1. Fox News: “New Drug-Resistant Superbugs Found in 3 States

This week:

  1. Superbugs from India
  2. Constructive comet
  3. “Rare snapshots”
  4. Countering creationists
  5. Brainy bowerbirds
  6. And Don’t Miss . . .

Did you miss it? Catch last week’s News to Note or any other!

Note: Over the next four weeks, starting today, we will be having guest columnists contributing to News to Note. Keep checking back to read different takes on the latest news—but always from a biblical worldview.

A new strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has arrived in America from travelers to South Asia.

A new drug-resistant bacteria is spreading throughout the world, including the United States. Health officials are concerned with this dangerous “superbug” because the gene adapts to inhabit other germs like E. coli and Klebsiella pneumonia, giving them drug-resistant power.

The infected people in the U.S. (California, Massachusetts, and Illinois) each had been given medical care in India. Because of the connection with India, the gene has been named NDM-1 for New Delhi. The conditions in India—dense population, overuse of antibiotics, areas without clean water, and diarrheal disease—give NDM-1 a prime environment to grow, according to microbiologist Patrice Nordmann at South-Paris Medical School. He predicts the superbug will “spread by plane all over the world.”

To fight NDM-1, physicians have tried antibiotic combinations and even risky antibiotics from the 1950s and ’60s. Medical experts advise the public to protect itself by practicing good hygiene, taking antibiotics only when necessary, and finishing the full dose of a prescribed antibiotic.

While not addressed in the Fox News story, the supposed link between drug-resistant bacteria and molecules-to-man evolution has appeared in many other articles. In reality, this process of natural selection through mutation does not cause any gain of information, but a loss of functioning systems. When the antibiotic is removed, the drug-resistant bacteria can’t compete with the original bacteria. Through responsible antibiotic use and hygiene, such competition should lead to the downfall of NDM-1.

2. LLNL: “Amino acids could be produced within impacting comets, bringing life to earth

Could the destructive impact of a comet construct life on earth?

Seeking a natural explanation for life on the earth, evolutionists have proposed a “big bang” model of abiogenesis. Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) suggest that comets colliding into the earth may have created amino acids, the building blocks of life.

Nir Goldman and the LLNL team report in Nature Chemistry that comets may have started life on the earth. From around 1–35 miles wide, comets contain simple molecules like water, ammonia, methylene, and carbon dioxide. Upon a comet’s impact with the earth, those molecules undergo extreme compression and heating, but lower temperatures in a “glancing blow.” Such conditions could have resulted in complexes resembling glycine, an amino acid, according to their simulations.

Thus, the researchers suggest life came from extraterrestrial sources—not aliens, but comets. “There’s a possibility that the production or delivery of prebiotic molecules came from extraterrestrial sources,” Goldman said.

Goldman and team used molecular dynamic simulations to theorize how amino acids could possibly survive and synthesize inside a comet during shock compression. “Once the compressed material expands, stable amino acids could survive interactions with the planet’s atmosphere or ocean,” Goldman said.

The idea of comets bringing life to earth is not new. Last year, News to Note covered a similar claim. Even if amino acids could survive such a catastrophic collision, life requires far more than amino acids. And of course there is still no satisfactory naturalistic explanation of how matter came to be in the first place. Among those who reject the creation record, theorists hold various beliefs about the origin of life, but the Originator of life claims He alone created the universe for life.

For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:18).

3. MSNBC: “Ancient animal explosion gets bigger with new finds

New varieties of ancient fossils in the Cambrian rocks cast more doubt on the evolutionary model of complex species evolving slowly over time.

“Oh where, oh where can those ancestors be?” has been the plaintive song of many evolutionists, beginning with Darwin. Darwin recognized the challenge of the Cambrian fossils. If Darwin were correct, the fossil record should show small changes increasing in complexity over long periods of time. On the contrary, the Cambrian Explosion—the sudden appearance of an abundant variety of fossilized complex organisms in the first Cambrian rock layers, which sit directly on Precambrian layers devoid of any possible fossil ancestors of those complex organisms—shows no evidence of evolution between Precambrian and Cambrian organisms.

