NTS LogoSkeptical News for 17 November 2002

Archive of previous NTS Skeptical News listings


Sunday, November 17, 2002

Attitude 'irrelevant' to cancer fight

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/2418629.stm

Friday, 8 November, 2002, 06:13 GMT

There is little evidence of a link between a positive mental attitude and a person's ability to survive cancer, researchers have found.

A new study, published in the British Medical Journal, reviewed 26 pieces of research to test popular beliefs about being positive.

The Glasgow-based researchers hoped to see if there was a link between survival from cancer and different psychological coping styles, such as "fighting spirit", hopelessness, denial and avoidance.

Breast, lung, and gastrointestinal cancers, as well as leukaemia and melanoma, were covered in the studies examined.

They also included data on follow up periods ranging between several months to 15 years.

The research team, led by Mark Petticrew of the Medical Research Council's Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow, said a link between the way people cope with cancer and their chance of survival was "biologically plausible".

But they found little scientific basis for the belief that coping styles played an important part in survival from or recurrence of cancer.

The authors said: "It is commonly believed that a person's mental attitude affects his or her chances of surviving cancer and the psychological coping factors that are most well known in this respect are fighting spirit and helplessness/hopelessness.

"We found little convincing evidence that either of these factors play a clinically important part in survival from or recurrence of cancer; the significant findings that do exist are confined to a few small studies."

They said there was no good evidence to support the development of schemes that promoted certain mental attitudes to try to prolong survival.

And they concluded: "People with cancer should not feel pressurised in adopting particular coping styles to improve survival or reduce the risk of recurrence."

Don't panic

Health psychologist Dr Jill Graham of the Cancer Research UK unit at St Thomas's Hospital, London, said: "Early research in this area suggested if you had a fighting spirit you would live longer.

"But these studies were very small. Since then we have done much more comprehensive work and looked at much larger studies of women.

"The latest research says that if you're feeling down and depressed you shouldn't panic as it won't affect your recovery or cause a relapse.

"One study looked at women patients who were profoundly depressed for three months or more.

"It was found that they were at no greater risk of cancer returning nor did it lessen their their chances of long term survival.

"I think this is really good news for women who no longer need to panic that if they feel very low it will bring the disease back."

John W. Campbell

http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_W._Campbell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

John Wood Campbell, Jr. (1910-1971) was the editor from 1938 until his death in 1971 of the science fiction magazine Astounding Science Fiction, renamed Analog Science Fiction in 1960. During his editorship, he published the first stories of Robert A. Heinlein, A.E. van Vogt and others, and strongly encouraged Isaac Asimov. He also edited the fantasy magazine Unknown Worlds from 1939 to 1943.

Campbell was well known for the opinionated editorials in each issue of the magazine, where he would sometimes argue quite proposterous hypotheses, perhaps intended to spark off story ideas. An anthology of these editorials was published after his death. He also suggested story ideas to writers more directly, and sometimes asked for stories to match cover paintings he had already bought. The first issue of Astounding which was entirely edited by Campbell, the July 1939 issue, contained the stories "Black Destroyer" by van Vogt and "Lifeline" by Heinlein, and is often considered to be the beginning of science fiction's first "golden age". (Asimov's first story in Astounding, "Trends", appeared the following month.)

In the 1950s, he developed a strong interest in some alternative theories: the 'Dean Drive', a device that supposedly produced a thrust in violation of Newton's third law; and the 'Hieronymous machine', which could supposedly amplify psi powers. During his interest in this latter subject, he published many stories of telepathy and other abilities.

Besides his editing, he published a number of short stories in the late 1930s, often using the name 'Don A. Stuart', including "Who Goes There?" about a group of Antarctic researchers who discover a crashed alien vessel, complete with a malevolent shape-changing occupant. This has twice been filmed, as The Thing.

The Campbell award for the best new science fiction writer was set up in his honour, the first award being presented in 1973.

Skeptic Newssearch - 11/17/02

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/skepticsearch/

A Prayer Before Dying
By Po Bronson
Wired

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.12/prayer.html

"In July 1995, back when AIDS was still a death sentence, psychiatrist Elisabeth Targ and her co-researchers enrolled 20 patients with advanced AIDS in a randomized, double-blind pilot study at the UC San Francisco Medical Center. All patients received standard care, but psychic healers prayed for the 10 in the treatment group. The healers lived an average of 1,500 miles away from the patients. None of the patients knew which group they had been randomly assigned to, and thus whether they were being prayed for. During the six-month study, four of the patients died - a typical mortality rate. When the data was unblinded, the researchers learned that the four who had died were in the control group."

UFO Seekers Search for Respect By Mark Baard Wired
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,56334,00.html

"Aliens may be right under our noses -- we're just not smart enough to see them."

The Mothman craze

by Chris Stirewalt Charleston Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.com/news/News/2002111450/

"The Mothman has returned to this sleepy river town, but this time residents hope he will portend economic growth rather than disaster."

Pentagon hacker on a different planet
The Advertiser [Australia]

http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,5489376%5E912,00.html

"Friends of Gary McKinnon had often thought he was living on a different planet."

Bigfoot has them talking -- again by Mark Hume
National Post

http://canada.com/national/story.asp?id=%7B56FB22AA-8F09-439D-9E6E-29ADFCFE52F8%7D

"A flurry of Sasquatch sightings on Vancouver Island and near Squamish on the Lower Mainland have revived hopes, among those who believe in the paranormal, that evidence of a mythical North American ape may yet be found."

Silverthorne family prays for a miracle after child's death
by Jane Reuter Summit Daily News

http://www.summitdaily.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?Site=SD&Date=20021115&Category=NEWS&ArtNo=211150103&Ref=AR

"Valerie and Paul Jungck's 2-year-old son died Sunday when a filing cabinet fell on the toddler in the family living room. Some medical officials say Zion Jungck died immediately. But the family's faith is so strong, they have turned his fate over to God. Miracles, they say, still happen."

Parents prayed for tot's resurrection
By Joe Garner
Rocky Mountain News

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/state/article/0,1299,DRMN_21_1549703,00.html

"A Silverthorne family has ordered a tiny casket for their toddler after praying in vain since Sunday that he would be brought back to life."

Shilpa Shetty visits Bagalkot psychic healer
Times of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?artid=27999678

"The visit of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty along with her parents to Bagalkot on Sunday has triggered speculation here."

'Bone box' used twice, curator says
by Joseph Brean
National Post

http://www.nationalpost.com/home/story.html?id={30A7F244-145A-4C3E-86B0-BBC3D829DFBB}

"The damaged stone box believed to have contained the bones of James, brother of Jesus, probably contained the bones of two of his relatives, a curator at the Royal Ontario Museum has discovered."

Inspection of ossuary produces more clues
By MICHAEL POSNER
Toronto Globe & Mail

http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/PEstory/TGAM/20021115/UOSSUM/national/national/nationalTheNationHeadline_temp/9/9/24/

"Closer examination of the controversial limestone ossuary said to have contained the bones of James, brother of Jesus, has yielded evidence that adds to its authenticity, experts at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum said yesterday."

