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Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies

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February 21, 2005

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Religion in the News

Voting Against Anarchy
The greatest threat to liberty in Iraq is not international terrorism.

Scholars examine the humorous side of the Bible
Theology and Christian literature scholars gathering in Turin say the Old and New Testaments are riddled with humorous references and they are holding a three-day congress aiming to set the record straight (PA, U.K.)

Michael Marcavage becomes just another guy with a bullhorn
"We are one of the very few countries that protect unpopular speech," Pennsylvania Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe declared today in dismissing charges against Repent America founder Michael Marcavage and three others accused of "ethnic intimidation," riot, and criminal conspiracy.

Robertson: GOP must push judges through
Evangelist Pat Robertson indicated Tuesday that if Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist expects backing of religious conservatives for a possible 2008 presidential bid, he had better get President Bush's judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate, or at least voted on. (Associated Press)

Christian broadcasters convene, revel in Bush victory
With millions of religious Americans pivotal in returning President Bush to the White House, Christian broadcasters gathered for their annual convention this week are loudly claiming credit for being the high-tech shepherds to that politically potent flock. (The New York Sun)

Dean Vows to Reach Evangelicals as Democratic Leader
But many are waiting to see if the DNC walk matches their talk. By Tony Carnes in Washington

Don't Bury Baylor
Sloan's resignation doesn't mean secularism won the day. By Steve Moore

Former Muslim to head seminary
The Rev. Jerry Falwell has named Ergun Caner, a converted Sunni Muslim, to head the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary at Liberty University (The News & Advance, Lynchburg, Va.)

DA: No charges at Peak to Peak
A mother said her eighth-grade daughter, who no longer attends Peak to Peak charter school, tried to kill herself as a way to escape religious bullying on the part of fundamentalist Christian classmates (Daily Times-Call, Longmont, Co.)

Va. school board okays keeping Bible classes
Public elementary schools will continue to allow Bible classes during class time while the local school board conducts a one-year review to determine if criticism of the practice by some parents is valid (Associated Press)

Hollywood touts divine with upcoming films
Constantine, Because of Winn-Dixie attract evangelicals (Pasadena Star-News, Ca.)

Not a Tame Lion
An engaging theologian questions the Jesus of modern scholars. Reviewed by Jeremy Lott.

A powerful Pentateuch
Robert Alter's wonderful new translation and accompanying commentary to the Pentateuch, the Five Books of Moses or Jewish Torah, is in a class by itself (The Washington Times)

Bible translation stirs gender debate
The release of a new Bible translation this week pushes to the forefront a hair-splitting debate among evangelical Christians. Depending on whom you ask, the Today's New International Version Bible is either a way to connect with a new generation or a paean to the feminist agenda (The Dallas Morning News)

Science in the News


Archaeologist unearths Biblical controversy
A Canadian researcher has found evidence (a fortress) confirming the Biblical dates for the kingdom of Edom, contradicting widespread academic belief that it did not come into being until 200 years later.

The Mystery of Antiquities
Ossuary owner charged with forgery. By Gordon Govier.

Has the tomb of Gilgamesh been found?
Archaeologists in Iraq believe they may have found the lost tomb of King Gilgamesh - the subject of the oldest "book" in history.

Fossil Reanalysis Pushes Back Origin of Homo sapiens
A new analysis of human remains first discovered in 1967 suggests that they are in fact much older than previously believed. The results, published today in the journal Nature, push back the emergence of our species by nearly 35,000 years. 


'Pack ice' suggests frozen sea on Mars
An 800-kilometre-wide sea, surviving as broken plates, appears to lie just beneath the surface in observations from the Mars Express spacecraft. The sea is just 5 degrees north of the Martian equator and would be the first discovery of a large body of water outside the planet's polar ice caps.

Misconceptions about the Big Bang
Was it a colossal explosion? Can galaxies recede faster than light? How large is the observable universe? Even astronomers frequently get the answers wrong.

Brightest Explosion Ever Observed Overwhelms Telescopes Southampton, UK (SPX) Feb 18, 2005
Scientists have detected a flash of light from across the Galaxy so powerful that it bounced off the Moon and lit up the Earth's upper atmosphere.

Shuttle Discovery To Launch May 15: NASA Washington (AFP) Feb 19, 2005
NASA will launch space shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station in May, and Atlantis will make the flight in July, the US space agency said, firming up plans for the resumption of space shuttle flights more than two years after the Columbia disaster. fullstory at

Saturn's Moons Titan And Enceladus Seen By Cassini Pasadena (JPL) Feb 18, 2005
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has had a busy week, snapping stunning new images of two of Saturn's moons -- smoggy Titan on Feb. 15 and wrinkled Enceladus on Feb. 16.

Planets Galore: 12 New Discoveries Announced Pasadena CA (JPL) Feb 17, 2005
The past four weeks have been heady ones in the planet-finding world: Three teams of astronomers announced the discovery of 12 previously unknown worlds, bringing the total count of planets outside our solar system to 145.

