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2002 Archive

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December 29, 2002

We will be switching to a faster cable internet service this week. Our new e-mail address is 

Religion in the News

John Walvoord Dead at 92
Theologian noted for writings on Bible prophecy. See

The Positive Prophet
Tony Campolo is a ferocious critic of Christians left  and right. Why do people still flock to hear him?    By Ted Olsen. See

Benny Hinn on Dateline
Dateline, on NBC, aired an investigation of faith healer and televangelist Benny Hinn. According to the network's site, "[Hinn] claims he can call on God to heal the sick. But Dateline's hidden cameras reveal another side of the Hinn ministry, and some former followers raise troubling questions." Religious weblog posted a letter this week from the Trinity Foundation, an organization that monitors religious programming. The group said that it had been working with Dateline for the last two years in its investigation of Hinn. 

There's Something About Mary
Beliefs about Jesus' virgin mother vary between Christians of
   the early church, Roman Catholics, and modern-day Protestants,
   but this model of total trustful devotion has lessons to teach
   all Christians.  An interview with J.I. Packer and Tom Oden. See

Boston Archdiocese Asks for Dismissal of All Suits
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston asked a judge to
dismiss all the abuse lawsuits against it on religious
freedom grounds. See 

How to Deal with Criminals
Is there a biblical principle behind the punishment of those who break the law? See

The Koran Online at 

I'm Dreaming of a Victorian Christmas
An ageless story reminds us of the values the Victorians can still teach us. By Chris Armstrong. See

Found: The Garden of Eden
Use our interactive map to discover where experts believe the original paradise was located. And don't stop there 
Meet Adam's Other Wife  
Compare Genesis' TWO Creation Stories
Explore Creation Myths of Different Cultures
What the Expert Says About Eden

Debate Erupts Over Authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls: A crumbling consensus was manifest at a conference of Qumran archaeologists held here in November at Brown University. Organizers said this was the first meeting to focus solely on the archaeology of the site. See 

A Stone Box, Christ and History : Science can't ignore Jesus. (Robert L. Bartley, The Wall Street Journal). See 

Science in the News

ASA Spring Meeting: We have a speaker for a spring meeting - Dr. Thomas Davis.  He is available March 1, 2003.  He is a Palestinian archeologist and can speak on current issues in relating archeology to the scriptures.  As usual with many topics, the real picture is neither the minimalist view that the Bible says nothing useful for the archeologist nor the overly idealist view that every detail of OT history has been proved.  This should be another good one. More details forthcoming. 

ICC Meeting: The Fifth International Creation Conference on August 4-9 at Geneva College. See 


Our Not-So-Distant Cousin
Comparing the genome of humans to that of  mice gives us a
glimpse into the history of  both of our genomes over the 75
million years since we last shared a common ancestor. 

Pa. school district statement sparks evolution debate | Officials at a suburban school district say new wording in the system's mission statement is provoking discussion of evolution and other issues that are often in dispute. (The Boston Globe). See 


Star of Bethlehem: Going back in time to examine its origins ( See 

Methane Clouds Discovered On Saturn's Moon Titan
Teams of astronomers at the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered methane clouds near the south pole of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, resolving a fierce debate about whether clouds exist amid the haze of the moon's atmosphere. See 


Religious Sect Says It Will Announce the First Cloned Baby
A religious sect that contends space travelers created the
human race by cloning themselves said that it would announce
that the first cloned human baby has been born.

Raelian leader says cloning first step to immortality: The leader of a religious sect that claimed to have created the first human clone Friday called the development "just the first step" toward human immortality through cloning. See 

Echinacea Ineffective for Treating Common Cold: Dec. 17 — The Echinacea herb, which is widely touted as a booster for the immune system, appears to be ineffective in combating the common cold, according to a new study. See 

Protein in the Eye Regulates Body Clock: Dec. 12 — A protein in the eye regulates the body's internal clock and its daily cycles, according to Stanford University research released Thursday. Melanopsin captures light and keeps the body tuned to a daily cycle, called a circadian rythm. See 

Stanford Researchers Study Emerging Treatment For Chronic Sinus Infections
Conducted over 12 months beginning in November 2000, the study is the first to prospectively evaluate the effectiveness of nebulized antibiotics for the treatment of chronic sinusitis following surgery. Results are published in the December issue of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. See 

December 20, 2002

Religion in the News

Violent Night, Holy Night
The Apocrypha tells us about the brutal  world Jesus was born into. By Tim Stafford. See

No Humbug
A Christmas Carol remains the quintessential holiday story, but why? By Elesha Coffman. See

Missing from manger: Baby Jesus statue kidnapped; thieves demand ransom (The Trentonian, N.J.) See 

Walt Disney World drops weekly church services
Last Friday, in an article about the forgotten Disney Christmas special "The Small One," Disney archivist Dave Smith told The Orlando Sentinel that Disney cartoons avoid religion for the same reason that Walt Disney himself didn't put a church in Disneyland's Main Street, USA. "He didn't want to single out any one religion," Smith said. See 

Does The Lord of the Rings Teach Salvation By Works?
   The authors of Tolkien's Ordinary Virtues and J. R. R.
   Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth
talk about whether Tolkien
   was too ignorant of evil and other subjects.
   A conversation between Brad Birzer and Mark Eddy Smith. See

Why The Lord of the Rings Is Dangerous

Hobbits Aren't Fence-Sitters
The authors of Tolkien's Ordinary Virtues and J. R. R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth discuss why  Tolkien hated modernity and thinking about evil  --and whether he was right to do so. A conversation between Brad Birzer and Mark Eddy Smith. See

U.S. News: Billy Graham brought evangelicalism into respectability. What will his kids do?
From the cover of the new U.S. News & World Report, it looks like a story on Billy Graham and his family: "A Christian Dynasty: How Billy Graham's kids are following up his crusade." But Jeffrey Sheler's cover story really is a brief history of evangelicalism, with the elder Graham as a the main actor and foil. See 

There's a new book review of "A Matter of Basic Principles: Bill
Gothard & the Christian Life": See 

Medicine with a dose of Scripture | Biblical counseling, an evangelical response to secular therapy, tries to raise its profile (The Philadelphia Inquirer). See 

Science in the News

New Premise in Science: Get the Word Out Quickly, Online
A group of prominent scientists is challenging the leading
scientific journals with the creation of two peer-reviewed
online journals this week. See 


'Scientific balancing act' dominates AAAS top ten list of science policy stories for 2002: 5) INTELLIGENT DESIGN-NOT SMART FOR SCIENCE CLASSES:
Efforts to kick the theory of biological evolution out of U.S. public school classrooms are taking a new twist. Instead of opposing evolution directly, evolution foes now are seeking to include intelligent design theory in science classrooms. Such efforts were seen in local and state school boards, including Cobb County, Georgia, and the State of Ohio during 2002. ID theory suggests that the complexity of DNA, for example, and the diversity of life forms can only be explained by a supernatural agent. Science educators will be keeping their eyes open to see where this issue pops up next in 2003. Meanwhile, the AAAS Board of Directors passed a resolution in October saying ID theory should be treated in the same manner as creationism or other family teachings--but not in science classrooms. See 

Ancient Antarctica Lake has Ancient Life: Dec. 17 Scientists exploring a frozen lake in Antarctica have awakened 2,800-year-old microbes that are models for life on Mars. The microbes were found locked in the ice of Lake Vida, which was previously thought to be solid ice all the way down to its 50-foot depths. What's more, the researchers have also discovered that Lake Vida is not completely frozen. The bottom 15 feet or so grade into a slushy brine that is seven times saltier than seawater. The lake-bottom brine contains all the salts that were squeezed out of the ice above by the freezing process, Doran said. See 

Giant bird spotted in Alaska: A giant bird with a reported wingspan of about 14ft has been sighted in Southwest Alaska. Villagers in Togiak and Manokotak say they have seen a huge bird much bigger than anything they have seen before. See 

100,000 tourists flock to see mysterious Thai fireballs: More than 100,000 tourists flocked to a remote part of Thailand to see a mysterious phenomenon in which coloured fireballs shoot into the sky. The flames, said to come from a mythical serpent living in the Mekong River in the north eastern province of Nong Khai, are known as Naga's Fireballs. Some scientists say the red, pink and orange fireballs are caused by flammable natural gas deposits in the river bed drawn to the surface by the moon's gravitational pull. See 

Experts dismiss town's sea monster claims
Experts have dismissed claims a strange sea monster has been washed up on the Nova Scotia shoreline. See 

Girl finds gold ring inside apple: A 12-year-old girl has found a gold ring after biting into an apple. It's thought the ring may have fallen from a fruit picker's finger and then the apple formed around it. See 

Cosmologists has produced the most detailed images of the early
Universe ever recorded. The new results provide additional evidence to
support the currently favored model of the Universe in which 30 percent of
all energy is a strange form of dark matter that doesn't interact with
light, and 65 percent is in an even stranger form of dark energy that
appears to be causing the expansion of the Universe to accelerate. 
The story is at 

Voices of Evolution: Statements from different scientific and Religious organizations about evolution. See


Ancient treasure trove uncovered: Archaeologists have found a 2,700-year-old temple which contains objects from across the ancient world.Gold and silver figures, jewellery and shells from throughout the Mediterranean were gathered in one place on the small Greek island of Kithnos in the Aegean Sea. See 

Experts rebut claim of biblical bathhouse in Jesus' hometown
Archaeologists and Bible scholars have refuted claims a bathhouse unearthed in Nazareth may have been used by Jesus. See 

Researcher refutes Mummy's curse myth
Australian research has laid the myth of Mummy's Curse to rest. See 

'Unluckiest church in the world' is found
A British archaeologist has uncovered what is probably the unluckiest church in the world. See 


Mysterious Trials on Mars: Dec. 12 Mysterious tracks that look like 250-mile long ski or sled trails have been found near the South Pole of Mars. Researchers at the University of Colorado have found the broad, sweeping lines cutting through a section of the southern ice caps of the frigid planet, but haven't a clue what caused them. If the features were on Earth, they would probably be attributed to a long-gone glacier that dragged boulders along its underside and scoured out the grooves. Another possible cause of the features is powerful winds. In fact, the way that the grooves appear to bear west as they head away from the pole suggests as much, since air currents on Mars and Earth are turned by the planets' spins. See 

Precursors To Early Earth Life Found In Canadian Meteorite
Houston - Dec 17, 2002 - In a study published today in the "International Journal of Astrobiology," researchers state that a meteorite that fell to Earth over northwestern Canada in January 2000 contains a previously unseen type of primitive organic material that was formed long before our own solar system came into being. See 

Seeing Red: Revolutionary Probe Gears For Martian Exploration
Milton Keynes, England (AFP) Dec 19, 2002 - British experts on Thursday put on display a robot lander that could settle one of the most pressing questions in space science today: does life, or the potential for it, exist on Mars? The probe, Beagle 2, will be placed aboard a European Space Agencyspacecraft, Mars Express, which is scheduled to blast off from Russia's Baikonur launchpad in Kazakhstan next May 23. See 

Titan's Methane Clouds Make For A View To Behold
Mauna Kea - Dec 19, 2002 - Teams of astronomers at the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered methane clouds near the south pole of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, resolving a fierce debate about whether clouds exist amid the haze of the moon's atmosphere. See 

Hubble Watches Galaxies Engage In Dance Of Destruction
Washington - Dec 17, 2002 - NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is witnessing a grouping of galaxies engaging in a slow dance of destruction that will last for billions of years. The galaxies are so tightly packed together that gravitational forces are beginning to rip stars from them and distort their shapes. See 

Planets Aplenty In T Tauri Furnaces
Nashville - Dec 17, 2002 - If David Weintraub and Jeff Bary are right, there may be a lot more planets circling stars like the Sun than current models of star and planet formation predict. The associate professor of astronomy at Vanderbilt and his graduate student are taking a critical look at T Tauri stars. These are stellar adolescents, less than 10 million years old, which are destined to become stars similar to the Sun as they age. See 

New Theory Unravels Magnetic Instability
Los Alamos - Dec 17, 2002 - Reconnection, the merging of magnetic field lines of opposite polarity near the surface of the sun, Earth and some black holes, is believed to be the root cause of many spectacular astronomical events such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, but the reason for this is not well understood. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory now have a new theory that may explain the instability and advance the understanding of these phenomena. See 

Chandra X-ray Observatory results:
Lobes of unexpectedly hot gas speeding away from a black hole in our galaxy
have been discovered by Chandra. The high temperature and the distance of
the lobes from the black hole indicate that violent collisions are
occurring between clumps of gas as they fly away from the black hole at
near-light speed. 
Discovery Of Giant X-Ray Disk Sheds Light On Elliptical Galaxies - a little
galactic evolution at 
Young Star Cluster Found Aglow With Mysterious X-Ray Cloud - the x-rays
could change the chemistry of any planets forming in the


A surprise in treating high blood pressure
The cheapest, oldest medicine to treat high blood pressure works better than newer, more expensive drugs, researchers reported yesterday from the largest clinical trial ever conducted on high blood pressure. See 

Scientists Favoring Cautious Approach to Smallpox Shots
Unless a smallpox attack seems highly likely, the public
should not be vaccinated, doctors and scientists warned in a
series of articles posted on the Internet. 

Scientists may have made breast cancer breakthrough
Scientists believe they have made a major breakthrough in the fight against breast cancer.

Heart researchers study regenerative zebrafish
Scientists are studying zebrafish in the hope that they hold the secret to mending damaged human hearts. See 

Study suggests bone marrow could offer ethical source of stem cells
Researchers have found it could be possible to take stem cells from adult bone marrow to treat diseases such as brain cancer or Alzheimer's. See 

Earth Science

Mysterious "Boing" Sound Identified in North Pacific
Dec. 17
— A team of biologists recently identified the source of a mysterious marine sound that has been puzzling scientists for some 50 years, the Academic Press reported. U.S. Navy sonar operators discovered "boing" sound in the 1950s. Their theory was that an enemy submarine was making the sound. Based on the behavior of related whales, the researchers now believe the noise is the mating call of a male minke, said the article. Full story 

Scientist wins means to pursue rain-making ambition
A British inventor has been given a government grant to develop a rain-making machine. See 

December 15, 2002

Religion in the News

Seeking not to offend, Bush's holiday season doesn't leave anyone out
"There's something for just about every faith at the White House this holiday season," reports the Associated Press. "Over the course of 24 hours last week, President Bush helped light a menorah for Hanukkah and the national Christmas tree and visited a mosque at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan."

Faith-based initiative gets major push, puts hiring decisions in organizations' hands, and goes international. See 

Boston's Cardinal Law resigns
"I am profoundly grateful to the Holy Father for having accepted my resignation as Archbishop of Boston," Archbishop Bernard Law of Boston said in a statement from the Vatican today. "It is my fervent prayer that this action may help the Archdiocese of Boston to experience the healing, reconciliation and unity which are so desperately needed.  To all those who have suffered from my shortcomings and mistakes I both apologize and from them beg forgiveness." See 

Protestants aiding Voice of the Faithful: Protestant ministers have been opening their churches' doors to meetings of Voice of the Faithful, a lay organization seeking "reform" in the Roman Catholic Church that has been criticized by several Catholic leaders. See 

Ousted seminarian reportedly confesses to priest's murder
Roman Catholic priest William Gulas was shot to death, then burned, in his office at Cleveland's St. Stanislaus Church. See 

Broken vows: A former Catholic priest speaks out about secrecy, scandal, and being gay in the church (The Boston Globe). See 

Newly released letters tell of Jesus calling Mother Teresa 'my little wife' | The letters she wrote to two priests, who acted as her spiritual mentors, also reveal that Mother Teresa suffered episodes of depression throughout her life in which she underwent grave crises of faith (The Scotsman). See 

Missionaries Flee Violence in Ivory Coast
Muslim rebel attacks force school closures. David Miller, Compass Direct. See oys Will Be Boys
   A new book by a leading Christian feminist scholar
   inadvertently reveals the flawed assumptions
   underlying much talk about "flexibility" in
   gender roles.  By John W. Miller. See

PBS show to 'counter' perceptions of Islam | The two-hour documentary on the life of the prophet Muhammad is meant to help counter negative images of Muslims, according to its creators (The Washington Times). See 

Bipartisan furor builds over Lott's remarks | "Thoughtless, careless remarks like this can have a devastating impact" on evangelism efforts, says chairman of Franklin Graham Crusade (USA Today). See 

Temple Square Face-off
Baptist evangelist irks LDS, but court is on his side. By John W. Kennedy. See

Mormons agree, again, to end posthumous baptisms of Jews | Agreement was apparently breached since it was made with Jewish leaders seven years ago (Associated Press). See 

Clean Flicks, Illegal Flicks?
Hollywood directors file suit against CleanFlicks. By Ted Olsen. See

Fundamentalists Losing Favor with Public
WASHINGTON -- The American Family Association, a far right lobbying
group in Washington, released results from a recent survey that shows
mainstream Americans see evangelical Christians as one of the least
likable groups in the country. See 

BBC Progran: Mary was no virgin | Firstly it looks at the possibility that she slept with Joseph while she was engaged to be married to him, secondly that she was raped by a Roman soldier, and thirdly that she fell pregnant to an unidentified man before marrying Joseph (The Sunday Herald, Scotland). See 

New Christian Allegory
Science-fiction adventure novel Arena thrives with spiritual symbolism. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.

Is there a God? Pair trade opinions | Many listen to the debate, but few seem to have changed their minds (Sacramento Bee). See 

Voyage into the unknown | Hiding behind the comfort of belief are destructive forces. (David Bryant, The Guardian, London). See,3604,856393,00.html 

Heritage alert as 1,000 churches face closure | Britain is facing a loss of church buildings second only to that which took place in the Reformation, a report has said (The Times, London). See,,2-507644,00.html 

U.S. Samaritans send Christmas gifts | The world's largest cargo plane will next week jet into Entebbe loaded with the biggest Christmas gift to have ever come into the country (New Vision, Kampala, Uganda)

Science in the News

Scientists exposed as sloppy reporters
A cunning statistical study reveals that many scientists do not read the papers they cite as references in their published work. See 


Ousted creationist sues over website: A Tennessee creationist is suing the operators of a popular physics website that refused to publish his alternative Big Bang hypothesis. Robert Gentry, a lifelong Seventh-Day Adventist, filed the suit in the district court at Knoxville, Tennessee, against the operators of the arXiv preprint server, claiming that they refused a series of ten of his papers because of their religious content. Counsel representing the chief defendant, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, says the claims have no merit and that the university has the right to choose what appears on the site. (Must register) See 

Ohio Strengthens Teaching of Evolution
The state school board unanimously approved on Tuesday
standards that more strongly advocate the teaching of
evolution while letting students fully criticize the
legitimacy of the theory. See 

An Open Letter to the Ohio Citizens for Science from Eugenie C. Scott 

Religion and Darwin: The fact is that religion mutates with Darwinian restlessness. See 

  A God of Math and Order
   The new science rode in on the shoulders of new theological
   ideas. by Peter Harrison

The Monkey Trial
   The first "trial of the century" revealed a great divide
   separating American Christians. by David Goetz

Natural History, December 2002 - January 2003
by Carl Zimmer. In the past decade, as molecular biologists have learned to read DNA
sequences rapidly, the chimpanzee has clearly emerged as humanity's
closest living relative. Our DNA is astonishingly similar. You can see
for yourself by visiting the "Silver Project" Web site of Japan's
National Institute of Genetics (, 

Targeted Comparative Sequencing Illuminates Vertebrate Evolution
This technique may revolutionize the model species concept. See 

Revolutionary New Theory For Origins Of Life On Earth
London - Dec 12, 2002 - A totally new and highly controversial theory on the origin of life on earth, is set to cause a storm in the science world and has implications for the existence of life on other planets. See 


Archaeology - politics (12 Dec) - Human bones, pieces of skin and bits of hair tucked away in museum display cases and vaults have become the subject of ferocious political battles. Many of these human remains were collected in the nineteenth century, when Western colonial expansion was at its height and there was a lust for scientific enquiry. Today, there are demands that these bones be returned to indigenous groups for reburial. See 

The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey: By analyzing DNA from people in all regions of the world, geneticist Spencer Wells has concluded that all humans alive today are descended from a single man who lived in Africa around 60,000 years ago. See 


Mars Odyssey: The latest results from Mars Odyssey are being released this week,
including evidence of massive amounts of water ice in the soil near Mars'
north polar cap, even more than previously found in the South.  Take a
drink at ,
Odyssey at 

Global Flooding on Mars: The bombardment of comets and asteroids on early Mars may have caused
cycles of rain that led to global flooding and the formation of Mars' river
valleys and other water-sculpted landscapes.  The argument is that the
period when large comets and asteroids struck Mars appears to correlate
with the formation of ancient rivers. Se 

Jupiter's Moon: Galileo data suggests that Jupiter's potato-shaped inner moon, named
Amalthea, appears to have a very low density, indicating it is full of holes.  Cheesy story at  , Galileo at 

Above and Beyond:Universal classifier detects bacteria in space--and on the homeland | By A.J.S. Rayl. See 

First Images Of Earth's Plasma Sheet
San Antonio - Dec 12, 2002 - Observations led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) using NASA's Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) spacecraft may lead to a new, critical technique for monitoring and predicting space weather. See 

Genesis' First Year A Success
San Francisco - Dec 10, 2002 - As scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory begin analysis of first-year data from the solar wind probe Genesis they have determined the spacecraft is working so well that they are considering possibilities for research beyond the planned 2004 mission completion date. Three of Genesis' instruments were designed and built at Los Alamos. See 


The Biological Basis of the Placebo Effect: Therapist-patient interaction activates the endogenous opioid systems. See 

Stanford may clone human embryos | New Center's Work Could Have Big Impact (The Washington Post). See 

Earth Science

Earth's volcanism linked to meteorite impacts
Gigantic meteorites may punch straight through the crust and cause massive lava surges that obliterate the crater, controversial new work suggests. See 


MRI May Give Early Warning of Mental Illness: Dec. 10 — A hi-tech scanner may give early warning to people who are at high risk of schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses, according to a study published online on Tuesday by The Lancet, the British medical publication.See 

Fear (13 Dec) - Researchers have discovered the first genetic component of a biochemical pathway in the brain that governs the indelible imprinting of fear-related experiences in memory. See 

Schizophrenia (13 Dec) - The long search for a gene that helps cause schizophrenia may at last be bearing fruit after many false starts and disappointments, scientists are reporting. An errant gene first implicated among schizophrenic patients in Iceland has now turned up in a survey of Scottish patients, too, giving a clear confirmation of the earlier result. See 

Psychology of happiness (8 Dec) - The happiest people surround themselves with family and friends, don't care about keeping up with the Joneses next door, lose themselves in daily activities and, most important, forgive easily. See 

Stress - Bruce McEwen is a pioneering expert on the ways in which the brain influences the body. He is the author of "The End of Stress As We Know It" (with Elizabeth Norton Lasley, published by Joseph Henry Press). The book examines the response of the body to stress, what happens when the body's stress response turns against us, and how to keep that from happening. See 

Domestic violence (8 Dec) - A new study suggests that the way abusive men try to manage stress in their relationships and other parts of their lives may be associated with their violent outbursts. See 

Music - neuroscience (12 Dec) - Researchers at Dartmouth are getting closer to understanding how some melodies have a tendency to stick in your head or why hearing a particular song can bring back a high school dance. They have found and mapped the area in your brain that processes and tracks music. It's a place that's also active during reasoning and memory retrieval. See 

December 8, 2002

Religion in the News

Nigerian Riots: Last week in Nigeria…Muslims destroyed churches and beat and murdered Christians. Yet in many of the press accounts, there was no mention of who started the violence (Muslims), and who the victims were (Christians). See 

An Islamic Reformation: What's going on in Iran today is precisely the war of ideas within Islam that is the most important war of all (Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times). See 

Police Arrest Indian Christians Over Dalit Conversion
Low-caste Indians reject Hinduism, turn to  Christianity or Buddhism.
By Joshua Newton in Chennai, India. See

Boston Documents Show Failure to Oust Accused Priests
Hundreds of pages of church documents show that officials of
the Boston Archdiocese allowed priests accused of abuse to
remain in ministry. See 

Mother Teresa on fast track for sainthood: On December 20, the Pope is expected to announce the exact date of Mother Teresa's beatification next year (BBC). See 

Religious conversion: Charles University's Catholic Theological Faculty opens program to women (The Prague Post). See 

DiIulio: Bush governs by politics rather than principle
John J. DiIulio Jr, former head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, says his former boss has been ineffective and lacks principle. See Then John DiIulio apologizes for "Mayberry Machiavellis" comment. Twice.

Owner of parody Web sites heads to court: Judge Norman K. Moon will hear arguments for the dismissal of Falwell's suit, which claims the parody sites  and  are an illegal use of Falwell's trademark, libelous, unfair competition and cybersquatting (The News & Advance, Lynchburg, Va.). See,0,4860265.story?%2Dheadlines%2Dvirginia 

Head of Parents Television Council fired, allegedly for prayer
After just three months as executive director of the watchdog group Parents Television Council, Dennis Mansfield has been fired. He tells The Idaho Statesman it was because of "Jesus."

Mormon scholar predicts his expulsion: Thomas W. Murphy, 35, published an article in the May Signature Books anthology "American Apocrypha," which uses genetic data to discredit the Book of Mormon claim that American Indians are heathen descendants of ancient Israel (Associated Press). See 

Myth at the multiplex : Lord of the Rings, Tolkien poured Christian values into a pagan world (John J. Miller, The Wall Street Journal). See 

The Ultimate Language Lesson
Teaching English may well be the 21st century's most promising way to take the Good News to the world.
 By Agnieszka Tennant. See

Florida atheists challenge angels on lawn of City Hall: City Council votes unanimously to keep the display (The Washington Times). See 

The History of Christmas: 

Science in the News

Bigfoot Legend Creator Dies; Family Calls Bigfoot A Hoax: Ray Wallace, who started one of the most notorious myths of our time -- the legend of Bigfoot -- has died. Wallace died of heart failure Nov. 26 at a Washington state nursing home, at the age of 84. Wallace's family feels that they can finally reveal the truth: Wallace made up Bigfoot. Wallace, a native of Clarksdale, Mo., used photos, footprints, and Sasquatch sightings that convinced some people that Bigfoot was real. But his family says it was all a hoax. His family says Wallace asked a friend to carve 16-inch feet, then he and his brother wore them to create huge tracks on the ground at his California construction company in 1958. That led The Humboldt Times to coin the term "Bigfoot" on its front page. His nephew Dale Wallace still has those "Bigfoot" fake feet. Pictures and more of the story at 


Phillip Johnson Interview
Asking the right questions is at the heart of  the evolution debate. See

Feedback From Kent Hovind Article by AIG:  See 

Creation/Evolution Journal Online: This publication was first started by the American Humanist Association in 1980, and was the first to devote itself entirely to the creation/evolution
controversy.  In 1991 NCSE was invited to purchase C&E from the AHA,
and until 1996 continued to published both it and its own NCSE Reports.
After five years of producing both publications they were combined into
Reports of the National Center for Science Education. See 

Icons of Evolution Critique: Many of you sent us (NCSE) emails after we posted our critique of Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells to let us know the content was not printable because of the
way the pages had been coded. That problem has now been fixed and the complete content of the critique can be printed from the individual pages. Please feel free to distribute this document as you wish. See 

Revolutionary New Theory For Origins Of Life On Earth
A totally new and highly controversial theory on the origin of life on earth, is set to cause a storm in the science world and has implications for the existence of life on other planets. See 

The glue that broke flying dinosaur's back | Once hailed as a missing link, forgery is found to be mosaic of fossils from Microraptor and a bird (Los Angeles Times). See,0,4432678.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dnation 

Pow! Splat! Take that, you Darwin disparagers! | School boards have found creative ways to smuggle creationism into the classroom, even in a comic book (The New York Times). See 

Survival of the slickest | How anti-evolutionists are mutating their message (Chris Mooney, The American Prospect). See 


"The Exodus Case" is the print version of the research that the video "The Exodus Revealed" which is
based upon Ron Wyatt's discoveries. Wyatt's claims have never been substantiated by archaeologists. A good book that refutes Wyatt is Holy Relics or Revelation by Russell and Colin Standish. See

BBC1 Program on Moses
In 'Moses', the latest scientific evidence is combined with state-of-the-art computer graphics and dramatic reconstructions to reveal the sensational truths that lie at the heart of the Moses story.There is also an accompanying website with behind the scenes stories, computer graphics video clips, history and much more.

Experts question authenticity of bone box for `Brother of Jesus' | Some see differences in the handwriting (The New York Times). See More on the debate at also 

Oldest American writing (6 Dec) - Archaeologists may have found the oldest example of writing from the Americas. The find gives clues to how the ancient civilizations of Central America developed, they say. Others dispute that the objects discovered bear writing. See

Oldest American Skulls (4 Dec) - Tests on skulls found in Mexico suggest they are almost 13,000 years old - and shed fresh light on how humans colonized the Americas. See 


New Research Belies Previous Idea That Mars Was Once Warm, Wet Planet :A new study led by University of Colorado at Boulder researchers indicates Mars has been primarily a cold, dry planet following its formation some 4 billion years ago, making the possibility of the evolution of life there challenging at best. See 

Hubble Makes Precise Measure Of Extrasolar World's True Mass
NASA Hubble Space Telescope's crisp view has allowed an international team of astronomers to apply a previously unproven technique (astrometry) for making a precise measurement of the mass of a planet outside our solar system. The Hubble results place the planet at 1.89 to 2.4 times the mass of Jupiter. See 

How Small Are Small Stars Really? VLT Interferometer Measures The Size Of Proxima Centauri And Other Nearby Stars
At a distance of only 4.2 light-years, Proxima Centauri is the nearest star to the Sun currently known. It is visible as an 11-magnitude object in the southern constellation of Centaurus and is the faintest member of a triple system, together with Alpha Centauri, the brightest (double) star in this constellation. From its spectrum, Proxima Centauri (PR Photo 27a/02) is classified as a "late M-dwarf star". Such stars are among the smallest and faintest, but also the most numerous in our Milky Way galaxy. In the case of Proxima Centauri, both the mass and the diameter are about 1/7 of those of the Sun. Contrarily, while it is 150 times more massive than Jupiter, it is only about 1.5 times larger than that planet. See 

From Darwin To Internet At The Speed Of Light
Paris - Dec 2, 2002 - Internet traffic jams may become history if ESA succeeds in developing new technology to see nearby Earth-sized planets. See 


Infant rat heads grafted onto adults’ thighs
Infant rats are being decapitated and their heads grafted onto the
thighs of adults by researchers in Japan. If kept cool during the
operation, a transplanted brain can develop as normal for at least
three weeks. The mouth of the head will move, as if it is trying to
drink milk, the team reports.
The researchers claim the grafted heads could be “excellent models”
for brain damage suffered by human babies. But other experts are far
from convinced by the grisly technique. Read the full story on at: 

Investigators Find Repeated Deception in Ads for Drugs
Some companies have repeatedly disseminated misleading
advertisements for prescription drugs, even after being
cited for violations. 

Study Suggests Mercury in Vaccine Was Not Harmful 
A groundbreaking study of infants who received vaccines
containing a mercury-based preservative has found that the
levels of mercury in their blood were well within federal
safety limits. 

Caught Sleeping: Study Captures Virus Dormant In Human Cells; Cytomegalovirus, Hidden In Most People, Begins To Give Up Secrets Of Its Stealth
Princeton scientists have taken an important step toward understanding a virus that infects and lies dormant in most people, but emerges as a serious illness in transplant patients, some newborns and other people with weakened immune systems. See 

Grape Seed Extract Help Speed Up Wound Recovery, Study Suggests
Grape-seed extract may help skin wounds heal faster and with less scarring, a new study suggests. The extract seemed to aid wound healing in two ways: It helped the body make more of a compound used to regenerate damaged blood vessels, and it also increased the amount of free radicals in the wound site. See 

Mouse to Man (3 Dec) - Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have bred a mouse to model human L1 retrotransposons, the so-called "jumping genes." Retrotransposons are small stretches of DNA that are copied from one location in the genome and inserted elsewhere, typically during the genesis of sperm and egg cells. See 

Researchers Begin To Unlock Genetic Mysteries Of Down Syndrome
One of the most common genetic abnormalities is Down syndrome, which occurs when a person inherits three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the normal complement of two. Although the association has long been known, no one understands how the extra genetic material produces the syndrome, which is the most common genetic cause of mental retardation. See 

Neurotheology (3 Dec) - Neuroscientist Rhawn Joseph has spent years studying history, myth and biology in his quest to understand the universality of spiritual experience and its evolutionary function. In his studies of the brains of Tibetan monks and Franciscan nuns, radiologist Andrew Newberg seeks out the relationship between neural activity and mystical experience. Both men believe that the connection between the brain and spirituality suggests that there is a physiological basis for religion -- that human beings, in essence, are hard-wired for God. See 

Earth Science

Key To Global Warming Prediction Within Reach
Boston - Dec 2, 2002 - The search for a Holy Grail of climate science may be nearing an end, if an MIT-led project is launched by NASA to measure soil moisture -- data needed to predict global change, assess global warming and support the Kyoto Protocol. See 

Climate Change Surprise: High Carbon Dioxide Levels Can Retard Plant Growth, Study Reveals
Writing in the journal Science, Stanford University researchers concluded that elevated atmospheric CO2 actually reduces plant growth when combined with other likely consequences of climate change – namely, higher temperatures, increased precipitation or increased nitrogen deposits in the soil. See  


UCLA Study Names 10 Keys To Recovery From Schizophrenia
UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute researchers have identified 10 key factors to recovery from schizophrenia. The findings open opportunities to develop new treatment and rehabilitation programs and to reshape the negative expectations of many doctors, patients and their families.


Toyota, Honda Launch World's First Commercial Use Of Fuel-Cell Cars
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 02, 2002 - The world's first commercial use of fuel-cell cars began Monday with the lease by Japanese auto giants Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. of their environmentally friendly vehicles to the Japanese government. See 

Japan's Denso Develops World's First Carbon Dioxide Air Con For Cars
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 04, 2002 - Japan's top car parts maker Denso Corp. said Wednesday it has developed with Toyota Motor Corp. the world's first air conditioner for cars using carbon dioxide, which is kinder on the environment. See 

New Research: Against All Odds, Plutonium Is Latest Superconductor
Gainesville - Dec 2, 2002 - Scientists have discovered superconductivity in a most unlikely place: the highly radioactive element used to make nuclear weapons. In an article set to appear Thursday in the journal Nature, a group of researchers, including a University of Florida physicist, report discovering a plutonium-based electrical superconductor. See 

December 1, 2002

Religion in the News

Gwen Shamblin's New Jerusalem
Remnant Fellowship grows, but critics see 'graceless legalism.' By John W. Kennedy. See

'VeggieTales' to sprout another movie | Unlike "Jonah," "Bob and "Larry" won't feature an overtly religious yarn (Reuters). See 

Eat, Drink, and Relax
Think the Pilgrims would frown on today's football-tossing, turkey-gobbling Thanksgiving festivities? Maybe not. by Elesha Coffman. See 

Trickle-Down Evangelism: The earliest missionaries to China started with the elite.
by Ralph R. Covell. See 

Ask Christian History
Was the phrase "he descended into hell" always part of the    Apostles' Creed, or was it introduced later? And how have Christians interpreted it over time? by Steven Gertz. See 

Did You Know?
Interesting and unusual facts about Christians in the scientific revolution. by Chris Armstrong. See 

Science in the News

Wolpe and Richardson on placebo effect and science and the spiritual quest
12/4 and 12/11 at the Metanexus Institute:

Dr. Wolpe¹s talk on Wednesday, December 4 will be "Everything is a Placebo
Effect: Science, Medicine, and Ways of Knowing."  On Wednesday, December 11,
Dr. Richardson will speak on ³Science and the Spiritual Quest: Does the
Relationship Matter?² Both talks will take place at the Metanexus Institute,
3624 Market Street, Suite 301, in Philadelphia at 5:30 PM.  The talks, which
are part of the Fall Lecture Series, are open to the public.  They are
sponsored by the Philadelphia Center, the regional educational and outreach
program of the Metanexus Institute. See 


Geneticists Track More of Earliest Humans' First Itineraries
By NICHOLAS WADE. COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. ‹ Through the wizardry of modern genetics, it is
possible to reconstruct the travels of the earliest humans as they moved out
from their ancestral home in northeast Africa and spread around the globe.
More details of these historic itineraries emerge each year. See 

Current Anthropology, December 2002
Diffusion Wave out of Africa: The Mechanism of the Modern Revolution? by Vinayak Eswaran. See 
Human evolution (26 Nov) - Do humans owe their existence to an ancient relative of a virus like HIV? John McDonald, head of the University's Genetics Department, and King Jordan, of the National Institutes of Health, recently published a finding that suggests this could be possible. See 
These chimps are fishing for ants... but does this ritual make them
cultured? They exhibit human-like behaviour, but should they join the Royal Society,
asks Roger Highfield. See 
Novel Method of Creating New Species Observed in Laboratory Yeast. See 


Scholars debate small box's reference to Jesus | Authenticity of inscription on ossuary is questioned (The Baltimore Sun). See,0,2350420.story?coll=bal%2Dnews%2Dnation 

Experts disagree about authenticity of ossuary | Toronto attracts international academics for hot debate on origin of limestone box (The Globe and Mail, Toronto). See 

Lexington man helps explain James Box | Ossuary may be link to Jesus Christ (Lexington [Ky.] Herald-Leader). See 

8 Roman Witnesses to Jesus: See 

Wandering around in Egyptian history
Gaston Maspero, the first director of Egypt's national storehouse of ancient treasures, is said to have believed his museum should resemble pharaohs' tombs - crowded with paintings and statues, furniture and jewelry. See 

Envelopes used 4000 years ago
Love letters encased in mud envelopes found at Kültepe-Kaniþ Tumulus
show that little has changed in four millennia. See 

Archaeology - Aubrey Manning visits the Meadowcroft Rock Shelter near Pittsburgh to examine evidence that there were humans in North America 14,000 years ago, earlier than anyone thought possible. But how did they get there? Over the ice from the North-West or even across the Atlantic Ocean from the East? See 


Big Planets Form in Hundreds of Years, Not Millions
Thu Nov 28, By Deborah Zabarenko: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Astronomers unveiled a quick new recipe for creating big planets, using high-powered supercomputer calculations to show these gassy giants could form in hundreds of years, instead of millions. See 

Do you believe in the Big Bang? 5 Reasons you should:  1. The darkness of the night sky, Olber's Paradox. 2.The expanding universe. 3. Cosmic microwave radiation. 4. The abundance of light elements. 5. The evolution of stars. See Astronomy Magazine's feature article in December issue. See  

Birth of the Universe: Scientists have recreated a temperature not seen since the first
microsecond of the birth of the universe and found that the event did not
unfold quite the way they expected. See 

Exploring the Cosmic Microwave Background
Astronomers use a variety of instruments to study the signature of the Big Bang.
by Maggie McKee, Vanessa Thomas. See 

Unveiling the Flat Universe
New observations of the cosmic microwave background suggest that the universe is flat and will expand forever at an accelerating rate. by Diana Steele. See 

Black Hole: A nearby black hole is hurtling like a cannonball
through the disk of our galaxy. The detection of this speed demon is the
best evidence yet, some astronomers say, that stellar-mass black holes --
those that are several times as massive as the Earth's Sun -- are created
when a dying, massive star explodes in a violent supernova.  Hubble results

X-ray Glow From Clusters Of Galaxies Confirms Evidence Of Missing Matter
Huntsville - Nov 26, 2002 - The spectral glow of an oxygen isotope from three clusters of galaxies might be proof that hot gases there account for a large fraction of the previously unseen matter in the universe. See 

Firm plans to fly first private moon mission
A California company plans to fly the world's first private mission to the moon next year, delivering messages, business cards and cremated remains for a fee. See 


Stem Cell Mixing May Form a Human-Mouse Hybrid
Some biologists argue that the best way to test stem cells
for their usefulness in treating diseases is to see how
they work in a living animal, such as a human-mouse hybrid. 

Human clone due in weeks, Italian says
The world's first human clone should be born in about seven weeks, a controversial Italian gynecologist said at a news conference here yesterday. See 

'Dolly' scientist embryo bid: Scientists "fooled" cells into dividing.
The man who led the team which created Dolly the sheep has applied to use
cloning technology to create human embryos. See 

Sense and sensibility
For centuries, science and philosophy have grappled with the mystery of our
inner life. But, argues David Lodge, it is literature that has provided the
most accurate record of human consciousness. See,12084,823955,00.html 

Synaesthesia - As many as one in 2000 people has an extraordinary condition in which the five senses intermingle. This major two part series reveals how synaesthesia is changing our understanding of the world of neuroscience. See 

Aging (27 Nov) - New research suggests that changes in less than 1% of our genes are responsible for the ageing process. See 

Earth Science

Two-Billion-Year-Old Surprise Found Beneath The Azores
Bristol - Nov 26, 2002 - Geologists may have to revise their ideas about what goes on in the Earth's interior, following the publication today of new research in the journal Nature. See 

Seismic History Suggests Big Quakes Impending in California
Menlo Park - Nov 25, 2002 - An in-depth analysis of major long-term research on the San Andreas fault indicates that parts of the fault are likely to experience a major temblor sooner than previously believed, including the section near Palm Springs and the San Bernardino-Riverside areas, and the Hayward fault in the Bay Area. See 

Arctic Sea Ice Could Be Gone By End Of The Century
Greenbelt - Nov 29, 2002 - A NASA study finds that perennial sea ice in the Arctic is melting faster than previously thought -- at a rate of 9 percent per decade. If these melting rates continue for a few more decades, the perennial sea ice will likely disappear entirely within this century, due to rising temperatures and interactions between ice, ocean and the atmosphere that accelerate the melting process. See 

Dirt, The Final Frontier
Paris (AFP) Nov 28, 2002 - An international team of scientists announced Thursday they would go below ground in seven tropical countries to find out more about "minibeasts" -- minute soil creatures believed to the largest untapped source of life on Earth. See 


NASA Breakthrough Method May Lead To Smaller Electronics
Moffett Field - Nov 26, 2002 - NASA scientists have invented a breakthrough biological method to make ultra-small structures that may well be used to produce electronics 10 to 100 times smaller than today's components. See 


Primatology (26 Nov) - A secret population of orang-utans has been discovered in the forests of the island of Borneo. Conservationists believe about 2,000 rare apes are living out of sight in a remote lowland region of East Kalimantan. See 

November 24, 2002

French Creek Mines

The Institute for Biblical and Scientific Studies, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, has a great opportunity to save the French Creek Mines in St. Peters, PA from destruction by land developers. The French Creek Mines are famous for their unusual mineral specimens. We want to preserve and restore the mines. The mine shaft itself would remain buried. We would restore the old railroad station as a museum with mineral displays from these mines. The cost of the property is $85,000. We can obtain half of this money with easement grants, but we still need to raise at least another $40,000 before the property is sold to others. There may be some that could give a donation for a tax write off to help us save the mine. If you know anyone that might be interested in helping us out financially to save the French Creek Mines, please let me know. You can contact me by e-mail at can see pictures of the mines at .

Spanish translation of Bible and Science now available: I want to thank Felipe, a biochemist from Chile, South America with Corporación Cristiana Anabaptista "Puerta del Rebaño", for his translation of my article.

Religion in the News 

The Teachings of Bill Gothard discussed live on the internet tonight at 10 CST by Don Venoit. See 

Black churches lost millions in scam, SEC says
Abraham L. Kennard cast himself as an entrepreneurial man of God, out to raise big bucks for his brethren, that they might better spread the Word. For about 40 black churches in this area and more than a thousand others across the country, Kennard seemed a godsend. But federal regulators contend that Kennard, 44, is an ex-con who traded on race and faith in an $8.7 million "affinity fraud" that mostly targeted African American churches. See 

Murder in Lebanon: Are Falwell and Robertson to blame?
More details are emerging about the death of the American missionary killed in Lebanon yesterday, although such key facts as her actual name are still disputed. See and 

Making mileage a matter of morality
A group of religious leaders came to the Motor City yesterday with a proposition for U.S. automakers: Start producing vehicles that are kinder to God's creation, and we will urge the faithful to buy them. See 

Puritans' dilemma revisited | How did a fanatical search for truth give us religious tolerance? (Julia Vitullo-Martin, The Wall Street Journal). See 

Evangelical Christians a rising force in Brazil
In this nation with the world's largest Roman Catholic population, evangelical Christians are growing in record numbers and starting to flex their muscles in Brazilian politics. See 

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore loses Ten Commandments case
It's not whether the Ten Commandments are posted in a courthouse that matters, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled yesterday in an eagerly awaited decision. It's how they're posted. See 

Evangelical Theological Society Moves Against Open Theists
Membership of Pinnock and Sanders challenged by due process. By Doug Koop. See

Afraid you'll be left behind? | Though he writes from a Catholic perspective, Paul Thigpen, an ex-Pentecostal and former editor of Charisma magazine, takes care to demonstrate in The Rapture Trap how none of the leaders of the Reformation believed in the Rapture (Rod Dreher, National Review Online). See 

Wall Watchers Admits Error in Ministry Critique
In addition, three other organizations removed from group's Transparency Watch list. By Todd Hertz. See

2012: A School Odyssey
Baylor strives to go where no Christian university has gone before--in ten years. by Randall Balmer. See

Save the Earth, Not Just Souls 

Miracle or fake? Weeping statue probe starts | Scientists from two Perth universities have already tested the 70cm sculpture, but were unable to find the source of the rose-scented oil that trickles from its eyes (The Age, Melbourne, Australia). See 

How Computer Nerds Describe God
The founding editor of Wired magazine explains his mission to talk about faith using the  vocabulary and logic of science. An interview with Kevin Kelly. See

Science in the News 


Icons of Evolution: NCSE is pleased to announce that its extensive critique of Jonathan
Wells's Icons of Evolution -- "ICONS OF EVOLUTION? Why much of what
Jonathan Wells writes about evolution is wrong" -- is now available at 

Hovind vs. Weisenberg Debate at Temple University on November 12, 20002. For a summary of the debate CLICK HERE or see .

What comes naturally | Does evolution explain who we are? (Louis Menand, The New Yorker). See 

Man & Dog. (21 Nov) - Dogs today come in all shapes and sizes, but scientists believe they evolved from just a handful of wolves tamed by humans living in or near China less than 15,000 years ago. See 

Genetics (18 Nov) - Scientists have identified the first "master" molecule in the cell nucleus that controls the action of hundreds of different genes at once through its action on enzymes. The broad-acting molecule affects enzymes that restructure chromosomes, exposing genes to proteins that can then trigger key gene processes, including the start of protein production and copying and repairing of genes. See 

Darwin In the Genome: As evidence builds up from studies of the genomes of various species, it's beginning to seem that mutations aren't always random: they occur more often in some genes than in others. Genes that make proteins involved in the simple chores of cellular housekeeping can be virtually identical in widely different species. But those that may give a selective edge - such as those coding for the toxins used by predatory sea snails to catch their prey - change rapidly from generation to generation. In Darwin in the Genome, Lynn Caporale explains the many ways that organisms shuffle the DNA pack to deal a winning hand. The nomadic chunks of DNA known as transposons and even the repeat sequences once dismissed as "junk" now seem to be mechanisms for generating this genetic variety, she says. Caporale, a biotechnology consultant working in New York, subtitles her book "Molecular strategies in biological evolution", but rejects any suggestion that its contents undermine classical Darwinian theory. The term "strategy" is not used to imply that the process is driven by a preordained plan, as creationists would argue. Rather, she says, it is used to indicate mechanisms that "have the effect of anticipating and responding to challenges and opportunities that continue to emerge in the environment". See 

Epicurus'--and Darwin's-- Dangerous Idea
How we became hedonists.  By Richard Weikart. See


Damage to James ossuary helps authenticate age
The James ossuary, which may be the oldest extratextual evidence of Jesus' existence, went on display in Toronto Friday. The cracks that appeared during shipment from Tel Aviv have been repaired—and have led to more evidence that it's as old as archaeologists say it is. Fossils of plant roots and bacterial staining were found in the cracks, and officials at the Royal Ontario Museum also discovered a carved funereal rosette with flecks of red paint, common decorations on bone boxes between A.D. 50 and A.D. 70. As for recent naysaying, archeologist Ed Keall says it's clearly untrue that the phrase "brother of Jesus" was added long after the original inscription. "I'm convinced that all of the criticisms voiced by people who have only photographs are without substance," he told a news conference. See 


Shuttle finally heads to space
Space shuttle Endeavour streaked into orbit last night after weeks of delay, carrying up a new set of residents and another massive building block for the International Space Station. See 

NASA Pushed Everyday Trickle Down Of Space Technology
Huntsville - Nov 19, 2002 - From sunglasses to solar power collection, technologies derived from NASA's space research continue to change the world around us. The latest examples are highlighted in the new edition of "Spinoff" -- an annual publication showing how technology from the space program benefits everyday life. See 

Where on Earth Is Mars?
Pasadena - Nov 19, 2002 - Among the thousands of visitors to Mt. Etna this year, one group came not just to look at one of most famous volcanoes on Earth. Dozens of scientists trekked up Etna together this fall to observe what Etna has in common with Mars. See

Biggest Volcanic Eruption Seen on Jupiter Moon : Nov. 15 A team of astronomers, routinely monitoring Jupiter's moon Io, has witnessed the largest documented volcanic eruption in history. See 

US Astronomers Detect Two Black Holes In Far Away Galaxy
Washington (AFP) Nov 19, 2002 - Astronomers using an orbiting X-ray observatory say they have discovered two enormous black holes co-existing in a single galaxy 400 million light years away, the first-ever such discovery. See 

Hurtling Black Hole Reveals Secrets: Nov. 18 A black hole barreling through the Milky Way galaxy got its drive from the supernova explosion in which it was born, say astronomers who are calling the discovery the first solid evidence that small black holes are formed in the death throes of large stars. See 

How many Universes?

We might have a special place in the Universe after all. 
Only galaxies about the age of our Milky Way have the right conditions for
intelligent life to develop, argue Jaume Garriga of the University of
Barcelona, Spain, and Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University in Medford,
Massachusetts1. And that age, they say, might coincide with a fundamental
change in the Universe. See 


Scientists Hope to Create New Form of Life: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The pioneer scientist who helped crack the human genome (news - web sites) and a Nobel laureate were expected to announce on Thursday plans to create a new life form in a laboratory dish in an experiment that raises ethical and safety questions, according to a published report. See 

Scientists Want to Create a New Kind of Mosquito: They look to bioengineering to win the battle of malarial resistance. See 

Vaccine Appears to Prevent Cervical Cancer
Scientists say the vaccine works by making people immune to
a transmitted virus that causes many cases of the disease. See 

Drug shows promise in radiation therapy
Researchers have discovered that a drug normally used to prevent the rejection of kidney transplants might improve radiation therapy by keeping cancer tumors from growing between doses. See 

Cannabis and mental health (21 Nov) - Frequent cannabis use increases the risk of developing depression and schizophrenia in later life, according to three studies in this week's British Medical Journal. See 

Heart group denies a shift on Atkins
The American Heart Association yesterday denied reports that it was changing its policy toward high-protein diets, reiterating its belief that such weight-loss plans could be harmful. See 

Earth Science

New Theory on Dinosaurs: Multiple Meteorites Did Them In
By WILLIAM J. BROAD. "It's so clear," said Dr. Gerta Keller, a geologist and paleontologist at
Princeton, who studies the links between cosmic bombardments and life
upheavals. "A tremendous amount of new data has been accumulated over the
past few years that points in the direction of multiple impacts." 


