News to Note, November 1, 2008

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

on November 1, 2008
Featured in News to Know

Kingly evidence, human evolution up in flames, a very logical conclusion, replacing religion, and more!

1. Biblical Landmark of King Solomon’s Time Found

Once again, a bit of biblical history has been matched up with an archaeological finding.

2. Fire a Potential Motivator of Early Human Migration

The discovery of how to make fire—was it a turning point in human history?

3. USA Today: “Earth-Like Planet in Epsilon Eridani? It Is Logical, Captain”

It’s some amazing science—or should we say science fiction?

NASA astronomers studying nearby star Epsilon Eridani have learned a little more about a solar system very near our own. This week, a team announced that the star has its own asteroid belt and a planet about the size of Jupiter—in “roughly the same orbits as in our own solar system.”

Of interest to science fiction fans is that the Epsilon Eridani system was the location of planet Vulcan, home of perennially logical Spock (portrayed by Leonard Nimoy) in television’s Star Trek.

For the astronomers, the excitement is that if the Epsilon Eridani system has the discovered similarities to our solar system, perhaps it harbors an earth-like planet (or planets) as well.

Because Epsilon Eridani isn’t as bright or as large as our own sun, the “habitable zone” where an earth-like planet might be found is much closer to the star itself. But astronomers don’t agree on whether the Jupiter-sized planet would be a help or a hindrance to the formation of an Earth-like planet.

The research was conducted with NASA’s Spitzer space telescope, which cannot directly detect the star’s planets, but rather registers the infrared heat given off by dust surrounding the star—and thus astronomers can infer the existence of planets.

While it’s fascinating to learn about the possibility of planets “close” to our own solar system (Epsilon Eridani is only about a “mere” 11 light-years, or 62 trillion miles [100 trillion kilometers] from earth), our fascination is driven by a scientific interest in all that God has created—not the belief that life might evolve on a distant earth-like planet that hasn’t even been shown to exist yet. That’s plain science fiction!

4. New Minerals Found On Mars Hint at Wetter Planet

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has discovered a gem of evidence that gives further support to the idea of an ancient, wet Mars.

5. Altruism Doesn't Just Stem From Religion

It’s not our inner, inherent goodness that leads to morality and good deeds.

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!

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