New and Notes-title
from Does God Exist? July/August 2010

Atheists and the media in general have used Galileo Galilei as a poster boy for what religion does to science. The claim is that when Galileo observed that earth was not the center of the cosmos with everything going around it that he was excommunicated by the Catholic Church and condemned as an admitted atheist. Galileo was a believer and was never excommunicated by the Catholic Church. He was censored for some moral problems, and his observations did conflict with some church theology of the day, but he was not an atheist and his problems stemmed from his moral choices, not his scientific views. Source: Astronomy, May 2010, page 14.

MORE ON POLLUTION AND SEXUAL PREFERENCES. Data continues to accumulate showing that materials mankind dumps into the environment can have a dramatic affect on sexual preferences in living things. We reported a number of studies on bass and humans in our March/April 2010 issue, and now there are new studies showing atrazine (a herbicide) can change a male frog into a functional female.  The amount of atrazine needed to do this is 2.5 parts per billion, and atrazine concentrations in human drinking water is allowed to be as high as 3 parts per billion. The atrazine apparently has profound affects on estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid hormones. What effect this has on humans has not been studied, but there is growing evidence that man’s foolish disposal of waste products is having profound effects on all living things on the planet, and hormonal influences may be among the greatest in severity. Source: Science News, March 27, 2010, page 9.

ATHEIST KEEPS PREACHING JOB. Klaas Hendrikse is an atheist, but he is also a minister of the Protestant Church of the Netherlands. He is known for his book Believing in a God that Does Not Exist, which basically says that the idea of God is a good idea, but there is no such thing as an actual God. A special assembly of this church was convened to decide whether Hendrikse should be retained as the pastor of the Church, and the assembly decided that he should be retained. They will have a meeting later this year to decide how to talk about God. When modern denominationalism is followed to its logical end, this is the result. Is it any wonder that atheism is growing at such an astounding rate in the Netherlands? Source: Christianity Today, April 2010, page 13.

PLEDGE SUIT FAILS AGAIN. A group of atheists including Michael Newdow has been trying for years to get “Under God” taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” removed from our currency. On March 17, 2010, the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco ruled that “under God” is constitutional and that “In God We Trust” is not an endorsement of religion and thus can remain on currency. However, this is probably not the end of the story.

ARCTIC TERN STILL WINS. Among the great evidences for design in the natural world are the journeys made by a variety of forms of life as they migrate from one area to another. We have discussed the migration of the arctic tern in some of our materials. In the Smithsonian magazine (March 2010, page 6), there is a note that recent studies show the arctic tern does in fact have the longest migration. Terns averaged 44,000 miles in ten months in a lifetime that would translate into 1.5 million miles for a bird that weighs about four ounces. Migrations benefit living things in widely separated areas of the world, and sometimes not the animal that is migrating. Chance explanations are strained at best for such long migration journeys.

DARWIN MISQUOTES. Atheists attempt to claim Darwinism and the work of Charles Darwin as a strong proof that God does not exist. We have pointed out in this journal many times that what Darwin contradicted was the denominational creeds of his day, not the Bible. A recent flap has developed when Science Illustrated magazine (March/April 2010, page 4) quoted Darwin in Origin of the Species as concluding his work with an atheist statement. The final statement actually reads, “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to fixed laws of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.” When Science Illustrated printed it they left out the phrase “by the Creator” which Darwin had actually added to the second edition of the book.

TEMPLETON FOUNDATION MORAL DEBATE. The John Templeton Foundation awards prizes to people who contribute to the Science and Faith controversy and has been publishing a series of “Conversations” among scholars about the “big questions.” The current question is “Does moral action depend on reasoning?” You can read selected essays on this subject by top scholars on There are some good comments and some foolish ones in these essays. Our comment is that when God is eliminated from the equation, the reality of whether any moral code is workable on a practical level is not debatable. There is no functional morality when everything is viewed as relative.

AUSTRALOPITHECUS SEDIBA. Once again the media has grabbed on to a new fossil find and this time is publicizing it as “a window into human evolution.” What have been found are two skeletons that have both “human and ape features.” The ape features include a small brain, small skull, long forearms, and flat face. The human features are the hips which seem to allow long strides assuming the specimen had a vertical posture. There also have been reports of DNA studies in Siberia which show patterns in specimens found in Denisova Cave which do not match either Neanderthals or modern man. The point the media continues to miss is that the variations in human racial features show that specimens can look very different and still be one species. The name Australopithecus sediba literally means southern ape well-spring, and the fossil is a variation of the ape family. The bottom line was stated by Dr. Richard Potts of the Smithsonian, “The history of man is a fascinating mosaic of features.” Source: USA Today, April 9, 2010, page 2A; AP Release in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, 3/25/2010, page 8A; Science News, 4/24/2010, page 5.

