Running water flowed in the Martian past.
Photos from the Mars rover Curiosity show strong evidence that water once flowed on Mars. Curiosity’s close-ups reveal gravel rounded in a way consistent with tumbling in torrents of water. Gravel, the size of M&Ms and hard candies, appears encased in sediment as conglomerate rock, also consistent with water deposition.
Geologist Rebecca Williams of the Planetary Science Institute says, “The shapes tell you [the rocks] were transported, and the sizes tell you they couldn't be transported by wind. They were transported by water flow.” Geomorphologist William Dietrich adds, “We've now identified pebbles and gravel at the landing site that clearly have been carried down by water, have been broken down and very much smoothed out. This is the beginning of our process of learning how much water was running and how long this area was wet.”
The terrain in the region of Gale Crater looks like what we would expect to see produced by streams feeding into an 11-mile long channel. Water may have once flowed in this channel and then dropped off a cliff to form a 20-square-mile alluvial fan in a canyon 2,000 feet wide. Of course, there is no water there now, but the similarity to water-carved terrain on earth got NASA’s attention in selecting Curiosity’s landing site. The primary purpose of Curiosity’s mission is to search for the chemical building blocks of life and chemical evidence of life that might-have-been. Evolutionary scientists are generally convinced that where water was, given habitable conditions, life is likely to have evolved.
Of course, you do not have to be an evolutionist to be curious about the Martian past. Martian water is not inconsistent with a biblical worldview. Even Martian microbes, if they are ever found, are not inconsistent with the Bible. And since life as we know it requires water, a place that might have once had water is a good place to look.
The Bible does not say whether God created life on other planets (although we have good reason to believe He did not1), but the Bible does tell us God created all life on earth during the first six days of Creation week, the same week in which He created the rest of the universe, about 6,000 years ago. Evolutionists generally believe that finding life’s chemical signatures on Mars would confirm life evolved there just as they believe it did on earth. However, no mechanism has ever been observed whereby life could randomly emerge from non-living elements. And if life were ever to be found on Mars, its presence would not prove it evolved.
We know how water-borne rocks behave on earth and can extrapolate those observations to draw conclusions about the conditions under which the Martian conglomerate rock and gravel likely formed. Claims that water flowed on Mars for “thousands to millions of years”2 “billions of years ago,”3 however, rely on unverifiable assumptions about our own unobservable past and further extrapolation to Martian history. Even in estimating the age of earth rocks, unverifiable uniformitarian assumptions are used to come up with vast ages by those who ignore the biblical history of the age of the earth and the global Flood.
In the case of Mars, we have no eyewitness record of events there other than the fact that God created it about 6,000 years ago along with everything else. Conclusions about the age of Mars rocks or the duration of water flow require assumptions about conditions and events long past and not amenable to controlled scientific testing. Such long age estimates should not be considered reliable.
National Trust caves in to pressure at the Causeway.
The opening of the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre in Northern Ireland earlier this year touched off a protest. At issue was a bit of audio material that acknowledged the existence of the young earth creationist scientific explanation of the Causeway’s origin. The exhibit’s designers considered the debate over the Causeway’s origin to be a part of its history. They included this audio in the history section, not the science section. Everything else in the exhibit says the Causeway is 60 million years old. In response to the ongoing storm of protest, the National Trust has now decided to change the audio track.
Giant’s Causeway consists of over 40,000 basalt columns containing evidence of 7 lava flows sandwiching sedimentary layers. The formation has various characteristics consistent with eruptions during the global Flood. Image provided by AiG–UK/Europe.
The offending audio content said:
Young earth creationists believe that the earth was created some 6000 years ago. This is based on a specific interpretation of the Bible and, in particular, the account of creation in the book of Genesis. Some people around the world, and specifically here in Northern Ireland, share this perspective.
The replacement, about 20 seconds long, says that there is a “clear understanding among scientists that the heat of the earth was the driving force behind the formation of the Giant's Causeway.” It states that the earth is “far older than had previously been thought.” It concludes,
All the scientific evidence points to a volcanic origin for the columns of the Giant's Causeway, around 60 million years ago. However, not everyone agrees with the scientific view. There are some people who believe—often for religious reasons—that the earth was formed more recently: thousands of years ago rather than billions.
