PSYCHIC ANIMALS. Our society is obsessed with anything unusual. One of the newest things is animals who have a sixth sense concerning their owners. The fact is that some animals have seemed to know when their owner was going to have a heart attack, a stroke, or a seizure. There are even a few cases where epileptic seizures are anticipated by an animal so that the person having the seizure can be forewarned they are coming. This is becoming a new topic for talk show hosts on television, because animals are a natural draw on TV anyway.

This is another area where irrationality needs to be replaced with thinking and facts. When a person has a heart attack, there are various enzymes that are given off that can be and are used by doctors to determine if an attack has taken place. Animals have keen senses of smell, and can certainly learn to associate a certain smell with an event. They also can pick up sounds that we cannot pick up which may be emitted at the start of a seizure. Whether brain waves can be picked up has not been demonstrated as yet, but is still a possibility. The point is that animals do not have some spirit sense, nor are they possessed in some way to do a special spiritual job. There are physical explanations for what they do that are simply a part of their physical make up and design to live in the world. (See Reader's Digest, October, 2000, pages 106-111.)

SPLITTERS VS. LUMPERS. Evolutionary theories about the origin of man are beset with an ongoing controversy that has been around for a long time. Some archeologists and anthropologists called "splitters" attach a new name on every specimen they find. Another school of thought called "lumpers" believe that most of the finds are just racial variations of an existing species. About ten years ago Andre Keyser reported finding seventy-nine new fossils of hominoids in South Africa. The splitter/lumper discussion became involved in this when recent studies concluded that all of these bones were from a single population of robust australopithecines that had dental features that varied widely. The point we would like to make here is that most media presentations of the evolution of man fail to point out that this is a major issue and that many times specimens claimed to be new finds turn out to be racial variations of species that were already known to exist. In the famous Time-Life materials of the 1970s this was especially a problem because many of the charts produced used racial variations of modern man and presented them as if they were different species that evolved from one another.

--Reference: Natural History, October, 2000, page 18.

 EVIDENCE FOR NON-AFRICAN ORIGINS GROW. Traditional evolutionary theories say that man originated in Africa and migrated slowly into other parts of the planet. Two lines of evidence are involved. One is that the cradle of Western civilization is in the Tigris/Euphrates valleys of what is now Iraq. The Bible agrees that this is the geographic origin of modern culture. Early hominoid skeletons have been found in Africa in the past and have led to the modern theories. Recently hominoid skeletons have been found in the Soviet Republic of Georgia that are identical to skeletons found in Kenya of the same age. In addition archeologists have found an ancient city in Syria which dates earlier than 4500 B.C. meaning that Western civilization is much older than originally thought. It is important to remember that Adam and Eve in the Bible are portrayed as gatherers who did not farm, hunt, write, or domesticate. Their existence is untimed and undated.

TEEN SMOKING GROWS. The government has reported that teenage smoking in the United States continues to grow. The 1999 figures show that 34.8% of American teenagers are smoking, up from 27.5% in 1991. We would maintain that suggesting that we have no spiritual make up, that money brings happiness, and looking after number one is all that counts is the cause of this incredible statistic. Those of us who believe that the body is the Temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16ff) and that we are designed beings with a purpose that involves serving, do not have a problem explaining why a person should not smoke, especially since we now know that smoking is the number one cause of preventable United States deaths (also in the Surgeon General's report).

--Reference: Popular Science, November, 2000, page 50.

 PYRAMIDS LINKED TO NORTH. The pyramids of Egypt have always been a mystery and a challenge to modern man. Mystic powers and claims have whirled around stories of the pyramids ever since they were built, and in modern times all kinds of claims have been made about pyramid power and weird claims about who built the pyramids and how. A recent scholarly study by Kate Spence of Cambridge may answer some of this. Studying pyramids built in 2524 B.C., 2478 B.C., and 2357 B.C., Spence has been able to show that the face of the pyramid lined up exactly with where north was at that time. The earth wobbles on its axis as it spins, and what is true north now will not be true north in 50 years. Where north was the time the pyramids were laid out matches perfectly with facing of the pyramids. Scholars are praising Spence's work as "a very ingenious solution to a long standing mystery." Egyptians believed that deceased kings were going to go into the northern sky and become a star, so the door of the pyramid had to face exactly north. The fact that they could do this with accuracy is amazing, but also shows the intelligence and abilities of ancient man.

--Reference: Newsday, November 16, 2000.

 HOMO ERECTUS IN ISRAEL. One of the interesting things that is happening in the world of archeology right now is that older and older specimens are being found in Israel and the Fertile Crescent. This has significance, because one of the few contradictions between the Bible and the secular world on the history of man is that the Bible maintains man originated in the Fertile Crescent, while the traditional secular view is that man originates in Africa. Dr. Craig Feibel of Rutgers University has been excavating in the Gesher Benot Ya'aqov site in Israel and has discovered a Homo erectus specimens which has been dated by paleomagnetism at 780,000 years old. It will be interesting to see if other studies of the site confirm that this is an ancient specimen, but if it does stand up it will require some major thinking of the secular world about what the history of man has been.

--Reference: Newsday, August 11, 2000, page A26.

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