Focus: news of interest about creation and evolution
Big bang can’t explain
Most evolutionists and progressive creationists believe that the big bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago. So how big would we expect the universe to be? Even if the universe expanded at the speed of light, then the radius of the universe should be 13.7 billion light-years as an upper limit, so the width of the universe is 27.4 billion light-years, right?
From new data collected from a space probe examining the Cosmic Background Radiation, astronomers estimate the universe is at least 156 billion light-years wide. Actually, it’s long been known that the universe was a lot wider than 27.4 billion light-years; this latest research tells us how much wider.
According to researchers writing in the journal Physics Review Letters, the universe must have expanded much faster than light in its early stage. An atheistic physicist, Alan Guth, proposed this over 20 years ago—the ‘inflation’ model.
It’s no wonder that 33 leading scientists have published an ‘Open Letter to the Scientific Community’ rejecting the big bang. They refer to ‘fudge factors’ such as the ‘hypothetical’ inflation idea, which needs a cosmic density 20 times larger than that required for the big bang to make the light elements.
BBC News, <news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3753115.stm>, 31 May 2004.
New Scientist, 22 May 2004, p. 20.
Skeptics often challenge creationists to answer how the light could have travelled from distant stars to earth in 6,000 years. But light-travel time is just as much a difficulty for the big-bangers, called the ‘horizon problem’—see Creation 25(4):48–49. And if secular scientists finally throw out the big bang, what will happen to the Christian apologists who reinterpret the Bible to fit into this theory? They will have to reinterpret their reinterpretations!
Not rock of ages
French scientist Joseph Davidovits has developed a simple, low-temperature process that transforms naturally occurring clay materials into rock. And it is rapid—only a matter of hours, sometimes even just a few minutes.
With this simple ‘geopolymerisation’ process, industry now makes building materials, aeroplane parts, decorative sculptures and many other products. Geopolymers are based on silicates of aluminium, the most common minerals in the earth’s crust.
Geopolymer Conference, Melbourne, 2002, <www.geopolymer.org/library_papers/abstracts_scientific_files.html#16>, 11 June 2004.
Thus rocks can form in a matter of hours—you don’t need millions of years.
Church—going going, going … gone?
Following years of declining church attendance, a report by the Church of England paints a bleak assessment. It says most people would rather spend the time with family, renovating the home, or watching sport.
‘The reality is that mainstream culture no longer brings people to the church door.’
The report recognizes that the population’s increasing ignorance of the basic Christian tenets will make it even harder to attract people. ‘During the 20th century, Sunday school attendance dropped from 55% to 4% of children, meaning that even the rudiments of the Christian story and Christian experience are lacking in most young people.’
The report concludes that the consequences for the church, ‘used to operating among people and institutions on the assumptions of Christendom, are acute.’
The Sunday Mail (Brisbane, Australia), 25 January 2004, p. 32.
While it is going to be hard to proclaim the Gospel to a culture unfamiliar with Moses and the Prophets (Luke 16:29–31), it is not impossible when one starts from the beginning (Acts 17:16–34; cf. Acts 2:14–41).
Fish feel pain
In experiments to test whether fish can feel pain, trout treated with morphine showed less visible distress than undrugged ones when their lips were injected with an acid, suggesting the morphine was deadening the pain.
Previously some biologists had thought that the erratic behaviour of fish injected with acid might merely be a reflex action rather than a response to pain.
‘I think with morphine, it proves that the pain is being reduced,’ said one researcher. ‘It’s doing the same job in fish as in humans.’
New Scientist, 3 May 2003, p. 15; 6 September 2003, p. 22.
The phrase ‘living being’ (Hebrew נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה , nephesh chayyāh) describing man in Genesis 2:7 is also used of the sea creatures in Genesis 1:20–21. So it’s not surprising that fish, like humans, feel pain—unlike plants, which are not nephesh life. Prior to the Fall, creatures were vegetarian (Genesis 1:29–30), i.e., it was a world without pain and death.
Martian life twist
If life is found on Mars, it’s because we sent it there, says a University of Florida researcher.
Andrew Schuerger said of all probes sent to Mars, only the two Viking craft in 1976 were adequately heat-sterilized. Since then, the procedures used (including on NASA’s twin rovers and Europe’s Beagle 2) would have left some microbes on board.
New Scientist, 27 March 2004, p. 5.
Fluttering among the dinos
Ancient butterflies ‘exquisitely preserved’ in amber dated at 15 to 25 million years old are forcing a rethink of their [supposed] evolutionary origins.
‘It was just incredible,’ said one researcher. ‘It’s no different than if you took a modern-day butterfly and put it under a light microscope.’
It had been thought that butterflies first evolved about 40 or 50 million years ago, after the dinosaurs had died out. But because the butterflies in ancient amber are just like today’s butterflies, researchers propose that ‘primitive butterflies’ must have arisen much earlier than previously thought, perhaps fluttering among the dinosaurs more than 65 million years ago.
