News to Note, August 16, 2008

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

Featured in News to Know

Court rulings, stone arches, stem cells, elephant memories, and more!

1. CNN news: “Body proves Bigfoot no myth, hunters say”

Two hunters for the fabled ape-man “Bigfoot” claim to have made the ultimate discovery in the woods of Georgia: the body of a dead male sasquatch. Although the body is likely a hoax, the media flurry and reactions can certainly tell us a great deal about the creation-evolution controversy.

According to a CNN news report this week, two amateur Bigfoot hunters stumbled upon the body of the creature in a wooded area of northern Georgia and also claimed that they saw several living ones in the same location. Although the two state that extensive testing will be done by various scientists, they only released purported DNA test results from the intestine of the alleged creature indicating human, possum, and “indeterminate” DNA so far.

We will say up front that we are highly doubtful of the authenticity of this supposed Bigfoot discovery. The secretive manner in which the discoverers are handling this supposed landmark event leaves much to be desired in terms of scientific rigor.

The press conference on Friday (August 15) did little to assuage these concerns over the authenticity, as the photographic and DNA evidence seemed inconclusive at best. We are hopeful some more trustworthy analysis takes place over the weekend. We will comment further in an article early next week as hype hopefully gives way to facts.

2. University of California Can Deny Science Credit From Christian High Schools

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on Judge James Otero’s ruling that the University of California may deny science credit for students from Christian high schools.

3. Stone Arch Collapse Doesn't Support Old Earth Theory

If an arch collapses in a desert and no one is around to hear it, does it still shout “millions of years”?

4. ScienceNOW: “Stem Cell Lines Mark Birth of New Field”

The case for embryonic stem cell research has weakened even further after the successful creation of pluripotent stem cells out of patient’s existing cells.

Scientists at Harvard and Columbia announced the news, which was quickly followed up by another report from Harvard—the generation of disease-specific stem cell lines for ten diseases. The stem cells used to generate these lines were “induced pluripotent” stem cells—iPS—created by reprogramming adult cells. Among the diseases covered are two types of muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, Type 1 diabetes, and Down syndrome.

“[This] opens the door to a new way of studying degenerative diseases,” explained Douglas Melton, a diabetes researcher at Harvard. Using induced pluripotent stem cells avoids many of the ethical problems with stem cell research (specifically embryonic stem cell research).

As research in this field continues, scientists are discovering increasing potential in creating and manipulating stem cells without crossing ethical boundaries. By supporting morally sound stem cell research, we can look forward to treatments that don’t predicate the healing of a life on the taking of a life.

5. Water Striders: Hallmark of Evolution or Testimony to Creation?

The incredible water strider: is its “just so” construction a hallmark of evolution or a testimony to creation?

6. Incredible Elephant Memory Aids in Herd Survival

Perhaps an elephant should stand in for the “sage owl” character sometimes portrayed in cartoons.

7. OneNewsNow: “Home-Schooling Decision Should Withstand Challenges”

Christian homeschoolers in California may no longer be under pressure thanks to a change of heart on the part of the Second District Court of Appeals.

Last week, the court unanimously reversed its own ruling from February—never enforced—that would have clamped down on homeschooling in the state by requiring formal teaching credentials on the part of homeschooling parents.

The court decided that a state prohibition on home schooling would violate parents’ constitutional right to direct their children’s education.

We applaud the court’s new decision and rejoice, with homeschooling advocates and practitioners everywhere, that ordinary parents will still be able to legally provide a Christian education for children in the home. We strongly support homeschooling parents and offer a variety of resources for parents, ranging from free educational materials to our multi-grade science and history curricula.

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 all the latest News to Know, why not take a look to see what you’ve missed?

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