“If the situation is as I have described it, the intellectual bankruptcy of Darwinism cannot be concealed for very much longer.  The Darwinists may delay the day of reckoning for a while by wielding the weapons of power, but more and more people are learning to press the right questions and to refuse to take bluff or evasion for an answer.”

– Dr. Phillip E. Johnson, The Wedge of Truth (IVP, 2000), p. 150.

 Creation-Evolution Headlines, May 2001                                        
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Honeybees Measure the Scenery, Not the Mileage  05/31/2001
The cover story of
Nature 05/31/2001 describes how honeybees communicate the distance to food sources to their hivemates.  Apparently they are not good at calculating absolute distances, but remember the amount of scenery they passed on the way.  Experimenters made them fly through a tunnel and found that their subsequent waggle-dances in the hive made their hivemates overshoot the distance.  Scientific American says, “Researchers have long marveled over the dance of the honeybee.  In fact, close observation has even enabled them to read the insect’s waggle performance.  Yet despite years of study, new insight into the creature’s unusual form of communication continues to come to light.”

Who taught the honeybee how to point accurately to the food source and communicate the distance, the angle to the sun, and the quality of the nectar?  This is one of the wonders of creation vividly portrayed in an old classic documentary by Moody Institute of Science, “City of the Bees,” still available from Moody Video.
Next headline on: Bugs and Crawlers. • Next amazing story.
Earth Experienced a Miocene Biological Camelot, Maybe  05/31/2001
According to a grad student and faculty member at the
University of Michigan, who studied marine sediment cores from two oceans, earth might have had a bloom in biological productivity between 6 and 4 million years ago.  By measuring phosphorus levels in the cores, they attempted to determine whether ocean currents shifted phosphorus from the rich to the poor regions (Robin Hood hypothesis), increased the phosphorus-rich areas (Sheriff of Nottingham), or increased the levels everywhere (Camelot).  Their best guess is Camelot.
Does anyone doubt that scientists are telling fairy tales about the past?  Take a few data points from two sites on the globe, assume evolution and long ages, then tell a story.  Maybe A is true; on the other hand, B (the opposite) could be true; let’s make everybody happy and let both A and B be true.
Next headline on: Geology (also next headline).
Ice Core Dating Unreliable  05/31/2001
Scientists at the University of Washington have found that impurities in ice cores can travel several centimeters from their starting points through small channels of liquid water between the crystals.  This blurs the accuracy of climate records based on ice core analysis.  They recommend their colleagues go back and rework the chemistry and adjust their results accordingly, according to the summary in
Scientific American.
Ice core samples have been used to argue for long ages and for climate trends, but this reveals another previously unknown effect that skews the results.  This is the problem with all dating methods; they depend on unknown initial conditions and unknown processes that can alter the conclusions.  We’ve seen that even tree ring dating, one of the most reliable of all, is subject to interpretation and statistical modelling that involves unproveable assumptions.  A classic case of paradigm shift involved the Yellowstone fossil forests.  For decades the Park Service told the public that the forests had grown one on top of the other for tens or hundreds of thousands of years.  Now, that idea has been overthrown in favor of a catastrophic debris-flow model from volcanic eruptions, and the old interpretive sign was removed.  Always be wary of dating methods involving the unobservable past; look for the hidden assumptions.
Next headline on: Dating methods. • Next headline on: Geology.
Darwin Mementoes Go On Display  05/30/2001
The
BBC News reports that a recently-discovered box of mementoes, kept by Charles Darwin to remember his daughter Annie who died at age 10, has gone on display at Down House where the scientist lived for 40 years and from whence he wrote The Origin of Species.  The memory box includes private letters about her illness and a lock of her hair.  On another continent, a collection of about 50 Darwin artifacts is on display till June 24 at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.
It is poignant to think of Darwin grieving over the loss of his little girl.  But grief, happiness, love, and remembrance are just chemical reactions in the naturalistic universe his theories created, and death ends everything.  By contrast, the Apostle Paul wrote so that we sorrow not, even as others that have no hope.  Darwin’s little memory box is a symbol of the vast difference between the two world views, and the naturalist’s reluctant surrender of faith, hope, and meaningful love.
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory.
European Space Agency Embraces Astrobiology  05/30/2001
Participants in the first
European Workshop on Exo/Astrobiology last week in Frascati, Italy, have embraced the search for life in space as a primary goal.  Members of the European Exobiology Network and the European Space Agency listed three evidences to support the growing consensus that life could be found beyond the earth: (1) organic molecules in space, (2) exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars than the Sun), and (3) extremophiles (organisms surviving in extreme environments on earth).  They discussed plans for ESA’s astrobiology program named Aurora to search for biomarkers as well as pave the way for human exploration in space (cf. NASA’s Origins program).  One of the planned “cornerstone” flight projects scheduled for launch around 2014 to look for chemical signatures of life around earthlike planets is named Darwin, and their Mars 2003 lander bears the name Beagle 2 after the ship on which the young Charles Darwin sailed as naturalist.
The entire hope of exo/astrobiology is composed of logical fallacies built on the assumption of evolution.  (1) Organic molecules in space are no closer to life than a child’s toy alphabet blocks are to an encyclopedia (reductionism, circular reasoning, circumstantial evidence, glittering generalities).  (2) Extrasolar planets are collections of rocks or gas that have no necessary connection to life (extrapolation, circular reasoning, circumstantial evidence).  (3) Extremophiles indicate adaptation, not abiogenesis (post hoc, extrapolation).  None of these arguments address the critical issue, the origin of complex specified information obvious in even the simplest known bacterium.  Astrobiology can be considered an exercise in blind faith, NOT science.  But if their enthusiasm generates new data-gathering missions (paid for by Europeans), then all the better to have facts instead of endless speculation.
Next headline on: Origin of Life. • Next headline on: SETI.
Cosmologists Still Lack Many Basic Answers  05/30/2001
The June issue of
Astronomy Magazine has as its cover story “The Ultimate Cosmic Mysteries.” Astrophysicist Mark Sincell lists “The Eight Greatest Mysteries of Cosmology” which sound pretty great, indeed:
  1. How multidimensional is the universe?  (We don’t understand gravity.)
  2. How did the universe begin?  (How did an explosion produce such smoothness?)
  3. Why does matter fill the universe?  (There should be an equal part of antimatter.)
  4. How did galaxies form?  (“The details are devilishly difficult to understand.”)
  5. What is cold dark matter?  (What is the other 95% of stuff that must be out there?)
  6. Are all the baryons assembled in galaxies?  (Astronomers have only found a tiny fraction of what they expect.)
  7. What is the dark energy?  “Physicists have tried to calculate the observed dark-energy density from accepted theories of physics, but their results don’t jibe with reality.  So far, the computed value is roughly 1060 times greater than the observed value.  (Others say the number could be off by a factor of up to 10130, but let’s not quibble over the details.)”
  8. What is the destiny of the universe?
