Flying Monsters 3D, featuring British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, just became the first 3D movie to win a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award. The film won in the category “Specialist Factual.” The film will air on Christmas day on the UK’s Sky1 television as well as in IMAX theaters around the country. Sir David sets out to solve “one of the greatest mysteries in paleontology: how and why did pterosaurs fly? How did creatures the size of giraffes defy gravity and soar through prehistoric skies?”1
According to publicity, Sir David shows “the marvel of pterosaur flight has evolutionary echoes that resonate even today.”1
Sir David glides “majestically over green English fields as the vast beak and flapping wings of a special effects pterosaur, a—Quetzalcoatlus—the size of his glider and which in real life could go halfway around the globe in a single flight—looms up behind him.” By evolutionary reckoning, such flying reptiles dominated the skies 200 million years ago.
“It’s an unprecedented film with incredible impact because looking at creatures and fossil bones becomes hypnotic when you can see it in 3D,” says Sir David. “You can actually lift the bones off the rock and reassemble them as a 3D skeleton.” The film tells “the story of how leaping lizards around at the same time as the dinosaurs evolved into these vast flying creatures” and apparently succeeds at being “so lifelike that you feel you can touch the clouds of insects they gobble as they drift through the air.” But realistic graphics are only part of the evolutionary propaganda.
“Credibility is a vital part of the Attenborough package.” Sir David says, “I am trusted. When I say something it’s because I think it is so. I don’t do commercials and I’m in the business of telling it as it is. . . . I’m at pains to maintain the standards of honesty and I would be very upset if I was guilty of producing something that was untrue or misrepresented. I’m not an actor speaking lines.” He adds with a laugh, “The pterosaur is very romantic and exciting — and let’s face it, dinosaurs have been done to death. Even my brother Dick had a go at those when he made Jurassic Park” (he played park creator John Hammond).
Although fossils cannot fly, analysis has revealed clues suggesting pterosaurs were able to change the shape of their wings for fast efficient flight. In fact, evolutionist Paul Sereno has noted, “Their most primitive relatives are fully transformed as capable fliers.”2 As Sir David points out, “It’s been really exciting having computer-generated images playing a part in this 3D film because we’ve been able to show how these prehistoric creatures take off and fly.”
When the charismatic Sir David shares the evolutionary story countless evolutionists sincerely believe, backed up by convincing graphics, he doubtless earns the BAFTA “specialty factual” film award for appearing to present “the facts.” Yet when it comes to telling the evolutionary tale, Sir David’s role involves as much “story-telling” as his brother did acting in Jurassic Park.
According to evolutionists, “Pterosaurs were the first vertebrates to achieve true flapping flight.”3
The information Sir David shares in the script he wrote tells the pterosaurs’ saga. Sir David doesn’t suggest he reveals any hitherto unknown information. He says, “I’m not a walking encyclopaedia in the least bit. I wrote the script for Flying Monsters 3D from the top of my head, but none of it is rocket science and anyone who knows about pterosaurs could do it.”
But the ability to line up fossils with homologous features does not prove they evolved one into the other. The real facts include the pterosaur fossils preserved along with those of dinosaurs in the fossil record, but “time tags” and transitional fossils are missing. Conventional dating is based on unverifiable assumptions and uniformitarian principles, ignoring the catastrophic worldwide Flood that reshaped the earth, and those conventional dates attach faulty interpretations to the geologic column. The geologic column in which these fossils are preserved was largely created by the Flood and is totally consistent with the biblically documented history of a recent creation about 6,000 years ago. That history includes the creation of dinosaurs on the sixth day and flying creatures like the pterosaurs on the fifth day. God created the pterosaurs as fully functional flight-capable animals the day before He created “leaping lizards,” and no evolution was involved.
Additionally, evolutionists maintain people did not coexist with dinosaurs or pterosaurs. Sir David, after describing the 3D realism, hastens to add, “But of course, we need to make it clear that theses images are not real, otherwise people won’t trust what I say.” And while it is important that children understand these creatures are extinct, history does document accounts of human witnesses to pterosaurs among drawings and stories from aboriginal peoples.4
Furthermore, Herodotus (484 B.C. – 424 B.C.), the “father of history,” traveled the world and collected in Egypt an account of “winged serpents” whose “wings are not feathered, but resemble very closely those of the bat” flying in from Arabia and being attacked by ibises.5
Sir David Attenborough is a highly respected naturalist, but neither he nor any other evolutionist was eyewitness to the origin of the pterosaurs. God was. And God has provided His eyewitness account in the Bible. Graphic simulations and glowing stories do not change the truth God gave us in Genesis. “Let God be true but every man a liar (Romans 3:4).”
