News & Notes

LAWYERS PROMOTE ANIMAL RIGHTS. One of the more emotional issues of our day is the issue of animal rights. There have been cases over the years of terrible things being done to animals, and these have resulted in extremists getting into the picture who maintain that animals and humans are equal and thus any right a human has an animal has. In Washington, DC, two lawyers who used to work with Ralph Nader have started a firm that specializes in animal law. The Animal Legal Defense Fund pays salaries to staff lawyers with a budget of $3 million a year. Harvard and Georgetown Universities are now offering courses in animal law. There have been cases where veterinarians were hit with fines of up to $15,000 for wrongful death suits of animals under their control. Several cases have taken place where people were sued for causing psychological damages to animals they owned. There are even lawsuits that suggest that no one can own an animal without violating its rights or practicing slavery.

The concern that we have in this issue is not the rights of animals, but the denigration of humans. No Christian wants any animal to suffer. Christianity demands accountability and taking care of whatever is entrusted to man's care is a viable concept. The Bible does teach however, that man and man alone is created in the image of God. Man was told to have dominion over all living things on earth. The question of animals rights is what you are willing to apply it to. Do bacteria have rights? What about cockroaches? Is the question of who has rights based upon complexity, chemistry, or whether an animal has fur? We would suggest that the biblical concept of responsible management by those created in God's image is the best solution. To give lawyers a whole new field to work in seems to be an unwise move. Source of data: "Animals Have Legal Rights, Too, Newest Specialty of Law Argues" by William Glaberson, New York Times via Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

MORE DATA ON MAN'S IRRESPONSIBILITY AS A CAUSE OF PAIN AND SUFFERING. Many times skeptics will point to the pain and suffering in the world and suggest that God cannot exist or He would not allow all of the horrible things to happen that happen. We have dealt with this issue in this journal from time to time, but new data released in October has supported our point in a special way.

Any thinking person has to admit that if man is the cause of the cancer and similar problems on earth, that it is irrational to blame God. It is not even logical to suggest that God should somehow prevent man from reaping the consequences of things that man has done that are destructive. For us to have any purpose in existing, we have to be able to have the freedom to control our own destiny. Over the years we have pointed out that most cancer and leukemia is the result of man-made influences in the environment. Now the magnitude of man's irresponsibility has been brought into a new light.

In Newsweek (October 18, 1999, pages 34-40) is an article titled "Where Is the Next Chernobyl?" The point of the article is that greed, selfishness, drug addiction, incompetence, and a bad system of control has caused massive abuse of nuclear power plants. Released materials have caused enormous illness, abnormal births, and massive cancer epidemics. It is not God that is the cause of all this, but there will be those who will suffer terribly. We would hope that the influence of Christianity and its moral and ethical base would eventually bring personal responsibility into the places where these bad decisions are being made and solve this problem, but it is going to be a long way off.

POSITIVE BELIEVERS. One of the favorite challenges of skeptics and atheists is that they attempt to present Christianity as inert in the world of today. One of the things we try to do in this journal as a counter to this claim is to point out all the good things being done by people who believe in God and attempt to follow Christ. In the Newsletter of the American Scientific Affiliation (September/October, 1999), pages 1-3) is an article about the laser cooling and trapping work of William Phillips. Dr. Phillips was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1997 for his work and is a vocal believer who is active in his church. The notion that a person cannot be a follower of Christ and be a productive scientist just does not stand up.

Another interesting program that has gotten some press is the work of Christian Blind Mission International. This group has a program "to cure preventable blindness by the year 2020." As a part of that goal this group is opening new hospitals in Nepal and has 22 trained eye surgeons now working in the country. -Source: Christianity Today, August 9, 1999, page 20

MORE COMPLEX THAN YOU THOUGHT. Scientists mapping the human genetic make up have revised their estimates of the magnitude of the project. In the past their estimates of the number of genes in the human body has been 80,000. New research is suggesting that the number is close to 140,000. The more genes there are, the more complex the mapping process becomes. We would suggest this also makes it increasingly unlikely that the structure is caused by chance. -Source: Time, October 4, 1999, page 43

