1. The Telegraph: “Sir David Attenborough Documentary ‘Reveals Missing Link in Human Evolution’”

Although not yet officially unveiled, a new missing link is the focus of a forthcoming BBC documentary hosted by Sir David Attenborough.

The documentary, which should be screened later this month, is about the fossil remains of a small “monkey-like creature called an adapid,” BBC News reports. The fossil, thought to be at least 37 million years old, is described as “[s]imilar in appearance to modern lemurs [but with] certain key differences which convinced researchers they have found the link to modern apes.” It has been named Darwinius masillae (no surprise!).

Somewhat strange is that the fossil was pieced together from two separate segments found at different times—reminiscent of two fossil hoaxes, Piltdown Man and Archaeoraptor, that were both used to support Darwinism (see the April 4 edition of News to Note), though we are not claiming a hoax with Attenborough’s fossil.

Intriguingly, the fossil is described as “so well preserved that some of its soft tissues such as skin and even its stomach contents can be examined.” That suggests both rapid burial (and fossilization) as well as a fossil age on the order of thousands of years, not millions.

Describing the hush surrounding the fossil revelation and the documentary, paleontologist Philip Gingerich, one of the scientists who examined the fossil, said, “We have kept it under wraps because you can’t blither about something until you understand it. We now understand it. It is going to advance our knowledge of evolution.”

In this case, we’ll have to wait and see. But because the fossil is similar to a modern lemur (a small, tailed, tree-climbing primate), it’s unlikely that creationists need any interpretation of the “missing link” other than that it was a small, tailed, probably tree-climbing, and now extinct primate—from a kind created on Day 6 of Creation Week.

2. BBC News: “Evolution Is Slowing Snails Down”

It’s supposedly evolution in action but the evolution is proceeding like a snail creeping downhill.

The evolution of snails was in the news last month. Starting then, scientists from the Open University’s Evolution MegaLab project have sought grassroots support in learning how Europe’s banded snail populations have changed.

The snail evolution study this week comes from scientists in South America. Researchers Roberto Nespolo and Paulina Artacho of the Southern University of Chile report in the journal Evolution that they have discovered that garden snails are evolving slower metabolisms.

In the experiment, the researchers first assessed the size and metabolic rate of around 100 specimens of Helix aspersa. Seven months later, they gathered the same specimens (including the empty shells of those that had died) from the enclosures where the snails were kept. While there was no significant correlation between size and survival, the snails that survived had a metabolic rate 20 percent lower than the snails that didn’t make it.

The scientists believe natural selection favors snails with slower metabolic rates because those snails “have more energy to spend on other activities such as growth or reproduction,” reports BBC News. This is the first study in a series of attempts to demonstrate a significant positive correlation between natural selection and lower metabolism.

While this study does demonstrate natural selection in action (presuming the metabolism–survival link is confirmed in other studies), it demonstrates “evolution” only in the sense of “changes in the characteristics of a population over time,” offering no support for molecules-to-man evolution.

3. PhysOrg: “Study: High School Teachers Influence Student Views of Evolution, Creationism”

The conclusion may seem obvious, but it now has statistical support: high school teaching influences acceptance of evolution.

Researchers completed a survey of one thousand students taking introductory biology classes at the University of Minnesota. The primary goal of the study, named “Measure of Acceptance of the Theory of Evolution,” was to compare the creation/evolution attitudes of biology majors versus those of nonmajors.

The (perhaps surprising) result? The two groups’ views were similar, with a significant difference between majors’ and nonmajors’ answers on only 3 of the survey’s 20 questions.

More interesting was the connection between what students were exposed to in high school and their attitudes toward creation and evolution. Regarding what their high school biology class covered, the respondents indicated:

  • ~66% were exposed to only evolution
  • 6–13% were exposed to neither creation nor evolution
  • 21–29% were exposed to both creation and evolution
  • 1–2% were exposed to only creation

But how does this relate to acceptance of evolution? The survey discovered:

  • Among those exposed to evolution only, 72–78% agreed that evolution is scientifically valid.
  • Among those exposed to creation (solely or along with evolution), 57–59% agreed that evolution is scientifically valid.

Of course, those results are in line with what one might expect, considering the influence teachers have on what information and views students absorb.

