Did the friends and family of supposed ape-woman “Lucy” use tools to butcher meat for meals?
The media headlines leave little room for doubt: members of the species Australopithecus afarensis used tools, showing another link between what evolutionists consider proto-humans (but what most creationists consider apes) and us. But dig a little deeper, and the story begins to unravel.
In January 2009, researchers working in Ethiopia turned up four bones that showed signs of having been cut. Intrigued, the scientists dated the age of the rocks in which the bones were found at between an alleged 3.2 to more than 4 million years old. And although no tools were found nearby, the scientists raced to a conclusion: the cut marks were made by tools, and the tools were wielded by the most advanced beings thought to have been living at the time: A. afarensis, like Lucy.
Although the find dates back nearly a million years (or more) earlier than what evolutionists previously believed about tool use, the team’s analysis, they argue, shows that only tools could have made the cut marks.
The conclusion seems like a stretch, considering neither A. afarensis nor any tools were found at the location, and considering A. afarensis were not thought to have eaten meat. But as the Times reports, “A. afarensis is thought to be the only species living in this region at the time,” hence the team’s conclusion.
Other scientists are unconvinced, however. University of California–Berkeley paleoanthropologist Tim D. White said the team’s conclusions “greatly outstrip the evidence,” adding, “We have been working sites in this area for 40 years, and not a single stone tool has been found in deposits of this antiquity.”
But adopting the young-earth creation model would, unsurprisingly, resolve the dilemma between ascribing tool use to a phantom carnivore or to an ancient ape-man. If humans were created in the same week as all life—highly intelligent humans with the capacity for using tools—then it’s perfectly reasonable to find bones showing tool marks that humans could have made. And if buried in sediments dated at supposedly three or four million years old, the bones are almost certainly from the post-Flood period; perhaps they were discarded in a stream or river that eventually buried them in sediment.
Evolutionists continue to speculate about where life began. The latest answer? Between sheets of the geological substance mica.
Mica, a term that refers to silicate-based minerals that layer in very thin sheets, may seem to be a strange home for earth’s first life. However, University of California–Santa Barbara scientist Helen Hansma speculates that nascent life may have found just the right niche between sheets of mica.
Hansma’s idea is that these mica compartments could have protected biomolecules from outside disturbance, the same way cells protect organelles and thereby sustain life. Safe from destructive external forces, the molecules could have slowly coalesced into larger organic molecules and, eventually, the first true cells.
As evidence, Hansma points out that mica sheets include potassium, which is also found in high levels in human cells. She also argues that mica sheets provide all the advantages of other materials previously conjectured to have hosted the first life, such as clay. “Mica would provide enough structure and shelter for molecules to evolve but also accommodate the dynamic, ever-changing nature of life,” Hansma explained.
Do we buy it? While the idea seems intriguing as far as origin-of-life hypotheses go, like most, it leaves out the tricky details of how inanimate matter—even biomolecules, such as amino acids or proteins—could have surmounted unfathomable odds to end up as even the simplest form of reproductive life. But for evolutionists who reject any presence of God in nature as unscientific, the answer is simple: we’re alive today, so those inanimate biomolecules must have found a way somehow!
Last week we discussed the domestic dog’s ability to illustrate how natural and artificial selection fit perfectly in the creation/kinds framework.
This week, the story turns to doggy genetics, the basis for the diversity we see among our canine friends. Researchers led by geneticists Carlos Bustamante of Stanford University and Elaine Ostrander of the National Human Genome Research Institute have been busy analyzing genetic data taken from domestic dogs—915 dogs, to be exact, which represent 80 breeds. The scientists hoped to better understand how many genes it takes to produce the broad doggy diversity we see—size, fur length and color, skull shape, and more.
The data indicate that 51 genetic regions govern the physical features that vary between dog breeds. But what’s more amazing is that of these 51, a mere six or fewer of the regions can explain some 80 percent of the variation.
ScienceNOW’s Michael Price, citing University of Tennessee–Knoxville geneticist Jeffrey Phillips, notes, “The study validates the idea that a relatively small amount of genetic variance can lead to a large degree of physical diversity.” The research thus serves as an important reminder of the plausibility of getting a great deal of biological diversity—all that we see today—in just a few thousand years, since the global Flood. By pairing up the creation model of kinds with all we know about genetics, selection, and speciation, the diversity of life makes perfect sense.
Have scientists found the oldest pieces of the earth?
Lava rocks from the Arctic may be the oldest known pieces of the planet, according to a team of scientists reporting in the journal Nature. The rocks were recovered from Greenland and from Canada’s Baffin Island by a team including Boston University earth scientist Matthew Jackson.
The basis for the claim about the rocks’ age is chemistry. Although the scientists believe the rocks were ejected volcanically “only” 60 million years ago, the team discovered chemical signatures that suggest an age of nearly 4.5 billion years old—only slightly less than the earth’s purported age. That places the rocks’ existence before the earth’s crust had formed, during a time that one scientist calls “a key phase in the evolution of the earth [that] set the stage for everything that came after.”
Creationists have a number of reasons to question our ability to use a rock’s internal chemistry to accurately establish its date of origin; such an ability is predicated upon key uniformitarian assumptions that are incompatible with biblical history (e.g., constant radioactive decay at today’s slow rates). As for earth’s supposed evolutionary formation and the internal behavior, scientists continue to face riddle after riddle, the answers to which are often based on the same uniformitarian assumptions.
Is denying evolution “like . . . ignoring the exquisite ruins of the Roman Colosseum”?
“History is evolution and evolution is history,” begins University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth biologist Guillermo Paz-y-Miño, whose scathing anti-creationist opinion piece was recently featured in a New England news website. The core of Paz-y-Miño’s argument is that just as we trust archaeology to teach us about the history of civilization, so also should we trust paleontology and evolutionary biology to teach us about the history of life: “As much as archeological information has been trapped underground—from earlier times located close to the surface to ancient epochs hidden deep—biological history is also preserved in the geological profile, from the Holocene (today) to the Cambrian (550 million years ago), when biodiversity fossilized vastly, and to the early Archaean (3.5 billion years ago), when colonial cyanobacteria carved rocks.” He goes on,
No rational citizen of the contemporary world would challenge the existence of ancient Rome, but 40 percent of Americans, 18 percent of the British, and 20 percent of Italians, among residents of 34 other countries where public acceptance of evolution has been polled . . . think evolution is false. This discrepancy between wide acceptance of Roman history and selective rejection of life’s past resides in the extra scrutiny imposed on the latter by religion.
So, is the history of evolution as undoubtable as the history of Rome? Paz-y-Miño has ignored an important difference between the two: Roman history was documented by human observation, while evolutionary history (the story in which inanimate chemicals became unicellular organisms, which became marine life, which later walked on land, etc.) is based on human conjecture—we weren’t there.
Turning Paz-y-Miño’s analogy on its head, suppose, thousands of years from now, scientists suggest that the remains of Rome are actually natural formations. “The Colosseum may look like it was intelligently designed, but it is actually a product of geological evolution,” they claim. And what about the many texts that describe the history of Rome? “Outdated myths written by ignorant people to explain archaeology before the modern discovery of geological evolution,” they insist.
Does the story sound familiar? Paz-y-Miño may think rejecting Roman history is an absurd conclusion, but ultimately, we find evolutionists’ rejection of intelligent design and creation’s history hardly less absurd.
Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard 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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