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1. BBC News: “Ancient chimps ‘used stone tools’”
Excavations at the Noulo site in Africa, reportedly “the only known prehistoric chimpanzee” settlement, have turned up ancient stone tools thought to have been used by chimpanzees. “The discovery represents the oldest evidence of tool use by our closest evolutionary relative,” reports BBC News, which notes that radiocarbon dating of charcoal in the same ground layers as the tools indicated an age of 4,300 years.
The discovery has evolutionary researchers wondering how chimps learned to use tools—was it based on their observation (and imitation) of humans or an inheritance from an ancestor common to chimps and humans—or did chimps and humans figure out tool-use independent of one another?
The Bible’s teaching on the topic is fairly clear, however: it was a common “Ancestor” of sorts, the Creator, who created minds capable of conceiving and using tools. And not just primate minds, although evolutionists are fond of painting a picture of chimps as “nearly human”; other animals, such as crows, are expert tool-makers (see the November 4, 2006, News to Note, item #3).
2. National Geographic News: “Fossil Meat Found in 380-Million-Year-Old Fish”
Australian paleontologists writing in last week’s edition of Biology Letters report on their discovery of “morsels of fossilized muscle” inside not one but two fossilized fish dated by evolutionists at around 382 million years old. Sean Markey’s National Geographic News report on the find claims the muscle would be “the oldest vertebrate tissue ever known.”The article details the find:
The fish’s remarkably well-preserved soft tissues include bundles of muscle cells, blood vessels, and nerve cells … found during recent electron microscope scans[.]
The article also explains that, in addition to the rarity of discovering fossilized muscle is the rarity of discovering fossils that have not been flattened, but rather maintain the original three-dimensional shape of the fish. The remarkable preservation of the fish—both in shape and in muscular content—seems to contradict an alleged date of over 380 million years.
Interestingly, this type of fish, called Gogonasus, “changed and revolutionized” scientists’ ideas of evolution because it was “remarkable for its many features resembling those found on modern land animals” (in other words, sort of the opposite of a living fossil—rather than a live creature nearly identical to a thought-to-be-extinct fossil, this is a supposedly ancient fossil that looks much like live creatures today).
3. ScienceNOW: “It's Official: ID Out in Kansas”
In news this week from the political end of the science spectrum, the elected Board of Education in Kansas has modified the treatment the state curriculum gives to the topic of origins. This marks the fifth time standards have been changed in eight years. The 6-4 vote to adopt new standards was a direct result of a swing in the board’s political balance of power, as pro-evolution Democrats and Republicans gained seats in November’s general election that were previously held by some intelligent design proponents.
Visit What happened in Kansas? for a primer on the recent history of the curriculum conflict in Kansas. For AiG’s response to the latest reporting (and misreporting) on the curriculum, see Evolution “restored” in Kansas?
4. Los Angeles Times: “The mind, as it evolves”
It may not sound like a triumph of evolutionary theory: psychiatrist Anderson Thomson treated the depression of a college student by helping her be more assertive about her goals, change schools (from one she disliked to one she liked), and change majors (from one she disliked to one she liked). Yet according to the Los Angeles Times' Julia Klein, this is an example of the success of “evolutionary psychology, a burgeoning field that is starting to influence psychotherapy.” Klein explains how evolutionary psychology differs from the psychological schools that have preceded it:
Evolutionary psychology sees the mind as a set of evolved mechanisms, or adaptations, that have promoted survival and reproduction. Evolutionary psychopathology—abnormal psychology through an evolutionary lens—looks at what has gone wrong.
The article then explains three of the dominant views of the school. First, the idea that what many characterize as “disorders” are actually “rational bargaining tactics to manipulate others into providing support they might otherwise withhold.” Second, that “depression results from a ‘mismatch’ between human beings adapted for hunter-gatherer societies and the contemporary world.” And third, that mental disorders are the result of “an accumulation of harmful genetic mutations—flaws in the system.”
