News to Note, March 21, 2009

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

Featured in News to Know

“The inerrant Word,” “evolving every year,” “extraordinarily well preserved,” and more!

1. Christian Post: “Survey Offers In-Depth Look at Mainline Protestant Clergy”

Most of the clergy of mainline Protestant denominations are sitting on the left—in a manner of speaking.

2. Canadian Creation Debate

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for Canadian creationists.

It all started Tuesday, when a reporter asked Gary Goodyear, Canada’s Minister of State for Science and Technology, whether he believed in evolution.

3. Well-Preserved Octopus

If you needed an “exhibit A” of evidence for catastrophic fossil formation, this is it.

Paleontologists have found the fossil imprints of five octopuses in Cretaceous sediments in Lebanon, and three of the octopuses belong to new species.

4. Fluffy Dinos

A fossilized feathered dinosaur found in China—are they serious this time?

Reporting in Nature, Chinese paleontologists tell of a fossilized dinosaur that was apparently found surrounded by “dino-fuzz”: filaments the team call “protofeathers.”

5. ScienceNOW: “Science Cannot Fully Describe Reality, Says Templeton Prize Winner”

Science isn’t everything: a summary of the conclusions of the latest Templeton Prize winner.

Bernard d’Espagnat, a French physicist, has been awarded this year’s $1.4 million Templeton Prize for the idea that “the reality revealed by science offers only a ‘veiled’ view of an underlying reality that science cannot access, and that the scientific view must take its place alongside the reality revealed by art, spirituality, and other forms of human inquiry” (in the words of ScienceNOW’s David Lindley).

Though that general idea probably doesn’t sound very original, d’Espagnat’s claim to fame is his work in quantum mechanics, which he ties into to his philosophy. Lindley explains, “But the inherent uncertainty of quantum measurements means that it is impossible to infer an unambiguous description of ‘reality as it really.’”

Lest this sounds anything like Christianity, New Scientist’s Amanda Gefter points out that d’Espagnat refers to this underlying reality as “a [b]eing or [i]ndependent [r]eality or even ‘a great, hypercosmic God.’” And because this underlying reality is unknowable, the article continues, “it would be nonsensical to paint it with the figure of a personal God or attribute to it specific concerns or commandments . . . [it] can in no way help Christians or Muslims or Jews or anyone else rationalise their specific beliefs.”

Gefter need not worry, though—we weren’t relying on d’Espagnat or quantum mechanics to “rationalize” our beliefs.

6. Fox News: “Bill Would Allow Texas School to Grant Master’s Degree in Science for Creationism”

Texas state representative Leo Berman wants to help the Institute for Creation Research—now located in Dallas—award master’s degrees.

ICR, something of a cousin ministry to AiG, runs a graduate school for those who want to study science from a biblical perspective. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board refuses to allow ICR to grant master of science degrees, however.

Berman, from Tyler, Texas, proposed House Bill 2800 (PDF link), which would exempt private, nonprofit schools from the state board’s authority and thus allow ICR to grant a master’s degree in science education. While ICR isn’t mentioned in the bill, Berman openly identified ICR as the inspiration and personally avowed creation.

The bill has met widespread criticism, of course, and will have difficulty passing especially because critics claim the bill is written too broadly. Meanwhile, ICR’s status is currently in the hands of a Texas judge. ICR needs this state approval in order to apply for accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

For more information:

7. AP: “Creationist Museum: Darwin Got Something Right”

An Associated Press article this week brings the Creation Museum in the spotlight once again.

The item, by AP writer Dylan Lovan (who has covered the museum a few times in the past), announces a new museum exhibit that shows how natural selection is good science that fits in easily with biblical creation. “That might seem odd to many who have watched the battles between evolution scientists and creationists,” Lovan writes.

Natural selection, which is both observed and repeatable, and evolution (in the molecules-to-man sense) are often confused, so it is important to understand them both. For more about the difference, see “Is Natural Selection the Same Thing as Evolution?

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • Creation and intelligent design can now be discussed in Hampshire school classes in the UK—but in religious education classes primarily, not science lessons. AiG friend Prof. Andy McIntosh commented, “There should be an open and fair discussion about the issues, and we should not be presenting pupils with only one view in a closed manner. It is certainly possible to look at the evidence and come up with a different conclusion to the evolutionary position. Indeed, many would see that the evidence fits perfectly well with a design position.” While AiG does not lobby for mandating the teaching of creation, it is encouraging to see the doors open to some discussion, at least.
  • With a single site as evidence, some evolutionists are almost ready to push back the origin of photosynthesis by an incredible 1,060,000,000 years (that’s 1.06 billion)!
  • Doctors in New Zealand may soon perform surgery to repair a patient’s spinal cord—using his own stem cells. It’s another stem cell therapy we can support.
  • Evolutionists are fighting over how hippos, whales, and pigs are evolutionarily related—since the “evidence” is contradictory.
  • Perhaps the discovery that Earth’s crust melts more easily than was thought may be integrated by creation geologists into models of catastrophic plate tectonics.
  • A fascinating report on dog breeding gives good insight into not only natural selection and variation within kinds, but also the damage of congenital mutations. (Many AiG supporters know that, yes, this includes poodles, as AiG President Ken Ham loves to use for illustration.)
  • The story is both disappointing and motivating, but we can applaud a Florida chaplain who resigned after her employer, Hospice by the Sea, banned the use of “God” or “Lord” in public prayers.
  • We sincerely hope this giant marine reptile is extinct (with all due respect and deference to God—see Matthew 10:29)!
  • A new study of carnivores living in the Americas exhibits the fallacy of, “This is the way things are, therefore this is the way things evolved.”
  • Scientists have discovered another monument to the Flood (well, that’s not what they call it!) in Texas.
  • A baby dinosaur was born! (Or, actually, one of the closest living relatives to, if not a direct descendant of, dinosaurs.)
  • In a strange case, a judge may be ordering children in a Bible-based home school to attend public school. (The details of the case are unclear, however, and it involves a divorce proceeding, so we’re not assuming the judge is anti-creation/Christian just yet.)

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 all the latest News to Know, why not take a look to see what you’ve missed?

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