1. Announcing Answers WorldWide

It hasn’t been a project millions of years in the making, but we have spent quite a lot of time on it: the launch of the Answers WorldWide website.

The new website is the headquarters for the worldwide outreach of Answers in Genesis. Featured on the front page is a navigable, Google Maps-powered world map showing where AiG is making an impact, a video with AiG president Ken Ham and Answers WorldWide director Dr. David Crandall, Answers WorldWide news, international events (coming soon), and translated articles.

Our collection of linked translated articles now numbers 119 covering 14 different languages. The 60 new pages on the Answers WorldWide site, including home pages for nine different languages, also feature an entirely new design and specialized logo.

Our goal is to take the Creator’s message—and the message of the reliability of the Bible—to His world, whatever the languages people speak. Take a look at our WorldWide site and be sure to let us know if you can pitch in to help our translation efforts!

2. AP: “It Took Eons to Make Grand Canyon Grand”

If you thought six million years was too old an age for the Grand Canyon, think again—or at least, that’s what a group of scientists from the University of New Mexico argues in a recent Science paper.

The team presents new evidence that purportedly shows how the western half of the Grand Canyon began to open “at least 17 million years ago.” The evidence was gathered from caves in the canyon’s limestone walls.

Since the Colorado River that traverses the Grand Canyon runs east–west (like the canyon), with the western end downstream, one wonders how that end could be older. Geologists explain, however, that the Grand Canyon was chiseled by separate drainage systems that eventually joined to form the one canyon.

The team decided to test formations inside the caves that line the walls of the Grand Canyon—caves that protect their innards from erosion. The team figured the caves might provide evidence of the water table dropping over time as liquid sliced the canyon deeper and deeper.

Using uranium-lead isotope testing, the team found that the western side of the canyon started forming 17 million years ago, eventually joining the eastern side around five to six million years ago. They speculate the eastern side of the canyon was formed more quickly—between eight inches and a foot (20–30cm) each thousand years instead of only two inches (5cm) per millennium. The team credits this speedup to a shifting landmass, with different sections of rock being torn upward and downward.

One key problem is, the team has based their conclusions on radiometric dating, which time and time again has been shown to result in unreliable dates that conflict with other dating methods.

The Associated Press quotes University of Colorado–Boulder canyon expert Rebecca Fowler, who explains, “All of it is pointing toward a pretty complex history of Grand Canyon development, which is one of the reasons this area has been so controversial. It’s a pretty complicated system and it’s very likely that the entire Grand Canyon did not incise (cut) all at one time.”

What’s incredible is that even amid ample evidence that canyons can be carved within an extremely short period of time, those who believe in an ancient earth (a requirement of Darwinian evolution, by the way) stick to the idea that water might only erode an inch or two of rock in a thousand years! Yet in three days in July 2002, a flood caused by the overflow of Canyon Lake in Texas carved a mile-and-a-half-long canyon up to 80 ft (24m) deep in places (see News to Note, October 13, 2007, item #2). Imagine what a global Flood could cause—one caused by forty days of rain and subterranean eruptions of water that transcended the then-highest mountains and covered the earth for a year!

Answers in Genesis is committed to using catastrophic, Flood-based model to explain the earth’s geological features. Why not read some of our research now?

3. ScienceNOW: “Were the Flores Hobbits Really Cretins?”

The debate over the “hobbit” fossils discovered on an Indonesian island in 2004 has flared up again, this time at the suggestion that the hobbits were humans with iodine deficiency.

The miniature human fossils have been explained as Pygmy humans, juvenile humans with microcephaly, or a new human species, Homo floresiensis (considered a cousin or ancestor to “modern” humans).

Since the beginning, we’ve argued that the evidence—including signs of controlled use of fire, stone tools, and artwork in the cave where the hobbits were found—clearly indicates that these hobbits were true humans, not transitional forms between apes and humans. There are numerous explanations, both genetic and environmental, that explain the skeletal size and deformities of these hobbits without rashly naming the hobbits a new species.

We’ve taken an in-depth look at this latest hobbit claim in this week’s “The Return of the Hobbits,” looking both at what explanations have been offered so far and what the biblical possibilities are for these hobbits.

4. Reuters: “High on Mount Sinai?”

A controversial new paper in the philosophy journal Time and Mind posits that Moses’s interactions with God—including the Burning Bush, the Ten Commandments, and many of the events in the Book of Exodus—can be chalked up to drugs.

The paper comes from Hebrew University psychologist Benny Shanon, who admits extensive familiarity with multiple psychoactive substances. Shanon writes that not only Moses, but all the Israelites, could have been high on a hallucinogenic plant during many of Exodus’s key events.

For example, Shanon suggests that the thunder, lightning, and trumpets from Mount Sinai, recounted in Exodus, could have been the imaginings of the Israelites while in an “altered state of awareness.” Shanon relies on his own experience with hallucinogens in the Amazon, adding that “in advanced forms of ayahuasca inebriation, the seeing of light is accompanied by profound religious and spiritual feelings,” even making one feel he or she encountered God.

Shanon also said two plants in the Sinai and the Middle East have such psychoactive properties and have been regarded by Jews as having “magical and curative powers.”

According to the Agence France-Presse story on the paper, Shanon said on Israeli public radio that

As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don’t believe, or a legend, which I don’t believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics.

