This article is from
Creation 29(3):7–11, June 2007

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Focus: creation news and views

The Lost Tomb of Jesus’ (not!)

A recent film on the Discovery Channel and a new book have attacked the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and hence Christianity as a whole. This time, the excuse is a tomb in Israel, which James Cameron, producer of Titanic, claimed to have contained the bones of Jesus in a ossuary (box) labelled ‘Jesus son of Joseph’, along with other ossuaries allegedly containing the bones of Mary Magdalene, Judah son of Jesus, Mary and others. It seems that the anti-Christian channel cared not that Cameron is hardly an expert in archaeology, and is thus most unlikely to have made earth-shattering discoveries in a tomb discovered over 20 years ago.

Christians have produced a flurry of articles on the web, pointing out the huge number of unsubstantiated claims, inaccuracies, distortions and contradiction of historic facts (including the evidence for the Resurrection and Ascension of the Lord Jesus) in this claim. Our contribution (creation.com/tomb) discusses problems regarding the names, the alleged James ossuary, the DNA, the tomb, the disciples, the statistics, and the evidence in general.

  • New Scientist 193(2593):7, 3 March 2007.

Whose design?

In labs around the world biologists and aviation experts are studying birds, bats, insects and even extinct flying dinosaurs for new ideas to improve planes of the future.

Who gets the credit for this? Not God. ‘Natural selection has already done much of the brute computation for us by solving problems evolutionary,’ explained Oxford University research fellow Graham Taylor. ‘It’s absolutely good design if you copy nature,’ said Terry Weisshaar, an aeronautics professor at Purdue University.

Now doesn’t good design imply a Good Designer? Good design does not come about by chance!

  • USA Today, www.usatoday.com/tech/science/discoveries/2007- 02-13-aviation-birds_x.htm, 13 February 2007.

Creationist featured in New Scientist!

Dr John Baumgardner

A recent issue of New Scientist published an interview with biblical creationist and geophysicist Dr John Baumgardner, pictured above, on ‘how his Christian faith has shaped an unusual scientific career’. It covered his Christian conversion, his Ph.D. research in which he developed a computer model of convection in the Earth’s mantle that so impressed the Los Alamos National Laboratory they offered him a position in their theoretical division.

Other topics covered in the article included Dr Baumgardner’s catastrophic plate tectonics model of the Genesis Flood, and his interactions as a Christian scientist with his colleagues at Los Alamos. John said his fellow scien­tists gave him a lot of respect for upholding his position, even when they did not agree with him. He has worked with the Insti­t­ute for Creation Research in California since 2004. (See also creation.com/baumgardner).

Congratulations to New Scientist (which usually does not hide its disdain for creationists) for publishing this remarkably fair portrait of a ‘revolutionary’ Christian geophysicist.

  • New Scientist 192(2581):54–55, 9 December 2006.

Evolution compulsory in Russia

A high school girl and her father from St Petersburg endeavoured to sue Russia’s education authorities over the compulsory teaching of evolution in schools—and received threatening letters and suffered discrimination as a result. The St Petersburg court dismissed the case in February (seven months after it was filed).

‘Masha used to be a good student, but after we filed the suit, she received six Ds on her quarterly report card,’ said the girl’s father, Kirill Shraiber. ‘Of course, we expected some confrontation, but not like this.’

The Shraiber family had hoped the litigation would give schoolchildren the right to study other explanations regarding the origins of life. For further commentary see creation.com/shraiber.

  • MosNews, www.mosnews.com/news/2007/01/30/baddarwin.shtml, 30 January 2007.

Early solar observatory

© Philip Baird / www.anthroarcheart.org Chankillo

The Chankillo ‘mystery’—a massive 2,300-year-old walled ruin with an ‘enigmatic line of 13 small, rectilinear towers’ in Peru—has been solved. Archaeologist Iván Ghezzi and archaeoastronomer Clive Ruggles say the complex with its stone towers is an ‘absolutely clear-cut’ example of an early solar observatory.

The towers marked the annual rising and setting arcs of the sun and served as a monumental calendar. The researchers conclude that the towers represented ‘the monumental expression of existing—and therefore by implication even older—knowledge.’

