News & Notes
LOOK UP FOR COMET HALE-BOPP: Last issue we made reference to a rare opportunity to see a close comet. If you have not seen it, be sure to get outside and take a look. It should be in the northwest in the evening sky when you receive this issue.
The symbol beside this title is a widely distributed Christian symbol seen on bumpers and other items by believers throughout the world. An atheist group in the Colorado Springs area recently added to their inventory the same fish but with Drawin inserted in place of God. I have seen the DarwinFish in a number of scientific magazines, and I am told it has been publicized in Playboy. Mark Story, who worked with us in our 1996 summer seminar, has introduced a line of stickers to counteract the DarwinFish blitz. One of the stickers Mark is distributing is titled "Evolution of Scientific Thought" and has three fish in a row with the GodFish on the left, DarwinFish with legs in the middle and a GodFish with legs on the right. The other has a large GodFish with legs about to eat a smaller DarwinFish and is titled "God--The Natural Selection." Mark is selling these stickers for $6.50. If you are interested, he can be reached at Queenslander Travel, 4500 S Monaco St, Ste 226, Denver Co 80237 or called toll free at 888-463-0231.
GRAND CANYON TRIP: Every so often, we conduct a trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon so that Christians can have an environment that is positive, drug and booze free, and learn some things about the geologic history of the earth first-hand. Due to my wife's poor health, those trips are on hold for the time being. Nils Jansma, who has been with us on three trips in the past and who has his degree in geology, is going to conduct a trip the first week of July, 1998. Nils would like to get a list of interested people; if you would like to go, write him at 2621-42 Sweetwater Rd., National City, CA 92050 or call him at 619/475-7581, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REVISED BOOK ADDRESS: We recently reviewed a book titled The Age of The Universe: What Are The Biblical Limits? We have been informed that the cost of the book is $10.00 and that it is available from Morning Star Publications. 931-15th St., Washougal WA 98671-1209; phone toll-free 888-667-6464.
MORE STEPHEN ECKSTEIN BOOKS: Over the years, we have reviewed and recommended books by Dr. Stephen Eck-stein, head of the Bible Department at Michigan Christian College. These are books that help clarify stories and literary messages from the Bible. Dr. Eckstein has three new booklets out for $1.00 each. They are titled The Ten Lepers, The Harlot at the Feet of Jesus, and The Story of the Woman With the Bent Back. If you are interested, contact Dr. Eckstein, 2895 Corinthia, Rochester Hills, MI 48309 (phone 810-852-5861).
CLONED SHEEP: The media is at it again with a huge distorted series of claims about the magnitude of a cloning project done in Scotland. Cells were taken from a ewe's udder and the nucleus of an unfertilized sheep egg was removed and fused into the udder cells. Of the 277 cells that were treated, only one developed and that one was put into a ewe to develop and did so successfully. This is an incredible technological accomplishment that may lead to some great things. The baby lamb will have the genetic background of the sheep from which the nucleus was taken. Endangered animals, superior animals, and animals with unique desirable characteristrics could eventually be produced by a process like this. The sophisticated work done is remarkable and deserves attention.
What has NOT happened here is significant. Life has NOT been created. If I took the engine of a Ford, the body of a Chevy, the transmission of a Dodge and put them together, would I have created a car? No, I would simply have rearranged the parts; that, too, would be quite an accomplishment. The analogy breaks down, but it is similar. This is also not a proof of any particular theory of evolution. It just shows that biological science is progressing in what it understands about genetics and what it can technically do. It has been said "If science creates life in a test tube, all it will do is prove that it took intelligence to do it in the first place."
PORN BATTLE HEATS UP: Those who have attempted to maintain that pornography is not an issue nor a danger thought they might have won a victory when The People Vs Larry Flynt film came out, but the spin-offs from that release have flushed out a lot of unwanted publicity for their cause. First came Flynt's family claiming sexual abuse and molestings (Time, January 12, 1997, page 79). Then came a full fledged expos of the porn empire in US News and World Report (February 10, 1997, pages 42-52) showing eight billion dollars were spent in the United States on porn last year with hard core video rentals alone being $665 million. Now a whole series of articles and letters from people in the business have come out showing abuse, exploitation, and crime connections. Pornography is an ugly, exploitive, crime-loaded business that any Christian must oppose. How we spend our recreational dollar and what we allow in our homes may be the starting point, but active involvement in community efforts to oppose porn must also be on our agenda.
