Focus: News of interest about creation and evolution
20% CreationistsA strict biblical view of creation is accepted by one in every five first-year part-time biology students at a Sydney University. But at a local Catholic Girl’s school a staggering 25 per cent of the students in a science class think they evolved over millions of years—with God taking no part in the process. These are surprising results of a survey by Professor Michael Archer of the University of New South Wales. Professor Archer did his survey after reading about an American Gallup Poll. The US poll showed 45 per cent of people surveyed said they held the creationist view. Professor Archer gave out more than 600 questionnaires to Sydney students. He found that 19 per cent of his first-year biology students believe God created man pretty much in his present form within the past 10,000 years. But only 4 per cent of the Catholic students believe the Bible’s record of Creation. Professor Archer, an anti-creationist, says he was disturbed by the high number of creationists in the biology class.
Creationists will praise God for the many university creationists. Of concern to Catholics, though, will be that their own schools are so indoctrinating students in evolution that a quarter of the children surveyed already see no need for God in their creation.The Sydney Morning Herald, October 19, 1985 (page 13)
More Quick Oil DiscoveredFollowing the discovery some three years ago that petroleum was forming rapidly in the present-day world along the East Pacific Rise, another team of scientists has discovered recently a similar accumulation of rapidly heated hydro-carbons in Western Antartic. It appears that hot lava is interacting with the organically rich waters in the area to cook the material and produce oil. This petroleum could have commercial value if there were enough of it. But discoverers so far believe there is very little oil in the area, perhaps because lava intrudes only over very small regions at any one time. All this adds to the evidence that vast periods of time are not needed to produce geological deposits such as oil and coal.
Science News, vol 127, page 180, March 23rd, 1985.
Backward Evolution?Nobel Prize winner William Shockley, who pioneered in the development of the transistor, has set his mind to other goals. At 75, Emeritus Professor Shockley is now more actively denouncing the threat of what he calls ‘dysgenics’. This is his belief that the ‘genetically disadvantaged’ (American blacks) are causing a ‘backward evolution’ by having so many children. Shockley asserts that the generally lower IQ scores of blacks are due to their inherited differences. His suggestion to end such backward evolution is to pay $1,000 per IQ point under 100 to any non-taxpayer who agrees to be sterilised. Shockley also supports the Nobel Sperm Bank—an elitist plan to breed better intelligence.
Many of us would see more intelligence if Shockley just sought fairer IQ tests for blacks.Omega Science Digest, September–October 1985
Hominid Drop in IQNew research by Dean Falk, University of Puerto Rico in Juan, indicates that the skull of man’s supposed ape-like ancestor, afarensis, indicates that the brain was small, simple and ape-like. Her finding disagrees with the earlier claims by Ralph Holloway of Columbia University in New York, who stated that though the brain was rather small, there was evidence that it was undergoing reorganization and enlargement. In other words, it was actively evolving.
Holloway claims that Falk has misread the brain simply because she has rotated the cast of the skull forward and down by approximately 30 degrees. This would give her a different impression of where the parts of the brain should be. All of which tell us that work on a ‘missing brains’ intelligence quota, based on a cast taken out of a skull which consists only of fragments, is no more than a guess!Science News, vol 127, page 157, March 9, 1985.
UniformitarianismMost evolutionary scientists work on the rule of thumb that understanding the present is the key to understanding the past. This belief is called uniformitarianism. But some of the difficulties in applying this belief become obvious when it is noted that over the last thirty-five years, the amount of mud released by the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico has dropped by more than half. While the river still discharges more sediment into the ocean than any other United States river, its sedimentary load is ranked now about sixth in the world. Some scientists suspect the construction of several large sediment trapping dams on the Mississippi River during the fifties and sixties have produced the drop, although this is inconclusive, since the drop in sediment upstream may be responsible for the increased erosion of shorelines downstream on the Mississippi Delta.
Other rivers in the U.S.A. also add to the problems of the evolutionary uniformitarianists who want to believe that the present is the key to the past. In the year following the Mt. St. Helens eruption, the Cowlitz River in south west Washington, received one hundred and forty million tons of sediment. It now transports only thirty millions tons per year. This would mean that catastrophies are of far greater significance in the history of the world than normal uniform behaviour.Science News, September 21, 1985
Arctic DinosaursThe bones of at least three dinosaur species and two other reptiles have been recovered from a site in the Alaskan tundra by researchers from the University of California at Berkeley. The dinosaur bones were first discovered at the site by Shell Oil Company in 1961, but Shell did not reveal the find until last year. Researchers say the fossil finds indicates both young and old dinosaurs were at the Alaska site in great numbers, and it represents the first find of dinosaurs at such high, cold altitudes. This adds further weight to the idea that the earth has had a period of time which was far more uniform in warm tropical-like conditions than it is at the present.
Science News, August 31st, 1985.
Shock-Billed PlatypusScientists have found that Australia’s remarkable platypus is even more remarkably designed than they thought. They have found that the platypus uses a sixth sense to find its food on stream beds. By the use of fine nerve receptors in its bill, the amazing mammal picks up weak electric fields given off by shrimps and other prey. This sense is so sophisticated that prey can be detected under mud and rocks. Scientists from the Australian National University zoology museum in Canberra were joined by West German researchers in discovering the platypus’s ‘electro-reception’. Museum curator Chris Tidemann stressed that platypuses use electric signals—not sound waves (sonar or echo-location) used by whales or bats.
Until this find it was thought the platypus just blundered along the river bed grabbing whatever it came across. The new finding is being hailed as one of the most significant in natural history in recent times.The Sydney Morning Herald, November 1, 1985