1. FOX News: “Holiday message: Atheists dub Jesus a 'myth' on Times Square billboard

Times Square billboard declares “Keep the MERRY!” while portraying Christ’s crucifixion with the words “Dump the MYTH.”

Well, no surprise to anyone, the outspoken “American Atheists” doesn’t like to be reminded that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” A $25,000 billboard in New York City’s Times Square depicts a close-up of Christ’s face as He hung on the cross with a crown of thorns. The billboard proclaims: “Keep the MERRY!” and urges viewers to get Christ out of Christmas by implying Jesus Christ, the Son of God (along with His death and Resurrection), are mythological.

billboardThis billboard sponsored by the American Atheists boldly bashes the real “reason for the season.” American Atheist president David Silverman says, “Most Christians are really atheists who feel trapped in their family’s religion,” indicating his tragic misunderstanding of the reality and significance of genuine Christianity. Image credit: Foxnews.com/Perry Chiaramonte

Historically Christians began celebrating Christmas because Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, was born into this world. People celebrate holidays for all sorts of reasons, and no one with an ounce of awareness thinks that everyone who celebrates Christmas does so to honor the birth of the Savior of the world. But regardless of variations in motives and personal beliefs of individuals, when we say, “Merry Christmas,” we are acknowledging at least with our mouths the truth that God’s Son came into the world.

The best reason to be “merry,” Christians understand, is the joy and gratitude we have for the salvation freely provided by our Savior’s sacrifice. And despite all the other reasons people choose to be “merry” at the holidays—to fellowship with friends and family, to feed the needy, to delight young children, to give special gifts to those they love—or even just for materialistic and indulgent reasons—those additional “reasons” for “merriment” don’t change history. Jesus Christ is a historical figure whose impact on human history has been astonishing and profound due to who He is—the incarnate Son of God—and what He did—revealing God fully to man (John 1:14; 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:10), dying on the cross for the sins of all mankind (Hebrews 2:9 and 2 Corinthians 5:21), and rising from the dead as proof of His deity (Romans 1:4, 4:25; Acts 1:3). His Resurrection from the dead remains one of the best attested events in history. (See Did the Resurrection Really Happen? for more information.)

Many are upset that the billboard dishonors Jesus Christ by proclaiming His history to be a myth while exploiting His suffering countenance to contrast with the “merry” spirit of Christmas. Yet, for all their blasphemous intentions, the atheist sponsors of the billboard could not have chosen a better way to help Christians proclaim the Gospel message. The suffering Christ on the billboard graphically proclaims the reason that Jesus became a human being.

Jesus Christ came into this world about 2,000 years ago to die for the sins of human beings, to pay the sin debt that humans began accruing the day Adam and Eve sinned. What better way to remind people of the real reason for the season than to show what our Savior did for us all about 33 years after His birth.

The national advertising agency that posted the billboard said the billboard is within the atheists’ right of free speech, and so it is. (Although for those Christian business owners who may be considering where to spend their advertising dollars, we would point out that the First Amendment guarantees the government will not stand in the way of free speech. The amendment does not obligate a private business to accept a paid commission to proclaim such messages.) The incredible hypocrisy of atheists who loudly remind the country that they have the right to keep the “merry” and trash our Christ while demanding public nativities be banned to protect atheist sensibilities is also evident. While the billboard may be on private property, there could hardly be a more public place than Times Square.1

Yet we as Christians should consider another angle on this billboard. The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians that he knew certain hypocritical and envious people were preaching the message of Christ in a mocking way to increase Paul’s troubles, for he was in prison for preaching the gospel at the time. Yet despite their evil motives, Paul rejoiced that God was able to use their mocking message to expose even more people to the true message that Jesus Christ died for their sins and rose from the dead to save them.

So as we complete our Christmas season, let us pray that many who see that message will be struck with a conviction that Jesus Christ didn’t come to host a party or to be a cosmic Santa but to die and bear sin’s penalty in their place. God can make use even of the hatred of atheists, for as Psalm 76:10 says, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise You.” We will therefore join with the apostle and say:

But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. (Philippians 1:12–18)

Merry Christmas!

