from Does God Exist? May/June 2010

HIPPOCRATIC OATH CHANGES. A recent survey of medical schools in the United States shows that there have been major revisions in the Hippocratic Oath that doctors take as a reflection of how they will use their expertise. One hundred and fifty medical schools were surveyed with 98 percent of their graduates taking the oath their schools presented to them. Only one of those schools used the classical version of the oath. Other schools deleted sections that included the avoidance of sexual contact with patients, references to a covenantal relationship with God, and a refusal to do abortions and euthanasia. It is pretty obvious that the medical profession has given in to cultural pressure to allow doctors to do things that would have been unthinkable not too many years ago. Source: Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, March 2010, page 3.

HOBBIT DEBATE RAGES ON. Between 2001 and 2003 remains were found in a cave in Indonesia of a human with a brain size roughly one-third the size of a modern human brain. The specimen was not a child and yet it stood about three feet tall. Dating of the specimens has shown that they are relatively recent — much younger than larger specimens found in Africa. Some scientists believe the specimens are from a deformed species of man associated with genetic disorders. Most people working on the specimens do not agree with that theory. The team of researchers says, “This is a new species that cannot be explained by any known pathology.” The main message is that man’s history on earth is very complex, and many biological changes have taken place to cause a wide diversity of races and physical features. The biblical definition avoids all of this by defining man in terms of his spiritual characteristics and not his body. We are created in the image of God and all of us have characteristics that reflect that spiritual makeup including creative ability in art and music, the capacity to worship, and the ability to feel guilt, sympathy, and compassion. Source: Michael Casey, Associated Press, Greensboro, NC, News & Record, March 7, 2010, page A2.

NEW FACTOR IN GLOBAL WARMING. Meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, have announced the discovery that there has been a huge drop in the amount of water vapor in the high atmosphere which has resulted in global cooling. The amount of cooling is 25 percent more than it otherwise would have been, and the lower stratosphere effect seems to be related to the oxidation of methane. Apparently climate is very sensitive to water vapor concentrations, and the whole discussion shows how little we know about all of the heat-release systems built into our planet. Source: Science News, February 27, 2010 page 11.

TUTORING AND CHRISTIAN SERVICE. Imagine moving to a new community with your family. Your children are in elementary school and you want them to get a good start in their new school and in the new community. When you get to school you find that all of the instruction is going to be in Russian, and that, in fact, no one in this school can speak English. This situation is exactly what many families in America are facing as they find themselves having been displaced from their home cultures and communities and take their kids to school for the first time. We now have a label in American education for these kids, ELL, which means English Language Learner. Recently we got to see a program in Lebanon, Tennessee, in which students at Byars Dowdy Elementary school were tutored by members of the College Hills Church of Christ. Christians have been teaching “English as a Second Language” classes in many countries, but here is an opportunity at home to serve people and be a unique help in the community. Information is available from Tina Anderson at or from the College Hills Church, 615-444-9502.

ACLU BEGINS “PERSONAL FREEDOM SURVEY.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) makes personal freedom the buzz word in their campaigns, and now a survey has been mailed to begin a blitz of political leaders. The problem, of course, is that the only people that the ACLU wants to have freedom are people who subscribe to their moral and ethical code. They oppose abstinence-only education, the rights of unborn babies, the ability of babies to be adopted by couples who can adequately provide for their social development, the right of a church to restrict employment to those who believe what the church teaches, or any attempt by religious people to serve and/or educate others. Some of these issues are complex, but claiming to protect people’s rights when you deny the rights of people who do not share your moral views is hardly protecting freedom. Source: ACLU Flyer “ACLU Personal Freedom Survey,” March 2010.

TROPICAL STORMS PREVENT EARTHQUAKES. Severe earthquakes continue to cause misery to humans. We have pointed out that the capacity of earth plates to move provides new minerals and land areas where life can thrive, and that they are not without purpose. Now new evidence shows that the energies that earthquakes generate can be moderated by weather. Storms reduce pressure over land but not on the ocean floor. This imbalance slows quakes and makes them less destructive. The better we understand the design of the earth, the more likely we are to be able to avoid disasters. Source: Science Illustrated, March/April 2010, page 18.

TEACHER ATTACK ON BIBLE CASE CONTINUES. James Corbett teaching a European history class at Capistrano Valley High School has precipitated a court battle over whether a public school teacher has a right to attack the religious beliefs of students. One of Corbett’s students recorded him saying the biblical creationism story is “religious, superstitious nonsense.” The student sued and the case went to federal court. The National Educational Association (NEA), teacher’s union, has called the suit “gagging teacher’s in-class speech.” The first court ruling was that what Corbett said constituted “improper disapproval of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.” Corbet was not required to pay any money damages because the court said the law was unclear. Both sides have appealed the ruling.

