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A study purporting to show that people’s views on gay marriage could change simply by meeting gay people has been retracted following revelations that its data was fabricated.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!”
“And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel.” (1 Kings 11:9)
The Scriptures have an interesting commentary on Solomon’s life: “When Solomon was old…his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God” (1 Kings 11:4). How is it possible to start well and end sadly?
We Must Guard Our Heart: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life,” Solomon admonished in Proverbs 4:23. The Hebrew word for “keep” is natsar and the main verb for “guard” or “set a watch.” Psalm 119 uses natsar 10 times to demand our careful “watch” on our obedience and use of the Word of God. The promise is: “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart” (Psalm 119:2).
Store the Good Treasure: In one of his many confrontations with the Pharisees, Jesus gave several illustrations about the impact of the “heart” part of our nature. Jesus spoke of binding the “strong man,” noting that a tree produces the fruit it was grown for, and that snakes are always snakes. Then Jesus makes this observation: “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matthew 12:35).
Others Will Try to Turn Your Heart: Jereboam (1 Kings 11–12) led Israel in rebellion against Judah and against God. He “devised of his own heart” (1 Kings 12:33) liturgical practices that “made Israel to sin” (1 Kings 15:34). Peter warns: “Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness” (2 Peter 3:17).
We must guard our hearts, “for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Shalom!
by Henry Morris III, D.Min.
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.”
VICTORY OVER SATAN, THE DEVIL,
AS A LIAR (John 8: 44):
"He was a murderer from the beginning, and
stood not in the truth, because there is no truth
in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of
his own; for he is a liar, and the father thereof."
This does not mean that the enemy never tells
the truth, but his truth has the objective of getting
the believer involved in evil; e.g., when the spirit
of divination spoke the truth, that Paul and Silas
were the servants of God, it was to suggest the
lie that Paul and Silas derived their power from
the same source as the girl under the evil spirit's
power. The devil and his wicked spirits will speak,
or use, ninety-nine parts of truth to float one lie,
but Paul was not deceived by the witness of a
soothsaying prophetess acknowledging their divine
authority. He discerned the wicked spirit and its
purpose, exposed it, and cast it out.
Even so must the believer be able to triumph over
Satan as a liar, and be able to recognize his lies,
and those of lying spirits, in whatever form they
are presented to him. This he does by knowing
the truth, and using the weapon of truth.
War on the Saints by Jessie Penn-Lewis
Tomorrow: Victory Over Falsehood By Truth
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