2. ABC News: “Evidence Noah's Biblical Flood Happened, Says Robert Ballard

Regional flood around the Black Sea was not the biblical global Flood.

Preparing to air the ABC News special Back to the Beginning, an ABC journalist has dredged up Robert Ballard’s “Black Sea deluge” and claimed it for Noah. Video clips and headlines connect Ballard’s robotic evidence for submerged human habitation beneath the Black Sea to Noah’s Flood. Not surprisingly, the news items declare Noah’s Flood to be mythical. They instead assert the Black Sea catastrophe was the inspiration for the biblical Flood as well as for the flood legends common in many cultures.

blackseaToday the Black Sea is a salty sea connected to the Aegean Sea (and indirectly therefore to the Mediterranean Sea) by the Bosporus Strait, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles Strait. (See the top map.) Compare today’s Black Sea (light blue in the lower sketch) to the smaller lake (darker blue) it may have been centuries ago. Image credit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea (top) and en.wikipedia.org/File:Black-sea-hist.png (bottom).

blacksea floodThe Black Sea deluge hypothesis is a controversial proposal that asserts the Black Sea was originally a freshwater lake walled off by a land bridge from the Sea of Marmara, in the region now occupied by the Bosporus Strait, shown in the top sketch. Some think the rising water levels in the post-Ice Age world eventually broke through violently (see bottom sketch), submerging civilizations around the Black Sea and establishing the Black Sea as a salty sea. Image credit: NASA/US government illustration from en.wikipedia.org

Titanic discoverer Ballard said in an ABC interview, “It's not a crazy thing to think that the flood stories of the various cultures including ours are based upon true cataclysmic events.” (See Flood Legends for more about this idea.)

The Black Sea is fed by rivers as well as by some backflow of saltwater from the Aegean Sea. Saltwater flows in through the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits deep below the water’s surface. A little more than a decade ago, Columbia University marine geologists William Pitman and William Ryan proposed the still-controversial Black Sea deluge hypothesis as the Black Sea’s origin. They suggested that the Black Sea, originally a freshwater lake filled with melt-water from Ice Age glaciers, was walled off by a land bridge across the Bosporus Strait. Pitman and Ryan, whose theory was soon taken up by Ballard, suggested rising post-Ice Age water levels caused a wall of Mediterranean/Aegean seawater to crash through the land bridge and violently flood the Black Sea basin, forever burying whatever was built along its shores.

Ballard notes (correctly) that the rising waters after the Ice Age would have caused many floods but says, “The question is, was there a mother of all floods?” Inspired by this question, “We went in there to look for the flood. Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed. . . . The land that went under stayed under.”

Evidence for this Black Sea deluge includes freshwater mussel shells in the Black Sea and robotic film of a submerged beach and remnants of human-built structures thought to be pottery and parts of buildings—“not trash and not geology, but characteristic of human habitation,” Ballard said.2 “It probably was a bad day. At some magic moment, it broke through and flooded this place violently, and a lot of real estate, 150,000 square kilometers of land, went under.”

The freshwater mussels carbon date to about 5,000 years old, a time within about five hundred years of the date calculated for Noah’s Flood based on the Bible’s historical record. The mussels are considered evidence for the Black Sea having once been a freshwater lake. Incidentally, this date is considered inflated because freshwater shellfish, which ingest a great deal of long-dead plant material, commonly carbon date much older than their actual age.3

More recent finds have included a well-preserved ancient wooden ship thought to date from about 500 B.C. Ballard does not claim the wrecked ship has anything to do with Noah, but its well-preserved state encourages him to anticipate underwater archaeological remains of people who died in the Black Sea deluge. (The depths of the Black Sea contain little oxygen and therefore slow decay processes.) “It's foolish to think you will ever find a ship [the actual ark, that is],” Ballard said. “But can you find people who were living? Can you find their villages that are underwater now? And the answer is yes.”