GLOBAL WARMING — SENSE AND NONSENSE. Thanks to politicians and extremists on all sides, the global warming issue continues to confuse the general public. A more than 3000-page report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change contained several errors as to what the future holds for planet earth. The claims that African crops will wither, the Amazon rain forest disappear, and the Himalayan glaciers will cease to exist by the year 2035 are simply not true and are not supported by data. The fact that the planet is warming as a whole, and that mankind will have to adjust to this process and needs to be careful not to catalyze it, is strongly supported by the data. Global warming has happened in the past, and it will happen again. God’s design of the earth is so incredible that the planet has survived previous changes in world-wide temperature, but we have so many more people on the planet now, that the impact may be much greater. We need to be good citizens on this planet, and do what we can to provide for the well-being of all of mankind, but alarmist claims of catastrophe, and fanatical religious opposition to the need to take care of the planet God has placed us on should be ignored. God put man in the garden to dress it and keep it (Genesis 2:15). Using the earth wisely is part of caring for it. Source: Scientific American, May 2010, page 16.

KOMODO DRAGONS ARE VENOMOUS. Science teachers have used the Komodo dragon of Indonesia as an example of how animals can use infections to bring down prey. The idea was that the saliva contains bacteria that infect animals the dragon bites, eventually causing them to die. A recent study now shows that the dragons have six venom glands which hold neurotoxins similar to snake venom which cause cramping and contain blood thinners. Sometimes explanations accepted for many years turn out to be assumptions, and as more information becomes available adjustments have to be made. Science does this rather well in most cases, but sometimes religious people are locked into a tradition which has no biblical basis and have a hard time changing it. We all need to be open to the fact we have room to grow, and education both biblically and scientifically is essential to doing that. Source: Science Illustrated, May/June 2010, page 28.

SECULAR HUMANISTS START NAME CALLING. The most recent ad from The Council for Secular Humanism states, “For many centuries the world’s most opinionated fuddy-duddies have known exactly where independent thinkers who write, edit, publish, read or discuss magazines like Free Inquiry will end up. And that was even before we decided to tempt you with one hell of an offer.”  Apparently the atheist movement is desperate enough to start formal name calling, referring to everyone who believes in the fact of hell’s existence as “opinionated fuddy-duddies.” It is an interesting statement for a group that goes ballistic when someone suggests that there is a correlation between morality and belief in God. Being an independent thinker means to rationally consider all possibilities, including the existence of God and the validity of the Bible. Atheist Web sites continue to show an appalling ignorance of both the evidence and the Bible. You are not independent when you rely upon someone else for your information about the Bible, and you are not thinking when you refuse to consider facts, or the positive implications of belief in God and the Bible as a guide for life.

SURVEYS SHOW YOUNG ADULTS DRIFTING. USA Today (April 27, 2010, Page 2A) has printed a survey by LifeWay Christian Resources of 1200 people in the 18- to 29-year age bracket concerning their faith. Of those surveyed 72% said they were not religious, but they also said they were spiritual. Those who called themselves Christians amounted to 65%, but 65% of those never pray with others and 38% do not pray at all. Furthermore 65% do not ever attend any kind of worship service and 67% never read the Bible or any “sacred texts.” Those who said they believe they will go to heaven and have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, also showed little interest in Church with 50% of them not attending Church weekly and 36% never or rarely reading the Bible. In this group only 17% read the Bible daily. The author of the study predicts that we “will see churches closing as quickly as GM dealerships.” That may be extreme, but the study should certainly speak to the importance of the Church doing a better job of teaching young people what faith is about and meeting the needs of young adults.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF FAITH. There have been a lot of bogus studies trying to link prayer to healing and church attendance to freedom from disease. New data from Duke University and Texas Tech does provide some startling numbers about faith and health. The Lubbock Avalanche Journal (April 27, 2010, page A1) gave four of them.
  1. Hospitalized people who never attended church have an average stay three times longer than people who attended regularly.
  2. Heart patients were 14 times more likely to die following surgery if they did not practice a religion.
  3. Elderly people who never or rarely attended church had a stroke rate double that of people who attended regularly.
  4.  People who are more religious tend to become depressed less often.
    If these studies came from a fundamentalist source, they would be quickly dismissed. Hearing them come from major medical universities does suggest the data needs to be looked at carefully and not just dismissed as religious propaganda. A book containing this information is Handbook of Religion and Health by Harold Koenig of Duke University.

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