Focus: news of interest about creation and evolution
Numerous ideas have been proposed as to why [according to the theory of evolution] aquatic creatures with backbones evolved from the sea up onto the land. Some say that fish first hauled themselves onto dry land to escape predators; another suggestion is that it allowed them to scavenge stranded fish.
The latest idea is that fish dragged themselves out of tropical Devonian waters ‘365 million years ago’ in order to bask in the sun. It is claimed this gave the fish an energy boost that made them more agile in the water, and it was ‘the evolutionary milestone that heralded the rise of all land vertebrates, including us’.
New Scientist, 31 July 2004, p. 13.
Great storytelling—but where’s the evidence? See There are no transitional fossils.
Computerized X-ray scanning of fossilized Homo heidelbergensis skulls from Spain shows the ears would have been able to hear sound waves with frequencies of two to four kilohertz—ideal for hearing the range of human speech. So the ears of these skulls, dated at 350,000 years of age, were distinctly different from chimpanzee ears, which aren’t good at picking up sounds in the human range.
New Scientist, 26 June 2004, p. 16.
So-called ‘Heidelberg Man’ was not some half-evolved creature on the way to becoming fully human. He was fully human—a descendant of the first man, Adam, who was created in God’s image around 6,000 years ago.
How did Jupiter and other gas giants form? God’s Word implies that the planets were formed on Day 4 of Creation Week, the same day as the sun, moon and stars. But evolutionists assert that planets formed by accretion of rocks and dust. And they believe that the gas giants formed further away from the sun for one simple reason: it is cool enough for ice to condense. Why ice? So that the growing planet can get more mass, as well as the ice helping rock to stick. They believe that the rocky aggregate eventually becomes massive enough to be a ‘seed’ for gravity to suck in the surrounding gas, hence a gas giant.
Under this theory, Jupiter should have a rocky core of over 20 Earth masses. But new research on models for Jupiter have shown that Jupiter probably has a core of, at most, five Earth masses, and maybe even no core at all!
The evolutionary planetary theorist Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution in Washington D.C. said, ‘The leading theory for giant planet formation has encountered a mortal blow.’
New Scientist, 24 July 2004, p. 9.
However, evolutionists are committed to some materialistic idea at all costs—all that remains is filling in the details. Some have tried, in Boss’s words, to ‘put the theory on life support’ by inventing a just-so story that the core was eroded away. Boss himself proposes that part of the gas cloud collapsed without a ‘seed’, but if that was so easy, why would the evolutionists have even bothered to propose the seeding idea?
Instead of sweat glands, hippos have special glands which make a red slime (the basis for the legend that hippos perspire blood), which later turns brown. The slime not only helps keep the animals cool, but recent research now shows it also stops pathogenic bacteria in their tracks.
What’s more, the slime is thought to act as a sunscreen, as it filters out harmful ultraviolet radiation.
New Scientist, 29 May 2004, p. 17.
Nature, 27 May 2004, p. 363.
Snow doesn’t take long to pile up in Antarctica, which is why architects who relish a challenge are being sought by the British Antarctic Survey to design a new operational base.
The existing Halley base is the fifth built on the site since 1956 and is the most successful design to date because it can be jacked up on extendable legs to keep it above an accumulated snowfall of 1.5 m (5 ft) per year.
‘The first four bases were built on the surface and gradually got covered with snow and ultimately got so deep they became crushed by the weight of ice and had to be replaced’, explained BAS director, Professor Chris Rapley. ‘People living like troglodytes [cave-dwellers] and having to go down a long vertical shaft to get to their homes was not ideal.’
BBC News, <news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3848133.stm>, 26 August 2004.
This reinforces the point made in our earlier articles (Creation19(3):10–14, 1997; 26(1):20–21, 2003) about WWII planes found in Greenland in 1988 buried under 75 m (250 ft) of solid ice—namely, that layers in ice cores taken from Arctic and Antarctic areas did not need vast timespans to accumulate.
It was double trouble for the earth’s creatures ‘65 million years’ ago, according to the latest evolutionary thinking.
An asteroid impact is said to have left the sky glowing red for hours as debris rained down, broiling the dinosaurs and anything else too big to find refuge. Meanwhile many mammals, birds, snakes and amphibians hid underground or in the water, and so survived the heatwave.
But then dust from the impact blocked the sun’s light, plunging the earth into an ‘impact winter’. Previously believed to have lasted about a decade, it’s now thought to have lowered ocean temperatures for about 2,000 years, wiping out many marine organisms.
New Scientist, 5 June 2004, p. 20.
