News & NotesMORE MULTIPLE PERSONALITY FAKES. In 1973, a best selling book titled Sybil claimed that a woman developed alternate personalities who did things without her knowledge. This was made into a movie and has been the subject of everything from soap operas to court cases. Psychologist Robert Rieber of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York says that newly discovered tapes of conversations between the woman and her psychologist show that the whole structure of 16 personalities was faked. It is important to realize that a great deal of the arguments being made that claim that people can be excused of destructive behaviors because they do not know what is going on is very likely to be untrue. (Source: "AP Release," by Malcolm Ritter, August 17, 1998)
DALAI LAMA BLESSING AND ACLU. Mayor John Fernandez of Bloomington, Indiana, dedicated a new city hall by having it blessed by Master Lee, an emissary of the Dalai Lama. The interesting thing here is not the fact that Mr. Fernandez is into a religion with connections to China and Tibet, but rather that the Civil Liberties Union made no complaint or comment about an obvious mixture of church and state in a community where they have been very active in the past. As the Bloomington Herald Times said in its editorial (August 13, 1998, page A8) "...they view cultural diversity as negating the Establishment clause of the First Amendment for every religion except Christianity."
BATTLE OVER CHANGING GAY ORIENTATION RAGES. We have mentioned a number of times in this journal the fact that there are a number of groups that are made up of people who have been homosexuals and are now straight. Most of these groups have programs designed to help people who are gay become straight if they wish. Exodus International has been perhaps the most visible group in this work. National media attention has come to this work in the past several months. Newsweek, August 17, 1998, page 47, and July 27, 1998, page 27, Time, July 27, 1998, page 16, US News and World Report, July 27, page 28, and McClatchy Newspapers, August 7, 1998, have given extensive coverage to gay resentment of the efforts to change sexual orientation. Our experience has been that the homosexuals that we have known personally have been people who have been abused and/or exploited in the past, many of whom have multiple problems that they need help with. There are a lot of hurting people in this situation that need and want help. Most of the rhetoric continues to try to place blame on biological factors. Whether biological factors have a role or not, to deny help to homosexuals who could be helped and who want to change because it is a possibility is criminal. We would also like to restate that bashing any human being for any reason flies in the face of the teaching and spirit of Jesus Christ. Let us be peace makers in this battle.
SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST RAUNCHY ART. In an 8 to 1 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that the National Endowment for the Arts can refuse to give federal money to artists whose work is considered indecent. The issue has been a series of art works funded by tax money which have been attacks on Christianity--one example being a crucifix immersed in urine. Justice Sandra O'Conner states that the ruling simply "admonishes the NEA merely to take 'decency and respect' into consideration." It would seem that any concept of tolerance would want to avoid vulgar and obscene attacks on any group; however, attacks on Christianity supported by tax dollars have become more frequent and more abusive in recent years .
ERRATA. In the May/June issue of this journal, there was an error pointed out by several of our readers. The sentence in paragraph two which reads "...light dependent organisms use chloroplasts to produce the carbon dioxide..." should have read oxygen, not carbon dioxide.
