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News to Note, May 14, 2011

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on May 14, 2011

Cosmic curveballs, unisexual lizards, resisting the green collective, Nutcracker? “Man,” toxin lovers

1. Cosmic Curveballs

Searching for dark matter, the antiuniverse, and our cosmic roots

Space Shuttle Endeavour, soon to embark on its final flight, will deploy the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Mounted on the International Space Station, the device will search for anti-matter and dark matter.

2. Unisexual Lizards

Unisexual lizard species: evolutionary dead-end or created reproductive strategy?

A clone-capable lizard has been bred in the laboratory. A cross of two species of the whiptail lizard produced four hybrid females which have produced four generations of healthy cloned offspring.

3. The Guardian: “The US evangelicals who believe environmentalism is a 'native evil'

Resistance to assimilation into the (eco)collective befuddles The Guardian.

Pointing to the insidious role of “pulpit power” in preventing Americans from jumping aggressively onto the environmentalist bandwagon, The Guardian seeks to portray the Cornwall Alliance as the culprit. The author is perplexed that “among evangelicals, you often see a vitriolic reaction aimed towards environmentalism.” He complains that the strict environmentalist agenda is not commonly preached in churches. And he is seemingly distressed that many conservative Christians don’t accept the politically correct version of man-made global warming. In the wake of the recently enacted United Nations resolution announcing a new era for Mother Earth’s rights, Christians who refuse to jump on the bandwagon risk appearing to be a danger to the world.

Resisting the Green Dragon, produced by the Cornwall Alliance, warns Christians that radical environmentalists base their agenda on an evolutionary interpretation of earth’s history. They consider human beings of no more value than any other life form. Their policies threaten life, liberty, the economy, the poor, the unborn, and the minds of children. As Bible-believing Christians we see the “dominion mandate” of Genesis 1:28 as a call for a balanced view of environmental stewardship. We are responsible to care for our world, administering resources wisely for the good of mankind. But The Guardian considers Genesis 1:28 “one of the most contentious verses in the Bible.”

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4. Nutcracker Man

“Nutcracker Man” was neither man nor nutcracker.

Paranthropus boisei, an extinct non-human primate, has undergone dental work to determine what it ate. Long thought to be a nut-eater because of its massive jaw and big molars, studies in 2008 failed to find the scratches nuts should have left on its teeth.

5. Toxin Lovers

Carboxydotrophs—microbes that derive their energy from carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide—are said to be a clue to the earth’s early atmosphere.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • A recent article features time-lapse photography of a human embryonic face taking shape. Seeing is believing, so the video sequence is crafted to make us feel like we’re seeing a wall-eyed fish transform into human form. Dr. Michael Mosley claims that the evidence “that humans have evolved from fish” can be found “not just in fossils but also within our own bodies.” Read more about this fish story in a feature article on this website next week.
  • In just 50 years, New Zealand saddleback birds isolated on island sanctuaries have developed songs unrecognizable to other saddlebacks. These variations provide “a snapshot of a ‘micro-evolutionary’ event,” according to Dr. Kevin Parker, but these new songs are neither an evolutionary event nor a good analogy for one. Errors and loss of information did not produce new information but rather songs with insufficient information to be recognized. The findings are analogous to the linguistic consequences of isolating small populations.
  • Analysis of shootingstar flower genomes revealed that some look-alikes were genetically different species. Others were polymorphs: genetically identical despite unique appearances and distinctive habitats. (In polymorphs, appearance may be determined by the genetic response to different environment or purely by the genes themselves.) The purpose of the research was to explore how “evolution played a role in the adaptation of shootingstars to warmer temperatures after the last ice age.” However, no evolution happened here. Those varieties best able to tolerate environmental change survived and were able to reproduce after their kind.
  • Ever since a camera recovered from the moon was found infested with bacteria, speculation has abounded about how those bacteria could have “survived launch, the harsh vacuum of space, three years of exposure to the moon's radiation environment, the lunar deep-freeze at an average temperature of minus 253 degrees Celsius, not to mention no access to nutrients, water or an energy source.” Well, now “NASA’s dirty little secret” is out. Review of laboratory clean room procedures showed that personnel in short sleeves likely lent their own skin bacteria to the camera following its return. Former planetary protection officer John Rummel explains that procedures need improvement so we won’t think the microbes expected on Mars samples are just contaminants. Remember, one reason the space program searches for life on other planets is to “prove” that evolution happened in other places “too.”
  • Don’t miss this close-up video shedding light on how hummingbirds drink nectar. “Instead of passively drawing in nectar with capillary action [as previously thought], hummingbird tongues quickly fold up and trap the liquid.” To borrow a line from a song by Buddy Davis of Answers in Genesis, “It’s designed to do what it does do, and what it does do it does do well!”
  • The Texas Board of Education is considering a curriculum supplement accused of “stealth creationism.” The module is designed to teach students critical thinking skills. Scientists normally propose a “null hypothesis” and then design experiments to prove it wrong. The new module proposes that the null hypothesis for origins science is the intelligent design position. The burden of proof is then on evolutionists to prove it wrong. Evolutionists simply assume that evolution occurred. This position is certainly more convenient since “there aren’t any experiments you can do to demonstrate evolutionary theory.”

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 last week’s News to Note, why not take a look at it now? See you next week!

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