they had, and made it do something it doesn't normally do," said James Bardwell, an associate professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Michigan. "We caught evolution in the act of making a big step."
Evolution At The Crossroads: Integrating Genetics And Paleontology.
Seattle - Feb 16, 2004
Advances in genetics during the last decade not only have influenced modern medicine, they also have changed how human evolution is studied, says an anthropologist from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Researcher Offers A New Perspective On Human Evolution. NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY,
The fossil remains of early humans gave generations of scientists the clues needed to piece together much of our ancestral lineage. Chi-Hua Chiu now leads us into another dimension in the study of human origins: the underlying developmental and genetic processes that led to these remarkable evolutionary changes.
Tackles Evolutionary History's Unanswered Questions. Bloomington - Feb
The recent marriage of evolutionary biology with developmental biology has resulted in the birth of a new field, evolutionary developmental biology, or "evo-devo."
The New 'Big Tent' For Evolution's Critics. Seattle - Feb 16, 2004
Since the advent of Darwinism in the mid-19th century, a variety of movements have jousted for the intellectual high ground in the epic evolution versus creationism debate. At one end of the spectrum reside the "naturalistic evolutionists" who argue that life neither requires nor benefits from a divine creator.
Complexity is an Obstacle to Darwinism Even if Parts of a System have other
A Response to Sharon Begleys Wall Street Journal Column By: Michael J. Behe, Discovery Institute. February 18, 2004.
proposes teaching of 'intelligent design' alongside evolution
Scientists picked Darwin's birthday to announce their opposition to a bill in the Missouri House (Nixa News-Enterprise. Mo.).
'Intelligent design' theory will be heard in classroom (Mansfield News Journal, Oh.).
believes evolution makes sense
Dr. Denis O. Lamoureux is a born-again evangelical Christian. He believes that God created everything. He also happens to believe in evolution (Observer-Reporter, Washington, Pa.).
Alabama to the Grand Canyon, US battle over the Bible knows no respite
The long-running cultural war between religious conservatives and secularists may very well move from the Ten Commandments monument in Alabama to these majestic cliffs overhanging the Colorado River (AFP).
assessment of Galileo-church dispute
Rowland believes that Galileo's mistake was to insist that science -- and only science -- provides the truth about reality (The Indianapolis Star).
High life prompts
Extreme altitudes have created different coping strategies. 17 February 2004
In Worms Shows How Genes Linked To Complexity In Animals. COLUMBUS,
The evolution of a particular gene could be the reason why a certain worm might better tolerate a salty environment than its relatives, new research suggests.
The Darwin Conspiracy.
Imagine a group of evolutionists, sitting in a darkened room, busily plotting how to forge fossils and skew facts so that textbooks tilt in favor of Darwinian evolution. This conspiratorial scenario might sound far-fetched, but some anti-evolutionists are convinced it's real. Join us with guest Eugenie Scott, a physical anthropologist, CSICOP Fellow, and Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, and find out the top myths that creationists use to confuse.
ossuary leads Israel to look into sellers of antiquities
An Israeli documentary Wednesday claimed the James ossuary, the ancient burial box bearing a discredited inscription mentioning Jesus, is just the tip of a long-running forgery ring that has duped antiquities collectors worldwide for the last 15 years (USA Today).
report says 'Jesus ossuary' owner ran fraud ring
Oded Golan, who is suspected of forging the inscription "James the brother of Jesus," on a first century ossuary, worked with a ring of counterfeiters who sold dozens of forged articles to antiquities dealers and collectors, Channel 2's "Fact" program reports (Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv).
The collapse of part of Jerusalem's Western Wall during a rare snowstorm sparked a row between Jewish and Muslim clerics Sunday as one rabbi called it a miracle no worshippers were hurt. The collapse late Saturday of an 800-year-old embankment next to where Jewish women pray at the site commonly known as the "wailing wall" sent people fleeing from tumbling rocks.