And you were taught the Big Bang Theory explained everything.  If you sweep away the facades of bluff in this article, you find that cosmologists really don’t know very much at all.  For instance, inflation is still the rage, but the author says: “What drove inflation?  Nobody knows.  Physicists have suggested different models to describe the inflating universe, but all the solutions are mathematical conveniences with no particular physical basis.”  (See inflation, below).  Regarding dark energy, “The biggest problem with this idea is that no one has any idea what dark energy is.  ‘So far, all we’ve been able to do is name it,’ says [Michael] Turner.  ‘It could be the energy associated with nothing [sic!], or the influence of hidden spatial dimensions.’”  Sincell figures we will have all these mysteries solved by 2010, but provides no assurance that cosmologists are actually moving forward instead of backward.  That is why it is so disengenuous for compromise creationists like Hugh Ross to confidently tell uninformed audiences that the Big Bang is well established except for a few minor details.
Cosmologists are often guilty of the Best-In-Field Fallacy, defined and roundly trounced by Norman Macbeth in his excellent book Darwin Retried (Gambit, 1978).  Astronomers admit that the Big Bang has problems, but respond that it’s the best theory we have (assuming, of course, that only naturalistic theories are permitted, so theism is ruled out by definition).  So if the Big Bang is the leader of problematic theories, Macbeth would claim this is faint praise.  “Is there any glory in outrunning a cripple in a foot race?  Being best-in-field means nothing if the field is made up of fumblers” (Macbeth, p. 77).  He continues (p. 78), “It seems that the standards of the evolutionary theorists are relative or comparative rather than absolute.  If such a theorist makes a suggestion that is better than other suggestions, or better than nothing, he feels that he has accomplished somthing even if his suggestion will obviously not hold water.  He does not believe that he must meet any objective standards of logic, reason, or probability.”
#2 - How did universe begin: see Genesis 1:1.  #8 - Destiny of universe: see Revelation 20-22.  Take your pick of the best in field; at least these have an Eyewitness.
Next headline on: Cosmology.
Space Society Urges Search for Life on Moon  05/29/2001
A Cal State Long Beach professor made a pitch to the
National Space Society for looking for life, or at least proto-life, in shaded craters on the moon, according to Space.Com.  Dr. Jack Green is one of a few who feel the major craters on the moon are volcanic in origin, not the result of impacts.  That being the case, he feels we might find proteinoid microspheres or amino acids that formed from volcanic ingredients and heat, now protected in the permanent ice shadowed from the sun and its deadly radiation.  “Everything falls into place and it’s extremely favorable for life,” he says.  “I don’t think it would be anything advanced at all.  But it could be the earliest known species, the Archaea, or bacteria.  This is very possible.  I’m not going to say they are alive, I draw the line there.  But I do say it is possible because of time.” 
This reasoning is so absurd, it can only be coming from someone trying to drum up funding for another space mission.  Evolutionists belittle theists for believing in miracles.  Parting the Red Sea doesn’t even come close to building a bacterium from a volcanic eruption on the moon.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Tropical Glaciers Suggest Frozen Earth  05/29/2001
Did Earth become a snowball in the past? 
Penn State geophysicists don’t see how glacial deposits at tropical latitudes could have formed unless the whole earth froze over.  Runaway glaciation could have frozen the oceans and formed the glaciers within a few thousand years, they estimate, but melting would have taken millions of years even if volcanoes outgassed CO2 at 300 times current levels.  Other scientists doubt whether life could have survived such freezing episodes.
Be thankful these geophysicists are only playing with computer models, not the real earth, or you would have to cancel that cruise in the Bahamas.  Their models reinforce the belief that earth’s climate is finely tuned for life.  Tweak the paramaters a little one way or the other, and you get a runaway meltdown or a runaway freeze, from which it is very hard to recover.  Just look at Venus and Mars.  Glaciers are a paradox, requiring simultaneous cold temperatures and warm oceans from which the precipitation can originate.  For a model on different assumptions (a worldwide flood), see the CSC website; go to the index and check “Ice Age.”
Next headline on: Geology.
Science Project Criticizes Evolution, Ordered Removed  05/27/2001
A 6th-grade student displayed a Creation vs. Evolution science fair project that touched off a controversy about science, religion and free speech between the teacher, school board, superintendent, and his parents.  The story “Creation vs. Evolution” made the front page of Saturday’s local newspaper, complete with a large photo of the controversial display.  Joshua Lunetta of Santa Clarita, California included on the creation side of the display an emblem of a “Truth” fish swallowing a “Darwin” fish, and a stuffed monkey and action figure under the words “monkey business.”  The superintendent of the Newhall School District did not appreciate the humor.  “It was not acceptable.  It was derogatory toward evolution,” he told the
Daily News, arguing that the display needed more balance.  Joshua’s father, who has an M.S. in chemistry and is also critical of evolution, agreed to have his son make modifications to the display, but complained to the school board that they modified it further beyond the agreed-on changes, and thus violated his son’s free speech rights.  The school board responded that the student was inserting religion into a science project: “Children have a right to express religion, but this was brought under the heading of science,” Marc Winger, superintendent, said.  “The distinction here is pretty clear – the courts have said school districts cannot teach this concept.  We teach evolution because it’s part of the California curriculum.” In a letter to Lunetta, Winger further stated that creation is “first and foremost a religious belief grounded in Biblical text.  While teachers do not and will not teach creation in the Newhall School District, student-generated reports that include creation science as a scientific theory present a ‘gray’ area for teachers and administrators.” Mr. Lunetta and a friend argued that it takes more faith to believe in evolution than creation, and there is no way to test evolution, students should be free to present alternatives.
The Supreme Court did not say that schools cannot teach creation; it made it clear a science teacher can teach any and all relevant scientific facts about origins.  The court only ruled that school boards cannot mandate “equal time” for creation and evolution.  The superintendent’s statement reflects widespread misunderstanding of the court’s rulings, that make school officials and teachers fear that any mention of creation in science classrooms (or even criticism of evolution) is against the law.  That is simply not true.  In fact, creationists want to teach more about evolution than the evolutionists want students to hear! (i.e., the mass of evidence that undermines Darwinism).  But in this school district, which does not and will not teach creation, they don’t even want students to criticize evolution.  Why, pray tell, does Darwinism need such protection from “derogatory” presentations?  Is there some commandment that we must not take the name of Darwin in vain?
While this student’s courage in opposing evolutionary dogmatism is laudable, perhaps he would have had better influence by sticking entirely to scientific arguments against evolution and omitting the Bible and elements that mocked the opposition.  Otherwise, it allows the evolutionists to retreat into the old either-or fallacies of “religion vs. science” and “separation of church and state.”  (A comeback to the superintendent might have been: “Evolution is first and foremost a religious belief grounded in philosophical naturalism.”)  There is plenty of scientific evidence to oppose Darwinism (just read these pages), and the implications are pretty obvious.  But students around the country ought to rise up and challenge the force-fed diet of Darwin on the grounds it is bad science, not just that it offends their religious beliefs.  Won’t it be ironic if the Darwin Wall crumbles from the hammers of young students astute enough to turn the Darwinists’ own words and data against them?
