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News to Note, February 6, 2010

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

on February 6, 2010
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No soup for you, evolutionists; the dino-bird that wasn’t; salamander attack; and more!

1. Primordial Soup No Longer Origin of Life

Evolutionists and creationists alike, watch your language: the supposed “primordial soup” of life’s beginnings is no longer kosher.

2. BBC News: “New Dinosaur Discovery Solves Evolutionary Bird Puzzle

Another week, another alleged dinosaur–bird connection: this time, Haplocheirus sollers, a fossil from China’s Gobi Desert. But does it actually help evolutionists’ case?

The fossil, described in the journal Science, belongs to the dinosaur family Alvarezsauridae. The family is known for several bird-like features, including “fused wrist elements and a loosely structured skull,” BBC News reports. H. sollers also features short arms and a large claw.

At first, this may sound like evidence for the alleged evolution of some dinosaurs into birds. But while H. sollers is dubbed a “transitional fossil,” it’s not a transition on the way to birds. Rather, the describing scientists now believe the bird-like features of the Alvarezsauridae family evolved separately from birds, much earlier than the first birds are thought to have evolved.

“Previously we thought the Alvarezsauridae were primitive, flightless birds. This discovery shows they’re not and that the similarities between them evolved in parallel,” explained George Washington University’s Jonah Choiniere.

Thus, at least these evolutionists agree that some dinosaurs with bird-like features were nevertheless “just” dinosaurs, not on their way to becoming birds. That’s exactly the creationist perspective: dinosaurs with similarities to birds are just that and nothing else. (Creationists also believe that some “dinosaurs” said to be evolving into birds are actually misidentified birds, such as was the case with Archaeopteryx.)

3. BBC News: “Close Encounters with Japan’s ‘Living Fossil’

“This is a dinosaur,” an environmentalist says in regard to one giant salamander, a living fossil that indeed looks like it could be from the time of dinosaurs.

This particular giant salamander (captured on video; see the above link) is certainly giant at 5.5 feet (1.7 m) long, but BBC News shares the sixteenth century legend of a 33 foot (10 m) long giant salamander that ravaged local farms, eating cows and horses along the way.

Whether the legend is true or not, it seems likely (simply from a statistical standpoint) that the specimen handled by the environmentalist is not the largest giant salamander ever. As with the many legends of dragon and dragon-like creatures from cultures around the world, even if we were to accept that most or all are exaggerated, their existence implies that large, sometimes menacing, reptilian creatures—a.k.a. creatures “just like” dinosaurs—really did walk the earth with humans in recent times. Of course, that fits perfectly with the creation worldview, while evolutionists must write off every dragon legend as wholly inaccurate.

The giant salamander is also a notable “living fossil,” meaning modern forms looks almost identical to fossil representatives of salamanders supposedly from 30 million years ago. For young-earth creationists, who believe most of the fossil record was laid down by the worldwide Flood less than 4,500 years ago, this is no surprise. But again, for evolutionists, living fossils are an unexpected window into an ancient world.

4. Patients in Vegetative States and Communicating

Can patients in vegetative states communicate with the outside world?

5. Would Christianity Survive Discovery of Aliens?

Would Christianity “survive” the discovery of alien life-forms? Does such a question even make sense?

6. And Don’t Miss . . .

  • Watching fish rot probably doesn’t sound like a fun vocation, but for British scientists, doing just that may help correctly identify and better describe fossilized fish. The real question for old-earth scientists, however, is why fish are fossilized at all, rather than rotting away. The answer is exceptional geologic circumstances, such as were presented by the global Flood.
  • The Telegraph profiles a tourist liger (a tiger/lion hybrid) named Hercules and reminds us of some common animal hybrids—which, in turn, remind us of the original created kinds.
  • Which animal has the most sophisticated language? It may be the humble prairie dog, according to a new study. Of course, researchers claim the animal “evolved” the language.
  • Anticipating the reaction some may have to news of “lesbian” albatrosses raising a chick together, we note that it’s described as an “unusual situation”: two females were competing over one male, who left the scene, rather than the females having sought each other out. Besides, behaviors in the animal kingdom do not justify the same behavior among humans.

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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, 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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