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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 21, 2009 / 27 Iyar 5769

Evolution and the new fuel-efficiency standards

By Bob Tyrrell


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This week, a 47 million-year-old fossil was put on display at New York's American Museum of Natural History. Scientists accorded the event enormous attention, as did the press. The creature may be related to us, though it looks like a cat, not a chimpanzee, and certainly nothing like your mother or father or even one of your more eccentric aunts or uncles. Evolutionists tell us that of all the creatures known to science, we humans are most closely related to chimpanzees.


That is not the whole story, of course. According to a very fine book that I have been reading, "Why Evolution Is True," by Jerry A. Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago, mankind can be traced back over 3 billion years, to our most distant relatives: self-replicating molecules. The fossil unveiled at the American Museum of Natural History is a relative newcomer, but she (the creature was a young female) has cleared up a debate among scientists. Anthropologists had been pretty certain that we evolved from apelike ancestors, but they had been divided on precisely which one. There were two, the family Tarsiidae — whose descendants, the tarsiers, are jungle creatures now living in Asia — and the family Adapidae, who were precursors of the lemur of Madagascar.


Scientists base their speculations on fossils that are rarely complete. Some scientists have extrapolated our ancestors from as little evidence as a tooth. The lucky ones have had a jawbone or a rib or some other skeletal fragment. This week's fossil displayed in New York is a complete skeleton, except for a missing lower leg. From it, evidence mounts that our ancestors were the Adapidae, the precursors of the lemur. "Lemur advocates will be delighted," Tim White, a California paleontologist, is quoted as saying in The Wall Street Journal, "but tarsier advocates will be underwhelmed." Scientists are given to such disputes, and then there are the creationists, who doubt we have any animal ancestors whatsoever. Let the debate continue.


What I have found fascinating in Coyne's book is how very old Earth is. Some of his evidence comes from fossils and measurements of the radioactivity in the layers of stone that harbors the fossils. The radioactivity gives us a good idea of the stone's age, and the progression of the fossils gives us an idea of their steady development.


Scientists, by dating old rocks, have established that Earth is 4.3 billion years old. The earliest fossils, those being photosynthetic bacteria, trace the beginning of life on the planet to about 3.5 billion years ago. About 600 million years ago, multicelled organisms appeared, for instance, worms and jellyfish. Then came terrestrial plants and four-legged animals, about 400 million years ago. Mammals did not show up until 250 million years ago, and birds can be found in fossil form dating from 50 million years ago.


Coyne writes, "Humans are newcomers on the scene — our lineage branches off from that of other primates only about 7 million years ago, the merest sliver of evolutionary time." Then just over four decades ago, Barack Obama was born, and just over six decades ago, Newt Gingrich.


Coyne and other evolutionary biologists have had their theories fortified by the ability, starting three decades back, to sequence the genomes of various species and discover genes shared by related species, some that still work, some that do not, thus allowing us to go on our merry way from, say, our relative the chimpanzee. The key to this process, scientists say, is natural selection. There are good genes, which help us survive, and not-so-good genes, which deny those who carry them the possibility of survival.


Now, creationists find all this highly dubious, but for me, the information has come as a great relief. The good news is that human beings adapt. We have survived, according to my reading of Coyne, for about 60,000 years, adapting to all sorts of challenges, climate changes, dietary changes, plagues and other such unwelcome happenstances. The present hullabaloo over global warming is much ado about nothing. Let the climate change; the species Homo sapiens has survived 60 millenniums. There is no reason for the Obama administration to tamper with the automobile market. We can survive carbon in the atmosphere and have since the last weak-gened member of Homo erectus wobbled off. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the automobile industry can survive politicians' designing our cars, taxing our gasoline, and supplying us with tiny vehicles that few Americans want to buy.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

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