1. Science Daily: “Genetic Study of House Dust Mites Demonstrates Reversible Evolution

Dust mites defy Dollo’s law.

About 1.2 billion people worldwide are allergic to dust mites. University of Michigan’s Pavel Klimov and Barry O’Connor believe these free-living, non-parasitic, but allergy-causing arachnids prove that reverse evolution is possible. Tiny dust mites thrive in even the cleanest homes by scavenging bits of keratin from our dead skin cells. A paper published in Systematic Biology, titled “Is Permanent Parasitism Reversible? - Critical Evidence from Early Evolution of House Dust Mites,” concludes that our pesky, diminutive housemates, as well as other free-living mites in bird nests and in mammalian habitats, evolved from parasitic mites. And they say those parasitic skin mites afflicting birds and mammals had themselves evolved from ancestral free-living mites.

Dust Mite

Tiny dust mites that live in our homes subsist on shed skin cells. Species that live in bird nests and mammalian habitats do fine on bits of shed feather and skin debris. Unlike their parasitic relatives, they are harmless except for those allergic to them. They are being hailed as examples of reverse evolution.1

To explore the family history of the common dust mite, O’Connor’s team collected 700 species of mites from all over the world. The mites were all members of the family Pyroglyphidae. They sequenced five nuclear genes from each to construct a phylogenetic tree.

Evolutionary biologists have generally maintained, as O’Connor says, “once a parasite, always a parasite.”2 But O’Connor and Klimov report, “All our analyses conclusively demonstrated that house dust mites have abandoned a parasitic lifestyle, secondarily becoming free-living, and then in several habitats, including human habitations.” Parasitic mites live their whole lives on the bodies of their host birds and mammals. Modern free-living mites in the Pyroglyphidae family live in bird nests, mammalian habitats, and people’s houses, and the researchers presume that ancestral free-living mites did the same. The genomic data is consistent with speciation of free-living mites into these various habitats.

Dust mite lineage is making headlines because the conclusion that parasitism evolved and then unevolved violates Dollo’s law, a commonly held evolutionary principle proposed in 1893 by paleontologist Louis Dollo. According to Dollo, “a complex trait (such as being free living vs. parasitic) cannot re-evolve again in the same form.” 3

“Parasites can quickly evolve highly sophisticated mechanisms for host exploitation and can lose their ability to function away from the host body,” Klimov explains. “They often experience degradation or loss of many genes because their functions are no longer required in a rich environment where hosts provide both living space and nutrients. Many researchers in the field perceive such specialization as evolutionarily irreversible.”

Since evolution is supposed to produce more complex, more specialized creatures, many evolutionists maintain that evolution along one path closes off other possibilities, making it highly improbable that an organism will despecialize and evolve “backwards.” Parasitic forms, because they develop interdependent relationships with other organisms, are considered more specialized than free-living ancestral mites, so the subsequent loss of their parasitic nature is being widely described as reverse evolution. Klimov says, “We found that very specialized organisms like parasites can drastically become despecialized.”4

O’Connor says that the loss of parasitic specialization in mites is analogous to “regressive evolution” in humans, citing the example of the human appendix. He says, “In our strictly plant-eating relatives, this organ, called the caecum, is quite large and serves as a place where special bacteria break down tough plant fibers. When our ancestors added much more easily digested meat to our diet, a large caecum was no longer needed, so chance mutations that caused it to shrink were no longer a disadvantage.”4

O’Connor, like many evolutionary scientists of the past century and a half, is assuming that Darwin’s conclusion based on the mere presumption that humans evolved from ape-like ancestors explains the existence of appendix. However, we have recently explored the subject of the human appendix and noted that it is not an evolutionary vestige but an important functional component of our immune system. And even though there has long been strong evidence that the appendix was a functional part of the immune system, evolutionary scientists have generally ignored that fact in favor of Darwinian allegiance. (See News to Note, February 23, 2013, Organ Recital: A Parade of Presumed Design Flaws Devoid of Truth, and News to Note, March 2, 2013 to learn more.)

Furthermore, the analogy of mite variations to primate-human evolution is bogus. There is no evolutionary relationship between humans and apes (or hypothetical ape-like ancestors), as they are completely different created kinds, with only humans being created in the image of God. The mites of the Pyroglyphidae family, however, are all mites.

