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March 29, 2005

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Religion in the News

The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience
Why don't Christians live what they preach? By Ronald J. Sider.

Religious challenge: Grappling with life's limits, what it means to be human
Beyond a core, religious views about the Schiavo case vary widely (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Schiavo case highlights Catholic-evangelical alliance
Christians have found common cause in the "culture of life" agenda articulated by Pope John Paul II (The New York Times)

Is Ashley Smith's Hostage Story a Testimonial?
More than a story of faith and hope, this hostage practiced the Sermon on the Mount.

No juice at the first Communion
As the Christian History magazine reminds us in its current issue, it wasn't until the 19th century that an alcohol-free swill could be produced from the "blood of the vine," to use a Biblical term (Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI)

Father Brown fakes the Shroud
Start with a piece of glass and some white oil paint (N. D. Wilson, Books & Culture

Faith in America the lastest news.

Armstrongism Is Wrong, But Not Murderous
A Christian who left the Worldwide Church of God before it turned orthodox says the Living Church of God isn't responsible for Terry Ratzmann's rampage. By Mark A. Kellner

Harold Camping now believes that (Sept. 29th) 2011 will be the end of the world.

MTV's 'Spiritual Windows' mix faith with rock 'n' roll
"There was no Web site call-in, like, 'We want more spiritual content,' but really just keeping an ear to the ground and trying to be tuned in to the world," says Kevin Mackall, the ponytailed 37-year-old senior vice president of on-air promos for MTV (Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times)

Another Reason Why Millions Is the Year's Best Film (So Far)
The family movie, like its hero, will help provide for the poor. Plus: IMAX theatres acknowledge creationists; Narnia lectures slated; Left Behind 3 on the way; and more. By Jeffrey Overstreet

International partnership to digitize world's oldest known Bible
The Codex Sinaiticus dates back to the fourth century (24 Hour Museum

Protestant philosopher at Notre Dame carves out intellectual room for God and miracles
In a scientific era, is it still possible to believe in God and such events as the Easter miracle of Jesus' resurrection from the grave? Can a rational person see God as both all-powerful and benevolent despite horrendous suffering in disasters like the Asian tsunami? From the perspective of philosopher Alvin Plantinga the answers are emphatic: yes and yes (Associated Press)

Physicist is awarded the Templeton Prize in spiritual matters
Dr. Charles Townes, a physicist who shared the Nobel Prize for helping to invent the laser, added another prize to a lifelong storehouse of honors (The New York Times)

Science in the News

The spring ASA Eastern PA sectional meeting is scheduled for April 16th at Messiah College from 1-4. Dr. Peter Dodson will be speaking on the topic of "God and the Dinosaurs."

13 things that do not make sense. New Scientist article.

Faking it in Frankfurt
(Stephen Pincock)

Researcher admits faking data
'Egregiousness' of conduct over almost 15 years leads to first-ever lifetime ban on US grants (Doug Payne)


First remains of ancient Egyptian seafaring ships discovered
The artefacts were found in caves by the Red Sea, along with pottery that could put a name to a mysterious land called Punt which provided the ancient Egytians with gold, ebony and incense.

Archaeologist Bill Dever on the historicity of ancient Israel
Revisionist scholars in Europe are ignoring a wealth of archaeological evidence in seeking to discount and, ultimately, erase belief in the biblical Israel, noted archaeologist William Dever said at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Controversial Dates Of Biblical Edom Reassessed In Results From New Archeological Research (March 3, 2005)
New archeological research from modern-day Jordan indicates the existence of the biblical nation of Edom at least as early as the 10th Century B.C., the era of kings David and Solomon, and adds to the controversy over the historical accuracy of the Old Testament.

Jordanian dig confirms Biblical Edom
The new study contradicts much contemporary scholarship which had argued that, because there had been no physical evidence, no Edomite state had existed before the 8th Century B.C. Until the current discovery many scholars had said the Bible’s numerous references to ancient Israel’s interactions with Edom could not be valid. See also RICHARD N. OSTLING: Archaeological work on Edom may prove skeptics wrong and Controversial Dates Of Biblical Edom Reassessed In Results From New Archeological Research.

Did Jesus Marry?
Birger A. Pearson - Modern movies and novels always want to marry Jesus off to Mary Magdalene. But Jesus’ own words suggest he wasn’t interested in such worldly matters.

