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February 29, 2004

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New IBSS Article: The Qur’an and Science: Do They Agree?

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Religion in the News

Behind the Scenes of The Passion
Day 1: How I ended up being a surprise "consultant" on this remarkable film. By Holly McClure.

Misfires in the Tolerance Wars
Separating church and state now means separating belief and action. By Ted Olsen.

Supreme Court Clouds Church-State Rules
Plus: Didja hear Mel Gibson made a movie about Jesus? And many, many other stories from online sources around the world. Compiled by Ted Olsen.

Hindu Extremes
Congressmen appalled at religious persecution of Christians, Muslims. By Joshua Newton in Ahmedabad and Mubai.

Macedonian President, a Former Methodist Lay Minister, Dies in Plane Crash
Boris Trajkovski promoted peace in a country divided by Orthodox Christian and Muslim distrust. By Rob Moll.

What's your professor's religion? Should it matter?
The complaint sounds familiar: Why does a university whose student body is overwhelmingly Mormon have so few LDS professors? (The Salt Lake Tribune).

The Da Vinci con 
What seems increasingly clear is that ''The Da Vinci Code,'' like ''Holy Blood, Holy Grail,'' is based on a notorious hoax (Laura Miller, The New York Times Book Review).

Remembering Carl Henry, Inventor of Evangelicalism
No one was more pivotal to the emerging movement than Carl F. H.Henry. By Timothy George.

Christian History Corner: Just a Closer Walk … with the Historical Jesus
Mel Gibson's movie raises again the question: How much can we know historically about Jesus' life and times? By Chris Armstrong.

Science in the News


God Is in the Details
A scientist affirms his faith. Henry F. (Fritz) Schaefer is Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia. In 1973, as a young chemistry professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Schaefer became a Christian. Beginning in the mid-1980's and continuing to this day, he has been presenting lectures on science and Christianity at various universities throughout the United States and around the world. In this enjoyable book, Schaefer has brought together his lectures in print form. Reviewed by Jonathan C. Rienstra-Kiracofe.

National Park Service embraces creationism
Creationist book re-ordered & offered as "natural history"; Geologists rebuffed (Press release, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility).

Meteorite molecules spin sugars
Space chemicals could have given life its first twist. Chemicals brought to Earth on meteorites may have provided templates for the building blocks of life, say researchers. The idea could explain why DNA, the molecular basis of our genetic code, always curls in one direction. 20 February 2004.

Mammal mums can alter their offspring's gender
Certain mammals may change the gender of their offspring depending on which sex is more likely to do well, shows the most conclusive study so far.

Evolving Artificial DNA: for Astrobiology Magazine. Moffett Field - Feb 27, 2004
A team of University of Florida scientists has for the first time developed an artificial chemical system that can mimic the natural evolutionary process living organisms undergo.

"Voyage Inside the Cell."
View a preview of this video. 

Listen to  interviews with Norm Geisler (about inerrancy) and Vern Poythress (about the Analogical Day view of Genesis 1).

New Book: What Darwin Didn’t Know by Geoffrey Simmons, M.D.
Darwin might have thought twice about publishing his theories if he’d had access to today’s medical and microbiological discoveries. Drawing on years of research, Dr. Simmons demonstrates that the almost infinite complexity of the human anatomy simply could not have developed by chance.

New ARN Videos: Lecture and Interview with Michael G. Strauss 
Dr. Michael Strauss is respected both in the National Laboratories where he conducts research in experimental elementary particle physics, and the university classroom where he has received multiple teaching awards. In these two new ARN videos, Professor Strauss reviews the scientific evidence regarding the origin and design of the universe.

Biola Conference April 22-24: ID and the Future of Science
All of the ID Big Guns are convening in April at Biola University to discuss “ID and the Future of Science.” This promises to be another historic event with the likes of Phillip Johnson, Jonathan Wells, Michael Behe, William Dembski, David Berlinski, Paul Nelson, Stephen Meyer and many others including renown ID critics Michael Ruse and William Provine.


Early makeup kit may confirm biblical story.
Excavation: Israeli archaeologists find 2,500- year-old accessories, which likely belonged to Jews who returned from exile in Babylon. JERUSALEM -- Israeli archaeologists excavating caves near the Dead Sea discovered jewelry, a makeup kit and a small mirror -- 2,500-year-old fashion accessories for women. The trove apparently belonged to Jews who returned from exile in Babylon in the 6th century B.C., said Tsvika Tsuk, chief archaeologist for the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. "This find is very rare. Both for the richness of the find and for that period, it is almost unheard of," Tsuk said Friday.

Seafaring clue to first Americans.
People in North America were voyaging by sea some 8,000 years ago, boosting a theory that some of the continent's first settlers arrived there by boat.
The Egyptian government and IBM have launched a new feature-rich website at, where multimedia content on ancient Egyptian culture and civilization is available in English, French, and Arabic.

Prehistoric 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.

