News to Note, January 23, 2010

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

on January 23, 2010

The bird–alligator–dinosaur connection; giving Darwin a hand up; a Fair review?; and more!

1. Did Birds Evolve from Dinosaurs?

If alligator lungs are like bird lungs, and dinosaur lungs were like alligator lungs, does that mean birds evolved from dinosaurs?

2. Evolutionary Anthropologists Finding Answers

Two perennial questions for evolutionary anthropologists are how humans began walking upright and how humans began to make and use stone tools. For one team of scientists, the answers are intertwined.

3. Wanting Proof

Perhaps it’s a fault, but we can hardly pass up on responding to any study that, it’s claimed, “proves Darwin right.” But it’s no surprise that we find this “proof” wanting as well.

4. Attack on Creation Museum in Issue of Vanity Fair

It isn’t a—ahem—“news source” we would normally cover, but we decided not to ignore a scathing attack on our Creation Museum that appears in February’s issue of Vanity Fair.

5. Charles Darwin Biopic “Creation” Released in the United States

The Charles Darwin biopic Creation finally opens this week in the United States, months after its original release in much of Europe.

6. And Don’t Miss . . .

  • Did the human population reach a “bottleneck” 1.2 million years ago, with our ancestors’ numbers dwindling to only 18,500? That conclusion is similar to another we analyzed in April 2008. As we wrote then, the real human population bottleneck was the “great global Flood that wiped out all human life except for eight people”—who were never “endangered” but rather under God’s protection the entire time.
  • An exoplanet detected by astronomers at the California Institute of Technology is the second-smallest found so far. Although its mass is “only” four times that of Earth, the planet—named HD 156668b—orbits its parent star every four days, meaning it’s likely hot enough to “glow with blast-furnace-like temperatures.”
  • When it comes to animal intelligence, we haven’t heard of many creatures lauded as “architects,” but apparently some consider the red grouper worthy of that honor. Architects or not, their sea floor-excavating behavior is fascinating.
  • Has a group of scientists removed the uncertainties of radiocarbon dating with their new calibration curve? To the contrary, the debates over and revision caused by the curve reminds us of the assumptions that radiocarbon dating (and all radiometric dating methods) are built upon.
  • It isn’t a use of non-embryonic stem cells we had envisioned, but nonetheless, scientists report some success creating pork from stem cells isolated from pigs’ muscle cells.
  • Another potential breakthrough in non-embryonic stem cell research comes from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where scientists believe they can manipulate stem cells from umbilical cord blood for use in bone marrow transplants.
  • A press release from the Autonomous University of Barcelona shows how little progress evolutionists have made in understanding the origin of life, with one camp claiming a breakthrough only because it has demonstrated the impossibility of the other camp’s hypothesis.
  • In this week’s news were two stories of “bio-inspiration.” One of those stories describes it as “constructing technological solutions using nature as a model, that is, imitating solutions that nature has itself invented with the help of the laws of evolution.” This week, those inventions were based on the nocturnal vision of insects and the tough outer shell of a certain sea snail—both creative designs, not complete accidents.
  • Did iguanas reach tiny, isolated Pacific islands by “walking aboard” millions of years ago, when those islands were connected by land to “an ancient southern supercontinent”? We find more reasonable the idea that, after the Flood and the dispersion at Babel, iguanas traveled to those islands along with human travelers.

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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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