News to Note, August 19, 2006

A weekly feature examining the news from the biblical viewpoint


1. Human-Only Genes: "Speedy" Evolution?

According to a study published in Nature, scientists believe they have found a gene sequence (HAR1, for those of you taking notes) whose evolution resulted in a tripling of the brain capacity of humans, thus distinguishing our mental abilities from chimpanzees.

2. The Guardian (UK): How did we get here?

This article from The Guardian reports on survey information on what students believe about origins, including some interesting facts. For example, ten percent of areligious students accept intelligent design, which counters the assertion that intelligent design is just religion masquerading as science, as some say.

According to The Guardian, “[T]hree years of learning how to weigh evidence appears to make students slightly more inclined towards evolution, with 57% of third-years choosing it compared with 54% of first-years.” But could this 3% of difference be due not to students learning how to weigh evidence, but instead just be a class-to-class variation?

Later in the article, Jeremy Rayner, a zoology professor at Leeds University, comments on the purpose of upcoming lectures on creation and intelligent design: “[T]he idea is to teach students about the creationism hypothesis 'so they are in a position to make their own rational judgement and counter it'.”

Well, which is it, Professor Rayner-do you want students to make their own rational judgement on the creation/evolution issue, or to counter creationism? We think it's obvious he wants the latter!

3. AP: Many Ark. candidates say intelligent design in schools is OK & : Evolution will be an issue in fall vote (requires free registration/login)

The battle over the teaching of evolution in public schools has come to Arkansas, where both Democrat and Republican candidates for statewide offices have expressed openness to the topic of intelligent design in science classrooms, making it “available to students” or at least giving teachers academic freedom to discuss the creation/evolution controversy and address intelligent design.

The AP article also states that “[m]ost scientists view [intelligent design] as a new form of creationism.” In fact, the idea of intelligent design, as a notion apart from the true knowledge of God, has been around at least since the first century BC.

In Ohio, a group called Help Ohio Public Education (HOPE) aims to unseat a state board of education who, HOPE believes, supports teaching intelligent design in the classroom. What we're seeing is an attempt at a grassroots-style reaction to the grassroots efforts to promote openness in science classrooms. The article closes with, “Most scientists view it as a new form of creationism.”

Look familiar?

4. The New York Times: How to Make Sure Children Are Scientifically Illiterate

Lawrence Krauss, who will head the advocacy group HOPE (in item 3, above) started to unseat “anti-evolution” politicians in Ohio, authored this essay attacking a whole slew of anti-creationists. We would suggest he re-title his essay “A Sophomore's Guide to Arguing Against Creationism,” since it is basically a review of the more juvenile attempts to discredit creation.

Among the hackneyed arguments Mr. Krass peddles are that creationism is the same as believing in a flat earth, or that if you're a creationist, you have to believe airplanes and automobiles “work by divine magic,” or that “knowledge is a threat to faith,” or that by belief in creation “require[s] a denial of essentially all modern scientific knowledge.” By this, and by leaning on stereotypes and buying into inaccuracies (e.g., that “[c]reation science evolved into intelligent design”), Mr. Krauss managed to author one of the most worthless anti-creationism essays that We've seen. We would say we were surprised The New York Times printed it, but actually, we arn't.

5. National Geographic News: "Killer" Fossil Find May Rewrite Story of Whale Evolution

The recent discovery of a fossilized baleen whale with unusual features has evolutionists scrambling to redraw lines of whale evolution, because this fossil's features-“enormous” eyes, “flesh-ripping” toothed jaws, skull showing incapability of echolocation and broad, short snout-are unlike modern baleen whales. For this reason, evolutionists want to classify the new species (called Janjucetus hunderi) as an isolated “freak” (no offense, pal) in the ancestral baleen whale line.

The question is, is there any real evidence that this whale belongs in an evolutionary tree, rather than belonging in the creation orchard as just another variant within a created kind?

6. Collins is “Faithful to God, Science?”

This article, about evolutionist Christian Dr. Francis Collins (director of the [US] National Human Genome Research Institute), is riddled with inaccuracies and misleading statements.

7. The Times: Mammoths may roam again after 27,000 years

Scientists hope that by using frozen mammoth sperm, they may be able to reintroduce mammoth-like animals to the earth (specifically, animals that are 50% mammoth and 50% Asian elephant-something like heffalumps). This may help baraminologists better determine the exact composition of the elephant kind.

8. UPI: Kenya's human fossils disturb church

From this short article's headline, one gets the idea that Kenyan Christians are upset with the existence of the fossils-as though they are so upset that such solid “proof” of evolution exists. But what is Bishop Adoyo really worried about?

“The Christian community here is very uncomfortable that Leakey and his group want their theories presented as fact,” Adoyo said.

What theories? Isn't the age of these fossils a proven, scientific fact, independent of individual bias? Interestingly, we featured an appendix on our website this week that addresses this question quite directly.

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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