Since Darwin, evolutionists continue to be mystified by the Cambrian Explosion as they dig up more fossils. Paleontologists are finding new varieties of animals. Thirty miles from Canada’s Burgess Shale, the site of many fossil finds, eight new kinds of animals have been discovered in Cambrian rocks.

The new fossils have preserved soft parts like eyes and gills on creatures that are supposedly half a billion years old. One of the finds reported in the journal Geology is a unique kind of “anomalocaridid.” These marine beasts looked like menacing shrimp, and some varieties grew seven feet long.

Paleontologist Nigel Hughes of the University of California–Riverside looks forward to connecting the finds to others around the world: “These [new anomalocaridids] are creating the possibility of linkages between these very rare snapshots.”

What evolutionists will not find in the intricate variety of Cambrian fossils is evidence to link these species back to common ancestors. The biblical history of the worldwide Flood, however, adequately accounts for the Cambrian Explosion. The violent beginning of the Flood as the “fountains of the great deep were broken up” (Genesis 7:11) would have generated enormous tsunamis that swept ocean-floor sediments landwards, catastrophically burying progressively the organisms then living in nearshore, coastal and land environments. Thus the Cambrian layers contain the fossils of the large variety of unusual pre-Flood creatures that were living in the nearshore environment at the time the Flood started but are now extinct.

4. Atlantic Wire: “What If Your Kid's Teacher Is Creationist?

Evolutionist recommends intimidating teachers and students who do not fall in line with evolutionary dogma.

The article opens by acknowledging that 66 percent of Americans believe creationism is definitely or probably true from a recent poll. Yet the article turns to biological anthropologist Greg Laden for how to squelch the opposing viewpoint to evolutionism.

Laden’s blog advises high school teachers on handling creationist students who speak up. Laden recognized that these students were being equipped by their parents, churches, and creation ministries. He called out Answers in Genesis (AiG) in particular as a source for such nonconforming students.

As “little 10th graders can be the strongest crusaders,” Laden urges teachers to take such threats to evolution seriously: “When Pastor Bob arms your student with creationist claims and sends him or her into your classroom, he is creating not just a disruption or an annoyance, but a professionally dangerous situation for you.”

Laden does not recommend responding to the student’s questions in open dialogue with the class because the slippery slope he wants to avoid is “teaching the controversy.” Apparently, evolutionism must be protected from any opposing evidence or worldviews. So Laden recommends shutting down the discussion by taking the student out for a no-nonsense warning, advising the following:

You can't talk about religion in your science classroom. This means you can't have a conversation about creationism in your classroom. You may have to pull the student aside and indicate that this discussion will not happen. The student will object, indicating that “intelligent design” is not creationism. You must very firmly indicate to the student that according to the current, standing law, intelligent design IS creationism, and creationism IS religion, and religion cannot be discussed in any way whatsoever in a science classroom without risk of breaking the law. It may be necessary to indicate to the student that continued attempts to bring this conversation into the classroom have to be seen as a disciplinary problem.

In his next blog, Laden urges parents to make a “decisive take-down of a creationist teacher who is in violation of the law.” Laden recommends issuing a complaint with the school administration and the National Center for Science Education.

He laments about the number of creationist teachers. Even if they don’t teach their worldview, he says it is “difficult to believe that their creationism does not affect their teaching, at the very least by reducing the emphasis they place on the mortar that holds all the bricks of life science together: Evolutionary theory itself.”

Laden acknowledges here that evolution is a worldview that affects how science is viewed and interpreted. By falsely dichotomizing molecules-to-man evolution as science and creationism as religion, evolutionists hope to censor any differing views in the classroom.

Contrary to Laden’s adamant assurance that speaking about creation is against the law, students and teachers do have certain freedoms to speak. To defend against intimidation, they should be aware of the relevant laws (see links below).

In this battle of the worldviews, AiG gladly accepts Laden’s blame of providing students, parents, and churches with answers for their faith. But contrary to what many think (or even “report”!), AiG does not seek to mandate the teaching of creation in the classroom; rather, AiG equips and encourages Christians to stand for the truth of God’s Word within their legal rights.

