News to Note, March 3, 2012

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on March 3, 2012
Featured in News to Know

Infanticide—the slippery slope, Dawkins not sure, Ancient abstractions, Tidying up God? Broth for the primordial soup

1. Infanticide Is Contraception?

Ethicists’ logical conclusion could reclassify infanticide as a form of contraception.

2. Dawkins, Canterbury, and the Baroness—Agnosticism, Compromise, and Tolerance

Dawkins, Canterbury, and the Baroness—agnosticism, compromise, and tolerance

3. South Africa’s Abstract Thought

South Africa’s “earliest known evidence of abstract thought”

4. Editorials Debate Value of Sanitized Bible

Editorials debate the value of a sanitized Bible.

5. Secret of Life? . . . Still Not Found

Stable molecules still don’t hold the secret spark of life.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • The Creation Museum topped the list as voting closed in the Budget Travel poll of “15 places every kid should see before 15,” receiving 7606 votes with an astounding 2113 comments (and without AiG having to conduct a media blitz to get out the votes). Many comments were thoughtful well-written descriptions telling future visitors what to expect. The Creation Museum brings the pages of the Bible to life, showing children and adults the Bible is real, exciting, and full of answers about dinosaurs and death, biology and geology, our origins and our eternal futures. For more information about the controversy surrounding the poll, see News to Note, February 18, 2012 and News to Note, February 25, 2012. And check out to see what the Creation Museum has to offer to help those you love “Prepare to Believe”!
  • The cause of religious liberty is uniting people on opposite poles of the political spectrum. “Representatives Joe Pitts (R-PA), an evangelical Christian conservative, and Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim and one of the most liberal members of Congress, are spearheading a congressional resolution in support of Pastor Youcef, H. Res. 556. . . ‘Condemning the Government of Iran for its continued persecution, imprisonment, and sentencing of Youcef Nadarkhani on the charge of apostasy.’” Last week we reported1 on the planned execution of Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, imprisoned for his faith in Iran. The congressional resolution asserts, “Freedom of religious belief and practice is a universal human right and a fundamental freedom of every individual, regardless of race, sex, country, creed, or nationality, and should never be arbitrarily abridged by any government.” In addition to leaders in America, national leaders worldwide and spokesmen from a variety of religious persuasions have joined their voices urging Youcef Nadarkhani’s release.
  • The trial of David Coppedge is set to begin March 7. Censured for sharing DVDs about intelligent design with co-workers, Coppedge filed suit to secure his right of free expression. Coppedge was fired from his job as lead computer administrator on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Saturn Cassini Mission. Though accused of “pushing religion,” his “supervisors admitted never receiving a single complaint regarding his conversations about intelligent design.”2 California law forbids religion-based discrimination against employees. The intelligent design (ID) movement is an acknowledgment of the irreducible complexity and other design features evident in our world. Although embraced by both Christians and non-Christians, “ID may serve as a useful tool in preliminary discussions about God and creation to gain an audience that might be turned off at the mention of the Bible.”3 By removing stumbling blocks, ID may provide an in-road for further discussion of Christ as both our Creator and Savior.

Further reading on public outcry from item 1

The backlash of Giubilini and Minerva’s publication has been outrage on the part of many people beyond the pro-life crowd. Many describe this “call for legalized infanticide as chilling and an ‘inhumane defence of child destruction.’”4 As the disapproving publicity has mounted, Minerva—who says she has received threats (which we would never approve)—has expressed surprise at “the overwhelmingly negative reaction”5 and said the article has been “taken out of its academic and theoretical context.”6 She says, “I wish I could explain to people it is not a policy—and I’m not suggesting that and I’m not encouraging that.”7

While we of course agree that the only difference between a baby before and after birth is “a difference in geography,”8 the extensive reasoning provided by Minerva and Giubilini to re-define a human baby as a non-person and deprive it of any right to life provide a dangerous ethical statement. Words have consequences. Words have power. These words were published in a reputable medical journal of ethics. No caveats stating “This is just a theory intended to call attention to the absurdity of allowing late-term abortions” or “This is just an academic discussion intended to provoke thought not policy change” were attached to the piece. On the contrary, the only situation on which these authors declined to make a declarative judgment was the age at which a baby passes into personhood. And these words can be used by the unscrupulous—or those the majority of us would consider uncivilized, regardless of our religious persuasion—to grease the slippery slope to such horrible ends.

For More Information: Get Answers

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, FOX News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn’t catch all the latest News to Know, why not take a look to see what you’ve missed?

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