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Scientist of the Month: Better late than never the November Creation Scientist of the
Month is finally published in the right hand column. Click here for a short biography
of a medieval prof worth getting to know. Dark Ages? Hardly.
Mao Tse-Tung Killed 77 Million for Darwin 11/30/2005
Net Daily reported that the body count from Maos reign of terror in China
has been revised upward to 77 million by R. J. Rummel, a Nobel Peace Prize winning political scientist who
had earlier estimated it at half that (38 million). This augments Maos Guinness reputation as the worst
mass murderer in history. His intentional killings, including policies that intentionally starved
tens of millions of Chinese people, exceeded those of Hitler and Stalin.
Deaths attributed to Maos democide (death by government) amount to over twice
the total combat deaths in all wars between 1900 to 1987, including World Wars I and II.
Of 174 million killed in 20th-century incidents of democide, 148 million fell victim to
Marxist regimes four times the deaths by combat, estimated at 34.1 million.
Rummel, who has chronicled 20th century democides, said,
Im now convinced that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin.
All three dictators were committed to scientific materialism congruent with the Darwinian principles of
struggle for existence and survival of the fittest. According to an article
by Answers in Genesis, Mao listed two of
his favorite authors as Darwin and Huxley. In a quote attributed to the Chinese communist leader on
Coral Ridge Ministries, Chairman Mao said,
Chinese socialism is founded upon Darwin and the theory of evolution. Stalin
became an atheist after reading Darwin, and Hitler, though from a different end of the political
spectrum, based Mein Kampf on Darwinian principles of struggle and fitness. Such ideas had
become very popular among leading German thinkers in the decades after Darwins Origin,
as documented in historian Richard Weikarts book, From Darwin to Hitler (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).
Visualize how long it would take to read the names of 77 million people.
At one every five seconds, day and night, it would take over 12 years just to read their
names, without even knowing who they were or the nature of their hopes and dreams dreams
that were strangled in prison, brutal work camps, torture or policy-induced famines. Add another 12
years for those killed under all the other communist leaders, and 3 years 4 months for Nazi deaths
a total of almost 28 years of reading name, after name, after name, day and night. By contrast,
reading the names of the 9/11 victims at this rate would take a little over four hours.
Some historians have speculated that Charles Darwins mysterious illnesses
derived at least partly from stress and depression over the possible impact of his radical ideas
Grigg article). He once wrote, It is like confessing to a murder.
Darwinism was to Nazism and communism like fuel and spark to fire. Lenin, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Pol Pot, Castro, Kim Jong Il
and all communist despots past and present have been committed scientific materialists. They
shut down churches and promoted atheism, exalted Darwinism and promoted evolutionary theory as the
scientific rationalization for the state and the ethical justification for their brutal policies.
John West on Evolution
News reminded readers about Darwins own support of eugenics and racism, and accused the
American Museum of Natural History of sanitizing this aspect of his life in their multi-million
dollar Darwin exhibit (11/21/2005).
Mexican Footprints 1.3 Million Years Old? Impossible, Señor 11/30/2005
This is a stern reminder why the debate over creation vs. evolution matters. We are not talking about
some minor issue for scientists and egghead philosophers to speculate about. Ideas have consequences,
and as Richard Weikart demonstrated in a lecture worth watching (available from
Access Research Network),
the same Darwinian principles that motivated Hitler and the communists are alive and
well among prominent evolutionary biologists today. Many university professors
and evolutionary biologists are avowed Marxists. Let them ponder the horrible results of
their belief system, and then ponder the warning of Jesus, every good tree bears good
fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor
can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut
down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
(from the Sermon on the
Mount, Matthew 5-7).
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Paleoanthropologists have a major conundrum on their hands, or feet.
reported about controversial footprints found in Mexico ash deposits that had been thought
to be 44,000 years old. Even that was too old for many to swallow, but new argon-argon
dates show them to be 1.3 million years old far older than those in Africa, where
the first modern humans were supposed to come from. Either the dates are not
trustworthy, or these are not footprints. No resolution to this anomaly seems
satisfactory at the moment. Pictures and additional information can be found at
Geographic News, and
A reader found web pages of the discoverers at
and Bournemouth University, UK.
Renne et al. in Nature1 are taking the view they are not footprints,
even though toes and heelprints appear in some of them.
1Renne et al., Geochronology: Age of Mexican ash with alleged 'footprints',
438, E7-E8 (1 December 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04425.
This will be a good test of the scientific values of
the Darwinists. They always claim to be skeptical of any finding, never taking
anything on faith like those religious-right fundies. OK, Darwinists,
youve got a problem. Show us some rationality and objectivity.
We seem to recall that creationists quickly withdrew claims of Paluxy human tracks
on the first hint of a problem with the data, and have been very cautious ever since.
In their case, however, the find was not a necessary piece of evidence, just a
tantalizing one. In this case, if humans or advanced hominids were in Mexico
over a million years before the famed out of Africa story, there is a lot
of Darwinian storytelling at risk of unraveling. Either evolutionists cannot
trust their fossil skills, or their dating methods
(see 11/05/2005), or both. What would it take to
falsify human evolution? If nothing no amount of contrary evidence or
logic could ever dislodge the idea that humans slowly
emerged from primitive ancestors, then your critics are going to stick a note on
the seat of your pants: Kick me; Im a fighting fundamentalist.
Darwinism: Struggle for Existence of a Controversial Theory 11/30/2005
Next headline on:
Darwin taught that the struggle for existence in nature produced the survival of the
fittest. A struggle between Darwinism and intelligent design (ID) seems to be producing
media red in tooth and claw, as seen by the following recent stories.
Meanwhile, everyone waits to see what Judge Jones will decide in the Dover ID case, probably
in early January.
- Define the Opposition Out of Science: Another University of Kansas
professor is offering a class that will maintain that ID is pseudoscience, according to
Journal-World. (For the other ID as mythology class, see the
11/29/2005 story.) Anthropology professor John Hoopes will
associate ID with belief in alien crop circles, ESP and
pyramidology. Brian Sandefur, an engineer at the university, said this is just an
attempt to box ID into inappropriate areas; its about chemistry and molecular biology,
he argues, so it belongs in science classes.
- Sue Me, Sue You: That the pro-evolution ACLU is quick to sue what they
perceive as violations of separation of church and state is old news, but evolutionists are
on the receiving end of church-state litigation this time. According to
News, and Associated Press (MSNBC),
Larry and Jeanne Caldwell are suing two biologists and an official from the
National Science Foundation for using $400,000 in federal funds for a pro-evolution
website that promotes religious ideas. In their suit, they claim that the
Understanding Evolution website strays into
religion, and is geared
to modify the beliefs of public school science students so they will be more
willing to accept evolutionary theory as true. Casey Luskin in
diagnosed the AP article as infected with inaccuritis and false facts syndrome.
- Voodoo Hex: When the San
Diego Union-Tribune called ID Voodoo Science the students at the
fired back with evidence instead of pins. So did
News with links aplenty to denounce the ridicule.
- Dark Ages Ahead: Lord May of Oxford, in an outgoing address as president
of the Royal Society, warned that science faces dangerous times ahead. He claimed
that fundamentalism from East and West is creating a denial lobby that is
making it harder for scientists to deal with global problems like climate change;
according to Lord May, their response is to retreat from complexity and difficulty
by embracing the darkness of fundamentalist unreason. The article did not
make it clear if he meant by Eastern fundamentalism radical Islam, but there was no
such delicate treatment of those on the other side of the globe.
The Western fundamentalists, he said, are the ones promoting creationism and intelligent
design. He claimed these have a wider agenda which is to replace scientific materialism
by something more based on faith. He called on scientists to become more
active in speaking out against ID and other threats to modern
- What Controversy? Russell Jacoby wrote in the
Times that some controversies are not worth teaching about, like ID. Tom Magnuson
wrote for the Discovery
Institute to correct Jacobys errors and defend the grand liberal tradition of
engaging controversial issues.
- Spectrum Narrows: In USA
Today, both the liberal Bob Beckelis and the conservative Cal Thomas agreed that ID should
get a hearing, but for different reasons. Interestingly, Beckelis, a liberal Democratic
strategist, agreed that ID is a scientific concept and that the way scientists are attacking
it as religion is wrong: Not only are there still gaping holes in the evolutionary chain
from single cells to man, the science crowd hasnt come close to explaining why only man among
all living things has a conscience, a moral framework and a free will, he said, and later added,
...these scientists will say the overwhelming body of evidence supports evolution, and no
other theory comes close. Well, of course it doesnt because no other theory has
been studied seriously. This crowd has a vested interest in proving Darwin correct, and
anything else is dismissed out of hand. He thought the ID scientists had a strong
case but have been denied a forum.
- Fights Are Good for Sales: Like vendors at the gladiatorial arena,
merchants are finding a new market for niche products related to the evolution wars,
Books, videos, Darwin fish, bumper stickers and anything having to do with Darwinism or
intelligent design are hot sellers.
We need an army of Diogenes disciples with updated
baloney-detecting lanterns. Notice how Lord May and his other
Darwin Party insiders equate Big Science with materialism, and label anything else than
that with the emotionally-charged labels fundamentalism and faith.
Darkness of fundamentalist unreason? Hows that for a classic
mudsling. Come on, Lord May, just show us all that alleged evidence for the arrival of
cellular machinery and human rationality by mindless, undirected processes, or else the
shoe fits your own foot. Robert Boyle, your eminent
predecessor and founding father of the Royal Society, would be ashamed of you.
Ecotherapy: Nature Is Good Medicine 11/29/2005
The ones who can only come up with
and loaded words show themselves to be intellectually
unarmed in the dark. Keep the light on; when theres enough light for everyone to
see Emperor Charlies new clothes, he will go running embarrassed into the woods.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
The British Medical Journal, according to
says, Getting close to nature is good for you. Ecotherapy is
the fancy new buzzword for restoring health through contact with nature.
What are the benefits? Improving quality of life, healing emotional problems,
learning practical and social skills and the obvious one: better health through exercise.
Doctors and nature organizations should confer on policies that recognize the
interdependence between healthy people and healthy ecosystems.
Great idea, but they seem to be lacking a theory to
explain it. Heres one: meditating on creation brings our hearts closer
to the Creator, the Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace. This theory was
proposed many places in the Bible. Read, for example,
Psalm 111, and
Many pioneers of science tested this theory and found it solid:
Johannes Kepler, Robert Boyle, and
Antony van Leeuwenhoek,
to name a few. Heres a
practical theory everyone can test.
Welcome to the Religion Department; I Am Your Evil Atheist Professor 11/29/2005
Next headline on:
The religion professor who organized a class at U of Kansas called Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies (see 11/21/2005)
was caught red-handed expressing his real intentions. According to Knight-Ridder stories in the
Macon.com, an email from Paul Mirecki
became public in which
he had said, The fundies (fundamentalists) want it all taught in a science class,
but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious
studies class under the category mythology. His letter to the Society of
Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics, a student organization for which he serves as faculty adviser,
and which he referred to as my fellow damned, was signed off with,
Doing my part to (tick) off the religious right, Evil Dr. P. Mirecki
is Chairman of the Religious Studies department.
The Chancellor had a word with him, after which Mirecki apologized for his
ill-advised email I sent to a small group of students and friends.
He promised he would
teach the class as a serious academic subject and in an manner that respects all
points of view. The class has also been renamed to simply Intelligent Design
Legislators got word of this email and were not pleased. There was
discussion of withholding funds from the school. Quoting the article, Rep. Brenda Landwehr, vice chairwoman
of the House Appropriations Committee, called the e-mail venomous, adding,
Hes not sorry he wrote it. Hes sorry it became public.
Update 11/30/2005: Mirecki has canceled the class.
The Guardian (UK)
reported that the furor caused by his email was too much. Chancellor Hemenway called the attitudes
expressed repugnant and vile, and said it misrepresents everything the university is
to stand for. A state senator called the words hateful and felt the University
did the right thing by listening to the publics outrage and canceling the class.
Bob Crowther on Evolution
News doubts Mireckis sincerity; he has found a track record of similar antireligious statements
There you have it, folks. Parents, when you sent
your precious sons and daughters to college, with visions of enlightenment, scholarly
advancement and the contemplative life, is this what you had in mind? Were you aware the devil was
head of the religion department? Do you accept his apology for half a second? Do you
believe for a moment this wrist-slap is going to stop his face-slapping intentions? Better
wake up; this is not an isolated case. This was the university
that took up arms against the Kansas school board in their attempt to de-dogmatize
Darwin and permit (not mandate) critical discussion of his views, but attitudes
like Mireckis are rife in todays radical-leftist academic institutions.
Enceladus Eruptions Caught on Camera
Now you know why a fair and honest discussion
of intelligent design is hard to come by in most universities. One can only hope enough people are repulsed
by this venomous behavior enough to drive the vermin out, open the windows, clean out
the garbage, and let in some fresh air and sunshine, to recreate that once-sacred
environment for the free exchange of ideas among scholars motivated by a love of the truth.
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Enceladus, one of the small icy moons of Saturn, is undergoing eruptive activity
right now. Evidence from previous flybys has now been corroborated visually in
stunning images that made the lead stories on
Amateur enthusiasts were already expressing excitement at the images before the
announcement (see Unmanned
Spaceflight). The complete set of raw images is available at the
Raw Image Gallery and a trio of images was published by the
Cassini Imaging Team.
The images show several distinct jets of material being emitted from the limb, as viewed
in back lighting. There might be a dozen or more. All appear aligned along
fractures in the crust. The material is most likely water ice. Particles are apparently being ejected
with sufficient force to escape straight out; no ballistic umbrella-shaped paths, as with Ios volcanos,
is evident with these eruptions from Enceladus, though it must be remembered that Enceladus, being
smaller and less massive, has a much lower escape velocity. The plumes reinforce long-held suspicions that
Enceladus is supplying the material to Saturns E ring.
Eruptive activity was inferred during the March and July encounters from magnetic
field, dust particle and ultraviolet sensors (see 08/30/2005 story).
The emissions at the time were found to be localized at the south pole in a field of long, parallel
canyons dubbed the tiger stripes. These new visual images line up perfectly with
that region. Now that the plumes are clearly visible, scientists have compared them with
limb images from the plume-hunting observations January 16. Though tantalizing hints
of plumes were seen, scientists were cautious to accept them as real, not knowing if they were
imaging artifacts. Since those line up with the new ones, Enceladus has probably
been in a continuous state of eruption most of this year, probably far longer.
Further measurements will be
required to determine if the activity is episodic or continuous. The discovery will
spur additional questions about the composition of the particles, their size distribution,
the volume ejected over time, the mechanism of ejection, and why it occurs only
in the south polar region. The biggest puzzle of all seems to be why this moon,
much smaller than Io and not in any orbital relationship with Saturn or other large body
sufficient to cause tidal heating, should be so active. Intuitively, a body this small
should be dead cold. Any internal heat from the moons formation should long ago have
dissipated, if this body is as old as commonly believed. Nor could solar heating explain this,
as in the case of Tritons faint nitrogen geysers, which coincided with the angle
of greatest sunlight. Enceladus receives most of its illumination at the equator, not
the poles. Clearly something interesting is going on down south on this little moon.
