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May 2, 2004

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Religion in the News

A timely look at how faith informs Bush presidency
George W. Bush may be the most openly religious president in memory, yet Americans have been neither privy to his personal journey on the road to Damascus nor fully aware of the political implications of the scales falling from his eyes. (Boston Globe).

A Call to Respect Evangelicals Rises from U.S. News and The New York Times
Jeff Sheler returns to his old magazine, and Nicholas Kristof returns to old subject matter. Compiled by Ted Olsen.

Doubting the Doomsayers
Thank God not everything they say is true. By Philip Yancey.

Couple Charged with $5 Million Fraud Appealing to Christian Investors
Plus: Combating anti-Semitism in Europe, sharia law in Canada Compiled by Rob Moll.

Gospel pirates
Illegal downloading as a faith-based enterprise (Editorial, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

Ministers' guide on teaching religion
Atheism and other secular philosophies can be taught to children aged seven and up - if schools decide it is "appropriate", according to the first national religious education guidelines (The Journal, Newcastle, England).

Dick Staub Interview: Jerry Bridges Is Still Pursuing Holiness
After 25 years, The Pursuit of Holiness is a classic.

Christian History Corner—Mel Gibson's Next Act: "The Man of the Passion"?
Thousands want Mel to make his next movie about a famous medieval friar, St. Francis of Assisi. By Chris Armstrong. See l

Books & Culture Corner: Celebrating Faith in Writing
A dispatch from Calvin College's biennial event. By John Wilson.

The Passing of a Christian Warrior
Dr. Gleason Archer, 1916 - 2004. On April 27, longtime Trinity Evangelical Divinity School professor, Dr. Gleason Archer, went to be with the Lord. He was one of the great men raised up by God in the past century to defend the truthfulness of the Bible.

Science in the News


Expedition will seek to find Noah's ark
An expedition is being planned for this summer to the upper reaches of Turkey's Mount Ararat where organizers hope to prove an object nestled amid the snow and ice is Noah's Ark (Associated Press) See also

Rush to Judgment?
Israel Antiquities Authority's 'findings' bother many archaeologists. By Gordon Govier.

Surprisingly rapid growth in Neanderthals 

Charred remains may be earliest human fires.
Archaeologists in Israel may have unearthed the oldest evidence of fire use by our ancestors. The site, on the banks of the Jordan River, dates to about 790,000 years ago.

Best of Egypt: Recent Discoveries and More
Who built the pyramids? What’s inside? Get the answers and our latest Egypt news stories.

Maya “Masterpiece” Uncovered in Guatemala
Find out how archaeologists suffered death threats and recently unearthed what they say is one of the greatest Maya treasures ever found.


NASA Considering Various Hubble Service Options. Washington (UPI) April 26,2004
A review of more than two dozen ideas for robotic servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope has identified several promising concepts that may be pursued by NASA before the end of the year, the space agency's space chief scientist told United Press International.

Scientists Announce Cosmic Ray Theory Breakthrough Los Alamos (SPX) Apr 30, 2004
University of California scientists working at Los Alamos National Laboratory have proposed a new theory to explain the movement of vast energy fields in giant radio galaxies (GRGs). The theory could be the basis for a whole new understanding of the ways in which cosmic rays - and their signature radio waves - propagate and travel through intergalactic space.

Martian Water Science Early 2004 Mountain View CA - Apr 27, 2004
In part two of our report on NASA's Third Astrobiology Science Conference, we detour to a press conference held separately the last day of the conference that revealed the Gusev landing site of the first MER rover, "Spirit" was at last starting to show evidence of an aqueous past after all. Relating this announcement to specific papers presented at the conference, Bruce Moomaw explains how the story of Mars is getting more complicated with each new mission to Mars.

Expert Predicts Global Climate Change On Jupiter As It's Spots Disappear. San Francisco - Apr 26, 2004
If a University of California, Berkeley, physicist's vision of Jupiter is correct, the giant planet will be in for a major global temperature shift over the next decade as most of its large vortices disappear.

