1. PhysOrg: “US ‘Doomed’ If Creationist President Elected: Scientists”
There will be trouble if the United States elects a creation-believing president, according to a scientist representing the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
Speaking at the launch of an updated NAS pro-evolution handbook, University of Michigan professor Gilbert Omenn told reporters:
“The logic that convinces us that evolution is a fact is the same logic we use to say smoking is hazardous to your health or we have serious energy policy issues because of global warming. . . . I would worry that a president who didn’t believe in the evolution arguments wouldn't believe in those other arguments either. This is a way of leading our country to ruin.”
Omenn was speaking obliquely about rising-in-popularity Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, who raised his hand in a debate last May to indicate he does not believe in evolution. However, Governor Huckabee has downplayed how much this anti-evolution stance would effect his presidency.
While it is not our role to weigh in on the political arena by even hinting that we support particular candidates, we do find it interesting—though in a disappointing way—that belief in creation is once again being maligned as potentially “dooming” the United States. And yet these secular scientists who preach against creation are often the same who claim science and religion can coexist—provided, of course, religion kowtows when the two conflict!
Omenn added, “Scientific inquiry is . . . about exploring nature, so there really is not any place in the science classroom for creationism or intelligent design creationism.” Omenn conveniently omits the possibility that exploring nature may lead us to recognize a creator / intelligent designer.
Omenn is also wrong when he claims that the same logic is used to determine the hazard of smoking as is used to “convince” scientists of evolution. The demerits of smoking, for example, are studied using observational science—comparing the health of smokers to non-smokers over multi-year periods, for instance.
Evolution, on the other hand, is alleged to have occurred over more than a billion years of the unrepeatable past, and lab tests cannot confirm (or deny, we might add) the evolutionary story, but instead can only confirm certain elements of it that creationists agree with (for example, that selective pressures result in population changes), but not that primordial slime can yield intelligent life when time and chance are added.
2. BBC News: “Flesh Wound Reveals Dino Secrets”
A new fossil found in China is giving paleontologists “unprecedented understanding” of dinosaur skin—which, some paleontologists are quick to note, just might have been covered in feathers.
Coming from an area of China that is renowned for “uniquely-preserved fossils,” the fossilized Psittacosaurus discussed in the (British) Royal Society’s journal Proceedings B offers “the first detailed picture of what dinosaurs were like deep under the skin,” reports BBC News.
“The plant-eating Psittacosaurus had a thick layer of shark-like skin hidden under scales or feathers,” the story reports—thick skin that likely supported the dinosaur’s organs and protected it from predators. The article adds that the the tough, scaly skin had more than 25 layers of collagen, similar to modern sharks, reptiles, and dolphins. Of course, it is notable that though there is no presented evidence of feathers on this dinosaur, the reporting scientists (and thus the BBC News article) hasten to add that the skin just might have been covered by feathers.
Psittacosaurus was a gazelle-sized, plant-eating dinosaur that the University of Portsmouth’s Mark Witton describes as “a tubby little animal walking around on its back legs.” Witton likens the Psittacosaurus’s eating habits to a pig’s.
In the case of this particular Psittacosaurus, the skin was punctured before fossilization—probably by a scavenger, the tooth marks suggest. The article reports:
Tooth marks and fractures in the skin suggest it was attacked by another dinosaur, and then covered by sediment rapidly after its demise, allowing soft tissue to be preserved in remarkable detail.
“Covered by sediment rapidly after its demise?” Does that sound familiar?
An entire galaxy stands in the way of the general understanding of galactic spiral arms, according to research presented this week to the American Astronomical Society at a meeting in Austin, Texas.
Scientists from the University of Alabama, Bevill Community College, and (formerly) the U.S. Naval Observatory presented a “puzzling” conclusion from their astronomical observations: a spiral galaxy whose arms wind in the opposite direction from most galaxies—something the University of Alabama’s Gene Byrd calls “an inconvenient truth to many . . . [but] nonetheless, a reality.” The conclusion is based on observations of two components within the galaxy, NGC4622, which is some 200 million light-years from earth in the constellation Centaurus.
Byrd explained, “Contrary to conventional wisdom, with both an inner counter-clockwise pair and an outer clockwise pair of spiral arms, NGC4622 must have a pair of leading arms.” Since the galaxy must rotate one way, one of the pairs of arms—either the inner counter-clockwise pair or the outer clockwise pair—must be in the same direction as the galaxy’s rotation.
The team’s results will be published in Astronomical Journal.
This finding reminds us that “well-established science,” even when intuitive, is frequently contradicted by unexpected observations and data-crunching. Theories that were lauded as undeniably true by yesterday’s scientists often turn up in the dustbin of science history as observations expand and new hypotheses accumulate. Knowing this, which would you rather put your faith in: current science theories that change from decade to decade or the inerrant, unchanging Word of the Creator God?
4. National Geographic News: “Bone Ice Skates Invented by Ancient Finns, Study Says”
Human travelers from five millennia ago raced across icy lakes on skates made from animal bones, reports National Geographic News on research appearing in this month’s Linnean Society of London Biological Journal.
Skating was originally devised for transportation—not for fun—according to the study. In their report, researchers from Italy and the U.K. examined some of the numerous ice-skating artifacts from throughout Scandinavia and Russia, which were made from animal bones (especially horse bones) and have been dated back to 3000 BC.
The team concluded that those living in what is now southern Finland would have had the most to gain from skating as a form of transportation, with skating reducing physical energy expenditures by 10 percent. This area has more lakes within 40 sq. mi. (100 km2) than any other region in the world.
In other areas of northern Europe, the reduction in energy expenditures would have only amounted to about one percent.
“People developed this ingenious locomotion tool in order to travel more quickly and by using not as much energy as if they had walked around all the lakes,” said study coauthor Federico Formenti of the University of Oxford. Formenti’s team tested replicas of bone skates at an ice rink, measuring skaters’ heart rates, oxygen use, and speed.
Anthropologists theorize that cross-country skis arose around the same time, also in Scandinavia.
It’s always fascinating to read about the ingenuity of the humans that came before us—back to our ancestor Adam, to Tubal-Cain (forger of bronze and iron tools), to Noah and his sons, who followed God’s blueprint for the Ark. Humans were created by God not as mentally deficient “cavemen,” but rather as fully intelligent beings in His image—in fact, beings that were, before the Fall, most likely more intelligent than the brightest minds today!
Nelson Ministry Services will be releasing Kevin J. Wright’s Christian Travel Planner next month, and the travel guide includes a mention of AiG’s Creation Museum.
Within the more than 400 pages of travel information is a small section (just over two pages) on the Creation Museum. The author writes, under “Why should I visit”:
The Creation Museum presents a unique and unparalleled experience—a walk through time that portrays significant, life-altering events from the past, illuminating the effects of biblical history on our present and future world.
Wright adds, “Be prepared to experience history in a completely unprecedented way.” We couldn’t agree with him more! Whatever your age, familiarity with the Bible, or experience with museums, we know you’ll be impressed with the state-of-the-art exhibits in our walk through the Bible’s history. For more information on the Creation Museum, be sure to visit CreationMuseum.org. For more information on the Christian Travel Planner, visit Amazon.com.
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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