Focus: News of interest about creation and evolution
- Noah Ark Searchers Safe After Kidnap
- Ark-Seeking Astronaut James Irwin Dies
- Iceman found in Glacier
- Loch Ness Search
- Howling Hybrids
- Always a Cockroach
- Speedy Star Sequence
- Learning From Spiders
- Young Oil
- All Catastrophists Now?
- Earth-Shaker Surprise
- Neanderthals Not Cannibals
Noah Ark Searchers Safe After Kidnap
A team researching a possible Noah’s Ark site in eastern Turkey was released unharmed in September by Kurdish guerrillas who had held the team members hostage for three weeks.The Ark team, consisting of Australian historian Dr Allen Roberts, Americans Dr Ron Wyatt, Marvin Wilson and Richard Rives, was kidnapped with Briton Gareth Thomas on August 30 by armed Kurds. The guerrillas finally released their hostages when they realized Dr Roberts needed medical treatment for a badly injured leg.
Dr Roberts, 59, said, ‘We could have been shot — it does happen. But, mercifully, after a few minutes we realized that wasn’t going to happen — that we were obviously of more use to them alive than dead.’ The research group had met Turkish authorities only hours before they were kidnapped to obtain permission to excavate a boat-shaped rock formation they believe could be the Ark.
The boat-shaped rock site has caused controversy in recent years. Ark-searchers have disagreed over whether it is the Ark or just an unusual natural rock formation. Dr Roberts first learned of this boat-shaped formation from an article in America’s Life magazine.
The site was exposed in 1948 after an earthquake.
The Noah’s Ark Research Foundation, of which Dr Roberts is a member, was set up in 1990 to research this site. The boat-shaped rock site lies about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the two volcanic peaks of Mount Ararat on the Armenian plateau. Dr Roberts said the site needed to be properly excavated.
Ark-Seeking Astronaut James Irwin DiesFormer U.S. astronaut James Irwin, who walked on the moon in 1971 and was involved in searching for Noah’s Ark since 1982, died in a hospital in Colorado in August, 1991.
Colonel Irwin was on a speaking tour of central Colorado Christian organizations at the time of his death. He had a history of heart trouble. Colonel Irwin viewed his Apollo 15 moon journey as a religious experience. He resigned from the space program in 1972 to form his evangelical High Flight Foundation in Colorado Springs.
He was involved in six expeditions to Mount Ararat in search of Noah’s Ark.
Iceman found in Glacier
Deep frozen in a Tyrolean glacier for many centuries, the incredibly well preserved body of a young man found in September, 1991, ‘astonished the scientific world’.The implements he was carrying, such as a bronze axe and a flint knife, seem to be the reason for classifying ‘Similaun man’ (named after the glacier) as ‘bronze age’ and assigning an age of 4,000 years. Investigators working on standard cultural evolutionary assumptions have been forced to rethink. He presents as ‘far more civilized and sophisticated than previously thought’. Leather, chamois and fur were used for clothing, and he had a leather necklace. He also carried a wood framed backpack, bow, arrows and quiver, and bore several tattoos. There was clear cut evidence that he shaved and cut his fingernails.
Professor Konrad Spindler of the University of Innsbruck said: ‘This was no primitive savage. He was very well-nourished, strong and well-dressed. If I passed him on the mountain I would feel moved to greet him very politely and very respectfully.’The Australian Magazine
October 19-20, 1991, (pp. 38-42).
Loch Ness Search
The Loch Ness monster may want to dive deeper. Scientists from Britain’s Natural History Museum have launched a serious four-year study into the lake’s mysteries. Museum director Dr Neil Chalmers said that for too long scientists had avoided a serious survey. He said it was remarkable that so little was known about the lake, even its depth. ‘It is time there was a comprehensive, scientific survey of Loch Ness to help us understand and protect it’, he said. Sonar equipment is being used to map underwater contours of the 35 kilometre-long lake. The water in the lake is clouded by peat and is opaque at 15 metres. It is thought to be at least 225 metres deep. Professor Colin Curds, keeper of zoology at the museum, said he believed the study would reveal formerly unknown species in the lake.
The West Australian,
July 22, 1991 (p. 37).
The endangered American red wolf (Canis rufus) is extinct in the wild, but has been bred in captivity since 1974. Recent research on its DNA suggests that it may be only a hybrid (cross) between the grey wolf and the coyote, even though it is classified as a separate species. The red wolf nevertheless was the top predator in the ecosystem of a vast area of the United States.
