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December 7, 2004
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Religion in the News
driven by religion to reshape nation
Home School Legal Defense Association has taken on the appearance of a political party in its own right, with an evangelical Christian mission to shape the American culture and change the face of government, the news media and international affairs (Akron Beacon Journal, Oh.)
the Bible to support the wrong cause
Today's Christians who oppose homosexuality are akin to generations of similar Christians who found in the Bible strong arguments to support slavery, scorn Jews, demean women and, for good measure, condemn liquor (Steve Gushee, Palm Beach Post, Fla.)
the law a religious perspective
The Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty University is part of a movement around the nation that brings a religious perspective to the law (The New York Times)
questions for Billy Graham
How he's feeling, how many crusades he has left in him, what he thinks of politics, and other issues (Time)
Step Toward Unity
Richard John Neuhaus on the Catholic bishops' decision to join Christian Churches Together.
Interview by Rob Moll.
Virgin Birth? Come on!
Both Newsweek and Time have Jesus on their covers, and neither article quotes an evangelical scholar in its attempt to narrate how Christians concocted the story of the birth of Jesus.
Christians protest movie on Kinsey
Conservative Christian groups across the country are protesting a film about the life of researcher Alfred C. Kinsey, calling it a Hollywood whitewash of the man they hold largely responsible for a revolution and a panoply of related ills, from high divorce rates to AIDS and child abuse (The Washington Post)
Why is the church against euthanasia in instances where people are in terrible pain? Answered by David P. Gushee.
Pop Love for
a War-Torn World
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is classic U2, with a prescription for healing the world. By Scott Calhoun
Carrey: 'Life is too beautiful'
"I'm a Buddhist, I'm a Muslim, I'm a Christian. I'm whatever you want me to be it all comes down to the same thing" (60 Minutes).
Science in the News
News of 2004
See National Geographic's top ten picks of the oddest discoveries of the year, from cat cloning to flatulent fish.
Treasures of Afghanistan Revealed
In a secret vault, more than 22,000 antiquities survived the Taliban and 25 years of conflict.
Tut" Treasure To Return to U.S.
After 26 years, the world's most famous Egyptian tomb trove is coming to museums in 2005.
Firstborn, Proof of the Plagues?
The Discovery Channel's Rameses: Wrath of God or Man? seeks to determine if God really killed Pharaoh's oldest son.
Stonehenge Found in Russia? Nov. 17, 2004
Russian archaeologists have announced that they have found the remains of a 4,000-year-old structure that they compare to England's Stonehenge, according to recent reports issued by Pravda and Novosti, two Russian news services.
tomb reveals gruesome human sacrifice
The burial chamber found in the 'Pyramid of the Moon' suggests that the people of Teotihuacan may have been bloodthirsty warmongers.
ape gives clue to family origins
Fossil from 13 million years ago sheds light on human split from apes.
NASA Launches Swift,
To Track Gamma Rays Washington (AFP) Nov 20, 2004
NASA launched Saturday its Swift satellite, which will track huge explosions of gamma rays, the US space agency said. The Delta rocket launcher lifted of from Cape Canaveral at 12:16 pm, according to NASA, which televised the launch live.
Supermassive Black Holes Challenge Theories
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has obtained definitive evidence that a distant quasar formed less than a billion years after the big bang contains a fully-grown supermassive black hole generating energy at the rate of twenty trillion suns. The existence of such massive black holes at this early epoch of the Universe challenges theories of the formation of galaxies and supermassive black holes.
Over Titan Pasadena CA (JPL) Nov 24, 2004
A mosaic of nine processed images recently acquired during Cassini's first very close flyby of Saturn's moon Titan on Oct. 26, 2004, constitutes the most detailed full-disc view of the mysterious moon.
Methane Surprise Moffett Field CA (SPX) Dec 07, 2004
At the recent Division of Planetary Sciences conference in Louisville, Kentucky, Michael Mumma, Director of the Center for Astrobiology at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, announced that relatively high levels of methane had been detected on Mars.
Positive: Mars Once Had Water, Researchers Conclude
There is undeniable proof that water once existed on the planet Mars, a team of researchers has concluded in a series of 11 articles this week in a special issue of the journal Science.
In the Stars:
Searching For Armageddons Washington DC (UPI) Nov 23, 2004
The universe was regarded even until the early 20th century as a stable and eternal place, but evidence collected in the intervening years has shown the cosmos is anything but placid. It is seething with activity, some of it entirely hostile to life.