Todays discovery will likely motivate NASA scientists to add more Enceladus
encounters to a likely extended mission, after the prime mission ends in July, 2008.
Here is prima facie evidence that Enceladus is young.
The burden of proof is on the moyboys (09/16/2005
commentary) to prove otherwise. The E ring has been known for over 20 years and is
composed of particles so small (micron sized), it must be continuously replenished or it
would disappear within decades. Does this mean that these Enceladus geysers have
been erupting continuously for decades, centuries, millennia? How can it be credible
to believe this kind of process can run for millions or billions of years?
Everyone can enjoy the discovery of a new Yellowstone. Those open-minded to allow for far younger ages of
solar system objects have the added entertainment of watching the moyboys scramble with
each new eruption. Maybe the new plume should be called the Fountain of Youth.
News from the Solar Neighborhood
Next headline on:
Heres a collection of recent items of interest under the sun. (Dont
miss the big story above, too.)
- My Rhea Lies Under the Spacecraft: Cassini added another trophy to its
moon collection Saturday, skimming just 300 miles above the surface of Saturns
large moon Rhea. (Saturday is named after Saturn, hey). Rhea is the largest moon
after Titan, and one of two (along with Dione) remembered from Voyager days as having
wispy or feathery streaks on its leading hemisphere. Now that Cassini has gotten
in for a closer look, scientists found that the streaks are not frost deposits as formerly
thought. Instead, they are regions of sharp cliffs exposing bright water ice.
Rhea also has a prominent fresh-looking rayed crater. Though made of ice, the surfaces of Saturns
moons are frozen so hard, the ice has the properties of hard rock. Impacts produce
craters, therefore, very similar to those on our moon, complete with central peaks,
rays and ejecta blankets. The Cassini
Imaging Team has put together a gallery of the best raw images; the complete set
is available on the Cassini
Raw Image Database.
- Spiral Ring: Saturns F-ring is one long spiral, according to an
international team that proposed the new theory in Science (see report on
and click link to the artists conception).
If so, this raises lots of new questions. Prometheus and Pandora, long thought to
shepherd the ring particles into the narrow ringlets, may actually act more like attack dogs.
The ring appears tenuous and dynamic. The spiral structure appears unique, with no clear explanation
leaping out of the data about how the spiral is generated and maintained.
- Japan Mines an Asteroid: The Falcon (Hayabusa) successfully gathered samples
of asteroid Itokawa (see Planetary
Society report). This gives the fledgling Japanese space agency a first, especially
if the samples are successfully returned in 2007 at The Outback (not the restaurant, but the
real Aussie wasteland, out back and down under). The asteroid appears to be a rubble pile
of loosely-cohering material with few craters. Though it visited a different type of object
a comet Stardust will hit the tape first
on January 15 when its samples parachute into the Utah desert. Hopefully it will not
make a crater like Genesis did.
- Mars with Spirit: The Mars
Exploration Rover imaging team released a blockbuster to celebrate Spirits first Martian
Year anniversary in Gusev Crater, complete with special effects. If you wonder how
Spirit was able to take a picture of itself in the distance, well, thats Hollywood.
- Next Mars Champ Doing Fine: The hefty
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter,
affectionately known as Mr. O, is halfway there. Already,
Express seems a hard act to follow, but when MRO goes into orbit
next March, its best-ever cameras and instruments are slated to send back more data than all
previous missions combined. Till then, we hear
Mars Odyssey, and
Mars Global Surveyor
hollering, Hey, dont forget me!
These are great days of exploration. At this time
200 years ago, Lewis and Clark were settling in at Fort Clatsop for a long winter.
At this time 100 years ago, Percival Lowell was squinting eagerly through his Lowell
Observatory eyepieces, imagining cities and exotic inhabitants on Mars. In such
a short time, look what their country their world has done.
Space exploration did not evolve. It is a demonstration of the power of intelligent
design to order and direct natural materials toward purposeful ends.
Genes Attack the Trees 11/26/2005
Next headline on:
Evolutionary tree-building (11/14/2005) is a tangled business.
Now that scientists can compare genomes of diverse animals, they can compare the resulting molecular
evolutionary trees with traditional ones those produced by inferring relationships based on outward
(morphological) characteristics of living or fossil organisms. What happens when the
trees dont match?
Two recent studies, both reported by Science Daily,
have demonstrated that molecular-based trees, to be believed, require
uprooting long-standing morphologically-based evolutionary trees.
Overall, the picture
looks opposite what evolutionary biologists have expected: this has shown us is
that evolution is not always about gain; the loss of complexity can equally be
an important player in evolution.
- Iguanas Promoted: A radical reorganization of the tree of
reptiles was reported by Science Daily
based on work by two Penn State biologists. Iguanas, for instance, had long been placed near the bottom of the
tree due to their primitive appearance. Now, the molecular tree graduates them to the top.
The new study compared 19 genomes from all the major reptile lineages.
So many anomalies were found, the researchers had to invent entirely new categories of classification.
In addition, most of the branches appeared to start early and remain relatively unchanged over vast periods
of time. Toxic venom, for example, was thought to be a recent innovation, but now appears
rooted at the time of the earliest dinosaurs. Reptiles with two egg teeth appear to precede
those with one egg tooth a step toward simplicity, not complexity. These and other
findings are inverting a family tree of reptiles accepted by evolutionary biologists for over a century.
One of the team members said, If this new tree is correct, all the morphological characters that
traditionally have been used to identify similarities between species will need to be
reevaluated to understand how these traits evolved (emphasis added in all quotes).
- Slow Humans: Another startling finding reported in
started with the title, Early Animals Had Human-Like Genes. If humans
are the late-comers, why and how did early-Cambrian roundworms produce innovations that would persist unchanged for
hundreds of millions of years? The team compared human and fruit-fly introns with those
of a roundworm thought to be 600 million years old, close to the period of the very first
multicellular organisms. Contrary to earlier expectations, introns those spacers in
the DNA cut out by the transcription machinery were already present in the worms and have
persisted all the way to the human line, while other branches, like insects, lost many of
them quickly. To save the evolutionary tree, researchers are speaking of fast-evolving
and slow-evolving branches. The worms genes are very similar to human genes,
said one. Thats a much different picture than weve seen from the
quickly-evolving species that have been studied so far. Another remarked,
Now we have direct evidence that genes were already quite complex in the first animals,
and many invertebrates have reduced part of this complexity.
Not only were the introns the same, but their positions within the genome have
been preserved over the last half a billion years.
Whats most amazing about both these stories is not
the genes. It is the psychology of Darwinists. They can hang on to a theory
no matter how much contrary evidence comes to light. Invented terms like conserved genes
and slow-evolving species mask their desperation. They are clinging to a dogmatic
evolutionary position in spite of evidence that looks like creation: abrupt appearance, stasis,
and loss of original complexity. Simultaneously, they accuse creationists of
accepting their view on faith while bluffing that there is no controversy
among scientists about evolution. Yet how would an impartial jury rule,
based on the empirical evidence alone, with no evolutionary presuppositions?
Eyesight: More Reasons to Be Thankful 11/24/2005
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
So much is going on in your body when you look at that sliced turkey and raise it to
your salivating mouth, a human mind can only fathom bits and pieces of the story.
Everyone knows the eye is the quintessential example of a complex organ, but Current Biology1
focused on one of the wonders that occurs after the signal leaves the optic nerve.
Alexander Thiele (U of Newcastle upon Tyne) started by saying that we move
our eyes more often than our heart beats. Our eyes constantly jerk from side to side,
without our even noticing. This means the brain has to constantly stabilize a
shaky input. How does our brain cope with the constantly changing scene?
When you watch a music video you are inundated with a seemingly incoherent and rapid
stream of visual scenes, changing on average every 2.3 seconds. Such a rate of change
may appear fast to an old fashioned television consumer, but it is still about seven
times slower than the rate of scene change imposed by rapid eye movements on the visual
system. While the former may be tiring, the latter goes seemingly unnoticed.
(Emphasis added in all quotes.)
Why does the eye make these constant movements, called saccades?
Saccades ensure that an attended object is foveated for high acuity processing,
Thiele writes. But how does the visual center in the brain, like a digital screen
made of neurons, give us the impression that our field of view is steady? There are
two possibilities. The conventional view is that the brain has enough
processing overhead to constantly interpret the scene. Another, newer view is that
the neurons compensate for the shifts in a pre-processing step. Neurons may be
synchronized to the eye muscles so that they are prepared for the changes,
kind of like a screen synchronized to move in step with a vibrating projector.
Here it is in scientific jargon:
Of particular importance for such adjustments may be neurons in the lateral intraparietal,
frontal, and even early visual areas which shift their receptive fields shortly before
the occurrence of a saccadic eye movement, causing an internal re-mapping of visual space.
These neurons signal that a saccade will bring an object into their field of view, even
if that object has been removed from sight just before or during the saccade. Such a
re-mapping could result in predictive adjustments in early cortical areas that prepare
for scene changes, thereby minimizing their negative impact, and maximizing rapid
information processing following a saccade. This requires a substantial amount of
Experimental tests so far have been unable to determine which method the brain uses.
Either way, its amazing; these adjustments are made in fractions of a second.
Psychophysical studies have shown that human
perceptual abilities are exquisite and extraordinarily fast when extracting information
during rapid serial visual presentation of natural scenes, Thiele said.
His only mention of evolution was after noting the surprising evidence that
our brain can detect and classify images even in the near absence of attention.
This suggests that the human visual system has evolved to rapidly
extract information from highly variable natural scenes....
1Alexander Thiele, Vision: A Brake on the Speed of Sight,
Volume 15, Issue 22, 22 November 2005, Pages R917-R919, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2005.10.057
Just set aside that little piece of evolutionary fat,
so you wont lose your appetite. As you visually scan that plate full of
colorful, fragrant, tasty food, think about this one of all those senses taking in
those cues. You have a high-tech, integrated, super-fast,
high-resolution video recording, processing, and display system, and it even has
image stabilization. The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord
has made them both
(Proverbs 20:12). Give thanks, and enjoy.
Must Be Logic in This Circle Somewhere: Organisms clearly have evolved, and so we know, a priori,
that this must be possible. John Brookfield (U of Nottingham), in a book review in
Current Biology Volume 15, Issue 22, 22 November 2005, Pages R908-R910.
Next headline on:
Nature Cover Exploits Intelligent Design While Inside Attacks It 11/24/2005
The 11/24 issue of Nature included two very caustic letters attacking intelligent
design, yet its cover story highlighted the promising new field of Synthetic Biology.
In one of the leading papers,1 David Sprinzak and Michael B. Elowiz of Caltech (see
described the synthetic approach in terms reminiscent of William Paleys old Divine Watchmaker:
By taking apart an old clock, you could probably come up with a pretty good guess at
how it works. But a more concrete understanding of the clock mechanism might be
obtained by designing and building ones own clock out of similar parts.
Contemporary biology presents us with similar reverse-engineering problems.
For example, Drosophila [fruit fly] cells contain a circadian clock that
oscillates with a 24-h rhythm and self-synchronizes to the day/night cycle.
Using genetic and biochemical techniques, researchers have isolated genes and proteins
involved in interlocked feedback loops of gene expression...that are necessary for
clock function. However, many fundamental questions remain difficult to answer:
what sets the period of the oscillation, how does the clock operate reliably in
diverse cellular conditions, and what features of its design are responsible for
its reliable operation? To gain insight into such questions one could design
and build new clock circuits, using similar genes and proteins, and study their
dynamics in the organism. In fact, several synthetic genetic clocks have now
been constructed in bacteria.... These circuits are much simpler than the
Drosophila clock. They fail to operate as reliably, but they provide
a proof of principle for a synthetic approach to understanding genetic circuits.
(Emphasis added in all quotes.)
Their article is an attempt to show how synthetic biology can address biological questions
at the level of genetic circuits, and how tools being developed for synthetic biology
are being used to answer fundamental biological questions. One topic of
great interest is how biological circuits remain stable in the face of noisy and dynamic
environments, and how they achieve high-fidelity outputs in a sea of random Brownian motions.
One such mechanism was elucidated by a team from Yale and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Writing in the same issue,2 they found that charged transfer-RNAs (tRNAs) undergo
precision changes in shape when entering the active site of the ribosome. These induced
conformational changes, including 90° swings of one of the components, impel the substrate
into the inner sanctum of the active site and simultaneously protect it from destruction by
water molecules (hydrolysis). When an incorrectly-charged intruder is present or a
stop-code element enters, the water molecule is able to get in and destroy the
intruder or end the completed translation.
In another example in the same issue of Nature,3 a team from
Stanford, Berkeley and U. of Wisconsin achieved the highest-resolution images yet of RNA
Polymerase (RNAP) transcribing DNA. They found that the motor channels the noisy motion
in the interior of the nucleus into a Brownian ratchet that takes discrete steps
along the DNA track. These steps are exactly the distance down one base pair.
Interestingly, a clutch mechanism can release the ratchet if the enzyme needs to back up and
fix a typo.
In keeping with the implied-design theme of synthetic biology, a
German team titled their article, Design principles of a bacterial
signalling network.4 The design theme was ubiquitous, while references to evolution
were merely assumed and seemed forced: i.e., Our results suggest that this pathway
has evolved to show an optimal chemotactic performance while minimizing the
cost of resources associated with high levels of protein expression (cf.
10/04/2005 story). Ironically, the
article investigated such topics as the regulation of the flagellar motor, a molecular
machine the intelligent design movement considers their mascot.
Another review article in the issue by Drew Endy has the design-friendly title,
Foundations for engineering biology.5 A word search for evolution
turns up some interesting hits. Consider the mixed metaphors in this sentence:
Furthermore, it is possible that the designs of natural biological systems are
not optimized by evolution for the purposes of human understanding and engineering.
One can envision Dawkins and Behe scrambling for control of the ball on that pass. Another
hit is even more revealing:
Today, four challenges that greatly limit the engineering of biology are
(1) an inability to avoid or manage biological complexity, (2) the tedious
and unreliable construction and characterization of synthetic biological systems,
(3) the apparent spontaneous physical variation of biological system behaviour,
and (4) evolution. In considering how best to address these engineering challenges,
one practical starting point is to consider past lessons from when other engineering
disciplines emerged from the natural sciences. Are any past lessons relevant to
the engineering of biology today? For example, could we usefully consider
adapting or extending ideas from structural engineering to synthetic biology?6
By evolution, Endy is talking about the ability of engineers to design synthetic biological
systems that can reproduce and adapt to change. That may be the biggest challenge.
At present, we do not have a practical theory that supports the design of reproducing
biological machines, he says, despite great progress in understanding how natural
biological systems couple and tune error detection and correction during machine
replication to organism fitness. That sounds again more like design than evolution,
especially when he adds, Once developed, many of these foundational technologies
will take the form of ideas or information....
But now, back to Sprinzak and Elowitz with their Paley-like similes.
Their article ends comparing the superiority of natural engineering to synthetic attempts:
Even the most optimistic synthetic biologist would expect
such circuits to be less functional than their natural counterparts.
However, perhaps at this stage one can learn more by putting together a simple,
if inaccurate, pendulum clock than one can by disassembling the finest Swiss timepiece.
