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University of Alabama at Huntsville scientists are scratching their heads at a finding that may see the big bang “blown away” in the minds of scientists. Big bang advocates believe the cosmic explosion is responsible for the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation we observe. However, scientists have long predicted that galaxy clusters in the universe would deflect the CMB radiation, creating “shadows” in the observable radiation. But when the Alabama scientists measured this effect, they did not find any strong “shadows” as expected.
This indicates that the CMB radiation may not be “behind” distant galaxies, but much closer instead. Since the big bang interpretation requires the CMB radiation to be behind the farthest galaxies, this new discovery is a devastating blow to the big bang model, and indicates that the CMB radiation cannot be leftover radiation from a big bang. Of course, this isn't the only evidence against a big bang.
This new evidence must be particularly distressing for those compromising Christians who have tried to “add” the big bang to the Bible. What will they do now? This exciting new discovery reminds us that we should always place our faith in the Word of God, not the changing secular opinions about the origin of the universe.
A new 27-kilometer (16.8-mile) particle accelerator buried near Geneva, Switzerland, will be used by scientists to create miniature “big bangs” by smashing protons together. Scientists claim this will help answer questions about the origin of the universe and the “original” big bang. Although physics research is a good thing, and this accelerator may help scientists make new observations about our universe, this will no more “prove” the big bang than creating life in a lab would prove abiogenesis!
Neuroscientists' research is indicating that patients in a vegetative state may be fully aware of their surroundings, even though they are unable to communicate with individuals. A British-led research team undertook a study on a 23-year-old brain-damaged woman who has been in a “waking coma” since a car accident in July 2005.
The team first took 12 healthy individuals and recorded their brain functions while prompting them to imagine playing tennis, and then to imagine walking around their house. The researchers then asked the brain-damaged woman, who “shows no outward signs of awareness,” to imagine the same activities-playing tennis and walking around her house. Remarkably, the patient “showed strikingly similar patterns of brain activation to those of the healthy volunteers.”
Responding to critics who say the brain activity is just an automatic response to the word “tennis,” the researchers point out that the patient's brain activity lasted around thirty seconds, and stopped when the researchers told her to “stop and rest”!
As expected, the scientists caution that much more research needs to be done, and that each case of brain damage is different. Still, this is an important example of the value of life and, the researchers suggest, could be used one day to communicate with those who have debilitating mental injuries.
This article, from the Skeptical Inquirer, is mostly filled with unresearched gibes and jabs at the account of Noah's Ark. For example, early on, the comment:
The Ark story is scientifically implausible; there simply wouldn't be enough space on the boat to accommodate two of every living animal (including dinosaurs), along with the food and water necessary to keep them alive.
Well, is the Ark story implausible? Yesterday, we responded to a feedback item sent in by a web visitor on that oft-asked question. And if you're looking for more, John Woodmorappe has a well-researched, 298-page book, Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study, that analyzes the plausibility of the Ark in detail.
In reality, most critics who comment that the Ark was too small haven't researched either how huge the Ark was or how many animals actually needed to be on the Ark. For the answers, see How did all the animals fit on Noah's Ark?
The focus of the Skeptical Inquirer piece, however, is on the recent claim-the latest of many-that the remains of the Ark have been found. Is this just pareidolia (seeing something in a random pattern or other undefined object, such as seeing things in the clouds), as the author writes? Certainly, that has happened before, and appears to be the case with the most recent “discovery.”
The difficulty is for those who base their belief in the Flood on archaeological discoveries rather than the Word of God. The article states, “Still, Biblical literalists … have spent lives and fortunes trying to validate their beliefs.” For some Christians, that might be true. But the Word of God needs no validation; if we believe in the Flood only because a scientist says the evidence points to a global flood, we are placing man's ideas ahead of Scripture. This opens the door to what's called eisegesis.
In Wales, Stephen Green, an evangelical Christian, was arrested for handing out Bible-quoting leaflets at a homosexual rally. The South Wales Minorities Support Unit arrested Green for handing out “Same-Sex Love - Same-Sex Sex: What does the Bible Say?” The pamphlet included quotations from Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:25-27 and urged homosexuals to repent and be saved. It allegedly violated the Public Order Act of 1986, which disallows “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”
How long is it before people claim to be “harassed, alarmed or distressed” if they hear any of the Bible preached?
