Creation-Evolution Headlines
 April 2002
“A healthy science is a science that seeks the truth and lets the evidence speak for itself.”
– Dr. Paul Nelson, in a new film Unlocking the Mystery of Life from Illustra Media that premiered March 9.

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Really Cool Movie:  Many have asked about the fascinating animation of ATP Synthase we found on the Internet and mentioned in April 2001.  You can find it at this German biophysics institute; click on “Rotary ATP Synthase” (.MOV format).  For our other headlines about ATP synthase, see: March, December, November, October, September, April 2001, January 2001, and October 2000, and also this explanation by Dr. Jerry Bergman.  A single cell can have up to 10 million of these molecular machines, the world’s tiniest motors.  Take a look at the amazing little engines that are running your body right now!


Hubble Space Telescope Opens Its New Eye   04/30/2002
At a
press conference today, the Hubble team unveiled the first four images taken with its new Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) installed by shuttle astronauts in March.  ACS provides a 10-fold improvement in optical resolution over its already historic WFPC-2 camera.  According to Today@NASA, jubilant astronomers are calling the images “remarkable, breathtaking.”  The suite of colorful images includes stunning new clear looks at colliding galaxies, the Tadpole galaxy, the Swan Nebula and the Cone Nebula.
If anyone should quote Psalm 8 and Psalm 19 with feeling, it should be this generation.
Next headline on: Stars.
When Animals Crawled Ashore, There Was Nothing to Eat   04/30/2002
Fossil arthropod trackways in Canadian sandstone, reported in the
May issue of Geology, predate the first land plants, claims a team of geologists.  These trackways put the land invasion 40 million years earlier than previously supposed.  Cross-bedding and ripple marks lead the team to believe the rock came from sand dunes, possibly near a seashore.  The tracks were made by what appears to be 16- to 22-legged lobster-sized centipede-like animals that dragged their tails in between their footprints.  Nature Science Update claims this find overturns the idea that animals first emerged from the sea to eat leafy plants, but cautions that more examples need to be found before rewriting the natural-history books. 
If there was nothing to eat, why didn’t they just go back to the water and evolve into something else?  The alternate speculation is that they came ashore to lay eggs or escape predators.  Add your story to the contest, because nobody was there, and the dating is all based on evolutionary assumptions; sandstone is “notoriously difficult to date,” a paleontologist in the Nature news article warns.  The fact that trackways were preserved in stone indicates unusual circumstances for their preservation, or else the next gust of wind would erase them within minutes.
Consider the plausibility of each one of their theories: (1) If they came up to eat plants (but there weren’t any, according to this story), how did their feet evolve simultaneously with the ability to digest a new food source and breathe air?  (2) If they came up to escape predators, how did they keep from drying out and suffocating before having to go right back out to the danger zone?  And why would they want to colonize the land if there was no food?  (3) If they came up to lay eggs, how did all the multiple miracles evolve simultaneously to allow them to dig and lay eggs that would not desiccate in the new environment?  And how would the young know where to go to get back to the water?  More questions arise.  How did delicate trackways get preserved in stone?  How do we know the age of these rocks?  Why is there no other evidence of land animals for 40 million years?  How do they know 40 million years, or any of the other dates, without reference to any evolutionary assumptions?
Whatever these creatures were, and whenever they lived, they already knew how to crawl and take care of themselves.  They did not evolve upwards; they died out.  That is the science; anything else is pure fiction.  Evolutionists keep finding things that don’t fit comfortably into their theory, but they never call the theory into question; they just stretch it, like silly putty, to encompass the new data.  But if you stretch silly putty too fast and too far, it breaks. 
Next headline on: Plants. • Next headline on: Bugs and Arthropods. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Darwin in the Stars, and Playboy, Too   04/29/2002
Survival of the fittest seems to be the law in galaxies as well as on earth, claims
Space.Com.  The article reports on computer simulations by Matthew Bate that show the bigger stars grabbing up all the planet-making material, leaving brown dwarfs like unfit wimps to straggle alone through space.  Meanwhile, Nature Science Update claims stars are promiscuous and spend much of their time having affairs and love triangles.  On May 2, JPL joined the contest by calling some teenage stars rebels without a cause.
We think science reporters need to stop imputing human vices to inanimate objects.  Maybe they think the only way to get the MTV generation to pay attention to science is to get these big balls of hydrogen doing professional wrestling or having lurid affairs.  Whatever they mean, neither of these stories appear (1) empirically justified or (2) helpful to evolution.  Meanwhile, stars need to practice altruism and abstinence.
Next headline on: Stars. • Next dumb story.
Evolution of an Enzyme Explained by Lateral Gene Transfer   04/29/2002
In the
April 30 issue of Current Biology, a team of Canadian scientists claims to have found a relationship in an enzyme (ATP Sulfurylase) between archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes.  They propose that lateral gene transfer (LGT) is the mechanism that spread this capability from one group to the other, and may be more important than mutation during redundancy (MDR) as a mechanism of evolution.  If so, this puts a new twist on protein evolution: “As with the MDR model, it will be important to determine how functionally identical duplicates can escape from frequent silencing mutations until one of the duplicates acquires rare advantageous mutations.  In any case ... the prevalence of LGT among prokaryotes and the ‘quantum’ leaps over sequence space it permits (in contrast to point mutation) suggests it could play a more important role in the evolution of gene function than previously recognized.”
With the title “Origin and Evolution of the Large Subunit of ATP Sulfurylase in Eubacteria,” we thought someone was finally going to try to explain how a molecular machine evolved, but all we got was glittering generalities and hand-waving.  How can lateral gene transfer be a mechanism for evolution of an enzyme?  It means the information already existed in another organism; it did not originate de novo.  You did not invent the monkey wrench if you borrowed it from your neighbor.  Lateral gene transfer fits into both creation and evolution models, but has nothing to do with the origin of new capabilities.  So despite the bluffing title, these scientists have contributed little or nothing to evolutionary theory other than to suggest a new storytelling plot.  Their little admission in the second to last sentence, though, destroys all hope: “it will be important to determine how functionally identical duplicates can escape from frequent silencing mutations until one of the duplicates acquires rare advantageous mutations.” (emphasis added).  Whoops!  How long do we have to wait for one of those?  Has there ever been one case of an unambiguously advantageous mutation?  Arguably not.
Would you buy a used car from an Afghani salesman during a bombing raid, who borrowed an engine from another model, and said it will run better when the right piece of shrapnel hits it?  Yet this is evolution’s bottom-line mechanism: mistakes and accidents!  Get real; go to the Manufacturer and read the Warranty.
Next headline on: The Cell. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Was the Creator a Beetle Fan?   04/26/2002
The evolutionist J.B.S. Haldane is reported to have quipped that the Creator seemed to have had an “inordinate fondness for beetles,” in light of the remarkable diversity of Coleoptera species.  In the
May 7 Biological Proceedings of the Royal Society, Peter Mayhew of the University of New York counts the insect subgroups to quantify Haldane’s jest.  he finds that beetles are not necessarily more diverse than their sister groups, although they appear to have radiated rapidly after evolving plant-eating habits.  Mayhew also speculates about the reasons for species diversification: the development of wing flexion, plant eating, metamorphosis, etc.  He feels more study is needed to resolve conflicts in group ages and family histories before species diversity among the insects can be understood.
Evolutionists like Carl Sagan have used Haldane’s comment as a jab at creationists; why would a Creator make so many beetles, if His chief creation was man, in other words.  This biologist has shown that the number of beetle species is not way out of line with the diversity in other groups.  Thus he blunts the force of Haldane’s jab.
But what of it?  There is tremendous diversity in almost every group: orchids, fungi, birds, dinosaurs.  Picking out beetles as the object of the Creator’s fondness is a selective evidence tactic.  In the Genesis view, some diversification occurred after creation within the original kinds, but even if it was minimal, a Creator big enough to speak quintillions of stars into existence could easily make a few hundred thousand beetles if He wanted to.  We don’t know how many were original; maybe beetle diversity should be seen as a function of habitats that needed to be filled, rather than a statement of what was the focus of the Creator’s fondness.  The point is, God’s love is not necessarily tied to the group with the most species; to claim otherwise is to commit a non-sequitur.
Mayhew’s work is another example of scientific papers that assume evolution as a glittering generality that fixes all unknowns.  Throughout the article, complex characters like articulated legs, flexible wings, ovipositors etc. are just assumed to have evolved somehow, and when they appeared, as if by magic, species radiation and diversification followed.  But each of these organs is a giant structural/functional leap that would have required the coordination of multiple miraculous mutations– just consider all the steps involved in metamorphosis, for instance.  If evolutionists are still trying to figure out the variation in finch beaks, how can they so glibly attribute the origin of flexible wings (and all the associated marvels– muscles, energy conversion, brain navigation, circulatory/respiratory system changes, genetic information, etc.) to a process–natural selection–that appears so inept at adding just 4% to beak length?  And where is the evidence they did evolve?  Every time a fossil insect is found in amber, scientists marvel at how modern it looks, with its wings and all its other complex parts fully formed.
In his conclusion, the author laments the conflicts between evolutionary (just-so) stories about taxon ages and phylogenies.  He recommends, as usual, that more study is required.  At some point, we need to quit the stalling tactic of sending Darwinism back to committee, and vote whether it is a bad bill.
Next headline on: Bugs. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Black Sea Flood Denied   04/26/2002
Ryan and Pitman’s hypothesis that Noah’s flood was a legend growing out of a historical catastrophic dam breach at the Black Sea has been contradicted by a paper in the
