Focus: news of interest about creation and evolution
‘Earliest’ ants—really were ants.
Seven ants were found in amber which by evolutionary dating methods is believed to be ‘92 million years old.’ This is ‘50 million years earlier’ than the ‘oldest’ ants to date. One of them, Sphecomyrma freyi, was previously thought to be a ‘primitive ancestor’ of today’s ants, but not yet an ant. For one thing, it was believed that in this evolutionary ‘age’ there could not yet have been the complex social organizations of ants into colonies. However, careful analysis of the specimen reveals the presence of the metapleural gland, which is only found in ants, and only those that live in colonies. This gland secretes antibiotics which prevent bacteria and fungi entering the colonies.
The Times (London) p. 8, 29 January.
Ants were always ants, not part-way ants.
T. rex a wimp after all?
The Bible indicates that men and dinosaurs once roamed the planet together. Not so, say evolutionists, who dogmatically ignore the evidence from human history. One of the standard arguments from skeptics has been that fierce predators like Tyrannosaurus rex would have hunted down any hapless humans. However, arguments put by the Professor of Zoology at Leeds University would indicate that the tyrannosaur may have been a ‘bit of a wimp.’ Prof. McNeill Alexander believes that he, at 64, could outrun a T. rex, which probably had ‘all the mobility of an asthmatic elephant.’ He also says it would easily have tripped and fallen, hurting itself badly.
The Evening Standard, p. 14, 12 January 1998.
Much debate rages about whether T. rex was a hunter or a scavenger. Once caught, prey could probably have been shaken to death in its huge jaws. In any case, human ingenuity has always enabled mankind to capture and/or kill any animal, regardless of size. Before the Fall, no creatures posed any threat to man or each other.
Giant ‘Stone Age’ temple stuns theorists.
As old as Stonehenge, the remains of a huge structure in England have been revealed by X-ray, shattering the usual ideas of ‘primitive man.’ It would have been 10 metres (34 feet) high, with a diameter of 95 metres (320 feet) and was supported by 400 wooden columns each around one metre (3.3 feet) diameter. Surrounded by a six-metre wide ditch, the entrance faces exactly to the point on the horizon where the sun would have risen on the summer solstice.
The Independent, p. 7, 11 November 1997.
This is consistent with other evidence, including the Bible, that the first Britons were the early descendants of Noah, via Japheth, with all the social sophistication that implies (see Bill Cooper’s book After the Flood).
Pandas doomed by mating habits?
The director of research at China’s Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding thinks that the appealing creatures will inevitably become extinct in a few decades at the most.
It appears that for the pandas, breeding is not only difficult in captivity, but also in the wild. Females rarely ovulate, and when they do, seem to give no sign of it to the male, who usually has a low sperm count anyway. To make it worse, males seem confused as to what to do.
Their inappropriate behaviour during mating irritates the females and often ends up causing fierce fights, rather than reproduction. Most female pandas ‘remain childless for their entire lives.’ The chances of an infant surviving are not high—many clumsy mothers accidentally squash their own baby.
Panda researchers, believing (because of evolutionary assumptions) that pandas have been around for three million years, are mystified as to how the species could have lasted that long.
The Canberra Times, p. 16, 30 September 1997, and p. 18, 14 October 1997.
First, no creature has been around ‘that long.’ Second, today’s giant pandas are likely a (specialized, and probably degenerate) subset of the original kind from which they descended after the Flood. Each such subset carries less information than the original kind.
More evidence of ‘Stone Age’ people being fully human.
Archaeologists have found a Neandertal skull cap in Germany with three tools inside it made of flint and quartz. This ‘indicates burial rituals associated with skull cults.’ One expert is quoted as saying this opened ‘a window on to the spiritual world of the Neandertals.’
Melbourne Herald Sun, p. 40, 3 September 1997.
Clay fragments in a Czech Ice Age deposit show imprints from sophisticated weaving techniques. Seven of the eight types of twining commonly used in textiles or basketry were identified.
Science, p. 1203, 29 August 1997.
Earlier issues have given many other findings indicating that Stone Age/Ice Age peoples were fully human.
‘Progressive creationists’ accept secular dating results, which assign large ‘ages’ to early humans. Those who woo evangelicals by claiming a conservative stance on the Bible have thus had to insist that Neandertals and similar early humans were ‘spiritless human-like creatures’ which preceded Adam. Biblical creationists reject the dates, and accept these humans as early descendants of Noah.
Human eye: retina ‘unique’
The retina is the incredibly complex layer at the back of the eye upon which light rays are focused. It converts the light into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. Sydney University’s Dr Jan Provis and Dr Philip Penfold research human retinal disease. They have warned that you cannot just take animal studies on the retina and apply them to humans. They say of ‘the barrier between the vasculature and the neurons [the blood vessels and the nerves]’ that ‘these constituents are unique.’
Medical Observer, p. 44, 8 August 1997.
For a refutation of the common evolutionist claim that the human retina is ‘wired up backwards,’ see Creation 18(2):38–40 and 18(4):19–21, 1996.
Who nose how it works?
Our sense of smell is a complex (though poorly understood) system designed to detect thousands of types of chemicals.
It helps warn us of danger, e.g. rotting food, and helps us distinguish types of foods and flowers.
