Focus: News of interest about creation and evolution
Big bang theory jeered
The 'big bang', that theoretical explosion which evolutionists say started the universe, never was, British and Canadian scientists say. Some of the staunchest supporters of the 'big bang' are challenging the most critical element of the theory—that the matter formed by the theoretical explosion was evenly spread around the universe. New analysis has led astronomers to suggest that the clustering of galaxies, such as the Great Wall of galaxies which stretches half a billion light years, is too vast to have formed since the big bang.
The West Australian, 5 January 1991, p. 31.
Nature 349:6304, 3 January 1991.
The British and Canadian team say in the journal Nature that the big bang theory in its present form must be abandoned. Creationists have done that since the theory was first proposed.
Celebrities don’t draw crowds
Celebrity speakers such as comedian Bill Cosby, news commentator Paul Harvey, and others have had to cancel engagements in Fargo, North Dakota, because of lack of interest. Fewer than 1,000 of the expected 4,000 tickets were sold to the Harvey engagement, said Karen Bye, spokeswoman for one of the sponsors. Miss Bye said she was disappointed with the lack of interest in celebrity speakers by Fargo people. ‘What do people want? That’s what we want to know’, she said.
Valley Times (California), 11 November 1990.
Eight weeks earlier, creation speakers Ken Ham and Dr John Morris had an attendance of 3,500 in Fargo! Maybe that’s what people in Fargo want.
Creation ‘down under’
Australian Aborigines at Echuca on the New South Wales-Victoria border intend to re-bury the remains of the Kow Swamp people. Anthropologists allege these remains are 15,000 years old. The local Aboriginal Information Centre president told museums the Aborigines believe they were created in Australia. ‘Your archaeological theories about our origins are just hypotheses’, he said.
History professor John Mulvaney said, ‘While it is reasonable to expect museums or books on prehistory to present alternative explanations, it is a denial of intellectual freedom to permit only “one way”.’
The Bulletin, 9 October 1990, p. 104.
This Aboriginal belief is anti-evolutionary, but not biblical, owing much to the Aboriginal ‘Dreamtime’ beliefs. We agree with Professor Mulvaney, but the irony is that at present intellectual freedom is denied because museums and most textbooks do permit only ‘one way’—evolution.
Dinosaurs were not as diverse as everyone has assumed, says palaeontologist Peter Dodson from the University of Pennsylvania. Dodson tried to calculate how many dinosaur genera ever lived. He now accepts only 285 genera and 336 species.
Other Dodson findings:
- Most of the genera described are represented by a single species.
- Only 2,100 dinosaur fossils exist in museums.
- Almost 500 dinosaur species of the total 800 once described cannot now be accepted.
New Scientist, 1 December 1990, p. 14.
The number of species may be even smaller than 336. Dodson acknowledges difficulties and biases in interpreting fossils of extinct creatures, and many of these ‘valid’ species are represented by only one vertebral bone or fragment. Also several species would usually represent a ‘kind’. Many dinosaurs are quite small, including young adults of some massive species, so the capacity of the huge Ark described in Genesis would easily cope with two of every kind of dinosaur.
Earliest land animals?
Two fossil centipedes and an arachnid found in Britain have been claimed to be the earliest known land-dwellers. The fossils are from rock in Shropshire known as the Ludlow Bone Bed. Evolutionists say these creatures are 414 million years old—20 million years older than the earliest previously known land animals.
Researcher Andrew Jeram from the University of Manchester says there must be even earlier land animals not yet found. ‘We have predators, and they must have been eating something’, he says.
New Scientist, 3 December 1990.
The relative position of a fossil in a rock layer usually determines its ‘age’ for evolutionists. Creationists believe the bottom layer was laid down before the next one, with no need to postulate vast ages in between. Lower layers contain sea-dwelling creatures not because they evolved first, but because they would have been buried first in the turbidity of Noah’s Flood. It is no surprise to creationists that on rare occasions land creatures such as these centipedes and arachnid are found buried in normally marine sediments. The fact that water-dwellers were mixed with these land creatures makes the creationist case strong.
Fisherman drain gene pool
The deep-sea fish known as the orange roughy has been fished commercially for only 10 years. Yet New Zealand researchers have shown that in this short time genetic impoverishment has arisen. Fish with a high amount of variability (the created information which gives greater adaptability to populations) tend to be larger and grow faster. They return first to their spawning grounds and stay longest—which increases their chances of being caught by commercial fishermen.
The ‘new variety’ that is supposedly evolving as a result has less variability and is smaller. Researcher Peter Smith from Wellington fisheries research centre says, ‘This raises the possibility that other heavily exploited species have suffered similar losses of genetic diversity.’
New Scientist, 1 December 1990, p. 15.
The point is often missed by defenders of evolution that when ‘new’ varieties are observed to arise from selection (e.g. DDT resistant mosquitoes, new breeds of dogs), they carry only a portion of the original ‘wild type’ hereditary information. This does not show us how such information arose (it was there all the time); it shows how it is becoming depleted and thinned out with time.
