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A study purporting to show that people’s views on gay marriage could change simply by meeting gay people has been retracted following revelations that its data was fabricated.
The study was published last December in Science, and prior to publication drew a great deal of attention from the American media. Vox, for instance, described the findings in the study as “kind of miraculous.” As it turns out, that’s exactly what they were, because they were apparently made up.
According to the study, people from communities hostile to gay marriage could have their opinions shift dramatically after spending just a few minutes speaking with a gay person who canvassed their neighborhood promoting gay marriage. Not only that, but this could have a spillover effect, making not just the people themselves more pro-gay but also other people who lived in the same household.
The study, among other things, lent support to the notion that those opposed to gay marriage simply don’t know or interact with open homosexuals. More broadly, it was seen as an important development in the science of how people can be convinced to change their minds on ideologically-charged issues.
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The study began to fall apart when students at the University of California at Berkeley sought to conduct additional research building off of it, only to find major irregularities in how its research was apparently conducted. For example, thermometers used to measure participants’ attitudes produced consistent, reliable information, even though they are known for producing relatively unreliable numbers.
Also, the data recovered had an exceptionally consistent distribution, with not a single one of the 12,000 supposed participants providing anomalous or unusual results. In other words, the study’s data was too perfect to be believable.
Donald Green, a professor at Columbia University and a co-author of the paper, made the decision to retract it after having a confrontation with co-author Michael LaCour, a graduate student at UCLA. While LaCour maintained that he hadn’t fabricated the data, he was also unable to produce the original source files supposedly used to produce it. When he failed to write-up a retraction, Green took the initiative and did so himself.
“I am deeply embarrassed by this turn of events and apologize to the editors, reviewers, and readers of Science,” Green told Retraction Watch, a science watchdog website.
LaCour, the graduate student accused of fabricating at least some of the data, made a Twitter post Wednesday afternoon saying he was “gathering evidence” about what had occurred:
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
Let me ask you a question which Jesus asked the Pharisees: “Which is easier, to say [to the paralytic], ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?” (Luke 5:23)
In the context of ministering to a paralytic, saying “Your sins are forgiven” is probably easier. Why? Because you don’t need an outward manifestation to prove that his sins are forgiven. But when you tell him, “Rise up and walk,” he must rise up and walk, or you will look very foolish! So that makes saying “Your sins are forgiven” easier than saying “Rise up and walk”.
The truth is, what is seemingly more difficult for man in the natural is not so for God. With God, physical healing is clearly “easier” for Him than forgiveness of sins. The latter is the “harder” and greater miracle because it required God to deliver up His beloved Son to take on all our sins and shed His blood on the cross.
Yet, when faced with a loved one stricken with cancer, or when gripped by mounting debts after being jobless for a long time, we seem to find it harder to believe and say that God has already given us the breakthroughs we need, than to believe and say that our sins are forgiven. Saying that our sins are forgiven seems easier than saying that God has already given us the miraculous physical healing, supernatural financial breakthrough or divine favor at the next job interview.
But since God has done the “harder” and greater miracle of “having forgiven you all trespasses”, there is nothing He will not do for you! (Romans 8:32) In fact, if you think that there is something that God is withholding from you, you are implying that that something is greater than the forgiveness of sins which Jesus died to give you! But nothing can be greater than the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.
So hear the Lord telling you today, “Your sins have been forgiven you. You have perfect acceptance before God. Rise up and be healed! Rise up and walk in health, wisdom, favor, protection and wholeness!”
This is like denying that Catholics have a Pope. How about we stop Islamic State instead of pointless rhetoric.
Check it out:
Thursday at the White House press briefing, when asked if he believes ISIS has a caliphate, press secretary Josh Earnest said, “No, I don’t believe that at all.”
Earnest said, “No, I don’t believe that at all. What we actually see is they do control some territory, but less than they used too. We also see that ISIS leaders are very concerned about their own security. They are not moving particularly freely these days. They are justifiably concerned about their safety because they know that the U.S. and our coalition partners have the capacity to take them off the battlefield.”
May 21, 2015
Ezekiel 36:1-38 (Good News Translation)
God’s Renewing Word
Ezekiel 36:1-38: God promises to take revenge on those who destroyed Israel’s mountains and promises to restore the land and provide a home for God’s people when they return from exile. Israel’s sins caused God’s holy name to be disgraced, which led Israel’s enemies to believe that their God was not powerful enough to save them. For the sake of his name, God promises to cleanse Israel of its sins and give the people his spirit.
Today’s Scripture: Ezekiel 36:27
I will put my spirit in you and will see to it that you follow my laws and keep all the commands I have given you.
God's Blessing on Israel
1The Lord said, “Mortal man, speak to the mountains of Israel and tell them to listen to the message which I,2the Sovereign Lord, have for them: Israel's enemies gloated and said, ‘Now those ancient hills are ours!’
