Creationists have problems explaining a number of things, such as "What did meat-eating dinosaurs eat before the Fall of Adam and Eve when there was no death and, therefore, no meat?"
In the February, 1999, issue of the Institute of Creation Research's (ICR) publication Acts and Facts, creationists puzzle over why disease-producing organisms were created, since, presumably before the Fall, there was no disease. But, say creationists, "God created organisms along with the rest of the universe and called it 'very good'." The article tells us "students and faculty of the ICR Graduate School are actively involved in deciphering the origin of pathogens...for it constitutes one of the most plaguing conceptual and biological questions facing creation thinking."
Creationists also have a problem with radioisotope dating which shows rocks are much older than the 6,000 to 10,000 years they believe the Earth to be. Scientific dating produces results "diametrically opposed" to Biblical teachings, say creationists. So in 1997, ICR created the Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth (RATE) task force.
RATE's mission is to dismantle or discredit scientific dating procedures and replace "this flawed concept of dating with a better, God-honoring one." This is serious business because in Creationists' view, "no other single argument has caused so many people to reject Biblical creationism and even Christianity" (Acts and Facts, July 1998).
Their favorite avenue for attack appears to be questioning the assumption of constant decay rates and proposing instead that decay rates were accelerated at certain times, such as during the Creation Week, the Fall and the Noachian Flood.
Apparently, Heaven is not hotter than Hell after all, reports the New Scientist (August, 1998). At least not according to new calculations which correct an error made in 1972 (Applied Optics 11:a14) estimating Hell to be 718oK and Heaven 798oK. Hell's temperature was assumed to be below that of boiling sulfur. This was based upon Revelations 21:8 which describes a lake burning with "fire and brimstone." Heaven's temperature was based upon Isaiah 30:26 which says "the Moon shall be as bright as the Sun, and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days."
Jorge Perez and Jose Vina published a letter in the July, 1998, issue of Physics Today, showing the anonymous author of the Applied Optics article miscalculated Heaven's temperature by deriving his estimate using the multiplier 49, instead of seven. The corrected calculation places the temperature of Heaven at only 504.5oK and, therefore, 213.5oK cooler than Hell.
Cleveland skeptics are tracking a story alleging that local animals are being abducted for satanic rituals. According to an article in their newsletter, The South Shore Skeptic (July/August, 1998), two goats in Thompson Township were found killed. Fear that pets were being stolen for satanic sacrifices spread through the community. The police chief received numerous calls from frantic pet owners reporting missing animals.
Sandra Jordan, whose goats had been killed, hired Doris Straka, a pet communicator who charges $75.00 per hour for counseling pets. Straka claims to be able to read animal's minds and says, "My ability extends beyond death." According to Straka the goats have provided her with information about their abduction and death, including details about the abductors.
Knight Ridder news services reports the 24-hour psychic hot line business may be in for troubling times. The Psychic Friends Network went bankrupt in 1998. Now regulators and telephone companies are investigating hot lines because of the large number of consumer complaints.
"For years, people have complained about advertising tactics that led them to believe they were getting a free psychic reading when, in fact, they were getting snookered into more calls-and bigger bills. Others said they were billed for calls they never made," reports the February 21, 1999, Eugene Register-Guard.
The Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the regional Bell telephone company have all come down on the psychic hot line of Quintel Communications in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which is being investigated for "cramming" pay-per-call charges into phone bills. The FTC has proposed new regulations and penalties for psychic hot lines.
Readers' social class is a better indicator than zodiac sign for the kinds of astrological advice given in horoscopes found in women's magazines, according a study in Journalism and Mass Communications Quarterly (Summer 1996).
Researchers compared astrology columns in magazines targeted to working-class and middle-class women. While all the horoscopes described "planetary movements and alignments" which supposedly controlled the women's daily lives, middle-class women were more frequently advised to travel, spend money, and have a positive attitude. Working-class women were more often advised to not live beyond their means and to avoid confrontations at work. Only bad financial fortune in 1992 for Gemini and Sagittarius women was correlated with zodiac sign. All other advice correlated more closely with socioeconomic class.