News to Note, April 16, 2011

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on April 16, 2011
Featured in News to Know

Humanist Bible, ancient enzymes, Tennessee schools, fast flower evolution, Mother Nature’s rights

1. Humanist Bible

The Good Book: A Humanist Bible by atheist philosopher A.C. Grayling, released this month, is being billed as if it is an inspirational collection of ethical tidbits packaged in the familiar biblical literary style. But…

2. Ancient Enzymes

Laboratory reconstruction of ancient enzymes has suggested that these enzymes are remarkably similar to enzymes in modern creatures and purportedly indicate what conditions were on the early earth.

3. Tennessee Schools

Teachers in Tennessee’s public schools may soon join those in Louisiana in being allowed to teach students critical thinking skills when examining controversial topics such as evolution.

4. Fast Flower Evolution

Analysis of data from the Ancestral Angiosperm Genome Project presumably has solved the mystery of how such a variety of flowering plants could evolve in such a short evolutionary time-span.

5. “UN document would give ‘Mother Earth’ same rights as humans

Proposed United Nations treaty, mirroring Bolivia’s recently passed Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, would “recognize the Earth as a living entity” and grant “her” legally protected rights.

According to Bolivia’s law, which is the model for the treaty, human beings, bugs, trees, all other natural things, and the planet itself are living entities with legal rights.

The book of Genesis tells us that God created the earth and designed it to be a good place for man to live. Then He gave man, made in the image of God, dominion over the earth and the job of subduing it (Genesis 1:28). Man is to be a good steward of the earth and its resources.

Pantheism and various forms of earth worship are nothing new (Romans 1:25). The amazing thing to see is that a world which can scream that “God is dead” or that “there is no God” can redefine the ball of rock and water we live on as not only alive but divine.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • A recent study of rhesus monkey behavior suggests that these ubiquitous research subjects tend to harbor prejudicial feelings against monkeys with whom they are not acquainted. The study measured how long the monkeys stared at photographs of other monkeys and whether they associated those faces with happy things like fruit or scary things like spiders. Since the monkey ancestry of humans is assumed as fact, the researchers suggest that these “underlying patterns of thinking that fuel all conflicts” may require more creative solutions than simply legislating against prejudices.
  • Stem cell research took a leap forward this week as a Japanese research laboratory reported in Nature that it has used mouse embryonic stem cells to form a retina. A gel stent was used to assist stem cells differentiating into retinal cells to form the cup-like shape of an actual retina. This mimics the process which occurs during embryonic development as cells multiply, differentiate, and fold into the proper shape. The prospect of a future stem cell treatment for retinal disease is exciting; we certainly hope the investigators will pursue the more promising avenue of adult stem cell research in the search for practical solutions.
  • A British toddler with multiple handicaps due to “an extra strand of DNA” on the seventh chromosome is not, as an online comment on the article is already claiming, an example of “evolution in operation.” While this particular genetic duplication is unusual, extra copies of genetic material in human beings is a well-known occurrence. Our hearts go out to this child. We only mention his plight here to point out that having extra copies of genes is not the same as having new information. Evolution would require the spontaneous appearance of new information.
  • A recent survey of one denomination’s problems due to “unbiblical ideology” is typical of many denominations today. The article points out that the problem lies not just in the churches but also in the Christian colleges. For more information on this problem see Ken Ham’s soon-to-be-released co-authored book, Already Compromised (Colossians 2:8).

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