This article is from
Creation 21(1):7–9, December 1998

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Focus: news of interest about creation and evolution

Did scientists create life, or did the media create hype?


Newspapers around the world proclaimed: ‘German chemists have produced living cells from a combination of amino acids ….’1

This would be remarkable. Even the simplest free-living cell has 482 genes coding for all the necessary enzymes, the chemical machines of life. The enzymes are each composed of, on average, about 400 building blocks (amino acids), all of which have to be in the ‘left-handed’ form, and in precise sequences.2

As usual, the media pro-evolutionary hype misleads. According to the original scientific paper,3 all that was produced were a few dipeptides (the building blocks joined in pairs) and a minuscule amount of tripeptides (joined in threes). The exclusive ‘left-handedness’ required for life was destroyed in the process. And they reported that even these pairs were broken down rapidly under the same conditions! A few paired building blocks are a far cry from even one enzyme, let alone a living cell.

The next day, the same newspaper wrote ‘WA Museum evolutionary biologist Ken McNamara said if life could be created artificially, it could emerge naturally given the right conditions.’

1. The West Australian, 11&12 August 1998.

2. Science, pp. 397–403, 445–6, 20 October 1995.

3. Science, pp. 627–629, 670–672, 31 July 1998.

By this ‘logic,’ because we can create cars artificially (with loads of intelligent input!), it proves they could emerge naturally (without intelligence!).

Lily heats beetles

It appears that some plants of the Mediterranean and tropics are thermogenic—i.e. they have the ability to heat up. Botanists have long believed that thermogenic plants, such as the tropical lily Philodendron selloum, use this heat just to spread their scent. However, it appears that they may be doing it to attract pollinating insects. Recent measurements show that they can keep their temperature around 35°C. This is exactly the right temperature for the tiny muscles of flying beetles. Studies on scarab beetles suggest that they need to eat their body weight in food daily to maintain the right temperature, and energy demand decreases 30-fold if they can spend the night somewhere hot and cozy. So a few hours inside a warm flower is an attractive proposition. Scientists are still trying to unravel the fine details of this symbiotic relationship.

The Sunday Telegraph, p. 19, 8 February 1998.

The more we look at the never-ending array of complexities in the natural world, the harder it is to believe that it is not designed.

Early man underestimated (again)

Even most evolutionists agree that where you find carefully fashioned stone tools, it is evidence that people have been there. However, a recent find of such tools associated with animal bones on a small Indonesian island has caused a furore. Evolutionary techniques have ‘dated’ the find at >800,000 years, yet humans at this alleged evolutionary stage were not supposed to have been able to have the seafaring skills necessary to reach the island.

New Scientist, p. 6, 14 March 1998.

The prejudice against biblical history, that people have always been people, is strong. One report now claims that the holes in the Neandertal bone flute fragment we reported on were made by a carnivore’s teeth.

The apparent motivation is disbelief that these ancient men could have been so ‘advanced,’ despite the fact that other Neandertal musical instruments have been found.

Early American shoe fashion

Anthropologists have analyzed 35 shoes unearthed in a campsite of ‘cave dwellers’ in Missouri, USA, ‘dated’ at from 1,000 to about 9,400 years ago. The earliest shoes were ‘every bit as well-made and as complex as those from later on,’ with comfort features, one resembling ‘a Dr. Scholl’s foot pad.’

There was a range of styles with different crafting details, including ‘sling backs’ (an open sandal with a cupping heel and a loop that grasps the heel bone), a summer shoe type common today.

Anthropologist Michael O’Brien says ‘they did not invent something flimsy that then got better over time. The earliest shoe is every bit as well-made and as complex as those from later on.’

Science, pp. 9, 23, 25, 72–75, 3 July 1998.

The Cincinnati Enquirer, p. A7, 3 July 1998.

The early post-Flood settlers had sophisticated pre-Flood knowledge and skills (as reflected by the construction of the Ark and the city of Babel). Some gained technology, some lost it, especially after the catastrophe at Babel. There are low-tech and high-tech societies today, but there are no ‘partly evolved’ humans with subhuman intelligence—and there is no reason to think that there have ever been such in the past.

Planet mania?

Evolutionists speculate that life evolved on earth, so many also speculate that life also evolved on other planets outside our solar system, called extrasolar planets.

This of course requires that such planets exist, even though this would not in itself guarantee that life could evolve or even exist on them.

Paul Kalas, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, is one evolutionist who believes that other planets will be found. But he asks whether many claims are the result of ‘planet mania.’

This is ‘a bias among astronomers in which every cavity and blob, even a wiggle, in circumstellar dust disks [disks surrounding a star] is taken as evidence for extrasolar planets.’

Kalas also points out there are huge leaps in logic. For example, some astronomers argued that a star called HR 4796 is the right age to form planets, so certain observations should be explained by planets. Kalas points out that this is like a doctor diagnosing cancer because you are the right age to have cancer.

Last issue (p. 8) we reported on an alleged photograph of a planet which was 450 light years away. Dr Kalas points out that this could really be a photo of a distant star.

Science, pp. 182–183, 10 July 1998.

This is a good lesson that scientists have biases, and that we should not trust the frequent pro-evolution media pronouncements. And even if other planets exist, earth is the one where man was created, where he fell and brought the whole creation into bondage, and where God Himself took on human nature (Jesus Christ).

Sharks and camels … cousins?