Of course, the signage at Giant’s Causeway proclaims only the mainstream millions-of-years scenario. The millions-of-years contention comes from a worldview-based belief that denies the record of the global Flood as recorded in biblical history. At the heart of the mainstream belief is the uniformitarian assumption that slow gradual geologic processes over millions of years have produced all that we see today. Radiometric dating methods interpreted on the basis of unverifiable assumptions about the untestable past support this view.
Nevertheless, the Flood model of geology—which has not been depicted at the Visitor Centre despite angry rumors to the contrary—explains the formation of the monumental basalt columns. Catastrophic tectonic activity (“the fountains of the great deep were broken up” according to Genesis 7:11) associated with the global Flood provides the framework for explaining the evidence of intermittent volcanic activity seen in the basalt columns. Surges of sediment-laden water that would have cooled the hardening lava and caused it to shrink and crack into characteristic hexagonal shapes complete the picture. These 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns were thus formed as a series of lava flows cooled and cracked in water that also deposited sediment between the layers of hardening lava.
The Flood model and “mainstream science” each offer an explanation for the unusual formations at Giant’s Causeway. Both represent an effort to explain the unobservable untestable past. Both involve worldview-based interpretations, but only the creation scientists’ point of view has an eyewitness account—God’s as given in the Bible—available to guide our interpretation of what we see.
The ongoing debate about the Causeway really is a part of its history, but now the scientific character of that debate is expunged, the debate being depicted as a conflict between religion and the scientific high road. And now the Causeway’s history includes the official creation of a fiction: the fiction that science has settled the question of its age, the fiction that all the scientific evidence points back 60 million years, the fiction that the one and only scientific view is the millions-and-billions view—all other views being unscientific. On the contrary, only the interpretation of those scientists who deny the historicity of the global Flood and the evidence of its catastrophic effects on earth’s geology points to that interpretation. Perhaps new signage for the history section should now read “Revised History” or better yet, “Revisionist History.”
“Dinosaur Encore”? Harvard physicist thinks dino-clones are around the corner.
Could modern science resurrect dinosaurs? (Real ones, not the pretend ones on your birdbath.4) In a recent video posted by Big Think, Harvard theoretical physicist Michio Kaku speculates with a resounding yes. His ideas represent a mixture of actual experimental science and evolutionary assumptions. And while he cites the documented discoveries of soft tissue in dinosaurs to support his premise, evolutionist Brian Switek finds Kaku’s acceptance of those discoveries to be his most objectionable point.
Kaku begins by pointing out that present technology has been able to clone animals from carcasses. Not only steak lovers5 but also dog lovers have benefited, as the sweet story of the cloned Labrador “Lancelot Encore” illustrates.6 Then Kaku reminds us that the Neanderthal genome has been sequenced—also true. And he reminds us that while ongoing efforts to clone mammoths could only produce furry elephants, any effort to clone a Neanderthal would produce a moral dilemma. The problem of how to treat such a person is the dilemma he mentions. An additional problem—destroying human embryos as a necessary step in such an effort—is another.
Kaku’s train of wishful thinking veers into difficulty at this point. He rightly points out that soft tissue has been recovered from dinosaur fossils. And he points out that proteins, not DNA, have been found in some of those materials. Each protein is blueprinted by a gene, a tiny fraction of an organism’s DNA. Therefore, it is not possible to “back-calculate” or “reverse engineer” an entire genome from protein samples. No DNA, no clone. But no problem, Kaku thinks.
Enter the chicken and the werewolf. The proteins found in the soft tissue of these dinosaur fossils are similar to those in frogs, reptiles, and even chickens. Kaku interprets this as proof that dinosaurs “biochemically are very closely related to birds.”
Biochemical similarity, however, does not demonstrate evolutionary ancestry. Many proteins show up in multiple creatures, and as a result their DNA blueprints sometimes appear to have been cut-and-pasted throughout the living creatures of the world. Yet this similarity is completely consistent with the testimony of biblical history: God is the common Designer. Why should we think He would have invented a whole new kind of biochemistry for each kind of creature? Since all living things needed to share the same world, the basic biochemistry of all living things needed to fit. Like most evolutionists, Kaku thinks the fact that a gene that shows up in multiple creatures is evidence of common evolutionary ancestry rather than simply common design.