May 2002 GSA Today (Geological Society of America).  Four geologists argue instead for slow stratification of saline waters across the Bosphorus Strait.  For the whole issue in PDF format, see: www.geosociety.org.
This could not have been the flood described in Genesis anyway; it was way too small.  Now, what to do with all the computer animations of the Black Sea flood that the Discovery Channel has already broadcast?
Science is always changing its interpretations of past events.  That’s the risk of tying Biblical interpretations to tentative hypotheses by secular scientists; others will come along and overturn them.
Next headline on: Geology. • Next headline on: Bible.
Eternal Universe Is Back   04/26/2002
Unhappy with the big bang with its definite beginning to time and space, proposers of an eternal model in which branes splat against each other forming universes indefinitely.  The
April 26 Science, quotes Neil Turok of Cambridge, one of the authors of the theory, as saying: “It seems like a consistent philosophical framework.  Time is infinite, space is infinite, and they have always been here.  It’s exactly what the steady-state-universe people wanted.  Our model really realizes their goal.”  Nature Science Update, however, quotes many cosmologists who are skeptical of the new idea.
Until they start with absolutely nothing, they’re cheating.  And a cosmology that disallows observation by definition is not science, it is philosophical hand-waving. 
Dr. Robert Jastrow in his book God and the Astronomers made it clear that cosmologists have been very uncomfortable with the idea of a beginning to the universe, because of its theological implications.  This new cyclic model is another attempt to get back to an eternally self-existent reality.
Next headline on: Cosmology.
Darwin’s Finches Not a Simple Evolution Story   04/26/2002
The
April 26 issue of Science has a report on 30 years of study of the birds that are one of the “beacons” of evolution: the finches on the Galápagos Islands that show variations in coloration and beak size and shape attributed to natural selection.  Carl Zimmer comments on the 30-year study by Peter and Rosemary Grant:
Evolution has proven predictable in the short term but unpredictable over the course of decades, they report.  Climate change has been a powerful influence guiding the evolution of the finches–and its effects turn out to be surprisingly complex.  Natural selection is not the only force altering the birds: So is their promiscuous sex life.  The two species on Daphne Major can and sometimes do interbreed, and their hybrids–far from being mulelike reproductive dead ends–are a source of fresh genetic variability.  Interbreeding may be one of the secrets to the fast evolution of Darwin’s finches, the Grants suggest, adding that hybrids may be an unrecognized factor in the evolution of many other animals.
Specifically, cactus finches have been getting blunter beaks, even though the selection pressure of the food source diminished, because of interbreeding with ground finches.  Also, the Grants watched beaks grow 4% during a prolonged drought, but shrink back 2.5% when the rains returned.
Look at this situation, the classic textbook illustration of natural selection that is supposed to give us giraffe necks and bat sonar and spider webs and monarch butterflies over time.  All the Grants have observed is a tiny 4% change, that reverted almost all the way back when the rains returned.  And the fact that the birds can interbreed and produce fertile offspring means that these are not really distinct species that have evolved apart, let alone evolved into something new.  Most important, there has been no gain in genetic information.  Any observed changes merely oscillated back and forth depending on climate and food availability.  Where’s the evolution?  The birds are still finches, the beaks are still beaks, and the short-term changes do not translate into any long-term trend.
The Grants tout their 30-year study as being significantly longer and more valid than most evolution research, but 30 years compared to a million is nothing.  If subtle changes could be missed in ten years, scrambling and confusing the simplistic conclusions of Darwin, what other subtle and unpredictable changes might be missed in a hundred, or a thousand?  How do they know that all changes they observed would not be totally reversed in that time?  Is there any validity to the observations at all?
If this is one of the best showcase examples Darwinists can come up with, evolutionary theory is in serious trouble.  Yet the article glibly waltzes by these problems and speculates out of thin air, “hybrids ... are a source of fresh genetic variability. ... As evolution unfolds on Daphne Major, the Grants and their students will be watching.”  I.e., a disproof of classic Darwinism may explain evolution even better!  Let’s have Science explain how finches and beaks got there in the first place, not how existing traits got shuffled around. 
This article, despite its positive spin, can be viewed as support for Jonathan Wells’ critical book Icons of EvolutionWells debunked Darwin’s finches, and nine other classic examples of evolution, as providing any meaningful evidence for natural selection’s ability to evolve amoebas into man.
Next headline on: Birds. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Earliest Mammal Found   04/25/2002
The oldest known eutherian mammal was a mouse-sized shrew that apparently climbed trees.  The discovery of a remarkably-detailed complete skeleton of what they dubbed Eomaia scansoria (dawn mother climber) in China’s fossil treasure trove Liaoning province gave occasion for
Nature Science Update to surmise that it might have “scampered up a tree when a feathered dinosaur ran past.”  Its discoverers date it at 125 million years old, 50 million years older than the previous record holder. The original paper is in the April 25 Nature.
They found a well-adapted little furry animal.  All the rest is storytelling.  Problems: (1) The first placental mammals must have existed even earlier (too early for comfort); every time you move one lineage back, it pushes against the others.  (2) Why the 50-million year gap in their scheme, with no other fossils?  (3) The evolution of the complex processes of placental reproduction is just assumed, not explained, and not clearly evident in this fossil.  (4) And, as one researcher commented, reconstructing fossils’ lives is “a bit of a guessing game.”  Why not enter your guess into the storytelling contest?  Sorry, only scientists allowed, and no judging from the stands.
Next headline on: Mammals. • Next headline on: Fossils.
Journal Decries US Creationism Export to Europe   04/24/2002
The journal
Current Biology contains a news report by Michael Gross, “Red Head: US-style creationism spreads to Europe,”  concerning the recent flap regarding Emmanuel College and Tony Blair’s perceived neglect to denounce creationism.  It begins, “British researchers are deeply uneasy about the high-level failure to stem the new spread of creationist ideas.”
Why is science trying to stem the tide of ideas?  Whatever happened to the intellectual marketplace?  How ironic that Current Biology and its related journals Cell, Molecular Cell, Structure, Neuron and others, which are all goggle-eyed at the unfolding complexity in the cell, (see this recent example out of dozens), are so adamantly opposed to any hint of belief in design or a Creator.  In this attack piece, Gross commits the usual Either-Or and Straw Man and Fear-Mongering tactics to marginalize the critics of Darwinism.  What are they so afraid of?  Let’s get all the ideas out there on the table.  Their hostility is a cover for a weak position.
Next headline on: Politics. • Next headline on: Schools.
Hubble Infers Absolute Age of the Universe   04/24/2002
That’s what the
NASA press release claims, based on measurements of white dwarfs in globular cluster M4 (see JPL News for pictures).  They estimate these stars at 12-13 billion years old, and report that their measurement provides an independent check that is not related to the expansion of the universe.  Age estimates based on expansion put the universe at about 14 billion years, with the first stars forming within a billion years of the big bang.  New Scientist explains that the white dwarf age of 13 billion is based on “a process theoreticians understand well.”  Early age estimates from the expansion of the universe were as low as nine billion, but the recent claim of “dark energy” that accelerates the expansion puts that estimate up to 14 billion.  This reassures cosmologists that stars need not be older than the universe they inhabit.
They measured brightness of these white dwarfs for 67 days, and calculate 12 billion years: that’s like measuring one inch in a dense fog and estimating the line continues for 1.1 million miles.  The estimate is based entirely on stellar evolution theory, which is not without problems.  Actually, having stars that old, and that soon after the big bang, underscores a major difficulty of modern cosmology, the lumpiness problem.  What we have here are two estimates (based on unverifiable assumptions) that did not agree, but were tweaked into agreement so that astronomers could smile for the press.
Next headline on: Stars. • Next headline on: Cosmology.
How Did Complex Translation Machinery Evolve?   04/24/2002
In “Evolution of RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain,” two North Carolina biochemists writing in the
April 23 Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists investigate the cell’s chief translator.  Portions of RNA polymerase II are “highly conserved” (unevolved) in most complex eukaryotes, particularly parts of the C-terminal domain (CTD).  Surprisingly, a pair of tandem repeats in most higher organisms is not present in some amoebas, red algae and trypanosomes.  They weigh various theories for how these repeats arose and what their purpose is (perhaps gene regulation), but leave many questions unanswered.  The authors conclude, “these analyses suggest that the enhanced control over RNA polymerase II transcription conveyed by acquired CTD/protein interactions was an important step in the evolution of intricate patterns of gene expression that are a hallmark of large, developmentally complex eukaryotic organisms.”
If you thought you were going to read a paper on how this large, complex translation machine evolved, you would be disappointed.  The authors merely assume it evolved, and attempt to place various organisms into an evolutionary tree where they don’t fit very well.  This is typical of evolutionary scientific literature that already “knows” evolution is a “fact” – never in their wildest dreams would they entertain notions that grizzly bears did not evolve from primordial soup.  So they are compelled to force all data into this prior commitment to Darwinist explanations. 
A word search would turn up this paper as an example of evolutionary scientific literature, and would provide propaganda to a debater, but it achieves nothing of substance to support evolution; it merely assumes it.  Left unsaid is how a highly complex translation system like RNA polymerase II could ever have evolved without intelligent design.  Here at Creation-Evolution Headlines we are not impressed with bluffing and circular reasoning; we want evidence.  What is the evidence here? – highly-complex, interdependent systems that involve languages, codes, translation, regulation, feedback, quality control and rapid-fire precision.  Let’s hear papers address the origin of the most efficient information-processing systems known on earth.
The authors actually dig their own hole deeper when they talk about the information potential in the human genome vastly exceeding the gene count:

The surprisingly small number of genes found in the human genome illustrates the importance of evolutionary advances in the control of gene expression.  Developmentally complex organisms do not appear to be distinguished so much by their total number of genes, as by the number of ways these genes can be expressed and controlled.  Green plants and metazoans are the only eukaryotic groups whose members are primarily multicellular and are known to have developmental programs tightly controlled by regulated expression of homeotic genes.  In addition, nuclear mRNA synthesis in animals, plants, and fungi requires multiple protein-RNA interactions to successfully cap, splice, polyadenylate, and cleave a completed message.  What is more, these various steps in mRNA synthesis are found to be interdependent and are accomplished in a coordinated manner by holoenzyme complexes consisting of the pol II core enzyme and scores of other proteins.
As usual, “Broader examinations are needed, both of the evolutionary history of the CTD and the types of physiological interactions that constrain its structure.”  We don’t understand it, but maybe more funding will help.
Adding to Darwinist’s headaches over intelligent design are two other papers in the same issue: one about a touch-sensitive transduction channel in the bacterial cell membrane that is exquisitely designed and effective, and another about how non-coding DNA sequences (so-called “junk DNA”) may be essential to gene regulation.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Intestinal Cells Can Grow Muscle   04/23/2002
“It may be that cells from nonviable cloned human embryos, which could not survive independently, may be useful for research and therapeutic purposes,” concludes a paper from the Wellcome Cancer Research Institute (UK) published in the
April 23 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  The scientists found very aberrant gene expression in most clones that led to death, but 16% of intestinal cells appeared useful to grow muscle.  Read also this summary in Nature Science Update, which refers to “huge ethical, legal and technical obstacles to therapeutic cloning.”
The Brave New World marches on, where human tissue is merely a commodity for the health and prosperity of those lucky enough to have survived the Science Lab.
Next headline on: Politics.
Arms Race and First Aid Starts in the Cave   04/23/2002
A Neanderthal got hit on the head with a rock, but healed, decides European paleoanthropologists writing in the
April 23 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  (Scientific American even has a reconstruction of the probable scar.)  They conclude, “These findings add to the evidence that Neanderthals used implements not only for hunting and food processing, but also in other behavioral contexts.  It is hypothesized that the high intra-group damage potential inherent to weapons might have represented a major factor during the evolution of hominid social behavior.” 
Being translated, this means: cavemen not only skinned deer with rocks, they beat each other on the head with them, and this made them smarter.  These storytellers have taken a bone fragment and woven a novel out of it.  Read the paper, and you see them making up a whole society’s behavioral evolution out a fragmented skull.  You couldn’t tell if a rock fell off the cave roof and hit Alley Oop on the head, but they’ve got it all figured out that tight living quarters or competition between rivals caused societal stresses that erupted in violence; one guy hits another with his stone tool, but the others come to the rescue and help (the evolution of compassion), and all this works into the grand scheme of human societal evolution.  Incredible.  This is Far Side fodder.  You’ve got a bone, you’ve got a cave – that’s it.  How did this tall tale pass peer review in a scientific journal?  Imagine our descendants finding a teenage skeleton with an MP3 player and concluding he was a tribal shaman using the device to conjure up the spirits.  (On second thought, let’s think of better example.)
Maybe the NRA can glean something out of this paper.  Rocks don’t kill people; people do.
Next headline on: Early Man. • Next dumb story.
No Chlorophyll Seen on Mars   04/22/2002
A hint of a possible chlorophyll spectrum on Mars has been debunked, reports
Astronomy News.
Hope springs eternal, but no Gardener, no garden.
Next headline on: Mars.
Body Organs Beat Different Drums, Yet March Together   04/22/2002
Imagine an orchestra where each section has its own conductor, yet the music still comes out sounding good (a lot better, at least, than
Charles Ives’ Central Park in the Dark which requires two conductors).  Scientists are finding that humans and animals operate this way.  Rather than having a single biological clock controlling circadian rhythms (sleep cycles, eating cycles, etc.), it appears that each organ responds to its own genetic timekeepers.  In some unknown way, the brain as master conductor coordinates all the sub-conductors.  The report is summarized in Nature Science Update.  For details, see the paper in the May 2 issue of Nature.
The body has systems of systems of systems in an immense hierarchy that makes human corporate management look simple by comparison.  Modern physiology amplifies the impact of Paul’s analogy of the church as a one body with many members, who all need each other to function.
Next headline on: The Human Body. • Next amazing story.
For Such a Worm (or Fruit Fly?) as I   04/22/2002
Scientists at
Penn State Eberly College of Science think we are more closely related to fruit flies than roundworms.  They base this conclusion on comparison of 100 genes from three completely-sequenced genomes.  This contradicts a five-year old hypothesis based on an earlier, less-detailed study that made worms a closer ancestor, they claim.  They believe this finding can impact medicine, evolutionary biology, astrobiology, or any other field concerned with inheritance of traits.  They argue that it is also important for textbooks to present the right family tree, “because it has an effect on how crucial events in the development of animals are understood by future generations of scientists.”  But team leader S. Blair Hedges cautions, “We could be completely wrong.  I prefer to view our result as the best supported, based on the weight of the evidence, rather than as a proven fact.  It is always better to keep an open mind about these things, not to become married to one hypothesis or another, and to let the data speak for themselves.”.
That’s great advice, if they would follow it.  They don’t seem to realize the circular reasoning embedded in their methodology.  They compared “slowest-evolving” and “fastest-evolving” genes as part of the analysis, for instance, which of course assumes evolution rather than proving it.  This team needs to be made aware of how many other genetic comparisons have produced controversial and counterintuitive results.  In actuality, this team just reverted to an old hypothesis which is sure to be championed again by others.  Hedges was surprised by the “rapid abandonment” of the older, long-standing hypothesis and acceptance of the new one, “without the intense scrutiny that is typical in science.”  We would say that intense scrutiny is rare in evolutionary studies.  They accept evolution as a given, without ever considering alternatives.  The result is conflicting stories about the unobservable past that merely assume evolution rather than prove it.  Which of these dubious tales should be put into the textbooks, to influence future generations of scientists?  “To let the data speak for themselves” requires the courage to doubt one’s presuppositions.
Next headline on: Bugs. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Creation Research In Action: Evidence for Catastrophism Mounting   04/19/2002
Exclusive  During the last few days, the editor of Creation-Evolution Headlines joined a research scientist on an expedition in a remote area gathering evidence for catastrophism.  The evidence that this scientist and his co-workers has been collecting for several years now indicates catastrophism on a scale far beyond anything explainable by uniformitarian assumptions.
Unfortunately, we cannot share the details of this project until it is published.  All we can say is that this expedition was successful and added more data points to the already impregnable body of evidence.  The final report is expected to be published in a secular peer-reviewed journal sometime within a year.  Suffice it to say for now that it is a good example of reputable creation research, and will be startling to those who assume slow and gradual processes can account for large-scale geological phenomena.  When published, you’ll hear about it here.  The editor can vouch for the fact that it took a lot of sweat and sore muscles to gather this data point!
Next headline on: Geology.
Cell Water Channels Continue to Amaze   04/18/2002
If you enjoyed our
December 20 story about aquaporins, the water gates of the cell, you’ll want to read this update posted by the University of Illinois with a cool animation of how the complex channel (made up of more than 100,000 atoms) allows a water molecule through in a billionth of a second, but keeps smaller protons out.  Summarizing their paper in the April 19 Science, they explain:
Aquaporins, a class of proteins, form transmembrane channels found in cell walls.  Plants have 35 different proteins of this type.  Mammals, including humans, have 10, with many of them in the kidney, brain and lens of the eye.
When working correctly, said Klaus Schulten, the Swanlund Professor of Physics at the UI, the transport of water between plant cells lets flowers bloom and leaves stand sturdily, for example.  In mammals, the machinery processes water efficiently to help maintain optimum health.
They go on to describe the problems that broken channels can cause: diabetes, cataracts, and breakdown of other organs.  The kidneys process 400 liters of water a day through these channels.  A single aquaporin can process a billion water molecules per second without letting a single interloper through.