To top it off, Erika Check reported on an exciting competition to to build
functioning devices out of biological parts.7 Scientists and students from around
the world competed at the first Intercollegiate Genetically Engineered Machine competition
in fun and challenging efforts to make molecular switches, oscillators, transistors
and other items as intriguing as bacterial Etch-a-Sketches, photosensitive t-shirts, thermometers
and sensors from E. coli parts. One especially notable achievement was a
the worlds first bacterial photography system, teasing bacteria to respond
to light and forming an image with 100 megapixels per square inch. They
described their achievement in a separate article.8 Another team rewired
bacteria to run a relay race. Great fun was had by all; one geneticist commented,
The competition is essentially stimulating every level, from graduate and undergraduate
to senior people.
In the midst of all this enthusiasm about reverse-engineering biology
and the stampede to imitate natures designs, Nature printed two vitriolic letters
against intelligent design. Dr. A. Richard Palmer (U of Alberta) mocked and
ridiculed the actions in Kansas9 by elaborating on a hypothetical question, Is the ID
debate proof of an intelligent deceiver? And newly-graduated PhD in biology
Jason Underwood (UCLA) received a prominent page accusing intelligent design people of bringing
science to a halt by giving up on the need for evidence (see
Journal). Bristling with anger and irony,
he wrote about how he felt when the state of his alma mater voted to change the science
curriculum so that it casts doubt on evolution and includes the teaching of intelligent design.9
Nature rarely if ever prints any letters from qualified intelligent design spokespersons.
Dembski or Nelson or Meyer might have pointed out that it is precisely the evidence that eliminates chance and
natural law, and justifies the design inference only after all natural explanations fail. They might have explained
how complex specified information (such as irreducible complexity) can provide positive evidence of an intelligent
cause according to standard scientific practice, with formalized algorithms based on mathematically
sound principles. They might have also countered with a litany of the sweeping evolutionary speculations
offered by Darwinists, in the absence of scientific rigor, when confronted by complex biological machines.
As a coup de grace, they might have
pointed to this very issue of Nature as an example of the possibilities for fruitful research
conducted from a design perspective. Without opportunity to hear such
rebuttals, however, readers may just have to put these two letters alongside all the
other articles on synthetic biology, and draw their own conclusions.
1David Sprinzak and Michael B. Elowitz, Reconstruction of Genetic Circuits,
438, 443-448 (24 November 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04335.
2Schmeing et al., An induced-fit mechanism to promote peptide bond formation
and exclude hydrolysis of peptidyl-tRNA,
438, 520-524 (24 November 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04152.
3Abbondanzieri et al., Direct observation of base-pair stepping by RNA polymerase,
438, 460-465 (24 November 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04268.
4Kollman et al., Design principles of a bacterial signalling network,
438, 504-507 (24 November 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04228.
5Drew Endy, Foundations for engineering biology,
438, 449-453 (24 November 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04342.
6For historical examples of engineering disciplines emerging from natural science, see
our biographies of Faraday or Kelvin.
7Erika Check, Synthetic biology: Designs on life,
438, 417-418 (24 November 2005) | doi:10.1038/438417a.
8Levskaya et al., Synthetic biology: Engineering Escherichia coli to see light,
438, 441-442 (24 November 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04405.
9It should be noted that the Kansas school board did not require teaching
intelligent design, but specifically excluded it; they only allowed for scientific criticisms of
evolution to be heard, and actually increased the teaching of evolution. They
also removed methodological naturalism from the definition of science,
as do all other states. See 11/08/2005
Lets do a little thought experiment (pardon the
oxymoron). Lets say a grad student at the Federal Institute of Technology in
Zurich succeeds in remodeling some E. coli such that the colony swarms into a photograph image
of whatever shadow falls on them. Lets also imagine that she surreptitiously watermarked her
invention by encoding her name in the DNA of the new synthetically-engineered species.
Question: How would an independent researcher detect the intelligent design of the student?
Lets proceed further in our story. A biologist ignorant of the history of this
bacterial species discovers it, and writes it up with a brief Darwinian just-so story about how the bacterium
evolved this capability, and how the function might confer fitness.
Another scientist suspects the engineering and writes a paper rigorously
defending his reasons for inferring this particular species was modified by an intelligent agent.
Question 2: which paper would Nature publish?
Darwin and History: Of the revolutionary thinkers who have done the
most to shape the intellectual history of the past century, twoSigmund Freud and Karl Marxare
in eclipse today, and oneAlbert Einsteinhas been accepted into the canon of modern thought,
even if most people still dont understand what he was thinking. Darwin alone remains
unassimilated, provocative, even threatening to some.... Could God still be mad after all
this time? (emphasis added). Source: Newsweek cover story 11/28/2005 by Jerry Adler; see
This entry is extremely important to comprehend. It basically illustrates
that intelligent design is the future of biology. Oh, they may not use the loaded words
intelligent and design together, but the authors saturated these
articles with de facto ID principles. We might call it Lab-Implied Intelligent Design (LIMPID) or Virtual
in vivo Intelligent Design (VIVID). Enthusiasm will grow when AVID (Ardent Voices for
Intelligent Design) stimulate a new generation of Fit, Energetic Researchers Vindicating Intelligent Design
(FERVID). When synthetically engineered biological
products hit the market some day, we might call them Canned Intelligent Design (CANDID).
Most will think this is splendID, except for the remaining critics who will be seen for
what they are: miserable, ornery, rancid badmouthers of ID
(MORBID). Like slobbering drunks, they have nothing to offer but froth and spit
Get them off the tracks before they get hurt by the new bullet train of design-inspired
Next headline on:
On the Origin of Hee-Hees by Natural Selection 11/22/2005
From slime to smile in 200 million years: some Darwinists feel they have explained the
evolution of laughter. In all seriousness,
announced, The first laugh: New study posits evolutionary origins of two distinct types of laughter.
The story is about a new hypothesis by Matthew Gervais and David Sloan Wilson. The origin of comedy, they explain,
was no laughing matter:
Using empirical evidence from across disciplines, including theory
and data from work on mirror neurons, evolutionary psychology, and multilevel
selection theory, the researchers detail the evolutionary trajectory of laughter
over the last 7 million years. Evolutionarily elaborated from ape
play-panting sometime between 4 million years ago and 2 million years ago, laughter
arising from non-serious social incongruity promoted community play during
fleeting periods of safety. Such non-serious social incongruity, it is argued,
is the evolutionary precursor to humor as we know it.
Their work is to be published in the forthcoming Quarterly Review of Biology.
Perhaps their subtitle should be: Or, The Presentation of Funny Faces in the
Giggle for Laugh.
However, neuropsychological and behavioral studies have shown that
laughter can be more than just a spontaneous response to such stimuli. Around
2 million years ago, human ancestors evolved the capacity for willful control
over facial motor systems. As a result, laughter was co-opted for a
number of novel functions, including strategically punctuating conversation, and
conveying feelings or ideas such as embarrassment and derision.
What spoilsports the evolutionists are.
They take everything from the most sacred to the most enjoyable and turn it into
ancestral ape antics. Did you know that Darwin himself wrote a book on this in 1872?
(See the somewhat flawed, somewhat balanced
Newsweek cover story
on Darwin this week).
On the Expression of Emotions
in Man and Animals was published 13 years after The Origin. To a
certain degree, this could be a somewhat worthwhile
subject to study, but Charlie got some of his suckers to photograph themselves making all kinds of
funny faces (see plates).
According to Janet Browne in
Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (Princeton, 2002, p. 367), for instance,
photographer Oscar Rejlander [see photos]...
The Rhetoric of Mockery 11/21/2005
struck histrionic attitudesgrief, pleasure,
disgust, and so onand either photographed himself with a timelapse device or
got his wife to aid him. The resulting pictures depended as much on comically
exaggerated gesture and body position as on facial expression. On the back of
one picture he scribbled in pencil, My wife insists upon me sending this for
you, that your ladies may see that I can put on a more amiable expression.
Rejlanders wife posed for a photograph of a sneer (Darwin thought that sneering
evolved from the expression of disgust). Gamely, she allowed herself to be
reproduced thus in Darwins volume.
All in the service of science, of course. (Who knows; maybe Mrs.
Rejlander was expressing her emotions at Darwinismpicture.) This was all in
the post-Origin period when Darwins new fan club was trying to evolutionize
everything: the evolution of romance, the evolution of music, the evolution of religion,
the evolution of grooming, the evolution of nose-picking, etc., doing their best to unite their eminent British
fellow-citizens with their monkey past. Science marches on.
And so the tradition continues, with Gervais and Wilson looking for the
first laugh in mythical serious-minded primates just beginning to discover what to do with their
leisure time. We dont care who got the first laugh.
We want the last (see next story).
Next headline on:
Some recent stories illustrate that human rhetoric has evolved from sophistry to philosophy then back again.
(In ancient Greece, sophistry was criticized of being nothing more than the art of making your opponent
look foolish. Socrates, among others, questioned the value of such exercises and tried to
elevate rhetoric to higher purposes.) The rise of Intelligent Design (ID) has given the
neo-sophists their latest target. To some of them, nothing is sacred.
Attempts by evolutionists to ridicule and marginalize their opposition may actually do
more to promote it, Jonathan Witt opined. When leaders in Colonial America
attempted to ban certain books, people rushed out to buy them. Its the Banned
in Boston syndrome, he said. The more the Darwinists try to prohibit
discussion of intelligent design, the more they pique the curiosity of students, parents and
the general public.
- Party Hardy Against the Bible, Bush, Propriety and Aesthetics: The
New York Daily News Daily Dish
depicted a bizarre portrait of the opening gala for the new Darwin exhibit at the
American Museum of Natural History. The event seemed more an odd concoction of anti-Bush politics,
celebrity low-cut gowns, blasphemous rock, Bible bashing, gay advocacy and Saturday Night Live comedy
than support for Darwins theory. One of them even mocked Jesus.
Was this supposed to help attract visitors?
- Teach ID? OK, Well Teach ID: Kansas has acquiesced, and yes,
will now teach intelligent design as mythology.
MSNBC News continued their long series
of anti-ID reporting with an A.P. story about professors at the University of Kansas who have added a new course
to the Religious Studies Department, entitled, Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent
Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies. Paul Mirecki, the department chairman said,
The KU faculty has had enough. Creationism is mythology. Intelligent design is
mythology. Its not science (emphasis added in all quotations).
John Calvert, the pro-ID Kansas attorney, is not flustered. He thinks the
tactic will backfire and Mirecki will go down in history as a laughingstock.
- Hmmmph: John Brookfield (U of Nottingham), wrote a book review of
The Plausibility of Life by Gerhart and Kirshner in
Current Biology (Volume 15, Issue 22, 22 November 2005, Pages R908-R910).
The book, as explained in the 10/31/2005 entry,
raises some serious questions about the standard view of Darwinian evolution.
After exploring puzzles about adaptive variation, Brookfield chided the authors for
questioning the standard paradigm, and gave his recommendation for how to scientifically
deal with critics:
Depressingly often, the alternative that
the authors rule out is not a view of organisms coming from other evolutionary scientists, but
a view that exists only in the imaginations of those determined to believe that evolution is impossible
without intervention from an intelligent designer. Some of the tone of the book flows from
the authors regrettably living in a social milieu where they are forced to specifically refute
claims from advocates of creation science and intelligent design, rather
than contemptuously ignoring them as we British tend to do.
- Dilbert Fans Turn Against Author: Scott Adams is not your typical religious nut
quite the opposite. All this usually irreverent icon-basher did was suggest on his
recently that Darwin might have feet of clay, and was he in for a surprise. The mud flew
on P.Z. Myers Pharyngula
blog, with words like idiotic, creepy, worthless, scary, kook, and ridiculous the
most printable epithets from his erstwhile cartoon fans. Myers last comment must have stung:
Maybe Adams isnt a Wally. He actually sounds more like a pointy-haired boss.
Scott Adams clarified his position with Intelligent Design, Part 2 on
He wasnt espousing intelligent design, he said, but just exercising the freedom to
doubt the Darwinists: The people who purport to have evidence of evolution do
a spectacular job of making themselves non-credible, he said. To me, its like hiring a serial cannibal as a
babysitter based on the fact that he PROMISES not to eat your kids despite having eaten all the
other kids on the block. It might be a fact that hes telling the truth.
The problem is that hes not credible.
- No More Mr. Nice Guy; Lets Kick Some Butt: According to Jonathan Witt writing for
Institute, some evolutionists are getting downright gladiatorial. Heres what P.Z. Myers
(U of Minnesota) recommended:
Our only problem is that we arent martial enough, or vigorous enough, or loud enough,
or angry enough. The only appropriate responses should involve some form of righteous
fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing and humiliation of some teachers, many school
board members, and vast numbers of sleazy far-right politicians.
Sounds like the Darwinists are sending in their champion, Gluteus Maximus.
Jonathan may have proved the Survival of the Wittest with this line, however:
Modern evolutionary theory is less a cornerstone and more the busybody aunt
into everyones business and, all the while, very much insecure
about her place in the home.
Do the Darwinists really think this kind of out-of-control behavior
is going to help their cause? Were all taking notes for the historians.
When the Charlie idol collapses, were going to resurrect some of these braggadocio
episodes as entertainment, or as lessons to would-be mockers of the 21st century.
Crystals Envision Crusty Earth 11/20/2005
To informed observers, this all resembles one last drinking
binge on a sinking ship.
recall, drank wine out of the sacred golden
vessels with a lot of laughter and chutzpah, but not for long. The handwriting is on
the wall again. Darwinism has been weighed in the balances, and found wanting.
The Babbleonians may soon see their downfall. Perhaps their kingdom
will be divided among the Mediators and the Perversions. No matter what comes
next, if you want to stand tall through it all, dare to be a
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolution
Bible and Theology
Politics and Ethics
Reuters reported that Tiny zircon crystals dug up from ancient Australian deposits appear
to have been formed right after the birth of the planet a finding that suggests that
early on, Earth had a cool crust much like todays that could have harbored life,
scientists said on Thursday. (see MSNBC
News). This interpretation comes from hafnium dating of the crystals at 4.4 to 4.5 billion years old.
The summary on Science
Daily called this surprising and said it overturns a long-held theory
that the early planet was either moon-like or dominated by oceans. According to
the new interpretation, the earth had a cool crust only 100 million years after it formed.
Another study in 2001 suggested that water was present by 4.3 million years.
Some evolutionists seem pleased that the earth appears to have become habitable earlier than expected.
These folks need to read the RATE book (see 11/05/2005
entry). They built their interpretation on a foundation of sand; their dating method cannot be trusted.
It wont help the origin-of-life crowd anyway (09/15/2005).
Evolutionists Reduce Human Ideals to Molecules 11/20/2005
Next headline on:
Two recent stories illustrate the attempt by some evolutionary biologists to reduce
complex human behaviors to chance events among molecules.