The ABC News report discussing the upcoming program treats the biblical Noahic Flood as mythical because it was recorded after other cultures developed their own flood legends.4 The journalist quotes a rabbi who believes people in Noah’s time could not have lived to the ages described in the Bible. (See Chapter 16: Did People Like Adam and Noah Really Live Over 900 Years of Age? for more about this.) And the journalist interviews others who believe the culturally ubiquitous flood stories were a sort of socio-cultural grief management exercise that people used to give meaning to their personal sorrows in the wake of catastrophic natural disasters, like floods.

We have previously discussed the controversial reports about the Black Sea deluge. A number of scientists have discredited the hypothesis, showing that there is no evidence that Mediterranean water ever flowed violently northward toward the Black Sea.5 The story has been around long enough that Wikipedia covers the controversy pretty well, noting that many scientists accept that a huge flood left shoreline civilizations there submerged, but the direction, speed, source, and violence of the flood is a matter of debate.

But did this Black Sea deluge (from any direction) have anything to do with the Bible’s account of Noah's Flood? Emphatically, no! The Bible clearly describes the Flood in Noah’s time as global, submerging even the highest pre-Flood mountains (Genesis 7:20). Such a violent and catastrophic worldwide flood would have radically remodeled the entire surface of the earth, leaving massive layers of sediment all over the earth’s surface and burying billions of organisms. Much of the fossil record and many of the layers in the geologic column are memorials of that global Flood. Flood geology explains a great deal of what we see in today’s world. But such a global cataclysm would not leave recognizable remnants of human habitats on the bottom of the Black Sea.

Given the biblical description of Noah's Flood, Bible-believing geologists, meteorologists, and geophysicists believe there are good scientific reasons to conclude that the Ice Age was triggered by the unique meteorological conditions in the years after the global Flood.6 Local and regional floods after the Ice Age therefore occurred long after the global Flood.

Furthermore, ancient people all over the world had flood stories because all cultures of the world descended from the eight people who survived the global Flood on the Ark Noah built. Naturally they had a shared cultural memory of the most significant event in their collective history.

Through divine inspiration Moses recorded the real history of the real Flood about 800–900 years after the Flood in the part of God’s Word we call Genesis. However, the eleven occurrences of the Hebrew word toledoth (translated “this is the genealogy of”) in Genesis divide the book into literary units. The toledoth appearing in Genesis 5:1 opens with the phrase “This is the book of the genealogy of Adam,” and the next one, in Genesis 6:9, opens with the phrase “This is the genealogy of Noah” and then gives the history surrounding Noah's life. This strongly suggests that Moses, under divine inspiration, wrote Genesis on the basis of pre-existing written documents passed down by the patriarchs whose names are connected with the toledoths. The Flood account, in fact, reads like an eyewitness record such as that found in a ship’s log. So, we have good reason to believe that the content of Genesis 1–11 predates the pagan flood myths that were written after the dispersion from the Tower of Babel over 100 years after the Flood.

Furthermore, Jesus Christ, as recorded in Matthew 24:37–38 and Luke 17:26–27, validated Moses’ account of the Flood. To suggest that the Genesis Flood was a local or regional flood, a legendary bandage for grief, or an overblown story inspired by the Black Sea deluge or any other local flood is to misuse God’s Word and to call our all-knowing God a liar.

3. Smithsonian: “Homo antecessor: Common Ancestor of Humans and Neanderthals?

Homo diversity versus Homo ancestry: asking the right question

A recent “Hominid Hunting” feature at Smithsonian.com summarized the current controversy among anthropologists regarding the place of Homo antecessor in human lineage. But, like evolutionary anthropologists, the columnist really asks the wrong question—a question based on scientifically unverifiable assumptions.

Homo antecessor fossils have been found in two locations in Spain’s Atapuerca Mountains, whose caves and railroad cuts have yielded a variety of human fossils. Eighty fossilized bones belonging to six individuals were found there in Gran Dolina cave in the mid-1990s. A matching partial jawbone was found at Sima del Elefante in 2008, along with dozens of stone tools. With conventional dates of 800,000 and 1.2 million years respectively, the sites’ fossils didn’t really match any other human fossils perfectly and were therefore assigned a new name, Homo antecessor.