To Look for Ancient Persian Army Feb. 13, 2004
Tourists traversing Egypt's desert may solve a mystery that has puzzled archaeologists for centuries: what happened to the 50,000-man Persian army of King Cambyses. Set up by tourist operator Aqua Sun Desert, the Cambyses project will comb the desert sands using four-wheel-drive vehicles packed with paying tourists eager to find the remains of the lost army swallowed in a sandstorm in 524 B.C., according to the account of the ancient Greek historian Herodotus.
row erupts over hunter-gatherer riddle.
A team of Australian archaeologists have sparked an academic row by claiming to have solved the riddle of a missing 1,000 years in human prehistory. The scientists from Melbourne's La Trobe University have found remnants of grains on the shore of the Dead Sea in Jordan that they believe help fill the 1,000-year gap in our knowledge of man's transition from nomad to farmer. But not everyone agrees, and the Australian team is now muscling up for an academic arm wrestle next month with the exponents of different theories in France.
A cup at
the end of the rainbow
The British medieval scholar Richard Barber examines how the concept of the Holy Grail evolved (The New York Times).
Hubble Team Up To Find Farthest Known Galaxy In The Universe. Kamuela
- Feb 16, 2004
A team of astronomers may have discovered the most distant galaxy in the universe. Located an estimated 13 billion light-years away, the object is being viewed at a time only 750 million years after the big bang, when the universe was barely 5 percent of its current age.
Quasars Probe End Of Cosmic Dark Ages. Tucson - Feb 16, 2004
The most distant known quasars show that some supermassive black holes formed when the universe was merely 6 percent of its current age, or about 700 million years after the big bang. How black holes of several billion solar masses formed so rapidly in the very early universe is one mystery raised by astronomers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). They have discovered 13 of the oldest, most distant quasars yet found.
Ideal Lab For Oceanography, Meteorology. Tucson - Feb 16, 2004
After a 7-year interplanetary voyage, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will reach Saturn this July and begin what promises to be one of the most exciting missions in planetary exploration history. After years of work, scientists have just completed plans for Cassini's observations of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.
Another Comet. Paris (ESA) Feb 13, 2004
Ulysses is not normally associated with the study of comets. Nonetheless, the European-built space probe demonstrated its ability as a "comet catcher" when it crossed the distant tail of comet Hyakutake (C/1996 B2) in 1996.
crystal revealed in star's heart
Although made partly of carbon, the crystal is unlike any known on Earth - but it may help improve estimates of the age of our galaxy.
1987A Has Another Burst. Baltimore - Feb 20, 2004
Since its launch in 1990, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has watched a celestial drama unfold at a stellar demolition site. A shock wave unleashed during a stellar explosion, called Supernova 1987A (SN 1987A), has been racing toward a ring of matter encircling the blast site. Astronomers used Hubble to monitor the ring for signs of the impending bombardment.
don't prove watery past
NASA probe could be walking on broken glass. 10 February 2004
Examines Trench As Spirit Prepares To Dig One. Pasadena - Feb 20, 2004
By inspecting the sides and floor of a hole it dug on Mars, NASA's Opportunity rover is finding some things it did not see beforehand, including round pebbles that are shiny and soil so fine-grained that the rover's microscope can't make out individual particles.
Silent sound zaps
Ultrasound cuts side effects when used to remove tumours. 16 February 2004
Successfully Vaccinates Some Patients Against Lung Cancer
John Nemunaitis, M.D., oncologist and researcher at the Mary Crowley Medical Research Center (MCMRC) at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, has developed a vaccine that suppresses lung cancer in some patients.
Transforms Fat Cells from Foes to Friends, Rat Study Suggests
Set against the backdrop of an increasingly overweight population, the 1994 discovery of the fat-regulating protein leptin was widely heralded as a boon for obesity research. The hormone continues to be a focus of investigation. New work suggests that increasing leptin levels in the body can fundamentally change the nature of fat cells--from idle storage containers to fat-burning machines.