Are the stars of NGC 253 bursting in space?
The Silver Dollar Galaxy in the constellation Sculptor provided a very photogenic target for testing the European Space Agency’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST). VST is the largest telescope in the world to rely on visible light for its observations. The detailed images of bright blue clumps in the spiral galaxy are purportedly “stellar nurseries where hot young stars have just ignited.”
NGC 253 was discovered in 1783 by William Herschel’s sister, Caroline. Because it is so bright, its beauty is accessible to anyone with binoculars. But crisp details require the VST’s imaging systems. Many astronomers consider NGC 253 to be a “starburst” galaxy exhibiting “widespread active star formation.” VST data will be combined with infrared images to learn more about “the younger generations of stars in NGC 253.”
Clearly, VST can see NGC 253 more clearly than ever before. But can VST actually see star formation? Many astronomers refer to star formation as if they are actually seeing it happen, but they are not. What they are seeing is regions, commonly spiral galaxies—such as NGC 253—with lots of blue stars.
Blue stars are the hottest stars and burn their fuel very rapidly. The maximum age for each color star can be estimated, and only red dwarf stars actually have enough fuel to have been burning since the time of the supposed big bang. Both creationist and evolutionary astronomers agree a blue star could not last more than a few million years. Since the latter claim the universe is 13.7 billion years old, they must assume stars have been forming and burning out since it began. They believe stars are still forming today and blue stars are those most recently formed.
Since astronomers with a biblical worldview starting with Genesis believe the universe is only about 6,000 years old, blue stars’ “persistence” is easily explained. God formed them on the fourth day of Creation week as His eyewitness account in Genesis 1:16 says. They’ve only been burning for 6,000 years and so have plenty of fuel remaining.
Could stars still be forming? After all, we see supernovae occur in space, so why not star formation too? Although the Bible does not say God is not making more stars, it does say He finished the work of Creation on the sixth day. Genesis 2:1 says, “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.” When a star goes supernova, an existing star explodes. But formation of stars postulated by “long-age” astronomers seems contrary to the laws of physics, given the conditions that exist in space.
Secular astronomers claim a star is formed when a nebula of swirling gas condenses until dense enough to possess enough gravity to prevent re-expansion. However, gases tend to expand, not contract. Secondly, if a swirling mass of gas contracted, it would spin faster in order to conserve angular momentum, and that increased angular velocity would oppose continued contraction. Finally, such collapse of a nebula would greatly magnify its magnetic field, again opposing the shrinkage required to form a star.
The Bible does not tell us any “mechanism” by which God made the stars. By the power of His word He created them during the same week in which He created the entire universe including the laws of physics. Uniformitarian thinking assumes things have always happened the same way and continue to do so today, and—in the case of star formation—that requires extremely unlikely conditions. Biblical thinking does not violate the laws of physics because the formation of stars is understood to have occurred when those laws were also being created.
The VST is a marvelous instrument, but it cannot show stars actually forming. Many astronomers think VST is taking snapshots of stars in various stages of formation, but only their imagination can connect the dots to create stellar nurseries. So-called “starburst” galaxies like NGC 253 where lots of blue stars blaze brightly are actually evidence for the young universe created by the God of the Bible. “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork (Psalm 19:1).
Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite.
If you were camping at a convenient South African cave shelter previously occupied by others, you’d likely wish for a change of bedding and a fresh batch of insect repellant. Apparently the desire for a clean comfortable place to sleep free of vermin has long been a human priority. So suggests Lyn Wadley’s team from their investigation of Sibudu Cave above the Tongati River in South Africa.
Excavation to a ten-foot depth6 has uncovered layers of centimeter-thick mats made of compressed grasses and sedges. The mats are large, as much as 22 square feet.7 Clinging particles of river mud suggest these wet habitat grasses were gathered near the river and brought to the cave’s dry environment high on the cliff-face.
