News to Note, December 12, 2009

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

on December 12, 2009

Water in the (Martian) desert, variation of all kinds, from a trickle to a flood, and more!

1. Water in the (Martian) Desert

Once again, the news is awash in coverage of a new “water on Mars” claim. Does this one stand up to scrutiny?

NASA’s Spirit rover has been stuck in a rut (almost literally) for months.

2. Horse Evolution Mix-up

Some argue that the horse offers a “textbook example of evolution.” But does new research undo that claim?

Both evolutionists and creationists recognize that multiple modern “species” can arise from the same ancestral group. For evolutionists, this is the idea of evolution from a single common ancestor. For creationists, this is the idea of variation within a single created kind.

3. Creating Evolution

Are British birders behind the origin of a new blackcap species?

By feeding Sylvia atricapilla (central European blackcaps) during the winter, bird-lovers in Britain may be stimulating the “evolution” of a new bird species, ScienceNOW reports on recent research at the University of Freiburg.

4. From a Trickle to a Flood

Did a massive ancient Flood fill in the Mediterranean Sea?

Geologists studying the Strait of Gibraltar have proposed a variation on an older hypothesis about how the Mediterranean Sea was filled in: a trickle of water from the Atlantic turned into a “gigantic flood” that filled in most of the sea in as little as a few months.

5. Survival of the Kindest?

Move over, Charles Darwin: researchers at Oregon State University and the University of California–Berkeley want to supplant “survival of the fittest” with “survival of the kindest.”

6. And Don’t Miss . . .

  • USA Today covers the results of a troubling new Pew Forum survey. The survey reveals the level of “syncretism” in American Christianity, showing alarmingly little difference between Christian and non-Christian respondents on such beliefs as reincarnation, astrology, and spiritualism. The article quotes Answers in Genesis friend Al Mohler, who says the study is evidence of “rampant confusion” that represents “a failure of the pulpit as much as of the pew to be clear about what is and is not compatible with Christianity and belief in salvation only through Christ.”
  • The methane found on Mars could not be from meteorites, so it must have a biological (or geological or chemical) source, reports BBC News on research appearing in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
  • Creationists have no inherent (i.e., biblical) reason to stand for or against the existence of dark matter. But as it is, dark matter is largely a speculation driven by big bang beliefs. With that in mind, we pass on this “warning” to be skeptical of possible upcoming news of the “discovery” of dark matter.
  • An otherwise interesting article about fascinating observational neuroscience research is tarnished by a cheap shot in the last paragraph: “The internet has dramatically increased . . . the possibilities for interactions and the size of the interacting groups . . . [b]ut there are also greater possibilities for false models, in the shape of deception, propaganda, or genuinely held but dangerously wrong-headed ideas—creationism, the denial of global warming, take your pick.”
  • Can monkeys manipulate language, as recent research suggests? While the news reminds us of the creatures’ intelligence, it seems that the scientists’ claims of the monkeys creating new vocabulary is more likely humans simply learning more of the monkeys’ pre-existing “vocabulary.”
  • Bone Digger, a documentary about creationist paleontologist Joe Taylor and the Mt. Blanco Museum, is slated to be released soon. Taylor was a consultant for many paleontology exhibits during the construction of our Creation Museum. You can read more about Taylor in Creationists Need Bones.
  • While we often attack many of the ideas of Charles Darwin, two new papers demonstrate his capability for valuable operational science (in contrast to the worldview-driven historical science found in most of The Origin of Species).
  • The Manhattan Declaration, which reaffirms fundamental truths of “the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, [and] the rights of conscience and religious liberty,” has nearly 300,000 signers. Read the full Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience.

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.