News to Note, October 22, 2011

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

Dinosaur tracks and people? human clones, vestigial vestigials, panda indigestion, ancient oceans

1. Tracks of Co-Existing Humans and Dinosaurs Found In China

Yes, dinosaurs and humans co-existed—but not in the Lotus Mountain Fortress.

2. Cloning Used to Make Usable Stem Cells

A clone by any other name…

3. Vestigial Organ Arguments: Useful or Unnecessary?

Vestigial organ arguments are themselves vestigial.

4. Giant Panda Diet Requires Microorganisms to Digest Bamboo

Giant panda is big on bamboo but doesn’t get much bang for the bite.

5. New Technique Reveals Oceanic Evidence For the Flood

Abruptness of ancient oceanic alterations fit the Flood.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • Jack Horner’s efforts to make a chickensaurus are in the news again, and the cover of Wired has eye-catching artwork boldly asserting, “Scientists know how to turn a chicken into a dinosaur.” Horner’s pronouncements guided the creators of Jurassic Park as they popularized the notion that dinosaurs evolved into birds. (Be sure to read Horner’s quotation regarding the movie in Jurassic Spark?) (Ironically, scientists with doctoral degrees and a biblical worldview are ridiculed while Horner, lacking a college degree, is hailed as an expert.) Horner claims dinosaur genes are in the chicken genome and just need to be switched on. Not all evolutionists believe “reverse evolution” is possible. Harvard’s Matthew Harris points out, “You can’t even find a gene for enamel in the chicken genome.” Others, like biologist Sean Carroll, explain there is more to reverse evolution than flipping switches. He says, “It’s not like a Mr. Potato Head, where you just give it a tail and new hands and voilà: dinosaur. That tail has got to work with the rest of the body. There’s likely going to be some wiring problems, some coordination problems. Maybe some other body parts won’t develop normally. . . . Even if you raised an adult chicken with teeth, you’d really end up with nothing more than Foghorn Leghorn with teeth.” The Bible asserts that God created all creatures to reproduce after their kinds. This biblical truth is confirmed in science: each organism has genetic information to vary within its kind but is unable to acquire information to evolve into a new kind of organism. There are genetic similarities among different kinds because our common Designer—God—utilized similar designs to meet various biological needs. Read more about “reverse evolution” in News to Note, August 27, 2011
  • The European Court of Justice has ruled that stem cells obtained from human embryos cannot be patented. The ruling allows research on embryos for the purpose of developing patentable technology to diagnose or treat the unborn, saying, “The use of human embryos for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes which are applied to the human embryo and are useful to it is patentable. But their use for purposes of scientific research is not patentable.” It specifies, “A process which involves removal of a stem cell from a human embryo at the blastocyst [early embryo] stage, entailing the destruction of that embryo, cannot be patented.” Thus, while laws in Europe, Asia, and America do not protect the lives of human embryos, the profit-making incentive to destroy those lives has been limited within Europe. While the decision certainly does not declare the biblical principle that the embryo is a human life entitled to full protection, it does recognize the potential of that life to be destroyed for profit and at least recognizes the immorality of that.
  • The policy director for the National Center for Science Education, an organization devoted to promoting evolutionary teaching, has written an article exhorting scientific societies such as the Geological Society of America (GSA) to tolerate creationists to avoid charges of discrimination. Like the GSA, whose policy states, “Creationism is not science because it invokes supernatural phenomena that cannot be tested,” he cannot admit creationists can be real scientists. Even with “decent geology educations from legitimate institutions,” their dubious motive to “claim legitimacy” makes them a danger. “Peer-reviewed scientific journals,” he warns, “have published - almost certainly without being aware of the authors' true views and motivations - papers by creationists arguing minor details of what they imagine occurred during Noah's flood.” Yet despite the probability that “scientific organisations will continue to experience creationist infiltration,” he is confident “science is far stronger than any creationist attempts to undermine it.” How ironic that the GSA geologists regularly make scientific statements about non-repeatable past events that “cannot be tested” in clear violation of their own principle. In addition, the writer implies that doing good scientific work does not just involve performing objective analyses but also avoiding ulterior motives. The writer is demanding true scientists espouse proper beliefs—aka faith. In reality, creationist beliefs do not undermine scientific investigation. Since the Bible provides the real history of the universe, its principles will never be violated by actual scientific observations but are regularly violated by unverifiable evolutionary assumptions superimposed on those scientific facts.

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