Geography Predicts Human Genetic Diversity (March 17, 2005)
By analyzing the relationship between the geographic location of current human populations in relation to East Africa and the genetic variability within these populations, researchers have found new evidence for an African origin of modern humans.


First Direct Detection Of Light From Extrasolar Planets: NASA's Spitzer Marks Beginning of New Age of Planetary Science Cambridge MA (SPX) Mar 23, 2005
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has for the first time captured the light from two known planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. The findings mark the beginning of a new age of planetary science, in which "extrasolar" planets can be directly measured and compared. See also Light from Extrasolar Planets Detected.

Italian, US Cosmologists Present Explanation For Accelerating Expansion Of The Universe
Why is the universe expanding at an accelerating rate, spreading its contents over ever greater dimensions of space? An original solution to this puzzle, certainly the most fascinating question in modern cosmology.

Astronomers Map Chaotic Galaxy's Magnetic Field
Considering its tumultuous nature, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) exhibits a surprisingly ordered magnetic field, astronomers have discovered. The observations have resulted in the most detailed map yet of another galaxy's magnetism and provide a starting point for determining the magnetism of most of the local universe.

Atmosphere found on Enceladus
Saturn's shiny moon is shown to have a watery shroud.

Stars can only grow so big
Observations of giant star cluster suggest upper limit

ESO Telescopes Uncover Super Star Cluster In The Milky Way La Silla, Chile (SPX) Mar 28, 2005
Super star clusters are groups of hundreds of thousands of very young stars packed into an unbelievably small volume. They represent the most extreme environments in which stars and planets can form.

In The Stars: Omega Centauri Blues Washington (UPI) Mar 28, 2005
The late astronomer Carl Sagan was fond of saying "we are starstuff," referring to the fact that the atoms in our bodies were once cooked up inside an ancient giant star that exploded.

X-Rays Signal Presence Of Elusive Intermediate-Mass Black Hole Ann Arbor MI (SPX) Mar 28, 2005
Peculiar outbursts of X-rays coming from a black hole have provided evidence that it has a mass of about 10,000 Suns, which would place it in a possible new class of black holes.

Born Again Sols Could Bring Life Again To Dying Stellar Systems Washington DC (SPX) Mar 29, 2005
Dying stars may warm previously frozen worlds around them to the point where liquid water temperature exists long enough for life to form, according to a new analysis of the evolution of habitable zones around stars by an international team of astronomers.

Warming Up To A Martian Carcass Moffett Field CA (SPX) Mar 23, 2005
The detection of methane on Mars has generated a lot of speculation about what could possibly be producing it. Is it coming out of active volcanoes?

Hourglass Shaped Craters Filled With Traces Of Glaciers Paris, France (SPX) Mar 20, 2005
This image, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, shows flow features most likely formed by glaciers or "block" glaciers. See also 'Kissing craters' on Mars reveal glacial activity.

Black Holes Could Be 'Perfect,' Low-Viscosity Fluid Seattle WA (SPX) Mar 22, 2005
In three spatial dimensions, it is a close relative of the quark-gluon plasma, the super-hot state of matter that hasn't existed since the tiniest fraction of a second after the big bang that started the universe.


Schiavo Dilemma: Brain Death vs. Physical Life.

Is RNA inheritance possible?
Researchers find plant clues to a non-DNA pathway for genetic transmission (Laura M Hrastar)

Rogue weeds defy rules of genetics
Some plants appear to be inheriting genes that their parents did not possess - conventional wisdom says that should be impossible.

Key Enzyme Is Secreted By Heart Mast Cells -- Weill Cornell Discovery Opens Door To New Cardiovascular Therapies (March 28, 2005)
Weill Medical College of Cornell University researchers have made the startling discovery that renin -- a kidney-secreted enzyme crucial to blood pressure regulation -- is also synthesized and secreted by mast cells within the heart.

Widening Waistlines Predict Diabetes in Men.

Protein Packages Found To Activate Genes; May Be What Regulates Development And Disease
It's all in the packaging. How nature wraps and tags genes determines if and when they become active, according to researchers from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). They did the largest, most detailed study to date of the protein structure that surrounds the human genome.

Women get extra dose of X-chromosome genes
Data may help to explain differences between women and men.

DNA gets a fake fifth base
Artificial sequences could one day answer questions about evolution.