This partial Homo antecessor skull was found in Gran Dolina cave in Spain’s Atapuerca Mountains. Many evolutionary anthropologists think this human species was the first to arrive in Europe and debate where it fits in human evolutionary ancestry. Yet what they already assume actually determines their conclusions. The existence of human variations in the Pleistocene fossil record does not demonstrate human evolution but only human variety. Image credit: José-Manuel Benito/ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_antecessor

Homo antecessor’s features include traits evolutionists consider primitive combined with modern ones. The teeth seem like those of Africa’s Homo erectus, which evolutionists date at around 1.5 million years. But the shape of the nasal area and a depression in the jawbone near the canine teeth are consistent with the bones of modern humans. Anthropologists therefore debate where in the evolutionary history of humans to place Homo antecessor.

Homo antecessor is supposed by some scientists to be the common ancestor of Neanderthals and humans. Others believe Homo heidelbergensis was the common ancestor. Homo heidelbergensis, whose fossils are also found in the Atapuerca Mountains in La Sima de los Huesos as well as in Germany, England, Greece, and China, has features similar to but less prominent than Neanderthals. (There is debate among prominent evolutionists about the classification of the bones in La Sima de los Huesos, however, with London’s Natural History Museum’s Chris Stringer declaring they’ve been misidentified.)7 Most evolutionary anthropologists believe Homo antecessor evolved after (and likely from) Homo erectus, but where the family tree went from there remains a matter of debate.

An additional difficulty in sorting out the evolutionary story involves the fact that the vast majority of existing Homo antecessor fossils are children’s bones. Children’s bone structure can change dramatically by adulthood. Neanderthal children, for instance, did not have brow ridges.8 Therefore, some evolutionists prefer to leave a question mark beside this Homo species until more adults are found.

Stringer, the Natural History Museum’s Research Leader in Human Origins, has commented—with regard to the fossils in La Sima de los Huesos—“If we cannot correctly fix the age and identity of the remains then we are in trouble. Getting that wrong even affects how we construct our own evolution.”7

Notice the implication of Stringer’s words: evolutionists do “construct our own evolution” based on what they believe about the age and identity of fossils. Yet the age of fossils is derived from a number of unverifiable, uniformitarian, worldview-based assumptions. However, models based on biblical history explain the layers in the geologic column. Animals do reproduce “after their kinds” just as the Bible reports God created them to do, and they have never been observed evolving into new and more complex kinds of animals. Likewise, no ape-like ancestry for humans has ever been demonstrated, only a variety of ape fossils that evolutionists prefer to think of as evidence of transitions to human forms.

Evolutionary anthropologists assume that hundreds of thousands of years elapsed between the evolutionary advent of various Homo species on the earthly scene. And they assume that humans must have gradually evolved from ape-like ancestors and through a series of progressively less primitive human forms. Therefore they debate where on the evolutionary scale human variants should be placed. They automatically assume that evolution happened and simply try to play a game of comparing similarities and differences to get the order right. But they are asking the wrong question. The existence of human variations is not evidence that humans evolved through an evolutionary sequence. A better question would involve an exploration of the diversity among humans descended from Noah’s family after the tower of Babel.

All these human fossils are the remains of people who descended from those who dispersed from the tower of Babel in the centuries after the global Flood. Viewed in the light of biblical history, the human fossils found in Ice Age rock layers make sense. Variations exist between these skeletons, with Homo erectus being found fairly close to Babel in Pleistocene layers dated by evolutionists to 1,800,000 to 300,000 years ago. Homo antecessor are found in layers dated by evolutionists to around 1,200,000 to 800,000 years ago, and Homo heidelbergensis fossils are found in layers dated by evolutionists to around 600,000 yearsago. Neanderthals (dated by evolutionists to around 600,000 to 30,000 years ago) appear above that level, and only early modern humans are preserved in the layers above these. Biblically we understand that a variety of people dispersed from Babel, and these human fossils track their scattering around the globe. Yet all of these human fossils were just as human as we are.

4. LiveScience: “Earth’s Earliest Dinosaur Possibly Discovered

Deepest dino-parts emerge from the fossil record.