Kaku then points to the epigenetic regulation involved in switching genes on and off. “Nature does not simply throw away good genes. Nature simply turns them off,” he says. Epigenetics involves chemical changes that affect whether a gene is expressed not.
To support this idea—that genes are just switched on and off to build new kinds of creatures—he states, “We have the genes in our own body that would put hair all over our body and you can actually turn that gene on and create, quote, unquote, a werewolf. In fact, in Mexico City there are two young boys with hair all over their bodies that are acrobats in a circus and scientists have sequenced the genes and yes, it is a very ancient gene that they have.” Kaku is talking about an X-linked dominant condition called congenital generalized hypertrichosis, found to affect 19 members of a Mexican family. Despite the investigators’ statement, “A back mutation is postulated as the origin of this new phenotype,”7 the phrase “back mutation” is based on the unproven and unprovable assumption that humans evolved from ape-like ancestors. Mutations involve a loss of information, as in this loss of proper genetic regulation, but such a de-regulation does not unveil an “ancient” ape-like ancestor’s gene.
Kaku hopes that a combination of all this wonderful technology can be stirred up by supercomputers to spit out “the best fit for a reptile that is like a dinosaur, insert that perhaps, into the womb of maybe an alligator or a whatever and perhaps give birth to an egg, which will hatch something resembling a dinosaur.”
In “Where’s My Clone-o-saurus?” Smithsonian Magazine writer Brian Switek bemoans Kaku’s optimistic oversimplification of the techniques that would be required to clone a dinosaur. But he also takes great issue with Kaku’s dependence on reports of preserved soft tissue and biomolecules in dinosaurs.8 He discounts Mary Schweitzer’s discovery9 of apparent blood vessels, red blood cells, and intact proteins inside dinosaur bone, writing her discovery off as a bacterial biofilm. Reading the comments to Switek’s article reads like a bibliography as his evolutionary readers have shared numerous articles documenting the validity of the biological remains of dinosaurs and refuting the biofilm theory. Last year Schweitzer participated in more research confirming the preservation of authentic collagen. 10
We, who understand from Scripture’s eyewitness account of our history that the earth is only about 6,000 years old, do not find it so shocking that some biological material is still present in some dinosaur fossils, which were entombed by the same catastrophe that buried most other fossilized animals—the global Flood.
The problem with Kaku’s presumptions, however, is the presumption that an evolutionary extrapolation could produce the blueprint for a dinosaur near-clone. If the genome of a dinosaur is ever sequenced from soft tissue in a fossil, then we’ll know something about dinosaur DNA. But if a computer simply extrapolates, on the basis of evolutionary assumptions about chickens, what dinosaur DNA should have looked like, then we will really know nothing about dinosaur DNA.
Genome analysis confirms “a key evolutionary innovation” is only de-regulation of an existing trait.
A better title for today’s article about Richard Lenski’s bacterial genealogy and its “evolutionary bag of tricks” might be “The Apparent Birth of the New is Only the Rewiring of the Old” or “Bacteria Demonstrates How to Make the Most of What It Already Has.” Since 2008 evolutionists have triumphantly touted Lenski’s 20-year-old E. coli family’s new ability to subsist on citrate as the perfect proof that new traits can evolve, a “poke in the eye” to creationists.11
Now that Lenski and colleague Zachary Blount have examined the step-wise genetic history of this “key innovation” with their “increasingly powerful evolutionary microscope,” evolutionary flag-waving in the form of headlines like “Evolution is as Complicated as 1-2-3” and “E. Coli caught in the act of evolving” are again popping up. But a closer look reveals only an affirmation of what creation scientists have been saying for years.
Lenski’s lab has been the home to over 55,000 generations of a strain of E. coli. He’s been generous with oxygen but stingy with their food supply, allowing them only a small amount of glucose, to see what they would do. A few years back, one flask of the microbes had a population explosion after “learning” to munch on citrate, a chemical abundant in their bathwater. Microbiologists don’t usually consider E. coli to be citrate-eaters because in oxygen-rich environments, they aren’t. But it takes oxygen to efficiently metabolize glucose, and E. coli is equipped with the ability to metabolize citrate when the oxygen supply is low.