The study of channels in cell membranes is proving to be one of the most remarkable new discoveries about the cell.  More awe-inspiring design is sure to follow.
Next headline on: The Cell. • Next amazing story.
New Model Puts Primates With Dinosaurs   04/18/2002
A statistical model published in the
April 18 Nature pushes back the time of the first primates beyond 80 million years, before dinosaurs are said to have gone extinct.  Commenting on the model, Scientific American says it may force scientists to rethink the date of the origin of humans, since this makes primates at least 15 million years earlier than “conventional wisdom” assumed. 
The model is an attempt to rectify molecular evidence (that puts the divergence as far back as 90 million years), and a “scrappy” fossil record that represents maybe 5% of the primate species thought to have existed.  Trying to reconstruct the primate family tree from fossils has been like “trying to reconstruct a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle using just 50 pieces,” according to Robert D. Martin of the Chicago Field Museum, co-author of the study.  This new statistical estimate, while moving molecular and fossil evidence closer together, raises new questions, such as why more primate fossils have not been found, and why humans evolved so late.
If you have ever worked a Rubik’s cube, you know how frustrating it is to have to undo prior successes to get colors to match.  A similar frustration happens when evolutionists try to reconcile their molecular story with their fossil story.  The cube is being tossed back and forth between the molecular biologists and paleontologists, who disagree with each others’ solutions, and now mathematicians are getting involved.  What if their cube has no solution of the type they expect?  Or to use their puzzle analogy, what if their mental concept of the finished picture is radically different than the actual one?
To an observer willing to question the conventional wisdom, it is easy to find overlapping error bars that allow an infinite set of curves to fit the data.  The authors admit, “While our results agree broadly with a molecular estimate of the time of the strepsirrhine and haplorhine divergence, they contradict widely accepted palaeontological estimates.”  Scientific American speculates about the missing fossils: “As to why such ancient primates have not turned up in the fossil record, it may be that their remains simply did not have the conditions necessary for preservation.” One would think more time would provide more opportunities for fossilization. 
Evolutionists throw millions of years around with reckless abandon.  Scientific American, for example, quips, “Conventional wisdom holds that primates arose no earlier than 65 million years ago (after the demise of the dinosaurs), a date based on the oldest accepted fossil representatives of the group, which hail from roughly 55 million years ago, plus a few million years thrown in for good measure.” But pulling on that thread unravels another yarn at the other end.  They attempt to put a hopeful spin on the story that it might help human evolution get its conflicts resolved, a hopeless shambles as Science reported February 15.  Of course, any story is possible; this new scenario is written in if-then-else, but-maybe, and on-the-one-hand on-the-other language, with both hands waving in an evolutionary fog.  It attempts to explain away missing evidence and fill in gaps between what should be and what is.  Shouldn’t science be about what is found, not what is not found?
Next headline on: Mammals. • Next headline on: Fossils. • Next headline on: Dating Methods. • Next headline on: Early Man.
New Insect Order: Relative or Puzzle?   04/18/2002
Nature Science Update reports that a weird insect, something between a walking stick and a praying mantis, has been found enclosed in amber in the mountains of Namibia.  Entomologists are classifying it into a new insect order, the first such new insect category since 1914.  Is it a transitional form?  Michael Whiting of BYU is sequencing its DNA to see if it shows an evolutionary relationship, but cautions against expecting cut-and-dried answers: “We’ve known about the other orders for centuries, and we still haven’t worked out their relationships.  This is one more piece of a large and complex puzzle: it’s exciting to have the piece, but it’s not going to provide the answer by itself.” Others describe this find as a living fossil, comparable to finding the fish Coelacanth.  The original paper in Science says the “morphological evidence [of relationship to icecrawlers or walking sticks] is ambiguous.”  See also this report by the Max Planck Society for the story of the discovery, with pictures.
Whiting is right not to expect to see evolution in the DNA.  We have shown repeatedly that the ancestry story in the genes rarely matches the ancestry story inferred from bones.  Maybe the ancestry story is a novel, not a documentary.
Next headline on: Bugs.
Biology Viewed as Computing   04/18/2002
In an essay in the
April 18 Nature, Mark Schnitzer, a member of a Bell Labs department of “Biological Computation,” portrays an organism as just a “user” of the hardware and software of the cell.  This contrasts with the mechanistic view of life as an aggregate of simple components; according to Schnitzer, algorithms must be taken into consideration:
In the ‘algorithmic view’, complex algorithms cannot be deduced from simple mechanisms as there are emergent computational principles that cannot be found by combining biophysical components.  By analogy, the mathematics involved in rendering three-dimensional graphics on a computer do not follow from the workings of transistors.  Hence, we should study the representations and algorithms used by systems that exhibit rich computational behaviour.
Schnitzer credits the software engineering to evolution: “A shared evolutionary history has often given rise to similar molecular and genetic mechanisms across a wide range of organisms....”
Schnitzer comes very close to accepting the Intelligent Design premise that information is a fundamental entity that must be considered in evaluating complex biological systems, but he mistakenly believes that natural selection, that magic wand of evolution, is capable of generating it.  The only cause we know that can generate algorithms is intelligence.  Bill Gates does not employ random number generators to write his software (well, to some it might seem so, but that’s beside the point).  Unguided, purposeless processes are inadequate to generate the most elaborately detailed assemblage of information in the known universe: the DNA code, with its associated storage, translation, processing and manufacturing subsystems.  We agree that an ‘algorithmic view’ is the only sensible way to evaluate biological systems; that phrase can be considered almost synonymous with Intelligent Design
Next headline on: Intelligent Design.
Spiders Beat Humans in Materials Engineering   04/16/2002
Another paper on spider silk in the
April 16 online preprints of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences praises the lowly spider’s materials science:
The last decade has seen a significant increase in the scientific literature on spider dragline silk.  This interest is due to the impressive mechanical properties of spider dragline silk, at a time when biomaterials and biomimetics are both exciting interest in the rapidly growing field of materials research.  The viscoelastic fibers of spider dragline silk combine both a high tensile strength that is comparable to steel and is only slightly inferior to Kevlar (2/3 of its tensile strength), and a high elasticity (30% elongation before failure) that is comparable to rubber.  This unique combination makes spider dragline silk mechanically superior to almost any other natural or man-made material.
The team from UC Santa Barbara probes the unsolved structure of this remarkable material and find the structure of spider silk protein to be “distinctively different” and “novel” compared to other proteins.  They propose a model for how it can be both rigid and flexible, how “sacrificial bonds” allow it to stretch, and how stacked and staggered slabs of complex proteins, made up of 38 amino acids each, interlock with hydrogen bonds during the draw-down process.  The team tested how much force was required to unfold the neatly-folded nanofibers, and even then, found that a catastrophic unfolding of a single protein rarely occurred.
Update  On August 7, a UCLA press release described how spider silk combines strength and toughness, is resistant to degradation, and can be spun in air or underwater.  It says tiny spiders are outwitting human materials engineers by producing this remarkable substance seemingly without effort. 
What kid staring at a geometric orb-web has the faintest clue how much structural engineering went into its construction?  How did a tiny spider figure all this out?
Next headline on: Bugs. • Next amazing story.
First Cell Not Salt-Tolerant   04/15/2002
Charles Apel of UC Santa Cruz has found that the first cell could not have formed in salt water, so it must have formed in fresh, reports
Academic Press and the NASA Astrobiology Institute
“This is a wake-up call,” says mineralogist Robert Hazen of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Washington, D.C.  “We’ve assumed that life formed in the ocean, but encapsulation in freshwater bodies on land appears more likely.”  Geologist L. Paul Knauth of Arizona State University in Tempe adds that Earth’s early oceans were up to twice as salty as they are today–making it even more difficult for viable cells to arise.
Astrobiologists had assumed lipid molecules would self-organize into vesicles, but apparently salt makes them fall apart.  Apel’s findings were delivered at last week’s Astrobiology Conference, and will be reported in an upcoming issue of Astrobiology Journal.
