Creating Life:   Again.  The ignorance of the media has been displayed again in the arena of creating life.  Newspapers and magazines in January 2008 had titles reminiscent of the late 1950s like "Scientists Create Life," and "Life From Scratch."  The research being used is some interesting work by John Glass and his associates at The J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland.  What Glass and others are doing is taking medium length segments of DNA and using enzymes to join these sections.  This may allow a synthetic cell to be produced in which each section would be understood and could be used to address certain medical problems.  Trying to relate this to the creation of life is misguided.  Science News (January 12, 2008, page 29) uses the analogy of trying to build a Ford Model T by using Honda parts.  The modern molecules we have are not analogous to what was present when life began on Earth.

A different approach has been presented in Russia where experiments involving microbes in volcanic vents are attempting to construct a model of how life might have started in that environment.  The article is titled "Originating Life" and is in Science (February 24, 2006, page 1081).

Fear Not Learned.  Japanese scientists have been able to produce mice that are not afraid of cats.  Normally mice will display great fear at the smell or presence of a cat.  It has always been assumed that this fear was a learned response, but by altering the genetic material in mice, scientists have produced mice that do not fear cats at all--and will snuggle up to them or attempt to play with them.  The question of whether fear is designed into us is a major one for psychology and has ramifications in other areas of understanding why we do what we do.  Reference: Austin American Statesman, December 23, 2007, page A21.

Leading Atheist Makes Complete Break with Atheism.  For the past 60 years or so, one of the leading atheist philosophers has been Antony Flew.  Many readers will remember his debate with Thomas Warren some 40 years ago.  Flew was the son of a Methodist minister, but became an atheist scholar and a leading spokesman for atheism in his college years.  His arguments have always been philosophical in nature, but as he started looking at the scientific evidence for design in the creation he changed his mind.  His fellow atheists are trying to suggest that he just got old and senile and afraid of dying, but he has not embraced Christ or the notion of life after death--yet.  He holds that open as an option.  Flew has released a new book titled There is A God which we will review sometime in the future.  It is interesting that philosophical arguments were not the prime mover of Flew, but rather scientific evidence.  We have always maintained that it is incredibly difficult to be an open-minded, educated, thinking person and be an atheist--and Flew lends support to that idea.

Relativism Gets Organized.  A prevailing idea in the world today is that there is no such thing as absolute truth.  The idea is that all beliefs and thinking have value, and that no one has a right to believe what they believe is any better than what anyone else believes.  The Right Reverend William Swing, who is an Episcopal priest, has started a program called United Religious Initiative (URI).  This organization wants to bring relativism into religion as a means of solving global conflict.  Swing says, "I'm sure that ten years from now the hot topic will be whether Jesus exclusively is the one and only person who saves.  Or does God save in multiple ways, including Jesus; or as an outgrowth of Jesus; or as seen in Jesus."  The URI maintains that there should be a Declaration of Rights not to be converted to another religion.  It would ban all proselytizing and evangelizing.  Passages like Matthew 28:19-20 are claimed to be erroneous and the cause of war.  We would suggest that the URI is not only opposed to God, but that it is illogical.  Religions that advocate religious war, relegate women to second class citizenship, promote polygamy, and teach a pantheistic approach to world economic problems will not bring peace and prosperity as URI advocates claim.  Waving a peace flag as you promote relativism may gain a few followers, but it will be inconsequential in solving the issues of our day.  Reference: SCP Newsletter, Winter 2007/2008, page 1.

British Data on Church Attendance.  Studies in Britain on Church attendance shows that 6.3 percent of the population attends church twice or more a month.  Eighty percent of Muslims in London say they attend mosque regularly.  There are more Muslims numerically attending mosque regularly than there are church attendees, and Islam is the fastest growing religion in Britain.  Similar data comes from studies in Europe showing the progress of atheism and secularism in the western culture.  Reference: Austin American-Statesman, December 14, 2007, page A27.