MORE FETAL CELL DATA. One of the spin offs of abortions has been the use of fetal cells in treating diseases like diabetes, Parkinson's, etc. The claim is that fetal cells have not developed their own immunological identity and thus are not as vulnerable to rejection problems. In Popular Science (October, 1999, pages 77-81) is an article about the use of fetal pig cells in treating Parkinson's. The success story points out that the advantage of pig fetal cells is the same as the advantage of human fetal cells. Justifying abortion on this basis seems to be increasingly difficult to do. Not only is it not necessary to use human cells, but as we have pointed out in the past, the number of people who are candidates for treatment make abortion an impossible source for the amount of fetal cell material needed.

MORE HURRICANES AND EARTHQUAKES? As we hit the year 2000, there are all kinds of people looking for disasters. Most of these try to tie the disaster to some religious point. We suggest that not only are all of these attempts based on faulty theology, but the scientific data cited does not support the claims either. There has been a lot of press about the number of hurricanes and earthquakes taking place in the fall of 1999. The fact of the matter is that the number of quakes and hurricanes taking place does not in any way show an increase. In the case of hurricanes, we are actually in a low cycle. Recent data from the National Hurricane Center shows that between 1940 and 1969, there were 88 hurricanes of category 3, 4, or 5. Between 1970 and 1999, the number of category 3,4, or 5 hurricanes was 53. All of the attempts to claim a mounting cataclysm are unsupported by the data. -Source: Newsweek, September 27, 1999, page 24

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO SOLVE NEED? The most basic cause of suffering due to shortages in today's world is rooted in the shortage of water, food, and education. In Time (September 27, 1999, page 33) is a statement that it would cost $100 billion to provide worldwide access to these commodities. The Pentagon budget passed by the House of Representatives for the military security of the United States was 289 billion dollars. God has provided for man's needs in a marvelous way, but our inability to get along with one another has squandered so much of what God has given us that the challenges are great.

ARE VIRUSES BAD? Every now and then we get a question about why God created viruses. In Natural History magazine, February, 1999, and Science Frontiers (September/ October, 1999, page 2) is an article by Curtis Suttle about the value of viruses in the ocean. His data shows that 10-100 million viruses exist in one teaspoon of seawater. These viruses are harmless to human beings but they do infect bacteria and phytoplankton, destroying them, and releasing their nutrients. This is what keeps the oceans working and ultimately sustains all living things on this planet. Most of us do not have any idea how complex the system is that allows us to exist on this planet, but as our knowledge gets better we come to appreciate the wisdom and planning of God in making our planet work.

HOMOSEXUAL EDUCATION BATTLES CONTINUE. Public schools are constantly involved in a tug of war between special interest groups over just about every issue that comes along. In my 41 years of teaching, I have seen all of these wars come and go. The major battle right now is over homosexuality. On one side you have the gay community providing material which in essence promotes homosexuality. On the other side, you have the anti-gay extremist vowing violent reprisals against gays. In Idaho, a documentary titled It's Elementary has been given to schools with the claim that it promotes tolerance. It is a PBS documentary, but leans heavily into the positive aspects of gay lifestyles.

We would maintain that until there is some consensus on what causes homosexuality and what the products are of gay lifestyles that this battle will just go on and on. It is clear to this writer that from a scientific and moral standpoint homosexuality is a destructive lifestyle caused mostly by abuse. From a Christian standpoint, homosexuals should be cared for and treated with love and compassion just as anyone with a need should be treated. This does not mean, however, that children should be pawns in this conflict.

New International Video Translation.  Thanks to the work of  Bao and Ruth Nguyen, we now have a Vietnamese translation of all six of the International Video Tapes.  It is a professional job, and we appreciate their efforts.  Like all of our international video translations, this material can be borrowed or purchased at our cost.  We now have 26 languages available which have been used very successfully in English-as-a-second-language classes all over the world.  It is also designed for personal work situations where language barriers exist.  In addition to this new Vietnamese translation, we also have Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese (written translation and a spoken one), Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, and Ukranian,  For an information sheet detailing this program, please send us your address via e-mail or regular mail.

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