While evolutionists are convinced that dinosaurs evolved to rule the “Age of Reptiles” and to leave their everlasting legacy by evolving into birds, they are not in agreement about when these extinct beasts first made their appearance. Six vertebrae and a part of a humerus (upper arm bone) found in the 1930s in Tanzania have been reexamined and admitted to the “dinosaur hall of fame,” extending the evolutionary history of dinosaurs back “possibly 15 Myr [million years] earlier”9 than previously thought.

bone This fossilized humerus has a pointy protrusion, seen on the left in this photo, called the deltopectoral crest. To this bony prominence, commonly seen in dinosaurs deemed by evolutionary paleontologists to be more primitive, shoulder muscles attached. The bone has an internal structural pattern also common in dinosaurs. The microscopic fibers appear to have been laid down in a disorganized fashion typical of a rapidly growing animal. Image credit: Natural History Museum, London, through www.livescience.com.

Paleontologist Rex Parrington found the bones near Africa’s Lake Nyasa (now called Lake Malawi) in the 1930s, but their identity remained in dispute. Since they were recovered from rock layers commonly thought to be older than any known dinosaur fossils, researchers at the Natural History Museum, London, in the 1950s did not publish the results of their examination. Hans-Dieter Sues of the National Museum of History in Washington, DC, explains, “I first saw the bones in the 1970s when the late Alan Charig (one of the co-authors) showed them to me. At that time none of his colleagues would accept that dinosaurs had appeared so early in geological history.” Now, by comparing the shape and internal microscopic structure of the bones with other dinosaur fossils, researchers have finally published their conclusion that the bones really did belong to a dinosaur. Its new “saurus” name—Nyasasaurus parringtoni—memorializes the place of discovery and its discoverer.

Dinosaur fossils are found primarily in the Late Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous rock layers. The “earliest undisputed” dinosaur fossils are from Argentina and are conventionally dated at around 230 million years. “Previous to this find, all the oldest dinosaurs were all equally old from the same place in Argentina, and those sediments are about 230 million years [old],” explains lead author Sterling Nesbitt. “So this pushes the dinosaur lineage or the closest relative to dinosaurs all the way back to the Middle Triassic. This is our best evidence of a Middle Triassic dinosaur.”

The bones of Nyasasaurus came from Middle Triassic rock layers, conventionally dated at 240–245 million years. The dates were assigned by comparing the fossils in the vicinity with fossils elsewhere and assigning the age of the layers according to evolutionary beliefs about the age of the fossils in them.10

The discussion of how old the dinosaurs really are is important for evolutionists because they need to establish an evolutionary ancestry from simpler creatures. Thus it is inconvenient to have these impressive animals appear too suddenly in the fossil record. There have been disputed reports of dinosaur footprints in rock dated as early as 250 million years,11 but the authors note in the their Biology Letters paper that all such evidence of very early dinosaurs—prior to this discovery, that is—have “proved to be non-dinosaurian, referable to taxa with convergent morphology, or ambiguously identified.”9

The evolutionary world is pleased with this discovery as the paucity of dinosaur fossils with such an early age suggests to them that dinosaurs had evolved but hadn’t yet risen from obscurity to cover the globe with their dominant presence. “If the newly named Nyasasaurus parringtoni is not the earliest dinosaur, then it is the closest relative found so far,” says Nesbitt. “They were a unique group, but they didn't evolve and take over terrestrial ecosystems immediately. Most of what we see in museums are from the Jurassic and Cretaceous when they did dominate — at their origins they were just a part of the radiation of Archosaurs [animals such as crocodiles and dinosaurs].”

Despite these conclusions, this study does not demonstrate the gradual evolution of dinosaurs. First of all, the dates themselves are based on unverifiable assumptions. Secondly, the assumption that dinosaurs had to evolve over millions of years and then continue evolving to improve their earthly dominance is a story built on the imaginary presumption that animals evolved from simpler kinds of animals. In fact, no such evolutionary transitions have been documented. And finally, the fossils of various sorts of dinosaurs show only variations among dinosaurs, not evolutionary progression from non-dinosaurs to dinosaurs to birds. Nothing about a deltopectoral crest (see photo caption), for instance, indicates a dinosaur is millions of years more ancient than other dinosaurs. The bony detail is simply a feature of dinosaurs that paleontologists have decided must be primitive because they must construct an evolutionary tree of life that preserves their worldview.