Another devastating blow to believers in chemical evolution.  Of course, every other assumption they still cling to has already been shot down.  The fresh-water requirement vastly reduces the playground for molecules (remember how deep-sea vents were the last hope?), but too fresh and you lack the needed ingredients.  The Miller Time party is over; it’s time for sober-thinking Intelligent Design scientists to come to the head of the class.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Phillip Johnson Passes the Reporting Torch   04/14/2002
Apparently running low on stamina after last year’s stroke, Phillip Johnson in his April 9
Weekly Wedge Update feels it is time to pass the job of reporting regular news to younger “Wedgees”.  His short entry encourages distribution of the Intelligent Design documentary, Unlocking the Mystery of Life (available on our Products Page).  Don’t expect the Berkeley law professor turned evolution nemesis to drop off the scene entirely, though.
Apparently Phil is too naively innocent to realize that Wedgee can have a prankster connotation, unless he intends for ID’ers to give them to evolutionists symbolically by lifting up the facts by the belt and giving evolutionists a pain.  Regardless, hats off to Phil for speaking up, taking the heat, and getting design back on the table for serious discussion in academia.  We’re already taking up the slack (pardon), and then some, right here on Creation-Evolution Headlines.
Next headline on: Intelligent Design.
Humans and Apes Differ in Brain More than Liver   04/12/2002
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology compared gene expression between chimpanzees and humans in the brain and liver, and found the most differences in the brain.  They feel this points to gene expression, rather than genome difference, as being the most important determinant in recent human evolution.  Their results are published in the
April 12 Science.  They feel that accelerated gene expression in the brain led to our humanness, but caution that ”It should be noted, however, that the extent of the acceleration is highly dependent on the metric used.”
The finding creates some controversy about the timing, since the authors believe the gene expression accelerated recently, but anatomical differences began much earlier, according to the standard evolutionary timeline.  Others, however, are elated to see these differences in gene expressions between apes and humans.  In her news summary of the paper, Elizabeth Pennisi quotes Edwin McConkey, a molecular biologist, as saying, “If no differences had been found, then we should all have to take a course in metaphysics, and religious fundamentalists would be dancing in the streets.”
Come again?  Sounds like we have found a non-sequitur.  Religious fundamentalists feel like dancing in the streets all the time anyway, and everyone should take a course in metaphysics, because no one reasons without metaphysical assumptions, including scientists.
The authors’ disclaimer about the metric used means that you can pick and choose the data that support your conclusion.  It also means that comparative gene studies have little value in constructing evolutionary family trees, because a simple gene count or comparison won’t necessarily tell you which genes get expressed.  We reported on April 9 that the Hox gene cluster differs more between sharks and zebrafish than between sharks and humans, so some genes evolve very fast and others not at all, if the evolutionary time scales are accepted.  A consequence is that they are basically useless for providing independent corroboration of ancestry.
This paper cites the oft-quoted statistic that human and ape DNA is 98.7% identical, a doubtful measure since ape genomes have not been completely mapped yet.  But even if true, this paper clearly shows it’s not the whole story.  How genes are expressed may be more indicative of differences between organisms.  Regardless, this paper shows that by selecting the metric you can spin the story either way.  Dr. Gary Parker likes to quip that a 2% difference can mean a lot; both clouds and watermelons are 98% water.  We should also point out that apes do not have metaphysics, nor do they dance in the streets.
Next headline on: Darwinism. • Next headline on: Early Man.
Chimps Trained to Read   04/11/2002
A breakthrough in animal communication, or Stupid Pet Tricks?  Sally Boysen, a psychologist at
Ohio State, claims she has taught her pet chimps Keeli and Ivy to read about twelve words.  She couldn’t teach them the alphabet, so she tried whole-word recognition.  The next trick is to teach them syntax and maybe someday “to tell us - in their own words - about chimpanzee culture and society.”  Her work is featured on this coming Sunday night on the Discovery Channel.
The power of suggestion and conditioned response can often cloud these kinds of studies.  Circus trainers have taught horses to do arithmetic and parrots to tell jokes.  Who knows what a chimp is thinking?  Is it responding to subtle cues from the trainer in hopes of getting a banana, or does it really understand what a word is and what it means?  There is no question that animals can be trained to do all kinds of amazing tricks; look at sea lions and dolphins; they can even clap and laugh and pull stunts enough to make the audience almost believe they outwitted their trainers.
We’d like to see the controls that prove these chimps have really learned vocabulary instead of how to act out a conditioned response.  That they could not put letters together into words, nor words into sentences, are indications they no comprendo.  And the idea that they are going to tell us about chimp society someday – well, sounds like good grist for the cartoonists. 
Next headline on: Mammals. • Next dumb story.
Book Review 04/11/2002: In the April 11 Nature, theistic evolutionist John Polkinghorne, winner of the 2002 Templeton Prize for progress in religion, takes Stephen Weinberg to task for his reductionist philosophy in his 2001 book, Facing Up: Science and Its Cultural Adversaries  But in the end, Polkinghorne explains the origin of evil with a God (god?) who allows the universe to evolve itself into good and evil: “an evolving world (theologically, a creation allowed to ‘make itself’) is one in which cellular mutations necessarily bring about not only new forms of life, but also malignancy.”
In this he essentially affirms deism, not Christianity, because his god is either too weak or unconcerned to create a world good from the start.  Christianity teaches that the originally good creation fell into sin and was cursed.  God’s solution for evil is not to crush its every manifestation, else He would destroy the world, but to provide a refuge to anyone who repents and believes His promise of salvation, paid for by His Son’s sacrifice on the cross.  It is doubtful such a compromising position with evolution as Polkinghorne’s will make much of an impression on the readers of Nature, since it makes suffering part of the intrinsic order of things instead of an intruder; evil becomes the handiwork of the god.
Bacteria Are Champion Proofreaders   04/10/2002
A team of Australian biochemists has examined the structure of just one of the “proofreading enzymes” in E. coli bacteria in unprecedented detail, and formulated a hypothesis for how it works.  That it does work, and works extremely well, is described in the introduction to their paper published in the
April issue of Structure:
Fidelity of DNA replication is determined by three processes: base selection by a DNA polymerase, editing of polymerase errors by an associated 3'-5' exonuclease, and postreplicative mismatch repair.  In Escherichia coli, these processes contribute to duplication of the genome by the replicative DNA polymerase III (Pol III) holoenzyme with error frequency ~10-10 per base pair replicated.
In other words, with its proofreading machinery, the bacterium makes a error once in 10 billion DNA letters.  Assuming 2000 letters on a page of single-spaced printed text, that would be roughly equivalent to one typo in about five million pages.
This high degree of fidelity is necessary; without it, errors would accumulate rapidly, causing the complete breakdown of the genome in a phenomenon called error catastrophe.  How did a lowly bacterium achieve such accuracy?  The paper mentions evolution three times, but never explains how such a system evolved; it just assumes that it did, and notes that the equipment is “highly conserved” (unchanged throughout living things).
In the new film on intelligent design, Unlocking the Mystery of Life, Dr. Michael Behe describes how he came to doubt Darwinian evolution.  He went through college never hearing how Darwinian evolution could explain the cell, but just was told that it did explain it, and assumed it to be true.  When he heard some convincing scientific arguments against Darwinism, he said he became somewhat angry, because he felt he had been led down the primrose path– he had gone through a graduate program, obtained a doctorate in biochemistry and became a university faculty member, and he had never heard of these things.  The arguments made him very interested in the subject of evolution, and he since concluded that Darwinian mechanisms are not sufficient to explain the complexity of life; they are “very inadequate,” in his opinion.
High-fidelity proofreading is just one of thousands of evidences that undirected natural processes are insufficient to produce the wonders in living cells.  That is part of what makes the case for intelligent design so convincing to more and more scientists and science teachers.  Too bad the authors of this otherwise wonderful scientific paper are still on the primrose path.
Next headline on: The Cell and BiochemistryNext headline on: Intelligent Design. • Next amazing story.
Debate   04/10/2002
Jonathan Wells responds to Ken Miller’s criticisms of his arguments against Darwinism, in a reply at the
Discovery Institute website.  Wells is author of Icons of Evolution, and Ken Miller has been one of the most vocal critics of intelligent design.  He had accused Wells of misrepresentation before the Ohio school board, but now Wells turns the accusation around, with documentation.
Next headline on: Intelligent Design

