Focus: news of interest about creation and evolution
Flipper plays rough
A common myth of evolutionary/New Age thinking is that of ‘the noble, gentle dolphin’. The bottle-nosed dolphin’s apparent smile, its playfulness with humans, and the occasional story of dolphins rescuing humans have all contributed to its image.
They are so much more loving and gentle than humans, the story goes, because while they have evolved big brains like us, they are so perfectly adapted to (‘in harmony with’) their natural environment that they have escaped the pressures of civilization.
Recent observations in Scotland’s Moray Firth show that dolphins, like most creatures in this corrupted, post-Fall world (Genesis 6:12) may fall short of such mystical ideals.
Video footage aired on BBC Scotland shows, ‘more clearly than the police beating of Rodney King’, porpoises being deliberately rammed by the much larger bottle-nosed dolphins, who are aggressively flinging the hapless creatures (which they do not eat) ‘into the air like volleyballs’. Dead porpoises with severe internal injuries and bearing dolphin teeth marks have previously been found in this area.
The Sciences, September/October, 1995 (p. 47).
Dall’s porpoise photo (courtesy Corel) .
Dall’s porpoise photo (courtesy Corel) .
Healers Hail Darwin
For a long time now, modern medicine has made countless therapeutic advances without relying in the slightest on evolutionary science. That is dissatisfying to a new wave of medicos who claim that their ‘new discipline’ of ‘Darwinian medicine’ is an important ‘basic science’ which adds valuable insights.
Disciples of this movement have released a substantial number of recent books on the subject. They claim that doctors will be better equipped to fight medical problems if they understand how natural selection in our evolutionary past has caused such things as coughing, diarrhoea, asthma, menstruation, morning sickness, and so on.
For example, they say, doctors will see a cough or diarrhoea in a different light when they understand that both are protective mechanisms which natural selection has designed to expel invading germs.
The Atlanta Journal, Saturday Reader, 15 April 1995.Of course, most doctors would long have known that a cough was a safety feature to expel germs or foreign bodies from the airway. Arguing that this mechanism was ‘designed’ by natural selection cannot logically offer any more clues for treatment than if it is seen as designed by a wise Creator. Unfortunately, such ‘insights’ are often spuriously presented as if they were somehow further evidence of evolution.
Art finds rock evolutionistsTo understand why two recent rock-art finds have upset evolutionary theories, we need to look at them through evolutionary eyes (i.e. assume the dating methods to be valid for the moment).
First, the pigment in some paintings in the Chauvet cave in France carbon-dated at around 30,000 years, making them ‘the world’s oldest rock paintings’. According to standard theory, the first art was ‘simple and crudely drawn, and only later evolved into more sophisticated images’. However, these Chauvet works of art are regarded as ‘exquisitely rendered’ and ‘stunning’, utilizing the natural contours of the cave to give perspective.Second, Aboriginal paintings allegedly thousands of years older than the rise of agriculture have been discovered in Australia’s Northern Territory, showing what appear to be scenes of ‘organized warfare’. This upsets the standard theory that ‘warfare began only after the rise of agriculture, when there were boundaries and people had land to fight over’.
New Scientist, 17 June 1995 (p. 5).
TIME Australia, 19 June 1995 (p. 49), and 14 August 1995 (pp. 92-94).
Rugby star ‘proof of evolution’New Zealand-born Tongan superstar of Rugby, Jonah Lomu, is proof of evolution theory, claims Phillip Houghton, anatomy professor at the University of Otago.
Lomu’s size and strength (195 centimetres (6 feet 5 inches) and a muscular 118 kilograms (260 pounds)) makes him a formidable opponent on the field.Houghton notes that Polynesians, because of their generally large physique, are coming to dominate New Zealand Rugby. He theorizes that the reason their muscle bulk is on average greater than that of other peoples is because only a few of their forebears survived the long journey over a cold Pacific. He points out that ‘in open boats, only the big and strong survive’.
The traditional view is that Polynesians came from Asia later than the already-settled Melanesians, whereas Houghton says they evolved from the Melanesians—quickly and ‘very recently.’
Otago Daily Times, 28 June 1995 (p. 33).Houghton could be right about the boat-survival theory, but if so, genes for great muscle bulk would have to have been already present in the ancestor population which ventured on the long voyages. This therefore shows natural selection eliminating genetic information, not creating anything new. Hence it has nothing to do with assumed molecules-to-man evolution. Such culling of some characteristics, with subsequent highlighting of certain others, can take place very quickly, in one wave of migration—especially if the populations are small. See ‘How Did All the Races Arise?’ in The Creation Answers Book.
University book vandalismProfessor Tim Birkhead, University of Sheffield, laments the vandalizing of books and journals in university libraries. The stealing of journals, and the removal of articles from journals and books, have become serious problems in tertiary institutions.
