ANTI-RELIGION EXTREMISM CONTINUES TO GROW. The continued hostility by the government toward those who believe in God has gotten so obvious that it has finally gotten the attention of both the courts and the media. In Newsweek, March 20, 2000, page 82, is a story about a student named Zachary Hood. Zachary's teacher in Medford, NJ, rewarded students who had done well in reading by allowing them to bring a story from home and read it to the class. Zachary brought a story titled "A Big Family" from The Beginner's Bible. The story he read was the story of Jacob working for his uncle and then coming home to a joyful reunion with Esau. There is no mention of God and no miraculous acts are described in the story. Zachary was not allowed to read the story "because of its religious content." The school principal backed up the teacher saying that the reading of the story was equivalent to praying.

At Thanksgiving, the teacher assigned the students the job of making a poster of something that they were thankful for. Zachary drew a picture of Jesus and was refused to allow to show it with the other students' posters because it had a religious theme. This action ended up in court. Newsweek's George Will has pointed out that if Zachary had "read a snippet from the Koran, he probably would have been praised for his sensitivity to `diversity.'" He also points out that Medford's policy is hostile to anything biblical. Justice Sandra Day O'Conner has written that "the prohibition of all religious speech in our public schools unconstitutional disapproval of religion." We would suggest this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the animosity to religion in the press and government is concerned.

COST OF A FAMILY. Weighing the cost of building a structure before you start is a biblical principle. We have frequently pointed out that many children come into the world as an accident, not because someone weighed the cost and determined that they were willing to pay it. The result is that these children end up being a challenge to all of society because they have not been raised according to the plan that God has given us. In Scientific American, April, 2000, page 34, is a report on the current cost of raising a child in America. Just to get the child to age 17 is $156,000 and, if adjusted for inflation, that would be $240,000. If you include lost wages and college for the child the number jumps to $1.45 million. We would suggest if it is not worth that kind of money to have a baby, do not have it.

NEANDERTHAL SPEECH. One of the more interesting controversies among evolutionists is the argument about when complex speech can be verified in the fossil record. During the past several years, there has been a concerted effort to try and portray Neanderthals as non-human and a completely different species than modern man. One of the claimed evidences that Neanderthals were a non-human species is that they could not carry on complex speech. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, volume 95, page 5417, is a report of studies of the hypoglossal canal in Neanderthals. This canal carries the nerves to the tongue through the base of the skull. Humans need a very wide canal to allow controls that produce complex speech motion. Chimps, for example, have a canal opening that is less than 50% of that of man's. Neanderthals hypoglossal canal is basically the same as modern man's, according to the report, so the idea that Neanderthals communicated by ape-like grunts and squeaks is not supported by the evidence.

We would suggest that this issue is what is sometimes called the splitter/lumper issue. Some scientists put new names on every specimen they find and try to suggest that each new find is a different species. This view is called the splitter view. Others suggest that the different forms are just racial variations and that the forms are all the same species. The Bible portrays Adam and Eve as the starting point of all humans. This would suggest that there is no such thing as a sub-human or an inferior human. Specimens like the Neanderthals are just racial variations who adapted to climates that were different than that of the fertile crescent where the Garden of Eden was. There is considerable evidence to support this view (including the one we reported last year of a specimen that seemed to be a Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon hybrid.) The biblical account continues to contain accuracy beyond the knowledge of the day in which it was written. The traditions and assumptions of mankind cause conflicts and denigrate the Bible-not the evidence.

SO YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING? The news is full of concerns about the affect of our climate warming by a few degrees, but there is geological evidence that at one time the entire planet was frozen from the poles to the equator. This is based upon several geological evidences including a clear layer of glacial debris in equatorial Africa with erratics that could not be produced by any other technique. Geologists would not classify this as an event in contradiction to uniformitarianism, because glacial formation is seen on the earth today. It is, however, another evidence that the earth has swung through some pretty major catastrophic periods in which most forms of life would not have been able to survive the environment. This is perhaps the greatest problem that evolutionists face in trying to explain how the various versions of their theory might be possible.

