It’s the end of the year once again, and this final installment of News to Note for 2007 will run through excerpts of our coverage of a few of the top creation/evolution news stories of the past twelve months.
January: Interbreeding Between Neanderthals and “Modern” Humans?
(Originally reported on in News to Note, January 20, 2007 item #1.)
A skull discovered in Romania caused some head-scratching among evolutionists because it includes “traits normally associated with more ancient species” even though it is “undeniably a Homo sapiens specimen.” The BBC article explained that, “In addition to its large face and retreating forehead, the specimen has the largest cheek teeth so far known for an otherwise anatomically modern human[.]”
How do evolutionists explain these supposedly ancient features in a supposedly modern skull? “Dr. Helene Rougier, from Washington University in St. Louis, USA, and colleagues say the fossil suggests the first modern humans to enter Europe continued to evolve after they had settled.” Furthermore, the scientists speculate that these mixed features may be the result of interbreeding between Neandertals and other humans, or that these are simply ancient traits “reappearing” on a modern human skull.
One thing is clear, however: evolutionary anthropology is beginning to recognize a continuum of human fossils rather than distinct groups—just like biblical anthropology, which recognizes the continuum of humans descended from Adam (and, of course, none of which are separated by any great timespan).
April: “Lucy” Not a Direct Ancestor of Humans, Report Israeli Anthropologists
(Originally reported on in News to Note, April 21, 2007 item #4.)
Remember Lucy, the sensational simian fossil find that was long championed as the forerunner of humankind, et al.? For some time we’ve explained (Lucy (and her ‘child’)—look like extinct apes after all) the many difficulties with this apeman portrayal of Lucy. In April, a group of Tel Aviv University anthropologists claimed to have “disproven the theory that ‘Lucy’ […] is the last ancestor common to humans.”
Examining jawbone specimens from modern humans and various apes, scientists led by Yoel Rak researched the “ramus element,” a jaw structure that, while present in Lucy’s own Australopithecus afarensis and similar Australopithecus robustus, are not present in the same form in modern apes and humans. Rak explained, “The presence of the morphology in both [A. robustus] and [A. afarensis] and its absence in modern humans cast doubt on the role of [Lucy] as a common ancestor.” Instead, Rak’s team, writing in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that Lucy and her ilk ought to “be placed as the beginning of the [evolutionary] branch that evolved in parallel to ours.”
As we see it, it’s only a matter of time before Lucy is relegated to status of a quasi–human ancestor, then eventually to an evolutionary “side-path.” Of course, we’ve little doubt that by that time, evolutionary anthropologists will have found a new “sure thing” apeman.
May: Creation Museum Opens in Visitor, Media, Protester Circus
(Originally reported on in News to Note, June 2, 2007 item #1.)
In late May, the much-ballyhooed AiG Creation Museum opened to visitors amid the expected media circus and a small group of protestors. A brief Associated Press report covered the salient points of the 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 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, believing only evolutionists’ to be valid. 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 have responded to these oft-repeated reasons, beginning in Responding to Protestors’ Propaganda.
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.
In July, the AP reported Business Booming at Controversial Creation Museum”: in the slightly-under-two months the Creation Museum had been open to the public, we’d presented the true account of world history—and the gospel message—to more than 100,000 visitors. You can read more about our reaching the milestone in our adapted news release, Something to roar about, as well in the surprisingly fair AP story (carried by LiveScience, as linked above in their “Strange News” section).
Then and now, we thank God for the visitors He has brought to the museum here in northern Kentucky (near the Cincinnati Airport), and continue to pray for the effect their visits will have in their lives and, consequentially, in the lives of those around them. And if you haven’t yet visited, why not start planning your trip?
June: USA Today/Gallup Poll: More Americans Believe Creation “Definitely True” than Evolution
(Originally reported on in News to Note, June 9, 2007 item #8.)
The results of a USA Today/Gallup Poll, released and reviewed in that Friday’s edition of USA Today, reaffirmed previous surveys that show a United States populace with no consensus on the creation/evolution issue. Of particular note are two questions on the June 1–3 survey, the first of which asked pollees to respond on the truthfulness of human evolution and human “creationism,” and the second which asked pollees to rate their familiarity with evolution and creationism. Complete poll results are available on the USA Today website.
For the first question, pollees rated both evolution and creationism on the following scale: “definitely true,” “probably true,” “probably false,” “definitely false,” and “no opinion.” Only 18% of respondents accepted evolution as definitely true, compared to 39% who believed creationism is definitely true; additionally, only 15% of respondents answered that creationism is definitely false, whereas 28% answered that evolution is definitely false. Three percent of respondents to each question answered “no opinion.” Furthermore, 66% of respondents think creationism is either definitely or probably true, compared to 53% who think the same about evolution.
The next question asked how familiar respondents were with evolution and creationism, allowing the following responses: “very familiar,” “some-what [sic] familiar,” “not too familiar,” and “not at all familiar,” with 1% answering “no opinion” in each case. The responses to these were fairly similar, with 82% claiming familiarity with evolution, and 86% claiming familiarity with creationism.
Of course, this result will no doubt infuriate evolution educators, who—despite their virtual monopoly on public school education—will decry the lack of evolution education relative to the influence of “creationist propaganda.” We suspect that the fraction who reported a lack of familiarity with both creation and evolution are just not interested in the topic. Also thought-provoking, though not reported, would be figures indicating what evolutionists and creationists said about their own familiarity with the opposing (as most of us say) view.