Philadelphia Boy Scouts Lose Building.  In 1929 the scouts built and paid for the Beaux Arts style building and turned it over to the city of Philadelphia with the understanding that the scouts would be allowed to remain in it "in perpetuity" while the city used the rest of the building and shared some parts of it.  Recently Romulo L. Diaz Jr. a gay activist who became City Solicitor ordered them to pay $200,000 a year rent or get out.  Most observers believe it is the scouts refusal to accept homosexual members and leaders that is behind what is happening.  Christine M. Flowers of the Philadelphia Daily News says "Diaz has pursued the scouts with something akin to vengeance, cloaked in the language of equality."

Giganticism in the Past.  Advanced Materials and Processes (January 2008, page 10) reports the discovery of a giant fossil claw from an ancient sea scorpion.  Found in Germany, the claw came from a scorpion that would have been over eight feet long.  For arthropods to grow that big, the chemical make-up of the earth's atmosphere must have been very different than it is today--and the temperature must have been much higher.  Data on the dinosaurs indicates similar conditions and tells us a great deal about how life has changed throughout time.  Mammals do not do well in the kinds of conditions we are talking about, and all of this has much to say about why the dinosaurs and their contemporaries existed and how they have contributed to making the earth able to support man.

Nonprayer Breakfasts for God-Free Currency.  One of the more aggressive atheist groups in the United States is the Freedom From Religion Foundation which operates out of Madison, Wis., and is directed by Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, a former Baptist minister.  The group is sponsoring billboards and nonprayer breakfasts and raffles for removal of reference to God on American currency.  Their billboards usually show a church's stained glass window and a sign that says "Beware of Dogma" and then gives their name and web site.  Look for it in your area.

Native America Morality.  When Europeans came to America, the native Americans were treated badly.  The spin given this by many who are hostile to Christianity is that a peaceful, moral, population was attacked by a disease-carrying exploitive warlike people.  Scientists have now traced the epidemic of syphilis that occurred in 1495 in Europe with strong evidence that the syphilis came from Columbus and his crew and was given to them by the native Americans.  Learning from the past can only happen if we come to history without an ax to grind--whether that ax be atheistic or religious.  Reference: Science News, January 19, 2008, page 38.

Evolution Theology.  A new book and program titled "Thank God for Evolution" has entered the evolution/creation controversy.  The husband-wife team promoting this program are Michael Dowd, a Unitarian minister, and his wife Connie Barlow, a science writer.  They also maintain a Web site at  Dowd believes that God's revelations are not just made through the Bible, but that they also come in the form of scientific discovery.  It is obvious that Dowd has resolved the evolution/creation controversy by discarding the Bible as Truth, and relies on the current understanding of neoDarwinism to base his scientific data.  That will produce a synthesis of the two, which is what evolution theology is, but it will be a constantly changing materialistic theology, and not one that addresses the real problems of people living in the twenty-first century.

Texas Creationist School Demands Teacher Training Be Accepted.  We have discussed denomination creationism many times in this journal.  What we mean by that phrase is a program of various churches that builds a scientific understanding around the teachings of a certain denomination.  In the last fifty years the theological position of dispensational millennialism has led to an attempt to confine the earth's age to less than 10,000 years.  Previously the ministry promoting this had its base in California, but in recent months it moved its offices to Texas.  Now pressure is being put on Texas to certify the teacher-training program of this group.  Henry Morris III is the CEO who has led this effort, and scientists and Christians all over Texas are objecting to the positions being taught to prospective teachers.  We have discussed some of the scientific and biblical errors of denominational creationism many times in this journal, and you can read some of it in a book on our Web site ( titled God's Revelation in His Rocks and His Word.  It will be interesting to see how all sides of this issue respond to this challenge.  Reference: Austin American Statesman, December 11, 2007, page B1.

Does God Exist? DVDs Now Available on Web Site.  We want to remind our readers that we now have our DVD series on the existence of God available on our Web site  All of the 24 DVDs can be watched on the site, and in fact can be copied from the site.  There are also previews available on the site.  We have done this because of technical problems with the versions of the DVDs that are on Google, Godtube, and Youtube.  If you wish to copy the DVDs you are welcome to do so.  We ask the copies not be sold, but making copies for your own use or to give to someone else is fine.  We will be adding other DVDs in the months ahead, including our children's DVD series.

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