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News to Note, April 21, 2012

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on April 21, 2012
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Molecules-to-dinosaur evolution “Monkey See, Monkey Read”

1. Dinosaur Aliens

Media frenzy triggered by threat of dinosaurian aliens.

2. Reading Baboons

Bookish baboons said to demonstrate reading readiness pre-dated evolutionary emergence of humans.

3. Did Viking Find Life on Mars?

Did Viking find life on Mars?

4. Threats of Euthanasia

Abuse the elderly and discard the disabled: twin threats of euthanasia

5. Dino-Mom and Egg

Catastrophically buried together thousands of years ago, dino-mom and eggs come to light.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • The Johnson Observatory, named after the telescope designer and builder Lyle Johnson, was recently dedicated at the Creation Museum. Johnson’s daughter, Barbara Johnson Perry, was on hand for the ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the new observatory which houses several high-quality telescopes, including the unique 16-inch reflector Johnsonian telescope. Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham said, “Because our planetarium programs inside our museum have attracted one-million guests since opening in 2007, having an observatory with excellent telescopes is a wonderful addition that will enhance the museum experience for our visitors. We look forward to continuing the legacy of Lyle Johnson by using his telescope to tell others about God's glory and His gospel message.” Johnson, a Christian and a creationist, developed the Johnsonian telescope, which was used by NASA to search for dangerous gases on the moon prior to the manned moon missions. Johnson’s telescope is housed in the museum’s new observatory, a constant reminder that belief in the Genesis account of Creation is not incompatible with being a “real” scientist. Following in the footsteps of scientists like Johnson, PhD astronomer Danny Faulkner, currently a professor at the University of South Carolina (Lancaster), will soon be joining the full-time staff of the Research Department at Answers in Genesis. Guests will be benefit from Dr. Faulkner’s expertise as he oversees not only the Creation Museum’s planetarium but also “Stargazer’s” programs at the new observatory. The programs will help participants understand astronomy from a biblical perspective and see that “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1).
  • The godless delusion,” an opinion piece in Australia’s National Times, though written by a writer who makes it clear he does not believe in God, ably demonstrates the absurdity of the New Atheist position that seeks to demonize Christianity. The writer points out that the freedom of thought so precious to atheists (and everyone else) sprang from a Christian heritage. He points out that Thomas Jefferson’s “separation” phraseology summarizing the United States government’s constitutional position prohibiting the establishment of an official government-mandated religion was built on 1,500 years of Christian theology and philosophy. Even atheists as prominent as Richard Dawkins err on this. Those who try to revise Christianity out of its legitimate and honored place in history are guilty of their own self-delusion.
  • An eighth grade science teacher in Wake County, North Carolina, has been censured for allowing students the option of gathering evidence for evolution or creationism. The project, a paper or poster for extra-credit, was optional and allowed students the opportunity to learn more by independently gathering evidence for either position. During the recent debate about Tennessee’s new law allowing teachers to teach about the scientific weaknesses of controversial topics such as the evolutionary origins of life, many opponents to the bill claimed the law was not needed as teachers already had the freedom to teach about the scientific controversies—but then they hastened to deny any controversy exists. This teacher, without the protection afforded by a law like Tennessee’s or a similar law in place in Louisiana since 2008, was evidently encouraging his students to seek out scientific evidence for the position they wished to investigate, surely a worthy educational goal. Answers in Genesis molecular geneticist Dr. Georgia Purdom, quoted in the NewsObserver of Raleigh, said, “I think students should be allowed to learn about evolution but also to learn about the weaknesses of it.” Read more about ways teachers can legally help their students develop the critical thinking skills to assess scientific evidence used in support of popular positions, the ACLU’s actual statement about what is permissible, and the guidelines that have been successful in Louisiana’s schools in To Teach What Needs to be Taught and The Teacher Protection Academic Freedom Act.

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Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn’t catch last week’s News to Note, why not take a look at it now? See you next week!

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Footnotes

  1. Platt, M. and G. Adams. 2012. Monkey See, Monkey Read. Science 336:168–169.

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