The results are ultimately affirming to the work of Answers in Genesis and other ministries that uphold the Bible’s account of creation. That said, oft-cited inaccuracies about creation—and the increasing secularization Europe and the United States in particular—are reminders of the need for ongoing efforts to teach the Bible’s account of man’s origin and creation science . . . to promote the good news of the gospel.
September: “Lucy” Begins U.S. Tour, Elicits Mixed Reactions
(Originally reported on in News to Note, September 8, 2007 item #1.)
Lucy, the “holy grail” of evolution according to some pundits, was on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Texas, her premiere attracting approximately 1,000 visitors to the museum, according to the Houston Chronicle. The Chronicle’s Lisa Falkenberg records a few of the diverse opinions overheard at the exhibit (fully titled “Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia”):
She walked over to examine the lifelike 3 ½foot, hairy, half-smiling model of what scientists believe Lucy looked like and had her own questions.
“They don’t have any finger bones, so how do they know her hand was like that?” Marla Bryant asked her mother, Leona Rice.
“They’re guessing,” Rice replied.
Young Garrett processed the scene for a few more minutes and then shrugged.
“She’s just a monkey,” he declared, and then walked off.
Falkenberg next turns to Deena Dail of Austin, Texas. Dail told Falkenberg she studied anthropology in college, and wept at Lucy’s “altar” (as Falkenberg analogizes the display):
“I can’t imagine anybody leaving this exhibit and not believing that this is real,” Dail said, her voice cracking, wiping tears under her glasses. “That's the cradle. We’re looking at humanity at its earliest point that we know of. And we’re seeing our ancestry, you know, everybody, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, belief systems.”
Dail’s implication that some individuals (presumably she’s thinking of creationists) don’t believe Lucy is “real” (perhaps “authentic” is the better word) does not apply to those of us at Answers in Genesis (or any mainstream creationist organization that we are aware of). Although paleoanthropology has been plagued with hoaxes (e.g., Piltdown Man), we accept the existence and authenticity of any well-documented fossils; what we dispute are the allegations that such fossils are our ancestors and “indisputably” so many millions of years old, etc. We have cited numerous reasons why Lucy and her ilk are nothing more than apes (see, for example, Farewell to “Lucy”, Lucy (and her “child”)—look like extinct apes after all, and Lucy’s child, “Selam,” from Ethiopia). And contrary to the effective thrust of evolutionary assertions, fossils do not come with dates tattooed on them!
Thus, Dail’s apparent leap in logic (at least, based on her words) is that because the fossil is real, it must be what evolutionists say it is, and it must be as old as evolutionists say it is.
Falkenberg concludes her story with the solemn head-shaking of Linda Piper, an Albuquerque, New Mexico, humanities professor, who claimed seeing Lucy “brought her closer to God”:
“Just to observe the whole evolutionary process, how wonderful it is. That we are all from the same being, the same construction, and the same energy and network of life. That we are not separated,” she said. “That we are one.”
Piper’s statements indicate that she is missing two things. First, her comment about “observ[ing] the whole evolutionary process” belies the true nature of the event: she is merely observing an unchanging, partial, contested fossil that some say is millions of years old and representative of ancestors of modern humans. The “evolutionary process” alleged to have happened between Lucy and Piper is just that: an allegation, unobserved, and (in not just our view) ultimately disproved. As Ken Ham reminds us in The Lie: Evolution, fossils exist in the present and are interpreted in the present!
As for Piper’s second mistake, she glorifyingly claims this represents the unity of all life—yet apparently ignores the woeful violence, bloodshed, and death that evolution is theoretically based on. Despite evolutionists’ attempts to laud evolution as a mystical, wonderful, lovable process, the fact remains that the evolutionary model is based on the cold, relentless, absolutely unlikable mechanism of natural selection—“survival of the fittest” (despite the common misrepresentation, evolution is not the same thing as natural selection).
October: Texas Canyon Formed by Recent Flood
(Originally reported on in News to Note, October 13, 2007 item #2.)
Even secular scientists agree that the mile-and-a-half-long Canyon Lake Gorge, Texas, which is up to 80 feet (24 m) deep, didn’t take millions of years—rather, it was carved out in three short days in July 2002.
When the spillway to Canyon Lake in Texas overflowed five years ago, the resulting torrent sliced through layer after layer of rock in just three days, creating a canyon that looks like a miniature of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
The water exposed “rock formations, fossils and even dinosaur footprints” and dug so deeply that Bill Ward, a retired University of New Orleans geology professor, who has spent time examining the gorge, commented that “there wasn’t a blade of grass or a layer of algae [left].”
Why is it that, even in the face of firsthand evidence that deep gorges can be formed by floods in mere days, secular scientists still insist other canyons took millions of years to form—even when no one observed these millions of years? The answer, of course, is that these uniformitarian interpretations are a linchpin of the “geologic column,” the long-age interpretation of the fossil record that is absolutely required for Darwinism to make sense.
In spite of this, secular scientists have not been able to deny the evidence for rapid formation of numerous geologic features worldwide, especially when the evidence occurs right before our eyes! And if a single overflowing spillway in Texas can carve a mile-and-half-long, 80-foot-deep gorge in three days, imagine the geological havoc a worldwide Flood—and its retreat—would cause over the span of more than a year!
The controversy over embryonic stem cell research may soon die down thanks to a potential new method for “reprogramming” human skin cells.
Embryonic stem cells, considered by some to have “an unlimited capacity to become any of the 220 types of cell in the human body” and touted by some as a near-panacea for disease, are controversial because the harvesting process results in destruction of human embryos.
A way to bypass the controversy without forfeiting potential medical advances, however, may be the result of research by U.S. and Japanese scientists that was published separately in the journals Science and Cell.
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