“It’s unfortunate that so many teachers think their religious beliefs are science. Teachers who don’t teach evolution deny students the understanding of one of the greatest principles in history,” commented lead study author Randy Moore, a professor of biology at the university. Yet Moore seems to be ignoring the fact that only 1 to 2 percent of students reported not encountering evolution—in other words, 98 to 99 percent of the teachers of those surveyed are teaching evolution. The issue, then, is not whether evolution is taught, but whether it is taught exclusively. When students learn both sides of the debate they are less likely to swallow the evolutionary story whole.

Biology professor Sehoya Cotner added:

“I was shocked that there weren’t bigger differences between majors and nonmajors. Evolution is the foundation of the entire discipline. It leads me to believe that these students are probably interested in biology for reasons besides gaining a full understanding and appreciation of the science.”

Given Cotner’s presupposition—that evolution is the foundation of biology—no wonder she can’t see how a creationist would want a full understanding and appreciation of biology.

Unsurprisingly, the researchers are using this as an evolutionary rallying cry. PhysOrg reports, “The authors are interested in working with high school biology teachers . . . to improve their understanding of evolution and develop best practices for covering sensitive topics such as human evolution and life’s origins.” In other words, they will try to increase the preaching of evolutionary dogma—to the exclusion of all else.

When children aren’t taught biblical truth, and when their real questions don’t receive real answers, it’s a quick route to faithlessness. It’s not just an issue of public schooling; in his latest book, Ken Ham reveals the startling connection between Sunday school teaching and anti-biblical attitudes. (Visit the Answers Bookstore to learn more about Already Gone, coming out later this month.)

4. Time: “Helping Christians Reconcile God with Science”

Time magazine offers a frustrating report revealing biblical illiteracy and Christian compromise.

The article’s title reveals an anti-God presupposition: that God and science must somehow be “reconciled” by Christians. Imagine the likely reaction if a similar article were titled, “Helping Evolutionists Reconcile Atheism with Science.”

As for the article itself, it starts off on a bad note. “For many young Christians, the moment they first notice discrepancies in the [b]iblical tales they’ve faithfully studied is a rite of passage,” she starts, continuing, “[I]f Adam and Eve were the first humans, and they had two sons—where did Cain's wife come from?”

Even temporarily ignoring the fact that Genesis 5:4 indicates that Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters, the Bible clearly names three sons of Adam and Eve (Cain, Abel, and Seth). Of course, considering Adam lived to be 930 years old, it was no stretch for Cain to have found a wife among his sisters—and for the human race to have rapidly grown from Adam and Eve’s progeny. (See Cain’s Wife—Who Was She? and why at that time there would be no disobedience to close relatives marrying, a law that came later.)

As for Sullivan, she continues, “The revelation that everything in the Bible may not have happened exactly as written can be startling. And when the discovery comes along with scientific evidence of evolution and the actual age of planet Earth, it can prompt a full-blown spiritual crisis.

The article profiles geneticist Francis Collins, an accomplished scientist and former head of the Human Genome Project who is also an evangelical Christian. Sadly, Collins compromises on Genesis, believing millions of years of evolution is fully compatible with Christianity. (That’s the thesis of his book The Language of God.)

Collins recently established the BioLogos Foundation, in Washington, D.C., with the goal of promoting theistic evolution and “foster[ing] dialogue between the two sides” in the debate over science and religion.

Disappointingly but unsurprisingly, Collins’s comments are far from compatible with the biblical Christianity we know. Collins attacks intelligent design as “not a scientific proposal,” but then he goes a step farther, saying intelligent design is “not good theology either.” While the formal Intelligent Design Movement (which includes many non-Christians) does not necessarily endorse biblical creation, we find it unfathomable how a Christian could reject divine creation on theological grounds. “We cannot say that Adam and Eve were formed as acts of special creation,” Collins insists.

Sadly, we find the hard-line position of such atheists as Richard Dawkins to be far more consistent than Collins’s views. Collins and other compromisers argue that God used a violent process over millions of years to create a world He described as “very good.” How, then, can death be an enemy? Furthermore, if we allow science to rewrite Genesis, why should it not also rewrite the Gospel? Do the Resurrection—and the Consummation presented in Revelation—become figurative events as well?

While we recognize that Collins is seeking to indirectly evangelize, we believe his actions have led to the exact opposite. After all, if—as Collins’s worldview suggests—the Bible is outright deceptive in Genesis 1–11, why should we trust any of it?

5. ScienceDaily: “Filling the Gap in the Fossil Record”

Millions of years of supposed evolution without a trace in the fossil record—a puzzle of Precambrian proportions!