But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame (1 Peter 3:14-16).

5. PhysOrg: “In attracting mates, male bowerbirds appear to rely on special optical effect

Before the discovery of bowerbirds’ optical effects, only humans were known to design optical illusions. But does the bowerbird possess an artistic sense like humans?

While a common bird to Australia, the bowerbird shows an uncommon ability to design bowers—structures that look like two-sided thatch huts—to impress possible mates. The males spend much of their days gathering material to build and decorate the bowers with items from sticks and acorns to flowers and shells. The better the bower, the better the chance of winning a mate.

Researchers report in Current Biology about a new aspect of the bowerbirds’ architecture. The great bowerbird appears to build its bower using a special optical effect. Since the effect only works from a certain angle, the male creates an aisle for the female to look down towards the “stage” displaying the male. By carefully arranging objects on either side of the aisle in increasing size from the female, it seems that the male may have designed it so that he appears bigger and grander at the other end. When researchers changed the pattern by putting the larger rocks farther from the stage, the bowerbirds switched back to the original pattern in three days.

“Great bowerbirds are the first known animals besides humans who create a scene with altered visual perspective for viewing by other individuals,” John Endler of Deakin University in Australia said. He compares the bowerbirds’ design to the altered visual perspective that humans use to make structures, such as scenes at an amusement park, appear bigger than reality.

While research continues to test whether the bowerbirds purposefully arrange for optical effect, Endler speculates on this ultimate question: “Is it art?” After all, in 1872 the first European naturalist to see a structurally sound and artistically decorated bower thought the builder was human. The male bowerbird building for artistic attraction and the female judging between the different bowers does indicate, according to Endler, “an aesthetic sense in birds.”

Evolutionists often seek to find natural explanations for distinct human aspects like aesthetics, moral consciousness, and self-consciousness. The bowerbirds’ apparent art appreciation seems to allow the most genetically fit to survive according to biologist Gerry Borgia of the University of Maryland. But do male bowerbirds intellectually conceive the idea of the optical illusion, and do female bowerbirds intentionally judge the design as artistic?

Rather than an intellectual intention towards art, the great bowerbird instinctively builds remarkable structures, and the female instinctively responds to the optical effect, as programmed by the Creator. Only man, created in the image of God, has a true aesthetic sense. When appreciating the beauty and design of creatures like the bowerbird, the wise aesthetic judge praises the Creator of both art and beauty.

For more information

6. And Don’t Miss . . .

  • A new 20-foot dinosaur dug up in Spain sports a unique hunchback. Speculating that small bumps on the dino’s forearms were “quill knobs” for feathers, scientists concluded that this fossil helps show the evolution of dinosaurs to birds, a theory opposed by the Bible and scientific evidence.
  • A new study suggests that the laws of physics may “vary continuously along a preferred axis through the universe,” John Webb from the University of New South Wales said. If those laws do vary, he wondered whether Earth’s area of the universe might be more suitable to life than outer regions. See what the Bible has to say about astronomy.
  • The Mexican blind cavefish lacks the eyes and pigment of its surface-dwelling fish relatives. Sensitivity to movement is more important than eyesight in a dark cave. So these opaque fish swim blindly as another example of how mutation and natural selection lead to a loss of functioning systems, not molecules-to-man evolution.
  • Last week, News to Note reported on another new alternative to embryonic stem cells, using umbilical cord stem cells, a method that doesn’t destroy human life. This week, however, embryonic stem cell research laws teeter-totter.
  • Since the Bible’s creation account concerning the age of the earth is supposedly outdated, editorialists on CNN question why people still turn to religious sources for their moral code. Instead, they recommend ethics built on science and a desire for profit that supposedly raised mankind out of medieval poverty, disease, and superstition. Ironically, some of the very scientists they credit—Galileo and Newton—trusted the Bible’s account of creation and searched for the natural laws of science based on the Creator who ordained such orderly laws.

For more information: Get Answers

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