Oregon Governor Plans Apology
Associated Press

http://news.yahoo.com/?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20021116/ap_on_re_us/sterilization_apology_1

"Gov. John Kitzhaber plans to apologize next month to hundreds of Oregonians who were sterilized by the state, according to victims' advocates."

Millionaire transfers dog-cloning grant
By Kerry Fehr-Snyder
Arizona Republic

http://www.arizonarepublic.com/arizona/articles/1115missyplicity.html

"University of Phoenix founder and millionaire John Sperling has pulled his funding from a dog-cloning project at Texas A&M University but will redirect the money to a similar venture in California."

Indian 'Jews' resist DNA tests to prove they are a lost tribe
By Inigo Gilmore
The Telegraph [UK]

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2002%2F11%2F10%2Fwtribe10.xml

"Members of a remote community of Indians who claim to be descendants of one of the 10 lost tribes of ancient Israel are resisting plans to carry out genetic tests to prove their Jewishness."

Jesus, it's a chapati!
Times of India

http://203.199.93.7/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?artid=28281420

""God is dead". This was the famous sentence from the famed German philosopher Nietzsche. Probably he didn't visit India when he gave the famous quote."

Psychic lines that used 'Miss Cleo' to drop bills
BY BEATRICE E. GARCIA
Miami Herald

http://www.miami.com/mld/miami/business/4523334.htm

"The future has darkened for two Fort Lauderdale companies that were promoted by ''Miss Cleo'' and allegedly overbilled consumers who had hoped for a few minutes of psychic insight into matters of love and wealth."

Psychic Miss Cleo Settles Fraud Charges
Reuters

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20021114/people_nm/crime_misscleo_dc_2

"The largest psychic hotline operation in the United States has agreed to unplug its phones and pay back $5 million to callers who did not realize they were being billed an average of $60 for a glimpse into their future, the Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday. "

Government sees no future for Miss Cleo's psychic hot line
by David Ho
Associated Press

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20021115/ap_on_re_us/miss_cleo_settlement_12

"The future for Miss Cleo's psychic hot line is decidedly dark, federal fraud fighters say."

Feds Crack Down on Miss Cleo
by Julie Keller
E! Online

http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,10849,00.html

"It doesn't take a Magic 8 Ball to figure out the forecast for troubled psychic star Miss Cleo and her companies: outlook not so good."

Scam alert: Supposed miracle health device phony, state investigator says
By Edgar Sanchez
Sacramento Bee

http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/scam_alert/story/5169737p-6178747c.html

"A Fair Oaks chiropractor may have misrepresented the curing powers of a device he uses at his clinic, state health officials say."

Mexico's folk healing traditions gaining momentum on border
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/1111folktraditions-mexico-ON.html

"Standing by the tomb of the legendary faith healer known as El Nino Fidencio, Ramoncita Vargas closes her eyes and begins to hiss and convulse."

Russian scientists back claim Turin shroud a fake
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

http://www.abc.net.au/news/scitech/2002/11/item20021113140543_1.htm

"Russian scientists say their calculations back the conclusion that the Turin Shroud, believed by some Christians to be the linen cloth in which Jesus Christ was buried almost 2,000 years ago, was in fact made only in the Middle Ages."

Ask the pilot
By Patrick Smith
Salon

http://www.salon.com/tech/col/smith/2002/11/14/askthepilot18/index.html

"Almost every high-profile airplane crash, it seems, is trailed by a conspiracy theory of one sort or another. It's hard to say which is the most notorious, since these speculations stretch back to the death of Dag Hammarskjöld (he really was murdered) and the heyday of the Bermuda Triangle. "

SEE THE CAT? SEE THE CREDENTIALS?
BY MARK HANSEN
ABA Journal

http://www.abanet.org/journal/ereport/oct25cred.html

"Zoe D. Katze has an impressive-looking set of credentials–Ph.D., C.Ht., DAPA. She has been board-certified by three major hypnotherapy associations and holds diplomate status in the American Psychotherapy Association."

4 held for 'witchcraft' killings
South African Press Association

http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/News/0,1113,2-11-1447_1283898,00.html

"Malawi police have arrested the parents and two relatives of two children for allegedly murdering them to exorcise evil spirits."

Touched by an angel?
By PATRICIA YOUNG
Toronto Globe and Mail

http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/PEstory/TGAM/20021112/HETOUC/Arts/thearts/thearts_temp/2/2/11/

"It's the most terrifying diagnosis a person can receive. After months of blinding headaches, Diane Seymour sat stunned as her doctor explained that a brain tumour was the cause of her suffering. That was a year and a half ago."

THE TRUTH IS AROUND HERE
By Stephen Stewart
Stirling Observer

http://www.inside-scotland.co.uk/stirling/observer/FEATURES/ufoexpert.html.html

"FORGET the Bermuda Triangle and Area 51 — Mulder and Scully would have a field day if they ever visited Stirling."

Ghostbusters clean hospital of noisy spirits
By Catlin Driscoll and Melissa Evans
Tri-Valley Herald

http://www.trivalleyherald.com/Stories/0,1413,86%257E10669%257E990121,00.html

"Some say it was an "exorcism," others call it simply a "blessing." Either way, the new hospital at the Kaiser Medical Center presumably has been freed of some mischievous spirits."

Is a Fremont Hospital Haunted?
by Tony Russomanno
KPIX-TV

http://beta.kpix.com/news/local/2002/11/14/Is_a_Fremont_Hospital_Haunted%3F.html

"Something was haunting the nurses on the second floor of Kaiser Hospital in Fremont."

Psychic Network Loses Future, Fortune
By Caroline E. Mayer
Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A57141-2002Nov14.html

"Miss Cleo's crystal ball is going dark."

Pair in search of things that may go bump in the old jail
BY LINDA METZ
WASHINGTON OBSERVER-REPORTER

http://www.observer-reporter.com/276327203623284.bsp

"There may be more to the old Washington County Jail than meets the eye."

Archeologists Look for UFO at Famed Roswell Site
By Zelie Pollon
Reuters

http://reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=entertainmentnews&StoryID=1751094

"In trying to unravel a mystery that may involve the war of the worlds, cable TV's SCI FI Channel has turned to a group of educated men and women with shovels and set them loose on the southern New Mexico desert."

ET calls in on Lilydale
By RUSSELL GOULD
Victoria Herald Sun

http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,5501389%255E2862,00.html

"LIGHTS in the Lilydale skies have Wayne Winter and Adin Monks convinced we are not alone."

Christian Science and its discontents
By Alex Beam
Boston Globe

http://boston.com/dailyglobe2/316/living/Christian_Science_and_its_discontents+.shtml

"Who is interested in doctrinal disputes inside the Christian Science Church? I am."

Pastor Accused Of Fondling Parishoners During Exorcism
WDIV-TV

http://www.clickondetroit.com/det/news/stories/news-178622320021114-121132.html

"A jury is deliberating the fate of a local pastor who is accused of fondling two women during exorcism ceremonies."

