Return to July/August 2007 articles.
from Does God Exist? July/August 2007
Quebec Government Orders Private Schools to Teach Evolution. The Educational Ministry of Quebec has served notice it will close private schools that do not include Darwin's Theory of Evolution and sex education in their teachings. The problem here is that there is a Provincial Curriculum, and religious schools that do not teach 100 percent of the curriculum are being threatened with forced closure. Many of the schools being threatened teach evolution but also teach alternative views. “We offer a curriculum based on a Christian worldview rather than a humanistic world view,” the schools say and explain to their students “what's wrong with Darwin's Theory.” Should a Christian school have the right to teach their own sex education program, or do all schools have to teach what the government says about such subjects? This reminds your author of a battle the Amish have had here in northern Indiana to have their own schools, a battle they ultimately won. It will be interesting to see what happens in Quebec.
Made-to-Order Babies Are Here. The Abraham Center of Life in San Antonio has become the first business to allow a buyer to look at photos and select what characteristics they want their baby to have. Jennalee Ryan, the director of the firm says that donor traits should be selected, and for a fee of $2,500 she will create the embryo couples want with the characteristics they desire. For an additional fee a surrogate can be hired to carry the fetus to full term. So far all of her customers have selected white babies and 75 percent have been blond and blue eyed. Promoters of this process maintain that life does not begin at conception, so anything done at this level is ethically acceptable. It will be interesting to see what happens when one of these so called “perfect embryos” has a birth defect, and no studies have been done to see how healthy these embryos are. More to the point is the fact that this is rooted in a belief that humans are just animals and have no special value. Whatever you can do to a mouse you can do to a human. We suggest that considering man special, as a being created in the image of God with an eternal soul is the only way to avoid the massive pitfalls of such things as made-to-order babies. Source: The Christian Science Monitor, January 18, 2007, page 3 and The Week, January 26, 2007, page 16.
Can Animals Think and Use Logic? One mistake that many people make is to assume that thinking, logic, problem solving, and reasoning are unique to man. When the Bible describes man's uniqueness, it always is centered around spiritual characteristics and creativity--not around intelligence, thinking, tool use, and logic. It is important to understand that seeing an animal do something that is intelligent or requires logic does not mean that the animal is a human or is equal to a human in any way. On February 23, 2007 a report was released about researchers in Senegal who have observed chimpanzees making weapons for hunting. In the April 2007 issue of Scientific American (page 64) there is a detailed article on ravens using logic to solve problems, and the article says that the raven's “abilities approach or even surpass those of the great apes.” If you read the material and look at the evidence there is little doubt that animals think, solve problems, make tools, use logic, and have a social structure. These are not the things that make humans unique. Man's spiritual characteristics are what make man special, and these are a reflection of our unique creation in the image of God.
Faith Healers in Legal Trouble. We have tried to point out in this journal, that wild religious claims of miracles have serious flaws biblically and scientifically. It is not that God cannot perform miracles, but the purpose of miracles in today's world is not the same as in Jesus' time, and no individual today can duplicate the miracles that Jesus did. This discussion has been underlined by lawsuits being leveled against faith healers who claimed to do miracles and did not. A major example is televangelist Darlene Bishop. She has claimed that God cured her of breast cancer and healed her brother Darrell Perry of throat cancer. It turns out that Bishop never had breast cancer, and that her brother died of the throat cancer a year before she made those claims. Now Perry's four children have filed lawsuits against Bishop for wrongful death, because her claims of having healed Perry caused him to not get medical help until it was too late. In Jesus' day, his enemies stated that they could not deny that the cures were real, but no human today has that power, and perhaps lawsuits where a miracle has to be proven to avoid litigation will reduce the wild claims of religionists and force people to look at what the Bible actually teaches. Source: Skeptical Briefs, March 2007, page 13.
Autism Causes. Those of us who have had children born with birth defects always have those times when we ask “why?” In Jesus' day he was asked why a baby was born blind (John 9:1 – 3) and, as the father of a blind child, I can understand why people have struggled with the pain and frustration of things like this. There has been a massive rise in autism throughout the years, and there is now evidence that links autism to man-made toxins in our environment. In the April 2007 issue of Scientific American (page 35), there is a series of maps from Texas showing the possible correlation between autism rates since 1990 and the release of environmental toxins. As our understanding of the human genome gets better, and as we comprehend how chemicals can affect us, it becomes increasingly clear that many diseases and disorders are a function of man's injudicious use of the things that God has given us.