Next headline on: Schools. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
Tiny Mammal Ancestor Found  05/25/2001
A fossil from China of a tiny mammal, as small as a paper clip, is all the rage on the science news wires including
National Geographic.  Published in Science (see this summary and picture in Scientific American, the fossil is alleged to be 195 million years old, 45 million years older than previous mammalian ancestors, but Hadrocodium wui has all the key features of true mammals, including larger brain and detached middle ear bones, despite its diminutive size.
Small size is not ancestral any more than a Palm Pilot is ancestral to mainframes; it could be looked at instead as a triumph of microengineering.  All the features of mammals are present from the start in this cute little pet, if you accept their dates, so where is the evolution?  We have seen similar stories recently with ticks and salamanders, to illustrate that this is not an isolated anomaly.
Evolutionists are surprised that brain size and detached middle ear bones apparently evolved together.  So here you have two improbabilities occurring simultaneously, effectively multiplying the improbability.  What’s more, they occurred rapidly, much earlier than previously thought.  Evolutionists cling to their phylogenetic trees and interpretations not because of the evidence, but in spite of it.  For another example, see the story “Shaking the Family Tree” under Related Links at the end of the Scientific American story.
Lucy of Peanuts fame provides a fable on how a priori reasoning confronts anomalies.  Pointing to an object on the sidewalk, she said, “Wow, look at the size of that butterfly, Charlie Brown!  That must be one of those big tropical butterflies from Brazil.” Upon closer inspection, Charlie Brown commented, “That’s no butterfly; that ’s a potato chip.”  “Well, what do you know; you“re right, Charlie Brown,” Lucy replied.  “I wonder how a potato chip got all the way up here from Brazil?”
Next headline on: Fossils. • Next headline on: Mammals.
Distributed Shipping Design Found in Nerve Cells  05/25/2001
Researchers at the
Howard Hughes Medical Institute have found that dendrites, the long stems on neurons, have the ability to manufacture their own proteins.  Erin M. Schuman, Institute investigator from CalTech, remarked on the economy and efficiency of this design: “It’s like the difference between centralized and distributed freight shipping,” she said. “With central shipping, you need a huge number of trucks that drive all over town, moving freight from a central factory.  But with distributed shipping, you have multiple distribution centers that serve local populations, with far less transport involved.”
There appears to be no end in sight for the design wonders we will find in living cells, and the frayed nerves these will cause for evolutionists.
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry.
Face on Mars Evaporates at High Res  05/24/2001
The
Mars Global Surveyor took the highest-resolution image yet of the alleged “Face on Mars” that has been the subject of many a talk show, tabloid and conspiracy theory, but the likeness to a face has diminished considerably with clearer vision.  It now appears that the face is merely a haphazard collection of buttes on an elevated ridge.
It is interesting to watch the interplay between the tabloid believers and the NASA scientists on this feature.  The tabloid believers are typically mocked for their credulity and tendency to extrapolate to alien civilizations based on one questionable, unfocused image (and rightly so, given the improbability of anything higher than bacteria being able to survive on Mars).  They are also chided for not giving up when better evidence comes in.  But some NASA scientists do the same thing; they take a meteorite artifact and believe it evidence for life, against all probability, even when better evidence keeps coming in that naturalistic abiogenesis is impossible.  Notice the hidden assumptions and credulity of this typical comment on the Mars Exploration website: “Water probably didn’t exist on the surface of Mars long enough for anything other than very small, bacteria-like life forms to develop.” Don’t they know how extremely complex a bacterium is?  Does it make any more sense to think a bacterium would evolve on Mars, than to believe an alien civilization would construct a face?
Next headline on: Mars.
Human Language Learning Period Was Limited by Natural Selection  05/24/2001
In the June 7 issue of the
Proceedings of the Royal Society, two evolutionists try to explain the limited time frame in which humans easily learn a language (about 13 years) in terms of natural selection.  They claim there is a stable interval bounded by opposing forces: (1) the benefit of accuracy by having a longer period, and (2) the fitness cost of learning.
You can explain anything by natural selection, therefore you can explain nothing.  Evolutionists wrap the tautology of natural selection in impressive jargon like “Nash equilibrium analysis” and “selective forces” but it doesn’t protect them from criticism, even from their own allies, that natural selection is a vacuous concept that, like happiness, means different things to different people.  This paper is filled with differential equations and graphs that look formidable, but look at their starting assumptions: successful communication increases an individual’s fitness (whatever that means), and learning is costly.  They have guaranteed their conclusions within their own assumptions, so all the math begs the question.  Evolutionists are masters of the art of storytelling with scientific jargon.  Any parent knows the difference between the grunting of animals and their child’s acquisition of language, from the cooing of infancy to the debate team in college.  The vast gulf that separates human language from the animals points to a personal God who created us to interact with Him and with each other as persons, created in His image.
Next headline on: Human Body.
Experiment Grows Bacteria in Mars-Like Soil  05/24/2001
Researchers at the
University of Arkansas have grown bacteria in a simulated Martian soil, this time without an artificial buffer.
This story may be of interest to terraformers (Martian farmers) but proves nothing for astrobiologists (life searchers).
Next headline on: Mars.
Ad Campaign Promotes Biblical Creation As Answer to Racism  05/23/2001
Answers in Genesis has launched a new website OneHumanRace.com and with it, 40 billboards throughout the Cincinnati area.  The evangelistic ad campaign teaches that the answer to racism is recognizing our common humanity as taught in Genesis, that we all are descended from the same original human pair, and that Christ offers the solution to racism.  The site also contains articles documenting Darwinist connections to racism, and sets the record straight on what the Bible teaches about race.
News Item on same subject: The State of Louisiana House passed a resolution May 8 condemning racism, but according to Answers in Genesis, removed the author’s original references to Darwinism as promoting the idea that certain races had evolved higher than others.  A sanitized version was passed to keep the world safe for Darwinism.
Darwinians are quick to associate Christianity with religious wars and other social ills, but reluctant to own up to their own dark history of deception, racism, and genocide.  It is true that misguided Christians have taken Bible quotes out of context to support racist positions, but the question to ask is: which ideology, Christianity or Darwinism, has at is very foundation and core beliefs the idea that some humans are racially superior to others?  Is it not the evolutionists that even today are telling us that modern humans outsmarted the Neandertals, therefore won the coveted fitness trophy (i.e., survival)?  Was not the subtitle of Darwin’s book And the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life?  Was it not Jesus Christ, by contrast, who taught us to love our enemies, support the weak, and lay down our lives for one another?  How un-Darwinian!  Was it not the Apostle Paul that taught we are all made of one blood and children of one ancestor, Adam, and if redeemed are all one in Christ?  Read the articles at this new site for more enlightening insights into the foundations of racism.
Next headline on: Politics. • Next headline on: Bible. • Next headline on: Darwinism.