Photo by A. Herzog, courtesy Biologically Inspired Robotics Group, EPFL robot-salamander
  • Science 315(5816):1206, 1239–1243, 2 March 2007.

Robot re-enacts evolution?

A team of Swiss scientists has built an 85-cm-long ‘robot’ salamander, with motors that allow it to swim to land and then crawl ashore. Reportedly these studies ‘show that our fishy ancestors likely used their primitive brains to make the evolutionary leap from water worlds to terra firma’. What’s more: ‘It’s also a vivid demonstration that robots can be used to test and verify biological concepts.’

On the contrary, it shows what clever and imaginative engineers can do—but they’re lousy historians, for the earth, the sea, the heavens and all that is in them were created, they did not evolve. And these scientists have a way to go if they’re to match the Master Engineer’s standard, for the ‘robot’ salamanders have no DNA, can’t feed themselves (or eliminate) and can’t even repair themselves—let alone reproduce.

  • Science 315(5817):1416–1420, 9 March 2007.
  • LiveScience, www.livescience.com/animalworld/070308_salamander_robot.html, 8 March 2007.
  • Science Daily, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/0703082 20927.htm, 27 March 2007.

Enormous ‘ocean’ deep inside Earth

Scientists analysing more than 600,000 seismograms of earthquakes travelling through the earth have found evidence of a ‘vast water reservoir’ beneath eastern Asia. At least the volume of the Arctic Ocean, it is the first time a body of water so large has been found deep in the mantle. The Bible says that at the beginning of Noah’s Flood ‘the springs of the great deep burst forth’, indicating that the floodwaters came partly from deep underground. Perhaps this newly discovered ‘ocean’ is all that remains, although the structure of the inside of the earth is still a mystery. (See also Drowned from below, Creation 22(3):52–53, 2000.)

  • LiveScience, www.livescience.com/environment/070228_beijing_anomoly.html, 28 February 2007.

Preserved muscle shock

hoto of Dr K. Trinajstic with Eastmanosteus calliaspis fossil by Barry Baker, The West Australian Eastmanosteus

Australian researchers were ‘astounded’ to recover exceptionally-preserved muscle tissue, blood vessels and nerve cells from a fossilized armour-plated fish (Eastmanosteus calliaspis) ‘dated’ at about 380 million years old.

That assumed date stretches credulity. In contrast, the Bible warns us not to be ignorant of the cataclysmic global Flood (2 Peter 3:5–6) about 4,500 years ago—an event which explains why fossils, like this Western Australian fish, are beautifully preserved in sedimentary rock worldwide. Indeed, the reports noted that ‘rapid burial’ was a factor in its preservation.

The fish’s muscles were ‘very much like our red muscles that we use for our most active pursuits such as running’. Such shared design features reflect a common Designer for all living things, not a common ancestry. (See creation.com/homologous.)

Further, the discovery dispelled the idea that armour-plated fish could not swim. This illustrates how conclusions about an extinct animal’s behaviour, based on limited fossil evidence, can be dramatically overturned when more evidence is found. This is especially pertinent given the many claims over the past year about ‘walking fish’ supposedly proving a sea-to-land evolutionary transition in the past—see, e.g., creation.com/gogo and creation.com/dolph.

  • Biology Letters 3(2):197–200, 22 April 2007.
  • National Geographic News, news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007 /02/070212-fossil-tissue.html, 12 February 2007.
  • The West Australian, 14 February 2007, p. 42.

Whale among the vineyards

The entire skeleton of a 10-metre-long (30 ft) whale has been unearthed from an Italian vineyard in the province of Siena.

The region is renowned for its wine, but increasingly is acting as a ‘magnet for paleontologists’ given the large numbers of marine fossils discovered there—e.g. a dolphin skeleton was found in the area a few years ago.

How could an entire whale and dolphin have been buried intact, along with many other marine creatures, in what today is a picturesque farming area? It must have been an unusual and very violent event! Such fossils found right around the world, even in the highest mountain ranges, are consistent with the expected legacy of the global Flood of Genesis 6–9.

  • ABC News Online, www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200703/s1878400.htm, 22 March 2007.

