News to Note, October 14, 2006

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint


1. Columbus Dispatch: Evolution a hard sell for many

Ohio's major newspaper The Columbus Dispatch reports on Susan Fisher's Biology 101 class at [The] Ohio State University, and how students react to the teaching of evolution. Fisher's view is:

I'm not here to challenge their belief systems. I'm here to show the difference between science and religion.

(One wonders what happens if a student has a belief different from Fisher's about science and religion.) But Fisher cautions that she's “not hacked off anymore” when students don't accept evolution. “I want them to at least understand what they're rejecting. If they choose to ignore it, that's their prerogative.”

And many do, such as 19-year-old Kaleigh Paul, one of Fisher's students, who explains that she's “gone through so many biology classes and it hasn't convinced me yet . . . I was raised with creationism.” However, Paul acknowledges that the evidence and arguments Fisher presents are logical (perhaps she should read some articles in our philosophy section.

Fisher adds in closing that she “came to terms with her own religious and scientific beliefs years ago.” Yet she declares:

But it really doesn't matter what was the starting point . . . [i]t could have been the big bang or God establishing the final laws of physics. We'll never know. That's why we call it faith.

So, does creation matter?

2. BBC NEWS: Chimps 'are people, too'

An episode of the British TV program Horizon tackles that ancient, “tough” question, “Are chimps people?”

We're only joking, of course; though the similarities between chimpanzees and humans are interesting (and, when it comes to DNA, often exagerrated), they no more support evolution than do similarities between, say, dogs and humans. For instance, imagine a world in which (A) everyone accepted evolution, and (B) there were no primates other than humans. In this world, would evolutionists not latch on to the similarities between dogs and humans as evidence of common ancestry? Rather than pointing out the “culture” chimpanzees exhibit, scientists would point out the humanlike emotional behavior of dogs, the relationship-forming nature of most dogs, the learning ability of dogs, and so forth. In fact, these traits can be found in many mammals. But would any of this provide more support for common ancestry than it would for a common designer? Of course not. Likewise, chimpanzee behavior does not prove common ancestry any more than it proves common design. After all, ten buildings, all made out of similar bricks and with similar architecture, shows the same designer.

3. Detroit Free Press: Schools must teach evolution & Columbus Dispatch: State education board drops evolution debate

In Michigan and Ohio this week, evolution has “won out” in the debate over public school science education. Education boards in both states closed the issue-in Michigan, approving new science curriculum guidelines that do not endorse intelligent design, and in Ohio, voting to discharge a subcommittee formed to examine legal issues related to critically analyzing evolution in the state science curriculum.

The Free Press-by accident-explains the educational environment that will result:

The board also removed ambiguous language that could lead some to question the validity of evolution.

Apparently, evolutionists are intent on suppressing any questioning spirit in students. What a tragedy it would be if students were actually taught to consider and examine both interpretations of an issue when coming to conclusions!

Piramide del Sol

Mexico’s mammoth Pyramid of the Sun, approximately 2,000 years old, and the location of an attempt to contact aliens later this month. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

4. CNN: Yahoo laser to ask: Anybody there?

Those who read about Cosmic Connexion in last week's News to Note won't be surprised to read this story-about another attempt to send messages to extraterrestrial life.

This project, a part of Yahoo!'s “Time Capsule” project, will involve a laser signal broadcast into space later this month. The point of origin will be Mexico's pagan Pyramid of the Sun.

As we commented last week, as long as people follow evolution-based worldviews and believe life can spontaneously “spring up,” there will always be those trying to contact aliens.

[Editor's note: Mexican authorities later banned Yahoo! from using the Pyramid of the Sun due to fear that the ancient buildings would be damaged.]

Inherently Wind

In one of his most popular talks, Dr. Menton exposes the distortions and inaccuracies in the play and movie Inherit the Wind.

5. AP: Broadway Revival of 'Inherit the Wind'

Disinformation about the Dayton, Tennessee, Scopes trial is set to soon flow again: the famous play, Inherit the Wind (later adapted into a 1960 film) will be revived on Broadway and star Christopher Plummer (remember him as the captain in The Sound of Music?) and Brian Dennehy.

The Scopes “monkey” trial, a spectacle that resulted from what amounted to an ACLU publicity campaign, is often used to ridicule creationist views-even though popular conception of the trial is based on the mistake-ridden film Inherit the Wind.

There are several ways to learn the real story of the Scopes trial. Check out excellent resources such as Dr. David Menton's booklet Inherit the Wind-a Hollywood History of the Scopes Trial or his DVD of the same name.

In short, there's no excuse for the propaganda promoted by Inherit the Wind!

6. [email protected]: Smallest genome clocks in at 182 genes

Meet Carsonella ruddii, recently declared the owner of the world's smallest genome-“only” 159,662 base pairs of DNA. The announcement, along with reports of another “simple” bacterium (“only” 400,000 base pairs) prompted physicist Philip Ball to ask, “How small can a genome get and still run a living organism?”

Scientists are encouraged by news of these simpler organisms because it inspires hopes of creating “designer bacteria” in the lab-bacteria that could be engineered to perform specific, useful functions. However, C. ruddii is not autonomous and lives inside sap-feeding insects; they depend on the insects for survival, and are actually too simple to survive on their own.

What's interesting to consider is that these are the simplest genomes out there, yet they contain as much information content as a short book. There is no known mechanism for even this small amount of information to arise by chance, even though the idea of molecules-to-man evolution relies on the chance amalgamation of an organism capable of surviving and reproducing itself before natural selection could even begin.

7. "Prehistoric" Embryos Caught Dividing

Geologists reported this week on the analysis of fossilized embryos discovered in the Doushantuo Formation in China's Guizhou Province. Based on uniformitarian assumptions, the scientists believe these embryos are approximately 600 million years old.

8. National Geographic News: Earth's “Wobbles” Spurring Cycles of Evolution and Extinction?

Evolutionary researchers recently hypothesized that subtle changes in the earth's axial tilt are causing a cycle of extinction and evolution. The idea postulates that as earth's tilt fluctuates from 22-25°, it ushers in long-term climate changes that “explain the subsequent rise and fall of many species.”

However, the fossils we see-buried in mass graves, and “frozen” while in the process of eating, giving birth, or even dividing (as in item 7)-are better explained by the catastrophic Flood of Noah's day.

9. Naturally Gay?

A new exhibit in a Norwegian museum is pushing the idea that homosexuality is natural.

For More Information: Get Answers

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