Pastor's assault trial centers on exorcisms
By Maureen Feighan
Detroit News

http://www.detnews.com/2002/religion/0211/11/b01-7114.htm

"The bizarre image is burned in the collective consciousness of horror movie fans."

Fueling the Ire
BY CRAIG MALISOW
Houston Press

http://www.houstonpress.com/issues/2002-11-14/news.html/1/index.html

"Grand Dragon Sue Green holds a cigarette between her hot-pink fingernails and watches the men in her klavern slice through burlap bags with buck knives. Inside the garage crammed with timber, old blankets, tools and other assorted junk, the sacks' odor chokes like mustard gas."

Mercury bites
by Stevenson Munro
Casco Bay Weekly

http://www.cascobayweekly.com/cbw/news/city11.14.02.stm

"An informational pamphlet that warns Mainers of the health dangers of the mercury fillings in their teeth will be appearing in dentists' offices by the beginning of December."

Government: Mercury in dental fillings still safe
Associated Press

http://www.cnn.com/2002/HEALTH/11/15/dental.mercury.ap/index.html

"The government still considers mercury-containing dental fillings safe and is awaiting results from two major studies of children's cavities that may settle lingering public doubts."

Why Do They Do It?
By Jay Ingram and David Newland
Discovery Channel

http://www.exn.ca/Stories/2002/11/12/53.asp

"Winona Ryder's unusual shopping methods have garnered lots of public attention recently. But in the hallowed halls of high-level research, the water-cooler gossip is all about another wunderkind-gone-wrong."

UFOver and Out
By Jim Nintzel
Tucson Weekly

http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tw/2002-11-14/curr3.html

"After more than a decade of Muldering out the truth behind extraterrestrial phenomena, the team at UFO AZ is calling it quits."

Researcher Denies Link of Vaccines to Autism
Morning Edition
NPR

http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/me/20021111.me.12.ram

"A New York Times Magazine article says a prominent vaccine researcher became concerned about the safety of some childhood inoculations. But the researcher says his views on a link with autism have been misrepresented."

Miss Cleo Settles Suit
All Things Considered
NPR

http://discover.npr.org/rundowns/segment.jhtml?wfId=843414

"The operators of the "Miss Cleo" psychic phone lines have agreed to pay $5 million to settle claims involving deceptive advertising, bill and collection practices."

Healing energies
By MATT DUKES JORDAN
Florida Keys News

http://keysnews.com/306870440034323.bsp.htm

"Enter the world of alternative healing practices and it's possible to be treated with guided visualizations of archetypal scenes, chakra balancing, music, homeopathic remedies and other remarkable healing techniques."

A Ghostly Topic
Tampa Tribune

http://tampatrib.com/News/MGAFK47UK8D.html

"Hear about ghosts and the paranormal at a luncheon Thursday hosted by the Newcomers of Carrollwood & NW Hillsborough."

'The Terrorist Next Door': Aryan Nation
By MARK SILK
New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/17/books/review/17SILKLT.html

"Since 9/11 it's been easy to forget that only a few years ago the greatest threat to domestic security seemed to be homegrown extremists. The adherents of Christian Identity, Posse Comitatus, Aryan Nations and so on now look like small fry, but Daniel Levitas comes to remind us that the people who gave us Oklahoma City are still out there."

Vision Iowa rejects Newton, Vedic City applications
Associated Press

http://www.dailygate.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2002/November/15-664-news8.txt

"The Vision Iowa Board scrapped applications for projects from two cities while giving hope to four others for a share of the remaining $18 million in the $215 million state fund for community improvements."

Second-coming attraction
By Sandi Dolbee
San Diego Union-Tribune

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20021115-9999_mz1c15lahaye.html

"Even the Rev. Tim LaHaye, master of evangelical biblical prophecy that he is, could not have predicted how hot his doomsday books would become."

Forum will examine end-of-time prophecy
By Terry Lee Goodrich
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/4526078.htm

"Look beyond the terrorists and Osama bin Laden and you're likely to see the shadow of another figure not too far behind -- Jesus Christ, en route to Earth to give the planet another chance."

Pharmacy to Provide Prescription Drugs, Herbal Remedies
By JUSTIN LEE
Daily Californian

http://www.dailycal.org/article.asp?id=10230

"Alternative and conventional medicine will exist side by side in a unique pharmacy opening next week in Berkeley."

Clamp-down on Scientology
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

http://www.faz.com/IN/INtemplates/eFAZ/docmain.asp?rub={B1311FCC-FBFB-11D2-B228-00105A9CAF88}&doc={B19424EB-6AEC-4D73-A923-05ED2DC4023A}

"The state of Bavaria plans to take a tougher stance on the Church of Scientology by increasing state assistance for what it calls victims of the religious organization founded by L. Ron Hubbard."

Astronauts, filmmakers debunk hoax theory
By Kelly Young
FLORIDA TODAY

http://www.floridatoday.com/news/space/stories/2002b/111502hankside.htm

"The men who made a movie about going to the moon, and a man who actually flew to the moon took a moment before a screening of the IMAX version of "Apollo 13" to dispute those who say NASA's lunar missions were staged."

Pet owners find a cure for their animals with the ancient art of acupuncture
by Mike Butts
Idaho Statesman

http://www.idahostatesman.com/News/story.asp?ID=25460

"As soon as you step into Dr. Jacquie Swartz´s Healing Wise veterinary clinic in Boise, you notice something different. No dogs yap at each other in the waiting room. No clinic-y smell of alcohol or antiseptics fills the air. Instead, a classical music CD plays, and aroma therapy candles burn a mellow scent."

Secrets, lies and cover-ups
By Susan King
Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-et-king13nov13,0,6773206.story

"Ten years ago, writer-director Neil Burger was a fledgling filmmaker making a documentary in Texas about World War II vets. One evening, he was having dinner alone at a bar and grill when "sort of an odd old guy" started up a conversation with him. Their chat was the seed for Burger's documentary-style thriller, "Interview With the Assassin," which opens Friday."

Feng shui: 'Positive' spaces aid office energy
By Lisa Heyamoto
Seattle Times

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/134574297_fengshui12.html

"No one at Marianne Barkman's real-estate office in Bellevue looks at her funny when she tells them she's been feng shui'ed."

The emerging role of natural medicine
by Lynne Varner
Seattle Times

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/134574033_lynne12.html

"Policymakers serious about containing the burgeoning costs of health care and prescription drugs should begin with a tour of Bastyr University in Kenmore."

SETI@home looks for user funding
by Andrew Colley
ZDNet Australia

http://news.zdnet.co.uk/story/0,,t271-s2125834,00.html

"The director of SETI@home -- a high-profile distributed computing experiment to find extraterrestrial life -- has made a plea to his users for funding after denying late last month that the project was facing a funding crisis."