Lake Vostok Has No Hot Vents  05/23/2001
Lake Vostok, a Great-Lakes-size body of water under Antarctic ice, hasbeen explored with hopes it might have hot water vents and thus support a primordial colony of exotic life forms.  The
BBC News now reports, however, that no such vents have been found.  There are no chemical signatures from volcanic activity in an ice core taken above the water level.  Although tube worms and other deep sea vent lifeforms are ruled out by this finding, there remains a possibility for bacteria or microbes somewhere within the lake.

Unquestionably, studying life in extreme environments is interesting.  But astrobiologists use a fallacious argument that because life is found in extreme environments, it might have originated there.  Some even extrapolate this into thinking life must be easy to evolve from scratch!  That is what is behind much of the search for life in extreme environments, such as deep sea vents, Lake Vostok, hot springs, and Mars.
Next headline on: Origin of Life (also next story, below).
Conference 05/23/2001: The first European Workshop on Astro/Exobiology is underway in Italy.  A list of conference topics and reports is on the website.
What is there to talk about?  No evidence exists for life anywhere but here on earth.  There is no such thing, therefore, as “astro-biology”!  But look at the schedule and see how seriously these scientists take it.  Biochemistry takes the “bio” out of astrobiology, and that leaves . . . (the conclusion is left as an exercise).
Early Humans Ate Anything, Thus Outlived Choosy Neandertals  05/22/2001
Because early humans took a liking to a fish and fowl diet, they outlived their Neandertal neighbors who were stuck on bison and reindeer which were in shorter supply, according to the
BBC News.  This from analysis of bones which indicate the sources of protein, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Too bad; buffalo burgers are pretty tasty.  But apparently a “see-food” diet is the key to survival.  Scientists, like beaver trappers, can tell pretty good whoppers around the campfire.  (Thought Experiment: scientists discover a few human bones from Boston and from Atlanta in the year 5492 and run chemical tests on them; make up a story about their habits and evolution.  Can you prove it?  Does it matter, if it makes a good story?)  On the other hand, maybe this report is a conspiracy by the poultry and seafood industries to lure us away from red meat: Don’t go extinct . . . eat fish!
Next headline on: Early Man.
Book 05/21/2001: Gerald Schroeder (PhD physics), appeared on the 700 Club Monday night, discussing design in nature, natural theology, and his new book The Hidden Face of God.  Schroeder takes an old earth perspective, equating the Big Bang with creation, but explains how both physics and biology defy naturalistic explanation.  The book is aimed at skeptics but acknowledges God has spoken in verbal as well as natural revelation.

Astrobiologists Give Up on Primordial Soup, Look to Comets  05/21/2001
A feature story in
Science News May 19, 2001 (pp. 317-319) deals with origin of life woes.  In “Cosmic Chemistry Gets Creative,” Jessica Gorman rounds up the usual suspects (McKay, Chyba, Bada, et al) to put a positive spin on a desperate situation: the old Miller primordial soup theory appears dead, so they are looking to seeding earth with prebiotic chemicals via comets.  Scientists are blasting material together to try to form building blocks of life in hypothetical comets, and see if they could survive the fiery plunge to earth. 

Anyone who has followed astrobiology or origin of life studies for the past few decades should be appalled that it has come to this – that evolutionists would actually consider comets and meteorites as their last hope to get prebiotic compounds to earth.  After Miller’s spark-chamber apparatus became one of the icons of evolution, evolutionists were triumphant that a theory for a naturalistic origin of life was now within their reach.  Since then, everything has been against them: oxygen in the atmosphere, inhospitable earth, meteorite devastation, too little time, and most of all, incomprehensible complexity in even the simplest living organisms.  And yet this article, and almost all like it from NASA to National Geographic, never presents even the slightest hint that there is another explanation, and that a majority of Americans believe it!  Our challenge as creationists is to help atheists see the elephant in the living room.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Be Cool on Campus: Go to Church  05/21/2001
Penn State sociologist Valerie King and colleagues evaluated 451 families in rural Iowa and discovered that upright, church-going students were more likely to get good grades and be popular.  “In communities where churches are strong, especially in the rural Midwest and South, the involvement of adolescents and their friends in church youth programs establishes a culture that supports personal integrity, the virtues of civic life and civility, and an ethic of achievement,” wrote Dr. King.  Surprisingly, she found that being poor didn’t mean being a social misfit, if the student had a strong family and religious upbringing.  The book published by the Penn State team attributes the social success of church-going students to the fact that their peer groups were allies, not enemies, of their parents’ values.  Involvement with solid church programs also helped young people gain self-confidence, which in turn made them sought out by their peers, i.e., popular.
Well, how about that.  The liberals who always want to equate poverty with social ills (implying money can create happiness) should look at this study carefully.  For a good historical example, consider the case of Michael Faraday, whose family was desperately poor but deeply committed to their Christian faith and their church.  Faraday grew up to be the world’s greatest experimental physicist, because his values of integrity, character, hard work and perseverance had been forged in the trials of his youth, reinforced by faith and love at home.
(Disclaimer: the title of this story is not meant to imply that desire for popularity is a good motivation for going to church.  The true disciple of Christ must be willing to take up the cross, i.e., be unpopular and die to self.  The popularity here is an attractiveness that shows the peace of God through a person’s character.)
Next headline on: Schools.
Nature Sights and Sounds Ease Pain  05/20/2001
Researchers at
Johns Hopkins achieved pain reductions of up to 43% by distracting patients with sounds of a gurgling brook and sights of a tranquil meadow during bronchoscopy.  They believe similar results could be achieved with other painful procedures.
Got a pain?  Go on a Creation Safari.  Garden of Eden environmental sights and sounds might do you better than that freeway gridlock you’re in.
Next headline on: Health. • Next headline on: Environment.
Scientists Create RNA Replicator by Test-Tube Evolution  05/18/2001
In a major step forward for the RNA-world hypothesis for the origin of life, scientists have manufactured an RNA enzyme that can replicate other RNA molecules.  Wendy Johnston and David Bartel at MIT started with an RNA ribozyme (an RNA molecule possession enzymatic activity) able to join just a few nucleotides.  Then they sifted through 1000 trillion random RNA sequences of 76 bases each to try to fortify the ribozyme into a better RNA replicator.  Applying “test-tube evolution,” they ended up with a ribozyme able to replicate an arbitrary RNA chain, up to 14 bases long, with 95% accuracy.  Bartel, a proponent of the RNA-world hypothesis, believes this experiment overcomes a major hurdle: how RNA could have replicated itself.  But he cautioned, “We will never be able to prove the existence of the RNA world because we can’t go back in time – but we can examine the basic properties of RNA and see if these are compatible within the RNA world scenario.” Sources:
MIT Whitehead Institute Press Release.  Summary of report in Science: ScienceNow.
The bluff in this story is palpable.  ScienceNow even has a foolish cartoon of an undersea copy machine.  What they are not telling you, though, is far more important than what they are claiming.  This is simply an Intelligent Design experiment that has nothing to do with the origin of life; the scientists purposely selected out their predetermined winner from a vast pool of candidates.  A materialistic earth would have no such desire or power.  With teleological foresight, they removed the harmful influences and chose the circumstances that would vastly improve chances for success.  Then they subjected the hand-picked winners to “test-tube evolution” – how’s that for an oxymoron!  This is nanotechnology, not abiogenesis.  It involves clever manipulation of complex molecules, but provides no insight into the origin of information, the central problem in the origin of life.  For a list of problems with abiogenesis (life from nonlife), read this summary by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati that contains links to additional articles for further study.  See also this critique of the RNA World hypothesis by Gordon Mills and Dean Kenyon.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
National Geographic Bemoans Third-World Environmental Destruction  05/17/2001
Two articles on the
National Geographic newsdesk address environmental concerns, but this time not the fault of the United States.  The first article takes China to task for shameful corruption, deceit, environmental damage, and mistreatment of poor peasants due to the ongoing construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project.  The second article deals with rapid depletion of the world’s forests and ecosystems due to agricultural needs of the poor in famine-afflicted countries.  The either-or approach of preservation vs. utilization is unrealistic, and needs to be replaced with cooperation of the needs of impoverished farmers with theneeds of ecology.
The free world gets blamed for so much that’s wrong with the environment; these articles provide some balance.  Totalitarian regimes are often the worst culprits, by impoverishing their people and running roughshod over their land with massive projects.  Starving peasants are concerned with survival, not noble ideals of environmental protection.  It is a free society at liberty to explore the wonders of nature and do science that has the best chance to sustain the needs of humans, plants and animals.  Free-world agricultural chemists, continuing the lead of Christian George Washington Carver, are finding ways to boost productivity of farms, and even growing bumper crops out of sand or with no soil at all.  The world can support a large human population.  Give me liberty, or give me dearth.
Next headline on: Environment.
Leaves Tell Tales of Past Climate Changes  05/17/2001
According to
Nature, a scientist at the University of Oregon claims he can read the past in the leaves.  By counting stomata, or breathing pores, in the surfaces of fossilized Ginkgo leaves and comparing them with similar leaves grown with differing concentrations of carbon dioxide, Gregory Retallack believes he has calibrated a correlation between the leaves and greenhouse gas levels.  Moreover, he claims to see a correlation between CO2 levels and the ice ages, linking these levels with global temperatures.  This confirms, he claims, the linkage of carbon dioxide with climate.  Geologists who have denied the linkage based on their correlations of isotope ratios in ancient soils think Retallack’s work is interesting but not conclusive.  One says, “Plants are not machines.  Light, humidity and geographical location also have very strong impacts on stomatal density.  Another reminds, “Taken on their own every method has its flaws.”
Exercise: can you find the hidden assumptions in the scientists’ claims?
Next headline on: Plants.    Next headline on: Fossils.
Next headline on: Environment.
Articles 05/16/2001: The Discovery Institute has two new research papers: The Meanings of Evolution by Meyer and Keas, and The Cambrian Explosion: Biology’s Big Bang.
Next headline on: Fossils.

