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News to Note, November 6, 2010

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

on November 6, 2010
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Throwing a wet blanket on Martian life, still in the dark, reptilian virgin birth, extrasolar planets, and more in this week’s News to Note.

1. Martian Fossils

It’s no secret that fossils play a prominent role in the debate over the history of life on Earth. But will we soon be arguing over the meaning of Martian fossils?

2. Increasing Organisms' Genetic Information

Creationists often critique evolutionary theory as lacking a plausible mechanism for increasing organisms’ genetic information. But will University of California–Irvine research “shed light” in the void?

3. How Smart Were Cave-Men?

Our “cave-men” kin: just how smart were they?

4. Virgin Birth Possible?

If virgin birth is possible, does that mean Jesus was no “miracle baby”?

5. ScienceNOW: “Hellish ‘Super-Earths’ Likely Prevalent Throughout Our Galaxy

As scientists learn more and more about the planets of our galaxy, they’re learning more and more about whether Earth is unique. So is it?

ScienceNOW reports on work by scientists at the University of California–Santa Cruz to investigate what sort of exoplanets (planets outside our own solar system) we might expect to find. The unsurprising conclusion? Planets like Earth may be common, but most are likely to be extremely inhospitable for life.

Using computer models to simulate planetary formation in a variety of conditions, the team found “super-Earths” were a frequent result. Super-Earths are rocky worlds like ours, but they range up to ten times bigger and orbit far closer to their hypothetical host star—completing a year in the time of an Earth day or less. That means that despite the same fundamental composition as Earth, these planets would be “oceans of lava, possibly in the process of being vaporized by their own stars,” one of the scientists describes.

Although the results are purely theoretical, ScienceNOW quotes another researcher who notes that new telescopic data suggest the model is at least partly on target, with several super-hot Earth-sized planets already discovered. And while the news is another indication of how special our own planet is, with conditions “just right” for life, we should keep in mind that it’s much easier to find exoplanets that are large and orbit close to their host stars (unlike Earth). But even if we do discover, someday, that Earth is not unique and that planets “just right for life” are common, evolutionists will have no explanation for why life hasn’t evolved on them.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • More news on the Large Hadron Collider, where researchers are getting closer to their goal of “recreating” the big bang. What are they really up to? For more information on the expensive project and the goals driving it, see A Miniature Big Bang or More Hot Air? and Beams Collide Today in Expensive Hadron Collider.
  • What was the pre-Flood world like? How was it different than the modern Earth? Although researchers at Arizona State University didn’t set out to answer such questions, their work on insect growth in high-oxygen environments seems to support the hypothesis that large insects revealed by the fossil record (largely a record of Earth’s life at the time of the Flood) grew in an atmospheric environment different than our planet’s is today.

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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