News & Notes

DOES ALCOHOL PREVENT CANCER? We have had articles in this journal from time to time on the destructive nature of alcohol. In recent months, we have had a number of people write us concerning studies showing that drinking reduces cancer risk. The basis of this claim was a study by Serge Renaud who did his research at the University of Bordeaux in France. For 10-15 years, Renaud tracked 34,000 men who were 40-60 years old when the study began, and he reported that men who averaged two to three drinks a day had a 27% lower risk of dying of cancer than men who drank no alcohol at all.

There is a great deal of misinformation in this report, and the media has done little to point out the problems. Here are some of them:

  1. The study included only men, and there is considerable evidence that alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer in women. The Journal of the American Medical Association recently reported that breast cancer risk grows by 9% for every 10 grams of alcohol (less than a drink) per day.
  2. Much of the lower risk of dying was heart disease, not cancer.
  3. Drinkers who consume 1-21 grams of alcohol a day had a 22% lower risk of dying with cancer than men who drank no alcohol, and that difference is not statistically significant.
  4. Only 23% of the men were abstainers. Renaud has admitted "...we could not determine whether subjects who professed to be non-drinkers were ex-drinkers who quit because of illness."

The long and the short of it is that the study does not mean much. Certainly the destructive nature of alcohol does not suggest that drinking to live longer makes any sense at all.

FIBONACCI URL. We have frequently discussed in our materials the high incident rate of the Fibonacci spiral in nature. There is a URL address that has a large number of examples of Fibonacci ratios in nature. It can be found at:
http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/R.Knott/Fibonacci/fibnat.html

THE COST OF HAVING A BABY. One of the principles that Christ taught was that Christians should count the cost of something before jumping into it. He gave us the picture of a man building a structure and not having the means to finish it and being ridiculed by all who saw it. The tragedy of children in our day is that many children come into this world as the result of accident, not because someone weighed the cost and made sure they were willing to pay it. Our lesson "Do Not Sin Against the Child" tries to make this point, but we have always had a hard time finding data to identify just what it does cost to have a child. In US News and World Report, March 30, 1998, page 51, is data on the cost of children born in 1997. According to their data, a middle-income family ($35,500-$59,700) will spend $1,455,581 to raise and educate a child. Without a college education, the figure is about $470,000 less. People with incomes of less than $35,500 would spend $761,871 including college (about $200,000 less than those without college).

The principle is that the Bible views having a child as a commitment and something that should be entered into by people willing to accept the responsibility. The implications for unwed mothers, teen pregnancies, and shotgun marriages should be obvious.

MEGAVITAMIN DOSES CAUSING PROBLEMS. There is a prevailing view of many people that if a few vitamins are good for you, a lot of vitamins must be really good for you. Some people in the health food industry have pushed megavitamins as cure-alls and as ways to super health. The newest data shows the opposite is true. There is a growing body of data that suggests that large doses of vitamin C can cause genetic damage. High doses of beta-carotene have been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer.

The best solution to vitamin problems is to eat the right foods. We would maintain that God has designed the nutritional system in an exquisite way, and nothing man does is going to improve it. The idea that man has leached all the nutrients from our foods does not stand up to studies done on what is in foods. "Moderation in all things" is a biblical concept, and it seems to be the best way to live.

(Sources: Time, April 20, 1998, page 20; Nutrition Action Health Letter, May, 1998, (Suite 300, 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC 20009-5728)

MEDICAL MARIJUANA A MYTH: The media has been extolling the medical uses of marijuana, but there is very little data to support those claims. A good article on this subject is in Reader's Digest, April, 1998, page 73. One way around the failure to legalize a substance is to claim it has medical uses. This appears to be a false claim in the case of marijuana.

NOAH'S DOVE TRICK: We all know the story from Genesis 8. Noah releases a dove three times. The first time, the dove returns to Noah because it can find no resting place. The second time, the dove comes back with an olive branch, and the third time, it does not return. Manuscripts of fifth-century merchants show they took birds with them so they could tell if land was near and which way it was. New Zealand was discovered sometime before 1350 and Iceland was discovered in 874 by such techniques. (Source: Biblical Review, April, 1998, page 22)

FOURTH-GRADE DEBUNKER: A great circus owner once said, "There's a sucker born every minute." America is known internationally as a nation of na•ve and easily fooled people who will come to almost any cleverly arranged display of weirdness and spend a lot of money. One of the most recent hoaxes has been the claim that people have energy fields which can be detected and altered to improve health by a thing called "therapeutic touch" or "TT." There is no valid scientific basis to this claim; however, energy clinics exist everywhere, and there are lots of people who claim all kinds of marvelous things have happened to them as their fields are arranged or rearranged.

In Time, April 13,1998, is an article about a fourth grader named Emily Rosa who designed an experiment to see if people could detect energy fields. It is an interesting article, and the girl's apparatus is ingenious. James Randi (who is a magician and expert debunker of things like this) has offered more than $1,000,000 to anyone who can demonstrate the existence of a human energy field. Emily Rosa's experiment demonstrates it does not happen, and Randi has had only one unsuccessful attempt to get the money.

The Bible repeatedly warns people to stay away from this kind of thing. For many, this kind of attraction is a religion and a substitute for God. We are not helpless pawns at the mercy of mysterious forces and energies that remove our ability to be responsible for what we think and what we do.

MARS FACE DISAPPEARS. Along the same line, UFO buffs have maintained for many years that there is a face on Mars which showed up on a photograph taken in 1976. New pictures have been taken of the same area, and the face is not there. What is there is an eroded hill which, with low sun angles, can cause all kinds of shadows. Like the TT above, this is a claim that is unsupported.

ANNOUNCING A NEW TOOL FOR TEACHING CHILDREN. The Does God Exist? program has worked for many years to bring teaching materials to interested adults who wish to help children. Our goal is to get children to realize that science and faith are friends and that there is a mountain of evidence to support belief in God and in the Bible as His Word. We have five courses that are available. One is an upper high school and college freshman evidences course. A second evidences course is designed for grades 46. A third is a special course for teaching children about death and tragedies in life.

For many years, we have had a course titled God Made It All Perfect by Jean Wiebe who is a public school teacher in Watertown, NY. Jean has taken our evidences materials and worked it out for preschool and early elementary children. Her course contains a gold mine of material, including everything from puppets to object lessons. We have also had a pattern packet for the puppets. Pat Parker is also trained as school teacher and has taught Jean Wiebe's material. When I saw what she had done and how well she had done it, I felt it was something we should make available to our readers who are teaching young children. As a result, we now have a book which goes with Jean's God Made It All Perfect book, but greatly expands and enlarges it. We think it will be very useful to people teaching kids in Bible schools, home school situations, and camp programs. To order, please fill out the form below. We have also added ordering information for all of our courses. Make check payable to Does God Exist? and send to John Clayton, 1555 Echo Valley Dr., Niles MI 49120.

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Name ____________________________________________

Address ___________________________________________

City ______________________ State _____ ZIP________

Please mail me postage paid, the materials checked below:
____ Basic Evidences Course @ $3.00
____ Intermediate Evidence Course for grades 46 @ $3.00
____ Studies in Job on death and problems in life @ $2.50
____ God Made It All Perfect @ $3.00
____ God Made It All Perfect Puppet Patterns @ 3.00
____ God Made It All Perfect, Vol 2 @ $4.00
____ All 6 of the above @ $15.00
____ Any three of the above @ $8.00
(Note: Materials except patterns can always be returned for full refund after use as a loan program.)


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