Library of Alexandria Revived  05/16/2001
Due to open in June is a resurrected, updated reconstruction of the great Library of Alexandria, the center of knowledge of the world during the Roman Empire.  A report in the Washington Times describes both the old and the new.  The World Bank and UNESCO have supported the project.

Carl Sagan used to point to the Library of Alexandria as a symbol of the pinnacle of human intellectual and scientific achievement in the ancient world, and he wrongly accused the Christians of its demise (read the present article for the facts).  Whether such a symbol is needed in the Internet Age, when Alexandria is but a shadow of its former glory, remains to be seen.  One doesn’t need to sail to northern Africa to check out rare, hand-copied scrolls these days; now there are terabytes of scientific books and papers available at the click of a mouse from anywhere in the world.
Update Oct 16, 2002: It’s opening day, and National Geographi has a report on their impressions. Solomon also had great works, learning and wisdom, but he knew empires rise and fall, and the glory of kingdoms fades into obscurity.  His words, however, (more ancient than those of Alexandria), survive untarnished for today’s intellectuals and truth seekers: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” Prov 9:10.
Colorado Rain Forest Rebounded After Cretaceous Asteroid Impact  05/16/2001
Paleontologists from the Denver Museum have uncovered fossil leaves at Castle Rock that indicate a tropical rain forest lived there 64.1 million years ago, a mere 1.4 million years after the Yucatan asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65.5 million years ago.  At least that is how it is reported in the
Nando Times.
It is truly astounding to see the reckless abandon with which scientists and reporters toss around geologic dates with utter disregard for honesty and integrity.  A true scientist should be (1) up front about his assumptions, and (2) extremely cautious about conclusions.  This story, as reported, provides no hint that scientists disagree strongly about the Yucatan asteroid theory (and yet here, they even know its diameter!) and how the dinosaurs went extinct.  And the error bars on the dating methods are huge.  Scrape away all the storytelling and bluff, and what do you find?  Some fossilized leaves along a Colorado highway.  These leaves do indicate that a lush tropical environment existed here once upon a time, but they do not have dates on them, nor do they tell you what triggered their burial. 
Notice how the evolutionists were surprised by this find.  They thought it would take 10 million years for a rain forest to recover after their pet asteroid did its damage.  But evolutionary theory is so flexible, they can incorporate any surprise into the tale.  Using different assumptions, however, you can fit the pieces just as well into a very different scenario: an antediluvian world of tropical plants living at now-temperate latitudes, and a watery catastrophe that buried them all, leaving a fossil graveyard, and a radically changed climate.  Take your pick; just be honest about your assumptions, and where the evidence ends and the storytelling begins.
Next headline on: Fossils.
Next headline on: Plants.
Is Federal Enviro Curriculum Good Stewardship or Witchcraft?  05/15/2001
According to
Conservative News Service, a bill introduced by Senators James Inhofe and Hillary Clinton seeks to encourage scientifically sound, balanced environmental education programs for the nation’s schoolchildren.  Some parts of the country, however, have had battles over such programs.  Parents in Port Huron, Michigan, for instance, have been alarmed at a program called Earthkeepers that, while appearing innocuous on the surface, seems to mimic Wiccan beliefs and practices more than teach scientific principles of ecology.  The program’s promoters deny it.  Why, then, do they have children sit in a darkened garage with lighted candles and listen to the wizard of the woods?
Sound environmental science is a worthy goal, but environmental ethics are profoundly influenced by a person’s world view, philosophy or religion.  Pantheism, for instance, which is part and parcel of Deep Ecology, native American religion and Wicca, would produce a curriculum that encourages children to get in touch with the spirits of nature.  Christianity would produce a curriculum that makes children good stewards of nature.  While the end result might have similarities, like encouraging children to be nice to animals and practice conservation, the theology, motivation, principles and approaches will be as far apart as the east is from the west.  Parents need to be very wary about nice-sounding Federal programs that, in practice, could wind up exposing their kids to pagan religion and doctrines of demons.
Next headline on: Schools.
Next headline on: Environment.
Watch a Living Fossil on the Net  05/15/2001
A website will feature
live footage of Coelacanth fish, according to the BBC News.  Coelacanth lobe-finned fish, thought to be extinct for 70 million years, caused quite a stir when found alive in 1938.  The web expedition seeks to study the habits of a group of the weird fish found off the coast of South Africa.
An evolutionary just-so story suffered a blow when these supposed missing links between fish and amphibians were found to be doing just fine in modern times, after an alleged gap of 70 million years with no evolution at all.  Coelacanth is just one of many living fossils that argue against the geologic time scale and macroevolution.
Next headline on: Fossils. • Next headline on: Fish.
Antimatter Depletion Explained  05/14/2001
Our universe is made up predominantly of matter instead of antimatter, yet the Big Bang would predict equal quantities of both.  This has been called the “antimatter problem” in cosmology.  Now, scientists at CERN labs in Switzerland and at Fermilab in the United States have confirmed a slight asymmetry in interactions between a K meson and its antiparticle.  Reported in the
BBC News, this asymmetry may have led to a universe of matter, in which galaxies, stars, and people could exist.
The predominance of matter over antimatter is one of the “anthropic” properties of the universe that allow life to exist.  While interesting, the experimental results reported here describe only possibility out of many required.  The explanation also begs the question of why there should be an asymmetry in the first place.  This is just one of many tiny coincidences of physics that make all the difference in the world.
Next headline on: Physics. • Next headline on: Cosmology.
Mass Extinction Opened Door for Dinosaurs  05/11/2001
Scientists at the University of Washington have found evidence of a mass extinction 200 million years ago that killed half of all species, popular science sources are reporting, such as
National Geographic News and EurekAlert.  The extinction occurred between the Triassic and Jurassic periods and occurred within a brief 10,000 years, according to Peter Ward.  He bases his theory on examination of fossil layers off the coast of British Columbia that show a decline in organic carbon and radiolaria at the moment of presumed extinction.
Whenever you hear an epic saga of evolutionary history like this, be sure to ask the question “Where’s the evidence?”  All this hyperbole about dinosaurs and millions of years and half the earth going extinct comes from what?  Just some measurements of carbon on two tiny islands on this huge planet, in one layer of rock!  The rest is all storytelling, based on the prior assumption of evolution.  With such little data, you can make up any story you want; try your hand at it.  After all, Chicken Little had physical evidence the sky was falling: something hit him on the head.
