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News to Note, September 5, 2009

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

on September 5, 2009
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Human evolution, dog evolution, mouse evolution, and more!

1. Are You a Mutant?

A team of researchers has added to our knowledge of the genetic mutation rate in humans, as they report in Current Biology.

2. Dog Fur Evolution

The many differences in dog fur are reducible to just a few genetic factors, a team reports in Science. So what does that teach creationists about the tricks of biology?

3. BBC News: “Mouse Set to be ‘Evolution Icon’”

Peppered moths, move over! There’s a new alleged “icon of ‘evolution in action’” in town.

Reporting in Science, Harvard biologist Catherine Linnen and colleagues describe the “rapid adaptation under ecological pressure” of pale deer mice living in the sand dunes of Nebraska.

4. The Creation Zoo

A zoo near Bristol, England, has been attacked for its promotion of “creationist ideas,” even though a zoo spokesperson called life “the product of both God and evolution.”

5. Is Intelligent Design Dead?

We can all agree that evidence of intelligent design has been “shot down.” But is it good science or biased presuppositions that is doing the “shooting”?

6. And Don’t Miss . . .

  • A Kentucky Enquirer article on Northern Kentucky tourism quotes Tom Caradonio, president of the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau. Caradonio said of our Creation Museum, “It amazes me, 530,000 (visitors) the first year. I’ve been in this business for over 37 years. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an attraction pull in that many people with that kind of facility. They also bring meetings in, which has helped us. So they are doing some really good tourism things for us.” (Mr. Caradonio overstated the attendance by about 100,000; but we have had more than 850,000 visitors in less than two-and-a-half years of operation.)
  • Two weeks ago we commented on aspects of the human experience (such as altruism and art) that evolutionists have difficulty explaining. A Scientific American article prompts us to add one to the list: depression. After discussing explanations for depression that fail the evolutionary framework, the authors conclude, “in most instances, depression should not be thought of as a disorder at all [but instead as] an adaptation, a state of mind which brings real costs, but also brings real benefits.” While the authors do point out the increased propensity for problem analysis in depressed individuals, we worry about the consequences of reinterpreting all human emotions in evolutionary terms. For example, is crying truly “a highly evolved behavior,” as one scientist suggests? For that matter, do evolutionists think that believing in evolution is an evolved behavior?
  • Whether in Angola, in Australia, in China, or elsewhere, scientists continue to find fascinating fossils of dinosaurs and other creatures—which no doubt will become fodder for creation/evolution debates in the future! Of course, the debates will be based on faulty research if fossils are not fairly shared for all to study, a problem creationists certainly face.
  • A strange departure from the typical creation/evolution controversies at public high schools: in Sedalia, Missouri, the T-shirts worn by high school band members have caused a stir because they featured a marching band-themed version of the famous “March of Progress” illustration.
  • The description of what seems to us to be quite an inane study declares, “psychologists who have tried to trace the evolutionary roots of these responses usually hit a dead end. Nonhuman primates scarcely respond to human music, and instead prefer silence.” Instead, scientists discovered that monkeys responded fearfully after listening to “music” comprised of other monkeys’ fearful calls, while other monkeys responded happily to “music” comprised of other monkeys’ happy calls.
  • In August, we reported on an analysis of the genetic diversity of African dogs. That study disputed previous research that argued dogs were first domesticated in East Asia. Now, a new study reasserts the East Asian domestication of dogs.
  • Eric Hovind, son of imprisoned Creation Science Evangelism founder Kent Hovind, is seeking $170,000 in the next two weeks to reopen the ministry’s Dinosaur Adventure Land park and help restart that young-earth creation ministry.

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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, 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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