- You Are What You Get High On: Michael Balter in
asked, Did endorphins make us more human? Pondering that question
is a photo of a chimp and a naked ape (i.e., man) facing opposite one another in the pose of
Rodins The Thinker. Balter reported on research by Duke University
scientists who found a large difference between apes and humans in the expression of
an endorphin-precursor gene. Endorphins are opiatelike molecules involved in learning,
the experience of pain, and social attachment and bonding. Presumably this implies our
chimp brethren are less endowed in those areas. The team concludes that the pattern is a solid
example of natural selection acting on the human lineage after it split from
the chimp line from 5 million to 7 million years ago [emphasis added in all quotations]. Some critics counter that it is not yet clear
what mental or behavioral traits were favored by selection. Bruce Lahn
(U of Chicago) gave only mild criticism: It is a bit early to say that these
changes were key to what makes us human. But it seems like a reasonable hypothesis.
Balter left it at that.
- Patriotic Genes:
announced matter-of-factly, Genes contribute to patriotism and group loyalty.
J. Philippe Rushton of the
Charles Darwin Research Institute
has found a correlation between genetic similarities and group behavior. At the
lowest level, he thinks, this explains kinship behavior between identical twins and
family members, but extends all the way up to clans, tribes, races and nationalities.
Rushton, a psychology professor at the University of Western Ontario,
believes this is all clear if we look from the gene up. The article explains:
Human social preferences, like mate choice and ethnic nepotism,
are anchored in the evolutionary psychology of altruism. Adopting a
genes eye point of view allows us to see that peoples favoritism
to kin and similar others evolved to help replicate shared genes.
Rushtons article in the October issue of Nations and Nationalism was,
according to EurekAlert, about how genes affect group loyalty and patriotism.
Is there any doubt left about why we need to teach
the controversy about Darwinian evolution? Look at what these Darwinists
did. Like dispassionate gods on Mt. Olympus, they reduced everything about you
and me to our genes, but exempted themselves. Pretentiously and arrogantly,
they explained some of the deepest ideals of human behavior in terms of chance consequences
of molecular happenstance in some dim evolutionary past. If that were true, their
own rationality would be worthless. Its hypocritical and logically impossible
to proffer rational explanations for why rationality is a phantom. If rationality
is reducible to molecules in motion, it is not rationality at all.
Human Genome Project: A Worthwhile Failure 11/20/2005
We dont need intelligent design moved out of the science class into
the philosophy class, we need some philosophy moved into the science class.
We need cogent thinkers and logicians to interrupt Darwinists when they make foolish,
self-refuting statements. We need them to
distinguish between observable science and religious or philosophical pronouncements
made in the name of science that go far beyond the evidence. Now read the next entry.
Next headline on:
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was filled with promise. Walter Gilbert claimed in 1992 that it would bring about
a change in our philosophical understanding of ourselves... one will be able to pull a CD out of
ones pocket and say, Heres a human being; its me! Why does
Sarkar consider that prospect laughable?
Michael A. Goldman (Dept. of Biology, San Francisco State) reviewed a book by Sarkar in
Science,1 Molecular Models of Life: Philosophical Papers on
Molecular Biology (MIT Press, 2005). Goldman considers Sarkar (U of Texas, Austin), who
holds dual appointments in philosophy and integrative biology, a key
thinker in the philosophy of molecular biology:
One of his contentions is that the concept of information flow in biology is problematic.
Sarkar repeatedly mentions the incompleteness or inadequacy of the central dogma of molecular biology.
Although the idea of a genome as a program that spontaneously unfolds to produce a living organism
is clearly too simplistic, that hardly renders the notion of information flow without value.
A computer program, too, is totally dependent on its physical context in hardware and an operating system
that can interpret it; its output is only as predictable as its input and can be rendered seemingly
unpredictable by a temporary power surge or a scratch across a magnetic disk. We can recognize
different inputs--including chance, environmental influences, and developmental context (e.g., maternal
cytoplasmic effects)--in the interpretation of the genetic program, and we can even accept that some lines
of that program (introns, intergenic regions) are of unknown function, without forgetting the
programs key role in development.
(Emphasis added in all quotes.)
Here is where Goldman touches on Sarkars attitude about the Human Genome Project:
Perhaps because of his bleak outlook on the nature of information flow, Sarkar considers the
Human Genome Project somewhat of a worthwhile failure. He notes how controversial the idea
was even among geneticists and how tenuous the prospects for a full understanding of human
biology and an incredible ability to cure diseases were. In retrospect, the projects early
proponents may be forgiven their exaggerated promises. Few geneticists have ever proclaimed
that day-to-day human behavior could be explained simply by gene interactions, and many
have argued against attempts to connect behavioral traits and genetics. Nor, as Sarkar
points out, did we imagine that there were so few genes, such a complex relation between
genes and the protein forms they encode, and so much genetic material of unknown function.
Nonetheless, we must understand that we can gain valuable insights from reading the human
genome in all its variety.
Goldman found the book too incohesive to recommend it, except for the last chapter.
Thats where Sarkar surveyed the history of positivism about understanding human
biology and behavior in a reductionist sense. Thats also where he reacted
to Gilbert prospect of holding me on a CD
Today the claim seems laughable. None of the promises of Gilberts radical
genetic reductionism has been borne out. Proponents of the HGP promised enormous
immediate medical benefits. Arguably, at least, there have not been any.
Gilbert routinely promised the birth of a new theoretical biology. Instead, the
emphasis now is on informatics.... On the upside, Sarkar notes that at
the very least, the HGP has killed the facile genetic reductionism of the heyday of
developmental genetics. His dim view contrasts sharply with Robert Sinsheimers
recent proclamation that the project succeeded even beyond our hopes.
That chapter, Goldman feels, is an ideal capstone reading for my senior undergraduates
and graduate students.
1Michael A. Goldman, Philosophy of Science: Genomic Meanings,
18 November 2005: Vol. 310. no. 5751, p. 1121, DOI: 10.1126/science.1120191.
So two millennia of debate about reductionism and
determinism have come to this. If human biology cannot be reduced to terms
of its basic physical components, but rather must be understood as information flow
comparable to a computer program,
and if that program can only be understood in its context of the hardware and
operating system needed to interpret it, well then it seems like stock in
the intelligent design movement is about to skyrocket. Obtain your intellectual
Out-of-Africa Theory Becomes More Convoluted 11/20/2005
Next headline on:
The old simple story that early modern humans migrated out of Africa 40,000 years ago and took over Europe from
brutish Neanderthals just got more complicated. A new theory mentioned in
Geographic News now proposes that they took a side trip to India first, 70,000 years
ago. After knocking off Heidelberg Man there, they moved west 30,000 years later and
took over Europe. This is the new story line proposed by Michael Petraglia and
Hannah James of Cambridge. Petraglia said, I realized that, my god, modern
humans might have wiped out Homo heidelbergensis in India. Modern humans may have
been responsible for wiping out all sorts of ancestors around the world.
Well award that line Stupid Evolution Quote
of the Week. To interpret stories like this, you have to understand that it
is all just a game. The object is to get mentioned in National Geographic,
preferably on the cover, by saying something just controversial enough to draw
attention to oneself without ever throwing the whole enterprise of evolutionary
paleoanthropology into doubt.
Eyes on the Prize: Science Sees Gold in Biomimetics 11/19/2005
Next headline on:
A fly eye made the cover of Science this week.1 Its not
that the compound eye is interesting to entomologists;
MSNBC News picked up on the real
message: Animal eyes inspire new technology
Researchers learn optics lessons from biology. The cover story is about
biomimetics, or reverse-engineering nature. Scientists are looking for ways
to imitate the energy-efficient, densely-packed, space-saving technologies exhibited
in animal eyes to improve artificial sensors, microscopes and cameras.
The authors of the cover story explained their mission:
Observing systems in nature has inspired humans to create technological tools
that allow us to better understand and imitate biology. Biomimetics,
in particular, owes much of its current development to advances in materials science and
creative optical system designs. New investigational tools, such as those for
microscopic imaging and chemical analyses, have added to our understanding of biological optics.
Biologically inspired optical science has become the emerging topic among researchers and scientists.
From the ten kinds of visual systems featured among
living animals, scientists will have to start easy. They wont attempt to
model the complex retinal eyes of mammals or cephalopods, but will start with the prism-like
compound eyes of insects.
In the article, the eyes of various animals are described,
as well as properties of our own human variety.
Lobster eyes might help us build better X-ray telescopes. Brittlestars might
help us focus light with liquids. Beetles might help us build better infrared
sensors. The possibilities seem endless; improvements in cameras and sensing devices are
just some examples of benefits to be gained from searching natures wisdom.
The authors conclude that the time is ripe for a creative synergy between man and beast:
Imitating nature is a complex endeavor, and a blind biomimetic approach is
not the best methodology. Instead, molecular-level studies of the biological
development of natural vision systems are key. For example, current infrared
sensors can distinguish more than what human eyes can see, but they require a
sophisticated cooling system to work. Somehow, insects have this same
ability without the limitation of temperature control. This is but one example
of how it is primarily natures designs that are superior to man-made equivalents.
However, if we are able to decode the designs, then the combination of our
creativity in materials and natures wisdom is [a] synergistic
one with incredible potential.
In another article in the same issue,2 George Mayer (U of Washington)
discussed efforts to mimic the rigid composite materials found in molluscs and sponges.
The biological materials are enviable because of their viscoelastic
properties, ability to resist the propagation of cracks, and ability to sustain loads
without strain. Mimicking those properties are challenging enough, but living systems
have abilities far more interesting. Mayer ended: Of immense significance, too, are features
that have been observed, but researchers have thus far been unable to replicate in synthetic systems,
such as the ability for self-repair and the exceptional tenacity at interfaces.
1Luke P. Lee and Robert Szema, Inspirations from Biological Optics for Advanced Photonic Systems,
18 November 2005: Vol. 310. no. 5751, pp. 1148 - 1150; DOI: 10.1126/science.1115248.
2George Mayer, Rigid Biological Systems as Models for Synthetic Composites,
18 November 2005: Vol. 310. no. 5751, pp. 1144 - 1147, DOI: 10.1126/science.1116994.
There was no mention of evolution in thess papers;
not even of natural selection, Darwin, or millions of years. Who needs it? This is
the cutting-edge of science and technology for the 21st century: a design-inspired approach
to science that not only will bring exciting new benefits to society but will help us
understand and imitate biology. This is exactly the kind of methodological
engineering that William Dembski predicted in The Design Revolution
(IVP, 2004, p. 312) would show that ID has the power to generate fruitful research.
Catholic Astronomer Takes On the Pope, and Other ID Battles 11/19/2005
If you are a tired Darwinist reading this, here is your way out.
Kick the Charlie habit and get in on the leading edge of biomimetics. No more need for storytelling
or fantasizing just real-world research with incredible potential
and it looks incredibly fun, too. It will push technology to the limit.
Field biologists can still go out and collect species for study, but now with a new
vision instead of force-fitting everything into imaginary phylogenetic trees.
Lab technicians can devise new ways to measure and study phenomena. Profs and
grad students can stay gainfully busy. Its the cure for overspecialization:
think of the new interdisciplinary labs that could be built
(10/29/2005). Dollars and research papers will flow.
The government would love to fund this kind of research. If you can propose spin-offs
for the military, antiterrorism, medicine, or green technology, your future is secure.
It will take the pressure off the origins battle. Politicians, theologians, teachers
and the public will love you for it.
Its a complete win-win situation for science and for humankind, while old worries about
Darwinism, like dead autumn leaves, will simply drop off and wither away for historians
to sweep up.
Next headline on:
Right after Pope Benedict XVI essentially affirmed intelligent design (11/10/2005),
his court astronomer rejected it. The Rev. George Coyne, Jesuit director of the
Vatican Observatory, sounded like he was reading the NCSE playbook: Intelligent design
isnt science even though it pretends to be.... If you want to teach it in schools,
intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science.
as could be expected after their series against I.D., gave this story prominence.
Coyne continued arguing that the faithful should abandon the concept of a dictator God
or designer God creating a Newtonian clockwork universe and instead
embrace the concept of God as encouraging parent using evolution
to achieve his ends allowing, participating and loving, but not intervening.
News remarked that the news media, picking up on this story, seems more Catholic than
the Pope. Bruce Chapman explained why it is incorrect to claim Coynes view
represents the official Vatican position.
The contest between Darwinian evolution and intelligent design still
shows no sign of abating. Here are some other recent developments:
- Bio-Advocacy: The journal
contained two articles and an editorial attacking intelligent design and strategizing ways
to defeat it in science classrooms (see 11/01/2005 entry for one of the articles).
- Cornell Students vs. Their President: The senior editor of the
responded to the Presidents anti-ID speech by reporting about the ID debate on campus,
listing faculty members supporting and opposing the new ideas. Xiaowei Cathy Tang found that
its not just students, but some faculty members urged the University and the
nation to view I.D. as a valid challenge to some aspects of evolution.
- Conservatives for Darwin: CEH readers wrote in about anti-ID articles in
the Washington Post by noted conservative columnists George Will and
who pulled no punches with, Lets be clear. Intelligent design may be interesting as theology,
but as science it is a fraud. He called it ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God.
He finds it more elegant, more simple, more brilliant, more economical, more creative, indeed more divine
to picture, in the beginning, a single double-stranded molecule, pliable and fecund enough to give us mollusks
and mice, Newton and Einstein even if it also produced the Kansas State Board of Education, he ended with a smirk.
Jonathan Witt on EvolutionNews
claimed all Krauthammer did was knock down a straw man.
- Whose Claptrap?: Tennesseean Tom Bohs wrote a torrid anti-ID editorial for the
Sun, but his litany of ridicule, straw man tactics and ad hominems might backfire for
some readers. Sample: If you believe the Earth is flat, well, I have a theory
of evolution for you: intelligent design. This is the pseudo-scientific claptrap some
Christian fundamentalists are trying to foist off on society and have taught in our public
school biology classes. Dont fall for the sales pitch. It isnt science.
- Toe-Dipping in Indiana: Mary Beth Schneider wrote in the
Star about GOP state assemblymen who are testing the waters about intelligent design.
We were trying to see if this is a hot-button issue for people, said Bill Friend,
Indiana House Majority Leader, and one of 36 Republican legislators who included the issue on a survey.
- UI no ID:
Tribune reported on over 150 University of Iowa faculty who have signed a statement
opposing intelligent design.
- The Sun Will Come Up, Tomorrow: In a
Malaysia newspaper, Dr. Stefan Tan
claimed that Darwinism is dying. He ended, As one who believes that the universe
is not an accident (the probabilities weigh against it), I believe it is a matter of time
before macro-evolution will be nailed down in the coffin by an ever-increasing preponderance
of evidences now trickling in. Some might prefer to wait all night for the sun to rise
but do we have that much time before we believe?
- Get It Right, Reporters: Frustrated at repeated misrepresentations in the
media about the Kansas science standards,
News listed the definitions of science in the standards of all 50 states. The
New York Times and other newspapers had claimed that Kansas made a dangerous change
to its definition of science by robbing it of natural explanations for phenomena;
Ker Than in LiveScience
accused Kansas of bringing supernatural explanations into science, while
MSNBC News portrayed it as a subtle
but brilliant tactic to open the door for divine interventions.
The record shows that, prior to the vote, Kansas had been the only state embedding methodological
naturalism into the definition of science. The new definition actually is closer to
the definition in 40 other states, while 9 states did not even specify a definition.
