“[S]cientist urges teaching of creationism in schools” blared alarmist headlines after Michael Reiss, Royal Society director of education who claims “creationism has no scientific basis,” nevertheless let his toe slip from the evolutionary line on education. Now, after less than a week, Reiss has been, well, expelled, one might say.
As part of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, the Church of England is issuing an apology of sorts to Darwin for its previous “anti-evolutionary fervour.” The response from Darwin’s descendants? Thanks, but no thanks.
3. National Geographic News: “Blind ‘Ant From Mars’ Found in Amazon”
An ant so strange it’s been jokingly labeled “from Mars”—but can the creation model explain it?
A single specimen of the ant, named Martialis heureka, was discovered in Brazil by Christian Rabeling, a University of Texas–Austin graduate student. (Martialis means “of Mars.”) The pale, eyeless M. heureka makes the soil of the Amazon rainforest its home, apparently living mostly underground and feeding on soft-bodied creatures with its long jaws.
While “superficially similar” to other ants, M. heureka is atypical in several ways, according to Rabeling and colleagues. In addition to its pale color and lack of eyes are its long, segmented front legs and its forceps-like jaws, possibly used to drag prey out holes in the soil.
Attracting as much attention as its features, however, is the distinct DNA of the ant. Evolutionary DNA analysis suggests M. heureka may be separated by over a hundred million years from other ants, a “relic from an ancient branch on the ant evolutionary tree” in the words of the National Geographic News report.
“The fact that a single ant . . . can tell us so much about the evolution of ants highlights how little we know about the diversity of life on the planet,” commented Corrie Moreau (who was not involved in the finding) of Chicago’s Field Museum. However, while it is clear that this ant is quite different from many other ants, we don’t buy the logic that difference proves something about evolution. For one thing, the different structures of this ant explain why its DNA is so different; for another, its differences show it has adapted well to its environment. This is because God created the original ant kind—or a larger kind from which ants, wasps, and bees have all devolved—with enough information to adapt to numerous environments. M. heureka has likely lost its eyesight (a loss of genetic information), while it shares the large jaw with a few other ant species, such as the bull ant.
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She may seem a little rough around the edges, but Wilma, the National Geographic Society’s new Neanderthal re-creation, is fully human.
5. National Geographic News: “Photo in the News: Oldest Gecko Fossil Found in Amber”
A gecko “frozen in time”—it may be (supposedly) more than 100 million years old, but it’s just as complex as geckos today!
From earlier this month, National Geographic News reports on the foot, toes, and part of the tail of a gecko found in a piece of fossilized tree sap (amber) from Myanmar (Burma). The discoverers believe the find dates from 97 million to 110 million years ago—supposedly 40 million years older than the age of the gecko remains previously considered oldest.
The gecko is so well preserved that easily visible are the lamellae—sticky hair-like structures that give geckos the ability to run up walls and across ceilings. (We reported on the gecko’s abilities—and human attempts to imitate them—in last week’s News to Note, item "#6".)
The supposed age of the find led the Oregon State University researchers to conclude that by that time, geckos must have “already evolved” their specially adapted feet. But is it so unreasonable to conclude that this evidence points, rather, to the fact that geckos were always geckos, designed with spectacular feet for spectacular feats (and we would argue only a few thousand years ago)?
Commentators continue to weigh in on the nominees for U.S. vice president—and Sarah Palin’s possible creationist views are frequently center stage.
7. LiveScience: “World’s Shortest Man, Leggiest Woman Meet”
They may look like different species entirely, but the world’s shortest man and the world’s longest-legged woman are definitely both Homo sapiens!
A photo shoot for 2009’s Guinness World Records brought the two together: China’s He Pingping, who stands just under two and a half feet (76 cm) tall, and Svetlana Pankratova, a Russian whose legs alone stretch for nearly four and a half feet.
Believe it or not, Pankratova isn’t the tallest woman ever, and Guinness technically labels Mr. Pingping the shortest man who can walk.
Along with photos of the world’s largest and smallest horse standing together (see slide #16 in an MSNBC slideshow), the pictures of He and Pankratova remind us of the great diversity of life—even within individual species. Size, shape, and color may vary greatly, but this wide range of diversity is permitted because of the genetic information God programmed into the original created kinds (and which, in turn, allowed better adaptation to peculiar environments). This, of course, is in addition to variation created by disease and other disorders.
The question is, do evolutionists take such built-in, existing-today variation into account when lining up horse fossils in an alleged horse evolution sequence? What about when small human fossils are labeled “hobbits” and classified as a separate species? Such evolutionary storytelling seems to ignore the diversity of species living today and other created kinds that may have gone extinct.
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8. BBC News: “Audio Slideshow: The Art of Mathematics”
University of Liverpool mathematician Lasse Rempe guides viewers through a beautiful slideshow, accompanied by background music, of images generated by mathematical functions.
At first the slideshow may seem to have little to do with biblical authority. But after viewing it, take a look at AiG astrophysicist Jason Lisle’s article Fractals. Enjoy the beauty of God’s “abstract” creations!
9. Reuters: “Fed to Lend $85 Billion to AIG, Take 80 Percent Stake”
You heard it, folks: sad as we are to say, AIG is in a severe financial mess and is clinging to life thanks to $85 billion in U.S. government money.
So is the Creation Museum going to remain open? Relax—as most readers probably realize already, it’s the “other” AIG, formally known as the American International Group, that’s in financial trouble. But with a few News to Note readers egging us on, we couldn’t miss out on a very tardy (or early) April Fools’ joke!
Of course, $85 billion could pay for several Creation Museums in every country of the world, so if you happen to have that sum lying around, don’t forget us! In all seriousness, though, we do thank God and all our supporters for His provision through your faithfulness.
Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know 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!