--Reference: Science News, June 12, 2004, page 372.
in "under God" case. Atheist Michael Newdow sued to get "Under
God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, and the case went all the
way to the Supreme Court. The Court threw out the case because Newdow
does not have custody of the girl he fathered and thus no legal grounds
to sue. We see religious conservatives claiming a victory, but really
no decision was made. Newdow has said "It may be 50 years down the
road, but I'll win eventually." He may be right.
Circumcision again. Skeptics and atheists have always portrayed circumcision as a needless biblical concept that just brought pain to the baby and had no practical reason to be done. A new study by Johns Hopkins researchers has shown circumcision reduces the chance of infection by the HIV virus. There is less keratin (a protective protein) in foreskin cells than other types of skin, and high concentrations of CD4 T and Langerhans' cells which are cells typically targeted by HIV. Another study has shown that in Africa HIV is 5 percent among men who are circumcised and over 25 percent in those who are not. Other ailments such as genital ulcers have been shown to be lower in circumcised men. The point is that circumcision does have a role in helping the body fight infection, and the reasons for circumcision go far beyond religious or cultural traditions. This is not a biblical curiosity full of cruel and unnecessary pain for babies.
--Reference: Science News, April 3, 2004, page 212-213.
Marriage and cohabitation. Questions surrounding marriage Many of the questions about marriage are rooted in ignorance about what the data shows. In the January 2004 issue of Scientific American, page 28, is a short article by Rodger Doyle titled "Living Together" which has some interesting data and statements about research. Here are some of the data:
Every solid scientific study ever done has supported God's plan for the family, and those who promote alternatives do so with no academic support for their actions.
Lenin and syphilis. One of the major figures in the history of Russia and thus the world seems to have died of a syphilis infection. The studies raise questions not only about the consequences of his life style, but how the disease may have impacted his life and teachings.
--Reference: The Week, July 16, 2004, page 22
Microbes, methane, and Mars. In the past five years, scientists have discovered that nearly a third of all life on earth is made up of microbes that live under the sea floor with no light and no oxygen available. These microbes give off methane (natural gas) as a part of their chemical processing system. This has the potential to cause environmental problems, but it also can provide man with an inexhaustible energy supply. It appears to be a design feature of the earth that was unknown until recently. Recent studies on Mars have detected methane in its atmosphere. There is not enough gravity on Mars to hold methane, so the martian methane has to be coming from something that is supplying it to the atmosphere. One possibility is that these same microbes are functional on Mars. It will be interesting to see if life is found on Mars. God has created some amazing ways for biological systems to function in extreme environments, and all of them have the potential to be incredibly useful to man.
--Reference: Discover, March 2004, pages 33-41.
Saturn studies and creation. It has been quite a year for studies of Saturn, thanks to a probe that has flown through the rings of the planet and visited many of its moons. As new pictures and measurements flow through the scientific journals, it is obvious that the Casini spacecraft has given us some of the best data yet on conditions in our solar system. We now understand how shepherding moons control the arrangement of debris in space, and how new moons can form. We have a good picture from the moon Titan of how atmospheres can control the surface of a moon or planet and how chemical reactions can occur in space. We have pointed out in this journal for nearly four decades that science and faith are friends and not enemies, and the studies of Saturn are a great example of the design and wisdom built into the basic properties of matter. We now see space as a designed nursery, producing new planets and moons and a variety of structures which have not only served to sustain and protect life on Earth, but will provide man with great resources as our descendants travel into space and settle on distant worlds. The more we know of the creation, the closer we get to the Creator.
ACLU sues Salvation Army. The Salvation Army is a church that was established in New York City 124 years ago. Anyone who works for the Salvation Army is required to sign a form that tells what their religious affiliation is and a statement that they support the Salvation Army's mission. The ACLU has sued saying that this is discrimination. The real source of the problem here is that the Salvation Army gets money from the city and state in New York. Any time a church accepts taxpayer money, they leave themselves open to problems. --Reference: Christianity Today, May 2004, page 17.