Sharks Closer to Humans than to Bony Fish   04/09/2002
A paper by a team of biochemists in the April 9 online preprints of the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Molecular evolution of the HoxA cluster in the three major gnathostome lineages,” puzzles over why horn sharks appear closer to humans than zebrafish.  They studied the clusters of genes (Hox) responsible for body-plan development and uncovered three unusual patterns (in addition to the fact that horn sharks and humans have only one HoxA cluster, but zebrafish have two): 

  1. Bony fish do not have many homologous gene markers found in horn sharks and humans.
  2. Very few of the animals studied have all the markers.
  3. Zebrafish have some compressed subsets of markers from bony fish and humans; these are found in non-coding sequences between genes.
The scientists puzzle over these findings, especially the fact that “clusters of two distantly related taxa, the horn shark and human, are remarkably conserved in architecture and putatively functional cis-regulatory sequences.”  Some of the zebrafish differences they attribute to cluster duplication, but the various evolutionary mechanisms they propose each have problems that don’t match expectations.  They marvel at the similarity of horn shark and human HoxA clusters:
Nevertheless, our results are intriguing, because despite the fact that human and horn shark diverged from one another more than 400 million years ago and have considerable differences in morphology, selection acting on the HoxA clusters has been strong enough to maintain their remarkable conservation in putatively functional cis-regulatory sequences in the absence of a cluster duplication.  Yet, after HoxA cluster duplication in the zebrafish, radical remodeling of cis sequences occurred even when only one gene is retained to perform these functions.  Interestingly, some of the cis elements conserved in human and horn shark and absent in zebrafish are retained in the striped bass and vice versa (Table 1).  If modification of cis-regulatory elements is caused only by relaxed selection, then the homologous, ancestral cis elements in all teleost lineages should be affected.  The retention of different ancestral elements in zebrafish and striped bass suggests that cis-regulatory elements in elements in these different lineages have been shaped by distinct and different selection pressures.
To interpret the unexpected findings, they propose that maybe Hox clusters evolve differently than other clusters after they have been duplicated.
So there you have it: no clear evolutionary ancestry in the genes (again).  These scientists would have us believe that this HoxA gene underwent essentially no evolution for 400 million years, while the family tree evolved through amphibians, reptiles, mice, elephants and man, but simultaneously in all that time, the homologous genes in zebrafish evolved extensively.  So is evolution an inexorable force, or not?  It acts on different genes differently, and at different rates, so that even when the evidence contradicts evolution, it can be spin-doctored to support it.
Notice how these scientists accept without question the 400-million year divergence time for shark and human lineages.  This a priori assumption forces them into logical contortions when looking at the evidence.  Sharks closer to humans than to zebrafish; can you believe it?  Evolutionists were optimistic that DNA sequences were going to tell the true evolutionary history of life on earth, but the genome has proven to be like Elisha leading the blind into Samaria.
Next headline on: Fish. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Oldest Group of Galaxies Photographed   04/09/2002
A new record has been set for farthest, presumably oldest galaxies, in a photograph from the
VLT (Very Large Telescope) located in Chile (the telescope, not the galaxies).  In the Big Bang timeline, these would have been fully formed when the universe was only 10% its current age.
More of the old lumpiness problem, in their words “one of the biggest puzzles in modern cosmology.” Not a puzzle, though, if you accept God’s revelation that “He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33.)
Next headline on: Cosmology.
Cheating Female Birds Do Their Fling   04/09/2002
Scientists reporting in the April 9 preprints of the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences studied collared flycatchers for evidence of “sperm competition” as a means of sexual selection.  They claim to have found that the “cuckolding female” times her affairs to help the sperm of the more attractive male succeed in fertilizing the eggs.  They measured a 5 to 1 advantage of the extramarital sperm despite 1.33 affairs per female.  They say, “Our results suggest a possible behavioral mechanism for female control of sperm competition.”
This paper reeks with the personification fallacy.  They rate the size of a male’s forehead patch as a measure of attractiveness, as if the female has human aesthetics.  Why didn’t the girl bird marry the handsome guy to begin with?  How come there are any male flycatchers with small forehead patches left, after millions of years of evolution?  And why don’t all male birds have forehead patches?  The authors invoke the weird-science idea of sperm competition as if single cells care about winning some olympic event.  But then they portray the female timing her affairs so that the adulterer succeeds (this idea feeds the feminist agenda, because it puts the woman in charge).  But neither males nor females matter: it’s the genes themselves that are selfishly using the birds (and us) as pawns in their quest for eternal life. 
Materialists are not allowed to attribute any of these personality traits to objects, in their philosophy.  We need an umpire to call Illegal Procedure on this kind of thinking.
Next headline on: Birds. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Dying Cell Does Orderly Shutdown   04/09/2002
Cells go the way of all the earth, too, and when it’s time to expire, a cell performs an orderly shutdown called “programmed cell death” or apoptosis.  When a factory goes out of business, somebody needs to stick around to finish the paperwork, recycle the raw materials, and call in the wrecking crew – but in the proper order.  Similarly, cells have some final work to do in a logical sequence, and scientists are just beginning to understand all the steps involved.  In the April 9 online preprints of the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Israeli biochemists have studied just a few of the procedures.  They found that not only are existing proteins activated for the grisly job, but additional “death proteins” are built before the assembly line is shut down.  As a result, the cell’s parts can be recycled for the next generation.
The Creator thought of everything.  To get a taste of just how complex a simple thing like dying is, consider this excerpt, included not for your comprehension, but your wonderment:
Apoptosis induction in several cell lines and by numerous triggers has been associated with a rapid and substantial reduction in protein translation rate primarily because of reduced translation initiation.  This reduced translation has been correlated with caspase-mediated activation of the dsRNA-activated protein kinase (PKR), which inhibits initiation of protein translation by phosphorylating eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF)2 as well as with the caspase-mediated inactivation of several translation initiation factors including eIF4B, eIF3/p35, eIF2, and proteins of the eIF4G family.  It was correlated also with alterations in the phosphorylation state of eIF4E, 4E-BP1, and eIF2. Importantly, 30% of the normal level of translation events persist, at least in some apoptotic circumstances.  It seems that the translation rate is not inhibited in a global and uniform fashion.  Rather, the translation of a subset of mRNAs prevails in the dying cells.  These mRNAs include those of the proapoptotic proteins death-associated protein 5 (DAP5), c-Myc, and Apaf-1 and the antiapoptotic protein XIAP.  A common feature of these mRNAs is their translation via an alternative mode named cap-independent translation, mediated by internal ribosome entry site (IRES) elements in their 5' untranslated regions (UTRs).  Furthermore, each of these IRES elements suffices to maintain the translation of a reporter gene in dying cells, whereas the cap-dependent translation mode is abrogated severely.  These IRESs are referred to in this work as "death IRESs," because they maintain their translation rate in the dying cell.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry.
India Retires Pigeon Service   04/08/2002
In an underdeveloped area of east India, e-mail is replacing p-mail; after 55 years of reliable service, the state’s 800 carrier pigeons, and the 40 cops who trained them, are being retired from duty.  According to the
Washington Times, the state of Orissa began a carrier pigeon service in 1946 to get messages through in spite of cyclones, floods and drought, when remote areas were otherwise inaccessible.  The pigeons, who can travel 50 miles an hour, proved their worth many times.  With messages in little metal cylinders banded to their legs, they could be counted on to reliably fly home.  In addition, describes the article, “The boomerang service, operated by better-trained recruits, offers a two-way exchange of messages.  The birds fly to a police station or an outpost, feed from a wooden box stacked with grain, and then make the return journey home with their message.”    Modern instantaneous telecommunications has rendered the service obsolete, but many are sentimental about the loss of the pigeon service, the only one of its kind in the world.  An official who hopes to keep a skeleton crew operating in case of a paralyzing natural disaster, commented, “Machines will fail you, but birds never will.”
Two wonders of creation are here displayed.  One is the wonder of a bird’s brain, that is able to reliably navigate through all kinds of weather and light, no matter where it is taken, and find its way back to its starting point.  The other is communication of information through electromagnetic waves, made possible by the groundbreaking discoveries of the great Christian physicist James Clerk Maxwell.  Thousands of years before, the Creator had teased Job, “Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, ‘Here we are!’?” (Job 38:35) ... “Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, and spread its wings toward the South?” (Job 39:26).
Next headline on: Birds. • Next amazing story.
Foul-Smelling Gas, Over Time, Becomes People   04/08/2002
The discovery of methane in deep crevices in mine shafts sheds clues about the origin of life, thinks
National Geographic: “As far back as the 1880s, miners in North Canada, South Africa, and Scandinavia have reported mysterious, foul smelling gases that hiss and spit from crevices deep in mine shafts.  Now scientists have discovered the origin of these gases and have found that these anomalous emissions may provide a missing link in the evolution of life on Earth.”  The news article is based on a paper in the April 4 Nature.
The paper only claims the gas in the mines did not come from the usual biological sources (rotting carcasses, bovine flatulence etc.).  It says nothing about the origin of life.  Ever since Stanley Miller’s presumed early atmosphere of methane and ammonia has been debunked, evolutionists have looked for a source of gases that could produce hydrocarbons and the “building blocks of life.”  That phrase “building blocks of life” is profoundly misleading.  It glosses over the major differences between naturally-forming compounds and information-rich DNA, between bricks and cities, between scattered alphabet letters and books.  National Geographic does a great disservice to leap from the discovery of foul-smelling gas to the origin of life.  It not only keeps false hopes alive; it really hurts our self-esteem, turning us all into a bunch of old you-know-whats.
Next headline on: Origin of Life. • Next dumb story
Two Unlike Proteins Do the Same Job   04/06/2002
Two unlike organisms, yeast and a protozoan, have proteins that bind to telomeres; these proteins are required for chromosome end protection and telomere replication.  They look alike and do the same job, but are very different in amino acid sequence, reports a paper in the
April 5 Science.  The authors believe this “indicates that mechanisms of telomeric end protection are widely conserved throughout evolution.”
In another paper in the same issue, British biochemists have found a chromatin protein that is conserved in archaea, bacteria, and eukaryotes (including people).  The protein Sir2, in combination with Alba, is important for repressing expression of genes not needed at the time.  They conclude that “this partnership may have been highly conserved throughout evolution.”
Evolution is, again, just assumed, not demonstrated.  How two different sequences could have ended up with the same basic shape and function only multiplies the improbability either of them could have hit the lucky jackpot.  In the second case, you have complex systems in place in the most primitive living things, right from the start.  That is the rule, not the exception.
Remember that amino acid sequences must be very specific, and must be assisted to fold properly by other specifically-sequenced proteins.  Nature said this week (April 4) that misfolding can turn benevolent proteins into instruments of death.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry.
Did Lucy Walk Upright?   04/05/2002
William Sanders of the University of Michigan thinks so, according to
EurekAlert.  He bases his belief the australopithecines were bipedal on the shape of the spine.