Primitive man remains from 10,000 years ago found in China.
Almost-fossilized remains, believed to belong to a primitive pithecanthropus man who lived over 10,000 years ago, have been discovered in a cave in central China's Hunan Province.

Critical Issues in Early Israelite History: Conference and Consultation. March 26-28, 2004.


Astronomers Find Nearest, Youngest Star With Dusty Debris Disk. But Are There Planets?
Astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered the nearest and youngest star with a visible disk of dust that may be a nursery for planets.

Earth sows its seeds in space
Life could be leaking out all over the cosmos. 23 February 2004.

Latest Kuiper Belt Object Could Be Biggest Yet. Pasadena - Feb 24, 2004
Planetary scientists at the California Institute of Technology and Yale University on Tuesday night discovered a new planetoid in the outer fringes of the solar system. The planetoid, currently known only as 2004 DW, could be even larger than Quaoar--the current record holder in the area known as the Kuiper Belt--and is some 4.4 billion miles from Earth.

Was Einstein Right After All. Baltimore - Feb 24, 2004
The good news from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is that Einstein was right--maybe. A strange form of energy called "dark energy" is looking a little more like the repulsive force that Einstein theorized in an attempt to balance the universe against its own gravity. Even if Einstein turns out to be wrong, the universe's dark energy probably won't destroy the universe any sooner than about 30 billion years from now, say Hubble researchers.

Spirit Rover On Its Way To Mars Crater. Washington (AFP) Feb 26, 2004
The Mars rover Spirit will go on a two-week trip through rocky terrain to reach the border of a crater named Bonneville, NASA announced Thursday. The crater is 150 meters (492 feet) long and about 15 meters (49 feet) deep and offers a window into Mars' geology, said Ray Arvidson, assistant chief of scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Interplanetary Dust Anomalies Help Explain History of Organic Matter. Livermore - Feb 27, 2004
Scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Washington University have seen carbon and nitrogen anomalies on a particle of interplanetary dust that provides a clue as to how interstellar organic matter was incorporated into the solar system.

Carbon Found To Be Older Than The Solar System

Scientists Watch 'Movie' Of Neutron Star Explosion In Real-time.
Scientists at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) and NASA have captured unprecedented details of the swirling flow of gas hovering just a few miles from the surface of a neutron star, itself a sphere only about ten miles across.


Drug may help treat SARS
Interferon helps infected monkeys breathe more easily. 23 February 2004.

Test may lower antibiotic use
New method could cut unnecessary prescriptions. 20 February 2004.

Mix Of Chemicals Plus Stress Damages Brain, Liver In Animals And Likely In Humans
Stress is a well known culprit in disease, but now researchers have shown that stress can intensify the effects of relatively safe chemicals, making them very harmful to the brain and liver in animals and likely in humans, as well.

New Findings On Memory Could Enhance Learning WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.
New research in monkeys may provide a clue about how the brain manages vast amounts of information and remembers what it needs. Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have identified brain cells that streamline and simplify sensory information – markedly reducing the brain's workload.

FDA Approves First Angiogenesis Inhibitor To Treat Colorectal Cancer
The FDA has approved Avastin (bevacizumab) as a first-line treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer -- cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

Scientists See How Placebo Effect Eases Pain
The concept of a placebo effect, by which patients get better from the mere illusion of treatment, has intrigued scientists since it was first proposed in 1955. Since then debate has centered on whether it truly exists and, if it does, how it works. The results of a new study offer fresh evidence in support of the existence of a placebo effect, and suggest how a brain influenced by this effect changes its response to pain.

Earth Science

Evidence Of A "Lost World": Antarctica Yields Two Unknown Dinosaur Species
Against incredible odds, researchers working in separate sites, thousands of miles apart in Antarctica have found what they believe are the fossilized remains of two species of dinosaurs previously unknown to science.

Astonishing Discovery Over The Amazonian Rain Forest
Isoprene, an organic compound generated in large quantities by natural vegetation, was originally thought not to be involved in producing atmospheric aerosols. It has now been found to be a potentially major player in this process.

Biosphere's lessons.
By Faye Flam / Inquirer Staff Writer Living inside the glass enclosure known as Biosphere 2 for two years wasn't easy. If its eight pioneering residents wanted pizza, they had to grow their own wheat and milk a goat for cheese. They contended with thinning air, insufficient food, constant work and, worst of all, each other. Monday, February 23, 2004 (Philadelphia Inquirer).

Mining Satellite Imagery For Gold. Las Vegas - Feb 24, 2004
United Development International has reviewed radar imagery of their recently acquired Cuyuni River Project. Interpretation indicates the presence of a huge paleochannel extending over 16 kilometers and widths of up to 2.5 kilometers which has not been previously mined.


I feel your pain
Empathy lights up the same parts of the brain as personal injury. 20 February 2004.

Grieving Children. (HealthDayNews)
When a family member dies, children react differently than adults. Some may act like nothing has changed, others may become more infantile, and certain kids will even blame themselves.