Similar proteins in two groups of living things are often used by evolutionists to demonstrate their relatedness. Whereas in reality it is because they have the same Designer, using similar structures for similar purposes in creatures with similar ways of life.

Because the Creator was not restrained to following the same patterns predicted by evolution, every now and then there will be a surprise; two groups will have the same chemical, even though they are not supposed to be closely related.

This means they could not have inherited the chemical from the same ancestor. Evolutionists will then blame this on ‘convergence’—a remarkable set of coincidences are held responsible for the same chemical evolving independently.

This was highlighted recently with the discovery that an ‘unusual immune protein’ occurring in the camel/llama family is also found in the nurse shark.

New Scientist, p. 23, 3 October 1998.

To put it another way—by the usual reasoning used in evolutionary texts, nurse sharks and camels, based on this protein, must be closely related (!).

Wormholes in evolutionary scenario

According to classic evolutionary belief, no animals other than one-celled creatures are supposed to be present in rocks which are ‘dated’ at more than 580 million years. What appear to be unmistakable worm burrows have now been found in rocks which ‘date’ at around 1.1 billion years. The consistent diameter of the markings helps to identify them as worm burrows.

Science, pp. 19–20, 80–83, 2 October 1998.

Worms have always been worms; they were made on Day Six of Creation Week.

From goo to you—maybe

There are major scientific problems with theories of the origin of life from a ‘primordial soup.’ One is that living things require their building blocks, amino acids, to be 100% ‘left handed.’

However, a hypothetical ‘soup,’ by well-known laws of chemistry, would inevitably be a 50/50 mixture of left and right-handed acids. Even one wrong-handed impurity would destroy biological activity.

Recently, the Australian astronomer Jeremy Bailey thought he had found a possible solution when his team discovered ‘rotated’ (circularly polarized) light in space (in a nebula)—this was in the infrared form.

Bailey hopes to find similarly ‘rotated’ light in the ultraviolet (UV) form, because this would destroy the ‘wrong’ amino acids and thus could explain ‘nature’s handedness’ without invoking design. But in 1973, a major chemical symposium pointed out that (even if such rotated UV light were found) this would destroy much of the ‘correct’ form in the process, so only a slight imbalance (up to about 20%) can be produced—after 99% of the material has been destroyed. Well before the required 100% purity could be reached, none of the material would remain!

This shows the problem is far from solved, even if we grant the wishful thinking of the astronomers for circularly polarized UV light (and amino acid formation in the nebula).

Evolutionist Jeffrey Bada of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and an expert on chirality, is also skeptical of the ‘solution.’ He said, ‘It’s just a series of maybe steps. To me, that makes the whole thing a big maybe.’

Science, pp. 626–627, 672–674, 31 July 1998.

New Scientist, p. 11, 8 August 1998.


Footprints flag evolutionary mystery

At historic Glenisla Homestead, in rural Victoria, Australia, fossil footprints found in the courtyard flagstones (right) have geologists baffled. It was originally thought that they had been made by tetrapods—four footed animals. Yet recent ‘dating’ of the quarry from which the stones came gives a result, by evolutionary assumptions, of 420 million years—tens of millions of years before there are supposed to have been any tetrapods, according to evolutionary belief.

Wimmera Mail Times (Horsham, Australia), 3 July 1998.

Suicide stories sink

The age-old belief that lemmings (small mammals like hamsters) tend to commit mass suicide by jumping off cliffs when experiencing overcrowding has now been disproved.

A BBC wildlife team has spent six months filming these little rodents on Victoria Island in the west Canadian Arctic.

They found that as long as food is available, lemmings actually thrive when overcrowded and do not become migration-prone and suddenly take to clifftop diving.

The myth has its roots in Scandinavian and Inuit folklore and became popularized from the writings of 19th century naturalists. By mid-20th century most scientists were sure that the only falls were accidental ones during migration down Norwegian mountains to lusher pastures.

A Walt Disney film in the 1950s revived the myth; apparently hundreds of imported lemmings were filmed by Disney as they were herded off a cliff.

Why whales beach themselves has also been a long-standing mystery. Alexander Frantzis, an oceanographer at the Natural Centre of Marine Research in Athens, may have found one answer.

During two days in May of 1996, twelve Cuvier beaked whales beached themselves and died along the southwest coast of Greece.

During this same period, a Nato research vessel was testing a low frequency sonar that can track submarines. Frantzis has proposed that the bursts of sound waves from the sonar interfered with the hearing of the whales, since hearing is used for navigation by marine sea mammals, and caused the animals to lose orientation and become stranded.

The Guardian, p. 5, 24 February 1998.

Time, p. 16, 27 July 1998.

God originally designed animals to ‘be fruitful and multiply,’ not to commit suicide. However, as a result of the Fall and man’s intervention, many species continue to become extinct.

‘Dinosaur beetle’ find

‘The equivalent of stumbling across a dinosaur,’ is how Australian scientists described the discovery of a beetle species down under, previously unknown to science. Dr Malcolm Robertson, of the prestigious government research body, CSIRO, said, ‘This is an insect that hasn’t changed at all in almost 200 million years.’

Herald Sun, 29 September 1998.

Answers in Genesis speakers are sometimes asked what would happen if a living dinosaur were discovered—wouldn’t that make evolutionists sit up and realize something was wrong with their timescale? It should, but in fact there have already been several discoveries of plants and animals, like this beetle, with exactly the same implications as a living dinosaur—yet the evolutionary faith is resilient enough to survive such challenges.