Tracing earth history back in time using the fossil record and evolutionary presuppositions is nothing new. Nor is the abrupt and dramatic “beginning” of the animal fossil record in the deepest Paleozoic layer, the Cambrian period. This so-called Cambrian explosion has been an ongoing mystery for evolutionists: why the transition from sparse, mostly non-animal fossils to a sudden plethora of fully developed fossil forms?

For evolutionists, the “Neoproterozoic interval” spans the gap between the earliest supposed evolution of animals and the first (oldest) known evidence of animals, just before the Cambrian period. Now, a team of researchers believe they have evidence to fill the gap. The geologists found microscopic features in Precambrian limestone “consisting of highly structured zones with multi-generational arrays of carbonate minerals, secondary voids, and internal sediment.” That apparently matches what happens when the connective tissue of sponges decays on the sea floor.

According to the researchers, however, this is not evidence of sponges, but rather of “a structured consortium of protists in a shared collagenous scaffold.” Nonetheless, ScienceDaily declares, “These results push back the earliest geologic evidence for animals by around 200 million years.”

The creationist interpretation of this study is straightforward. The Cambrian layer is considered (generally) to be some of the first sediment laid down by the global Flood as the waters rose to cover the planet. Correspondingly, those layers are filled with marine life. Underneath that sediment is pre-Flood sediment, both the rock laid down during Creation Week and the sediment that accumulated from Creation through to the Flood (almost a 1,700-year time frame). In those sediments—partially formed by slower-acting, non-catastrophic processes—we would expect to find, for instance, microscopic traces of decaying sea life, as was found.

Thus, this find, while ostensibly giving evolutionists faith to fill in the fossil record gap, fits well into the Creation/Flood geological model.

And Don’t Miss . . .

  • A team led by John Sutherland of the University of Manchester has synthesized two “essential elements” of RNA (viz., ribonucleotides) in the lab. The usual response applies: producing these basic elements of a single entity for “life” required considerable intelligence and design to overcome a problem that “has perplexed scientists for decades.” Projects like these do nothing to reduce the viability of the creation model; instead, they do just barely enough to buoy others’ faith in the evolution model.
  • The main character of the Da Vinci Code is back on the big screen this weekend as Angels & Demons opens, a film based on the book of the same name by Da Vinci Code author and Bible skeptic Dan Brown.
  • Last week we followed up on a story in a previous week’s News to Note concerning the mysterious Indonesian “hobbit” fossil. Well—you guessed it—there’s now another twist.
  • Is evolution compatible with (supernatural) religion? Another scientist speaks up and admits that he doesn’t believe they are, despite evolutionist tactics to imply otherwise. Of course, as a worldview in itself, evolution is religion.
  • Could we be the only intelligence that (supposedly) evolved in the universe? At least one evolutionist is facing up to (and trying to explain away) the lack of extraterrestrial intelligence.
  • Last June we reported on the controversy of creationist science teacher John Freshwater, who was accused of burning a cross into a student’s arm using an electrostatic device (although the real story is much less sensational). Mount Vernon News reports on the progress of the trial, including the accusation that Freshwater “referred students to the Answers in Genesis [website] during class.” The plot thickens!
  • A 200,000-year-old human hair—yet, per the article, “[i]t is extremely rare for soft tissue such as hair, skin, and muscle to survive more than a few hundred years and only hard tissue like bone is fossilised normally.”
  • Discover magazine is hosting a contest to, in two minutes, present a compelling enough argument for evolution as to “convince even the most hard-headed creationist that Darwin was right.” We’re interested to see the results, but we’re not exactly holding our breath.
  • News media went crazy this week over an (allegedly) 35,000-year-old carving, probably a fertility symbol, found in a German cave. We’ll play the evolutionist role for a moment and (satirically) suggest archaeologists are just “seeing” design when it isn’t there.
  • So much for chimps being at the top of the animal intelligence totem pole—it seems gorillas may be the, ahem, dark horse when it comes to the primate brain.
  • A turtle fossilized along with her eggs—evidence of catastrophe?
  • A cave painting of the now-extinct marsupial lion convinces scientists that humans saw the real thing. It’s a shame they won’t apply the same logic to dinosaurs.
  • More speculation over Mars water, life, etc.—in other words, anything but “news.”
  • An incredible design found in the deep sea—or is it an incredible evolution?

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