Kenya Origins-of-Man Debate. Kenya's Lake Victoria, Lake Turkana, and Olduvai Gorge have been the locations of many sites where fossils believed by many to be of early man have been excavated. The Leakey family worked here and the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi plans to make an exhibit of what they call “The Origins of Man" to display the finds that have been made. A variety of religious groups are objecting to the display and demanding that it be removed. It is unfortunate that displays of this type are so loaded with propaganda for a local find and its application to various theories. It would seem that education would be a better answer to museum displays than demands to suppress information. The finds of Kenya are interesting, but there are many questions unanswered and many places that have not been explored to see whether the finds there are unique. We have mentioned in this journal in the past new finds in China, Israel, and the fertile crescent; and educating people about other interpretations of the finds in Kenya would be far more productive. The fact is that the picture is very incomplete of what man's history has been. We need to encourage people to learn what the difference is between the physical history of man's body and the evidence for man's spiritual properties. Christians have nothing to fear from scientific discovery, but attempting to suppress information is not a good response. Source: Newsletter of the American Scientific Affiliation, March/April 2007, page 4.
Nearby Solar Systems Do Not Show Water. One of the research areas of astronomy is the study of planets outside of our solar system. The question of how unique the Earth is in space compared to other planets has been an area of intense discussion and study. Recently a planet named HAT-p-1 was discovered that apparently is made up of just hydrogen and helium. NASA has recently published a report on attempts to find water on two planets located within 1509 light years of Earth and considered to be good places to look for extraterrestrial life. Detailed studies of these two planets have shown no water exists on them. This is a major surprise and a blow to those who maintain that life is common throughout the cosmos. The Bible does not say that this is the only place where God has created life, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that life is very rare elsewhere in the creation and apparently does not exist anywhere near planet earth. Source: USA Today, February 22, 2007, page 6D.
Left-Behind Material in Video Games. One of the great sources of confusion in understandings of the Bible is those who promote a political message and force it on the Bible. Attempting to make Jerusalem a capital of the world, and have Jesus be a political ruler who restores ancient Judaism complete with animal sacrifice is a major distortion of the message of apocalyptic books in the Bible like Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Joel. This is also the background of most denominational creationists and their attempts to force the earth's history into a 6,000 year time frame. Now a video game titled “Left behind: Eternal Forces” is being marketed and sold. The game gives an apocalyptic rendering of New York City and allows the player to command “Tribulation Forces" as they try to save people from the forces of the antichrist. Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins are endorsing and promoting the new game, and it will continue to be a problem for educators and ministers trying to get young people to understand evidence and what the Bible is calling them to. Source: Pulpit Helps, January 2007, page 27.
Reminder on New Materials. The Does God Exist? ministry has produced a number of new materials in the past six months that may be of interest to our readers. If you have missed our announcements of these items, here is a list of new materials. These can be ordered or borrowed from us (see our online catalog) or purchased by credit card on our credit card website at doesgodexist.tv.
Frequently Asked Questions — A book answering questions asked at our public presentations and on our Web site.
Evidences of God, Volume 10 — A comb-bound book of articles that have appeared in this journal in the past three years. A whole set of these books dating back to 1972 is also available.
Dandy Designs, Volume 4 — The fourth in our series of books on design features seen in the creation.
All He Needs for Heaven — by Jim McDoniel, a Christian family's story of successfully raising a child born without arms or thighs.
Living Successfully with Diabetes — by Phyllis Clayton, a insulin-dependent diabetic for over 58 years.
Grandpa John's Science Lab — a DVD series for home schoolers and Christian schools presenting physics demonstrations in a Christian context.
We have also updated and expanded two of our books:
Timothy, My Son and My Teacher — our story of raising a child born blind, mentally retarded with cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.
A Whiner's Guide to Chemotherapy — by Judy Hines Ragsdale, a three-time cancer survivor.