News to Note, February 2, 2013

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

Fish hands? Life? So what. Molar roots and our roots Tiny dino? Martian water of life

1. Developments in Fish Said to Show How Limbs Evolved

Development of “pre-hands” in fish said to show how terrestrial animals evolved limbs.

Evolutionists maintain that land animals evolved from fish. Scientists reporting in Developmental Cell say that their experiments have demonstrated a possible genetic mechanism permitting this evolutionary development.

2. Pro-Abortion Writer: Pro-Life Support is a Dirty Trick

Pro-abortion writer claims that our “diabolically clever” support for life is a “sneaky, dirty trick.”

The death toll from Roe v. Wade’s legalization of abortion 40 years ago in the U.S.A. is already approaching 55 million. As America enters its fifth decade since that infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision declared that a woman’s “right to privacy” trumps her unborn baby’s right to live, a staff writer for Salon has come out and plainly proclaimed the foundational and inherently selfish belief behind the pro-abortion “pro-choice” movement.

3. Homo erectus Grew Teeth Like Modern Humans, Not Like Chimps

A dentist once told me that I didn’t need to floss all my teeth—only the ones I wanted to keep! Teeth show wear from abrasion and accumulation of dental calculus on the outside, particularly without the benefit of modern dental hygiene. But the inside of our teeth also tells a story. Our permanent teeth, because they are designed to last a lifetime, preserve a record of their growth in their microscopic structure. A study comparing the teeth of modern humans, chimpanzees, and hominid fossils has found results that surprised evolutionary researchers. In a nutshell, they discovered that the teeth of Homo erectus had a growth pattern matching that of modern humans and not chimpanzees.

4. Was Tiny Feathered Creature Dinosaur or Bird?

It’s an itsy-bitsy . . . dinosaur? Or bird?

Flying out China’s seemingly endless supply of so-called “feathered dinosaurs” is the latest superlative—or rather the most diminutive—addition to the growing collection: the Eosinopteryx brevipenna. This big name for the smallest member of the illustrious group literally means “red-winged and short-feathered.” The animal was nearly a foot long (30 centimeters), roughly 8 inches shorter than the Late Jurassic Archaeopteryx.

5. Looking for Water in all the Right Places

Early Mars missions failed to find life on the Red Planet, so the focus shifted to finding evidence for water. As high resolution photographs taken by orbital reconnaissance craft and rovers such as Opportunity showed evidence that Mars may have once had liquid water, the effort to look for evidence of life the water may have spawned has intensified. After all, we could sum up an article of evolutionary faith with the statement, “And the water ‘said,’ let there be life.”

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • Last fall veteran substitute teacher Walter Tutka told the last student in line, “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” The student repeatedly asked Tutka for the source of the catchy quotation. Tutka finally showed him Matthew 20:16, and the student borrowed and returned Tutka’s Bible. The New Jersey school board subsequently suspended Tutka for distributing religious literature at school and for failing to remain neutral on a religious topic. Tutka’s legal representative from Liberty Institute, Hiram Sasser, says, “Certainly this is religious hostility [toward a particular religion] and religious discrimination. . . . There has been no complaint, and all he was doing was satisfying a student's intellectual curiosity.” Must students be protected from hearing phrases with a biblical origin? Literature and conversational English is replete with biblical phrases. This Bible verse even shows up in the M.C. Lars rap song “Geeked Out,” which certainly has nothing to do with promoting Christianity. Are students to have the biblical heritage that enriches the English language expunged from their experience?
    Tutka’s answer did not constitute a First Amendment “establishment of a religion” by the government. The school board’s actions, however, did violate First Amendment protections of religious freedom and free speech. English speakers, even those who work in public schools, should not be required to eliminate biblical phrases from their speech or fear answering a student’s question if the answer involves a biblical reference. Such censorious demands not only violate the teacher’s freedom of speech but also harm students’ intellectual experience. Tutka’s termination further demonstrates the school board’s hostility toward a particular religion—another First Amendment violation.

  • What have evolutionist bloggers been writing about most in the past few days? About cartoon illustrations in a children’s book written by AiG President Ken Ham twelve years ago! The drawings in question once appeared in a children's book published by Master Books, for which Ham wrote the text. From their reactions, evolutionists (including two PhD professors at major universities) behaved as if the fate of the
    creation/evolution issue was hanging in the balance over a dinosaur book for kids! What happened?
    During an online video chat session on Google Live last Tuesday, a person asked Ham if dinosaurs once wore saddles and whether people rode the animals. Ken's reply on the live program was: “I don’t know where people get the idea that people rode dinosaurs. I mean, there’s no evidence in the Bible that that is so. When Job was looking at behemoth, the description there [has] nothing to do with people riding dinosaurs. We don’t know how people interacted with dinosaurs.” Evolutionists pounced with “gotcha” glee when they discovered a children’s book by Ham, The Dinosaurs of Eden, which had an illustration of a saddled dinosaur; they declared that Ham’s comments during the video chat had disavowed (in the words of one long-time AiG antagonist) “what he’s taught for many years: that mankind used to ride on the back of saddled dinosaurs.” But Ham himself has never taught that belief, though he does believe dinosaurs were contemporaneous with humans.
    It is remarkable that bloggers, including the man who posed the set-up question of Ham during the on-line session, had found a whimsical image drawn by artists that the publisher hired twelve years ago and then faulted Ken for not remembering a saddled dinosaur in the book. Moreover, while Ham is blamed for the image’s depictions, it was actually the book’s artists who had borrowed the style of the popular “Dinotopia” books and used it as a fun illustration of humans and a saddled dinosaur. Ham, writer of the book’s text, was not the owner of the book, and it was the publisher who had hired the illustrators and who had the final say in the book’s artwork. With Ham’s comment that he doesn't “know where people get the idea that people rode dinosaurs,” he simply did not recall the particular illustration. Ham never writes about saddled dinosaurs nor ever mentions them in his public talks. It is head-scratchingly bizarre that some evolutionists will find the most insignificant things to blog about and blow them out of all proportion so they can take yet another a shot at creationists’ beliefs.
    In another comment made by bloggers on this matter, they point out that there is a dinosaur model at AiG’s Creation Museum with a saddle. As AiG has corrected these same evolutionists before, the dinosaur model is not a museum exhibit with a teaching purpose, contrary to what detractors are wanting to portray. The dinosaur model is actually a photo op for children and is not even in the museum's exhibit area; it's a spot where parents can simply take a photo of their kids sitting on the dinosaur as a fun memory of their visit. It’s not a teaching exhibit of some sort. Regardless, the point made by Ham in the Google-live presentation is that the Bible is silent about the trivial point of whether humans once rode saddled dinosaurs.
    Ultimately, this trivial matter of whether dinosaurs wore saddles has nothing to do whatsoever regarding the question of the authority of the book of Genesis, including its teaching that humans and land animals like dinosaurs were created on the same day and thus coexisted. But evolutionists, who can't cope with the compelling evidence that dinosaurs have lived in recent times (e.g., preserved soft tissue and blood vessels found in a T. rex bone, which clearly show that this dinosaur did not die out 65 million years ago (see also “News to Note, October 27, 2012”); dinosaur petroglyphs and legends, etc.), can make a mountain out of a molehill in their desire to mock those who believe the Bible.
    Secularists can often act childish in their efforts to discredit and malign creationist groups. It’s thus fitting that a children’s book has exposed their juvenile efforts.

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