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Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies

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July 20, 2005

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ASA Meeting

The 60th Annual Meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation. Messiah College Grantham, Pennsylvania, August 5-8, 2005.  The meeting is coming up fast. On Sunday, August 7th from 1:30 to 4:30 there is a special symposium on the "Models of Creation: Intelligent Design and Evolution in the Hostetter Chapel. The participants are William Dembski, Loren Haarsma, Keith Miller, John Bracht, Darrell Falk, and Richard Steinberg. Q & A from 5 to 6.

New Biblical Recreations from the IBSS Gift Shop!

I have been busy making molds and casts. Here are some new inscriptions related to the Bible: The Tel Dan inscription that mentions the "house of David," see Tel Dan Inscription Recreation, the Gezer Calendar from the time of Solomon, see Gezer Calendar Recreation, the ivory pomegranate from Solomon's Temple, see Ivory Pomegranate Recreation, and Bullae from the Kings of Judah, see Biblical Bullae: Kings of Judah and the Siloam Inscription, see Hezekiah's Tunnel Inscription.

Religion in the News

Largest Church in America?
After $95 million in renovations, Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church opened this weekend with four packed services in the 16,000-seat former Compaq Center. Member Patricia Davis said she once saw ZZ Top perform in the stadium. "I was saved from that," she told The New York Times. Now, "With the waterfalls," she says, "this really feels like a sanctuary."

The violence that lies in every ideology
Like most beliefs, Islam is a religion of peace that has to accept that it can also breed terror. All major faiths are the same. They can all offer help for different needs and agendas. Think of the muscular Christianity of imperialist, Victorian Britain (or, indeed, of contemporary America) or Hinduism's lunatic fringe. In Sri Lanka, even smiley, happy Buddhism has exacerbated one of the most vicious civil conflicts of our time. (The Observer, UK)

New Muslim at 15, terror suspect at 19
When Germaine Lindsay, the 19-year-old man suspected of blowing up a subway train at Russell Square, took hold of Islam four years ago, he did so zealously, his friends say. (The New York Times)

Christian Accused Of Burning Quran
Police have arrested Pakistani Christian Yousaf Masih after complaints he burned pages from the Quran. Insulting the Quran, Islam, or the Prophet Muhammad can be punishable with death under Pakistan's blasphemy laws. (The Ledger, Fla.)

Unraveling the mystery of what is Scientology
Because of Tom Cruise, a lot more people are asking about Scientology. (New Haven Register, Conn.) See also CT Classic: Scientology: Religion or Racket?

Take a Pass on Yoga
How can I support a practice that is targeting the young and the weak? by Holly Vicente Robaina.

Harry Beasts
The animal symbols in Potterdom are powerful pointers to Christian reality. An excerpt from John Granger's Looking for God in Harry Potter.

Harry Potter and the Pope
Pope Benedict XVI has taken aim at an unlikely target: Harry Potter. The pope has condemned the children's books as "subtle seductions" that have the potential to corrupt young Christians. (The Day, New London, Conn.)

African church plans 'Christian Disneyland'
Tiny Floyd, Texas, reluctant home of global mission. (The Dallas Morning News)

Breaking The Da Vinci Code
So the divine Jesus and infallible Word emerged out of a fourth-century power-play? Get real.  

Science in the News


Biblical scroll fragments found in Israel
A secretive encounter with a Bedouin in a desert valley led to the discovery of two fragments from a nearly 2,000-year-old parchment scroll. See also A piece of history.

French magazine claims to have proven that the Shroud of Turin is a “fake.”

Dramatic findings from the First and Second Temple periods uncovered
Digs taking place near Yokne’am in the western Galilee have revealed the existence of an impressive administrative center from the First Temple period, which ended some 2,500 years ago. In addition, remnants of dense housing in a Jewish village from the Second Temple period – 2,000 years ago – have been found.

"Ink and Blood: Dead Sea Scrolls to the English Bible," a history of the Bible
A heavily promoted exhibit on the history of the Bible is drawing criticism from scholars who say it has more of an evangelical Christian spin than a historical one.

An overview of the history of digs in Jerusalem
The reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 launched an unexpected area of activity which soon acquired major proportions and significance: archeological excavation.

Radiocarbon dating: Jewish inspiration of Christian catacombs
A Jewish cemetery in ancient Rome harbours a secret that bears on the history of early Christianity.

Caveman DNA hints at map of migration
Oldest American genetic sample reveals early New World frontiers.

Spirit tales reveal ancient landslides
North American folklore points to dangers for Seattle.


The triple sunset that should not exist 
Astronomer spies improbable world with three suns.

Deep Impact: sifting through the debris
When Deep Impact's washing-machine-sized probe slammed into comet Tempel 1 on 4 July, teams of astronomers watched using telescopes in space and around the world. Nature investigates what the images tell us so far about the comet's composition and history.