Writing on Haaretz.com, Ofri Ilani shares that Shanon’s paper adds:

I have no direct proof of this interpretation, [but] it seems logical that something was altered in people’s consciousness. There are other stories in the Bible that mention the use of plants: for example, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden.

Only one of the two plants Shanon hypothesizes as the source of the visions is mentioned in the Bible: acacia, whose wood is used to construct the Ark of the Covenant and parts of the Tabernacle. Shanon claims he drank a potion made from a species of acacia that produced hallucinogenic effects.

Orthodox rabbi Yuval Sherlow told Israel Radio, “The Bible is trying to convey a very profound event. We have to fear not for the fate of the biblical Moses, but for the fate of science.” We’d have to echo the rabbi’s words, especially when we examine the situation: a professor who claims to have used hallucinogenic substances more than 150 times—and who presupposes that the Bible’s supernatural accounts in Exodus (and elsewhere, presumably) couldn’t have been supernatural nor even exaggerated legend—declares that an entire nation was under the influence (and apparently all having the same hallucination at the same time) merely because psychoactive plants grow in the region—yet that the Israelites never knew enough corporately to recognize their group “highs” for decades.

In fact, the stories in Exodus only need some sort of natural “explanation” (even a ridiculous explanation) if one presupposes, like Shanon does, that supernatural events are impossible. With the presupposition that there is a God (the only other presupposition), the events in Exodus need no such “explanation.” And when one starts from the worldview of the Bible, the events in Exodus make total sense as recorded history that fits in with God’s plan for His creation, leading from the Garden of Eden all the way to Calvary and beyond!

For more information:

5. LiveScience: “The Real Question: Where Did the Chicken Come From?”

Whether it’s the answer to “which came first: the chicken or the egg?” or the corollary answer to that classic riddle “why did the chicken cross the road?” Darwin’s answer to the origin of the chicken was wrong.

Of course, if you’re a creationist, you already knew that! The news this week, however, is that even evolutionists can’t accept Darwin’s explanation that the domestic chicken descended from red jungle fowl. A study at Sweden’s Uppsala University, published this week in the online edition of PLoS Genetics, concludes that the wild origins of the chicken are not so straightforward.

By mapping the genes that are responsible for the yellow legs of most domesticated chickens, the research team found that the genetic heredity for the legs came from the gray jungle fowl rather than the red. So although the red jungle fowl contributed “most of the genes,” according to Uppsala University doctoral student Jonas Eriksson, the gray contributed some as well. The team concludes the gray jungle fowl was likely crossed with a chicken early in its domestication, perhaps because bright yellow legs were seen as signs of health or fertility.

Greger Larson, a researcher affiliated with Uppsala University and Durham University in England, added, “What’s ironic is that Darwin thought that more than one wild species had contributed to the development of the dog, but that the chicken came from only one wild species, the red jungle fowl. Now it turns out that it’s just the opposite way around.”

The take-away for creationists isn’t simply that “DARWIN WAS WRONG!” with a footnote quietly adding “wrong about chickens”; in fact, the point here is that the origin of domesticated animals (as with all animals) can be explained without reference to evolution. Genesis shows us that since early in man’s history, he has domesticated animals—think, for instance, of Abel’s ovine offering in Genesis 4. When humans artificially select animals to breed based on ideal traits, the new genetic combinations result in “evolution” in the strict sense that a population’s gene frequencies are changing. In fact, in an evolutionary sense, a new population that becomes isolated is on its way to becoming a new species, even if it could interbreed with members of other species (i.e., its undomesticated kin).

Looking through the creation lens, however, we start with the understanding that different kinds (baramin) of creatures were made to produce after their kind. These kinds, broader than modern-day species or genera, contain much variation but nonetheless retain their identity even when “evolving” in evolutionists’ eyes. That is, God created a certain fowl kind that contained the genetic diversity for all of today’s species. As these groups were isolated and natural selection ran its course (after the Curse), the kinds subdivided into what we think of as the different genera and species that we see today. Yet two things remind us of the kinds that were originally created. First, these species and genera (and even members of different families, sometimes) can often interbreed successfully—the original criteria for what made a species. Second, and more importantly, we never see members from one kind “evolving” into a new kind. That is, we may see one dog variety, through natural and artificial selection, lose and gain different canine traits; what we don’t see is a dog lineage evolving into a completely different kind. That would require an increase in genetic information, something that has never been observed and is simply presumed to have happened by those who believe all life originated from primordial clay.

A lot to learn from a simple study about chicken domestication? Perhaps, but the truth is, everywhere evolutionists look they see the hand of evolution, when in fact we should be reminded that the creation around us—and even the Curse that has affected it—is described and explained in Genesis.

6. New Hollywood Films: Expelled and 10000 BC

In “Hollywood news” this week, we continue our countdown to the debut of the evolution-busting Expelled (www.GetExpelled.com) and give a heads-up on the prehistory-oriented 10,000 BC, in theaters this weekend.

10,000 BC follows the journey of a prehistoric young hunter whose love interest is kidnapped. Set amid “a mythical age of prophesies and gods, when spirits rule the land and mighty mammoths shake the earth” (according to a synopsis on the film’s website). The film has been rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence. AiG will post a review of the film soon, tackling the evolutionary worldview the film no doubt propagates and comparing it to the true history of the world given by the Bible.

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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