News to Note, January 15, 2011

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

on January 15, 2011
Featured in News to Know

Evolutionary faith, evolutionary cuckoos, Darwin’s propogation of evolution, and more!

1. Evolutionary Faith

Theoretical biophysicists have built a mathematical model showing how “protocells” could have originated from simple chemical interactions. Does the model teach us more about evolution’s plausibility or evolutionists’ faith?

2. Evolutionary Cuckoos

Have Australian birds “taken a new evolutionary step”? Or is this another cuckoo example of “evolution” in action?

3. Scientists Reveal Earth-Sized Exoplanet

Scientists presenting at the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society have revealed the smallest exoplanet discovered so far: a rocky planet almost the same size as earth.

4. Now the Fish Are in on It

In April 2009 we reported on a study showing that mosquito fish can perform basic math tasks (specifically, counting and comparing numbers of symbols). New research goes a step farther, suggesting that mosquito fish have the numerical skills of college students.

5. Darwin’s Propagation of Evolution

Creationists have occasionally pointed out that Charles Darwin wasn’t uniquely responsible for inventing the theory of evolution—not to belittle the British scientist, but rather to encourage a better understanding of the history of the idea.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • The flak continues to fly over our forthcoming Ark Encounter. Professors take aim at the project in a (local) Middletown Journal op-ed, but claims like this show they haven’t done their homework: “Even the most elementary knowledge of biogeography and evolutionary biology, not to mention common sense, would argue against the possibility of getting millions of diverse species from different continents organized into one place, at one time, to get on an ark[.]” (Noah was not instructed to take millions of species on board the Ark, nor did he have to go out and get the animals he did take.) Meanwhile, a Washington Post article discusses the “green” building techniques that will be a part of the Ark Encounter construction. Amid mostly harmless statements, the reporter says—without clarification—of Answers in Genesis, “They also believe in unicorns.” While we accept the Bible’s teaching that there was once a creature known as a “unicorn” (not necessarily the same as modern representations of the unicorn), saying so without explaining this distinction and our nuanced view is journalistically underhanded. And speaking of nuance, an opinion piece from the left-leaning Guardian on the Ark Encounter calls the project an “an interesting and encouraging development within American fundamentalism.” You can read AiG President Ken Ham’s blog this weekend about recent media coverage of the Ark Encounter.
  • A Lexington Herald-Leader letter by Answers in Genesis scientists Dr. David Menton, Dr. Georgia Purdom, and Dr. Andrew A. Snelling strikes back at a problem-riddled piece that previously appeared in the paper, maligning young-earth creation in general and the Ark Encounter project specifically.
  • Neanderthals did not have shorter life expectancies than “modern” humans, LiveScience reports. This undercuts the argument that Neanderthals died out because of a short life span.
  • The Associated Press reports on the firing of John Freshwater, the Mount Vernon, Ohio, science teacher accused of burning the image of a cross into a student’s arm. (We last reported on the situation last January). While the reality behind the accusation was much more mundane than biased headlines suggested, the teacher was apparently let go for such actions as “keeping a Bible on his desk” and “checking out religious texts from the school library and leaving them on his desk.” Strange—we heard no outcry on Freshwater’s behalf from the American Civil Liberties Union.
  • Did Japanese scientists “evolve” a singing mouse? Rather, by cross-breeding mice that had been (artificially) genetically modified to generate a higher rate of mutations, they merely stumbled upon one poor mouse whose normal “voice” has mutated to make a sound more like a bird’s. This is an example of “horizontal” genetic change, altering—with human help—a characteristic the mouse already had rather than introducing a complex new feature.
  • An ancient wine press—did it belong to Noah (Genesis 9:20)? Of course, this is only wild speculation; the dating does not line up with when Noah lived, and even if it did, there would be no way to prove who the press belonged to.

For more information: Get Answers

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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