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Return to September/October 2014 articles.

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from Does God Exist? September/October 2014

THE WAY OF WISDOM FOR DIABETES. Readers who are familiar with this ministry know that one of the books we offer is Living Successfully With Diabetes written by Phyllis Clayton. Phyllis lived with insulin-dependent diabetes for 60 years. When I learned that Ken Ellis has written a book on diabetes, I was very interested to see what he had done. Ken is a minister who has been a diabetic for over 50 years and has a website called wisdomfordiabetes.com. His book has massive practical information, and is full of humor and biblical, Christian values. Since we usually reserve our book review pages for books relating to apologetics, I want to review it here.

This book is divided into two sections. The first part is titled “Staying Motivated To Do The Things We Need To Do.” It is easy to get discouraged when battling diabetes. Ellis uses the biblical teachings about gratitude and uses the history of developing diabetes treatment to encourage diabetics to realize how far treatment has come. He builds a strong case for controlling one's attitudes and thinking. This is well written and practical.

The Way of Wisdom for Diabetes coverThe second section of the book is titled “Doing the Things We Need To Do.” Diabetics hear a lot of advice from medical professionals about what they should and should not do. The problem is that the doctors are not the ones having to do the record-keeping, losing weight, eating the right foods, and exercising. This book was written by a person who lives with diabetes every day —  and has for over 50 years. The approach is realistic, practical, humorous, and medically sound. There are such practical things as using a pedometer, the effects of stress, practical values of glycemic index and glycemic load, and values for various foods.

This is a great book for college students, young professionals, or bright high school students who have just found out that they are diabetic. It would be useful for anyone who is a diabetic or has a family member who is diabetic. It would be especially and uniquely useful to someone who thinks he cannot have a normal life because of diabetes. This book is available from amazon.com. The Way of Wisdom for Diabetes by Ken Ellis, ISBN-13: 978-1-4782-6230-5. Living Successfully with Diabetes by Phyllis Clayton is available from us for $2.00 postpaid (address is on the back cover) or from PVPowerStore.com. If you want a book that is more thorough, more practical, and more motivational we recommend the one by Ken Ellis.

ALCOHOL DEATHS CLIMBING. The death of working-age people in the United States continues to climb. The Week (July 11, 2014, page 14) reports that roughly one in ten deaths can be attributed to alcohol, and 71% of those are male. The problem is not limited to the U.S. When we were traveling in Ireland, our guide showed us a hospital that only served alcohol-related illnesses. While we have seen no data on illnesses caused by alcohol use in the U.S., the number has to be huge. Cultures that reject belief in God and rely on substitutes universally find that substance abuse becomes an issue. As the United States moves more and more into a secular, materialistic mind-set the use of chemicals to replace God will have catastrophic results.

HIV THREAT CONTINUES. We do not see the alarming headlines in our daily news reports anymore about HIV infections and AIDS. The reason is that antiretroviral drugs have been able to reduce the number of cases where the HIV progresses to AIDS. The fact is however, that 6,000 people contract HIV every day and in poor countries access to the drugs is limited. As the virus changes, the potential for new epidemics increases, and we are once again reminded that the basic cause of HIV infection is not conducting ourselves as God has instructed. The need for churches to teach God's instructions for marriage and sexual conduct in all of life is as vital as it ever was. Source: Scientific American, July 2014, page 24.

TRANSGENDER FOLLOWS GAY MARRIAGE. Now that the Supreme Court has endorsed same-sex marriage, a new issue is being promoted in American culture — the endorsement of transvestites. In 1952 a woman named Christine Jorgensen revealed that she was born as George Jorgensen and that she/he had a surgery in Denmark to change him into her “correcting a mistake of nature.” In 1980 transsexualism was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association. The notion here is that sex and gender are two separate concepts with sex being biological and gender being cultural. The same arguments about cause will be involved in this question. We would once again suggest that those struggling with their sexual identity need compassion, love, caring, and support — not bullying, discrimination, and harassment. The cause of these problems can be argued, but viewing one's identity as a mistake automatically casts a destructive stigma over the life of the person. Taking ownership and directing one's life into areas to serve and fulfill God's will in spreading Truth would be a more profitable way of using one's unique properties. Source: Time, June 9, 2014, page 38.