[Editor's note: You can read the conclusion to this story at Cardiff 'Mardi Gras' evangelist charges dropped.]
Australian researcher Russell Brinkworth, from the University of Adelaide, has devised computer software that emulates the visioning process of an oridinary fly. Sound simple? Think again-similar software requires six computers to run, so Brinkworth's achievement is engineering software that runs on only one computer. He hopes the software will eventually be small enough to put inside cameras. Flies, on the other hand, use approximately a hundred million nerves-and less than a ten-thousandth of a watt-to do the same (and likely much greater) information processing.
This is yet another amazing design feature. But it's no surprise that National Geographic News quotes engineer Reid Harrison, who credits fly eyes to “millions of years of evolution” instead of the Creator.
This upcoming Newsweek article profiles three atheists who are pushing their beliefs “[i]n the midst of religious revival.” It's almost entirely nothing new, though-for instance, comments from Sam Harris, one of the atheists profiled:
How can anyone believe in a benevolent and omnipotent God who permits a tsunami to swallow 180,000 innocent people in a few hours?
The article then states:
These are not brand-new arguments, of course, and believers have well-practiced replies to them, although in some cases, such as the persistence of evil and suffering (the “theodicy” problem), the responses are still mostly works in progress.
Why are such responses to evil and suffering still in progress? And why does Sam Harris refer to the 180,000 who died in the Indonesian tsunami as “innocent” (though we agree that their deaths were tragic)? Because the church, and, as a consequence, society as a whole, has thrown Genesis out of the picture. Understanding Genesis is the key to realizing that death and suffering are the consequence of disobedience in the Garden, and that none of us are “innocent” because we all have inherited Adam's sin.
Last week, we reported (item #1) on Pope Benedict XVI's upcoming conference on evolution. The Guardian blatantly reported that the Pope was set to accept intelligent design; however, Reuters reports that “controversies over intelligent design and creationism” were apparently not discussed. Attendee Joseph Fessio, who called evolution merely an “interesting theme,” stated that [biblical] creationism was “almost off the radar screen of the people in this group.” That so many who claim to be Christians can ignore what Jesus said about Genesis saddens us.
A new “teach the controversy” movement in Ohio (just across the border from AiG's Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky) has some evolutionists up in arms. The proposal would “oblige schools to teach critical thinking in all subjects.” Apparently, evolutionists find this notion unpalatable, preferring to censor not only any mention of creation in public classrooms, but also even the slightest mention of the creation/evolution debate or evidence against evolution.
A professor of experimental psychology at the University of Bristol asserts that people are “naturally biased to accept a role for the irrational,” reports The Times. According to the professor, this includes religion, magical thinking and beliefs that inanimate objects have sentimental value or, perhaps, an evil essence.
To “prove” his theory, the professor, Bruce Hood, asked an audience who would wear a blue cardigan (sweater) for £10. Most audience members raised their hands, but quickly retracted them when Hood added that the cardigan belonged to a mass murderer.
Hood argues that religion and creationism are no different-that these “tendencies … were almost certainly a product of evolution.” Furthermore:
This evolved credulity suggests that it would be impossible to root out belief in ideas such as creationism and paranormal phenomena, even though they have been countered by evidence and are held as a matter of faith alone.
But if natural selection favored those who believe in the supernatural, why would evolutionists not want to join the side of creationists? Furthermore, the very idea that we can believe certain ideas because we are genetically predisposed to do so calls into question the idea of freedom of belief. After all, would this idea mean evolutionists believe in evolution only because their genes cause them to reject the supernatural?
In August 26's News to Note, item #3, we commented on a new technique for harvesting embryonic stem cells that reportedly did not kill the embryos. Sadly, the news out this week is that the Alameda, California, company that devised the new technique misrepresented the non-life-destroying nature of the method. In fact, none of the embryos survived because the company, Advanced Cell Technology, removed multiple cells from each embryo. This highlights the many difficulties, both scientific and ethical, with experimentation on tiny human lives.
Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn't catch last week's News to Note, why not take a look at it now? See you next week!
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