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1. BBC News: “Great ‘cosmic nothingness’ found

News flash: nothing has been found in the universe, reports a University of Minnesota team of astronomers—or, at least, that they have found an “enormous void” in space with nothing in it.

The astronomers, who will officially report their discovery in an upcoming paper in Astrophysical Journal, discovered the void using data from the U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s VLA (Very Large Array) Sky Survey, a collection of 27 radio telescopes in New Mexico. The void is almost a billion light-years across, devoid, as it were, of both ordinary matter and theorized “dark matter.” It is located “roughly” 6–10 billion light-years away in the direction of the constellation Eridanus. The hole is “about 1,000 times the volume of what would be expected in typical cosmic gaps.”

The find is being used to support the big bang model’s explanation of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, a faint “glow”—interpreted by some as originating from “shortly” after the big bang—that shines around us with near constancy.

As with other astrophysical discoveries, the find is being neatly integrated in “inflation theory,” which itself was effectively a patch to explain away problems in older versions of the big bang model. We take the same view with this new discovery that Dr. Jason Lisle and Ken Ham did in response to related news last year:

Although most secular astronomers believe that the CMB is the result of a “big bang,” there is really no reason to believe this. Big bang supporters believe that tiny fluctuations in the CMB eventually became stars and galaxies. But such an idea comes from a [presupposed] belief in the big bang.

In other words, these scientists are interpreting the evidence based on their worldview—not the other way around. In the same way, scientists who accept the Bible’s account of origins interpret the CMB through the lens of Genesis 1 (and other passages).


2. BBC News: “Orchids date to time of the dinos

Orchids, the most diverse plant group on earth, aren’t frequently found in the fossil record—which is why the recent discovery of ancient orchid pollen is causing such a stir. Found affixed to a bee trapped in amber, the orchid pollen suggests to evolutionists that the orchid was blooming while dinosaurs roamed the planet.

The research, published in Nature, reportedly “indicates that orchids arose between 76 and 84 million years ago, making them far older than experts had previously thought.” Yet the bee carrying the pollen was dated to “only” 15 to 20 million years ago. How was the date of orchid origination determined, then? BBC News explains:

By building a “family tree” of orchids, the scientists could move back in time [using the molecular clock method] to see when the species first appeared, as well as where and how it spread. They found that the most recent common ancestor of all modern-day orchids lived in the twilight of the dinosaurs, during the Late Cretaceous period.

The problem with conclusions like this, frequently found in evolutionary literature, is their basic presupposition of evolution and old-earth dating paradigms. The molecular clock dating method is only valid if evolution is assumed in the first place. Dating of the now-extinct bee is based on bees found in the fossil record, which is interpreted by evolutionists through uniformitarian assumptions.

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3. National Post: “Mennonites may flee Quebec town

A small Mennonite community in a small town in Quebec is planning a possible exodus to the provinces of Ontario or New Brunswick to protect their children from evolutionary indoctrination, antibiblical teaching, and low “morality standards,” reports Canada’s National Post. Parents in the fifteen English-speaking Mennonite families fear that not sending their children to government-approved schools will result in child protection officials seizing the children, placing them in foster care.

The children are currently educated in a small school established by the Mennonites last decade. Originally meeting in a home, the school, which was expected to have 11 students this fall, now meets in the local Church of God in Christ. The children are taught reading, writing, math, science, geography, social sciences, music, and French.

The problem is that current laws in Quebec require all schoolchildren to be taught the official curriculum by certified teachers. To meet these requirements, the children would have to be enrolled in schools the Mennonite community does not approve of because, one Mennonite explained, “[W]e don’t agree with the emphasis on evolution, which we consider false; we don’t like the morality standards; and we don’t like the acceptance of alternative lifestyles.”

Quebec Ministry of Education spokesman Francois Lefebvre counters, “We are not trying to prevent them from living their life the way they want, but they have to obey the law when it comes to educating their kids.” The confrontation started last year after news reports led to an official complaint to the Education Department about the Mennonite school. Mennonite parents were warned legal action could be brought against them if their children were not enrolled in sanctioned schools by this year—legal action that could ultimately result in children being forcibly placed in approved schools, according to one Mennonite leader.

