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from Does God Exist? January/February 2013

UPDATE ON SOLAR FUEL. We have stated in our material that the sun converts 540 million tons of hydrogen into helium every second. Newer measurements have upped that figure to 700 million tons. The power of the sun and the incredible quantity of fuel consumed every second tells us that God has designed an energy source that is beyond our comprehension in many ways. We just need to learn how to harness it to solve our energy problems. Source: National Geographic, June 2012, page 44.

Higgs-BosonGETTING UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THE HIGGS BOSON. The scientific community rejoiced when on July 4, 2012, the people who were operating the Hadron Collider announced that they had found the Higgs Boson with a 99.99% certainty. The discovery strongly supported the “Standard Model” of how the universe works. Of the 17 particles predicted by the Standard Model, 16 had been found previously, but the Higgs Boson was the most elusive. Writers are now turning their attention to the implications of the Standard Model as supported by this newest research. One of the major implications is that some 20 constants have to be exactly what they are to 32 decimal places for the Standard Model to work. Being able to attribute that kind of precision for that many constants on a blind chance basis is unacceptable for many researchers. Source: Good News magazine, September/October 2012, page 23.

JUNK DNA DATA ACCELERATES. When the human genome was being worked out, the 3 billion base pairs that make up our DNA coalesced into only 22,000 genes, which is only 2% of the human genome. That meant that 98% of the human genome did not seem to have a function, and that material was called “Junk DNA.” It was considered to be material left over from the evolutionary processes that shaped our genes. Since that time the U.S. National Institutes of Health have had a project called Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE). Four hundred forty-two scientists working in 32 labs have been involved in studying the “nongene portion” of the human genome. This section is made up of some 4 million constantly communicating switches which make an uncommitted cell in a growing embryo determine what kind of cell it will become. Dr. Eric Green, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute says, “This is a powerful resource for exploring the fundamental question of how life is encoded” and it turns out this “junk DNA” may be the answer for curing a huge number of diseases, including cancer. It seems that the error here was assuming that chance explained the genome, and that if you did not see a purpose for something, it was junk. If we believe that life is intelligently designed, then we are not surprised that there is a purpose for all we see that makes up our genome. Source: Time, October 22, 2012, page 19, and Scientific American, October, 2012, page 80.

GamblingINTERNET GAMBLING MOVES FORWARD. For many years there have been those in Congress who have tried to make it legal for gambling to be carried on by anyone with a home computer. HR 2267 was the main bill that was written by former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass., retired in January 2013). While there is gambling available online, it is illegal in Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington state. The estimated social costs of internet gambling were instituted nationwide is 25 billion dollars per year. Many of us live in states where casinos have been legalized, and know the effect of these institutions. It is hard to visualize the results of nationwide legalized internet gambling. As morals collapse in our culture because of the rejection of religious values, the overt cost to all of us in practical dollars-and-cents terms is huge. Source: Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation (quoted in Citizen, March 2011, page 8), Citizen magazine, March 2011, page 4.

MITES IN AMBER DEFY EVOLUTION. Researchers studying arthropods preserved in tree sap (amber) from the time of the dinosaurs have been amazed to find two species (Triasacarus fedelei and Ampezzoa triassica) that are the same now as they were then. Evolutionists maintain that changes in the environment select mutations that give a better chance of survival for the organism. The conditions present during the time of the dinosaurs were radically different from today which should mean all forms of life would be changed to meet the changing environment. Dr. David Grimaldi of the American Museum of Natural History says, “Dinosaurs have come and gone, but the mites have hardly changed.” The article in Science News (October 6, 2012, page 14) says “the mites’ basic blueprint was built to last.”

JupiterJUPITER SAVES US AGAIN. One of the points we have made in discussing the design of the solar system is that our major planets protect the earth from encroaching asteroids and comets that would otherwise strike us. In The Week, October 5, 2012, page 21, is a report that amateur astronomers have recorded four asteroid strikes in the past three years. Glenn Orton of NASA says that Jupiter may sustain an asteroid impact every week. He goes on to say that Jupiter acts as “a big gravitational vacuum cleaner“ for asteroids and comets that would otherwise strike the earth. The main point is that there is a real survival purpose for the Jovian planets as they protect our planet from intrusions from outer space.

NEW DATA ON ALCOHOL. We have maintained for many years that alcohol is the most destructive recreational drug in existence in today's world. In the Alcoholics Anonymous 2012 Facts on Alcoholism, alcoholism is referred to as “the most neglected health problem in the United States today.” They say that 10 million Americans suffer from alcoholism, costing the nation 43 billion dollars a year. The number of teenagers drinking today is 3.3 million indicating the problem is going to get worse. Fifty percent of all fatal accidents involve alcohol, 80% of fire deaths, 65% of drownings, 40% of assaults, 77% of falls, and 55% of arrests. We would maintain that Christians need to oppose alcohol’s use and not support those who promote it.