Molecular Film On Liquid Mercury Reveals New Properties
A team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, Harvard University, and Bar-Ilan University in Israel have grown ultrathin films made of organic molecules on the surface of liquid mercury. The results, reported in the November 15, 2002, issue of Science, reveal a series of new molecular structures that could lead to novel applications in nanotechnology, which involves manipulating materials at the atomic scale. See 


The Psychology of Success
What Is It That Separates Successful Entrepreneurs from the Rest of Us? See 

November 17, 2002

Religion in the News 

Bush steps up support of Islam
In the wake of television host Pat Robertson comments that Muslims are "worse than the Nazis," President George Bush has taken a more direct defense of Islam. See 

Powell criticizes Falwell, Robertson | "This kind of hatred must be rejected," says Secretary of State (Associated Press). See 

Accused snipers may be followers | Federal authorities are investigating whether accused snipers John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo had ties to a growing sect of militant American Muslims committed to waging holy war against the United States (The Washington Times). See 

Baptist college rejects convention's trustees
A battle between Shorter College and the Georgia Baptist Convention is coming to a boil. On Tuesday, the convention rejected all 16 possible names submitted by the college to fill eight openings on the college's 30-member board of trustees. See 

Bishops revise abuse policy | Clergymen say the new policy is tighter; lay groups call it too secretive (The Washington Post). See 

Pope crosses town and makes history | Speech to Italian Parliament a first. (The Washington Post). See 

45 Ministries 'Failed to Demonstrate Financial Transparency,' Says Watchdog Website
 List may have financial consequences, but several named groups say ratings are wrong. By Ted Olsen. See

Elegy for a 9/11 Hero
A review of Lisa Beamer's Let's Roll!: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage. By Cindy Crosby. See

Cults on campus | Cults prey on new students' feelings of alienation, experts say (KGTV, San Diego). See 

Benny Hinn event in England produces injuries and illness
Last Saturday, about 19,000 people showed up to see faith healer and televangelist Benny Hinn in Manchester, England. The problem: the arena only holds 17,000. At least seven gatecrashers were injured. See 

Monks give religion a pop spin | Benedictines at a Limerick abbey build on their hit CD of Gregorian chants with a new prayer book (The Observer, London). See,6903,825049,00.html 

Don't forget marriage, says Alex Kotlowitz
"With the Republican victory last week, Congress now appears likely to set aside funding for programs that promote marriage among the poor," writes Alex Kotlowitz in today's New York Times. He had initially thought the plan was "nuts," "But now I wonder if the conservatives who are driving this effort might be on to something.…There is now growing consensus among social scientists that, all things being equal, two parents are best for children. It would seem to follow that two-parent families are also best for a community. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes families to build a village." See 

Guilt Good and Bad
The early warning signs.  By Philip Yancey. See

Aramaic May Disappear in Four Decades
Only about 400,000 Arab Christians and 20,000 Jews  speak the language.  By Ted Olsen. See

A pair of unlikely magazines have a friend in Jesus | Wired, Popular Mechanics both have religion covers in December (The Philadelphia Inquirer). See 

'What would Jesus drive?' gas-guzzling Americans are asked | TV commercials air in Midwest. (The Guardian, London). See,12271,839521,00.html 

Science in the News


Patrick Henry rewrites Statement of Biblical Worldview
After denying preliminary accreditation to Patrick Henry College in April, the American Academy of Liberal Education (AALE) announced this week that it has approved the 150-student school for pre-accreditation. The Purcellville, Virginia, college, designed for homeschooled students, previously was denied accreditation because of its teaching of world origins. Patrick Henry's Statement of Biblical Worldview said that all professors had to believe that "God's creative work…was completed in six twenty-four hour days." The AALE ruled that the position disqualified the school from pre-accreditation because it limited "liberty of thought." also 

Weird Science?
A Darwinian debate continues.  By Jonathan Wells. See

Kenneth Miller Responds to Jonathan Wells: 

AAAS Opposes 'Intelligent Design Theory' Within Science Classes
 Washington - Nov 12, 2002 - The world's largest general scientific organization -- the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) -- today urged policymakers to oppose teaching "Intelligent Design Theory" within science classrooms, but rather, to keep it separate, in the same way that creationism and other religious teachings are currently handled. See 

The length of time DNA can survive in permafrost is about 100,000 years, and for most people this would seem like quite a while. But for anyone hoping to chart the progress of evolution, it's really no time at all. So studies of evolutionary relationships have had to rely on comparing the bones of fossils and living animals. But new research could change all that. Researchers have discovered that osteocalcin, a structural protein that bonds directly to the minerals of bone, could yield perfect genetic data after many millions of years. The finding may allow researchers to probe the evolutionary conundrums left by many extinct species, including the ancestors of modern humans. See 

The New Convergence: In recent years, Allan Sandage, one of the world's leading astronomers, has declared that the big bang can be understood only as a "miracle." Charles Townes, a Nobel-winning physicist and coinventor of the laser, has said that discoveries of physics "seem to reflect intelligence at work in natural law." Biologist Christian de Duve, also a Nobel winner, points out that science argues neither for nor against the existence of a deity: "There is no sense in which atheism is enforced or established by science." And biologist Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, insists that "a lot of scientists really don't know what they are missing by not exploring their spiritual feelings." See 


ABR Electronic Newsletter reports: Rumors are circulating in the archaeological circles of Israel that another inscription has been found, apparently illegally. The report is that the inscription is a dedicatory building inscription from the First Temple in Jerusalem.

Biblical plagues and parting of Red Sea 'caused by volcano' | So says new BBC documentary (The Daily Telegraph, London). Moses, which will be broadcast on BBC1 on Dec 1, will suggest that much of the Bible story can be explained by a single natural disaster, a huge volcanic eruption on the Greek island of Santorini in the 16th century BC. See 

CIA releases Noah's Ark documents
The CIA has released two new documents that indicate the search for ''Noah's Ark'' reached the level of the White House, according to a report in Insight Magazine. See 

Russian Scientists Say Shroud of Turin a Fake: 

Iron Age Objects Found in Israel :JERUSALEM - Archaeologists have uncovered hundreds of Iron Age
Philistine religious objects near Tel Aviv, a senior scientist said Monday, calling the find rare and significant.  The vessels, used in religious ceremonies, date to the 9th and 10th centuries B.C., said archaeologist Raz Kletter. See 

Offering table confirms oldest church find
In 1998, North Carolina State University archaeologist Thomas Parker announced that he'd discovered the oldest Christian church in the world in Aqaba, Jordan. Excavations have continued, and this summer Parker found important evidence showing the building, erected in the 200s, was truly built to be a church: an offering table. Before 300, Christians used other buildings as churches. See 

ROM repairing box linked to Jesus | Exhibit opens on Friday: Stabilization techniques will not hide crack (The National Post, Canada). See 

Archeological garden opens at Ramat Rahel 

Rise in antiquities theft vexes Israel's 'Indiana Joneses' | Looting in the West Bank is a new concern. But the 'James ossuary' reveals a need for continued vigilance at home (The Christian Science Monitor). See 

Great Wall of China Is Older Than Experts Thought: Nov. 11 The first section of the Great Wall of China was constructed in the central portion of the country around 688 B.C., Chinese archaeologists announced at a recent academic conference in Henan Province. If their claim holds true, the Great Wall is over 400 years older than previously thought. See 


Indian Scientists claim they have found Microbial Life in Space: 

Chandra Snaps Mars In X-Ray Vision
Huntsville - Nov 15, 2002 - This remarkable image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory image gave scientists their first look at X-rays from Mars. In the sparse upper atmosphere of Mars, about 75 miles above its surface, the observed X-rays are produced by fluorescent radiation from oxygen atoms. See 

Martian meteorite mysteries resolved
The unexpectedly high number and young age of rocks propelled from Mars to Earth can now be explained, say scientists. See 

Keck Watches Io Adapt
Berkeley - Nov 14, 2002 - Routine monitoring of volcanic activity on Jupiter's moon Io, now possible through advanced adaptive optics on the Keck II telescope in Hawaii, has turned up the largest eruption to date on Io's surface or in the solar system. See 

XMM-Newton Closes In On Space's Exotic Matter
Paris (ESA) Nov 12, 2002 - A fraction of a second after the Big Bang, all the primordial soup of matter in the Universe was 'broken' into its most fundamental constituents. It was thought to have disappeared forever. However scientists strongly suspect that the exotic soup of dissolved matter can still be found in today's Universe, in the core of certain very dense objects called neutron stars. See 

Magnetic Space Storms Accelerate Electrons To Light Speed
Berkeley - Nov 13, 2002 - A chance observation of high-energy electrons emanating from a tiny region of space where the sun and Earth's magnetic fields intertwine provides the first solid evidence that a process called magnetic reconnection accelerates electrons to near the speed of light in the Earth's magnetosphere and perhaps throughout the universe where magnetic fields entangle. See 

DARE for Planetary Exploration
Altadena - Nov 12, 2002 - Balloons outfitted with innovative steering devices and robot probes could be the future of planetary exploration. Dr. Alexey Pankine, a fellow at the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC), presented an analysis of balloon applications for planetary science at the World Space Congress in Houston, Texas last month. His study, entitled Directed Aerial Robot Explorers or DARE, is funded by NIAC. See 

New Evidence for Dark Energy
Macclesfield - Nov 13, 2002 - An international team of astronomers, led by scientists at the University of Manchester have produced new evidence that most of the energy in the Universe is in the form of the mysterious "Dark Energy". See 

Leonid Shower To Be Last Meteor Fiesta For Decades
Paris (AFP) Nov 15, 2002 - The Leonid shooting stars return next week for what is likely to be their last great fireworks display for three decades, and maybe even as long as a century. See 


20-Minute AIDS Test Approved: Nov. 8 — A new diagnostic device allowing to detect the AIDS virus in as little as 20 minutes has received government approval in the United States in what officials described as a major step toward curbing the deadly epidemic. See 

Vaccine May Protect Against Cancer: Nov. 5 — Researchers have tested a cancer vaccine on laboratory mice that works by choking off the blood supply that helps tumours to grow, according to the November issue of the journal Nature Medicine. See 

Exercise Fights Cholesterol: Nov. 6 — The more a person exercises the greater the benefit to cardiovascular health, a study published Wednesday found, drawing a direct link between the amount of regular exercise and the reduction of harmful cholesterol. See 

Earth Science

Ancient Protein And DNA Sequences Found In Same Fossil
Newcastle - Nov 14, 2002 - For the first time in the world, researchers at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, along with collaborators at the University of Oxford, Harvard University, and Michigan State University have uncovered two genetically informative molecules from a single fossil bone. See 

NASA Takes H2O Apart With Radar
Greenbelt - Nov 13, 2002 - Rain, snow, ice crystals, and hail are part of a complex process that drives energy circulation in the atmosphere, which in turn helps regulate our planet's climate. A new NASA radar is helping scientists understand this process by measuring the characteristics of various forms of precipitation within rain and snowstorms. See 

GPS Technology Aids Earthquake Research
Newcastle - Nov 12, 2002 - Scientists' understanding of the movement of the Earth's crust is being helped by a new, highly accurate observing facility which is taking measurements that may one day help predict earthquakes. See 


Canada Pursues Micro Fuel Cells
Edmonton - Nov 15, 2002 - A first in Canada, the Alberta Research Council (ARC) reached a milestone in the technical development of its own version of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology. ARC scientists are developing a proprietary micro solid oxide fuel cell (µ-SOFC) source of energy for small-scale portable applications such as laptops or personal digital assistants (PDAs). See 

November 10, 2002

Religion in the News

The Praying Trucker Who Stopped the Snipers

Campus killer: "Here's a lesson in spirituality" See 

Conservative religious organizations: "This was a significant victory"
So far, few Christian political organizations on the right or left have offered analysis of yesterday's election. Two notable exceptions are Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. "On balance, this was a significant victory for our pro-family issues," says council president Ken Connor in his daily Washington Update.

Is Oprah America's Most Effective Pastor?  

The Dick Staub Interview of John Polkinghorne
The 2002 Templeton Prize winner sees the Bible as "the laboratory notebook" of the Holy Spirit. See

Mormons give roots to online 1880 Census
Folks interested in their roots get a huge boon today when the 1880 U.S.
Census -- the first searchable, complete Census -- goes online.
Volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is
renowned for its genealogical research facilities, spent 17 years inputting
the 50 million entries into computers. The result can be found at        

The Mormon murder case | By ignoring clear historical evidence, Gordon Hinckley and his church have failed to confront, and atone for, the bloody consequences of their claim to be God's anointed (Caroline Fraser, New York Review of Books). 

Does Brigham Young University pose a threat to academic freedom? | An ex-professor states his case. (Scott Abbot, The Boston Globe). 

Tamil Nadu's anti-conversion ordinance becomes permanent law
As expected, the legislative assembly in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu created a law prohibiting religious conversion by "force, allurement, or fraudulent means."

In rumor of cow's death, a reason to kill | Hindu lynching of 5 rekindles national debate in India over faith and culture (The Washington Post).

Religious development impressive in China: foreign religious leaders | A number of foreign religious leaders, attending the 50th anniversary of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary in east China's Jiangsu province, expressed their surprise at the favorable development of religion in China (People's Daily, China)

Christians risk all for church in Israel, Orthodox nun says | Military checkpoints, curfews and violence remain oppressive issues for the economic and spiritual well-being of Palestinian Christians, says Agapia Stephanopoulos (The Grand Rapids Press)

Religious tension growing in Russia | President Putin urges people not to incite ethnic conflicts (Pravda)

Religion rules in Brazil | In a country where everyone has to vote, the evangelical voting bloc (which votes the way its pastors tell it to) has the power to swing elections (Andrew Greeley, Chicago Sun-Times)

Thomas Nelson sues International Bible Society in Visual Bible dispute. See 

Publishers alter texts to try to make grade | Texas Freedom Network, a group that monitors the religious right, said publishers have deleted passages that describe Islam positively and made changes to promote Christianity (Houston Chronicle)

'Jesus' bills fill libraries | Counterfeit bills with quotes from the Bible and other pro-Christian literature are being stuffed in books at public libraries throughout Maine (Kennebec Journal).

Christian students search for acceptance on campus | For many Christian students on campus, much of their time is spent working to change preconceived notions of their faith (The Michigan Daily, Ann Arbor)

Beliefnet no longer financially bankrupt
Scaling back from 69 employees to five, depending mostly on reprints, massively cutting original material, and scrubbing their own toilets, multifaith website Beliefnet has pulled out of bankruptcy, reports USA Today.

New status for embryos in research | Embryos in experiments are "human subjects" whose welfare should be considered along with that of fetuses, children and adults, says federal advisory committee (The Washington Post)

Patient dies after visit to faith healer | The Santa Ana man sought help for a rash but was injected with an unidentified substance (Los Angeles Times)

Science in the News


Creation in Six Days:  An analysis of James Jordan's defense of the traidtional reading of Genesis One. The  second presentation in the Fall 2002 Colloquium Series of the
Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute will be held Tuesday 19
November 2002, at Biblical Theological Seminary, tentatively in room 25,
beginning at 8 pm.  The topic is "Creation in Six Days:  An analysis of
James Jordan's defense of the traidtional reading of Genesis One."  The
speaker will be Bartholomew J. Votta, a research biologist and Associate of
IBRI.  Bart is a Principal Investigator in the Dept of Musculoskeletal
Diseases at GalaxoSmithKline, and a ThM candidate at Biblical Seminary.
Abstract:  In a recent book (1999), Dr. Jordan, writing from a reformed
perspective, challenges some of the contemporary interpretations of Genesis
1-2.  In particular, he rejects the "framework" approaches of Bruce Waltke
and Meredith Kline, the "anthropic days" of C. John Collins, and the
"limited geography" of John Sailhammer.  Jordan concludes his defense of the
traditional (literal, consecutive day) reading of Genesis one by proposing
his own creative interpretation of the text.  We will review and analyze
Jordan's principal arguments and evaluate the adequacy of his defense.
Admission is free and open to all interested. See 

Dr. Dino, Kent Hovind of Creation Science Evangelism,
will debate Dr. Richard Weisenberg, professor of biology at Temple University on Tuesday, November 12, 2002 in Anderson Hall, Room 17.Details can be found on Hovind's website at 

The transcripts for the intelligent design forum held at the
American Museum of Natural History on April 23, 2002,
"Blind Evolution or Intelligent Design," are now available
on-line at the NCSE web site. To access the transcripts go to: 

Teaching the controversy' over evolution could be disastrous
By Charles C. Haynes: 

Stop the fighting: Use 'creation-evolution' conflict as teaching tool | We'll never get beyond the battling until we help students understand the range of views — religious and non-religious — about the claims of science (Charles Haynes, Freedom Forum). See 

Of Moths and Men Revisited
A Darwinian debate. By Kevin Padian and Alan Gishlick. See

Darwin debate spreads | Teachers in Danish primary schools have been warned against being overly critical of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution when teaching biology (The Copenhagen Post). See 

The Great Darwin Divide: Darwin and Christianity 

Did Methane Rich Greenhouse Boosted Evolutionary Process?
Denver - Oct 28, 2002 - What constrained the evolution of life during the very hot early Earth? Was a simple drop in temperature largely responsible for the emergence of cyanobacteria, a large and varied group of bacteria with chlorophyll that carry out photosynthesis in the presence of light and air with concomitant production of oxygen? Was it a reduction in carbon-dioxide levels? See 

Evolution Upset: Oxygen-Making Microbes Came Last, Not First
Denver - Oct 30, 2002 - Get ready to rewrite those biology textbooks -- again. Although the "lowly" blue-green algae, or Cyanobacteria, have long been credited as one of Earth's earliest life forms and the source of the oxygen in the early Earth's atmosphere, they might be neither. See 

The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins selected excerpts at - 

The Stephen Jay Gould Archive: 


James ossuary may not go on display as scheduled
Delays in fixing the damage to the limestone box that probably once held the bones of James, the brother of Jesus, may mean the ossuary won't be displayed at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum as scheduled. See 

Evidence of Jesus' existence now has crack through it
The limestone box that once held the bones of "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus," survived in Israel for 1,939 years. But only two weeks after its existence was made known to the world, the limestone box sustained what is being called "very serious damage." See 

Israel says owner of James ossuary may not be owner after all
Tel Aviv newspaper Ha'aretz has finally revealed the owner of the James ossuary, the oldest extra-textual evidence of Jesus' existence. Oded Golan is a 51-year-old Tel Aviv engineer who apparently works for Lucent Technologies—or at least did in 1998. But wait. He may not be the owner after all. Ha'aretz reports that mere hours before Biblical Archaeology Review held its press conference to announce the discovery of the bone box, the Tel Aviv police brought Golan in for questioning. "Investigators at the Antiquities Authority suspect that Golan illegally acquired this artifact, which actually belongs to the state," reports Ha'aretz's Sara Leibovich-Dar. See 

Ossuary owner breaks his silence
After being called an idiot for packing a 2,000-year-old bone box that may be the most exciting New Testament archaeological find ever in cardboard and bubble wrap, and after being accused of trying to smuggle the priceless treasure out of Israel, and after being accused of dealing in looted artifacts, ossuary owner Oded Golan has come out of hiding to defend himself. The front-page story in Toronto's Globe and Mail has several notes that contradict what has been previously reported: 

Ancient box opens lid on theological debate | Was Jesus an only child? Was Mary forever a virgin? The discovery of a Jewish ossuary bearing some familiar scriptural names is turning into a Pandora's box for scholars, clergy and laity. (St. Petersburg Times). See 

Is Mount Sinai at Har Karkom? See 

Archaeologists unearth Tyre’s Phoenician roots: Dig uncovers 12 burial jars 

Fundamentalism (30 Oct) - 'The Origins and Nature of Fundamentalism in Society' by Niccolo Caldararo. The current debate on the nature of fundamentalism is outlined in this paper. Ethnohistorical materials are used to define the origins of this concept and to describe the function and structure of such movements in past societies. The relationship of identity, religion and global economy and hegemony are discussed as formative elements of fundamentalist movements. Some prospects for the future are presented. See 


Martian rock 'does contain life' Is this a fossilised micro organism from Mars?
By Dr David Whitehouse: The strange shapes seen in a rock from Mars that some researchers say are
fossilised bacteria really are tiny micro organisms, say American researchers. 
But while they are confident the Mars rock contains fossilised life they
cannot quite bring themselves to say it comes from the Red Planet, it might
be Earthly contamination. See 

Martian Water Debate: Oct. 23 — There's no end in sight for the debate over whether Mars was once wet, warm and Earth-like, or forever a frigid world where water never had a chance to thaw and flow. See 

Face on Mars: Nov. 6 — The face on Mars has been spotted again, this time in a nighttime infrared image that tells a bit more about its mysterious geological origins. The "face" is actually a three-kilometer long knob of sediments in the northern Cydonia region that is littered with similar knobs and mesas. See 

Intelligent life in the Universe (30 Oct) - Ever since Copernicus put the Sun, rather than Earth, at the centre of the Universe, scientists and philosophers have suspected that there's nothing special about our cosmic time and place. But two physicists now suggest otherwise. Only galaxies about the age of our Milky Way have the right conditions for intelligent life to develop. See 

Astronomers Find Life On Earth
Boston - Nov 01, 2002 - Now that the discovery of extrasolar planets, or planets around distant stars, has become relatively routine, scientists are now tackling the next step: finding life-bearing worlds. To do this, observers must know what signs to look for in the feeble light from these faraway planets. See 

Sounding Europa On the Cheap: Eavesdropping On Ice
Denver - Oct 28, 2002 - Forget drilling. A simpler and cheaper way to search for an ocean under Europa's glacial surface is to land a solitary electronic ear on the Jovian moon, and listen to the echoes of cracking ice. See 

Life's The Pits On Europa
Boulder - Nov 01, 2002 -  The oozing of glacial material in the floating ice shell on Jupiter's moon Europa has important implications for future exploration of the enigmatic moon and prospects of life in its ice-covered ocean, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder professor. See 

A new moon of the planet Uranus has been discovered, bringing the total of
known moons to 21. See 

NASA'S Stardust Comet-Chaser Passes Asteroid Test
Pasadena (JPL) Nov 06, 2002 - All systems on NASA's Stardust spacecraft performed successfully when tested in a flyby of asteroid Annefrank on Friday, heightening anticipation for Stardust's encounter with its primary target, comet Wild 2, 14 months from now. See 

Bouncing Cosmic Mysteries Off Kuiper Worlds
Boulder - October 30, 2002 - A team led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has found that a portion of anomalous cosmic rays -- charged particles accelerated to enormous energies by the solar wind -- results from interactions with dust grains from a belt of comet-sized objects near Pluto's orbit. See 

'Oldest' star found in galaxy: HE0107-5240 lies in the outer reaches of our galaxy
By Dr David Whitehouse
This is the oldest star in our Milky Way yet observed by astronomers. It
could date back to the beginning of the Universe, about 14 billion years
ago. The giant star, HE0107-5240, is a rarity because unlike younger stars it is
virtually metal-free. It is from the first generation of stars made from the
simple elements left over from the Big Bang. 
Writing in the journal Nature researchers say, "these old stars provide
crucial clues to the star formation history and the synthesis of chemical
elements in the early Universe. 

Why aren't there more new stars?  It seems like there's enough gas and dust
around that more new stars should be seen.  Researchers have discovered
that a well-known, but overlooked source of heating may play a significant
role in keeping the Milky Way's gas continually stirred up, limiting the
formation of new stars. 

V838 Mon Bursts Into Light
Cape Town - Dec 06, 2002 - A highly unusual new variable star has attracted a great deal of attention amongst the astronomical community in recent months: the star has significantly changed its appearance during this time. See 

Aging Stars: An international team of astronomers have provided proof that the magnetic
field close to a number of aging stars is 10 to 100 times stronger than
that of our own Sun . These observations suggest a solution to the long
outstanding problem as to how, at the end of its life, a perfectly
spherical star can give rise to the complex and beautiful structure seen in
the resulting "planetary nebula". 

Magnetar: Scientists have identified the most magnetic object
known in the Universe, the result of the first direct measurement of a
magnetic field around a peculiar neutron star known as a

Gravity Waves Analysis Opens 'Completely New Sense'
St. Louis - Oct 30, 2002 - Sometime within the next two years, researchers will detect the first signals of gravity waves -- those weak blips from the far edges of the universe passing through our bodies every second. Predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity, gravity waves are expected to reveal, ultimately, previously unattainable mysteries of the universe. See 

In Search Of Cosmic Mayhem
St. Louis - Nov 01, 2002 - A physicist at Washington University in St. Louis working with scientists at the Smithsonian Institution is unveiling the dark, violent side of the universe. Studying the highest energy photons known to science, Washington University Associate Professor of Physics James H. Buckley, Ph.D., and his colleagues are analyzing bursts of gamma rays released from massive black holes at the center of so-called active galaxies. See 

Memories Of Orange Rock From The Lunar Age
Washington - Nov 01, 2002 - The date was December 11, 1972, and the occasion was the last Apollo mission to the Moon. Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt landed in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow, the only scientist and the last of 12 men to step onto the lunar surface. See 

Leonids 2002 Among The Moonlight
Washington - Nov 05, 2002 - After putting on spectacular performances for the last four years running, the Leonid meteor shower is due to sweep across Earth one more time during the early-morning hours of Tuesday, November 19th, Sky & Telescope magazine reports. If the weather is clear, we could be in for a grand celestial show. See 


Top Ten Nutritional Tips: 

Top Ten Myths of Marriage: 

Duct Tape to treat Warts: 

Inside the womb: What scientists have learned about those amazing first nine months—and what it means for mothers (Time). See 

Stress at work doubles heart attack risk: According to a study published in Saturday's issue of the weekly British Medical Journal (BMJ), people who suffer from stressful demands at work, poor rewards and scant career opportunities are twice as likely to die from heart disease. See 

Vaccine may save hepatitis C victims' livers 

Gains in Understanding Human Cells

Gene pioneer urges dream of human perfection:  

The Brain Revolution and Ethics
By Arthur L. Caplan: 

Your brain may soon be used against you
The last refuge of secrets and lies - the brain - may be about to reveal all. Scientists are finding ways to use the brain's activity to expose truths a person may try to hide. The techniques could revolutionize police work, improve national security, and threaten personal privacy. See 

Earth Science

Three ESA Satellites Reveal Etna's Complexity
Paris (ESA) Nov 05, 2002 - As detected by ESA satellite sensors, the recent eruptions of the Mount Etna volcano in Sicily are throwing huge amounts of ash and trace gases into the atmosphere. See 


Researchers 'look inside' antimatter
In its so-called Atrap research, the Cern team has built a corral for
anti-protons. European scientists have carried out the first experiments on antimatter.
Researchers in Geneva, Switzerland, have been able to trap and control
anti-hydrogen atoms in a chamber at a sufficiently low temperature to begin
studying their physics in detail. See 

Experiment Could Reveal 'Extra Dimensions,' Exotic Forces
West Lafayette - Nov 05, 2002 - Physicists have devised a new experiment that will be used in the quest for exotic forces in nature and "additional spatial dimensions." See 

Order And Disorder Unite To Enable Ultrasound, Sonar
Philadelphia - Nov 04, 2002 - Chemists at the University of Pennsylvania have shown how atom-scale changes in certain materials can dramatically affect their ability to interchange mechanical and electrical signals. This finding, reported in the Oct. 31 issue of Nature, may permit scientists to engineer these materials to be more sensitive, durable and environmentally friendly. See 


Addiction (1 Nov) - Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have evidence in animals that the young, adolescent brain may be more sensitive to addictive drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines than either the adult or newborn. The work may help someday lead to a better understanding of how the adolescent human brain adapts to such drugs, and provide clues into changes in the brain that occur during drug addiction. See 

Schizophrenia (28 Oct) - Jerusalem genomics company IDgene Pharmaceuticals has found a genetic link responsible for as many as a fifth of all schizophrenia cases. See 

Depression (31 Oct) - Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have made significant progress in identifying the first susceptibility gene for clinical depression, the second leading cause of disability worldwide, possibly providing an important step toward changing the way doctors diagnose and treat major depression that affects nearly 10 percent of the population. See 

Serial killers (27 Oct) - A rapid and bizarre change in religious beliefs, especially the delusion of being God, is not rare among serial killers and others who commit violent crimes, according to mental health experts who study extreme criminal behavior. See 

What turns us into heroes?,3604,817767,00.html 

What Makes Us Do It?
In the age-old debate of nature vs. nurture, an M.I.T. prof says our genes don't get enough respect

The Neuro-anatomy of the Moral Mind: Audio at 

October 27, 2002

Religion in the News

Stunning New Evidence that Jesus Lived
Scholars link first-century bone box to James, brother of Jesus.  By Gordon Govier. See

Burial Box of James the Brother of Jesus
André Lemaire
An unadorned ossuary from first-century A.D. Jerusalem bears the earliest historical reference to Jesus yet found. Read how this important object came to light and how scientists proved it wasn't a modern forgery. See 

Scholar Claims Oldest Jesus Evidence
By Richard N. Ostling. See and            

Inscription on burial artifact might refer to Jesus
An inscription on a burial artifact recently discovered in Israel likely refers to Jesus of Nazareth and dates back to three decades after the Crucifixion, archaeologists announced yesterday. See Also 

Does James's bone box destroy Roman Catholic teaching of Mary's perpetual virginity?
With the Washington sniper case, a U.N. declaration on Iraq in the works, and other major stories, the discovery of James's ossuary doesn't get much press today. But where it does, the issue seems to be its implications on Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox teachings of Mary's perpetual virginity. "The theological implications really turn on interpretation of 'brother' in the New Testament," Biblical Archeology Review editor Hershel Shanks said on PBS's Newshour (audio) last night. See 

Text Criticism and Inerrancy
How can I reconcile my belief in the inerrancy of Scripture with comments in Bible translations that state that a
particular verse is not 'in better manuscripts'? by J.I. Packer. See 

  Erika Harold, Miss America 2003, has just emerged victorious from a very public struggle. Erika, a professed
Christian, announced after winning the title that she would be using her year in the spotlight to promote abstinence for teenagers. For reasons best known to themselves, the Miss America pageant organizers in Atlantic City ordered her not to do so. Then, in the face of controversy, they reversed their decision but made Erika promise that she would couch her message in the more politically correct theme of "teen violence." See,,SB1035246377421478631,00.html and

Monumental clash over Ten Commandments | A trial examines whether a judge's decision to display a stone tablet at a courthouse violates church-state divide (The Christian Science Monitor). See 

The gospel according to Hammurabi | Instead of the Commandments, display mankind's earliest known code of laws (Dale McFeatters, Naples [Fla.] Daily News). See 

Female priest calls for change | A former Ohio first lady who was secretly ordained as a priest said she was trying to send a message that the time has come to admit women into the Roman Catholic clergy (Associated Press). See 

Doctor claims pressure to ratify Teresa's 'miracle' | Objections by the doctors who treated Monica Besra, the tribal woman whom Mother Teresa is believed to have miraculously cured, and Indian rationalists have blotched the entire beatification process ( See 

The Lord is my headmaster | Christian evangelists are shunning local schools and educating their children at home because they believe that the schools are spreading lies. Are they damaging their children's minds or giving them a good start in life? (Joel Budd, The Independent, London). See 

The Great Debate: Atheism vs. Christianity
A Live CCN Satellite Broadcast -- Free -- Sunday, December 8
Join thousands across North America live via satellite as a
Christian leader debates the atheist who sued to remove "Under
God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. The broadcast is available
free to any church with compatible satellite equipment. For more
info visit:

Science in the News


Dr. Dino, Kent Hovind of Creation Science Evangelism,
will debate Dr. Richard Weisenberg, professor of biology at Temple University on Tuesday, November 12, 2002 in Anderson Hall, Room 17.Details can be found on Hovind's website at 

New radiohalo find challenges primordial granite claim by Robert Gentry 

RATE Project: Joe Meert and other anti-Creationists recently blasted Dr. Russell Humphreys, the RATE project, and the Institute for Creation Research for an alleged mistake in an article about Helium diffusion and rapid nuclear decay. What is Dr. Humphrey's response? See Joe Meert's comments at 

Intelligent Design advocate lauds state plan on teaching evolution | "Our slogan to the press is, Teach the controversy,' " says Phillip Johnson (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland). See 

by H. ALLEN ORR. How a paleontologist sought to revolutionize evolution. See 

Life in a greenhouse world
What constrained the evolution of life during the very hot early Earth? Was a simple drop in temperature largely responsible for the emergence of cyanobacteria, a large and varied group of bacteria with chlorophyll that carry out photosynthesis in the presence of light and air with concomitant production of oxygen? Was it a reduction in carbon-dioxide levels? See 


A "Centrist" at the Center of Controversy
BAR Interviews Israel Finkelstein

Hershel Shanks
Did David and Solomon rule a mighty United Kingdom of Israel? How old are the Biblical narratives? These and other pressing questions are at the heart of a heated academic controversy. We speak with a key figure in that debate. See 

The Antikythera mechanism: The clockwork computer 

Cheese: Ancient Disease Carrier? Oct. 18 — Bacteria found in a 2,000-year-old piece of cheese could be the final evidence that this food was a continuous source of infectious disease in the ancient Roman world. See 


Small Planet Spotted About Epsilon Eridani
Rochester - Oct 25, 2002 - A new extrasolar planet has been discovered using a new technique that will allow astronomers to detect planets no other current method can. Planets around other stars have been previously detected only by the effect they have on their parent star, limiting the observations to large, Jupiter-like planets and those in very tight orbits. See also 

Scientists studying two big craters on earth find two causes
Two of the three largest impact craters on Earth have nearly the same size and structure, researchers say, but one was caused by a comet while the other was caused by an asteroid. These surprising results could have implications for where scientists might look for evidence of primitive life on Mars. See 

Hidden face of Mars uncovered by father & daughter
Ghosts of the most ancient craters in the solar system are materializing on Mars. Using altimeter data from the Mars Global Surveyor and special graphics software, a father and daughter have found the circular outlines of the Red Planet's earliest impact craters and basins – pounded into what remains of the planet's first crust. See 

Cosmology (22 Oct) - Despite what recent observations suggest, Professor Andrei Linde from Stanford University and his wife Professor Renata Kallosh say the universe will stop expanding and collapse in the relatively near future. See 

More Evidence that Dark Matter Rules the Universe
23 October 2002. New X-ray observations add further evidence to the likelihood that most of
the universe it comprised of exotic dark matter. The finding may also help
narrow down the types of dark matter researchers should consider viable.
Most astronomers already view dark matter as the only logical way to explain
the orbits of stars and shapes of galaxies. Nobody has ever seen dark
matter, and scientists don¹t know exactly what it is, but without it
galaxies would fly apart. See and 

NASA to Try On New Spacesuit. See 

Rose Center for Earth and Space: See 


Pigs with human genes are step toward transplants
In a step toward creating herds of pigs that could provide organs for transplanting into humans, Italian researchers manipulated swine sperm to make an animal strain that carries human genes in the heart, liver and kidneys. See 

Longevity (24 Oct) - A US team has doubled the lifespan of the nematode worm with no apparent physiological side affects. The key to what appears to be uncompromised longevity is to silence a gene involved in ageing at just the right point in a worm's life cycle. See 

Earth Science

Paleontology (25 Oct) - The shapes and internal structures of individual cells within some of the earliest multicellular animals have been revealed for the first time using technology normally associated with hospitals. See also 

Fossil Record (25 Oct) - The quality and completeness of the fossil record and its credibility as a source of information about the history of life have been debated since before Charles Darwin's time. Now, as part of the Paleobiology Database project, a systematic examination is being conducted with some good news so far. See 

Sod busters along the old Cambrian trail
If you've ever had to scrape a barnacle, you can blame a trilobite for your trouble. The advent of trilobite-tilled, worm-worked muck a half-billion years ago may have helped feed an explosive evolution of early animal life in the oceans – including the sort of critters that today attach themselves to boats and piers. See 

Evolution upset: Oxygen-making microbes came last, not first
Get ready to rewrite those biology textbooks – again. Although the "lowly" blue-green algae, or Cyanobacteria, have long been credited as one of Earth's earliest life forms and the source of the oxygen in the early Earth's atmosphere, they might be neither. See

Prehistoric 'sea dragon' found
"Sea dragons" were common when the sea was warmer. The remains of a prehistoric monster have been found on the east coast of Yorkshire. The plesiosaur, which resembles the Loch Ness monster, dates back to the
beginning of the Cretaceous period 130 million years ago. See  

Researchers Show Why Active Mountains Don't Get Taller
University Park - Oct 23, 2002 - Active mountain ranges like the Olympic Mountains, Taiwan Central Range or the Southern Alps are still growing, but they are not getting any taller. River cutting and erosion keep the heights and widths of uplifted mountain ranges in a steady state according to an international team of geoscientists. See 

Purdue Scientist Adds Third Dimension To Earth's Interior
West Lafayette - Oct 22, 2002 - The swirl of malleable rock in the earth's mantle -- located between the earth's crust and core -- may have greater effect on the earth's surface than was once believed, a Purdue research team reports. See 

Africa's Ice Age In Final Meltdown
Columbus - Oct 21, 2002 - A detailed analysis of six cores retrieved from the rapidly shrinking ice fields atop Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro shows that those tropical glaciers began to form about 11,700 years ago. See 

Melting Crust Makes Rich Mineral Deposits: Geologist
Toronto - Oct 18, 2002 - A University of Toronto study suggests why giant gold and copper deposits are found at some volcanoes but not others, a finding that could point prospectors to large deposits of these and other valuable metals. See 


Schizophrenia (23 Oct) - Schizophrenia may not be one single disease but rather an array of disorders whose psychiatric and cognitive symptoms vary according to which part of the brain is affected and to what degree. That's the conclusion of a study published in the October issue of Neuropsychology, in which a seven-neuroscientist team linked schizophrenic subtypes with different memory problems and different brain anatomies. The scientists say this is a "first step in our efforts to uncover the specific biological mechanisms of the disorder," which they hope will lead to better diagnosis and treatment of people with schizophrenia. See 

ADHD - genetics (22 Oct) - UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute researchers have localized a region on chromosome 16 that is likely to contain a risk gene for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the most prevalent childhood-onset psychiatric disorder. See 

Sibling rivalry
Why the nature/nurture debate won't go away. By Steven Pinker. See 

Debating Human Happiness
From: Steven Pinker. See 


Sharp Takes First Step To Ultra-Thin Screen
Tokyo (AFP) Oct 22, 2002 - Japan's leading liquid crystal display maker Sharp Corp. said on Tuesday it had made an "epoch-making" step toward making ultra-flat "sheet computers" after it succeeded in running a computer on a tiny piece of glass. See 

October 20, 2002

Religion in the News

Working with the Communists
Some evangelicals minister happily within China's state-supervised Three Self church.  By Tony Carnes. See

Freedom's Wedge
What you can do to help persecuted Christians.  By Jeff M. Sellers. See

Riots, Condemnation, Fatwa, and Apology Follow Falwell's CBS Comments
President of the All India Christian Council: "I prayed that the broadcast would not reach India."
By Todd Hertz. See  and
Rev. Jerry Falwell trips over his own tongue "To call the holy man of millions a 'terrorist' on national television was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a swift move." (Elizabeth Schuett, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Pope marks 24th anniversary
Pope John Paul II entered the 25th year of his papacy yesterday, praying for strength to carry on and changing one of the best-known Roman Catholic traditions, the rosary. See 

Vatican rejects some U.S. steps to get tough on abusive priests
Elements of the toughened abuse policy approved by U.S. Roman Catholic bishops have been rejected at the Vatican, which has warned American prelates about going ahead with some changes, church sources familiar with the Holy See's response said yesterday. See  The letter that Cardinal Re, from the Vatican, sent to the American Bishops explaining them the reason why the Vatican rejected their plan to fight against the abuses. See 
Response of the American bishops to that letter See 

Billy Graham's Texas mission begins
A packed out stadium? Check. Thousands responding to the altar call as others sing Just As I Am? Check. Articles suggesting this may be "Billy Graham's last crusade"? Check. On that last point, however, note that Graham hasn't announced any plans for future missions.

Graham's daughter leads Christian expo | Choral groups also join up to 10,000 at Downtown venue for three-day event (The Indianapolis Star).

Alliance between conservative U.S. Christians and Israel worries Muslim leaders (Voice of America).

Israeli Tribes: Once lost and now found? | Searching for the lost tribes of Israel in India and Afghanistan (Newsweek).

Going to war: What would Jesus do? | Doesn't a simple reading of the Sermon on the Mount preclude violence as a way for us who follow Jesus to deal with threats to our well-being? (Tony Campolo, Winston-Salem Journal).

Church members sent to jail for whipping kids | House of Prayer pastor says he'll follow the Bible (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). 

Taxes haunt TV evangelism's best-known pair | IRS says Bakker, Messner owe $3 million from '80s (The Baltimore Sun)

Evangelist John Jacobs, founder of the Power Team ministry, recently ended his brief marriage to his second wife. According to Jacobs, who was divorced from his first wife, Ruthanne, in May 2000, his latest marriage to Sara Jacobs has now been annulled by a Dallas judge. See 

Feeling their pain | Why do so many otherwise kindly Christians and compassionate conservatives not only tolerate the widespread abuse of farm, lab and game animals but also routinely label those who attempt to defend and protect these animals as dangerous, misguided radicals, dismissing every argument for mercy? (The Washington Post)

Back to basics | Colleen Carroll's The New Faithful combines first-hand reporting with social-science metrics to examine a remarkable trend toward religious orthodoxy among Americans born roughly between 1960 and 1983 (The Wall Street Journal). 

Sept. 11 is a prime example of how legends evolve.
For several years, Jeffrey Hyson broke the news to tourists visiting Valley Forge: It didn't happen the way they thought. The winter of 1777-78 was cold - but not the coldest. The colonial troops suffered supply and morale problems - but the causes were mundane, not epic. George Washington slept there - but he didn't kneel in the snow to pray. See 

Christian History Corner: The King Is Coming, Eventually
What if you announced the rapture, but God didn't show up? By Elesha Coffman. See

Science in the News

Lecture:    The Mystical Mind: Why God Won't Go Away
Speakers:   Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Elaine Yuen, Ph.D.
Place:      Chestnut Hill College Auditorium
Address:    Germantown and Northwestern Avenues, Philadelphia, PA 19118
Date/Time:  Thursday, November 7, 2002 7:00 PM
Free and Open to the Public
    On Thursday, November 7, 2002 at 7:00PM, Dr. Andrew S. Newberg, M.D.,
Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology at the Hospital of the
University of Pennsylvania, will discuss his recent research in brain
function and neuroimaging. Specifically, he will address his high-tech
investigation of the brains of meditating Buddhists and Franciscan nuns at
prayer. His research has elucidated the chain of neurological events that
are triggered by intensely focused spiritual contemplation.


Ohio Panel Gives Evolution Nod
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A state school board panel Monday recommended that
Ohio science classes emphasize both evolution and the debate over its validity.
The committee left it up to individual school districts to decide whether to
include in the debate the concept of ``intelligent design,'' which holds
that the universe is guided by a higher intelligence.
The guidelines for the science curriculum simply put into writing what many
school districts already do. The current guidelines do not even mention
evolution. See and also 

77 years after Scopes trial, evolution fight still rages: COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- Every new biology textbook used in public schools here comes with the warning: Material in these pages contains evolution. The label, pasted inside the textbooks by the Cobb County School Board to placate angry parents, tells students that "evolution is a theory, not a fact" before advising them to read the material "with an open mind." See 

Before Adam and Eve, the Farmers Were Termites
Sometime, perhaps about 50 million years ago, farming was invented. Not by
human beings of course, but by ants, termites and beetles, each of which
developed forms of fungi gardening. 
Previous studies have tracked the molecular evolution of ants and beetles.
The tools used, statistical analyses of genetic variation, are the same ones
that have produced the claim, widely but not completely accepted, that human
beings are all descended from a single female ancestor in Africa ‹ called
Eve, of course ‹ about 150,000 years ago.
Researchers have found Eves and Adams among the ants and beetles as well.
Farming appears to have evolved only once among the ants, suggesting one
founding pair, although the descendant farmers have domesticated new
varieties of fungi several times. In contrast, farming appears to have
evolved at least seven different times among the beetles.
Now a European research group has turned its attention to fungus-farming
termites, which have been less well studied. What they have found is an
out-of-Africa story in which termites and fungi joined together once and
have not separated since. It was, apparently, the beginning of a beautiful
symbiosis. See 

Man or ape? African fossil sparks verbal war
Paris - A fossil claimed to be modern human's most ancient ancestor has
sparked a bitter squabble, with a team of anthropologists declaring the find
is making a monkey out of the human family tree. See,3604,808955,00.html 


Biggest Treasure Trove Found? Oct. 10 — The largest treasure trove in marine history could soon emerge from Mediterranean waters, thanks to an unprecedented public-private partnership. Focusing on a 17th-century British warship, the treasure hunt has been launched by a 20-year-old deal between Britain and U.S. salvage company Odyssey Marine Exploration.HMS Sussex, an 80-gun ship, was said to be on a secret mission taking gold and silver coins to the Duke of Savoy Victor Amadeus II, a shaky ally in Britain's Nine Years' War against France. But King William III's huge bribe — a million pounds sterling, according to historical records — never reached the Duke. On Feb. 19, 1694, a violent storm hit the flotilla near the Strait of Gibraltar. The Sussex sank and its 500 crew drowned. See 

Machu Picchu Mummy Discovered: Oct. 13 — Peruvian archeologists have discovered a complete mummified human skeleton in the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the National Institute of Culture announced Saturday. See 

David's Threat to Nabal
Peter J. Leithart. When the wealthy landowner Nabal turns down David's request
for much-needed assistance, David responds with vulgarity. Modern Bible translations clean up David's language, but in so doing they destroy David's meaning‹and motive. See 

Gods of Nemrut Dag
Giant stone deities litter a remote Turkish mountaintop. By Jarrett A. Lobell. See 

Legacies of a Slavic Pompeii
In the post-Soviet era, both priests and prehistorians have a stake in the future of a once-resplendent ancient city.
by Kristin M. Romey. See 

New Alexandria Library Designers Try To Fireproof The Phoenix
Alexandria (AFP) Oct 16, 2002 - With the new Alexandria Library rising like a Phoenix from the ashes of the ancient one, its designers are at pains to give it the best in 21st century fireproofing and detection. See 


Tackling Life's Big Questions
Ann Arbor - Oct 18, 2002 - University of Michigan astrophysicist Fred Adams is a world-renowned theorist on star and planet formation whose ideas have influenced a generation of thinkers. See 

Hubble Telescope As Time Machine To Probe Mystery Of Universe Birth 

Thin ice opens lead for life on Europa 

Astrobiologists To Study Extreme Life At Earth's Highest Lake
Moffett Field - Oct 11, 2002 - Scientists from NASA, the SETI Institute and other organizations are preparing to ascend nearly 4 miles to the summit of a dormant volcano in the Chilean Andes to find out how the organisms that live there can survive in the volcano's hostile environment. See 

Titan's Bizarre Landscape Shaped More by Internal Heat Than Erosion
Birmingham - Oct 11, 2002 - Six months after NASA's Cassini spacecraft reaches Saturn in July 2004, it will deploy the European Space Agency's Huygens probe to Saturn's largest moon, Titan. A cold, dark, smog-shrouded world nearly half the size of Earth, Titan the only moon in the solar system with a thick atmosphere. See 

European Gamma-Ray Telescope Takes To Heavens
Toulouse - Oct 17, 2002 - A powerful telescope designed to detect violent deep-space phenomena such as exploding stars and black holes was launched Thursday by a Russian rocket, the French Centre for Space Research said. The 330-million-euro (dollar) observatory, Integral, has been built by the European Space Agency (ESA) with contributions from the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and the United States. See 

Giant Black Hole Enslaves Star At Heart Of Milky Way
Paris - Oct 16, 2002 - A "super-massive" black hole lurking at the centre of our galaxy has snared a star, forcing it to perform a tortured orbital dance at speeds of up to 180 million kilometers (110 million miles) per hour. See 

Russian Space Launch Blows Up, One Killed
Moscow (AFP) Oct 16, 2002 - A Russian rocket exploded in mid-air seconds after blasting off, killing one man and injuring eight, emergency officials said on Wednesday. The Soyuz-U rocket was launching a Photon-M satellite late Tuesday from Russia's Plesetsk military cosmodrome when it blew up 16 seconds after lift-off and crashed into a nearby forest. See 

Race Is On for First Mars Words: Oct. 9 — They may not be needed for years, but the race is on this week to come up with the first words to be spoken on Mars. See 


To vaccinate or not: The smallpox debate
Smallpox was officially wiped out 22 years ago, but Tara O'Toole, a bioterrorism expert at Johns Hopkins University, can imagine how the ancient disease might quickly come back. See 

Trial Vaccine for Alzheimer's Shows Hope: Oct. 14 — A trial vaccine against Alzheimer's disease that was halted because of side effects showed promise by triggering defenses against the agent which causes the illness, a study published Monday said. Scientists have been battling for years to find a vaccine and a treatment against Alzheimer's, which occurs when a rogue protein clumps together in the brain, destroying its cells. See 

Parkinson's Cure Gets Green Light for Testing: Oct. 12 — A US-based New Zealand scientist has won approval to test his potentially revolutionary treatment for Parkinson's disease, the New Zealand Herald reported Saturday. The transpacific team announced Friday a "significant advance" in the technique of inserting a synthetic gene into the brain using an inactivated virus. See 

Bid to create human embryo clones
Professor Ian Wilmut does not want to make babies. The first application to produce human embryo clones in Britain could be lodged within six months. Professor Ian Wilmut plans to seek permission to use the technique that
created Dolly the sheep to make early human embryos. See 

Frozen egg baby hailed as fertility milestone
A fertility doctor yesterday hailed the imminent arrival of a world in which
women could cap a successful career with mature motherhood, following the
birth of a baby girl to a woman whose eggs had been removed and kept frozen
until she needed them to conceive. See,3604,809837,00.html 

Earth Science

Mummified Dinosaur Discovered In Montana: Leonardo, a mummified, 77-million-year-old duck-billed dinosaur was only about three or four years old when he died, but he's proving to be a bonanza for paleontologists today. His fossilized skeleton is covered in soft tissue—skin, scales, muscle, foot pads—and even his last meal is in his stomach. Leonardo's stomach contents are so well-preserved that researchers can tell what he had for his last supper; a salad of ferns, conifers, and magnolias. The stomach also contained the pollen of more than 40 different plants. Leonardo is one of the most complete brachylophosaurus dinosaur fossils uncovered to date, and the first sub-adult. He is also only the fourth dinosaur fossil in the world to be classified as a "mummy" because of the soft tissue that is preserved. See 

Dinosaur hunters find plenty in Alaska
COLVILLE RIVER, Alaska (AP) -- Dinosaur hunter Tony Fiorillo returned to
Alaska's North Slope in July, intent on extracting the skull of a
pachyrhinosaur spotted a year before north of America's northernmost
mountains. The plant-eating dinosaur was a cousin to triceratops. It grew up to 7 feet
(2.1 meters) high and 18 feet (5.4 meters) long. Its head had a boney nasal
protuberance that may have supported a horn, and a prominent frill at the
back with two distinct horns. See 

Nature of Earth's Mysterious Core Found Beneath Arctic Ice
Rochester - Oct 18, 2002 - In the high Canadian Arctic, researchers at the University of Rochester have stripped away some of the mystery surrounding the powerhouse that drives the Earth's magnetic field. The research strongly suggests that several of the characteristics of the field that were long thought to operate independently of one another, such as the field's polarity and strength, may be linked. See 

Earth's New Center May Be The Seed Of Our Planet's Formation
Los Angeles - Oct 13, 2002 - An odd, previously unknown sphere, some 360 miles in diameter, has been found at the bottom of the Earth. It was detected by a Harvard professor and a graduate student who patiently examined records of hundreds of thousands of earthquake waves that passed through the center of the planet in the past 30 years. See 

Kilimanjaro's snowy top is vanishing fast, scientists say
The snowcap of Mount Kilimanjaro, famed in literature and beloved by tourists, formed 11,000 years ago but will be gone in two decades, according to researchers who say the ice fields on Africa's highest mountain shrank by 80 percent in the last century. See 

Hawaii's Mauna Loa Volcano Is Beginning To Stir, New Data Reveal
Stanford - Oct 18, 2002 - Mauna Loa - Hawaii's biggest and potentially most destructive volcano - is showing signs of life again nearly two decades after its last eruption. See 

World Risks Water Shortage By 2025
Washington - Oct 16, 2002 - If action is not taken soon the world could face enormous problems from dwindling or poisoned fresh water sources as early as 2025, according to a new report. Two non-profit environmental research groups -- the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute and the Pretoria-based International Water Management Institute -- used sophisticated computer modeling to project the fate of the world's fresh water sources and the repercussions of their disappearance. See 


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Among American children it's the most common behavioral disorder, yet a generation ago no one had ever heard of it. Keys to Proper Diagnosis 12 Strategies to Help Parents

Schizophrenia (17 Oct) - Researchers at the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have discovered a communication link between proteins in the brain that could lead to improved treatments for psychiatric disorders and stroke. The study, published in the Oct. 18 issue of the journal Cell, examined the interaction between two proteins known as dopamine D1 and NMDA receptors. See 

Neuroscience (17 Oct) - A biotech company has developed a way to keep slices of living brain tissue alive for weeks, allowing researchers to study the effect of chemicals on entire neural networks, not just individual cells. See 

Seasonal affective disorder (17 Oct) - Seasonal patterns of illness have been recognized since ancient times, but the concept of seasonality in psychiatric disorders has only gained prominence in the past two decades. This article reviews the diagnosis, treatment and pathophysiology of winter seasonal affective disorder. See 

Development (17 October) - Scientists believe they have found a cause of adolescent angst. Nerve activity in the teenaged brain is so intense that they find it hard to process basic information, researchers say, rendering the teenagers emotionally and socially inept. See New Scientist, Brain and Cognition

Free will (15 Oct) - The issue of free will has perplexed theologians and philosophers for centuries - now neuroscience enters the age-old debate. See 

Cognitive science - Researchers have begun to explore animals' capacities for uncertainty monitoring and metacognition. This exploration could extend the study of animal self-awareness and establish the relationship of self-awareness to other-awareness. It could sharpen descriptions of metacognition in the human literature and suggest the earliest roots of metacognition in human development. See 

Teen angst rooted in busy brain 

Alcoholism (16 Oct) - Genetic factors play a key role in the development of alcoholism. A family history of alcoholism does not, however, guarantee that individual offspring will develop the disease. In an effort to discover identifying "markers" of those at risk for alcoholism, researchers in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research evaluate the influence of a family history of alcoholism on the response of saccadic eye movements to alcohol. See 

Fear (15 Oct) - In a discovery with implications for treatment of anxiety disorders, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute investigators have identified a distinct molecular process in the brain involved in overcoming fear. The findings will be published in the Oct. 15 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience. EurekAlert, BBC News Online

Taking a Clinical Look at Human Emotions: A CONVERSATION WITH | JOSEPH LEDOUX


Tiny Atomic Battery Could Run For Decades Unattended
Ithaca - Oct 18, 2002 - While electronic circuits and nanomachines grow ever smaller, batteries to power them remain huge by comparison, as well as short-lived. But now Cornell University researchers have built a microscopic device that could supply power for decades to remote sensors or implantable medical devices by drawing energy from a radioactive isotope. See 

Tiny optical disc could store five movies 

On Scientific Fakery and the Systems to Catch It
In some ways, the pivotal figure in the research misconduct case at Bell
Labs was not Dr. J. Hendrik Schön, the scientist fired last month for
fabricating and manipulating data, but Dr. Bertram Batlogg, the man who
hired him in 1998. See 

At Lawrence Berkeley, Physicists Say a Colleague Took Them for a Ride
By GEORGE JOHNSON. Discovery of element 118 retracted. See 

 October 13, 2002

Religion in the News

Calvary Chapel says Focus on the Family is inappropriate
KWVE, a California Christian radio station run by Chuck Smith's Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, has dropped Christian radio's most popular program, Focus on the Family, after 17 years. The broadcasts, hosted by James Dobson, "were not always reflecting the kind of content that fit with our primary purpose," the church board of directors explains on the radio station's website. See 

Gong Shengliang, other Chinese Christians sentenced to life in prison
As Weblog noted earlier, five leaders of the banned South China Church had their death sentences overturned and were given new trials. Now, instead of being charged for leading an "evil cult," Gong Shengliang was accused of rape and battery — charges that observers say are a fiction.