What SETI means

Michael Brooks, writing in New Scientist, makes an emotional plea for public money to the value of ‘$10 million per year worldwide’, to fund NASA’s SETI project, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life. The basis for his pitch is that ‘SETI is all about understanding the vastness of the universe and the diversity of what it contains, the necessary conditions for life, the process of evolution—even the mathematical nature of language and information.’

This logically entails that SETI is set on proving that the creation account in Genesis is wrong, that we humans are not special beings in the universe, and that the God of the Bible is irrelevant in the 21st century.

The greatest ‘discovery’ that any scientist can make is not that there are little green men out there somewhere, but that the Creator God, who spoke the universe into being and made humans on Earth in His own image, also died on the cross of Calvary to be the Saviour from sin of all who place their faith in Him.

  • New Scientist 193(2588):18, 27 January 2007.

Zealous, but not for God

Qantas Airways and Air New Zealand long-haul flights have been showing censored versions of the film The Queen, in which all references to God were removed. For example, the Queen is greeted with the line: ‘[bleep] bless you, Ma’am.’

The Hollywood-based film supplier said that this was an unintended mistake. An ‘overzealous’ young employee had been asked to remove all swear words—and had promptly removed ‘God’. Management claimed he failed to distinguish between the religious significance of the term and its use as a profanity.

Similarly, a recent report in The Times (UK) referred to a young boy who asked his teacher why Mary and Joseph had used swear words to name their baby (Creation 28(3):10, 2006).

We are reminded of Amos 8:11, where God says, ‘The days are coming when I will send a famine through the land … a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.’

  • The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 31 January 2007, p. 3.

Mars life challenge

Researchers studying data from NASA’s Mars rovers now say that the best current understanding of early Mars is much less encouraging than they’d initially thought (regarding any signs of early Martian life). They advise that the ‘dominantly arid, acidic, and oxidizing’ environmental conditions would certainly have posed ‘significant challenges to the origin of life’.

  • Science 315(5808):37, 5 January 2007.

‘Speedy’ sandstone

With the help of added microorganisms, researchers at Murdoch University have been able to turn sand into sandstone within hours. (Such ‘biocement technology’ would be a great boon to construction and mining industries.)

‘This breakthrough effectively mimics the natural formation of sandstone in a more controlled manner,’ said project supervisor Ralf Cord-Ruwisch.

In the global Flood of Noah’s day (about 4,500 years ago), there would have been lots of microbes buried in sand—the resulting sandstone didn’t need millions of years to form.

  • Cockburn City Herald (Fremantle, Australia), 9 December 2006, p. 9.

More concrete support for pyramid theory

Photo by David Down concrete-support

How could the ancient builders of the pyramids in Egypt have cut and transported massive limestone blocks weighing up to 30 tonnes, so beautifully hewn and positioned that not even a toothpick can fit in the space between many blocks?

Twenty years ago in the journal Concrete International, Joseph Davidovits proposed that each block had been cast in its present position, with the edge of another block making up part of the formwork (Creation 11(1):8–9, 1988; 13(3):5, 1991). Davidovits had not only analysed blocks of the Great Pyramid (of Khufu/Cheops) carefully, but had also reproduced such ‘artificial limestone’ by grinding up various local rocks—the resulting mixture hardening within hours.

If Davidovits’ theory were correct, it would explain the ‘mystery’ of how the pyramids could have been built without colossal ramps or intricate tools—the raw materials could easily have been carried up in buckets, then mixed on the spot.

stock.xchng pyramid

Now a research team led by Michel Barsoum of Drexel University in Philadelphia has found a silicon-containing concrete ‘glue’ in stone samples from the Great Pyramid—strong evidence that the blocks are indeed ‘reconstituted limestone’. Barsoum is now said to be ‘recreating the primitive concrete’ in his laboratory using only limestone, diatomaceous earth, lime and water—all of which were readily available to the ancient builders of the pyramids.

Given the resilience of the pyramids—compared to modern concrete which can deteriorate within dec­ades—the researchers’ admiration for the ancients is understandable: ‘The sophistication and endurance of this ancient concrete technology is simply astounding.’

Actually, the ingenuity and engineering skills of early times shouldn’t really surprise us, as man has been intelligent from when God first created him—but today’s society, bombarded by evolutionary teaching, often assumes otherwise.