-Reference: Smithsonian, December, 1999, pages 28-30.

 CLONING OFF TO A ROARING START IN 2000. The year 2000 has started off with a flurry of cloning activity. In January of this year, a 96-pound calf was born that was a clone of a clone. The first monkey to be cloned was born in Oregon--a rhesus macaque named Tetra. A U.S. biotechnology firm called Geron Corporation was granted a patent from the British government in cloning human embryos. All of this happened in one month at the start of the year 2000.

There are those who will react negatively to all of this and complain that science is invading an area that should only be in the control of God. Whenever I hear a remark like that, I am reminded of one of my favorite cartoons. It shows two cavemen walking along in a terrible storm with lightning, thunder, hail, and wind. One caveman says to the other, "It's those crazy scientists and their bows and arrows that are causing all this bad weather."

Cloning is not evil. All that is being done is duplicating a natural system to obtain a desired effect. Learning how to control the reproduction of living things is one way to use the resources God has given us to meet the physical needs of all living things. If the cloning of higher forms of life is perfected, it may give us the potential to produce animals that will feed more humans with less food being given to the animal. Geron did not get its patent to make baby farms. The stated objective of the company is to produce tissue that can reverse kidney damage, provide relief for Parkinson patients, and cure diabetes. If this could be done by cloning, it would bring a screeching halt the attempts to use fetal cells to do the same jobs.

The act of cloning is not evil. How the uses of cloning will be applied is the real issue. A hammer can be used to build a house or kill a human. How the hammer is used is determined by the morals and values of the person who has the hammer in his/her hand. This is why we desperately need Christian young people doing this work and research so that positive uses will be made of cloning, not the production of diseases, androids, or Adolph Hitlers.

-Reference: U.S. News and World Report, February 7, 2000, page 52.

 CASE IN POINT--THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT. A good example of the above is the fact that one of the main researchers involved in the attempts to map all human DNA is Dr. Francis Collins, who is a devout believer. In Discover recently (April, 2000), Dr. Collins was interviewed about his research. He identifies all the good things that could be done by knowing the total mapping of the DNA in humans. He was then asked "Has your work as a geneticist ever conflicted with your faith." His response was "No. For me, being involved in the genome project seems illuminated by faith. As someone who believes in a personal God, I find that the opportunity to uncover some of the mysteries of human biology is also an opportunity for worship."

WHO IS IN CHARGE? In the Orlando Sentinel, June 3, 1999, page 13B, was an article by Kathleen Parker that we thought was rather interesting and raised some interesting points about America. She raised the following incidents:

  1. In Chicago, a group of third grade boys were reprimanded for praying together.
  2. In Fort Myers, a teacher scheduled a cross-dressing day for his middle school students.
  3. Middletown, CT, students at Wesleyan College created pornographic movies for a film class.
Parker's comment about all of this is "...the entire country is guzzling LSD punch while I'm sipping Irish breakfast tea." She then explains each case in more detail and concludes with two observations:
  1. Adults are obsessed with sex and cannot seem to leave children out of it;
  2. Public education has become the enemy of parents who, owing to their own confusion in the midst of moral chaos, have become part of the problem.
She ends the article with "Hello, Who's in charge here?" We think that question needs to be answered.

HOMOSEXUALITY ON PBS. When is a television program on homosexuality a promotion of tolerance, and when is it a promotion of homosexuality ? PBS has a documentary on homosexuality titled "It's Elementary" which it claims promotes tolerance. Many of those who have seen the program say that is not the case, that it promotes the homosexual lifetsyle. Idaho Falls businessman Frank VanderSloot has paid for 25 billboards saying "Should public television promote the homosexual lifestyle to your children?" We would encourage our readers to watch this video before allowing it in your child's classroom.

-Reference: US News and World Report, September 13 1999, page 26.

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