Always ask: ‘Now, how do they know that?’ The answer is: they don’t. The constantly-changing storyline marks attempts to explain from evidence in the present (today’s rocks, fossils, etc.) how things were in the past. In contrast, from what the Bible tells us about the past we can better understand the present. (For more on this topic, see Faith and facts)
In a NASA press release, colleagues of the scientific team that in 1996 announced the possibility that Martian meteorite ALH84001 (found in Antarctica) contained evidence of past life have revealed new findings that cast further doubt on the earlier assessment.
Some still claimed that the meteorite’s magnetite crystals were caused by an ancient microscopic organism. But researchers have found that purely inorganic processes, namely, decomposition of iron-bearing carbonate under high heat, produces magnetite crystals identical to those found in ALH84001.
Spaceflight Now, <www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0405/05marslife/>, 7 June 2004.
The Cassini space probe—the first craft sent to orbit Saturn’s rings—has revealed previously unknown features of the Saturn system. New Scientist reports that photographs of the rings show ‘a host of ringlets with unexpected sharp edges—a mystery, as collisions [over billions of years] between the particles should smooth out the edges’.
New Scientist, 10 July 2004, p. 10.
The ringlets’ sharp edges are evidence of our solar system being only thousands of years old; not billions of years—there simply hasn’t been enough time for the edges to become smooth.
Target disabled, says Peter Singer
During a recent visit to Australia, Professor Peter Singer, who teaches bioethics at Princeton University, was dismissive of protesters opposed to his advocating euthanasia of the severely disabled (the Nazis put this into practice).
‘If they want to say that having a disability should never be a reason for deciding that it’s better that a child should not live, then their target is really the majority of Australians because the majority of Australians support pre-natal diagnosis, and of course that is very commonly followed by termination of pregnancy when a condition like Downs Syndrome or some other disability is revealed.
‘So as far as my attitude to people with disability [is concerned], it’s no different from that of the 80 or 85 per cent of Australian women who decide to terminate a pregnancy when they’re told that their foetus will have a severe disability.’
ABC Radio (Aust.), ‘AM’ program, <www.abc.net.au/am/content/2004/s1162647.htm>, broadcast 27 July 2004.
Many people (rightly) oppose abortion because of the clear scientific fact that human individual life begins at conception. They regard it as self-evident that murder, or intentionally killing innocent humans, is a horrific act. Singer and other humanists blithely agree that the unborn baby is human, but argue that it’s OK to kill him/her anyway. This shows that without the moral absolutes of the Bible—e.g. God expressly forbids murder because man is made in His image (Genesis 9:5–6 and Romans 13:9)—merely pointing to the baby’s humanity is unlikely to make a significant difference.
A mop with a beak? Actually, the picture at left [Ed. note: only available in hard copy; however a similar creature is shown in this article.] is a living creature—a budgerigar!
The offspring of normal parents, Whipper the budgie is the unfortunate victim of a genetic mutation known as ‘feather duster syndrome’. He can’t fly or whistle, and had to be hand-reared by his New Zealand owner.
The Sunday Mail (Brisbane), 9 May 2004, p. 24.
The mutation probably damages the control gene responsible for turning off feather growth, as we have reported earlier (The mutant feather duster budgie, Creation24(1):54–55, 2002). Many control gene mutations are well known, e.g. see The superbaby mutation. But in all such examples there is a loss of genetic information, not an increase, so it is not evidence for molecules-to-man evolution. Whipper, though a mutated budgie, is still a budgie.
HIV prevalence in Uganda has plummeted by 70% since the early 1990s. Why? A research article in Science journal pointed to the effectiveness of the government’s national AIDS awareness and prevention campaign.
The government communicated a clear warning and recommendation: AIDS, known locally as ‘slim’ (because sufferers waste away), was fatal and required the population to immediately practise ‘zero grazing’, i.e. monogamy.
In a nation where 91% of men and 86% of women knew someone with AIDS or who had died of AIDS, people radically changed their behaviour. By the mid-90s, there was a 60% reduction in persons reporting casual sexual partnerships and a dramatic increase in the proportion of unmarried 15- to 24-year-olds practising total abstinence (77% of males, 84% of females).
The researchers noted that mechanical barriers are used just as much in neighbouring countries as in Uganda. So the fact that Uganda stands alone in the region with such a decline in HIV incidence shows that it is the change in sexual behaviour that has had this dramatic result. In fact, the researchers say it is ‘similar to the impact of a vaccine of 80% effectiveness’.
Science, 30 April 2004, pp. 714–718.
The Bible makes it clear that sexual intercourse is only for monogamous heterosexual marriage, instituted in Genesis. So it’s not surprising that following the Maker’s instructions is the wise (as well as the right) thing to do.