Truth Bomb Apologetics Library

https://chab123.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/free-apologetics-e-book-library-from-truthbomb-apologetics/

 

Free Apologetics E-Book Library- From TruthBomb Apologetics

We want to thank Truthbomb Apologetics for putting together this Free Online E-book Library. Keep in mind that the people at Truthbomb don’t necessarily endorse every book here.

Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock: What to Say to Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses When They Knock on your Door by Mike Licona [PDF]
Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity edited by John Piper, Justin Taylor, and Paul Kjoss Helseth [PDF]
Confessions by St. Augustine [PDF]
Curse of Cain? Racism in the Mormon Church by Jerald and Sandra Tanner
Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching by St. Irenaeus
Demons, Witches, and the Occult by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart [PDF]
Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R.C. Sproul [PDF]
Evidence of Christianity by William Paley
Fifty Nobel Laureates and Other Great Scientists Who Believe in God [PDF]
Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper [PDF]; originally called The Passion of the Christ
Handbook of Today’s Religions by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart He Walked Among Us: Evidence for the Historical Jesus by Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson [PDF]
How Do You Know the Bible is from God? by Kyle Butt [PDF]
I’m Convinced He’s Out There: Good Reasons to Believe in the Existence of God by Jim Wallace
Jesus: A Biblical Defense of His Deity by Josh McDowell and Bart Larson [PDF]
Jesus Rediscovered by Malcolm Muggeridge
Josh McDowell answers Five Tough Questions by Josh McDowell [PDF]
Letters to a Mormon Elder by James R. White Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia by W.M. Ramsey
Mormon Claims Answered by Marvin Cowan Pens’ees by Blaise Pascal Reasons Skeptics should Consider Christianity by Josh McDowell and Don Steward [PDF]
Responsive Christianity: Learning to Become a Christian “Case Maker” by Jim Wallace
Runaway World by Michael Green
Skeptics who Demanded a Verdict by Josh McDowell [PDF] St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen by W.M. Ramsey
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God by John Piper [PDF]
Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas
Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible is the Word of God by R.A. Torrey The Abolition of Manby C.S. Lewis
The Case for the Existence of God by Bert Thompson, Ph.D. [PDF]
The Changing World of Mormonism by Jerald and Sandra Tanner [PDF available here] The Dawkins Lettersby David Robertson

The End of Infidelity by Jason Engwer and Steve Hays [PDF] NEW!
The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright by John Piper [PDF]
The Infidel Delusion– This is response to the John Loftus edited, internet infidel celebrated book, The Christian Delusion offered up by TriablogueThe Irrational Atheist by Vox Day [PDF]
The Islam Debate by Josh McDowell and John Gilchrist [PDF]
The Mark of the Christian by Francis A. Schaeffer
The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? by F.F. Bruce
The Resurrection of Theism: Prolegomena to Christian Apology by Stuart Hackett NEW!
The Scientific Case for Creation by Bert Thompson, Ph.D. [PDF]
The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World General Editors- John Piper and Justin Taylor [PDF] The Story of the Bible by Sir Frederic Kenyon The Works of Flavius Josephus
Tracking the White Salamander: The Story of Mark Hofmann, Murder, and Forged Mormon Documents by Jerald Tanner
Understanding Secular Religions by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart
Warranted Christian Belief by Dr. Alvin Plantinga
Was Christ Born in Bethlehem? by W.M. Ramsey
Christian Living
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan [PDF available]
Dealing with Doubt by Dr. Gary Habermas
Desiring God by John Piper
Holy War by John Bunyan [PDF available]
Man-The Dwelling Place of God by A.W. Tozer
Real Christianity by William Wilberforce
The Necessity of Prayer by E.M. Bounds
The Normal Christian Life by Watchmen Nee The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
The Thomas Factor: Using Your Doubts to Draw Closer to God by Dr. Gary Habermas
The Works of Jonathan Edwards
With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray
Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design

