We would like to point out that this is not a biblical issue. The Bible tells us that one of the groups that God created were the fowl. The word used for fowl in Genesis is not very specific. If it were proven that dinosaurs were in fact birds, that would simply mean that dinosaurs fit in the fowl category. Otherwise, they are not included in the groupings given in Genesis. This is true of many animals--worms, platypus, insects, virus, bats, etc. Genesis is not giving an explanation of how everything living on this earth came into existence, but rather identifies the animals that Moses and his contemporaries were familiar with. The determination of some evolutionists to prove their assumption that birds and dinosaurs are directly related is clearly shown by how quickly they are willing to jump to a conclusion about specimens. Source: Science News, April 28, 2001, page 262.
Gay Issues Continue to Dominate Press. The aggressiveness of gay activists continues to thrust the homosexual issue into the spotlight in the media. Vermont's recent law sanctioning gay and lesbian marriages has not even cooled, and an interesting problem has arisen. While the state put in laws and procedures that sanctioned gay marriages, there was nothing done about terminating those marriages --and already some gays want a divorce and cannot get one. When the laws allowing gay marriages were put in, residency in the state of Vermont was waived--so anyone could come in from out of state and get married. The divorce laws in Vermont require residency, and that requires living in Vermont for six months.
Another interesting event is that the man who was instrumental in getting homosexuality removed from being classified as a mental disorder in 1973, Dr. Robert Spitzer, has come out with a research report showing that gays can change their sexual orientation. The position that homosexual orientation is not a matter of choice would be in jeopardy if Spitzers' studies stand up.
A third issue is polygamy. People who argue that polygamy is their preferred system of marriage are challenging the government saying that, if gays can have their marriages recognized legally, the polygamists should be able to also. To allow a gay marriage and not a polygamist marriage would be prejudicial and a violation of people's rights according to the polygamist--most of whom are Mormons.
We would suggest that homosexual lifestyles are intrinsically destructive, much more prone to be leading to disease problems and instability. Tendencies to gay behavior may be inherited, but no one is helpless in their choices of lifestyles. When you sanction something that God has identified as outside of His plan for man, the issues become highly complex. References: Time, May 14, 2001, page 52 and May 21, 2001, page 62.
Cloning Turns Out to be Catastrophic. All of the discussion and debate about cloning a human being seems to be moot, at least for a while. It has taken a while, but researchers have reported that cloned animals have massive problems and that research is very far away from making cloning a usable technology. The first problem is that the cloned individuals have the same age as the adult from which the original tissue was taken. If cell material is taken from a ten-year-old animal and a new animal is cloned, the age of the cloned animal is ten years. We do not have a new baby, but a small version of the adult from which the tissue was taken. This problem seems to be universal.
Another problem is that cloned animals seem to be prone to disease and disorders at an astronomical rate. There are many im- mune system problems and many defects that were not seen in the parent that seem to be present in the cloned animals. It may be that given time, these problems will be minimized, but the severity of the problems indicates that any attempt to do cloning work on humans is a very long way off. We would suggest that how a human is conceived is not related to their spiritual make up and thus not related to their value. The issue does not have any apologetic value, but ethics and moral issues do need to be considered carefully. References US News and World Report, March 19,2001, page 42.
Stem Cell Issues Continue. One of the ongoing controversies in the world today has to do with taking cells that have no genetic identification and using these cells for various medical treatments. The first news reports that circulated on stem cells indicated they were being taken from aborted fetuses. The New England Journal of Medicine, March 8, 2001, reported on a treatment in which fetal stem cells were injected into the brains of 40 Parkinson patients. The results of the injections were bad, with 15% of the patients developing uncontrollable writhing, joint flexing and other involuntary movements. None of the patients over 60 years of age had any improvement. Obviously there is a great deal of work that needs to be done to make any kind of stem cell treatment practical in handling disease.
Perhaps more important is that more and more sources are being found for stem cells that do not involve aborted babies. US News and World Report, April 23, 2001, page 54, has reported on a new method of extracting stem cells from human fat. The advantage here is that a patient's own body material can be used to get the stem cells, reducing the danger of infection and rejection.
Religion Has An Impact on the Brain. Brain imaging has shown that there are definite changes that occur in the brain when people engage in prayer or other religious activity. These same areas appear to be excessively active when people have religious experiences. In an article in Newsweek, May 7, 2001, pages 5, researchers explore in a positive way how the brain responds to religious activity. The important thing from our perspective is that there is a relationship. The article is going to raise more questions than it answers, but the positive connection between the brain and religion is significant. A good quote from the article is its conclusion ".whether our brain wiring creates God, or whether God created our brain wiring -- is in the end a matter of faith." We would suggest that there is other evidence in the physical sciences that must be included in evaluating that choice.
Abortion Solves Crime? We reported two years ago that there had been studies that showed that since abortion has become widely accepted in the U.S., crime rates have gone down. Many researchers were quick to say this was because unwanted kids were not being allowed to live. In Scientific American, June, 2001, is a report on research that says that the drop in crime has been due to a combination of the reduction of crack availability, police action, better prison procedures, and economic growth. It would appear that in their zeal to justify abortion, many researchers have gotten the wrong cause with the right solution.
In Case You Missed It, Madalyn is Dead. Forensic scientists have positively identified the bodies of Madalyn O'Hair, Jon Garth Murray and Robin O'Hair in a grave in Texas. Authorities were led to the bodies in a plea bargain agreement with David Waters, Madalyn's former office manager. Reference: CBS News, March 15, 2001.
Dutch Euthanasia Law Approved. One of the most difficult issues of our day has found a battle ground to allow doctors to terminate patients legally. The Netherlands approved a law that allows doctors to legally terminate a patient if they feel the patient is chronically ill and cannot bear their suffering. Dutch doctors already had terminated 4,000 patients a year before this law was enacted, and that number will obviously accelerate. There have already been some abuses in the Netherlands, and we predict that will also increase. This is a critical problem. No one wants to see a loved one who cannot possibly get well suffer endlessly. Allowing humans to make these decisions, however, is not the answer. We suggest that the medical tools are available that can make suffering minimal no matter what the illness is. Source: Time, April 23, 2001.
Flat-Faced Relative. The media has made a major headline out of a new fossil find of a hominoid called Kenyanthropus platyops which in Greek means "flat faced man from Kenya. The specimen has many characteristics that are different from other hominoid finds, but it probably has no real relevance to the question of the evolution of man. He has small molars and appears to be quite different than the famous "Lucy" specimen. The real message is that there have been many different monkeys and apes that have lived in the past, and connections between them are difficult at best.
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