MORE VERTEBRATES IN EARLIEST ROCKS. One of the problems in the traditional Neo-Darwinistic model of amoeba to man is the fact that the fossil record does not support the theory of simple to complex. We have noted in past issues of this journal the fact that the trilobite, an index fossil for the Cambrian period (the period when life first became highly abundant on the earth) had a highly complex eye. We have also pointed out that there are a number of backboned animals that appear very early in the fossil record.
In Science News (November 6,1999, page 292) is an article about a fossil called Myllokunmingia and another called Haikouichthys which have all the properties of chordates but are in rocks that are 530 million years old. This article agrees with the point that we have made in the past that all life groups appear at the same time in the fossil record--a point also made in the biblical record. The article says that ". . Fossils of two fish. . .push the origin of the vertebrates back to the riotous bash when almost all other animal groups emerged in the geologic record."
ALCOHOL. The number one drug problem in the United States is alcohol. We continue to be amazed at the indifference of the religious community as a whole and of the United States government to this fact. Thanks to Mothers Against Drunk Driving date continues to become available to show just how extensive and expensive the problem is. In the Fall, 1999, issue of Driven, data for underage drinking is quoted that we believe needs to be put in front of the Church. In 1998, the cost of youth drinking in America was $58,379,000. That is $216.22 in 1998 dollars for every man, woman, and child in this country. The Office of National Drug Control Policy has launched a five-year one billion dollar anti-drug media campaign which is being touted as one of the government's top ten advertising campaigns in history. Not one penny of this money which is coming from taxpayers will speak out against underage drinking. Drinking in young people is a behavioral issue that is part of what those of us who work with young people have to deal with on a daily basis.
The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Alan Leshner, has reported that alcohol and other drugs like it are addictive because they modify brain chemistry permanently. Leshner reports that these substances "have common effects on dopamine. . . Alcohol, heroin, cocaine, nicotine, majijuana--all modify dopamine function in similar ways.... It doesn't go away. Drugs change brain cells in profound, long-lasting way."
The thing that is even more disturbing to this writer is that the Church has become deafingly silent on this issue as well. How can Christians condone the use of the most destructive recreational drug in the history of mankind? --Reference: Parade, November 21, 1999, page 11
WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER? In Scientific American (November, 1999, page 6) John Rennie used this title for his column. He begins by reminding us that from Ponce de Leon's search for the Fountain of Youth to cryonics and nanotechnology, man has tried to avoid death. Suppose physical immortality was acheived and everything we die of could be overcome. Then what? He points out that eventually "everything that can happen will, in every permutation and to everyone, over and over again. It leaves them without hope or desire, only fleetingly roused from emotional torpor by sensual experience." He later suggests that "this bleak vision is what comes of wrangling with an unforgiving eternity." We would suggest that this observation is correct and is a good argument for the existence of man's spiritual nature and for the existence of God as a being outside of the physical world. The inadequacy of the physical world makes a powerful argument that we are not primarily physical beings. Rennie correctly says ".. .what is divine, terrible, incomprehensible, is to know that one is immortal."
AMY'S FRIENDS CONTINUES TO GET ATTENTION. In our September/October, 1999, issue, we ran a note in this column about a a young lady named Amy Dupree who was a topless dancer in Dallas and worked her way out of that kind of exploitation. She began a program to reach out to other women who had the same types of problems. There has been a great deal of interest about that work, and the program has grown in every way. It is interesting that 20/20 was going to run a special section on the program and then backed out. We suspect we know why, but hopefully they will be willing to do the section and let the world know that there are people who really do want to help the sexually exploited of our society. If you are interested in the program, the addresses are Amy's Friends, Box 1375, Addison, TX 75001, www.amysfriends.net or firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 972-732-0611. Their hotline is 972-520-3400.
MORE CATASTROPHIC EVIDENCE. Most people on both sides of the creation/evolution controversy end up discussing non-issues. One of the areas that is a real issue in our opinion is the uniformitarianism/catastrophism issue. Evolution is based on the assumption that the processes that operate on the earth today are the only processes that have ever operated. The issue is not the magnitude of what has happened, but the nature of the process. Many parts of evolutionary theory would not be possible if there have been events in the distant past like the flood described in the Bible. Such events would have caused changes that gradualism could not overcome.
Several journals have reported the results of a study that show that in the distant past billions of tons of carbon-rich gas have been belched up from within the earth, altering the climate dramatically and catastrophically. One theory is that this carbon surge came from a methane hydrate which became unstable and caused methane gas to be released in massive quantities. The point is that there continues to be a growth of evidence that uniformitarianism is not true. If your interpretation of the earth's history is based on assumption that is not true, then your whole interpretation is suspect. --Reference: Science News, October 23, 1999, page 260
INTERESTING QUOTE FROM MARILYN VOS SAVANT. Parade magazine has a regular column by this lady who is highly respected for her high I.Q. She made an interesting comment recently when asked about the evolution decision in Kansas. "I think it's a public-relations setback for the creationists, because it makes them look guilty of selective reasoning. That is, it doesn't make sense to believe in only those scientific conclusions that don't clash with one's personal faith and then to discourage the teaching of the rest. But before castigating creationists for trying to combine church and state, let's consider just how crazy some 'scientific' theories look.
"Evolution is easy for both scientists and nonscientists to support, but the Big Bang theory, for example, was also an important deletion in the Kansas decision. In essence, the theory holds that billions of years ago, everything in the universe was contained in an area smaller than the head of a pin ( ! ) and that this minuscule speck of unbelievably dense and incredibly hot matter suddenly exploded violently. That sounds just plain nuts, right?
"But do you believe it? If so, how do you support your belief that the entire cosmos was once smaller than a polka dot? (With a strong line of reasoning? Some solid evidence? Anything at all?) If you cannot, welcome to the world of faith: You're accepting what you've been told by those you respect. And that's what creationists do. They just respect different folks." --Reference: Parade, November 14, 1999, page 20
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