So has anything about this study demonstrated anything outside a creationist understanding of biology? Not at all. All the organisms in question are mites of the same family. They are variations of the same created kind. Whatever their original nature in the good world God created, we can be confident they were not harmful. Living off of the dead skin cells and bits of feather shed by people, animals, and birds requires free-living mites have digestive enzymes to process keratin. Parasitic mites lack those enzymes, but they are still mites. No evolution of more complex or less complex new kinds of organisms has been demonstrated—only variations among mites. And as an aside, it is worth noting that God, in His creative economy, even created an organism able to live off of the dead skin cells sloughed daily from the skin of people and animals.

The digestive enzymes in the waste products of the dust mites that share our homes provoke allergic responses in many people. The researchers believe their study may help develop strategies to help these allergy sufferers. Klimov says, “Our study is an example of how asking a purely academic question may result in broad practical applications. Knowing phylogenetic relationships of house dust mites may provide insights into allergenic properties of their immune-response-triggering proteins and the evolution of genes encoding allergens.” But the potential medical application of their genomic research is not a by-product of evolutionary understanding; it is simply the result of tracing the variations among mites.

For more information:

2. The New York Times: “Some Primitive Birds Flew With 4 Wings, Study Says

Do four-winged Cretaceous birds confirm dinosaurs’ role in the evolution of flight?

For some years many evolutionary paleontologists have maintained that unmistakably mature feathers appear on the legs and feet of several non-avian dinosaurs. (As we’ve discussed in numerous other articles, these genuinely feathered creatures, such as Microraptor and Anchiornis, are actually birds.) The aerodynamic significance of those feathers is debated, as is their relevance in the evolution of birds and of flight. Now, Chinese paleontologists led by Xiaoting Zhonghe report that these four-winged configurations are present in 11 different early Cretaceous birds.

Sapeornis

This fossilized bird is called a Sapeornis. The feathers on the hind-limbs are indicated in the drawing and shown in the close-up photographs. The feathers are fairly long and appear associated with the lower portion of the tibiotarsus leg bones and the metatarsal foot bones.5

Cretaceous Birds

These Cretaceous birds also have feathers on their legs. Confuciusornis (A and B) appears to have long feathers along the entire length of the tibotarsus (leg) and possibly some on the upper part of the metatarsal (foot). The enantiornithine Cathayornis (C and D) has large feathers only associated with the leg.5

The feathers in these fossils are actual feathers, not “dinofuzz” or other such structures of questionable identity. These appear to have been associated with the legs and feet of the specimens to varying degrees. Most modern birds don’t have well-developed feathers on their legs. And while some of these fossilized birds had feathers on both legs and feet, others had them only on the legs. Therefore, the authors conclude that feathered flight likely evolved through the four-winged path from dinosaurs. They believe that hind-limb flight feathers gradually evolved away, starting with the feet and then the legs, in favor of scaly feet and legs unencumbered by feathers.

While they do not know precisely how these hind-limb feathers performed during flight, they agree with other investigators that they had some sort of aerodynamic function. Even though the feathers vary in symmetry and size among the specimens, all the foot-feathers appeared to have formed a sheet-like surface (like a wing) and to have curved rachises. This, they write, suggests a genuine aerodynamic role such as “providing lift, creating drag, and/or enhancing maneuverability.”6

The authors note that some modern predatory birds actually do have well-developed contour feathers on their legs, though they lie at a low angle to the skin instead of sticking out like wings. And some, like the golden eagle, are generously supplied with fluffy feathers on their feet.6

The investigators acknowledge the difficulty of determining the true anatomy and the functional roles of feathers on extinct fossilized animals. After all, “preservational limitations make it difficult to reconstruct the precise location and orientation of the leg feathers.”6 In other words, when a fossil is preserved, it is flattened with the legs splayed out or tucked under the body, leaving paleontologists to guess about the three-dimensional anatomy and aerodynamic performance of the original creatures.

While it is refreshing to read a clear admission of the difficulty attending the reconstruction of ancient anatomy, it is unfortunate that evolutionary paleontologists seem less able to see the limitations of their reconstructions of evolutionary transitions. The fact that some birds had feathers on their legs and feet and others were feathered only on their legs does not demonstrate that flight and feathers were evolving, that birds evolved from dinosaurs, or even that some kinds of birds were evolving into other kinds of birds. God created various kinds of birds about 6,000 years ago, and neither feathers nor flight capability had to evolve. They, like all animals, were designed with the ability to vary and reproduce within their created kinds.