Biblical Creationism by Henry M. Morris NEW! [PDF]
Creation: Facts of Life by Dr. Gary Parker
Darwin on Trial by Phillip E. Johnson In Six Days– Why 50 Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation, Edited by Dr. John Ashton
Natural Theology by William Paley
On the Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin Refuting Evolution 1 by Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D., F.M. Refuting Evolution 2 by Jonathan Sarfati, with Michael Matthews
Taking Back Astronomy by Jason Lisle The Bible and the Age of the Earth by Bert Thompson, Ph.D. [PDF]
The Creation Answers Book by Dr. Don Batton (Contributing Editor), Dr. David Catchpoole, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, and Dr. Carl Wieland The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin
The Global Flood of Noah by Bert Thompson, Ph.D. [PDF]
The Mystery of Life’s Origin by Charles B. Thaxton, Walter L. Bradley, and Roger L. Olsen [PDF or Adobe Reader] The New Answers Book by various authors
In the Shadow of Darwin, a review of the teachings of John N. Clayton by Wayne Jackson and Bert Thompson [PDF]
Logic Handbook on Logic and Rational Thought by a former atheist of 40 years
Logic and Fallacies of Logic by Dr. Johnson C. Philip and Dr. Saneesh Cherian [PDF] Philosophy
Atheism Analyzed by a former atheist of 40 years A Treatise on Human Nature by David Hume
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Critique of Pure Reason by Emmanuel Kant
Ethics by Aristotle
Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard
Me, the Professor, Fuzzy, and the Meaning of Life by David Pensgard
Heretics by G.K. Chesterton
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton [PDF]
Philosophical Fragments by Soren Kierkegaard
Selections from the Writings of Kierkegaard– Translated by L.M. Hollander The Everlasting Manby G.K. Chesterton
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
The Natural History of Religion by David Hume
The Predicament of Modern Man by Elton Trueblood The Sickness Unto Death by Soren Kierkegaard
Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche What’s Wrong with the World? by G.K. Chesterton
Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell
Happy reading!
Courage and Godspeed, Chad

The Science of Spirit Possession

Original Article

By Tara MacIsaac

In Beyond Science, Epoch Times explores research and accounts related to phenomena and theories that challeange our current knowledge. We delve into ideas that stimulate the imagination and open up new possibilities. Share your thoughts with us on these sometimes controversial topics in the comments section below.

Modern science questions much of the knowledge gained through the collective memory of humanity over the course of millennia.

“Every culture and religious belief system throughout human history has its traditional beliefs of spirit possession in some form or another with corresponding rituals for the release or exorcism of spirit entities,” wrote Dr. Terence Palmer, a psychologist and the first person in the U.K. to earn a Ph.D. in spirit release therapy.

Some psychologists are returning to the methods developed by our ancestors to help patients with symptoms of possession.

Dr. William Baldwin (1939–2004) founded the practice of spirit release therapy and he also used past-life regression treatments. Baldwin was cautious about saying whether he believed in reincarnation or not, but he did say his treatments helped patients, and that’s what matters.

Spirit release practitioner Dr. Alan Sanderson wrote in a paper titled “Spirit Release Therapy: What Is It and What Can It Achieve?”: “I want to stress that the concept of spirit attachment and the practice of spirit release are not based on faith, as are religious and mystical beliefs. They are based on the observation of clinical cases and their response to standard therapeutic techniques. This is a scientific approach, albeit one that takes account of subjective experience and is not confined by contemporary scientific theory.”

Dr. Palmer commented in the introduction to a lecture titled “The Science of Spirit Possession”: “SRT [spirit release therapy] sits uncomfortably between the disbelief of a materialist secular society and the subjective experience of spirit possession: whether that experience is a symptom of psychosis, symbolic representation, socio-cultural expectation or a veridical manifestation.”

Parapsychology has been called a “pseudoscience,” as have other scientific approaches to phenomena that cannot be entirely explained by conventional science. However one views the method, it appears a revival of ancient wisdom has been effective in many cases.

Here’s a look at some of the thinkers, including those already mentioned, who have approached possession scientifically.

 

Frederick W.H. Myers

Frederick W.H. Myers (1843–1901) wrote in his book “Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death,” which was published posthumously in 1906: “The controlling spirit proves his identity mainly by reproducing, in speech or writing, facts which belong to his memory and not to the automatist’s memory.”

He noted that the brain is little-understood; scientists don’t have a solid understanding of many of its ordinary functions let alone extraordinary functions (and this still holds true today). He theorized about a sort of radiation or energy that could be behind the telepathic influence of one person on another.  He tried to consider how the memory centers might be related to the gaps in memory experienced by people said to be possessed.

Myers has not been shown to have any formal education in the field of psychology and much of his work relied on two mediums he worked with. It was his belief in a science that takes fuller account of human consciousness that has continued to inspire scientists. Myers also noted that the origin of the idea is not as important as its effectiveness or veracity.

