Focus: News of interest about creation and evolution
Facelift for Venus?
Pictures of Venus from the Magellan spacecraft reveal what has been called a 'surprisingly young' landscape. Because the 800 to 900 impact craters are so few in number (relative to evolutionary theories of solar system history) and so fresh-looking, project scientists are theorizing that the entire surface of Venus must have been recycled somehow to 'wipe the slate clean'.
March 11, 1994 (p. 26).
Of course, it could be the common evolutionary long-age view of solar system history which is wrong.
Oil in minutes
A Wichita company has found a way of using heat and pressure to turn garbage into oil in minutes.
Waste Resource Recovery Inc. says it can take 'leftovers from yesterday's dinner, grass clippings, old newspapers, sawdust or any organic matter' and in 10-15 minutes turn it into a burnable oil.
The Wichita Eagle,
April 24, 1994 (p. 1F).
Which shows, of course, that it doesn’t need millions of years after all.
Iceman not a hoax
Despite the suggestion by a number of secular sources that Europe's frozen 'Ice Man' may have been an elaborate hoax, it appears that it is genuine.
Because of the amazing preservation of the find (different from that of other glacial corpses) some suspected it was a 'mummy' from another part of the world which had been planted in the Similaun glacier.
However, analysis of mitochondrial DNA by two separate university teams shows numerous similarities between the 'Ice Man' and present-day Europeans, suggesting that the 'plant' theory is most unlikely.
The Sydney Morning Herald,
June 18, 1994 (p. 17).
The Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal (see back cover) plans to feature a detailed paper from a creationist perspective on the 'Ice Man’ in the near future.
Sydney's sandstone: catastrophic flooding
Many of the road cuttings around Sydney, Australia, reveal the city's renowned Hawkesbury sandstone, of which many historic buildings are constructed. These kilometre-long layers of sediment are up to tens of metres thick.
Creationists driving past, conscious of the cataclysmic nature of the Flood, have long marvelled at how anyone could imagine that such widespread thick, pure deposits with their cross-bedding could form by slow and gradual sedimentary processes as usually taught.
Now it appears evolutionary geology is catching up — after a fashion. Dr Patrick Conaghan, of Sydney’s Macquarie University, believes that the sandstone was indeed formed by 'a succession of catastrophic, massive flood waves possibly 20 metres high and up to 250 kilometres wide’.
However, he claims this happened 'about 237 million years ago’, intermittently over millions of years.
The Sydney Morning Herald,
April 30, 1994.
New deer has 'dog teeth'
Vu Quang is an unexplored, inhospitable, mountainous rainforest region between Vietnam and Laos. It contains many animals not previously known to Western science, such as the recently discovered new genus represented by the Pseudoryx or Vu Quang ox, weighing 100 kilograms (over 200 pounds).
In the past two years, there has been evidence from fresh skull bones of at least two more new deer-like species, including what has been named the giant muntjac.
This apparent relative of the muntjac (or barking deer), at around 45 kilos (100 pounds) is about 50 per cent larger, but has protruding canine teeth. Some fossil deer also have such teeth.
June 20, 1994 (pp. 36-37).
The article is headed 'Ancient Creatures’, but they are obviously modern representatives of the deer kind, showing that large canine teeth do not have to point to meat-eaters.
Song theory - for the birds?
Professor Graham Pont of the University of New South Wales, Australia, believes we learned to sing from birds, and from this we developed speech.
He believes that his analysis of the pitch profiles of American and European songbirds with Western music shows an amazing pattern of similarities.
Professor Pont is embarking on a project to test his hypothesis that there will be a close match between Australian bird-songs and Australian Aboriginal music. If this were so, then accepting Pont's unusual evolutionary hypothesis would involve believing that the first Australians had no spoken language.
The Sydney Morning Herald,
May 9, 1994 (p. 1).