Answers in Genesis' message being heard

http://www.kypost.com/2002/10/26/genes102602.html

By Kevin Eigelbach Post staff reporter

In the beginning -- what?

A big bang? Lots of cosmic dust? Billions of years?

Not so, says Ken Ham. Look for the answers in Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

Its account of God creating everything in six days a few thousand years ago isn't a fable, but a scientifically verifiable fact, Ham says. He created what would become Answers in Genesis of Kentucky to spread that message.

Now, nearly nine years later, the ancient word's getting out through modern media.

Using the Internet, a daily radio broadcast, a newsletter and books, the Boone County-based group says it is sending the creationist message to more than a million people each day, and its popularity is growing.

The number of listeners and newsletter subscribers has more than doubled since 1996, and a sequel to its popular "Refuting Evolution" book came out this week.

On Thursday, workers were preparing to pour the foundation for Answers in Genesis' most ambitious project, a 98,000 square-foot creation museum, warehouse and office complex next to Interstate 275 near Petersburg.

Ham expects the museum to attract 100,000 visitors a year.

When the museum complex is complete -- phase one is scheduled to open in 2004 -- the group plans to move its 75-person staff and distribution center there, from the buildings it now leases in Florence.

The group is building the museum free of debt, as funds become available -- and they keep coming in.

Most of the $7.2 million in revenue the group received last year, $5.2 million, came from donations. It also brought in $1.6 million on sales of merchandise.

It had only $5.7 million in expenses, according to its 2001 tax records.

And the group is improving its ratio of program service expenses to total expenses, which is one way to judge a nonprofit's fiscal health, said Suzanne Coffman of GuideStar, a Virginia-based group that advises donors on nonprofits.

For nonprofits in the Christian category, the median ratio is 84.1 percent, she said. Answers in Genesis had a ratio of 75 percent in 2001, putting it among the bottom 50 percent of the 1,683 groups in the category. That's an improvement from 1999, however, when the ratio was 67 percent.

"The most important thing is, are their ratios growing over the years?" Coffman said.

Answers in Genesis' budget dwarfs that of the National Center for Science Education, a California-based not-for-profit that defends the teaching of evolution.

Center Director Skip Evans said Answers in Genesis has become one of the two major players in the anti-evolution movement.

The other is The Discovery Institute, an advocate of intelligent design, the idea that life is too complex to have resulted solely from chance. Ham has become a widely recognized spokesman for the creationist viewpoint. He said he recently received calls from the BBC in England and the ABC in Australia, seeking comment on fossil discoveries.

In other subtle ways, he sees his group making an impact on the culture, such as references to it on humanistic Internet sites.

"They don't just brush us off," Ham said. "There are a lot of indications that they take us seriously."

"He's doing a wonderful job. He's impacting more people than we are," said John Morris, the president of the Institute for Creation Research, a San Diego-based nonprofit.

Ham always had doubts about evolution, but he didn't feel he had the answers until he read a book by Morris' father called "The Genesis Flood."

After he moved from his native Australia in 1987, Ham worked for the Institute. He left in December 1993 to start Creation Ministries of Kentucky, which became Answers in Genesis.

The institute acts as a creationist think-tank, supplying research that Answers in Genesis and others use and popularize. "We consider them to be sister ministries," Morris said.

Although he thinks Answers in Genesis' science is flat-out wrong, Evans said he respects the group far more than intelligent-design proponents, whom he sees as sort of stealth creationist groups.

"It's disingenuous of intelligent design advocates to try and pretend they're not religiously motivated," he said.

He also respects Answers in Genesis for trying to rein in creationists who still use arguments that evolutionists have thoroughly refuted.

"That shows the level of integrity they have, to be able to say, `We agree with you, we are Bible-believing Christians like you, but don't use these arguments,'" Evans said. "That's admirable of them."

Polls consistently show that 45 percent of Americans accept the Biblical account of creation and a young earth.

From 1999-2000, the Center for Science Education reported learning of 143 state or local issues in 34 states over the teaching of origins. This year, Ohio became the battleground. Last week, the state board of education preliminarily agreed on new guidelines that give teachers the freedom to critique evolutionary theory.

Intelligent design and evolution advocates both saw that as a victory, but Ham thinks evolution won the day. The decision was totally meaningless because the language is so vague, he said.

He doesn't think of intelligent design advocates as enemies, but he doesn't agree with them, either. They say there's a creator, but they don't say who he is, he said.

Answers In Genesis doesn't try to get creation taught in the public schools, he said, but concentrates on equipping Christians with the tools to defend their faith.

One way to do this is through seminars, often held at local churches. Last year, the organization held more than 600 of those, reaching 118,000 people with the creationist message.

Ham himself taught many of them -- he estimates that he is away from the office on such travels up to 70 percent of the time.

As the president of the group, he earned a salary of $170,634 in 2001, plus a contribution towards his benefits of $13,296.

People who think that's a lot of money probably don't know the sacrifices he made to get the ministry started, Ham said. He had no salary in the first years of the ministry and bought equipment for it with his teacher's retirement pay, he said.

He talked about those early years in an e-mail to supporters this week, saying that he borrowed $20,000 to buy materials for a bookshop outreach that he started in his home.

"As I began to speak around Australia, books/tapes became an integral part of our outreach," he wrote. "The `fire' in my bones about getting out materials has not dimmed."

His reward is seeing someone else "on fire for their faith" because of reading his materials.

Or, as he puts it, "Believing God's word and not being intimidated by the scientists."

Publication Date: 10-26-2002

Naturalism in philosophy

From: "Harold Tichenor" htich@cdsinet.net

I have visited your site and share your views which is obvious in my book, TAKING NATURE BY THE HAND which should be of interest to all unbelievers. Take for example the assertion that science cannot prove that there is no God. People defend religion by telling us that science can only deal with what is natural and observable and is not competent to deal with the supernatural; religion is revelatory and is a different kind of knowledge. It is true that science cannot deal with the supernatural, but science is not helpless in the face of this claim. It is increasingly competent in human behavior including the causes of such beliefs. Once the natural causes are known, there is no good reason to take seriously anyone's claim to have received revelation.

In TAKING NATURE BY THE HAND I put religion in its place by pointing out that the assumption of natural law is in everything we do in applying means to ends and that survival depends on it. I call this a constant in our lives while supernatural beliefs are variables; they are culturally acquired and vary as the culture, with one having as much claim to truth, or the lack of it, as another. Although I can only claim this as a philosophical position for myself, I think it is scientifically verifiable. As to the "constant" assumption of natural law, I cite the work of a psychologist Elizabeth Spelke who has shown with her work with children that this is true. Cultural determinism is a commonplace in psychology and occurs because of several human traits, among them, credulity, suggestibility, and self interest. All of the resulting ideas are natural events.

A synopsis of the book can be seen at http://www.haroldtichenor.com/naturalism.html.


Saturday, November 16, 2002

700-year-old picture of 'Mickey Mouse' found in Austrian church

From Ananova at:

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_709660.html

What appears to be a 700-year-old picture of Mickey Mouse has been discovered on a church fresco in Austria.

