Two separate linguistics studies provide findings consistent with a biblical worldview.
Psychologist Quentin Atkinson counted distinct units of sound, called phonemes, in 504 of the world’s nearly 7,000 languages. He found that sub-Saharan African languages average the most phonemes, while language groups farther away have fewer phonemes. These findings, published in Science, are consistent with the principle that “when a very small number of individuals break off from a larger population, there is a gradual loss” of linguistic complexity.
Atkinson asserts that man’s ancestral tongue developed 50,000 to 70,000 years ago. It then took 50,000 to 70,000 years to “devolve” from its complex original form to the present state. He bases this calculation on assumptions about the rate at which languages lose their complexity, although he admits that “the diversity of phonemes amid a population group can change rapidly.”
In the evolutionary model, man evolved as a brute and eventually developed the capacity to use symbolic language. Atkinson accepts “recent genetic evidence . . . that modern humans emerged in Africa alone, about 200,000 years ago.” (This is the story of the “mitochondrial Eve” which is built on unverifiable assumptions about mutation rates; see News to Note, August 21, 2010.) But why did humans remained confined near sub-Saharan Africa until they had developed a complex language?
Controversy in the linguistic community is being stirred up by another recent study, this one from Nature. Researchers analyzed the grammatical rules of word order in several language groups and found that the patterns were too random to construct an evolutionary language tree. These findings challenge the single ancestral language model.
The findings of these studies are consistent with a biblical worldview, so long as evolutionary presuppositions are ignored. God gave Adam and Eve language when He made them about 6,000 years ago. When people rebelled at the Tower of Babel, God confused their language. Their new languages then lost complexity as small people groups spread out. The languages created then were the forerunners of today’s languages.
The multitude of modern languages provides a challenge for Christian missionaries. More than 600 million people do not have access to God’s Word in their own language, and 4,400 languages lack a single verse of Scripture. Translators often must devise alphabets and teach literacy. Though ancient man was extremely intelligent, and archaeology has revealed that the great ancient cultures possessed writing, many modern languages do not have writing systems. While we seek to teach people to trust the Bible from the very first verse, let’s not forget to pray for and support those who labor to translate the Bible and to teach its truths to all mankind.
Statistics on Bible-less people groups are from the Joshua Project.
Read more about the intelligence of ancient man in Donald Chittick’s book The Puzzle of Ancient Man.
Tiny fossils of algae found at the edge of Loch Torridon in Scotland have been hailed as evidence that life evolved in freshwater and on land a billion years ago.
Because the fossils are in rock believed to be a billion years old, the algae fossils are assigned the same age. Since previous findings have suggested that ancient land and freshwater environments hosted only bacteria, the discovery of “more complex” creatures here has suggested to evolutionists that evolution of life on land started earlier than previously thought. As Professor Brasier, one of the authors said, “These new fossils show that the move toward complex algal cells living in lakes on land had started over a billion years ago, much earlier than had been thought.”
The presumptions underlying these conclusions demand that the methods dating the Torridonian sequence rock be reliable. However, the fact that certain types of fossils—bacteria, algae, invertebrates, and vertebrates—are found grouped in certain ways does not demand an evolutionary timescale. To impose an evolutionary timescale on the fossil record is to impose an evolutionary bias demanding long periods of time and uniformitarian geology on the data. In addition, the arrangement of fossils in the fossil record does not prove that one life form evolved sequentially into another; it only shows that a number of life forms were suddenly buried together.
While the global Flood and post-Flood catastrophes help explain the rapid burial required to produce most of the fossil record—particularly the impressive fossil collection called the Cambrian explosion—the sparser microfossils found in the lower Precambrian rocks are also easily explainable by the Creation-Flood model of earth history.
Although the pre-Flood world was without catastrophic upheavals, there is no reason to believe that nothing at all was happening to shape the geology of the planet. The lowest Precambrian rock is regarded by many creation geologists as pre-Flood sediment. This pre-Flood sediment, while not at all conducive to large-scale fossilization, would naturally contain some organic geochemical evidence of bacteria and even some fossilized microorganisms, such as those found here.
The fossilized mammal Liaoconodon hui, found in China, is being hailed as the missing link in middle ear evolution from reptiles to mammals.
Mammals have one lower jawbone (the mandible) and three middle ear bones. Reptiles have only one middle ear bone but several lower jaw bones. Evolutionists postulate that some of the jaw bones in reptilian ancestors migrated over time to the middle ear of ancestral mammals. However, “fossils illuminating this critical transference are sparse and often ambiguous,” according to the article in Nature.
Because two of the middle ear bones in Liaoconodon hui are connected to the jawbone by ossified Meckel’s cartilage, the new fossil is believed to be a transitional form showing how the bones were stabilized during their evolutionary journey.
