News to Note, March 31, 2012

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

Mimicry puzzle Walking up the evolutionary tree Teaching the controversy Pain in childbirth Prehistoric proteins rise again

1. How Good Is Good Enough?

How good is good enough?

2. Walking Up the Evolutionary Tree

Are we human because we learned to walk on our own two feet . . . or do we walk upright because we’re human?

3. To Teach What Needs to be Taught

Academic freedom to “teach the controversy” in Tennessee awaits the governor’s signature.

4. Understanding the Answer in Genesis 3:16

Understanding the answer in Genesis 3:16

5. Do Resurrected Proteins Reduce Irreducible Complexity?

Are resurrected proteins the death knell of irreducible complexity?

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • A study of mitochondrial DNA from domestic cattle bones in Iranian archeological sites suggests all cattle are genetically traceable to the aurochs, a wild ox. Based on assumptions about mutation rates, researchers believe all modern cattle descended from as few as 80 female1 aurochs about 10,500 years ago. “This is a surprisingly small number of cattle. We know from archaeological remains that the wild ancestors of modern-day cattle, known as aurochs, were common throughout Asia and Europe, so there would have been plenty of opportunities to capture and domesticate them.” Biblically, we know the number was actually smaller, with only two of each kind of unclean animal and seven of each clean kind emerging from Noah’s Ark. (If the designations for clean and unclean in Noah’s day were the same as later Levitical lists, then as many as seven cattle boarded the Ark.) The discrepancy in date (4,300 years versus 10,500 years) and head of cattle (no more than 7 versus 80) is expected considering the genetic assumptions behind the calculations. Nevertheless, the research suggests the aurochs genome contained great deal of information that, along with mutations and other factors, provided the raw material for all the cows we see today, a biblical concept. Furthermore, the aurochs—popular game for Assyrian kings—are thought by some scholars to possibly be the biblical unicorn (Job 39:9–12, KJV), although the single-horned giant rhinoceros is also a strong candidate. Either animal probably would have exhibited great strength and been difficult to domesticate. “Wild aurochs,” according to co-author Joachim Burger, “are very different beasts from modern domestic cattle. They were much bigger than modern cattle, and wouldn't have had the domestic traits we see today, such as docility. So capturing these animals in the first place would not have been easy, and even if some people did manage to snare them alive, their continued management and breeding would still have presented considerable challenges until they had been bred for smaller size and more docile behavior.” Such strength and stubbornness when faced with agricultural work is attributed to the biblical unicorn in Job 39:9–12, KJV. For more information about the unicorns see Will the Real Unicorn Please Stand Up? and
  • New York City’s Department of Education fears the word dinosaur might upset children taking tests and wants it off any standardized tests used there. The list of banned words also includes pepperoni, birthday, and television—surely words that send most children screaming into the night. The Department of Education declined to offer reasons for their specific selections but explained it wished to avoid words that would conjure up any topic that is “controversial among the adult population and might not be acceptable in a state-mandated testing situation; . . . overused in standardized tests or textbooks and is thus overly familiar and/or boring to students; [or] . . . appears biased against (or toward) some group of people.” Although one tabloid quipped the D-word could “call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists,” CNN’s reporter pointed out that biblical creationists “often point to dinosaurs in making their arguments.” Asked by the Christian Post for a statement about the Creation Museum’s position on the matter, Ken Ham—who has authored or co-authored four books on dinosaurs, issued the following response:
    While many people connect dinosaurs with evolution, we have no difficulty with the word dinosaur being used by schools in standardized tests. Christians should have no fear of dinosaurs. As we show inside our Creation Museum, the appearance—and disappearance—of dinosaurs is no mystery if we use the Bible as our starting point. In fact, our museum has a number of high-quality dinosaur-related displays.
    At the same time, we acknowledge that dinosaurs are probably used by secularists more than anything to indoctrinate young people in the idea of millions of years and evolution. This kind of approach is what parents should really be most concerned about regarding how dinosaurs are presented in their children’s schools. If teachers are using these remarkably designed creatures to try to teach the atheistic evolution worldview to young people, then that is bad education.
    Now, there may be some people (very few, we think) who, out of ignorance, believe that dinosaurs never existed. But we have their fossils to study, and our museum displays several dinosaur fossils that guests can see for themselves (including a dinosaur bone that children can touch). For Christians, dinosaur bones can remind us about the origin of death—that while there was an original perfect creation, death entered the world when the first man disobeyed God (Romans 3:23 and Genesis 3:15). Many of the dinosaur bones we discover today are the remains of creatures that perished in our cursed, fallen world during the biblical Flood some 4,300 years ago.
    Our staff scientists, several of them holding doctorates, agree with me that the book of Genesis is trustworthy and logically defensible. It is the true account of history.

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