SMALL COMET THEORY LOSES GROUND. We mentioned in this column several issues ago that Louis Frank of the University of Iowa had made a proposal based on satellite photographs that as many as 25,000 house-size snowballs were striking the earth every day on a regular basis. These snowballs would be producing water and might account for the earth's oceans. In the June meeting of the American Geophysical Union, a number of reports were made that seem to indicate that this is not the case. Radar studies do not confirm the snowballs, and no evidence of them have been found on the moon. Atmospheric studies also fail to verify their presence. It is likely that instrument noise is the cause of Frank's data and that his hypothesis is incorrect. (Source: Science News, June 6, 1998, page 356)
SPEAKING OF WATER. The Infra-Red Space Observatory launched by the European Space Agency is giving a lot of new information about galaxies and nebula. One of the more surprising is that space appears to be full of water. A cloud of water has been found in the constellation of Orion that would fill the earth's oceans 60 times. Massive amounts of water equal to tens of thousands of suns have also been found in the Milky Way zone. It appears that finding an answer to the existence of water on the earth may not be as difficult as first thought. Having it in the liquid form is another issue, because water's freezing and boiling points are so close together. (Sources: Geophysical Research Letters, 24:2429, 1997 and Science and Spirit, Summer, 1998, Volume 9, Issue 3)
BRAIN SIZE OF AUSTRALOPITHECUS SHRINKS. Theories about brain development in humans may be going back to the drawing board as computerized reconstructions of hominoid braincases are released. Anthropologist Glenn Conroy, of Washington University in St. Louis, has been reconstructing braincases using three-dimensional computerized tomography and have come up with brain sizes for Australopithicus africanus of 370-515 cc. Previous estimates based on plaster cast measurements for the two specimens had been 428-600. If the measurements stand up to peer review, these new estimates, will produce some scrambling in theories about brain development in primates.
SCIENTISTS FINDING GOD GETS MEDIA ATTENTION. The most fundamental point that we are trying to make in our work is that science and faith are not enemies, but friends. The attitude that science and belief in God are inherently adverserial in nature is destructive to both science and faith and illogical from a biblical standpoint. If the same God who did the creating told us about what He did in His Word, there cannot be any conflict. If there is a conflict, it is because we have either misunderstood the scientific evidence or we have misunderstood the Bible. The lesson of the past has been that both have been misunderstood extensively. The media found itself running stories on scientists that have come to faith in God through their studies in science or who have offered the ways they deal with the two as complementary. Probably the most useful story is in Newsweek, July 20, 1998, page 47, but even Scientific American ran an article pointing out Allan Sandage's conversion to belief. The list of scientists quoted in Newsweek is impressive--including William Stoeger, Charles Townes (Nobel laureate). Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and John Polkinghorne.
NEW FLOOD THEORY. Earth magazine has ceased publication. This is a loss for those of us interested in geology; however, in its last issue (August, 1998), an article by Doug McInnis was run titled "And the Waters Prevailed," offering geological evidence that a massive flood occurred around 5600B.C. in the Black Sea area. The explanation would be local in area and probably too late for the biblical account, but does offer some interesting data of a geologic nature.
WEST POINT INCONSISTENCY. The government continues to run into problems because of its lack of a solid standard of moral conduct. West Point has a rule that cadets cannot be married while attending the school. They do not have a rule about student pregnancy. According to Time, June 1, 1998, page 59, two students found themselves in a pregnancy situation last year and decided to get married. The Academy found out they were married and were preparing to expel the cadets. The couple then had their marriage annulled so they could not be expelled. Relatives are caring for the baby until the cadets graduate, at which point they plan to be remarried and regain custody of their child. West Point rules allow a couple to be parents, but not to keep custody of their child. The couple will then serve their five year mandatory service after they graduate.
Skeptics of Christianity like to ridicule believers as having an interest in mandating morality, but when there is no proven fixed standard by which people can live, the result is catastrophic and in this case borders on being ludicrous.
BIRDS SHOW IMPORTANCE OF EARLY LEARNING. The importance of babies being put into a positive learning environment cannot be overemphasized. Eric Knudsen, a Stanford neuroscientist, has shown that owls who learn to compensate for vision problem at 10 days of age can handle almost any visual distortion 220 days later. Owls not given training in how to handle vision problems at 10 days cannot handle vision problems at 220 days. Knudsen's conclusion is "early experience can have a persistent effect on the way the brain is wired." The importance of early training of a child in everything from reading to behavior cannot be overemphasized. Much of the problems with children in school can be explained in terms of bad starts in life. (Source: Discover, August, 1998, page 30)
NOTICE: The Does God Exist? program is planning another summer seminar training program for Christians to be held in Lebanon, TN, June 21-25, 1999. This free training program on the use of evidences in various applications is free. Mark it on your schedule.
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