“Instead of asking in what age a doctrine originated—with the implied assumption that the more recent it is, the better—we can now ask how far it is in accord or in discord with a great mass of actual recent evidence which comes into contact, in one way or another, with nearly every belief as to an unseen world which has been held at least by Western men.

“Submitted to this test, the theory of possession gives a remarkable result. It cannot be said to be inconsistent with any of our proved facts. We know absolutely nothing which negatives its possibility.

“Nay, more than this. The theory of possession actually supplies us with a powerful method of co-ordinating and explaining many earlier groups of phenomena, if only we will consent to explain them in a way which at first sight seemed extreme in its assumptions.”

 

Dr. Terence Palmer

Dr. Palmer’s Ph.D. thesis revived Myers’s work. He said that Myers and others have tried to bring the mental, emotional, and spiritual elements of human experience into natural science.

“To permit the accommodation of all human experience into a broader scientific framework is a scary prospect for several reasons. But fear is the cause of all human suffering, and only when medical science puts aside its own fears of being proven wrong can it treat sickness effectively by showing how fear is to be remedied,” Dr. Palmer wrote.

In a recorded lecture on his thesis, he looked at ways in which we come to know things. Some of the ways include learning from others, using logic and deduction, and through personal experience. He noted that in these ways, a good deal of evidence exists for the possibility of real spirit possession.

Funding, he said, has been one of the obstacles to conducting more rigorous scientific research of spirit possession. He said further studies must be done with remote telepathic intervention. This would bypass any placebo effect or any psychological impact a patient’s belief system may have.

 

Dr. Alan Sanderson

Dr. Sanderson asked in his paper “So where is the research to back these heretical claims [about spirit possession]?”

He gave three reasons for minimal research in this field of study. First, spirit release is a new study, which has only been systematically taught and practiced for about a decade. Second, much mistrust and many misconceptions still present obstacles. Third, research funds are hard to come by.

He is hopeful the field will progress and funds with come forth. In the meantime, he said, “individual cases have much to say.” Dr. Sanderson uses the method developed by Dr. Baldwin to treat spirit possession. Following is an outline of Dr. Baldwin’s work and an example of how Dr. Sanderson used it to help a woman allegedly possessed by the ghost of her father.

 

Dr. William Baldwin

Dr. Baldwin developed a method of helping people exorcise their demons so to speak. It is thought that traumatic experiences can especially cause a person’s consciousness to withdraw and give the body over to other forms of consciousness.

In spirit release therapy, the patient is hypnotized so it is easier to access the other consciousnesses in the person’s mind. The therapist asks the possessing entity to look inside. Dr. Baldwin has said that about half of his hypnotized patients could see silver threads, like those described in Ecclesiastes in the Bible as connecting the human spirit to the body, according to author Kerry Pobanz.

The therapist is said to help the spirits resolve issues so they will no longer have a negative impact on the patient and the therapist may even ask for divine intervention.

 

Dr. Sanderson’s Case Study of a Woman With Multiple Personalities

Pru, 46, had long-term psychological problems found to stem from sexual abuse by her father when she was a child. Under hypnosis in a session with Dr. Sanderson, she identified herself as her father, Jason. Jason would become angry and threaten Dr. Sanderson.

“In deep trance, Jason agreed to look within himself, where he saw blackness,” Dr. Sanderson wrote. “I called for angelic help. With the use of Baldwin’s protocol for dealing with demonic spirits, the blackness left. Thereafter, Jason was amenable. He agreed to leave. Other destructive entities responded similarly.”

Not all spirits found inside a person are malevolent, say spirit release practitioners.

Pru wrote a paragraph to describe her experience: “‘The spiritual approach left me freer from the remaining daily distress than anything tried before. Whilst under hypnosis I found myself talking about some experiences that I had definitely not had and places I certainly had not been to. So, was this spirits, split off parts of my personality, ancestral memory or even false memory/imagination? I very much doubt the latter. There was reluctance, yet at the same time relief, to be spoken to, accepted and contacted. The release from the darkness, into the light and to the beyond had to be experienced to be believed. It was amazing and I still marvel at the sight of these ‘entities’ disappearing and freeing me.”

