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Creation 37(2):7–11, April 2015

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Focus: creation news and views

Hummingbirds not so sweet


Both Christians and their opponents often overlook that the Bible indicates that ‘all things bright and beautiful’ only applied before the Genesis 3 Curse on all creation.

Nature documentary guru Sir David Attenborough famously said that when Christians asked him why he did not give credit to God for nature’s designs, they always referred to “hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things”, whereupon he would remind them of bad things in nature, like the river blindness parasite.

Of course, this does not speak against biblical creation, since it overlooks the fallenness of nature (Genesis 3).

Now it appears that some hummingbirds, too, have developed violent habits since the Fall. A team led by the University of Connecticut’s Alejandro Rico-Guevara found that a male Costa Rican hummingbird uses its bill for more than sipping nectar. During fights with other males over mating rights, the beaks “double as deft, dagger-like weapons” which are used “to stab at their opponents’ throats.”

  • Rico-Guevara, A. and Araya-Salas, M, Bills as daggers?, A test for sexually dimorphic weapons in a lekking hummingbird, Behavioral Ecology 26(1):21–29, 2015 | doi:10.1093/beheco/aru182.
  • Buckley, C., Fighting for Females: The Evolution of a Hummingbird, 3 November 2014, UConn today, today.uconn.edu/blog.

Hawking fears ‘God particle’ may kill us all

Maximilien Brice (CERN) CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia commonsGod-particle

The Higgs boson (the so-called ‘God particle’) could destroy the universe … or so Professor Stephen Hawking thinks if fellow scientists mess around with it too much.

Hawking had been skeptical that the Higgs Boson even existed, but is probably best known for his atheistic claim, “the universe can and will create itself from nothing” (see creation.com/hawking).

Now he and a few other scientists are concerned that exposing the Higgs boson to much higher energy levels than experiments so far at the Large Hadron Collider could bring about a “catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light.” This would destroy all atoms but hydrogen.

  • Dickerson, K., Stephen Hawking says ‘God Particle’ could wipe out the universe, LiveScience.com, 8 September 2014.
  • Has the ‘God particle’ been found?, creation.com/higgs, 7 July 2012.

Early earth findings amaze geologists

Conditions on the early earth were very similar to those today, say secular geologists. They have been surprised by new research on zircon crystals—some ‘dated’ to over 4 billion years old, only 500 million years after the earth formed, the ‘Hadean Eon’ on the evolutionary timescale.

The results indicate that the world must have originally had oceans and continental land just as it does today. This is a huge backflip in thinking by orthodox, uniformitarian geologists, who for decades said that the early earth was utterly hostile to life, being covered by a glowing sea of molten rock. Not so, they now say.

Zircons are tiny crystals found in sandstone that derive from volcanic rocks. Oxygen isotope comparisons of Hadean and Icelandic zircons have found that copious amounts of water were present as oceans on the early earth, and that temperatures seem to have been much cooler than expected. The picture emerging is getting ever closer to the Bible’s description. 2 Peter 3:5 indicates that the earth “was formed out of water and through water”, and Genesis 1:2 implies that it was covered in water right at the start (dry land emerged just days later, v. 9).

  • Early Earth less hellish than previously thought, news.vanderbilt.edu, 15 September 2014.
  • Iceland is not a magmatic analog for the Hadean: Evidence from the zircon record, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 405(1):85–97, 1 November 2014 | doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2014.08.015.

Angry atheists take it out on God


One of the most contradictory and perplexing facts about atheists is how many of them express anger at God.

Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio) psychologist Julie Exline has published findings of long-term research which reveal that those who endorsed their religious beliefs as “atheist/agnostic” or “none/unsure” reported more anger toward God than those who reported a religious affiliation. A “negative life event” was often the catalyst for anger.

In the atheist’s naturalistic worldview, thoughts and reasoning are just illusions caused by chemical reactions in the brain. So anger, whether at God or anything else, is just another illusion of brain chemistry. And being angry at an entity one claims to believe is non-existent is of course difficult to justify rationally.

  • Study explores whether atheism is rooted in reason or emotion, winteryknight.wordpress.com, 9 June 2014.

And the answer is: 26

In an article titled ‘Questions we thought had no answers’, Time magazine confidently declares that they now have the answer to how long till intelligent alien life is discovered. The answer, they say, is 26 years, or perhaps even sooner … .

This ‘certainty’ is based on the ‘fact’ that life evolved on earth—so it must have done so elsewhere. Also, because there are an estimated 100 billion stars (and likely even many more) in our galaxy, the Milky Way, the probability of alien life is high.