New Scientist, 27 March 2004, p. 17.
Such ‘living fossils’ pose a conundrum for evolutionists—why no change? Amber fossils likely date from the Flood, about 4,500 years ago (see Creation 25(2):52–53, 2003).
Money for SETI
A generous donor has given SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) US$13.5 million to help fund the search for extraterrestrial life. SETI said the donation would be used to create a radio telescope array of more than 200 satellite dishes to measure signals from space.
The donor was Paul Allen, cofounder (with Bill Gates) of Microsoft Corporation. ‘An instrument of this magnitude will result in the expansion of our understanding of how the universe was formed, and how it has evolved and our place therein,’ he said.
The Courier Mail (Brisbane, Australia), 23 March 2004, p. 12.
Why would anyone donate US$13.5 million to search for signals from space? Because they think that if life evolved on earth, then it could have evolved elsewhere too.
The oldest known jewellery yet? Beads from South Africa made of snail shell have been dated to about 75,000 years ago—more than 30,000 years older than any previously discovered personal adornment.
The find is a surprise for many archaeologists, who had not expected evidence of such early cultural complexity and modern human behaviour.
It shows the people who made the beads had well-developed language with a grammatical structure. ‘They must have had a way of describing the symbolic message that the beads represent,’ said one researcher.
Other beads, made of ostrich shell, have been found in east Africa and researchers have provisionally ascribed an age ranging from 45,000 up to 110,000 years old. This, too, is confronting to many archaeologists who had not expected such evidence of creativity in early man.
Science, 16 April 2004, pp. 369, 404.
New Scientist, 24 April 2004, p. 17.
Progressive creationists such as Hugh Ross stretch the biblical timeline past breaking point to place Adam at 60,000 years ago. Yet, according to dating methods he trusts, ingenious human behaviour continues to be found (by evolutionists) far earlier than that. It’s far more logical to trust the Bible’s dates and recognize that secular dates are based on assumptions.
Chimps and humans not so similar after all
Scientists have compared the ‘letter’ sequence on the DNA of the smallest human and chimp chromosomes. Considering the oft-repeated claim that human and chimp DNA differs by less than 2%, the researchers were surprised to find that the real difference was much larger. It appears that previous estimates of overall difference only took into account ‘letter’ substitutions and not deletions and insertions. Inclusion of deletions and insertions increases the difference to at least 7.7%.
The researchers were surprised at the amount of difference, which they did not expect from their evolutionary view of human origins.
Nature, 27 May 2004, pp. 382–388.
Oil from turkey waste
‘We duplicated what Mother Nature does, but what Mother Nature took millions of years to do, we do in about 30 minutes.’
The speaker was P.J. Samson, president of Renewable Energy Solutions, a company formed to commercialize new technology designed to convert turkey waste into oil [see Creation 26(1):7].
‘We have proven the technology works,’ Samson said. Using heat, pressure and water, the company’s unique ‘oil refinery’ is now converting daily 200 tons of turkey blood, bone, offal, feathers and other waste into 100 to 200 barrels of oil per day.
The Joplin Globe, <www.joplinglobe.com/archives/story.php?story_id=56589>, 25 May 2004.
Waste-into-oil in 30 minutes shows the earth’s oil reserves did not need millions of years to form, after all.
Sniffer dogs still best
An odour-sensing robot, developed at Monash University, Australia, can successfully negotiate a maze of tunnels to track down an odour, using chemical, ultrasonic, airflow and whisker sensors.
Researchers hope that the sniffing robot could one day be used to search for drugs and explosives at airports etc. But they admit there’s a long way to go yet, as the average dog’s nose is about 100 million times more sensitive than the current ‘sniffer-bot’.
The Herald Sun, 10 September 2003, p. 9.
‘A long way to go yet’ to get anywhere near the standard set by the master Designer (Romans 1:20).
Army ants defy evolution
A closer look at army ants has overturned traditional evolutionary ideas about their origin.
It had been thought that army ants originated separately on several continents, but researchers now say army ants have come from the same point of origin, and in essence have not changed in 100 million years.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 27 May 2003, pp. 6575–6579.
The evidence points to ‘no evolution’ just as the Bible says. The Bible also says the universe is only around 6,000 years old.
Giant marsupial lion
‘Australia’s version of the sabre-tooth tiger’ is how one researcher describes the extinct marsupial lion Thylacoleo carnifex, ‘an animal twice the size of a leopard’.
Estimated to have weighed up to 130 kg (290 lb), it is said to have been the ‘king of the carnivores’. Researchers say that it’s ‘very likely it would have killed Aborigines’, who in turn would have hunted them.
Sunday Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia), 14 Sep. 2003, p. 17.
And it’s very likely that Aboriginal people hunted it to extinction, as in other parts of the world, where savage and dangerous beasts were often wiped out as people spread out from Babel.