Based on biblical history we know that all kinds of land animals, which would have included dinosaurs, were created along with Adam and Eve on the Sixth Day of Creation Week, without evolution, about 6,000 years ago. They, like other animals, varied within their kinds as they reproduced “after their kinds” over the years. The global Flood buried billions of organisms, and the order seen within much of the fossil record is a record of the order of burial of animals and plants as various habitats were overcome by rising waters and catastrophically buried in tons of sediment.

Even the finding of footprints fossilized in layers deeper than corresponding animals is consistent with the global Flood model, for many animals fleeing rising floodwaters would have scrambled to temporary safety, leaving their tracks in the mineral-rich water-soaked sediments, before finally being overcome. Nyasasaurus, therefore, understood in the light of biblical history, was simply one of the earlier dinosaurs to be buried.

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5. FOX News: “Homosexuality ultimately a result of gene regulation, researchers find

Despite mathematical manipulation of assumptions, homosexuality remains a sinful choice, not an inherited mandate.

Homosexuality has long been an enigma for evolutionists, an aberrant behavior claiming to be natural, and a deviant behavior in search of an excuse. Despite pop-media headlines to the contrary, the latest research—distilled down to 27 pages of prodigious statistical gymnastics and double-speak—cannot demonstrate a physical reason a homosexual person is homosexual.

The homosexual population, as a political and social force in modern society, demands to be considered “normal.” After all, some animals exhibit behavior suggesting same-sex preference,12 and evolutionists assure us we are just highly evolved animals, therefore—some claim—homosexual behavior must just be a normal variation. However, from an evolutionary point of view, same-sex partner preference makes no sense.

The authors of “Homosexuality as a consequence of epigenetically canalized sexual development,” published this month in The Quarterly Review of Biology, call the occurrence of homosexuality in either animals or humans “perplexing.” They write, “Homosexuality is frequently considered to be an unusual phenotype because it represents an evolutionary enigma—a trait that is expected to reduce Darwinian fitness, yet it persists at substantial frequency across many different (possibly all) human populations.”13 In other words, homosexual behavior does not promote the production of similar offspring, since by its very nature it cannot produce any offspring at all.

In an effort to provide a physical explanation for behavior known biblically to be a sin, many researchers have sought a genetic explanation. After all, a genetic “excuse” would seem to get homosexuals experiencing disapproval from family and society “off the hook” and justify the “I was born that way—I can’t help it—accept me the way I am” attitude. Yet if such a genetic dictate were to be found, it would still fly in the face of Darwinian tenets. While biological families with homosexual members do have a slightly increased incidence of having other homosexual members, the authors admit the statistical likelihood—even the 20% likelihood seen in identical twins—is insufficient to justify claims that homosexuality is a genetically inherited trait. Furthermore, as the authors freely admit, absolutely no such “gay gene” has ever been found.

“Although pedigree studies indicate a familial association of homosexuality in both males and females,” the authors write, “more than a decade of molecular genetic studies have produced no consistent evidence for a major gene, or other genetic marker, contributing to male homosexuality. Moreover, the most recent genome-wide association study using exceptionally high marker density found no significant association between homosexuality in males and any SNPs.”14 Thus, the authors of this study affirm that no genetic change associated with homosexuality has ever been found. And if such a “gay gene” did exist, the prevalence of homosexuality in biological families would be much higher. Furthermore, they do not claim to have actually found such a genetic or even an epigenetic change themselves.

The latest research, so proudly hailed in the headlines for proving homosexuality to be the result of gene regulation, does nothing of the kind. Despite the fact that homosexuality is a preference with absolutely no anatomical marker or trigger, the authors conclude that it must be related to hypothetical epigenetic gene regulators passed on from generation to generation. And to create an evolutionary reason for these hypothetical promoters of homosexuality to persist, they weave the scenario that these undiscovered markers might be helpful to mothers but alter the nature of their babies.