NEW BIRD FOSSILS OPPOSE TRADITIONAL EVOLUTIONARY SCENARIO: Most of us who took courses on evolution in college had a biology or paleontology professor who made a huge argument that the birds evolved from the dinosaurs. A new series of bird fossils is forcing that view out of the picture. Liaoningornis is a bird from northeastern China with a keeled sternum (which allows flight muscles to be attached). This bird is about the same age as archeopteryx and yet is more advanced. Another bird called Confuciusornis has been found in the same layer of rock as Liaoningornis and yet is much more primitive. Ancesters of these birds had to be in older periods of time, but that would put them in a period older than the dinosaurs.
The Bible presents birds as their own group and presents them as being created earlier than the earth mammals. These new finds strongly support that point of view. It is another example of the fact that, as science gains more and more information, it gets closer and closer to what the Bible actually says. The sequence of Genesis is incredibly accurate. (The Science Teacher, February 2, 1997, pages 16-17; Discover, March, 1997, pages 21-22; Science News, October 26, 1996, page 260)
While we are talking about fossils, there is an interesting article in Discover, December, 1996, pages 99-108 titled "A Cold, Hard Look at the Dinosaurs" that offers some good evidence that dinosaurs were not warm-blooded, but probably were not like our reptiles of today either. Like the platypus, they really seem to be creatures of their own taxonomically and probably do not fit into any modern evolutionary scenario.
"WHERE'S MADALYN?" Those of you interested in the note we had two issues back about Madalyn O'Hair might wish to get a copy of Time, February 10, 1997, pages 56-59, with the title listed above. All of the facts we mentioned are given in the article, plus a great deal more. It gives a revealing picture of the atheist group's methods and procedures. We have a note from several newspapers in Texas saying that the IRS just confiscated her residence for failure to pay taxes.
POPULAR MECHANICS ISSUE STIRS BIBLICAL ACCURACY CONTROVERSY: The December,1996, issue of Popular Mechanics has an article by Mike Fillon titled "Science Solves the Ancient Mysteries of the Bible." We have seen a lot of mail on this article, but what has really been done here is to take some old explanations and try to fit them to biblical stories. The interesting thing is that the author draws from sources on all sides of the issue. Fasold and Wyatt's ark claims are used. Lot is said to have mistaken a salt block for his wife. Sodom and Gomorrah are explained by an earthquake. Planet conjunctions are used to explain the star of Bethlehem. Lazarus is explained as being in a coma. Natural gas seeps explain the burning bush, and the Shroud of Turin is used. Over the 28 years this journal has been in existence we have pointed out the failures of theories like these. If you assume God does not exist and that miracles must be explained naturally, these kinds of "shots in the dark" may be of interest; but, if a miracle is a miracle, you do not look for a natural explanation. The natural events described in thre Bible can be confirmed, but things like the ressurection of Lazurus are either accepted or rejected on faith--otherwise they would not be miracles.
GOD'S V.I.P.--THAT'S ME! MATERIAL AVAILABLE: Those of you that have been in our "teacher training program" may remember that we talk about a program we did many years ago titled God's V.I.P.--That's Me! which uses one of our children's books, a puppet show, and some other materials to try to help build self-esteem in kids. Several have requested that we make that material available, and we have dug out that script and have reproduced it. If you would like a copy send us $1.00 for postage and paper and we will send you a copy. This program does use our hand puppets for parts of the human body. We have the patterns for those puppets available for $3.00 ppd and the children's book by Judy Harbottle titled God's V.I.P.--That's Me! is $1.50. We also have a book by Charlsey Ford titled Created a Plan which is part of this program and goes into the existence of the soul at a child's level for $1.50. We can send this entire package to you for $5.00 postage paid and break even if you are interested. If we have been in a program with your congregation, all of these items except the script should be in your storeroom. Remember that a teacher's video on this is also available at cost or on loan.