Return to 1st Quarter 2021 articles.
from Does God Exist? 1st Quarter 2021
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 within each of these articles to see the original posts (on the Does God Exist? Today website) for more details. (Some of the articles below have links to outside sources, which may not be available after we have published this page.) There are also many other interesting and informative articles on the Does God Exist? Today 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).
OPPORTUNITY TO STUDY WITH JOHN CLAYTON: Because of the COVID pandemic, we have suspended our lectureship schedule. In place of that, we are providing an opportunity for congregations to have a lectureship electronically. We want to give the readers of this publication the same opportunity to study with John Clayton.
We will mail you a DVD of the first four lectures in our video series. You or your group can watch the four programs writing down questions and challenges to the material. Please send us your questions via e-mail or postal mail, and John Clayton will respond to them. If you are satisfied with that material, return the DVD, and we mail you the next one. Your only cost is the return postage for the DVD.
If you are interested in this opportunity, please send us your name and address, and we will send you the first DVD. Watching the Does God Exist? presentations in the comfort of your home is an excellent way to receive the information without risk from COVID or the inconvenience of driving to a lectureship site. E-mail your request to John Clayton at email@example.com.
BEE DEFENSE AGAINST KILLER HORNETS: There is a war between killer hornets and honey bees. The large hornets invade the honey bees' hives, carry off the bee larvae, and feed them to their offspring. After creating problems in Asia, the killer hornets arrived in Europe, Canada, and the United States in 2019.
Some hope came after researchers found that the bees develop a defense against killer hornets in Vietnam. The bees collect buffalo dung and pack it around the entrances to their hives, reducing hornet intrusions by 94%. This surprised people who work with bees because bees are very careful to prevent contamination of their hives. Any attempt to give an evolutionary explanation to this defense system is doomed because there has not been enough time for behavioral changes to evolve. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/09/honey-bees-use-animal-poo-to-repel-giant-hornet-attacks
COMMUNIST CHINESE BIBLE REVISION: The persecution of Christians in China continues to be severe. It is estimated that there are 60 million Christians in China, but half of them are in unregistered churches. Our Chinese materials are mostly in the hands of unregistered Christians, and a vast percentage of those are in university settings. A new tactic against the gospel is a Bible revision by the Communist Chinese government.
John 8:3-11 tells about a woman taken in adultery and brought before Jesus by the religious leaders. The leaders said that she should be stoned, but Jesus replied, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” In the Communist Chinese government's version, Jesus says that the law has to be enforced, and he stones the woman to death. Source: Christianity Today magazine, December 2020, page 18
GOD'S DIVERSITY OF BIRDS: An international team of researchers working on the “Bird 10,000 Genomes Project” has published the genomes for 363 species of birds, covering roughly 92% of all modern bird families. The scientists in the project are determined not to stop until they have published the genomes of all bird species on Earth. They have a big job ahead because there are around 10,000 species.
God did not create all those bird species independently of one another. He gave them genomes that allowed them to adapt to different environments. Those environments could support other forms of life only because birds supply nutrients and resources that make life possible. Bird migrations can provide the needs for environments thousands of miles apart, like the Arctic tern and the bar-tailed godwit show. Birds not only disperse the seeds of plants, but their eggs provide food for various animals. Source: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/birds-species-genomes-tree-of-life and https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2873-9
ATHEISM AS A BUSINESS ENTERPRISE: Like many other religions, there is a movement toward atheism as a business enterprise. Skeptical Inquirer magazine devotes a large percentage of its content to attacking various Christian groups, and there is no shortage of targets for this magazine. Between young earth groups, TV evangelists, and miracle-claiming churches, there is always something to which the magazine can apply destructive scientific research.
The problem is that the Center for Inquiry condemns all religious faith and all biblical interpretations with the same condemnation. In a recent letter to the membership, their executive director announced that they are hiring a marketing director “to expand and broaden their legal challenges, educational offerings, community building and creating and sharing evidenced resources.” Of course, they were appealing for donations to accomplish their goals.
Commercial atheism is a religion. It is based on faith in a selected group of writers whose material is produced without peer review in most cases and is frequently highly prejudiced. They ignore the work of experts who have religious faith.
As the world blindly moves toward the rejection of God, and especially Christianity, we can expect atheism as a business enterprise to become a high dollar operation. We need to avoid the shysters, hypocrites, and false teachers in religion while responding to the atheists' challenges. The need for that has never been greater.
WHAT SHAPE IS SPACE? A question that astronomers have been working on for years is, “What is the shape of space?” The latest technical tools have answered this question, and it has significant apologetic value for those of us who believe in God.
There are three possible shapes to space. It can be elliptical, hyperbolic, or flat. A mathematician would express this in geometric terms using Euclid's fifth postulate. The fifth postulate assumes a flat geometry for terrestrial purposes, as high school plane geometry textbooks tell us.
So what is the shape of space? In an elliptical universe, all parallel lines would eventually meet. If you go far enough into outer space, you would eventually curve back to where you started. In other words, if you had perfect vision and a perfectly clear sky, you could see the back of your head by looking far enough out into space. Light would curve following the shape of space.
