News to Note, October 17, 2009

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint


God our “separator,” Bird Brains VIII, a veggie-loving spider, and more!

1. God the Separator

An Old Testament professor thinks the translations of Genesis should be rewritten—to accommodate her view on what the text actually means.

2. Bird and Baby Physics

Yet another experimental study teaches us more about the sophisticated (and, perhaps, surprising) intelligence of crows.

3. Planets Likely to Have Life Named

It’s the “Standard Microbial Habitability index,” an attempt to quantitatively define a planetary body’s suitability for life.

4. Veggie-loving Spider

Most would agree that spiders are one of the more menacing predators in nature—spinning webs and lying in wait for helplessly trapped victims. But one Meso-American spider will have (almost) nothing of it.

5. Jaw Bone Grown from Adult Stem Cells

Researchers have used adult stem cells to create part of a jaw bone, marking a major milestone in stem cell research.

6. And Don’t Miss . . .

  • Fossil pterosaur Darwinopterus (yes, named after you-know-who) is said to be “a perfect intermediate form [i.e., a missing link] between the two groups” of fossil pterosaurs. Or could it be that Darwinopterus lived at the same time as other pterosaurs, a unique variant within a pterosaur kind rather than a transitional form between kinds? Once again, we see that fossils do not themselves prove evolution or creation; rather, the evolution and creation models offer different explanations for the significance of fossils.
  • Can microorganisms survive an interplanetary journey? That question is motivating an experiment by the Planetary Society. Its LIFE experiment will send microorganisms to Martian moon Phobos, then bring them back to Earth to test the hypothesis that life could have been seeded from space. “If no microbes survive, this does not necessarily rule out the possibility of transpermia, but it certainly calls it into question more,” the organization’s website states. Likewise, even if the microbes do survive, that would not necessarily prove that life came from space (though, if the experiment is a success, expect news organizations to say at least that much).
  • Are a third of all dinosaur species entirely fictional? That’s the new hypothesis of a team of paleontologists that suggest many juvenile dinosaurs are misidentified as separate species from their (adult) parents. For example, the paleontologists believe Nanotyrannus dinosaurs are actually young T. rex’s, and that the differences in skull shape are due to the fact that the juvenile skull became more elongated as the animal grew.
  • What happened to global warming?” asks BBC News in a peek at the current state of the global warming debate. For a biblical perspective, start with Global Warming: Fact or Fiction?
  • We doubt anyone will use the news to derive a naturalistic explanation for how Jesus walked on water, but basilisk lizards of Central America are able to walk on water by creating air bubbles with their toes. BBC News claims that “the lizards have evolved an extraordinary escape mechanism.”
  • In a tacit acknowledgment of design in nature, University of California–Berkeley scientists are researching how to remotely control beetles (for military applications).

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 all the latest News to Know, why not take a look to see what you’ve missed?

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