News & Notes
The Does God Exist? program is pleased to announce the publication of a new book by Dr. Phillip Eichman. Dr. Eichman has been our primary advisor in matters related to biological questions. He holds a PhD in biology from Ball State University and has been a professional educator for many years. He currently teaches at the college level, but has taught at the high school and junior college levels in his career as an educator.
This book is titled Understanding Evolution--A Christian Perspective and is a new edition of a book which we have had available for several years. This book has been updated and its level has been accelerated to make it more useful to college students. The book explores the biological questions of evolution and the evidence cited by evolutionists from biology to support various evolutionary theories. We believe this book will be a useful tool for students who find themselves confused by evolutionary teachings in biology classes at the high school and college level.
Like all materials in our program, this book can be borrowed, or it can be purchased which is our cost with the postage included. To borrow the book we ask you to make a $4.00 deposit which will be refunded when the book is returned.
We would like to remind our readers that the book we advertised in our last issue is still available. God's Revelation in His Rocks and in His Word by John Clayton is available for $2.50. If the book by Eichman and this book are ordered together, there will be a $1.00 savings in postage so both books can be obtained for $5.50.
Please fill out the form on the next page and return it to John Clayton, 1555 Echo Valley Drive, Niles, Mi 49120.
I would like to cover the cost of $4.00 each for _____ copies of Understanding Evolution--A Christian Perspective
I would also like to order ______copies of God's Revelation in His Rocks and in His Word for $2.50 ppd.
______Please send me both books for $5.50 ppd. Either or
both of these books may be returned for a refund if you want.
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GRAND CANYON CORRECTION. Those interested in the 1999 Grand Canyon trip with Nils Jansma need to note that the correct phone number and e-mail addresses are 619-660-1518 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNIVERSE ACCELERATING? One of the basic facts about the cosmos is that everything seems to be expanding away from everything else. This outward expansion was probably the first evidence which suggested that an explosion or inflation began the creation of the cosmos. Atheists have maintained that the universe is an oscillating system that expands and contracts over and over, making the universe eternal and without a beginning. In Science, March 1, 1998, data was presented suggesting that the expansion of the universe is speeding up. The cause of this acceleration is not clear. An anti-gravity force or perhaps a "great attractor" some place are possibilities. Some cosmologists are suggesting that space is spherical in nature, accelerating matter around its curvature. Whatever the explanation is, the data clearly shows that we are not in a oscillating universe. The Bible's statement that there was a beginning seems clearer than ever.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BIOLOGY TEACHERS MODIFIES EVOLUTIONARY CREDO. One of the unfortunate things that has gone on for many years in the evolution/creation struggle has been an insistence on making science and faith enemies. This insistence has come from extremists on both sides of the fence--the militant atheists and the militant creationists. In 1995, the NABT (which is made up of biology teachers throughout the US and Canada) released a document called "Tenets of Science, Evolution and Biology Education." This document was blatantly atheistic in its tone and statement. The first item in the document read "The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments."
In September, 1997, two scholars--Alvin Plantinga of Notre Dame and Huston Smith at Syracuse--questioned the word choices in this statement. Their statement was as follows: "Science presumably doesn't address such theological questions (as impersonal and unsupervised), and isn't equipped to deal with them. How could an empirical inquiry possibly show that God was not guiding and directing evolution." In their October meeting, the NABT agreed to remove the two words. If people would approach this controversy without the desire for conflict, much positive work could be done and much erroneous material removed from the rhetoric going on. We applaud this move and hope that the process of clarifying issues and working to better understandings from all sides will continue.
CLONING QUESTIONS GROWING. We have spent considerable space in this column saying that cloning is not a threat to the Bible or to the Christian system. Man's ability to duplicate in some way what God has already done is not an issue, but we have tried to point out that how we use this knowledge is a major issue.
Now there are some questions starting to arise over the original claims about cloning. The famous "Dolly Experiment" is being questioned. No one has been able to duplicate Ian Wilmut's experiment, and in Time, March 2, 1998, page 65, Wilmut admits that contamination may have played a part in the experiment.
There is no question that this project is very difficult to do, but even if Wlmut's experiment turns out to be discredited, it will just be a matter of time until it is done. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have taken the reproductive material from five animals and put them into cow eggs and had the eggs reproduce. There have been a number of other experiments where near successes have been reported. We encourage our readers not to get into a religious debate about the process. The real questions remain--that this shows how incredibly complex the whole process of reproduction is and that the ethics of what to do with discoveries like this are the real issue.
EL NIÑO AND DESIGN. It is interesting to see how the public is reacting to the El Niño phenomena. We heard about a man named Al Niño in California who was getting ugly phone calls wanting to know why he was causing all the terrible weather on the west coast. We would like to point out that whatever people want to attribute to El Niño, the phenomenon itself is very small. We are talking about a small temperature rise in a relatively small part of the ocean. What this tells us is that the weather system of this planet is a very delicate, highly tuned device in which any small change can have tremendous effects. God's design of the earth includes a variety of delicate systems that function to sustain man and his plants and animals.
ARE HUMANS INHERENTLY VIOLENT? The National Museum of Natural History Bulletin for Teachers, Fall, 1997, has an interesting article by Robert W. Sussman which explores the nature of man's inhumanity to man. The question is whether we are genetically programmed to kill and fight with each other for mates and land. This is an old discussion that was keyed years ago by the book The Naked Ape, but the question is whether new data has changed the picture any. Sussman tries to answer the question from an evolutionary and anthropological standpoint and cites numerous modern writers on the issue, especially the works of Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson.
We have tried to point out that man's spiritual nature makes man something other than a naked ape. Our spiritual nature and the teachings which Jesus Christ gave can work together to avoid war and competition for mates or land. If all that one has to look forward to is physical pleasure, then fighting to get those things which can give us physical pleasure makes sense. If our goals are spiritual and eternal in nature, then the physical issues become of secondary importance.
Sussman does not give a religious explanation, but he does cite evidence that says that spiritual factors are involved in man's makeup. His conclusion is "Man the Hunter' is a myth, that humans are not necessarily prone to violence and aggression...." The more science studies man's nature in an objective way, the more obvious it becomes that our spiritual nature is a major mark of our makeup--not controlled by our genes or our environment.
WIERDNESS IN SPACE GROWING. The past several months have
found some amazing objects in space which point to the complexity and
marvelous power of things in space. The Hubble telescope has found a
star which is called the "Pistol Star" which gives off 10 million times
more energy than the sun. This star gives off as much energy in six
seconds as the sun does in a year. The star's radius is over 93 million
miles, which means it is larger than the earth's orbit around the sun.
Astronomers have also discovered a gamma ray source that appears to be
caused by two giant stars orbiting one another so closely that they are
about to join together. There have also been pictures taken of Europa
(one of Jupiter's moons) which show moving ice. That strongly suggests
liquid water below the surface. The universe is an amazing
place--strongly speaking of God's power and design.