When you look at who acts cool and rational, and who
strives for honesty and accuracy in reporting, and who thinks instead of repeating sound bites,
there really is no contest. That the Darwin Party must resort to constant mudslinging
and power plays can only mean one thing: they are running scared.
Butterflies Invented LEDs First 11/18/2005
As to the Vatican astronomer, well have to wait and see how that
battle plays out. Father Coyne fails to see the contradiction in what he said.
Everything characteristic of the Catholic faith involves Gods actual intervention in the
affairs of mankind: the Creation, the Fall, the virgin birth, and the resurrection, to name
a few. The Darwinists want unguided, directionless, purposeless evolution; how can
that possibly be reconciled with Catholicism without schizophrenia?
It appears that Coyne is more wedded to his scientific reputation than his faith,
and more loyal to Pope Charlie (02/13/2004)
than to Pope Benedict. Press coverage of their disparate
views may force a confrontation. Does it matter? Only to Catholics, and
to Darwinists desperately seeking quotes from religious celebrities to shield their
Next headline on:
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were a prized invention of physicists, improved greatly
in 2001, but now we find butterflies invented them first. We already knew that
butterfly wings achieve their shimmering iridescence by means of photonic crystals
(01/29/2003), as do some birds
(10/13/2003), but now it appears that the butterflies
have even more exotic tricks up their sleeves: they have true LEDs.
Pete Vukusic of Exeter and Ian Hooper of MIT were startled to see the
wings of African swallowtails shine super-bright under ultraviolet light.
They reported in Science
this week that the photonic crystals absorb UV and re-radiate it in a blue-green portion of the
visible spectrum where the butterflys eye is particularly sensitive.
Not only that, the photonic crystals are shaped in a cylindrical way to prevent side-scattering,
are spaced for maximum effect, and contain reflective surfaces to focus the light straight
out of the tubular shafts. This makes them all but identical in design to
the LED, said Vukusic.
Being able to emit powerful light without a semiconductor or power source makes the
feat doubly efficient in a way, he said. Its not just an analogy
calling this structure an LED, he explained that is really how it works. The researchers
feel that their results will help engineers improve manmade devices.
When you study these things and get a feel for the photonic architecture available,
you really start to appreciate the elegance with which nature put some of these things together, he said.
Sources: BBC News,
There was little mention of evolution in any of the
papers, except that the BBC article stated that the butterflies had been using this
method for 30 million years, and News@Nature mentioned in passing that the system
had evolved to direct the emitted light outwards without venturing to
say how. All the evolutionists seemed so amazed that
a butterfly figured this out. Even Ker Than, Mr. Dogmatic Darwinist and ID-Basher,
didnt dare speculate about how this precision optical system evolved. To
top that, Nature, that Darwinese foghorn, actually subtitled their piece,
Butterflies shine brighter by design. Cowabunga! Are they
beginning to see the light?
SETI: Search for Educational Targets Inc. 11/18/2005
Think about the fact that a butterfly goes
through an egg, caterpillar, and chrysalis stage. In that last stage, all its
guts are transformed into precision LEDs, flight software and hardware, vision,
incredibly-sensitive olfactory systems and much, much more.
Kids should get
out with their butterfly nets and learn some creation science like they always have.
Only now, they should learn some physics and optical electronics, too.
Sounds like some good Science Fair material here.
Next headline on:
SETI may be the laughingstock of Congress, refused funding since William Proxmire gave
it his Golden Fleece Award in the 1980s, but privately it is moving apace.
The Science Channel gave it prominence in its weekly report Friday, visiting with
pioneering signaler and listener Frank Drake. It surveyed everything from the
first humble attempts to listen and broadcast, to the upcoming hardware and software
that will increase the search capability exponentially.
For SETI Thursday on Space.com,
Pamela Harman, SETI Education and Outreach Manager for the SETI Institute, detailed
the many ways her organization is teaching the young about SETI and all its ancillary
subjects. In particular, the SETI Institute and its like-minded organizations
are teaching teachers how to provide the foundation for SETI thinking, with courses
like Understanding and Teaching Evolution, Extreme Life Forms on Earth and Elsewhere,
Becoming Human: Hominid Evolution from Voyages Through Time, and Origins:
The Questions in Life Science. Our astrobiology expertise is of great interest,
she said, as the perpetual student lament Why does this matter? can be answered.
Her answer recalls Carl Sagans famous phrase. The response in all disciplines
from astronomy and physics, to chemistry and biology is We are star stuff!
Speak for yourself, babe. This oft-repeated line
suggests a modification of the old distinction between stuff and junk. Junk is
the stuff natural selection throws away, and stuff is the junk natural selection keeps.
A New Way to Make Stars, Or One Old Way Discredited? 11/18/2005
Aside from the fact that it is hard to envision any teenager getting excited over
being told he or she is star stuff unless they think their talent has finally been recognized
the reductionist, naturalistic philosophy inherent in this epigram betrays profound
ignorance of western philosophy going back millennia. Only recently have materialists
gained ascendency in intellectual circles, and atheistic materialism permeates SETI through and
through. Their forefathers are Democritus, Lucretius and Epicurus, with few
takers till John Locke and David Hume built their systems on sense experience alone.
Others dabbling with atheistic materialism were shunned or outmaneuvered with
trenchant rational arguments by philosophers as varied as Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, Thomas Reid,
and Immanuel Kant. Even most Enlightenment deists did not deny a rational design principle
in the universe. The early Newtonians and proponents of the mechanical philosophy were
nearly all Christians to various degrees. They never would have suggested that star stuff gave
rise to the rational human soul.
Without even considering the long history of theological arguments for
natural theology, great philosophers have long debunked atheism with finesse. Thomas Reid
and Kant, for example, undermined the empiricist viewpoints
of the materialists from first principles. They argued forcefully that such views are
self-refuting. To even speak about observation
and empiricism presupposes a rational power that is not reducible to sense experience.
In addition, nothing inherent in the physical mechanisms of the body can account for the operation
the mind or grant its rational arguments legitimacy.
The same arguments can be wielded just as effectively today against the modern materialists.
Unfortunately, they rarely get a hearing. Atheists routinely run amok in the science journals with
tall tales about game theory producing human morals, DNA developing into souls, and
collections of neurons generating the mind.
The peer review process fails to call them on the carpet for illogic or carelessness,
and so they get away with it; why? Because Darwins bulldogs succeeded long ago in
gaining control of the scientific institutions and codifying their world view into the very definition of science.
SETI is part and parcel of a conspiracy to create a culture
of materialists. If it were not so, they would engage their critics and opponents
in serious debate. Instead, just like the astrobiologists and evolutionary psychologists,
they shun scrutiny and usurp authority by co-opting the banner of science and
conflating their materialism with the otherwise worthy goals of scientific research.
To a person, they idolize Father Charlie, because he liberated them from the need for both
scientific and philosophical rigor. Without apologies to Dawkins, Darwin made it
possible to be an intellectually-foolfilled atheist.
Now that the Intelligent Design Movement has mounted the first volleys against
the Darwinist naturalistic empire, the materialists are resorting to subterfuge instead of
honorably engaging their opponents on the intellectual battlefield.
Pamela Harman has revealed that a huge educational program for the
recruitment of young minds into philosophical materialism is underway: the Search
for Educational Targets to Indoctrinate. All that is necessary for
foolishness to triumph is for good philosophers to think nothing.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Several news sources sounded a rather triumphant note that astronomers are figuring
out how stars form.
In actuality, the paper by Krumholz, McKee and Klein in Nature1 did
more to discredit a competitive theory than to establish their own. That competitive
theory, ironically, is called competitive accretion and posits that clumps of
material add up as they collapse. The astronomers claim that this theory, popular
since the 1990s especially in Europe, made unrealistic assumptions about initial masses,
collapse rates, and turbulence. Also, the competing model predicts ejected brown
dwarfs moving at high speeds, which are not observed.
For these reasons, the authors feel the competitive accretion model is
a dead theory. That leaves the other model standing by default:
core accretion. A press release from
Livermore Labs about this paper states that much remains to be learned:
Star formation is a very rich problem, involving questions such as how
stars like the sun formed, why a very large number of stars are in binary star systems,
and how stars 10 to 100 times the mass of the sun form, McKee said (emphasis added).
Meanwhile, the Spitzer Space Telescope has been showing itself a worthy
competitor to Hubble in photography skill. A press release from
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
showed a blazing region in Cassiopeia captioned, Cosmic Mountains of Creation.
They claim it is a region of active star formation similar to that in the Eagle Nebula
famously imaged by Hubble (but see 05/15/2002 entry).
1Krumholz, McKee and Klein, The formation of stars by gravitational collapse
rather than competitive accretion,
438, 332-334 (17 November 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04280.
We havent heard from the opponents yet whether
they will be able to support their view and shoot holes in the core accretion model.
When you think about it, diffuse gas and dust have a lot to overcome in forming a star.
Gravity and shock waves are the only formative forces. On the way in, the dust
heats up, pushing outward, magnetic fields and turbulence oppose collapse, and increasing
pressure, increasing rotation, and angular momentum fight the formation process.
Getting the supermassive stars is hard for both
models, and why do so many binaries form? Many articles glibly speak of
regions of active star formation with confidence vastly exceeding theoretical and
observational understanding. If scientists would just learn to admit more often what
they dont know and speak a little more humbly, it would be a worthy development.
Winter Plants Thermostat Keeps It Cozy As a Skunk 11/17/2005
Next headline on:
Skunk cabbage. Pew. Do you like the meditative name Zen plant better?
Well, meditate on how this amazing plant keeps warm while it emerges through the last snows
of winter. Skunk cabbage is one of two plants known to regulate its body temperature.
Now reported on research by Japanese scientists who studied its thermostat.
First, they tracked the spadix [central stalk] temperatures of two wild populations of skunk cabbage over time
and compared them to the air temperature. After making sure the fluctuations were not
just random noise, the team determined that the plant used only two or three pieces of
information, or variables, to regulate its internal temperature. That meant the plants
thermostat had to follow a fairly simple rule, perhaps like the oven in your kitchen.
If a high-end oven gets too hot, it turns itself off; it may also track how fast its temperature
is rising or falling and the temperature of the kitchen outside, making adjustments accordingly.
The photo caption calls the skunk cabbage Natures Oven and states, Skunk
cabbage uses a simple mathematical formula to keep itself warm.
The article admired the research, but said a bigger question remains: finding how these two or
three variables work at the molecular level.
Plants are better at math than some scientists.
Even if we uncover the mechanism in detail, it would beg the question of how this
ability got there in the first place. Scientists who dont want to think
about that could at least work on emulating
the clean, efficient source of energy derived from sunshine, air and water.
Darwin Lovers Unite Against ID 11/17/2005
Next headline on:
Plants and Botany
Pictures of Darwin looking like a wise guru draped in white hair seem to adorn
many articles attacking intelligent design. With
2009 being the Darwins 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of The Origin,
Bruce H. Weber in Nature remarked, Impending anniversaries and the trial over
intelligent design make this a good time to revisit Darwin.
Here are a few examples of recent articles from scientific journals and news sources
lifting up the visage of Charles Darwin as a standard against I.D.
- Darwin on Display: Ker Than got a private tour of the new Darwin
exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History and reported his experiences on
Darwin will be the most comprehensive exhibit ever mounted on the British
naturalist, whose ideas transformed biology and sparked a religious debate that is playing
out in courtrooms, statehouses and school board meetings across the United States,
he wrote, filling the article as usual with attacks against ID. Thans second
article on LiveScience
described his preview before the exhibit opens Nov. 19. A portrait of the white-bearded
sage is prominently placed at the top of both articles.
- The Nature of Darwin: Nature this week highlighted Darwin alongside
its news entry, Day of judgment for intelligent design,1 that
compared the results in Kansas and Dover, Pennsylvania. Also included in this issue were book
reviews of two new anthologies of Darwins four major books, and a review of a
book about the evolution of human language that begins with a discussion of Darwins
views on the subject. There was also a review of an art exhibit in Amsterdam about
animals, with the comment, Charles Darwin changed the way animals were viewed in art.
- Implied Darwin: Science2 had no Darwin portraits this week,
but discussed teaching evolution in a news item contrasting Dover and Kansas.
Constance Holden noted that the margin of victory for the slate of 8 Democrats who defeated
the Dover incumbents was extremely narrow. A photo contrasted two billboards, one for
the incumbents and one for the challengers, neither of which mentioned the evolution issue.
She quoted a pundit who said, The bottom line is that nearly half
of the community still feel that an alternate perspective to evolution should be presented
to high school students. The new board members are aware of that, and are
apparently not making evolution a frontline issue. Meanwhile, back in Kansas,
board member Steve Abrams faced his critics in what Tom Magnuson called an absolute
must read an editorial in
News explaining why the critics have no case.
1Geoff Brumfiel, Day of judgment for intelligent design,
438, 267 (17 November 2005) | doi:10.1038/438267a.
2Constance Holden, Teaching Evolution: Antievolutionists Win One in
Kansas, Lose Eight Seats in Dover,
18 November 2005: Vol. 310. no. 5751, p. 1105, DOI: 10.1126/science.310.5751.1105a.
Dear Old Darwin is more than just a historical figure to
the Darwin Party. He is part father figure, part exalted leader, and part god.
The various tribes are gathering in earnest, doing the Ghost of Charlie Dance to drive
out the ID invaders. The invaders, however, are not trying to deprive them of
their heritage. They just want an honest powwow instead of terrorism.
Blurb Face-Off 11/17/2005
Next headline on:
Here is a real announcement for an anti-ID speech in Irvine, California.
In the commentary that follows, we have made a mirror image of it, creating a
fictional ad circa 1860 for a speech against Darwinism. The reader can
decide which one best fits the historical, cultural, and political developments
related to ideas about origins.
Creationism in Camouflage: The Intelligent Design Deception
And now, the flipside.
Dr. Keith Lockitch
Free Public Event
For decades creationists have sought to replace evolution with the Book of Genesis.
But defenders of evolution have consistently prevailed in the schools and the courts of law.
This struggle for intellectual survival has led to the evolution of a new species
of creationist, better adapted to its inhospitable environment. The new Creationism
goes by the name of Intelligent Design and poses a greater danger than old-style
Creationism. In this talk Dr. Lockitch will examine the Intelligent Design movement
focusing on its similarities and differences with standard creationism. By hiding
its religious nature in a cloak of pseudo-science, the movement seeks to make itself more
palatable to intellectuals and the general public. And because the collapse of
philosophy has left todays academicsincluding the most passionate and vocal
defenders of evolutionincapable of answering its most fundamental arguments, the
doors of our colleges and schools are ominously open to primitive mysticism masquerading as science.
Atheism in Camouflage: The Natural Selection Deception
Dr. Key Unlocker
Free Public Event
For decades atheists have sought to replace natural theology with naturalistic stories
of evolution. But
defenders of creation have consistently prevailed in the schools and the courts of law.
This struggle for intellectual credibility has led to the creation of a new kind of
atheist, better skilled at subterfuge. The new Atheism goes by the name of
Natural Selection and poses a greater danger than old-style Atheism.