Furthermore, microscopic examination suggests the plant material was repeatedly crushed or trampled. “The evidence strongly suggests that the plant layers were used as a type of floor preparation, usually called ‘bedding’ by archaeologists, but probably used—such as in KwaZulu-Natal [province of South Africa] today—as a surface for working and sleeping.”8 Bits of “chipped stone and crushed, burnt bone” in the layers were consistent with “surfaces where tools were fashioned and food was prepared.”
At intervals there are remains of leaves known for aromatic insecticidal qualities. Furthermore, there are repeated layers of ash and carbonized plant strata indicative of repeated burning. Ash forms at the top of such a burning layer, and carbonization occurs deeper where oxygen is limited. Wadley suspects lodgers periodically burned flooring to rid the cave of vermin and replenished the natural carpeting and insect-repelling leaves. These particular aromatic leaves are effective against many insects including malaria-bearing mosquitos, an endemic problem in much of Africa.
Wadley’s team has been excavating this cave since 1998 and has already found bows, arrows, and other artifacts suggestive of complex modern human culture. The more recent layers have a greater density of stone tool flakes, piles suggestive of swept debris, and a greater density of layers. The researchers believe this change suggests “longer visits, more visits, or larger groups than previously” and “supports an interpretation of greater populations.”8
Previous evidence of bedding elsewhere in the world—Spain, Israel, and South Africa—has been more fragmentary and dated at 20,000 to 30,000 years. The deepest layers of bedding/flooring in Sibudu Cave were dated using optically stimulated luminescence at 77,000 years. Sequential dating of more samples produced a range of dates down to 58,000 years. Thus, Wadley’s team is confident this discovery represents the earliest evidence of human bedding. Furthermore, the younger Middle Stone Age dates correspond to the time evolutionary anthropologists believe the Homo sapiens population grew and began moving out of Africa. These “younger” layers are the ones with indications of increased site usage consistent with population growth.
Optically stimulated luminescence dating (OSL) is a dating method that assesses how much energy is stored in a mineral, assuming its electrons were excited by sunlight in the past, trapped within crystalline imperfections, and kept in the dark ever since. The energy the mineral now emits when stimulated by laser light is compared to emissions from specimens obtained from the present environment. The ratio is used to calculate how long the mineral has been buried.
OSL is based on unverifiable uniformitarian assumptions. Can we know a sample has truly been in the dark for seventy thousand years? Can we be sure heat or water exposure has not altered the energy stored in it? Can we be sure a mineral’s sensitivity to light has remained unchanged? It is impossible to be sure these conditions have been met. Furthermore, results must be calibrated by comparison to other dating methods based on their own unverifiable assumptions. And those dating methods are also used to calibrate molecular clock calculations used in genomic mapping of populations through the ages. Thus the same assumptions are foundational to conclusions about the age of artifacts and the timing of population movements out of Africa. Even the “out of Africa” paradigm is based on unverifiable assumptions, including the presumption humans evolved from apelike ancestors in the first place.
Biblical history reveals people began dispersing throughout the post-Flood world less than 4,300 years ago. The Sibudu Cave with its indications of “complex behavior” would be expected in a world where intelligent people were using their skills to survive. Anthropologists are excited to see this “early” use of herbal medicine among ancient humans. As believers in biblical history, we understand the people who dispersed from Babel were not ignorant brutes. Though some groups lost skills and knowledge over the years, we’re not surprised to see the people who lodged at Sibudu knew how to make the cave into a practical shelter from the elements and the pests. People really haven’t changed much at all.
Bugs and fuzz don’t mix.
In an effort to discover the evolutionary advantages of human hairlessness, entomologists at UK’s University of Sheffield devised an experiment to see if parasites could have played a role. “Humans are unique among all primate species” in our superficially hairless appearance, they write. “However, despite our hairless appearance, the human body has the same density of hair follicles as would be expected of an ape of the same size.”9
While hair follicles are important for healing, sweat gland maintenance, and sensitivity to motion, evolutionists have trouble explaining why hominids lost their fur as they climbed the evolutionary ladder. Fur consists of thick terminal hair. Humans have thick terminal hair on their heads and additional discrete locations, but most of the human body is covered with fine vellus hair. Entomologists Isabelle Dean and Michael Siva-Jothy hypothesize an evolutionary advantage to the fine vellus hair. They suggest finer hair enhances “the ability to detect and remove ectoparasites [surface parasites, like bed bugs].”9
Bed bugs “cause damage and irritation through allergic reactions, blood loss and the risk of pathogenic transmission.”9 They disrupt tiny capillaries and feast on blood.
