BIRDS AND QUANTUM MECHANICS. We have discussed the migratory abilities of animals many times in our “Dandy Designs” segment of this journal. Studies have linked polarized light, sound, magnetism, and celestial navigation to bird migrations and the abilities of homing pigeons. German researchers have now suggested that the birds detect navigational clues at a subatomic level using pairs of molecules that are entangled with spin. The idea is that this spin is affected by a magnetic field thus giving a sense of north. The subtitle of an article in Smithsonian (May 2012, page 22) is “Birds must be geniuses because they use quantum mechanics to navigate.” We would suggest the genius is in the Creator of the bird, not the bird itself.
BEES AND FACES. In a similar vein, researchers have now shown that bees can recognize human faces. By placing faces above bee feeders with the same face always being above a sugar solution while other feeders were just water, researchers were able to show that bees quickly learned to go to the feeder where that face was placed no matter how scrambled the arrangement of feeders was. Source: Creation Moments, March 8, 2012.
VOYAGERS LEAVING SOLAR SYSTEM. On August 20, 1977, a spacecraft was launched which is expected to leave the solar system some time this summer. That will happen when the particles from the sun and the particles from other stars in space stop each other and all effects of the sun on the spacecraft will essentially cease. The “Voyager” spacecrafts (there were two of them launched together) are eleven billion miles from earth — so far that their radio signals take 16 hours to reach the earth. What outer space is really like is one question that the spacecraft will answer, because up until now we have had no way to tell. Every discovery Voyager has made (and there have been literally dozens) has supported the biblical message that there was a beginning to the creation, that it was caused, and that reliable wisdom and design is built into its construction. It is exciting to live in a time of incredible discovery and know that new knowledge will help us better understand ourselves and the creation in which we live. Source: Smithsonian.com, May 2012.
MARIJUANA AND DRIVING. Recent studies of marijuana use and driving accidents show that when drivers had smoked marijuana their rate of accidents was doubled within a few hours of the marijuana use. Marijuana supporters point out that texting increases accident rates by a factor of eight, but the question is whether any impairment should be tolerated. The studies are in the British Medical Journal and can be seen at www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e536 but are referenced in Occupational Health and Safety (April 2012, page 10). Another interesting marijuana note is that workers in the Dallas County Jail tell us that heavy marijuana users there develop puss pockets in the breast area that have to be removed. Any recreational drug will have a number of negative consequences associated with its use, including alcohol and marijuana.
MORMON ISSUE ON BLACKS REOPENED. The US presidential campaign has opened an old debate about the role of blacks in the Mormon church. Randy Bott, a professor at Brigham Young University, was interviewed by the Washington Post and defended Abraham 1:21– 27 in the Pearl of Great Price in which Blacks are said to be the descendants of Noah’s son Ham and were thus barred from the Mormon priesthood. Mitt Romney and the Mormon church are trying to distance themselves from that position, but the ban which ended in 1978 is still a part of Mormon history. Man-made religions always have a human weakness in their doctrine and practices, and the Mormon church is no exception. For more on this subject see the April 2012 issue of the Salt Lake City Messenger available from Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1358 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City Ut 84115 or at www.utlm.org.
THE RISE OF ATHEISM. This is the title of an article with a fair amount of data in The Week (April 20, 2012, page 11). In the article there is a distinction between “Hard Atheism” which makes up only a maximum of four percent of the American population and “Nones” which are people who deny any association with organized religion and make up 19 percent. We would agree with David Silverman, president of American Atheists who claims “nones” as members of his belief system. “If you don’t believe in God, you’re an atheist. It doesn’t matter what you call yourself.” Silverman’s group had a rally on the National Mall the first week of April in which 20,000 people came to what was billed as “The world’s largest secular event.” The article says that within 20 years one fourth of the American public will call themselves atheist. We wonder how long church leadership will continue to ignore this segment of our population.
HOLDING YOUR BREATH — A GREAT MYSTERY. There are so many things about the human body that speak of design that we never run out of examples. In Scientific American (April 2012, page 76) is an article by Dr. Michael Parkes discussing what is called a mystery that “still eludes science.” The article explains how the brain and diaphragm interact to allow us to do the simple act of holding our breath. David’s statement in Psalm 139:14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” becomes more meaningful as our knowledge about our own bodies increases.
BEING IN AN ORPHANAGE REDUCES BRAIN SIZE. Science News (March 10, 2012, page 9) contains a study of brain abnormalities of children who spent their first two years in a Romanian orphanage. The study by Charles Nelson of Harvard Medical School not only showed developmental problems that most of us would anticipate, but also showed lower volumes of gray matter in the brain. In addition the MRI images showed that the volume of white matter (tissue that carries nerve cell signals around the brain) was lower. God’s plan for the home remains the only good way to raise children, and now we have evidence that even the volume of brain tissue and brain support is negatively affected when children are forced to grow up in an institutionalized environment.