Of course Dr. Sanders wasn’t there to watch her; this is just his interpretation of minute details in fragmentary pieces of bone.  Others will surely dispute his claim.  It doesn’t matter anyway; the old ideas about human ancestors have already been thrown into the trash.
Next headline on: Early Man.
Why Cancer Is Rare   04/04/2002
Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, or had a loved one with it, knows what a frightening and unwelcome surprise it is.  But according to Robert Weinberg, cancer researcher at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, the surprise is that our bodies are usually so successful in preventing it: “There are so many things that need to go wrong, so it is not surprising that, in a lifetime, cancer is actually rare.”  Most cancers are caused by mutations, and very few cancers are caused by a single mutation.  Mutations tend to accumulate as the cancer progresses; that is why early treatment is usually successful.  Weinberg’s comment appears in a status report on cancer research by Alison Abbott in the
April 4 Nature.
Life is so complex, and there are so many factors (cosmic rays, chemicals, etc.) that can cause damage, it is a wonder most people live as long and healthy as they do.  The only way that happens is for the cell to have elaborate repair mechanisms and quality control systems to check for errors and fix them.  If you are healthy now, enjoy it, because sooner or later, one way or another, God has ordained that your earthly body will not last forever.  But there is a resurrection body prepared for those who put their trust in the risen Messiah, Jesus Christ, that will no longer be subject to the ravages of disease and death.  If the earthly body is so well equipped to survive in a world cursed by sin, how much more amazing will be our resurrection body where sin, disease, pain and death have been removed forever?  Until then, those going through cancer or other trials can have hope in the promises of God.
Next headline on: Human Body. • Next headline on: Health.
Cell Assembly Line Workers Tethered Together   04/04/2002
A paper by two Harvard biochemists in the
April 4 Nature explores new findings that the molecular machines that perform gene expression are all tied together (coupled) in assembly-line fashion, so that one process hands off to the next instead of waiting for the next machine to show up by chance:
Recent studies lead to the view that, in contrast to a simple linear assembly line, a complex and extensively coupled network has evolved to coordinate the activities of the gene expression machines. The extensive coupling is consistent with a model in which the machines are tethered to each other to form “gene expression factories” that maximize the efficiency and specificity of each step in gene expression.
In describing the elaborate processes that read and translate DNA, the paper uses the words machine or machinery 53 times, and factory or factories 10 times.  And there’s more: “Superimposed on this pathway is an RNA surveillance system that eliminates aberrantly processed or mutant pre-mRNAs and mRNAs” – i.e., a quality control subsystem.
Our modern discovery of the cell as a highly complex factory of molecular machines (as shown so beautifully in the film Unlocking the Mystery of Life) should be awe-inspiring, and a cause of great fear to Darwinists.  Every week, papers like this seem to make the idea that this level of complexity could just evolve increasingly untenable.  Note that this paper contains just a passing reference to evolution in the introduction, but it is forced, useless, and unnecessary, as if the authors feel obliged to offer their pinch of incense to the emperor and get it over with.  This paper has nothing to do with evolution, and everything to do with intelligent design.
Critics of intelligent design make a big deal of the claim that no scientific papers are written from an intelligent design perspective, but thousands are written from an evolutionary perspective.  This argument is pure sophistry, as this and many other scientific papers in our archives demonstrate (search on the Chain Links amazing and Cell).  Sure, a word search on this paper in Nature will turn up the word “evolved” but not the words “intelligent design,” but what a misleading impression it would give!  Nowhere in this paper do the authors explain how an automated factory could evolve; they simply assume it.  But then they go on to describe almost with a sense of awe the amazing processes of gene expression, as a system of machines in a coordinated factory, with even quality control built it!
See also our March 12 commentary on how to write scientific papers from an intelligent design perspective without causing religious wars.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry. • Next headline on: Intelligent Design. • Next amazing story.
Sponges Hint at the Fungus Among Us   04/0 3/2002
An evolutionist thinks we came from sponges, which are similar to fungi, therefore “it would mean that the entire animal family is just a branch on the evolutionary tree of the fungi.  In a sense, people–and all animals–would be highly evolved fungi.”  Well, maybe some people more than others.  The colorful story can be found on
National Geographic.
This story is included for your amusement.  It assumes evolution through every spore, breathes it through every pore.  What hath natural selection wrought!  No hint that anyone, anytime, anywhere, believed something different.  Browse and look at the amazing claims made for evolution just on the basis of authority.
Let’s see, somewhere there was some raw data in this article; where was it?  Oh yes, there it is: “Sogin extracted genetic material called RNA from the various organisms and compared two types of genetic data from each.  The two types of RNA told slightly different versions of the family history of the animals, but both sets of evidence agreed on many accounts.  Once deciphered, the genetic clues revealed that, of all animals, sponges are the most genetically distinct.”  Most of his findings were a surprise, and not expected from evolutionary assumptions.  Nevertheless, we’re here, therefore we are highly evolved fungi.
“Evolution is not a process that just stops,” says Sogin.  Well, it seemed to stop for living fossils.
Next headline on: Darwinism. • Next dumb story.
Scientists Coax Molecules to Self-Assemble   04/02/2002
A hot topic in biochemistry is self-assembly, the designing of molecules that can join into structures like tubes, lattices and helical shapes.  Traditional chemistry dealt with atoms and molecules; the new “supramolecular chemistry” deals with groups of molecules that form larger structures by virtue of their electrical and chemical attractions and repulsions.  Biological molecules depend on supramolecular interactions, and now scientists are trying to follow their example.
The April 2 online preprints of the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences contains several papers by chemists working in this microscopic realm of engineering.  One group got peptides to form nanotubes and nanovesicles, and concludes, “This surfactant peptide system also may capture the prebiotic environment’s simple origin and complex outcome.”  Another team got helical shapes out of polymers.  The authors of another paper begin with these comments:
Life could not exist without motion induced by a variety of molecular motors.  The construction of artificial motors by chemical synthesis, which can power motions that lead to macroscopic detectable effects in a system, is a major endeavor in contemporary science. ... Inspired by nature’s nanomachinery, there is great current interest in the design of molecular systems that mimic motor functions and are capable of performing linear or rotary movement.  Among the fascinating structures designed to induce mechanical motions are shuttles, muscles, ratchets, pseudorotaxanes, and switches.
They reported getting two molecules in a liquid crystal film to rotate relative to each other, forming a primitive molecular motor
Although these are interesting experiments on a cutting-edge area of chemistry, they are of no help to evolution. 
  1. These structures carry no information.  They are repetitive structures, larger than but similar to crystals.  Like a broken record, they are ordered but not informative. 
  2. They are very primitive compared to living molecular machines.  The “motor” that one team described was made of two simple molecules rotating with respect to each other in one direction only, with the input of light.  By contrast, ATP synthase, a biological motor, is made up of hundreds of precisely ordered amino acids.  It not only rotates, it clamps together ATP molecules in a three-phase assembly cycle, rotates at nearly 6000 RPM, and is reversible.  The bacterial flagellum rotates at 100,000 RPM and is also reversible; it is made up of 40 protein parts. 
  3. Each of these structures required the input of intelligent design by the scientists.  These molecules never would have been found together nor organized into the structures without specific guidance by skilled, intelligent scientists.  In living cells, DNA codes for and directs the assembly of molecular machines; they do not “self-assemble.”  Another critical point is that the scientists selected single-handed ingredients, which would have been astronomically improbable in nature.
  4. Natural selection cannot help a self-assembling structure to evolve or even survive.  Even if a simple molecular machine formed by chance (a wild speculation), it would be useless by itself.  Unless it were part of a cell that could reproduce all its parts, and unless it provided some functional advantage to that cell, there would be no natural selection.  No one would care if it survived or fell apart with the next cosmic ray.
Evolutionists are not allowed to inject intelligent guidance at any point in their naturalistic explanations of origins, or else they shoot themselves in the foot.  Claims of self-organization and self-assembly, therefore, need to be qualified with these essential differences between their intelligently-designed work and the theory of chemical evolution, before assuming such experiments provide evidence for the plausibility of a naturalistic origin of life.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry.
Book Review 04/02/2002: Kevin Padian in the online edition of the March 29 issue of Science, reviews Robert Pennock’s new book Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics.
This review breathes fire.  It is startling to see the hatred some scientists have for creationism; it borders on hysteria.  The review is full of ad hominems, genetic fallacy, second-guessing the agenda, loaded words, association, and other hot-air arguments devoid of a rational look at the evidence.  Phillip Johnson, one of the evil perpetrators of ID, keeps his cool, though; in his Weekly Wedge Update, he sees it as a backhanded endorsement: “ everyone is talking about us, or issues related to us, and the Darwinians are very worried.  They still like to claim that they can't ‘teach the controversy’ because there is no scientific controversy to teach, but then, what are Science and the MIT Press so absorbed with?”  Watch the film and you be the judge.
Next headline on: Intelligent Design.
Humans Evolved Narcotics Use   04/01/2002
According to
New Scientist, two anthropologists have a theory that humans evolved the use of narcotics as a survival strategy.  “Stimulant alkaloids like nicotine and cocaine could have been exploited by our human ancestors to help them endure harsh environmental conditions,” says Robert Sullivan of the University of Auckland.
Note: This is not an April Fool’s joke!  Well, I guess we should release all the offenders in our jails.  It’s not their responsibility; it’s evolution; it’s survival of the stoned.
Next headline on: Early Man. • Next dumb story.
ABC News Reports Ohio Intelligent-Design Controversy   04/01/2002
In “Charles Darwin is in the hot seat again,”
Amanda Onion of ABC News reports on the ongoing controversy over the teaching of evolution in Ohio schools, and whether criticisms or alternatives should be permitted to be taught.
Again, you will look in vain for any argument of substance against teaching intelligent design.  “I have great concern that we will be a worse joke than Kansas,” = ridicule.  “If we point out that evolution is unproven, we’ll need to point out that the theory of gravity is also unproven” = faulty analogy.  “And evolution is a much stronger theory than the theory of gravity” = Big Lie.  “Evolution is the scientific view that needs to be presented” = authority.  Discovery Institute ... is funded in part by Christian foundations” = guilt by association.   “The fact that the theory’s explanation is mystical, says Behe, is beside the point,” -- they do not quote Behe here, and it is doubtful he would have used the loaded word mystical.  (Even if he did, the point is irrelevant, since intelligent design is about observations, not explanations).  “The people pushing the agenda in Kansas learned a lot ... This approach is more subtle than creation and, frankly, more clever” = scare tactics and hate mongering; the fallacy of the hidden agenda.  2700 citizens sign a pro-Darwin petition to counter the 52 scientists who petitioned for alternatives to be heard = bandwagon.  (Notice also, this depends on the character and knowledge of the signers, not the numbers; a million imbeciles can outvote, but not outsmart, one Einstein).  As these excerpts show, opponents have nothing but hot air to argue that students should be prevented from hearing arguments against Darwinism and for intelligent design.  Watch the film.
In his Weekly Wedge Update for April 2, Phillip Johnson discusses the new film Unlocking the Mystery of Life.  This video is available from our products page.
Next headline on: Schools. • Next headline on: Intelligent Design.
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Featured Creation Scientist for April

