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Whether you’re a regular visitor to the AiG website or a complete newcomer, chances are (overwhelming chances, we might add!) you’ve heard about the Creation Museum. The Creation Museum is the new Answers in Genesis outreach in northern Kentucky and near Cincinnati—now open seven days a week!
A brief Associated Press report covers the salient points of last weekend’s opening day festivities, held on Memorial Day. Over 4,000 supporters and media representatives turned out for the long holiday weekend, along with “dozens of demonstrators” and a Cessna towing a sign that read, “DEFCON SAYS THOU SHALT NOT LIE” (funny, we thought God said that).
One of the demonstrators was vocal evolutionist Lawrence Krauss, a physicist at Case Western Reserve University. Krauss, criticized for speaking to the world’s media about his opposition to the museum without even visiting it, finally managed to drop in for a 20-minute tour, though on opening day and had these remarks:
“It’s really impressive—and it really gives the impression that they’re talking about science at some point,” Krauss said.
We have to chuckle amicably at this—we are definitely talking about science; it’s simply that Krauss rejects the presuppositions we use to understand the nature and workings of science! Krauss and other protestors distributed a DefCon-produced flyer titled “The Top 10 reasons why the Universe, the Sun, the Earth, and Life are NOT 6,000 years old: A Primer.” We are now responding to these oft-repeated reasons, beginning in Responding to Protestors’ Propaganda.
Krauss also commented on his impressions of the exhibits “[o]n a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being best”:
“I’d give it a 4 for technology, 5 for propaganda. As for content, I’d give it a negative 5.”.
Despite Krauss’s unyielding opposition to our message, even he could not deny the quality of the workmanship (we’ll interpret “propaganda” as “presentation style and tone”). In fact, the excellence of the Creation Museum’s exhibits has been extolled in media around the world.
For those who were not able to join us for the excitement of opening day, read our condensed report in Thou shalt not lie. And be sure to catch the audio of the ribbon-cutting ceremony—and video of the actual ribbon cutting—at Creation Museum officially opens.
Most importantly, whether you are a supporter, a detractor, or merely a curious third party, we invite you to see for yourself what the Creation Museum is all about. Visit CreationMuseum.org for more information—including our new Creation Museum television commercial!
2. ScienceNOW: “Walk Like an Orangutan”
Although cartoons of an increasingly upright ape—steadily morphing into a craggy troglodyte—are perhaps the most widespread, popular icons of evolution, evolutionists’ theories as to how upright ambulation actually evolved have been largely hypothetical to date.
An entry in this week’s issue of Science aims to change that. Primatologist Robin Crompton of the University of Liverpool and graduate student Susannah Thrope are rekindling a “30-year-old hypothesis that upright walking first evolved in the trees,” reports ScienceNOW. Crompton and Thorpe’s contribution is a new observation of orangutans walking upright in trees. The authors note that this upright walking would have originally evolved in “the ancestor common to all the great apes”; chimpanzees and gorillas would have “subsequently adapted a new way of moving on all fours” while the first humans would have “retained this familiar, upright mode of walking when they moved down to the forest floor.”
Of course, evolutionists already believe—as a result of their axiomatic acceptance of evolution—that some apes, somewhere along the line, evolved the ability/propensity to walk upright, and that that group generated what could eventually be considered the first humans. Since evolutionists must believe this occurred, the exact mechanism never needs to be more than a vague “could-be” hypothesis.
What are the problems with the upright-in-the-treetops idea? First, the ScienceNOW article notes that orangutans were seen “walking upright on thin, flexible branches, which are springy, like spongy ground.” However, walking on thin tree limbs is substantially different than traversing even the spongiest soil; thin tree limbs will not support weight in the same manner. Unsurprisingly, then, the orangutans don’t actually walk “independently” upright; rather, they cling to surrounding branches and tree trunks as they move along (as seen in Crompton’s video—warning, large file size!).
Furthermore, the ScienceNOW article notes the study authors’ conclusion that:
Still, many changes were needed for habitual use of two legs. For example, their lower limbs and pelvises were remodeled to better balance the weight—and these changes still are found only in hominids that walked upright most of the time, not apes.
While evolutionists think such “remodeling” was the result of natural selection, creationists see it as a distinguishing feature of humans.
Because evolution is an unfalsifiable paradigm of origins, the shortcomings of any particular model within evolutionary theory (or evidence to the contrary) will never be enough for evolutionists to reject Darwin’s theory. Similarly, any model of bipedal evolution will fit into the creation model; the explanation for this one, for instance, is simple: God gave orangutans the genetic information to ambulate on two limbs in certain, restricted settings. This proves evolution no more than the limited, restricted bipedalism of dogs (although we recognize that primate bipedalism is more similar to human bipedalism than canine bipedalism is).
As in so many other cases, this curious scientific observation is neutral with respect to creation or evolution; only when various presuppositional “filters” are added can this be viewed as either a key to bipedal evolution or an example of the Creator’s handiwork.