Fleeing North Korea
Christians among the thousands making their way to China. See

International religious freedom report released
The State Department's fourth annual Report on International Religious Freedom, released yesterday, names the usual suspects of inhibiting freedoms—Burma, China, North Korea—but also cites France, Belgium, and Germany for monitoring or discriminating against religious minorities. See 

Jimmy Carter wins the Nobel Peace Prize
Former President Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in recognition of his role in brokering Middle East peace while in office and his globe-trotting efforts since then to defuse conflicts and promote clean and fair government in some of the world's most forsaken places. See 

Conservative Christians biggest backers of Iraq war | Some 69 percent of conservative Christians favor military action against Baghdad; 10 percentage points more than the U.S. adult population as a whole (Inter Press Service). See 

Lights, camera, exploitation | Falwell says he "should have known" 60 Minutes' segment on Christians and Israel would be a hatchet job, but that is no excuse for shoddy, bigoted journalism (World). See 

Students, faculty call for Baptist university president's resignation
In 1999, Carlos Webb, a star basketball player at Gardner-Webb University, was caught cheating in his religion class. Three years later, the way the Baptist university dealt with Webb has led to faculty resignations, administration demotions, and calls for the president to step down. See 

In Sickness and in Health:The past and future of Christian Science.
by Jana Riess. See 

Meaning-full Translations
The world's most influential Bible translator, Eugene Nida, is weary of 'word worship.'
Interview by David Neff. See

Poll: Earlier Marriages?
Teen pregnancy is not the problem, says Beliefnet columnist Frederica Mathewes-Green: unwed teen pregnancy is the problem. Restore an environment that supports earlier marriage, and young people won't have to fight biology for a decade or more. See 

Girls of Grace | Point of Grace, an all-female contemporary Christian musical group, started the Girls of Grace conference to teach teenage girls that it's cool to be virgins (Sarasota Herald-Tribune). See 

Vatican drafts abuse policy response | Several Vatican officials have told reporters that the Holy See may find it difficult to give a formal stamp of approval to the policy because of concern that several of the proposals may conflict with universal church law (Associated Press). See 

Bridging the religious divide | On Saturday's Faith page, we asked what Catholics and evangelicals can learn from each other. (The Times, London). See,,564-440345,00.html 

Churches recruit Harry Potter | A church booklet argues that the Harry Potter books can help illuminate themes such as the battle between good and evil. (The Daily Telegraph). See 

Serious and silly | Religious action figures are battling for new buyers. (The Detroit News). See 

Understanding the Death Card--and Other Facts About Tarot
Residents of the Washington, D.C. area have been terrorized by a sniper who has left only one clue to his identity: the Death card from a Tarot deck. Read interviews with Tarot critics and advocates to learn what the card usually means (it's not what you think) and what Tarot's popularity means. See 

A Crack in the Wall
Two recent books help explain Thomas Jefferson's intent for "separation of church and state." A Christianity Today Editorial. See 

Science in the News


Maintaining Creationist Integrity: There seems to be a big verbal battle between Ken Ham of AIG and Kent Hovind of CSE. See the arguments at 

Majority of Ohio Science Professors and Public Agree:
'Intelligent Design' Mostly About Religion.
The controversial concept of "intelligent design" theory, now under consideration by the Ohio Board of Education, is seen by Ohio scientists and the general public as basically a religious view of human origins. That's according to a new study conducted jointly by George Bishop, a UC professor of political science and director of UC's Internet Public Opinion Laboratory, and faculty at Case Western Reserve University. See 

Darwin: Under the Microscope
Leading ophthalmologist James P. Gills has diagnosed a serious problem among
many leaders of the scientific community. They are blinded by "spiritual
cataracts," he says, which prevent them from seeing God's hand in creation. See 

Gene technique reveals human evolution: A method that could allow scientists to probe our ancestors' evolution over the last 20,000 years passes its first test. The researchers analysed two gene variants already known to give some resistance to malaria. But the genetic analysis proved that the genes were under strong natural selection in the recent past. The work shows that the advantage conferred by the genes meant they spread rapidly through human populations. See 

Resistant gene raises threat of global pests: By Deborah Smith. Genes that make insects resistant to chemicals can spread quickly around the world, research has shown, highlighting the need for international collaboration in the fight against pests. See 


Ancient skull's species in dispute
An ancient skull whose recent discovery was thought to have pushed back the dawn of man may well have come not from a human ancestor but from a gorilla or another ape species. See also 

Mass human sacrifice unearthed in Peru: The ancient remains of 200 fishermen who were tied up and stabbed through the heart have been excavated from a beach. The grisly find represents the biggest case of human sacrifice discovered in South America. Hector Walde, chief of the excavation project at Peru's National Institute of Culture, says the men probably died in a victory ceremony conducted by the Chimu people in about 1350. See 

Scholar challenges history of exploration
In 1507, a group of scholars working in France produced an extraordinary map of the world, the first to put the still-recent discoveries of Columbus and others into a new continent separate from Asia, and to call that continent "America." See 

Anthropology - race (8 Oct) - Two physical anthropologists have reanalyzed data gathered by Franz Boas, a founder of American anthropology, and report that he erred in saying environment influenced human head shape. Boas's data, the two scientists say, show almost no such effect. See 

King Tut Had Spine Disease: A closer examination of the 1968 X-rays taken inside Tut's coffin by Liverpool University's Ronald Harrison, provided scientists with new clues about the pharaoh's health. See 


Another Candidate For Planet X Found Beyond Pluto
Birmingham - Oct 07, 2002 - Planetary scientists at  the California Institute of Technology have found a spherical body in the outskirts of our solar system. The object has been named Quaoar (KWAH-o-ar) after the creation force of the Tongva tribe who were the original inhabitants of the Los Angeles basin, where the Caltech campus is located. The object circles the sun every 288 years, is half the size of Pluto, and is larger than all of the known objects in the asteroid belt combined. See

Exploring Sol's Third Realm
Colorado - Oct 6 2002 - In the short decade of discovery between the detection of the first Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) and today's announcement of the behemoth KBO Quaoar, the Kuiper Belt has delivered a series of discoveries so profound that its exploration was recently ranked as the top priority of the National Research Council's recent Decadal Survey outlining goals for solar system exploration. See 

Big Bang Created A Flat Universe, Say Scientists
Paris (AFP) Oct 10, 2002 - The cosmos is not just big, it is remarkably flat, according to scientists who say they have carried out the most accurate measurement of the backwash of microwave radiation left from the Big Bang which created the Universe. See 

Close twin star system reveals a planet The discovery boosts the likely number of planets outside our Solar System, as most star systems in our galaxy are binary. See 

Sun Art: Some good folks from our SOHO mission have created 'The Sun As Art,' a
visually stunning and whimsical introduction to the workings of our closest star. See 

Radio waves could construct buildings in space: Forced radio waves could push the components into place without the help astronauts, says a US engineer - NASA likes the idea. See 

Crab Pulsar: Multiple observations made over several months with
Chandra and Hubble Space Telescope have captured the spectacle of matter
and antimatter propelled to near the speed of light by the Crab pulsar, a
rapidly rotating neutron star the size of Manhattan. See 

X-Ray Jets: For the first time, astronomers have tracked the life cycle of X-ray jets
from a black hole. A series of images from our Chandra X-ray Observatory
has revealed that as the jets evolved, they traveled at near light speed
for several years before slowing down and fading. See 

Understanding The Complexity Of Cometary Worlds
Los Angeles - Oct 11, 2002 - Funny things happen on the surfaces of comets. We are 'somewhat' used to pictures of planets, moons and asteroids, but when the NASA/JPL Deep Space 1 spacecraft flew by the comet 19/P Borrelly, the DS1 science team was amazed. See 

Meteorite Falls on Siberia: Oct. 4 — A meteorite so big that it caused a minor earth tremor crashed into the Irkutsk region of Siberia, appearing to local villagers as a large ball of fire streaking across the sky, officials said. See 

New Hawaiian Telescopes Will Search For Killer Asteroids
Los Angeles - Oct 09, 2002 - Astronomers at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA) have been awarded a $3.4 million grant by the Air Force Research Laboratories to design a new observatory to survey the entire sky and detect very faint objects. See 


Genes yield clues to heart and prostate risks
ASSOCIATED PRESS The potential of genetic research was suggested once again today, as scientists announced discoveries that help them better understand two of the biggest modern killers: See 

Subtle gene therapy tackles blood disorder. The world's most common genetic disease could be treated by tricking cells into making normal proteins from mutated genes. See 

Eczema study reveals skin's broken defences: Sufferers fail to produce effective amounts of key bacteria-killing molecules - the discovery raises hopes of new treatments for millions. See 

Breakthrough in Brain Healing Research: Oct. 7 — A world-first discovery about the way the human brain heals itself was announced here Monday by an Australian university researcher.University of Queensland Professor Perry Bartlett said on the Nature Neuroscience website his team had found a mechanism that may stimulate the production of new nerve cells in the brain. See 

Earth Science

PNG Volcano Could Be Facing Massive Blow
London (AFP) Oct 10, 2002 - A volcano in Papua New Guinea is showing signs of a catastrophic eruption that could threaten tens of thousands of lives and temporarily affect the Earth's climate with its dust plume, New Scientist says. See 

Evidence That Antarctic Ice Stream Has Reversed Flow
Seattle - Oct 09, 2002 - It is virtually impossible for a river or stream to first stop its flow and then reverse course. But an ice stream in Antarctica has done precisely that during the last 250 years, and scientists are trying to figure out exactly why. See 

Suction And Pull Drive Movement Of Earth's Plates
Ann Arbor - Oct 09, 2002 - As anyone with a smattering of geological knowledge knows, Earth's crust is made up of plates that creep over the planet's surface at a rate of several inches per year. But why do they move the way they do? Even experts have had trouble teasing out the exact mechanisms. See 


Brain Size Tied to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
The brains of children and adolescents in whom attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder is diagnosed are smaller in
volume than those of children without the condition. 

Intimate Relationships: "Forget marital breakdown, high rates of divorce, and the number of children born outside of marriage. Endless discussions about the 'crisis' facing the family distract attention from trends that are likely to have a far greater impact on how we live. The truth is that adults are not only finding it difficult to sustain marriage, but just about all forms of intimate relationships," writes Frank Furedi. See 

Self-esteem (9 Oct) - Though there may be great advantages for precocious preschoolers who have a high level of mental, social and emotional understanding, there may be disadvantages as well, new study findings suggest. These youngsters may be more sensitive to criticism. See 

Antidepressants (8 Oct) - A controversial abortion pill may have a use as an anti-depressant, say researchers in the United States and France. See 

Unemployment and depression (6 Oct) - Job loss and its related financial strain put people at elevated risk for emotional and physical problems, according to researchers studying the consequences of being unemployed. See 

Artists and criminals (6 Oct) - What makes one person choose painting and another robbery? A controversial theory suggests that artists and criminals have a lot in common: they both break the rules. See,6903,805353,00.html 


'Strange Matters': Mathematics and the Playful Side of Physics


F.C.C. Approves a Digital Radio Technology
The Federal Communications Commission unanimously approved a
method Thursday for broadcasting digital radio within
current analog channels. 

Nanocylinders Open Way To Polymer Electronics
Mainz - Oct 09, 2002 - A team of German and American scientists have succeeded in combining conventional organic molecules and conductive polymers to form highly symmetric, structured materials with new electronic properties. See 

Technology Could Use Moon Dust To Capture Sun Power
Houston - Oct 09, 2002 - New technologies designed to harness the power of the sun may hold the key to successful moon colonies, cheaper and lighter-weight satellites, and cleaner-burning, more efficient car engines. See 


Evidence Suggests a New Type of Elephant: Oct. 2 — New genetic evidence suggests that there are three different types of elephants living in Africa: savanna elephants, forest elephants and a new western variety, said the University of California, San Diego in a press release. See 

October 6, 2002

Religion in the News

'Pastor John' Sees Himself As a Survivor on the Mount
The show's first clergyman discusses reality TV,  playing the game with faith, and why he was the first voted out.  An interview with John Raymond. See

What about Gary Ezzo's teachings? See 

Falwell's latest
That Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell doesn't think highly of Muhammad is hardly surprising, but his comment that the founder of Islam was a terrorist makes a lot of headlines today. "I think Mohammed was a terrorist," he says in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday's 60 Minutes. See 

Department of Health and Human Services offers millions to faith-based organizations. See 

Focus on the Family celebrates victory in California | Responding to opposition from concerned citizens, Governor Gray Davis quietly vetoed AB 2651, a bill that would have forced radical pro-gay policies upon California's foster care system (Press release). See 

Latest front for fight on choice: Washington state | Two college students seeking education credentials sued the state for the right to complete their student-teaching requirements at private religious schools (Education Week). See 

Fallen Christian puts faith in the law | Loraine Daly is suing the Sydney Christian Life Centre for $750,000 after she was "slain in the spirit" and not caught. (The Sydney Morning Herald). See 

Founder of the Christian Brotherhood Sued: 

God via satellite | Germany's first solely Christian television channel goes on air on October 1 (Deutsche Welle, Germany). See,3367,1441_A_646467_1_A,00.html 

Cleaning up Hollywood | Sanitized tapes, DVDs have directors crying foul (Chicago Tribune). See 

Stop the holy showboating | Listen up, jocks: God doesn't care if you score a touchdown. So do your praying in private, not in the end zone (Dan McGraw, See 

Evangelist Franklin Graham says that America is being 'Islamized' (Associated Press).See 

Mother Teresa of Calcutta moves toward sainthood | Vatican approves miracle involving a 30-year-old Indian woman who was inexplicably healed from a stomach tumor after praying to the nun (Associated Press). See 

Christian cyclists take to the road | Members of the Christian Motorcyclists Association ride their shiny Harley-Davidsons in the name of the Son (The Miami Herald). See 

Marriage makes both partners happy | Contrary to popular belief, marriage gives men and women an equal mental health boost, a study in Australia shows (New Scientist). See and 

God got me into this | An interview with the matriarch of Charismatic Catholics, Marilynn Kramar (LA Weekly). See 

Taking a hard look at organized religion | Does organized religion do more harm than good? (Allison Moore, The Bergen Record, N.J.). See 

Computer software is Bible study resource | Computer duffers often find CD-ROMs baffling to use and may give up (Associated Press). See 

'Idiot's Guide to Bible' not quite idiotic | Book is sometimes silly, but still an informative read (Associated Press). See 

The Un-Apologist
   Oblivious to convention, Chesterton launched a bold campaign
   to point a mad world back toward truth. by John Warwick Montgomery. See 

Science in the News

Science Friday's: Science news interviews on Real Player. See 


The attack on evolution
On the sixth day, post-modernism From The Economist print edition
A suburban school board declares that evolution is just another theory 

Genes caught skipping from bacteria to beetle
Tokyo team claims first direct evidence of horizontal gene transfer.
Researchers think they have caught a set of bacterial genes that jumped ship
and relocated to the genome of a Japanese beetle. 
They could be the first to witness natural horizontal gene transfer between
a bacterium and an animal. Although many researchers suspect this sort of
gene movement occurs, no one had stumbled across evidence as direct as this
before. See 

Biologist¹s new experiment may vindicate Darwin?
Charles Darwin, the founder of the modern theory of evolution, was an avid
proponent of sympatric speciation, the idea that a single species need not
be geographically divided in order to evolve into two separate species. In
the mid-20th century, however, certain vocal scientists convinced the
scientific community that geographically isolating two halves of a
population was a necessary factor in creating a new species. It wasn't until
the last few decades that modern biologists began to reexamine Darwin's
ideas to discover that he may have been quite right all along. Now the
theory behind one such idea is undergoing its most exhaustive test yet at
the University of Rochester. James D. Fry, assistant professor of biology, is running fruit flies through a series of tests to see if a few, subtle changes in the flies' environment
could be enough to trigger the creation of a new species. See 

Putting Darwin in His Place
Using his quiet country estate as headquarters, the great naturalist was a
reclusive revolutionary. By Richard Milner. See 

Reeling in more than a new species
Science has only just discovered the Chiapas catfish, but the people of remote southern Mexico have known it for years - as dinner. See 

Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down? See 

Special Primetime interview
with young-earth astronomer, Danny Faulkner. See (RealAudio)

Desperately Defending The Peppered Myth:
A Response to Bruce Grant by Jonathan Wells. See 

Radioactivity winds up evolution's clock
by Bea Perks. DNA is famously susceptible to radioactive
damage, but what happens to apparently healthy people who live in areas
where radiation levels are naturally high? An international group of
researchers from England, Germany, and India, set about answering the
question, and now conclude that turning up the radioactivity makes people
evolve faster. See  (Must register).

Arctic pollution causing polar bears to change.
By Charles Arthur Technology Editor
Polar bears, Arctic foxes and Inuit peoples are under threat from man-made
toxins such as polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs) that build up in the food
chain, new research reveals. Environmental and animal groups are calling for a global ban on the production of the chemicals to safeguard the future health of those groups.
Some scientists believe the PCBs are leading to "gender-bender" polar bears
in Norway and Greenland, after the discovery of a number of female bears
which had both male and female sexual organs. See 


Kennewick Man pits scientists against tribes
By Diedtra Henderson
BOULDER - Tom Stafford was on the verge of running a series of tests that
would unravel the mystery of the true age of the Kennewick Man, human
remains that are among the oldest, most complete - and wildly controversial
- skeletons found in North America. See,1413,36%257E53%257E894325,00.html 

MIAs' remains located in Tibet
Nearly 60 years after four young American airmen disappeared while flying over the Himalayas from India to China, the U.S. Army finally has found out what happened to them. See 


Moon to get a jolt of power
The moon has a strange but real pull on the Earth, its oceans and the human psyche, and Sunday morning, its tug will be a bit stronger than usual. See 

Mars Odyssey Releases First Data Archive To Scientists: NASA has released the first set of data taken by the Mars Odyssey spacecraft to the Planetary Data System, which will now make the information available to research scientists through a new online distribution and access system. See 

Camera Eyes Dusty Spirals In Milky Way Center
The highest resolution mid-infrared picture ever taken of the center of our Milky Way galaxy reveals details about dust swirling into the black hole that dominates the region. See 


Scientists hail mapping of malaria genetic codes
Researchers have sequenced the genes both for the parasite that causes malaria and for the mosquito that spreads it to humans. The double triumph gives medical science new weapons in the war on a disease that kills almost three million people a year. See 

Japan Researchers Invent Mosquito Needle: Japanese researchers have developed a microscopic needle modelled on a mosquito bite that could drastically reduce the pain of taking blood, the team leader said Thursday. See 

Preventing Headaches: As doctors learn more about our throbbing heads, they are uncovering amazingly effective ways to kill the pain before it starts. See 

Secret of Long Life Found? A potentially fatal disease is likely to be associated with longevity, according to Italian researchers who have been studying centenarians on the island of Sardinia. See 

What's the deal with the bright light you see before dying? | Assuming it's not the Great Beyond, medical science has advanced several theories as to the bright light's physiological roots (Brendan I. Koerner, See 

New research adds to understanding of conscious awareness:
Two new studies by faculty at Georgetown University Medical Center and
colleagues shed new light on the brain mechanisms underlying conscious
awareness. The studies are published in the current issue of the journal
Neurology. "Gamma coherence and conscious perception," adds to the
growing body of knowledge about the role of brain waves, or electrical
pulses in the brain. Gamma waves are fast electrical waves that have been
hypothesized to be involved in conscious perception. Previous studies have
shown that the thalamus and midbrain play an important role in
consciousness. See 

Madison Avenue and your brain
New advances in neuroscience are explaining why people just do it, exactly
as they're told to, when that commercial comes on. By Matthew Blakeslee. See 

Germs' Increased Resistance Causes Concern: International researchers on Saturday sounded the alarm over the increasing resistance of bacteria to powerful antibiotics, reducing the ability of doctors to combat common diseases. See 

Researchers Grow Pig Teeth in Rat: U.S. researchers have succeeding in growing pig's teeth inside rat intestines, an advance that could revolutionize dentistry, according to a study published Thursday. See 

Earth Science

Research: Deep Sea Basalt May Help Reveal Volcanoes’ Impact On Climate: GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- By examining volcanic rocks retrieved from deep in the ocean, scientists have found they can estimate the carbon dioxide stored beneath much of the earth's surface – a development that could enhance understanding of how volcanoes affect climate. The research by University of Florida scientists and others will be reported this week in the journal Nature. See 


Despite Fraud at Bell Labs, Chip Research Barrels Ahead
Two papers by Harvard and Cornell researchers in the June 13 issue of the
journal Nature described a spectacular breakthrough in miniaturization:
researchers have now created transistors whose switching components are
literally single atoms. See 

NC State Chemist Creates Structure in Amorphous Materials
Argonne - Oct 1, 2002 - A chemist at North Carolina State University has made breakthrough discoveries that advance basic understandings of the nature of liquids and glasses at the atomic and molecular levels. See 


Researchers Find Promising New Target For Anxiety-Reducing Drugs
Anxiety, a natural response to real or potential threats, affects all higher creatures, including humans, sometime in their lives. Under normal conditions, that protective emotion spurs action to avoid such threats. But when anxiety grows excessive -- as it does in an estimated 25 percent of U.S. residents sooner or later -- it can significantly reduce one's quality of life, and in the cases of some 20 million Americans at any given time, it reaches levels that may require treatment. See 

Test Your Anxiety Level: 

September 29, 2002

Triassic Park Open House Oct. 12th.

You are invited to come and visit Triassic Park on Saturday afternoon anytime between 1-4 PM, October 12th. Get a special tour of the park. If you think you might be able to come, you can e-mail me, Stephen Meyers at, or call 215-423-7374. Directions are at TRIASSIC PARK HOME PAGE

New web site for Triassic Park: 

Religion in the News

Christian school students leave Ivory Coast
The 191 Americans pinned down in the Ivory Coast's International Christian Academy are now on their way to Ghana. French military secured the school yesterday after days of fighting between the government and rebels trapped them in the Bouaké school. See 

Faith puts two women on mission
They drew as many fans to Denver's Pepsi Center as Ozzy Osbourne did. In Indianapolis, they shared a stage with World Wrestling Federation stars. Almost a year after U.S. Special Forces rescued them from the Taliban's grip, the two Christian aid workers have been reborn as speakers on the evangelist circuit. They even have a manager. They are touring the country with Women of Faith, a group that does for women what The Promise Keepers did for men. It lets them bond. See 

Harold Camping: Trading churches for the airwaves
Like many other Bible-believing Christians, the Rev. Dean Harner for years has tuned in to Harold Camping's Bible studies on the Family Radio Network, but Camping wants Christians to stop going to church. "The church age has come to an end," according to the Oakland, Calif.-based Camping, a fixture on national Christian radio for 43 years who is not ordained. The end times are imminent, and churches are not merely irrelevant but "altogether apostate" because they soft-pedal the gospel, Camping, 81, has been telling his national audience since about June of last year. Instead of using Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and other "corporate" denominations to evangelize the world, he says, God has turned instead to... radio. See  For more information on Harold Camping see 

The Legacy of Abraham
He is beloved by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Can this bond stop them from
hating one another? By David Van Biema. See 

VeggieTales: Moralizing, Photosynthesizing
For a decade, religious videos starring witty tomatoes and cucumbers have been outselling standard kiddie fare. With his first feature film hitting the screens this weekend, the creator of VeggieTales explains why Christians aren't funny, why PG movies may be better for kids than G-rated ones, and why his Pious Produce must triumph. See 

The TNIV Debate
Is this new translation faithful in its treatment  of gender? Pro's & Cons. See and

Vatican scientists accused of destroying Turin Shroud | Microscopic particles that could have proved whether or not the Shroud of Turin could be dated to around the time of the death of Christ have been destroyed by Vatican scientists. (Sunday Herald, Glasgow, Scotland). See 

News in Science

Wagner Free Institute Classes:

Skeletons Do Tell Tales: Introduction to Forensic Anthropology. Meeting Wednesdays starting October 2 through November 6 at 7P.M. at the University of Penn Museum. Instructor is Janet Monge.

The Physics of Animal Locomotion. Meeting Tuesdays starting September 24 through November 26 at 6:30 P.M. at St. Joseph's University. The instructor is Paul Angiolillo.

An Introduction to Insects and Related Arthropods. Meeting Thursdays starting September 26 through November 14 at 6:30 P.M. at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Instructor is Robert Allen and Jon Gelhaus. 


New Twist in the Dating Game
A new calculation of the age of many of South Africa's best-known fossils by
a team at the University of Witwaters-rand has turned the clock of human
evolution forward by a million years. But not everyone in scientific circles is happy about the way the team rearranged our evolutionary tree. See 

Kent Hovind Arrested on Building Code Violation on 9/13/2002. See     

Is Hovind a Fundamentalist? See 

Hovind Creation/Evolution Debate: 

Glimpse of Darwin's legacy
By Christine McGourty
Millions of preserved creatures from across the world - including some
collected by Charles Darwin himself - are going on view at a London museum. For the Natural History Museum, it is little short of a revolution. Most of
its vast collection of specimens previously tucked away in dusty cupboards
are being brought into the limelight in the new £95m Darwin Centre.

School board wants Darwin to move over
At issue: Teaching `disputed views'. By Dahleen Glanton
MARIETTA, Ga. -- Barred by the courts from promoting religion-based
curricula in public schools, creationists have adopted a more scientific
approach to challenge the teaching of the theory of evolution to students.
They have recruited intellectuals to challenge the Darwinian theory, forced
disclaimers onto science textbooks and lobbied for equal time in classroom
discussions on the origins of life. See 

American Journal of Physical Anthropology:
The Maka femur and its bearing on the antiquity of human walking: Applying
contemporary concepts of morphogenesis to the human fossil record. See 

Neuroscience (25 Sep) - Big brains gave humans an evolutionary edge, but how did they grow so big? An important clue may come, ironically, from a gene that has been found to stunt the cerebral cortex in people with microcephaly. See 


Acidic clouds of Venus could harbour life: The acidic clouds of Venus could in fact be hiding life. Unlikely as it sounds, the presence of microbes could neatly explain several mysterious observations of the planet's atmosphere. Venus is usually written off as a potential haven for life because of its hot and acidic surface. But conditions in the atmosphere at an altitude of around 50 kilometres are relatively hospitable: the temperature is about 70 °C, with a pressure of about one atmosphere. Although the clouds are very acidic, this region also has the highest concentration of water droplets in the Venusian atmosphere. To look for possible signs of life, Schulze-Makuch and his colleague Louis Irwin looked at existing data on Venus from the Russian Venera space missions and the US Pioneer Venus and Magellan probes. They noticed some peculiar things about the chemical composition of Venus's atmosphere. Solar radiation and lightning should produce large quantities of carbon monoxide in the planet's atmosphere, but instead it is scarce, as if something is removing it. They also found hydrogen sulphide and sulphur dioxide. These two gases react with each other, and so are never normally found together unless something is producing them. Even more mysterious is the presence of carbonyl sulphide. This gas is so difficult to produce inorganically that it is sometimes considered an unambiguous indicator of biological activity. See 

Boost for life on Jupiter moon
By Helen Briggs
The chances of finding life on another planet have received a boost. 
Data from the Galileo space probe's journey to Jupiter suggests an ocean on
its moon, Europa, is somewhat Earth-like. Scientists in the United States think the moon's icy crust is relatively thin. There seem to be cracks and vents, which would allow gases, heat and organic matter to reach what may be water beneath. See 

Tough Earth bug may be from Mars
A hardy microbe that can withstand huge doses of radiation could have evolved this ability on Mars. That is the conclusion of Russian scientists who say it would take far longer than life has existed here for the bug to evolve that ability in Earth's clement conditions. They suggest the harsher environment of Mars makes it a more likely birthplace. See 

New Evidence Boosts Universe Theory: Sep. 20 — After 20 years of searching, U.S. astrophysicists said Thursday they have detected for the first time a polarization of the cosmic microwave background, a finding that supports the cosmic inflation theory that says that following the Big Bang the universe expanded rapidly. See 


Trauma (24 Sep) - Until recently, mental health clinicians could only speculate on the ways that abuse and neglect damage a child's developing brain. But a series of ground-breaking studies in neuroscience conducted over the last decade are allowing researchers to pinpoint the actual changes in children's brains caused by traumatic experience. See 

Anxiety (24 Sep) - People who cope with a life-threatening situation by ignoring their anxiety or diverting their attention away from it may be doing themselves a favor. Such practices may act as a buffer against stress disorders, according to the results of an Israeli study of heart attack patients. See 

The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit 
by Melvin Konner, Reviewed by  Creighton W. Don, MD, PhD. In light of this enigma dating at least from Descartes' "Cogito ergo sum"
anthropology professor turned physician Melvin Konner offers a highly
readable review of a century of investigations into biology and human
behavior up through the 1990s' "decade of the brain." The Tangled Wing is a
wonderful narrative, starting with primates and "mitochondrial Eve," the
theoretical progenitor of Homo sapiens, and leading us through the
developments in psychology and neuroscience

Conscious awareness (25 Sep) - Two new studies by faculty at Georgetown University Medical Center and colleagues shed new light on the brain mechanisms underlying conscious awareness. See 

Earth Science

Most Gold is 3 Billion Years Old: Sep. 20 — Settling a debate that's been waged for more than a century, scientists have determined that gold in the world's richest deposit is 3 billion years old, more ancient than the rock in which it is encased. See 

Earth's magnetic field 'boosts gravity' 


Panel Says Bell Labs Scientist Faked Discoveries
Results from 17 papers that had been promoted as major
breakthroughs in physics were dismissed as fiction. 

150-Ton Magnet Pulls World Toward New Energy Source
Cambridge - Sep 24, 2002 - A 150-ton magnet developed in part by MIT engineers is pulling the world closer to nuclear fusion as a potential source of energy. See 

September 22, 2002

Triassic Park Open House Oct. 12th.

You are invited to come and visit Triassic Park on Saturday afternoon anytime between 1-4 PM, October 12th. Get a special tour of the park. If you think you might be able to come, you can e-mail me, Stephen Meyers at, or call 215-423-7374. Directions are at TRIASSIC PARK HOME PAGE

Religion in the News

$10 Million Accord Backed by Plaintiffs in Boston Case
A lawyer for 86 people suing Boston's Roman Catholic
Archdiocese in the case of a pedophile priest said all the
plaintiffs agreed to accept a $10 million settlement. 

Dobson, Awad Debate Palestinian's Invitation
   The full text of what the presidents of Focus on the Family
   and Bethlehem Bible College said about Hanan Ashrawi. See

Conservative Churches Grew Fastest in 1990's, Report Says
Socially conservative churches that demand high commitment
from their members grew faster than other religious
denominations in the last decade. 

George Barna Responds to Christianity Today Article | Says he hasn't given up on the church ( 

Armageddon ahead, please fasten your Bible Belt | There's bad news on the end of the world front. The Rapture Index, which measures end-time activities, has soared to dangerous levels and Bible-Belt America is readying itself for the last trump (Richard Morrison, The Times, London). See,,7-420765,00.html 

Students pray around school flag | Claxton High School students pray at national 'See You at the Pole' rally (Savannah Morning News). See 

Home school to high school | High school marks an especially hard transition for home-schooled students (The Miami Herald). See 

Maine: the next voucher battleground
Since Lionel and Jill Guay's town of Minot, Maine, has no high school, the state offers to send their 15-year-old daughter to other local schools. As with about 17,000 other Maine students from small towns, the state will even pay for her to attend a private school. Just so long as it's not a religious school. See 

Was church/state separation part of the original Constitution? | A review of Philip Hamburger's provocative recent book on separation's history (Marci A. Hamilton, See 

Man of steel | In 1995, after the accident which left him paralysed, Christopher Reeve said he wanted to be on his feet by his 50th birthday. That's next week, and although he has made amazing progress, he won't be standing - and for that, he says, George Bush and the Catholic Church must share the blame for their stance on stem cell research. (The Guardian, London). See,3604,793417,00.html and,3604,793557,00.html 

Saving Africa
The story of forgotten missionary hero William Sheppard is
finally told. by Jennifer Parker. See 

Deconstructing The Dead: Cross Over One Last Time To Expose Medium John Edward. By Michael Shermer. See 

Science in the News

ASA Meeting: The fall meeting of the Eastern PA Section of the American Scientific Affiliation  will be returning to Messiah College campus in Grantham, PA on September 28th.  Please contact Alan McCarrick at for more information and to be put on our contact list. Our general topic this time around will be Astronomy (history and cosmology).  We will have Dr. Owen Gingerich and Dr. Robert C. Newman. Dr. Gingerich's talk is entitled "Galileo: Hero or Heretic?" Dr. Newman's presentation is entitled "The Cosmos and the Bible: A Critical Examination of Modern Cosmological Theories." 

Wagner Free Institute Classes:

Skeletons Do Tell Tales: Introduction to Forensic Anthropology. Meeting Wednesdays starting October 2 through November 6 at 7P.M. at the University of Penn Museum. Instructor is Janet Monge.

The Physics of Animal Locomotion. Meeting Tuesdays starting September 24 through November 26 at 6:30 P.M. at St. Joseph's University. The instructor is Paul Angiolillo.

An Introduction to Insects and Related Arthropods. Meeting Thursdays starting September 26 through November 14 at 6:30 P.M. at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Instructor is Robert Allen and Jon Gelhaus. 


Neat animated Theban version of creation by the British Museum. See 

Uprooting the Tree of Life
A proposed theory has researchers debating life's origins--again | By
Brendan A. Maher
The cell--the irreducible unit of life on Earth--has an estimated history
nigh on 3.5 billion years. Scientists since Charles Darwin have attempted to
trace that history to a so-called last common ancestor. Comparative
physiology and fossil records can take one only so far, so many researchers
are trying to reach the tree of life's roots with tools of a genetic nature.
Yet, the more they dig, the more convoluted those roots appear to be.
Lateral gene transfer, the square peg in cellular evolution's round hole,
casts doubt on the verity of the Darwinian tree with its single point of
origin and straight branching. This uprooting leaves room for numerous
speculations about life's origins. See 

"Intelligent Design" Not Accepted by Most Scientists
by Eugenie C. Scott and Glenn Branch. See  

Battle lines drawn as Cobb evolution vote looms | The Georgia ACLU already plans to file suit when the controversial proposal is approved, as expected (Marietta [Ga.] Daily Journal).

National Science Academy weighs in on local dispute | Objections to the proposed Cobb Board of Education policy aren't confined to the ACLU (Marietta [Ga.] Daily Journal) Also: Scientists jump into Cobb evolution debate (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

77 years after Scopes trial, evolution fight still rages | Every new biology textbook used in public schools in Cobb County, Georgia, comes with the warning: Material in these pages contains evolution (The Orlando Sentinel). 

Federal law ignites evolution debate | Supporters of the Santorum amendment say it sends a message to educators that Congress believes concepts that counter Darwinian evolution should be taught in science classes (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland) 

Intelligent design may find new home in social studies | The Ohio State Board of Education finally may have found a way to deal with the thorny issue of whether to include intelligent design in Ohio's new science standards: stick it in the social studies standards instead (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)

DNA codes own error correction
Genetic alphabet is like computer parity code.
Natural selection picked out the chemical basis of genetic information
transfer probably because it was the best of the available options for
ensuring fidelity in reading and copying information.
Donall Mac Donaill of Trinity College, Dublin, has worked out that DNA code
is like the parity code that information technologists use to minimize the
probability of making mistakes1. See 

Morpheus Genes Offer Clues to Primate Evolution, Gene Birth, and Human Disease. By Michael D. O'Neill. A new gene family (morpheus) that appears to have emerged and evolved very rapidly in recent evolutionary time, and which may be associated with the phenotypic differences that are seen between closely related primates, has been identified in humans. See 

What Primates Think
by Jill Locantore and Brendan Horton
When Koko the gorilla signals in American sign language, ³Koko again bad,²
after biting a trainer, is she using language to communicate? 
Scientists are hotly debating these questions, but one thing is clear:
differences between humans and other primates aren¹t as black and white as
once was thought. Intelligence appears more a matter of degree, developing
gradually throughout the primate lineage rather than sprouting magically
when humans first arrived on the scene. Many of the features of our brain
that support higher cognitive functions, such as language and mathematics‹or
at least their precursors‹may well be present in ape and monkey brains, and
in the brains of long-extinct relatives like the Australopithecines. See 

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
By Steven Pinker
The Blank Slate² ought to be read by anybody who feels they
have had enough of nature-nurture rows or who thinks they already know where
they stand on the science wars. It could change their minds. See 

Smart People Believe Weird Things
Rarely does anyone weigh facts before deciding what to believe.
By Michael Shermer. See 


Holy Relics or Revelation - Recent Astounding Archaeological Claims Evaluated by Russell R. Standish and Colin D. Standish, Hartland Publications, Rapidan VA, paper, 302 pages. This book debunks the claims of the late Ron Wyatt. See 

Galilee finding provides 1st evidence of 2nd Temple ritual persisting after destruction. A Roman-era limestone container found near the Galilee city of Zippori,
provides the first evidence that a significant Second Temple ritual lasted well beyond the holy site's destruction. See 

The 'magical' birth brick
A little over a year ago, deep in the bowels of a huge excavation site 300 miles south of Cairo, Josef Wegner turned over and over in his hands a brick encrusted with mud. He knew it was made around 1700 B.C. See 

"This is very important."
A tiny robot crawled through Egypt's Great Pyramid for two hours yesterday, opening a door to a secret chamber and leaving scientists and TV viewers with another mystery to ponder. See 

Stone carvings rewrite history, tell of ancient Maya 'world war'
A bitter war between Maya city-states may have set the stage for the collapse of that once-great civilization, say scientists who translated recently found hieroglyphics on stone stairs in an ancient pyramid in Guatemala. See 


Signs of water found on distant planets: Tantalising signs of water have been found in the atmospheres of planets orbiting distant stars. If the discovery is confirmed, it will fuel
speculation that the Galaxy is teeming with life. 
Water has been detected in region around Upsilon Andromedae.
"This would be a historic discovery - the first detection of a prebiotic
molecule in an extrasolar planet," says Cristiano Cosmovici of the Institute
for Cosmic and Planetary Sciences in Rome, whose team made the discovery. See 

Radio Telescope Proves a Big Bang Prediction
CHICAGO, Sept. 19 ‹ After 271 20-hour nights of staring at the Antarctic
sky, a radio telescope at the South Pole has confirmed a critical prediction
of the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe, astronomers from the
University of Chicago and the University of California announced here today. See 

The Big Collapse: Cosmology keeps getting weirder and weirder: the recent discovery that the universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate has led many astronomers
to forecast that all galaxies to run away from each other until they are no
longer visible, 150 billion years from now. But two new studies suggest
that our cosmos may be in danger of collapsing in a "mere" 10 to 20 billion
years. See 

Dusty Signposts Point To Recent Planet Formation
Salt Lake City - Sep 19, 2002 - Young stars are surrounded by a thin, swirling cloud of gas and dust that may be the birthplace of planets. New computer calculations reveal that a newborn planet signals its presence by a clear, sharp ring of cold dust. Such rings are seen around many nearby stars. See 

Space Weather Forecasting Shifts into High Gear
Boulder - Sep 19, 2002 - Over the next decade, forecasts of spectacular northern lights and other solar-generated events will become as commonplace as today's thunderstorm predictions, say scientists meeting this week in Boston to plan the first five years of accelerated space weather research. See 

100th Extra-Solar Planet Gives Clues To Origins Of Planets
Swindon - Sep 19, 2002 - British astronomers, together with Australian and American colleagues, have used the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope [AAT] in New South Wales, Australia to discover a new planet outside our Solar System -- the 100th to be detected. See 

Black Holes: Hubble Space telescope data has revealed for the first time medium-sized
black holes in the cores of globular star clusters -- promising a better
understanding of how galaxies and globular clusters first formed billions
of years ago. See also Black Holes In Galaxy Clusters Call Evolution Theories Into Question 

Rings Around The Earth: A Clue To Climate Change?
Albuquerque - Sep 17, 2002 - While most of us know about rings around Saturn and Jupiter, some scientists believe there once were rings of rock debris around our own planet. Two scientists -- Peter J. Fawcett, of the University of New Mexico, and Mark B.E. Boslough, of the US Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories -- have suggested that a geologically "recent" collision (about 35 million years ago) may have caused such a temporary debris ring. See 


Gene tests' accuracy reassessed: When it comes to foretelling our health and longevity, it seems the genetic crystal ball may not be as clear as experts originally thought. Epidemiologists taking a closer look at the genetics of breast cancer have found that the risk associated with defects in the so-called breast-cancer genes may have been exaggerated. See 

Britain to get cloning factory within a year 
Human embryo stem cells to be used for research
By Sarah-Kate Templeton Health Editor. See 

Studies find men may be at greater risk from parasites
One reason women tend to live longer than men may be that something is eating at men: parasites. Scientists have long known that men are more prone to dying from murder, suicide and accidents when they are young, and from cancer and heart disease when they are old. Now two new studies in today's issue of the journal Science point to parasites as a possible reason that more men than women die in their middle years. See 

How the autumn affects us
Second in a seasonal series examining the effects of weather on human health. Leaves are already littering the ground, the mornings are breaking cooler and damper, and nurse Cheryl Brumbaugh is bracing for a scary harvest. See 

New Organic Composites Could Add Muscle To Artificial Body Parts
University Park - Sep 19, 2002 - A new class of all organic composites that change shape under an electric voltage may open the door for the manufacture of artificial muscles, smart skins, capacitors, and tiny drug pumps, according to Penn State researchers. See 

Doctors create out-of-body sensations
Doctors say they have triggered out-of-body experiences in a female patient
by stimulating her brain. They believe their work may help to explain mysterious incidents when people report experiences of 'leaving' their body and watching it from above. See 

Living In A Glass House
Princeton - Sep 19, 2002 - Why live in a glass house? For diatoms -- tiny ocean-dwelling organisms that live in exquisitely ornate glass cases -- the benefit turns out to be enormous. See 

Earth Science

"Weird" Bucktoothed Dino Found in China: It's small, it's fast, and it's bizarre-looking. Paleontologists in China have discovered the skull of a new dinosaur species with beaver-like buck teeth on its upper jaw and the beginnings of a beak on its lower jaw. The skull is around 128 million years old and was found in Liaoning Province, a region in northeastern China that has proven to be a spectacular treasure trove of dinosaur fossils. See 

The Fish That Was Not a Fish
By Hannah Hoag. For a quarter of a century, a 350-million-year-old fossilized skeleton lay in the basement of the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, Scotland. Discovered by
Peder Aspen in Dunbarton, Scotland, the unnamed fossil was labeled
"Rhizodont Fish" but was never fully pried from its limestone casing, making
an accurate classification impossible. In 1996 a graduate student brought
the rock-covered fossil into the lab of Jenny Clack, a vertebrate
paleontologist at the University of Cambridge's Museum of Zoology. She knew
within minutes that what she had before her was not a fish but a key missing
link, one that is only now giving up its secrets. See  

N.J. forest: Old, older, maybe oldest
In this land where trees grow five stories tall on the edge of an old sand-mining operation, scientists are trying to determine whether the soaring canopy of sweet gum, maple and magnolia might be the oldest hardwood forest in the northeastern United States. See 

Mines in Pennsylvania are brewing a pollution crisis
Over the last two centuries, abandoned coal mines leaking a toxic mix of sulfuric acid and heavy metals have fouled more than 3,100 miles of Pennsylvania rivers and streams, making them the chief source of water pollution in the commonwealth. See 

Life reached land a billion years ago
Torridon, an ancient landscape with traces of ancient life. 
By Dr David Whitehouse. See 


Europeans create some antiatoms
Scientists yesterday announced a breakthrough in their long struggle to understand the weirdest stuff in the universe - antimatter, the mirror image of ordinary matter. See 

New Neutrino Experiment Goes Live At Fermilab
Batavia - Sep 19, 2002 - Scientists of the Booster Neutrino Experiment collaboration announced this week that a new detector at the US Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has observed its first neutrino events. The BooNE scientists identified neutrinos that created ring-shaped flashes of light inside a 250,000-gallon detector filled with mineral oil. See 

Speed of light broken with basic lab kit:
Equipment found in any college science department can be used to
transmit electric signals at least four times the speed of light. See 

The Physicist and the Abalone Diver
The difference between the creators of two new theories of science reveals
the social nature of the scientific process. By Michael Shermer. See 

September 15, 2002

Triassic Park

We still need more help! We could use a small trailer for the park. We need someone with a pick up truck that could help transport rocks and fossils. We could use youth groups or others willing to help pick up trash, clear trails, and spread out gravel for a parking lot. Your financial support will enable us to move this project forward. You can also donate by credit card. If you can help out you can e-mail me, Stephen Meyers at or call 215-423-7374. TRIASSIC PARK HOME PAGE

Religion in the New

Seeing Light After the Smoky Darkness of the
Trade Towers Collapse
The spiritual war against terrorism is the war against the sinful heart and its allegiances.  By Darrell L. Bock. See

Deliverance on the 81st Floor
On 9/11, Stanley Praimnath and Sujo John called out to God from inside the World Trade Center.  By Todd Hertz. See

Afghanistan Before September 11
   A Christian relief worker talks about the terror
   inside the war-ravaged country and his prayers
   for change.    An excerpt from Inside Afghanistan by John Weaver

Christian History Corner: 9/11, History,
and the True Story
Wartime authors J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis help put 9/11 in perspective.
By Chris Armstrong
. See

Battle over Colorado College speaker becomes religious, personal
Colorado College's invitation to Palestinian Hanan Ashrawi to speak at a three-day symposium called "September 11: One Year Later, Responding to Global Challenges," has brought criticism from Jewish groups, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, conservative state legislators—and Focus on the Family President James Dobson. Dobson's comments outraged Bishara Awad, president of Bethlehem Bible College, who is apparently e-mailing an open letter to Dobson to several media outlets and websites. "On September 11, I was in Bethlehem and I personally asked many Palestinians, Muslims and Christian, about the attack and all those I asked have said this is terrible and evil," Awad wrote. "Not one condoned the attack on America….The incident of dancing you referred to is a very isolated incident, and all Palestinians believe it was staged by the media."

Keeping the faith even as pillars fall | Jim Hayes is a priest and psychotherapist, a specialist in forensic therapy: dealing with those who deal with the dead. (Mike Barnicle, New York Daily News). See 

Providence Diocese Settles 36 Abuse Suits
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence said Monday that it
had reached a $13.5 million settlement with 36 people who
say members of the clergy molested them as youngsters. 

Plan on Abuse Is Said to Face Vatican Pitfalls
The abuse policy adopted by Roman Catholic bishops in
the U.S. contradicts church laws and risks being revised by
the Vatican, according to canon lawyers. 

Mel Gibson launches scathing attack on the Vatican | Catholic actor says it's a "wolf in sheep's clothing," and doesn't believe in church as an institution (The Times, London). See,,3-413266,00.html 

Tests on crying Madonna fail to show hoax | Researcher says he knows it's a fake, but he can't show how (UPI). See 

Religious and Public Stations Battle for Share of Radio Dial
Christian stations all over the country are routing NPR
under a law that allows noncommercial broadcasters with
licenses for full-power stations to push out those with
weaker signals. See 

NYC Christian radio station dumps show of Jew who works against Jews for Jesus
Salem broadcasting's WMCA, one of New York's largest Christian radio stations, pulled the plug on the Tovia Singer Show — hosted by a non-Christian Jew who works against Christian missionaries. Singer calls himself an "anti-missionary," and his Outreach Judaism organization claims to "rescue" Jews from Jews for Jesus and other evangelistic organizations. See 

Void Mormon Leader Left Could Take Years to Fill
The death of Rulon T. Jeffs, of the Fundamentalist Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has left a significant
gap in the church leadership that will not be easily mended. See 

School violated club leader rights | A federal appeals court ruled Monday that a school district violated a Bible club leader's rights by refusing to give her club the same status and benefits granted to other school groups (Associated Press). See 

Pat Robertson favors tax hike for roads | Supporters of the campaign say the endorsement from Robertson may encourage conservative voters to reconsider anti-tax positions (The Virginian-Pilot). See 

Can any good come of radical Islam? | A modernizing force? Maybe. (Francis Fukuyama and Nadav Samin, The Wall Street Journal). See 

The times that try one's faith | Does God cause or condone evil? Do murder victims who do not believe in God go to heaven or hell? Can Islam, Judaism and Christianity co-exist? (The Orange County Register). See 

What the Left Behind series left out | A biblical text taken out of its original context can mean whatever anyone wants it to mean (Ben Witherington III, Bible Review). See 

Science in the News

ASA Meeting: The fall meeting of the Eastern PA Section of the American Scientific Affiliation  will be returning to Messiah College campus in Grantham, PA on September 28th.  Please contact Alan McCarrick at for more information and to be put on our contact list. Our general topic this time around will be Astronomy (history and cosmology).  We will have Dr. Owen Gingerich and Dr. Robert C. Newman. Dr. Gingerich's talk is entitled "Galileo: Hero or Heretic?" Dr. Newman's presentation is entitled "The Cosmos and the Bible: A Critical Examination of Modern Cosmological Theories." 

Wagner Free Institute Classes:

Skeletons Do Tell Tales: Introduction to Forensic Anthropology. Meeting Wednesdays starting October 2 through November 6 at 7P.M. at the University of Penn Museum. Instructor is Janet Monge.

The Physics of Animal Locomotion. Meeting Tuesdays starting September 24 through November 26 at 6:30 P.M. at St. Joseph's University. The instructor is Paul Angiolillo.

An Introduction to Insects and Related Arthropods. Meeting Thursdays starting September 26 through November 14 at 6:30 P.M. at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Instructor is Robert Allen and Jon Gelhaus. 


Scientists wrangle with questions of faith
By G. Jeffrey MacDonald. Special to The Christian Science Monitor. See 

All Living Things Think, No Matter How Teensy
Frank T. Vertosick Jr., a neurosurgeon, has written a book that's an argument
for a grand idea: most living things operate according to the same general
model. That model is a network. A network is a self-regulating community of
small things. "I could summarize the main thesis of this book in one
sentence," he writes: "Life is a network." See 

Wrongly Inferred Design, by Richard Wein: A critique of William Dembski's book "The Design Inference." The essay is by Richard Wein, who is currently a software developer and technical translator (Russian ) in the UK. See

William Dembski, "Obsessively Criticized but Scarcely Refuted: A Response
to Richard Wein", May 2002, 


Satellite combs mountain for Noah's Ark (Discovery News). See 

Expecting a Flood of Tourists
A replica of Noah's Ark is planned for Turkey.  By Ted Olsen. See

Did All Humans Once Speak the Same Language? See 

Was 'Old' Map Faked to Tweak the Nazis?
The subject of endless studies and counterstudies, the
Vinland Map, which describes the Viking discovery of North
America, is either a rare medieval artifact or else a
modern fake. See 

Museum seeks cash to prepare for Dead Sea Scrolls | It's not cheap to display the ancient manuscripts (The Muskegon [Mich.] Chronicle). 

Overlapping Genetic And Archaeological Evidence Suggests Neolithic Migration
For the first time, Stanford researchers have compared genetic patterns with archeological findings to discover that genetics can help predict with a high degree of accuracy the presence of certain artifacts. And they say the strength of this link adds credence to theories that prehistoric people migrated from the Middle East to Europe, taking both their ideas and their way of life with them.


Rare Sighting Reveals Pluto: 

Seeing Double Among The Kuipers
Boulder - Sep 11, 2002 - The Kuiper Belt region of the solar system, which stretches from just past Neptune to beyond the farthest reaches of Pluto's orbit, was only discovered in 1992, but continues to reveal new knowledge into the formation processes of the planets. See 

Astronomers Wrangle Over Earth's "New Moon"
Paris (AFP) Sep 12, 2002 - An enigmatic object spotted in the night sky last week by an amateur astronomer has set experts wondering whether the Earth may have gained a new moon. Others say the answer could be quite different, but almost as exciting. They believe it to be a piece of space history left over by the Apollo lunar pioneers, and that the Earth has now reclaimed it, saving it from the fiery embrace of the Sun. See 

The Moon Beyond 2002:  Next Steps in Lunar Science and Exploration
Los Alamos - Sep 12, 2002 - The Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory is hosting an international gathering of lunar scientists in Taos, N.M. beginning Thursday.  Los Alamos, who played a major role in the recent Lunar Prospector mission to the moon, together with the University of California Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Los Alamos' Center for Space Science and Exploration and the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, is organizing and hosting "The Moon Beyond 2002:  Next Steps in Lunar Science and Exploration." See 

A Case for Life on Mars
Leicester - Sep 11, 2002 - A multitude of arguments supporting the possible existence of life on Mars have surfaced after the discovery and examination of the ALH84001 meteorite. The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found within, plus detailed examination of the ratios of certain metabolites, all have various interpretations supporting or opposing their organic origin. See 

Mark Bowden | How preconceptions blurred a scientist's universal view
There's been vindication, of a sort, for early 20th-century astronomer Percival Lowell. The Boston Brahman who built the famous observatory named after himself in Flagstaff, Ariz., and who recognized (before this age of orbiting telescopes) the advantage of viewing the heavens where the air was thin and dry, has gone down in history as a fool.         


