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1. LiveScience: “Scientist: Calculations Prove Life Began in Comet

“Life almost undoubtedly began in space,” writes LiveScience staff writer Ker Than this week, introducing new findings to be published in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Astrobiology. We would agree—life did begin in space, since we note, tongue in cheek, the earth is certainly not outside of space!

Humor aside, this latest allegation is that life specifically began inside comets rather than on earth. Astrobiologist Chandra Wickramasinghe of Cardiff University led a team whose calculations reveal that “it is one trillion trillion times more likely that life started inside a slushy comet than on Earth.”

Of course, what is left unsaid is these are calculations of life starting, effectively, by chance. And if the chance of that happening is infinitesimally small on earth, then one trillion trillion times more likely still isn’t very likely at all!

Wickramasinghe explains, “The comets and the warm watery clay pools in comets are settings in which the organic molecules are transformed into living structures in comets. That transformation is more likely in some comet somewhere in the galaxy than in any small pond on the Earth.”

Unfortunately for Wickramasinghe, even his fellow advocates of abiogenesis are rejecting the idea. “It looks to me as if their conclusions are constructed from a series of speculations, none of which is based on much evidence. It is a theory built on air, not solidly grounded in scientific facts,” according to David Morrison, a scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center.

Furthermore, research published just last week—and based on evolutionary assumptions—struck a powerful blow against the cometary-life hypothesis. In a story News to Note covered last week, we wrote:

But perhaps more interesting is the researchers’ conclusion that the bugs’ resuscitation has put a freeze on the “life came from space” idea, known as panspermia to astrobiologists[.]

(Read more in last week’s second item.) It seems, then, that Wickramasignhe’s hypothesis is being torn apart quite well by his fellow evolutionists. But biochemist Paul Falkowski of Rutgers University unwittingly reveals the why behind evolutionists’ continued proposals of quaint ideas for life’s origin:

“These basic kinds of things are dependent on the beginning initial assumptions. I don’t know that we know the odds. We know the odds for exactly one planet, and it happened once, so everything else is a game.” [emphasis added]

Aha! The presupposition is laid bare: these scientists “know” life evolved from slime once, despite being unable to explain where, how, why, or when—the result, undoubtedly, when you leave out the who.

Meanwhile, in more news from the Search for Terrestrial Intelligence, an international team reporting in the New Journal of Physics has used computer simulations to show that it’s possible “for dustlike particles to divide, replicate, and even evolve.” We know God created Adam from the dust of the ground, but this new research seems to be taking it a little too far!

Somewhat humorously, this throws a small wrench in the current search-for-ET works, since today’s astrobiologists “have based all of their searches and instruments on the existence of carbon and—on Mars, for example—on minerals that only could have formed in the presence of water.” Instead, it seems they should be searching for interstellar dust devils.

For more on the various scenarios evolutionists have posited for the origin of life, see Get Answers section on the topic.

2. LiveScience: “How Sharks Hide Their Fingers

A University of Florida study focusing on genes that control “how and where body parts develop in animals” has resulted in evidence that the genetic “potential” to grow fingers and toes is found in sharks as well as bony fish. The research appears in the August 15 issue of the journal PLoS ONE.

The results are presented as an indication that “the genetic potential for fingers and toes existed more than 500 million years ago, in the last common ancestor of bony and cartilaginous fish,” but that sharks and other fish lack digits because they activate the genetic program only briefly.

Evolutionists’ explanation that sharks (and other fish) have, to some extent, this genetic potential does not answer the question of how such genetic capabilities evolved in the first place or why they turn on and off when they do; evolutionists have yet to overcome evolution’s substantial (probably an understatement!) information problem.

Ultimately, though, the presupposition of evolution is required to fit the facts together the way evolutionists have. When an evolutionist finds two organisms with similar genetic potential (again, whatever that means), he concludes—because of his presupposition of evolution—that the two organisms have a common ancestor. When a creationist finds two organisms with similar genetic potential, he concludes—because of his presupposition of creation—that the two organisms have a common Designer, one who filled them both with amazing amounts of information that results in incredible indications of design. It’s the only plausible explanation for the origin of any genetic potential!