Next headline on Fossils: see next story, that tells how the evidence can tell a different story when you look at it differently.
Paleontologist Maps 3D Fossil Distribution  05/10/2001
Bucking 150 years of tradition, in which fossils are plotted along a single time axis, William Zinsmeister of Purdue has plotted the three-dimensional distribution of fossils in Antarctica and found surprises.  He claims that anomalous findings, often discarded as artifacts, reflect rapid changes (perturbations) that occurred in geologically brief time frames.  Examples he found include ammonites and cephalopods concentrated along single, thin fossil-bearing layers (horizons).  He feels these anomalies reflect true short-term events that would not be recognized using conventional one-dimensional plots.  Source:
EurekAlert.
It is good to increase the precision of data, but notice what the data indicate: massive die-offs at particular layers over short periods of time.  Dr. Zinsmeister’s work would never pass peer review if it did not bow the knee to Lyell and long ages, but when you separate the facts from the interpretation, you do not see slow and gradual evolution: you see catastrophe.
Next headline on: Fossils.
Plate Tectonics Began Earlier  05/10/2001
Scientists looking at rocks near the Great Wall of China have pushed back the date of the onset of plate tectonics from 1.9 billion years to 2.5 billion years, according to a report summarized in
EurekAlert.  They found rocks that look very similar to those due to sea-floor spreading.  According to Timothy Kusky of St. Louis University, this affects theories on the origin of life: “Because hot volcanic vents on the sea floor may have provided the nutrients and temperatures needed for life to flourish and develop, it’s possible that life developed and diversified around these vents as plate tectonics began.”
It is astounding how scientists can get away with weaving such stories around such sparse evidence as a few rocks in China.  This scientist ties his rocks to the highly questionable and hotly debated idea that life originated around deep sea vents, a theory that breaks down when you examine it, and which contradicts other scenarios like this.  Are there no critics to speak out that it is indefensible to base such glittering generalities on a few rocks?  How did science degenerate to such a free-for-all where you can claim anything as long as it fits in somehow with evolutionary assumptions?
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Next headline on: Geology.
Alien Life Found in Meteorite  05/10/2001
Italian researchers claim they found alien microbes in a meteorite, according to
Discovery.Com.  They took meteorites from a Naples museum and revived microbes that they claim are primitive and have an unearthly genetic code.  Others remain skeptical, however, and think the rocks were contaminated with terrestrial bacteria.  The original report in Italian is at: this link
This story is too bizarre to be trusted.  Most likely it will get press for awhile then die like cold fusion.  These researchers may be just a couple of hyperactive believers in panspermia trying to get a headline; the report states, “Now, the results will be published on the Internet and will be available to the international scientific community, which soon will make hear [sic] its voice.  In the meanwhile, ASI will support the research - the scientific director of ASI points out - because the chase to the origin of life is one of the greatest challenges of today’s science.”
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Men Are Evolving Taller  05/10/2001
Several news outlets have been parroting the report like this in
New Scientist that tallness may be an evolutionary trend among men.  Scientists from Syracuse and Marzburg studied a 1950 class of West Point graduates and found that the taller ones had more children.  The explanation is that tallness is attractive, and attractive men have more options to divorce and remarry and father more offspring - natural selection at work.  Other evolutionists, however, are skeptical.  “One has to be careful in making an evolutionary interpretation from just one or two modern studies,” one cautions.  A member of a tall men’s club also disagrees: “You don't see a lot of divorces in the Tall Club crowd.”
Bad scientific method, pure and simple: insufficient sampling, unwarranted conclusions.  (Here is another similar example.)  For fun, read this joke illustrating how you can fool yourself in the science lab.
Next dumb story.
Stars Are Planet Cannibals  05/10/2001
Stars sometimes eat their own children - planets - according to
Nature.  The spectrum of star HD82943 indicates the presence of Lithium-6, which astronomers working in the Canary Islands assume cannot survive inside a star for more than 30 million years.  The element must have come from a planet engulfed by the star, they conclude.
How do you get a story like that out of a spectral line?  What happened to the phrase “jumping to a conclusion”?  Part of the motivation is needing to force-fit an evolutionary story with recent observations: “Unlike our solar system, many extrasolar planetary systems have planets the size of Jupiter, or even bigger, orbiting as close to their stars as Mercury - a highly unstable situation.  The only explanation astronomers have for this situation is that the planets are slowly falling towards their star, which then either engulfs them or bounces them off into space.”
Next headline on: Stars.
Next headline on: Solar System.
Asians Walked Out of Africa  05/10/2001
Two early-man stories are making the rounds today; both can be found in the
BBC News.  The first is a claim that Y chromosome evidence points to Asians having descended from a single African population.  Proponents of this theory say their evidence strongly contradicts multiregionalism, the idea that humans originated in separate populations.  (Nature makes a similar claim for Europeans.)  The second story claims that drier climate in East Africa decreased forests and increased grasslands, making our ancestors get out of the trees and spend more time on their two feet.  Nature Science Update puts a wry grin on the spin: “Clearly, there is a lot left to discover about prehistoric climate change.  Too many significant changes at roughly the same time make it hard for researchers to distinguish causes and effects.  And perhaps it is not pure chance that the north Atlantic region - long thought to be the key to climate variability - is the home to a large proportion of climate researchers.”
We’ll just pause here and let the reader marvel at the ability of scientists to weave stories out of miniscule evidence and unverifiable assumptions.  Bible believers, of course, have no problem believing all people are descended from a common ancestor, but deny it was an African ape.
Next headline on: Early Man.
Brain Size and Shape Tells the Evolutionary Story  05/10/2001
Evolutionists claim they can tell the evolutionary history of an animal by looking at the size and shape of its brain, or “cerebrotype.”  Sources:
Science Now and Nature Science Update.
Welcome to the new phrenology.  This story only makes sense if you already believe evolution is true.  You could spin the same kind of tale with the screwdrivers in your garage.
Next headline on: Mammals.
Ethics - Assisted Suicide  05/09/2001: Scientific American reports that many doctors in Oregon are in a moral quandary about whether to obey the state’s Death with Dignity Act.  Many felt they could not make the determination whether or not a patient had six months to live.  Meanwhile, the Hague will be hearing a Dutch euthanasia case in which a perfectly healthy 86-year-old man was put to death because he was “tired of living,” according to the Times of India.
Next headline on: Politics.

