News to Note, December 23, 2006

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint


1. [email protected]: Dragon virgin births startle zoo keepers

Zookeepers in Britain are marveling at the apparent virgin conception and birth of four Komodo dragons (with eight more on the way) at Chester Zoo. The hatchlings and yet-to-be-hatched are the product of parthenogenesis, a process observed in several animals (including various other lizards) whereby an adult female may give birth without fertilization from a male. [email protected] explains:

[T]he dragon sons are not direct clones of their mothers, but that the babies’ DNA contains half as much variation as is present in the mother's genes, indicating that it represents a doubling up of one set of mother's chromosomes. The results show that no other Komodo dragon could have been involved in their conception.

Interestingly, the offspring are entirely male:

In dragons, the female carries two different sex chromosomes (ZW), while males are homozygous ZZ. As WW is not a viable combination, all surviving offspring created by doubling up half of the female's genes must be males.

Of course, allusions to the Virgin Conception of Christ abound especially as Christmas is upon us, though such allusions ignore the fact that the Bible is clear that Jesus does have a Father (Matthew 1:18; 16:17)!

2. ScienceDaily: Human-chimp Difference May Be Bigger

Remember all the excitement over claims that human and chimp DNA were more than 98% identical? Well, evolutionist excitement is paling as scientists from Indiana University report that such claims ignore other factors:

The new estimate . . . takes into account something other measures of genetic difference do not-the genes that aren't there.

Based on the latest analysis, “[a]pproximately 6 percent of human and chimp genes are unique to those species,” though evolutionists interpret this difference as being a result of the species losing and gaining different genes since diverging from a common ancestor.

Of course, Answers in Genesis has pointed out before that the differences make the difference and that there's more than the genes that make the difference.

3. ScienceNOW: Evolution Stickers Gone for Good in Cobb County

The debate in an Atlanta-area county of Georgia over stickers that claimed evolution was a “theory” (as opposed, apparently, to a proven fact) has come to an end, as Cobb County school officials agreed to “adhere to the state science curriculum and . . . pay $167,000 in legal fees to the plaintiffs.” This claimed “victory” for science is actually a win for religious indoctrination in public schools: indoctrination in humanism, an anti-God religion. To read our full response, see “Cobb County Textbook Stickers Gone for Good.”

4. Alligators Could Fly?

Articles like this one may leave evolutionists puzzled even while creationists chuckle.

5. Dinosaurs-stones did not help with digestion

In case you've been staying up late wondering: stones did not help with dinosaur digestion, according to research conducted at the universities of Bonn and Tübingen in Germany. Scientists have speculated that stones may have been used as “gastric mills” in dinosaur stomachs, helping them digest food in the same manner employed by some modern birds (such as ostriches).

But the real interest this article has for a creationist is found in the first paragraph:

The giant dinosaurs had a problem. Many of them had narrow, pointed teeth, which were more suited to tearing off plants rather than chewing them. But how did they then grind their food? [Emphasis added]

The Bible plainly teaches that all animals were created vegetarian, and that carnivory only entered the world after Adam’s sin. Yet some ill-informed old-earthers and evolutionists claim that the teeth found in some fossils (e.g., fossilized T. rexes) prove that these animals couldn't have eaten plants. So it’s refreshing to read a science publication admit that, yes, many plant-eating dinosaurs had “narrow, pointed teeth” that were in fact quite ideal for ripping and tearing plant material. Of course, there is no doubt that they were created with an efficient method of digestion as well, even if that method is lost on modern scientists who cannot directly observe the past.

6. LiveScience: Study: Happy Marriage Calms Nerves

A study published in the December issue of Psychological Science reports on recent neuroscience tests that reveal a “large decrease in the brain response to threat” when women hold their spouse's hand, compared to a limited decrease when holding a stranger's hand. Furthermore,

[Study author James] Coan also had the couples rate their satisfaction with their marriages, and found the largest decrease in threat-related brain activity for women in the highest quality marriages.

Of course, findings like this are no surprise when one starts from Genesis!

7. National Geographic News: Grand Canyon's Glass Walkway to Open Next March

Members of Arizona's Hualapai tribe have announced construction of a Grand Canyon “Skywalk”: a steel-and-glass cantilever that will jut 70 feet (21 meters) out from the edge of the Grand Canyon, giving tourists the chance to hover (seemingly) over the canyon, with a mere four inches of glass between adventurous tourists and the chasm below.

Of course, the article offers the usual uniformitarian explanation for the canyon's formation:

At that height, the wall is made of 350-million-year-old limestone-porous material that is highly prone to erosion.

Geologists have a simple explanation for the formation of the Grand Canyon: the Colorado River cuts down through the rock, and the canyon's sides fall in[.]

But if you'd prefer to see the canyon up close (instead of from up above), take a look at Answers in Genesis canyon rafting trips. And don't worry-they’re free from uniformitarian teaching!

We at Answers in Genesis hope you and your families enjoy a blessed Christmas holiday and a special time to reflect on the great Gift given to us by our Creator!

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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 all the latest News to Know, why not take a look to see what you’ve missed?

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