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1. BBC NEWS: “New ‘super-Earth’ found in space

It may be a record for exaggerating news out of proportion: the discovery of an extrasolar planet not much larger than earth has prompted giddy cries from some scientists who seem to suggest we’ll be contacting extraterrestrial life forms before mid-May! So what’s the real story?

The real story is that, through indirect methods of detection, astronomers have detected the presence of a planet that may be as little as 50% wider and five times more massive than earth. Located in the constellation Libra and orbiting the faint star Gliese 581 every 13 days, the planet cannot actually be seen; rather, astronomers used “a very sensitive instrument” that detected minute fluctuations in Gliese 581’s velocity. From there, calculations tell astronomers a few of the approximate characteristics of the planet.

But what’s causing the excitement is that these calculations indicate the planet may be warm enough to have liquid water on its surface. And, of course, in the evolutionary mind, liquid water is portrayed as virtually one step away from fully formed life. A National Geographic News article misleadingly called the planet “habitable”—an absolutely unsupported conjecture, considering that astronomers don’t even know if the planet has an atmosphere, let alone a chemical makeup friendly to life! Meanwhile, BBC News Magazine released an article titled, “Meet the Neighbors“ that, while retaining some gravity, postulated on what extraterrestrial life would look like. Again, this is despite the fact that this planet is only known from indirect measurements and calculations, and that astronomers have no clue as to what the planet is actually like. (Oh, and did we mention the planet is some 120 trillion miles from earth?)

One wonders, amid all this nearly rabid speculation (including Swiss scientist Michel Mayor’s claim that the search for life is next), if good astronomy will be thrown out the window in favor of an evolution-driven search for extraterrestrial life. We also fear the over-the-top exclamations that will no doubt result if liquid water is discovered on an extrasolar planet.

Visit our Q&A sections for more reading on astronomy and extraterrestrial life.

2. National Geographic News: “Giant Fossil Rain Forest Discovered in Illinois

An Illinois coal mine caused the discovery of a giant, underground plant cemetery filled with the fossilized remains of strange plants. ScienceNOW reports that the immortalized underground rain forest covers a whopping 10 square kilometers, including the imprints of “2-meter-wide and 40-meter-tall trees.”

All reports on the find highlight one thing: the remarkable preservation of the organisms. Unsurprisingly, scientists credit a massive deluge for the mass fossilization:

A major earthquake 300 million years ago caused the forest to drop below sea level, burying the entire ecosystem in mud almost immediately, [Geology study co-author and Illinois State Geological Survey geologist Scott] Elrick explained.

This mass flooding scenario is yet another great example of the creationist explanation of why we find “billions of dead things” that were fossilized through sudden, catastrophic water events worldwide: because the global Flood was this catastrophe and led to such incredibly well-preserved fossils that we find around the world. Secular geologists must continually resort to a catastrophe here and a catastrophe there to explain these fossil graveyards-even while they claim there’s no evidence for a single global Flood!

3. National Geographic News: “Like Humans, Chimp Males Cooperate With Kin and Non-Kin Alike

A six-year study of chimpanzees in Uganda’s Kibale National Park is “providing new insights into the ways kinship affects cooperation,” reports National Geographic News. According to the study, chimpanzees “prefer to work with their brothers by the same mother,” but “frequently cooperate with unrelated or distantly related males in their community to perform tasks” as well.

Evolutionists’ take on such chimp cooperation is unsurprising, however:

Why humans, chimps, or any other animal evolved cooperative behavior gets at the age-old question, What’s in it for me?

“Well, like everything in biology, we assume that it’s going to increase our reproductive success,” [study leader] Langergraber said.

However, the discovery that chimps cooperate with non-kin confounds the “kin selection” hypothesis that argues that cooperation is merely an attempt to better the reproductive success of oneself or one’s kin. Evolutionists must struggle to hypothesize what else could promote non-kin cooperation; however, animal cooperation makes sense within the biblical worldview. While animals may not be made in God’s image, their behaviors aren’t purely dictated by natural selection, either, which explains why various types of animals are known for cooperation and even charity.

4. PhysOrg.com: “The Emerging Fate Of The Neandertals

For years, “Neandertal Man” was propped up by evolutionists as a prime representative of a human prehistory that could not be reconciled with the Bible. Neandertals were popularized in the public’s eye as large-browed, club-toting, leopard-print-wearing “cavemen” who paved the way for modern humans by discovering fire, founding the family unit, and so forth.

Creationists, meanwhile, have maintained that the evidence shows that Neandertals, while not skeletally identical to modern humans, were fully human, created in God’s image, and descendants of Adam. If Neandertals were alive today, they would blend right in with any other human. Furthermore, there is no reason to think Neandertals were gentically isolated from other humans of the ancient world. In other words, ancient humans, both Neandertals and others, would have lived, worked, and reproduced together in places.

Mainstream science is increasingly confirming this conclusion. Anthropologist Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis, comments that the specimens considered to be the “earliest modern humans” in Europe “have shown obvious Neandertal ancestry.” The PhysOrg.com article continues:

In an article appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Trinkaus has brought together the available data, which shows that early modern humans did exhibit evidence of Neandertal traits.

Trinkaus also speaks of a “persistent presence of anatomical features” in Neandertals that were missing from “earlier African modern humans.” Ultimately, this fuels the creationist viewpoint: ancient humans were a spectrum of design that included Neandertals and a variety of other groups (including “hobbits“ and giants described by the Bible). All these early humans were created in the image of God, however, distinct from the likes of “Lucy“ and other apes that are used by evolutionists to plug the gap between apes and humans. Indeed, the article confirms what creationists have long said:

This analysis, along with a number of considerations of human genetics, argues that the fate of the Neandertals was to be absorbed into modern human groups. Just as importantly, it also says that the behavioral difference between the groups was small. They saw each other as social equals.