Our tongue can only ‘taste’ sweet, sour, bitter or salt. It is smell which is actually responsible for most of the different ‘tastes’ of various foods.
Recently, biophysicist Luca Turin proposed that the smell sensors actually detect the energy at which the different chemical molecules vibrate.
This energy depends on the chemical make-up—certain groups of atoms have similar energies.
Chemicals with sulfur bonded to hydrogen tend to vibrate similarly and so often have ‘rotten egg’ smells—rotten eggs themselves produce such chemicals.
Turin’s theory was supported by the rotten-egg smell of certain rocket fuels (boranes)—they have nothing in common with sulfur compounds except for similar vibrations.
New Scientist, 3 January 1998.
Chemical Senses, 21:773, 1996.
Such complex sensing machinery could hardly have evolved by little steps.
Note that the chemical information gathered by the nose is useless without nerve connections to transmit it and the brain to process it.
Explorer sights ‘mythical’ ape
For about five years, explorers have been hunting the legendary orang pendek, on the basis that it could have ‘something to do with human evolution.’
The hairy orange creature, which apparently walks on two legs, is familiar to local farmers on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Britisher Debbie Martyr is now the third explorer claiming to have seen the animal, on this occasion only 200 metres (660 feet) away.
A Cambridge university fellow, David Chivers, is convinced that the pendek exists, and thinks it is most likely a new species of ape.
The Australian, p. 3, 13 October 1997.
Creation magazine speculated (18(2):8, 1996) that the pendeks could be living versions of our alleged ancestor ‘Lucy.’
The Genesis of wheat farming
By comparing the DNA from strains of einkorn, an early type of wheat, researchers were able to trace them back to one group of 11 wild types, which all grow in a mountain range in south-eastern Turkey, in a corner of what is now known as the Fertile Crescent. The find is said to bolster the theory that the breeding of wheat for agriculture did not develop piecemeal but was done by ‘a single group of humans.’
The Daily Telegraph (London), p. 8, 15 November 1997.
Note the consistency with Genesis. The early post-flood settlers, migrating from the mountains of Ararat (Gen. 8:4) to the plain of Shinar (Gen. 10:10—Sumeria/Babylonia, in the Fertile Crescent), quickly applied their pre-Flood knowledge of farming (eg., Gen. 4:12). Thus, the ‘agricultural revolution’ happened here. The einkorn was either found regenerating after the Flood, or was planted from seeds off the Ark.
New slant on ant/tree co-operation
The co-operation between ants and acacias in eastern Africa is well-known. Fierce soldier ants guard the tree from browsing herbivores and other threats. In return, they get food and shelter from the tree. But how do ‘friendly’ insects, necessary to pollinate the tree, get past the ants, which are vigilantly patrolling the young buds?
It seems that at just the right time, the developing flowers send out a chemical signal which tells the ants to stay away. The pollinators arrive unmolested. The ants then return when the seeds are developing, to resume their guard patrol.
The Independent, p. 2, 10 July 1997.
The living world provides a never-ending parade of evidence for complex, creative design.
Lying starts early
A study in Portsmouth, U.K., has shown that, contrary to earlier theories, children can and do lie, ‘perhaps ineptly,’ but deliberately, from the minute they learn to communicate. Somewhere between the ages of two and three, ‘they are telling quite complex lies.’
The Times (London), p. 10, 13 September 1997.
Ever heard of original sin? The answer is in Genesis!
Darwin: learning from Grandpa
Desmond King-Hele, a fellow of the Royal Society, has published a new biography of Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles Darwin.
In it he argues not only that Erasmus had already published a theory of evolution in his 1794 book Zoonomia, but had set forth therein the idea of natural selection. Indeed, Darwin had read Erasmus’ book at age 18.
King-Hele claims that Darwin’s father actively encouraged Charles to have ‘skepticism toward religion and a belief in evolution.’ He says, ‘Evolution was the family faith.’
The Sunday Times (London), 13 July 1997.
This is one more refutation of the popular myth of Darwin as the unbiased naturalist who stumbled across evolution by observing ‘the facts of nature.’
Jumbo talks deep
Elephants turn out to have an amazingly designed communication ability, which they use to sustain ‘complex social networks.’ The fundamental sounds produced by their huge vocal chords are too low in frequency for humans to hear. However, the associated harmonics sound to us like the elephants’ stomachs rumbling.
An elephant can distinguish the calls of as many as 150 other separate individuals, even if these are more than 1.5 km (one mile) away. By this means, it can maintain complicated bonds with elephants outside the family in which it lives.
The Times (London), p. 4, 19 May 1997.
Rama the cama—for creationists, no drama
Animals that can hybridize (cross-breed) give evidence that they may have descended from the same created kind—even where this occurs under artificial conditions.
In Dubai, a guanaco (the wild ancestors of llamas) was impregnated with camel semen, and has given birth to a cross—called a ‘cama.’ ‘Rama,’ as the animal is dubbed, appears to be thriving.
CNN Internet posting, January 1998.
Most creationists have long held that camels and guanacos probably descended from the same created ‘camelid’ kind (without any new genetic information arising, i.e. no ‘evolution’). See Creation 19(4):26_29, 1997, and update in Another camel/llama hybrid.