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Last week, it was the discovery of ancient stone tools, thought to have been used by chimpanzees, that headlined science news. This week, the focus is on modern wooden tools used by chimpanzees in Senegal. Researchers watched as numerous chimpanzees fashioned spears out of tree branches, then used the makeshift spears to hunt for bushbabies, a small primate the chimpanzees occasionally eat. Some chimpanzees even sharpened the spear tips with their teeth.
As one might expect, this interesting case of tool use by apes is conjectured as a point of investigation for evolutionary theory; the scientists claim vaguely that “the finding could have implications for human evolution.” Yet this is not the first instance of tool use by apes or other animals (see our oft-cited November 4, 2006, News to Note, item #3). This discovery merely confirms that chimps are intelligent creatures, created with enough intelligence to make and use simple tools and learn from one another, as do many other intelligent animals; this is a far cry from being made in the image of God, as Genesis describes humans, and in no way validates evolutionary ideas.
A new discovery highlighting bird intelligence, reported in Nature this week, further upsets evolutionary implications that elevate the intelligence of chimps and other primates (see item #1, for instance). Wild scrub-jays in a University of Cambridge lab have shown, for the first time, that birds have some idea of the future and can plan ahead accordingly.
Robots at the University of Lausanne are the latest evidences mobilized in support of evolution. The small robots, creations of a team headed by insect expert Laurent Keller, are designed to “[condense] thousands of years of evolution into a weeklong battle” of robot natural selection.
If you didn’t already think the big bang was bunk, then think again: according to a new hypothesis by Stanford physics professor Andrei Linde, the universe may have “emerge[d] from less than a milligram of matter, or perhaps even from literally nothing,” reports PhysOrg.com. This is just the latest refinement in inflationary theory, a sort of “partner speculation” with the big bang. Linde’s idea credits the creation of the universe to “quantum fluctuations” in space-time.
In commenting on his new idea, Linde added, bluntly, “If galaxies are the result of quantum fluctuations,” said Linde with a shrug, “imagine what we are.” This gives us a clear window into his worldview, and forces one to ask: how is it that compromising Christians continue to mate the clear account of creation in Genesis with a big bang story that increasingly includes elements of chance (a.k.a. “quantum fluctuation,” in this case)?
In the latest story of scientists adapting design in nature for use in human technology, a team of engineers has adapted piscine “lateral lines” that may one day be used on submarines. A lateral line is a sense organ on the exterior of fish that aids hunting, swimming, and self-defense.
“Our goal is to develop an artificial device that mimics the functions and capabilities of the biological system,” explained Chang Liu, electrical and computer engineering professor in the University of Illinois system. “By detecting changes in water pressure and movement, the device can supplement sonar and vision systems in submarines and underwater robots.”
LiveScience reports Liu’s explanation that an artificial lateral line could be used to “detect and track moving underwater targets and avoid collisions with moving or stationary objects.” Liu also added, insightfully, that “biology remains far superior to human engineering.”
Of course, projects like this are just another testament to the incredible designs of an incredible Designer.
In a major surprise to those looking for earth-like planets beyond our solar system, the first extrasolar planet examined-HD 189733b, for those keeping score-shows no signs of “common molecules like water, methane, or carbon dioxide,” announced Carl Grillmair and David Charbonneau of the Spitzer Science Center and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, respectively.
Head for the hills! American belief in pseudoscience is on the rise! A recent study by Jon D. Miller of Michigan State University reveals interesting developments in the U.S. populace’s familiarity with science and beliefs about alleged “pseudoscience.”
We wanted to include a link to this excellent guest column in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel that contests a previous guest column attacking creationism. The well-written rebuttal, by Fort Wayne resident Douglas Wellman, is a good reminder that any creationist has the opportunity to stand up to evolutionary indoctrination, including in the op-ed or reader letters section of a local newspaper. If you spot a pro-evolution slant in an article or read a letter or column by an evolutionist, make your voice heard in response. We’ve published some simple guidelines to help you get started-see the sidebar in “As long as they spell our name right ….“
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!