POT LEGALIZATION. One of the most dramatic changes in American social views is the new attitude towards marijuana. At the time I am writing this article 21 states and the District of Columbia sanction medical marijuana. Colorado and Washington have now legalized recreational marijuana. There are wild claims made by both the supporters and detractors of marijuana, but in the June 14, 2014, issue of Science News some basic facts are listed (page 17). Marijuana affects the amygdala of the brain causing altered emotional states. (The amygdala performs a primary role in processing memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions.) Marijuana reduces motor activity in the basal ganglia, an area of the brain which is associated with voluntary motor movements, eye movements, procedural learning, and cognition. Marijuana also affects the brain's cerebellum causing impaired coordination. It alters cortex thinking, making it hard to pay attention or switch quickly between two tasks. Another part of the brain affected by marijuana is an area which is critical to short-term and long-term memory called the hippocampus. This makes memory less efficient, making it harder to learn and remember new information. The hypothalamus, which controls hunger as well as other things, is stimulated by marijuana, increasing appetite and giving the “munchies” effect. It also targets the nucleus accumbens which plays an important role in pleasure, causing the pot user to want to use it again. In spite of claims to the contrary, marijuana can be addictive. Ten percent of users become dependent. We are reminded of the need to take care of the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). Source: Science News, June 14, 2014, pages 17.

MORE CATHOLIC WOMEN PRIESTS. The Roman Catholic Womenpriests USA has just appointed a woman in Three Oaks, Michigan, as a priest, near where your reporter lives. This group has ordained 150 women priests around the country and is condemned by the Catholic Church hierarchy and has been excommunicated. In our age of “rights,” the idea of a guaranteed role for any gender is violated in the name of giving equal access to the same role to everyone and the courts are likely to support the women in this case. Obviously this has implications for all churches. Source: South Bend Tribune, May 31, 2014, page B1.

NYE-HAM DEBATE AFTERSHOCKS CONTINUE. On February 4, 2014, Bill Nye, “The Science Guy,” and Ken Ham of The Creation Museum and Answers in Genesis had a debate in Ham's auditorium. It was broadcast on television and is on YouTube. Nye says he had all he needed “to overwhelm Ken Ham” provided and reported in the Reports of the National Center for Science Education (Vol. 34, Num. 2, March/April 2014, page 9). There is also an extended review of the debate by Nye and his supporters in Skeptical Inquirer (May 2014, page 14). Ham defenders refer to Nye as “glibly scoffing” at evidence easy to see (see Acts and Facts, June 2014, page 21). Like most debates, this one generated more heat than light with Nye oversimplifying and generalizing and Ham quoting out-of-context biblical passages and repeating his denominational traditions without dealing with evidence.

NEW HEAVYWEIGHT DINO CHAMP. A new fossil of the species of dinosaurs called Titanosaur has been found in Argentina. This one is claimed to be 130 feet long, 65 feet high, and to have weighed 170,000 pounds (65 tons). The big mystery with a specimen of this size is how blood pressures and fluid movements would have worked. A 65-foot tall dino would have to generate 2 tons (4,056 pounds) per square foot of blood pressure to get blood to the brain. (A human needs roughly 375 pounds per square foot.) The vascular system would have to be radically different from any we see today to be able to do this. Source: The Week, June 6, 2014, page 22.

MORE BIG BANG SUPPORT. The media frequently reports on support for the big bang theory of cosmology. In the 1990s a satellite known as Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) measured the background temperature of the cosmos as 2.725 degrees Kelvin. Recently the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and the Planck satellite confirmed this value. In short, these experiments show that a singularity like the big bang would produce exactly what we are seeing in space. We have pointed out many times that the big bang theory is not an issue for those who believe in God. It is simply an observation and that observation fits the current models of what the early universe looked like. It does not tell you what banged or who caused the bang, and it has no direct connection to evolution. Source: Astronomy, June 2013, page 34.

