Human hobbits, religion ignorance among religious, dating HBV, funding for E.T., walking whales, and more in this week’s News to Note.
The University of Western Australia's Emeritus Professor Charles Oxnard and colleagues have reconfirmed that the “Hobbits” were human after all.
A new survey, released this week by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that, although 86% of Americans believe in God or a higher power, they don’t know much about church history or other faiths.
Researchers at University of Texas–Arlington have found “old” virus fragments from the same family as modern Hepatitis B virus in the genomes of modern songbirds.
The Vatican’s astronomer would love to “baptize an alien.”
And Dr. Guy Consolmagno also mentioned, at a recent festival in the U.K., that “intelligent aliens may be living among the heavens and most likely are to have souls.” This could imply a new stance by the Catholic Church, which has never before postulated that aliens may need salvation.
Correspondingly, even with all the billions of dollars wasted on SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and NASA’s pork barrel projects looking for life on other planets (although we applaud many things in space exploration, which allows us to discover more about the magnificent handiwork of our Creator), E.T. has yet to phone home! As to the Vatican’s spokesman talking about “baptizing” an alien, we have to wonder why? Scripture makes it clear that humanity needs a Savior because Adam (an earthly human) sinned and brought death and disease to this world (and all of creation); and only another man, a perfect man—Jesus Christ—can restore us to God (Romans 5:10–19, 1 Corinthians 15: 20–26). Baptizing an alien, therefore (if they existed) would be pointless, because Jesus came to earth to save the sin-cursed progeny of Adam.
It's not clear what these proto-whales were supposedly like, but some paleontologists believe they may have been anything ranging from hippo-like, hoofed mammals to something more like modern wolves.
Evolutionists believe that, over millions of years, these proto-whale creatures began to spend more time in the water, “like modern sea lions or otters.” Then, eventually, the creatures left land altogether, slowly losing their legs and fur to disuse.
But, as this article states: “why would a land mammal, specifically adapted for life on solid ground, evolve into a sea creature, spending much of its time away from air and sunlight?” Paleontologists speculate that the whale's ancestors simply “went where the food was. The ocean is filled with a wide variety of fish and crustaceans, while food along the coast can be scarce.”
But these “transitional ancestors” between land mammals and whales have not been very forthcoming. Every candidate has serious problems, and several vitally important transitions that would have needed to take place have been misrepresented or virtually ignored. These would include: tail to fluke transition, spinal modification to allow for increased muscle attachments for a fluke vs. a tail, leg-to-flipper-to-fin transition (most of which has been shown to be reproductive attachments, not real walking limbs in the fossils), and pelvic girdle modification. In other words, a whale is still a whale—and has been since God created the sea creatures on Day 5 (Genesis 1:20–23).
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