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from Does God Exist? 2nd Quarter 2019
STAY UP-TO-DATE ON NEWS AND NOTES. The stories in News and Notes are condensed from articles previously published on our website DOES GOD EXIST? TODAY. You can use the links (Does God Exist? today) with each of these articles to see the original posts for more details. There are also many other interesting and informative articles on that website each day. We encourage you to follow us daily on “Does God Exist? Today.” On that website you can also subscribe to our free weekly e-mail update. We call it “The Best of the Week from DOES GOD EXIST?” It contains links to the most popular of our posts on DOES GOD EXIST? TODAY and our facebook page (Facebook.com/evidence4god).
SURROGATE MOTHERHOOD AND ABORTION. Surrogate motherhood is becoming more common. In a surrogacy contract, a woman agrees to allow someone to rent her body to have their child. Some fertility specialists are selling surrogacy as a part of their offering.
The Citizen magazine (January/February 2019, page 13) reported the case of a surrogacy contract running into difficulty. The surrogate mother had agreed to deliver twins — a boy and a girl. A male embryo and a female embryo were implanted into her body. The female embryo failed to implant, and the male embryo split into male twins. The surrogate mother developed pre-eclampsia, and her organs began to shut down forcing delivery of the baby boys ten weeks early. This caused the boys to battle for their lives in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit. The couple who had paid to have a boy and a girl became hostile because they were not getting what they had paid for. They were not interested in the boys, but the surrogate mother bonded with the twins. When they were placed in the neonatal unit, she was left “with a deep sense of emptiness, anxiety, and regret.”
The Supreme Court has refused to hear two cases on surrogacy issues. In both cases, the surrogate mothers wanted to keep the children. In one case the woman was carrying triplets for a single man who wished to abort at least one due to financial concerns. The other was a mother who learned that the couple she was working for had strong racial prejudices. In both cases, the surrogates lost. The practice of surrogate motherhood exploits low-income women and families. We would suggest that surrogacy is morally wrong.
Abortion advocates maintain that a baby is merely an extension of the mother's body. So she has the right to exterminate the baby because it is just an unwanted part of her body. Surrogate motherhood assumes that the baby is a singular physical entity that can be engaged or terminated at the will of the adults involved, for any reason. The Bible tells us that humans are uniquely created in the image of God. The baby possesses a soul and is fully human. Luke 1:41-44 tells us that when Elizabeth saw Mary who was pregnant with Jesus, the unborn John leaped for joy in Elizabeth's womb. The Bible makes it clear that life and motherhood are sacred.
JAMES WATSON'S RACIAL REMARKS. James Watson along with Francis Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, and they received a Nobel Prize for their work. Even though he is 90 years old, Watson has been highly sought after as a speaker, but his racial remarks have changed things. In early January 2019, Watson said in a PBS interview that “genes are responsible for inferior intelligence among blacks.” There are so many problems with that claim that it is hard to know where to start.
The claim that blacks have inferior intelligence is a very ignorant statement. IQ tests are loaded with cultural bias, and there are different types of IQ tests. My foster son would consistently score 40 – 50 on the Stanford-Benet test, and yet he would score 90 – 100 on the Otis. The Otis was a test based on verbal skills. Because we read to Tim regularly during his childhood years, he had average verbal skills. The Stanford-Benet was not verbal but was based on reasoning. Tim was and is mentally challenged in those areas.
Many blacks do score lower on IQ tests that were written by upper-class whites in New England. On an IQ test written by a black author raised in a profoundly racist geographic area, blacks have better scores than whites. Unbiased testing does not support Watson's assumption that blacks have inferior intelligence.
Another issue is that there are different kinds of intelligence. Koko, the gorilla trained by Penny Patterson, could use the sign language of the deaf. His IQ score was in the 90s, close to normal human values, on a test that measured literary capability. On a test that measured scientific reasoning, the scores were far lower. That test measured a different kind of intelligence.
Because of James Watson's racial remarks, the laboratory he once led stripped him of honorary titles. The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory immediately printed a statement saying Watson's comments were “reprehensible and completely without a scientific basis and were a misuse of science to justify prejudice.”
The Bible describes humans as created in the image of God, and condemns all attempts to separate humans on any criteria. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). James Watson is an expert on DNA. He is not an expert on racial origins or how our understanding of the function of DNA impacts areas as nebulous as intelligence. Watson's racial remarks make that clear.
COSMIC COINCIDENCE. A cosmic coincidence took place on November 5, 2018. It had to do with our Sun and two probes that NASA sent into space. A bubble surrounds the solar system which scientists call the heliosphere. The sun sends out charged plasma particles called the solar wind. There is a limit to how far the solar wind reaches, and that is the outer edge of the heliosphere bubble. NASA's Voyager 2 reached it on November 5.
Also on November 5, NASA's Parker Solar Probe reached the inner edge of the heliosphere by flying toward the sun. The fact that both probes arrived at the extreme boundaries of the heliosphere at the same time was not and could not be planned by the scientists at NASA. We would have to call it a cosmic coincidence.
Forty-one years earlier in 1977 NASA launched Voyager 2. On its journey out of the solar system, it flew past and took pictures of all four gas giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune). In late August 2018, its plasma detectors, called Faraday cups, began to indicate that it was reaching the edge of the heliosphere. After 310 days of crossing that boundary, scientists determined that it passed out of the solar wind on November 5. Earth is about 93 million miles (150 million km) from the sun. Voyager 2 had reached 120 times Earth's distance from the sun.
Meanwhile, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe on August 12, 2018, and it traveled toward the sun. In three months it arrived at the sun's outer atmosphere called the corona. So, the cosmic coincidence is that two NASA probes launched 41 years apart arrived at almost the same time at the outer and inner limits of the heliosphere. Their arrival at the same time was a pure coincidence. The marvelous system they are investigating and that supports life on this planet is certainly not a coincidence. It shows the power and wisdom of the Creator.
