News to Note, September 23, 2006

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint


Missing links, walking sharks, and more!

1. FOX NEWS: Nearly Complete 'Missing Link' Skeleton Found in Ethiopia

A fossilized skeleton discovered in 2000 received significant press this week due to its new status as a “missing link.” The fossil was found embedded in sediment and scientists have spent the past several years carefully removing the bones, a process still incomplete.

The fossil, nicknamed “Selam,” has drawn attention because of its classification as an Australopithecus afarensis (which includes the famous “Lucy” skeleton), and because Selam is estimated to have been only three when she died.

One of the more interesting aspects of the find is that scientists believe Selam was buried rapidly by floodwaters. (See our Q&A on fossils to learn about how the Flood created most of the fossil record.)

Scientists believe A. afarensis such as Selam were missing links because of skeletal indications that they were upright walkers, whereas many other features are distinctly ape-like, including the shoulder blades, neck, organ of balance in the inner ear, fingers and hyoid bone (which attaches to muscles of the tongue).

Of course, even if this creature did walk upright, as some believe, this provides no indication that humans evolved from it. Similarity in features or behavior is as much evidence of common design as it is of common descent.

An upcoming article on will take an in-depth look at Selam, and the conclusions anthropologists can extrapolate based on individual skeletons.

2. National Geographic News: “Walking” Sharks Among 50 New Species Found in Indonesia Reefs

A diving discovery of more than 50 new marine species off the coast of Indonesia made headlines early this week, along with the announcement that one of the newly discovered animals was a “walking shark,” which hints at evolutionist's ideas of a fish-to-amphibian transitional form:

Biologists studying these sharks suggest they could serve as models for the first animals that moved from marine environments onto land[.]

First of all, most news articles refer to “walking” sharks, with quotation marks around walking, to clarify that these sharks are not actually bearing weight on their fins, but rather simply appear to be walking. In the water, animals can propel themselves through the water without having to directly support their weight (since they're surrounded by liquid); on land, limbs must support the weight of an animal's body against gravity. As can be seen in a video, the shark is using fins in a unique way-but could not walk onto shore with much success. For legs to evolve from fins, the addition of significant muscle and bone mass-all organized properly with respect to the skeletal and muscular system-would be required.

Second, there is no reason at this point to believe that these sharks' abilities represent an increase in genetic information, which would be required for molecules-to-man evolution to occur. Instead, this could be similar to a macaque who walked exclusively upright due to health problems. But this unusual behavior (presuming-for good reason-no increase in genetic information) is nothing like evolution unless one accepts the long-discredited theory of Lamarckism, which theorized that use/disuse resulted in evolution (for example, postulating that a man who spent his time bodybuilding would have offspring who were more muscular).

As with other transitional forms, one must presuppose the evolutionary worldview in order to accept a form as transitional-otherwise, there is no way to know if it is truly the descendent of a simpler organism.

3. Christian Response to “Unsaveable Evolutionists”

Cincinnati Post religion writer Kevin Eigelbach took issue with a recent Answers Update e-newsletter (a free, weekly Answers in Genesis mailing), alleging-among other things-that the e-newsletter implied evolutionists couldn't be Christians.

4. Detroit Free Press: DeVos: Science teachers should be allowed to present intelligent design and Phil Power: The evolution of a major problem

The debate over origins instruction in schools is heating up again-this time in Michigan. Although Answers in Genesis does not involve itself in legal efforts to change public school curricula, we do support more open origins instruction in public classrooms, rather than the evolution-only dogma now presented as fact.

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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