Articles cited by lecturers as required or recommended reading become targeted for these actions. Birkhead blames increasing student numbers and diminishing library resources for the problem.But he hints at another cause. He says ‘From a purely selfish, Darwinian point of view, stealing may seem a smart thing to do. The perpetrator gets the article and can answer an exam question on it, while the rest of the class cannot—it’s as simple as that.’
New Scientist, Vol. 147, 15 July 1995.It’s not surprising that students who have been indoctrinated with the ‘Darwinian point of view’—that they are just animals, that the concept of ‘god’ evolved along with them—should live according to the ‘law of the jungle’. They are not given a solid reason to behave in a moral, civilized manner, and to respect the property of others.
T. rex a wimp?The American Museum of Natural History in New York now says that the dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex was a scavenger, not the ferocious predator commonly portrayed.
In its new dinosaur display the museum claims that Tyrannosaurus rex was not particularly agile, and could not see well, but had a pronounced sense of smell—all pointing to a scavenger mode of existence.
The Advertiser (Adelaide), 20 June 1995 (p. 11).
Dr Gary Parker, creationist palaeontologist, based on information current at the time, argued that the dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex could not have been a ferocious predator because its teeth were not strongly anchored in its jaw. It could have literally left its teeth behind if it had grabbed a struggling animal in its jaws. Dr Parker has long suggested it was probably a scavenger. However, more recent information suggests that the T. rex had an extremely powerful bite, so it would be inadvisable to use this argument — see Putting the bite on T. rex. [Comment updated from original — Ed.]
Japan, war and evolution
This century has seen countless millions killed—more than in all known wars of human history put together—in the name of ideologies that owe their inspiration and justification directly to evolution.
The Nazis used this ‘science falsely so-called’ to justify treating other races as subhuman. Engaging in war, even genocide, could hardly be wrong, so they thought, since it made their version of the ‘fittest’ more likely to survive.
Communism’s dialectic materialism required belief in evolution for intellectual respectability. Stalin’s butchery is directly linked to his renunciation of God (and thus all notions of sin and judgment) after reading Darwin’s book. Mao Zedong, responsible for the deaths of tens of millions, listed Darwin and Huxley as his two favourite authors.
Few have realized, however, the degree to which Japanese thinking leading up to and during World War II was also heavily influenced by Darwin.
Japanese thought blended the theistic with the evolutionary. They were a chosen people because the Emperor was a descendant of the sun goddess; they were a master race because they were more highly evolved. Japanese biologists ‘produced studies decrying the apish physical features of other races (hairiness, long arms) and noting the highly evolved characteristics of the Japanese’ (which included milder body odour).
TIME Australia, 14 August 1995 (p. 83).The horrors of Changi, the Burma railroad, and the various death marches of World War II showed a people renowned for cultural gentility treating their wartime captives as totally subhuman. Once you have made any group of people less than human in your thinking, backed up by the authority of ‘science’, it becomes a powerful justification for plain old sin.
If instead of Darwinism, the scientific world had been disseminating the truth that we are all closely related, being the descendants of Adam and Eve through Noah, what a difference we could have seen in the history of the last hundred years!
Reviving ancient germs?
Beautifully preserved insects in amber have long fascinated more people than the makers of Jurassic Park. There have been many recent claims of extracting DNA—tiny, broken strands of the complex molecule that carries the various instructions for living things—from amber insects.
This is exciting for creationists. Finding this complicated, fragile molecule which breaks down all by itself over time, gives strong evidence that the ‘millions of years’ attributed to these fossil insects is fictional. Laboratory evidence that DNA should not be there after only 10,000 years is so persuasive that some evolutionists are skeptical that any DNA has been extracted from fossils at all. (Creation 15:2, p. 9.) They prefer to believe that the specimens have been contaminated with modern DNA, in spite of strong evidence in some instances that this is not the case.
Now the chairman of the microbiology department at California Polytechnic State University, and an assistant, have claimed in Science magazine that they have cultured live bacteria from the gut of a bee in Dominican amber. According to evolutionary assumptions, the fossil is 25-40 million years old.
While there is considerable skepticism from some quarters, there is general agreement that the claim is ‘most compelling’, with painstaking attempts to avoid modern contamination. It also appears that the bacterial DNA is slightly different from that of known modern ones.
Surprisingly, the same researchers claim they have already revived 1,500 different types of ancient micro-organisms, which include a ‘Jurassic’ yeast they have used to brew ale.
New Scientist, 27 May 1995 (p. 18).
TIME Australia, 29 May 1995 (pp. 52-53).
If the claims stand the test of time, finding live (dormant) organisms with all their machinery intact is, when you think on it, even more startling evidence for a young age for the fossils than finding scraps of DNA.