First Critical Parts Of Giant Neutrino Telescope In Place Madison WI (SPX) Feb 16, 2005
Working under harsh Antarctic conditions, an international team of scientists, engineers and technicians has set in place the first critical elements of a massive neutrino telescope at the South Pole.


Alive! The race to create life from scratch: What are the ingredients needed to create life? Meet the people who claim they are about to find out.
YOU might think Norman Packard is playing God. Or you might see him as the ultimate entrepreneur. As founder and CEO of Venice-based company ProtoLife, Packard is one of the leaders of an ambitious project that has in its sights the lofty goal of life itself. His team is attempting what no one else has done before: to create a new form of living being from non-living chemicals in the lab.

Dose of spirituality has healthful effect
A variety of studies suggest that emotional happiness, including the kind often found among members of spiritual and religious communities, bolsters the immune system against the flu, colds, and other illnesses (The Boston Globe)

Bigger brains aren’t always better.

Potatoes Deliver Hepatitis Vaccine in Human Trials.

Gene therapy is first deafness 'cure'
The procedure caused the regrowth of crucial inner-ear hair cells in guinea pigs, raising hopes that it may one day work in people.

How old cells can regain youth
Researchers find a youthful environment invigorates regeneration in old tissue (Laura M Hrastar)


The Fossil Fallacy
The fossil fallacy and the nature of scientific proof.

Anthropologist resigns in 'dating disaster.'

God and evolution
Modern science is turning up a possible reason why the religious right is flourishing and secular liberals aren't: instinct (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)

Signs of intelligent design emerging.

Walt Brown's hydroplate theory.

The Wichita Eagle's story about the Kansas board's resolution.

'Intelligent design' flap inspires school board campaigns
Two Dover Area School District board members who have resigned in protest of the policy say they plan to circulate nominating petitions for the May 17 primary election. A plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against the district is also expected to make a bid for the board. (Associated Press)

Evolution revolution
Scientists and educators fear conservative political muscle could force religious ideology into public-school classrooms. (Tucson Weekly)

Key National Figures to Debate Intelligent Design at Elizabethtown College
Intelligent design theory has received extensive national media coverage because of actions taken by the Dover (Pa.) School District and subsequent federal lawsuit by parents. Elizabethtown College is sponsoring a series of debates that will feature national key figures involved in the case. See also Key National Figures to Debate Intelligent Design.

War between religion and science is not inevitable
It's possible to be Darwinian and still believe in design (Leo Sandon, The Tallahassee Democrat, Fla.)

Researcher claims bias by Smithsonian
A former editor of a scientific journal has filed a complaint against the Smithsonian Institution, charging that he was discriminated against on the basis of perceived religious and political beliefs because of an article he published that challenged the Darwinian theory of evolution (The Washington Times)

Scientists document complex genomic events leading to the birth of new genes HEIDELBERG, Germany, Mon., February 14, 2005
A team of scientists led by Peer Bork, Ph.D., Senior Bioinformatics Scientist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, report today in the journal Genome Research that they have identified a new primate-specific gene family that spans about 10% of human chromosome 2. Comprised of eight family members, the RGP gene cluster may help to explain what sets apart humans and other primates from the rest of the animal kingdom.

Earth Science

How Did Humans First Alter Global Climate?
A bold hypothesis suggests that our ancestors' farming practices started warming the earth thousands of years before industrial society did.

A Revolution In Oceanic Exploration Reveals An "Alien" World On Earth Washington DC (SPX) Feb 21, 2005
Scientists can now visualize the ocean floor in remote areas of the Arctic, observe rockfish hideouts, and see live images of coral cities thousands of meters under the sea's surface. Soon their robots will be able to "live" on the bottom of the ocean - monitoring everything from signs of tsunamis to the effects of deep sea drilling.

Ancient Tsunami Jumbled Fossil Record? Feb. 16, 2005
Flash flooding tsunami waters, following a massive meteor impact in the Gulf of Mexico, may have messed up the geological record 65 million years ago, say New Mexican and Mexican geologists. 


Back to Square One
Government review repeats cold fusion conclusions.


Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth
Boosting people's sense of self-worth has become a national preoccupation. Yet surprisingly, research shows that such efforts are of little value in fostering academic progress or preventing undesirable behavior.

Study Shows Like Personalities Lead to Marriage Satisfaction
If you're wondering whether a new mate is marriage material, the results of a new study hint that you're better off looking for a bird of the same feather instead of waiting for an opposite to attract.


On the Road to Fuel-Cell Cars
Automakers are developing fleets of clean hydrogen-powered cars, but basic technical and market obstacles will keep them out of dealer showrooms for years. 


Endangered Wild Equids
After admiring equids for thousands of years, humans may be driving the last populations of wild zebra, asses and horses to extinction.