Does God Exist? Videos on the Web. Since 1972 we have had audio or video presentations of some kind available at our cost or on loan to anyone who wanted to watch them. We have always encouraged questions, and response has always been enormous in all the different formats we have used--16 mm films, filmstrips, VHS tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, and recently on DVDs. We now have all 24 of our Does God Exist? programs on the web. These programs can be watched on doesgodexist.tv. We also have them on googlevideos, youtube, and godtube; but on our site they will be complete and without the extra things that youtube and godtube offer. Our other DVDs for children and on archeology will be added in the near future. If you have questions about this, feel free to contact us. Our technical expert here is Roland Earnst who is at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need help in getting to our DVDs online, please feel free to contact Roland.
Dalai Lama Visit and God. In October, the United States government honored the Dalai Lama with the congressional gold medal, America's highest civilian award. The claim to fame of this reincarnated image of Avalokitevara is his plea for peace. It is a curious situation as his writings repeatedly emphasize that there is no such thing as a personal God. The brother of the Dalai Lama founded a 108-acre Tibetan Cultural Center in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana University, in 1979. This award was given by the same government that has opposed churches doing service work to the poor because "it promotes their religion." It seems that any religion except Christianity can be sanctioned and promoted by our government.
California Fires, Man, and God. The horrible fires in late October continue to be discussed in terms of cause. Arson is a part of the cause, but man's planting of non-native plants that burn easily have compounded the problem. Building houses in places known to be prone to natural disasters also is a part of the picture. The fires are not an act of God to torment humans. They are caused by man's refusal to intelligently manage a well-understood natural environment.
New Planet Confirms Uniqueness of Earth. Astronomers continue to employ new techniques to look at planets orbiting stars other than our sun. As more and more planets are found, the diversity of these planets becomes more and more complex. New planets have been found with the density close to cork, with volumes three times the size of Jupiter, and orbits incredibly close to their stars and highly elliptical. The more extra solar planets we discover, the more obvious it becomes that our solar system is an incredibly unique system. Not only is the sun unusual in terms of its properties, but there do not seem to be any planets which have orbits and densities compared to our earth.
Lucy Visits U. S. Cities. Much is being made in the press about an exhibit of a specimen called Lucy that is being displayed in various cities around the country. The claim is that Lucy is a missing link and a proof of man's mechanical evolution from an ape-like common ancestor of modern apes and humans. The fact is that Lucy has a very small brain--425cc--less than an adult chimpanzee. She has a V-shaped mandible like a monkey--not a C-shaped mandible like a human or a box-shaped mandible like an ape. Her humerus-to-femur ratio is 1:1 like a monkey, not 2:1 like a human. In short, her makeup is very monkey-like. The discoverer of Lucy (Donald Johanson) has a theory the apes became erect and later evolved large brains to become human. Lucy's sacrum and hip may have been able to allow vertical posture, so she is of interest to those working with various evolutionary theories, but the claim that Lucy is a missing link is a profound exaggeration.
Gay Genetic Cause. There continues to be a great deal of misinformation in the media and on the Web about the causes of homosexual behavior. Recently an article appeared in the political columns of newspapers saying that being gay and being of a certain race were the same thing. Regardless of one's views on homosexuality, such statements are completely erroneous. At the most one's sexual orientation would be given a tendency by a genetic situation, but the fact is that humans are not robots driven by their genes in lifestyle choices. One's skin color is hardly in the same realm as the capacity to make lifestyle choices. There is an interesting related article in the Saturday Evening Post (September/October 2007, page 50) by John Nurnberger titled "Unraveling the Genetics of Alcoholism." This is a most useful discussion by an expert in the field of genetic causes and will be helpful to those interested in this subject area.