GERMAN RELIGIOUS TAX. When Germans fill out their tax forms for 2019, they are required to indicate their religion. The state then collects a tax which is about 9% of the person's income tax and distributes the money to the relevant church or synagogue. If you refuse the German religious tax, you can be denied access to church schools or day care centers, and you can even be denied communion or burial services.
The problem with this arrangement is that many religious groups do not register as public corporations, and groups such as Islam or the Church of Christ do not have a national church system. The founder of a liberal mosque in Berlin, Seyran Ates, wants to establish a “democratic Islamic council” but conservative Muslims want no part of such an idea. Groups like the Church of Christ which do not have a national board or assembly are opposed to any solution on very much the same idea.
Jesus told his followers to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's (Matthew 22:21). The Bible also makes giving a personal decision that is between the giver and God (2 Corinthians 9:7). When those guidelines are not followed, the chaos that results will eventually destroy religious freedom.
MIRACLE SOIL. For over 200 years people have used soil from the churchyard of Sacred Heart Church in the Boho Highlands of rural Northern Ireland as a remedy for a variety of ailments. Is there something miraculous about that soil?
Scientists have been studying the soil and have found that it can halt the growth of the top six superbugs, including MRSA. The researchers discovered a previously unknown strain of Streptomyces bacterium that is responsible for the soil's seemingly miraculous ability. One of the problems of treating diseases like MRSA is that pathogens develop resistance to common drugs, and science needs to find new antibiotics to control them. The Sacred Heart soil has a natural antibiotic.
The U.K. Times magazine reported on the Sacred Heart miracle soil. It quoted the principal researcher Gerry Quinn about folk cures. Quinn said, “Some of these cures might have been perfectly effective, but the people just didn't have any knowledge of the scientific principles or biochemistry behind them.” Science can help us to know the difference between bogus medical claims and treatments that really work.
The question of how this particular antibiotic got into the churchyard soil will stir debate. We would suggest that in all areas of nature there is a balance because God designed it that way. If scientists continue to look to nature, they may find natural cures for most human maladies. They may even find them not only in churchyards but also in the yards of leading atheists.
REAL CREATION. In virtually all areas of science, one thing is always true — when we answer one question, we find many others. No area demonstrates this better than the subject of real creation.
By real creation, we mean an understanding of how the cosmos came into being out of nothing. What we are not talking about is the processes of biological change which is known as evolution. Darwinian evolution is not an alternative to creation because it is an entirely different subject. Darwinian evolution studies changes in biological systems which have already been created. It has nothing to do with the processes involved in creating the physical universe including time, space, and matter/energy.
Quantum mechanics agrees with the biblical account that real creation was not a physical process which can be explained by classical physics. We can use classical physics to describe what continued the formation of the cosmos as we see it today. However, that is not real creation because it only deals with changes in what was already created.
Astronomy magazine published an excellent article by William Jones in their February 2019 issue (page 68). Dr. Jones, a professor at Princeton University, gave a summary of how cosmologists approach the question of real creation:
The answer is the combination of a big extrapolation and even bigger assumption based on a solid hunch and the surety of our ignorance regarding what is really going on. The truth is, everything about the early universe is speculative, and that is precisely why we study it.
Dr. Jones then goes on to explain what our current guesses are and what we base them on. For those of us with a scientific interest and background, this kind of study helps us comprehend the nature and power of God. We hope to learn more about the processes involved in preparing a place for us creatures created in God's image to exist as we transition to the dimension where it all started.
In addition to helping us comprehend God's nature, these studies help us see the wisdom of God and his planning. Proverbs 8:22-32 describes the role of wisdom in the process of real creation.
WILLIAMSON PINK DIAMOND. We sometimes hear traditionalists say that apologetics is an affront to faith. The idea is that you just have to believe. They say that trying to show evidence for God's existence is misdirected. They insist that nowhere in the Bible is there an attempt to convince people that God is real. The story of the discovery of the Williamson pink diamond illustrates the role of looking at evidence to come to a valid conclusion.
First of all, we would question the assertion that the Bible does not attempt to convince people of God's existence. Passages like Psalm 19:1-3; 139:14-18; Proverbs 8, and Romans 1:19-23 certainly make an apologetic argument. In using parables, Jesus called people to look at the creation around them to come to faith.
The Williamson pink diamond is the main feature of the royal brooch of Queen Elizabeth II. It forms the center of a flower with five white diamonds forming the petals. It was a 54.5-carat rough diamond which was cut to a 23.6 brilliant cut diamond.
John Williamson was a Canadian geologist. In 1947 he was driving his Land Rover on a muddy back-country road in what is today Tanzania when he got stuck in the mud. As Williamson was digging the Land Rover out of the mud, he noticed a pink rock that was typical of rocks that contain diamonds. Because of his geology training, he knew rocks and the formations of the area. He carefully extracted the rock and cleaned it up, realizing that it was a very large diamond. That is how he found the flawless pink diamond. At the time of his death from cancer in 1958, Williamson owned a diamond mine at that location and was one of the world's wealthiest men.
Thousands of people had driven that road and probably saw the rock that contained the pink diamond. Williamson's training enabled him to realize what the rock was and pushed him to look at it carefully. Being able to recognize evidence is essential. There are some of us who have come to faith through science.
The Does God Exist? ministry was started and has been maintained for over 50 years by men and women who recognize the scientific evidence for God's existence and the credibility of the Bible. Like John Williamson who gave the Williamson pink diamond to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip upon their wedding in November 1947, we wish to share the evidence that led us to faith. This ministry is a part of our attempt to share the valuable gem we have found through science.
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