The fossil record does not provide a sequential history of animals changing into new and more complex kinds of organisms over millions of years. Instead, it provides predominantly a record of the order of catastrophic burial of many kinds of organisms, many of which have become extinct.

Thus, what we see in this study is that many now-extinct birds may have used hind-limb feathers to assist in flight. Or perhaps they just had hind-limb feathers like those of the few modern birds that have them; “preservational limitations” do limit what can be truly known about these extinct birds. These feathery fossils tell us something about diversity among birds God created, but nothing about how birds could evolve from dinosaurs.

3. BREATHcast: “‘The Bible’ Mini-Series on History Channel: Episode 4 Recap (Part One)

Jesus—come from God the Father with authority to deal with sin—is perceived as a threat by the Jewish and Roman leaders.

The Bible miniseries aired its fourth of five episodes on the History Channel last Sunday, covering Christ’s ministry from Galilee to Gethsemane and His trials before the Jewish Sanhedrin. Appropriately, His triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey in fulfillment of Zechariah’s messianic prophecy (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:5) was part of this Palm Sunday presentation.

Jesus

Actor Diogo Morgado, playing the role of “Jesus” in the History Channel adaptation The Bible, announces that God is willing to forgive repentant sinners in the retelling of the parable of Luke 18:10–14 and that Jesus Christ—the Son of Man—has authority to forgive sin (Mark 2:9–11).7

This episode hit some high points of Christ’s earthly ministry and despite some “cinematic adaptations” follows Scripture pretty well. John 20:30–31 tells us that the miracles Jesus performed were not only acts of compassion but also proof that He was the Son of God, the source of eternal life. Jesus’s miracles were intended to get people to listen to Him and to believe in Him. The Bible film’s selection of scenes from Christ’s ministry—and the way they were portrayed—connected Christ’s divine power over sin as well as His authority over worship to His miracles. Thus, the film did not make the mistake of presenting Jesus as a magician.

For instance, in the opening scene, Jesus heals the paralyzed man lowered through the roof to Him in a crowded house, as described in Mark 2:1–12 . Jesus first forgives the man’s sins—to the consternation of the onlooking Jewish officials who correctly declare that only God can forgive sin. Scripture records that Jesus then asked the following:

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” (Mark 2:9–11)

The script follows the Scriptures here, and the meaning is clear. Thus, from the opening scene, the purport of the miracle-ministry of Jesus is explained through Scriptural dialogue and action.

The opening narration states that Jesus came to “offer a new way” in contrast to the pharisaical “strict observance of the law.” And while this could be misconstrued to suggest Jesus downplayed the sinfulness of sin, placement of the forgiveness and healing of the paralytic immediately after this narration shows the scriptwriters were not trying to give us a false Jesus who ignores sin.

Likewise, the John 8:3–11 incident with the adulterous woman presents Christ’s challenging accusation of sinfulness to her accusers and His ultimate admonition to her to “go and sin no more.” And in another powerful scene, Jesus tells the Luke 18:10–14 parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee who went to the temple to pray in clear earshot not only of a Pharisee, who is arrogantly condemning Matthew the tax collector, but also of Matthew himself. Convicted of his sin, his need for God’s mercy, and the promise that God would respond to his repentant prayer—Matthew responds. Scenes like this should help viewers see that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost ( Luke 19:10). So while one of the earlier episodes seemed “soft on sin,” this one—though it lacks any of Christ’s preaching about hell—does not ignore man’s sin problem or suggest a false Jesus that considered sin unimportant.

Scripture records that many people misunderstood Jesus’s miracles. The film depicts this in the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes. Afterward the people sought to make Him king by force, and Jesus slipped away from them, as Scripture records (John 6:1–15). The Jewish leadership and Rome also saw His miracles and the consequent devotion of the crowds as a threat. The film shows the resulting collusion among the Jewish leadership to arrest and condemn Jesus in order to preserve their own position and the Jewish way of life.