Time writes:

“Estimates of the number of active alien civilizations [in the Galaxy] range from 10,000 to 1 million. So far we have examined only a few thousand star systems. But the rate at which we’re doing so doubles about every two years. At that rate, we will have examined 1 million systems by the mid-2030s and 10 million by 2040, making it highly probable we will find someone or something.”

Real science (see creation.com/ool) reinforces the impossibility of life evolving by itself from chemicals anywhere, not just on earth. And the Bible makes it clear that the idea of intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations (evolved or created) is a non-starter (see creation.com/life-planets).

So it is hardly going out on a limb for us to confidently predict that the number of alien civilizations discovered will continue to be the same as at present: zero.

  • When will we discover alien life? Time, p. 69, 8–15 September 2014, time.com/alien-life.

Dawkins: will aliens answer an evolutionary ‘big question’?

For decades, creationists have been challenging evolutionary theorists to explain how sexual reproduction could possibly have arisen through evolution. Evolutionists have sometimes sought to answer by showing its genetic advantages for populations—but that does not begin to address its alleged evolutionary origin. After all, many creatures do fine by reproducing asexually.

Now notorious antitheist Richard Dawkins has admitted that for an evolutionary biologist like himself, sexual reproduction is indeed “one of the great unanswered questions of evolution”.

The topic arose as he was speculating about “what other [i.e. alien] life might be like”. Dawkins indicated we have no reason to think that such aliens would necessarily reproduce sexually.

He considers it “likely” that alien life exists, and says studying it could help us understand how the two-gender system on earth evolved. Such aliens might have more than two genders, he thinks, or indeed none at all.

Why does he think aliens probable? If we are indeed alone, he says, then the origin of life on earth was a “staggeringly improbable event”—and scientists looking for a way to explain this (chemicals-to-life) would then be looking for an “exceedingly implausible theory”. Well, yes; just as the evidence has long indicated.

  • O’Callaghan, J., Do ALIENS hold the key…?, dailymail.co.uk, 23 September 2014.

Creationists beware; the end is Nye

Within two decades there won’t be any creationists left in the world, according to Bill Nye, who’s well known in the US as the Science Guy.

Nye’s bold claim was made on a television show in which he insisted that “in another 20 years, those guys will be just about out of business”.

  • Kennedy, J.R., Bill Nye the Science Guy predicts end of creationism is nigh, 1 October 2014, globalnews.ca.

Flying high with Avatar

A research team has borrowed from Hollywood by assigning the name Ikrandraco avatar to pterosaur fossils found in northeast China.

The name is based on the mythical aerial predators called ikran which featured in the 2009 science fiction movie Avatar (draco = dragon). Hollywood, of course, borrowed from the many accounts from throughout the world of humans interacting with flying ‘dragons’ including American Indians who have a long history of encountering creatures reminiscent of pterosaurs.

Researchers say that Ikrandraco avatar was about 70 cm long (2.3 ft) long with a wingspan of about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) and also had a throat pouch like a pelican.

  • Choi, C.Q., Ancient ‘Dragon’ Beast Flew Right Out of ‘Avatar’, 11 September 2014, livescience.com.
  • An Early Cretaceous pterosaur with an unusual mandibular crest from China and a potential novel feeding strategy, Scientific Reports 4(6329) | doi:10.1038/srep06329.

Biggest dinosaur found?

On the basis of a significant number of fossilized bones found in Patagonia, Argentina, scientists believe a plant-eating dinosaur they have named Dreadnoughtus schrani to be the world’s biggest—and that it was still growing when its life ended.

Estimated to weigh 60 t (65 US-tons) and at 25 m (80 ft) in length, the dinosaur is still only about a third of the weight of God’s largest creature, the blue whale, at about 170 tonnes (190 US-tons) and 30 m (100 ft) long.

Some researchers claim another giant Argentine dinosaur, Argentinosaurus, may have been bigger—about 82 tonnes (US-90 tons)—but base that on far fewer skeletal remains than the Dreadnoughtus specimens. And the supposedly biggest dinosaur of all, Amphicoelias fragillimus (claimed at 40–60 m [130–200 ft] long and 122 t [135 US-tons]) is known from only one incomplete vertebra that has been lost.

As with all dinosaurs, Dreadnoughtus would not have been much bigger than a football as a baby, and it’s likely that it went through a ‘teenage’ growth spurt like other dinosaurs. So a juvenile pair of the dinosaur kind to which it belonged would have easily been able to walk through the door of Noah’s Ark. See also creation.com/dreadnoughtus.

