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News to Note, February 23, 2013

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on February 23, 2013
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The oft-evolved appendix Freedom under fire Homo erectus—the handyman Leaving Lucy Epigenetic inheritance

1. The Appendix: Useless Vestige or Evolutionary Innovation?

The appendix has long been maligned as an obsolete vestigial remnant of digestive evolution.

As such, for many years, its primary function seemed to be to give surgeons a little something extra to do whenever they visited a patient’s abdomen. After all, it could get infected later and was thought to be useless, so why not get rid of it? Now, evolutionary analysis has finally caught up with the medical evidence that the modern appendix is functional and has now bestowed its blessing. Evolutionary biologist Heather Smith and surgeon William Parker presume to have elucidated the evolutionary history of the appendix and discovered “the strongest evidence yet that the appendix serves a purpose.”

2. Federal Government: Freedom to Conform, Not Be Different

Federal government tips its hand: you have the freedom to be like others, but not necessarily the freedom to be different.

The plight of a German family that fled to the United States for political asylum reveals threats to the freedom of all Americans. Many non-homeschooling Americans may think the U.S. government’s effort to revoke the homeschooling family’s political asylum has nothing to do with them. However, a close look at the U.S. Attorney General’s case before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reveals several startling and disturbing positions that affect everyone’s freedom.

3. Homo Erectus Had Skillfully Designed Tools

Homo erectus had style and design of their tools down to a science.

Recent years have seen the rehabilitation of the Neanderthal reputation upward from basic brute. Now it’s time for Homo erectus, whose fossils appear deeper in the fossil record, to get a facelift. If the public truly gets wind of their ingenuity and skill at crafting tools from the barest of materials, we may one day see them as the mascots for a Craftsmen™ tool ad!

4. Lucy Makes Last Stop Before Returning Home

This spring is your last chance to see Lucy in the United States before she returns to her homeland.

After resting four years in storage in Houston, Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia has opened at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, where Lucy will remain through April 28. Reflecting the evolutionary claim that Lucy is an ancient ancestor of humans, museum president Peter Keller says, “When you get down to the basics of human origins, there's no more important piece than the oldest complete human, or human ancestry remains, than Lucy.”

5. Secret of Epigenetic Inheritance Discovered

While genetics may seem to some like a straightforward way in which parental characteristics are reshuffled and dealt out to offspring, scientists have long known the process reaches a level of complexity only partially understood. Last year’s discovery of the functionality of “junk” DNA highlighted this fact. Ongoing revelations about heritable epigenetic changes are another.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • In light of recent revelations concerning the U.S. Attorney General’s notions concerning the liberty of parents and guardians to oversee the education and upbringing of their children (item #2 above), now is a good time to call attention to recent assertions by physicist Lawrence Krauss. Krauss equates teaching your children creationism to child abuse. He ranks it not as bad as sexual abuse but somewhere on par with the Taliban. In response, the journalist in the examiner.com raises the question, “Is it ethical for society to allow parents and other religious leaders to teach children false ideas like the earth being less than 7,000 years old, or that dinosaurs and humans roamed the earth simultaneously? . . . What are we to do?” Notice that this is not a call for action restricted only to the public school classroom but threatens to knock on the doors of our churches, private schools, and homes. So far, the U.S. Supreme Court has safeguarded the fundamental right of parents to control how their children are educated. But the Attorney General’s office doesn’t seem to realize that protection includes those who home educate. This Examiner.com journalist doesn’t seem to realize the fundamental rights of parents include the right to teach children that the Bible is true from the very first verse. Krauss’s popular video suggests the tool with which to chisel and smash our religious freedom—equating it with child abuse. Be sure to read Ken Ham and Steve Golden’s in-depth discussion of Krauss’s claims at Arizona State University Professor Accuses Christians of “Child Abuse”. And resolve to stay informed on the Romeike case and on related issues as they arise so that you can let your voice be heard with our elected officials and those they appoint to interpret the laws.

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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, the 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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