3. ScienceNOW: “Red Hot Monkey Love”
Did the bright colors seen on some monkeys evolve after their ability to see such colors evolved, or before? The traditional belief is that the coloration “arose only after primates evolved the ability to see it,” but Ohio University graduate student André Fernandez sees things differently. Elizabeth Pennisi of ScienceNOW explains:
But while studying howler monkeys in Costa Rica, [Fernandez] noticed that these [...] creatures didn’t always go for the ripe fruit. Puzzled, he began to wonder whether color vision had instead evolved for other reasons, perhaps—as some have suggested—to aid mate choice.
The revealing aspect of this research, however, is the method Fernandez and adviser Molly Morris used to ascertain “which came first.” The ScienceNOW article describes the process:
Fernandez and [...] Morris first reconstructed the evolutionary history of tricolor vision and skin color. [... Fernandez] then charted when these various traits appeared by looking at them in the context of each species’ place on the primate family tree.
Fernandez and Morris discovered that three-color vision dates back to relatively early in primate evolution. The first primates able to pick out all colors of the rainbow appeared an estimated 77 million years ago. [...] Social systems with multiple members and partners and red coloration didn't show up until 59 million years later.
Increasingly, the hypothesized dates evolutionists use are upheld as concrete—as though scientists have actually been using a stopwatch to monitor the time elapsed since each “milestone” of supposed evolutionary history. Not only are evolutionary dates based on unscientific presuppositions [see our Fossil Q&A and Radiometric dating Q&A], but the dates themselves are prone to frequent revision and upheaval. That significant research could be conducted taking such dates as beyond question (as the ScienceNOW article presents) is, at the least, troubling.
4. ABC NEWS: “Hello, How Are You Doing?”
An abridged version of this story, which describes ABC NEWS correspondent John Berman’s interactions with apes of the Great Ape Trust, could easily convince the casual reader that apes are as intelligent as humans. Let’s take a quick look at a few paragraphs:
The Great Ape Trust [...] is home to seven bonobos—a close relative of the chimpanzee—and three orangutans. But if you think Iowa [home of the Great Ape Trust] might be a strange place for them to live, don’t say it out loud … these apes understand English.
You can talk to the apes, and they know what you are saying.
[Researcher Bill] Fields swears he has heard [bonobo] Kanzi try to say “thank you.”
Indeed, Berman presents his interview with Kanzi as a duel of wits, describing how he “read Kanzi a series of words, and then without fail, he hit the corresponding lexigram symbol on a touch screen.”
Let us make it perfectly clear—we do not deny that, as animals go, apes are intelligent, and certainly seem “almost human” at times. However, scientists may rush to see “intelligence” when the evidence more accurately indicates mimicry, especially when it comes to language. Berman’s interview shows Kanzi correctly hitting the lexigram corresponding to Berman’s spoken word; however, to what extent is this more complex than an intelligent dog that can respond to a spoken command with the proper behavior?
Also, many animals not considered humans’ evolutionary cousins have shown similar adaptiveness and intelligence, as we have shown in past issues of News to Note. From clever crows to smart cetaceans to “man’s best friend,” God clearly gave numerous animal species the capacity to communicate with us. This ability extends to many apes.
So what’s driving the focus on primate intelligence? Berman inadvertently reveals the motivation in his final paragraph: “Bonobos share 98 percent of their DNA with humans[.]” That widely popularized inaccuracy, often cited as ostensible evidence of evolution, continues to fuel the misconception that save for a few small differences, humans and apes are fundamentally the same. The Bible, on the other hand, presents both humans and apes as made by the same Creator (on the same day), which explains our similarities, yet describes humans as uniquely made in the image of God—which explains our vast differences.
5. BBC NEWS: “Planet hunters spy distant haul”
The Search for Terrestrial Intelligence only merits a brief mention this week. The BBC reported on the 28 new extrasolar planets discovered in the past year, mentioning the prospect of life a mere three times! Meanwhile, a firstname.lastname@example.org article reports on Villanova University’s Edward Guinan and colleagues, who have proposed that planets orbiting red dwarfs—including one of ten such found—could be hospitable.
Not quite the irrational, “hydro-genesis–fueled” exuberance of several recent weeks. Who knows? Maybe terrestrial intelligence is on the upswing!
We doubt the finding will inspire “lizard-handling,” but Indian zoologist Sushil Kumar Dutta and colleagues of nongovernmental organization Vasundhra and North Orissa University, India, have discovered a limbless seven-inch-long lizard that looks almost identical to a snake. Although the lizard does represent a new species, it is not the first such limbless lizard found.
Surprisingly, this AP release does not term the limb loss as “evolution,” merely stating that “[s]nakes, over millenia, gradually lost their limbs and developed their characteristic forms of locomotion” and citing snakes and lizards as “derived from a common evolutionary ancestor.” Limb loss in both snakes and lizards is a perfect example of an information-removing mutation that, while contributing to fitness, could never result in the upward path of evolution Darwin described.
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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