  • Dreadnoughtus makes T. rex look puny, news24.com, 9 April 2014, Astoundingly huge dinosaur discovered (video), livescience.com, 2014.


Happiness and religion correlated

Australians who attend religious services are generally much happier than the rest of the population, according to a university study.

Lead researcher Dr Michael Kortt from the Southern Cross University—which has campuses in New South Wales and Queensland—said the study addressed the concept that religious institutions, such as churches, synagogues, and mosques, enhanced subjective wellbeing by providing individuals with access to social networks and support structures.

“Our study provides strong evidence of an association between frequency of attendance at religious services and life satisfaction in the Australian social context,” he said.

  • Religion and life satisfaction down under, epubs.scu.edu.au; doi:10.1007/s10902-014-9509-4.

PM urges faithful to live out and preach the Gospel

Great Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has made a remarkable challenge to Christians to be more evangelical.

In an article for a Church of England publication, Mr Cameron said: “I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country, more ambitious about expanding the role of faith-based organisations, and, frankly, more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people’s lives.”

As well, he said that he wanted to ‘infuse politics’ with Christian ‘ideals and values’ such as responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility and love.

Mr Cameron also had a challenge for non-believers: “People who, instead, advocate some sort of secular neutrality fail to grasp the consequences of that neutrality, or the role that faith can play in helping people to have a moral code.”

‘Christian values’ would seem to have a selective definition, however, and Christians could be forgiven for caution, and even confusion in response. Prior to that statement, Cameron pushed ahead with the gay marriage agenda, in the face of significant dissent in his own party’s rank and file. And despite over 600,000 people signing up to the ‘Coalition for Marriage’, calling for a government rethink on the issue, he has not budged to date.

  • David Cameron says Christians should be ‘more evangelical’, telegraph.co.uk, 16 April 2014.
  • Coalition for Marriage [UK], c4m.org.uk.

Quick flip turns magnetic field on its head

The earth’s magnetic field could be reversed in as little as 100 years according to researchers who uncovered evidence for a ‘recent’ event.

The team measured the magnetic field alignment in layers of now-exposed lake sediment in the Apennine Mountains east of Rome, Italy.

“What’s incredible is that you go from reverse polarity to a field that is normal with essentially nothing in between, which means it had to have happened very quickly, probably in less than 100 years,” said Paul Renne, director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center and a UC Berkeley professor-in-residence of earth and planetary science. “We don’t know whether the next reversal will occur as suddenly as this one did, but we also don’t know that it won’t.”

Rock records show that earth’s magnetism has reversed itself multiple times in the past, which has been used to argue against the biblical timescale (by alleging that a reversal has to take tens of thousands of years).

However, this latest announcement is not the first time that evidence has shown that the earth’s field can in fact flip very quickly. In fact, an article in this magazine [13(3):46–50, 1991—see at creation.com/magrev, and 2014 update creation.com/reversal] highlighted a report from secular experts suggesting that such a reversal had taken place in the time it took for a very thin layer of lava to have cooled, namely about two weeks.

In any case, long-age models have difficulty explaining how the earth’s field, which is decaying rapidly, could sustain itself for billions of years.

  • Earth’s magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime, sciencedaily.com, 14 October 2014.

A mammoth brain preserved

The first largely intact brain of a woolly mammoth has been described in a study using medical imaging technology.

The mummified carcass of its owner, a nine-year-old animal dubbed ‘Yuka’, was discovered in 2010 in the frozen permafrost of Siberia. Even the membranous coverings, folds and blood vessels of the brain were clearly visible along with actual nerve tissue.

The new research including CT and MRI scans enabled investigators to study the cerebellum (hindbrain). This was even better preserved than the forebrain, of which the grey and white matter could still be discerned in the scans.

The brain is said to be like that of modern elephants. (Creationist writers have long suggested they were the same created kind, with some modern-day elephants showing similar features—see creation.com/elephant).

While less spectacular than the increasing discovery of preserved soft tissue in dinosaur fossils allegedly >65 million years old, the fantastic preservation in this unfossilized brain does cause at least a raised eyebrow over the 39,000 years secularists assign to Yuka. Creationist research into the demise of the mammoths during the (postFlood) Ice Age—see creation.com/snapfreeze—gives a more credible date of some 4,000+ years.

  • Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, Woolly Mammoth Mummy Yields Well-Preserved Brain, livescience.com, 10 November 2014.