Meckel’s cartilage in mammalian embryos helps shape the middle ear bones and the mandible; then it disappears. But in reptiles Meckel’s cartilage does not disappear; it ossifies to form part of the jaw. Since the Liaoconodon hui’s ear bones are connected by an ossified piece of Meckel’s cartilage to its mandible, the researchers hypothesize that this creature represents a critical link in reptile-to-mammal evolution.
Cartilage is not generally preserved in fossils. Therefore, the researchers assume that Meckel’s cartilage had actually persisted beyond the embryonic stage in many extinct mammals in the evolutionary tree. Though not preserved in the fossil record, the cartilage is assumed by these researchers to have been there, holding the migrating bones in place until they could take their rightful place in the middle ear of modern mammals.
The researchers’ conclusions depend heavily on the discredited assumption that “the embryonic pattern of modern mammals recapitulates the phylogenetic changes (quotation from Nature).” See footnotes 2-5 in Feedback: Jurassic Spark? for more information.
Furthermore, lining up a series of fossils until similar structures seem to march across the anatomy does not prove that those creatures were ancestrally linked. Even the definitions of comparable structures seems arbitrary, as suggested by phrases like “most probably homologous with” and “probably equivalent to” followed by a note about parts that don’t match.
Additional red flags in the Nature article are illustrations which have been “modified,” are “not on the same scale,” and represent “two distinct evolutionary stages, each involving several morphological changes.” Once again, a string of assumptions leads to a desired conclusion. But the result is more story-telling about the past.
The region of DNA responsible for the wing color of the famous peppered moth has been located, but the peppered moth is still a moth.
The peppered moth became famous as the “classic example of evolution” when populations of dark and light varieties were found to vary with the amount of air pollution darkening the trees of early industrial England. The contention supported by Dr. Kettlewell’s original research in the 1950s was that birds feasted on the least-well-camouflaged variety of moth. Some have questioned Kettlewell’s methods, and subsequent research has varied in its ability to replicate his results.
Here researchers report finding a mutation-prone region in the genomes of butterflies and moths that controls wing color. Natural selection allows those varieties of creatures better adapted to an environment to survive and reproduce. What we should remember is that mutations in the moth’s genome do not produce new creatures: they produce moths of a different color. That’s not evolution; it’s just moths.
Genetic analysis has suggested that land plants evolved from a different sort of green algae than previously thought.
Among evolutionists it is “generally accepted” that land plants evolved from some sort of freshwater algae about 500 million years age. Because of gross similarities in reproductive methods, the ancestor of land plants has been assumed to be the more complex forms of algae. (Both utilize large eggs and small swimming sperm.) This study of 129 genes from 40 types of plants has found that land plants have more genetic similarities with Zygematales, a simpler kind of algae which uses amoeba-like gametes (sperm and eggs) of equal size to reproduce.
In order to make this scenario work, the researchers assume that the simpler algae once had the ability to reproduce in a way similar to land plants and then lost the ability to do so but maintained many of the more subtle similarities seen at a genetic level. The assumption is thus that the missing link became extinct leaving no trace of itself.
Of course, the greatest assumption of this work is that one kind of organism evolved into another. The Bible tells us in Genesis 1 that God created organisms to reproduce after their kind. Neither similarity of reproduction methods nor the presence of any other genetically determined traits demands sequential development of one kind of life form into another.
Not all chitons have eyes. Those that do are covered with hundreds. Their lenses are made of aragonite, a form of calcium carbonate. Fossilized trilobites have calcite lenses, but aragonite lenses are unique. The West Indian fuzzy chiton responds to dark shapes but not to mere changes in light intensity. Eyeless chitons, which are nevertheless covered with light sensitive cells, respond to changes in light intensity only.
Chitons supposedly have taken a few hundred million years to develop eyes, only acquiring them 10 million years ago, “making their eyes among the most recent to evolve.” Evolutionary assumptions claim that other species evolved eyes independently during the Cambrian explosion. Why chitons evolved their eyes so “late,” why only some varieties evolved eyes when the purely light-sensitive varieties seem to survive quite nicely without them, and how they managed to acquire the genetic information to build lenses out of aragonite remain mysteries.
Asserting that the expansion of the universe will cause much of the evidence for the big bang to eventually disappear, a recent study claims that new evidence will still exist. “Astronomers of the future won’t have to take the Big Bang on faith,” asserts Avi Loeb.
Big bang supporters point to cosmic background radiation (CBR) as evidence for the big bang theory. But they neglect to point out that the uniform temperature of this CBR throughout the known universe is actually a big problem for the big bang.
According to a study to be published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, the problem will go away in about a trillion years. The CBR will have “faded away” and the universe expanded too much to see the “ancient galaxies.” But by measuring the speed of hypervelocity stars created by the interaction of binary stars with black holes, “with careful measurements and clever analysis” they will still be able to deduce the history of the universe.
The big bang idea is an attempt to explain the origin and even the future of the universe without God. Sadly, many Christians compromise by trying to add the billions of years from the big bang to the Bible. Read more about the assumptions behind the big bang and how it conflicts with God’s account of history in The Age of the Universe, Part 1.
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