Poised for Production of Rocky Planets Garching, Germany (SPX) Nov 25,
One of the currently hottest astrophysical topics - the hunt for Earth-like planets around other stars - has just received an important impetus from new spectral observations with the MIDI instrument at the ESO VLT Interferometer (VLTI).
Paints Our Sun as a Planet Thief
A close encounter between our sun and a passing star some four billion years ago may have played a role in shaping our solar system. New computer simulations describe how a rendezvous between two young solar systems could have occurred. And one potential scenario shows our sun kidnapping a planet or smaller object from the other star's solar system.
watches baby galaxy in bloom
The galactic newcomer formed incredibly recently from a pristine gas cloud in a quiet part of the universe - the space telescope is watching it grow
Russia May Have
Moon Base By 2025. Moscow (UPI) Nov 22, 2004
Russia may have a base on the moon by 2025, according to a Russian space official, the Interfax news agency reported Monday.
The Geminid Meteor
Shower Huntsvile AL (SPX) Dec 07, 2004
The best meteor shower of 2004 is about to peak on a long cold December night. It's the Geminids. The best time to look is Monday night, Dec. 13th. Sky watchers who stay outside for a few hours around midnight can expect to see dozens to hundreds of "shooting stars."
The Genomic Code: Gene Decoding Revealed At Atomic Level
A recent finding by a North Carolina State University biochemist advances the fundamental biology of how genetic information, encoded in DNA, is decoded for the production of proteins.
get new lease of life
Drug-resistant bacteria can be forced to eject their protective DNA.
coughs melt away with chocolate
An ingredient in chocolate may actually be a more effective cough medicine than traditional remedies, researchers suggest.
New Target For a Fat-Fighting Drug. THURSDAY, Nov. 18 (HealthDayNews)
A newly discovered enzyme that plays a major role in fat metabolism could be a target for a different kind of weight-loss drug, Austrian researchers report.
human eggs divide without sperm
The new technique could supply embryonic stem cells for research while avoiding ethical issues as embryos are not required.
in Dish Pilots Flight Simulator
Scientists have grown a "brain" in a petri dish that can fly a simulated F-22 fighter airplane. It's all part of a quest to build "living" computers.
Third of Americans
say evidence has supported Darwin's evolution theory
All most half of Americans believe God created humans 10,000 years ago (Gallup News Service) On the question of whether evolution is well-supported by the evidence, 35% of the respondents said that it is, 35% said that it is not, 29% said that they didn't know enough about it to reply, and 1% expressed no opinion. On the question of the origin and development of human beings, 38% of the respondents agreed with "human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process," 13% agreed with "human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process," 45% agreed with "God created human beings pretty muc h in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so," and 4% offered a different or no opinion. On the question of biblical literalism, 34% of respondents regarded the Bible as to be taken literally, 48% regarded it as divinely inspired but not always to be taken literally, 15% regarded it as a collection of fables, etc., and 3% expressed no opinion. For the CBS News poll, visit: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/22/opinion/polls/main657083.shtml.
Genome of the mammalian
common ancestor reconstructed. Science News, Washington, Dec 1
(ANI):Using computer programs,scientists have suceeded in reconstructing the DNA of a creature that lived at the time of the dinosaurs more than 75 million years ago, a small, furry nocturnal animal that was the common ancestor of all placental mammals, including humans, with 98 percent accuracy.
"We will be able to trace the molecular evolution of our genome over the past 75 million years. It's a very exciting new way to think about our origins, a kind of DNA-based archaeology to understand how we came to be."
National Geographic stacks the deck. By Thomas Woodward.
Darwin right or not?
Our science classrooms are failing if they're not giving students a solid understanding of what Darwin actually said (Randy Scholfield, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)
The universe seems uncannily well suited to the existence of life. Could that really be an accident? (Time)
by Ron Numbers
The roots of the modern creationist moverment started with Ellen G. White's vision of creation. Ellen White founded the 7th day Adventists. Her vision of the solar system is way off. Ron Numbers writes about the history of the label creationist which may surprise you.