3. ScienceNOW: “Growing Up Fast in the Cosmos

Astronomers looking at galaxies far, far away have found five that don’t quite fit big-bang ideas. The scientists’ explanation for why this finding doesn’t upset the tottering big bang hypothesis is reported online this week in Astrophysical Journal.

The problem for the big bang hypothesis is that these galaxies are “big for their age.” Astronomers have concluded that the images we are seeing are from 12 billion years ago, shortly (relatively speaking) after the big bang occurred (according to the big bang model). Since these galaxies are supposedly “young,” then how did they develop in so little time? “[T]his process was supposed to take billions of years,” ScienceNOW’s Phil Berardelli reports.

Berardelli is quickly joined by study coauthor Giovanni Fazio, an astronomer at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: “We have no idea why these galaxies grew so large so soon [...] I think we still have a lot new to learn about what’s happening in the early universe.”

Of course, according to the principle of falsifiability—that scientific hypotheses are valid only if subject to falsification by contradictory data—these new galaxies show there is something wrong with the big bang model. Unsurprisingly, however, big bang advocates, rather than admitting an explanatory flaw in their model, simply claim that there’s “a lot new to learn”—effectively putting their faith in the big bang model, despite its inadequacies from a strictly scientific standpoint.

Not that this is the first problem with the big bang; you can read about its numerous shortcomings in What are some of the problems with the big bang hypothesis? in our Get Answers: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

4. ScienceNOW: “The 1% Solution

The inadequacy of similar “genetic potential” in explaining organisms’ similarity is perhaps most notable in comparisons of chimps and humans, as highlighted by a ScienceNOW article this week that reported on work published online in Nature Genetics. “If humans and chimps are 99% alike genetically, how come we're so different?” asks author Constance Holden, a question answered by the Genesis 1:27 long before the question was asked. (Of course, the 99% figure is an oft-stated inaccuracy—see Greater than 98% Chimp/human DNA similarity? Not any more.)

The latest research indicates that the physiological differences between chimp and human is caused “not in the proteins that genes produce but in the timing and level of gene activity.” Duke University researchers conducted the first-ever “genome-scale survey of promoter regions,” comparing gene sequences with “nonfunctional promoter sequences (DNA that by comparison with the chimp and macaque versions appears not to have been influenced by selection forces)” to establish which regions appear to have evolved quickly, a sign that the trait the regions promote are “favorable in human evolution.” Holden explains:

The researchers found that the promoter regions for about 575 human genes—especially genes involved in brain function and nutrition—have undergone this selection and are quite different in humans than in chimps.

Unsurprising but still important is the fact that many of the promoter regions that are the most different are “involved in neural development.” Duke postdoc Ralph Haygood also notes that that aspect of the discovery is “not surprising, given the vast differences in behavior and cognitive ability between chimps and humans.”

For evolutionists, this new research is centered around the idea that the differences in promoter regions are the result of evolution. For creationists, this new study reminds us that, despite some similarities, God made us different from apes not only genetically, developmentally, physiologically, and mentally, but also spiritually.

5. Reuters: “Dinosaur mass grave discovered

An amateur paleontologist working in the village of Frick, Switzerland, has uncovered part of what may be Europe’s largest dinosaur mass grave, reports Reuters. The hobbyist, who was not identified, discovered the remains of two Plateosauruses at a construction site. The discovery is an indication that “an area known for Plateosaurus finds for decades may be much larger than originally thought.”

The Frick area reportedly has contained the bones of one animal per 100 square meters, according to dinosaur paleontologist Martin Sander of the University of Bonn. Of course, traditional explanations of fossilization—long time spans, gradual burial, etc.—fail to explain such fossil graveyards where creatures are found to have died en masse. What does better job explaining such mass burial and fossilization than a global Flood that provided fossil-making conditions worldwide?

Indeed, the Reuters dispatch seems to hint at watery conditions around the gravesite, explaining that Plateosauruses “roamed river deltas in large herds [...] when most of Switzerland was covered with desert and its landscape may have looked much like the estuary of the Nile now.”

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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