Stem cell surprise. Since the death of Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan and others have continued to push for stem cell research. There is no question about the potential of stem cells, and no doubt that research is needed. The problem is the source of the stem cells. What the media is not telling is the fact that stem cells can come from almost anywhere--including a person's blood. Eliezer Huberman at Argonne National Laboratory has shown that human blood contains stem cells that can be altered into nerve cells, liver cells, etc. It is important not to allow a need to be translated into such a position that only one kind of source can serve it. Promoting abortion to secure stem cells is a very uninformed and myopic view.
--Reference: Science News, March 1, 2003 page 131.
Stephen Hawking and black holes. A great deal has been said in the media about Stephen Hawking admitting that he was wrong about black holes. It has been interesting to watch how different groups have responded to this. Some have assumed he was saying that there were no such things as black holes, and others have thought that Hawking had proven parallel universes. In reality what Hawking admitted was that some of his theories proposed some 30 years ago were not correct and that other physicists have better ideas. The ideas involved are in quantum mechanics and have to do with theories about black holes. They do not deny black holes, but rather how they function and how human theories might explain them. In practical terms, this is a huge non-issue.
--Reference: Time, August 2, 2004, page 65.
Revealing studies. In Discover, August 2004, pages 59-64, is an interesting article titled "Forbidden Science." It involves studies that have been done of truck drivers and how prostitution and lifestyle impact the drivers and their families. While the purpose of the article is not to discuss the morality of the situation, it is revealing to see how widespread sexual sin is in this segment of our society and how STDs and other problems are growing out of it. It will not only give one a greater appreciation of the challenges facing people who make their living in this industry, but also why there have been some aggressive attempts by Christian truckers to bring Christian teachings into places where truckers congregate.
Bible Code nonsense continues. Michael Dronin continues to crank out books claiming that there is a code in the Bible and that if you crack the code you will find out that the Bible predicts everything from the election to the World Trade Center catastrophe. Bible Code II is an expansion of the 1997 version and, like the old version, makes a series of claims. The first point we want to make is that a prediction is easier to make after it has happened. Showing in 2004 that the World Trade Center event was going to happen is a case of hindsight being 20/20. Brendan McKay, an Australian mathematician, has shown that a person can find nine political assassinations that have happened in the novel Moby Dick if he uses the same methods that Drosnin used. The Bible Code books are pure fraud and need to be recognized as such by the Christian community.
--Reference: Scientific American, June 2003 page 35.
Global warming problems. There is a great deal that mankind does not understand about how our emissions of carbon dioxide and other materials are affecting our planet. Data is hard to come by and sometimes baffling. There seems to be widespread evidence that global temperatures are increasing, but recent studies are showing that the insolation--which means incoming solar radiation to the earth--is decreasing. The University of California at San Diego has measured solar radiation to have decreased by 2.7% from 1958 to 1992, and Columbia University has a study showing a decline of 1.3% per decade from 1961 to 1990. It should be obvious that this global dimming has implications for global warming, but the picture is incredibly complex.
--Reference: Scientific American, August 2004, page 16.
The irony of freezing eggs and sperm. Rarely does a newspaper come across my desk without an article about abortion and/or child abuse. It would seem that in a world of unwanted children, the last thing needed is a method of producing more children. In Newsweek, August 2, 2004 page 52, is an article about new methods of preserving sperm and eggs to produce more children at later stages of life or in cases where a woman wants a child and is not married. With a $13,000 fee and a $500 a month storage charge it is obvious that there is a money angle to this, but the problems of damaged eggs and sperm and the psychological affects on children brought up in less than ideal home conditions seem to be ignored. We would suggest that concerns for the child and attention to the ideal family structure need to be a major part of this equation, and for most involved this is not even a consideration.
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, NovDec04.