Scientists Identify "Genetic Signature" Of Stem Cells
Princeton University scientists have taken a major step toward identifying the "genetic signature" of stem cells, discovering a subset of genes whose products may give these cells their unique traits.

Earth Science

Ancient Antarctic Ice Challenges Climate Change Theories
Sydney (AFP) Sep 13, 2002 - A 15-year study of ancient Antarctic ice has challenged prevailing theories about the process of climate change, a scientist involved in the research said Friday. The Australian-French project involved scientists drilling through 90,000 years of compacted Antarctic snow over a six-year period and then analyzing the ice core they recovered for a further nine years. See  

EO Birds Confirm Rapid Changes In Earth's Polar Ice Sheets
Pasadena (JPL) Sep 10, 2002 - Recent NASA airborne measurements and a new review of space-based measurements of the thickness of Earth's polar ice sheets concludes they are changing much more rapidly than previously believed, with unknown consequences for global sea levels and Earth's climate. See 

Diamonds Tell How Old Continents May Have Formed
Washington - Sep 10, 2002 - Diamonds are much more than just pretty gemstones. Scientists have found that these valuable minerals, and the smaller minerals sometimes included in them, can reveal the details of how and when the oldest parts of our planet formed. See 

A Thermodynamic History Of Universe, Earth And Humans
Philadelphia - Sep 10, 2002 - A new book by Gino Segre, a theoretical physicist at the University of Pennsylvania, makes temperature the theme of a journey through science, history and culture, revealing the surprisingly deep ways in which this subtle parameter has shaped humans and their world. See 

New Gravity Mission On Track To Map Earth's Shifty Mass
Six months into its mission to precisely measure Earth's shifting water masses and map their effects on Earth's gravity field, the joint NASA-German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or Grace, is already producing results of considerable interest. 

Dinosaur Ancestor's Vision Possibly Nocturnal; Researchers Recreate 240-Million Year Old Protein In Test Tube
Call it "Triassic Park": with statistics, instead of amber-preserved DNA, researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at The Rockefeller University and Yale University recreated in the test tube a functional pigment that would have characterized the eyes of archosaurs ("ruling reptiles") and allowed these direct ancestors to dinosaurs to see in dim light.


Purdue Creates Self-Generating Nanotubes With 'Dial-Up' Properties
West Lafayette - Sep 02, 2002 - Nanotubes, stringy super molecules already used to create fuel cell batteries and tiny computer circuits, could find myriad new applications ranging from disease treatment to plastics manufacturing to information storage, reports a Purdue University research team. See 

September 8, 2002

Religion in the New

Mixing God and politics Congress is voting on a bill to let religious leaders endorse candidates from the pulpit. The right can't lose: If it fails, they'll have a campaign issue to use against opponents in November. See 

Islam's anguish Working to blunt the power of Muslim fundamentalism requires knowledge of Islamic traditions and teachings (Editorial, The Boston Globe). See 

U.S. Muslims respond to criticism | They say their condemnation of attacks have gone unnoticed by detractors (Associated Press). See 

Science in the News

ASA Meeting: The fall meeting of the Eastern PA Section of the American Scientific Affiliation  will be returning to Messiah College campus in Grantham, PA on September 28th.  Please contact Alan McCarrick at for more information and to be put on our contact list. Our general topic this time around will be Astronomy (history and cosmology).  We will have Dr. Owen Gingerich and Dr. Robert C. Newman. Dr. Gingerich's talk is entitled "Galileo: Hero or Heretic?" Dr. Newman's presentation is entitled "The Cosmos and the Bible: A Critical Examination of Modern Cosmological Theories." 

Wagner Free Institute Classes:

Skeletons Do Tell Tales: Introduction to Forensic Anthropology. Meeting Wednesdays starting October 2 through November 6 at 7P.M. at the University of Penn Museum. Instructor is Janet Monge.

The Physics of Animal Locomotion. Meeting Tuesdays starting September 24 through November 26 at 6:30 P.M. at St. Joseph's University. The instructor is Paul Angiolillo.

An Introduction to Insects and Related Arthropods. Meeting Thursdays starting September 26 through November 14 at 6:30 P.M. at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Instructor is Robert Allen and Jon Gelhaus. 


Kent Hovind Arrested on first degree felony and other charges:    





There is also an open warrant for Kent Hovind's arrest on a County Building Code violation. Kent Hovind has filed for bankruptcy in the past claiming he does not own any property, yet records show he owns over $144,000 worth of property, . Hovind also refuses to pay the IRS income tax. Since Hovind does not want to follow the laws of the United States, I suggest that he move to another country, or be prepared to spend a lot of time in jail.

Human evolution (26 Aug) - A gene that separates humans from the apes and all other animals seems to have disappeared from humans up to three million years ago, just before they first stood upright, researchers said on Monday. Most animals have the gene but people do not -- and it may be somehow involved in the expansion of the brain, the international team of researchers said. The gene controls production of a sialic acid -- a kind of sugar -- called Neu5Gc, the researchers write in an advance online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "This mutation occurred after our last common ancestor with bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees) and chimpanzees, and before the origin of present-day humans," they wrote. Neanderthal skeletons, the oldest early humans from who DNA has been obtained, also lack the sugar. See 


Neanderthal Newborn: A skeleton of a newborn Neanderthal, lost for almost 90 years, has turned up in a museum in France. The beautifully preserved fossil could lead to new insights into the evolution of human development and the relationship between modern humans and our long-extinct cousins. See 

Archaeology (5 Sep) - The 7,700-year-old remains of a woman, nicknamed the Lady of Trent, reveal that she ate nearly as much meat as a wolf, according to a press release from the Archaeological Consultancy of the University of Sheffield in England. See 

Archaeology - politics (30 Aug) - A federal judge on Friday ordered the U.S. government to let scientists study the bones of Kennewick Man, an ancient skeleton discovered in 1996 on the banks of the Columbia River. See 


Age of our Solar System: A geochemist has accurately dated Calcium Aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), the oldest objects in our solar system, to be 4.57 billion years old.  This provides insight into how objects in our solar system formed. See 

Comets: Some comets may break apart over and over again in the farthest reaches of
the solar system, challenging a theory that comets break up only occasionally and not too far from the Sun. See 

Crater: Starting on September 10, NASA scientists will venture into an isolated
part of the Bolivian Amazon to try to uncover the origin of a 5 mile (8 kilometer) diameter crater there known as the Iturralde Crater. See 

Hubble Captures "Perfect" Image Of Distant Ringed Galaxy
Washington (AFP) Sep 05, 2002 - The orbiting Hubble space telescope has captured the most detailed image ever of a distant ringed galaxy, NASA said Thursday. The galaxy, known as Hoag's Object, measures some 120,000 light years in diameter, about the size of our own Milky Way, the US space agency said, offering an enthusiastic description: See main Hubble Site: 

Landmark Decision Clears Way For First Commercial Lunar Flight
San Diego - Sept 2, 2002 - TransOrbital, Inc. has become the first private company in the history of space flight to win approval from the U.S. government to explore, photograph, and land on the moon. The company expects to launch its Trailblazer Mission from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan within the next 9-12 months. See 


Immunology (28 Aug) - Exposure to at least two dogs or cats in the first year of life may drastically reduce the risk of allergies, including reactions to molds, grasses and pollen, scientists report in an unusual line of research published today. See 

Earth Science

Dinos Were Dying Before Asteroid Hit: A near 20-degree drop in average temperature was killing the dinosaurs even before a giant asteroid impact finished them off, according to new research by a team of Canadian paleontologists. If correct, the finding explains why dinosaurs were so vulnerable to the impact, which many scientists agree caused the extinction of dinos and other prehistoric creatures around 65 million years ago. See 


Physics (22 Aug) - A new finding may shed light on natural clustering processes including the assembly of quarks and other minuscule components into atoms, the folding of proteins and the clumping of stars in galaxies scientists say. See 


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (4 Sep) - Scientists have uncovered a gene which they believe may play a role in causing obsessive-compulsive disorder. See 

Consciousness (5 Sep) - A Surrey scientist claims to have an answer to what is often considered to be the hardest problem in science (sometimes just known as the "Hard Problem"): why we are aware. See 

Stress (31 Aug) - Believing that you have control over a moderately stressful situation may make it less potentially damaging to your heart and circulatory system, a new study suggests. See 

Depression (25 Aug) - Painless magnetic waves pulsed across the brain appear to relieve depression as well as the more traumatic and standard electro-convulsive shock therapy, researchers said at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association. See 


Hooked on photonics
A major technological transformation, potentially as significant as the electronic revolution of the 20th century, is creeping up on a largely unsuspecting world. See 

Evolutionary algorithms (28 Aug) - A self-organizing electronic circuit has stunned engineers by turning itself into a radio receiver. See 

Near-Frictionless Carbon Coating Nears Commercial Applications
Argonne - Sep 03, 2002 - Four years and more than 3,000 phone calls and e-mail contacts later, Argonne's "Near-Frictionless Carbon" coating stands on the brink of commercialization. A flurry of calls from just about every engineer who works with moving parts followed the announcement in 1997 of a new coating with the lowest coefficient of friction ever measured. See 

September 1, 2002

Triassic Park Update!

New web pages and links:






PLANT LIST (Over 250 species at Triassic Park)

We still need more help! We could use a small trailer for the park. We need someone with a pick up truck that could help transport rocks and fossils. We could use youth groups or others willing to help pick up trash, clear trails, and spread out gravel for a parking lot. Your financial support will enable us to move this project forward. You can also donate by credit card. If you can help out you can e-mail me, Stephen Meyers at or call 215-423-7374.

Religion in the New

Michael Newdow hopes lightning strikes twice
Californian Michael Newdow is clearly trying to become the next Madalyn Murray O'Hair. The emergency room doctor who famously sued over the Pledge of Allegiance has now filed suit in federal district court charging that government funding of chaplains in the U.S. Congress is unconstitutional. See 

Accused Priests Charge Slander
Some priests have used the civil courts in recent weeks to
strike back against those who have accused them of misconduct. 

Recognizing Abuse - Leadership Journal
Signs that a child may have been abused. See 

Devout Christian Gains Prime Minister's Post
Cautious Dutch evangelicals take a wait-and-see stance concerning new leader. By Benjamin Louwerse in Amsterdam. See

Religious conservatives turn on Bill Simon
Bill Simon, California's Republican gubernatorial candidate, has been a darling of religious conservatives throughout the campaign—so much so that the support was seen by some as a liability. As Weblog has noted, several California newspapers have attempted to paint him as an extremist.

Apocalyptic — and atop the bestseller lists Author Tim LaHaye takes on the final battle between good and evil (The Christian Science Monitor). See 

Temple wall may fall, say Israelis
A 35-foot bulge in a wall at the Temple Mount is about to collapse, say Israeli archaeologists and leaders. Some press reports are saying the Western Wall (or Wailing Wall) is bulging, but it's actually the wall above it. The Western Wall, then, may still be in danger of collapse if the bulging wall falls. Weblog wonders what Bible prophecy enthusiasts think of all this. Would the collapse of the Western Wall be a fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 24:2 that "not one stone will be left on another"? Do some dispensational premillennialists believe this would be a sign of the end times?

The Next Billy Graham May Be a Robot
 Should Internet evangelism use automated programs to spread the gospel?
By Todd Hertz
. See

In God they trusted, but angry retirees say investment plan took millions How were hundreds of investors—many associated with Grand Rapids' leading employer—persuaded to give money to assist God's work on Earth, even as they hoped to earn tax-free riches? (The Grand Rapids [Mich.] Press) See 

Practicing "Skillful Doubt"
Faith and doubt aren't incompatible--they're complementary, says Buddhist author Sharon Salzburg, and questioning your beliefs will help them grow. Beliefnet member Revinpitts quotes a writer who said "doubt is the ants in the pants of faith. It keeps it alive and moving!" See 

Passion as Gift from God
By restoring passion to the marriage bed, we can avoid adultery and broken marriages, says Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. See 

ITALY: EXPERTS ATTACK LATEST TESTS ON TURIN SHROUD: By Richard Owen. A FRESH attempt by Catholic officials to prove that the Turin Shroud is
genuine and not a medieval fake has provoked a row after experts said that
the tests could damage the cloth. See,,1-3-389723,00.html

Science in the News

ASA Meeting: The fall meeting of the Eastern PA Section of the American Scientific Affiliation  will be returning to Messiah College campus in Grantham, PA on September 28th.  Please contact Alan McCarrick at for more information and to be put on our contact list. Our general topic this time around will be Astronomy (history and cosmology).  We will have Dr. Owen Gingerich and Dr. Robert C. Newman. Dr. Gingerich's talk is entitled "Galileo: Hero or Heretic?" Dr. Newman's presentation is entitled "The Cosmos and the Bible: A Critical Examination of Modern Cosmological Theories." 

Wagner Free Institute Classes:

Skeletons Do Tell Tales: Introduction to Forensic Anthropology. Meeting Wednesdays starting October 2 through November 6 at 7P.M. at the University of Penn Museum. Instructor is Janet Monge.

The Physics of Animal Locomotion. Meeting Tuesdays starting September 24 through November 26 at 6:30 P.M. at St. Joseph's University. The instructor is Paul Angiolillo.

An Introduction to Insects and Related Arthropods. Meeting Thursdays starting September 26 through November 14 at 6:30 P.M. at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Instructor is Robert Allen and Jon Gelhaus. 


(Granada, Spain, August 23, 2002)  -- Scientists and religious scholars from
the world¹s major faiths voted today to form the International Society for
Science and Religion.  Meeting at the historic Alhambra in Granada, Spain,
the society elected the Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne of Cambridge University
as its first president.

Center for Islam and Science: New Journal,  Islam and Science, a quarterly journal published by the Center for Islam and Science, explores contemporary and historical issues related to Islam and science. See 

Hugh Ross Exposé by AIG         

AiG's Commentary on the Intelligent Design Movement! 

What will the Discovery Institute think of next? Their evolving banners. See 

'Jumping genes' create ripples in the genome - and perhaps species'

Laboratory experiments led by Hopkins scientists have revealed that
so-called "jumping genes" create dramatic rearrangement in the human genome
when they move from chromosome to chromosome. If the finding holds true in
living organisms, it may help explain the diversity of life on Earth, the
researchers report in the current (Aug. 9) issue of Cell.
"Jumping genes," or retrotransposons, are sequences of DNA that are easily
and naturally copied from one location in the genome and inserted elsewhere,
particularly in developing eggs and sperm. There are more than 500,000
copies in the human genome of the retrotransposon the scientists studied,
accumulated over the millions of years of human evolution.
But the sheer quantity of these elements isn't as striking as what else they
might be doing as they jump around, says Jef Boeke. See 

Fossils Help Determine When Humans, Apes Diverged
Using advanced molecular techniques to analyze powdered bone fragments from
fossilized remains of Neandertals and other species, and comparing the
genomes of humans and apes, the researchers concluded that the mutation
occurred after the time when human ancestors stood upright‹about six to
seven million years ago‹but before their brains began to expand in size,
about 2.2 million years ago. See  

The Museum of the Origins of Man

Paul Raeburn reviews Of Moths and Men: An Evolutionary Tale: The Untold Story of Science and the Peppered Moth by Judith Hooper. See 


"Archaeology and the Religions of Canaan and Israel" by
Beth Alpert Nakhai (an ASOR publication). You read the first two chapters at  

Scrolls, Scripts & Stelae
Hershel Shanks
Martin Schøyen only began buying antiquities 15 years ago, but he has made up for lost time with a vengeance, amassing Mesopotamian law codes and Dead Sea Scrolls. See 

Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, Volume XXXVI. By Stephen J. Pfann, et al. See 


Charting the reach of space
It was 25 years ago this month that optimistic American scientists launched Voyager 2 into the celestial unknown, with its plaque depicting a human male and female, a set of prime numbers, and a copper record with songs by Chuck Berry, Beethoven and a whale - should it encounter intelligent life.

Microorganisms Grow At Low Pressures: And Maybe On Mars
Fayetteville - Aug 26, 2002 - Using a unique device known as the Andromeda Chamber to simulate conditions found on Mars, University of Arkansas researchers discovered that certain microorganisms called methanogens could grow at low pressures. See 

Hydrocarbon Wind Stirs On Titan
Moffett Field - Aug 26, 2002 - Researchers from NASA and other institutions have developed an atmospheric model lending insights to decades-old mysteries surrounding Saturn's moon Titan that could shed light on the chemical processes that may have jump-started life on Earth. See 

Cosmic airbag could save the planet 

Lifting The Veil On Planet Formation
Pasadena (JPL) Aug 27, 2002 - Early next year, the field of new planet observations will be extended into space with the launch of the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF). See 


Scientists shocked at GM gene transfer
Weeds have become stronger and fitter by cross-breeding with genetically
modified crops, leading to fears that superweeds which are difficult or
impossible to control may invade farms growing standard crops. See,3604,774788,00.html 

Longevity (2 Aug) - For the first time, researchers have found evidence suggesting people may live longer by eating fewer  calories each day, a dietary restriction that already has shown in experiments to extend the lives of  laboratory animals by up to 40 percent. See 

Essential Cell Division "Zipper" Anchors To So-Called Junk DNA: In a new study in the August 29 issue of Nature, researchers at The Wistar Institute identify a cohesin-containing protein complex that reshapes chromatin to allow cohesins to bind to DNA. In doing so, they also identified the locations on the human genome where the cohesins bind. Somewhat to their surprise, the binding sites were found to be a repetitive DNA sequence found throughout the human genome for which no previous role had ever been identified. These bits of DNA, known as Alu sequences, are liberally represented along those vast stretches of the human genome not known to directly control genetic activity, sometimes referred to as junk DNA. See 


Schizophrenia (23 Aug) - Swedish scientists have found a tiny particle in the spinal fluid of people with schizophrenia that could be a marker for the disease, or even play some part in causing it. See 


Amazing Magnetic Fluids
Huntsville - Aug 27, 2002 - If you don't see it for yourself, you might not believe it. A grey blob oozes down the side of a laboratory beaker. It's heading for the table, but before it gets there a low hum fills the air. Someone just switched on an electromagnet. The goop stiffens, quivers, then carries on oozing only after the hum subsides. See 

Discovery Could Bring Widespread Uses For 'Nanocrystals'
West Lafayette - Aug 26, 2002 - Researchers at Purdue University have made a surprising discovery that could open up numerous applications for metal "nanocrystals," or tiny crystals that are often harder, stronger and more wear resistant than the same materials in bulk form. See 

August 24, 2002

Triassic Park Update!

We still need more help! Just recently, 14.9 acres in St. Peters, PA has been given to the Institute for Biblical and Scientific Studies. We would like to have a park where school groups, homeschoolers, and families can come to look for interesting rocks and fossils. They could hike trails and see amazing life both past in the rocks, and present in the woods. Also, our long range plan is to build a museum. We could use some benches, picnic tables, a boat or canoe for the pond. We could use youth groups or others willing to help pick up trash, clear trails, and spread out gravel for a parking lot. Your financial support will enable us to move this project forward. If you can help out you can e-mail me, Stephen Meyers at or call 215-423-7374. See pictures of Triassic Park at 

Religion in the New

Assigned Reading on Koran in Chapel Hill Raises Hackles
A federal appeals court refused on Monday to halt a program
to expose new students at the University of North Carolina
to information about the Koran. also 

Bidding Emotional Goodbye, Pope Ends Visit to His Past
With words that captured both how hard it was for him to
leave and, it seemed, how uncertain he was that he would
return, Pope John Paul II left Poland on Monday. 

Planned Mini-Series on Hitler's Early Life Brings Criticism
Can a four-hour CBS mini-series based on the early life of
Hitler accurately depict his monstrousness? 

Christian Villages Burn Again in Central Indonesia
Protective armed forces are withdrawn before the attack.
By Geoff Stamp, Compass Direct
. See

The Setting of the Age of Aquarius
Remember the New Age movement? Now, even the New Agers want out.
By Ted Olsen
. See

Does Islam foster extremism? Perhaps every belief system that lays claim to the ultimate truth carries the seeds of violent fanaticism and intolerance (Cathy Young, The Boston Globe). See 

Franklin Graham on Islam, Jesus' Name, and More
In recent months, Billy Graham's son has made strong statements about Islam, America as a Christian nation, and why his prayer to Jesus at President Bush's inauguration caused such a stir. In a Beliefnet interview, he talks about violence, the Qur'an, and his new book, "The Name." See 

Self-proclaimed Messiah draws crowds in Siberia Thousands of pilgrims have converged on the hamlet of Petropavlovka, deep in Siberia, to hear the annual sermon today by a 41-year-old former traffic policeman who they believe to be Jesus (Sunday Telegraph, London). See 

'By the hand of Mormon': The gospel according to Joseph Smith Terryl L. Givens examines the life of the Mormon prophet and the book he presented to the world (The New York Times).  

Flash, flourish, and faith Ladies and gentlemen, from the theme park capital of the world, behold: the Scriptorium, Bible study like you've never seen it before (The Orlando Sentinel). See 

Books & Culture Corner: After the Quake
Bedside reading for the anniversary of 9/11. By John Wilson. See

Lisa Beamer is an author second Sept. 11 widow says being a mom comes before her memoir Let's Roll!, which is to be released this week (USA Today). See 

Spurgeon on Jabez
What history's most prolific preacher said, in 1871, about the Prayer of Jabez.
By Chris Armstrong. See

Florida'a adoption notification law under fire
The state of Florida requires that mothers who want to give their children up for adoption must notify the child's father. That sounds awfully family-friendly, doesn't it? But the law goes further: mothers who don't know who the father is must place a newspaper advertisement announcing she plans to do so. See 

Don't Knock Christian Rock
The author of the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music and a Lutheran seminary professor says the genre deserves more respect.
An interview with Mark Allan Powell. See

The Secular Society Gets Religion
From vouchers for religious schools to wrangling over cloning, religion has been re-entering the public arena in complex and unforeseen ways. See 

Limited Cloning Ban Disappoints Prolife Groups
President's Council on Bioethics recommends a four-year moratorium on research cloning. By Stan Guthrie. See

Turin Shroud Undergoes New Tests: Aug. 23 — New tests on the Shroud of Turin are being carried out this summer in a secret experiment in the Turin Cathedral's new sacristy. In an effort to solve the mystery shrouding one of the most controversial relics in Christendom, the Vatican confirmed that thirty triangular patches had been removed from the Shroud. See 

Expert attacks latest tests on Turin Shroud A fresh attempt by Catholic officials to prove that the Turin Shroud is genuine and not a medieval fake has provoked a row after experts said that the tests could damage the cloth (The Times, London). See,,3-389723,00.html 

Science in the News

US News & World Report: The Art of the Hoax

Strange but true: This is the golden age of hoaxes
How I found Deep Throat and fooled the FBI
Skepticism 101: Distrust and verify
The D is for deception
Hooked on a crooked book: An antisemitic fake wins new converts
Devil in a red fez: The lie about the Freemasons lives
To the log cabin not born: William Henry Harrison told a big fib, and voters didn't mind
The Scottsboro travesty of 1931 did not end scapegoating of African-Americans
Kidding about the captain: He didn't bury gold, but we keep looking
Extra! Extra! Life on moon! The New York Sun made up a scoop--and remade journalism
Artful dodgers
King of bilk and honey: Ponzi's smooth con is still in vogue
Chasing Aimee: The evangelist was tried for a tall tale
A case of past imperfect: An award-winning Holocaust memoir was not what it seemed
A Führer furor: Hitler's unauthorized autobiography
In the 1920s, a caprine testicle transplant was a "cure" for impotence
Spring feigning with the too-amazing Sidd Finch
           WEIRD SCIENCE
Circular crop logic
Meet the missing link (wink, wink): Piltdown taught science a lesson, sort of
In 1770, a robot was king of chess
The benefits--and downside--of breatharianism
Peron's fusion: A refugee took him for a costly ride
Alchemist's secret: The real Nicolas Flamel did real estate
Hoax-buster James Randi: Schooled not to be fooled
Dark side of the moon landing


Georgia School Board Requires Balance of Evolution and Bible
August 23, 2002. By KATE ZERNIKE. 
Georgia's second-largest school district adopted a policy
last night that requires teachers to give a "balanced
education" about the origin of life. See

Keep religion out of science education Just as we can help to create a more moral society without teaching religion in public schools, so can we help to create a more logical citizenry if we can get everyone to park their religion in the designated area (Beverly Carol Lucey, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. See 

Cobb board to clarify how origin of life can be taught Faced with equally impassioned pleas to allow creationism to be taught in the classroom or to ban it, the Cobb County school board chose to do neither (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) See 

ACLU sues over evolution disclaimers in textbooks The stickers, placed in new science books this month after requests from parents opposed to evolution on religious grounds, say evolution is a theory, not fact, and should be critically considered (Associated Press). See,2933,61065,00.html 

Intelligent Design Battle Moves to Ohio
Opponents say the movement is trying to do an  end run around science.
By LaTonya Taylor. See

No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence by William A. Dembski reviewed by H. Allen Orr. See 

New Book: Bioinformatics by Lesk from Oxford University Press. The book explains the traditional classification systems. It compares the Indian elephant, African elephant and the Mammoth RNA. It also tells about the genes controlling eye development. You can download and read Chapter 1 at 

Cosmic smog 'key to life in Milky Way' 


Herod's Stadium
Israeli archaeologists discover 2,000-year-old stadium.  By Ted Olsen. See

Archaeology an Israeli obsession that could end in loss of Palestinian history
. "The search for evidence of ancient Jewish roots has become a national obsession for millions of Israelis. For some, that evidence also has provided a rationalization for claiming occupied territory held for centuries by Arabs. Meanwhile, the Palestinians - relative newcomers to archaeology - are gearing up to research their own origins in what is widely viewed as a cultural counterstrike. Despite the pressures, most archaeologists remain committed to scientific methods and principles, often putting them at odds with politicians and religious leaders." See 


SpaceWatch Telescope Images Indicate Contour In Pieces
Los Angeles - Aug 16, 2002 - Telescope images indicate that the missing U.S. Contour space probe may have been destroyed when it fired its engine to escape Earth orbit on Thursday, a NASA official said Friday. Images from astronomers working at SpaceWatch asteroid observation program at the University of Arizona show the probe may have broken in two, the official said. See 

Bass Still In Sync For Planned Space Trip: Russia
Moscow (AFP) Aug 16, 2002 - Teen pop idol Lance Bass of the boy band 'N Sync is assured of a place on the next Russian flight to the International Space Station and will resume training after Russia extended a deadline for paying the fare, a Russian Space Agency spokesman told AFP Friday. See 

The 25-Year Space Odyssey Of Two Voyagers
Washington (AFP) Aug 17, 2002 - For the past 25 years, the twin Voyager probes have been hurtling toward the outer edge of our solar system on a ground-breaking journey that has yielded a wealth of scientific discoveries. See 

Asteroid To Pass Close To Earth, But No Danger: NASA
Washington (AFP) Aug 17, 2002 - A newly-discovered asteroid passed close to Earth Sunday, giving astronomers and skywatchers a rare study opportunity, but won't pose any danger, the US space agency NASA said Friday. Asteroid 2002 NY40 will be visible with binoculars or small telescopes as it passes within 455,000 kilometers (283,000 miles) of Earth, said Don Yeomans, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. See 

Mirror Matter And Interstellar Pioneers
Melbourne - Aug 19, 2002 - The interactions of the known elementary particles (such as the electron, proton etc) violate mirror reflection symmetry, yet respect just about every other plausible symmetry. See 

In Search Of A Universal Dark Secret
Boston - Aug 22, 2002 - Physics graduate student Taotao Fang's thesis project in the late 1990s was to search for a hot, diffuse gas located between galaxies. The gas forms a diffuse cosmic web connecting clusters of galaxies. See 

Bulk Source Of Universe's Gamma Rays Identified, Scientists Say
Greenbelt - Aug 19, 2002 - Scientists at Columbia University and Barnard College have found that the majority of the gamma rays outside of our galaxy are likely emitted by galaxy clusters and other massive structures. See 

Galileo Team Continue To Prepare For Final Jupiter Flyby
Pasadena - Aug 20, 2002 - As the Galileo spacecraft continues its long trek back in towards Jupiter for its final planned science pass in November, the pace of activity picks up. In addition to the routine maintenance activities that look after spacecraft health and safety, special tests are beginning in preparation for the Amalthea flyby. See 

Breathing Life Into Old Martian Rocks
Houston - Aug 22, 2002 - In the latest study of a 4.5 billion-year-old Martian meteorite, researchers have presented new evidence confirming that 25 percent of the magnetic material in the meteorite was produced by ancient bacteria on Mars. These latest results were published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. See 


Scientists Discover Anti-Cancer Bacteria. Aug. 15 — The genes of a bacteria commonly found in soil could have a knockout punch capable of killing off cancer cells, according to Friday's issue of Science magazine. See 

Earth Science

Pleistocene Park? Japanese researchers hope to create live woolly mammoths, destined for a theme park. A team of researchers led by Akira Iritani at Kinki University, Osaka are renewing efforts to collect tissue samples that they might use to clone a woolly mammoth, The Times reported this week. Funded by Japanese businessman Kazutoshi Kobayashi, who plans to populate a Siberian safari park with mammoths, the scientists are awaiting authorization from Russian authorities to retrieve material from the leg of a young male mammoth that was frozen in the Siberian permafrost some 25,00030,000 years ago. See and,,1-3-387635,00.html 

Huge Meteorite Hit Early Earth: Aug. 23 — A giant meteorite fell to Earth 3.47 billion years ago, causing heavy shock waves whose impact would have transformed the planet, according to a study by a team of U.S. geologists published Friday. Researchers have failed to locate the crater caused by the extra-terrestrial object. However, they managed to find evidence on two of the world's continents that the meteorite was 12 miles (20 kilometers) in diameter, twice the size of the asteroid blamed for the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. See 


BEHAVIOR: Bipolar Youth — It used to be called manic depression. Now this volatile form of mental illness is increasingly showing up in children and teenagers. See 

Inside The Bipolar Brain: Scientists can't point to one lobe that makes a person bipolar, but they have identified several areas that are involved in ways they are just beginning to understand. See,9171,1101020819-335980,00.html 

August 18, 2002

Triassic Park!

Just recently, 14.9 acres in St. Peters, PA has been given to the Institute for Biblical and Scientific Studies. We would like to have a park where school groups, homeschoolers, and families can come to look for interesting rocks and fossils. They could hike trails and see amazing life both past in the rocks, and present in the woods. Also, our long range plan is to build a museum. We need your help! We could use some benches, picnic tables, a boat or canoe for the pond. We could use youth groups or others willing to help pick up trash and clear trails. Your financial support will enable us to move this project forward. If you can help out you can e-mail me, Stephen Meyers at or call 215-423-7374. See pictures of Triassic Park at 

Religion in the New

Pastor Tells Why Abducted Girls Went on TV
The two girls kidnapped last week in California agreed to
give a television interview on Monday out of a conviction
that their story could help other young women, according to
their pastor. See 

Mother wants 'God' kept in pledge On Monday, the girl's mother, Sandra Banning, filed a court motion seeking to intervene in the case. If the court will not allow that, she asks that references to her daughter be taken off the lawsuit (Associated Press). See 

Rescued miners give thanks Bush to meet with miners, salute 'spirit of America' (CNN) See 

Franklin Graham: Muslims should pay up
Franklin Graham, promoting a new book, continues to rile folks with his statements on Islam. "The silence of the clerics around the world is frightening to me," he said. "How come they haven't come to this country, how come they haven't apologized to the American people, how come they haven't reassured the American people that this is not true Islam and that these people are not acting in the name of Allah, they're not acting in the name of Islam?" See 

Catholic Religious Orders Let Abusive Priests Stay
The Roman Catholic religious orders that include a third of
the nation's priests will not expel predators from their ranks. 

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Don't evangelize Jews
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement Monday saying that Catholics should evangelize non-Christians—but not Jews. See 

Pope Offers Mass Near Site Where He Toiled Under the Nazis
Pope John Paul II made poignantly clear that his visit to
Cracow was an opportunity to retrace the steps of his youth
and of his development. See 

Ousted Members Contend Jehovah's Witnesses' Abuse Policy Hides Offenses
Expelled members of Jehovah's Witness congregations are
accusing the group of actively covering up child abuse within the church. 

Ministers in crisis Distressed pastors find support to overcome the pitfalls of the pulpit (Ft. Worth [Tex.] Star-Telegram). See 

Son of a preacher man How John Ashcroft's religion shapes his public service (San Francisco Chronicle). See 

President signs bill on abortion procedures Move on Pa. visit reopens debate (The Washington Post). See 

Do faith-based services work? As government has become involved in funding faith-based social programs, little attention is paid to tracking their effectiveness (The Baltimore Sun) See 

Atheists get equal time on BBC Richard Dawkins gets experimental slot after protest (Associated Press) See 

Christian school attacked in Pakistan
At least three masked men burst into Murree Christian School in Pakistan this morning, killing two security guards, a cook, a carpenter, a receptionist, and another person. Miraculously, none of the 146 missionary children attending the school were harmed, Reuters reports. See 

Pakistan frees Christian prisoner as country mourns attacks
After more than five and a half years in prison for allegedly blaspheming Muhammad, Pakistani Christian Ayub Masih was freed yesterday by the country's Supreme Court. "Ayub Masih is not found guilty of committing blasphemy and allegations against Ayub are baseless and false," the court said.

World Vision hostages freed
A Sudanese militia group has freed three World Vision aid workers taken hostage in a raid last week. See,1113,2-11-997_1237510,00.html 

Seeing God in crop circles Is Signs getting at God? (David Klinghoffer, National Review Online). See 

Insight into a world of religions From facts to chats, sacred texts and a virtual tour, faith-based websites offer an abundance of information (The Washington Post). See 

Nietzsche and The Prayer of Jabez: Both criticize Christian self-denial and boldly promote self-interest and a "will to power" (Brian Britt, Sightings)

Religion in the post-Enron marketplace: Check out, for example, Fortune magazine's new list of America's 25 Greediest Executives. At the top is Qwest's Philip Anschutz, who sold $1.57 billion worth of company stock in May 1999. Regular Weblog readers will remember Anschutz as the man financing the Narnia films who said he wanted to do "something significant in American Christianity." See 

Pass the Collection Plate and Charge It
Churches across the country are embracing electronic giving,
a fund-raising tool that allows their members to tithe electronically. 

I Wanted to Be the Next Britney - Campus Life: ZOEgirl's Chrissy Conway dreamed of being a rich and famous pop star, but God had bigger plans. See 

Bring Out Their Best - Christian Parenting Today: How to build your child's character through loving, values-based discipline. See 

Pennsylvania eyes reducing home-school filings State lawmakers will soon decide whether to loosen the state's 14-year-old home-schooling law, which critics say requires "countless hours" of tallying at-home instruction. See 

Understanding, not indoctrination The author of Approaching the Qur'an speaks out on the controversy at UNC (The Washington Post) See 

Christian History Corner: History in a Flash
A new CD-ROM offers quick access to the facts of church history, plus interactive quizzes. By Elesha Coffman. See

How the Early Church Saw Heaven -The first Christians had very specific ideas about who they would meet in the afterlife. See and Newsweek's cover story "Why We Need Heaven?" A Newsweek poll found that 76% of Americans believe in a heaven, and 71% of them believe it's a real, physical place. See 

Swapping 'religion' for 'postsecularism' | Anyone who doesn't recognize the power of "post" in intellectual strategy just hasn't been watching. It can gel loosely related phenomena into a major intellectual movement or cultural vanguard without having to be very precise about what unites them or what they are rather than what they are not (Peter Steinfels, The New York Times) See 

Believing scientists and peace More than 100 scientists from around the world -- all believing Christians, Jews or Muslims -- will apply their methods of dialogue to seek answers to today's political, moral and social issues ranging from peace to stem cell research and euthanasia (UPI). See 

Science in the News

ASA: The fall meeting of the Eastern PA Section of the American Scientific Affiliation  will be returning to Messiah College campus in Grantham, PA on September 28th.  Please contact Alan McCarrick at for more information and to be put on our contact list. Our general topic this time around will be Astronomy (history and
cosmology).  We will have Dr. Owen Gingerich and Dr. Robert C. Newman. Dr. Gingerich's talk is entitled "Galileo: Hero or Heretic?" Dr. Newman's presentation is entitled "The Cosmos and the Bible: A Critical Examination of Modern Cosmological Theories." For directions see For ASA see 

Christian Faith and Modern Science
A 4-part lecture series at Messiah College sponsored by the Department of
Philosophy, the Department of Natural Sciences, and the Messiah College
Philosophy Forum, with support from the John M. Templeton Foundation.  All
lectures are free (except Part Four as noted) and open to the public.
The lecturers are:
Keith Ward, Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford, one of
Britain¹s foremost philosopher-theologians
Owen Gingerich, Research Professor of Astronomy and History of Science at
Harvard University and senior astronomer emeritus at the Harvard-Smithsonian
Astrophysical Observatory, a leading authority on the history of astronomy. See 


Serendipity in Science: 

'A Nuclear Bomb' For Evolution?
Critics of Darwinism say skull's discovery isn't all it's cracked up to be.
By Todd Hertz
. See

KC conference explores evolution debate
Until intelligent design is accepted by a majority of scientists, don't look for it in public school science classes, a panel of evolution supporters said on Saturday. See 

Why, biologists first asked 60 years ago, do members of the same species have such similar traits, or phenotypes, despite the fact that they have such diverse genes, or genotypes? They couldn't fully explore that question until now - when, aided by computers, they can sift through mountains of experimental data. In the June 24 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, senior research scientist Aviv Bergman of Stanford's Center for Computational Genetics and Biological Modeling (CCGBM) and postdoctoral scholar Mark Siegal of the Department of Biological Sciences provide a surprisingly simple answer. See 

Results of a new University of Michigan study suggest that junk DNA  dismissed by many scientists as mere strings of meaningless genetic code  could have a darker side. See 

Language Gene Is Traced to Emergence of Humans
A study of the genomes of people and chimpanzees has yielded a deep insight
into the origin of language, one of the most distinctive human attributes
and a critical step in human evolution.
The analysis indicates that language, on the evolutionary time scale, is a
very recent development, having evolved only in the last 100,000 years or
so. The finding supports a novel theory advanced by Dr. Richard Klein, an
archaeologist at Stanford University, who argues that the emergence of
behaviorally modern humans about 50,000 years ago was set off by a major
genetic change, most probably the acquisition of language. See 

The writings of Charles Darwin on the web: 

Faith, Science and Understanding
by John Polkinghorne on-line resource
The Center for Ethics and Values at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
provides an online resource for exploring Christian belief and ministry in
this challenging time of scientific and technological change.
Science and Christian Faith at contains up-to-date
news and information regarding scientific and technological developments
that intersect with the foundations of contemporary Christian life.


Explorer: Legendary El Dorado Pinpointed: The fabled treasure of El Dorado may lie in tunnels and caves at the bottom of a lake in the Peruvian Amazon, according to a Polish-Italian explorer. See 

A Civil War icon is recovered
Sixteen miles offshore, a yellow-helmeted diver made a final morning check yesterday of metal cables running from a barge crane to the dimly lit ocean floor - and the wreck of the once-mighty battleship USS Monitor, famed ironclad of the Civil War. See and  

Pre-Columbus Map of N. America a Forgery: Two researchers have debunked a map ostensibly drawn in the 15th century and proving that the Vikings landed in North America hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus, saying it contained ink that did not exist before 1923. See 

The Other Pyramids
A tour of ancient Nubia where clusters of steep, topless "tombstones" punctuate a remote desert landscape. by Bob Brier. 

Legacy of the Crusades
The ruins of castles on hillsides throughout the Middle East are mute reminders of a bloody chapter in medieval history.
by Sandra Scham. See 


Antimatter: High above the Canadian plains, scientists have harvested another crop of
antimatter particles, in the latest flight of a balloon-borne experiment
which has flown nearly every summer since 1993, searching for evidence of
an antimatter domain within our Universe.  Story, and a nice picture of the
balloon launch, at 

Long ago, a giant eruption occurred in a nearby galaxy.  Now our Chandra
X-ray Observatory has revealed the remains of that explosion in the form of
two enormous arcs of hot gas. This discovery can help astronomers better
understand the cause and effect of violent outbursts from the vicinity of
supermassive black holes in the centers of many so-called "active"

Martian meteorite: The science team that originally suggested that Martian meteorite ALH 84001 contained fossils from bacteria recently published a new study supporting
their initial findings.  Latest volley in the Mars bug battle at 

NASA's Stardust spacecraft, on a mission to collect and return the first samples from a comet, began yesterday to collect tiny specks of solid matter, called interstellar dust grains, that permeate the galaxy. See 

Europe Over The Moon With New Satellite
Paris (AFP) Aug 06, 2002 - The European Space Agency took delivery Tuesday of a little device it hopes will unlock one of our biggest mysteries: is the Moon a cleaved-off chunk of planet Earth, or was it a vagabond planetoid that got caught in Earth's gravitational embrace? See 


A mystery is solved on spread of cancer
Scientists have discovered how a key protein helps cancerous cells spread through the body, in a finding that could pave the way for new drugs to slow the progression of the disease. See 

Scientists Develop Cheap and Easy Cloning Method
LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have developed a cheap and easy cloning method
to let technicians create cloned embryos with gear that could fit in a
trailer and costs only a few thousand dollars, New Scientist magazine
reported on Wednesday. See

Cow Clones Have Human DNA
By Paul Elias. Four cloned calves genetically engineered with human DNA and currently
grazing in Iowa could hold the key to creating herds of identical cows that
produce medicines in their milk and blood. "Cows are ideal factories," said James Robl, president of Hematech LLC, which hopes to profit from drug-producing bovines. "Cows are big and have a lot of blood and produce a lot of milk." See 

UCLA AIDS Institute researchers have predicted that widespread use of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can eventually stop the HIV epidemic in its tracks -- even in African nations where a high percentage of people are infected. The Lancet Infectious Diseases reports the findings in its August edition. See 

Researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences a new method for detecting DNA, which could transform medical diagnostics. Currently, tests for the presence of DNA--to identify, for instance, the presence of a bacterium such as anthrax, or a virus, or a specific gene--require that the DNA be amplified or grown. The UCSB researchers combine the use of a light-emitting polymer with peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes to make a test so sensitive that the costly DNA amplification can be reduced and perhaps eliminated. See 

With more than one in ten boys admitting to using steroids, muscle- and strength-enhancing drug use among teenagers has caused considerable concern among parents and researchers over the past decade, but until now, the longer-term physiological and neurological effects of its use on the developing brain have not been fully examined. Now, new research from Northeastern University, published in the latest issue of the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, documents the link between adolescent anabolic steroid use and aggression and partly associates the increases in aggression with deficits in the brain"s serotonin system. The study will examine longer-term deficiencies of serotonin levels in the brain as a result of damage from steroid use, suggesting that a tendency toward aggression and impulsiveness may actually linger long after both the steroid use and the muscles and strength developed have waned. See 

A fat-laden diet and high calcium consumption are both well-known suspected risk factors for prostate cancer. However, new findings from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center suggest that fat and calcium themselves may not cause prostate cancer, as previously thought, but instead may fuel its progression from localized to advanced disease. See 

For years, physicians have noticed surprising similarities in the factors that seem to trigger attacks in such episodic neurological disorders as migraine and dyskinesia. Common triggers include psychological stress, caffeine or alcohol ingestion, fatigue, hormonal fluctuations and exercise. A new study shows that a mouse model can be used to investigate how these substances and environmental factors trigger symptomatic attacks. See 

A research team led by a Massachusetts General Hospital investigator has found that a long-acting form of the stimulant medication Adderall is effective in controlling symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children when taken in a single morning dose. The standard form of Adderall, which is made up of several amphetamine-based drugs, is only effective for four hours. This new formulation joins other long-acting stimulants, such as extended-release methylphenidate (Ritalin), in giving patients with ADHD a greater choice of medication. See 

A mutation in a gene that affects artery elasticity is associated with an increased risk of early coronary heart disease, researchers report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. See 

Earth Science

Pa. researcher bringing an Arctic fossil to light
In a small room off Logan Circle, the fanged jaw of a 6-foot-long, meat-eating fish is emerging from the dawn of time. Bit by bit, a tiny pneumatic hammer reveals a 375-million-year-old fossil from what is now northern Canada, a sluggish creature that used its knifelike teeth to chomp on smaller, armor-plated fish. See 

Finders keepers at Fossil Park
Fossil Park may not be Jurassic, but it still rocks. The park is full of fossil-filled Devonian shale, and whatever you find you can keep. See 


Homing in on the cells that may trigger schizophrenia: A particular type of nerve cell, known as a glial cell, has been fingered as a cause of schizophrenia. The theory could help explain an abundance of disparate evidence for what triggers the disease. 

New research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison identifies a genetic variation that might protect abused children from developing antisocial behavior. See 

People with low self-esteem are less motivated than people with high self-esteem to improve a negative mood, even when they are offered an activity that will change their frame of mind, a team of American and Canadian psychologists has found. The finding is contrary to the common belief that all people are motivated to alleviate negative moods. See 


Sometimes what seems to be a respected source of reliable information is actually a clever scheme to manipulate people, suggests Dartmouth Thayer School of Engineering Professor George Cybenko. This kind of "cognitive hacking" on the Internet could be contributing to the stock market's uncertainty, and it could shape our views in ways we don't even realize. See 

A way to help next-generation computers boot up instantly, making entire memories immediately available for use, has been developed by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. See 

An enormous source of clean energy is available to us. We see it almost every day. It's just a matter of harnessing it. The problem with solar energy is that it has not been inexpensive enough in the past. David Kelley, professor of chemistry at Kansas State University, developed a new type of nanoparticle -- a tiny chemical compound far too small to be seen with the naked eye -- that may reap big dividends in solar power. See 

August 4, 2002

Religion in the News 

James Dobson's Focus on the Family completed its 25th anniversary celebrations. Gorski reports, "During the past two years, the ministry has hired or given new duties to a handful of rising stars. A successor to Dobson could be among them." The main names floated are Walt Larimore and Bill Maier. See 

'Get Our Kids Out'
Dobson says pro-gay school curriculum has gone too far. By Corrie Cutrer. See

The Good News About Generations X & Y
Watch out, promiscuity! Out of the way, relativism! A wave of young Americans just wants that oldtime religion. An interview with the author of The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy. An interview by Agnieszka Tennant. See

"You are the salt of the earth" The Pope's message to the youth of the world (Vatican).

BESIEGED CEO'S TURN TO PUBLIC PIETY,  RELIGIOSITY FOR REDEMPTION:  Disgraced, Implicated In Financial Scandal?  "Show Up At Church" See 

You better believe it (but we don't) Are the pulpits of Anglican churches occupied by closet atheists? A new survey shows that many vicars do not believe in the Resurrection or Virgin Birth (The Times, London). See,,7-370712,00.html 

In mine and church collapses, God was there  If  God gets the credit for what happened at Quecreek, does God get the blame for what happened in Memphis, Tenn., last week? (David Waters, Scripps Howard) See 

Did God really save the miners? | How we feel about the Somerset nine's rescue says a lot about what we think about God (Frederica Mathewes-Green, Beliefnet) See 

After website sale to Salem, Crosswalk will focus on oil and real estate

Raid on World Vision camp leaves one dead, three captive

Jesse Ventura accidentally proclaims "Christian Heritage Week"

Religious morality, not laws, will change business ethics

Shrek director Andrew Adamson will direct The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe film

Christian rebels kill 42 in Uganda: Members of the Lord's Resistance Army attacked a village near the northern town of Kitgum Wednesday and killed the victims with machetes and clubs, Radio Uganda reported. (UPI). See 

TruthQuest show: It's out there: Reality TV program exposes teens to cutting-edge ministries (The Dallas Morning News). See 

Breaking Up a Monopoly
The Supreme Court has put parents back in charge of their children's education.
A Christianity Today Editorial. See

Couples Who Live Together Split Faster: Couples who live together without marriage are twice as likely to split up 5 years after they move in together than couples who tie the knot, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). See 

Science in the News


Toumai Discovery:

Evolution critics meet to create strategy: Hundreds of evolution critics slipped into a quiet Missouri suburb over the weekend with a single-minded purpose: to shatter the lock Charles Darwin has had on science for 150 years (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland) See 

Scientists in the past decade have discovered that remnants of ancient germ line infections called human endogenous retroviruses make up a substantial part of the human genome. Once thought to be merely "junk" DNA and inactive, many of these elements, in fact, perform functions in human cells. See 

Journal of Human Evolution: For those wanting to keep up with the latest research on Evolution see 


Bringing the head of John the Baptist
Richard Freund, an archaeologist at the University of Hartford (Conn.), says he might have found the skeleton of John the Baptist. Even he admits it’s a circumstantial case: while excavating caves in Qumran, near where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, Freund’s team discovered a male skeleton dating from the first century. “Freund reported that the orientation of the body and its accompanying grave goods suggest that the remains may be that of the ‘Teacher of Righteousness,’ the founder of an ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes,” a university press release explained. “Scholars have long thought that this teacher may have been the prophet John the Baptist.” But even members of the excavating team say such a theory is preposterous. “No person in the world believes there is a connection between the two. There is nothing to it,” Magen Broshi, one of the heads of the expedition, tells the Associated Press. “What we have unearthed is most probably a skeleton of a Bedouin man from about two or three hundred years ago.” See 

Christian designs found in tomb stones of Eastern Han Dynasty: Studies show that as early as 86 A.D., or the third year under the reign of "Yuanhe" of Eastern Han, Dynasty Christianity entered into China, 550 years earlier than the world accepted time (People’s Daily, Beijing). See 

Scientists from the University of Arizona, the U.S. Department of Energys Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Smithsonian Institution have used carbon-dating technology to determine the age of a controversial parchment that might be the first-ever map of North America. In a paper to be published in the July 2002 issue of the journal Radiocarbon, the scientists conclude that the so-called Vinland Map parchment dates to approximately 1434 A.D., or nearly 60 years before Christopher Columbus set foot in the West Indies. See 

Antiquity of Man Challenges Forbidden Archeology
A new book just out entitled The Antiquity of Man: Artifactual, Fossil and Gene Records Explored by Michael Brass (PublishAmerica, 2002) will provide an in-depth critique of Cremo and Thompson's Forbidden Archeology. Go to: 

Anthropology - "The American Anthropological Association has just published the results of an extensive investigation into charges of abuse of the Yanomami Indians of Venezuela and Brazil that had been brought by its own members against their colleagues Napoleon Chagnon and James Neel. See 


Chandra Discovers "Rivers Of Gravity" That Define Cosmic Landscape
Boston - Aug 02, 2002 - NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has discovered part of an intergalactic web of hot gas and dark matter that contains most of the material in the universe. The hot gas, which appears to lie like a fog in channels carved by rivers of gravity, has been hidden from view since the time galaxies formed. See 

First Evidence For Early Meteorite Bombardment Of Earth
Brisbane - Jul 26, 2002 - University of Queensland researchers have for the first time discovered terrestrial evidence of a meteorite bombardment nearly 4 billion years ago. See 

Asteroid Flyby Of Earth August 18
Huntsville - Jul 31, 2002 - A big space rock will soon come so close to Earth that sky watchers can see it through binoculars. But relax, there's no danger of a collision, but it will be close enough to see through binoculars: a big space rock, not far from Earth. See 

Asteroid Could Hit Earth In 2019? Not Likely, Says NASA
Los Angeles (AFP) Jul 30, 2002 - The odds that Asteroid 2002 NT7 could strike Earth in 2019 are very small, and the prospect is "just not worth getting worked up about," scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said. "In fact, the threat is minimal. One in 250,000 is a very small number," JPL's Near-Earth Object Program manager Don Yeomans said in an interview on NASA's web page. See 

Senate Looks To The Future As Pluto Probe Wins Key Funding Support
Los Angles - Jul 26, 2002 - Perhaps the single most significant chapter in the long-running saga of the possible 2006 US probe to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt has just been completed. On July 24, the Senate's Subcommittee for Appropriations to VA, HUD and Independent Agencies (including NASA) voted to provide full funding for the "New Horizons" Pluto mission - adding $105 million to NASA's budget specifically for the purpose - and yesterday the full Senate Appropriations Committee affirmed it. See 

Work Starts On Assembling Beagle 2
London - Jul 31, 2002 - A joint UK and European mission to find evidence of life on Mars took another giant leap forward this week when engineers started assembling the Beagle 2 lander. See 

Disks Around Failed Stars - A Question Of Age
Heidelberg - Aug 02, 2002 - A team of European astronomers have observed eight Brown Dwarfs, i.e., small and faint objects also known as "failed stars", with the TIMMI2 infrared sensitive instrument at the ESO 3.6-m telescope on La Silla. See 

Black Holes: Radio telescope images have uncovered evidence that supermassive black
holes at the hearts of large galaxies collide when their host galaxies
merge.  Those would be big events, and might be seen with future
gravity-wave detectors.  Bending jets, once a year at 


In a special editorial in the latest edition of the journal Neurosurgery, three sports medicine experts contend that ephedrine and creatine use among football players may be a factor in a surge of heat stroke deaths since 1995. See 

A relatively new dietary supplement called Basikol may lower total cholesterol by about 15 percent, according to the August issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter. See 

If hearing loss runs in your family and the doctor says it's otosclerosis, it may be important to see a genetic counselor before you see a surgeon, according to new research from the University of Michigan Medical School. See 

A team of researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has discovered a way to use adult bone marrow stem cells to form new blood vessels in the eye or to deliver chemicals that will prevent the abnormal formation of new vessels. See 

UCSF Medical Center orthopedic surgeons are investigating the effectiveness of an implant that may replace damaged lower back discs. European patients who have received the stainless steel and plastic assembly in place of degenerated discs have reported significant improvement in back and leg pain after a minimum of seven years of follow-up, according to the UCSF investigators. See 

Health officials fear that lifesaving drugs can lose their effectiveness when overused. They are especially concerned about anti-microbial additives, found in everything from kitchen cleaners to face soaps, because the bacteria they try to kill are becoming resistant. Clemson University scientists have found a new bacteria fighter that does not promote bacterial resistance. See 

A dual-action drug, called omapatrilat, was found to be as good as a standard ACE-inhibitor in reducing the risk of death and hospitalization from heart failure, according to a report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. See 

Earth Science

Scientists stumped as the Earth takes on a slightly new shape
The Earth appears to have grown less round - fatter around the middle and flatter at the poles - since 1998, a finding that has scientists struggling for an explanation. See 

North Sea crash site mirrors craters on Jupiter's moons 

Tomb of Mega Beasts Discovered: July 30 — The fossilized remains of giant lions and other ferocious monsters that once stalked the earth have been discovered in the Australian outback, scientists announced. See 

Although they have persisted for tens of millions of years, neotropical lowland forests have changed greatly in extent and composition due to climatic variation and to human impacts. In a symposium at the 2002 meetings of the Association for Tropical Biology, hosted by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Panama, scientists presented the latest results of research on neotropical forests and their transformations up to the time of Columbus. See 


Narcissism - For two decades, self-help books have hammered home a consistent theme for successful romantic relationships: first, you must love yourself. A new study, headed by a psychologist at the University of Georgia, may turn that wisdom on its head, though. See 

Self - The capacity to reflect on one's sense of self is an important component of self-awareness. Sterling C. Johnson and colleagues investigate some of the neurocognitive processes underlying reflection on the self using functional MRI. See 

Neuroscience - Parts of the brain involved in judgment, planning and decision-making are different among teenagers with conduct problems, according to researchers Lance Bauer, Ph.D., and Victor Hesselbrock, Ph.D. See 

One of a newer class of anti-psychotic medications was successful and well tolerated for the treatment of serious behavioral disturbances associated with autistic disorder in children ages 5 to 17. The findings of the large, multi-site, eight-week, placebo-controlled clinical trial, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), are being published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. See 

Schizophrenia - A new analysis suggests that schizophrenia may be caused by an interaction of genes and viruses in glia cells. See 

Schizophrenia - New brain imaging research shows clear abnormalities in the brains of people experiencing their first episode of psychosis, suggesting early detection and even prevention may be possible. See 

Unconscious processes - Jonathan Smallwood reviews Out of Mind: Varieties of Unconscious Processes edited by Beatrice de Gelder, Edward de Haan and Charles Heywood. See 

How our brains help us forget 

Religion - Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi reviews Religion Explained: The Human Instincts That Fashion Gods, Spirits and Ancestors by Pascal Boyer. See 

July 28, 2002

Religion in the News 

Chaim Potok, Who Illumined the World of Hasidic Judaism, Dies at 73
Chaim Potok, a scholar and ordained rabbi who wrote
best-selling novels about Hasidic Judaism, came to
international prominence in 1967 with his debut novel, "The Chosen." 