Latest dinosaur discoveries
A debate about the leg posture of Triceratops has turned full circle.
Early fossil constructors pictured these huge three-horned animals ambling with forelimbs sprawled lizard-like from the sides of their body. Then palaeontologist Robert T. Bakker said the legs came directly under the body, and allowed the animals to gallop like rhinoceroses.
Rolf E. Johnson of the Milwaukee Public Museum, and John H. Ostrom of Yale University, now say they are certain Triceratops had sprawling lizard-like forelimbs after all, and could not gallop.
An excavation in New Mexico of the largest known dinosaur has unearthed 180 small stones buried right next to its skeleton.
Utah State palaeontologist David D. Gillette identified the stones—as small as a thumbnail to as large as a grapefruit—as gastroliths. Gastroliths are ‘stomach stones’ that certain animals hold in their digestive tract to grind food.
The grapefruit-sized stone puzzles Gillette because it is so big. He thinks the animal’s swallowing this stone may explain its death.
Science News, 20 October 1990, p. 255.
Is religion a ‘virus’?
Scientific author Richard Dawkins wonders if religions may be thought of as viruses that spread by infecting and subverting human thought, just as computer ‘viruses’ are able to ‘infect’ programs and replicate themselves.
The Oxford evolutionary biologist says that strong beliefs, held against the weight of logic and evidence, are precisely the type of defence that ‘mind viruses’ would establish to protect themselves and ensure long-term survival. ‘People who are bright can rebel against the pattern of infection’, Dr Dawkins says. ‘But overwhelmingly, children tend to have the same beliefs as their parents.’
The Age (Melbourne), 20 October 1990, p. 22.
The not so subtle message is that Christianity is a dangerous infection, but if you are smart you will rebel against your parents’ teachings. Taken to its logical conclusion, this idea would favour legislation to eliminate such dangerously infective environments as Sunday schools!
Creation school fights ‘tyranny’
California’s Institute for Creation Research Graduate School, which was ordered closed because it teaches creation, is asking the US Federal Court to ban ‘tyranny’ against Christian schools. The state’s superintendent of education, Bill Honig, tried to close the graduate school in March 1990. He said the school was not teaching science, as it taught creation instead of evolution.
The school filed three lawsuits against the education department so it could remain open. It has successfully settled two out of court.
President of the Institute for Creation Research, Dr Henry Morris, said the school now wants to know if state authorities ‘can dictate the total content of a private school’s curriculum, especially one which accepts no state or federal moneys.’
He said the creation school is ‘dedicated to exposing and overcoming such tyranny’.
The school has been offering Master’s degrees in science for 10 years. It has 12 resident Ph.D. scientists on its faculty.
New Scientist, 3 December 1990.
Texas textbooks to teach evolution
The Texas Board of Education has approved the use of textbooks that teach evolution only. This puts a temporary halt to a long-running creation-evolution textbook dispute.
But long-time textbook critic Mel Gabler of Longview complains that the books are written ‘to accommodate the faith of only a small percent of Americans who want only evolution and want it taught as fact.’
The decision takes effect with the 1991–92 academic year. It will stand for six years.
Texas orders so many textbooks that its standards are imposed in other states using the same books.
Texas Daily News, 9 November 1990.
Miami Herald, 12 November 1990, p. 2.
UFOs are not extraterrestrial machines, computer scientist and UFO writer Jacques Vallee says. Vallee gives five reasons why:
- Unexplained close encounters are much more numerous than required for any physical survey of the earth.
- The humanoid body structure of the alleged ‘aliens’ is not biologically adapted to space travel.
- Reported behaviour in thousands of alleged alien abductions contradicts the idea of an advanced race doing scientific experiments on humans.
- Reports throughout history show that UFOs are not a modem phenomenon.
- The ease with which UFOs supposedly manipulate space and time suggests radically different and richer alternatives.
Science Frontiers, January – February 1991, p. 4.
Noah’s Ark-size creation centre for Korea
A Korean creationist group plans to build a three-storey creation education complex ‘the size of Noah’s Ark’. Chairman of the 1,000-member group of scientists, Professor Young-Gil Kim, said during a visit to Australia’s Creation Science Foundation in Brisbane in December 1990 that the complex would house a creation museum, library, lecture rooms, offices, and accommodation facilities.
Professor Kim lectures in materials science at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. He helped found the Korea Association of Creation Research in 1980.
‘All members of our association are Christians and scientists’, Professor Kim said. He said the group has about 250 Ph.D. scientists, 400 more with the Master of Science degree, and hundreds more with the Bachelor of Science degree. He said land worth about US $10 million for the creation education centre had been donated to the group. A leading Korean architect had also volunteered his services. ‘The museum will include dinosaurs and extensive fossil evidence for creation and Noah’s Flood’, Professor Kim said.