Cassini Zeros In on Saturn's Strange Satellite
Since entering Saturn's orbit on June 30 last year, the Cassini spacecraft has sent back intriguing images of some of the planet's 34 known moons. Newly released pictures from Cassini's first encounter with one such moon, Hyperion, indicate that the irregularly shaped satellite resembles a heap of rubble.

Bizarre boulders litter Saturn moon's icy surface
The Cassini probe has made its closest flyby yet, revealing giant boulders on the snow-white moon Enceladus - but how they got there is a mystery.

Interplanetary Whodunit: Methane On Mars Moffett Field CA (SPX) Jul 21, 2005
Mars is the planet that refuses to say "die." In 1996, after centuries of speculation about canals, icecaps and vegetation, NASA's David McKay reported seeing traces of ancient bacteria in a meteorite from Mars.

Dustiest Star Could Harbor A Young Earth Hilo HI (SPX) Jul 20, 2005
A relatively young star located about 300 light-years away is greatly improving our understanding of the formation of Earth-like planets.


Faulty gene linked to obesity and diabetes.  

Fundamental Discovery About The Fracture Of Human Bone: It's All In The 'Glue'
A startling discovery about the properties of human bone has been made by scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The scientists describe their results -- finding a sort of "glue" in human bone -- in the cover story of the August issue of the international scientific journal, Nature Materials.

Alzheimer's symptoms reversed in mice 
Switching off protein improves lab animals' memories.

Parkinson's Treatment Linked to Compulsive Gambling
Researchers have identified a strange side effect to a treatment for Parkinson's disease: excessive gambling. Some patients taking medications known as dopamine agonists developed the problem within three months of starting treatment, even though they had previously gambled only occasionally or never at all.

Protein Tells Flowers When Spring Starts
The bursting blooms of many types of flowers herald the onset of spring. New research is helping scientists unravel the cellular signaling that prompts the plants to blossom after their winter slumber. The action of one protein that responds to daylight apparently starts a chain reaction that allows flowering to commence.

Living In The Dead Sea Moffett Field CA (SPX) Jul 18, 2005
Over the years, a number of Weizmann Institute scientists have addressed the question of how molecules essential to life, such as proteins, have adapted to function in extreme environments.

Discovering An Ecosystem Beneath A Collapsed Antarctic Ice Shelf Washington DC (SPX) Jul 19, 2005
The chance discovery of a vast ecosystem beneath the collapsed Larsen Ice Shelf will allow scientists to explore the uncharted life below Antarctica's floating ice shelves and further probe the origins of life in extreme environments.


Enigmatic fossils shed light on early evolution
One of the most puzzling phases in the evolution of life - the Ediacaran period - is giving up its secrets, thanks to two strange fossil types. ONE of the most puzzling phases in the evolution of life is giving up its secrets. Two strange fossil types are helping palaeontologists understand the weird inhabitants of the Ediacaran period.

"Darwin's forgotten Defenders" by David Livingstone
He discusses a number of other influential evangelicals who saw no inherent conflict between evolution and the Christian faith. Another very important advocate of evolution was the theologian B.B. Warfield, who was a strong advocate of biblical inerrancy. See Darwin's Forgotten Defenders: The Encounter Between Evangelical Theology and Evolutionary Thought by David N. Livingstone also The Post-Darwinian Controversies: A Study of the Protestant Struggle to Come to Terms with Darwin in Great Britain and America, 1870-1900 by James R. Moore and Perspectives on an Evolving Creation by Keith B. Miller.

Carbon dating works for cells 
Radioactive fallout from nuclear tests serves as measuring stick.

Creation exhibit scrapped at Tulsa Zoo
Plans to build an exhibit at the Tulsa Zoo featuring the biblical account of creation were scratched July 7 by the city's Park and Recreation Board. (Religion News Service)

The Bible tells us that the Earth is about 6,000 years old
As a good Christian, how old should I believe the Earth is? (Sun-Sentinel, Fla.)

Earth Science

Predatory Dinosaurs Breathed Like Birds, Study Suggests
A new analysis suggests that theropod dinosaurs such as T. rex shared another characteristic with their modern-day bird descendants: their mode of breathing. Although some scientists have posited that the extinct creatures would have had lungs similar to those of today's crocodiles and other reptiles, the results instead indicate that theropods used a more complex pulmonary system resembling that of living birds.

Underwater Sand Avalanches Linked To Sea-Level Changes In Gulf Of Mexico (July 20, 2005)
New evidence has been found linking underwater catastrophic sand avalanches to rapid sea-level changes in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, according to marine geologists.


Gravity doughnut promises time machine
Movement into the past gets one step less improbable.

Fusion energy: Just around the corner
For 50 years, physicists have been promising that power from nuclear fusion is imminent. Now they are poised to build an experiment that could vindicate their views. But will the machine work? Geoff Brumfiel investigates.


Self Tests
A fascinating collection of tests that are as fun to share as they are to take. 

Emotional Eating
Why do we eat junk food when we're stressed?