Richard W. De Haan dies
The former president of RBC Ministries, Richard W. De Haan, died last week at the age of 79 after a long illness. For more than 30 years, De Haan was known as the voice of Radio Bible Class, a weekly production of RBC Ministries, and for his writings in the devotional guide Our Daily Bread. See 

Jesus for President
A Brazilian election judge sues Jesus for early campaigning.  By Ted Olsen. See

Brazilians see Virgin in a window: About 40,000 Brazilians have flocked to a house in a working-class town near Sao Paulo over the last week to pray before what they believe is a vision of the Virgin Mary, local security officials said. (Reuters) See alsoPriest says Virgin Mary image is cleaning stain - not miracle: The Catholic Church is sending a team of investigators to examine it but local priest says it is window polish. (Ananova). See 

Both sides agree to secession for southern Sudan
Approximately two million people have died in 19 years of civil war in Sudan. On Saturday the country's Islamic government and the largely Christian south reached a basic agreement that may lead to a full peace accord. See 

Pope here to listen, not just to talk: Give and take is a big part of World Youth Day. (National Post). See 

School district can't charge Christian club to use campus facilities: Federal judge issues preliminary ruling against Los Angeles district, saying it appears such fees discriminate against religious groups, violate the First Amendment (Associated Press) See 

Focus on the Family denounces Big Brothers/Big Sisters
While the majority of local chapters of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) have long had anti-discrimination policies regarding homosexual volunteers, the organization has initiated a new push this month to make sure all affiliates have policies to accept gays and lesbians. Focus on the Family last week denounced the move. In fact, founder and president James Dobson has rescinded his support of the organization. Dobson endorses BBBSA in his book Bringing Up Boys but he says future editions will exclude the reference. See 

Rowan Williams named as Archbishop of Canterbury
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has today ended weeks of speculation that current Archbishop of Wales Rowan Williams would be named as the new head of the Church of England. Williams will this fall succeed the retiring George Carey and become the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. See 

State cannot hold back scholarship because of religious study
The federal appeals court that ruled "One Nation, Under God" was unconstitutional decided last week that the state of Washington cannot withhold merit-based financial aid from a student majoring in theology. See 

Presbyterians Regain College
Christians aim to reclaim the school's neglected religious heritage.
By Kristian Kahrs in Lahore
. See

How to Deal with Criminals
Is there a biblical principle behind the punishment of those  who break the law?
by Lewis B. Smedes
. See

Once is enough: Divorced women less likely to try again
Women are becoming "once bitten, twice shy" about marriage, with those who are divorced much less likely to marry again than those of their parents' generation, according to a government report released yesterday.

Legacy of an Ancient Pact
Why do Christians still chafe under restrictions  in some Muslim nations? It all started with Umar.  By Chris Armstrong. See

The Third Coming of George Barna
He believes his ten-year campaign to reform the church has failed. What is evangelicals' most-quoted statistician going to do next? by Tim Stafford. See                                                         His nine challenges for American Christianity --
prophetic words, or sweeping generalizations?

Science in the News

TMS: Twilight Zone Science?
By Daithí Ó hAnluain
Want to find God? Magnetism might provide the answer.
The technology at the core of professor Allan Snyder's experiments to boost
creative intelligence, transcranial magnetic stimulation, is behind some
pretty wacky claims. Subjects in experiments by Dr. Michael Persinger, of
Laurentian University, believe they felt the presence of God, or some
similar mystical experience. See,1286,51699,00.html 

What Buddhists Know About Science
By Daithí Ó hAnluain
Pettigrew believes Western science could use Eastern introspection, or
meditative techniques, to deepen its understanding of how the brain works,
and to provide practical help to people in distress. See,1286,53820,00.html 

Science Education Paradox
By David Goodstein, Technology Review, September 2001
How can the same system produce scientific elites and illiterates?
The United States by any conceivable measure has the finest
scientists in the world. But the rest of the population, by any
rational standard, is abysmally ignorant of science, mathematics and
all things technical. That is the paradox of scientific elites and
scientific illiterates: how can the same system of education that
produced all those brilliant scientists also have produced all that
ignorance? See 

Sometimes, the March of Science Goes Backward

The cultural terrorists under the bed
Science and the arts must join forces to fight fundamentalism, argues Lord
May. The two cultures debate, which has provoked a phoney war between science and
the humanities for the last four decades, has been replaced by a far more
troublesome battle between the open culture of enlightenment and the
anti-culture of closed fundamentalism. See 


US News and World Report's cover story for July 29, 2002, is "The New Reality of Evolution" See 

How evolution really works, and why it matters more than ever
Species: Life's mystery packages
Evolution timeline: An idea's brilliant career
A new breed of anti-evolutionists credits life's grand design to an unnamed intelligence

Interview With a Humanoid
Humanoid calves offer a window into a future in which lines
are blurred between humans and other species. 

How Life Began  Microbes at the Extremes: They thrive on boiling heat, freezing cold, radiation and toxic chemicals — and they have triggered a revolution in biology. See,9171,1101020729-322631,00.html 

In the Beginning ...
For most of the 20th century, cosmology seemed less a science than a
religious war over, say, whether the universe had a beginning, in a fiery
Big Bang billions of years ago, or whether it exists eternally in the
so-called Steady State.
In the last few years, however, a funny thing has happened. Cosmologists are
beginning to agree with one another. Blessed with new instruments like the
Hubble Space Telescope and other space-based observatories, a new generation
of their giant cousins on the ground and ever-faster computer networks,
cosmology is entering "a golden age" in which data are finally outrunning
As a result, cosmologists are beginning to converge on what they call a
"standard model" of the universe that is towering in its ambition.
The universe, the cosmologists say, was born 14 billion years ago in the Big
Bang. Most of its material remains resides in huge clouds of invisible
so-called dark matter, perhaps elementary particles left over from the
primordial explosion and not yet identified. A good case can be made, scientists now agree, that the universe will go on expanding forever. In fact, recent observations have suggested that the expansion of the universe is speeding up over cosmic time, under the influence of a "dark energy" even more mysterious than dark matter. See 

Men, Women from Same Planet When Looking for Mate
By Melissa Schorr. Are men programmed by evolution to be
roving-eyed Casanovas, while women have evolved to be faithful Penelopes? In
fact, a team of California psychologists argues that there is scant evidence
that men and women have evolved vastly different mating styles.
"Men and women are remarkably similar in their mating preferences,"
Miller and colleagues published an analysis challenging the doctrine that
men and women have evolved different mating styles. See  

Study identifies protein in human brain development
BOSTON ­ Researchers have identified a protein that may help to explain why
the brain's cerebral cortex is disproportionately larger in humans than in
other species, a finding which appears in the July 19 issue of Science and
adds an important piece to the developing "blueprint" of the part of the
brain responsible for the intellectual abilities that make humans unique. See 

New technique shows how cells interpret genetic information
SANTA CRUZ, CA--A surprising amount of the DNA sequence in the genes of
humans and other higher organisms ends up on the cutting-room floor, so to
speak, spliced out by the cellular machinery that turns genetic code into
functional proteins. Differences in the editing of genetic information may,
in fact, be a significant source of genetic variability. Researchers at the
University of California, Santa Cruz, have now taken a big step toward
understanding how this editing process (known as splicing) is regulated.
Using DNA microarrays (also called "gene chips"), the researchers are able
to analyze the editing of all the genes in a cell simultaneously. This
enables them to study how mutations or environmental perturbations affect
the editing process. See 

Beads of doubt: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics Broken
By Dr David Whitehouse, BBC News Online science editor.
One of the most important principles of physics, that disorder, or entropy,
always increases, has been shown to be untrue. 
This result has profound consequences for any chemical or physical process
that occurs over short times and in small regions.
ANU team Scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) have carried
out an experiment involving lasers and microscopic beads that disobeys the
so-called Second Law of Thermodynamics, something many scientists had
considered impossible. 
The finding has implications for nanotechnology - the design and
construction of molecular machines. They may not work as expected.
It may also help scientists better understand DNA and proteins, molecules
that form the basis of life and whose behaviour in some circumstances is not
fully explained. See 


Search on for more Dead Sea Scrolls
Archeologists this week began searching for caves that may contain additional Dead Sea Scrolls, using sophisticated hi-tech equipment that explores under the surface of the Judean Desert. Dr. Magen Broshi, director of the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the repository for the scrolls, said yesterday that he is heading a team using ground-penetrating radar in the Qumran area at the northwestern end of the Dead Sea to see if there are undiscovered caves which might hold more scrolls. See 

Key to an ancient tongue
The people known as Sumerians are credited with starting the first civilization and building the first settlements worthy of being called cities. They also invented writing, and then they wrote and wrote and wrote, filling millions of tablets with their intricate, detailed characters. A Sumerian Dictionary is due out in 2004. See 

Italy hands its treasures over to private companies
Italy's heritage for sale? Critics of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's year-old center-right government fear it could be - from Rome's Colosseum and Trevi Fountain to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. See 

Researchers to Seek Origin of Ancient Chinese Civilization
BEIJING, March 29 (Xinhuanet) -- A grand archaeological project  will be
launched in China in the coming five years, aiming to seek the origin of
ancient Chinese civilization, the world's only  ancient civilization that
has been developing for 5,000 years  without interruption. See 

Muddy Mayan Mystery Made Clearer By Researchers Working In The Bajos; Findings In Belize And Guatamela Show How Maya Drastically Changed Local Environments: A team of scholars led by University of Cincinnati professors Nicholas and Vernon Scarborough found evidence of a major environmental transformation that helps to explain a puzzle that has stumped Maya scholars for decades. Why would the Maya live in an area where the primary water source is little more than mud half of the year? See 

A Reanalysis of the Ancient Mitochondrial DNA Sequences Recovered from
Neandertal Bones.
By Gabriel Gutiérrez*, Diego Sánchez and Antonio Marín*
Recent reports analyzing mitochondrial DNA sequences from Neandertal bones
have claimed that Neandertals and modern humans are different species. The
phylogenetic analyses carried out in these articles did not take into
account the high substitution rate variation among sites observed in the
human mitochondrial D-loop region and also lack an estimation of the
parameters of the nucleotide substitution model. The separate phylogenetic
position of Neandertals is not supported when these factors are considered.
Our analysis shows that Neandertal-Human and Human-Human pairwise distance
distributions overlap more than what previous studies suggested. We also
show that the most ancient Neandertal HVI region is the most divergent when
compared with modern human sequences. However, the opposite would be
expected if the sequence had not been modified since the death of the
specimen. Such incongruence is discussed in the light of diagenetic
modifications in ancient Neandertal DNA sequences. See 


Asteroid draws a closer look
Astronomers are carefully monitoring a newly discovered 1.2-mile-wide asteroid to determine whether it is on a collision course with Earth. Initial calculations indicate there is a chance the asteroid - 2002 NT7 - will hit the Earth on Feb. 1, 2019. But scientists said yesterday the calculations were preliminary and the risk low.

Ghostly Asteroids Offer Dark Clues To Missing Matter
Melbourne - July 23, 2002 - Astronomers have lost thousands of comets. A University of Melbourne physicist thinks they may still be there, just invisible and some of them potentially on a collision course with Earth. See 

Rare space rock 'a gem'
The meteorite fell on a frozen lake. By Helen Briggs
British scientists have confirmed that one of the rarest meteorites ever to
fall to Earth is from a time when the Solar System was born.
It provides a glimpse of a period, 4.5 billion years ago, when the planets
were beginning to form. "It's unlike any other meteorite we've ever seen so it possibly belongs in a group all of its own," said Emma Bullock, Natural History Museum. See 

Comet Tears Itself Apart
Mauna Kea - Jul 26, 2002 - New observations from Mauna Kea with the University of Hawaii's 2.2-meter telescope by Institute for Astronomy astronomers Yanga R. Fernandez, Scott S. Sheppard and David C. Jewitt have revealed a zoo of tiny mini-comets strung out in a line trailing behind the comet 57P/du Toit-Neujmin-Delporte. See 

Scientists Visualize Waves In Space Caused By Mergers Of Black Holes
University Park - Jul 26, 2002 - Merging black holes will rock the fabric of space and time with gravitational waves that start quiet, grow to a thunderous roar at the moment of impact, and then resonate from the final gong, according to international team of scientists who have created a novel computer model of such a merger based on Einstein's equations. See 

New-look Fels Planetarium planning to dazzle visitors
The sky is unlimited for the Fels Planetarium in the Franklin Institute. The planetarium is preparing for its grand reopening on Oct. 25, and yesterday, Franklin Institute officials allowed a glimpse of the renovations and provided information about how they plan to dazzle visitors. See 

NASA Says They Will Repair Shuttles As Quickly As Possible
Washington (AFP) Jul 20, 2002 - Engineers are expected to start repairs next month on the grounded US space shuttle fleet to fix cracks in the fuel system, in the hopes of returning to space in the fall, the US space agency NASA said Friday. Ron Dittemore, NASA's space shuttle program manager, said the final decision on when to start repairs will be made July 31 at a meeting of teams working on the problem. See 

NASA Developing Hypersonic Tech; Flight Vehicles Only Decades Away
Huntsville - Jul 24, 2002 - Imagine taking off from any U.S. airport and landing on any other runway in the world in less than two hours. Or making a quick hop from that same airport to the International Space Station and back -- a trip that normally takes days or weeks -- to drop off science experiments, provisions and new equipment. See 

Dwarf Galaxy Gives Universe A Breath of Fresh Oxygen - dwarfs could be the
main source of oxygen floating around between galaxies.  Chandra results


Ten Tips To Becoming Headache-Free
Almost everyone gets them occasionally, but you want to be sure that what you're doing isn't making them more severe or more frequent. See

Drug Targets Brain Circuits That Drive Appetite And Body Weight
Research conducted in animals has revealed that an appetite suppressant drug, D-fenfluramine (D-FEN), activates brain pathways that regulate food intake and body weight. The NIH-funded study suggests that drugs targeting central nervous system pathways affecting appetite, obesity, and anorexia may lead to selective, effective treatments for weight control. See 

Earth Science

Fossil shows bird's last meal
A turkey-sized bird that lived more than 100 million years
ago is now giving paleontologists some key clues about
how animals lived and evolved. See 

Dust In 'Earth's Attic' Could Hold Evidence Of Planet's Earliest Life
Seattle - Jul 24, 2002 - The dust has been piling up in Earth's attic for billions of years, and now some scientists want to sift through the accumulation to see if they can find evidence of the planet's earliest life. See 

Just How Old Is The Grand Canyon
Tucson - Jul 24, 2002 - Dams are not just a 20th Century phenomenon in Grand Canyon. As early as 1882, geologists realized that the Colorado River was blocked several times in the past by huge lava dams. Now geologists have found evidence that some of these dams didn't slowly waste away. Instead, some burst catastrophically. See 


Breakthrough research on waves of ultra-cold atoms may lead to
sophisticated atom lasers that might eventually predict volcanic eruptions
on Earth and map a probable subsurface ocean on Jupiter's moon
Europa.  This research was funded by our friends in NASA's Office of
Biological and Physical Research, but it obviously could have lots of
useful applications. 

Lining Them All Up In Quantum Land
Madison - Jul 26, 2002 - Material scientists at the University of Wisconsin at Madison have built a semiconductor based device that can trap individual electrons and line them up, an advance that could bring quantum computing out of the gee-whiz world of scientific novelty and into the practical realm. See 

Laser-Like Beam May Break Barriers To Technological Progress
Boulder - Jul 24, 2002 - Researchers have created a sharply focused, laser-like beam of ultraviolet light using a device that could fit on a dining room table. Scientists and engineers will be able to use this extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light source to measure and manipulate objects at the scale of nanometers (billionth of a meter). See 


Scientists uncover secrets of 'fear' gene
A potential "worry gene" has been identified by scientists in the US.
People with the gene respond differently to fear than others, according to a
study by the National Institute of Mental Health in the US. See  

Why We're So Nice: We're Wired to Cooperate
Hard as it may be to believe in these days of infectious greed and sabers
unsheathed, scientists have discovered that the small, brave act of
cooperating with another person, of choosing trust over cynicism, generosity
over selfishness, makes the brain light up with quiet joy.
Studying neural activity in young women who were playing a classic
laboratory game called the Prisoner's Dilemma, in which participants can
select from a number of greedy or cooperative strategies as they pursue
financial gain, researchers found that when the women chose mutualism over
"me-ism," the mental circuitry normally associated with reward-seeking
behavior swelled to life. And the longer the women engaged in a cooperative strategy, the more strongly flowed the blood to the pathways of pleasure. See 

Women's better emotional recall explained
Men and women's brains use different strategies to remember highly emotional
images, according to a new brain imaging study. The discovery helps explain
how women manage to remember emotional events better than men, something
psychologists have known for years."It's hard evidence that there are differences in the brains of men and women," says Stephen Maren, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, commenting on the research. See 

Scientists reveal the secret of cuddles
Scientists have discovered why being hugged feels so good - human
skin has a special network of nerves that stimulate a pleasurable
response to stroking. See 

Is God in your brain? By Massimo Pigliucci        

Paranormal beliefs linked to brain chemistry

High dopamine levels make people more likely to find meaning in coincidences and patterns, say researchers. Whether or not you believe in the paranormal may depend entirely on your brain chemistry. People with high levels of dopamine are more likely to find significance in coincidences, and pick out meaning and patterns where there are none.See also 


Scientists Examine Giant Squid
HOBART, Australia (AP) -- A giant squid that washed up on an Australian
beach could be a previously unknown species, scientists said Monday.
The 550-pound creature was found dead Saturday on a beach in Hobart in
Tasmania state and was transported Monday to the Tasmanian Museum. Experts
were studying its unusual characteristics, which include long, thin flaps of
muscle attached to each of its eight arms.
``What we've seen on this animal we haven't seen on other squid, and it's a
significant feature,'' said zoologist David Pemberton. ``It's basically like
having a pile of muscles on your own body that nobody else has ... and I
think it will rewrite the taxonomy.''
The squid had lost its two tentacles, which Pemberton said would have been
about 50 feet long. Giant squid usually live on the edge of continental shelves, about 1,600 feet below the ocean's surface, he said.

Stealthy New Deep-Sea Camera System May Find New Deep-Sea Creatures FORT PIERCE, FL., July 18 2002 – A Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution scientist will soon combine stealth and ingenuity with a deep-sea self-contained underwater camera of her own design in a quest to capture images of creatures that live in the darkest depths of the world's oceans. You might say Dr. Edie Widder, a world-renowned expert in marine bioluminescence ( ), is literally taking a scientific "shot in the dark" that may result in images of creatures that have never been seen before. The "Eye In The Sea" camera system Dr. Widder designed will be used for the first time on July 23 in the deep Monterey Canyon area off Monterey Bay, California, at depths of between 700 meters and 1,000 meters. See 

July 21, 2002

Religion in the News 

Promoted to be Pope?: John Paul II hints at who he would pick for his replacement (Newsweek). See 

Pledge girl’s mom: “We love the Lord”
Sandy Banning, the former girlfriend of Michael Newdow, spoke out Sunday for the first time about the recent Pledge of Allegiance suit that the atheist Newdow filed on behalf of their daughter, Glen. “I was shocked,” Banning told Fox News. “I just stood there with my mouth open and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, the President of the United States thinks my child’s an atheist.’”Banning told reporter Rita Cosby that she has sole legal custody of her daughter and thus feels that Newdow’s case has no merit. She said that Newdow has in the past celebrated Jewish holidays with Glen, has long had an interest in constitutional law, and did not check with Banning or Glen before filing the suit.“I'm speaking out because my daughter is being raised in a Christian home,” Banning, a Sunday school teacher, said. “We are not atheists, and I need to communicate to the American people that my daughter's not being harmed by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.” See,2933,57683,00.html 

Remembering September 11 together—and apart
Tensions over Christian participation in interfaith services in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks continue to create rifts in communities and denominations. See 

James Dobson the empire builder: Some say he's insightful, some say he's dangerous, still others say he just needs to keep his focus on the family (Chicago Tribune). Need to register. 

Buffy's Religion
Like her show, Sarah Michelle Gellar's faith is a hodgepodge of belief.  By Ted Olsen. See

Jabez Networks re-launches
After almost two years, has returned. The site announced this week that it is “returning with a new owner, a proven business model, and a renewed focus on being the premier online destination for the nation’s 90 million committed Christians.”

Churches freshen up century-old tradition: As churches compete with sports and other camps to reel in children, vacation Bible schools all over the country are becoming more innovative and entertaining so they can instill religious and life lessons in their youngest parishioners (Lexington [Ky.] Herald-Leader). See 

Is U.S. swept up in moral vacuum?: Ethicist sees blurring of border between right and wrong. (Deseret News). See,1249,405017261,00.html 

Seeking God Without Religion
A large number of Americans identify themselves as "spiritual but not religious." What does the phrase mean to them? Beliefnet member grommit_2000 says many people "shun organized religion as a barrier rather than a bridge to spiritual fulfillment." User anamchara thinks some "don't have the patience to pursue anything that requires work or practice." See 

Why I Don't Imitate Christ
The Christian life is not a game of Simon says.  By Mark Galli. See

Science in the News

ASA: The fall meeting of the Eastern PA Section of the American Scientific Affiliation  will be returning to Messiah College campus in Grantham, PA on September 28th.  Please contact Alan McCarrick at for more information and to be put on our contact list. Our general topic this time around will be Astronomy (history and
cosmology).  We will have Dr. Owen Gingerich and Dr. Robert C. Newman. Dr. Gingerich's talk is entitled "Galileo: Hero or Heretic?" Dr. Newman's presentation is entitled "The Cosmos and the Bible: A Critical Examination of Modern Cosmological Theories."


Skull find sparks controversy: See also and 

Building block of life found in deep space 

Single Gene Makes Mice Big-Brained, Study Finds
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Adding an extra version of a single gene makes mice
grow big brains -- brains so large they have to fold up, much as human
brains do, to fit inside the skull, researchers said on Thursday. See 

Humans have anti-HIV gene

Blinded by Science

Creationist College seeks accreditation: - PERCELLVILLE, VA - A small Christian college near Washington, D.C. is sticking to its guns, refusing to back down in a battle over the school's religious beliefs. Two years ago, Patrick Henry College was established as the first college in the nation designed primarily for homeschooled students. One of the college's goals this year was to become accredited to boost the value of their students' degrees. But as CBN News first reported last month, the school was denied accreditation because of the way it teaches creationism over evolution. See 

Teaching of Origins in Schools
Letter to the Secretary of State for Education regarding the teaching of
origins: Arising out of the debate over Emmanuel College in Gateshead and the
teaching of origins in schools, a letter signed by 27 British scientists and
educators has been sent to the Secretary of State for Education, Estelle
Morris.  The authors ask her to continue to allow ³an open and honest
approach to this subject under the National Curriculum.² See 

Sci. Amer. Article Response - ICR responds to Scientific American article! See 

The Thinking Machine: Book Review of Consciousness by Rita Carter. The science of consciousness is like a car revving loudly while stuck in neutral. Just a decade ago, mind researchers were bright with confidence.
Neuroscientists had scanners with which they could take intimate snapshots
of the human brain. Psychologists were getting together with philosophers to
hammer out a common intellectual ground. At conferences, speaker after
speaker proclaimed that science was now ready to take on the ultimate
mystery. But despite all this noisy racing of engines, the quest looks as
though it's still stuck on the starting line. The central philosophical problem of how any material mechanism such as a brain can give rise to the subjective experience of mind is then aired. See,4273,4459683,00.html 

The Mystery of Consciousness and the Meaning of Light. By Peter Russell. See 

Human brain "paid off" by long life
Evolutionary biologists have puzzled for decades over why humans live twice as long as chimpanzees and gorillas and have brains three to four times larger than their closest living relatives. See 

Breeders rebuilding an ancient horse 
Genetic projects trying to bring Tarpan herd back to life:     
The Genesis Equines ranch in Prineville, Ore., is home to horses that are
being bred to re-create an extinct type known as Tarpans. By Gillian Flaccus. See 

Origins of domestic horse revealed
Cave paintings: An early sign that people valued horses. By Helen Briggs
BBC News Online science reporter. The story of how wild horses were tamed by ancient people has been pieced together by gene hunters. DNA evidence shows modern horses are descended from not one but several wild populations. See 

David Sloan Wilson's DARWIN'S CATHEDRAL:
Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society (Univ. of Chicago, $25). Here
Wilson nurtures the thought that if we consider society as a single organism
then we can also introduce the notion of mortality and religion as
"biologically and culturally evolved adaptations that enable human groups to
function as single units rather than mere collections of individuals."
DARWIN'S CATHEDRAL is a critical examination of the role that religion plays
in the development of human beings. 

Deformities in Pennsylvania wood frogs are linked to the combination of their infection by parasites and a weakening of their immune system caused by exposure to pesticides, according to a study by Penn State researchers to be published in the 9 July issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. See 

Peter Kennelly, a professor of biochemistry at Virginia Tech, is probing nature's own command and control network to understand how it functions and to develop new strategies for genetically engineering organisms. By mapping the mechanisms already in place to find the switch that controls a certain action, Kennelly is working to find ways to turn on processes that normally would not be active. See 

Emory brain imaging studies reveal biological basis for human cooperation
Functional MRI scans have revealed a "biologically embedded" basis for
altruistic behavior, with several characteristic regions of the brain being
activated when players of a game called "Prisoner's Dilemma" decide to trust
each other and cooperate, rather than betray each other for immediate gain,
say researchers from Emory University. They report on their study in the
July 18 issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press. For many years, evolutionary biologists, behaviorists, economists and
political scientists have attempted to understand why cooperation exists
between human beings, even though that cooperation may not result in a
direct or immediate reward. This unselfish behavior called "altruism" is
almost uniquely a human trait. See 


New Bullae Reveal Egyptian-Style Emblems on Judah's Royal Seals
Robert Deutsch A clutch of newly revealed stamp seals show how partial the kings of Judah were to foreign symbols. Also unveiled is yet another seal of a Biblical figure. See 

Searching for Essenes At Ein Gedi, Not Qumran
Hershel Shanks
Most scholars believe that the ascetic Essenes lived at Qumran and were the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. But an Israeli excavator argues that his colleagues have been looking for the Essenes in the wrong place. See 

How to Read History in the Bible 

Greeks vs. Hittites: Why Troy Is Troy and the Trojan War Is Real
"Hisarlik is Troy. It's the only candidate," says German archaeologist Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier in an interview with Archaeology Odyssey editor Hershel Shanks. Head of the German Archaeogical Institute in Athens and director of excavations at Miletus, on Turkey's Aegean coast, Niemeier explains that at Troy (and Miletus) two Late Bronze Age civilizations met and clashed—the Hittites of central Anatolia and the Mycenaeans of mainland Greece. See 

Among Mayas, an early love of chocolate
It might not have been hot chocolate with marshmallows, but the Mayas were drinking some type of chocolate as early as 600 B.C., new research shows. See 


First sighting of the event horizon of Black Holes 

We know the Earth is turning, but what about space itself? A quantum
gyroscope could tell us if the entire Universe is in a spin... 

The Night the Tektites Fell on Georgia
Middlebury - Jul 16, 2002 - The Moon is not the geologically dead world that most astronomy textbooks claim, according to Hal Povenmire, a Florida Institute of Technology astronomer, long-time meteorite hunter and former NASA Project Apollo engineer. See 

Huge loops of very hot, electrified gas rising above the Sun's surface vibrate with enormous energy at times of solar storms, like the strings of an immense guitar. This is the latest surprise from a flotilla of spacecraft -- the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), Ulysses, and the four Cluster satellites -- with which scientists are trying to make sense of how disturbances on the Sun affect the Earth. The vibrating loops are a new piece in the complex puzzle of solar storms, revealing intense, local, and short-lived activity of a kind that had escaped the scientists' notice. See 

Sun Is Made Of Iron, Not Hydrogen, Professor Says
Rolla - July 17, 2002  - For years, scientists have assumed that the sun is an enormous mass of hydrogen. But in a poster presentation to be delivered July 21-26 at the Meteoritical Society's annual meeting in Los Angeles, Dr. Oliver Manuel says iron, not hydrogen, is the sun's most abundant element. See 

Interplanetary Superhighway Makes Space Travel Simpler
Pasadena - July 17, 2002 - A "freeway" through the solar system resembling a vast array of virtual winding tunnels and conduits around the Sun and planets, discovered by an engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., can slash the amount of fuel needed for future space missions. See 

What happens when Earth collides with a piece of comet? See for yourself
By Bob Berman. A mote of comet debris produced this Perseid meteor.  Perhaps
you missed last November's dazzling Leonid meteor blizzard or you watched it
and got hooked. Either way, you'll have another chance to see shooting stars
this month. For the first time since 1999, the Perseid meteor shower will
unfold under spectacularly dark, moonless skies. And if you're under clouds
the first peak night, August 11, you can catch a repeat performance the
following night. Like the Leonids, the Perseid meteors are minuscule bits of
comet crashing into our planet's atmosphere petite cousins of the giant
impacts that may have wiped out entire species in the past. See 


Heart-healthy lifestyle may avert Alzheimer's
Mounting evidence indicates the risk factors for heart disease - high blood pressure, diabetes, excess weight, high cholesterol and lack of exercise - also may play a role in Alzheimer's. See 

Calculate Your Stress Level. See 

Pressure Poll: Where Do You Stand? 

How Do You Know If You're Depressed? and 
What To Do If You ARE Depressed

How long you live may depend on how tough your stem cells are 

Dartmouth Medical School geneticists have discovered a new class of proteins that see light, revealing a previously unknown system for how light works. The novel photoreceptors are part of the gears that drive biological clocks, the cellular timekeepers of the circadian rhythm, which paces life's daily ebb and flow in a 24-hour light-dark cycle. Their identification also opens a window for genetically engineered drug delivery systems that exploit the properties of these newfound molecules. See 

A rising number of San Franciscans are being infected with HIV that is already resistant to some classes of antiretroviral drugs, report researchers from the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology in the July 10th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. See 

A new vaccination strategy targeting telomerase, one of the enzymes responsible for making cancer cells immortal, has been tested by Professor Trond Buanes on patients with pancreatic cancer at Ullevaal University Hospital. The vaccine was developed by a research team headed by Professor Gustav Gaudernack at the Norwegian Radium Hospital. See 

Scientists at the University of Virginia have developed a new combination drug therapy that delivers a one-two punch to knock out colds. In study results reported in the current on-line issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, subjects used a new combination of drugs that stopped their viral infection and reduced symptoms by as much as 73 percent with no serious side effects. See 

Earth Science

Four New Active Volcanoes In Andes Discovered In Satellite Radar Survey
Pasadena - Jul 16, 2002 - Four volcanoes in the central Andes mountains of South America, all previously thought to be dormant, must now be considered active due to ground motions detected from space, geophysicists say. See 

Yellowstone Hotspot Dominates North America With 142 Massive Eruptions
Salt Lake City - Jul 19, 2002 - The hotspot, which powers the geysers and hot springs of Yellowstone has produced over 142 massive volcanic eruptions during the past 16.5 million years -- far more than the 100 previously known blasts, University of Utah geologists found. See 

UC Riverside Earth Scientist Martin Kennedy and colleagues report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that acid rain, by leaching essential metal nutrients (such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium) from topsoil, may pose a far graver threat to forests than has been previously estimated. This result would especially interest ecologists, biologists, geologists, and policy makers. See 

NASA's Quick Scatterometer satellite has confirmed a 30-year-old, largely unproven theory that there are two areas near the equator where the winds converge year after year and drive ocean circulation south of the equator. By observing ocean winds, Quick Scatterometer, also known as Quikscat, has found a year-round southern and northern Intertropical Convergence Zone. This find is important to climate modelers and weather forecasters because it provides more detail on how the oceans and atmosphere interact near the equator. See 

A sensor aboard NASA's Terra satellite is helping scientists map how much sunlight the Earth's surface reflects back up into the atmosphere, and this new detailed information should help to greatly improve weather and forecast models. See 

Cause And Effect Across 70,000 Years Of Atmospheric Chaos
Los Angeles - Jul 16, 2002 - Abrupt climate changes in the northern hemisphere over the past 70,000 years may have been directly influenced by weather in the tropics, according to research by a USC professor published in the July 12 issue of the journal Science. See 

Grandma, What Long Claws You Have: by Jocelyn Selim
Humans and T. Rex missed each other by many millions of years, but a
five-inch-long fossil proves that placental mammals thrived among dinosaurs
far longer than anyone knew. A team led by Zhexi Luo, a paleontologist at
the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, unearthed a 125-million-year-old
mouselike animal‹dubbed Eomaia, or "dawn mother"‹from a fossil lake bed in
northeastern China. Minute patterns in the teeth, bones, and fur,
exquisitely preserved by the fine shale at this site, clearly identify the
creature as an early member of Eutheria, the group of placentals that
includes people as well as almost all modern mammals. This proto-mouse shows
that the ancestor of placental mammals appeared 40 million years earlier
than previously believed. See 

Weird Fossilized Flying Reptile 'A Vision of Hell'
By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists have found the remains of one of the
weirdest creatures ever discovered -- a big flying reptile that lived during
the time of the dinosaurs that snapped up fish with a scissors-like beak as
it skimmed over the water and had a head crowned by a huge, bony crest. See 

Rain Forest in Colorado?
In a very surprising discovery south of Denver, scientists have uncovered
evidence of a very vibrant rainforest that came up surprisingly soon after
the asteroid collision that exterminated the dinosaurs about 65 million
years ago. The discovery is challenging the widely held belief that it 10 million years
for the Earth to recover from the collision. Instead as the finding
suggests, it was only in a relatively short period of 1.4 million years that
plant life were flourishing in the area, now prairie land.


Gwyn Williams, basic research program manager for Jefferson Lab's Free-Electron Laser (FEL), suspects some important answers may be forthcoming as a result of the FEL upgrade currently underway. See 

They've Seen the Future and Intend to Live It
Nanofactories will churn out everything from rocking chairs to rocket ships,
superior to any ever made, at "the cost of potatoes and wood," in Dr.
Merkle's words. Nanocomputers will interface directly with the brain, vastly
increasing human intelligence. And nanobots will cruise through
bloodstreams, banishing disease and debility. See 

July 14, 2002

Religion in the News

Rev. Moon ads say faiths' leaders have turned to him
In a stunning display of triumphalism, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, is taking out ads in major newspapers proclaiming that Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha - even God - have told him he is now "the Savior, Messiah and King of Kings of all of humanity!" See 

Promise Keepers to make muted encore in D.C.: The Promise Keepers men's movement hits Washington this weekend for the first time since 1997, when it packed the Mall with a crowd estimated at up to 1.1 million, a high point from which it has wound down every year since (The Washington Times). See 

Cornerstone erupts in Bushnell: An estimated 25,000 Christians from all over the world trekked to the small town of Bushnell for the 19th annual Cornerstone Festival July 3-6. 

Church of England approves conversion crusades: The Church of England has backed bids by evangelicals to try to convert Muslims, Hindus, Jews and followers of other faiths (Ananova). See 

Kristof to evangelicals: Stop caricaturing Islam as violent
Remember New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof? He praised evangelicals as "the new internationalists" in a May 21 piece. In yesterday's Times, however, Kristof takes aim at evangelicals—specifically Paul Weyrich, Franklin Graham, and Jerry Vines—for "bigotry" against Islam. See 

Patrons of the Evangelical Mind
Why has evangelical scholarship soared in the last few decades? Native intellectual talent is one reason, to be sure. But an infusion of  cash didn't hurt. See

Remedial History
The educational establishment seems confused about  our spiritual heritage.    By Stephen L. Carter. See 

Evolution of words that aren't there: How did the religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment, barring Congress from making any law "respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," become equated with language that appears nowhere in the Constitution: "separation of church and state"? (The New York Times). See 

Black suicide survey finds faith, family keep rate low
New research shows that support from friends, family and faith provides a powerful buffer against suicide in the black community. "One of the most exciting things about this study is that there are protective factors like religious faith and social support," said Joan Cook, lead author of the study and a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. See 

The Top Ten Myths of Marriage: See 

Religion and Ethics news: See 

Church of Scotland brings Bible's message to bear on green issue: From Noah's mission to save the world's species from the great flood to God's warning in Deuteronomy that despoiling the Earth is blasphemy, the Bible is littered with strong environmental messages (The Scotsman) See 

Science in the News

ASA: The fall meeting of the Eastern PA Section of the American Scientific Affiliation  will be returning to Messiah College campus in Grantham, PA on September 28th.  Please contact Alan McCarrick at for more information and to be put on our contact list. Our general topic this time around will be Astronomy (history and
cosmology).  We will have Dr. Owen Gingerich and Dr. Robert C. Newman. Dr. Gingerich's talk is entitled "Galileo: Hero or Heretic?" Dr. Newman's presentation is entitled "The Cosmos and the Bible: A Critical Examination of Modern Cosmological Theories."

An exhibit by the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia explores
the embrace of science in colonial times and the early years of the
republic. Nearly 100 objects are displayed in the exhibit, "From the Laboratory to the
Parlor: Scientific Instruments in Philadelphia, 1750-1875." The exhibit will run through March 31, 2003. See 


Skull of earliest human relative discovered
Archeologists have found a fossilized skull, jaw fragments and several teeth belonging to a 7-million-year-old ancestor of modern humans, a discovery that suddenly resets the clock on human evolution and upsets conventional theories about human origins. See also 

Man or Gorilla? Scientist Questions Skull Theory
By John Chalmers
PARIS (Reuters) - A prehistoric skull touted as the oldest human remains
ever found is probably not the head of the earliest member of the human
family but of an ancient female gorilla, a French scientist said on Friday. See    

Modern genetics is throwing light on our common ancestors.
Steve Olson tells the story of the search for Adam and Eve in Mapping Human
History. See,4273,4454619,00.html 

Project Silver -- a comparative ape genome project (human, chimp, gorilla & orangutan genomes) See

Evidence for Human and Ape Common Ancestry

Comparison of Human and Chimpanzee Chromsomes by Beth Kramer 

Probing Human Origin. See 

Critique of the ID Movement: See 

Sparks Fly Over Intelligent Design. See 

'Scientific American' threatens AiG 

Complexity Made Simple, By LOCH ADAMSON. See 

Science Needs a Healthy Negative Outlook

"The Whole Mass a Paradice"
Is religion an adaptation that enables groups to function as single units?
By Frans B.M. de Waal. See 

Did Morals Evolve?
by Gregory Koukl. See 

Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Nature
by Kevin N. Laland and Gillian R. Brown. Review at 

A Simple Model of Unbounded Evolutionary Versatility as a Largest-Scale
Trend in Organismal Evolution by Peter D. Turney. See 

Carnivorous Plants
Carnivorous plants are plants that capture, kill and digest animal organisms. Regina's article introduces us to plants with specialized leaves that work to lure and then trap unsuspecting insects. See 

Genomic Clues To The Evolution Of Photosynthesis: July 1, 2002 -- When early microbes evolved, some species developed ways to convert sunlight into cellular energy and to use that energy to capture carbon from the atmosphere. The origin of this process, known as photosynthesis, was crucial to the later evolution of plants. The publication today of the analysis of the complete genome sequence of an unusual photosynthetic microbe provides important insights into studies of how that light harvesting mechanism evolved and how it works today. See 


Arkaeology: Puyallup man leading long quest for Noah's Ark: Edward Crawford is one of several people who claim to have found Noah's Ark (The News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash.) See 

Expert Eye Spots a 'Michelangelo' in Old Box
A Scottish museum director visiting the Cooper-Hewitt design
museum found in a storage box what experts agreed is a work
by Michelangelo. 

Experts Seek Sunken Treasure Off Scotland. Salvage teams on Wednesday launched a hunt for a huge haul of sunken treasure looted 350 years ago after a bloody battle in Scotland. See 

Missionary position still haunting Samoans: Margaret Mead's portrait of Samoan teenagers as available and emotionally shallow causes trouble and confusion nearly 80 years later (Tapu Misa, The New Zealand Herald). See 


Much Ado About HD141569
Notre Dame - Jul 08, 2002 - Research by two University of Notre Dame astronomers may shed new light on how planets are formed. Terrence W. Rettig, professor of physics, and graduate student Sean Brittain report their findings in last Thursday's edition of the scientific journal Nature. See 

In Search Of The Nanodiamonds
Livermore - Jul 12, 2002 - An astrophysicist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics has found that some nanodiamonds, the most famous and exotic form of stardust, may instead have formed within the inner solar system. See 

Is The Universe Older Than Expected
Paris (ESA) Jul 11, 2002 - An analysis of 13.5 thousand million-year-old X-rays, captured by ESA's XMM-Newton satellite, has shown that either the Universe may be older than astronomers had thought or that mysterious, undiscovered 'iron factories' litter the early Universe. See 

NASA Breaks Ground For Advanced Propulsion Research Lab
Huntsville - Jul 09, 2002 - NASA breaks ground today on a state-of-the-art research facility intended to revolutionize 21st century space propulsion, helping to power future space vehicles on journeys to the farthest reaches of the solar system -- and, eventually, beyond it. See 

NASA Air-Breathing Engine Rockets On Paper
Huntsville - Jul 09, 2002 - Initial design of a new prototype air-breathing rocket engine for NASA -- one that could revolutionize air and space travel in the next 40 years -- reached a major milestone ahead of schedule last  week. See 

Cracks Found In All Four Shuttles, NASA "Concerned" 

Another Saturn-like planet found
By Dr David Whitehouse. Astronomers have found another planet outside our Solar System that has a mass less than that of our own Saturn. This makes it one of the smallest so-called exoplanets ever detected. See 


Hormone Replacement Study a Shock to the Medical System
The announcement that a hormone replacement regimen for
women did more harm than good was met with puzzlement and
disbelief by women and their doctors. 

Scientists Create a Live Polio Virus
Scientists reported on Thursday that they had constructed a
virus from scratch for the first time, synthesizing a live polio virus. 

Even thoughts can turn genes ``on'' and ``off''
SHARON BEGLEY, The Wall Street Journal. See 

The first human clone 'due in December'
Paris - The first human created by cloning is scheduled to be born in
December, said controversial Italian doctor Severino Antinori in an
interview with the French newspaper Liberation on Friday. See   

Aspirin Within Two Days Of Ischemic Stroke Reduces Deaths: DALLAS, July 9 – Giving patients aspirin within 48 hours of the onset of an acute ischemic stroke can reduce death and severity of stroke, according to a joint scientific statement from the American Stroke Association and the American Academy of Neurology. See 

Alternative medicine - The failings of contemporary medical practice are best confronted from the rational basis of scientific medicine, not by a retreat into the mystical traditions of alternative health. See 

Earth Science

Geologist's Discovery May Unlock Secrets to Start of Life on Earth
St. Louis - Jul 04, 2002 - A Saint Louis University geologist has unearthed further evidence in his mounting case that shifting of the continents -- and perhaps life on Earth -- began much earlier than many scientists believe. See 

Ancient rock points to life's origin
Chromite: A mineral from beneath an ancient ocean. By Dr David Whitehouse. See 

Fossil was 'first walker' 

Latest Ice Core May Solve Mystery Of Ancient Volcanic Eruptions
Columbus - Jul 08, 2002 - A team of Ohio State University researchers has returned from an expedition in southeastern Alaska with the longest ice core ever drilled from a mountainous glacier. The core measures 460 meters (1,509 feet) and is 150 meters (492 feet) longer than the previous longest core -- a record of ice from the Guliya ice cap in western China that eventually relinquished a climate record stretching back 760,000 years -- the oldest such record retrieved to date. The core revealed evidence that suggests geologists may have to rethink their understanding of the volcanic history of this region. See 

July 7, 2002

Religion in the News

Michael Newdow's daughter "loves the Lord," says pastor Chuck Smith
Conservative online media are abuzz this week with word that the second-grade daughter of atheist Michael Newdow, who sued a California school district over the Pledge of Allegiance on her behalf, wasn't troubled by the words "Under God" in the Pledge at all. "The little girl, over whom the suit was filed, happens to attend Calvary Chapel, in Elk Grove," Pastor Chuck Smith told his congregation at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California. "She is Christian, her mother is a Christian….This whole suit was filed on a totally false premise." See 

'Under God' Iconoclast Looks to Next Targets
Mike Newdow, who argued that "one nation, under God" in the
Pledge of Allegiance violated the separation of church and
state, has many more things he'd like to change.

The founders and God: The last thing the founders of the American republic wanted was a public square scrubbed free of God (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe) See 

How to Confront a Theocracy
The most effective way to address the human rights disaster in Saudi Arabia may be to let Muhammad do the talking.  By Jeff M. Sellers. See

Israel Deports American Missionary Who Helped
Sick Palestinian Children
Government says Jonathan Miles was in country illegally, but Light to the Nations founder denies accusation.  By Ross Dunn in Jerusalem. See

Study Warns of Stagnation in Arab Societies
A lack of political freedom, the repression of women and an isolation from the world of ideas are crippling Arab societies, a new report says. See 

Report: Pope will not retire: Vittorio Messori, who collaborated with Pope John Paul II on the best-selling book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, says pontiff will stay to his death (Associated Press). See 

The Dallas Morning News has an excellent article on how many fans want the musicians to be their pastor, therapist, boyfriend, husband, and God. See 

And "Simon Says" is a totalitarian training exercise!
Opponents of Bill Simon, California's Republican gubernatorial candidate, are going to great lengths to paint him as some kind of religious extremist. See 

Bush supports 'vouchers' by name; Supreme Court may have helped faith-based initiative. See 

For President, a spiritual Fourth: Under tight security, bush invokes faith before thousands in W.Va. (The Washington Post). See 

Vast majority in U.S. support 'under God': 87 percent say pledge should keep words (CNN). See 

Onward Christian Socialists: Moderate supporters of the Labor party have argued their organization owes more to Methodism than to Marx, but under Tony Blair what was once a piece of conjecture has become an empirical fact (The Scotsman). See 

Prophetic Habits of a Sociologist's Heart
Robert Bellah's career shows the promise,  and limits, of the scholarship he made so
accessible to the church. by John G. Stackhouse Jr. See 

Science in the News


When Science and Religion Collide or Why Einstein Wasn't an Atheist
Scientists talk about why they believe in God.
by Gordy Slack
How has religion held up under the scrutiny of modern science? Not well,
according to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who believes the only
reason religion is still with us at all is not because it has inherent worth
but because it's as catching and incurable as any virus (see "Religion Is a
Virus"). Others beg to differ. 
In his day, Albert Einstein said, "Science without religion is lame,
religion without science is blind." More recently, a Nature survey of
American scientists found about 40 percent of them to be religious. How do
these scientists reconcile their understanding of the physical world -- of
evolution, for example -- with their religious beliefs? To explore these and
other questions, the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences sponsored
interviews with more than 30 top scientists from a variety of fields. Here
are a few of their responses at 

The 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
"1. Reaffirms that God is Creator, in accordance with the witness of Scripture and the Reformed Confessions.
"2. Reaffirms that there is no contradiction between an evolutionary theory of human origins and the doctrine of God as Creator.
"3. Encourages State Boards of Education across the nation to establish standards for science education in Public Schools based on the most reliable content of scientific knowledge as determined by the scientific community.
"4. Calls upon Presbyterian scientists and science educators to assist congregations, presbyteries, communities, and the public to understand what constitutes reliable scientific knowledge." See 

Christian College Denied Accreditation
 Agency troubled that Patrick Henry College teaches creationism in biology classes.
 by LaTonya Taylor. See

Response to "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense" in Scientific American by Reasons to Believe. See 

The End of Science? Why do many now view science as a failed ideology rather than as an epistemological ideal? Should science be viewed that way? See 

The human immune system may limit future evolution
Scientists from Imperial College London have suggested why the human genome
may possess far fewer genes than previously estimated before the human
genome project was begun. Dr Andrew George, from Imperial College London and based at the Hammersmith Hospital comments: "Although humans are normally thought to be considerably more complex than organisms, such as plants, rice, yeast and earthworms, this is not reflected in their number of genes, with humans having less
genes than other supposedly less complex organisms." Dr George suggests that the limited number of functional genes in the human genome may be a result of the presence of a more advanced immune system. See 

Intelligent Design and Memes
By Steve Bunk. See 

Biologist sees signs of evolution in religion
By Jim Remsen. See 

Evolution Unearthed: Blame it on the BBQ: By Gailon Totheroh
CBN News Health & Science Reporter. 