Two Comets Glow In Morning Sky. Los Angeles - Apr 28, 2004
Seven years have passed since Comet Hale-Bopp graced the evening sky in the spring of 1997. Now not just one but two new comets are heading into springtime view -- though they won't come near Hale-Bopp for brightness and grandeur.

Molecular rings could shelter Venus bugs
The idea that microbes live in the planet's clouds is controversial, but scientists can now explain how they might avoid the Sun's damaging UV light.

The Physics Of Extra-Terrestrial Civilizations Moffett Field - Apr 27, 2004
To consider habitable worlds, advanced civilizations, and how to find and classify them, Astrobiology Magazine had the chance to discover from Dr. Michio Kaku that the laws of physics has much to say about such possibilities--at least much more than where you might expect speculation to lead you from our tiny corner of the universe.

An Immersive Planetarium. Houston - Apr 27, 2004
Researchers from the Rice Space Institute, in partnership the Houston Museum of Natural Science, are leading a NASA-funded project to develop portable technology that will allow exciting new "fully immersive" planetarium programs to be shown across the country inside inflatable, classroom-sized domes.


Fatherless Mice Created in Lab
Men--who needs them? The sentiment has been voiced by countless lovelorn women, but from a reproductive standpoint, we mammals need males a great deal. Many plants and lower animals, such as insects and reptiles, can reproduce asexually using only maternal DNA through a process termed parthenogenesis. This mechanism does not occur naturally in mammals, and researchers have long been unable to induce it in the laboratory. Now scientists report having created the first fatherless mice, one of which has survived to adulthood and given birth to her own young.

Cloned Cows Manufacture Cancer Treatment
The products most closely associated with cows are milk and beef. But European scientists say that the animals can be bred to generate antitumor drugs. The findings could lead to a novel way of manufacturing antibodies for tumor therapy on a large scale.

Bone marrow stem cells help mend broken hearts
Human trials yield promising results 27 April 2004.

Alzheimer's gene therapy trial shows early promise
Injecting genetically modified skin cells directly into a severely affected part of the brain markedly reduces the decline in patients.

Spinach pigments proposed as blindness cure
Adding the light-absorbing proteins to nerve cells in the retina could make them fire when struck by light.

Researchers Describe Long-perplexing 'Magic Spot' On Bacteria
Scientists have unraveled the behavior of one key component of bacteria, a finding that may lead to better, more effective antibiotics.

Web Site Logs 20,000 Human Genes. April 20, 2004
A detailed functional map of more than 20,000 human genes has been published on the Internet by an international research team.


The Myth of the Beginning of Time
Was the big bang really the beginning of time? Or did the universe exist before then? Such a question seemed almost blasphemous only a decade ago. Most cosmologists insisted that it simply made no sense--that to contemplate a time before the big bang was like asking for directions to a place north of the North Pole. But developments in theoretical physics, especially the rise of string theory, have changed their perspective. The pre-bang universe has become the latest frontier of cosmology.

Mineral brew grows 'cells'
A mixture of simple chemicals produces fungus-like structure. It is an experiment you could do in a school chemistry lab. But it produces weird growths that, although made purely from inorganic materials, share some of the characteristics of living organisms.

New Clues To Origin Of Life. Edmonton - Apr 26, 2004
A new discovery of microbial activity in 3.5 billion-year-old volcanic rock and one of earth's earliest signs of geological existence sheds new light on the antiquity of life, says University of Alberta researchers who are part of a team that made the groundbreaking finding.

Multinational Team of Scientists Finds Early Life in Volcanic Lava. San Diego - Apr 26, 2004
Scientists from the United States, Norway, Canada, and South Africa have identified what is believed to be evidence of one of Earth's earliest forms of life, a finding that could factor heavily into discussions of the origins of life.

Ancient Pebbles Provide New Details About Primeval Atmosphere. Stanford - Apr 26, 2004
Analysis of 3.2-billion-year-old pebbles has yielded perhaps the oldest geological evidence of Earth's ancient atmosphere and climate.  The findings, published in the April 15 issue of the journal Nature, indicate that carbon dioxide levels in the early atmosphere were substantially above those that exist today and above those predicted by other models of the early Earth.