To determine the effect of body hair on bed bugs, the entomologists tested both men and women by shaving one arm and then placing a batch of hungry bed bugs on each arm. They measured the time the bugs spent finding just the right spot. Siva-Jothy says, “Just before it begins to feed, the bed bug swings its proboscis from a ‘stowed’ position to a ‘ready for action’ position.” They also measured how long it took the subjects to detect the presence of the bugs.
“All these hairs have nerves attached to them and provide us with the ability to detect displacement of the hair,” Siva-Jothy explains. “By simultaneously forming a barrier and providing detection, these hairs prolong search time and make detection more likely because the bug has to spend more time clambering over them.”
Both male and female volunteers were able to detect bed bugs more quickly on their unshaved arms. The bed bugs took longer to pick a spot to poke on the unshaved arms of men compared to their shaved arms. However, the bugs were equally skilled on both arms of the host women. Men are generally “hairier” than women due to their higher testosterone levels.
This study did demonstrate one important function for the fine fuzz covering our bodies. But nothing in the study supported the idea that humans evolved from furry ancestors. God made apes and humans on the sixth day of Creation week, each able to reproduce after their kind. Only humans are made in the image of God. God designed humans and each kind of ape fully functional and ideally suited for the environment. This study simply reminds us that the same God who numbers the hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30) left the fuzz on the rest of our bodies for a good reason.
The good of the one outweighs the good of the few and the many—the single-cell bottleneck that unleashes multicellular evolutionary potential(?)
Since evolution is about survival of the fittest, evolutionists have a problem explaining evolution of multicellular organisms. After all, why would non-reproducing cells evolve a “willingness” to spend their lives functioning sacrificially for the good of the group just so one cell—a lowly gamete—can pass on its genome? Researchers from Rice University tinkered with the “social contract” of the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum to find out.
These common amoeba, a.k.a. Dicty, roam the dirt searching for bacteria to eat. When food becomes scarce, they team up, traveling as a slug-shaped colony until they reach a good spot for dispersal. Then the front 20% sacrifice their reproductive potential by forming a fruiting body—a sort of a stalk—upon which the other cells can form spores, ensuring the survival of their own genomes. But what about lone-wolf mutants—“cheaters”—those microbes more “concerned” with their own survival than with helping their fellow Dicty? Believing the altruistic tendency evolved to ensure Dicty-ian survival, the team wished to determine the impact of “cheaters” on future generations. After all, if “cheaters” swamp the population, there wouldn’t be enough Dicty left to form fruiting bodies.
The team first examined mutations “cheaters” could use to gain a position in the back of colony—such as decreased adhesion to other cells allowing them to simply slip to the rear. Having identified the mutations microbes could use to “cheat death,” they then needed to determine the statistical impact of “cheaters” on amoeba populations.
Normally amoebae in a colony are clonally related, so the team artificially formed colonies of mixed lineages. In the mixed colonies, “cheaters” could get the upper hand and ruin their lineage’s opportunity to survive hard times. However, “conflict reduction via clonality”10 resulted in successful propagation in the unmixed clonally-related laboratory colonies and in similar colonies of wild amoebae.
Evolutionists believe cellular cooperation was essential for evolution of multicellular organisms. The team concluded “ancient jockeying for position in the germ line”10 wasn’t a statistically significant problem for cellular cooperation so long as the evolving multicellular species could periodically pass through a single-cell genetic bottleneck. Hence, by extrapolating their results to Dicty-colonies the size of mice, humans, and blue whales—and even to sociobiological conundrums like social insects—the Rice team is confident they’ve solved the mystery of the rise of multicellularity. That, they believe, explains why most multicellular organisms start life as a zygote.
No case of a multicellular organism evolving from a single-celled one has ever been observed. Nor is there in nature any mechanism by which a single-celled organism can acquire the genetic information to differentiate and organize its progeny into complex multicellular organisms. Zygotes already possess the genetic information to do just that. Zygotes obtain that information from parent organisms of their own kind. God created microbes and multicellular organisms of all kinds to reproduce after their kinds during Creation week about 6,000 years ago. Nothing observable in biology bears up as evidence against His Word. He designed microbes to reproduce after their kinds, even exchanging genetic information horizontally, in order to equip them to propagate and fulfill their functions in this world. But He did not equip them to evolve into new multicellular life-forms.
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