Intelligent Design Is Creationism in a Cheap Tuxedo:
Adrian L. Melott. See 

The Earliest Human Ancestors: New Finds, New Interpretations:
By Becky Rogers Ackermann, Ph.D. Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town. See 

A new theory on early humans
Three distinct groups of early humans may have migrated from Africa and perhaps lived together in Eurasia about 1.7 million years ago, according to researchers who uncovered a primitive skull and other fossils in the former Soviet state of Georgia. See 

Fossil identified as earliest land walker: (AP) -- A fossil found in 1971 has been newly identified as the earliest known animal built to walk on land, a salamander like creature that marked a previously unknown stage in the evolution of fish into the ancestors of all vertebrates alive today. See 

View from the lab: creationists spread pure poison
By Professor Steve Jones. See        

Life, the Universe, and Everything: 
"Throughout the ages, scientists and philosophers have searched for unifying
theories of the universe. Ever since the publication of Isaac Newton's
Principia in 1687, the standard approach has been to formulate laws of
nature using mathematical equations and then to test these laws with
experiments. But a new book by Stephen Wolfram‹a respected physicist known
for his contributions to complexity theory and technical
computing‹challenges that prevailing methodology. Indeed, A New Kind of
Science, a work of epic proportions that grew out of Wolfram's computational
experiments in the 1980s, is making headlines because of its call for a new
language of scientific exploration based on computer programs.
In his book Wolfram argues that simple programming rules, when applied
repeatedly, can provide a framework for the study of many
disciplines‹including physics, biology, mathematics, engineering, and
economics. Wolfram's hypothesis is that the complexity of all physical
systems, from cells to galaxies, can be explained by relatively simple
rules, and that computers can be used to observe how those rules play out.
To support this idea, he demonstrates how intricate patterns in nature, such
as snowflakes, seashells, and fluid turbulence, can be generated by cellular
automata‹clusters of computerized nodes that evolve based on simple rules." See 


Treasures to Rival King Tut's
"The Quest for Immortality," at the National Gallery in Washington, is clearly designed to give "The Treasures of Tutankhamen" a run for the money, and those hopes are not
entirely misplaced. See 

Shaking Up the Land of the Pharaohs
Egypt's new archaeology czar, Zahi Hawass, describes major changes and improvements he hopes to push through in an ambitious ten-year program. See 

NEW BOOK: Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson have written "Forbidden Archeology", and its shorter version "The Hidden History of the Human Race". Their web site is at Cremo is a Hindu creationist. He is different from young earth creationists in that he believes the earth is very old, and man is very old (millions of years), yet young earth creationists love to quote his books. Many of his examples are from old non scientific sources. There is a new book out that gives an in-depth critique of Cremo and Thompson's book. It is  "The Antiquity of Man: Artifactual, Fossil and Gene records Explored" by Michael Brass, 2002. His web site is at

UC San Diego Archaeologists Discover Largest Bronze Age Metal Factory In
Middle East:
Working in a remote desert area in southern Jordan, archaeologists from
the University of California, San Diego have discovered the largest Early Bronze Age metal factory in the Middle East, dating to ca. 2700 BC. The discovery was reported in the June 2002 issue of the British journal, Antiquity. See 


Neither Rome Nor Universe Built In A Day As Scientists Study New Data
Boston - June 27, 2002  - The early evolution of the universe has confounded astronomers for years. Observations seem to show that giant black holes containing as much mass as three billion suns formed less than a billion years after the Big Bang. Collecting so much material so quickly was as unlikely as building a 20-room mansion in a day's time. See 

Solar Flare: A very large eruption on the Sun has been imaged by SOHO and other
observatories.  Solar flare at 

Delta 2 Launches Contour On Deep Space Comet Mission
KSC - July 3, 2002 - A Boeing Delta 2 rocket has launched NASA's deep space comet explorer Contour. Launch was at 2.47am EDT (06:47 GMT). Contour will spend the next 25 days in orbit ahead of it's deep space trajectory insertion Aug 15. Contour's first comet flyby will be Encke on Nov 12, 2003. See 

Scientists estimate 30 billion Earths in our galaxy:
There could be billions of Earths out there. By Dr David Whitehouse. See   

Russia proposes joint space mission to Mars by 2015
Russian space officials yesterday proposed an ambitious project to send a six-person team to Mars by 2015, a trip that would mark a milestone in space travel and international space cooperation. See 

Biology Your Genetics Portal
Bethesda - July 3, 2002 - The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has launched a totally new Web site complete with a snappy new Internet address - . The streamlined Web site address makes it easy for users to access a comprehensive and authoritative government site focused on genomic research, including the international Human Genome Project slated for completion in April 2003. See 

Taking Stock: Redesigning Humans
by Helene Guldberg
Gregory Stock has just completed a roadshow of public meetings and media
performances across the UK and the USA, to promote his new book Redesigning
Humans. So are advances in biotechnology likely to give rise to a race of
'superhumans'? No, says Stock. 'There is a real misconception about the
likely use of these technologies. How would we even start to create a
superhuman? Let's say we were to attempt to create a super-Mozart. How would
we do it? It is so uncertain what makes a musical genius, never mind any
other kind of genius. Pushing beyond the boundaries of what it means to be
human would be very hard'. See 

Genes Next To One Another May Be Expressed Together:
Our current understanding of gene expression, the fundamental process by
which proteins are made from the instructions encoded in DNA, is that the
process is tightly controlled so that the correct amount of each protein is
produced in the right place at the right time. But new research by Paul Spellman and Gerald Rubin of Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of California Berkeley indicates that some groups of around 15 genes that just happen to be located next to each other on chromosomes are instead routinely expressed together. See 

Scientists at the University of Virginia Health System have identified
another step in the mysterious process of gene regulation -- what turns
genes on or off, making them cause or suppress disease and other physical
developments in humans. See 

Do I Really Need To Take Vitamins?
Dr. Andrea Pennington says that, unless you have the perfect diet working for you, the answer is probably "yes." See 

Earth Science

Ancient bird-like footprints found: Argentine paleontologists have found bird-like footprints 55 million years older than the oldest known bird fossils. 
The team discovered dozens of three-toed footprints in rocks older than 212
million years in northwest Argentina. Averaging about 3.5 centimeters wide
and similar in length, they look very much like bird footprints made in
small shallow ponds along a river. However, the rocks are some 55 million
years older than the most ancient known bird skeleton, Archaeopteryx. The
big question is what made them. See 


Schizophrenia May Be Tied to 2 Genes, Research Finds
Despite years of false leads, setbacks and unsustained
claims, researchers hope they are now starting to close in
on some of the genes that go awry in schizophrenia. 

Experience alters how we perceive emotion
Because people recognize the same emotions across languages and cultures,
psychologists have long suspected that a person's ability to perceive basic
emotions is innate. However, a new study published in the June 18 early
edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that
experience can alter the way people see emotions. See 


New Chips Can Keep a Tight Rein on Consumers
Until recently, the after-purchase use of a product has been
crudely controlled via contracts, but now it can easily be
controlled through chips and cryptography. 

How "liquid light" could revolutionize optical computing 


Satellites peek at wild lives
Falcons, like many animals, travel in worlds largely off-limits to people. With new tracking technology, scientists are cracking the creatures' mysteries.

June 30, 2002

Religion in the News

Federal Appeals Court Says 'Under God' in
Pledge of Allegiance Is Unconstitutional
 Schools can't ask children to swear loyalty to monotheism, says Ninth Circuit panel.
 By Ted Olsen. See

U.S. court: Students should not say pledge

Supreme Court Okays School Vouchers also 

Gracia Burnham continues her recovery
Rescued but widowed, missionary Gracia Burnham continues to heal physically and emotionally, The Wichita Eagle reports today. See 

From Afghanistan Missionaries to Hostages of the Taliban
Excerpts from Prisoners of Hope, the book by Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer with
Stacy Mattingly.

What's Jefferson's 'wall' made of? | Did he mean an impenetrable wall so high that neither could ever see the other? A picket fence that would allow roses growing on one side to entwine with ivy on the other? A Lego wall whose bricks can be rearranged according to public will? (Linda P. Campbell, The Miami Herald) See 

Florida college, students settle free-speech suit | Students filed a complaint against the school in 1999 after they were detained and threatened with arrest for distributing religious literature without approval (Associated Press). See 

Presbyterians cover many bases: Meeting in marathon sessions, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) addressed problems from the most personal to the most political, recommending a plan for peace in the Middle East, defining when late-term abortions are acceptable and calling for a boycott of Taco Bell. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). See 

In 'Questioning Faith,' a divinity student examines death, doubt: Macky Alston explores what makes people have faith—or lose it—in the face of great challenges (The Boston Globe). See 

Between Extremes
Church leaders didn't like Pelagius's ideas  about free will, but they've never been able
to avoid them completely. By Elesha Coffman.  See

Kenneth Kantzer Reflects on the Evangelical Movement
At his retirement from Christianity Today, the  editor recalled the most significant changes on the Christian scene during his tenure. See

Are Science and Religion Compatible?
We need separations between religion and science, ethics, and the state. But there is an appropriate domain for religion, and in this sense science and religion are not necessarily incompati-ble. That domain is evocative, expressive, emotive. Religion presents moral poetry, aesthetic inspiration, and dramatic expressions of existential hope and yearnings. Paul Kurtz. See 

Robertson states: ‘Genesis was never intended as a science textbook. Genesis is the backdrop for the introduction of the Jewish race through Abraham, which was God’s agency of salvation through Jesus Christ. That’s what Genesis is all about. ‘I mean, if God intended a textbook, he wouldn’t be, you know, talking about the sun in the sense of the moon and all this kind of thing because it’s phenomenal language. It’s what you see. And when I look out, I see the sun rise, and I see the sun set. We know now the sun doesn’t rise and the sun doesn’t set. But the Bible talks about “from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same.” But it’s poetical language. ‘It [the Earth] actually revolves, but the writer of the Bible doesn’t say, “Well, the Earth revolved on its axis, and therefore it looked like the sun was coming up.” [Instead, the Bible says,] “From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same.” ‘[The Bible also says in Psalm 114:4] “The little hills skipped like lambs.” We’ll, I mean, nobody really thinks the hills skipped. This is poetry! And to stake your whole faith on the basis of misinterpretation of poetry, to me, is a mistake. …’

Response to 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense
Opponents of evolution want to tear down real science, but their arguments don't hold up. See Answers in Genesis reply at 

- IMPACT No. 349 July 2002 from ICR. Stories of strange animals, but no proof. National Geographic led a big expedition last year, but did not find any dinosaurs. Impact Article at National Geographic expedition at 

Why a theoretical physicist thinks the design of the universe points to divine intelligence | The world of theoretical physics is used to astonishing conclusions. But physicists who grasped the general theory of relativity were baffled when John Polkinghorne announced he was becoming an Anglican priest. (The Times, London) See,,61-334111,00.html 

The Big Chills
Are modern humans the survivors of hundreds of episodes of rapid global
cooling? by John Wilson. See 

Orphan Genes a tiny mystery: See 

God doesn't play dice with the universe: Core reality
Just suppose the quantum world is built on more solid foundations. It could explain a lot of weird stuff, says Marcus Chown. See 

Staple of Evolutionary Teaching May Not Be Textbook Case
By NICHOLAS WADE. A leading example of evolution given in biology textbooks has come unglued, evoking jeers and jubilation in the camp of creationists, who have been
trying for years to expel Darwin from the classroom. The case is that of the peppered moth. See 

Textbook Publishers Learn to Avoid Messing With Texas:
Textbook battles are legendary in Texas, and the latest round has involved a coalition of nine conservative organizations vetting more than 150 books. See 

A Designer World: Recently the Chronicle of Higher Education and Scientific American both ran articles warning of the dangers posed to helpless college students by the advance of Intelligent Design (ID) thinking. See 

Life did not begin with one primordial cell. Instead, there were initially at least three simple types of loosely constructed cellular organizations. They swam in a pool of genes, evolving in a communal way that aided one another in bootstrapping into the three distinct types of cells by sharing their evolutionary inventions. The driving force in evolving cellular life on Earth, says Carl Woese, a microbiologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been horizontal gene transfer, in which the acquisition of alien cellular components, including genes and proteins, work to promote the evolution of recipient cellular entities. See

The emergence of mutant frogs with extra arms and legs may smack of a low-budget sci-fi script. But it is a reality, and a new study provides more evidence that ultraviolet radiation could be responsible. The findings are reported in three consecutive papers in the July 1 print issue of Environmental Science & Technology, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. See 

Where do we Come From? The molecular evidence for human descent explained in a new book. See 


In 1996, marine geologists William Ryan and Walter Pitman published a scientifically popular hypothesis, titled Noah's Flood Hypothesis. The researchers presented evidence of a bursting flood about 7,500 years ago in what is now the Black Sea. This, some say, supports the biblical story of Noah and the flood. But, such a forceful flood could not have taken place, says Jun Abrajano, professor of earth and environmental sciences at Rensselaer. See 

Pseudohistory in Jerry Vardaman's Magic Coins
The Nonsense of Micrographic Letters

An archaeologist claims to find hundreds of microscopic letters on ancient coins and inscriptions that completely rewrite history. Conclusion: bogus.
Richard C. Carrier. 

Bigfoot at 50
Evaluating a Half-Century of Bigfoot Evidence

The question of Bigfoot's existence comes down to the claim that "Where there's smoke there's fire." The evidence suggests that there are enough sources of error that there does not have to be a hidden creature lurking amid the unsubstantiated cases. Benjamin Radford. See 

A Genomic Treasure Hunt May Be Striking Gold


Sun-Like Star, Dust Eclipse Offers Clues to Origins of Our Solar System
Middletown - Jun 25, 2002 - Astronomers say they discovered that a sun-like star is being eclipsed in a way never before seen -- not by another star, planet or moon, but by dust grains, rocks and maybe even asteroids orbiting it in a clumpy circumstellar disk. See 

Searching For Worlds Beyond Sol
Paris - Jun 27, 2002 - The last five days have witnessed the unprecedented announcement of 25 new planet discoveries. These discoveries are split almost evenly between European and American astronomers. Didier Queloz and his colleagues at the Observatoire de Genève, Switzerland, have found a dozen of the new planets. Their discoveries include the most tantalising one yet: a planet that closely resembles Jupiter in our own Solar System. The find brings astronomers another step closer to detecting an Earth-like world. See 

Einstein's theory of general relativity: Scientists using Chandra and XMM-Newton have found new evidence that light emanating from near a black hole loses energy climbing out of the gravitational well created by the black hole, a key prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity. See story at: 

Where Have All The Comets Gone?
Boulder - June 24, 2002 - Most comets disintegrate after their first few passages through the inner solar system, say scientists at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). A new study has revealed that 99 percent of the objects from the cloud of comets at the edge of the solar system, known as the Oort cloud, break apart sometime after they enter the inner solar system. The findings appear in the current issue of the journal Science. See 

Mars: Remains Of A Planet Still Born Remain Scared In Time
Washington - Jun 24, 2002 - Geologists at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum have discovered a large former lake in the highlands of Mars that would cover an area the size of Texas and New Mexico combined, and which overflowed to carve one of that planet's largest valleys. The findings will appear in the June 21 issue of the journal Science. See 

The Power Of Dust Key To Martian Atmospheric Processes
College Station - Jun 28, 2002 - According to most scientists who study the Mars, dust is the defining feature of the planet's atmosphere and may constitute the major force eroding the planet's surface, much like the role played by water on the Earth. See 

Adaptive optics technology can remove the blurring effect of the Earth's atmosphere that has long plagued astronomers, allowing ground-based telescopes to achieve a clarity of vision previously attainable only by space-based instruments. Current adaptive optics (AO) systems are able to make images that are superior to those of the Hubble Space Telescope in infrared light. See 

Astrobiology: There's a new online "Astrobiology Magazine".  Check it out at 


Alternative medicine - The failings of contemporary medical practice are best confronted from the rational basis of scientific medicine, not by a retreat into the mystical traditions of alternative health. See 

In a series of studies designed to define the role of dietary macronutrients in the initiation of arterial inflammation that predisposes a person to atherosclerosis, University at Buffalo researchers have found that a high intake of glucose, or eating a high-fat, high-calorie fast-food meal causes an increase in the blood's inflammatory components. See 

 A drug used to treat gout improves blood vessel function in heart failure patients, possibly by blocking the creation of harmful free radicals, researchers report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. See 

Using brain cells from rats, scientists at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Hamburg have manipulated a molecular "stop sign" so that the injured nerve cells regenerate. While their findings are far from application in people, the prospects for eventually being able to repair spinal cord injury are brighter, they say. See 

Membrane filter technology is helping to remove barriers to cleaner drinking water. University of Houston researchers are studying how membrane filters, such as those currently used in some home water purification systems, might someday be used on a large scale to remove contaminants and organic compounds that can affect the purity and color of municipal water supplies. See 

Research at Georgetown University Medical Center has led to a deeper understanding of the role that elevated cholesterol plays in the development of Alzheimer's disease. See 

Forget the attack of the killer tomato, this is the attack of the healthy tomato: A team of scientists has developed a tomato that contains as much as three and a half time more of the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene. It turns out that the antioxidant-rich tomato was a happy accident. See 

West Virginia University scientists have manipulated chemical waves in experiments that may one day lead to controlling abnormal electrical waves in the heart or brain to ward off a heart attack or epileptic seizure. See 

Like the glitter and glare of Las Vegas beckoning tourists to the gambling tables, the orb-weaving spiny spider flashes its colorful back to lure unsuspecting quarry into its web. The discovery of this lethal use of color runs contrary to the long-held belief that in the animal kingdom color is used generally to attract mates rather than to entice prey, says a Cornell University animal behavior researcher. See 

University of California, Santa Barbara scientists and U.S. Army researchers are making progress in the study of spider dragline silk, according to recently published proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. See 

Earth Science

A dramatic new view of the Earth has emerged from the first few weeks of the orbital checkout of Aqua, the satellite designed to study the world's water. See 

Global warming and changing climatic conditions are triggering disease epidemics in wildlife around the world, reports a renowned team of ecologists and epidemiologists in the Friday June 21st issue of Science. The outbreaks are occurring in habitats ranging from coral reefs to rainforests. See 

'Oldest' hard-shelled fossil found
Scientists have glimpsed the earliest days of sophisticated life on Earth.
They have discovered the fossilised remains of a marine animal - perhaps a
sponge or coral - which they say lived nearly 550 million years ago.
The creature's hard, shelly parts are far more complex than anything else
found from this time. See 

1,800-year-old brain cells leave their mark
The Asahi Shimbun
Human brain tissue found in Tottori Prefecture is so well-preserved that
scientists are able to make out the network of cells that held the thoughts
of a person who lived 1,800 years ago. See 


How Well Do You Argue?
Believe it or not, arguing correctly could save your relationship. See 

Virtual-reality to treat schizophrenia 

Psychological medicine:Integrating psychological care into general medical practice. See

A new study of migraine headaches suggests behavioral therapy "not medication -- may be the most effective weapon against migraine pain for teen-agers. See


In a discovery that could greatly reduce the size and cost of computer chips, Princeton researchers have found a fast method for printing ultrasmall patterns in silicon wafers. The method, described in the June 20 issue of Nature, could allow electronics manufacturers to increase the density of transistors on silicon chips by 100-fold while dramatically streamlining the production process. See

Researchers at the UCLA School of Engineering have created an organic, nonvolatile memory device that is cheaper and faster than those currently in use. See

Researchers at U of T have discovered a new technique to form tiny perfect crystals that have high optical quality, a finding that could usher in a new era of ultra-fast computing and communication using photons instead of electrons. See


A scientist from the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society has rediscovered an African carnivore that has remained undetected for the last 70 years. Photographed by a camera trap on the eastern side of Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountain National Park, the Lowe's servaline genet - a three-foot-long relative of the mongoose family - was previously known only from a single skin collected in 1932. See

June 23, 2002

New Book on Bill Gothard

Now available: A Matter of Basic Principle by Don & Joy Veinot and Ron Henzel. This is an eye opening book that is must reading for those who have been to his seminars. $15.99 plus $4 for priority shipping or $2 book rate. Order by phone with a credit card, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover Card. Call 1-215-423-7374.

Religion in the News

New York kindergartner can pray at snack time
In January five-year-old Kayla Broadus held hands with classmates and prayed over their cupcakes and milk, "God is good. God is great. Thank you, God, for my food." Her teacher stopped her, citing separation of church and state; the principal agreed. In response, Broadus' mother filed a lawsuit that was settled last night by a school board vote. In the settlement, which the board approved unanimously, no payments will be made, the lawsuit is dropped, and Kayla can pray. See 

Bishops to tackle new policy
Under the policy adopted resoundingly Friday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, dioceses are now bound to follow a uniform set of zero-tolerance guidelines, reporting all abuse allegations to authorities and seeking to defrock all priests found guilty of future misconduct. See 

Inquiry Leader Insists Bishops Are Not Above 'Corrective Action' 
Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma said that he and a panel of
prominent Catholics will seek "corrective action" for any
clergyman found to be abusive or negligent. 

Pope courts Anglicans in attempt to heal rift: The Vatican has invited Anglicans, including a woman priest, to an unprecedented conference this week in an attempt to end four centuries of division between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. (The Times, London) See,,2-318014,00.html 

Graham crusade draws few protesters: Fundamentalists complain while gays and Jews stay away (The Kentucky Post). See 

The Christian Right's latest target: John Ashcroft
Yesterday, President Bush. Today, Attorney General Ashcroft. The Christian Right is attacking the Washington leaders it once saw as defenders of the faith as traitors. See 

Falwell building Christian community: Vision for his 4,300 acres includes golf courses, recreation centers and apartments, where members of his flock can live from "birth to antiquity." (Associated Press). See 

Court rules door-to-door soliciting is free speech
The Constitution guarantees religious groups, politicians, Girl Scouts and others the right to knock on doors without stopping at town hall for permission, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday in a broad endorsement of free-speech rights. See 

Southern Baptists skip convention: Local churches don't send many to meetings. (The News & Observer) See 

Folks flock to church to see face of Jesus: Pastor notices apparition while closing up church (WPBF, West Palm Beach, Fla.) See 

Area Protestant schools host 'non-proms': Dancing is notably absent from many of the program, but not prom gowns, tuxedos, corsages, limosines and other traditional trappings of the graduates' big night. (The Herndon [Va.] Times) See 

Collector Assembles a Rare Quartet of Bibles
For the first time in more than 150 years, copies of the
first four printed editions of the Bible have come under
the ownership of a single person. 

1801 Jefferson letter supporting religious freedom discovered | A thank-you note from Thomas Jefferson to Baptist supporters, found at a historic home that is being converted to a museum, is authentic, a manuscript expert says. (Freedom Forum). See 

Christian rock fest's bands ride new surge: After years of being dismissed as bland and clumsy, Christian music is booming. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). See 

'Star Wars´ like religion for legions of fans: While some fans focus only on the light-saber battles and special effects, others ponder and debate creator George Lucas' blend of ancient myths, Christianity and Eastern mysticism. (The Washington Times). See 

How Effective Are Abstinence Programs?

Doctors gathering to share their faith | About 700 doctors and dentists gathering at the Christian Medical Association convention will grapple with ethical issues such as stem cell research and genetic testing and discuss how to incorporate Christianity into their practices. (Chicago Sun-Times) See 

Martin and Gracia Burnham's Final Moments Together
What really happened during the rescue attempt.  By Ted Olsen in Rose Hill, Kansas. See

Why Suffering?
A young director's documentary is thin on theology but rich with compassion.  By Douglas LeBlanc. See

Some Christians sure could use a sense of hummus: Doctor's book says Jesus' diet was healthier than many Americans' (The Dallas Morning News) See 


A Vigorous Skeptic of Everything but Fact.
Paul Kurtz, publisher of the magazine Skeptical Inquirer, is
turning his attention to the proliferation of the
paranormal in movies and on television. 

Please God, deliver us a clever atheist: The sign went up after the parishioners of Broadway had digested their Sunday morning service. "Position Vacant: Intelligent Atheist to try and disprove Christianity. Apply office@" See 

Science in the News

Top science book: Stephen Wolfram, whose 1,263-page, self-published manifesto, "A New Kind of Science," was holding its own last week atop Amazon's best-seller chart. See 


Theory of 'intelligent design' isn't ready for natural selection
To Seattle area residents the struggle over how evolution is taught in
public high schools may seem a topic from the distant past or a distant
place. Don't bet on it. One nearby episode in the controversy has ended, but a
far-reaching, Seattle-based agenda to overthrow Darwin is gaining momentum.

Darwin would love this debate
By Bruce Chapman and Stephen C. Meyer

A majority of those surveyed want evolution, intelligent design to get equal time in school The State Board of Education is struggling with the issue of what students should learn about human origins. (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland). See 

Board of Education Requires Evolution for Accreditation
On June 7, 2002 the Nebraska Board of Education voted 5-2 to add the state's existing
science standards, including coverage of evolution, to the official requirements for school
accreditation. According to a report in the Omaha World-Herald, supporters of  "intelligent design" had asked the Board to delay this step, hoping that the standards could be changed. The Board refused to do so. See         

Greensburg Salem weighs request to change curriculum on creation: Greensburg Salem, PA is considering a proposal to teach two competing theories — creation science and evolution — in its 10 high school science courses. See   For other creation/evolution news see 

15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense
Opponents of evolution want to tear down real science, but their arguments don't hold up. See 

Vox populi: The voice of the people reveals why evolution remains controversial (Michael Shermer, Scientific American). See 

Study Offers A Rare View Of How Species Interactions Evolve
Santa Cruz - June 19, 2002 - The complicated relationship between a common wildflower and a little gray moth is yielding new insights into how species coevolve, with implications for the conservation of biodiversity. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Washington State University (WSU) described the variable interactions between these two species--a remarkable case study in coevolution--in a paper to be published in the June 13 issue of the journal Nature. See 

A protozoan that has been studied by a University of California, Santa Barbara scientist for the past 46 years has been assigned high priority for genome sequencing by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Called Tetrahymena, the single-celled organism split off from an ancestor in common with humans about two billion years ago. Yet it carries many of the same genes as humans, and therefore can be used to understand the function of many human genes. See 

Evolution - A significant number of organisms that survived the five greatest mass extinctions in Earth's history subsequently failed to achieve evolutionary success, according to a new study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and conducted by University of Chicago scientist David Jablonski. See 

New cellular evolution theory rejects Darwinian assumptions: Life did not begin with one primordial cell. Instead, there were initially at least three simple types of loosely constructed cellular organizations. They swam in a pool of genes, evolving in a communal way that aided one another in bootstrapping into the three distinct types of cells by sharing their evolutionary inventions. The driving force in evolving cellular life on Earth, says Carl Woese, a microbiologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been horizontal gene transfer, in which the acquisition of alien cellular components, including genes and proteins, work to promote the evolution of recipient cellular entities. See 

Evolution and Religion: "The Whole Mass a Paradice" Is religion an adaptation that enables groups to function as single units? See 


Review of The Bible Unearthed"This book must be used with caution because it pretends to describe what we now really know about archaeology and how it contradicts various biblical claims; however, it does so in a biased and non-objective manner. Contrary opinions in interpreting the new evidence are not discussed, much less given a fair hearing. The book is ideologically driven and should be treated that way by any one who reads it." Richard Hess. See 

Stadium from time of Jesus uncovered: Romans may have used Jewish-built structure as arena and prison, archaeologist says (Associated Press). See 

Mummy Discovered: CAIRO, Egypt, June 17 —  Archaeologists have found the world’s oldest intact sarcophagus near the pyramids of Giza, and it could contain a mummy 4,500 years old, Egypt’s top antiquities official said Monday. See 

Archaeology - Jewellery isn't just for glamour, says Sanjida O'Connell. Decorating ourselves may really be a statement about status, kinship or even brainpower. See,4273,4432431,00.html 

Language - Paul Bloom reviews The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language by John McWhorter and The Atoms of Language: The Mind's Hidden Rules of Grammar by Mark C. Baker. See 

Amesbury's Bronze Age Archer
The richest Early Bronze Age burial ever found in Britain has been unearthed about three miles southeast of Stonehenge. See 

MYTH & MONSTERS: Decoding ritual images of a mysterious ancient American religion. By Alex Baker. See 

MAMMOTH FOR DINNER: A tasty debate about early humans in Ice Age Wisconsin. See


Asteroid Gives Earth Closest Shave In Years
Paris - June 20, 2002 - A football-pitch-sized asteroid capable of razing a major city came within a whisker of hitting the Earth on June 14, but was only spotted three days later, scientists said Thursday. Asteroid 2002 MN, estimated at up to 120 metres (yards) long, hurtled by the Earth at a distance of 120,000 kilometers (75,000 miles), well within the orbit of the Moon and just a hair's breadth in galactic terms. See 

New findings by Stanford astronomers may help solve one of the most baffling questions in solar science: What causes the Sun's magnetic poles to flip-flop every 11 years? Understanding the forces that drive this 11-year cycle could help researchers predict violent solar flares and eruptions that periodically interfere with communications on Earth. See 

Thanks to new calculations by a Dartmouth geochemist, scientists are now looking at the earth's climate history in a new light. Mukul Sharma, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth, examined existing sets of geophysical data and noticed something remarkable: the sun's magnetic activity is varying in 100,000-year cycles, a much longer time span than previously thought, and this solar activity, in turn, may likely cause the 100,000-year climate cycles on earth. See 

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory believe that magnetic field lines extending a few million light years from galaxies into space may be the result of incredibly efficient energy-producing dynamos within black holes that are somewhat analogous to an electric motor. See 

Like 'flower power' tattoos on aging ex-hippy baby boomers, unexpectedly large numbers of neutron stars and black holes in elliptical galaxies suggest some of these galaxies lived through a much wilder youth. The discovery by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may require a revision of how elliptical galaxies evolved. See 

Asteroid Breakup Gives Clues To Origins of Solar System
Paris - June 12, 2002 - American astronomers have achieved the mathematical feat of finding a broken needle in a haystack and determining when it was snapped. They have found a cluster of debris whirling in orbit around the Sun and calculated that the pieces broke away from a 25-kilometer (15.6-mile) asteroid that collided with another space rock around 5.8 million years ago. See 

Planet hunters.  Among with a number of new
exoplanets, they have detected three planets orbiting a star in the
constellation of Cancer, including one at a distance from the star that is
about the same as Jupiter's distance from the Sun.  This system is the most
like our own solar system, and calculations show that a theoretical
Earth-size planet in this system, at about Earth's distance from the Sun,
would have a stable orbit.  Check it out at 


Neurologist urges viewing the body and mind as a whole
In the 1600s, philosopher René Descartes proposed what has come to be called "mind-body dualism," the idea that the mind and body are separate.

Human biology - Thoughts can cause the release of hormones that can bind to DNA turning genes 'on' or 'off.' See 

In a study published in the July issue of Nature Biotechnology, available on the internet June 3, researchers from Children's Hospital Boston and colleagues demonstrated that laboratory-engineered tissues created from heart, skeletal, and renal cells cloned from cows, then transplanted back into the animals, developed into functional tissues and caused no signs of rejection. See 

Building a better vaccine
Hildegund "Gundi" Ertl strides through her laboratory, activity buzzing around her. Scientists and students concentrate on an assortment of monitors, test tubes and beakers, all aimed at developing a whole new approach to vaccines.

How you might avoid disability after a stroke
For the last five years, treatment of stroke has been undergoing a revolution. But the revolution may not have come to your hospital.
. See 

Under the weather? It may be just that
. First in a seasonal series examining the effect of the weather on human health. Joseph Hollander's Climatron looked like a contraption from a bad horror movie. And to the suffering subjects he locked inside in the early 1960s, it probably felt like one. See 

Nearly three million cataract surgeries are performed every year in the United States. The majority of patients must wear prescription glasses after the procedure to see properly. But a new technology may eliminate this problem. See 

For more than 130 years, doctors have prescribed nitroglycerin for relief of chest pain without a clear knowledge of how it actually worked. Now, not only have researchers from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and Duke University Medical Center solved this age-old riddle, they have also shed light on the second major mystery surrounding nitroglycerin -- why patients eventually develop a tolerance to the drug's effects. See 

Biosteel or Milk Silk: Insert a single spider gene into a female goat. Milk regularly and get string five times stronger than steel at a ''transgenic farm'' in Canada. 

Nature's Own Version of Superglue
Understanding how insect feet adhere to slippery, wet surfaces has been a centuries-long quest. See 

Rutgers geneticists have devised a new approach to create a more nutritious corn without employing the controversial biotechnology used in genetically modified foods. Instead of adding foreign DNA to the corn, the researchers increased the plant's ability to produce more of its own naturally occurring protein by adjusting the genetic signals that control the process. The result is a more nutritious and natural food that eliminates the need for dietary supplements or chemical additives. See 

An unusual conifer found in a remote area of northern Vietnam has been identified as a genus and species previously unknown to science. The limestone ridges where the tree grows are among the most botanically rich areas in Vietnam, said Daniel Harder, director of the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) Arboretum and a co-discoverer of the new species. The discovery is published in the current issue of the journal Novon. See 

Earth Science

Along with Canadian colleagues, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientist has discovered fossils of plants dating back some 420 million years. The discovery, made on Bathurst Island in the Northwest Territories about 800 miles from the North Pole, shows vascular plants were more complex at that time than paleontologists previously believed and is significant for that reason, the UNC researcher said. See 


Psychological disorders - In his book, The Rationality of Psychological Disorders, Rofé (2000) reviews the three major schools of psychopathology and finds that they lack empirical validation and are unable to account for fundamental theoretical issues. See 

How to Request a Dream
Dreams are a kind of ongoing conversation with your own soul, and can offer insights that conscious thought can't. Learn how to ask your dreams to solve your dilemmas--and how to incubate a dream's wisdom after you wake up. See 

June 9, 2002

Bible Recreations

Now available: Life size recreation of Aaron's Breastplate. Recreation of Urim and Thummim. Dead Sea Scroll replica. Gemstones of New Jerusalem, and Coins of the Bible, plus much more. Order by phone with a credit card, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover Card. Usually shipped out within 24 hours. See 

Religion in the News

Martin Burnham Killed, Gracia Freed In Rescue Attempt
Philippine military botches rescue attempt,  but calls it a success. Compiled by Ted Olsen. See

Remove abusive priests, bishops urge
A committee of Catholic bishops, citing "a crisis without precedent in our times," recommended yesterday that the church remove and defrock any priest who abuses a minor. See 

Bishops Must Reassure Laity While Setting Policy on Abuse
Many Roman Catholics and victims of abuse say they
are looking for some sign that the bishops are aware of the
pain and anger they have helped create. 

New Book on Bill Gothard: This is a very eye opening book that I recommend. Reviewed at 

Salem’s gobbles up Crosswalk
"Megabroadcaster Salem Communications, which owns (or is about to own) 83 radio stations, CCM communications (which publishes Christian magazines), and many other Christian media properties, is about to own one more: Assuming Salem’s board and Crosswalk's shareholders approve the action, Crosswalk will operate under Salem’s (which mainly offers streaming audio from Christian radio programs)." by Ted Olson. See 

Beliefnet: USA Today reports on the continued woes of bankrupt Beliefnet. “The staff of 69 is down to 12,” writes Janet Kornblum. See 

Finding God in a pickle: Vegetables retelling Bible stories are such a hit with kids, they're going to the big screen (Time). See,9171,1101020603-250037,00.html 

Why Some Evangelical Christians Support Israel
What does the current nation of Israel have to do with the Second Coming of Christ? More than you might think. Christians who believe in Bible prophecy tie the survival of Israel to the Battle of Armageddon. See 

Evangelical Sales Are Converting Publishers
As surging sales are propelling avowedly Evangelical books
to the top of mainstream best-seller lists, the major
publishing houses are getting religion. 

Theologians Decry 'Narrow' Boundaries
110 evangelical leaders sign joint statement.  By Timothy C. Morgan. See

Getting the TNIV Debate Straight
Our policy against negative ads doesn't mean we're cutting off discussion. By Mark Galli. See

Beyond Happily Ever After - Marriage Partnership: Wondering why God brought you and your spouse together? This couple did. And until they wrote their marriage mission statement, they didn't realize how secular their goals were. See 

Science in the News


A New Science Documentary about the "Icons of Evolution." See

Science and religion - Brian Jackson reviews Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould. See 

Intelligent Design Is Creationism in a Cheap Tuxedo 

Philosophy Is Essential to the Intelligent Design Debate 

Neutrality versus the niche: According to some ecologists, you don't need to invoke adaptation to explain biodiversity. They may sound like nihilists, but their ideas are proving remarkably resilient. See 

An Evolutionary Institute: Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology (MPIEA) in Leipzig, Germany, recently concluded that differences in the expression patterns of genes distinguish humans from chimpanzees, though they share 98.7% of their DNA sequences. See 

Congressman Clarifies Dispute Over Santorum Language
" Congressman George Miller, a member of the joint conference committee that drafted the final version of the recently signed No Child Left Behind education bill, has sent a letter to NCSE clarifying the significance of the “Santorum Amendment.” The amendment, stripped from the bill and placed in the conference committee report in weakened form, has been cited by anti-evolutionists in several states as justification for watering down evolution or inserting intelligent design in science curricula. In the letter, Miller states “the report language should not be construed to promote specific topics within subject areas… such decisions are best left to the scientific community, rather than legislators.” See  

Human evolution - Andrew J. Petto reviews What It Means to be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People, and Their Genes by Jonathan Marks. See 


The Four 34 Gospels
Charles W. Hedrick
Everyone knows Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And you may be familiar with Thomas and Q. But have you ever heard of Oxyrhynchus 1224 or the Egerton Gospel? We now know of dozens of early gospels that never made it into the New Testament. What do these texts reveal about the historical Jesus and his first followers? See 

Rewriting the "bible of Egyptology " An Australian Egyptologist has been studying the tombs of the vast Giza cemetery and is re-writing the history of ancient Egypt. 

Report of Oldest Boat Hints at Early Trade Routes: By Andrew Lawler
LONDON--A Kuwaiti site has yielded 7000-year-old bitumen slabs thought to
be from a seafaring vessel. If the interpretation of the material is
correct, the discovery pushes back physical evidence of boats by more than
2000 years and sheds light on what later became trading routes linking two
ancient civilizations: those of the Indus River valley and Mesopotamia. A
second team is finishing a controversial reconstruction of a younger ship
found in Oman. Membership needed to see full story at 

Lost City Uncovered: The discovery of an ancient city in Syria indicates civilization as marked by urbanization was more widespread and earlier than thought, archaeologists said today. See 

Greeks vs. Hittites: Why Troy Is Troy and the Trojan War Is Real 

June 6, at 4:00 p.m (Moscow Time) PRAVDA.Ru will hold an on-line press
conference with Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Science Alexander
CHUVYROV. The professor of Bashkir State University found indisputable
evidence of the existence of an ancient, highly developed civilization in
the Urals. His find is a huge slab, whose age is supposed to be about 120
million years. See also 


Hubble Catches a 4 Galaxy Collusion 

Has time run out on Einstein's theory? Atomic clocks on the space station might reveal truth: Experiments with high-precision clocks in space could help shed light on whether Einstein's theory of relativity is ... well, relative. See 

Jupiter's Moons: The discovery of 11 small moons orbiting Jupiter leapfrogs the number of that planet's moons to 39, nine more than the record of the previous champ,
Saturn.  It's hard to keep up to date in this moon race. 

Io Surface Captured in Full Motion
Albuquerque -June 3, 2002 - The highest resolution infrared global images ever taken of Jupiter's volcanic moon, Io, are now available from the W.M. Keck Observatory and UC Berkeley in a unique animated movie and 3D Java applet. The images provide a complete survey of Io's surface during one full rotation and demonstrate the power of adaptive optics, enabling astronomers to study phenomena from the Earth that previously could be studied only from space. See 

Dwarf Galaxies: Two scientists have found evidence that galaxies are surrounded by halos containing hundreds of invisible dwarf galaxies. Their discovery provides
support for the theory that most of the matter in the universe is in the
form of some undetected type of slowly moving particles called cold dark
matter.  More spooky cosmology at 

Supernova Explosion: Chandra has produced many stunning
x-ray images since its launch in 1999.  A new "true color" Chandra image of
N132D shows the beautiful, complex remnant of the supernova explosion of a
massive star.  , or
browse the Chandra photo album at 

Life is Space?
London (ESA) Jun 03, 2002 - Scientists have recently found new evidence that amino acids, the 'building-blocks' of life, can form not only in comets and asteroids, but also in the interstellar space. See 


Understanding Anxiety: Why do we worry ourselves sick? Because the brain is hardwired for fear, and sometimes it short-circuits. See 

University of Melbourne researchers, along with doctors and scientists from eight Melbourne hospitals, have located three genes that make heart attack more likely. See 

Eating potassium-rich foods such as bananas, tomatoes and orange juice can help prevent osteoporosis for postmenopausal women by decreasing calcium losses, according to a UCSF study. See 

MRI scans of the brain may detect Alzheimers disease decades before the first clinical signs of dementia occur, researchers from the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of Kentucky report in the journal Neurology. See 

A bacterium responsible for the vast majority of stomach cancers, a leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and ulcers may have met its match, scientists from Johns Hopkins and the French National Scientific Research Center report in the May 28 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. See 

Roughly one in seven gay men may owe his orientation to the fact he has older brothers, say University of Toronto researchers. See 

Yale researchers have developed a synthetic peptide that promotes new nerve fiber growth in the damaged spinal cords of laboratory rats and allows them to walk better, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Nature. See 

Delaying gratification while working toward a goal appears to have roots in a specific brain circuit. NIMH scientists have discovered a signal in a brain area involved in motivation that strengthens as a monkey performs a task for which it has been trained to expect a reward. See 

Cloning: Scientists have successfully used cloning technology to grow tissues for
transplant in cows which will not be rejected. See 


When chemists want to combine two or more organic materials, ordinarily they use a solvent to carry out a reaction that results in the desired compound. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have found a way to combine organic materials in solid state without the use of solvents. This revolutionary solvent-free process means that environmentally harmful solvents, such as benzene, dichloromethane and others, could be removed from many of the chemical processes used to produce millions of consumer and industrial products. See 

A team of chemical engineers at the University of Louisville has developed a process for growing nanometer-scale wires that better controls the tiny wires' size, structure and composition. See 

Earth Science

Geologists at the University of California, Davis, are using neutron beams from a nuclear reactor to see inside rocks. The method could be used to look for traces of life in rocks from Mars or very ancient rocks from the Earth. See 

A Columbia University scientist studying an active seafloor volcano in the Pacific Ocean has determined that there is a correlation between the hundreds of micro earthquakes she recorded and the ocean tides. See 

A study of past climate changes in the South American tropics has challenged traditional understanding of the mechanisms that triggered the advance and retreat of glaciers during the last ice age. The National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded study was published in this week's issue of Science. See 

Melting Ice On Mount Everest Is Evidence Of Global Warming: Climbers
Geneva (AFP) Jun 05, 2002 - The amount of ice on and around the world's highest mountain has declined spectacularly, providing startling evidence of the damage caused by global warming, a group of mountaineers returning from a special UN-backed expedition to the Himalayas said on Wednesday. See 


The physics of information: It's all just number-crunching
"COGITO ergo sum” was Descartes's stab at providing a demonstration of the fact of his own existence. John Archibald Wheeler, an American physicist, tried to go one better. He coined the phrase “it from bit” to provide a proof of the existence of everything in the universe. See 


Understanding Anxiety: Why do we worry ourselves sick? Because the brain is hardwired for fear, and sometimes it short-circuits. See 

One of the greatest difficulties in treating schizophrenia has always been helping patients to stay on their medication. Now, that problem is closer to being solved. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine have designed an implantable device capable of delivering anti-psychotic medication for a period of five months, and continuing work at Penn indicates that such devices may work for up to a full year. See 

Schizophrenia - An electrophysiological abnormality that is specific to schizophrenia could be the direct result of anatomical deficits in a region of the left cerebral hemisphere that has been implicated in language and auditory processing. See 

People with depression are three times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than people who are not depressed, according to a study published in the May 28 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. See 

About 10 years ago, Dr. Robert Golden and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill colleagues discovered an important new clue to the cause of depression, one that other researchers eventually confirmed. They found that depressed people showed a blunted hormonal response to a test he developed that boosts serotonin, an important neurotransmitter chemical in the brain. Now, newly published work by his laboratory shows that as a group, people suffering from the illness have that biological abnormality even when they are not depressed. See 

June 2, 2002

Religion in the News 

Spiritual Survivors: The winner of this season's "Survivor" challenge added a new twist to the game's hygienic humiliations and multi-level betrayals: she invoked God's name to justify and defend her actions. (The Salt Lake Tribune). See 

New Book About Bill Gothard: A Matter of Basic Principle by Don and Joy Veinot and Ron Henzel. See  

Falwell, ACLU Fight Church Restrictions
Virginia laws prohibiting church incorporation found unconstitutional. By LaTonya Taylor. See

The intellectual advantages of a Roman Catholic education. At its best, respect for natural law gives one the self-confidence that makes possible the passion and curiosity that fuel intellectual inquiry. It inoculates us against postmodernism. (Alan Wolfe, The Chronicle of Higher Education). 

Public schools need religious studies, paper says. Former university dean argues fears of indoctrination are unwarranted (The National Post, Canada). 

Students pray at graduation despite judge's ruling About half of 226 graduating joined in, shouting the final words (Associated Press)

Senior prank: be nice to people Seniors at Holland (Mich.) Christian High School, wash windows, plant flowers, hand out candy, do other nice things (Associated Press)

Bush raises scandal with Pope: President voices concern about Catholic Church's standing in U.S. (The Washington Post). 

Muhammad amid the Faiths
The prophet's interactions with paganism, Judaism, and Christianity birthed puzzling prophecies and a legacy of strife. by James A. Beverley. See 

Biblical battle New Translation Removing 'Him' Draws Ire From Some ( See 

Blister beetles and the ten plagues Several interpretations of the biblical ten plagues postulate that the insects of the third and fourth plagues gave rise to the boils of the sixth plague (The Lancet, UK). (Must register) See 

The Pulse of American Atheism
by Martin E. Marty. See 

Science in the News

Science celebrates its communicators: Key Scientific Books Awards. 


The Accidental Creationist
The late Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002), biologist and bestselling author, was a tireless popularizer of evolution. So why do creationists love to quote him? See 

Death of an Evolutionist
RIP Stephen Jay Gould. By John Wilson. See

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. A review
by David Hawkes of Gould's last book. See: 

Education reform may mean more teaching of intelligent design theory
U.S. Reps. John A. Boehner and Steve Chabot, both Republicans from Ohio, have told the Ohio Board of Education that the recently passed education reform legislation may solve the board's debate over teaching evolution and competing theories like intelligent design. The congressmen quote from conference report language that says, "Where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist." "Many officials from science and education groups, most of whom back teaching only evolution, call the language part of a wider campaign to force intelligent-design theory into the nation's science classrooms," reports The Washington Post.

A Flood Geologist Recants: See 

Christians--'Fundamentalist Taliban Wannabees'? 

Aeons, by Martin Gorst : Arguments between science and religion through the ages are examined in this tale of the search for the true age of the Earth. From Bishop Ussher in the 17th Century to the latest findings of the Hubble Space Telescope, this is a nicely written story about an important chapter in the history of science. See 

Studies of a California insect, the walking stick, are helping to illuminate the process of evolution of new species, according to research published in this weeks issue of Nature. See 

Comparative genomics - Mice and men share about 97.5 per cent of their working DNA, just one per cent less than chimps and humans. The new estimate is based on the comparison of mouse chromosome 16 with human DNA. Previous estimates had suggested mouse-human differences as high as 15 per cent. See 

Evolution - The formation of new species is a gradual and not a sudden process, according to a team of biologists from the UK, France, Australia and the USA. See 


Ancient, buried footpaths visible using satellite instruments but invisible on the ground to the human eye will be studied in Costa Rica this summer after a 20-year hiatus by University of Colorado at Boulder and NASA archaeologists. See 

Civilization - After three seasons of excavation in northeastern Syria, archaeologists say they are more sure than ever that they have broadened the geography of early civilization. (Must register) See 

Archaeology - Archaeology can provide two bodies of information relevant to the understanding of the evolution of human cognition - the timing of developments, and the evolutionary context of these developments. The challenge is methodological. See 

Faces from the Ice Age: What could be the oldest lifelike drawings of human faces have been uncovered in a cave in southern France. See 


Vast Quantities Of Water On Mars Detected
Washington (AFP) May 29, 2002 - Instruments aboard NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft have detected enormous quantities of ice under the Martian surface, scientists said Tuesday -- possibly enough to support manned missions to the red planet. See 

The Strange Case of the Iron Sun
An iconoclastic theory of the solar system's origin shows how science tests its truisms.
By Solana Pyne. See 

Titan's Time Warp By Kathy A. Svitil
The Cassini-Huygens space probe will soon provide the first clear look at Saturn's giant haze-covered moon, where the chemical stirrings in a hydrocarbon stew could help reveal how life emerged on Earth some 4 billion years ago.


20 Biotech Geniuses to Watch By David Ewing Duncan
In the new world order of biotechnology, distinctions between biology and commerce, science and technology, and business folk and ivory-tower researchers have dissolved. Meet the movers and shakers of your future. See 

by Robert Pollack: ROBERT POLLACK is a professor of Biological Sciences and Psychiatry at Columbia University. His book The Faith of Biology and the Biology of Faith was recently published by Columbia University Press. See 

The Basics of Genetics: 

Two teams of researchers from Ohio State University reported today that they had identified the 22nd genetically encoded amino acid, a discovery that is the biological equivalent of physicists finding a new fundamental particle or chemists discovering a new element. See 

Identifying What Triggers Your Headache Is Key to Treatment. See 

Attack Of The Clones: Fresh Warnings About Replication
Paris (AFP) May 26, 2002 - Fresh evidence emerged Sunday about the perils of cloning, amid claims by rogue scientists that the first human replicant may be born just months from now. See 

Deciding on hormone-replacement therapy  weighing the far-reaching benefits and risks  can give a woman a headache. Now researchers say estrogen may dictate what problem-solving strategies the brain uses to solve problems. See 

Despite claims by entrepreneurs and others who make a business of touting anti-aging therapies, S. Jay Olshansky, professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his colleagues, issue a warning to consumers in their article, "No Truth to the Fountain of Youth," appearing in the June issue of Scientific American. See 

Thousands of obese Americans know firsthand that gastric bypass surgery can achieve long-term weight loss when dieting, exercise and medications have failed. The reason for the difference may hinge on a recently discovered appetite-stimulating hormone, according to an article in the May 23 New England Journal of Medicine. See 

Earth Science

What Wiped Out the Dinosaurs? By Edwin Dobb
Most paleontologists think an asteroid abruptly ended the 160-million-year reign of the dinosaurs. Fossils found in Montana's Hell Creek Formation, the graveyard of a host of tyrannosaurs, tell a more complex and surprising story. 

Neutron Tomography Reveals Hidden Life Of Rocks In 3D
Los Angeles - May 24, 2002 - Geologists at the University of California, Davis, are using neutron beams from a nuclear reactor to see inside rocks. The method could be used to look for traces of life in rocks from Mars or very ancient rocks from the Earth. See 


Wimpzillas could revolutionize our understanding of basic physics 

Turning tide: Fuel-cell cars that make soap
. See 


Obsessive-compulsive disorder linked to piety: "Many OCD patients do say they had a strict upbringing where actions were either right or wrong. But the study cannot say for certain that religious devotion early in life causes OCD symptoms." See 

Troy Graves: Portrait of a night stalker
When Troy Graves slipped into women's apartments late at night, he sometimes just watched them sleep, standing over them for 15 to 20 minutes, and then left without waking them. See 

For decades, scientists have known that eminently creative individuals have a much higher rate of manic depression, or bipolar disorder, than does the general population. But few controlled studies have been done to build the link between mental illness and creativity. Now, Stanford researchers Connie Strong and Terence Ketter, MD, have taken the first steps toward exploring the relationship. See 

Eating disorders - Exposure to television significantly increases eating disorders in adolescent girls, according to a new study. See 

Pregnant women with high anxiety might be passing on future behavioral and emotional problems to their babies, a study has suggested. See,4273,4425722,00.html 

Addiction - Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have detected differences in areas of the brain in chronic cocaine users. These differences were detected in regions involved in decision making, behavioral inhibition, and emotional reaction to the environment. See 

"Intermittent Explosive Disorder" - People who carry out road rage attacks and impulsive acts of violence may suffer from a brain disorder, a study reports today. Intermittent Explosive Disorder is associated with outbursts of aggression but, until now, here has been no evidence of a brain abnormality. See Also The Telegraph.

May 26, 2002

Religion in the News

What's evil? Who decides?
Webster's New World Dictionary dispatches the word evil in 11 lines. But inspired by Sept. 11, psychiatrists have devoted thousands of words to the topic at their annual meeting in Philadelphia this week. They've explored what evil is, what kind of people do evil things, and what can be done to prevent evil. Zimbardo identified factors that push ordinary, "good" people to do bad things: obedience to authority, anonymity, diffusion of responsibility, indoctrination, and dehumanization of the enemy. Blind obedience to authority is a particular problem. "We don't teach our children how to distinguish between just and unjust authority," Zimbardo said. See 

Cremation Confusion
Is it unscriptural for a Christian to be cremated?  By Timothy George. See 

John Paul II Denounces All Violence In The Name Of God Upon Arrival In Baku: BAKU, MAY 22, 2002 ( John Paul II, the first Roman Pontiff to visit the predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan, reminds humanity that no one may justify violence in the name of God.

Brazil's church accused of protecting a pedophile
Allegations that the Catholic Church has covered up indecent acts by priests have surfaced across the globe, but the story of the Rev. Bonifacio Buzzi is especially shocking for what it says about church complicity. See 

Pedophilia: an incurable disease?
In researching the effectiveness of Megan's Laws, which require convicted pedophiles to notify their communities of past convictions, George Washington University professor Amitai Etzioni extensively studied various methods to treat pedophilia. He writes in the Chicago Tribune this week that much of what the Catholic Church has done in response to clergy pedophilia assumes that it is a curable disease. "The sad truth is that pedophilia is almost never cured." Etzioni concludes that psychoanalysis, reassignment, and church-sponsored institutes are not suitable solutions for pedophilia. (Registration required)

Vatican Accepts Resignation of Milwaukee's Archbishop
The Vatican on Friday accepted the resignation of Archbishop
Rembert G. Weakland, who acknowledged paying $450,000 to
settle a claim. See 

Evangelicals are the new internationalists, says The New York Times' Kristof. "The old religious right…[which tried] to battle Satan with school prayers and right-to-life amendments, is on the ropes. It is being succeeded by evangelicals who are using their growing clout to skewer China and North Korea, to support Israel, to fight sexual trafficking in Eastern Europe and slavery in Sudan, and, increasingly, to battle AIDS in Africa."

Can Marriages Aspire to the Thrill of an Affair?
Being "Unfaithful" is big at the box office. Can it have a place in the marriage bed, too? In "Kosher Adultery," Rabbi Shmuley Boteach explains how a husband and wife can have steamy affairs--with each other. See 

Reflections: Suffering & Grief
Quotations to stir the heart and mind. Compiled by Richard A. Kauffman. See

Big changes in Christian publishing: As denominational labels mean less and less for today's Christians, it spells trouble for the once-proud denominational publishing houses which have seen their financial statements tumble into the red. (Religion News Service)

The Washington Times: Still a Moonie paper

Jesus Through Muslim Eyes: See 

Jewish Roots of Eastern Christian Mysticism: New web site at 

Antichrist politics: For many fervent Christians, support for Israel has less to do with Ariel Sharon than preparing for Armageddon. (

Christian Liberty founder dies.  Paul Lindstrom was pioneer of the Christian home schooling movement (The Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs). 