In a hyperbolic universe, light going out into space would curve, but the curve would never close. It would just keep on curving, and parallel lines would never meet no matter how far they go.
It turns out that space is flat or planar. The implications of this discovery are enormous. Since the universe is expanding, the creation is clearly not oscillating. It will not collapse back on itself and start over again as it would in an elliptical universe. In a planar or flat universe, there are no repeats. Physical reincarnation can never happen. God created the universe with a shape and laws that apply in a flat universe following Euclid's fifth postulate. Genesis 1:1 rings more true than we ever imagined. Source: Astronomy magazine, January 2021, page 56
SAFE HAVEN BABY BOX: In the Dark Ages, nuns of the Roman Catholic church would put a “baby box” near the door of the convent because people were leaving babies on the doorstep, frequently in unsanitary conditions. The baby boxes contained swaddling clothes and were kept clean. In America today, an organization called Safe Haven Baby Boxes has revived this with some 21st-century technology.
A Safe Haven Baby Box is installed in an exterior wall of a fire station or hospital. It has an exterior door that automatically locks upon the placement of a newborn inside. An interior door allows a worker to reach the baby from the inside. When someone places a baby in the box, it triggers an alarm, so workers know to pick up the baby. The boxes are temperature-controlled to prevent risk to the baby, although the average wait time to pick up the infant is three minutes.
The baby box idea allows a woman who has a baby a “red tape free” way of making sure the child has a legal adoption while keeping the birth mother anonymous. Since the program began in April 2016, there have been 52 baby boxes installed in Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. Eight babies have been surrendered in Safe Haven Baby Boxes, and three were abandoned to firefighters at baby box locations. Safe Haven has also referred over 500 women to crisis pregnancy centers. Source: e-mail at shbb@SafeHavenBabyBoxes.com and website at https://shbb.org/
ESCAPE THE HUMAN NOISE: Sometimes Jesus wanted to be by himself, away from the crowds and even his disciples. He was God in the flesh, but he needed to escape the human noise. There are times in my life when I just want silence. There is an island on Saganaga Lake in Ontario where my family built a cabin. I love going there because all you can hear is the wind and the waves.
The December 2020 issue of Scientific American carried an interesting article about human noise. Amazingly, human noise produces seismic vibrations that can be measured by instruments as deep as 400 meters below Earth's surface. Scientific studies of seismic vibrations in 172 locations worldwide showed that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the volume of human noise fell by 50% in some places. When you add up the noise of trains, buses, planes, and cars, the noise level is very high. It is not enough to cause earthquakes, but it does have other effects.
The big question for science to answer is, what effect noise has on not just humans but the world as a whole? Are animals affected by the noise levels we create? How does noise affect a child's ability to concentrate? Do noise levels affect the concentration and productivity of workers in a factory? Are some forms of mental illness affected or even caused by our exposure to noise?
Noise has a role in the Old Testament. Some passages emphasize the need for quiet. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God; … .” After the noise of wind, earthquake, and fire, God spoke to Elijah in a soft whisper (1 Kings 19:11-13). All of us need to escape the human noise of this world and have a quiet time to focus on God and quietly glorify him. Source: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/covid-pandemic-reduces-seismic-noise/
SUPREME COURT AND CHIKE UZUEGBUNAM: Can college officials censor public speeches that promote religious issues on campus? In many cases, students have been punished or expelled for promoting Christian values or Christianity as a life choice. Most of the cases have been settled out of court, but the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Chike Uzuegbunam's case.
Uzuegbunam is a young man who was talking about his faith in Christ at Gwinnett College in Georgia. College officials stopped him and disciplined him for his words. The college maintains that the constitution does not protect speech sharing religious beliefs, and Chike Uzuegbunam filed a lawsuit against the school. This case will bring before the Supreme Court whether universities can ignore the First Amendment and shut down religious speech on campus. This subject has enormous implications for the whole country. Source: https://adflegal.org/case/uzuegbunam-v-preczewski
TWIN STUDY IN SPACE: Mark and Scott Kelly are identical twins, and both are astronauts. Scott lived aboard the International Space Station for a year. Mark remained on Earth and lived his normal lifestyle. In the Space Station, fluids swelled around Scott's upper body and head, his immune system worked overtime, and his metabolism was altered. Of greatest interest to scientists was that Scott's genetic makeup — his DNA — had been damaged.
There are protective structures called telomeres at the ends of our chromosomes. These structures get shorter with age and put the person more at risk for age-related illnesses. In Scott's case, the telomeres became shorter. In addition to the changes in the telomeres, Scott's eye shape changed, and his vision weakened. His cognitive speed also decreased. Scott's risk of heart disease measurably increased.
What conclusion can we draw from the data of the twin study in space? The human body was designed for living on planet Earth. Even a small change in environmental characteristics can make genetic changes that can be detrimental to human health. We will have challenges if we start traveling great distances into space in the future. Source: https://a.boredomtherapy.com/s/twins-in-space?as=799&asv=1&bdk=0
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© xuanhuongho. Image from Big Stock.com
Image: put together by Roland Earnst
Photo from the Safe Haven Baby Box website
Image from Alliance Defending Freedom
Image: Robert Markowitz/NASA