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News to Note, July 4, 2009

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

on July 4, 2009
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A false dichotomy; one blood, three sons; equivocation; and more!

1. When Do False Dichotomies Ever Mesh?

In covering a visit by paleontologists to our Creation Museum, a New York Times’ article spreads some misunderstanding (including in an associated blog by the reporter).

2. Three Genetic Groupings

A new genetic study of 53 human populations shows that each falls into one of three genetic groups—yet that the three groups aren’t as different as was thought. The legacy of Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Noah’s three sons), perhaps?

3. Dinosaur Mummy

A “mummified” dinosaur with soft tissues fossilized—evidence of watery disaster?

We first reported on the “mummy,” named Dakota, back in March of last year. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that not only the bones, but also soft tissues such as skin, were fossilized. (This is different from the preservation of unfossilized soft tissue inside dinosaur bones, which we reported on most recently in May.)

4. ScienceNOW: “How the Piranha Got Its Teeth”

How did the piranha end up with such a vicious jaw—and what does it have to do with Genesis?

Both evolutionists and creationists believe piranhas share a common ancestor with pacu fish, a similar South American fish that eats plants. For creationists, this helps explain how the piranha’s ancestors would have survived before the Curse (of Genesis 3). A piranha’s teeth are lined up in a single, pointy row, ready for chomping through flesh, while a pacu’s are in two less pointy rows, designed for chewing plant material.

A “new” fossil shows how piranha ancestors may have devolved within a common pacu–piranha kind. The fossil jawbone is actually almost a century old and has been sitting in a museum drawer in Argentina. Now, researchers studying the fossil report in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology that it shows a toothy transition from the two-rowed pacu jaw to the single-rowed piranha jaw. The jaw, which the scientists claim belonged to what they call Megapiranha paranensis, shows a zigzag formation of teeth. Additionally, M. paranensis has serrated edges on its teeth, as do modern piranhas, but it also has a hinge on its jaw like that on the pacu jaw.

ScienceNOW reports that, despite the menacing rumors, some piranhas eat only insects or plants—a further reminder that today’s flesh-eating piranhas weren’t a part of God’s “very good” creation. (For more on this piranhas, see Piranhas, the Feared Fish.)

5. ScienceDaily: “Study of Flower Color Shows Evolution in Action”

Changes in the color of columbine flowers: another example of “evolution in action” that has little to do with Darwin.

6. And Don’t Miss . . .

  • “Radioactivity decreases predictably over time. That’s why we can tell the age of rocks, fossils, and prehistoric artifacts by the activity of radioactive atoms within them, and why nuclear waste becomes less toxic over time.” But is it so? A fascinating New Scientist article reviews ongoing investigations into the link between the earth–sun distance and radioactive decay rates.
  • Inside Nature’s Giants, a new Channel 4 series (in the UK), depicts the dissection of large animals. One of the dissectors is none other than outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins, who dismisses intelligent design based on the dissection of a giraffe neck. It seems a giraffe’s laryngeal nerve “takes a huge detour up and down the neck,” to which Dawkins says, “A designer can go back to the drawing board and come back with something more sensible.” But not only does Dawkins ignore the effect of the Curse; he is engaging in metaphysical speculation reflective of his worldview since he presumes he is more understanding than a designer would be.
  • Speaking of Dawkins, the Telegraph reports he is subsidizing a five-day camp promoting “rational skepticism” to children. Of course, we’re all in favor of critical thinking. Dawkins—who has railed against religion as constituting “abuse” of children in the past—says, “I’m very keen on not indoctrinating them with religion or creeds. I would rather equip them with the tools to learn how to think, not what to think.” Yet the “tools” given by so-called rational skeptics are rooted in the creed of anti-religion, which presupposes no God. So Dawkins is indoctrinating children; anti-religion is effectively a religion!
  • A record-setting Lego model of Noah’s Ark helped teach the kids at a summer Bible camp about the Ark’s true size. What a fantastic idea to combine Christian education and fun into a newsworthy package!
  • More upheaval in the domain of human evolution as another new study suggests human ancestors evolved in Asia, not Africa. (The study also dismisses the lofty claims surrounding “Ida.”)
  • An investigation into what enables marine mammals to survive and thrive in the sea suggests similar features in various organisms are “indeed the result of evolutionary pressure.” But couldn’t it be the work of the Creator, who often used common designs to enable creatures to live in common environments?
  • A dangerous “superpredator” hybrid formed by mating between two species of salamander reminds us that the original created kinds were larger than the species classifications of today.
  • New Scientist reports on a study that may suggest newborn babies have an innate understanding of numbers (though few details of the study are given). If true, that seems to comport better with the creation model than with the evolution model.
  • A sad report on fatalism and risky behavior among teens reminds us that they are probably already gone—or worse. Reports like these should encourage Christians to redouble efforts to reach the next generation.

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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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