3“Prophesy, then, and announce what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying. When the neighboring nations captured and plundered the mountains of Israel, everyone made fun of Israel.4So now listen to what I, the Sovereign Lord, say to you mountains and hills, to you brooks and valleys, to you places that were left in ruins, and to you deserted cities which were plundered and mocked by all the surrounding nations.
5“I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken out in the heat of my anger against the surrounding nations, and especially against Edom. With glee and contempt they captured my land and took possession of its pastures.
6“So prophesy to the land of Israel; tell the mountains, hills, brooks, and valleys what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying in jealous anger because of the way the nations have insulted and humiliated them.7I, the Sovereign Lord, solemnly promise that the surrounding nations will be humiliated.8But on the mountains of Israel the trees will again grow leaves and bear fruit for you, my people Israel. You are going to come home soon.9I am on your side, and I will make sure that your land is plowed again and crops are planted on it.10I will make your population grow. You will live in the cities and rebuild everything that was left in ruins.11I will make people and cattle increase in number. There will be more of you than ever before, and you will have many children. I will let you live there as you used to live, and I will make you more prosperous than ever. Then you will know that I am the Lord.12I will bring you, my people Israel, back to live again in the land. It will be your own land, and it will never again let your children starve.
13“I, the Sovereign Lord, say: It is true that people say that the land eats people and that it robs the nation of its children.14But from now on it will no longer eat people and rob you of your children. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.15The land will no longer have to listen to the nations making fun of it or see the peoples sneer at it. The land will no longer rob the nation of its children. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.”
Israel's New Life
16The Lord spoke to me.17“Mortal man,” he said, “when the Israelites were living in their land, they defiled it by the way they lived and acted. I regarded their behavior as being as ritually unclean as a woman is during her monthly period. 18I let them feel the force of my anger because of the murders they had committed in the land and because of the idols by which they had defiled it.19I condemned them for the way they lived and acted, and I scattered them through foreign countries.20Wherever they went, they brought disgrace on my holy name, because people would say, ‘These are the people of the Lord, but they had to leave his land.’21That made me concerned for my holy name, since the Israelites brought disgrace on it everywhere they went.
22“Now then, give the Israelites the message that I, the Sovereign Lord, have for them: What I am going to do is not for the sake of you Israelites, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have disgraced in every country where you have gone.23When I demonstrate to the nations the holiness of my great name—the name you disgraced among them—then they will know that I am the Lord. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. I will use you to show the nations that I am holy.24I will take you from every nation and country and bring you back to your own land.25I will sprinkle clean water on you and make you clean from all your idols and everything else that has defiled you.26 I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart.27I will put my spirit in you and will see to it that you follow my laws and keep all the commands I have given you.28Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God.29I will save you from everything that defiles you. I will command the grain to be plentiful, so that you will not have any more famines.30I will increase the yield of your fruit trees and your fields, so that there will be no more famines to disgrace you among the nations.31You will remember your evil conduct and the wrongs that you committed, and you will be disgusted with yourselves because of your sins and your iniquities.32Israel, I want you to know that I am not doing all this for your sake. I want you to feel the shame and disgrace of what you are doing. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.”
33The Sovereign Lord says, “When I make you clean from all your sins, I will let you live in your cities again and let you rebuild the ruins.34Everyone who used to walk by your fields saw how overgrown and wild they were, but I will let you farm them again.35Everyone will talk about how this land, which was once a wilderness, has become like the Garden of Eden, and how the cities which were torn down, looted, and left in ruins, are now inhabited and fortified.36Then the neighboring nations that have survived will know that I, the Lord, rebuild ruined cities and replant waste fields. I, the Lord, have promised that I would do this—and I will.”
37The Sovereign Lord says, “I will once again let the Israelites ask me for help, and I will let them increase in numbers like a flock of sheep.38The cities that are now in ruins will then be as full of people as Jerusalem was once full of the sheep which were offered as sacrifices at a festival. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
The mountains cited in today’s reading probably refer to the land of Israel which enemies had captured and claimed (see Ezekiel 35:12). Israel’s population had been reduced by war, famine, and forced exile. In what ways will God restore the land? What promises are made to the people? Israel’s sins included murder, injustice and worshiping idols. Such sins defiled the land and made it ritually unclean, and God’s holy name was disgraced. How did God punish the people for these sins? What promises does God make concerning restoration? What does God want the people to be reminded of (verses 31, 32)? In what ways have you experienced God’s cleansing?
Sovereign God, all nations are under your care. Bring peace and restoration to nations seeking to recover from the aftermath of war and violence. Teach me to be an instrument of your peace and to bring words of comfort and hope to those I know who are hurting. Amen.
Nations devastated by war and civil unrest
Ezekiel 37:1-28: Ezekiel describes his vision of dry bones come to life.
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