CIRCUMCISION ISSUE CONTINUES. We have mentioned several times in this column that there has been an ongoing debate about whether circumcision is the mutilation of a child and therefore a form of abuse, or whether it is a religious rite. In San Francisco last year there was a ballot initiative that would have made circumcision a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or a year in jail. There is an anti-circumcision group called “Intact America” that is lobbying against circumcision. We want to emphasize that Christianity does not take a position on this subject. In the Old Testament it was a “sign of the covenant” between God and Israel. Muslims consider circumcision to be a purification ritual and will do it at any age. What has happened is that Medicaid has stopped paying for the surgery in 18 states and some insurance companies no longer cover it, and the rate of hospital circumcision in the U.S. has dropped from 79% in the 1970s to 55% in 2010. From an apologetic standpoint, circumcision does have health benefits, especially in the transmission of STDs, so there was more than one reason for its use in Old Testament times. Source: The Week, November 2, 2012, page 11.

Jim ThorpeJIM THORPE GETS HIS DUE. We have mentioned in our lectureships that the famous American athlete Jim Thorpe, who participated in the 1912 Summer Olympics and who was a Sac and Fox Indian from Oklahoma, had many physical characteristics similar to Neanderthals (see our News and Notes, September/October 1999). He is a demonstration that claims of the evolution of man confuse races with species. Smithsonian magazine (July/August 2012, page 62) has a good personal article on Thorpe including some pictures that will be of interest to some of our readers.

ARE WE GETTING SMARTER? Twenty-eight years ago Dr. James Flynn in New Zealand discovered that IQ scores were rising at a rate of .3 points a year, and the term “Flynn effect” was begun. Since Flynn's work that trend has continued, and there have been claims that human intelligence is evolving. The problems with all of this are many. First, there are many different kinds of intelligence. My disabled son, Tim, will score near normal on a verbal IQ test. If the test involves logic or problem solving he will score less than 50, where 100 is considered normal. The effects of technology and the industrial revolution, and the effects of education also have to be included. We would suggest that the Flynn effect is a function of these catalysts, not that we are any more intelligent than our ancestors. Source: Scientific American, September 2012, page 44.

GIRLS IN CONTACT SPORTS. One of the more complicated consequences of women pushing for equal rights has been the question of whether girls should be excluded from anything. In our area of Michigan and northern Indiana there have been a number of girls who wanted to participate in high school wrestling, and a number of boys who refused to wrestle them. According to Citizen magazine (November 2012, page 7) 1,604 girls played high school tackle football in 2011. The underlying issue in all of this is whether there are roles that each of us has that are controlled by our physical and social situation in life? Besides sports, the whole question of what women should do in the work of the church is also involved in this issue.

DISPENSATIONALIST BROADCASTERS SET UP FOR  SECOND COMING. Trinity Broadcasting Network and Daystar Network have set up studios in Jerusalem preparing for the second coming of Christ. Daystar streams a live shot of the Mount of Olives where they believe Jesus' second coming will take place. Both organizations will broadcast some shows in Hebrew to “reach out to Jews … and become … a completed Jew.” This is all a part of the denominational belief that Jesus is about to return and set up a physical kingdom in Jerusalem on David's throne following the Rapture and the seven-year tribulation which will involve a military war with converted Jews being his foot soldiers. Most young earth creationists are coming from this belief system, and almost all homeschool material is saturated with its teachings. In The November/December 2008 issue of this journal we had an article on this teaching and how it causes faith problems. You can obtain this article on the doesgodexist.org web site or send a stamped postage-paid envelope to us if you would like a copy (all free of course). Source: The Week, October 12, 2012, page 9.

GOD’S PROVISION NOT USED WELL. There are those who look at the poverty and starvation in the world and blame God for the pain that hunger inflicts on many innocent people. The fact is that God has provided for human beings in an incredible number of ways, and one of those ways is to provide food resources that are much better than the ones we traditionally use. A classic example is in National Geographic (November 2012) — a tree called the “Mighty Moringa” by the people studying it. This is a tree that can grow up to 12 feet in a season, and virtually the whole tree can be eaten. The leaves of the moringa have 25 times the iron in spinach, 17 times the calcium in milk, 15 times the potassium in bananas, 10 times the vitamin A in carrots, and 9 times the protein in yogurt. Many of the plants we cultivate have low vitamin content and are difficult to grow, but we develop tastes for highly specialized flavors. One wonders if, like the manna that ancient Israel used, we do not have a wide range of nutritious plants out there that simply have not been developed as food sources.

MarijuanaMORE BAD NEWS FOR MARIJUANA USERS. An article in The Week (September 14, 2012, page 21) reports that research on school children who started smoking pot regularly before age 18 lost an average of eight IQ points. The increased use of marijuana in our society is having a number of effects on our population, and the effects on developing brains appear to be some that have not been studied before.

YEAR END REPORT AVAILABLE. This journal is sent free to all who request it, but it is expensive to produce, print, and mail. We do this work with a very small staff and do not solicit funds from anyone and we have no sponsoring group covering the expense. It is only because many individuals voluntarily send financial support to us that we are able to continue having this material available. At the end of every calendar year we prepare a report on the Does God Exist? ministry. We share what has been accomplished, what work is being done, and give a financial report for the year. We have ended 2012 in the black thanks to the help that many of our readers have sent us even though we do not solicit funds. If you would like a copy of our report for 2012, just let us know and we will send it to you or go to this link for a pdf version of the report.

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