New Stem Cell Discoveries
Continue. The battle over embryonic stem cells continues,
but scientific progress also continues to impact the discussion. In
June researchers announced that they had successfully converted skin
cells of adult mice into nascent stem cells that are "identical to
embryonic stem cells." The use of embryonic stem cells as a treatment
method is not a practical end, because the number of embryos needed to
supply the patients who would need them is so huge. Research showing
ways of getting stem cells that do not involve destroying a human
embryo have enormous potential, and while knowledge may come by
studying embryonic stem cells, the treatment tools scientists need will
not come from that source.
References: US News and World Report, June 18, 2007, page 27.
Virgin Birth of Shark.
A female bonnethead shark in Omaha, Neb., gave birth to a baby even
though no male shark has ever been in the aquarium. DNA analysis of the
baby shows no genes other than the mother's, so this is a true case of
parthogenesis. The baby got one set of chromosomes during the
egg-making, and somehow made a copy of itself. Scientists do not know
how this happens. There are designs in reproductive systems of animals
that allow reproduction to occur by alternate methods when the animal
is isolated. Much remains to be learned about how this happens, but it
is another demonstration of the design features built into living
things by God that allows them to survive.
Reference: Science News, May 26, 2007, page 323.
The Bible as Hate
Literature. In Saskatchewan and in the United States,
political action is going on to make it illegal to criticize
homosexuality. Section 14 of Saskatchewan's Human Rights Code and House
Bill HR 1592 and Senate Bill S. 1105 in the United States contain
language which suggests that any negative discussion of homosexuality
is hate literature and as such anyone reading it, quoting it, or
promoting it is guilty of a hate crime. Reactions to homophobia have
been strong by many of us, but precluding debate and study on issues
that involve how lifestyle affects quality of life is not beneficial to
Sources: www.churchsoftwareplus.com and www.afa.net
Global Warming on Mars. In Science News, April 7, 2007, page 214 there was a report on evidence that Mars is also going through global warming. The announcement has brought a lot of interesting discussion about what is real and what is not in global warming. Mars has an atmosphere that is 95 percent carbon dioxide, so one cannot attribute the warming to greenhouse gas increases. If the Sun is causing Mar's global warming, then it should also be causing the Earth to have global warming, and even more so since we are closer to the Sun than Mars. The fact is that global warming has many causes, and we know that what is happening on Mars is different from what is happening on Earth.
Gonorrhea Drug Resistant
and Spreading. A new strain of gonorrhea which is
resistant to all available drugs is spreading rapidly in the United
States. The infection rate is estimated to be 1.4 million new cases a
year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cephalosporins are still being used to treat cases, but those who
promote sexual permissiveness under the guise that in our modern world
we have ways of treating STDs need to look at the facts. God's way
works and is superior in every area of discussion.
Reference: Science News, April 21, 2007, page 245.
When a mining company pumped the water out of a deep cave under the
Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico, they discovered that there were massive
gypsum crystals that had grown in the 136 degree water of the cave.
Some of these crystals were as long as 36 feet and within them is a
record of their growth. This will give scientists another tool to
measure time. The age of the earth is not given in the Bible, and those
whose denominational creed demands that they maintain an earth of
around 6,000 years are constantly in need of finding ways to explain
away new evidence that shows the Earth is older than their theology can
Reference: Popular Science, July 2007, page 16.
1,009,000 Species and
Counting. The Smithsonian has now passed the one million
mark of cataloged species of living things. It is hoped that everything
will be catalogued by the year 2011 and the total number of species is
expected to be about 1.75 million. Right now 253,680 species of
butterflies and moths are listed. Three thousand biologists are working
on the cataloging, checking and double checking to make sure the data
is accurate. We want to remind our readers that these are scientific
species--not to be confused with the biblical kinds. The Hebrew word min translated "kind" in the Bible
is more general. In 1 Corinthians 15:39 Paul says, "There are four kinds
of flesh, the flesh of fish, the flesh of birds, the flesh of beats and
the flesh of man." There would be many species within a kind. If we
think about it we can realize why it is foolish to expect a detailed
explanation of how each of the species came into existence. That is not
the Bible's purpose nor does it contribute to its message.
Reference: Houston Chronicle, April 9, 2007, page A4 and USA Today, April 10, 2007, page 10D
Much is made by skeptics about the battle between the Roman Catholic
Church and Galileo. The fact is that the more data becomes available
about the life of Galileo, the more obvious it is that he was not a
very moral person, and that much of the controversy was connected with
his immorality. Galileo had three children, but never married their
mother. Because his daughters were illegitimate, he would have to pay a
dowry for them to marry. He refused to do this, and the girls had to
live in a convent for their entire lives. In 1617 Galileo bought a
villa to be close to the convent where his daughters lived. By the
way--he never dropped balls off of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Reference: Popular Science, July 2007, page 80.
New Bird Record. We have always used the Arctic tern as an example of an animal that is programmed to do things instinctively that do not benefit its survival, but do benefit other life forms. The tern travels some 20,000 miles a year providing food and materials to a variety of plants and animals in remote areas on the north slopes and at the southern edge of South America. Defenders of Wildlife, Winter 2007, page 7, reports that researchers have tracked Sooty Shearwaters that travel from New Zealand to Alaska to Japan and back to New Zealand--a distance of 40,000 miles. It is hard to argue this is an advantage to the Shearwater, but it does bring nutrients to isolated environments that otherwise would not have them.
Bigotry Against Christians.
A recent study by the Institute for Jewish and Community Research
revealed some unexpected support for Christians who maintain that they
are persecuted on various campuses around the country. The study was
looking for anti-semitism and surveyed 1,200 professors in a wide cross
section of schools. Fifty-three percent of the professors surveyed
expressed an unfavorable feeling toward evangelical Christians while
negative feelings against Jews and Catholics were nonexistent. Gary
Tobin, the director of the Institute that did the study, said that we
have "concrete evidence of sheer bigotry."
Reference: The Week, May 18, 2007, page 12.
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