In this talk Dr. Unlocker will examine the Natural Selection movement focusing on its
similarities and differences with older varieties of evolutionism. By hiding its
atheistic nature in a cloak of unproved generalizations, the movement seeks to make
itself more palatable to intellectuals and the general public. And because the
collapse of strong churches has left todays academicsincluding the most passionate
and vocal defenders of natural theologyincapable of answering its most fundamental
arguments, the doors of our colleges and schools are ominously open to unrestrained
speculation masquerading as science.
Does Gene Expression Evolve?
Mutation is the ultimate source of biological diversity because it generates the variation that fuels evolution,
wrote four scientists in Nature November 10.1 Conventionally, theorists have focused on gene
mutations for that fuel; what about mutations to gene expression?
Thats what they set out to discover.
One would think that positive natural selection would drive gene expression. If nothing else, neutral mutations
would be expected to accumulate over time. Looking at fruit flies and worms, however, they found less than
anticipated. This was a surprise to them, suggesting that stabilizing selection has a larger
role than drift in shaping the evolution of gene expression.
Stabilizing selection is a conservative effect. A perturbation in one part of the gene expression network might be
counterbalanced by another, such that the overall developmental pattern is unchanged. This leads to phenotypic stability
called canalization. Though their title and conclusion hyped plasticity, they discovered stability:
In summary, D. melanogaster has a broad mutational capacity for changes in gene expression,
in both magnitude and genomic extent, that could potentially provide ample raw material for
evolutionary diversification. However, although they vary among closely related species,
gene expression patterns are relatively stable. In Caenorhabditis elegans,
genetic variances of gene expression are likewise much less than the neutral expectation.
The convergence of this observation in two groups of organisms that diverged in the Precambrian
and have different reproductive and life-history strategies indicates that stabilizing
selection and structural processes, including canalization, physical and developmental constraints,
and correlated responses, govern gene expression evolution.
(Emphasis added in all quotes.)
1Scott A. Rifkin, David Houle, Junhyong Kim and Kevin P. White,
A mutation accumulation assay reveals a broad capacity for rapid evolution of gene expression,
438, 220-223 (10 November 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04114
Anyone see evolution here? Stabilizing selection
is not the kind Darwin wanted. Its like those displays in appliance stores
where a beach ball is suspended above a blower. The ball spins and gyrates, but the
higher pressure around the flowing air holds the ball in place. The evidence suggests that
organisms are robust against perturbations in gene expression. Two similar species
of fruitflies and worms maintained very stable patterns of gene expression despite these
evolutionists claim the creatures diverged in the Precambrian. Thats a
lot of un-evolution for 200 million years. The rest of the bluff about mutational
capacity providing raw material for evolution was just verbal turbulence
flowing past a Darwinian beach ball suspended in mid-air.
News from the Cretaceous 11/16/2005
Next headline on:
Here are some recent stories about extinct reptiles and bird-like creatures from the
age of dinosaurs.
- T. Rex Smelled Good: A story in Science1 listed
evidence that Tyrannosaurus rex had a large olfactory bulb, giving it a good
sense of smell. Analysis of the visual and auditory parts of the skull suggest
that it also excelled at sight and hearing: new studies show that the tyrant
lizards sensory apparatus was indeed fit for a king, wrote Erik Stokstad.
Phillip Currie (U of Alberta) was impressed: The more we look at T. rex, the
more sophisticated it is. There was no mention of evolution in the article.
- Its a Bird Its a Plane: After researchers suggested
last month that the odd Chinese feathered fossil Microraptor gui flew like a biplane
a fight broke out in Nature.2 Kevin Padian and Ken Dial gave
seven reasons why the evidence does not support the idea, and complained that the
researchers should not have claimed it supported the arboreal (tree-down) theory for the origin
of flight. It is recognized that the arboreal versus cursorial dichotomy
of models for the origin of bird flight is not capable of resolution, they said,
and should have been abandoned long ago. Rather, the origin of the flight
stroke is the central problem in the origin of flight, and so far nothing has been
brought to light to indicate that Microraptor has any bearing on this question.
The Chinese are sticking to their story and deny the debate is dead. They believe
that Microraptor argues against the cursorial (ground-up) theory. They also said
that Microraptor had the same flight capabilities as Archaeopteryx.
- Missing Mosasaur Link? A press release from
Southern Methodist University
told about a fossil find by an amateur of a mosasaur-like animal with short stubby legs.
reprinted the claim that it represents a missing link between limbs and fins.
- The Early Turtle Gets the Limb: BBC
News reported a fossil leg of an early turtle claimed to be 120 million years old.
They think the new species was partly adapted to land and partly to sea.
- Prairie Dinosaurs: There wasnt supposed to be grass when the dinosaurs
roamed, but now its been found in their droppings, reported
Titanosaur coprolites showed phytoliths that indicate the presence of grasses in their diet.
This discovery could also cause a major shake-up in dinosaur dioramas around the world,
the article says. Perhaps vistas of sauropods grazing alongside the buffalo?
1Erik Stokstad, Tyrannosaurus rex Gets Sensitive,
Vol 310, Issue 5750, 966-967 , 11 November 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.310.5750.966].
2Brief Communications Arising, Origin of flight: Could four-winged
438, E3-E4 (17 November 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04355.
In most of these stories, the researchers
delved beyond the data into imagination. Creatures adapted to their many and varied environments
do not necessarily imply common ancestry. If we must assume the mosasaur-like animal was evolving into a sea
creature, for instance, does this mean beaver paws are evolving into fins? Many animal groups have
representatives that live on either sea or land, or both. There are sea snakes, sea turtles,
sea lions, sea otters, sea iguanas, sea spiders, sea birds and Sea Peoples (thats
what historians call the ancestors of the Philistines). Biodiversity does not
presuppose Darwinism; it is what Darwinism needs to explain. None of these stories
explain how the highly-adapted, complex structures of the creatures arose in the first
Scientists Learning How to Harness Cellular Trucks 11/15/2005
The fun part was the spat between the Chinese and Kevin Padian and Ken
Dial (Mr. Aerofoil-Partridge; see 12/22/2003) over whether the
lizard flapped its arms on the way up the hill, or on the way down from the tree limb.
Come back when you get it all worked out, guys. Solve the power stroke, too.
Next headline on:
In an article that blurs the line between biology and technology, a press release from
Planck Institute (see EurekAlert
for English translation) described the amazing performance of the nanoscopic trucks
that ride the cells microtubule superhighways. Kinesin and myosin motors,
fueled by ATP, usually sprint on the trackways for short distances, but
working in concert like a relay team, can run marathons for centimeters or even a
meter. This is especially important in neurons, some of which can have axons
a meter long in our spinal cord. The scientists are learning as much as
they can about these molecular motors in order to harness the technology for directed
chemical reactions and biomimetic applications. The Energizer Bunny would face
stiff competition on this scale: the article comments, in contrast to human sprinters,
molecular motors dont get tired.
There is no mention of evolution in this article.
This motor-driven active transport bears the hallmark of intelligent design
and coordinated function. Darwinism is utterly useless for this cutting-edge
scientific work that holds promise for spinoff technologies that could greatly improve
our lives and understanding of natures workings. Compare that with the
next entry below.
Like, Make a Tree
Next headline on:
Three Darwinist professors lamented recently in Science1 that few
scientists are making like a tree:
tree thinking remains widely practiced only by professional evolutionary
biologists, they said. And just what is tree thinking? It is
basically thinking like Darwin; i.e., looking at the living world with phylogenetic glasses:
The central claim of the theory of evolution as laid out in 1859 by Charles Darwin
in The Origin of Species is that living species, despite their diversity in form and
way of life, are the products of descent (with modification) from common ancestors.
To communicate this idea, Darwin developed the metaphor of the tree of life.
In this comparison, living species trace backward in time to common ancestors in the same way
that separate twigs on a tree trace back to the same major branches.
(Emphasis added in all quotes.)
What prompted this editorial? This is a particular cause for concern at a
time when the teaching of evolution is being challenged, they say. But theres
a positive side, too: because evolutionary trees serve not only as tools for
biological researchers across disciplines but also as the main framework within which
evidence for evolution is evaluated.
While tree-thinking is useful for everyone, the art of generating trees is
best left to the wizards:
At the outset, it is important to clarify that tree thinking does not necessarily
entail knowing how phylogenies are inferred by practicing systematists.
Anyone who has looked into phylogenetics from outside the field of evolutionary biology
knows that it is complex and rapidly changing, replete with a dense statistical literature,
impassioned philosophical debates, and an abundance of highly technical computer programs.
Fortunately, one can interpret trees and use them for organizing knowledge of
biodiversity without knowing the details of phylogenetic inference.
The reverse is, however, not true. One cannot really understand phylogenetics
if one is not clear what an evolutionary tree is.
They provide some examples of potential sources of confusion. Although closely related
species tend to be similar to one another, this is not necessarily the case if the
rate of evolution is not uniform: for instance. Crocodiles are
more closely related to birds than they are to lizards, even though crocodiles are
indisputably more similar in external appearance to lizards.
A statement like that would surely shock a novice.
Its not the outward similarity, they explain,
but the phylogenetic inference that counts. Evolutionary history is not progressive,
nor is it uniform. In addition, we see only the tips of the branches inhabited by
living or fossil organisms; occupants of the nodes (common ancestors of the branches) are
only inferred, and may not have looked like anything alive today. Thus, for all its
importance, they caution, tree thinking is fraught with challenges.
But then how can anything fraught with challenges be important
or useful? Lets revisit their motives for proposing that tree-thinking should
extend beyond the cloisters of evolutionary systematics. Heres the bottom line:
Tree thinking belongs alongside natural selection as a major theme in evolution training.
Further, trees could be used throughout biological training as an efficient way to present
information on the distribution of traits among species. To this end, what is needed are
more resources: computer programs, educational strategies, and accessible presentations
of current phylogenetic knowledge.
Phylogenetic trees are the most direct representation of the principle of common ancestry--the
very core of evolutionary theory--and thus they must find a more prominent place in
the general publics understanding of evolution. As philosopher of science Robert
OHara stated, just as beginning students in geography need to be taught how to
read maps, so beginning students in biology should be taught how to read trees and to
understand what trees communicate. Among other benefits, as the concept of
tree thinking becomes better understood by those in the sciences, we can hope that a
wider segment of society will come to appreciate the overwhelming evidence for
common ancestry and the scientific rigor of evolutionary biology.
1David A. Baum, Stacey DeWitt Smith, Samuel S. S. Donovan, Evolution:
The Tree-Thinking Challenge,
Vol 310, Issue 5750, 979-980 , 11 November 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1117727].
This article is very revealing. The best way to
understand it is to imagine oneself in ancient Babylonia, listening to some wizards of
hepatoscopy (divination by reading the liver) lamenting the paucity of awareness of
their craft among the astrologers and the general public. They make a pitch in
the Chaldean Journal about how useful hepatoscopy is to the general science of divination.
While admitting that their charts and diagrams are difficult to devise, they nevertheless
argue that the charts are useful representations of fundamental insights, and took
an awful lot of hard work to produce. Their recommendation is to print more copies
of their liver diagrams and instruct the young in the basic concepts of interpreting
livers until the concept of liver-thinking becomes better understood and appreciated.
Psychotherapy Struggles to Demonstrate Scientific Validity 11/13/2005
Far off? Not by much. Look what they admitted: phylogenetic
inference from the actual data of biodiversity is fraught with challenges.
The field is complex and rapidly changing. It has its own dense
statistical literature impenetrable to those outsiders of the art.
It is an arena of impassioned philosophical debates. One can imagine
Babylonian hepatomancers in similar circumstances, adjusting their charts each time the
king loses a battle despite their prognostication. No problem; its all
part of the scientific rigor of The Craft.
Notice also that tree-thinking is an a priori stance one
takes before looking at the data. Its a world view: the main framework
within which evidence for evolution is evaluated. But what is
being evaluated: the evidence, or the framework? Since everything must fit into
The Framework from the outset, no amount of change, debate, challenge or complexity
endangers The Framework. It is the grid through which all data must be sifted,
the colored glass through which all wavelengths must be filtered. This is very
different from a geographical map with which they compare it (see analogy in the
Baloney Detector). A map represents visible data that can be corroborated in the
present; a phylogenetic tree infers relationships in the unobservable past.
We do not conform the data to the map, but the other way around. Not so with
the Darwin Tree of Life. Evidence is really secondary, because The Framework
is already established. Branches may shift here or there, but The Tree, as
Platonic form, remains sacrosanct. (Youll notice that
these wizards only bluffed about the overwhelming evidence for common ancestry
and the scientific rigor of evolutionary biology; see 08/11/2003
and 06/13/2003 entries).
Rightly did Jonathan Wells classify Darwins tree of life as an
Icon of Evolution.
An icon is a symbol, a representation of an article of faith. The early icons of Jesus were
not evidence for his divinity; they were reminders and representations of
what the faithful already believed about him. Proof of his divinity came not from
the icons, but from the historical facts and eyewitness accounts of his miracles and
resurrection. As such, icon-thinking and meditation on the artistic
representations would have constituted a weak apologetic. The iconoclasts of
early Christendom did not deny the object of the icons, but argued that the icons
became idols, mere graven images that distracted ones attention from the real
person of Jesus Christ. How much more an icon based on false premises
and absent evidence will mislead a scientist and obscure honest investigation. Like the
icons of pagan gods adorning ancient temples, it substitutes a fantasy for the real world.
These three Darwin Party soothsayers want to
short-circuit the proof from evidence and train novitiates by having them meditate on the icons.
They want computer programs, educational strategies and accessible representations
of the products of their divination; they want to say, believe, then interpret.
They want to push this Framework, this faith indeed,
this religion in the schools, to raise a new crop of devotees and practitioners of
The Craft. Such flagrant advocacy built on such shallow premises deserves a response in kind,
from an iconoclast on that level. We quote the noted philosopher Biff: Make like a tree,
and get outta here.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
Psychologist, heal thyself. That may well have been the caption to the cover
story of Science News,1 illustrated with an iconic cartoon of the
patient on the psychoanalysts couch only this time, psychotherapy itself
is the patient. Researchers spar over how best to evaluate psychotherapy,
announced Bruce Bower, as he described the attempts of professional talk
psychology to legitimize itself as science. What has happened?
A few years ago, it was common for people to converse about their shrink and how
their therapy was going. Whats driving the new scrutiny?
Health insurance dollars, for one thing:
These are the times that try psychotherapists souls. Federal and state
mental-health budget cuts have reduced the number of people who can afford one-on-one
psychotherapy sessions to address their problems. Managed care companies demand to
see proof that various psychological treatments work, and even then, they
reimburse the cost of 2 or 3 months of psychotherapy at most....
How can this be? The scientific validity of psychotherapy has seemed as solid
as that of Darwinism. Now, both are increasingly being asked to produce the
evidence. The American Psychological Association (APA) recently approved a policy
statement on evidence-based practice in psychology, Bower reports.
The presumption is that such evidence has been lacking, or is being questioned. Why?
Today, the financial survival of any medical treatment or procedure
rests on published evidence for its effectiveness. In that environment,
the science of psychotherapy has assumed special urgency. Psychologists with
backgrounds in both research and treatment stand at ground zero of efforts to
conduct psychotherapy studies and then integrate the findings into clinical practice.
