Evolution of Thought
Missing Link in Rice Paddy?
The discovery of a unique bacterium which acts as a natural fertilizer has been claimed by the National Science Foundation as a possible descendant of an ancient 'missing link'. The bacterium was found in rice paddies in Thailand by an Indiana University research team headed by professor of biology Howard Gest. The National Science Foundation says this unique bacterium, Heliobacillus mobilis, may be the descendant of the 'missing link' which was the immediate forerunner of the cyanobacteria that supposedly released enough oxygen to form earth's life-sustaining atmosphere.
June 1987 (p.12)
The biggest 'missing link' is the absence of the correct theory.
Shape of an Ape!
The analysis of bones found in Tanzania in 1986 has led scientists to admit that a fossil which they thought was human-like is really more like an ape.
The fossil was said to comprise more than 300 bones from a 40-year-old female who died 1.8 million years ago. The discovery was made by Donald Johanson (discoverer of the famous 'Lucy' fossil) and others, and consisted of skull fragments and limb bones from a single individual. It was assigned to the species Homo habilis, which would make it human.
However, analysis of the bones is now said to indicate that this Homo habilis stood only about a metre high, her upper arm bone was almost as large as her thigh bone, her hands almost came down to her knees, and her long powerful arms had curved bones in the hands features which were very ape-like.
May 21, 1987 (p. 27)
21-27 May, 1987 (pp. 205-209)
The features described are so apelike we could safely conclude that the creature was a type of ape - not human at all.
A biologist who last year proposed a theory that fruit bats and humans shared the same ancestry has defended his theory against alternative proposals.
Professor Jack Pettigrew, from the University of Queensland in Australia, believes that several lines of evidence, including DNA studies, now support his 'flying primate' theory. He believes that fruit bats, primates and humans once shared the same branch of the evolutionary tree.
Professor Pettigrew has defended his idea against a study by researchers at the University of New South Wales which claimed that cows are more closely related to humans than are fruit bats.
The Age (Melbourne),
July 7, 1987 (p.3)
Creationists will agree with Professor Pettigrew that the University of New South Wales study is wrong, and with the University of New South Wales researchers that Professor Pettigrew is wrong.
Bring 'Em Back Alive from Mars
A team of United States space managers plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to Mars for a year to collect rocks and other samples and bring them back to the Earth. They hope to bore below the Martian surface to discover some of the red planet's history and possibly whether Mars has or had life.
Michael Carr, chairman of the project's science committee, said samples from Mars could allow scientists to piece together the planet's history. Many scientists are eager to discover if Mars has supported life. Mr Carr said most scientists believe there is no life on the planet, but it may have existed in the past. 'Life may have got started on Mars, but could not sustain itself', he said. It is felt that if amino acids are found in the permafrost below the surface, there would be reason to believe that life had tried to start there.
The Age (Melbourne),
April 2, 1987
If amino acids are found on Mars it wouldn't prove anything about life. Amino acids are not alive. They are only building blocks of proteins.
Universe Age Changes
A new study by Dutch astronomer suggests that scientists have overestimated the age of the universe. Professor Harvey Butcher, from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, estimates the universe as being 'only' II billion years old. His study conflicts with suggestions that some stars are 16 billion to 20 billion years old, but agrees with some earlier estimates.
Cambridge University astonomer Gerry Gilmore said that if Professor Butcher's conclusions were true, 'both the accepted physics of stellar evolution and the age of the universe require substantial revision.'
The West Australian,
July 7, 1987
It should be noted that over the past seven years the universe has variously been dated at 15 billion years, 12 billion, 19 billion, 8 billion, 20 billion and now 11 billion (see Creation Ex Nihilo, January 1983, p. 5, and August 1984, p. 44). As each scientist believes the others' estimates are wrong, we can agree with them all that all the others are wrong.
Dinosaur Deaths due to Acid Rain?
Just as a consensus was growing around the idea that dinosaurs became extinct after a comet hit earth, with effects like a nuclear war, the notion has started to lose ground. A different explanation is now gaining support from evolutionists: that volcanoes spewed out sulphur, which eroded the ozone layer, turned to acid rain, cooled the climate, then wiped out the dinosaurs.
A group of scientists believes this idea can explain all the things that the comet impact theory can, and more. They say the gradual and selective nature of extinctions seems consistent with an eruption, but not a collision. And they believe it is wrong to concentrate solely on the dinosaurs. They say the really spectacular change was the disappearance of so many marine creatures, and they claim that plankton were killed by acidification.
The Weekend Australian,
June 13-14, 1987 (p.24)
Did Sunburn kill the Dinosaurs?
The dinosaurs were wiped out not only by acid rain, but by lethal sunburn, according to scientists who have concluded that the impact theory of dinosaur extinction is wrong. British scientists Charles Officer, Anthony Hallam and Charles Drake, and American volcanologist Joseph Devine, paint a picture of rapid decline from Eden-like conditions to an environmental disaster. They imply that the sky was veiled by fine volcanic dust that blocked out light and heat, clouds were raining dilute sulphuric and hydrochloric acid, and landscapes were bathed in deadly ulta-violet radiation after the destruction of the ozone layer.
The group says the final factor that killed the dinosaurs may not have been starvation but the destruction of the earth's protective ozone. This would have allowed lethal levels of ultra-violet radiation to reach earth's surface, possibly causing the dinosaurs to die of sunburn.
The Age (Melbourne),
March 21, 1987 (p.4)
But if the dinosaurs couldn't survive, how did anything else?