Scientists Speculate on Future of Evolution  05/09/2001
The May 8 online issue of the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences contains a series of papers from their Colloquium on the Future of Evolution.  Paul Ehrlich concludes with an article on evolutionary ethics, defining ethics as whatever keeps evolutionary options open.

For entertainment, you can read the soothsayers and magicians of Babylon making their prognostications about what they cannot possibly know (and you thought prophecies were only published in the National Enquirer, not scientific journals).  And then Ehrlich demands we worship the golden image of Darwin.  Where is Daniel when we need him?
Next headline on: Darwinism. • Next dumb story.
Journal 05/07/2001: The latest Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, now affectionately renamed TJ, has arrived.  Selected articles from prior issues are available online in chronological order or according to by topic.
The current issue has a “must-read” article by Jerry Bergman on the the Darwinian foundation of communism: it describes how Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin all had Christian upbringing, but jettisoned it when they learned about Darwinism in the universities.  All of them, and Chairman Mao too, used Darwinism as a rationalization and foundation for communism.  The article contains eye-opening quotations about their transition from a Christian worldview to a Darwinian perspective.  140 million victims testify to the fact that ideas have consequences!  If you don’t subscribe to TJ yet, order it today.
Next headline on: Politics. • Next headline on: Darwinism.
A Merry Heart Doeth Good Like a Medicine  05/08/2001
A study on aging, reported in the
Nando Times, echoes Solomon’s dictum in Proverbs 17:22:  “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  The article states, “New research released Monday stemming from a 15-year study of aging and Alzheimer’s disease in nuns suggests a positive emotional state at an early age may help ward off disease and even prolong life.”  Dr. David Snowden found evidence to support the theory that negative emotional states like anxiety, anger and hatred have a cumulative effect on the body, and that switching these stressful feelings on and off repeatedly over decades can lead to health problems like heart disease and stroke.  The study involved 678 nuns who agreed to participate in physical and mental exams, allow their early writings to be examined, and donate their brain to science after death.  The research reinforces the common-sense belief that cheerfulness is good for you.  Dr. Snowden said that cultivating an attitude of happiness and hopefulness “produces very little stress, and the body thrives in those conditions.  It’s one more thing that people can do for themselves to try to stay healthy.”
The Manufacturer knows best how to operate the equipment.  Maybe that is part of the reason for the moral instructions in the Bible such as in Ephesians 4: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Next headline on: Health.
Next headline on: Bible.
Symposium 05/08/2001: Leadership U has a focus section with feature articles on Intelligent Design and Origins,with contributions by Walter Bradley, Chuck Colson, Nancy Pearcey, William Dembski and others.

Planet-Forming Theories Are Unravelling  05/07/2001
According to a report on NASA’s
Astrobiology website, planet formation theories are running into trouble.  Two competing theories for how Jupiter-size planets formed have problems, and astronomers don’t know if combining the two theories helps, either.  The venerable “planetesimal hypothesis” that dust accretes to build up a planet a grain at a time (a story long illustrated in textbooks), takes too long.  It also predicts that Jupiter would have an iron core equal to 10 earth masses, but recent Galileo spacecraft data indicate it is less than six earth masses - and there may be none at all.  Carnegie Institute astronomer Alan Boss has proposed an alternative theory called “disk instability” in which the original gas cloud had lumps that condensed into the gas giants.  But this mechanism is too short-lived to form planets.  Recent observations of the Orion Nebula show planetary gas clouds evaporating quickly under the onslaught of ultraviolet light from nearby stars.  Additionally, planetary systems have only been found around 5% of stars surveyed.  These data are causing astronomers to rethink whether or not our solar system is typical of what would be found around other stars throughout the universe.

