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News to Note, September 22, 2012

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on September 22, 2012
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Death march, solid ground, taking them back, evolution of childbirth, Aussie stromatolites, and more in this week’s News to Note.

1. 6. Archaeological Finds

Horseshoe crab’s death march into the pages of history is consistent with the Genesis account of the global Flood.

2. Faith and Science: Any Absolutes?

Faith and science: are there any absolutes?

3. Blogger: Evolutionists who Reject Feathered Dinosaurs “Misguided”

Popular paleo-blogger calls evolutionists who reject feathered dinosaurs “misguided.”

4. Tie of Human Pregnancy to Bipedality Becomes Extinct

Convenient evolutionary answer tying human pregnancy to bipedality becomes extinct.

5. Strelley Pool Stromatolites Strike Another Blow for Early Life

Strelley Pool stromatolites strike another blow for early life.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), which until recently has helped evangelicals withstand pressure to be politically correct, may now be compromising with those who seek to undermine the biblical foundation of conservative Christian churches. World Magazine reports the NAE is “in the final stages of formalizing an agreement to collaborate with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (and their Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion) on a project to build better dialogue and understanding between the scientific and evangelical communities. The collaboration is part of a Templeton Foundation grant received by the AAAS.” According to a 2008 Pew Forum poll, three out of four evangelicals do not accept evolution as the “best explanation for the origins of human life.” But the AAAS and the John Templeton Foundation from which AAAS receives major funding have a very different agenda. AAAS in 2006 issued a statement declaring that critiques of evolution are “attacks on the integrity of science.” And the Templeton Foundation funds “programs that will help ministers and the congregations they serve to move away from . . . simplistic solutions and polarizing stereotypes,” bolstering the “motivation, imagination, and capacity” of pastors who aggressively promote evolution. So is this “dialogue and understanding” a good thing? It depends on who’s talking and who’s listening. Safe to say, the AAAS is not going to be changing its mind about those critical of evolution, so is this NAE-sponsored “dialogue” a Trojan horse? Evangelicals would be wise to keep a weather eye on this old friend.
  • The news that everyone is talking about this week is the question, “Was Jesus married?” Harvard Divinity School historian Dr. Karen King has released a report of her analysis of a little scrap of papyrus on which one line of ancient Egyptian Coptic apparently reads, “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife . . .’” The source of the scrap is unknown at this time, and King was evaluating its authenticity when she noticed the reference. She believes the fragment dates from the 4th century, about 300 years after Jesus earthly ministry. Even King, who tends to treat non-canonical texts favorably, says that no one should claim from the fragment that Jesus was married. At most, she said, we could say that whoever wrote this thought he was. If the scrap records anything about Jesus at all—though it is not part of the Bible any more than the Gnostic so-called Gospel of Thomas—it could represent a mere metaphorical use of the term “wife.” After all, God refers to Israel as His unfaithful wife in Ezekiel 16, and the New Testament refers to the “bride of Christ,” a metaphorical term used in apparent reference to the church in Ephesians 5:23-32 and to the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21. But even if whoever wrote the piece meant that Jesus had a literal wife, it would not be the first time people have claimed things about Jesus that were not true. Be sure to read our thorough analysis, Was Jesus Married? of the findings and the theological and historical issues it raises.
  • Many evolutionists continue to scramble to shovel much of DNA back into the junkbox. Generally speaking, they are distressed that the discoveries from the ENCODE project—which involves real-life observations concerning the structure and function of present-day human DNA—don’t support what they believe about how that DNA evolved. Because ENCODE has revealed “a genetic code breathtakingly more complex than we ever imagined, and one that challenges Darwinism,” many evolutionists have been casting aspersions on the ENCODE researchers, suggesting that they do not know how to tell whether a part of the DNA actually has a function. As Answers in Genesis molecular geneticist Dr. Georgia Purdom explains in World Magazine’s article “Debunking Junk,” the complex interdependent mechanisms controlling the way a cell makes use of the protein-coding genes in its DNA make a strong case against Darwinian evolution. Acquiring genetic information to change an existing organ into something different is not a matter of changing just one gene. Dr. Purdom explains, “You have to change not only that gene, but the regulation of that gene, and other genes that are involved.” Furthermore, even if some portions of DNA still appear inactive, Dr. Purdom believes they may contain segments that have lost their function due to mutations or segments that are only active at certain times in an organism’s life, such as during embryonic development.
  • We as biblical creationists point out that God created the universe and all that’s in it ex nihilo—“from nothing.” Outspoken atheist Lawrence Krauss is a physicist known for his exhortation to “forget Jesus” because the stars died for you, obviously disparaging the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18–19 ). Krauss will appear tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. (eastern time) on the CNN Sunday Morning Newsroom program, “Faces of Faith.” He’ll be answering questions about his book, A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing. In the book he tries to explain how quantum physics shows that the universe blew into existence from nothing with the big bang. Don’t miss Krauss’s appearance tomorrow on CNN Sunday Morning—set those recorders today so you won’t forget before heading to church—because creationist astronomer Dr. Danny Faulkner will be joining the program too. Dr. Faulkner, a professor at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, has a PhD in astronomy from Indiana University as well as a MS in physics from Clemson University. The discussion between Dr. Krauss and Dr. Faulkner will be moderated by “Faces of Faith” host Randi Kaye. Dr. Faulkner’s perspective should equip you to sort the facts of experimental science from the interpretations Krauss offers. Watch to learn more, as the Bible’s truth is affirmed by the facts of observational science. [Editor’s note: We've received late word that CNN is having technical difficulties and has canceled the interview for now. We will post an announcement if we hear of it being rescheduled.]

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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 last week’s News to Note, why not take a look at it now? See you next week!

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