(Emphasis added in all quotes.)
Following the money, we find that insurance companies are increasingly
restricting their subsidies to about two dozen therapies deemed empirically
supported according to an 1998 APA study. Then Bower gives a stunner:
only a handful of procedures are even adequately documented, let alone demonstrated effective:
The list of science-backed psychotherapies emphasizes a handful of approaches
grounded in concrete procedures that are described in training manuals.
For instance, in cognitive therapy for depression, a therapist assists patients
in identifying and correcting faulty beliefs, such as a tendency to regard any
setback as confirmation of ones failure as a person. Cognitive therapy includes
homework assignments, for instance, a patient trying out a challenging new hobby and
monitoring negative thoughts as they crop up.
It gets worse. Even the therapies deemed empirically supported are
being viewed more and more as subjective, with cause-and-effect inferences difficult
to establish. Bower says that even the definition of evidence-based
practice is a sticky issue. One psychologist accuses the APA
of politicking in favor of psychotherapy practitioners over researchers. Another
calls evidence-based practice the most consequential, incendiary
topic in mental health in recent years.
Bower spends some time with specific examples of testing therapies to
see if they can be legitimized scientifically. Randomized controlled trials
of cognitive therapies were studied to establish the gold standard of
validity. But how does one do a controlled experiment on people, when each
patient represents a unique combination of symptoms? Bower describes the examples
only to question them: Not everyone is brimming with optimism for psychotherapies
bearing scientific seals of approval, he says. There are plenty of insiders
willing to cast doubt. Better not let the insurance companies get wind of this:
Rare comparisons of patients receiving either of two forms of genuine psychotherapy
have yielded no clear winners, [Drew] Westen [Emory U] notes. In head-to-head comparisons,
for example, a few months of cognitive therapy for depression works about as well
as the same amount of interpersonal therapy does. The latter form of one-on-one
talk therapy, which is also outlined in a training manual, focuses on helping the patient
find ways to resolve conflicts with others, to adjust to new roles in life, and to foster
But if that is true, who needs a professional? Why could not a good friend, or
a clergyman, achieve results just as valid as the psychotherapist?
The methodological tail is wagging the therapeutic dog, Westen says.
This means that one cannot control for something as complex as the interpersonal
relationship between a therapist and the patient.
Psychologist Bruce E. Wampold of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has
combed through data from psychotherapy studies and concludes that a good working
relationship between therapist and patient plays a larger role in sparking psychological
progress than any particular treatment technique does.
That has not prevented psychologists from trying. Enrico E. Jones
(UC Berkeley) devised a 100-item rating instrument called a Q-test in hopes of providing
unbiased observers a way to rate the success of a therapy. Unfortunately, the
ratings of viewers were influenced by their subjective impressions and biases.
One review of Q-test data found that cognitive therapists usually blended psychodynamic
techniques into their treatment, while psychodynamic therapists often examined faulty
thinking and irrational beliefs just as cognitive therapists did.
In a 2002 paper that Ablon calls a shocker, clinicians and psychology
graduate students rated videotaped sessions of therapists practicing what they
considered either cognitive or interpersonal therapy. The researchers found
that, at least in the sessions with depressed patients, both treatments fit the definition
of cognitive therapy, suggesting that a single therapy had been compared with itself.
The two sets of therapists were similarly effective....
Anything so far to help an insurer determine how to spend the money? It gets
Many proponents of randomized controlled trials regard Q-set studies as a swamp of
correlations that cant establish what actually helps a patient. Moreover,
many psychoanalysts frown on what they consider to be superficial attempts
to measure what they do.
Brent D. Slife stood before an audience at the annual APA meeting held in Washington,
D.C., in August, and filed the equivalent of a philosophical antitrust suit against
psychotherapy researchers. Slife, a psychologist at Brigham Young University
in Provo, Utah, bemoaned what he called the almost dogmatic status of the
philosophy of empiricism in guiding examinations of psychotherapy.
Slife thinks that psychotherapy should be evaluated qualitatively instead.
This might help therapies that get slighted by the evidence-based craze,
like humanistic and existential psychotherapy. But then, how can it get the
coveted label of science? If we took Slifes approach, a critical
colleague said, wed quickly get booted out of the health care system.
Bower ends on that thought:
In the quarrelsome world of psychotherapy studies, theres one issue that
everyone agrees on: Psychotherapists are fighting an uphill battle to procure
more than minimal health insurance coverage for their services. Norcross remarks,
The sad reality is that insurance companies largely respond to financial considerations,
not psychotherapy research.
Update 11/23/2005: A similar story appeared in
New Scientist about
psychiatry. Psychiatrists earn an M.D. and are licensed to dispense drugs, but this
article by Liz Else says they face similar credibility breakdowns:
In psychiatry, the cost of erroneous scientific theories can be incalculable.
Get things wrong (or even only half right) and once adopted by the profession it
can take years to weed them out. The result can be millions of shattered lives.
Some of the worlds leading psychiatrists believe that this is just
what has happened in their craft today. Poor diagnosis, shaky science and
drugs with costly side effects all point to the same conclusion: psychiatry is badly in
need of a radical overhaul.
1Bruce Bower, Researchers spar over how best to evaluate psychotherapy,
Week of Nov. 5, 2005; Vol. 168, No. 19 , p. 299.
For those who didnt already know that psychotherapy
is a sickman fraud, this should be a real eye-opener. Put up or shut up, the insurance companies
rightfully ask: lets see some evidence that psychotherapy actually works before we
dole out millions of dollars for it. What do they reply? Well, its
just too complicated to measure. You cant treat it like uniform circular motion or
gravity; but trust us, its scientific, and we know what we are doing. Anybody who trusts
a psychotherapist should get his head examined. Youd be better off seeing
a real head-shrinker. You could save a lot of money by employing the Lucy in
Peanuts fame, at her Psychological Help: 5 Cents booth.
It appears her standard reply, Snap out of it! would prove as successful
as anything the psychological charlatans come up with. It might even be less
harmful. How many psychotherapists have irreparably damaged patients by helping
them with their sex problems? If the truth were told, they would, in fact, be booted out
of the health care system.
Bible History News
Its no secret that Sigmund Freud was a worshiper of Darwin.
Psychology has always followed the tradition of building on the Darwinist foundation,
treating the human mind as a concourse of molecules molded by natural selection.
Psychotherapy is a secular religion masquerading as science, intended to replace the
pastor of the local church.
Here we see that after all these years the Charlietans have nothing to show for it.
Dont waste your time; they are wells without water, clouds without rain.*
Need healing? There is hope for those who hurt.
The secret is to follow the Manufacturers Manual. No one could ever
figure out the complexities of the human mind but the one who made it. Need
evidence-based healing? Come unto me,
all you who are weak and heavy laden, said the Good Shepherd, and I will
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly
of heart, and you will find rest for your souls
There are millions who will vouch for that.
When Gods spirit takes control of a mind, a host of
therapeutic agents are included: faith, hope, love, confidence, unselfishness, forgiveness, peace,
thanksgiving, joy, and self-control. See our list
of Bible verses on the subject. For some evidence-based illustrations of
the power of God to change lives and heal sorrows,
watch this film.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
*There are physical conditions
that can cause mental illness or depression due to physiological causes, like hormone
imbalances (ask any pregnant woman), but these are not psychological problems
(psyche, Gr.: the soul).
Special help and medication is legitimate for these medical conditions; the services
of a careful psychiatrist with an M.D. might be essential. If the problem has
no physical symptoms or genetic causes, however, watch out.
None of this commentary should demean the seriousness of emotional problems.
Some problems are caused by circumstances beyond ones control, some by
sin, and some by the sins of others. Dealing with the effects
of abuse or trauma can be a huge challenge. Spiritual problems, such as
anger or guilt, can dramatically influence the body and the mind. The question is,
who is more qualified to help with these a Darwinist secularist mortal who cant possibly grasp all the
intricacies of the mind, or the minds Creator? Spiritual problems cannot be addressed by
a reductionist practitioner who denies the existence of soul or spirit. Many secular
therapy fads have come and gone; some of these have been far worse than the disease.
In the final score, as the above article shows, none even the most popular has any uncontested
claim to validity.
Dont trust your mind to the cult of psychotherapy. Go to a godly Biblical counselor
who knows and trusts the Word of God, and he can refer you if medical assistance is needed.
Avoid religio-pop-psych like Norman Vincent Peale and other purveyors of fuzzy theology; get the
real thing from the source. Peale is appalling, but Paul is appealing.
The National Association of Nouthetic Counselors is one
resource committed to Biblical integrity, and there are others; but the Wonderful Counselor
himself is just a prayer away, free of charge.
Three stories of interest to historians of the Holy Land were reported recently:
One of the backers of the Galilee Park is televangelist Pat
Robertson who, incidentally, just warned Pennsylvania voters that God might judge
them with a natural disaster for voting against intelligent design (see
MSNBC News, as could be expected, had
fun with that suggestion.
Update 01/12/2006: Pat Robertson was cut out of the deal
by the Israeli government due to statements he made on the air in January 2006 suggesting that Prime
Minister Sharons stroke was punishment from God for dividing His land.
See Pilot Online.
- A Is for Aleph: A stone abecedary, or alphabet tablet, has been unearthed
in the hill country south of Jerusalem. It is dated to the 10th century BC, the time
of David and Solomon. See MSNBC News for a summary.
The New York Times
says this indication of early writing will undoubtedly fire up the squabble over the
minimalist interpretation of archaeology, which assumes David and Solomon were minor
tribal chieftains rather than the glorious kings as described in the Bible.
An alphabet from this time period would indicate that literacy was already well established.
Scholars say the script is early Hebrew. See also a report in the
In addition, according to Biblical Archaeology
Review, proof of writing from this period would also weigh in on debates over whether the Bible
was passed on by oral tradition or through written records. Unlike Egypt, Palestine
has a paucity of stone inscriptions. Perhaps official records were inscribed on less
durable media; in King Josiahs day, the priests rejoiced to find a lost scroll of
the Law of Moses, and by Jeremiahs time (6th century BC), King Jehoiakim cut up the prophets
writings and burned them in the fire
36). Few such ancient combustible manuscripts could be expected to survive the repeated conflagrations
the Holy Land has suffered, but the Jewish scribes were masters at preserving their sacred texts,
as evidenced by the Dead Sea Scrolls.
- The Early Church: A mosaic floor of a church dating from the third century
was uncovered by surprise by prisoners working for the Israeli Antiquities Authority
in an Israeli high-security prison at Megiddo,
Geographic News and the Biblical
Archaeological Society. Dating from a period when Christians were persecuted,
this marks one of the earliest known Christian churches. The mosaic clearly shows the fish
symbol and some inscriptions, one crediting a Roman official for funding the mosaic.
Another clearly establishes the belief of the worshipers in the deity of Christ.
It says, The God-loving Aketous has offered this table to the God Jesus Christ as a memorial.
- Goliath Found: Sling my stones! An inscription similar to the name Goliath was
discovered on pottery dating from the period of the Philistine giant David made famous
(by killing him), according to MSNBC
News. A definitive link to the giant cannot be established, but it shows the
etymological equivalents of the name existed at the time Goliath lived. It was,
moreover, discovered at the site believed to be his hometown Gath. The
Post has a picture, and explains that the inscription contains two names that are
remarkably similar to Goliath.
- Destroying History: Tragically, the Muslims are destroying Jewish history
in Jerusalem and getting away with it. Ryan Jones reported in
that Temple Mount destruction continues, as Muslims perform illegal construction work to
turn the sacred site into a mega-mosque and remove all traces of Jewish history where their
famed Temple once stood. To date, 12,000 tons of earth and debris rich in
Jewish artifacts has been removed from the Mount and dumped unceremoniously at garbage
dumps outside Jerusalems Old City, Jones writes. Several historical
treasures have been reclaimed from the dump sites. Untold others have been lost, possibly forever.
The Jewish authorities are fearful of intervening because of Muslim threats of violence
if they try. See earlier entries from 08/23/2004 and
- Tourist Trap: Should the north shore of the Sea of Galilee become a
theme park? The Christian
Science Monitor has mixed feelings about it. Evangelicals are working with
Israeli authorities on plans for a sprawling Holy Land Christian Center
to accommodate the flood of pilgrims to the lands where Jesus walked. They want
to prevent kitsch and commercialism from distracting from the seriousness of the
subject. Facilities of the proposed Galilee World Heritage Park
might include a large auditorium, amphitheater, a garden of Bible plants, and quiet
sites for prayer and reflection.
Pat Robertsons indiscretions aside, the
archaeological findings listed here are tremendously interesting and important.
They coincide with dates and times mentioned in the Old
Testament and gird up confidence in the historicity of the Bible.
That is the ongoing record of Biblical archaeology.
Sea Monsters Were For Real
How the Muslims can get
away with their illegal and unconscionable actions on the Temple Mount in the
most important religious site on earth is unbelievable. Where
is the outrage by all the liberals, who are quick to condemn America any time there
is destruction of artifacts in Iraq, even if not the militarys fault?
Where is the United Nations, with their protection of World Heritage Sites?
Why arent they bringing international pressure to bear against these criminals?
Where are the academics? To see how asymmetric todays virtue of tolerance
is, just imagine world reaction if Jews destroyed Islamic holy sites. Remember
the violence and death sparked by just a rumor that American soldiers had
desecrated a copy of the Koran? Appeasement as a policy has a bad history.
Dads used to teach their kids the correct way to deal with bullies.
As to a theme park on the Sea of Galilee, bad idea. Galilee is too important historically
for attempts at gilding the lily. The best experience for modern day pilgrims
is to see it like Jesus
and his disciples saw it, unvarnished with 21st century theatrics. Despite their
claims that this will not become a Disneyland, just wait. You can visualize
it already, cant you? Contemporary music concerts blaring out from
the amphitheater over the waves where Jesus commanded, Peace: be still.
Vendors are sure to follow the dollar and line the tourist avenues with Jesus trinkets,
souvenir fishnet stockings and boat rides where you can try your skill at walking on
water. Ugh! Lets bomb this idea (figuratively) before the Palestinians do
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
A large fossil crocodile-like sea monster with a bullet-shaped snout has been reported in Science.1
See MSNBC News for a summary.
For an artistic rendering of what Dakosaurus andiniensis might have looked like, see
Geographic News, which states that the discovery will be the December cover story
of their magazine. Dubbed Godzilla by its discoverers, it would have
looked pretty scary to seafaring sailors, but according to the evolutionary scheme of things,
of course, the two would never have met. The creature died out 135 million years ago
on the evolutionary timeline. So, then, what did ancient mariners see at sea?
1News reports said this discovery was to be reported in the Nov. 11 issue of
Science, but it does not appear in the Table
of Contents. Perhaps publication was delayed.
We get excited about the big finds, but the fossil record
is full of extinct creatures of all sizes and shapes. Our world is species-poor
compared to the diversity of creatures that have inhabited this planets lands and
seas, as revealed in the fossil record. Was this a missing link? Apparently not; one researcher said,
This [animal] forms a very distinct lineage that appears early on in the evolutionary
history of crocodilesinvading the sea and showing outstanding adaptation
to the marine environment. (Emphasis added in all quotes.) He also said that it represents
the most drastic evolutionary change in the history of marine crocodiles.
