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It’s the sort of news that could rock the world – and the faith of some unwary Christians. At least, that’s what Canadian journalist Simcha Jacobovici and famous Hollywood filmmaker James Cameron seem to be hoping for regarding their upcoming television special, which claims to reveal a tomb containing the ossuaries of Jesus and his family.
It’s one of those ultimate questions that keep people awake at night: just when did chimps and humans split apart from one another—five million, six million, or seven million years ago? Seriously, these evolutionary estimates are being challenged by a new study that claims the alleged evolutionary split occurred “just” four million years ago.
The latest science news being touted as “proof” of evolution is the ability for most adult humans to digest milk (specifically, the ability to digest lactose). The BBC news report on the subject refers to University College London scientists who “say that the rapid spread of a gene which lets us reap the benefits of milk shows evolution in action.” The current news is a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that indicates that lifelong lactose tolerance developed “recently” (within the last few thousand years, anyway).
Sensing some déjà vu? If so, it’s likely because we reported on the same topic back in December, when an analysis of the “evolution” of milk tolerance in different people groups made headlines that credited evolution. But as we explained then, the mutation creating lactose tolerance in humans does not add any information to the genome. Rather, humans are born lactose-tolerant (specifically, born to produce the lactose-digesting enzyme lactase); eventually, some humans stop producing lactase, whereas others have “a nucleotide switch in their DNA [that] can keep lactase flowing into adulthood, a trait called lactase persistence.”
As we noted in December, the sad news is that this non-information-adding mutation (and the headlines written about it) may further suggest to some that evolution is a fact of life.
It’s a sad story, but it mimics those of many others out there: Michael O’Shaughnessy shares his path to atheism with Canada’s National Post as a part of a series on journeys to faith or faithlessness.
Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know 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!