Dinosaur groundhog day

The fossil skull of a previously unknown mammal species that “lived alongside dinosaurs” is said to be “shaking up theories of early mammal evolution and diversity”.

Found on Madagascar, the 12 cm (5 inch) skull resembles that of a modern groundhog, only with an estimated bodyweight of 9 kg (20 lb) it was some two to three times larger. Painstaking analysis suggests that this was an agile herbivore with large eyes, and keen senses of hearing and smell.

Dubbed Vintana sertichi, the specimen belongs to a group called Gondwanatherians. These were previously known only from a few fragments of jaws and teeth. For a long time, it was thought that only mouse-sized mammals lived in the alleged ‘dinosaur age’.

Vintana adds to the growing array of significant mammals and birds found in ‘dinosaur-era’ rock layers, including “ducks, squirrels, platypus, beaver-like and badger-like creatures … along with bees, cockroaches, frogs and pine trees” (see creation.com/dino-age).

Creationist researcher Dr Carl Werner writes that major museums have substantial numbers of such fossils ‘in the basement’ but not displayed. He says curators have told him that people are allegedly ‘not interested’ in seeing ‘age of dinosaur’ displays showing modern-type creatures alongside the giant reptiles.

Significantly for Flood geology, this land animal skull was accompanied by numerous fish fossils preserved in the same rock.

  • Scientists discover fossil of bizarre groundhog-like mammal on Madagascar, National Science Foundation press release, nsf.gov, 5 November 2014.

Behind closed doors, scientists ‘bewildered’ on evolution


A Christian chemist who says he believes God created the world and who has been rated as one of the world’s 50 most prominent scientists says his peers tell him in private they are ‘collectively bewildered’ about how evolution works.

Dr James Tour—a professor at Rice University in Huston, Texas, who specializes in chemistry, nano-engineering, and computer science—said despite decades of research into the origin of life, he does not understand how it could have happened.

And when he challenges his peers on the subject, they too, sheepishly admit it’s a mystery. He says: “Let me tell you what goes on in the back rooms of science—with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. I have sat with them, and when I get them alone, not in public—because it’s a scary thing, if you say what I just said—I say, ‘Do you understand all of this, where all of this came from, and how this happens?’ ”

The answer he usually gets is: “No.”

“Every time that I have sat with people who are synthetic chemists, who understand this, they go, ‘Uh-uh. Nope.’ ” Dr Tour said. “And if they’re afraid to say ‘yes’, they say nothing. They just stare at me, because they can’t sincerely do it.”

Unfortunately, Tour says he cannot understand how God could have meant six ordinary days in Genesis if He did not create the sun until Day 4 and thus accepts conventional dating and long ages. However, all that was needed was light from a certain direction, created on Day 1, and a rotating earth. See also creation.com/daysbeforesun and creation.com/morning, and of course Exodus 20:8–11.

  • Haley, G., Renowned Chemist Says Evolutionists Do Not Understand the Origin of Life, 13 October 2014, christiannews.net.
  • Tour, J.M., Layman’s Reflections on Evolution and Creation. An Insider’s View of the Academy, 2014, jmtour.com.

Taung Child not so human-like after all

Didier Descouens CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia CommonTaung-Child

The famous South African fossil skull known as the Taung Child, discovered in 1925, has long been an icon of human evolution. It is ‘dated’ at about 3 million years old and labelled as Australopithecus africanus. Its finder, Raymond Dart, argued that it had enough “similarities to a modern human child” to be “a bridge between our primate ancestors and Homo sapiens.”

Now research using new microfocus CAT scan technology, by Kristian Carlson of the Evolutionary Studies Institute of Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand (aka ‘Wits’), in collaboration with US researchers, “has shown that this is in fact not the case.” Carlson claims that past evolutionists were “trying to extend modern human-like cranial features—which allow for postnatal brain growth … to the australopithecines,” and says that “in the Taung Child, you don’t see evidence for these features.” The similarities to modern human children have, he says politely, been “overstated”.

We have repeatedly pointed out the many ways in which australopiths already fail to qualify as prehuman ancestors, but they are the only real candidate group left. Thus, Carlson insists this “doesn’t change anything about Australopithecus’s importance in human history”. Similar ‘reassurances’ abound on the internet. See also Grigg, R., Raymond Dart and the ‘missing link’, Creation 28(4):36–40, 2006; creation.com/dart.

  • Taung Child was not as advanced for his age as thought, mg.co.za, 27 August 2014.
  • Taung Child’s brain development not human-like? CT scan casts doubt on similarity to that of modern humans, sciencedaily.com, 25 August 2014.