Atheists and Giving. One of the claims of atheists is that in all areas of life atheists do as well as believers in how they live and what they do. A favorite subject in this area is the moral conduct of people in both groups, with atheists claiming that Christians are as immoral as atheists. That kind of claim is very hard to justify either way since what goes on behind every closed door is never known. A research group called the Barna Group has done a study on the giving of atheists compared to believers. The numbers are that the average believer gives $1400 a year as opposed to $200 a year by people who say they have no faith in God. The study also shows significant differences in service. Volunteering was ten percent less and serving poor or homeless people was 20 percent less among nonbelievers than among believers. Involvement in the community was 27 percent less, and even being a registered voter was 11 percent less. No one has room to gloat about the numbers. Our claim is that "survival of the fittest" as the basis of one's moral code does not motivate one to altruism. This seems to be borne out by the numbers. --Source: Citizen, September 2007, page 10.
More Evidence for Asteroid Hit. Evolutionary theories assume something called "uniformitarianism." This is the assumption that no processes have ever operated on the earth in the past that are not operational today. The reason for this is that if global catastrophes wiped out most life in past eons, evolution would have to start over in its production of diversity, and the mechanisms of change in the world today would not allow that. The Bible claims that occasionally there have been disasters that have punctuated the history of the earth. These include the flood, the plagues in Egypt, and the events surrounding Jesus' death. Some twenty years ago Louis Alverez proposed that the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid collision with the earth, something obviously not taking place today and certainly of catastrophic proportions. More and more data is coming forth to support this view. Researchers at the Southwest Research Institute have reported studies on a group of asteroids known as the Baptistina family that provide evidence that some of their members were directed toward the earth. Other researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara have shown similar evidence for a North American extinction from a comet. The data shows that some major astronomical changes have punctuated the earth's history in the past. -- Sources: Science News, September 8, 2007, page 148; Discover, July 2007, page 11.
Chimps Vs. Tots. A recent study has shown a huge difference between two-year-old humans and adult chimps and orangutans. A piece of food was put into a tube and the experimenter took it out and ate it in front of the subject. Another piece of food was put in the tube and the tube was handed to the subject. The two-year-old humans swiftly removed the food by following the example of the experimenter. Both the chimps and orangutans bit, scratched, and pummeled the tube in futile attempts to get the food out. Attempts to portray chimps and orangutans as hairy humans simply do not have the support of the evidence. --Source: Scientific American, November 2007, page 36.
New OBE Experiments. Out-of-body experiences (OBE) have been used to attempt to promote all kinds of things, from new religions to ghost stories. In the past we have reported on OBE experiences that were triggered by drugs used in medical treatment and secreted by the patient in traumatic situations. Researchers have now been able to create OBE experiences by using video cameras placed elsewhere being attached so that each eye saw a different image and the subject's chest was stroked at the same time. The subject reported being overcome by the strange sensation that they were where the cameras were rather than in their own bodies. It appears that the brain processing can be disoriented by conflicting signals, and that without the use of drugs an OBE can be experienced. These are brain responses and not some kind of supernatural cause. --Source: Scientific American, November 2007, page 34.
Another Big Dinosaur. Researchers have announced the discovery of a plant eating dinosaur called Gryposaurus monumentensis near the Arizona-Utah border. The specimen is 30 feet long, ten feel tall, has huge jaws with over 800 teeth like the duckbill dinosaurs. As more and more of these huge plant-eating dinosaurs are found, it becomes increasingly obvious that the preparation of the earth for man was an incredibly large operation. The dinosaurs and the plants they ate were part of the ecosystem that prepared soil and other natural resources for man, and the size of this preparation machine was incredibly large. --Source: Houston Chronicle, October 4, 2007, page A11.
Water Still a Mystery. We have frequently had articles in this bulletin on the wonderful properties of water. Its ability to dissolve, to freeze from the top down, and to exist as a gas, liquid, and solid within a narrow temperature range are all vital to the existence of life. Oxygen with its unusual orbital configuration of electrons and hydrogen with its simple makeup allow for a polar molecule with a very strange array of properties. In Natural History (November 2007, page 32) is a wonderful article showing how science still does not understand the strange molecular workings of water. It is a wonderful treatment of a substance most of us think is ordinary and take for granted. It also shows how well designed our planet is at even the molecular level.
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