*Image of woman being hypnotized via Shutterstock

Human Footprints Discovered Dating From 5 Million Years Ago

Original Article

By Jamie Seidel

These footprints, found at Trachilos in western Crete, have been attributed to an ancient human ancestor that walked upright some 5.7 million years ago. Credit: Andrzej Boczarowski

HUMAN-like footprints have been found stamped into an ancient sea shore fossilised beneath the Mediterranean island of Crete.

They shouldn’t be there.

Testing puts the rock’s age at 5.7 million years.

That’s a time when palaeontologists believe our human ancestors had only apelike feet.

And they lived in Africa.

But a study into the Trachilos, western Crete, prints determines them to feature prominent human features and an upright stance.

And that’s significant as the human foot has a unique shape. It combines a long sole, five short toes, no claws — and a big toe.

In comparison, the foot of a Great Ape look much more like a human hand.

And that step in evolution wasn’t believed to have taken place until some 4 million years ago.

Comparison of Trachilos footprint with bears (top), non-hominin primates (middle), and hominins (bottom). (a) Brown bear (b) Grizzly bear (c) Vervet monkey (d) Lowland gorilla (e) chimpanzee. (f) modern human (g) Trachilos footprint (h) modern human foot (i) Archaic Homo footprint. Pictures: Gerard D. Gierliński et al / Elsevier

Comparison of Trachilos footprint with bears (top), non-hominin primates (middle), and hominins (bottom). (a) Brown bear (b) Grizzly bear (c) Vervet monkey (d) Lowland gorilla (e) chimpanzee. (f) modern human (g) Trachilos footprint (h) modern human foot (i) Archaic Homo footprint. Pictures: Gerard D. Gierliński et al / Elsevier

Published in the latest edition of Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, the study’s conclusions are bound to raise eyebrows in the human evolution community.

“The interpretation of these footprints is potentially controversial,” the study’s abstract admits.

“The print morphology suggests that the trackmaker was a basal member of the clade Hominini (human ancestral tree), but as Crete is some distance outside the known geographical range of pre-Pleistocene (2.5 million to 11,700 years ago) hominins we must also entertain the possibility that they represent a hitherto unknown late Miocene primate that convergently evolved human-like foot anatomy.”

Put simply, the study argues there was another — previously unidentified — human-like creature walking the Earth long before we believed it was possible.

A reconstruction of the skeleton of Australopithecus sediba, centre, next to a small-bodied modern human female, left, and a male chimpanzee. Picture: AP

A reconstruction of the skeleton of Australopithecus sediba, centre, next to a small-bodied modern human female, left, and a male chimpanzee. Picture: AP

The existing pool of evidence into humanity’s origins is built around Australopithecus fossils found in south and East Africa, along with a 3.7 million-year-old set of upright hominin (human ancestor) footprints found in Tanzania.

RELATED: Mystery of the Kimberley dinosaur prints solved

Called the Laetoli footprints, these are believed to have been made by Australopithecus with a narrow heel and poorly defined arch.

In contrast, a set of 4.4 million-year-old prints found in Ethiopia are believed from the hominin Ardipithecus ramidus. These prints are much closer to that of an ape than a modern human.

But the Trachilos footprints, at 5.7 million years, appear to be more human than Ardipithecus.

Maps and photos detailing the location and shape of the track-bearing stone in Crete. Pictures: Gerard D. Gierliński et al / Elsevier

Maps and photos detailing the location and shape of the track-bearing stone in Crete. Pictures: Gerard D. Gierliński et al / Elsevier

They were found by the study’s lead author, Gerard Gierlinski, while he was holidaying on the island of Crete in 2002. The palaeontologist at the Polish Geological Institute has taken more than a decade to analyse his find.

The Trachilos prints have a big toe very similar to our own in size, shape and position. It has a distinct ball on its sole. It has the human-like sole. It doesn’t have claws.

They were pressed into the firm but wet sands of a small river delta at a time when the Sahara was lush and green, and savanna extended from North Africa around the Eastern Mediterranean. Crete itself was still part of the Greek mainland then.