5. LiveScience: “Flowers Evolve to Suit Birds and Bats

A report in this month’s issue of American Naturalist explains how flowers evolve to suit the feeding needs of birds and bats. But is it the type of information-adding evolution that could turn flowers into, say, two-legged vegetable men or similar creatures? Of course not! Rather, this so-called “evolution” of flowers is merely the natural adaptation of flowers based on the genetic information they already have.

“The varying shapes of flowers found in tropical forests, from broadly blooming to delicately narrow, may have to do with what has stuck its nose in there to pollinate in past evolutionary eras,” the article explains. To test this hypothesis, University of Miami biologist Nathan Muchhala and his team captured nectar bats and hummingbirds in Ecuador and introduced them to artificial flowers filled with honey water. In what may seem to be an underwhelming or expected conclusion, “[f]lower-pollinator fit was crucial in successful pollination.” Hummingbirds, which have long, thin, beaks, preferred flowers with my narrow shapes, whereas the “much larger” bats preferred wide-open flowers.

But what has this research shown? Only that the shapes of flowers (and, additionally, the shapes of bat and bird snouts) adapt through natural selection, with the most reproductively successful versions of the flowers, bats, and birds surviving. Yet no matter how long this process lasts, plants will not develop new structures-nor birds or bats new appendages-that were not already “programmed for” by the Creator in those creatures’ genes.

6. LiveScience: “Human Brain Has Origin in Lowly Worm

If you thought “birdbrain” was harsh enough, you may not want to read what evolutionists are now calling modern humans: worm-brains! Okay, not quite; rather, researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Germany have made “overwhelming” discoveries that, according to the researchers, show that worm nervous systems and the human brain are distant cousins:

“Our findings were overwhelming,” says study team member Alexandru Denes. “The molecular anatomy of the developing [central nervous system] turned out to be virtually the same in vertebrates [such as humans] and [Platynereis dumerilii, the worm the team studied].”

So, after finding that the developmental anatomy of the nervous structures was similar, how did the researchers induce that the two were evolutionarily related?

“Such a complex arrangement could not have been invented twice throughout evolution, it must be the same system,” said Gáspár Jékely, another team member. “It looks like Platynereis and vertebrates have inherited the organization of their [central nervous systems] from their remote common ancestors.”

In other words, the scientists recognize that such a complex system could not have evolved on two separate occasions, and since they already accept evolution, they merely conclude that the two central nervous systems must be related-even though the study’s results “leave a nagging question: How did the central nervous systems get flipped from belly to backside or vice-versa?” This is just one illogical leap of faith evolutionists must take: accepting that two similar, yet fundamentally different, biological features are related-merely because they could not have evolved separately. The alternative, of course, is that these disparate features were designed by a Creator, who is free to inject similarity even in starkly different forms of life.

7. LiveScience: “Study: Religion is Good for Kids

It’s not the sort of study that would be promoted by Richard Dawkins, arch-atheist and notorious critic of religion who has called religion “child abuse.” A Mississippi State University study has found that “[k]ids with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than other children” in what LiveScience bills as “the first [study] to look at the effects of religion on young child development.”

John Bartkowski, a Mississippi State sociologist, and colleagues questioned parents and teachers about the behavior of their biological or pedagogical young ones. The behavior “ratings” of more than 16,000 children were then compared, with children “whose parents regularly attended religious services […] and talked with [them] about religion” found to have “better self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents.”

Of course, the fact that children of religious parents are better behaved is not an apologetic defense of Christianity or any religion, although it does tend to substantiate that children taught a form of morality are more likely to abide by it. Certainly, this is analogous to what the Bible teaches (Proverbs 22:6). This study also highlights just one of the tangible social benefits of religion-and should give qualms to those who would rush to eliminate all discussion of religion from the public arena.

8. ScienceNOW: “A Swift Understanding of Flight

ScienceNOW’s Lucas Laursen reports on the latest example of nature-inspired human engineering work. Using a wind tunnel, graduate student David Lentink of the Netherlands’ Wageningen University investigated various swift wing shapes. (Swifts are family of birds.) Lentink and colleagues measured drag and lift at different angles and airspeeds, then created a model for “predicting the best wing shape for each type of maneuver.” What did the team learn?

The experiment also measured the astonishing benefits of morphing wings: Swifts can double their gliding time or triple their turn rate by morphing their wings. “Of course we already knew that birds change their wing shape during flight, but nobody actually measured the benefits quantitatively before,” says Lentink[.]

This amazing flight capacity “morphing wings” provides may be implemented one day in robotic aircraft, the article notes. But unsurprisingly, biomechanics researcher Adam Summers at the University of California-Irvine credits the discovery as one of the “wonderful things [of] the evolution of flight.” We beg to differ. This is one of the wonderful designs of a master Creator.

9. BBC NEWS: “BBC series to tell Earth’s story

Britain, beware! A new BBC-TV documentary (which will no doubt make its rounds worldwide) will, according to BBC NEWS, “reveal the story of planet Earth [starting with] its birth more than four billion years ago.” Titled Earth: The Biography, the program’s host, Dr. Iain Stewart, will “visit some of the planet's most remote places to explain phenomena such as the meteorite thought to have wiped out dinosaurs.”

Of course, we expect the program will be simply new video overlaid with the same old, worn-out dogma of uniformitarian geologists. But don’t worry. By the time this latest “life story” of the earth based on evolutionary dogma is released, you’ll be able to visit the Creation Museum near Cincinnati, Ohio for the Bible’s version of earth’s story!

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