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News to Note, January 12, 2013

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on January 12, 2013

The new litmus test, Mars meteorite, punching evolution, environmentally-driven evolution, “the Pill”

1. Louie Giglio Ousted from Presidential Inauguration

Pastor who once preached against homosexual behavior no longer to pray at president’s Inauguration.

Well-known Georgia pastor, humanitarian, and youth conference leader Louie Giglio, who was chosen to offer the closing prayer at President Barack Obama’s inauguration later this month, withdrew from the ceremony this week. His departure comes on the heels of the Obama Administration’s discovery that Giglio had delivered a sermon in the mid-1990s where he calls homosexual behavior sinful.

2. Meteorite Water Evidence Suggests Mars’ Wet Past

Evidence of water in Martian meteorite suggests a wet past for the Red Planet.

A meteorite thought to have originated from Mars has proportionally more “indigenous water” than other meteorites that have been analyzed. Scientists speculate the meteorite is evidence that the Red Planet had a warm, wet past.

3. Evolutionary Researchers: Human Hand Evolved for Dual Abilities

The human hand had to evolve for both fighting and finesse, say evolutionary researchers.

The need to punch out rivals may have driven the evolution of the human hand, according to a study just published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. University of Utah researchers measured the strike force of martial artists striking with fists and with open palms and found that the applied force was the same. A clenched fist applies that violent force to a smaller surface area, however, and therefore can do more damage. But why can humans clench their fists when chimpanzees and bonobos don’t?

4. Changes in Diet Allegedly Drove Human Evolution

Rapid changes in environmental conditions at the crucial time our supposed primitive ancestors were evolving their human characteristics may have stimulated the evolution of man, according to a study from Penn State geoscientists. By analyzing the carbon isotopes in fossilized leaf wax from early Pleistocene rock in northern Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge, graduate student Clayton Magill and geoscience professor Katherine Freeman found that the east African ecosystem transitioned abruptly back and forth between wet woodland and drier grassland. This region is part of East Africa’s so-called “cradle of humanity” where evolutionists believe ape-like creatures began walking upright and developing bigger brains in their pathway to humanity about two million years ago.

5. Semantics Matter: What Does the Pill Do?

With legislation set to go into effect requiring private employers to provide abortifacients as an insurance benefit, Liberty University English professor Karen Swallow Prior has called attention to the increasingly sloppy usage of relevant terms in the controversy. Unclear and confusing language in this instance is not inconsequential but actually muddies the moral waters. And an important aspect of this problem, Dr. Prior writes, is the need “for some political, scientific, and moral clarity on the birth control pill.” What does “the pill” do, and what does it not do?

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • Are humans primates? We hear so often that we are. A brief Smithsonian blog “Why Are Humans Primates?” does a nice job of explaining the characteristics we share with various primates in the animal kingdom. In the biological sense, humans can be thought of as primates. But humans are not animals. We are made in the image of God, which distinguishes us from all animals. And we are endowed with a far more advanced intellect that enables us to think abstractly and understand our world and our God. Acknowledging which characteristics we share with chimps and don’t share with dogs is not the same thing as acknowledging common ancestry with animals that are more like us. God used a number of design features creatively and repetitively as He created each kind of animal and man. Similar designs—whether anatomical, biochemical, or genetic—do not lend support to evolutionary notions. Similar designs are exactly what we would expect from the Common Designer that all living things share, our awesome Creator God. For more information: If Human and Chimp DNA Are So Similar, Why Are There So Many Physical and Mental Differences Between Them? and Are Humans and Chimps Related?.

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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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