The on-switch for citrate utilization is part of the E. coli genome. Under low-oxygen conditions, a chemical change affecting a genetic switch turns on production of a citrate-transporting protein. That citrate transporter then brings citrate into the cell, and E. coli is able to survive by metabolizing it. Thus, the ability to utilize citrate is already part of the E. coli toolkit.
By examining frozen samples of the E. coli, Blount and Lenski found that their E. coli had experienced a mutation allowing this citrate transporter to be produced even when oxygen was plentiful. The mutation was a duplication of the citrate transport gene, and the duplicate copy was located near a switch that kept it turned on. Thus, the E. coli appeared to acquire a new ability, when they had really just experienced degenerate mutations and a duplication of an already existing gene that de-regulated an already existing ability.
Their latest research, published in Nature, delves more deeply into the genetic history. By thawing out some bacteria and observing them, they found that additional mutations were necessary prerequisites to the “key” de-regulating mutation. They also discovered that additional mutations occurring randomly after citrate utilization begins allow some of the bacteria to utilize the citrate more efficiently and to therefore thrive.
Of course, the evolutionary columnist describes this procedure in evo-speak: “What would happen if they wound back the evolutionary tape and let the bacteria re-evolve. Would the citrate feeding evolve again?” The failure of genetic manipulation attempting to insert the mutated DNA into some bacteria is described by saying, “The early-generation bacteria were not ready to receive this evolutionary gift.” The language is colorful but paints a false picture.
Commenting on the extravagant claims, Answers in Genesis molecular geneticist Dr. Georgia Purdom said, “Lenski discovered that due to the duplication and rearrangement of pre-exsiting information, E. coli cultured in the lab for multiple generations could use citrate in the presence of abundant oxygen. This is a far cry from the key innovation he claims in the title of his Nature article, “Genomic analysis of a key innovation in an experimental Escherichia coli population.”
These bacteria did not evolve a key innovation. They did not acquire new genetic information, as duplication of an existing gene is nothing new. They did not even do anything new or innovative with old information. All they did was experience a mutation—a loss of regulatory information—that allowed them to access an existing ability more easily. The discovery that addition mutations are required has allowed a peek into the genetic complexity that provides the raw material for populations to adapt to new conditions. Mutations—even duplications that land near on-switches—do not provide new genetic information or the raw material that “moves bacteria in an upward evolutionary direction.”12
Was the Fall of man a good thing?
The literal serpent in the Garden of Eden, used by Satan in his temptation of Eve, is the focus of a Huffington Post columnist’s musings. He ironically plays with the historical truth of the Genesis narratives while declaring its importance to humanity. We obviously take issue with his compromise on the historical nature of God’s eyewitness account of these events as recorded by Moses. And we at Answers in Genesis obviously agree with the author's statement that the book of Genesis is “important.” But throughout this discussion is an even more disturbing notion: a seeming celebration of the Fall of man.
As to the identity of Satan and the role of serpents throughout Scripture, while Genesis 3:1–6 does not specifically name Satan as the tempter, other Scriptures illuminate this passage. Satan is called a serpent three times in Revelation 12:9, 12:15, and 20:2. This “serpent of old,” a terrible deceiver, is clearly identified as the tempter of Eve in 2 Corinthians 11:3, which says “the serpent beguiled Eve.” Furthermore, in Genesis 3:14–15, God cursed the serpent—a judgment on the animal forever as a visible living metaphor of a terrible reality—as He also foretold the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah did not come to save people from snakebites but to bear the guilt of our sin on the Cross. Jesus Christ, after bearing all the wrath of Satan, would ultimately “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Thus this real historical animal was utilized by a real supernatural and evil Satan to tempt Eve to disobey God. Such is the testimony of Scripture.
