Not everybody on the Nobel Committee loves Raymond Damadian
While today's Nobel Peace Prize announcement will no doubt reignite discussion over whether Islam is a religion of peace, and may cause some to ask what happened to the buzz that Pope John Paul II would win, others are still discussing the controversy over this year's Nobel Prize in medicine.

The Nobel Committee on Monday announced that the prize would be awarded to Paul C. Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield, for their discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI scans.

But when you ask Google who invented the MRI, the most common answer is Raymond V. Damadian. What's up? The controversy has been percolating, and The Wall Street Journal reported last year that "a ferocious battle in the scientific community over who gets credit" probably held up an MRI-related Nobel for years.

A full-page ad in yesterday's The Washington Post said the Nobel committee was "attempting to rewrite history" and "did one thing it has no right to do: It ignored the truth."

Likewise, Damadian told Newsday, "I can't escape the fact that I started it all. … My concern is the distortion by the Nobel Committee to write me out of the history of the MRI. Every history book from now on will say the MRI is Lauterbur and Mansfield."

"I know that had I never been born, there would be no MRI today," he told The Washington Post.

Many scientists agree, but some suggest that Damadian's self-promotion may have hurt him. He's "sometimes flamboyant," NPR science correspondent Richard Knox told All Things Considered yesterday.

But Knox, along with Reason magazine's Ronald Bailey, suggested another reason Damadian may have been disregarded: He's a devout Christian (see this 1997 profile in Christianity Today sister publication Christian Reader) who believes in creationism. In fact, he's on the Technical Advisory Board for the Institute for Creation Research, and on the reference board for Answers in Genesis's upcoming Creation Museum.

"He's identified by many web sites as a prominent creation scientist," Knox said. "I have no first-hand knowledge of his beliefs, but it's fair to say that most scientists are not creationists and tend to look askance at scientists who believe that way, but it's really impossible to know if the Nobel Committee took that into account."

Bailey similarly writes, "I have no inside information, but I wonder if the committee was swayed by the fact that Damadian, although a brilliant inventor, is apparently a creation science nut. In ironic contrast, Lauterbur's current research is on the chemical origins of life."

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The Nobel Committee, meanwhile, says it doesn't talk about why certain people don't receive the prizes. It only talks about why winners do.

Watch this space
Lots of links below, but come back this afternoon for even more, along with fresh news and commentary. It's a busy religion news day, so we couldn't fit it all in this morning.

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Faith-based initiatives:

Free to worship at home:

"Honor killings":

Christianity and Judaism:

  • Religious leaders divided over Christian Yom Kippur | Some people laud the ambitious leader of a small, growing Simi Hills Christian Church for his creativity and passion for the shared heritage of Judaism and Christianity. Others assert he's trespassing into dangerous terrain (Ventura County Star, Calif.)

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  • Jewish High Holy Days have meaning for Christians | Jesus used three of the feasts during the current holidays to make some of His most remarkable claims (Joe Downey, The Times Herald, Olean, N.Y.)

  • Hold the hugs for evangelicals | A practical alliance of Jews and Christians standing for Israel and against militant Islam is wonderful — in the present circumstances, crucial. But imagining that the relationship can go deeper than that is a temptation that some, including myself, may need to guard against (

  • Judaism and the messianists | Jews are disturbed by what they interpret as spiritual kidnapping (Barbara Kay, The National Post, Canada)

  • How accurate is the latest Jewish population survey? | The survey defined a Jew as someone whose "religion is Jewish, OR, whose religion is Jewish and something else, OR, who has no religion and has at least one Jewish parent or a Jewish upbringing, OR, who has a non-monotheistic religion, and has at least one Jewish parent or a Jewish upbringing." (Terry Mattingly)

The Passion:

  • Gibson's movie about Jesus sparks internal Jewish debate | Jews point fingers at one another over the way they have dealt with Gibson and argue over just how Jews should deal with Christian portrayals of the Jesus story in popular culture (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

  • Gibson's test of sincerity | Critics of the unseen Gibson movie often sound as bad what they accuse their target of (Gregg Easterbrook, The New Republic)

Other religions:

  • Dispelling the rumors | Think Wiccans worship Satan and hex people? Think again. (York Daily Record, Pa.)

  • Earlier: The Bewitching Charms of Neopaganism | The movement rejects Christianity, but we may discover surprising openings for the gospel (Christianity Today, Nov. 15, 1999)

  • Not so 'bright' | Atheists aren't more rational than religious believers (Dinesh D'Souza, The Wall Street Journal)

Religious protests

  • Protester case going to trial | It's not often a trespassing charge makes it all the way to a jury trial (MetroWest Daily News, Boston)

  • Two conference goers arrested in run-ins | Street preachers waved women's religious garments and shouted insults at LDS General Conferencegoers on Sunday, angering at least two attendees, who were arrested when they tried to take the clothing away from the protesters (The Sale Lake Tribune)

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  • Paul's letters of tolerance | Thanks to Paul, Christianity has never really been a religion that used the Bible as a code of law (Christopher Rowland, The Guardian, London)

  • Lure of the Magdalene | More legends have grown up around Mary Magdalene than any other figure in Christian History, with the exception of Jesus himself. One might well ask why (Elizabeth Hanly, The Miami Herald)

Missions and ministry:

Money and business:


40 Days of Purpose:

  • Local faiths join world 'purpose' | Thousands of Grand Strand Christians are preparing to embark on a journey in which they expect to find the answer to one of mankind's oldest questions: What on Earth am I here for? (The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

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Ten Commandments:

  • Ten Commandments: 19 in House sign on for resolution | Rep. Mike Gilb, R-Findlay, has sponsored a resolution recognizing the Ten Commandments as "the moral underpinning of state government" and urges all lawmakers to "craft each law with the intent of upholding the Ten Commandments." (The Marion Star, Oh.)

  • Judge Roy Moore: It's time for Christians to take a stand | "This is not about the Ten Commandments, it's not about me, or even about religion. It's about whether or not the state can acknowledge God," he said. "And the time has come for Christians to stand up and be the salt and light God has made us to be." (The Chattanoogan, Tenn.)

  • Rally planned Thursday to support Ten Commandments | A large crowd is expected to gather in Clarkesville around noon Thursday to show support for keeping the Ten Commandments in Habersham County's public buildings (The Gainesville Times, Fla.)


  • When prudery kills | Unless President Bush delivers on his promises to fight AIDS in Africa, his initial efforts will look like the most cynical of gestures. (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)

  • 'Bush bashing' spoils AIDS conference | An AIDS conference that received $300,000 in federal funds featured political criticism of the Bush administration and workshop programs on thwarting federally mandated abstinence education (The Washington Times)

Jonathan Edwards:

  • 18th-century preacher still relevant to 21st-century America | Historian George Marsden begins his excellent new biography of Jonathan Edwards, born 300 years ago this week, with this brief sentence: "Edwards was extraordinary." It is hard to imagine a better summation (Terry Eastland, The Dallas Morning News)

  • Edwards' 300th marked | Theologian's legacy explored (Daily Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, Ma.)

  • A minister's legacy | When Peter Ives stepped into the sanctuary, a likeness of the famous clergyman once again moved, with conviction, toward a Meetinghouse Hill pulpit (Daily Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, Ma.)

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