Walt Disney first sketched his character in 1928 but an Austrian art historian spotted an uncannily similar drawing.

The painting, which has been dated back to the early 14th Century, is in the Community Church in Malta, Carinthia. Next to a large sketch of St. Christopher is a clear drawing of the mouse.

Art historian Eduard Mahlknecht believes the similarity to Mickey is pure coincidence.

He told Austrian daily 'Krone: "St Christopher was often depicted surrounded by various animals and sea-life, and in this case something that resembles Mickey Mouse.

"It is most likely to be a drawing of a beaver or a weasel."

However, Carinthia's tourism office is already thinking of ways to cash in on the sketch.

Siggi Neuschitzer, manager of the Malta Tourism Association, said: "The similarity of the painting to Mickey Mouse is so astounding that the Disney concern could even lose its world-wide copyright licence.

"Our Mickey Mouse is 700 years older than Disney's and we will get it legally examined."

Story filed: 15:26 Thursday 14th November 2002

UFO leaves "smoking gun" in desert

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20021116/od_uk_nm/oukoe_life_ufo_1

Fri Nov 15, 9:56 PM ET

By Zelie Pollon

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Reuters) - In trying to unravel a mystery that may involve the war of the worlds, cable TV's SCI FI Chanel has turned to a group of educated men and women with shovels and set them loose on the southern New Mexico desert.

In an effort to verify once and for all whether a UFO crash-landed in New Mexico more than 50 years ago, the cable TV channel sent a team of archaeologists to conduct an in-depth study of the legendary crash site.

And just like the alleged government conspiracy by those who say aliens landed near Roswell, New Mexico, the results of the scientific study are top secret. That is until November 22, when SCI FI airs "The Roswell Crash: Startling New Evidence", which will include what network representatives are calling a "smoking gun."

Until then believers and debunkers will just have to wait, said Bill Doleman, the principal investigator with the University of New Mexico archaeology team.

Doleman, along with three other archaeologists and six volunteers were hired by the SCI FI Channel to conduct the research, which took place over 10 days last September.

"We found things -- some things I still don't know what they are -- but they surprised me," Doleman said, reiterating his confidentiality agreement with SCI FI.

SCI FI representatives say the program promises never- before-seen eyewitness interviews, late-breaking revelations and a "smoking gun bombshell," which does not necessarily coincide with the archaeological findings.

"The smoking gun is fascinating and compelling. It's going to raise a lot of questions afterwards," said Thomas Vitale, a senior vice president of programming at the SCI FI Channel.

The supposed crash of an alien ship in Roswell on July 3, 1947 has become legendary. According to some accounts, the ship crashed in an empty field with several aliens on board. Witnesses claim to have seen extraterrestrial beings, which were taken away by military personnel never to be seen again.

Those who believe an alien craft landed are adamant the incident involves a huge government cover-up. The government, in turn, says the incident involved a weather balloon and the accounts of aliens comes from anti-military conspirators.

Doleman says his team was directed to use purely scientific methods, such as geophysical prospecting and archaeological testing of anomalies, to find any evidence of a crash.

They primarily investigated what is called the "skip site," the second site of impact where the craft supposedly spewed debris before skipping 17-25 miles (27 km 40 km) away to its final crash site.

"We weren't out there to bunk or debunk. We were just scientists using scientific methods," he said.

Along with evidence found at the scene, the "smoking gun evidence sheds light on government truthfulness about this whole event," Vitale said.

Sept. 11, Court Ruling Have More States Requiring Pledge of Allegiance in Schools

Nov 16, 2002

By George Strawley
Associated Press Writer

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The patriotic atmosphere following the Sept. 11 attacks - together with a backlash against a federal court ruling - have prompted more and more states to require that the Pledge of Allegiance be said in school.

Twenty-eight states require public school classes to recite the pledge, according to the Education Commission of the States, a national association of state education officials. Seven more encourage schools to conduct the pledge.

As of September, 16 states had passed laws during the 2001-02 session or had legislation pending that required or encouraged reciting the pledge in schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Three of those states - Tennessee, Illinois and Missouri - enacted laws requiring or encouraging the Pledge of Allegiance since an appeals court declared the phrase "under God" in the pledge unconstitutional in June.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California on June 26 barred the practice of reciting the pledge in school because of the phrase, which Congress inserted in 1954. The court blocked its own decision from being enforced to allow for appeals.

Proponents of the pledge have continued to push forward, pursuing legislation requiring the pledge in several states. "Since Sept. 11 especially, it's been an issue that legislators really rallied behind and it seems that it's something that most of them can agree on," said Greta Durr, an education-policy analyst with the council.

Civil libertarians are urging caution about the trend.

"Unfortunately, too many people allow them to wave the flag and forget that they haven't done anything to improve the public schools with all this flag-waving," said Larry Frankel, legislative director of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Pennsylvania Senate this week unanimously passed a measure that would require students in private and public schools to recite the pledge or sing the national anthem. The bill is back in the House because it was amended by the Senate.

Despite the push to require the pledge, court rulings still guarantee students the right not to participate. A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette affirmed this right in 1943, and later rulings guaranteed students the right to sit during the pledge.

AP-ES-11-16-02 0203EST

This story can be found at: http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGAFS367L8D.html

A Prayer Before Dying

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.12/prayer.html

Wired Magazine Issue 10.12 - December 2002

THE ASTONISHING STORY OF A DOCTOR WHO SUBJECTED FAITH TO THE RIGORS OF SCIENCE - AND THEN BECAME A TEST SUBJECT HERSELF.

By Po Bronson

THE THIRD-MOST ODDS-DEFYING, EYE-POPPING DISCOVERY IN THE LIFE AND WORK OF ELISABETH TARG, MD

In July 1995, back when AIDS was still a death sentence, psychiatrist Elisabeth Targ and her co-researchers enrolled 20 patients with advanced AIDS in a randomized, double-blind pilot study at the UC San Francisco Medical Center. All patients received standard care, but psychic healers prayed for the 10 in the treatment group. The healers lived an average of 1,500 miles away from the patients. None of the patients knew which group they had been randomly assigned to, and thus whether they were being prayed for. During the six-month study, four of the patients died - a typical mortality rate. When the data was unblinded, the researchers learned that the four who had died were in the control group.

All 10 who were prayed for were still alive.

The New Convergence

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.12/convergence.html

Wired Magazine
Issue 10.12 - December 2002

By Gregg Easterbrook

The ancient covenant is in pieces: Man knows at last that he is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance." So pronounced the Nobel Prize-winning French biologist Jacques Monod in his 1970 treatise Chance and Necessity, which maintained that God had been utterly refuted by science. The divine is fiction, faith is hokum, existence is a matter of heartless probability — and this wasn't just speculation, Monod maintained, but proven. The essay, which had tremendous influence on the intellectual world, seemed to conclude a millennia-old debate. Theology was in retreat, unable to explain away Darwin's observations; intellectual approval was flowing to thinkers such as the Nobel-winning physicist Steven Weinberg, who in 1977 pronounced, "The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless." In 1981, the National Academy of Sciences declared, "Religion and science are separate and mutually exclusive realms of human thought." Case closed.