Young-Earth Creationist Helium Diffusion "Dates": Fallacies Based on Bad Assumptions and Questionable Data
Young-Earth creationists consider the helium diffusion studies of D. Russell Humphreys and others to be one of their greatest achievements in arguing for a 6,000 year old Earth. A geologist shows that these studies are extensively flawed and include: serious miscalculations in their data, sampling the wrong rock type, failing to eliminate possible contamination, using equations that are based on invalid assumptions and relying on questionable data.

"Why so many find the anti-evolution argument so appealing."

Verdict that Demands Evidence
It is Darwinists, not Christians, who are stonewalling the facts. By Charles Colson, with Anne Morse

Censorship in the Science Museums
It is unacceptable for museums to reject legitimate science films because they offend the beliefs of religious fundamentalists.

The March 23, 2005, issue of USA Today featured Dan Vergano and Greg Toppo's "'Call to arms' on evolution," which described a letter circulated by Bruce Alberts, the president of the National Academy of Sciences, to members of the NAS, calling on them "to confront the increasing challenges to the teaching of evolution in public schools." 

Battle on teaching evolution sharpens
Propelled by a polished strategy crafted by activists on America's political right, a battle is intensifying across the nation over how students are taught about the origins of life. Policymakers in 19 states are weighing proposals that question the science of evolution. (Washington Post)

Religion and Natural History Clash Among the Ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Banned books: Three of Rabbi Slifkin's books, published from 2001 to 2004, were singled out in the letter or in related materials: "Mysterious Creatures," "The Science of Torah" and "The Camel, the Hare and the Hyrax." Predictably, the banned books have become hits.

Dances with fruit flies
Scientist Sean Carroll goes beyond genetics to look at how evolution actually works (US News & World Report)

Key Books on the Creation./Evolution debate.

Earth Science

Preserved soft tissue of TRex could reveal inner workings of dinosaur bones
A thigh bone from a 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex has given fossil experts an unexpected treasure: well-preserved soft tissue. The stretchy material, which may contain the remnants of blood vessels and cells, could shed light on how dinosaurs' bodies worked.  See also Scientists Find Soft Tissue in T. rex Fossil.

Climate Change Inevitable In 21st Century Boulder CO (SPX) Mar 18, 2005
Even if all greenhouse gases had been stabilized in the year 2000, we would still be committed to a warmer Earth and greater sea level rise in the present century, according to a new study by a team of climate modelers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Mystery Minerals Formed In Dinosaur-Destroying Asteroid Fireball. Chicago IL (SPX) Mar 24, 2005
Scientists at the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago have explained how a globe-encircling residue formed in the aftermath of the asteroid impact that triggered the extinction of the dinosaurs.

New Research Indicates A 'Troubled' Greenhouse Is Brewing Eugene OR (SPX) Mar 24, 2005
Climates like those of the movie "Monsoon Wedding" may extend more widely into Africa, North America and South America, according to a University of Oregon geologist's analysis of an ancient greenhouse event.


Light Arises From Relativity Violations Bloomington IN (SPX) Mar 22, 2005
Light as we know it may be a direct result of small violations of relativity, according to new research scheduled for publication online Tuesday (March 22) in the journal Physical Review D.

Classic maths puzzle cracked at last
The puzzle originated with a self-taught maths genius nearly a century ago - the solution may lead to advances in physics and internet security.


Genes contribute to religious inclination
Genes play a key role in long-term religious behaviour, a new twins study suggests, and the effects of a religious upbringing may fade with time.

What is . . . neurotheology?
Neurotheology is the scientific study of what happens to brain activity during religious or spiritual experiences. It is a recent development, made possible because of advances in brain-imaging. The idea is to use the latest tools available within psychology and neuroscience to detect which parts of the brain are active during spiritual experiences. (Times, London) 


Nanocatalysts For Oil, Drugs New York (UPI) March 25, 2005
The catalysts on which more than 20 percent of world industrial production is based -- including the expensive platinum employed to scrub clean the exhausts of millions of vehicles and the molecules pharmaceutical giants use to manufacture drugs -- soon could be replaced in large part by more effective nanotechnology upgrades, experts told UPI's Nano World.

Membraneless Fuel Cell Is Tiny, Versatile Champaign IL (SPX) Mar 28, 2005
A fuel cell designed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign can operate without a solid membrane separating fuel and oxidant, and functions with alkaline chemistry in addition to the more common acidic chemistry.


Species list reaches half-million mark
Researchers claim 'spectacular progress' towards logging all Earth's life.

Reference revolution
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales offers a whole new species of information online.