News to Note, May 12, 2012

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

Primordial protozoan Brainy mutants Sutters Mill meteorite Reason Day Dinosaur diversity

1. Ancestral Tree Branches

Ancestral tree’s branches proliferate while seeking their roots.

2. What Makes the Human Brain Function?

Does a designer DNA duplicate or a lucky genetic goof make the human brain do what it does do so well?

3. Precious Particles Popping In Again?

“Precious particles” popping in again?

4. “Come Now, and Let Us Reason Together,” Says the Lord

Come now, and let us reason together” says the Lord. . . .

5. Were Dinosaurs Endangered Before K-T Disaster?

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • President Obama announced this week that his views regarding gay marriage have been “evolving.” His position in recent months has waffled enough to draw criticism even from the liberal side of the political fence. While seeking presidential election in 2008, he stated, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” However, back in 1996, he had endorsed same-sex marriage. Perhaps we should consider his “new view” which is really just his “old view” to be an example of “reverse evolution.” Or perhaps it is difficult even for a sitting president to determine how to be all things to all people in an election year! As discussed by Al Mohler, President Obama has instructed his Attorney General not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. This 1996 law defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. The law does not regulate the sexual behavior of adults. The law protects states from any requirement to legally recognize same-sex marriage and denies recognition of same-sex marriage for such purposes as federal taxation and benefits. President Obama, like all U.S. Presidents, has sworn to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Article 2 of the Constitution enumerates the President’s duties and states in Section 3: “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” By instructing the Attorney General to ignore the federal law, President Obama is ignoring this sworn duty. Furthermore, during an interview with ABC TV, President Obama offered his own biblical commentary. He said, “When we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.” Taken to its logical conclusion, of course, wouldn’t everyone like to pick and choose what laws he must be subject to? Besides ignoring a great deal of Scripture related to this issue (see “The Evolution of the Views of a President” for an extensive discussion), the president is twisting Scripture. While the Apostle Peter said “untaught people twist” various “hard” Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16), there is nothing particularly hard to understand about the Golden Rule. Not even the youngest child would think that Jesus Christ meant people should be able to violate laws they don’t happen to like. We do not imply the president is unable to understand simple Scripture. But he is twisting the Golden Rulein an attempt to gain biblical support for an unbiblical position.
  • British scientists have scaled up estimates from the current cattle contribution to greenhouse gases to get an idea of sauropod emissions. They estimate the dinosaur contribution of digestive methane gas produced substantial Mesozoic global warming, making the world warmer by about 18 degrees Fahrenheit. David Wilkinson and colleagues have published their results in Current Biology. Wilkinson explains, “The ecology of microbes and their role in the working of our planet are one of my key interests in science. Although it's the dinosaur element that captures the popular imagination with this work, actually it is the microbes living in the dinosaurs guts that are making the methane.” By calculating comparative body mass and estimates of sauropod population—admittedly having to make a number of assumptions—Wilkinson says, “Cows today produce something like 50-100 [million tonnes] per year. Our best estimate for Sauropods is around 520 [million tonnes].” By comparison, “Current methane emissions amount to around 500 million tonnes a year from a combination of natural sources, such as wild animals, and human activities.” Wilkinson adds, “There were other sources of methane in the Mesozoic so total methane level would probably have been much higher than now.” The testimony of the Genesis account of Creation declares God made all the land animals the same day He made Adam. But since evolutionists insist human beings did not share this world with dinosaurs, at least in the eyes of those who insist human activity is the primary cause of current climate change, we’re off the hook for that one.
  • How to get more power from light is described in a recently published study in National Photonics. Not, as Star Trek fans might initially think from the title, through android intelligence, but through biomimicry. (Of course, in the fictional world photonics were biomimics too, so the metaphor does work.) Princeton’s Yueh-Lin Loo’s engineering team reports a biomimetic way to boost the electrical output of low-cost solar panels by 47%. Loo’s team modeled their folds on the design of the leaf, surely nature’s most efficient utilizer of solar energy. They write, “Some of the simplest light-harvesting systems in nature rely on the presence of surface structures to increase internal light scattering. We have extended this concept to increase the efficiencies of man-made solar energy harvesting systems.”1 The engineers designed “wrinkles and deep folds” into cheap plastic surfaces, which is more economical than the more brittle and expensive silicon commonly used to capture the sun’s energy. The plastic is “flexible, bendable, light weight, and low cost,” says Loo. Most solar energy research to date has focused on improving the efficiency of the photovoltaic material, but Loo’s approach instead uses a biomimetic design to alter the shape of the material to “create a kind of [light] wave guide. And that leads to a greater chance of the light’s being absorbed,” Loo explains. In our efforts to be good stewards of the world God has given us, the Creator’s design of the leaf may thus offer a clue to help mankind derive more clean energy from the sun.

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  1. Jong Bok Kim et al., “Wrinkles and Deep Folds as Photonic Structures in Photovoltaics,” Nature Photonics 6 (2012): 327–332, doi:10.1038/nphoton.2012.70.


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