Sadly, we must ask whether these measures to force indoctrination (in this Canadian province or elsewhere in the country) are isolated extremes or signs of things to come. The government policy in Quebec, of course, is ostensibly to ensure children receive proper education in a number of fields, and it may serve this purpose to an extent. The question is this: how far will governments go to ensure that its view—often presented as unquestionable truth—is taught to children in every field, even when completely at odds to parental instruction? If it is wrong for children to receive science education based on the Bible, is it any more “acceptable” for them to receive history education or philosophy education based on the Bible? Will parents ever be restricted from, for example, teaching Jesus’ miracles as true history, since such miracles contradict the “official” understanding of science?

Most creationists have no opposition to having their children taught, objectively, about the evolution model of origins, for in such an objective way, the problems with evolution will be presented. Similarly, most creationists—including AiG—are against any sort of forced teaching of creation in public schools. What has caused tension since the often misrepresented Scopes trial, and what continues to cause tension, is required indoctrination of evolution as unquestionable truth. Every Christian parent—and every other parent who wants to promote their children’s critical thinking—should oppose measures that force children to receive a one-sided, whitewashed presentation of any controversial topic. And that certainly includes origins!


4. National Geographic News: “Water Spider Spins Its Own ‘Scuba Tank’

Spider silk, renowned for its strength and elasticity, has uses beyond the common spider web, reports National Geographic News on research from the University of Bern in Switzerland. A unique type of spider that spends its entire life underwater uses silk to spin personal “scuba tanks” for various purposes, including oxygen supply.

“The water spider’s air bell is in some ways working like an external lung,” explained Michael Taborsky, one of the study’s authors. The creatures use short hairs on their abdomens and legs to trap air bubbles from pond surfaces, which then they deposit in the bells. The membrane formed by the silk “allows oxygen to diffuse in from the water and carbon dioxide to diffuse out,” allowing the spiders to remain submerged for lengthy periods of time.

Furthermore, the spiders apparently have the means to keep close tabs on the concentration of carbon dioxide inside their bells. In an experiment, the research team replaced the gas in the bells of a number of spiders with pure oxygen, pure carbon dioxide, or ordinary air to observe the effects on the spiders’ behavior.

When spiders had their bells filled with pure carbon dioxide, they surfaced more frequently and increased “bell-building behavior” until the oxygen levels returned to normal. This confirmed that the spiders both monitor the quality of their bells’ atmosphere and use the bells as external lungs.

Additionally, the spiders use the bells as protection from terrestrial predators and as a safe place to lay eggs and raise offspring, and spiders may feed or breed inside the bells.

How’s that for incredible design? We certainly don’t think these spiders stumbled upon such complicated behavior by chance!

The research will be published in the October issue of the Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology.


5. ScienceNOW: “Breathing Space for Oxygen

A new “story” related to the evolution of complex life on earth has been proposed by geoscientists Lee Kump of Pennsylvania State University and Mark Barley of the University of Western Australia, reports ScienceNOW Daily News. The duo, whose research was published in this week’s issue of Nature, outlines how the underwater volcanoes’ spewing of oxygen-consuming gases could have doomed the evolution of complex life until the volcanoes rose above sea level. (Underwater eruptions are cooler; they release relatively higher measures of oxygen-consuming hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide.)

The researchers have tied this volcanic shift with a hypothesized atmospheric change an alleged 2.5 billion years ago that is said to have allowed life to flourish. The oxygen production has been credited to cyanobacteria. The new twist is that the cyanobacteria’s oxygen output was consumed by the products of the underwater volcanoes.

The new hypothesis does a nice job of explaining what was previously an unanswered question in evolutionary history. However, there is no specific geological support to the “rising of the volcanoes,” and the date of 2.5 billion years for the oxygenation of earth’s atmosphere is based on radiometric dating methods that are based on the presupposition of uniformitarianism.