SCIENCE FRAUD. The media will take any misconduct by a religious figure and splash it across the front page of a newspaper. When a scientific figure fakes data or misrepresents something, the media does not see it as news-worthy. Apparently religious figures are more interesting to the public than scientific figures when they err. In Discover magazine (April 2012, page 72) there is an interesting article by Eric Powell about science fraud. According to the article, National Institutes of Health finds an average of 2,300 cases of misconduct among its supported researchers each year. The article also lists famous researchers who it says have altered or misrepresented data. They include Freud, Pasteur, Darwin, Gregor Mendel, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, William Summerlin, Stephen Breuningh, John Darsee, and Marc Hauser. Just as we can have bad theology we can have bad science. Human egos, fund raising problems, and the drive for success can cause even the best minds among us to be less than honest. Both preachers and scientists need to remember that there is an ultimate Being to which we must answer.
CLAIM OF NEW LIFE FORM WITH NEW CHEMISTRY FAILS. In December 2010, researchers announced that they had found a microbe that could substitute arsenic for phosphorus. The claim was that this creates a whole new basic biology for life since phosphorus is vital in the formation of DNA. In Science News (February 25, 2012, page 10) there is a rather detailed historical account of this whole incident. The conclusion is that there is no microbe that can substitute arsenic as a building block for its life process. The whole subject of alien life forms is interesting, but not of a great apologetic significance. Our suggestion is that God used what is best for life, and that multiple life forms do not exist in space. That does not mean that all life forms have to be exactly like us, but the chemistry seems to be clearly carbon/oxygen-based, and a radical new chemistry does not seem too promising for the future.
ISAAC NEWTON’S WRITINGS RELEASED. Israel’s national library has made the writings of Isaac Newton available. What most people do not know is that this famous scientist wrote more about God than about science. The library has some 7,500 hand-written pages, most of which are Bible studies and predictions of a religious nature. The written works had been donated to the University of Cambridge, but since they were nonscientific the university did not want them so they were auctioned off in 1936. The Jewish library inherited them from the purchaser and has now made them public. Newton was interested in latter-day prophesy and took a dispensational approach to the subject. We have had a column in this journal for a number of years with quotes from scientists and Nobel Prize winners about their faith, and Newton’s faith is perhaps better known than any other great scientific mind.
ABORTION ISSUE ADVANCES IN VIRGINIA. One of the most disturbing aspects of the abortion issue in this country has been the fact that people were making decisions who had not taken the time to learn the background information related to an abortion decision. When does a human become an individual? Is it at birth? Is it when the sperm meets the egg? Is it somewhere in between? In a religious sense the issue would be when the individual has a soul. It is scientifically invalid to suggest that a fetus is just an extension of the mother’s body as some have maintained. We have pointed out in this journal that morning sickness is because the mother’s body recognizes the baby as not a part of her body. Her body’s defense system reacts and must be controlled. At the time I am writing this, Virginia passed a “Personhood” bill, by a vote of 66 – 32, recognizing a fertilized egg as a human being. If such a law comes into existence, states will have to decide whether they wish to endorse infanticide, not whether they embrace abortion. Source: The Week, February 24, 2012.
AMERICAN IGNORANCE OF THE BIBLE ON DISPLAY. Tim Tebow, a believing professional football player, threw passes for 316 yards in a playoff game, and that has spawned a whole new discussion about the Bible. It turns out that 32 percent of all Americans could not tell you what the 3 in signs that say John 3:16 is referring to, and some believers attached special significance to Tebow’s yardage. Wikipedia had 103,923 searches for John 3:16 after the game. Interest was stimulated when Focus on the Family ran an advertisement plugging John 3:16 during the game.
LEARNING FROM NATURE BOOKLET. A beautiful booklet using wonderful color pictures is circulating showing how biomimicry works. What the booklet does is to take situations in nature that have been used to produce superior products for human beings. Most of us know that Velcro came about by looking at natural objects that used small hooks to connect things together. There are countless examples, and the booklet shows a dozen other examples. There is an evolutionary slant to the material, but the design features of biological examples are obvious. It is available at interfaceflor.com/schools or InterfaceFLOR, 1503 Orchard Hill Rd., LaGrange, GA 30240. Their telephone number is 877-696-8453.
Picture captions — 5th from top:
Portrait of Newton by Godfrey Kneller.
© Nelson4691. Image from BigStockPhoto.com
© Alle. Image from BigStockPhoto.com
Artist's rendering: NASA/JPL-Caltech
© EastWest Imaging. Image from BigStockPhoto.com
© ishook. Image from BigStockPhoto.com