THE BIBLE “CONTAINS” VS. THE BIBLE “IS.” The 2014 “State of the Bible” study by the Barna Group and the American Bible Society reports that 80% of practicing Protestants and 60% of practicing Catholics believe the Bible “contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life.” Half of the respondents say that “the Bible is a valuable resource for living well.” The study also shows that with age, the numbers go up. Between the ages of 18 and 29, 35% believe the Bible is valuable, while 63% of ages 68 and older believe it. Saying the Bible contains is a lot different from saying the Bible is! If the Bible just “contains,” then some of it is not relevant and may even be in error. That turns a person's faith into a form of situation ethics. If some is useful and some is in error, how do I know which is which? A huge change in morality has resulted at least in part from these beliefs. The study is summarized in Christianity Today, July/August 2014, page 23.

CHURCH TAX WARS CONTINUE. The government has several different sets of rules for groups who are excluded from certain kinds of taxes. Nonprofit organizations have to file paperwork known as Form 990 which is an exhaustive listing of all financial transactions. A nonprofit organization can be almost anything that does not produce revenue for a person or group. Churches do not have to do this form, and there is a 14-point test to determine whether or not a group is a church. The problem is that as churches go on the web and do television ministries the traditional view of what a “church” is gets stretched. In 2012 the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued the IRS claiming that churches should have to do the same paperwork as all nonprofit organizations. The challenge is control and the publicizing of how resources are distributed. Most observers believe the atheists will win their suit, and the question of religious liberty becomes an issue. It will be quite a battle in the near future, and all churches will be affected by its outcome. Source: Christianity Today, July/August 2014, page 21.

DINOSAURS NEITHER FOWL NOR LIZARD. We tend to classify life forms as either being ectotherms (cold blooded) or endotherms (warm blooded). The difference between these two is huge, controlling how much food the animals need to eat, what temperatures they can tolerate, and how they reproduce. There is another class of animals called mesotherms. They eat more than reptiles and their body temperatures go through larger extremes. Dinosaurs are now thought to be mesotherms. Understanding how dinosaurs could be as large as some of them were, and how they could metabolize food as they did is quite a challenge. Realizing they were specially created animals with a biological structure very different from today's animals goes a long way toward understanding how they could exist. We have pointed out in previous articles that dinosaurs were the gardeners of the time in which they lived. They helped control an ecosystem that produced the resources man would eventually need. Coal, gas, oil, and some minerals require a very special environment, and the dinosaurs helped produce and control that environment. Source: Science News, July 12, 2014, page 6.

HUMAN FOOTPRINTS IN GLEN ROSE. One of the older hoaxes that continues to be circulated on the web is the claim that human tracks and dinosaur tracks are found in the same rock strata in Glen Rose, Texas (near Waco). This is presented as proof that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time. We have been to that area many times and are familiar with the claims of Carl Baugh, a former Baptist preacher, who runs a creation museum near Dinosaur State Park. The dinosaurs tracks in the area are real. The claimed human tracks are not real. First of all, they sink the same depth into the mud that the dinosaur did. Since the dinosaur weighed several tons, that is not reasonable. The rocks are highly varied, and because there are so many shapes and formations almost anything you wish to find can be seen in the rocks. The photographs you may have seen were of painted shapes carefully drawn into the rock to make it look like what the author wanted people to see. Reports of the National Center for Science Education (volume 34, number 2, page 14) has an article on this study.

WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR LIFE? When I took biology many years ago, we were told that life is made up of four elements, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen. Through the years other elements have been found to also be essential for life to exist. We now know that of the 92 naturally occurring elements, 28 are necessary for life to exist. The latest addition to the list is the element bromine. In the June 5, 2014, issue of Cell magazine, researchers at Vanderbilt University report that bromine is necessary for helping cells in multi-cellular animals stick together. New research is finding more and more about how complex life is. With that complexity comes the obvious need for planning and intelligence in forming life systems.

Picture credits:
© Michael Shake. Image from BigStockPhoto.com