Ultimately, of course, these hypotheses suffer from their fatal assumption (or that of their progenitors) that oxygen plus time equals complex life. But as we know from origin of life studies as well as our observations of life’s complexity, life takes more than organic ingredients and time.


6. The Independent: “Moth study backs classic ‘test case’ for Darwin’s theory

From grade schools to universities, the story of peppered moths has become an almost legendary illustration for the basic workings of natural selection. Millions have been taught that the workings that (allegedly) caused different colored varieties of peppered moths to dominate different regions based on pollution are exactly the same as the workings that (supposedly) produced “goo-to-you” evolution over billions of years.

Of course, this “proof” of evolution is nothing of the sort, since non–information-increasing natural selection and adaptation—the only sort we observe—is explained perfectly in creation models, too. Even evolutionary biologist L. Harris Matthews admitted that peppered moth variance showed only natural selection, not evolution, in his foreword to the 1971 edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species.

Beyond that flaw in the presentation of the peppered moth legend, however, was its outright fraudulence, as explained in An Examination of Error. Yet sadly, even after being exposed as a fraud, the peppered moth legend continues to be included in biology textbooks and mandatory lessons on evolution.

Now, Cambridge geneticist Michael Majerus has repeated the famous, flawed “experiments” of the peppered moth legend “tak[ing] into account the criticisms and apparent flaws in the original research.” His conclusion? That “[a] statistical analysis of the results revealed a clear example of Darwinian natural selection in action.” Majerus argues:

If the rise and fall of the peppered moth is one of the most visually impacting and easily understood examples of Darwinian evolution in action, it should be taught. It provides after all the proof of evolution.

So what do we think? Come back Monday, when AiG–UK’s Paul Taylor will give the latest twist a complete analysis.

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7. National Geographic News: “Supersonic ‘Hail’ Seeds Star Systems With Water

Scientists searching for water among the stars may have a new ally with an earthly counterpart: hail. More water than is in the earth’s oceans is hypothesized to be under distribution in a “newly forming” star system “in the form of a hail-like substance,” falling at supersonic speeds “when it smacks into the dusty disk around the embryonic star where planets are thought to take shape.”

The interpretation is based on a model that best fits current data, not on actual observations of such “hail.” NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope gathered the data, but only one protostar—NGC 1333-IRAS 4B—showed indications of the presence of water vapor.

Of course, any sign of water in any form is taken with extreme significance by evolutionists, who at times seem to believe (or at least, suggest) that the origin of life is as simple as adding water and energy together.

In other planetary news, a new computer model has described how “rocky boulders around infant stars team up to form planets without falling into stars.” Mordecai-Marc Mac Low, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, explains the model as a solution to a problem that has been “a stumbling block for 30 years.” What’s interesting is that evolutionists often seem hush-hush about such “major mysteries,” as the article calls the problem, until someone has a solution in mind.

Even so, Mac Low hastens to add that “[t]here are enough uncertainties that [planet formation] is not going to be an open and shut case any time soon.” At least, not without referencing Genesis 1!


8. Bloomberg News: “It turns out we may not be ‘big-brained apes’ after all

Barely reported news from the University of Pennsylvania calls to light something creationists have been saying (and nearly all humans have been noticing!) for a long time: humans and apes, despite physical similarities, are not on the same plane when it comes to intelligence. Pennsylvania’s David Premack spent eight years reviewing mental processes, including language, planning, and teaching, and concluded that there are “more dissimilarities than similarities in complexity and purposes among species” than what was assumed by Charles Darwin. The research was reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Although Premack sounds like a creationist, even saying that “Darwin is wrong in claiming this theory between humans and animals,” other comments indicate that despite his research, he still accepts that apes and humans share a common ancestor: “The [evolutionary] reorganization of the human brain has not been without cost,” he says, speaking of neurodegenerative diseases.

Let’s pray that Premack (and others) realize the full impact of his conclusions!

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