  • New Scientist 192(2581):6, 9 December 2006.
  • Journal of the American Ceramic Society 89(12):3788–3796, December 2006.

Instant gold

The Lihir gold deposit in Papua New Guinea, the largest and youngest in the world, could have formed in ‘as short as 5 hours’, geologist Greg Hall claimed recently in New Scientist.

Water sampled from at least a kilometre underground by geochemist Kevin Brown contained a ‘thousand times the highest concentration of gold ever recorded in the surface waters of hydrothermal systems.’

In 1985, Brown was astounded to discover that gold can form quickly when he saw gold deposited on metal plates inside the Wairakei geothermal power plant, New Zealand. Previously, geologists had always believed it took a million years or more for gold deposits to form—but it clearly doesn’t.

  • New Scientist 193(2587):31–33, 20 January 2007.

Drumlin in a decade

Drumlins are huge whale-shaped mounds of glacial till (a mass of rocks and finely ground material carried by a glacier) strewn in swarms across landscapes once covered in ice during the Ice Age. Geologists have long believed that drumlins took a long time to form. Now the British Antarctic Survey using echolocation equipment has detected a drumlin forming in less than a decade under the ice. Surprised team member David Vaughan said the drumlin was 10 m (30 ft) high and 100 m (300 ft) wide, but they have not yet measured its length. It was not present last time they looked in 1997.

(See also creaton.com/iceage for information about the single Ice Age caused by the Genesis Flood.)

  • New Scientist 193(2589):17, 3 February 2007.

Roswell 60th

‘RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region’ claimed the front page of the 8 July 1947 edition of the Roswell Daily Record newspaper.

Although the newspaper later retracted the claim, the legend of ‘Roswell’ is still alive and well. This year (2007) marks the 60th anniversary of the ‘Roswell incident’ when it is alleged that a flying saucer containing extraterrestrials crash-landed on a ranch in New Mexico, USA and that the US government whisked away the bodies to secret military installations.

There have been countless movies, books and documentaries on the subject, and each year thousands of people travel to the town of Roswell to celebrate the event. This year will be bigger than ever. This is despite the fact there has never been one shred of undisputed physi­cal evidence to support the claim. For a compre­hen­sive explanation of the Roswell incident see Gary Bates’ Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection.

Lunar loonies

NASA lunar-loonies

The current (evolutionary) theory about the moon’s origins is that it formed from debris from a collision between Earth and another planet-sized body. But this has too many problems, according to Peter Noerd­linger at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada.

‘The collision has to be implausibly gentle,’ says Noerdlinger. You practically need someone to hold a Mars-sized object just above Earth and drop it, to avoid messing up Earth’s orbit.’

Noerdlinger prefers the theory that Earth and its moon formed themselves out of the same gas cloud. But critics of that theory say it does not explain why Earth formed an iron core while the moon did not. Noerdlinger counters by saying that the ‘proto-moon’ did have an iron core, but then Earth’s gravity pulled the iron core to Earth, leaving behind a rocky shell which reassembled into our iron-free moon.

Actually, from the Bible we can understand that Earth and its moon defy attempts to explain away their origins naturalistically because the Creator made them (Genesis 1:16–19) with just such a purpose in mind (Romans 1:20). See also creation.com/moon.

  • New Scientist 193(2587):16, 20 January 2007.

Mathematical microbes

There are microorganisms which ‘are smarter than we thought’, says New Scientist.

Rather than moving randomly, amebae and plankton somehow know the mathematically optimal pathways when foraging for food. For example, researchers monitored the angles of up to 1,000 turns made by five species of Daphnia zooplankton in water laced with food particles. The (multicelled) Daphnia’s preferred turning angle of about 36 degrees closely matches computer model calculations of the optimal turning angle for maximising food collection within a fixed space and time. If Daphnia’s turning angle were any greater or lesser, they would be less successful, say the researchers.

Evolutionists have long portrayed some ‘basic’, single-celled organism as the ‘primitive’ ancestor of all life. In reality, all living things—including microbes—are highly complex, and the more that is known about them, the harder it is to escape the fact that they’ve been beautifully designed (Romans 1:20) according to their kind (Genesis 1).

  • New Scientist 193(2595):16, 17 March 2007.