When Nicodemus, himself a Pharisee who has learned from Jesus that he cannot enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again (John 3:1–21), asks “what if He really is the Messiah?” and when Judas indicates his dissatisfaction with Jesus, the Jewish leaders maintain that no genuine Messiah from God would disturb the temple activities but would instead unite the nation. This reflects the historical and biblical truth that the Jews had largely come to misunderstand Old Testament prophecy and to expect a political Messiah, not realizing their greatest need was to be saved from sin. They erred, thinking their ritual was sufficient for salvation (Hebrews 10:1–20). They did not understand that the sacrifices and the temple services were, as chapters 8–10 in the book of Hebrews make clear, only symbols of the sacrifice to be made by the true Lamb of God for sin (1 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 1:18–21; Hebrews 9:24, 28).

The depictions of Jesus and the disciples were refreshing, prompting even one critical writer to note the following:

Portugese actor, Diogo Morgado, who plays the role of “Jesus,” gives us a character that is much more balanced than some other Jesus characters I have viewed in past programs [other movies]. Unlike some of them, Morgado’s character is capable of something other than a syrupy, pasted on, smile and bubbliness permeating every scene. Morgado’s character actually shows some anger at times, and in particular in the scene where Jesus tosses over a couple of the money changer’s tables and scolds them for turning the temple into a “den of thieves.” This “Jesus” flexes a little muscle.

It was also refreshing to see the disciples of Jesus portraying their characters as real, living and breathing, persons and not a group of happy-clappy cultists dancing around and handing out loving glances at all the “sinners” as if they were followers of Hare Krishna distributing love and flowers at an airport.8

There are some gaps. When Jesus declares Himself to be “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), He doesn’t include, “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Also, at the Last Supper in the film, Jesus does give His disciples the bread and the cup, saying, “This is my body,” and “This is my blood,” and He commands them to repeat these actions in remembrance of Him. However, the dialogue leaves out the reason His blood was about to be shed: “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:26–28, emphasis added). Thus the fact that Jesus Christ’s shed blood provides the only way (Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 4:6) to satisfy justice, atone for sin, and reconcile us to God (Romans 5:8–12; 2 Corinthians 5:18) may not be clear to some viewers.

As we’ve said before in previous reviews, this miniseries is an adaptation, not a strict presentation of Scripture. Hopefully, the high quality and the high publicity will draw many to read the Bible for themselves and to be ready to discuss Christ with Christians. We should pray that “God would open to us a door for the word” (Colossians 4:3) using the film, be thankful the film presented a Christ who came from God the Father to deal with sin, and be prepared to clarify from the Bible exactly how He did it.

For more information:

4. Fox News: “University: ‘Jesus Stomp’ Student Will Not Be Punished

Lesson on intercultural communication demonstrates what not to do.

In the wake of an outpour of public sentiment, legal intervention from the Liberty Institute,9 and a stern rebuke from Florida governor Rick Scott, Florida Atlantic University has now issued an apology for instructing students to stomp on the name of Jesus. Supposedly aimed at illustrating principles of intercultural communication, the ill-conceived classroom activity was a better example of how to be offensive and shut down communication. Such exercises desensitize students to attacks on religious people and encourage an arrogant attitude of intolerance toward people of faith.

Stomp

What’s in a name? Christians do not worship a piece of paper or a symbol, but the Lord’s name is important because the respect we show to His name is a pattern of the reverence we show to Him, our living Savior, the Son of God. Thus, God commands us not to blaspheme, not because we will somehow injure Him but because we injure our own relationship with Him and demean Him before others. Scripture tells us that Jesus once hung dead on a Cross, crucified for our sins. Having paid the price for the sins of mankind (Hebrews 2:9), He then rose from the dead. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11).10

“I am deeply disappointed in the recent action of Florida Atlantic University faculty that raises significant questions over students rights and the lessons being taught in our classrooms,” Governor Scott wrote in a letter to the chancellor of Florida’s university system. “As we enter the week memorializing the events of Christ’s passion, this incident gave me great concern over the lessons we are teaching our students. The professor’s lesson was offensive, and even intolerant, to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom.”11

The incident began about three weeks ago in a Florida Atlantic University class on intercultural communication. Professor Deandre Poole instructed the students, as suggested in the textbook Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition, to “… write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper. Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”

One student, Rick Rotela, refused and told the professor he planned to report the offensive assignment. After filing a complaint with university administrators, Rotela became the target. Pending a hearing for “alleged violation of the student code of conduct, acts of verbal, written or physical abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion or other conduct which threaten the health, safety or welfare of any person,” he was told in a letter from Associate Dean Rozalia Williams, “… you may not attend class or contact any of the students involved in this matter – verbally or electronically – or by any other means. Please be advised that a Student Affairs hold may be placed on your records until final disposition of the complaint.”12

