News to Note, December 19, 2009

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

on December 19, 2009

Slowly but surely?; young-earth evolutionism; adios, Alaska; and more!

1. Many Giant Leaps for Evolution

Evolution is thought to progress slowly, step by step, the accumulation of hundreds of millions of years’ worth of small changes. Or is it?

2. Youth-Earth Evolutionism

Mammoths didn’t die out that long ago: a creationist conclusion or the latest evolutionary idea?

Until recently, the prevailing old-earth perspective was that woolly mammoths survived until between 15,000 and 13,000 years ago.

3. Super-Earths?

Astronomers may soon find more “Earth-like” planets—and with them, alien life?

“The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,” claimed the University of California–Santa Cruz’s Steven Vogt, part of the team behind the news of two new “super-Earths” discovered outside of our solar system.

4. Adios, Alaska

Should we bid “bye-bye” to Alaska?

According to recent research, part of Alaska’s coastline is eroding by up to 45 feet (14 m) a year.

5. Octopus Intelligence

It’s an amazing animal known for its intelligence and, now, for its tool-use: the chimpanzee? The dolphin? The crow? Not quite.

6. And Don’t Miss . . .

  • Is this fossil sea cow a transitional form? Given the sparseness of the bones (just a partial skull and a few ribs) used to identify the fossil as such, we’re skeptical. But the find is a good example of reading lofty evolutionary conclusions into a few bones.
  • Were gases collected from deep inside the earth originally deposited by comet? Ironically, scientists came to that conclusion after realizing that “isotope ratios in the gas samples . . . did not match the ratios found in the [alleged] primordial cloud that spawned the solar system.” Thus, one evolutionary speculation is replaced with another.
  • Is Darwinian evolution necessary for a full understanding of medicine? Despite frequent claims in the affirmative, a new article claims “evolutionary theory has played a limited role in the field of medicine” until the past twenty years. Furthermore, the claimed insights of a Darwinian perspective on medicine—natural selection and the problems caused by many mutations—are fully understandable within a creation perspective.
  • Did drawing an image of Jesus on the Cross get an eight-year-old boy sent home from school? If so, we wonder if the increasing irreligiosity—and unfamiliarity with religious imagery—could be partially to blame. Note, however, that school officials disagreed with some details of the story, such as whether the picture shown to the media was the one that led to the removal.
  • Earlier this month was the premiere of the Guardian’s “Evolutionary Agony Aunt” weekly column—an otherwise typical advice column that counsels from an overtly evolutionary perspective. As such, we find the column repulsive and its advice distinctly immoral. It also highlights the troubling question of how Christianity and Darwinian evolution can be considered compatible by some.
  • We thank a reader who alerted us to a news item from last month that we missed: the revelation that the happy children shown on a recent atheist advertisement are raised in a Christian household. Whether that weakens the message of the advertisement, you can decide.
  • It may not be earth-shaking, but the first paper based on tests at the supposed “big-bang-producing” Large Hadron Collider has been published. The results are reportedly “consistent with earlier measurements of proton-antiproton interactions.” For more on the collider, see A Miniature Big Bang or More Hot Air?
  • It isn’t news, per se, but we’ve received reports of a program called Dinosaur Train that appears on PBS Kids and is chock full of evolutionary content. Don’t be a passive parent—if you let your child watch Dinosaur Train, be ready to reaffirm the biblical worldview and explain where the program gets derailed. And if you find the content inappropriate, contact your local PBS affiliate and request they tell the show’s producers to alter the program’s content or request that the program be dropped outright by the station.

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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, 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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