Nature, Vol. 351,
June 13, 1991 (p. 565).
Always a CockroachA fossil cockroach found in France indicates that cockroaches have always been cockroaches. The rock in which it was found, with its wings spread, was dated as 300 million years old on the evolutionary time-scale.
The Billings Gazette,
June 8, 1991 (p. 9 A).
Speedy Star SequenceStars do change. This is often mislabelled as ‘evolution’, although degeneration would be a better word. Stars explode, cool down, fizzle out, collapse and generally obey the laws of thermodynamics by running down. Astronomers have worked out a complex theoretical sequence of events for many of these changes, which they believe each take millions of years. But Ken Croswell points out in New Scientist that a star called FG Sagittae has changed from being a blue star (with a temperature of 12,000 degrees Kelvin) to a yellow star (temperature 5,000 K) in only 36 years of observation.
September 14, 1991 (pp. 28-41).
Learning From SpidersSpider webs that are 10 times tougher than the best synthetic fibres and stronger than steel could soon be part of bullet-proof vests, bridge cables and car bodies — if scientists learn how to spin them. Researchers at the University of Washington and the US Army have found clues about the structure of a common Florida spider that they believe will allow them to reproduce similar silk for use in industry. Christopher Viney, assistant professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington, said: ‘Nature makes a lot of interesting materials, and we are just beginning to learn how to use them.’
The Columbus Dispatch,
June 30, 1991 (p. 7C).
Young OilEvolutionist geologists maintain that most of the oil they pump out of the ground was formed many millions of years ago from biological debris. But in the Guaymas Basin, in the Gulf of California, oil seeping out of the sediments has been dated at less than 4,300 years old. It could even be younger because:
One proposal is that the oil may have formed no more than 1,240 years ago.
The organic debris that was carbon-14 dated may have taken many years to become incorporated in the sediments. The dating may be affected by older material in the sediments.
July August 1991 (p. 3).
April 6,1991 (p. 19).
All Catastrophists Now?A telegram sent to geologist J. Harlem Bretz of Chicago by a major international association with an interest in quaternary geology concluded with the words, ‘We are all catastrophists now.’
The telegram was sent shortly before Bretz died, then in his nineties, and would have been a tremendous vindication for him. For more than 50 years he had battled to get acceptance of a hypothesis, first put forward in 1923, which was ridiculed as ‘hare-brained’ by the geological establishment. Bretz proposed, even before he had any idea of the source of the water, that what are known as the ‘Channeled Scablands’ over an area of some 40,000 square kilometres (16,000 square miles), were caused by a great flood which swept over the northwestern American States of Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, through the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific, around 20,000 years ago. This idea has now been widely accepted, and is attributed to the past existence of a huge lake blocked by an ice dam which eventually gave way, perhaps more than once. Not only did such flooding leave huge deposits, it also cut deep canyons, or ‘coulees’, through solid basaltic rock, including the 275-metre (900 feet) deep Grand Coulee — in a matter of days.
July 13, 1991 (pp. 49-50).
Earth-Shaker SurpriseBony remains of a huge 48-metre (160 feet) long dinosaur known as Seismosaurus (‘earthshaker’) appear to have yielded up intact proteins when chemical extraction techniques were applied. Proteins are long-chain molecules in living things which, like DNA, break down readily by bacterial attack and other means. It was stunning enough for evolutionists to find intact DNA in a fossil magnolia leaf in a layer alleged to be about 20 million years old. However, these proteins, if confirmed, would have had to survive around 150 million years by evolutionary time-scales. Some sceptics suggest the proteins may have come from human contamination or from ground-water.
Vol. 139 No. 18 (p. 277).
Neanderthals Not CannibalsA new study has challenged a long-held assumption that Neanderthals practiced cannibalism in Italy’s famous Guattari Cave. The cave gained scientific notoriety in 1939 when an archaeologist found a smashed Neanderthal skull in what he said was a ring of stones. He believed the skull had been bashed to extract the brain in a cannibalistic act. Mary C. Stiner from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and other researchers, now believe the cave was simply a hyena’s den. The hyenas had scavenged the remains of animals, with an occasional deceased Neanderthal dragged in from a shallow burial site. The researchers say the skull shows no scrape marks, no peeling or flaking, and none of the beveling found on cannibalized skulls of Melanesians and others. They say the stones form an ‘irregular cluster’, not a constructed ring.
June 1,1991 (p. 341).