“Decades ago, the Supreme Court ruled that students do not leave their First Amendment rights at the school house gate: That is still true today,” says Hiram Sasser, director of litigation at Liberty Institute.13 Plans for the disciplinary hearing have now been dropped, Rotela has been reinstated and provided with an alternate class, and the university has apologized to the student and the community. Dr. Charles Brown, senior vice president for Student Affairs, says the activity was insensitive and that the university underestimated the hurt it would cause. Dr. Brown says the university embraces academic freedom and failed in its responsibility by using this activity in its classes. (You may view Dr. Brown’s statement at http://www.bizpacreview.com/2013/03/26/media-storm-causes-fau-to-release-video-apology-for-jesus-stomping-57964.)

Commenting on the incident, Sasser observes, “The textbook reveals the agenda. So-called intellectual enlightenment is stomping on everything that has held western civilization together for the past 2,000 years.”12

This assignment draws to mind a scene from C.S. Lewis’s book That Hideous Strength, the third novel in his famous space trilogy. In the scene, non-Christian sociologist Mark Studdock is being groomed for his expanding role in an organization bent on advancing evil, humanistic goals for mankind under the guise of science. To desensitize Studdock to Christian mores—“a dominant system in the subconscious of many individuals”—14he is commanded to abuse a large wooden crucifix on the floor. Though Studdock considers Christianity to be superstition, he resists. Though he “did not regard the image with anything at all like a religious feeling,”14 Studdock realized that to abuse the symbol would be a “step over a precipice.”14 He realized that being so desensitized to respect for the symbol of the Christian faith, in which are rooted the moral foundations of society, was somehow dangerous for him personally.

Similarly, such exercises as this “stomping on Jesus” exercise, while they clearly illustrate the powerful cultural significance of the Lord’s name, do not facilitate intercultural communication. No one communicates better with others by learning to disrespect their beliefs. Furthermore, encouraging students to try a little blasphemy—just to see how it feels—is not an appropriate classroom activity. Sasser comments that this episode is “a testimony to the indoctrination that some of the public schools and universities are engaging in—to demonize anything that was valuable in the culture.”12

As an aside, early in my medical training, I was encouraged by a superior to “do one abortion, just to see how it makes you feel.” And though she merely wanted to “free” me from what she regarded as inconvenient and unfounded moral concerns so I could earn extra money at the local abortion clinic—the result would have been to desensitize me to the sanctity of human life. Her Christian colleague quietly countered that I should “just try a little murder to see how it feels,” ending the discussion.

Biblical values are under attack in our society. Educational institutions do not help students become intellectually and spiritually stronger by demeaning their faith. The public outcry against this offensive exercise is encouraging. Yet we see an insidious, socially acceptable assault on faith in the name of science, unfortunately, when students espousing a biblical understanding of origins are systematically and intentionally pushed toward a “crisis of faith.” At many colleges and universities, students are either intimidated by atheists or more subtly taught that they should not trust the Word of God, often by professors pushing a theistic evolutionary point of view as Dennis Venema does at Canada’s Trinity Western University.15

Sasser comments, “It just takes one person to stand up against this type of aggressive nonsense. It also takes like-minded people standing together to say we are not going to tolerate this type of religious bigotry. When we all stand together—we win.” Likewise, those of us who espouse a biblical understanding of our origins realize that God’s Word is not incompatible with the actual findings of science, but only with worldview-based evolutionary interpretations. We must be vigilant to deal with the misinformation and intimidation inflicted on students as they leave home. We need to equip our students with clear answers from God’s Word and a discerning mind so that their faith will be able to stand the onslaughts to come.

5. BBC News: “Planck satellite: Maps detail Universe’s ancient light

Planck map increases age estimate of the universe but confirms a plank of the big bang model just doesn’t fit.

The European Space Agency just released an upgraded map of the universe’s distant cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB). Believing that looking so far away is the same as looking back in time, many conventional cosmologists consider this the same as looking back to a time just after the big bang. (See Distant Starlight for more information about problems with this notion.) The latest findings change a few things and contain some surprises.

