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1. LiveScience: “T. Rex Related to Chickens“
It was news that rocked the world of paleontology two years ago: molecular paleontologist Mary Schweitzer and her colleagues reported the discovery of “soft, stretchy” tissue in a T. rex fossil believed to be 68 million years old. Incredibly, Schweitzer and other paleontologists have fiercely held on to their old-age beliefs, concluding that soft tissue must be able to survive such a long period, rather than admitting that the old-earth paradigm is flawed. As confirmation of scientists’ credulity regarding the evolutionary paradigm, note the recent comments of John Asara of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School:
I mean can you imagine pulling a bone out the ground after 68 million years and then getting intact protein sequences? […] That’s just mind boggling how much preservation there is in these bones.”
Asara is quoted in a LiveScience article covering the latest news surrounding the “ancient” bones: the analysis of proteins extracted from them. Asara’s team examined the protein’s chemical structure and found it “showed an evolutionary link between T. rex and chickens, bolstering the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs.” The “link,” according to the article, is “a remarkable similarity” between the T. rex and chicken amino acid sequences.
For a more detailed look at this study, but from a creationist perspective, read Dr. David Dewitt’s article: Tyrannosaurus rex: a big chicken?
Ultimately, and despite the evolutionary interpretations the T. rex soft tissue will receive, the discovery of intact soft tissue from a supposedly 68-million-year-old fossil is yet another strong indication that the old-age, evolutionary paradigm is flatly wrong.
2. National Geographic News: “Chimps Use Caves to Beat the Heat, Scientists Find“
Chimps use caves; therefore, evolution is true-at least, that’s the tone of news reports this week that describe cave habitation by chimpanzees living in West Africa. In a behavior that “appears to be an adjustment to heat stress” during the “end of the dry season in May and June,” the chimpanzees seek shelter in the relatively cool caves. Such behavior has been observed, but not amply documented, in other chimpanzee populations, says Jill Pruetz, the anthropologist who led the research. And, of course, this discovery is interpreted as an important evolutionary milestone:
The adaptations of savanna chimpanzees are particularly interesting to researchers because early humans are thought to have occupied similar environments.
Based on illogic like this, when a primate is seen doing anything remotely human-like, it is dramatically paraded by evolutionists as a sign of our kinship with apes. And what should we expect? After all, evolutionists presuppose the evolutionary connection between apes and humans, so why shouldn’t they interpret similarities as signs of our supposed joint ancestry?
William McGrew of Cambridge University best represented the evolutionary interpretation of these chimps’ pedestrian behavior: “This is one of those cases in which the apes genuinely surprise us, exceeding our expectations and imaginations.” The creationist interpretation, we’re afraid, is quite a bit more boring (indeed, it is unsurprising, does not exceed expectations, and does not inspire the imagination): the chimps were hot and sought refuge in caves, proving evolution no more than a dog cooling off by jumping into a swimming pool.
3. Reuters: “Pope says science too narrow to explain creation“
For the first time in his papacy, Pope Benedict has “elaborat[ed] his views” on human origins. Although his statements do not alter Rome’s overall stance on evolution, his comments are more distant from the late John Paul II’s tacit endorsement of evolution as God’s creative method.
The pope said that “science has narrowed the way life’s origins are understood and Christians should take a broader approach to the question.” (Note that the pope used narrow not in the sense of “narrowing in on” but rather in the sense of “making more restrictive.”) We certainly agree that secular science, with its de facto naturalist outlook that does not allow for a God who is involved in the world, has limited our understanding of origins; however, unlike Pope Benedict, we believe this limitation has come mainly in the form of outright error, not mere restrictions.
The pope also pointed out, quite accurately, that the “theory of evolution is not completely provable because mutations over hundreds of thousands of years cannot be reproduced in a laboratory.” We agree; in fact, since molecules-to-man evolution cannot be tested empirically, it cannot be legitimately called science! Furthermore, the mutations we do observe in nature are not the sort that produce “higher” forms of life.
Sadly, the pope also asserted that “evolution had a rationality [in natural selection that] inevitably leads to a question that goes beyond science,” asking “where did this rationality come from?” The pope credits God with injecting such “rationality” into the mechanism of evolution. So while Pope Benedict refutes purely naturalistic science, he apparently accepts the presuppositions of naturalistic science-namely, that when a plain reading of the Bible and secular science disagree, it is the Bible that must be reinterpreted and made into metaphor. Ultimately, although the pope calls for a broader approach to human origins, the theistic evolution belief he supports is a dangerous belief that accepts the evolutionary ideas of long ages, violence and death, apemen, and the like, merely adding a vague, distant “god” in the picture. To learn more about the dangers of theistic evolution, read 10 dangers of theistic evolution.
4. National Geographic News: “First Sign of Water on Planet Outside Our System“
Since evolutionists believe adding time, chance, and the right ingredients together results in life, in recent years we have seen an accelerated search for planets that have such “right” ingredients. Thus, this week’s report of the first sign of planetary water outside our solar system has some evolutionists nearly giddy-but others remain skeptical.
The planet in question, known as HD209458b, was examined by astronomer Travis Barman, who used observations from the Hubble Space Telescope to determine the presence of water vapor on the planet. Barman called the result a “confidence booster” because it confirmed their prediction that HD209458b and planets like it would hold water.
A ScienceNOW article on the discovery gives a different perspective, however. In an article titled Alien Water Find Iffy, the originator of the technique Barman used claims the water may just be a mirage:
The problem […] is that interpretation of spectral information from an extrasolar planet requires more precision and stability than may be possible with current instrumentation.
