News to Note, February 3, 2007

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint


1. Scientists Expect Sub-Martian Water

In last year’s August 26 News to Note, item #1, we reported on the then-latest classification status of skeletal remains discovered in 2003 on an Indonesian island. The remains, which are mostly from a single small human (now frequently referred to as a “hobbit”), were initially claimed as an extinct hominid species, Homo floresiensis. But three years later, an international research team concluded that the LB1 skull, as it’s been catalogued, instead belonged to a modern, dwarf human with microcephaly (an abnormally small, improperly developed head). This conclusion was partially an attempt to account for the “sophisticated tools and evidence of a fire” at the site.

2. “No Big Bang? Endless Universe Made Possible by New Model

An article slated to appear in an upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters is already making waves in the astrophysics world. The article, by University of North Carolina physics professor Dr. Paul Frampton and UNC graduate student Lauris Baum, outlines a cosmological model that rivals the popular big bang model many secular scientists propose for the origin of the universe.

Bible-believers shouldn’t jump to conclusions, however; despite this new model’s contrast with the big bang, its description of the universe is even more at odds with the Genesis account than the big bang model is. The new model describes an “endless” universe that expands “until all matter fragments into patches so far apart that nothing can bridge the gaps[-e]verything from black holes to atoms disintegrates.” At this point, each “fragmented patch” collapses individually, then re-expands big-bang style to become its own universe. Thus, with each cycle of expansion/contraction, infinite new universes are created.

Unsurprisingly, this new cosmology has similarities to other “oscillating universe” theories proposed in the past, but merely rests on different assumptions, as the authors admit. But even as secular cosmologies come and go-or expand and contract, perhaps-the Bible’s cosmology remains the same.

3. “Hobbit” Dispute Takes Another Turn

Well, last week the news was that Martian water may linger just beneath the surface of the red planet. This week, scientists report that Martian life may be beneath the Martian surface-but too deep for us to detect, they caution. Of course there are lots of problems with assuming the presence of water, in and of itself, is promising for the origin of life.

4. BBC NEWS: “‘Terror birds’ never met humans

It seems scientists were a bit off in their approximate date for the extinction of Titanis walleri, the “giant carnivorous ‘terror bird’” that once stood 7 feet (2 m) tall and weighed an estimated 330 lbs (150 kg). “It had been thought the fearsome beasts became extinct as little as 10,000 years ago-a time when humans shared their North American habitat,” the BBC NEWS article explains. But-oops-did we say 10,000 years? No, no, make that two million years ago, scientists now say. Of course date changes like this are not uncommon, so why should we believe this new date? This new figure is based on chemical analysis of T. walleri bones found in Florida and Texas, whereas the previous figure “would have coincided with the mass extinction of other mega-fauna that occurred in North America at the end of the Pleistocene [Epoch],” the article explains.

Of course, this isn’t a first; scientists play the dating game all the time, in the areas of paleontology, anthropology and geology. The question is, for how long will the public think radiometric dating is trustworthy?

5. Birth of a Hill

Support for creation geology is coming from an out-of-the-way location: Antarctica. To be more specific, support is coming from a “drumlin” (a small hill molded by glacial activity) that has formed below Antarctic ice in what secular geologists consider the blink of an eye. Professor Tavi Murray of Swansea University, who is on the team that made the discovery, explained:

For More Information: Get Answers

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