Planck

This graphic representation of the Planck satellite’s data shows more variations than predicted from the big bang model. Analysis of the data has refined the Hubble constant, a measure of the rate of expansion of the universe. Calculations based on this measurement and the big bang model have produced a slightly older age for the universe than the previous commonly accepted age.16

The existence of cosmic background radiation was originally predicted as a consequence of the big bang model. Therefore, when CMB was actually discovered in 1965, the big bang model became the model of origins accepted by most cosmologists.

Just what is CMB? Answers in Genesis astronomer Dr. Danny Faulkner explains:

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) supposedly arises from an era that took place about 400,000 years after the big bang, when matter had cooled to a temperature of approximately 3,000 K, which allowed electrons and protons to combine to form stable hydrogen atoms for the first time. Prior to this hypothetical “age of recombination,” photons of light could not travel far before they were absorbed by the electrons. This made the universe opaque. After this time, the universe would have been transparent, allowing photons to decouple from matter and pass mostly unhindered through space. Today, we see the radiation from the “age of recombination” coming from all directions after it had traveled billions of light years, but since the universe has expanded about a thousandfold since, this distant radiation has cooled by a factor of a thousand to about 2.73 K.17

The big bang model has been modified to attempt to make it fit observation, and one necessary modification has be the idea of inflation. Dr. Faulkner states the following:

Inflation posits that very shortly after the big bang, the universe underwent a very rapid expansion to a much larger size. Descriptions of the process vary, but typically, inflation supposedly happened about 10–35 seconds after the big bang, during which the now-visible universe expanded from perhaps the size of a proton to the size of an orange. Note that inflation is far faster than the speed of light, and that the normal rate of universal expansion that we see today prevailed after inflation.17

But inflation, if it occurred, should have produced homogenous uniformity in the CMB. The CMB should be evenly distributed throughout the universe. Yet in 2003, NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) showed that CMB is not so homogeneous after all. The latest reported analysis of data from the Planck Satellite refines the information from the WMAP, confirming that the CMB is not nearly so homogeneous as the big bang model needs for it to be.

The wrinkle in the data is the non-homogeneity in the CMB. Commenting on the new findings, Dr. Faulkner gives the following explanation:

It’s interesting that some of the results of this data, such as the expansion rate of the universe, are at variance with measurements made by other means. Furthermore, the Planck map verifies a large anisotropy detected by WMAP. This anisotropy would appear to violate the assumption of homogeneity, upon which the big bang model critically depends. Proponents of the big bang minimize this, because their entire model would come clattering down otherwise.

Headlines around the globe are declaring that the latest information from the Planck Satellite confirms the big bang really happened. But what it confirms is that there is cosmic microwave background radiation and that there are slight deviations in the temperature. The new map does not offer a reenactment of the big bang. And while the slight variations in temperature are interpreted as cooler areas left where matter condensed to form stars and galaxies, that interpretation is also based on acceptance of the big bang model. Instead, the data confirms that CMB exists and that there are temperature variations in the universe but cannot demonstrate how they came to be.

What the Planck data does provide are more refined measurements of physical constants such as the Hubble constant, a measure of the present rate of expansion of the universe. Because that number is actually a little smaller than previously thought, the calculated age of the universe just got about 80 million years older, now being set at 13.82 billion years. Yet while the Hubble constant is measurable, the age calculation depends on all the unverifiable assumptions of the big bang model.

Explaining the significance of the new findings with regard to the big bang model, Dr. Faulkner states the following:

The discovery of the CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) in 1965 was taken by most astronomers as proof of the big bang. Its discovery is the reason why the big bang became the dominant cosmological model. To constrain the big bang model, cosmologists require an all-sky map of the CMB, a task that has been done three times now. This recent survey by the Planck is an improvement of the map provided by the WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe) of a decade ago, which itself was an improvement of the map produced by COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) a decade earlier than that. The results, such as the age of the big bang universe, gleaned from maps such as this are extremely model dependent. That is, if the model is altered, the results are altered.

Ultimately, people generally see a map like this what they want to see. If one believes the big bang, one sees in this great evidence of the big bang. On the other hand, people like me who don’t believe the big bang aren’t very impressed.

So should we expect this discrepancy in the CMB to alter conventional cosmological opinions about the big bang? No. Those big bang interpretations are based on unverifiable, worldview-based assumptions that demand a way to explain origins without God and to ignore the biblical account of origins. As Martin White, one of the Planck scientists, says, “This is one of the most exciting parts of the data, is this apparent tension between these different ways to estimate how rapidly the universe is expanding. The hope would be that this is actually pointing toward some deficiency in the models or some extra physics.”18

As in the past, the big bang model may undergo some refinement to accommodate the new data. But the fact that slight temperature variations and CMB exist does not confirm the big bang happened. And the latest data just adds to the scientific problems the big bang model already has.