Technique Plucks Rapidly Evolving Genes From A Pathogen's Genome. Berkeley
A quick new technique able to identify genes that evolve rapidly as well as those that change slowly already has pinpointed new targets for researchers developing drugs against tuberculosis and malaria, and it could do the same for other infectious diseases, according to a paper in this week's Nature.

Spontaneous Generation and the Origin of Life.
Creationists often claim that Louis Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation and hence any naturalistic origin of life. This article shows what Pasteur really demonstrated and gives a history of the subject from early ideas of spontaneous generation to modern ideas about the origin of life.

Genetic Algorithms and Evolutionary Computation.
Creationists often argue that evolutionary processes cannot create new information, or that evolution has no practical benefits. This article disproves those claims by describing the explosive growth and widespread applications of genetic algorithms, a computing technique based on principles of biological evolution.

Reading Between the Fossil Lines, by Gleason Archer
One of the most frequently argued objections to the trustworthiness of Scripture is found in the apparent discrepancy between the account of creation given in Genesis 1 and the supposed evidence from the fossils and fissionable minerals in the geological strata that indicated Earth is billions of years old. But this conflict between Genesis 1 and the factual data of science is only apparent, not real.

Darwin-Free Fun for Creationists.
Dinosaur Adventure Land, a creationist theme park and museum run by Kent Hovind.

No Evolution: Controversy erupted in Italy after a revised national middle school curriculum, released on February 19, 2004, was found to make no mention of evolutionary theory.

NCSE executive director Eugenie C. Scott's new book Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction is scheduled for publication in July 2004.

Reflections on the ID Conference at Biola April 26, 2004 Commentary
The 2004 ID Conference at Biola University was a rare opportunity to hear from and personally meet with many of the brilliant scholars who are prominent in the ID movement.

Science and Religion in Context
Metanexus Institute announces its 2004 annual conference "Science and Religion in Context" to be held on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, June 5-9, 2004.

Earth Science

Did dinosaurs lack daughters?
See-sawing climate may have fatally unbalanced ratio. 23 April 2004.

Supercontinent's Breakup Plunged Ancient Earth Into Big Chill. Gainesville FL (SPX) Apr 29, 2004
The breakup of the world's original supercontinent, coupled with the breakdown of massive amounts of volcanic rock, plunged Earth into the deepest freeze it has ever experienced, new research shows.

NASA Arctic Sea Ice Study May Stir Up Climate Models. Pasadena - Apr 26, 2004
Contrary to historical observations, sea ice in the high Arctic undergoes very small, back and forth movements twice a day, even in the dead of winter.  It was once believed ice deformation at such a scale was almost non-existent.

Fertilising the sea could combat global warming
Iron soaks up carbon in Southern Ocean trial. Dumping iron sulphate in the ocean to cause plankton blooms might not seem an eco-friendly way to tackle global warming. But, according to the most extended trial of the technique so far, it could prove an effective one. 22 April 2004.


Proof Of The Matter Is In The Jelly. Durham - Apr 28, 2004
In the community of very tiny particles that make up all matter in the universe, there are two main citizens: bosons and fermions. Bosons are socially oriented and tend to stick together, while fermions are solitary entities, preferring to go it alone.

Gravity Probe B Powered Up And OK. Huntsville - Apr 26, 2004
Gravity Probe B — a NASA mission to test two predictions of Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity — is orbiting 400 miles above Earth, and all spacecraft systems are performing well.  Its solar arrays are generating power, and all electrical systems are powered on.

Scientists Post A Lower Speed Limit For Magnetic Switching.


Cravings reduced in rehab rats
Discovery might help cocaine addicts kick the habit. 22 April 2004.

Alcohol patch trials planned
Drug could help curb excess drinking. 20 April 2004.


Nanotube Transistors Could Lead To Better Phones, Faster Computers. Washington - Apr 28, 2004
Scientists have demonstrated, for the first time, that transistors made from single-walled carbon nanotubes can operate at extremely fast microwave frequencies, opening up the potential for better cell phones and much faster computers, perhaps as much as 1,000 times faster.