This is a difficult area for teachers and students. How do you discuss the Crusades without getting into the foolishness of both sides in the conflict? Moslems certainly will be incensed at statements that might be made in American classrooms about Muhammad’s military exploits in the history of the Middle East. The battle is not over. Source: NEA Today, March/April 2010, page 23. Also on

HOMESCHOOL TEXTBOOK PROBLEMS ACCELERATE. One of the problems that parents face in today’s educational climate is the fact that getting their child a good education, free of atheist or religious bias, is almost impossible. Public high schools in many places have become atheistic in their approach to every subject, and frequently promote lifestyles and values hostile to what parents want for their children. We have mentioned in this journal a number of times that the teacher’s union (NEA) has made political choices and moral decisions that many of its members do not support. However, in many school districts it is essentially required that a teacher be a part of the union. When I taught, you did not have to be a member of the union, but you had to pay dues as the union represented the teachers, whether they were members or not.

One consequence of all of this is that textbooks for home schooling reflect the religious views of whoever prints them. Bob Jones University Press and Apologia Educational Ministries are the two leading providers of biology books for homeschoolers. Their books sell for $65 and $52 respectively, and promote dispensational-millennial views of the history of the earth and of biology. With 1.5 million students homeschooled, and with 83 percent of their parents wanting religious instruction in the books, this is a big business. Parents who want to homeschool but do not want the indoctrination that goes with these books have a difficult time finding resources. The science content of the books, according to scientists who have studied them, is very poor.

The only option for most parents who want a solid science background for their students is to use whatever textbooks the local school system is using, and simply show evidence and discuss with their students anything that they feel is incorrect. We are available to help in this, and will help equip students for college work in which the same questions arise. Homeschooling is hard, but avoiding denominational indoctrination can be as much of a problem as avoiding atheistic views of humans and our role in the cosmos. Source: Associated Press, Greensboro, NC, News & Record, March 7, 2010, page A5.

ATHEISTS OFFER PORN FOR BIBLE CAMPAIGN. Atheist students at the University of Texas at San Antonio are offering pornography to any student over the age of 18 who turns in Bibles or other religious texts. The atheists maintain that porn is no worse than what is written in religious materials, and they call their promotion “Smut for Smut.” A university spokesman says the campaign is legal and there is no plan in place to stop it. Source:, posted March 3, 2010.

PAUL’S PORTRAIT. Archaeologists excavating a catacomb near the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome have discovered a portrait of the Apostle Paul dating back to A.D. 300. Paul is said to have been martyred around A.D. 65 — reportedly beheaded. A sarcophagus found under the basilica was dated to the first or second century and is thought to be that of the apostle. Skeptics of the Bible continue to explain away repeated finds that support the integrity of the biblical manuscripts, and this is another in a series of recent finds that make that difficult to do. Source: Biblical Archeology Review, January/February 2010, page 18.

NEANDERTHAL ART. One of the controversies among scientists and apologists is the place of Neanderthal man in the history of humans. There is a large genetic difference between Neanderthal and modern man, so many biologists have claimed that Neanderthal was a species different from modern man. There have been finds of specimens that seem to be a mix of Neanderthal and modern man which would suggest they were not different species. We have pointed out in this journal that races can look a lot different and still be the same species. We would suggest that Neanderthal was another race of humans. Support for that view comes from finds of art and music works of Neanderthal origin. In Scientific American (March 2010, page 18) there is a report of more art work of the Neanderthals. This time it is jewelry made of carefully painted scallop shells and cockleshells. Archeologist João Zilhão of the University of Bristol in England says that “Neanderthals had the same capabilities for symbolism, imagination, and creativity as modern humans.”

EARTHQUAKES, SUFFERING, AND GOD. We have all been saddened by the devastating earthquakes that have ravaged Haiti and Chile earlier this year. Atheists continue to assert that these tragedies are incompatible with belief in God, because if a benevolent God existed He would not allow such things to take place. This view ignores a variety of facts:
  1. The areas struck by these earthquakes are located along active fault zones that are constantly generating earthquakes. Haiti, like southern California, is where we have known for a long time that a major earthquake would eventually occur. These earthquakes are part of the system that recycles rock materials and forms new landmass and soils. We continue to ignore the fact that dangerous places should be avoided and special efforts should be taken to safeguard life in such areas.
  2. Much of the massive loss of life happened because of human greed. Buildings had been built without obedience to code or rules for construction. In areas where such buildings were not dominant the loss of life was minimal. If Christian values were applied, much of the pain would have been averted.
  3. In spite of the causes of the pain and destruction, it has been Christians who have addressed the needs in these areas most profoundly. Prior to the earthquakes very little was being done by anyone to address the poor conditions in Haiti and this neglect contributed to the suffering that we all observed.
  4. If you do not have a purpose for life, then no explanation of a tragedy is satisfying. The Bible gives an explanation of why God created human beings and why He gave us choices. That understanding precludes God micromanaging mankind and his environment. For more on this we encourage readers to watch program number nine of our video series on or read through the Web site.

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