Epigenetic changes are modifications of the genetic switches that regulate gene expression. They result in a phenotypic change (change in observable characteristics) without alteration in genetic sequences. If epigenetic changes affect the DNA in germ cells (reproductively relevant cells, namely sperm or eggs) or if organisms prone to develop these changes possess a selective advantage that increases their chance of survival and reproduction, then the phenotype may be passed on to offspring.15 Thus, to be passed on, the authors reason, these changes must be advantageous to the mother, since homosexuality cannot be evolutionarily advantageous for the offspring.

“Ultimately, homosexuality would mean that you could not sexually reproduce and have offspring—so how could that be any kind of proof of evolution? It would actually inhibit evolution, not progress it,” points out molecular geneticist Dr. Georgia Purdom of Answers in Genesis.16

The published report reviews what is known about the interaction of hormones (mainly testosterone) with normal and abnormal fetal development in males and females. All humans have circulating levels of testosterone, and levels in males are generally higher. However, several factors genetically intrinsic to females make them less sensitive to testosterone, so even baby girls born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) and thereby exposed to huge levels of testosterone in the womb are only born with “ambiguous” (and repair-able) genitalia, not male anatomy.17 Similarly, genetically programmed factors make male fetuses more sensitive to testosterone than their mothers or sisters and therefore anatomically male.

Even though the regulatory mechanisms in human fetal sexual development are finely-tuned, the researchers concluded that the very existence of complex regulatory effects are evidence that epigenetic markers could influence subsequent sexual preference—a trait having no relationship to sexual anatomy. They present no evidence that abnormalities of fetal development produce homosexual behavior. Nevertheless, they create analogies and draw conclusions.

Their paper is replete with vocabulary to put a nice face on the fact that they discovered nothing and proved nothing. They have discovered no “epi-marks” but only mathematically model what could result if such epigenetic factors existed in the first place and then got passed down through generations. The authors conclude, “Although we cannot provide definitive evidence that homosexuality has a strong epigenetic underpinning, we do think that available evidence is fully consistent with this conclusion.”13

“This study is basically just a mathematical model that the researchers have developed,” Dr. Purdom explains. “They report no biological assessment of this. It's merely a model they've developed, though they would like to test it in the future to see if this possibly could be some sort of link to homosexuality.”

In essence, the authors of this study have taken the fact that heritable epigenetic factors allowing organisms to reversibly adapt to an environment are known to exist and assumed they must explain homosexuality, an otherwise inexplicable behavior from an evolutionary point of view. The evolutionary enigma regarding homosexuality, moreover, stems from the unsupported assumption that homosexuality is a phenotypic trait intrinsic to the biological make-up of a person rather than a sinful chosen lifestyle.

While the study reflects wishful thinking that biological evolution could explain homosexual behavior, the media headlines not only misrepresent the results but also exaggerate the authors’ claims. To say “no evidence” (as the authors wrote) is a far cry from the declaration in the headline proclaiming proof that homosexuality has a biological genetic cause. Such misleading headlines are irresponsible ways of deliberately deceiving and manipulating busy people who often glean their news from a glance at the headlines.

What is passed on from generation to generation in human beings, in relation to homosexuality, is a sinful nature. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, people have continued to choose their own way in rebellion to God. Our Creator, has the authority to say what behaviors and passions are and are not right. He also loves us and knows what is ultimately best for us. All sin is rebellion against God. Homosexuality, as described in Romans 1:24–32, is a sin that has been particularly associated with the slippery slope of sinful attitudes and lifestyles leading to ever greater rebellion, social degradation, disease, and spiritual blindness throughout history. Dressing this sin up as natural, normal, and unavoidable does not change that biblical and historical reality.

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And Don’t Miss . . .

  • A recent op-ed piece in the New York Times declared young earth creationist thinking to be “antediluvian anti-intellectualism” and predicted leaders who think that way will “go the way of the dinosaurs.” The columnist particularly mocks those who believe dinosaurs lived at the same time as man. Yet as we so often discuss, the “science” on which old-earth beliefs is based is historical science and relies on worldview-based assumptions and interpretations of scientific data rather than testable verifiable scientific observations. The columnist specifically misrepresented the Ark Encounter project planned for Kentucky. Below is a response letter that Answers in Genesis’s CCO Mark Looy sent to the New York Times. Though the letter met the length limitations specified by the newspaper, the paper has not printed the response. We therefore are posting it below.