And now reopened. In recent years, Allan Sandage, one of the world's leading astronomers, has declared that the big bang can be understood only as a "miracle." Charles Townes, a Nobel-winning physicist and coinventor of the laser, has said that discoveries of physics "seem to reflect intelligence at work in natural law." Biologist Christian de Duve, also a Nobel winner, points out that science argues neither for nor against the existence of a deity: "There is no sense in which atheism is enforced or established by science." And biologist Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, insists that "a lot of scientists really don't know what they are missing by not exploring their spiritual feelings."

Ever so gingerly, science has been backing away from its case-closed attitude toward the transcendent unknown. Conferences that bring together theologians and physicists are hot, recently taking place at Harvard, the Smithsonian, and other big-deal institutions. The American Association for the Advancement of Science now sponsors a "Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion." Science luminaries who in the '70s shrugged at faith as gobbledygook — including E. O. Wilson and the late Stephen Jay Gould and Carl Sagan — have endorsed some form of reconciliation between science and religion.

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The New Convergence

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.12/convergence.html

By Gregg Easterbrook

The ancient covenant is in pieces: Man knows at last that he is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance." So pronounced the Nobel Prize-winning French biologist Jacques Monod in his 1970 treatise Chance and Necessity, which maintained that God had been utterly refuted by science. The divine is fiction, faith is hokum, existence is a matter of heartless probability — and this wasn't just speculation, Monod maintained, but proven. The essay, which had tremendous influence on the intellectual world, seemed to conclude a millennia-old debate. Theology was in retreat, unable to explain away Darwin's observations; intellectual approval was flowing to thinkers such as the Nobel-winning physicist Steven Weinberg, who in 1977 pronounced, "The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless." In 1981, the National Academy of Sciences declared, "Religion and science are separate and mutually exclusive realms of human thought." Case closed.

And now reopened. In recent years, Allan Sandage, one of the world's leading astronomers, has declared that the big bang can be understood only as a "miracle." Charles Townes, a Nobel-winning physicist and coinventor of the laser, has said that discoveries of physics "seem to reflect intelligence at work in natural law." Biologist Christian de Duve, also a Nobel winner, points out that science argues neither for nor against the existence of a deity: "There is no sense in which atheism is enforced or established by science." And biologist Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, insists that "a lot of scientists really don't know what they are missing by not exploring their spiritual feelings."

Ever so gingerly, science has been backing away from its case-closed attitude toward the transcendent unknown. Conferences that bring together theologians and physicists are hot, recently taking place at Harvard, the Smithsonian, and other big-deal institutions. The American Association for the Advancement of Science now sponsors a "Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion." Science luminaries who in the '70s shrugged at faith as gobbledygook — including E. O. Wilson and the late Stephen Jay Gould and Carl Sagan — have endorsed some form of reconciliation between science and religion.

The rediscovery of higher meaning.: SCIENCE SEES THE LIGHT

http://ask.elibrary.com/getdoc.asp?pubname=The_New_Republic&puburl=http~C~~S~~S~www.thenewrepublic.com~S~&querydocid=29118805@urn:bigchalk:US;Lib&dtype=0~0&dinst=0&author=Gregg%20Easterbrook%20%20&title=The%20rediscovery%20of%20higher%20meaning.%3A%20SCIENCE%20SEES%20THE%20LIGHT%20%20&date=10/12/1998&refid=ency_botnm

Date: 10/12/1998
Publication: The New Republic
Author: Gregg Easterbrook

Suppose you accept the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe. Here's what you believe, roughly according to the model proposed by Alan Guth, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: You believe that, once upon a time, all the potential of the cosmos- -all the potential for a firmament of 40 billion galaxies at last count--was packed into a point smaller than ... (400 of 36035 Characters)


Friday, November 15, 2002

Preacher in Maine Shreds Book and Says Boy Wizard Sends Wrong Message

http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGAZJIQQJ8D.html

Nov 15, 2002

The Associated Press

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) - A preacher led a group in shredding copies of Harry Potter books on the eve of the release of the movie "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

"I feel like I'm in a cutting mood tonight," the Rev. Douglas Taylor told 30 supporters before bringing out the scissors.

Taylor said he had wanted to burn the Potter books in protest, but the city would not issue him a permit. He settled for the book-chopping party Thursday night at the Ramada Inn.

The movie was to open Friday. Adapted from the second of J.K. Rowling's best-selling books, "Chamber of Secrets" follows Harry through year two at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he has a rematch with the evil conjurer who killed his parents.

"It's no secret that I enjoy what I'm doing right now," Taylor said, ripping up a book. "Hallelujah," said supporter Walter Stradt as he tore and tossed a page out.

About 25 Harry Potter fans waved signs in a counter-protest outside the hotel. One of them, wearing a black trench coat and sporting an orange-and-pink mohawk, went inside and told Taylor, "You shouldn't be cutting it up. It's a kid's book."

Taylor charges the Potter books were full of witchcraft and pagan religion.

"You get involved in this," he said, gesturing toward a Potter book. "It's gonna make you dirty."

AP-ES-11-15-02 0135EST

This story can be found at: http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGAZJIQQJ8D.html

Articles of Note

Thanks to Joe Littrell and Greg Martinez

Nasa pulls Moon hoax book
By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2424927.stm

"The US space agency (Nasa) has cancelled the book intended to challenge the conspiracy theorists who claim the Moon landings were a hoax."

One giant hoax for mankind
by Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2441469.stm

"Am I the only one who thinks the US space agency (Nasa) has missed a good opportunity in cancelling the book planned to give a rebuttal of the Moon hoaxers?"

One giant leap for conspiricists
by Mark Lawson
The Guardian [UK]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/spacedocumentary/story/0,2763,836729,00.html

"It's a key belief of conspiracy theorists that the state has shady powers, and so it was remarkable to be told this week that Britain's head of state may share such fears. After the crown's role in halting Paul Burrell's trial, many suspected that the Queen might be the instigator of a conspiracy, but the butler now helpfully presents her as the possible victim of one. The claim by Princess Diana's ex-Jeeves that the Queen warned him about "powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge" suggests that conspiracy theorists have infiltrated the very heart of British power."

Starship memories
By Beth Potier
Harvard Gazette

http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2002/10.31/09-clancy.html

"Susan Clancy's research has taken her into alien territory."

Do Vaccines Cause Autism?
TIME MAGAZINE Thursday, Nov. 14, 2002
By Christine Gorman

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101021118-388948,00.html?cnn=yes

Many parents believe they do. But a large Danish study, the most rigorous so far, found no link.