Now, the therapy conducted by Anderson Thomson may not be particularly strange or dangerous; indeed, his counseling of the depressed college student sounds similar to what many psychiatrists/psychologists would offer. But what if these three core ideas of evolutionary psychology began to dominate our ideas of how humans think? The first idea, that disorders are actually tactics for manipulation, could lead to both a lack of sympathy for the victims of disorders (e.g., “You’re acting depressed just to get my attention”) and lead to the idea that all disorders are the result of an unmet evolutionary need, such as the alleged evolutionary drive for reproduction.
The second idea, that depression results from a mismatch of our supposed pre-agrarian, “early human” civilization with modern civilization, may be beneficial for helping people live more healthily, but what if evolutionary psychologists claim that “recently evolved” morality is causing depression (e.g., “Modern ideas of “right” and “wrong” are incompatible with our evolutionary heritage, so they should be abandoned”)?
Finally, the idea that all disorders are a result of harmful mutations could lead to the idea that all psychological problems are purely caused by physical conditions, ignoring mental—or spiritual—causes.
Thomson, the article notes, claims the shift to an evolutionary paradigm for psychology is “marvelous,” postulating that “it's affecting very few now, but in time it will affect everybody” as “young clinicians are trained in evolutionary psychology.” This is just one example of an academic field in which materialistic, evolutionary explanations may eventually monopolize discussion.
5. New York Times: “Believing Scripture but Playing by Science’s Rules”
The New York Times examines the noteworthy case of a young-earth creationist being awarded a PhD in geosciences from the University of Rhode Island. (Noteworthy, sadly, because of the current domination evolutionary science has in doctoral programs.) Dr. Marcus Ross, reportedly a young-earth creationist who believes the earth is no more than 10,000 years old, completed his doctoral degree with the submission of a 197-page dissertation on the end of the mosasaurs (a marine reptile that supposedly died out some 65 million years ago in evolutionary history).
As expected, a minor firestorm erupted over whether or not universities should grant PhDs to creationists. Although David Fastovsky and Jon Boothroyd, professors at the University of Rhode Island, defend Dr. Ross’s dissertation and graduate work, the Times article quotes Michael L. Dini, professor of biology education at Texas Tech University, who vaguely states that graduate programs in science “ought to make certain the people they are conferring advanced degrees on understand the philosophy of science and are indeed philosophers of science.”
The article also references two scientists affiliated with Answers in Genesis who have experience in the world of secular education: Dr. John Baumgardner and Dr. Kurt Wise. The work of Drs. Baumgardner and Wise, in addition to furthering understanding of such topics as Noah’s Flood, plate tectonics, and paleontology from a biblical perspective, is an indication that creationists are not simply uneducated about or misunderstanding evolutionary theory.
As for Ross, the Times article explains that:
For him … the methods and theories of paleontology are one “paradigm” for studying the past, and Scripture is another. In the paleontological paradigm, he said, the dates in his dissertation are entirely appropriate. The fact that as a young earth creationist he has a different view just means, he said,“that I am separating the different paradigms.”
Ross, who currently teaches earth science at Liberty University in Virginia, clarifies that he “was working within a particular paradigm of earth history. I accepted that philosophy of science for the purpose of working with the people [at the university],” and claims he was not intellectually dishonest because he did not imply or deny endorsement of the dates in his dissertation.
Of course, one wonders if any secular university would award a PhD in the sciences if the candidate did not, at least, tacitly work in the evolutionary paradigm. In fact, this furthers the circular logic often employed by evolution’s proponents: no “real” scientists support creation … because the minute a scientist expresses any doubt in evolution, he or she is no longer classified as a “real” scientist!
6. USA TODAY: “Flying creatures may help create aviation of future”
Aviation experts are increasingly turning to the animal kingdom for inspiration and design ideas for new aircraft technology, reports Alan Levin of USA TODAY. “In labs around the world, biologists and aerodynamicists are studying birds, bats, insects and even extinct flying dinosaurs for new ideas,” Levin says, outlining some of the latest nature-inspired initiatives.
Of course, these experts are merely copying the design of the Master Designer. Yet where does the credit go?
The breeding ground of natural selection has improved flying creatures over millions of years[.]
And, according Graham Taylor of Oxford University:
Once again, the glory the Creator deserves is being attributed instead to His creation.
“[N]atural selection has already done much of the brute computation for us by solving problems evolutionary[.]”
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!
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