News to Note, February 11, 2012

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on February 11, 2012
Featured in News to Know

Piltdown pals “The sin of Creationism” Synaptic peak The ancient mega-clone Subglacial science

1. Piltdown Pals

The Wizard of Sussex and his Piltdown pals: Whodunit?

2. The “Sin of Creationism”

Evolution Weekend slated to tell about “the sin of Creationism.”

3. Synapses Speak

Dramatic difference found between human and chimpanzee brains.

4. The Ancient Mega-Clone

Models suggest massive Mediterranean meadows are millenary mega-clones.

5. Subglacial Science

“Raiders of the lost lake”1 reach Vostok’s water.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • Man’s ongoing search for new Earths continues this month with the second planet (GJ 667Cc) orbiting a red dwarf. This dwarf star, dimmer and cooler than our sun, is part of a triple star system, but the three planets orbit only it. The second planet has a mass about 4.5 times that of earth, and orbiting close with a 28-day orbital period it may have a temperature suitable for liquid water and life as we know it. However, unless the heat absorptive qualities of the planet and its composition—rocky or gaseous—can be determined, its habitability will remain undetermined. Commenting on the questions remaining to be answered, MIT astrophysicist Sara Seager says, “The truth is, we may never know. But overall I’m excited. Whatever is going on, this is the start of the next era in exoplanets. We’re going to start seeing super-Earths in habitable zones all the time.” And at “only” 22 light years away, we don’t anticipate a visit to GJ 667Cc. As we’ve discussed several times recently, the expectation of finding life on other worlds stems from an evolutionary presupposition that life would evolve over time whenever conditions are right. However, while the Bible does not explicitly confirm or deny the existence of life elsewhere, God did make all things, living and nonliving, including the stars and their planets. He made those heavenly bodies on the fourth day of Creation week about 6,000 years ago. Read more about exoplanets at Kepler’s Mission: To Boldly Seek Out Where Life Could Have Evolved.
  • Evolutionary biologists and paleontologists have calculated the time required for mammals to evolve big-ness and small-ness. Based on the evolutionary timescale assumed from the fossil record and the phylogenetic trees assumed for 28 groups of mammals, the team has calculated at least 24 million generations were required for mammals to evolve from the size of a mouse to the size of an elephant. Only 100,000 generations would be required to evolve a down-sizing to dwarfism. Dr. Alistair Evans’s research team believes that microevolutionary traits—“small changes that occur within a species”—occur quickly. (And indeed they do, being only variations within a created kind.) “Instead we concentrated on large-scale changes in body size. We can now show that it took at least 24 million generations to make the proverbial mouse-to-elephant size change -- a massive change, but also a very long time,” Dr. Evans says. “A less dramatic change, such as rabbit-sized to elephant-sized, takes 10 million generations.” Evans suspects up-sizing takes much longer than downsizing because of the many structures that must evolve to support the increased body mass. The problem that invalidates this study is the presupposition on which it is based. Even in cases in which animals of the same kind are being assessed, the time required for changes to appear is calibrated by unverifiable long ages superimposed on the fossil record. In truth, however, the fossil record is a different kind of timeline, not showing the historical time at which species evolved but instead depicting predominantly the order of burial of creatures during the global Flood. For more information see Doesn’t the Order of Fossils in the Rock Record Favor Long Ages?.
  • Evolutionists had thought “singing in crickets probably evolved later as a startle reflex,” says Professor Mike Ritchie of the University of St. Andrews. But the finding of a fossilized cricket from the Jurassic Period, conventionally dated at 165 million years ago, “suggests that [very early on] they were already. . . producing these lovely, pure tones to compete for a mate.” This cricket has music-producing wing structures so well preserved entomologist Fernando Montealegre Zapata has determined the frequency of the cricket’s stridulations. By comparing the precise measurements of the “plectrum” and comb-like structures to those of living crickets, Zapata extrapolated the frequency Jurassic cricket would have produced. He determined it had a fairly low pitch. While evolutionists debate the implications of the pitch for the environment in which it supposedly evolved, we will merely note that the Jurassic cricket, though large with wings 7 centimeters long, was equipped like modern crickets for species-specific chirps. The cricket did not have to evolve musical equipment. God created each kind of creature, even insects, fully equipped for life.

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