Turns Mouse Stem Cells Into Heart Muscles. San Diego - Feb 18, 2004
A group of researchers from The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at The Scripps Research Institute and from the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) has identified a small synthetic molecule that can control the fate of embryonic stem cells.
Neural Aging Walks
Tall: Aerobic activity fuels elderly brains, minds.
Moderate amounts of regular walking improve brain function and attention in formerly sedentary seniors.
Clues To Long Lifespan Revealed: Findings Extend Longevity Research From
Yeast And Worms To Mammals
Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston have discovered how two key cellular influences on lifespan work together, providing insights that may help reveal aging mechanisms in humans.
Record Points To 500 Plus Undiscovered Species. St. Louis - Feb 11,
A graduate student in earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis has combed the dinosaur fossil record from T. Rex to songbirds and has compiled the first quantitative analysis of the quality and congruence of that record.
Find Is World's Oldest Insect
Researchers have identified the oldest known insect from its fossilized jaw remains. The discovery pushes back the earliest appearance of winged insects by nearly 80 million years and suggests that these creatures were among the first animals to arrive on land.
Nation Of Tuvalu Preparing To Disappear Beneath Tides This Week. AUCKLAND
(AFP) Feb 16, 2004
Weather authorities in Tuvalu warned Monday their small South Pacific nation is likely to be inundated by unusual tides later this week. Tuvalu, home to 11,500 people living on nine scattered atolls all less than 4.5 metres (15 feet) above sea level, will be hit Thursday and Friday by "king tides" associated with the new moon, Hilia Vavae of the Tuvalu Meteorological Office told AFP.
Goes Virtual. Los Angeles - Feb 16, 2004
This image uses visible and infra-red imaging to generate a three-dimensional terrain map of an area north of Mosul, Iraq where two tectonic plates are colliding. Using virtual reality, geologists can study parts of the world that are inaccessible or dangerous to visit in person. Data supplied by Eric Cowgill, Department of Geology, from NASA's TERRA satellite. (3-D visualization by Oliver Kreylos, CIPIC).
Tiniest Particles Could Have Far-Reaching Effects. Seattle - Feb 16,
Neutrinos are about the tiniest things in existence, but developing a greater understanding of what they are and how they function is likely to have a huge impact in the next few years. The subatomic particles, created in the nuclear furnaces of the sun and other stars, have no electrical charge and only recently has it been found that they have any mass at all, yet billions pour through each human body every second with no discernable effect or interaction.
Study hints that prenatal toxins can trigger psychiatric disease. 17 February 2004.
chance of divorce
Ignoring nasty comments is secret to long-lasting love. 14 February 2004.
of books to sort out love, lust
The images of love that are promoted by American culture often don't lead to happiness (The Tennessean).
Puts Hydrogen From Renewable Fuels Within Reach. Minneapolis - Feb 16,
The first reactor capable of producing hydrogen from a renewable fuel source - ethanol - efficiently enough to hold economic potential has been invented by University of Minnesota engineers. When coupled with a hydrogen fuel cell, the unit - small enough to hold in your hand - could generate one kilowatt of power, almost enough to supply an average home, the researchers said.
In Capacity, Consumption Set To Revolutionize Photonics. Seattle - Feb
For years, organic electro-optic polymers have held the promise of vastly improving technologies such as communications, data processing and image displays. Now it appears scientists are on the verge of breakthroughs that will bring dramatic progress in materials, as well as the devices in which they are used, setting the stage for a virtual revolution.
Arrays of tiny carbon rods may build tomorrow's lithium cells. 17 February 2004.
One Order of Snake
Legs, Please. University Park - Feb 11, 2004
The mystery of where Earth's first snakes lived as they were evolving into limbless creatures from their lizard ancestors has intrigued scientists for centuries. Now, the first study ever to analyze genes from all the living families of lizards has revealed that snakes made their debut on the land, not in the ocean.
at the movies
Last year's movie smash Finding Nemo impressed many marine biologists with its scientific accuracy. In this free feature, Alison Abbott meets the young expert in fish biomechanics who helped to breathe life into the film's stars.