Oddly, the Hubble Space Telescope instrument used to gather the data is now broken, preventing further examination of the planet by the same method.
Would the presence of water on a faraway planet support the story that life arose out of primordial clay? Of course not. Even so, it’s quite telling that there’s so much evolutionary focus on the mere possibility of the presence of water, despite the fact that the steps that would transform water (and other substances) into life have never been found in nature!
Another news item this week further showcases the unfounded evolutionary excitement over the thought of extraterrestrial life. In Alien plants may come in all colours but blue, [email protected]’s Heidi Ledford discusses a NASA biometeorologist’s new model that speculates that extraterrestrial plants may come in a rainbow of colors. Of course, Ledford injects a bit of realism into the otherwise fanciful review:
Given that we have yet to find bacteria, let alone little green men or purple palms, on any other planet, it might seem slightly ridiculous to spend time working out what colour plants elsewhere in the Universe must be. But scientists say that the thought experiment could be useful in helping us to look for lush landscapes in other solar systems.
Given that scientists have no support whatsoever for the concept of life arising on its own, we’d say these fantastic evolutionary quests are more than “slightly” ridiculous! Perhaps the entire search for alien life was best summarized by an article appearing on ScienceNOW last week. In Look Out for Alien Lasers, Phil Berardelli writes:
For several decades, astronomers have been aiming sensitive radio receivers toward the heavens hoping to eavesdrop on signals generated by beings on planets elsewhere in the galaxy. Nothing yet, of course, but now an international team of researchers is proposing to look for flashes from alien laser beams as well using gamma-ray telescopes. [emphasis added]
The as-of-yet fruitless search for extraterrestrial life is a microcosm of the search for evidence for evolution: lots of money, time, energy, and intelligence are poured into the search, but ultimately, the discoveries are something on the order of 99% naturalistic dogma and 1% good science.
5. Newsweek: “The God Debate“
“At Newsweek‘s invitation” last week, well-known pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, debated “new atheist“ Sam Harris. For the most part, the debate is what one might expect; neither “side” seems to budge in its own position, instead merely reciting the common arguments surrounding the debate over religion and theism. Ultimately, entire books could be written solely in annotation of the debate; we want to focus simply on one comment. As the two discussed biblical inerrancy, Warren recited a familiar claim:
I believe [the Bible is] inerrant in what it claims to be. The Bible does not claim to be a scientific book in many areas.
This was in indirect response to Harris, who earlier stated:
There is so much about us that is not in the Bible. Every specific science from cosmology to psychology to economics has surpassed and superseded what the Bible tells us is true about our world.
Let’s take a look at Warren’s claim. First, his statement that the Bible is “inerrant in what it claims to be.” This sounds, in a way, as if Warren is suggesting the Bible is inerrant only in select passages (specifically, only in passages where it claims its own inerrancy). Of course, the Bible claims it is inerrant (“God-breathed”) in its entirety (see 2 Timothy 3:16).
So what does Pastor Warren mean? His next sentence provides additional clarification: “The Bible does not claim to be a scientific book in many areas.” Thus, it seems Warren is arguing that the Bible is not inerrant in the “many [scientific] areas” in which it does not claim inerrancy. But what areas are these? As cited above, the Bible claims it is inerrant throughout; there are no digressions in, for example, Genesis, that claim otherwise; there is no Genesis 2:0 that reads, “Now, this whole chapter is just speculation”! If Warren means that the Bible’s declarations on certain scientific matters are possibly errant, then how does he determine which are in possible error and which aren’t?
That said, we think Warren, who has had some cordial contact with AiG in the past, could be taken a different way. Warren, shortly thereafter in the interview, claimed that he believes Genesis “is literal,” we believe Warren’s thoughts on inerrancy may be more accurately explained as follows: He believes the Bible is entirely inerrant; however, the Bible does not exhaustively explain science.
In other words, the Bible is always accurate in the science it describes, but it cannot be expected to contain a complete account of the workings of the universe. The Bible doesn’t give us all the details of creation, but that doesn’t mean the account of creation contains any error. This is why, in many areas, science has surpassed what the Bible reveals; our knowledge of, for instance, chemistry is more detailed than the chemistry in the Bible, as an example. However, unlike Harris’s claim, knowledge cannot supersede-that is, replace or overturn-the Bible’s revelation.
We hope this is the point Warren was trying to make, albeit somewhat confusingly as it appeared in Newsweek! It makes a big difference-especially in the context of the creation/evolution debate-whether one considers the Bible to be inerrant in “everything except science” or whether one accepts it as true in “everything it touches on.”
6. LiveScience: “Before They Fly, Spiders Check the Weather“
Stunning examples of God’s awesome capacity for design abound all around us-even in the lowly spider! Research published recently in Biology Letters explains how spiders take to the air, “flying” by “casting out a ‘dragline’ of silk thread, which gets carried by the wind, along with the attached critter.” But the truly amazing aspect of spider flight, as reported in the research, is how spiders determine “the best flight weather” before casting their lines. Spiders are most likely to “soar” on cloudy fall and spring days, avoiding breezeless summer days as well as the other extreme, stormy and wintry conditions.
This is where the design aspect comes in; after all, spiders lack the tools available to meteorologists! But as lead study author Andy Reynolds explains, “The literature on spider sensing points to tarsal organs and hairs as having roles in, respectively, the detection of temperature and wind speed.” While evolutionists wonder how such an integrated weather-determining system would have evolved, creationists can recognize the wonderful mechanism as part of God’s design.
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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