Louis Pasteur
1822 - 1895

Who contributed more to the saving of human lives than any other scientist?  Who has been called the greatest biologist of all time?  Who revolutionized medicine and public health with his discoveries?  A creationist and a Christian – Louis Pasteur.  Let no one claim that faith in God is detrimental to science; you need look no farther than to this great man who said, “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.”

Pasteur was a humble, godly Catholic who served God and his fellow man through science.  If you enjoy milk that doesn’t spoil in a day, if you enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods, if you can take a quick shot and then live without fear of deadly diseases, if you enjoy a longer life than your ancestors did, you should thank the good doctor from France, because you owe much of your physical health and safety to him.  But your ultimate thanks should go to the Great Physician, who taught the Israelites many principles of good health and sanitation in the Bible.  Pasteur merely rediscovered and elaborated on two basic ideas from the Old Testament: (1) uncleanness causes disease, (2) life was created, and propagates after its kind.  Pasteur’s discoveries sounded the death knell for centuries of evolutionary speculation.

Young Louis knew the smell of leather from his father’s tanning business.  Though his father, who had fought in Napoleon’s army, scarified to give his son a better education than he had, Louis was considered a dull student, and vacillated between ideas for what to do with his life.  According to John Hudson Tiner, who has written an excellent narrative biography of Pasteur for the Sowers Series, one of his teachers saw buried in him a spirit of determination and imagination that had the potential for greatness, and helped fan it into flame.  He was sent to Paris at age 15, but his time had not yet come; his homesickness made him fumble, and he had some maturing to do.  While dabbling in art and trying various subjects, he improved in determination and learned to trust God.  He made it his goal to do better at the university, and the next time in Paris, honed on a dogged determination that would characterize his life, he rose to the head of his class.  But when he heard a lecture on chemistry by J. B. Dumas, he found his calling; what followed was one of the most phenomenal series of major discoveries in the history of science.

Though best known for discoveries in medicine, Pasteur was a chemist.  One of his early discoveries still baffles evolutionists today.  While studying crystals under polarized light, he found that certain molecules come in left- and right-handed forms that are mirror-images of each other, a phenomenon now known as chirality.  Even more remarkable, he found that living things use entirely one hand.  Most natural substances are composed of fifty-fifty “racemic” mixtures of both hands, the “stereoisomers” of a given chiral molecule, but for some reason living things were 100% pure of one hand.  Pasteur recognized this as a defining characteristic of life, and it remains a mystery to this day.

We now know that proteins, which are made up of 100% pure left-handed amino acids, could not function if they were racemic (mixtures of both hands), but how did life get started with just one hand, when both are equally probable?  This appears to be a clear evidence of intelligent design, because the probability of getting just one hand in a chain of amino acids is vanishingly small, like flipping a coin and getting heads a hundred times in a row.  Pasteur certainly considered this an evidence of a Creator, but today evolutionists are continuing to struggle with this observational fact, looking for some natural process that would yield even a hopeful majority to one hand or the other.  To this day, none has succeeded.  They know that close enough is not good enough; only a 100% pure chain would work.  The problem is compounded by the discovery that RNA and DNA contain sugar molecules that are 100% right-handed.

Pasteur’s discovery of chirality is one of two major obstacles he erected in the path of evolutionary theory, obstacles that have only gotten higher over time.  The early hopes of the Darwinians should have died in their tracks with discoveries of Pasteur and Mendel.  Unfortunately, evolutionists persist in thinking that unguided natural forces can surmount these obstacles.  Pasteur would feel at home today with the controversy over intelligent design vs naturalism, because he fought the skeptics of his day, and knew the difficulty of getting his critics to face the facts.  His persistence, and the irrefutable nature of his findings, gave him eventual success.  The other obstacle Pasteur raised to evolution was his law of biogenesis, the principle that only life begets life.  Since the Greeks, and probably long before, philosophers and commoners believed that life could arise out of nonliving material.  Is it not a common childhood observation that maggots and flies and all sorts of vermin seem to magically appear out of nowhere?  The myth of spontaneous generation seems silly today, but was the majority opinion for most of history.  Leeuwenhoek opposed it with rigorous observations through his microscope, and the “macro” version of spontaneous generation eventually succumbed to the experiments of Redi and Spallanzani.  (These are often used as textbook examples of the experimental method.)

In Pasteur’s day, however, a majority still believed that micro-organisms came from nonliving matter; for one thing, they seemed to proliferate rapidly even in distilled liquid; for another, there were so many varieties, they seemed almost chaotic and impossible to classify.  Lastly, micro-organisms seemed very simple.  It was easy to imagine them appearing without help; maybe some “vital force” gave rise to them.  Experiments on both sides of the debate yielded equivocal results.  Pasteur decided to enter the fray, against the advice of his peers that it would be a waste of time; but his persistence succeeding in delivering the knockout blow; he would say, “Never again shall the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow that this simple experiment has dealt it.”  What was the experiment that gave him such confidence?  It was a model of rigorous scientific method.

To be continued

For more information on Louis Pasteur and other great Christians in science, see our online book:
The World’s Greatest Creation Scientists from 1000 to 2000 A.D.
Copies are also available from our online store.

A Concise Guide
to Understanding
Evolutionary Theory

You can observe a lot by just watching.
– Yogi Berra

First Law of Scientific Progress
The advance of science can be measured by the rate at which exceptions to previously held laws accumulate.
Corollaries:
1. Exceptions always outnumber rules.
2. There are always exceptions to established exceptions.
3. By the time one masters the exceptions, no one recalls the rules to which they apply.

Darwin’s Law
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
Bloch’s Extension
So will Darwinists.

Finagle’s Creed
Science is true.  Don’t be misled by facts.

Finagle’s 2nd Law
No matter what the anticipated result, there will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c) believe it happened to his own pet theory.

Finagle’s Rules
3. Draw your curves, then plot your data.
4. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
6. Do not believe in miracles – rely on them.

Murphy’s Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.

Maier’s Law
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
Corollaries:
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiments may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with the theory.

Eddington’s Theory
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.

Young’s Law
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
Corollary
The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.

Peer’s Law
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.

Peter’s Law of Evolution
Competence always contains the seed of incompetence.

Weinberg’s Corollary
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.

Souder’s Law
Repetition does not establish validity.

Cohen’s Law
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts – not the facts themselves.

Harrison’s Postulate
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

Thumb’s Second Postulate
An easily-understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible truth.

Ruckert’s Law
There is nothing so small that it can’t be blown out of proportion

Hawkins’ Theory of Progress
Progress does not consist in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is right.  It consists in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is more subtly wrong.

Macbeth’s Law
The best theory is not ipso facto a good theory.

Disraeli’s Dictum
Error is often more earnest than truth.

Advice from Paul

Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge – by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.

I Timothy 6:20-21

Song of the True Scientist

O Lord, how manifold are Your works!  In wisdom You have made them all.  The earth is full of Your possessions . . . . May the glory of the Lord endure forever.  May the Lord rejoice in His works . . . . I will sing to the Lord s long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.  May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord.  May sinners be consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more.  Bless the Lord, O my soul!  Praise the Lord!

from Psalm 104

Maxwell’s Motivation

Through the creatures Thou hast made
Show the brightness of Thy glory.
Be eternal truth displayed
In their substance transitory.
Till green earth and ocean hoary,
Massy rock and tender blade,
Tell the same unending story:
We are truth in form arrayed.

Teach me thus Thy works to read,
That my faith,– new strength accruing–
May from world to world proceed,
Wisdom’s fruitful search pursuing
Till, thy truth my mind imbuing,
I proclaim the eternal Creed –
Oft the glorious theme renewing,
God our Lord is God indeed.

James Clerk Maxwell
One of the greatest physicists
of all time (a creationist).