    Editor:

    A December 8 op-ed led readers to the wrong conclusion about the proposed Ark Encounter attraction in northern Kentucky. A columnist declared that the historically themed Noah’s Ark attraction will be built “with $43 million in state tax incentives.”18

    In reality, no state money will build the Ark Encounter. Now, if the finished Ark meets attendance goals and sees tourism dollars flow into the state, it will receive partial rebates on sales taxes paid by its visitors. At the end of an operating year, the rebate that will go back to the completed attraction will come from those who chose to visit. No unwilling taxpayer will subsidize the Ark, and thus there is no establishment of religion. Neither is anyone being forced to visit and hear about the history of the Earth according to the Bible, including its account of the Ark and Flood.

    Sincerely,
    Mark Looy
    CCO
    AiG/Ark Encounter/Creation Museum

    (This is not the first time the New York Times has printed misleading, erroneous material about this project, falsely alleging that taxpayers’ dollars will be used to build or operate the Ark Encounter in violation of the First Amendment. Then as now the Times refused to publish our response. See Remarkable Charges by a Christian Against the Ark Encounter and AiG and News to Note, June 18, 2011.)

For more information: Get Answers


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Footnotes

  1. See News to Note, December 8, 2012 for more about legally permissible Christmas displays. Back
  2. www.nydailynews.com/explorer-bob-ballard-finds-proof-ancient-flood-article-1.1220407 Back
  3. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_deluge_theory Back
  4. Flood Legends Back
  5. See Proof of Noah’s Flood at the Black Sea? and Black Sea Flood Link to Noah Sinking Fast. Back
  6. Where Does the Ice Age Fit? Back
  7. News to Note, June 16, 2012 Back (1) Back (2)
  8. Those Enigmatic Neanderthals Back
  9. rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/9/1/20120949.full Back (1) Back (2)
  10. These determinations are called “biostratigraphic comparisons.” rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/9/1/20120949.full Sedimentary rock, in which most fossils are found, cannot be evaluated directly using radiometric dating but is often dated by comparison with radiometric date interpretations of nearby volcanic rock. Sedimentary rock layers with similar fossils are also assumed to be from a similar time period. The dates assigned using radiometric dating depend on a number of unverifiable assumptions. Read more about it at Radiometric Dating: Back to Basics, Radiometric Dating: Problems with the Assumptions, Radiometric Dating: Making Sense of the Patterns, and Chapter 31: Doesn’t the Order of Fossils in the Rock Record Favor Long Ages?. Back
  11. For example, www.livescience.com/10798-oldest-dinosaur-footprints-discovered.html Back
  12. See News to Note, August 18, 2012 and www.citizenlink.com/2012/08/10/nature-journalists-distort-animal-studies-of-gay-sexuality. Back
  13. W. Rice et al. “Homosexuality as a consequence of epigenetically canalized sexual development,” The Quarterly Review of Biology 87, no. 4 (2012):343–368. Back (1) Back (2)
  14. From W. Rice et al. “Homosexuality as a consequence of epigenetically canalized sexual development,” The Quarterly Review of Biology 87, no. 4 (2012):354. SNPs refers to “single nucleotide polymorphisms.” A SNP is a variation in the base pair in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene. Many mutations consist of SNPs, and such genetic changes alter the code in the actual gene and can be passed on to offspring through the usual processes of Mendelian genetics. Back
  15. Heritable epigenetic changes have been reported in plants, fruit flies, mice, roundworms, and humans (News to Note, February 18, 2012). Back
  16. Reported in a recent interview www.onenewsnow.com/media/2012/12/14/study-tries-to-link-homosexuality-to-evolution Back
  17. See Feedback: Hermaphroditism for more information. Back
  18. www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/opinion/blow-dinosaurs-and-denial.html Back