Cloning of extinct species. The
big news on the cloning front is that a baby Banteng (a kind of cow) has
been cloned from a 25-year- old skin cell that had been frozen. Cloning
advocates are hailing the event as a tool for saving endangered wildlife.
There is debate among conservationists about the value of this process,
especially the genetic issues involving damaging mutations that might be
carried on into the population. However, the question of whether this can
be done has been answered. We would like to point out that the superiority
of natural gene pools is indicated by the fact that man-modified animals
are showing themselves to be inferior to original genetic stock. In simple
terms, it is impossible to improve on the original design that God built
into living things. There is no religious issue involved in this process,
and in fact it speaks in a positive way to God's wisdom in the creation of
all that is on and in the earth.
New hominoid find hits media. New hominoid finds surface on a daily basis, and since this journal is bimonthly there is almost always a new find that has been made since our last issue. The picture never changes significantly, but the fossils and the arguments over their interpretation do. In May, fossils were found in Russia and Israel that were modern human fossils and were dated to 100,000 years ago suggesting that man may not have originated in Africa as has been popularized in the press. Now a modern human skeleton has been presented that is dated at 160,000 years of age in Ethiopia named adult which means "elder," and the "out of Africa" theory has now been thrown back into the forefront
The debate among anthropologists will continue, but Christians
reading the media coverage of this may be confused by the whole discussion.
The main points we would like to emphasize here is that the biblical definition
of man has to do with man's spiritual makeup and not his physical makeup.
The basis of calling something "man" is quite different when we are talking
about chosen physical criteria as opposed to spiritual properties. Also important
is the fact that the Bible does not give a time to man's creation and there
is no credible way of using the Bible to determine this. The lesson of history
is that ultimately the scientific evidence will verify the factual statements
of the Bible, and ultimately this will happen in the question of man's origin.
It is the popularization of a current scientific theory and what is not
found in the Bible, but is assumed to be there, that causes the problems
in this area of concern.
Violence against Muslims--fact or fiction?
Since September 11, there has been a considerable amount of propaganda circulated
in the media indicating that there is a rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry
and anti-Arab crime in America. In our programs, we have had a number of
incidents where Muslims reacted to our suggestions that Christianity is the
one true path to God by accusing us of encouraging anti-Muslim sentiment.
We, first of all, want to state categorically that Jesus taught that even
your worst enemy is to be loved and that you never use violence to achieve
your ends. You cannot read "turn the other cheek.love your enemies... do
good to those who do evil to you. as much as it depends upon you live at peace
with all men." (Matt 5:38-45) and justify violence against anyone. We also
would like to point out that the data shows there is no significant violence
against Muslims happening in the United States. The FBI reports that there
were 481 anti-Muslim incidents in all of 2001 and anti-Jewish incidents were
twice that. Interviews with 10,000 Iraqis living in the United States reported
only 36 cases of discrimination or hate crimes. The fact is that Muslims
are not being persecuted. There may be individuals who conduct themselves
badly, but there have been cases where Muslims have treated non-Muslims badly
that escape media attention.
Scientific American jumps into bottled water dispute. The gullibility of Americans has shown up in many ways, from their ability to embrace weird religions to their willingness to reject God in spite of the evidence that God does exist. One indication of our mindsets is to look at how quickly we will buy into health fads and claims. I always laughed when I saw people buying `Evian' bottled water, because if you spell that name backwards, what do you get? In the July 2003 issue of Scientific American, Michael Shermer jumps into the middle of the bottled water craze by printing data from a number of studies that show that not only is bottled water not healthy in many cases, but it also does not have a taste superiority when objective tests are conducted on it. We would encourage you to read the study before you spend massive amounts of money on this current craze.
Monarch clocks. We have had a number of articles over the years on incredible design features seen in living things. One of the life forms we have discussed is Monarch butterflies that migrate thousands of miles to wintering areas in Mexico and back every year. New studies have now shown that Monarchs rely on internal clocks which enable them to use the sun to navigate at any time of day. The more we learn of Monarchs and their migrations, the less likely it seems that such a system could come about by chance processes.
--Reference: Scientific American, July 2003, page 27.
New asteroid data relative to dinosaur extinction. There are very few real differences between the biblical account of creation in the original language and what the evidence really shows. One of the points of contention that does exist, however, is the basic assumption of what the earth's history has been like. Many scientific theories in the past have assumed uniformitarianism--the belief that nothing in the history of the earth has ever functioned in a different way as for as process is concerned, than what is going on today. Erosion, volcanic activity, floods, earthquakes, landslides, etc., are considered to have been the only operative forces that have shaped the earth as we see it today. The Bible maintains that there have been catastrophic incidents from time to time that have also altered the earth--the flood of Noah and the plagues in Egypt are examples. When Louis Alverez proposed in the 1990s that a large asteroid hit the earth, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs and other life forms, many theorists dismissed the idea out-of-hand because it violated the assumptions that their theories were based on.
As time has gone by, more and more evidence has shown that Alverez was
right. At a place called Chicxulub on the Yucatan Peninsula, there is a crater
under study that seems to fit very well what Alverez proposed. This includs
deposits of materials like iridium and cryptocrystalline quartz that support
the collision theory. New images from the Space Shuttle's Radar Topography
Mission have now added new evidence that further supports the asteroid collision.
Along the rim of the crater there are sinkholes that formed when limestone
caverns above the rim collapsed. A semicircular trough can also be seen
about 10-15 feet deep and three miles wide that outlines the crater very
well. More and more data is accumulating to show that the biblical scenario
of general uniformitarianism punctuated with occasional catastrophes is,
in fact, what the history of this planet has been.
Problems for Hinduism. One of the arguments for the validity of Christianity that we have presented in this journal is the question of where the following of the biblical system takes man as opposed to what other systems teach. We have always emphasized that we are talking about the system itself, not what someone claiming to be a part of the system might do. The crusades, for example, were in diametric opposition to what Jesus taught and violated the Bible in numerous ways. Reading the Koran or the Vedas, on the other hand, one finds teachings that are incredibly destructive to humans following the teachings literally.
One of the areas where this can be seen is in the Hindu teachings of caste. The Vedas clearly teach that one is born into a caste where they stay for their life's existence. The only way to get out of one's caste is to die and be reincarnated in a higher caste. In National Geographic, June 2003, pages 2 is a vivid article with pictures showing the life style of one of these castes. In Hinduism, the top caste is the priests, followed by the warriors, laborers, and then the merchants. Then lowest caste is the untouchables who are born into a caste that can never go to school, hold public office, or advance in society. They are held to the lowest and most menial jobs in their society. We encourage our readers to read that issue to see where this system takes mankind.
Neanderthal debate continues. Smithsonian, June 2003, page 83 has an excellent article by Joe Alper titled "Rethinking Neanderthals." Our position on this issue has always been that this is a race of man, not some ape/man hybrid. How much genetic variation two forms can have and still be a single species is still up in the air, but the evidence that Neanderthals were humans who used fire, worshiped, and took care of their old and sick is clear.
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, SepOct03.