News to Note, July 18, 2009

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint


On science and scientists, speciation flies by, solving an evolutionary mystery, and more!

1. On Science and Scientists

What do Americans think of science? What do they think of scientists? What do scientists think of science? A Pew Research Center study suggests answers.

2. Bird Populations Become Separate Species

Thanks to a difference in a single gene, one bird species is splitting into two. Does this mechanism illustrate how evolution works, or is it compatible with the Genesis model of created kinds?

3. Amazing Turtle Shell Development

The incredible way a turtle develops a shell—is it an evolutionary accident or part of God’s design?

Turtle evolution seems to be a big topic in the news recently. We covered the topic last December, last November, and last October; then we covered it again this past March. So, what’s the latest?

4. Mystery of Flowering Plants Solved?

Evolutionists take another stab at answering what Charles Darwin called an “abominable mystery”: the abrupt appearance and ubiquity of flowering plants in the fossil record and on earth.

5. New York Times: “The Mistakes that Argue for Evolution”

The New York TimesNews to Note conversation continues.

Two weeks ago we responded to a New York Times article by Kenneth Chang, one of several articles that appeared in the wake of a visit by non-creationist paleontologists to our Creation Museum. Chang’s article was reasonably well written and quoted from our scientists as well as those visiting. Additionally, we commented on a behind-the-scenes look Chang provided in a Times blog, noting that Chang “seems to misunderstand our message.”

6. And Don’t Miss . . .

  • A small-but-notable item we never would have caught were it not for an alert supporter: “Ultrasonic Cavitation of Water Speeds Up Thorium Decay,” a news blurb in June’s CERN Courier. According to the report, scientists “have shown a dramatic increase—by a factor of 10,000—in the decay rate of thorium-228 in water as a result of ultrasonic cavitation.” As it is, thorium-228 is already a relatively unstable, fast-decaying isotope. Still, could ultrasonic cavitation in the waters of the Genesis Flood have rapidly accelerated nuclear decay in other isotopes, depositing sediments (now rocks) that appear much older than they actually are? Also, the report states, “It is a common belief that radioactive decay rates are unchanged by external conditions, despite many examples of small shifts (particularly involving external pressure and K-capture decays) being well documented and understood.” Along those lines, we reported earlier this month on investigations into how solar activity modifies nuclear decay rates.
  • Evolutionary coverage of a pot-bellied dinosaur skeleton found in southern Utah reinforces two creationist observations. First, notice the artist’s impression of the dinosaur as distinctly feathered—not based on the evidence but rather entirely driven by evolution speculation. Second, take a good look at the dinosaur’s menacing claws. Claws like that (on other creatures) prompt many to ask how, e.g., T. rex could have been a vegetarian before the Fall. Yet evolutionists have no trouble deeming that this dinosaur used its claws to “grasp tree branches to find leafy snacks.”
  • The National Biblical Literacy Survey 2009, conducted with more than 900 individuals of all backgrounds from England and Wales, showed a disappointing—yet unsurprising—lack of Bible knowledge among respondents. One in six could not name any of the Ten Commandments (compared to one in twenty who could name all); nearly two out of three did not know the parables of the prodigal son or the good Samaritan.
  • Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Houston have discovered more fascinating details about how DNA works. The scientists learned that DNA functions, in a way, like a spring; torsional stress helps expose nucleotides so that they may be read and return the DNA structure to its “perfect spring” state.
  • Astonishing animal migrations remind us of the incredible capabilities (which shout “design!”) of many animals. This includes a newly researched dragonfly migration that may require the insects to fly between 8,700 and 11,000 miles (14000–18000 km) round trip at an altitude between 3,000 and 21,000 ft (1000–6300 m)! And speaking of insect design, scientists have once again found the biological real McCoy to be superior to human-designed robots.
  • Danish scientists have found a fossil sea urchin—“remarkably well preserved,” by the way—that looks like none that exist today. Does that make it a “missing link” (as evolutionists label it) or merely an extinct variety of urchin that descended from the original urchin kind?
  • A sad look at one of the many consequences of compromise: atheist Lawrence Krauss recounts a debate wherein two Catholic evolutionists balked at defending the virgin birth of Jesus. What would they say about the Resurrection, we wonder?
  • Another study that insists that “goodness” boils down to evolution and, specifically, to certain genes. The study shows how turn-taking can spontaneously arise in societies based on fundamental rules and certain variations of selfish behavior. But such variation need not be due to evolution, we note.
  • Couples who live together before getting married are more likely to get divorced, discuss divorce, and experience a lower-quality marriage overall, a new study shows. There are many reasons behind the difference, but the study serves as a good reminder of the uniqueness and sanctity of marriage.

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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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