News to Note, May 23, 2009

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint


Hyping a lie, Darwin’s rats, the choice of life, and more!

1. Hype and Science Don't Mix

The news media has been awash this week in hype over an alleged missing link fossil nicknamed Ida. As it turns out, the fossil wasn’t fraudulent, but the hype definitely was.

2. The Telegraph: “New ‘Super Rats’ Evolve Resistance to Poison”

Is this “super rat” an example of evolution in action, or the result of an information-reducing mutation?

English rat-catchers have reported that their poisons have stopped working on some rats. The “super rats,” as they have been called, are said to have a new strand of DNA that allows them to resist anti-rat pesticides.

The Telegraph reports that there may now be some 80 million rats in Britain, more than triple the number in 2007. “New” (or, more accurately, more “traditional”) measures have been taken to fight the rats, such as animal traps, dogs, and even air rifles. The British Pest Control Association has requested the government approve more powerful pesticides for outdoor use as well.

“Natural selection means that when you have a rat population in your town, poison will kill the ones that aren’t resistant, the ones that survive may have the gene, they then have babies who can receive the gene themselves,” said the University of Huddersfield’s Robert Smith. His explanation of the workings of natural selection is accurate; he goes on to say, “There are mutations and changes in their DNA that alter the ability of rats to deal with these poisons.”

So is this really a case of evolution adding genetic information to an organism, thus allowing the rats to be resistant? Paul Taylor of AiG–U.K. responded to the claim with a web article earlier this week: Super Rats “Evolving” in Britain.

3. Life is Winning

For the first time in Gallup polling history, more Americans identify themselves as “pro-life” than “pro-choice.”

4. Evolution of Flowers

It’s what Charles Darwin called an “abominable mystery” and what ScienceDaily says “scientists have yet to solve”: the origin of flowering plants.

5. Earth the Beautiful

An astronaut testifies to the dramatic beauty of our planet—and, indirectly, to the unique habitability our planet offers.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • Believe it or not, the Creation Museum is now two years old! If you haven’t visited yet, why not join us this summer? Over 715,000 people have visited!
  • “Earth was born into violence,” begins a ScienceNOW article on the supposed early history of life. But now, evolutionists have hypothesized how life could have survived the violence.
  • A British team has determined a new method for dating archaeological objects made of fired clay ceramics—such as brick, tile, and pottery. “Radiocarbon dating, used for bone or wood, cannot be used for ceramic material because it does not contain carbon,” BBC News reports. However, the new method has only been used for dates up to about 2,000 years so far.
  • NASA and other scientists suggest that Martian water had so much salt it acted like “antifreeze,” allowing liquid water to flow on the planet’s cold surface. This would explain how Mars could have geologic features that indicate the action of liquid water despite the temperature.
  • Small “evolutionary shifts” make a big difference in the resulting anatomies, scientists report after a study of eye development in different monkeys. Yet they can’t help but use the word “design,” and it appears the only meaning of “evolutionary shift” is “slight genetic difference.” So once again, a variation between two organisms is interpreted to have been the result of evolution, even though non-information-adding genetic mechanisms (e.g., genetic drift) could have just as easily caused the difference.
  • ScienceDaily carries news of another study that shows that so-called “junk” DNA “may not be so junky after all.”
  • On the tenth anniversary of the publication of Buried Alive, author Jack Cuozzo has some interesting comments.

For More Information: Get Answers

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