The writer of the column acknowledges the importance of Genesis, saying the association of the serpent with Satan in Judeo-Christian culture demonstrates “how thinking about Genesis has long been a central activity.” However, his use of words like “story,” “early interpreters,” “in the early years,” “religious picture,” “portrait,” “happy ending,” and “scenario,” support his presumption that Genesis is not truly historical, ignoring the fact that Jesus Christ spoke of the events in Genesis as historical.13
The writer goes on to say, “The world is interpreted through Genesis, and Genesis is seen through the conceptual and moral framework of the world.” While the world should interpret its origins—physically and spiritually—through Genesis, compromisers who paint Genesis as myth, reinterpreting it in accord with man’s fallible ideas, denigrate and destroy its foundational place in the Christian faith.
Perhaps even worse than the columnist’s compromised stand on the history of Genesis, however, is his assertion that the Fall into sin was in any way a good thing. He writes:
The snake tricked the humans into disobedience, but he wasn't lying about the benefit. Although humans are condemned to hard labor—on the soil and in childbirth—we have the benefit of knowledge, which somehow makes us "like gods." We're both better off and worse off because Eve heeded the snake. Life as we know it is complicated, colored by pain, mortality, knowledge and joy.
Throughout the piece, the columnist minimizes the horror of the worst day in the history of mankind. He says the crime (eating the fruit) was “ambiguous.” Why? Because Adam and Eve, with their new and “impressive” knowledge of good and evil, did become “like gods.” He trivializes the high cost of rebellion, mentioning pain in childbirth and toiling in the field (Genesis 3:16–19), but overlooking the death, suffering, and cruelty in this world caused by that “ambiguous” act. He appears to think those “inconveniences” to be an almost even exchange for humanity’s new “godlike abilities.” To suggest that we are in any way better off as a result of man’s sin suggests a rather barbaric balance in which the achievements of humanity are ranked of sufficient worth to offset the billions that have suffered the wages of sin in this world and the next. His suggestion that we’re better off with our sin ignores the awfulness of sin from the perspective of a holy God who loved us enough to sacrifice His Son to redeem us. It also ignores the awful eternal consequences of sin for those who reject the Savior.
The idea of the “Fortunate Fall” is not new. It originated with the Augustinian idea that “God judged it better to bring good out of evil, than to allow no evil to exist.”14 The idea was carried further by philosopher Arthur Lovejoy in a 1937 essay, “Milton and the Paradox of the Fortunate Fall.”15 Lovejoy argued that Adam’s sin was a cause for celebration as it allowed the opportunity for God to demonstrate His goodness and grace. Taken to its logical conclusion, however, this notion would make God a hypocrite and the author of sin, concepts that are foreign to the character of God as depicted in both the Bible (Romans 6:1) and Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Furthermore, the columnist’s suggestion implies that Jesus Christ, in whom is vested all wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3), would be incapable of providing humanity with sufficient intellectual stimulation in the absence of sin. C. S. Lewis devoted much of his science fiction classic Perelandra to this theme. Lewis wrote of a fictionalized world in which his non-human created beings did not succumb to temptation and subsequently became progressive brilliant stewards of their own world. They remained devoted to their Creator. And they even had a better, more mature knowledge of good and evil than those who had rebelled against their Creator.
Adam and Eve in the pre-Fall world were not unemployed; they were the stewards and rulers of their world (Genesis 1:28). A world, actually a universe, of wonder awaited their study.. They and their descendants—with lives unlimited, bodies and brains perfect, and motives pure—could have explored aspects of science our brightest have not even considered. The more they learned about the intricacies of God’s creation, the more they would have glorified their Creator. Knowledge was not evil. Only the experiential acquisition of the knowledge of what it was like to rebel against God was evil. Knowledge about God's creation was not a problem.
Adam’s rebellion “freed” humanity to see just how badly we could ruin everything in an effort to exalt ourselves above God. Adam’s rebellion “freed” us to become slaves to sin (John 8:34, Romans 6:6). Satan, in Paradise Lost, said, “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.” 16 The suggestion that we’re better off with our sin is at best an expression ignoring sin’s consequences and at worst an agreement with the Deceiver’s sentiments.
The focus of this commentary in HuffPost was man’s perspective, and, thus, faulty conclusions were drawn. The fact that God gave His Son to redeem mankind does demonstrate humanity’s importance to God. But, lest we forget, God’s eternal purposes focus on glorification of Jesus Christ,not the exaltation or entertainment of humanity.
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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