Luke Skywalker and the Buddha
It's been compared to the Tao, Buddha Nature, and the Holy Spirit. Just what is the Force? Our users offer serious and tongue-in-cheek exegesis of Jedi theology. Plus, read one man's humorous account of why he wants to be a "Muslim Jedi."

What Christian Critics are saying about Star Wars Episode II. See 

God and Time Machines
A conversation with Templeton Prize-winning physicist Paul Davies.
Interview by Karl W. Giberson. See 

Bottom-Up Apologist
John Polkinghorne -- particle physicist, Gifford lecturer, Templeton Prize–winner, and parish priest.  By Karl W. Giberson. See

Science in the News


Stephen Jay Gould dies at age 60: Stephen Jay Gould, a world-renowned scientist who brought evolutionary theory and paleontology to a broad public audience in dozens of wide-ranging books and essays, died Monday, May 20, 2002 of cancer. also 

Evolution supporters, foes say law is on their side. At issue is one sentence in report accompanying new education reform act (Associated Press). "COLUMBUS, Ohio — When President Bush signed the education reform bill, critics of teaching evolution in public schools celebrated. So did supporters. To bolster their arguments, both sides have latched onto one sentence in a congressional report accompanying the law. They are interpreting differently, however, the weight of the statement. The statement says that "where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society." See 

Robert Siegel and Bill Rice, NPR report on "Ohio Intelligent Design Forum," 12 March 2002. See

Creationism Scandalous
The debate over evolution takes Britain by storm.  By Ted Olsen. See

PBS is airing its series, "Evolution," again in May and June. See  

The Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center (IDEA) fosters conversation about intelligent design among students, educators, and other interested
parties. See 


In Guatemala, a Rhode Island-Size Jade Lode
Scientists exploring the wilds of Guatemala say they have
found a mountainous region strewn with huge jade boulders
and signs of ancient mining. 

Archaeologists hope skulls are linked to Ramses II: Archaeologists are on the brink of identifying at least one of three human skulls and a complete skeleton found in a 3,200-year-old tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. They suspect that they have the remains of four sons of Ramses II, the pharaoh traditionally identified with the biblical story of Moses.,3604,718687,00.html 

Looters robbing an ancient graveyard in Can, Turkey, in 1998 dropped a heavy marble coffin in their attempt to flee, abandoning the stolen item in a forest. The sarcophagus deemed unworthy of further trouble by the thieves turns out to be a treasure to archaeologists - it's the most colorful sarcophagus surviving from Classical Greek antiquity, according to Professor C. Brian Rose, a University of Cincinnati archaeologist who served on the international team working to save it. See 

Throwing A Monkey Wrench In The Tool Kit
Washington - May 23, 2002 - A study of chimpanzees' use of hammers to open nuts in western Africa may provide fresh clues to how tools developed among human ancestors. See 


New images of the early universe -- a time before there were galaxies, stars or planets -- show the cosmic ripples that eventually became every bit of matter and energy, scientists reported on Thursday. See also Astronomers operating from a remote plateau in the Chilean desert have produced the most detailed images ever made of the oldest light emitted by the universe, providing independent confirmation of controversial theories about the origin of matter and energy. See 

Gamma-Ray Burst Mystery Solved: Exploding Stars The Culprits
Canberra - May 17, 2002 - Australian telescopes have helped provide the clinching evidence that gamma-ray bursts - the biggest bangs in the Universe - are produced when massive stars explode and their cores collapse to form black holes. See 

Dark Matter: Scientists have discovered evidence that hordes of dark, miniature galaxies surround ordinary galaxies, lending credence to the theory that the universe is comprised mostly of cold, dark matter. See 

Can we travel to distant galaxies through quantum wormholes? 

Chance Of Life On Jupiter Moon Look Dimmer
Paris (AFP) May 23, 2002 - Hopes that life may exist on the surface of Europa, a Jupiter moon whose icy crust is believed to mask a vast ocean, have been dealt a blow. Instead of being a thin shell, the ice appears to be a slab 19 to 25 kilometers (12.5 miles to 15.6 miles) thick, Paul Schenk, of the US Lunar and Planetary Institute, writes in Thursday's issue of Nature, the weekly British science journal. See 

Astronomers Find Jupiter-Like Weather On Brown Dwarfs
Los Angeles - May 23, 2002 - For the first time, researchers have observed planet-like weather acting as a major influence on objects outside our solar system, scientists from UCLA and NASA report May 23. See 

SDL Delivers Low-Cost Growth Chamber For ISS To Russians
Logan - May 23, 2002 - Astronauts living aboard the International Space Station will soon be able to choose between dehydrated food and fresh vegetables harvested from the LADA growth chamber built by the Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL). See 


Depression screening urged for all patients
Doctors should routinely begin screening all patients for depression, because America's primary-care doctors are missing and mistreating more than half of all cases of the common mental disorder, a top medical advisory panel said. See 

Differences in Men and Women in the Brain: Men and women display patterns of behavioral and cognitive differences that reflect varying hormonal influences on brain development. See 

There is a new interesting web site about the brain at 'Science and Consciousness Review' 

Scientists at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago have discovered an important shortcut to creating a more efficient, more reliable, and safer source of stem cells with the ability to turn into specific neurons or brain cells. Paul Carvey, PhD, chairman of pharmacology at Rush, used his team's discovery to clone several generations of stem cells that, when grafted into the brains of rats with a Parkinson's like disease, developed into healthy dopamine neurons. This effectively cured the animals' severe Parkinsonian symptoms. See 

Findings published last week in Proceeding of the National Academy of Science (USA) could lead to a better understanding of how our memory changes with age, according to John Hart, Jr., M.D. associate professor in the Reynolds Department of Geriatrics of the UAMS College of Medicine and a co-author of the study. "This new approach to looking at mechanisms of memory via electrical rhythms raises a whole series of questions about how the brain operates and what happens when it doesn't work properly," he explained. See 

Peoples risk for hypertension associated with having a parental history of hypertension may be influenced by observing how their parents handled stress, says researchers who examined relations among numerous behavioral responses and family history of hypertension. This study, reported on in the May issue of Health Psychology, finds that offspring of hypertensive parents react more negatively, both behaviorally and physiologically, to stressful situations. See 

Exercising just one day a week can give older adults the strength to maintain their independence and to avoid injuries, according to a study by a group of scientists at Ball State University. See 

Dental x-rays may provide a new tool to screen for potentially life-threatening heart conditions and stroke, according to research presented by Stanley N. Cohen, M.D., Director of the Stroke Program in the Division of Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The findings, presented at the 54th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, show that panoramic dental x-rays can be used to spot carotid artery calcification (CAC)  a condition which may contribute to stroke. See 

Testosterone hormone 'higher in single men'
Family life may reduce testosterone levels. See 

Scientists from Imperial College London have successfully directed mouse stem cells to turn into the type of cells needed for gas exchange in lungs, bringing the prospect of being able to regenerate damaged lung tissue, and even the creation of artificially grown lungs one step closer. See 

Earth Science

Age Of Dinosaurs Spanned Two Asteroid Impacts
New York - May 20, 2002 - Earth may have paved the way for the sudden rise of the great Jurassic dinosaurs, according to a paper to be published this week in the journal Science. Dr. Paul Olsen from the Columbia Earth Institute's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and an international team of scientists reached their conclusion from an examination of a number of clues—iridium, skeletal remains, footprints, and fern spores—that create a picture of life at the dawn of the Jurassic period. See 

Mass Extinction Gives Way To An Eon Of Stability
Blacksburg - May 20, 2002 - Marine life had to re-evolve after two major extinctions in order for shrimp and whales and other sea life as we know it to come into being. But what is remarkable, according to an article published in the May 14, 2002 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), is not that marine life recovered from two mass extinctions, but that marine ecosystems have maintained very stable structure over the last 450 million years and only changed noticeably in the recovery from these two great extinctions. See 

Turkey Dino Found in Ancient Sea: The fossilized remains of what could be the most puzzling dinosaur yet have been unearthed in Kane County, Utah. "I would liken it to a one-ton turkey with claws," said paleontologist David Gillette. See 

A Non-Biological Origin For Carbon In Ancient Rocks
Washington - May 23, 2002 - New geological and geochemical data call into question recent claims for fossil life on Earth greater than 3.8 billion years ago, say researchers from The George Washington University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History in the May 24 issue of the journal Science. See 

New observations from a NASA spacecraft reveal that a layer in the Earth's outer atmosphere acts like a heat shield by absorbing energy from space storms, which reduces their ability to heat the lower atmosphere. However, it imposes a heavy toll for its services by creating a billion-degree cloud of electrified gas, or plasma, that surrounds our planet. The plasma cloud is so ferociously hot, its particles act like radiation, occasionally disrupting satellites in mid to high orbits. This discovery from NASA's Imager for Magnetopause to Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) spacecraft confirms that the Earth actively participates in space storms. See 


Finding The Right Stuff To Build Spintronic Devices
Buffalo - May 20, 2002 - A team of researchers led by University at Buffalo physicists reported today that they have created semiconducting materials that exhibit the key properties that are essential to the development of semiconductor spintronic devices. See 


At least twelve coral and fish species new to science have been discovered off the northwestern coast of Madagascar in a just-completed marine survey led by scientists from Conservation International's Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS). The researchers found diverse marine life and vibrant reef habitats in the underwater environment of this previously unexplored sector of the northern Indian Ocean. See 

May 19, 2002

Religion in the News

So God's Really in the Details?
Last month, Richard Swinburne, a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, invoked probability theory to defend the belief that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. According to Swinburne, It's 97 percent probable Jesus rose from the dead. 

Beautiful buildings without a soul: With news accounts that the Catholic Church is turning predatory legal tactics loose on the victims of known priest/rapists, it is nakedly obvious that the church hierarchy has lost sense of its reason for existing. (Tony Blankley, The Washington Times). See 

Police: Wanna-be hero of 9/11 exploits tragedy
To hear Bill Bresnahan tell it, he was a hero at ground zero. When the jets piled into the World Trade Center towers, the retired Philadelphia police officer sped from Chester County to New York - more than 120 miles - in 55 minutes. See 

Fundamentalist With Flair
 Cantankerous Carl McIntire protested against nearly every major expression of 20th-century  Christianity, and always with a flourish. By Randall Balmer. See

Do Christian colleges' faith statements violate academic freedom?
A Christian college is allowed to fire professors for disagreeing with its statement of faith (see previous item), but, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education, they don't do so without criticism. See 

Nicholi's believe it or not: For decades, a psychiatrist has asked Harvard students life's hardest questions, Does God Exist? Are You Happy? (The Boston Globe) See 

The Hudson Taylor Story: See 

Heresy in the Early Church: See     Testing the Prophets: In the Montanist controversy, did the church reject heresy or
the Holy Spirit? by James D. Smith III See Writtings of the early church fathers are available at

A History of Mother's Day: 

Southwestern's Predicament
 Can the biggest Protestant seminary in the world  be both Southern Baptist and broadly evangelical?  By Larry Eskridge. See

Quarter of pew believers take God's word as gospel: God created the world in six days and the Antichrist is coming, say nearly one in four Australian church-going Christians (Sydney Morning Herald).

The number of Americans who say they have no religion is growing. By Ted Olsen. See

Faith in America  It's as important as ever, no matter what you believe (Cover Story, U.S. News & World Report)

Religion can stop healthy patriotism becoming nasty nationalism (Stephen Plant, The Times, London)

Authorities Pull Plug on Power for Living
DeMoss Foundation says it is not a cult. By IDEA Evangelical News Agency, Hamburg. See

Scientology pays $8.6 million to end long-running suit
Nearly 22 years ago, Lawrence Wollersheim, a disaffected member of the Church of Scientology, filed suit in Los Angeles accusing the church of mental abuse that pushed him to the brink of suicide. See 

Seeking answers from science and faith about the final days of Earth | A review of John Polkinghorne's The God of Hope and the End of the World (Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times, need to register)

Western characters raise doubts about age of Dead Sea Scrolls: Some scholars rethink assumption scrolls were written before Christian times (The Dallas Morning News). See 

Science in the News

A Man Who Would Shake Up Science
Stephen Wolfram is finally publishing his masterwork, "A New
Kind of Science," and his claims surpass the most
extravagant speculation.

New Science Archive - BioMed Central has launched Science Archive, a new multimedia resource consisting of extensive autobiographical video recordings with some of the most important scientists of the last century. See 


Junk DNA - Junk DNA is the Rodney Dangerfield of the genetics world. It makes up nearly half of all human DNA, but many scientists dismiss it as useless gibberish. A new study published online today from the June 2002 issue of Nature Genetics, however, suggests that segments of junk DNA called LINE-1 elements deserve more respect. See 

Patrick Henry College denied accreditation because of creationism

Creation scientists answer back
A group of 27 creationist scientists has written to the education secretary
arguing against any narrowing of England's school science curriculum to
focus on Darwinian evolution. See 

Darwinism in a flutter
Did a moth show evolution in action? Peter D Smith searches for answers in
Of Moths and Men: Intrigue, Tragedy & the Peppered Moth by Judith Hooper. See,4273,4410914,00.html 

Origin of life - The cherished assumption that life emerged in the oceans has been thrown into doubt. New research shows that primitive cellular membranes assemble more easily in freshwater than in salt water. So although the oldest known fossil organisms were ocean dwellers, life may actually have developed in freshwater ponds. See 

Darwinism - Jerry Coyne reviews Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?: The Relationship between Science and Religion by Michael Ruse. See 

A new discovery in the brain of honeybees has researchers at three institutions suggesting that the gene they studied has played a key evolutionary role in the changes of food-gathering behaviors in many creatures. See 

Unnatural Selection: The power to genetically enhance future generations could be a boon for humanity - or it could lead to an era of violent rebellion against the emergence of a new 'overclass'. See,4273,4412893,00.html  


"False Testament: Archaeology Refutes the Bible’s Claim to History” (pp. 3947) by Daniel Lazare. See  Rebuttal at

Cuneiform Digital Library: Digitization is revolutionizing the study of cuneiform texts.60,000 tablets online at 

More Archaeological News online at 

An ancient underwater city has been found off the coast of south-eastern India. See 

Some Language Experts Think Humans Spoke First With Gestures
Michael C. Corballis, the author of "From Hand to Mouth: The
Origins of Language," argues that long before early humans
spoke they jabbered away with their hands. 

Hypocrisy in El Dorado - "So many of Patrick Tierney's allegations have been refuted that in a court of law, he simply would be dismissed as an unreliable witness," says Kent V. Flannery. See 

Genealogy - "The mathematical study of genealogy indicates that everyone in the world is descended from Nefertiti and Confucius, and everyone of European ancestry is descended from Muhammad and Charlemagne," writes Steve Olson. See 



Life on other planets? If there are other planets like Earth out there, at least one in three probably harbours life, say two physicists in Australia. If life can arise on planets unlike ours then its more likely even than that. Nature Science Update, Preprint.

Tropical 'Runaway Greenhouse' Provides Insight To Venus
Moffett Field - May 17, 2002 - A region in the western tropical Pacific Ocean may help scientists understand how Venus lost all of its water and became a 900-degree inferno. The study of this local phenomenon by NASA scientists also should help researchers understand what conditions on Earth might lead to a similar fate here. See 

"Big Bang" Helps A Map For The Universe 

A new theory of the universe suggests that space and time may not have begun in a big bang, but may have always existed in an endless cycle of expansion and rebirth. Princeton physicist Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok of Cambridge University described their proposed theory in an article published April 25 in an online edition of Science. The theory proposes that, in each cycle, the universe refills with hot, dense matter and radiation, which begins a period of expansion and cooling like the one of the standard big bang picture. See 

Jubilant astronomers have unveiled humankind's most spectacular views of the universe, as captured by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope's new Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). They also reported that Hubble is operating superbly since the March servicing mission and are looking forward to more pictures from the newly revived NICMOS camera. See 

Gaseous Winds Whip Across Sun's Surface 

The Moon's greatest secret: Far beneath its cold craters and rocky landscape lies a heart that is warm and yielding. The discovery, if confirmed, could boost a theory that the Moon was born in the aftermath of a violent collision between early Earth and a speeding cosmic wanderer. See 

Hubble's 'Pillars of Creation' are fading

The Future Of Spacetime
Salt Lake City - May 15, 2002 - Albert Einstein overturned commonsense notions of our universe in 1905 when he published his Special Theory of Relativity, which proposed that space and time are not absolute. The theory means that for an observer traveling near the speed of light, time moves more slowly and distances appear to contract. In his 1916 General Theory of Relativity, Einstein went further, proposing that gravity warps or curves space and time. See 

SPACE STORMS: New observations from our IMAGE spacecraft reveal that a layer in the Earth's outer atmosphere plays an active role in space storms.  It actually
creates a billion-degree cloud of electrified gas, or plasma, that surrounds our planet. The plasma cloud is so ferociously hot, its particles occasionally disrupt satellites in mid to high orbits. See 

Galactic Collusion: More hot gas, far far away: a new Chandra image of Arp 270 shows two galaxies, about 90 million light years from Earth, in the early stage of a
merger.  Galaxy evolution at 

New Theory Asserts The Existence Of Mirror Matter
Melbourne - May 06, 2002 - Invisible asteroids and other cosmic bodies made of a new form of matter may pose a threat to Earth, asserts Australian Physicist Dr. Robert Foot. See 

Bugs on Mars?  New evidence against fossils in the 1996 Mars meteorite
ALH84001, plus good background info, at 

Normally, a young star gets smaller as its gravity pulls gas and dust in toward its center; the smaller the star gets, the faster it spins. But a scientist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and her colleagues have found that a significant percentage of adolescent stars do not spin faster as they shrink. See 

BAD ASTRONOMY: This website has various investigations into UFOs, alien abductions, astrology, the Face on Mars, the conspiracy theory that we never went to the moon, and various other astronomically-related claims. See 

Last Chance In A Lifetime To See Spectacular Dance Of The Planets
Pairs (AFP) May 07, 2002 - Astronomers are relishing a once-in-a-lifetime lineup of five planets whose last conjunction sparked terrified warnings that all civilisation on Earth would be wiped out. See 


Consciousness - Are our thoughts made of the distributed kind of electromagnetic field that permeates space and carries the broadcast signal to the TV or radio? See 

Sleep - Scientists are closer to understanding the mysterious "circadian" rhythm that governs sleep and wake after an experiment using fruit flies. See 

Human cloning patented
The U.S. Patent Office has awarded a patent on a "method for producing a cloned mammal," including "human oocytes," the anti-cloning International Center for Technology Assessment revealed yesterday. 

Scientists find crucial gene that explains cloning failure: Discovery illustrates how vastly problematic it would be to clone a human. Gene that's key to cloning success also hints at serious hurdles to reproductive cloning. See 

The 10/90 gap. While wealthy nations pursue drugs to treat baldness and obesity, depression in dogs, and erectile dysfunction, elsewhere millions are sick or dying from
preventable or treatable infectious and parasitic diseases. It's called the
10/90 gap. "Less than 10% of the worldwide expenditure on health research and development is devoted to the major health problems of 90% of the population," See 

Scientists supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have devised a new, experimental approach to treating allergic diseases. In mice, the scientists used a genetically engineered molecule to connect two receptors on the key immune system cells that cause allergic reactions. Cross-linking these receptor molecules short-circuited the type of allergic reaction that leads to asthma, allergic rhinitis, and even the potentially deadly anaphylaxis caused by food allergy. See 

The ability to learn a new language is determined by the onset of language experience during early brain development  regardless of the specific form of the language experience. This is the finding of a Canadian study led by Rachel Mayberry of McGill University. See 

Whether it's a widely prescribed medication or a placebo, a successful treatment for depression must trigger a common pattern of brain activity changes, suggests a team of researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. See 

Ten years ago, researchers stumbled onto a striking finding: Women who
believed that they were prone to heart disease were nearly four times as
likely to die as women with similar risk factors who didn't hold such
fatalistic views. The higher risk of death, in other words, had nothing to with the usual
heart disease culprits -- age, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight.
Instead, it tracked closely with belief. Think sick, be sick.
The Washington Post. See 

Earth Science

Giant dinosaurs arrived with a bang
A massive meteorite impact may explain the rapid rise of huge,
carnivorous dinosaurs, as well as their demise. Scientists have
found the hallmarks of an impact and mass extinction in rocks just
below strata containing the earliest footprints of the giant
dinosaurs. See,ZbcceehbeeCJ&oid=UcjjbCB

First Animals May Have Lived 1.2 Billion Years Ago
Perth - May 10, 2002 - In the May 10th issue of the weekly magazine Science, an Australian-Swedish team of scientists report fossil evidence that animal-like organisms were around more than 1200 million years ago. See 

Oldest worm trail discovered: Fossils in rocks thought to have been deposited 1.2 billion years ago could be the oldest evidence of animal life discovered so far. Australian researchers believe a worm-like creature left a trail in
sandstone found off the western tip of Australia. See 

Recent Dinosaur Discoveries In Utah And Wyoming
Flagstaff - May 9, 2002 - Imagine a one-ton Big Bird à la Sesame Street, but instead of friendly "hands," he has Freddie Claws. That's basically what the Therizinosaurid dinosaur looks like that geologist David Gillette's team from the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) found in Kane County, Utah. See 

Ocean Cores May Give Clues On Climate Change
Edinburgh - May 07, 2002 - Core samples taken from far below the ocean floor are helping a University of Edinburgh geologist to form a picture of dramatic climate changes which took place 30 to 40 million years ago. See 


By using an ultra-powerful laser to set off energy bursts lasting a tiny fraction of a second, scientists may finally be able to see -- and perhaps control -- what happens in the heart of an atom, its nucleus. This system, which its theorists call a lasetron, could also briefly produce a massive magnetic field resembling that of a white dwarf star, opening the door to important new experiments in astrophysics. See 

Rice University physicists have shown for the first time that ultracold atoms can form bright "solitons," localized bundles of waves that maintain a constant shape as they propagate. Solitons of light are used in ultra-high speed optical communication networks because they can carry data over great distances without the use of signal boosters. At the atomic level, solitons could further the development of new forms of atom lasers. See 


The Last Sociologist
The dishonoring of David Riesman, and the tradition of sociology for which he stood, is a sign of the decline of a discipline that used to think big. 

May 5, 2002

Religion in the News 

Priest in Boston Abuse Scandal Arrested | Under pressure from prosecutors, the Archdiocese of Boston also provided internal documents about other abuse cases, including files relating to Father Shanley. (The New York Times). See 

Vatican penance letter stirs ire | The Vatican on Thursday stressed the need for Catholics to confess their sins—but said some "habitual" sinners could never be forgiven. (Chicago Tribune)

Harold Camping, octogenarian founder and head of Family Stations Inc., is now roiling churches by saying that Christians are in the Great Tribulation and should depart from their congregations. "No longer are you to be under the spiritual rulership of the church," Camping wrote in a 2001 tract, "Has the Era of the Church Age Come to an End?" He cites the injunction of Jesus for believers to flee a "Jerusalem" that has been "compassed with armies." Camping has stimulated controversy in the past. In 1992 he published a book saying that the second coming of Christ would likely occur in 1994. See The Family Radio Web site includes an online copy of Camping's 2001 "Has the Era of the Church Age Come to an End?" tract and a brief bio of Camping. A call for Christians to leave their churches--the End Times may be here — Dave Shiflett, Opinion Journal (February 1, 2002). A radio evangelist tells Christians to stay away from churchesWorld (April 20, 2002). Other articles about Harold Camping see Also I have personally interviewed Harold Camping and have written articles about him. See 

Historical Jesus: Much of Jesus scholarship is about neither the historical Jesus nor good scholarship. By Jeremy Lott. See 

A guru's guide to fire walking and forgiving

Science in the News

INTERPRETATION MATTERS: Science and Religion at the Crossroads
A conference for scientists, teachers, scholars, clergy, philosophers,
students, activists, and all those with a passion for exploring the
important questions raised by religion and science. June 15 - 20, 2002 
Haverford College: Haverford, Pennsylvania, USA 
Sponsored by the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science
and the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences 
For more information or to register, go to       

Americans found to be shaky on science
Few Americans understand the scientific process and many believe in mysterious psychic powers and may be quick to accept phony science reports, according to a national survey. See and 

Pseudoscience - "The odds are stacked when science tries to debate pseudoscience," says Lawrence M. Krauss. See 


The Monkey Trial & The Rise of Fundamentalism: See 

Creationism - Stephen Jay Gould, one of the great evolutionary biologists of our time, will publish his "magnum opus", this month, in which he lambasts creationists for deliberately distorting his theories to undermine the teaching of Darwinism in schools. See 

In China fossil, 'the mother of all flowering plants'
The ancestor of all the grains, fruits and blossoms of the modern world may have been a fragile water plant that lived in a Chinese lake 125 million years ago. See 

Human genome - Clues for using the sequence of the human genome to diagnose and treat diseases may lie in our distant past, says a University of Florida professor. See 

Origin of bipedalism seems most closely tied to environmental changes. The hypothesis they found the most support for regarding the origin of bipedalism is the one that says our ancestors began walking upright largely in response to environmental changes – in particular, to the growing incidence of open spaces and the way that changed the distribution of food. See 

Degrading Darwin - "Darwin's lament was that nobody seemed to understand that natural selection is a process without purpose - without a preordained outcome and without an active selection process as in 'Man's selection'. See 

Evolution - The oldest fossilised footprints ever found on land suggest animals may have emerged from the sea before plants. Ananova, Nature Science Update. See 

Human evolution - If one of your hominoid ancestors hadn't gotten a viral infection millions of years ago, you might look really, really different today. See,12543,230233,00.html 

Evolution - We are all descended from a mouse-like animal that scurried among the dinosaurs 125 million years ago, scientists revealed today. Ananova, Nature.

The most comprehensive genetic study to date concerning the evolutionary relationships among the three animal species whose genes have been completely sequenced--the human, the fruit fly, and the nematode worm--has determined that the human species is more closely related to the fruit fly than to the nematode. See 

A single gene change in a relatively benign recent ancestor of the bacterium that causes bubonic plague played a key role in the evolution of the deadly disease, researchers report in the April 26 issue of the journal Science. By acquiring this gene, the bacterium gradually changed from a germ that causes a mild human stomach illness acquired via contaminated food or water to the flea-borne agent of the "Black Death," which in the 14th century killed one-fourth of Europe's population. See 


ASSYRIA: Bringing a Long-Lost Library Back to Life: by Andrew Lawler
MOSUL, IRAQ--A stone's throw from the ancient city of Nineveh, Iraq intends
to erect a center for cuneiform research. Scholars argue that the new
center, dubbed the Saddam Institute after Iraq's president, could leave a
lasting legacy if it were to encourage preservation and cataloging of the
thousands of tablets languishing in the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, as well as
prepare for an onslaught of new ones. Others, however, are dubious about
the scientific payoff of a tablet-based project in a digital age. (subscription needed)
Full story at 

Reburied Treasure
Archaeologists use only superlatives to describe the excavation and its fruits. And no wonder: More than a million artifacts were pulled from the ground preceding construction of the National Constitution Center, leading one archaeologist to call it simply "the greatest urban archaeological find of our lifetime."

Archaeology - politics - Bones of Contention: The ongoing debate over where the first Americans came from has anthropologists battling with Native Americans, white supremacists and the Army Corps of Engineers. See 


Pushing the limits of its powerful vision, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered the oldest burned-out stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. These extremely old, dim "clockwork stars" provide a completely independent reading on the age of the universe without relying on measurements of the expansion of the universe. See 

Adding Trillions Of Years To The Life Of The Universe
Princeton - May 01, 2002 - A new theory of the universe suggests that space and time may not have begun in a big bang, but may have always existed in an endless cycle of expansion and rebirth. See 

Ames Astrobiology Explorer Scope Chosen For Feasibility Study
Moffett Field - Apr 24, 2002 - A mission proposal from NASA Ames Research Center to measure the pre-biological chemical building blocks of life in deep space has been selected as a next-mission candidate under NASA'S Explorer Program -- a roster of low-cost, focused next-generation spacecraft. See 

New Evidence For Organic Compounds In Deep Spaces
Den Haag - Apr 22, 2002 - The mysterious spectral bands in the infrared of interstellar gas clouds in deep space originate from organic compounds. Research by the Nijmegen physicist Hans Piest confirms this. He has provided new experimental evidence for this almost 30-year-old problem in astronomy. See 

The universe appears to be permeated with an invisible force  dark energy  that is pushing it apart faster and faster. By conducting redshift surveys of galaxy clusters, astronomers hope to learn more about this mysterious force, and about the structure and geometry of the universe. See 

Astronomers Link X-Ray Flashes To Gamma-Ray Bursts
Albuquerque - Apr 23, 2002 - Astronomers announced today the discovery of what may be the lower-energy "poor relations" of cosmic gamma-ray bursts, the fantastically powerful explosions occurring daily in distant galaxies throughout the universe. See 


Religion and health - Michael Saunders reviews The Link Between Religion and Health: Psychoneuroimmunology and the Faith Factor edited by by Harold George Koenig and Harvey Jay Cohen. See 

Joseph LeDoux's  new book "The Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are." See 

Study: Avoid newly approved medicines
People should avoid taking newly approved medicines if older, effective alternatives are available, medical researchers said in a report published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Cooking tomatoes -- such as in spaghetti sauce -- makes the fruit heart-healthier and boosts its cancer-fighting ability. All this, despite a loss of vitamin C during the cooking process, say Cornell food scientists. The reason: cooking substantially raises the levels of beneficial compounds called phytochemicals. See 

Young men who quickly react to stress with anger are at three times the normal risk of developing premature heart disease, according to a Johns Hopkins study of more than 1,000 physicians. Additionally, such men  who said they expressed or concealed their anger, became irritable or engaged in gripe sessions  were five times more likely than their calmer counterparts to have an early heart attack even without a family history of heart disease. See 

Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center have discovered a way to transplant kidneys without having the patient remain on a lifelong course of immune-suppressing drugs in order to prevent rejection. As an added bonus, the donor kidneys don't even need to come from a relative - a restriction that has severely limited kidney availability to sick people in need. See 

Implanting olfactory ensheathing glial cells into the spinal cords of paralyzed adult rats recently has been shown to promote neuronal cell repair and restore function. After transplantation, the rats were able to walk, even climb over complex terrain, and respond to touch and proprioception (stimuli originating in muscles and tendons) in their hind-limbs. These results are the most dramatic functional and histological repair yet achieved after complete spinal cord transection in adult mammals, and they open new avenues in the search for treatment of spinal cord injuries in other mammals, including humans. See 

Human genome - Two scientific papers published this week suggest that there might be many more human genes than thought, or at least that the human genome has hidden levels of complexity that are only starting to be revealed. See 

Three Women Due To Give Birth To Cloned Humans: Doctor
Rome - Apr 24, 2002 - The controversial Italian gynecologist Severino Antinori said in a television interview that he knew of three women who were currently bearing cloned human embryos, although he denied that he had anything to do with the cases. See 

'Our Posthuman Future': Biotechnology as a Threat to Human Nature
Francis Fukuyama, a bioethicist, takes a sobering look at
the brave new world biotechnology is creating for humans. 

Earth Science

Ice Coring Team Heads For Alaska
Columbus - Apr 26, 2002 - Glaciologist Lonnie Thompson hopes that once his latest expedition ends in early summer, he will have one of the so-far missing pieces to the global climate change puzzle -- a record of ancient weather trapped inside ice from Alaskan glaciers that could date back thousands of years. See 

Massive Icebergs May Affect Antarctic Sea Life And Food Chain
Greenbelt - Apr 29, 2002 - NASA-funded research using satellite data has shown large icebergs that have broken off from Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf are dramatically affecting the growth of minute plant life in the ocean around the region -- plant life vital to the local food chain. See 


Super-Fast Flashes Could Help Scientists See into a Nucleus
Stony Brook - May 01, 2002 - By using an ultra-powerful laser to set off energy bursts lasting a tiny fraction of a second, scientists may finally be able to see -- and perhaps control -- what happens in the heart of an atom, its nucleus. This system, which its theorists call a "lasetron," could also briefly produce a massive magnetic field resembling that of a white dwarf star, opening the door to important new experiments in astrophysics. See 


Getting past the myth of cycles of abuse
Every year, Bette Bottoms performs a little exercise with her psychology students at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "Raise your hand if you think most people who've been abused go on to abuse their own children," she says.

Happiness - When we talk about being happy, what do we really mean? We know that happiness comes from a variety of sources, depending upon a person's point of view. But according to APS Fellow Daniel Kahneman, people don't know how happy they are because happiness is so relative. See 

Self-esteem had opposite effects on young girls and young boys: Self-esteem plays an apparent role in the loss of virginity among adolescents, according to a study by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine published in the April 2002 issue of Pediatrics. See 

Schizophrenia - Schizophrenics can't tell the difference between reality and hallucinations because both are stimulated in the same place in the brain, according to a Vanderbilt University psychiatrist. See 

Psychiatry - All the latest news from the American Psychiatric Association: Psychiatric News. See 

April 28, 2002

Religion in the News 

Hundreds protest shrouding of Ten Commandments
Singing and praying, gasping and shrieking, a boisterous crowd that swelled to 350 rallied in protest yesterday as Chester County officials met a court-ordered deadline to shroud the Ten Commandments plaque on the county courthouse. See 

Church's stance on abuse stuns victims:
U.S. cardinals stopped short of proposing a no-tolerance policy. "They are closing their eyes," said a man abused 40 years ago. See 

A Grave in the Air, a Soul Dancing
Two remarkable collections of Holocaust testimony.  By John Wilson. See

Evangelical Support of Israel Isn't Just About Premillennialism
 Are conservative Christians upset with Bush? Compiled by Ted Olsen. See

Denver billionaire backs films with moral message | Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz is bankrolling new entertainment businesses he hopes will bring positive, family-friendly movies to the big screen. (The Colorado Springs Gazette). 

Hanging with atheists: They are definitely a happier bunch than I expected (John Bloom, UPI). See 

Theology for the Rest of Us
 Introductions to theological thinking need not be dry, bloated, or inaccessible.
 By Roger E. Olson
. See

Early Christian Writings: See 

The Heavyweights of Religion Research
Reference works that provide pound-for-pound excellence.  By Rich Poll. See

Science in the News 


Creationist booted from Panhandle Earth Day event: NICEVILLE — Organizers of a local Earth Day event kicked out Kent Hovind's creationism group and its erosion display for distributing written material and videos with religious messages. The group, Creation Science Evangelism, was asked to leave about noon Sunday shortly after the three-day Community Earth Day 2002 celebration began in this Florida Panhandle city. 

Intelligent Design?
a special report reprinted from Natural History magazine. See 

A stunning fossil reveals one of our earliest mammal relatives 

Researchers from the University of Chicago have estimated that genetic mutations  the raw material for evolution  occur 5.25 times more often in males than in females. This discovery should lay to rest any doubts raised by recent studies questioning the dominant role males play in producing mutations for molecular evolution. See 

A researcher studying the last common link between invertebrate and vertebrate animals has found a key genetic change that separates the spineless from the backboned. See

New research that accounts for gaps in the fossil record challenges traditional methods of interpreting fossils and constructing evolutionary trees. Applying a new statistical approach to primates demonstrates that this group-from which humans developed-originated 85 million years ago (Mya) rather than 65 Mya, as is widely accepted. See 


Interview with the Chief Editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls: 

The Babylonian Gap Revisited. "Was the period following the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. a historical blank? Two scholars weigh in on opposite sides of the issue." See 

Return to Lachish
Steven Feldman
"The mighty Assyrian ruler Sennacherib boasted of his siege and capture of Lachish in a series of impressive reliefs within his palace. BAR recently visited this important site with David Ussishkin, who excavated Lachish over 11 seasons." See 

Philistine Kin Found in Early Israel
Adam Zertal
El-Ahwat differs from all ancient towns in Israel. Who built it and why did they abandon the heavily fortified site after only 50 years? The answers led investigators to, of all places, Sardinia; in the process, they learned much about the Sea Peoples and the battle led by the Biblical prophet Deborah. See the latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Their web site is at www./ 

Sign of assault sheds new light on Neanderthals
WASHINGTON - Perhaps it was a fight over food or a mate. For some reason, someone whacked a Neanderthal over the head with a sharp weapon 36,000 years ago in what is now France. See 


Age of the Universe according to Hubble Telescope: The Hubble Space Telescope has taken observations of some of the
Universe's faintest and oldest stars, called white dwarfs, and has
confirmed, in an entirely new way, that the Universe is about 13 or 14
billion years old.  Several other methods have come up with the same answer
before, but if you still had doubts, you can pretty much erase

Star Birth & Death: A new Chandra image of the Tarantula Nebula gives scientists a close-up view of the drama of star formation and evolution.  Star birth and death at 

Collecting dust
We are stardust, we are golden, We are . . . billion-year-old carbon . . . - Joni Mitchell, "Woodstock" Mother Nature is a messy housekeeper. She leaves dust everywhere - not just under the bed, on the closet shelf, or behind the pictures on the wall. Scientists are making a major effort to collect and analyze space dust because it's the oldest material in the universe that they can examine in laboratories on Earth instead of by telescopes. They consider dust to be a key to understanding the origin of our planet and everything, including people, on it. See 

Seeing big bang with fiery finish and sequels
Two astrophysicists, offering a new theory for the life and death of the universe, predict the big bang will be followed by a big crunch. See 

An Endless Universe? 

The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory has found the once "missing" neutrinos from
the Boron-Beryllium fusion reaction in the Sun. See 

Russian rocket blasts off with a tourist
Trailing a tail of fire, a Russian rocket blasted into orbit yesterday, carrying the world's second space tourist - a South African who paid $20 million to fulfill a childhood dream. See 

Cosmic ray mystery solved
Astronomers believe they have uncovered the source of the highest
energy cosmic rays - retired quasars. Cosmic rays are tiny,
energy-packed particles and, although very rare, are the only sample
of matter from outside the Solar System. See,ZbcceehbeeCJ&oid=UcjjbCB

Neutron Stars: Scientists using our RXTE spacecraft have observed a rare thermonuclear explosion on a neutron star that brightened it for so long that they could
detect its motion as it moved towards and away from us on its orbit around
a companion star. This enabled them to measure the star's orbital velocity
using the Doppler effect, and revealed the neutron star's spin frequency,
confirming two key theories about neutron stars. 
Story at 
RXTE at 

Scientists Discover Antifreeze in Space: Warming Theories on How and Where
Life Begins - this suggests that sugars, necessary for life, could also be
produced (naturally) in interstellar

Galaxy Collision: Our Chandra X-ray Observatory has provided the best X-ray image yet of two Milky Way-like galaxies in the midst of a head-on collision.  This may help understand the outcome of such collisions in the past, explaining a lot about why the Universe looks the way it does now. See 

Energy Disappears High In Atmosphere, Scientists Say
When cosmic rays smack into the Earth's atmosphere, part of the energy released seemingly disappears, entering a realm not measurable by current detectors. This energy possibly forms miniature black holes or is transferred to "particles" of gravity, called gravitons, which might leak into other dimensions, according to scientists at NASA and the University of Thessaloniki in Greece. See 


A Dr. Dolittle approach to brain studies
Scientists are pondering questions about how animals think, hoping to understand just how animal consciousness and self-awareness differ from our own. Eventually, the researchers hope to gain insight into how consciousness emerges from the human brain. See 

The Truth About Sleep
Approximately one-third of their lives is a complete mystery to most people. Take a journey deep inside your sleep: The Sleepiness Test When Good Sleep Goes Bad 
Adventures in Sleeping The High Cost of Sleeplessness Tips for a Good Night's Sleep 
What Do Your Dreams Mean? The Wake-Up Pill

Can babies really begin to learn in the womb?
You may know expectant parents who incorporate a sort of pre-preschool curriculum into their pregnancy.
Will it do any good?

Inhalant abuse, also known as "huffing," is a rapidly growing health problem, particularly among young people. However, little is known about how inhaled chemicals affect the brain and body. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory -- inspired by schoolchildren who wanted to know more about huffing -- have produced the first-ever images showing what parts of the brain and body are most affected by toluene, a commonly inhaled solvent. See 

Some people's brains may harbor their own built-in defense system against the addictive powers of cocaine. According to new research at The Rockefeller University, a naturally occurring brain opiate called dynorphin may, in certain individuals, serve as an antidote to counter the pleasurable, yet dangerous, effects of cocaine. See 

In experiments with fat cells, Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered direct evidence that a build-up of sugar on proteins triggers insulin resistance, a key feature of most cases of diabetes. See 

Older men with higher testosterone levels performed better on tests of cognition in a new study from UCSF researchers. The study suggests that older men who are prescribed testosterone supplements may reduce their risk of cognitive decline, a precursor state to Alzheimers disease, the researchers said. See 

The Black Death of the 1300s was probably not the modern disease known as bubonic plague, according to a team of anthropologists studying on these 14th century epidemics. See 

Earth Science

University of California researchers have solved a longstanding mystery for scientists trying to understand how Earth's climate can quickly shift between cold and warm modes. The mystery revolves around the source of a rapid change in the geochemistry of oceanic carbon that occurred just as the last ice age ended, between 16,000 and 20,000 years ago. See 

Rare grains of metal from California and Oregon are providing new clues about the origin of the Hawaiian Islands  and fueling old controversies about the evolution of the Earth's core. See 


A Foil Of Antimatter
Los Alamos - Apr 23, 2002 - Making antimatter that can't be seen and that otherwise might not exist, filtering it through a nickel's worth of aluminum foil and then capturing it in a "trap" without walls, has the attention of Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist Michael Holzscheiter. See 

Los Alamos Researcher Says 'Black Holes' Aren't Holes At All
Albuquerque - Apr 21, 2002 - Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of South Carolina have provided a hypothesis that "black holes" in space are not holes at all, but instead are more akin to bubbles. See 


A revolution is quietly occurring that promises to change the way we light our homes, offices, and world. Sandia National Laboratories is among the research entities around the country at the forefront of the revolution. See 

April 21, 2002

Religion in the News 

Beliefnet is bankrupt
"We all believe in something" reads the tagline at multifaith Web site Beliefnet, and the venture capitalists backing the site believe they've had enough. The company filed for bankruptcy Thursday night, having burned through at least $25 million. "The irony is…the importance of religion on the Internet has continued to grow," site editor and CEO Steve Waldman tells the Associated Press. "There is a tremendous appetite for independent information and ideas about religion and spirituality, and a multi-faith approach." See 

More Doctrine, Not Less
We need to proclaim truth to a truth-impaired generation.
By Charles Colson
. See

Falwell goes global: The Reverend is launching a Mideast non-peace campaign and a cable station (Bill Berkowitz, See 

The high priests of Bible-bashing: Those who insist that every part of the Bible is false are just as closed-minded as those who insist the reverse. (Gregg Easterbrook, Beliefnet). See 

The real heal?: Does televangelist Benny Hinn work miracles? (Religion News Service). See 

'A Rock Band That's Good for Something'
The author of Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 talks about why politicians listen to Bono. Interview by Todd Hertz at

Two Cultural Giants
Both Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis were emotionally wounded as boys and struggled with depression as men. But a worldview can make a tremendous difference. By David Neff. See

New Book: Murdock, The New Testament Translated from the Syriac [Aramaic]. This book is the first English translation of the Syriac (Aramaic) New Testament. Aramaic was the language of Christ himself! 

Science in the News


Andrew Petto is Associate Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and Editor of National Center of Science Education. There web site is He also teaches in the biomedical program at the University of the Sciences.


The Real Eve - In a television documentary scheduled for airing on the Discovery Channel this Sunday, April 21st  at 9 PM EST, humankind is said to share a common genetic link that can be traced to one woman who lived in Africa more than 150,000 years ago. See 

Evolution vs. creation: Creationism should be taught at home and in churches, where it can be given its proper religious context. It doesn't belong in schools (Reggie Rivers, The Denver Post). See,1002,155%257E519321,00.html 

Should science look for God? Search could be interesting | Can we live with a scientific answer about the real purpose of the universe? (Jane Eisner, The Philadelphia Inquirer). See 

Stop the fighting: Use 'creation-evolution' conflict as teaching tool: We'll never get beyond the battling until we help students understand the range of views — religious and non-religious — about the claims of science (Charles Haynes, Freedom Forum). See 

'Intelligent design creationism and its critics': Supernatural selection: In the essays compiled in this anthology, intelligent-design creationists and their opponents go head-to-head. (The New York Times Book Review). See 

Evolution - New research that accounts for gaps in the fossil record challenges traditional methods of interpreting fossils and constructing evolutionary trees. Applying a new statistical approach to primates demonstrates that this group-from which humans developed-originated 85 million years ago (Mya) rather than 65 Mya, as is widely accepted. See 

Creationism - Jason Rosenhouse reviews Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology by William A. Dembski and The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism by Phillip E. Johnson. See 


EMERALD CITY: Exploration in Egypt's Eastern Desert yields the mines that furnished Rome's elite with coveted stones. See 

Caligula's Floating Palaces
Archaeologists and shipwrights resurrect one of the emperor's pleasure boats.
by Deborah N. Carlson. See 

Golden Treasure from Nimrud: The treasure, which dates from the ninth to eighth centuries B.C., comes from four or five tombs thought to contain the remains of several consorts of King Ashurnasipal II and includes hundreds of pieces of enameled and engraved gold jewelry, gold bowls and flasks, and a rare electrum mirror. See 


Primitive bacteria exist in huge numbers deep in the Earth, living on hydrogen gas produced in rocks, a NASA scientist reports in the spring issue of the journal Astrobiology. See 

Applying unprecedented refinements to the analysis of celestial hazards, NASA astronomers have identified a potential close encounter with Earth more than eight centuries in the future by an asteroid two-thirds of a mile (one kilometer) wide. See 

Hubble Hunts Down The Odd Couples Of The Outer Rim
Los Angeles - Apr 18, 2002 - NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is hot on the trail of an intriguing new class of solar system object that might be called a Pluto "mini-me" -- dim and fleeting objects that travel in pairs in the frigid, mysterious outer realm of the solar system called the Kuiper Belt. See 

Evidence For Young Planets Found In Dusty Orbit About Close Star
Tucson - Apr 18, 2002 - Two independent teams of astronomers are presenting the discovery of new features in an edge-on disk around the nearby star Beta Pictoris at the Gillett Symposium on "Debris Disks and the Formation of Planets" in Tucson, Arizona. See 


Duke University Medical Center researchers have discovered the brain region that automatically watches for patterns in sequences of events, even when the pattern emerges by random happenstance. See 

A new type of analog processor that is compact while offering extremely fast computations for image processing could possibly lead to the creation of an artificial eye that has the potential to replace damaged human retinas, offering sight to the blind if the chip works as planned. See 

A new University of Colorado at Boulder study indicates older adults may be able to combat oxidative stress in their cells that may damage tissues and interfere with normal physiological functions by loading up on vitamin C. See 

Someday, people taking medications for high blood pressure may undergo genetic screening tests that help identify which drug therapies are best for them. University of Washington researchers and colleagues found that people with hypertension who have a particular genetic variant were twice as likely to avoid heart attacks and strokes if they took a diuretic medication. See 

People who drink tea may be doing more than soothing a weary stomachthey might be preventing cancer, according to researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and colleagues. See 

The largest clinical trial performed to date on the popular herbal supplement St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) has found it to be no more effective than placebo for the treatment of a moderately severe form of major depression, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center. Major depression, also called major depressive disorder, is one of the most common forms of depression. See 

Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have identified a set of compounds that appear to overcome an important barrier to regenerating damaged nerves. Their findings could lead to new treatments for spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions. See 

Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center have been spreading colds to cancer patients, all in the hope of curing a deadly disease. In the unusual technique, doctors inject a modified cold virus into the liver as a way to kill cancerous cells. See 

Earth Science

Virginia Tech geological-sciences Ph.D. candidate Jason Reed is trying to determine what controls sandstone formation and how its resulting reservoir quality can aid oil and gas companies search for potential targets for exploitation. See 

New research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has shown that in nature, size may not necessarily matter as much as we think. Scripps scientists Enric Sala and Michael Graham have produced a new study showing that so-called "intermediate" players in natural communities can often have as much and greater impacts than larger species. See 

The kinetic energy created by asteroid and comet impacts with the Earth may be key to linking some impacts with mass extinction events. Michael Lucas, a geology student at Florida Gulf Coast University, believes that the severity of four extinction events during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic can be correlated with the total kinetic energy released by impacts that occur during the geologic age of the mass extinction. See 


UC chemist William Connick has found a way to get a single particle of light - one photon - to do twice the expected amount of work. See 

University of Arizona scientists are developing a new inkjet printing process that produces such light-emitting devices as pictures and such photovoltaic devices as solar cells from digitized images on a computer. See 

Organic chemistry textbooks will need to be revised to recognize a chemical species that chemists have discovered at Northwestern University. The species  pentamethylcyclopentadienyl cation  was thought not to exist for long because theory said it was unstable. See 

April 14, 2002

Religion in the News

Who Are American Christians Siding
With in the Holy Land?
Mainliners support the Palestinians, evangelicals  support Israel, and churches keep burning.    Compiled by Ted Olsen. See 

For Better or Worse
A new study finds that married people live longer
and are less depressed.  By Ted Olsen. See

Jenkins Gets Left Behind
Tim LeHaye signs Bantam Dell book deal for
$45 million. By Ted Olson.  See

'All Human Cloning Is Wrong,' Says Bush
 Public is 4-to-1 against all human cloning, but Senate is evenly split on comprehensive ban. Compiled by Ted Olsen. See

CT Book Awards 2002
 Here are the books our judges -- 200 pastors, scholars,    and church leaders -- considered the worthiest this year. See 

The End Times Update: The birth of a red heifer may signal Armageddon? See 

Science in the News


Can science divine the hand of God in the universe?
Investment tycoon Sir John Templeton wants to know, and he's paying a total
of $1 million to 15 scientists to look for a purpose in the cosmos. See 

Science panel skips debate on evolution
Education standards for Ohio don't mention intelligent design theory
By Reginald Fields. See 

Jonathan Wells’ book Icons of Evolution: National Center for Science Education President Kevin Padian and NCSE Postdoctoral Scholar Alan D. Gishlick have written a review of Jonathan Wells’ book Icons of Evolution.The review is available online in the March 2002 issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology at: 

Creationism - Jim Holt reviews Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics edited by Robert Pennock. (Must sign in) See 

PBS will begin re-broadcasting the groundbreaking series Evolution, beginning May 14th, with the two hour episode Darwin’s Dangerous Idea and then showing two one hour episodes each consecutive week until June 4th. See 

Evolution of Mating: Evolutionary biologists have proposed many theories to explain the widespread occurrence of sexual reproduction and the associated
process of genetic recombination. This collection of articles, by leading researchers in the field, illustrates the current status of these theories and delves into the genetic and behavioral consequences of different sexual strategies. The April issue of Nature Reviews Genetics at 

New Book: Mammoths, Sabertooths, and Hominids: 65 Million Years of Mammalian Evolution in Europe by Jordi Agusti, Mauricio Anton
Hardcover (April 2002) Columbia University Press; AMAZON - US 

PRIMATE EVOLUTION: Gene Activity Clocks Brain's Fast Evolution (p. 233) by
Elizabeth Pennisi. A team of molecular biologists has taken a stab at defining what makes us human. Its answer: We're set apart from other primates not so much by
differences in the makeup of our genes but by relatively recent changes in
how active those genes are. Such changes are most dramatic in the brain,
where they've occurred at a faster rate in humans than in other primates,
they report on page 340. (Must register)
Full story at 

The First Animal: For the first time ever, scientists believe they have gathered substantial evidence that points to a single animal group of creatures that gave rise to all animals, including humans. Researchers such as Cristina Diaz and Mitch Sogin think that the most likely candidate for this "Animal Eve" is a group of creatures that still exist: the sponges. See 


You thought U.S. tax code was grueling: In 2050 B.C., levies included heavy labor and a 48% rate. By James M. O'Neill. See 

Deconstructing the Walls of Jericho by Ze'ev Herzog

Herzog's Attack on the Bible Unjustified by Hershel Shanks

3 500-year-old remains found in Damascus Citadel from

Ruins of an ancient trading center Assur soon to be under water from


NASA Spacecraft Finds Comet Has Hot, Dry Surface
Pasadena - Apr 06, 2002 - Comets are sometimes described as "dirty snowballs," but a close flyby of one by NASA's Deep Space 1 spacecraft last fall detected no frozen water on its surface. Comet Borrelly has plenty of ice beneath its tar-black surface, but any exposed to sunlight has vaporized away, say scientists analyzing data from Deep Space 1, managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. See

New Study Reveals Twice As Many Asteroids As Previously Believed
Paris - Apr 5, 2002 - Asteroids in our Solar System may be more numerous than previously thought, according to the first systematic search for these objects performed in the infrared, with ESA's Infrared Space Observatory, ISO. The ISO Deep Asteroid Search indicates that there are between 1. 1 million and 1.9 million 'space rocks' larger than 1 kilometre in diameter in the so-called 'main asteroid belt', about twice as many as previously believed. See

Recreating the Big Bang: UK scientists are to call for faster progress towards building a giant atom smasher. The proposed £3bn machine will recreate conditions seen moments after the Big Bang. It could help answer some of the fundamental questions of the Universe. See 

Hope Yet The Beagle Will Land
Los Angeles - Apr 08, 2002 - Over the past week, there have been two important developments connected with plans by NASA and the European Space Agency to land as many as three spacecraft on during 2003-04 Mars window, as Bruce Moomaw details in this latest report for SpaceDaily readers. See


Material for Teachers About How We
Know the Age of the Universe Is Now On Line at 
It is a special issue of "The Universe in the Classroom,"
a newsletter on teaching astronomy in grades 3-12,
published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Planetary Alinement End of April and Early May; Two very special events will occur during this planetary line-up. On May 10, the planets Mars and Venus will appear to pass so close to one another that, to the naked eye, the Roman God of War and the Roman Goddess of Love will become one.
Earlier, on May 5, something even more spectacular will happen. The bright
planets Mars, Saturn and Venus will group together to form a perfect
equilateral triangle in the western sky. This dazzling configuration will be
visible almost everywhere on Earth. In the Middle East, this pyramid-shaped
specter will hang directly above Bethlehem. Oddly enough, more than 2,000 years ago, this same grouping of planets may have caught the attention of the Biblical Magi.

