GRAND CANYON TRIP FILLING. During July 4-10, 1999, Niles Jansma will take a group of Christians the length of the Grand Canyon. Nils has gone with us many times on this trip and will serve as manager and guide. The cost is $1400 with all expenses covered while in the Canyon. If you are interested contact Nils at 2621-42 Sweetwater Rd., National City CA 92050; Phone 619/475-7581; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
JURASSIC PARK BLUNDER? Can a mosquito preserved in amber have a DNA fragment in it that can be cloned? The Jurassic Park scenario is not holding up well in modern research. Discover, January, 1998, page 47, reports that studies of amber (petrified tree sap) with living material in it does not reveal any usable DNA material. It appears that the tree resin is not a good preservative. Dreams of cloning whole dinosaur groups may well be limited to the silver screen and not the laboratory
BACKWARDS EINSTEIN. Albert Einstein's famous equation E=mc2 has been used by many of us to understand how the atomic bomb works where small amounts of mass are turned into large amounts of energy. Stanford University's linear accelerator used with a laser and operated by Kirk McDonald of Princeton have taken pieces of light and have produced physical matter--the reverse of the atomic bomb. When you put this discovery together with passages like "God is light" (1 John 1:5) and look at the processes of creation described in Genesis 1, you have a tantalizing picture. God took some of his own substance and transformed it into the physical world in which we exist. Whatever we make of the statement "...in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28), the interesting thing is that the process of going from light to mass is far more difficult than going from mass to energy. McDonald points out "...if all of the sun's power could be focused on one spot, there still wouldn't be enough energy to make even an ounce of matter." --Article reference: Discover, December 12, 1997, page 40
CANNIBALISM CONTROVERSY. One of the favorite Christian bashing techniques that has been employed in recent years by some has been to vilify attempts made by Christians to teach Christ to primitive tribes. The claim is that, by forcing western values on other cultures, the good that these cultures had was destroyed and they really had nothing they practiced that needed to be changed. To support this position, there have been attempts to maintain that cannibalism never existed but was a myth put out by Christian missionaries to justify their missionary activities. In 1979, the charge to support this view was led by William Arens in his book The Man Eating Myth (Oxford University Press). Recent studies of primitive cultures have shown over and over that cannibalism was carried on, frequently as a religious act. Ann Gibbons has recently released a useful study titled "Archeologists Rediscover Cannibalism" (Science 277, 1997, page 636-637). The evidence is overwhelming that this and other destructive moral and hygienic practices were carried on by these cultures. Those things that are positive and constructive will never be at odds to the Bible's teachings, and there is no reason to stop a cultural tradition that is positive and has no destructive influence.
MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES--REAL OR RIP OFF? We have all seen the articles about someone who had several personalities and how this tortures them and negatively affects their lives. A growing amount of evidence indicates that multiple personalities are not the problem and that sometimes unscrupulous psychiatrists have used the implanting of false memories to convince patients they had multiple personalities. One such patient, Nadean Cool, won a $2.4 million malpractice suit according to an AP press report of November 2, 1997.
WHO SAID THE WORLD WAS FLAT? According to Jeffrey Russell, a UCSB history professor, it was not the belief of most people during the renaissance, but was a myth spread by American author Washington Irving. The origin of the idea that the earth was flat, according to Russell, was an attempt that was made to discredit Christianity in an age of respect for science. Revelation 7:1 has been used by some to try to make a flat earth a biblical position. You wonder how many times a bogus claim was planted by someone trying to discredit someone else or their beliefs.--Newsletter of the American Scientific Affiliation, November/December, 1997, page 1.
MORE DATA ON MIGRATIONS. One of the great evidences that there is design in the creation, and that chance cannot explain the world around us is the instinctive capabilities seen in living things. We have argued that kangaroos and monarch butterflies are especially good examples of designed organisms that function with such complexity that chance is very hard to believe to be the cause. Those of you who would like to read some new data on these incredible organisms may be interested in recent articles that have come out. International Wildlife, September/October, 1997, has an excellent article dealing with kangaroos and marsupial reproduction. Scientific American, September, 1997, page 90, has an excellent article on the migrations of the monarch butterfly. We hope to eventually be able to do some updating of our "Dandy Designs" feature, but we refer interested readers to those two articles for some updated information.
MORE ON BIRD/DINOSAUR LINK. We mentioned in our last issue that there was considerable discussion going on among scientists as to whether the claimed links between the birds and the dinosaurs were supported by the evidence. In Science News, November 15, 1997, page 310, there is more evidence cited to challenge the bird/dinosaur link. In Science, November 14, Dr. John Ruben of Oregon State compares the lungs of living birds and crocodiles with dinosaur fossils. Ruben's findings show that the diaphragms of the dinosaurs are much more like the crocodiles. This is a completely different line of evidence than the hand bones we reported on last issue. It will be interesting to see how objective people are in dealing with this new evidence since it would destroy a cherished theory about evolution. We will keep you posted.
WHAT MAKES US MUSICALLY CREATIVE? What is it about man that causes him to create and enjoy music? We have maintained that it is the spiritual dimension of man that gives him this capacity. Another view is that the brain and its electrical structures totally explain this unique capacity in man. A new study and book by Robert Jourdain titled Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy (William Morrow) has gathered a great deal of data and promoted a number of new theories on this question. An excellent review of this book appears in Scientific American, September, 1997, page 97. The complexity of the issue is beautifully shown in Jourdain's book, and we would suggest that it supports our contention that the brain alone cannot be the answer. Another useful article on this subject is in Discover, September, 1997, page 28, which reports on other studies.
WHY DO WE SLEEP? You may think that this question is dumb, but saying it is because we get tired does not really answer the question. Why should we get tired, and how does sleep solve anything? Recent studies have shown that rats deprived of sleep for 17 days will actually die. You can go 16 days without food, so it seems that sleeping is about as fundamental as eating. We certainly do not understand sleeping in the way we do eating. Physical problems develop in laboratory animals after a small amount of sleep deprivation, and animals lose 10-15% of their body weight even though they eat twice as much food. US News and World Report, August 18/25, 1997, page 48, has an excellent article pointing out the mysteries of sleep. The design features of our bodies and what we are learning about ourselves boosts our understanding that "we are fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14).
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