through the back door
Trying to disguise creationism with the label of "intelligent design" (which sounds like an IKEA marketing pitch) doesn't pass the smell test or any valid science test. (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)
school district retreats from evolution
A Pennsylvania school district on Friday defended its decision to discount Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and take a lead in teaching what critics say is a version of creationism. (Reuters)
science debate has evolved
The long-simmering battle over how evolution is taught in high school biology is boiling again. (USA Today)
Theologian Langdon Gilkey died on November 19, 2004, at the age of 85, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Gilkey testified for the plaintiffs in McLean v. Arkansas, the case that challenged the constitutionality of Arkansas's "Balanced treatment for creation-science and evolution-science act" of 1981. In his account of his experiences, Creationism on Trial: Evolution and God at Little Rock (1985), he explained his antipathy to the law: "I came to the conclusion that this law and ones similar to it are ... in fact dangerous to the health of our society. For the Washington Post's obituary of Gilkey, visit: Langdon Gilkey Dies; Theologian, Author, Educator.
who doubt Darwin
Hunter Baker on Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing. (The American Spectator)
won't rest in bashing of Darwin
I believe in a creator of the universe. But that's faith, not science. (Linda Valdez, The Arizona Republic)
science isn't science at all
Special pleading does a disservice to both faith and facts. (J. David Pleins, Mercury News, Calif.)
NPR: In the first hour of NPR's show Science Friday for November 19, 2004, host Ira Flatow and his guests discussed the recent decision by the Dover (Pennsylvania) Area School District to require the teaching of "intelligent design" in its science classrooms, as well as other recent battles over evolution education. For the archived version of the show, look under the "Archived Audio" section of: http://www.sciencefriday.com/pages/2004/Nov/hour1_111904.html
Ducks in evolution's
Brood parasitic black-headed ducks caught in their host's interspecific arms race.
A link for unrelated
Viruses which infect all three domains of life could be descended from bacteriophage.
Marine Mysteries Off The Alaskan Coast San Diego CA (SPX) Nov 24, 2004
A summer voyage to investigate the causes of one of the most devastating tsunamis in United States history has uncovered new mysteries about biological and geological processes off Alaska.
Humans Fuss, Animals Adjust Boulder CO (UPI) Nov 15, 2004
Scientists can argue all they want about how many degrees Celsius - or Fahrenheit - the planet is warming and what the trend portends, but meanwhile Earth's plants, insects and animals are not waiting for the outcome. They already are altering their patterns of behavior in response to what is happening.
Supplies Hidden Under North China Desert: Study Paris, France (AFP)
Nov 24, 2004
A desert in China's Inner Mongolia that has the highest sand dunes in the world holds a vast store of underground water which, if used wisely, could ease the chronic water shortage afflicting the north of the country, a study says.
Egg Finds Yield Clues to How Pterosaurs Lived
Two new pterosaur eggs have been discovered, and they suggest that the dinosaur-era flying reptiles lived in colonies and raised their young, experts say.
'bulletproof' armour revealed
Some dinosaurs' protective plates had a similar arrangement of fibres as seen in bulletproof fabrics, making them extremely tough.
review rekindles cold fusion debate
Energy panel split over whether experiments produced power.
wire picks up terahertz waves
'Coat-hanger' probes could boost airport security.
Find Strong Evidence for New State of Superconductivity
Researchers have found the clearest evidence yet for a superconducting state that differs from its mirror image. The team says the results, which come after six years of effort, are "definitive proof" that strontium ruthenate, or SRO, exhibits "odd-parity" superconductivity, sometimes called spin-triplet superconductivity. But not everyone is convinced yet.
fail to see the consequences
Research into juveniles' appreciation of ultimate outcomes is being used to support a ban on the US death penalty for under-18s.
can learn to be nice
Upbringing is a key contributor to a person's social responsibility, a new study suggests, reducing the overwhelming role of genetic factors.
symptoms more likely with cannabis
Young adults using cannabis increase their risk of developing psychotic symptom in later life, finds a large-scale study.
aged 10 years by stress
Psychological stress acts on a cellular level and can prematurely age a woman's chromosomes, a new study suggests.
Software To Speed Nanotech New York (UPI) Dec 03, 2004
New consortia of corporations, universities and federal agencies are seeking to accelerate the development in the wide-open field of nanotechnology software - programs to create and enhance devices with features on the molecular scale.
of Extinction Plagues More Than 15,000 Species
The annual report card on the state of the planet's species contains some sobering statistics. According to this year's Red List of Threatened Species, compiled by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), a total of 15,589 species are currently at risk for extinction, with more than 3,330 new threatened plants and animals added to the roll since last year. As it stands now, one in three amphibians, one in four mammals and one in eight birds stand to disappear permanently.