Evidence for God from Science Newsletter April, 2006
Greetings in the name of the Lord! This is the latest update for the Evidence for God website. Welcome to our new subscribers.
Contents (scroll down for descriptions)
- Book Review
- Answers for Atheists
- Design vs. Evolution
- General Computer Info
- General Science
Who Will Be Left Behind and When? by Dave Bussard. The Left Behind series has been very popular with Christians. This fictional account of end times prophecy promotes the pretribulational rapture interpretation of Jesus Christ's return. According to this interpretation, Jesus will return to earth twice - once in an imminent, silent rapture of the Church, and second in judgment of the earth. In Who Will Be Left Behind and When?, Dave Bussard examines the teachings of the Left Behind series in light of what the Bible says. It does an excellent job of presenting specific pretribulational rapture teachings, including scriptures cited by proponents, and explains what those biblical passages really say in context, and what other relevant scriptures say about that specific teaching. Written in a highly readable style, this book is the perfect introductory comparison of pre-trib vs. pre-wrath rapture interpretations. At only 161 pages, this book presents the issues in an easy-to-understand style that will keep your interest to the end. Once you have a basic understanding of end times prophecy, you might want to consider Before God's Wrath, published through Strong Tower Publishing.
Answers for Atheists
Gospel of Judas
The Gospel of Judas story made big news this month as National Geographic attempted to match the scholarship of the National Inquirer, with their recent unveiling of the "Gospel" of Judas. National Geographic just happened to choose the beginning of Holy Week (Palm Sunday) to reveal their third century manuscript that denigrates the character of Jesus by implicating Him as co-conspirator with Judas Iscariot to plot His own death. However, National Geographic has raised the stakes considerably above the first century fee of 30 pieces of silver. Find out why this "gospel" isn't one and why it wasn't written by Judas Iscariot.
Science and Prayer
On April 3, I was the guest for a radio show called The Things That Matter Most. The topic was Scientific Evidence for Answered Prayer. You can download the MP3 from the show. Unfortunately, the show was taped the day before the results of a new prayer study were released. The new study showed that intercessory prayer had either no effect or was detrimental (for those who knew for sure they were being prayed for). Find out how the study coordinators introduced a fatal theological flaw into the new study in an attempt to make the study more "controlled".
Religion and Health
A related page on the positive effect of religion on health had not been updated for several years. In preparing for the radio show, I went through all the new studies that have examine the role of religion in health. The most remarkable study was a 16-year study that examined mortality rates in 11 religious vs. 11 secular kibbutzim in Israel. Although both communities were demographically-matched and provided similar levels of social support, three times more people died in the secular kibbutzim compared to the religious kibbutazim.
Design vs. Evolution
Evolutionary biology proposes that humans evolved from ape-like ancestors. If this is true then we are nothing more than glorified apes. A page on the GodAndScience.org website examine this issue from the uniqueness of human beings compared to our closest "relatives." A new study examined the mental abilities of human infants (18 months old) compared to chimpanzees. Four categories of problems were tested. While human infants could perform all four tasks, chimpanzees could only perform the first task. As in previous studies, chimpanzees were unable to discern when an individual failed at a simple task and how he could help. The researchers concluded: "A number of theorists have claimed that human beings cooperate with one another and help one another (especially non-kin) in ways not found in other animal species (26–28). This is almost certainly so, and the current results demonstrate that even very young children have a natural tendency to help other persons solve their problems, even when the other is a stranger and they receive no benefit at all."
Sanctity of human life
Fetal Pain & Abortion
After the "partial birth abortion" ban was passed by Congress in 2003, there were a number of lawsuits that challenged the new law and sent it to the courts. During those trials, a number of abortionists were asked if the fetus experienced pain during the abortion procedure. Most abortionists said that the evidence wasn't clear. Previous studies had shown an increase in fetal stress hormone release, although this does not directly measure brain response to pain. However, a study published this year examined blood flow in the contralateral somatosensory cortex of the brain of premature infants (where pain would be felt) in response to routine needle sticks to draw blood. Infants as young as 25 weeks (when partial birth abortions would take place), experienced pain from these needle sticks. However, a routine needle stick is nothing compared to what happens during the partial birth abortion procedure. Read more about this study and how it pertains to abortion (Warning: not for the squeamish).
General Computer Info
Internet Filtering Software
Being a Christian, I have always been concerned about the Internet in our home. We have three sons who are involved in Internet searches for their school projects and enjoy Internet games in their spare time. So, since they first began to use the computer, we have used content filtering software to block inappropriate content from entering our home. Some of these programs were free, but these are now unavailable or don't work with Windows XP. So, last year, I went shopping for a good Internet content filtering program. The best I have found (and the one I now use) is Content Protect. It is quite versatile, and can be setup with individual settings for each user. In addition to blocking objectionable content, it keeps a log for each user so that the parent can know what sites his child(ren) are visiting. More information:
Do you hate e-mail spam? Having a large Internet presence on multiple sites, I get lots of spam. However, recently, I have been getting spam from a number of ministries who claim to be "Christian". How do I know it's spam? On the personal pages there is a page for my dog Shadow. You can even e-mail Shadow. However, Shadow seldom gets legitimate e-mail (although owners of other dogs have e-mailed him), and to my knowledge has never signed up to receive e-mail from any Christian (or secular) business. In spite of this, Shadow does get e-mail from "ministries" attempting to make a buck by spamming people (and dogs, it seems). In each instance, I have attempted to contact these "Christians" for a response. So far, none have responded. However, they are all added to the new "Christian Spammers" page. As an added bonus, you can send your own message to these "ministers" or use the canned one on the page. You can choose to include your own e-mail address (or leave it blank).
The page on Global Warming seems to be an ongoing project. Quite a number of new studies have com out within the last two months that give us more information on what is happening with global climate and how severe the problem might be. Two studies have examined the melting of continental ice. Antarctica is melting whereas the Greenland ice mass is actually increasing (melting on the edges, but increasing inland due to increased precipitation). So, at this point, it would appear that most of the sea level rise will be due to thermal expansion of water (water expands as it becomes warmer). Two studies have attempted to constrain the degree of temperature change possible with a two-fold increase in CO2 (which seems likely within the next 100-150 years). The good news is that the wild predictions of 7-9°C temperature increases seem extremely unlikely. The two studies put the lower temperature change at 1.5°C and the upper limit at 4.5-6.2°C. This is still a potentially dramatic climate change, but not catastrophic.
Those are the most recent updates and changes since the last e-mail update. If you would like to see anything in particular at Evidence for God from Science, let me know. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
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Evidence for God from Science
Last Modified April 26, 2006