If the analysis stands up, one other hypothesis seems to have been overlooked — namely that the created patterns of at least some bird-songs were deliberately designed by God to be pleasant to the human ear. If there do turn out to be undisputed regional similarities between preferred song-styles and local bird-songs, the explanation may be as simple as early outdoor influences on cultural preferences, and have nothing to do with the evolution of speech.
Australia's platypus 'no wimp'
Australia's unique platypus has often been portrayed as a delicate, fragile creature which has trouble surviving the slightest environmental change. Critics of creation/Christianity use this to cast doubt on its ability to migrate over generations from Ararat.
We have pointed out (Vol.15 No.3, p. 8) that the ancestor of the platypus seems to have been less specialized and more robust than today’s. It now appears that the assessment of today’s platypus as a 'weakie’ has been greatly exaggerated in any case.
Sydney researchers say the platypus is thriving on both sides of Australia’s Great Dividing Range of mountains, and is remarkably able to withstand poisons and pollution that kill other mammals.
The platypus is also able to live in underground environments that are very low in oxygen, because of its ability 'to go deep into oxygen debt — like a marathon athlete ...’.
The Sydney Morning Herald,
June 16, 1994 (p. 5).
'Boxgrove man'...tall and human
The accompanying illustration shows a partially ape-like reconstruction (published in several newspapers) of the original owner of a shinbone found at a quarry in Sussex, England.
Dubbed the 'oldest Englishman’ or 'oldest European’, the ape-like reconstruction from just one piece of shinbone (with both ends missing) is puzzling — until one realizes that the geological 'dating’ of the site (i.e. where it fits into evolutionary geological reconstruction) forces an age of 500,000 years to be assigned. No modern humans are supposed to have been around then.
In fact, the bone is indistinguishable from the form of both modern humans and so-called Homo erectus (which many now see as fully human anyway). The chief government archaeologist associated with the excavation said 'Boxgrove man' was a robust male, 'a man we would recognize as man today.’
'Boxgrove man’ probably weighed around 80 kilograms (176 pounds) and stood 180 centimetres (6 feet) tall. Hand tools and evidence of the bones from animals he or his cohorts were butchering (including elephant and rhino) had been uncovered previously. Also the marks where, it is believed, people knelt while making tools.
May 28, 1994 (p. 5).
May 19, 1994 (p. 17).
The actual evidence (minus the sort of evolutionary bias shown in such drawings) fits with strong, intelligent post-Flood humans hunting large game. The London Times said of this shinbone find 'the question of language is difficult to resolve’.
Inventing a 'noble lie'
Loyal Rue, Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Luther College, Iowa, has written a book in which he says (as a consistent evolutionist) that there are no absolute truths or objective values. In other words, he believes there never was a God, and the universe has no meaning or purpose.
Rue acknowledges that this is far too depressing or meaningless a concept on which to build a coherent society and maintain a social fabric.
So, to avoid 'the psychological and social chaos about to engulf civilization’, his book, By the Grace of Guile, suggests in all seriousness that some lie will have to be invented to replace the outdated 'religious myth’. A seductive, enticing lie, agreed to by film-makers, writers and artists, which will be swallowed by the masses and will give them meaning and hope.
Vol 32:2 1994 (p. 19).
When you walk into your bedroom and instantly recognize every object, you may not see this as special. But neurology researcher Stuart Hameroff points out that this is a 'near-miraculous feat of information processing; even a dozen of the world's supercomputers couldn’t come close to replicating it.’
Our brains have an intricate network of huge numbers of interconnected brain cells. Yet, even that cannot explain the 'computing power’ of everyday feats such as that mentioned, let alone the awesome phenomenon of consciousness.
Hameroff's research suggests that within each of the billions of brain cells is another switching network of so-called microtubules. Each is around one 10-millionth of an inch in diameter and can exchange signals with others. In effect, it’s like an elaborate computer network within each unit of an existing computer.
June 1994 (pp. 89-98).
To believe that such unbelievable complexity and the required control information could have arisen by genetic copying mistakes (filtered by chance interaction with the environment) stretches the imagination beyond all credulity.