Building A Case For Life On Mars
Brighton - Apr 9, 2002 - When it was announced last month that the Mars Odyssey satellite had found water ice beneath the planet's frozen carbon dioxide south polar ice cap, Dr. Lidija Siller, a physicist from the University of Newcastle, England, felt excited. "I believe that the data I have explains how this water became trapped underneath the surface",she said. See

Where Are The Other Earths Beyond The Solar System?
Bristol - Apr 10, 2002 - One of the most fascinating areas of astronomical research in recent years has been the search for other 'Earths' circling Sun-like stars far beyond our Solar System. See 

Chandra X-ray Observatory has studied two separate
supernova remnants, or neutron stars, and found evidence that they may, in
fact, be composed of a new form of matter.  The neutrons within them may be
partly, or entirely, broken down into quarks.  This finding, if confirmed,
would be of fundamental importance in physics, and demonstrates the value
of using space as a physics laboratory. See 

New Star Statistics Cast Doubt On Existing Theory Of Matter
Washington - Apr 10, 2002 - The temperature and size of two strange stars under observation by NASA's Chandra space telescope have revealed weaknesses in the current understanding of the structure of matter, according to research made public Wednesday. See 

Mass of Black Holes: Astronomers using RXTE have shown that the "tempo" of x-ray variations from a black hole is related to its mass.  The smaller the black hole, the slower its "beat".  This could help pin down the masses of distant black holes.  Story at 

A Galactic Graveyard For Your Desktop
Bristol - Apr 10, 2002 - An unprecedented source of planetary nebulae, the disk-like relics of elderly, dying stars, has been discovered in the southern part of our Milky Way galaxy. See 


Rumours of a human clone pregnancy spark health fears and horror 

Try the Online Encyclopedia of Diseases and Conditions
Take advantage of this quick, reliable resource that explains the causes, diagnoses and treatments of a broad range of illnesses.

Learning to Tell the Truth
Learning to tell the truth is one of the most important steps in our social development, but it doesn't come naturally to young children.

Developing a Moral Sense
Among parents' most important tasks is helping their children develop moral beliefs to guide them through life.

US looks to create robo-soldier
By Jane Wakefield. The soldier of the future could be able to leap buildings, heal his own wounds, deflect bullets and become invisible. These are just some of the futuristic plans of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which has been selected by the US army to create the battlefield equivalent of Robocop. See  

Earth Science

EARLY EARTH: Atlanta Puts Life In The Spotlight
Atlanta - Apr 5, 2002 - The evidence is tattered, incomplete, unclear, ancient and sometimes open to conflicting explanations. It includes fossils 3.5 billion years old; the genomes of creatures great and small; biochemical clues to metabolism, cellular structure and genetic copying mechanisms; records of the planet's atmosphere; the laws of physics and the chemical fuel of life: sugars. See

Primitive bacteria exist in huge numbers deep in the Earth, living on
hydrogen gas produced in rocks.  Sounds kinda dreary, but they don't

Pacific Islands Threatened By Deepening El Nino Tides
Auckland - Apr 8 2002 - Thousands of people living on a low lying atoll in the central Pacific have been panicked by very high tides which experts say are a dramatic precursor to the El Nino weather phenomenon. See

Are the Earth's poles on the move?

April 7, 2002

Religion in the News 

Fundamentalist leader Carl McIntire dies at 95
The term fundamentalist may be quickly falling out of fashion to describe conservative Christians who emphasize separation from a sinful culture, but during the fundamentalist-evangelical split of the post-World War II era, Carl McIntire was one of the most prominent people to wear the label proudly. He died Tuesday at age 95.

Jerry Falwell takes aim at
Baptist minister Jerry Falwell doesn't find very funny. The site is run by Gary Cohn of Highland Park, Illinois, and makes fun of the pastor and his beliefs. So Falwell's lawyer sent Cohn a cease-and-desist letter.

'Jesus Only' Isn't Enough
Where exactly do "Oneness" Pentecostals stand in relation  to orthodoxy? Are they in or out?  By J. Stephen Lang. See 

Enough Bullying
Wayne Pederson's point was on target: evangelicalism risks identification more as a political movement than  a theological one.  A Christianity Today Editorial. See 

Gospels possibly defense of St. Paul to Romans.  The Bible books of Luke and Acts were written to defend St. Paul's missionary work in the face of Roman persecution, according to a new theory. (The Washington Times). 

Time to rethink the miracle worker. In its current form, Christianity is incompatible with science and out of touch with modern life. (Bob Douglas, The Canberra [Australia] Times). 

Tony Campolo criticizes war on terrorism | "It's going to set missions back a thousand years," says sociology professor (Biblical Recorder).

Go Figure
Orlando's Holy Land Experience surpasses first year  expectations and Christian music soars in 2001.  By Ted Olsen. See 

Science in the News


Andrew Petto is Associate Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of the
Arts in Philadelphia, and Editor of National Center of Science Education web
site ( He also teaches in the biomedical program at the
University of the Sciences.


$1 million for science to discover God's plan
Inquirer Staff Writer. 
Can science divine the hand of God in the universe? Investment tycoon Sir John Templeton wants to know, and he's paying a total of $1 million to 15 scientists to look for a purpose in the cosmos. The scientists, many with international reputations, have spent their careers studying the Big Bang, the origin of stars and galaxies, the fundamental physical constants, and the origin of life. But the money gives the opportunity to focus on the question that intrigues Templeton, as it has philosophers and astronomers for centuries: Is the universe the product of design or accident? See 

'Creationism' in schools attacked
By Sean Coughlan. See 

The Gould rush, By MICHAEL RUSE a Book Review: The Structure of Evolutionary Theory By Stephen Jay Gould, Harvard University Press. "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, represents a somewhat different approach. Instead of short, provocative public pieces, we now have a very large work in which Gould gathers together his various paradigm-challenging claims, weaves them into one huge whole, and tries once and for all to state his case and silence the opposition." See 

No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased Without
by William A. Dembski. See 

Fifty-two Ohio Scientists Call for Academic Freedom on Darwin's Theory 
By: J. Sjogren & R. DiSilvestro. See See rebuttal at 

Evolution and the Origin of Disease. See 

Williams, G.W., and R.M. Nesse.1991. The Dawn of Darwinian Medicine. Quarterly Review of Biology 66 (1):1-22. See 

Digging deep into their reproductive machinery, scientists have found startling evidence that broad classes of viruses - including those that harbor the agents that cause such diverse ailments as AIDS, the common cold and hepatitis - share functional traits that suggest they all evolved from a common ancestor. See 

The beautiful patterns on butterfly wings are emerging as exceptional model systems that may reveal much about how the shapes, sizes and colors of specific organisms have evolved, a type of study called morphological evolution, according to the authors of the paper featured on the cover of the current (March 2002) issue of Trends in Ecology and Evolution. See 

The evolution of brown bears may be better understood with help from the radiocarbon dating of bone specimens found in nearly pristine condition preserved in Alaskas permafrost. See 

Scientists studying how developing blood cells migrate to their proper destinations in fruit flies have discovered the ancestral role of a protein better known for ensuring that tumors have adequate blood supply. The protein, called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), has gained notoriety for guiding the development of new blood vessels that nourish cancerous tumors. When researchers block VEGF, the tumors blood supply is cut off because new blood vessels dont form. See 


Ongoing excavations in Russia indicate anatomically modern humans were developing new technologies for survival in the cold, harsh region some 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder researcher. See 

Amazon’s war of words revisited: Outsiders take a new look at controversy over Yanomami tribe. Almost four decades ago, a young anthropologist named Napoleon Chagnon began to study an Amazonian people who had known virtually no contact with the outside world, called the Yanomami. It was a classic case of “Paradise Lost,” with outsiders sparking a wave of rapid — and some would say deadly — changes among the Yanomami. Now Chagnon stands accused of cultural crimes, and he has been banned from pursuing his life’s work. See 


Life on Mars! Scientists have found "intriguing" new evidence that may indicate there is life on Mars. An analysis of data obtained by the Pathfinder mission to the Red Planet in 1997 suggests there could be chlorophyll - the molecule used by plants and other organisms on Earth to extract energy from sunlight - in the soil close to the landing site. See 

Asteroid could hit Earth in 2880 

A group of small, unnamed craters in the martian southern hemisphere is the first site captured by a group of middle school students who are operating the camera system onboard NASAs Mars Odyssey spacecraft this week. See 

Mars Odyssey's THEMIS Begins Posting Daily Images
Pasadena - Mar 31, 2002 - Need to get away to someplace exotic? Mars is now open for daily sightseeing. Beginning March 27, 2002, recent images of Mars taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System on NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft have been available to the public via the Internet. See 

Astronomers searching for globular star clusters in a nearby galaxy have discovered an entirely new class of objects, unlike anything previously described. Much larger and fainter than typical globular clusters, the new objects were first detected in Hubble Space Telescope images of the lenticular galaxy NGC 1023. They may hold clues to how galaxies of this type formed. See 



Scientists for the first time have identified a protein that plays a double-agent role in the war between plants and disease-causing bacteria. See 

Researchers have found that they can enhance memory in fruit flies by boosting the level of a protein called PKM. The scientists could trigger memory enhancement in the flies by using either a fly or a mouse version of PKM. The study, published in the April issue of Nature Neuroscience, provides an important new clue about a fundamental mechanism of memory common to flies, humans, and most other animals. See 

For the first time, researchers have shown that people who are aspirin resistant have a higher risk of dying from heart disease than people who are not aspirin resistant, according to a study in the latest issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. See 

Researchers have discovered important clues as to why a common bacterium can sometimes lead to a dangerous heart infection in children. See 

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have found evidence that men and women have different genes that anchor the roots of depression, a revelation that could have a major impact on the way doctors treat patients in the future. See 

A simple questionnaire on fatigue, administered two weeks after childbirth, may serve to identify women who at increased risk of developing moderate to severe postpartum depression according to Penn State researchers. "Postpartum depression affects up to 15 to 20 percent of new mothers," says Dr. Elizabeth Corwin, assistant professor, School of Nursing. "It comes on anywhere from two weeks to four months after childbirth and may last from two weeks to a year." See 

Nicotine patches and gum, designed to help smokers quit, may be hazardous to your health. The finding is reported in the March 27 print issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the worlds largest scientific society. The article was published initially March 8 on the journals Web site. See 

Earth Science

AMAZING GRACE: A pair of satellites will soon begin mapping tiny variations in Earth's gravity, allowing scientists to track the motions of mass around and beneath the globe for the first time. See 

Two fossils of a newly discovered dinosaur - an early, distant cousin of the Triceratops - have been discovered in China, according to research published in Nature March, 21, 2002. See 

A paleontologist's worst nightmare: a fossil bone is found lying on the ground. Where in the earth's strata did it come from? How does it fit into the evolution of that creature? Or, is the fossil even real? Now, thanks to a new geochemical method developed by Temple University graduate student Doreena Patrick, scientists have a new tool to aid them in placing loose fossils back into the earth's strata or determining the fossil's legitimacy. See 

The most recent evidence indicates there is an earthquake going on right now on the West Coast, yet no one feels it. The temblor, a so-called slow earthquake, has been ongoing since about Feb. 7, according to geologist Meghan Miller of Central Washington University in Ellensburg. She was among the first scientists to use GPS (global positioning system) technology to study earthquakes. See 

Antarctica Key To Sudden Sea Level Rise In The Past
Corvallis - Mar 29, 2002 - A massive and unusually abrupt rise in sea level about 14,200 years ago was caused by the partial collapse of ice sheets in Antarctica, a new study has shown, in research that solves a mystery scientists have been heatedly debating for more than a decade. See 

Adding Dimension To The Rain Map
Greenbelt - Apr 03, 2002 - A new NASA computer model can now tell exactly where in the world rain or snow that provides local water originated. Scientists can use this "water vapor tracer" to improve rainfall and drought forecasts and gain a deeper understanding of climate change. See 

GEOLOGY: Breaking Through the Crust
By Brooks Hanson. 
"The largest known volcanic eruptions in North America during the past
several million years have come from the Yellowstone Plateau (YP) system.
Activity began about 16 million years ago in eastern Oregon (yellow, solid
borders) and progressed east northeastward, to the current location in
western Wyoming (magenta), in a series of major eruptions thought to mark
the trace of a hot spot in the mantle beneath North America. These
eruptions have spread ash over most of the western United States.
Perkins and Nash used samples of this ash record from numerous localities
to analyze the eruption history. In all, 142 major eruptions are recorded
that can be separated into three broad sequences. Overall, the magma
temperature and frequency of eruption (both of which may be driven
primarily by the input of mantle-derived basalt) and migration rate
(currently 22 kilometers per million years) all have declined over time,
and these factors taken together with mantle-crust interactions could
explain the history of eruption volumes." -- BH. See 
Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 114, 367 (2002).


Test Your Arguing Style
Are you passive? Logical? Vindictive? Believe it or not, arguing correctly can be very helpful in building a strong relationship. See 

What Do My Dreams Mean?
Maybe nothing. Or maybe ... dream researcher Patricia Garfield has isolated 12 universal dream scenarios, and each has a positive and a negative context. See 

Keeping your marriage Alive: See 

What You Should Know About an I.Q. Test
It's a measure of intelligence, not knowledge, and there are a few things that are helpful to know before you take one. See 

Religious worship 'eases mental health woes' Psychiatric patients who worship report reduced depression, alcohol abuse (Vancouver Sun). 


In an advance that might do for television and computers what the transistor did for electronics, a research team at the University of California in Los Angeles has devised a means of directing the molecular action of crystalline materials with properties of both solids and liquids. It means consumers, in less than a decade, might be able sit back and revel in solid-looking images that literally project out from a television-like device. Thats not to mention the light-driven computer that could work maybe a million times faster or store a billion times more data. See 

Colorado State University computer scientists are changing the future of computing by creating an entirely new class of adaptable computer systems capable of processing large files and complex data sets at blazing speeds -- up to 600 times faster than the quickest Pentium chip. The unique high-speed, low-power computers already are being used to improve defense satellite recognition systems, enhance military night vision software and improve the speed of transmitting images over the Internet. See 

March 30, 2002

Religion in the News 

Jesus: The Complete Story
Explore images of Jesus through time and across cultures, find out what our visitors believe Jesus looked like. Then tune in for the program this Sunday on Discovery Channel.

Reflections: Crucifixion
Quotations to stir the heart and mind at Easter.  Compiled by Richard A. Kauffman. See 

The Forgotten Founder
The man who altered the course of black Baptist history finally has his say.
y Edward Gilbreath. See

Television viewing and aggressive behavior: In a paper on “Television Viewing and Aggressive Behavior During Adolescence and Adulthood,” to be published in Science on 29 March 2002, Jeffrey Johnson and others report a significant association between the level of television viewing and the likelihood of aggressive behavior. An expert on the family and moral development comments on the implications of this research. See Children who watch more than an hour of television a day are more likely to be violent, claims a study. However, this finding is disputed by a UK expert, who describes the study as "flawed". See 

Home-schooled away from home | Parents form academies to support one another (The Washington Post). See 

Europeans opting against marriage | In a profound shift that has changed the notion of what constitutes a family in many countries, more and more European children are being born out of wedlock into a new social order in which, it seems, few of the old stigmas apply. (The New York Times).

Spanish priest installs electronic jammer in church to banish cellular ringing (Associated Press). See 

Churches try different worship styles | Butterflies, bicycles, and movie clips enter Sunday sermons (Detroit Free Press). See 

14% of Americans losing their religion, or perhaps never had it | The number of people who say they don't belong to a religion has doubled over the last decade, two major studies show. (The Philadelphia Inquirer). See 

Employees pray for guidance | Praying alone or with others can help reduce job stress, an expert said. (The Philadelphia Inquirer). See 

LaHaye's fiction leaves competition behind | For the first time since 1994, John Grisham does not hold the year's lead fiction spot (The Washington Times)

Wrestling with the origins of the Torah | Days before Passover, Southland Jewish leaders from Orthodox to Reconstructionist gather to debate the roots of their faith. (Los Angeles Times). See 

Priceless Bible goes digital | Using digital scanning and profiling systems, digitizing specialist firm Octavo is hoping to create the most accurate possible images of The Gutenberg Bible housed in the US Library of Congress (BBC). See 

Bible changes leads to a holy war of words | A new "gender accurate" translation of the New Testament is creating a furor among believers who see every sacred word as a cobblestone on the path to Jesus and salvation. (USA Today).

Bible controversy is as old as Methuselah | From scholars burned at the stake centuries ago to current translators excoriated by their peers, bringing the Bible to the people is risky business (USA Today)

The evolution of the Christian Bible (USA Today). See 

The most seductive equation in science: beauty equals truth | Math is the language of physics, but is it the language of God? (The New York Times). See 

Reconstructing the tomb of Christ | Science, scholarship shed new light on religious epicenter (MSNBC). 

Science in the News

ASA Meeting: ASA Eastern PA Sectional Meeting: The Christian Paleontologist. The speaker, Dr. David Campbell had his MS and PhD (1995) degrees in Geology with specialization in paleontology from University on North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  His research focus is on fossil Eocene and modern mollusks, especially bi-valves.  He is also interested in possible evolutionary relationships based on morphological and DNA analysis.  These two methods do not always give consistent results, which have led to heated debates. The meeting will be on Saturday April 6, 2002 from 1 to 4 PM at Messiah College located in Grantham, PA. Campus directions and map can also be found at: The cost is $10. Please RSVP by March 29th to Alan McCarrick at Also a fossil trip afterward from 4-6:30 PM is tentatively scheduled.  


Creationism is on the rise in the UK: "If creationism is on the rise in the UK, blame the academic left as much as the religious right. Creationism may now be given the legitimacy it needs not because fundamentalist Christianity is on the rise, but because postmodernism reigns." See 

Creationism teaching: who started it? by Josie Appleton. Emmanuel City Technology College in Gateshead, UK, stands accused of indoctrinating pupils with creationism. See 

Scientists sound alarm over advance of creationists | Scientists yesterday warned that "young earth" creationists who dismiss evolution as a lie are gaining strength in the UK and are trying to give themselves credibility by establishing dialogue with British academics. (The Guardian, London). See,3604,673483,00.html 

Dr. Miller's response here to the Discovery Institute's Stephen Meyer's claims. 

Untangling the branches of evolution's past is a daunting enough task for researchers, but some scientists are now turning their eyes toward the future in a bid to predict evolution's course. Barry G. Hall, professor of biology at the University of Rochester, has shown how a model of evolution developed in the lab accurately reproduces natural evolution. The research, published in the March issue of Genetics, demonstrates how the model is so accurate that it can be used to predict how a strain of bacteria will become resistant to antibiotics-giving researchers a possible tool to create drugs to which bacteria cannot adapt. See 


Ancestors' used drugs to survive: Mind-altering drugs may be so popular because they were once used by our ancestors to survive, two leading anthropologists have argued. See 

Wild Chimps Rocked On: Apes left unique record of stone tools. By Bruce Bower. Archaeologists, by definition, uncover the remnants of past human activity. With the first excavation of chimpanzee stone tools at an African site, however, the scope of their work has entered virgin terrain. See 

The discovery of a million-year-old skull in Ethiopia indicates that a single species of human ancestor, Homo erectus, ranged from Europe to Africa to Asia in the Pleistocene era, according to the cover article in the March 21 issue of the journal Nature. See 


Early Astronomers Determined Easter Dates -- How do they know it’s Easter? Ever wondered how the exact dates of the Easter break are chosen? Easter Sunday can fall anytime between 22 March and 25 April and, thanks to European observations of the Sun that go back many centuries, the exact date can be predicted. See 

Great picture of the earth at night as seen from the ISS. See 

Looking at the beginning of Time. March 22 — Scientists are close to seeing what the universe was like when time began, says Craig Hogan, a University of Washington cosmologist who is working to bridge the gap between theoretical physics and observational astronomy. See 

NASA scientists today announced the creation of amino acids, critical for
life, in an environment that mimics deep space.  Similar amino acids have
been identified in meteorites.  Raw materials for Earth's early

The expansion of the universe is accelerating: A team of UK and Australian astronomers has discovered new, independent evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.  Try to keep up at 

Debris cast off by giant stars could have survived and drifted long enough
to provide raw materials for planetary systems in the early universe.  A
dust factory at 

Meteorites Tell Of Shocking Experience In Planetary Formation
Washington - Mar 27, 2002 - The search for Earths around other stars is one of the most pressing questions in astrophysics today. To home in on what conditions are necessary for Earth-like bodies to form, however, scientists must first solve the mystery of how our own Earth arose. See 

New educational activities from Amazing Space: in "Galaxy Hunter," students
can go online and use actual data from the Hubble Space Telescope to study
galaxies in deep space. When students are finished hunting for galaxies,
they can try unscrambling the schedule for a Hubble telescope servicing
mission.  Or send a comet smashing into Jupiter and watch what
happens.  Nifty fun at 


Atropine eye drops given once a day to treat amblyopia, or lazy eye, the most common cause of visual impairment in children, work as well as the standard treatment of patching one eye. This research finding may lead to better compliance with treatment and improved quality of life in children with this eye disorder. See 

Technology introduced by members of a galaxy far away, a long time ago, is now one step closer to reality. And, it's with funding from a space medicine research institute that this breakthrough device will one day kill tumors and stop internal bleeding without knives, scalpels or stitches - basically without surgery as we know it. See 

In a first attempt to test a new general strategy for drug discovery, chemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and TSRI's Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology created the most potent blocking agent known against an enzyme implicated in Alzheimer's disease. See 

Pinpointing oxygen as the cause of routine chromosome damage and defining the role of a key protein in the repair of that damage are the subjects of two recently published papers from the laboratory of USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center pathologist Michael Lieber, the Rita and Edward Polusky Chair in Basic Cancer Research at the Keck School of Medicine. See 

A new Mayo Clinic study shows that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) affects up to 7.5 percent of school-age children. Previous studies had estimated the occurrence of AD/HD to be anywhere between one and 20 percent of school-age children. The Mayo Clinic report, published in the March issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, addresses the confusion about the number of children affected by AD/HD. See 

A bacteria that causes stomach ulcers infects most people before they reach age 10, according to a Baylor College of Medicine study published in the March 16 issue of the Lancet. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is one of the most common bacterial infections worldwide and is a major cause of chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer, and stomach cancer. See 

Earth Science

Fossil of Dog-Size Horned Dinosaur Unearthed in China: Researchers have announced their discovery of a very distant cousin to Triceratops, the well-known three-horned dinosaur with a massive bony protrusion behind its skull.
The discovery is an important piece in the evolutionary puzzle of the horned dinosaurs. Although they are considered one of the most diverse groups of dinosaurs, little is known about their early evolution. 

Earth's Dynamo and Orbital Dynamics
"Changes in the intensity of Earth's magnetic field are recorded in magnetic
minerals trapped in layers of sedimentary rocks and provide clues to how
the geodynamo works. Changes in Earth's orbit and climate have both been
weakly correlated with magnetic field changes. Now, Yamazaki and Oda (p.
2435) have measured a 100,000-year periodicity in the inclination and
intensity of the magnetic field in a 2.25-million-year section of a
sedimentary marine core from the West Caroline Basin. The 100,000-year
periodicity is correlated with orbital eccentricity, not climate, and the
periodicity varies with the strength of the axial dipole field." This Week in SCIENCE, Volume 295, Issue 5564.

Weird Waves Deep Down Speed Up
Ann Arbor - Mar 20, 2002 - Strange things happen in the lower reaches of our planet's mantle, that plastic-like layer between Earth's crust and core that flows under pressure, lifting or lowering features on the surface. See 

URI Scientists Study Life Buried Deep Beneath the Ocean Floor
Narragansett - Mar 18, 2002 - Over the past 15 years, studies of Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) cores have consistently identified abundant bacteria in deeply buried oceanic sediment. Microorganisms have been recovered from depths as great as a half-mile below the seafloor and have been estimated to constitute one-tenth to one-third of Earth's living biomass. See 

Once upon a time, Axel Heilberg Island was a very strange place. Located within the Arctic Circle north of mainland Canada, a full 8/9ths of the way from the equator to the North Pole, the uninhabited Canadian island is far enough north to make Iceland look like a great spot for a winter getaway, and today theres not much to it beyond miles of rocks, ice, a few mosses, and many fossils. The fossils tell of a different era, though, an odd time about 45 million years ago when Axel Heilberg, still as close to the North Pole as it is now, was covered in a forest of redwood-like trees known as metasequoias. See 


Brain scans draw a dark image of the violent mind. Like the rest of us, scientists have long wondered what exactly goes on - or, more precisely, goes wrong - in the minds of murderers. And, like most of us, many scientists assumed that the real roots of violence lie in bad environments and abusive parents, a view that is still scientifically supported, as well as politically correct. But a growing body of evidence, in particular, from studies that use modern scanning technologies to look inside the brains of killers, now strongly suggests that damage, or at least poor functioning, of a particular part of the brain - the prefrontal cortex, which lies just behind the forehead and eyes - is often involved in violence. See 

Different parts of the brain handle fantasy and reality. The ability to recognize objects in the real world is handled by different parts of the brain than those that allow us to imagine what the world is like. That is the result of a brain mapping experiment published in the March 28 issue of the journal Neuron. See 

Clue to mood disorders: Anxiety and mood disorders among adults may be linked with the way a part of the brain developed shortly after they were born, research suggests. The problem seems to be linked to the malfunctioning of a particular protein that acts as a receptor for the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin is known to play a central role in mood and emotion. Scientists believe the proper functioning of the protein plays a key role in the development of normal emotional responses.See 

Neural stem cells are a ready supply of new parts for the constant wiring and rewiring of the brain's circuitry as this complex organ responds to environmental stimuli so that we can learn new skills, interpret new data and rethink old ideas. But if those cells can't migrate to the right place and morph into the right kinds of neural links, our cognitive and psychological functions fail. See 

What's Your Emotional I.Q.?
We've all known super-intelligent people who can't seem to make it in life. Now there's a test that measures life skills, which may be more important to success than raw intelligence. See 

What You Should Know About I.Q. Tests
It's a measure of intelligence, not knowledge, and there are a few things that are helpful to know before you take one. See 


A potential new high-temperature superconductor has been identified by physicists at the University of California, Davis. Calculations by Helge Rosner, Alexander Kitaigorodsky and Warren Pickett predict that lithium borocarbide should have essentially no resistance to electrical current at temperatures up to minus 280 F. See 

Researchers at the University of Toronto have figured out a way to "nudge" nature into making photonic crystals in a specific order and pattern, a critical first step in the development of photonic circuits and microchips. See 

March 25, 2002

Hovind-Meyers Debate Update: A complete summary of the debate is now available at  A local newspaper article about the debate is available at 

Jeff Brown | Watch out for these tax scams
Sure enough, Sunday's column on the inevitability of taxes drew a handful of comments from annoyed readers who are certain - just absolutely and completely positive - that the federal government has no constitutional right to tax. Kent Hovind has not paid his taxes in years. He claims it all belongs to God. 

Religion in the News 

God's Peculiar People
Historian Grant Wacker explains why pentecostals survived and  even flourished.
By Edward J. Gitre. See

The Church of O
With a congregation of 22 million viewers, Oprah Winfrey
has become one of the most influential spiritual leaders in America. By LaTonya Taylor. See

U.S. government will compensate missionaries shot down over Peru: See  

Billy Graham apologizes again
One news outlet that has largely stayed away from the controversy is The New York Times, which seems odd considering its high Jewish readership. Yesterday, however, the paper finally had an article on the topic—and published a fresh apology from the elderly evangelist to go along with it. "I cannot imagine what caused me to make those comments, which I totally repudiate," Graham said Saturday in a written statement more than six times longer than his earlier apology for the comments. Compiled by Ted Olsen. 

Learning How to Forgive
When Buddha and Jesus and other great spiritual figures taught us to forgive those who sin against us, they weren't just philosophizing--they were giving practical, down-to-earth advice. Increasingly, research has begun to show that being a forgiving person is essential for mental and physical health. See 

Father Knows Worst
The church says priests must be   male because Jesus'
apostles were    male. So should women have stayed   out of
U.S. government because the   founding fathers were male? 

Pope Says 'Shadow of Suspicion' Has Been Cast Across All
Pope John Paul II, in a letter released on Thursday, alluded
for the first time to recent pedophile scandals in the
Roman Catholic Church. 

How church fights back in abuse cases
The Roman Catholic Church's leaders here and elsewhere have urged compassion for victims of sexual abuse by priests. That is, until they enter the realm of the courts.
. See 

U.S. Catholics, Sad and Angry, Still Keeping Faith
Interviews suggest that most American Catholics have no
intention of leaving their religion because of the sexual
abuse scandal, but many see a chance for change. 

Confessions of a former celibate | A former priest, now married, thinks celibacy should no longer be an absolute condition for the priesthood. (Eugene Kennedy,

How the Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandal Affects
Evangelical Churches

Sin and secrecy aren't limited to Roman Catholics, say pastors and scholars.
By Ted Olsen and Todd Hertz. See

Convicted con artist faces fresh charges in $385,000 fraud | Narvin Wray Edwardson uses religion to his advantage and often preys on Christians who believe he is offering investments that will benefit Christian orphanages (Vancouver Sun). 

Church v. Google | How the Church of Scientology is forcing Google to censor its critics (Microcontent News). See 

Rams' Kurt Warner will host Dove Awards | So will Yolanda Adams (Associated Press)

Is Richard Land the new leader of the religious right?
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptists' Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, "considered trading preaching for politics, until he found a way to blend them as one mission," reports the Associated Press. "Land's ability to mix preaching and politics is what pushed him to the forefront of the Southern Baptist Convention—and the religious right."

Ex-Mormons tell their version of 'the truth' (Fort Madison [Iowa] Daily Democrat)

TNIV Critics Blast Scripture 'Distortions'
Church Attack
But evangelical backers of new translation say gender changes are 'accurate.'
By Timothy C. Morgan
. See

Science in the News

ASA Meeting: ASA Eastern PA Sectional Meeting: The Christian Paleontologist. The speaker, Dr. David Campbell had his MS and PhD (1995) degrees in Geology with specialization in paleontology from University on North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  His research focus is on fossil Eocene and modern mollusks, especially bi-valves.  He is also interested in possible evolutionary relationships based on morphological and DNA analysis.  These two methods do not always give consistent results, which have led to heated debates. The meeting will be on Saturday April 6, 2002 from 1 to 4 PM at Messiah College located in Grantham, PA. Campus directions and map can also be found at: The cost is $10. Please RSVP by March 29th to Alan McCarrick at Also a fossil trip afterward from 4-6:30 PM is tentatively scheduled.  


Sacred mysteries: If John Polkinghorne can persuade the scientists that they can have something to say about God, £700,000 is a bargain (Christopher Howse, The Daily Telegraph). See 

U.S. creationists on mission to Britain | Peter Vardy, a British creationist and multimillionaire car dealer, has just pledged £12 million to expand creationist teaching in Britain (The Times, Londond). See,,2-239614,00.html 

Nature's diversity beyond evolution | Debate over 'intelligent design' (San Francisco Chronicle). See 

Young Earth Creationists teach bad science and worse religion (Richard Dawkins, The Daily Telegraph). See 

Darwinian struggle in Ohio and Ripples in Ohio from ad on the big bang 

There's God's way, Darwin's way, and the Third Way | Tony Blair's support of creationism in the schools marks an unfortunate triumph for diversity (Matthew Parris, The Times, London). See,,482-237325,00.html 

Kennedy Says Intelligent Design Not Science
In response to Senator Rick Santorum's March 14 op-ed piece in the
Washington Times, which implied that Senator Edward Kennedy approved of
teaching "intelligent design" in public school science classes, Kennedy
explained in a letter to the Times that he does not; "intelligent design,"
he said, "is not a genuine scientific theory." 
For the full text of Senator Kennedy's letter see: 

Skull shows how Homo erectus evolved: March 21 — The skull of an unfortunate early human chewed up by a lion or a hyena a million years ago may help show that our ancestors evolved in Africa and then spread through the world, scientists said on Wednesday. See 

All Alone A Million Years Ago
Berkeley - Mar 20, 2002 - A million-year-old Homo erectus skull found in Ethiopia indicates that this human ancestor was a single species scattered widely throughout Asia, Europe and Africa, not two separate species, according to an international group of scientists who discovered the skull in 1997. See 

Predicting Evolution's Next Step
Rochester -  Mar 19, 2002 - Untangling the branches of evolution's past is a daunting enough task for researchers, but some scientists are now turning their eyes toward the future in a bid to predict evolution's course. See 

Ancient DNA Untangles Evolutionary Paths 
By Elizabeth Pennisi
Analyzing ancient DNA for clues into the deep past has had a bad rap: Too
many false reports of recovered dinosaur DNA have sullied the field's
reputation. Now, that's about to change. On pages 2267 and 2270 (Science Volume 295, Issue 5563), two independent research groups report that, when studied correctly, genetic
material preserved in cold environments can reveal quite a bit about the
past. See (Membership required). See article below. 

Evolution - Valuable clues to the pace of evolution have been found in the bones of long-dead penguins recovered from the Antarctic. See 


One of the world's best-preserved Bronze Age villages has been found at Nola, a few miles from Vesuvius, during routine tests before construction of a shopping center. A catastrophic eruption of the volcano, known to have taken place between 1800 and 1750 B.C., left this "Prehistoric Pompeii" in a state of remarkable preservation. See 

Ancient Inca city discovered: March 19 — In the first major Inca find in four decades, Peruvian and British explorers say they have discovered a hidden city, perched on an Andean hilltop, that may have sheltered stalwarts of South America's legendary empire as they made a last stand against Spanish conquerors. See 

Scientist Unearths Ancient Mayan Mural Boston Globe (3/19/02). See 

Dam Threatens Iraqi Ancient Sites: London--Construction has begun on a Tigris River dam that will flood dozens of important archaeological sites in northern Iraq, including the ancient royal capital of Assyria. A senior Iraqi antiquities official attending a
scientific meeting here last week pleaded for international help in salvage
excavations, but researchers say there may be too little time and too much
politics to save more than a fraction of the Assyrian heartland before the
floodwaters finish rising in 2007. (Membership required) See 



'Space plane' seeks to take tourists up for $98,000 each
ZHUKOVSKY, Russia - Eager to open up a space tourism market, a Russian aerospace company presented a mock-up yesterday of a "space plane" that would give an adventurer willing to pay nearly $100,000 the chance to experience three minutes in zero gravity on the edge of space.

Observations with ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) have enabled an international group of astronomers to study in unprecedented detail the surroundings of a very remote galaxy, almost 12 billion light-years distant. The corresponding light travel time means that it is seen at a moment only about 3 billion years after the Big Bang. See 

Mars Radiation Meter Back Online
Los Angeles - Mar 18, 2002 - The Martian Radiation Environment Experiment - acronymically known as MARIE -- is back online and collecting more data. As the radiation monitor was fired up, MARIE's scientists reported Tuesday at the  33rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference that the data she returned last year reveals that space radiation is even more intense than their models had indicated. See 

Geologist Recreates 'Life On Mars' Evidence In Her Laboratory
Dayton - Mar 18, 2002 - As NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft begins exploring the planet, particularly looking for signs of water that once could have nourished life, a University of Dayton geologist is disproving what some pointed to as scientific evidence of past life on the Red Planet. See Also  new
evidence against the 1996 "Mars Rock" ALH84001 fossils at 

Book Review: Skywatchers
A revised and updated edition of Anthony Aveni's Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico   brings a wealth of information about archaeoastronomy and the history of science. See

While the promise of nuclear transplantation therapy, commonly referred to as "therapeutic cloning," has given hope to patients, like Christopher Reeve, and excited the research community and the public, it has never been successfully demonstrated. Now, scientists from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have used a mouse model to establish for the first time that a combination of nuclear transplantation, gene therapy, and embryonic stem cell differentiation can be used to create custom-tailored cellular therapies for genetic disorders. See 

Brain may dictate raising the stakes
Why do gamblers often bet more after a losing hand? Or investors throw good money after bad? The answer may lie in the science of the brain.

The structure of the pump, a key enzyme in bacterial respiration, reveals for the first time one of the molecular mechanisms that underpins cellular respiration, and confirms a Nobel Prize-winning theory proposed over 40 years ago by Briton Peter Mitchell. See 

Cocaine can cause a lethal tearing in the hearts main artery, a condition that should be suspected in people treated for chest pain at urban hospitals, say researchers in todays rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. A preliminary report of the study was presented at the American Heart Associations annual Scientific Sessions last November. See 

People who experience nausea may be suffering from anxiety or depression, possible causes that should be investigated before aggressive treatments are begun for gastrointestinal disorders, according to a new study. See 

A Mayo Clinic study suggests that regular use of aspirin, ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help protect against prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. See 

Eye pain is an oft-accompanied symptom of migraine sufferers. Researchers have found that treating inflammation in the eye's trochlea tendon can relieve the headache pain associated with migraines, or prevent the triggering of full-blown migraine attacks. The study of five migraine patients with trochleitis (inflammation of the trochlea tendon) is reported in the current issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. See 

Brief exposure to low levels of nicotine not only boosts the brain's reward system but also blocks a rival system that limits the duration of such rewards, report University of Chicago researchers in the March 14, 2002, issue of the journal Neuron. The finding helps scientists understand why nicotine addiction takes root so quickly and lasts so long. See 

People who have a parent or sibling with colon cancer can markedly reduce their own chances of developing the disease by taking a daily multivitamin that includes folic acid and limiting their intake of alcohol, according to a new study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health. See 

Popular claims that religious activity provides health benefits have virtually no grounding in the medical literature, according to an article in the March issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. This conclusion sharply contradicts assertions that a large body of evidence indicates that religious people enjoy better physical and mental health. See 

Cant remember where you put your keys, or how to retrieve your voicemail? Your brains cleaning crew may be asleep on the job. Molecular brooms that whisk away excess amounts of the chemical glutamate in the brain may play a key role in learning and memory formation, suggest recent animal studies by scientists at the University of Houston. See 

Stop the ringing in your ears: a new treatment for tinnitus 

Could we make meat on demand without slaughtering animals? 

Earth Science

New Supercontinent Dubbed Columbia Once Ruled Earth
Chapel Hill - Mar 18, 2002 - In 1912, German meteorologist Alfred Wegener proposed a theory that first angered but then intrigued scientists ever since. Now following up on Wegener's work, a geologist believes he has discovered a new, long-vanished supercontinent. See 

Suddenly, an ice mass is no more
An Antarctic ice shelf the size of Rhode Island recently shattered and collapsed into the sea after an unusual warming period, stunning some scientists who said they had never seen such a large loss of ice mass in the continent's remote peninsula.

UCLA paleobiologist J. William Schopf and colleagues have substantiated the biological origin of the earliest known cellular fossils, which are 3.5 billion years old. The research is published in the March 7 issue of the journal Nature.
Schopf and a team of scientists at the University of Alabama, Birmingham have devised a new technique using a unique laser-Raman imaging system that enables them to look inside of rocks and determine what they are made of, providing a molecular map. See 

Global Warming May Have Helped The Rise Of Early Asian Mammals
Santa Cruz - Mar 18, 2002 - An abrupt episode of global warming and major changes in plant and animal life marked the transition between the Paleocene and Eocene epochs about 55 million years ago. Several groups of mammals, including early primates and modern hooved mammals, made their first appearances in Asia, Europe, and North America around this time. See 

Studies of pristine forests in South America found that the cycling of nitrogen, an essential nutrient, was quite different than expected, and it suggests that many forests of North America and Europe actually have an unnatural ecology driven largely by air pollution, acid rain and artificial nitrogen fertilization. See 

Warm spells part of Earth's cycle
Tree ring study shows epoch millennium ago like 20th century trend .
By Paul Recer. See 

Fusion claim is dividing the experts
A small glass cylinder sits at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Partly filled with a form of acetone, the cylinder is closed at the bottom and at the top, with openings for a vacuum pump. A device that converts electricity into mechanical energy is stuck to the glass and sends sound waves into the acetone.

BECs: A New Form of Matter
Huntsville  - Mar 20, 2002 - It's not often that you get to be around for the birth of a new kind of matter, but when you do, the excitement is tremendous. See 

The simplest and best-studied chemical reaction - the collision of a hydrogen atom H with molecular hydrogen H2 - is still unveiling its mysteries to scientists. See 

It is the stuff of science fiction: Researchers at Brown University have used a tiny array of electrodes to record, interpret and reconstruct the brain activity that controls hand movement - and they have demonstrated that thoughts alone can move a cursor across a computer screen to hit a target. See 

DNA Computer Solves a Complex Problem
Pasadena - Mar 18, 2002 - A DNA-based computer has solved a logic problem that no person could complete by hand, setting a new milestone for this infant technology that could someday surpass the electronic digital computer in certain areas. See 

March 17, 2002

Religion in the News 

Secrecy Over Abusive Priests Comes Back to Haunt Church
The tough legal tactics that Roman Catholic dioceses
employed for decades to keep incidents of sexual abuse by
priests secret have now come back to haunt the church. 

America's Homegrown Islam -- and Its Prophet
The strange story of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of    Islam and onetime mentor of Malcom X.
By Preston Jones. See

The End of Christian Fundamentalism?

"The body of Jesus rotted in the tomb, if it was not eaten before then by vultures and jackals." | With comments like these, Nashville theologian Gerd LÜdemann has ignited an international controversy (Nashville Scene) See 

The growth in cynicism is a symptom of a decline in belief | We've stop believing in any ultimate goodness, and to prove it we take malicious pleasure in showing that yesterday's hero is today's unmasked sinner (Jonathan Sacks, The Times, London. (registration required).

Isn't religion supposed to be about tolerance? If we cannot, as Lennon did, conceive of no religion, we can have religion with tolerance, religion without discrimination, religion without the threat of violence and abuse. (Peter MacMahon, The Scotsman. See 

Priest fights stereotype of Palestinians | He is an Israeli citizen and Arab Christian who firmly advocates interfaith cooperation (The Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

How Immortality Almost Killed Me: My quest for immortality and lasting significance reflects the fact that God has put eternity in the human heart. See 

Science in the News 

ASA Meeting: ASA Eastern PA Sectional Meeting: The Christian Paleontologist. The speaker, Dr. David Campbell had his MS and PhD (1995) degrees in Geology with specialization in paleontology from University on North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  His research focus is on fossil Eocene and modern mollusks, especially bi-valves.  He is also interested in possible evolutionary relationships based on morphological and DNA analysis.  These two methods do not always give consistent results, which have led to heated debates. The meeting will be on Saturday April 6, 2002 from 1 to 4 PM at Messiah College located in Grantham, PA. Campus directions and map can also be found at: The cost is $10. Please RSVP by March 29th to Alan McCarrick at Also a fossil trip afterward from 4-6:30 PM is tentatively scheduled.  


What's happening in Ohio? The Science Education for All Ohioans (SEAO:  is pressing the Ohio Board of Education to change the science standards to include intelligent design (ID) objections to evolution. SEAO is a project of the American Family Association of Ohio (AFAO: ). This is the state affiliation of the national group American Family Association (AFA) headed by Don Wildmon who is also a member of the Coalition on Revival (COR). COR was founded by Tim Lahaye and Henry Morris. Robert Simonds, co-chairman of the COR document on "Education," is head of the National Center of Christian Educators (NACE) and helps conservative Christians take over school boards across the nation.
Opposed to this is Ohio Citizens for Science at Key resource articles are at For the latest developments in this see 

Ohio Board Hears Debate on an Alternative to Darwinism
Proponents of the intelligent-design movement, which challenges Darwin's theories, argued for equal footing in Ohio's curriculum on Monday. See also 

Human origin debate hasn't evolved much | Is anything that lacks a scientific explanation a miracle - or the direct handiwork of some "intelligent designer"? (Tom Feran, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland).

Critics: No science in intelligent design | The Ohio Board of Education hosted a pro-and-con debate before an audience of 1,200 on Monday as it considers whether to include intelligent design in the state's revamped suggested science curriculum (The Cincinnati Post). See 

6 days of creation: the search of evidence | A widening movement against evolutionary theory seeks scientific support (Newsday). See 

Top school's creationists preach value of biblical story over evolution. See,5500,664608,00.html 

A scientist Responds: A scientist's view by Richard Dawkins, Guardian. See,4273,4371166,00.html 

As scientists piece together the genomes of more and more life forms---from fruit flies to humans---they're finding ample evidence that new genes have often been created through the duplication of existing genes. Of the more than 40,000 genes in the human genome, for example, about 15,000 appear to have been produced by gene duplication. See 

Researchers from the University of Chicago have demonstrated that natural selection plays a much larger role in molecular evolution than anyone suspected. Their report, published in the February 28 issue of Nature, shows that about 25 percent of genes are evolving rapidly in response to competitive pressures. A second paper in the same issue confirms this discovery. See 

Study: Humans and Pre-Humans Interbred: March 7 — Modern humans emerged out of Africa in at least two major migrations and bred with populations of pre-humans they encountered, a leading evolutionary biologist said on Wednesday. See 


Temple reveals secrets of the one God: Archaeologists believe they have uncovered origins of monotheism in northern Jordan (The Daily Star, Beirut, Lebanon) See 

Did Noah really need the Ark? Two sets of geologists are having a flood feud. The Americans say they have proof that the Great Deluge happened just when the Bible says it did. By Kevin Cox. See 

Experts dig out their own ministry | Biblical archeology enlightening faith (Chicago Tribune) See 

Japan unearths Christian tombstone | Granite slab from 1581 was buried centuries ago to elude persecution by feudal authorities who outlawed the foreign religion (Associated Press) See 

Is Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia? - A revised and updated version of Gordon Franz's Fall, 2000 Bible and Spade article of the same name. It questions the credibility of the claims that Mount Sinai is located in Saudi Arabia, and disputes the false assumptions of the proponents of Jebel al-Lawz location. See 


Asteroid buzzes Earth from "Blind Spot"
One of the largest asteroids known to have approached the Earth zipped past about 450,000 kilometres away on March 8 - but nobody recorded it until four days later. See 

Io's Volcanos Vent Far From Jupiter
College Park - Mar 4, 2002 - A huge cloud of gas, spewed from volcanos on one of Jupiter's moons, extends into space to a distance that is almost equal to that of the earth from the sun, says a new report published in the journal Nature. See 

Oops -- Universe Is Cream, Not Turquoise
Paris (AFP) Mar 08, 2002 - Astronomers who announced two months ago that the Universe was a thrilling shade of turquoise are embarrassed. See

Scientists simultaneously using a combination of NASA spacecraft have seen into the workings of an invisible whirling bubble of charged particles surrounding Jupiter. That bubble, Jupiter's magnetosphere, is the biggest object with distinct boundaries within our solar system, more than 100 times wider than Jupiter itself. See 

Off-The-Shelf Camera Device To Hunt For Distant Planets
Pasadena - Mar 12, 2002 - It could fit on your desk, and it's made mostly from parts bought at a camera shop, but two scientists believe their new instrument will help them find a slew of large planets orbiting stars in our Milky Way galaxy. See 

Support For Critical Role Of Carbon Dioxide On Mars Grows
Washington - Mar 13, 2002 - Scientists have provided new evidence that liquid carbon dioxide, not running water, may have been the primary cause of erosional features such as gullies, valley networks, and channels that cover the surface of Mars. See 

US Airways Offers Out Of This World Mileage Program
Arlington - March 11, 2002 - US Airways and Space Adventures have signed a deal where US Airways' Dividend Miles members will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles for travel to the ultimate tourist destination -- outer space. US Airways is the world's first airline to offer mileage accrual for redemption as space travel. See 


Test Tube Babies Face Higher Risks
Test tube babies are more than twice as likely to be born with a major birth defect and to be dangerously underweight, according to two new studies in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. See 

The culprits behind antibiotic-resistant diseases now plaguing hospitals worldwide have been harboring a secret -- one that Rockefeller scientists have recently exposed. It seems these infectious microbes termed Staphylococcus aureus are not independent criminals working alone. See 

Researchers at the University of Minnesota department of neurosurgery and Stem Cell Institute (SCI) have demonstrated the ability of transplanted adult stem cells to restore function in laboratory animals with stroke. Stem cells were isolated and expanded from human bone marrow and transplanted into laboratory rats seven days after an ischemic stroke injury to the brain. Before transplantation, rats were unable to properly use forelimbs and hind limbs. Weeks after receiving stem cell transplants, the animals regained proper use of their limbs. See 

Long-term exposure to air pollution that contains high concentrations of tiny particles of soot and dust significantly increases the risk of dying from lung cancer and heart disease, according to a new nationwide study. Over many years, the danger of breathing soot-filled air in polluted cities is comparable to the health risks associated with long-term exposure to second-hand smoke, according to the authors of the study, which evaluated the effects of air pollution on human health over a 16-year period. See 

Overall knowledge about the psychology of the common cold has greatly increased in recent years and one of the main findings has been the link between stress and susceptibility to colds. Research released during National Science Week also shows that other factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and even eating breakfast, are related to susceptibility to colds. Another area of research has shown that colds and influenza impair performance and change mood. A recent project has investigated both factors influencing susceptibility to colds and the effects of these illnesses on mood and performance. See 

Researchers from the University of Chicago have found that the corticosteroid nasal spray fluticasone propionate (Flonase) is slightly more effective at controlling seasonal allergies than a combination of two popular anti-allergy drugs: loratidine (Claritin) and montelukast (Singulair). See 

Hormone therapy is often used to treat prostate cancer, but these drugs that mimic the effects of estrogen do not work on many late-stage cancers. Now San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center researchers say they can explain the failure of these drugs, and suggest a way to restore their potency. See 

Drive carefully: pick your background music wisely. Fast music may lead to more accidents. See 


In superconductors, electrons zip around with virtually no resistance or energy loss. In insulators, however, they barely move, lacking the energy to overcome high resistance. Strangely, scientists can turn certain unusual insulators into high-temperature superconductors by adding the right impurities. Conventional theories predict that these insulators should actually be ordinary conductors. Researchers are still working to understand the exotic magnetic properties of these materials, which are strongly influenced by their quantum nature. See 


A UCLA-led team of chemists and engineers has developed a transparent plastic that if fractured will mend itself when heated  a discovery that can be used to create self-repairing products. See 

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts are working on two separate projects aimed at reducing the numbers of used tires clogging the nations landfills. One team is looking at new methods of recycling old tires into new rubber goods; another is developing a novel substance that is a combination of asphalt and recycled tires, and could be used in products as varied as roadways, construction materials, and roofing shingles. Both research groups are part of the polymer science and engineering department. See 

March 10, 2002

Religion in the News 

Dobson, Moody Broadcasting leader attack each other over NRB battle
Wayne Pederson was forced to resign his position as president of the National Religious Broadcasters, but the battle over his ousting continues—and is getting hotter. Conservative online news site WorldNetDaily reported yesterday that Moody Broadcasting Network vice president Robert Neff is demanding Pederson's reinstatement. See & 

Broadcasters Aim to Cool NRB Controversy. Dobson, Neff make gestures to mend wounds.    By LaTonya Taylor

Christian History Corner: Don't Touch That Dial. Could a bitter debate among religious broadcasters  really cause a "full-scale split in evangelicalism"?
By Elesha Coffman

Charting the unchurched in America Survey: Number of unchurched Americans has nearly doubled. (USA Today) and State-by-state breakdown of religious backgrounds (USA Today)   

The 'Baptist Pope'
W.A. Criswell showed remarkable openness and flexibility  when these traits were rare among evangelicals.  By Timothy George. See

Indianapolis Training Center subject of lawsuit | Juvenile offenders allege abusive treatment at Bill Gothard's youth counseling center (WTHR, Indianapolis). See 

Sins of the father | For years, Boston's cardinal kept on priests who had been accused of molesting children. Now Catholics across America are confronting similar scandals and questioning the secretive culture of the church (Newsweek). See 

Church sex scandal spurs call to change law
Amid revelations of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Philadelphia and elsewhere, one Pennsylvania legislator is proposing to change state law to make such cases easier to prosecute - even if the accuser comes forward many years later. See 

Priest not only 'Father,' but also husband, dad David Medow, an ex-Lutheran minister, is the first married priest in the Chicago area. Many of his parishioners hope it's a sign of the future. (Chicago Tribune) See 

Ten Commandments ban stands | U.S. Supreme Court decides not to act on Indiana judge's injunction against a proposed display on Statehouse lawn (Indianapolis Star). See 

Religious plaque on courthouse wall violates the Constitution, judge says: In what could become the Supreme Court's next chance to tackle the emotional debate over the Constitution's ban on government endorsement of religion, a federal judge yesterday ordered Chester County officials to remove a Ten Commandments plaque from a courthouse where it has hung since 1920. See 

AOL News: 15th Century History Book Found in Farmhouse. The ''Nuremberg Chronicle'' relates the history of the world starting with Genesis in Gothic text and a profusion of woodcut illustrations throughout nearly 600 pages. Published in 1493. See aol://4344:3167.oldbook.21072163.699396705/ 

Did Mormon leaders kill 120 pilgrims in 1870?
It's one of the worst massacres in American history. In 1857, 120 men, women. and children on a wagon train from Arkansas to California were killed. Exactly what happened in the Mountain Meadows Massacre is one of the greatest debates in Mormon history—some blame local Native Americans, o