And Don’t Miss …

  • An offer of $10,000 to anyone who can disprove the Genesis account of origins before a judge is making headlines worldwide. Kinesiologist Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo issued the challenge. All evidence presented before an agreed-upon judge must be “scientific, objective, valid, reliable and calibrated.” 19

    Asked to comment on the contest, Answers in Genesis molecular geneticist Dr. Georgia Purdom said, “While we are generally supportive of attempts by people to expose the bankruptcy of molecules-to-man evolution, we are not sanguine about efforts that claim creation can be proven today. Both creation and evolution are outside the domain of ‘observational science’ and thus neither is provable. Instead, the creation vs. evolution question involves ‘historical science,’ which is used to interpret the evidence we see today. The evidence does not speak for itself; in fact, it is subject to interpretive bias” (emphasis added). Evolutionary claims are a historical science and—because they concern unobservable, untestable events long past—they are not scientifically provable, experimentally verifiable, or objectively observable. This fact eludes many people. “No judge is completely without bias,” explains Dr. Purdom. “Furthermore, if the judge does not understand the difference between observational science and historical science, the sheer number of scientists who accept evolution might sway him to the evolution position. In that case, the creationist movement would be dealt a setback in the public’s mind.” A person’s presuppositions and worldview invariably determine how he interprets evidence relevant to our origins. Biblical creationists believe that God the Creator was the only eyewitness to our origins. And just as God has told us the truth about His love for us, the origin of sin and suffering, and our need for a Savior in the Bible, He has also told us the truth about creation and the global Flood that shaped our present world.

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Footnotes

  1. Image credit: National Geographic Creative/Getty through http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/03/18/evolution-bites-the-dust-how-did-mites-get-less-specialized.html Back
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/14/house-dust-mites-prove-reversible-evolution-study_n_2878379.html Back
  3. P. Klimov and B. O’Connor, “Is Permanent Parasitism Reversible? - Critical Evidence from Early Evolution of House Dust Mites,” Systematic Biology (15 February 2013) doi:10.1093/sysbio/syt008 http://sysbio.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/03/06/sysbio.syt008 Back
  4. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/03/18/evolution-bites-the-dust-how-did-mites-get-less-specialized.html Back (1) Back (2)
  5. Image credit: X. Zheng et al., “Hind Wings in Basal Birds and the Evolution of Leg Feathers,” Science (15 March 2013) 339 (6125): 1309–1312. doi:10.1126/science.1228753 Back (1) Back (2)
  6. X. Zheng et al., “Hind Wings in Basal Birds and the Evolution of Leg Feathers,” Science (15 March 2013) 339 (6125): 1309–1312. doi:10.1126/science.1228753 Back (1) Back (2) Back (3)
  7. Image credit: The Bible on the History Channel through http://breathecast.christianpost.com/articles/6761/20130325/the-bible-mini-series-on-history-channel-episode-4-recap-part-one.htm Back
  8. http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=28453 Back
  9. The Liberty Institute is a nonprofit organization established in 1972 to restore religious liberty in America. http://www.libertyinstitute.org Back
  10. Image credit: http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/university-jesus-stomp-student-will-not-be-punished.html Back
  11. http://mobile.wnd.com/2013/03/florida-governor-stokes-stomp-on-jesus-fire/ Back
  12. http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/university-files-charges-against-student-who-refused-to-stomp-on-jesus.html Back (1) Back (2) Back (3)
  13. http://blog.libertyinstitute.org/2013/03/florida-student-declares-victory-after.html Back
  14. C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength, chapter 15, originally copyright 1946, Harper-Collins e-books. Back (1) Back (2) Back (3)
  15. News to Note, September 15, 2012 Back
  16. Image credit: ESA/Planck Collaboration through http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21866464 Back
  17. Have Cosmologists Discovered Evidence of Inflation? Back (1) Back (2)
  18. http://news.yahoo.com/map-big-bang-light-hints-exotic-physics-205428311.html Back
  19. http://www.christianpress.com/us/539-10000-prize-offered-for-proof-genesis-account-of-creation-didnt-happen.html Back