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News to Note, April 3, 2010

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

on April 3, 2010

It’s all in your head, the late woolly mammoth, and more!

1. Magnets Scramble Ability to Make Moral Judgements

If a magnet can scramble one’s ability to make sound moral judgments, does that imply morality is all in our minds?

2. What Happened to Woolly Mammoths?

What happened to the woolly mammoths? It’s a whodunit (or, rather, a “what-done-it”) mystery of extinction that rivals the question of what did in the dinosaurs.

3. PhysOrg: “Amoeba Genome Shows Evolution of Complex Life

We rarely think of the humble amoeba as a sophisticated life-form, even though it is almost unfathomably complex (as is all life that God designed).

A study headed by University of California–Davis microbiologist Scott Dawson analyzed the genome of the Naegleria gruberi amoeba. N. gruberi is fascinating: it spends most of its time as a “mere” amoeba, but when food becomes scarce it can deploy flagellae to travel elsewhere quickly.

The N. gruberi genome includes 15,727 protein-coding genes—about two-thirds the number that humans carry. The scientists identified 4,000 of N. gruberi’s genes that can allegedly be traced back to a single common ancestor. Of course, the similarities can also be the mark of common design, just as technology products from the same company may share interface or hardware elements.

“We [erroneously] tend to think of protists (single-celled organisms) as ‘simple’ and humans as ‘complex,’” Dawson explained, continuing, “but the Naegleria genome shows us that much of this complexity arose really early in evolution.” Or could it be that God has implanted clever and complicated designs in all creatures great and small?

4. Difference Between Creationism and Ignorance

Creationist. Ignorant of the facts. Is there a difference?

5. And Don’t Miss . . .

  • For one student at Tarleton State University, “bring[ing] people together” apparently means putting on a version of the heavily controversial play Corpus Christi. The sacrilegious play portrays a gay Jesus growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the 1960s, leading a group of gay “apostles” and being crucified under the banner “King of Queers.”
  • Although we knew bats had sophisticated navigational abilities, a National Geographic blog entry updated us on just how sophisticated: bats calibrate their magnetism-based navigation system with the sun as it sets, helping them counter natural variation in the earth’s magnetic field.
  • Red grouper fish are sea floor architects, in a way, reports LiveScience. The fish carve out “complex holes” in the seabed that encourages the growth of coral and sponges.
  • Turtles have not yet been featured in News to Note for their intelligence, but a recent study changes that: despite their asocial behavior, turtles can apparently learn from observing other turtles.
  • Owners of all-wheel-drive vehicles can find their vehicle’s analog in nature: a new study shows that elephants’ limbs function like a four-wheel drive vehicle.
  • It may have been tiny, but it was still a Tyrannosaurus: the so-called Southern Tyrant fossil from Australia.

For more information: Get Answers

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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