The three most well-preserved footprints, each shown as a photo (left), laser surface scan (middle) and scan with interpretation (right). a was made by a left foot, b and c by right feet. Scale bars, 5cm. 1—5 denote digit number; ba, ball imprint; he, heel imprint. Pictures: Gerard D. Gierliński et al / Elsevier

The three most well-preserved footprints, each shown as a photo (left), laser surface scan (middle) and scan with interpretation (right). a was made by a left foot, b and c by right feet. Scale bars, 5cm. 1—5 denote digit number; ba, ball imprint; he, heel imprint. Pictures: Gerard D. Gierliński et al / Elsevier

They have been dated using foraminifera (analysis of marine microfossils) as well as their position beneath a distinctive sedimentary rock layer created when the Mediterranean Sea dried up about 5.6 million years ago.

The footprints’ discovery also comes shortly after the fragmentary fossils of a 7.2 million-year-old primate Graecopithecus, discovered in Greece and Bulgaria, were reclassified as belonging to the human ancestral tree.

29 States Banned Individual State Laws About Seeds

Original Article

By Kristina Johnson

This story was originally published by Food and Environment Reporting Network.

With little notice, more than two dozen state legislatures have passed “seed-preemption laws” designed to block counties and cities from adopting their own rules on the use of seeds, including bans on GMOs. Opponents say that there’s nothing more fundamental than a seed, and that now, in many parts of the country, decisions about what can be grown have been taken out of local control and put solely in the hands of the state.

“This bill should be viewed for what it is — a gag order on public debate,” says Kristina Hubbard, director of advocacy and communications at the Organic Seed Alliance, a national advocacy group, and a resident of Montana, which along with Texas passed a seed-preemption bill this year. “This thinly disguised attack on local democracy can be easily traced to out-of-state, corporate interests that want to quash local autonomy.”

Seed-preemption laws are part of a spate of legislative initiatives by industrial agriculture, including ag-gag laws passed in several states that legally prohibit outsiders from photographing farms, and “right-to-farm” laws that make it easier to snuff out complaints about animal welfare. The seed laws, critics say, are a related thrust meant to protect the interests of agro-chemical companies.

Nearly every seed-preemption law in the country borrows language from a 2013 model bill drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The council is “a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists,” essentially “voting as equals” with state legislators on bills, according to The Center for Media and Democracy. ALEC’s corporate members include the Koch brothers as well as some of the largest seed-chemical companies — Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont — which want to make sure GMO bans, like those enacted in Jackson County, Oregon, and Boulder County, Colorado, don’t become a trend.

Seed-preemption laws have been adopted in 29 states, including Oregon — one of the world’s top five seed-producing regions — California, Iowa, and Colorado. In Oregon, the bill was greenlighted in 2014 after Monsanto and Syngenta spent nearly $500,000 fighting a GMO ban in Jackson County. Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, and Syngenta also spent more than $6.9 million opposing anti-GMO rules in three Hawaiian counties, and thousands more in campaign donations. (These companies are also involved in mergers that, if approved, would create three seed-agrochemical giants.)

Montana and Texas were the latest states to join the seed-preemption club. Farming is the largest industry in Montana, and Texas is the third-largest agricultural state in terms of production, behind California and Iowa.

Language in the Texas version of the bill preempts not only local laws that affect seeds but also local laws that deal with “cultivating plants grown from seed.” In theory, that could extend to almost anything: what kinds of manure or fertilizer can be used, or whether a county can limit irrigation during a drought, says Judith McGeary, executive director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. Along with other activists, her organization was able to force an amendment to the Texas bill guaranteeing the right to impose local water restrictions. Still, the law’s wording remains uncomfortably open to interpretation, she says.

In both Montana and Texas, the laws passed with support from the state chapter of the Farm Bureau Federation — the nation’s largest farm-lobbying group — and other major ag groups, including the Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Texas Seed Trade Alliance. In Texas, DuPont and Dow Chemical also joined the fight, publicly registering their support for the bill.

Echoing President Trump’s anti-regulatory rhetoric, preemption proponents argue that, fundamentally, seed-preemption laws are about cutting the red tape from around farmers’ throats. Supporters also contend that counties and cities don’t have the expertise or the resources to make sound scientific decisions about the safety or quality of seeds.

“We don’t believe the locals have the science that the state of Texas has,” said Jim Reaves, legislative director of the Texas Farm Bureau. “So we think it’s better held in the state’s hands. It will basically tell cities that if you have a problem with a certain seed, the state can ban it, but you can’t.”

Other preemption proponents claim that local seed rules would simply get too complicated, forcing growers to navigate conflicting laws in different counties. “Many of us farm fields in more than one county,” said Don Steinbeisser Jr., a Sidney, Montana, farmer who testified in support of his state’s bill at a legislative hearing this spring. “Having different rules in each county would make management a nightmare and add costs to the crops that we simply do not need and cannot afford.”

