News to Note, December 20, 2008

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

Featured in News to Know

A rat’s fifteen minutes of fame, what we believe, web of ages, crazy talk, and more!

1. CNN: “Mekong a ‘Treasure Trove’ of 1,000 Newly Discovered Species”

Among a myriad of new species discovered in Asia’s Mekong River region is a rat. What’s so surprising about that?

The Laotian rock rat (Laonastes aenigmamus) is just one of 1,068 new or otherwise unexpected species found inhabiting the region in the last decade, reports the World Wildlife Fund. For centuries, it was believed to have been extinct for 11 million years. (See an image of the rat on the Telegraph article.)

The rat, with its thick tail resembling a squirrel, was somewhat humorously discovered by a scientist visiting an outdoor restaurant. Its “reappearance” was originally announced back in 2006 (before the first-ever edition of News to Note, sadly), and we even mentioned it in a feedback article in 2007. Such so-called living fossils stand (quite literally) in opposition to the millions-of-years interpretation of the fossil record.

According to Dekila Chungyalpa, director of the WWF’s Mekong Program, scientists are now discovering two new species a week in the region, on average. We look forward to the next “long extinct” creature that suddenly appears—at an outdoor restaurant or elsewhere!

2. LUCA Considered Earth’s Original Ancestor Says University of Montreal

LUCA: I am your father?

3. Poll: More Americans Believe In the Devil than Darwinism

In a poll sure to make nearly everyone cringe—for varying reasons—more respondents were found to believe in “the devil, hell, and angels” than in Darwinism.

4. An Evolutionist Claims Humans are Descended From the Same Ancestor 5,000 years Ago

We are all descended from the same ancestor about 5,000 years ago—the claim of an evolutionist?

5. AP: “Scientist Says He Found the Oldest Spider Web”

As we’ve been warning you: don’t get caught in the millions-of-years web!

Oxford University paleobiologist Martin Brasier has announced the discovery of the world’s oldest spider web, encased in a piece of amber. While Brasier claims the webbing is some 140 million years old, he notes, “You can match the details of the spider’s web with the spider’s web in my garden.”

The amber was found on a British shoreline two years ago by someone the AP describes as an “amateur fossil-hunter.” The report notes that “the minuscule strands show that spiders had been spinning circle-shaped webs well into prehistory.” Preserved along with the strands were bits of fossilized vegetable matter and bits of burnt sap.

While this certainly is a fascinating little discovery, the dating of the amber is 100 percent interpretation, wholly based on presuppositions about the past. Within the long-ages/evolutionary worldview, this find would reveal that spider webs of today apparently haven’t changed from spider webs of the time of dinosaurs—no evolution there! But what this find really tells us (or reminds us, actually) is that spiders have always been spiders, ever since creation—about 6,000 years ago.

6. AAP: “Students to be Taught there’s No God”

For primary school students in the Australian state of Victoria, the humanist indoctrination of state courses is no longer a subtle matter.

“Victorian state primary school students will soon be able to take religious education classes which teach there is no evidence God exists,” the Australian Associated Press report begins. The new course, developed by the Humanist Society of Victoria, is designed to counter religious instruction courses, both of which students can opt out of through parent intervention.

The courses will be taught by “accredited volunteers” who will presumably proclaim the humanist doctrine that says ethics have “no necessary connection with religion.”

Commenting on the story in his blog, Ken Ham writes:

Well, at least it is in the right place—in the religious education classes, as atheism is a religion. It is an anti-Christian religion—but it is a religion. Actually, what many Americans don’t understand is that when the Bible, God, creation, prayer, etc. were basically removed from the public schools in the USA, this did not leave the public education system in a non-religious (or neutral) position. Now students in that system are taught how to explain the universe and life without God—this is the religion of atheism. Atheism is now the basic religion taught in the American public school system and in the science classes.

For more information:

7. AP Article On Global Warming Labeled "Hysteria"

A group of scientists skeptical of the connection between humans and climate change has taken aim at a recent AP article.

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know 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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