Any rite of passage that involves jabbing needles into small children is bound to worry more than a few parents. But that doesn't begin to explain why so many moms and dads are convinced - despite mounting scientific evidence to the contrary - that the triple vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) causes autism in some youngsters

The Not-So-Crackpot Autism Theory
By ARTHUR ALLEN
New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/10/magazine/10AUTISM.html

"Neal Halsey's life was dedicated to promoting vaccination. In June 1999, the Johns Hopkins pediatrician and scholar had completed a decade of service on the influential committees that decide which inoculations will be jabbed into the arms and thighs and buttocks of eight million American children each year. At the urging of Halsey and others, the number of vaccines mandated for children under 2 in the 90's soared to 20, from 8. Kids were healthier for it, according to him.

UNLV unplugs program on human consciousness
By NATALIE PATTON
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2002/Nov-08-Fri-2002/news/20024414.html

"The UNLV Consciousness Studies program has faded to black."

Sun's rays to roast Earth as poles flip
by Robin McKie
The Observer [UK]

http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,837058,00.html

"Earth's magnetic field - the force that protects us from deadly radiation bursts from outer space - is weakening dramatically."

A Prayer Before Dying
Wired Magazine
By Po Bronson

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.12/prayer.html

In July 1995, back when AIDS was still a death sentence, psychiatrist Elisabeth Targ and her co-researchers enrolled 20 patients with advanced AIDS in a randomized, double-blind pilot study at the UC San Francisco Medical Center. All patients received standard care, but psychic healers prayed for the 10 in the treatment group.

The New Convergence
From Wired Magazine
By Gregg Easterbrook

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.12/convergence.html

The ancient covenant is in pieces: Man knows at last that he is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance." So pronounced the Nobel Prize-winning French biologist Jacques Monod in his 1970 treatise Chance and Necessity, which maintained that God had been utterly refuted by science.

Imagine His Surprise...
Reuters

http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=humannews&StoryID=1694491

"Iranian police are looking for a phony sorcerer who conned a man into believing he was invisible and could rob banks, the Jam-e Jam newspaper said Thursday."

Condition of haunted Chitungwiza girl worsens
The Herald [Zimbabwe]

http://www.herald.co.zw/index.php?id=15844&pubdate=2002-11-06

"THE condition of a 15-year-old Chitungwiza girl, who is claiming she is being haunted by goblins, worsened yesterday."

Ossuary was genuine, inscription was faked
By Rochelle I. Altman
Israel Insider

http://web.israelinsider.com/bin/en.jsp?enPage=ViewsPage&enDisplay=view&enDispWhat=object&enDispWho=Article%5El1601&enVersion=0&enZone=Views

"As an expert on scripts and an historian of writing systems, I was asked to examine this inscription and make a report. I did."

Pat the Ripper
By David Cohen
Slate

http://slate.msn.com/?id=2073560

"To understand Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), imagine a cross between Degas, Hopper, and Andy Warhol, and then for color and tone, add the English weather. He was a painter of fabulously murky realist scenes, smoke-filled music halls, and weirdly remote portraits worked up from press clippings. His big themes were whoredom and boredom. He was a prolific writer and opinionizer and man about town, a leading light in the art scene, with a flock of disciples, admirers, and mistresses."

Animal health care hits a nerve
By REID J. EPSTEIN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

http://www.jsonline.com/news/wauk/nov02/94906.asp

"Kiyak doesn't look like a dog with a back problem, but like Brett Favre after games, the Belgian Tervuren finds himself gimpy after long days of herding sheep and jumping through obstacle courses."

SCI FI Airs UFO Specials
Sci Fi Wire

http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/art-main.html?2002-11/08/11.00.sfc

"The SCI FI Channel announced that it will air two original documentary specials dealing with the question of UFOs, government conspiracies and alien abduction, starting at 8 p.m. ET/PT Nov. 22. The specials will air in anticipation of the channel's upcoming original miniseries Steven Spielberg Presents Taken, which premieres Dec. 2."

Filling Up With Fire
KNBC

http://www.nbc4.tv/news/1757342/detail.html

"You go to touch the gas pump nozzle and it explodes in flames: It's happening more than you probably ever realized."

THE FACTUAL FICTION OF PAUL GUINAN'S HYSTERICAL HOAX
by John Dooley
Portland Mercury

http://www.portlandmercury.com/2002-11-07/feature.html

"The core inspiration of a hoax is to profit in some way from the gullibility of people too empty-headed to know better. To prey on the innocent--or ignorant for that matter--has been a source of amusement and arrogance for cruel and shifty bastards since the beginning of time. As any fool knows, we've all fallen for practical jokes and impractical pranks at some point in our lives. The thing is, until you know better, you don't know shit, and you're easy pickings."

Say it ain't so...Hoaxes have a long and storied history
By Kirk Baird
LAS VEGAS SUN

http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/do/2002/nov/11/514233421.html

"In Texas, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming, the jackalope is a near legend. Postcards of the famed beast a large jack rabbit with antlers can be purchased at most any novelty store."

Sun columnist focus of famed hoax
By Kirk Baird
LAS VEGAS SUN

http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/do/2002/nov/11/514233420.html

"On the morning of March 30, 1981, John Hinkely attempted to assassinate President Reagan."

French Physicists' Cosmic Theory Creates a Big Bang of Its Own
By DENNIS OVERBYE
New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/09/arts/09PHYS.html

"Everyone who ever wondered whether physicists were just making it all up when they talked about extra dimensions, dark matter and even multiple universes might take comfort in hearing that scientists themselves don't always seem to know."

Feds Say Future Dark for Miss Cleo
By DAVID HO
The Associated Press

For more stories visit: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/skepticsearch/

Science In the News

The following roundup of science stories appearing each day in the general media is compiled by the Media Resource Service, Sigma Xi's referral service for journalists in need of sources of scientific expertise.

For accurate instructions on how to subscribe or unsubscribe to the listserv, follow this link: http://www.mediaresource.org/instruct.htm

If you experience any problems with the URLs (page not found, page expired, etc.), we suggest you proceed to the home page of "Science In the News" http://www.mediaresource.org/news.htm which mirrors the daily e-mail update.

IN THE NEWS

Today's Headlines - November 15, 2002

FINDINGS GROW THAT ALCOHOL HARMS FETUS
from The Boston Globe

Even very moderate drinking during pregnancy appears to cause subtle but long-lasting damage to the baby, according to a study released yesterday, adding hard and daunting data to recent research that backs the old precautionary advice to abstain.

The study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, found significant learning deficits in the grown offspring of rats that had consumed low levels of alcohol during pregnancy. Those findings in rats followed a study published last month that found that children of mothers who drank, even lightly, during pregnancy grow up measurably smaller than the children of teetotalers.

"What the data shows is that something equivalent to probably one-and-a-half drinks a day produces increased risk that there could be subtle brain damage which may not become apparent until a child is older," said Daniel Savage, chairman of the Department of Neuroscience at the University of New Mexico Medical School and lead author of the rat study.

Federal health officials estimate that of the 4 million American women who get pregnant each year, more than half a million continue to drink: about 120,000 in the moderate-to-heavy range of seven or more drinks per week, and 400,000 in the light-to-moderate range.