Beware the simplistic illustrations in books and on TV.  This article reveals some of the hand-wringing that goes on behind the scenes before the reporters digest the story for the public.  Whether or not scientists find a more plausible theory, each naturalistic solution breeds new problems.  Don’t be swayed, therefore, by confident-sounding reporting of evolutionary theories.  As in Greek drama, the comedy mask may be covering up a tragedy face (i.e., the clown may be broken-hearted).
Next headline on: Solar System.
Leiden University Cuts Evolutionary Studies  05/04/2001
According to
Science Now, Leiden University in the Netherlands has decided to eliminate some sections of its Institute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences.  This is partly due to decreasing numbers of science students, resulting in a need to cut its budget by 20%, and partly to increasing interest in molecular biology over other fields.
Undoubtedly some good science has been done at the Institute, but one wonders if, some day in the not-too-distant future, more and more universities will see “evolutionary studies” as a waste of resources, a blind alley, in light of the amazing discoveries in molecular biology indicating intelligent design.  Perhaps we will look back and wonder how educated people in the 20th century could have spent so much time and money trying to prove it all just evolved.
Next headline on: Schools.
Proteins Are Vastly More Complicated than Previously Realized  05/03/2001
That’s the title of a report today on
NewsWise.com SciNews.  Biochemists are realizing that proteins are not just static 3-D shapes;  they are subject to dynamic forces of stretching, pushing and pulling that affect their function.  Protein folding has been likened to a kind of delicate origami, but researchers at the University of Washington take the analogy further: “Imagine trying to fold a delicate origami crane from silk paper - while you’re in a wind tunnel.  In fact, imagine trying to fold the origami in a wind tunnel while countless other hands are also pulling at the paper.  And yet, that’s comparable in complexity to what the hundreds of thousands of cells and proteins are doing in your body right now.”  Dr. Viola Vogel is in the forefront of this new field that studies how protein functions change under dynamic stresses.  “We are very excited about this because we believe a new field is being born: non-equilibrium protein structure-function analysis.  It’s very exciting to think about how nature regulates and controls function.  We went from viewing the cell as a bag full of proteins a decade ago to a view of the cell as a dynamic place where proteins assemble and change under mechanical forces,” she says.  An update summary 05/29/2001 in Scientific American claims that proteins are moving all the time, very fast, and that these motions affect their functions.
The pit just keeps getting deeper and deeper for the evolutionist.  Having to explain the complexity of DNA and static protein molecules was bad enough; now this.  The article states, “proteins and cells are locked together at numerous contact points.  The movement of a cell stretches the proteins around it, and vice versa . . . scientists are going to have to study how protein structures change when stretched before they understand how the body functions.” And each cell in your body has nearly 100,000 different kinds of protein molecules!
Next headline on: The Cell and Biochemistry. • Next amazing story.
Mars Weather Hazardous to Humans  05/02/2001
An article today on NASA’s
Astrobiology Website describes the hazards of outdoor strolls on Mars.  With no global magnetic shield like earth’s, Mars exposes the hiker to the full brunt of solar and cosmic radiation, including energetic protons that can rip through DNA and damage tissues.  Mars’s atmosphere, exposed to the onslaught of solar wind, has eroded to a level 1% that of earth - like living at an altitude of 70,000 feet.  The Mars Radiation Environment Experiment (MARIE) on board the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft that launched on April 7 (arriving October 24) will try to characterize the Martian “space weather” for future Mars explorers.
Don’t take for granted those puffy white clouds floating in our blue sky as you safely take in a deep breath of oxygen on a bright, sunny day.  Earth’s thin envelope of air, protected by an invisible shield of magnetic field lines beyond it, buffers us from a flaring star and a violent universe.  We orbit the sun, as it orbits the Milky Way, as if we were crossing a rifle range enclosed in a Kevlar bubble.  The space program has taught us (depending on your world view) how lucky we are, or how gracious our God.
Next headline on: Mars. • Next headline on: Physics. • Next headline on: Solar System.
Did Crystal Power Make Proteins Southpaws?  05/01/2001
NASA astrobiologists have published a paper in the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on experimental evidence that calcite crystals and other minerals might selectively concentrate left- and right-handed amino acids (click here for summaries in Scientific American or Nature.  NASA’s Astrobiology Site also has a lay-audience version of the story.)  All living organisms incorporate only left-handed amino acids into their protein chains; the choice of left or right appears to be arbitrary, but life depends on 100% of one hand or the other.  In these experiments, the team achieved yields of just under 10% preference for one hand.  This is significant for origin of life scenarios, the paper concludes, because minerals could have not only concentrated one hand over the other but also arranged them into chains.
Another weak, weak attempt to explain the mystery of the left-handed proteins.  This “what-if maybe perhaps” scenario doesn’t come close to jumping over this major hurdle to abiogenesis.  Only 100% yield will produce peptide chains with any useful enzymatic activity.  Also, amino acids do not naturally join together, even if adjacent; it requires energy to link them into polypeptide chains.  Thirdly, only some of the simplest amino acids (aspartic acid, alanine) showed the slight selectivity; others did not.  Fourthly, their theory requires wet-and-dry cycles, presumably on land or near the surface, where ingredients would be scarce and deadly UV radiation would be lethal - and it also contradicts other evolutionists’ beliefs that life arose near deep sea vents.  Lastly, and most important, this has nothing to do with the major problem, the origin of information.  As Phillip Johnson says, evolutionists always like to talk about the origin of the chemicals; when you force them to talk about the origin of information, that’s their downfall.
Next headline on: Origin of Life.
Notice: a new free journal Astrobiology has just come online with volume 1, number 1.  This should make for amusing reading from world leaders of the “science without data.”
Orion’s Stars May Be Youngsters  05/01/2001
The Orion Nebula, long proclaimed to be an ancient stellar maternity ward, may contain stars much younger than previously believed.  According to a summary in
EurekAlert, the fact that 300 or so have been found with circumstellar disks, which should have evaporated quickly under the onslaught of ultraviolet radiation by nearby supergiants, means they could only be tens of thousands of years old, not millions.  The fact that these stars may not be any older than mankind itself perplexes C. Robert O’Dell, lead astronomer studying the Orion Nebula with the Hubble Space Telescope, because it appears to go against the Copernican principle that there is nothing special about the earth in time or space.  “It is unlikely that Homo sapiens and the Orion nebula should be formed at just about the same time, but perhaps we are just lucky,” O’Dell says.
The fact is, no one knows how old these stars are.  Estimates of ages depend on unverifiable assumptions.  These findings just show again that long-age estimates often conflict with other independent data.  This is a very surprising admission about a popular telescope object long assumed to be millions of years old.  Follow the chain links below for more examples.
Next headline on: Dating methods.
Next headline on: Stars.
Click on Apollos, the trusty

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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).

 
Featured Creation Scientist for May
Roger Bacon
1214-1294

Roger Bacon was a man ahead of his time.  In the so-called “Dark Ages,” he foresaw a world of flying machines, powered ships, telescopes and other inventions that would result from experimental science.  His faith in science was born out of his faith in God. 

Roger Bacon studied at Oxford under the eminent Bishop of Lyons, Robert Grosseteste, who advocated the study of nature as evidence of the Creator.  Bacon performed systematic experiments on lenses and mirrors.  When he caught the excitement of what experimental science could do, he became an ardent promoter of the experimental method as a way to understand the world, improve the human condition, and avoid the errors of superstition and magic.  To Bacon, experimental science was superior to deduction from authority, having better accord with experience.  Bacon also saw the value of science as an apologetic, to draw people to faith in Christ.

On this theme, Roger Bacon wrote to Pope Clement IV in 1266, suggesting it would be good for the church to gather the work of scholars into a great encyclopedia of the sciences.  The pope misunderstood his request and asked to see this encyclopedia, believing it already existed.  Fearing to disobey the pope, Bacon hurriedly performed a monumental achievement - writing a three-volume encyclopedia of the known science of his day (which even included a description of how to make a telescope).  He worked feverishly on this project in secret, since his superiors at the monastery did not approve of it, but Bacon wanted to demonstrate to the Pope that science was the friend of faith and should be a worthy part of the University curriculum. 

After the pope died, hope for Bacon’s plans diminished, but not Bacon’s enthusiasm for science.  He continued to write on the value of experiment, and made remarkable predictions of what science could accomplish: powered ships and vehicles, eyeglasses and other inventions.  He wrote that the earth was a sphere and that it would be possible to sail around it.  He estimated the distances to stars, and encouraged mathematical rigor for good scientific work.  At approx. age 64, his fellow Franciscan friars imprisoned him for “suspected novelties” in his teaching, but Bacon continued to write impassioned essays for his last 15 years.

Roger Bacon is rightly honored as being one of the fathers of the scientific method, fully 300 years before it became popular (largely through the philosophical writings of another but unrelated Bacon, Sir Francis, also a Bible believer).  While others in the thirteenth century were content with supersitition, habit and acceptance of authority, Bacon saw the value of glorifying God through study of the world.  He believed science would draw people to faith in God.  It is interesting to note that it was the Christian thinkers in the Universities and in the monasteries who connected the dots between the Bible and science.  Bacon made errors, and had some superstitions of his own about alchemy and astrology (as did most people in his day), but saw how the realism of experimental science could lead people away from the errors of superstition and magic by demonstrating how the world really works.

In order to think along these lines, clearly Roger Bacon had to have a Christian world view that nature was rational and obeyed natural laws.  While other cultures achieved successes in engineering or medicine through pragmatism, luck or necessity, Bacon’s point was philosophical (philo=love, soph=wisdom); he valued knowledge not just for its practical benefits, but for its own intrinsic value both as a means of avoiding error and for understanding the mind of God.  This was the foundation that led to a sustainable scientific enterprise.  His prophecies were to be vindicated hundreds of years later as experimental science was taken up vigorously by more great Christians - Kepler, Boyle, Newton and others - and the world would never be the same.

For more information on Roger Bacon 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.