But critics of preemption laws, including farmers (organic and conventional) and some independent seed companies, are afraid of losing their legislative rights. They claim something far more serious than a single farmer’s crop is at stake.

“There is no looming threat that warrants forfeiting the independence of local agricultural communities in the form of sweeping language that eliminates all local authority governing one of our most valuable national resources,” says Hubbard of the Organic Seed Alliance.

Organic farmers can lose their crop if it becomes contaminated with genetically modified material. Even conventional farmers who rely on exports to Asia, where GMOs are banned by some countries, face risks from contamination. There are currently no plans to push for a GMO ban anywhere in Texas or Montana, and neither state requires companies to disclose the use of GMOs. (In Montana, at least, Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, added an amendment to the preemption bill when he signed it, preserving the right of local governments to require that farmers notify their neighbors if they’re planting GMO seeds.) Yet critics of the preemption laws fear that they tie the hands of local governments, which will make it harder for communities to respond to problems in the future.

Still, the fight isn’t just about GMOs, says Judith McGeary, noting that seeds coated with neonicotinoids — a class of pesticides linked to colony collapse disorder in bees — are also at issue. Under the Texas bill, a local government can’t ban neonic seeds in order to protect pollinator insects, and in the current political climate, it’s hard to imagine that such a ban would happen on the state level.

“We have an extremely large state with an incredible diversity of agricultural practices and ecological conditions, and you’ve now hobbled any ability to address a problem that’s found in one local area,” says McGeary. “Until it’s a big enough issue for a state of 23 million to pay attention to through the state legislature, nothing is going to happen,” she says.

Scientists Incubate Lamb In Artificial Womb For the Second Time.

Original Article

A lamb in an artificial womb from a team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (Image: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

It may look like a glorified Ziplock bag, but the artificial womb could one day save the lives of the thousands of babies born every year prematurely.

For the second time, researchers announced this week that they have successfully incubated lambs born before reaching full term in an artificial ‘womb.’ In findings published this week in The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecologyresearchers from the University of Western Australia, Australia’s Women and Infants Research Foundation, and Tohoku University Hospital in Japan reported that several lambs continued to grow during a week-long incubation period in an “ex-vivo uterine environment” dubbed “EVE.” They appeared healthy when later delivered.

The artificial womb system, “EVE,” used to incubate lambs. IMAGE: Women and Infants Research Foundation

It’s not the first time that researchers have successfully used such a system to incubate preterm lambs. In April, researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia used a similar system to incubate premature lambs for a record-breaking four weeks. Lambs have a shorter gestation period so the 105- to 115-day-old premature lamb fetuses in that study were the equivalent of about 23 weeks in a human. The hope is that such systems could help babies born as early as 22 weeks. Each year in the United States, approximately 30,000 births are critically preterm, meaning babies are born before 26 weeks of a full 37-week gestation period.

The system in the new study relies on a fluid-filled plastic bag to keep the lambs alive. A bath of artificial amniotic fluid fills the bag to mimic conditions inside the womb. An external oxygenator fills in for the mother’s placenta, allowing gas exchange of CO2 and oxygen in the fetal blood. Like the Children’s Hospital study, the Australian and Japanese researchers relied on the fetal heart to power the womb, ensuring that developing hearts and lungs don’t get overloaded and giving those organs a chance to develop normally.

Before the April study, the maximum duration a lamb fetus had survived in an artificial system was 60 hours, and those animals experienced brain damage.

The success—using a fetal-powered system for the second time—is an important step towards having something that could actually be tested in human babies. Such a system would be a vast improvement over the current treatment, which is to place premature infants in an incubator and rely on devices like ventilators to assist their still-developing organs.

Such new technologies, though, will also inevitably raise new ethical questions. Recently, one researcher pointed out that the availability of artificial womb technology could threaten a woman’s right to an abortion, since in the US the right hinges in part on whether a fetus is viable. The technology could also result in premature babies that survive, but have lifelong impairments or conditions, raising questions of when it would be appropriate to use such technology.

There is still much work to be done before artificial wombs are ready for humans—if they ever are at all. Researchers have said it will be at least five years before trials are even a possibility, if not more. But it is a future we are inching closer to every day.