The government has been advising pregnant women to avoid alcohol since 1981. But many doctors have been equivocal in their counsel, telling pregnant women that light drinking is most likely all right despite a lack of proof.

http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/319/nation/Findings_grow_that_alcohol_harms_fetus+.shtml

U.S. SAYS AMALGAM FILLINGS STILL SAFE
NIH Awaits Results of 2 Major Studies of Mercury's Risks
from The Washington Post

The government still considers mercury-containing dental fillings safe and is awaiting results from two major studies of children's cavities that may settle lingering public doubts.

Amalgam fillings, sometimes called silver fillings, are made of a mixture of mercury and other metals, and have been used by dentists for more than 100 years.

Critics argue that mercury may leach from those fillings and cause brain disorders such as autism. Some families of autistic children have sued dentists, and legislation introduced in Congress last spring seeks to ban the fillings by 2007.

Repeated reviews from federal health officials have found no proof the fillings are dangerous, officials from the Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health told a congressional committee yesterday.

More evidence may come in 2006, when two major studies comparing the health of more than 1,000 children given either amalgam fillings or a mercury-free kind are to end, said NIH dental chief Lawrence Tabak.

The studies, funded by NIH in 1996, are measuring levels of mercury in the children's bodies, and giving them IQ tests and other brain assessments.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A57102-2002Nov14.html

VIRUS A SUSPECT IN COLON CANCER
from Newsday

Preliminary laboratory results reported today by a team of scientists suggest that a type of herpes virus may be involved in colorectal cancer.

A leading cause of malignancy and death in the United States, colorectal cancer will claim the lives of more than 56,000 people this year. In the majority of cases, the cause remains unknown.

Dr. Charles Cobbs, a surgeon and cell biologist at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, said his laboratory studies on cells from pre-cancerous polyps, tumors and adjacent normal cells showed evidence of cytomegalovirus, one of the most ubiquitous viruses in the world. The virus is introduced to many people as infants through breast milk, but it is also passed through blood transfusions, sexual contact and saliva.

Cobbs said his work is early, and it would be difficult to make a definite case for the link, but the idea of a viral cause of colon cancer is not far-fetched.

"This is an extraordinarily complex virus that can totally manipulate a cell," Cobbs said, "and given that understanding, it is possible for it to have a role" in colon cancer. Cobbs details his work today in the British medical journal, The Lancet.

Like all herpes viruses, infection with cytomegalovirus is lifelong, and it is believed that anywhere from 50 percent to 80 percent of all U.S. adults are infected with it, Cobbs said. Though cytomegalovirus generally causes very mild cold-like symptoms, if anything at all, its symptoms escalate in people co-infected with HIV.

http://www.newsday.com/news/health/ny-hscanc153003805nov15,0,3257148.story?coll=ny%2Dhealth%2Dheadlines

FIRST CITIZEN OF THE SPACE-TIME WORLD
Einstein Exhibit Opens at the American Museum of Natural History
from The New York Times

For the young Albert Einstein, a 26-year-old patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland, 1905 was a very good year. After years of turmoil and tension he was living a middle-class life with his wife, Mileva, and a year-old son, Hans Albert. He was completing his Ph.D., and he published a spate of scientific papers that changed history. Among them was the theory of relativity, which gave the world E=mc2, clocks that speed up and slow down and too many bad jokes using the word "relative."

Although he would not give up his day job for another four years, the young man with the dark eyes and curly hair was on his way to scientific fame and worldwide celebrity. And what a long, strange trip it was! In the 76 years from his birth in 1879 in Ulm, Germany, to his death in 1955 in Princeton, N.J., he went from rebellious prodigal youth to the bad-boy scientist in Bern, cosmic guru, peacenik, atomic prophet, Jewish hero, civil rights crusader and target of J. Edgar Hoover. He vaulted from scientific revolutionary to the embodiment of the 20th century itself with all its bright hopes and failures.

All this and more is the subject of "Einstein," which opens today at the American Museum of Natural History. Its advent marks the beginning of a sort of Einstein season in New York, with a slate of symposiums and special events at the museum and elsewhere over the next six months. And it serves as the distant opening trumpet blast for the bigger parties already being planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Einstein's "Annus Mirabilis."

The show was produced by the museum in collaboration with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which Einstein helped found and which owns most of Einstein's papers and artifacts, and with help from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. It will tour the United States before landing in Jerusalem in 2005.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/15/arts/design/15EINS.html

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New book on genetics from Amazon

Statistical Analysis of Gene Expression Microarray Data
by Terry Speed (Editor)

Publication date: November 15, 2002
Publisher: CRC Press
Binding:Hardcover
Subjects: Science/Mathematics; Quantitative Genetics; Dna (Deoxyribonucleic Acid)

Kansas Citizens for Science Receives ACLU Award for Activism

On November 12, Kansas Citizens For Science received of one of several awards presented by the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri at their Foundation's Annual Awards Event held in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

KCFS received the 2002 John and Marjie Swomley Issue Activist Award "in recognition of their efforts to preserve religious liberty in Kansas schools." Dr. John Swomley, who attended with his wife, Marjie, is professor emeritus of social ethics at St. Paul's Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri.

David Burress, a member of the ACLU's National Board, presented the award. After giving a brief summary of KCFS history and the 1999 Kansas Board of Education science standards battle, David presented the award plaque to KCFS President Liz Craig. Craig explained how her interest in church-state separation issues had led to her interest in the KBOE science standards issue. Craig then called to the podium Steve Lopes, who was KCFS President during its first two years. She noted that Lopes had been the "godfather" of KCFS, had created its By-Laws and proved a cool-headed leader during the heated struggle with the Kansas Board of Education for quality science standards.

Lopes listed some of KCFS's activities during the "evolution controversy" over K-12 science standards, including letters to editors, public events, testimony before the Kansas Board of Education, press releases and articles. He noted that in 1999, KCFS gained national and international media attention and today, has become a national resource for pro-science activists in other states, who contact KCFS via its website asking for advice, requesting speakers, and accessing downloadable flyers.

Following the awards presentation, the keynote speaker, ACLU National President Nadine Strosser, inspired the crowd with true stories of people who had called the ACLU for help people who would not have had the courage to fight for their rights if the ACLU had not been there to support and aid them.

Kansas Citizens For Science (www.kcfs.org) is a not-for-profit educational corporation which advocates for quality science education in Kansas public schools, educates the public as to the nature and value of science, and acts as an information resource on issues related to science education.

Skip Evans
Network Project Director
National Center for Science Education
420 40th St, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609
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evans@ncseweb.org http://www.ncseweb.org

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Phone Psychic Miss Cleo Settles Fraud Charges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The largest psychic hotline operation in the United States has agreed to unplug its phones and pay $5 million to settle charges that it misled customers looking for a free glimpse into their future, the Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday.

More at

http://reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=entertainmentnews&StoryID=1741396


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