They are not even quite sure how to classify the creature. There appear to be more
questions than answers: NG News said, The researchers dont yet know what events
triggered the relatively sudden emergence of Dakosaurus, nor do they know what
caused it to go extinct. Like ichthyosaurs, then, the creature appeared
suddenly in the record, flourished for a time, and just as suddenly vanished (see
04/20/2005 story). What a world.
Pope Affirms Intelligent Design
Next headline on:
Just when pro-Darwinists were parlaying one bishop against another on the Catholic
position on evolution (see the UK Times
Online for an op-ed piece with some historical context), the Pope made it clear:
he expects the faithful to embrace intelligent design. The
Institute was pleased that Pope Benedict XVI used the phrase intelligent project in his
attack on atheism and directionless evolution; Evolution
News soon updated the story to indicate that the Popes statement was even
stronger than first reported. The phrase should be translated, intelligent plan,
and included a direct statement opposing atheism and directionless materialism.
The Pope does not speak for all Christians, of course,
and his comments could still be construed as permitting belief in theistic evolution.
Still, this speech must be a blow for Darwinists hoping to soften religious opposition
to evolution in general. They know the Pope commands the allegiance of many millions of Catholics.
They had been able to twist Pope John Pauls ambiguous statement that evolution
was more than a hypothesis into ammo for their cause.
Pope Benedicts more distinct words are sure to stir up even more controversy and opposition to atheism and
unguided evolution. Key to the Darwinist interpretation of evolution is that
it is uncaused, unguided, and directionless. The Pope not only defied this
belief, but actually used the phrase intelligent plan which is synonymous
with ID. What will Sr. Lazcano do with that? (see 11/04/2005 story).
March of the Little Penguins Down Darwin Lane?
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Penguins are on peoples minds since the movie, but there are other species of the
handsome-yet-funny waddlers besides the reigning emperors. The news media are saying
one species demonstrates evolution another word on the public mind these days.
MSNBC News talked about Penguin
evolution, and Science
Now proclaimed Evolution on Ice. Actually, its only microevolution
they are talking about, both articles admit. A study of Adelie penguins revealed
small-scale genetic changes between colonies. They believe these are related to population
dynamics as icebergs shifted around, an Antarctic version of the social mixer or (are you
ready?) party icebreaker. Formal dress, of course.
Notice this excerpt from the MSNBC article:
One surprising finding was that there wasnt much genetic variation between
different penguin colonies. And their point is? The article was filled
with evolution lingo, but they found less variation than expected either a
blending of genetic traits, or convergence. Whats more, the
study only traced DNA back to 6,000 years. Isnt that interesting.
Dover School Board Members Ousted
These studies could have been done by creationists. Even the most ardent Biblical creationists allow for significant
genetic variability within kinds. Studies like this can be useful; they can help untangle the
history of shifting populations of the same species. We do that with human population
genetics tracing, for example, the migration patterns of Asiatics into the New World via the
Bering Strait. But this new penguin study cannot offer any substantive
support for Darwins prime thesis, that penguins had bacteria ancestors.
None of the actual data show penguins evolving from pre-penguins.
Microevolution is not macroevolution. Its misleading that both terms
include the word evolution, because they do not necessarily have anything to do with
each other, except in the imagination of Darwinists. (Notice that the MSNBC article
referred to the old peppered myth as a classic example of microevolution.)
Darwinists are convinced that micro can
be extrapolated to macro, given enough time, and
that horizontal variations can add up to vertical gains in information and function,
given no fossil evidence. Their a priori
commitment to Darwinist thinking determines how the data will be interpreted.
There seem to be more attempts by pro-Darwin science reporters to get the E word before the public eye,
hoping to procure for embattled Darwinian theory an air of scientific legitimacy it struggles to obtain and maintain.
Dont let them get away with trying to use this study as evidence for evolution,
or as propaganda against the ID movement. The subjects were Adelie penguins all
through the timeline no macroevolution occurred, only sorting of existing traits.
Penguins should be viewed, like all other living things, as testimonies to intelligent design.
The design is evident at all levels,
from the molecular, to the cellular, up through the tissues and organs and systems,
all the way up to the complete bird and its interaction with other animals
and with its environment (see 10/27/2005 story).
Microvariation, yes; macroevolution, no.
Next headline on:
Eight school board members in Dover, Pennsylvania, who had backed the intelligent-design policy
that led to the ACLU lawsuit, lost their seats in Tuesdays election. A slate of
Democrats who opposed the policy will take their place December 5. The campaign against
the Republicans who lost was spearheaded by a group named Citizens Actively Reviewing Educational Strategies
(CARES). See reports at: MSNBC News,
This result in Dover contrasts with the decision in Kansas by the state school board to allow
criticisms of Darwinism in the science standards.
Beware the spin in stories like these. ScienceNow
called this result a victory in Dover but a setback in Kansas
it clearly depends on which side of the battle one is on. LieScience continued
its biased reporting by saying Pennsylvania voters reject intelligent
design. Good grief; not all Pennsylvania voters did, just those in
Dover. And whether they rejected ID is not clear; the majority clearly was upset
at the tactics of the board, but it is a non-sequitur
to assume the voters rejected ID itself. Remember that the controversial policy
only asked for a short statement to be read in the science classrooms that Darwinism is
not a fact, and that alternatives exist, and resources are available if a student is
interested thats it! No teacher had to teach ID, no student had to
look at the materials, and there would be no test questions about it. But that was
enough to give the ACLU fits and arouse the attention of the country over its lawsuit.
Kansas Removes Darwinism from Protected Status 11/08/2005
Before assuming that the Dover area voters rejected ID, one
must remember that even the pro-ID Discovery Institute did not approve of the boards
actions and refused to participate in the defense. So we need to ask some pertinent
questions in order to interpret the election results. How many of the voters agreed
with the Discovery Institute and felt the board had engaged in an unwise strategy?
How many were simply embarrassed by all the media attention over the trial? How many
were concerned primarily about the cost of defense against the lawsuit? How many
voted on emotion instead of facts? (look what happened in California). How many
cant even spell ID, let alone explain what Darwinism teaches, but were influenced
by fast-talking CARES reps? Which side outspent the other, and which was more
successful getting out the vote?
The PhillyBurbs article, closer to the action, said that the newly-elected board
members are not planning to act rashly, or quickly overturn the policy. Everyone
has a wait-and-see attitude to see how Judge John E. Jones rules on the case.
There could well be an appeal regardless of who wins. Maybe the new board will
favor a more Kansas-style strategy, or will teach ID in history or social studies, or
will just move on to other priorities. It doesnt appear the winners are going to the
opposite extreme and calling this a great victory for Darwinism, to be celebrated with a Tinker Bell
Parade and fireworks for Darwin Day. One thing is clear; intelligent design vs.
Darwinism is in the consciousness of people around the country, and the world.
Thats why it is more important than ever to separate the facts from the spin.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Its official; the Kansas school board has accepted new science standards that
permit criticisms of Darwinism, reported
This makes Kansas the fifth state to allow both evidences for and against Darwinism
to be taught, and brings their definition of science in line with the majority of other
News reactions were not far behind; MSNBC
news was perhaps the mildest, even though they incorrectly defined intelligent design with
reference to a higher power.
Today said that evolution defenders weighed in their voices before the vote with an email campaign
calling the standards backward. The new standards still teach only Darwinism,
however intelligent design is expressly denied but the fact that evidences against
evolution would be permitted was enough to anger opponents of the decision;
a response by AAAS president Alan Leshner, for instance, that claimed the decision will hurt
the economy and undermine science education.
BBC News actually lied
about the ruling, calling it an intelligent design policy
and claiming that teachers have been ordered to tell pupils that
the universe is so complex that it may have been created by a higher power.
The standards contain no such statement or obligation; on the contrary, the standards
explicitly disclaim the teaching of intelligent design. Nevertheless, even though
students will be learning more about Darwinism than ever before, the BBC titled their
article, Evolution suffers science setback accompanied by a picture of Charles
Darwin that made him look saddened by the decision.
proclaimed, Kansas School Board Votes Against Science.
Science1 magazine last week hoped that a move to prohibit use of
copyrighted material in the standards might delay adoption till a time-consuming rewrite with
substitute language could be completed (the NAS and Natl. Science Teachers Assn. are denying
the school board permission to use any of their materials). If this delays adoption of
the standards for a year, five seats on the board will be up for election in November 2006
and four of those are held by conservatives.
In Pennsylvania, testimony wrapped up last Friday in the Dover trial.
Times gave pretty good press about Michael Behes testimony; at least Jonathan Witt thought so on
The controversy draws in lots of opinions from all quarters. Owen Gingerich criticized
both sides on Science and Theology News;
MSNBC posted a large photo of Darwins
great-great-grandson in the Harrisburg audience, probably more for anecdotal than substantive
value; French Catholic Cardinal Paul Poupard warned against fundamentalism in attempting to
smooth relations with the Darwinists, according to
Associated Press; E. O. Wilson coined the
phrase intelligent evolution in his article praising the legacy of Charles Darwin
in Harvard Magazine (though
insisted he got the definition of I.D. wrong again); and
Casey Luskin, reporting in Evolution
News about the cross-examination of biochemist Scott Minnich on the witness
stand in Dover, overheard a listener on the plaintiff side admitting,
the witness is smarter than the lawyer.
1Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, Groups Wield Copyright Power to Delay Kansas Standards,
Vol 310, Issue 5749, 754, 4 November 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.310.5749.754a].
Everybody seems to be claiming the other side is generating
more heat than light. Dont they know that heat is a form of light?
Thats basic physics, and so is Newtons 3.5th Law: every action has an
equal and opposite criticism. Heat feels good on a freezing day. Its
about time things thawed out a little since the wicked witch Tinker Bell
(09/22/2005) turned the animals
to stone and made it always winter and never Christmas. Fear not the warming rays,
but rather the bluster and howls of rhetorical witchery that blankets the landscape
with lies and hate. At the end of the long
Darwinian ice age, seeing the sun again finally, with both heat and light, is making the
world come alive.
Stupid Evolution Quotes of the Week
Next headline on:
Two articles in the popular press tried to make the case that monkeys have humanlike
characteristics. Maybe they proved the converse, at least for some humans.
While supporting natural selection, Ker Than managed to include his usual dig against the creationists:
The validity of Darwins natural selection has been attacked lately by a small but vocal group
who argue that it cannot explain all the complexity seen in nature. They advocate a concept called
intelligent design, in which a higher being is responsible for the variety of life.
Scientists dismiss intelligent design as cloaked creationism and say that there are no significant
problems with the widely accepted theory of evolution. (Emphasis added in quotes.)
- Does this add up? Reporting on experiments suggesting monkeys have the rudiments of math skills,
at least in the ability to compare sizes of things, MSNBC News
writer Bjorn Carey wanted to emphasize how similar they are to us. He said, This finding is the
most recent in a series of discoveries that indicate our primate cousins display humanlike characteristics.
Monkeys like to gamble and enjoy looking at other monkeys bottoms. Chimpanzees have been found to
crack under social pressures.
- On the Origin of Humor by Sexual Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Jokes in the
Struggle for a Wife: Science
Now laughed with, but not at, a study that showed differences in the way men and women respond to humor.
There must be a Darwinian angle in here somewhere:
There are a variety of ways to interpret the findings, says neuroscientist Gregory Berns of Emory University
in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the more politically incorrect being that women are more easily entertained than men.
Another is that women find humor more important in behavior than men do, consistent with ideas that humor evolved
differently between the sexes as a mating strategy--men act the comics and women respond by laughing at them. Er,
with them. But ScienceNow left us hanging without a punch line for the title,
Y Did the Chromosome Cross the Road?
- Are humans still evolving? Reporting on a comparative genomics study between humans and chimpanzees,
Ker Than on Live Science
started by praising the power of natural selection: The evolutionary process that Charles Darwin
discovered almost 150 years ago, responsible for transforming dinosaurs into birds and allowing the walking
ancestors of whales to take to the seas, is still quietly at work in humans today. In the
next paragraph he called DNA the software of life.
So if you are a gambling butt-gazer with a nervous breakdown,
you can take comfort in the fact that macaques empathize with you. Supposedly if the macaques
keep up such antics they will become philosophers in due time. Didnt Kipling say
that to be a man requires keeping your head while all around you are losing theirs?
Macaque antics reveal no special human propensities. Parrots and dolphins
exhibit better intellectual skills than monkeys, but no Darwinist considers either of them our closest
living relative. Why not turn the idea around, and say that any man who dwells on derriere
jokes is devolving into a macaque, or any human who swims is devolving into a whale?
After all, Michael Ruse has forcefully warned against embedding any ideas of progress into
ICR Challenges Validity of Radiometric Dating 11/05/2005
Ker Than has been a malicious demagogue against intelligent design throughout
the Dover trial, worse than Antonio Lazcano (see 11/04/2005 entry).
These two quotes show that nothing he says about Darwinism or ID can be trusted.
In promoting Darwinism, he erred with his definition of natural selection:
Darwins natural selection is the process by which nature rewards those individuals
better adapted to their environments with survival and reproductive success.
In addition to slipping an embedded personification fallacy about rewards into his definition,
he blindly slipped into the tautology trap: if fitness is defined in terms of reproductive success, it loses all independent meaning:
the fit survive because the survivors are fit.
In attacking ID, Ker Than linked it to belief
in a higher being. ID makes no claims about the nature or source of the
designing intelligence, but only that the effects of intelligent causes are detectable. But then he also
borrowed ID vocabulary in defining DNA as software, which always has an intelligent cause.
He also erred historically in giving Charlie credit for discovering natural selection.
If he cant even define the most basic terms right or keep his concepts consistent, how can
his opinions be worth anything? Such reporting is better suited to a job at
Next headline on:
2200 people packed out the facilities of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California Saturday.
Their frequent applause was not for contemporary musicians or a preacher, but for scientists. Ten miles from
their headquarters, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) had rented the large auditorium for the formal
presentation of the results of its eight-year research project on Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth (RATE).
The seven scientists summarized evidence now documented in a technical book, a popular summary
and a documentary film. The research included both field and theoretical work, including the gathering
of samples from rock samples around the world for radiometric dating. The team members, all Bible
believing Christians committed to a Biblical young-earth chronology, followed accepted
lab protocols and had their samples evaluated by state-of-the-art equipment at world-class facilities.
Among the many results, four primary geophysical findings and one textual analysis stood out:
The scientists were frank about difficulties with their findings. They acknowledged that fission-track
counts and radiohalo density give evidence that millions of years worth of radioactive decay products
had been generated, if measured at todays rates. To reconcile the above findings with the
abundance of decay products, they hypothesized the decay rates had been accelerated in the past.
This suggestion, however, produces other problems. Large amounts of heat and
dangerous levels of radiation for organisms on the earth would have resulted from accelerated
nuclear decay. It is also uncertain why accelerated decay would have been associated with
the Genesis Flood, which is when they believe some of it occurred. They acknowledged that they have
only tentative hypotheses to explain these unsolved problems at this point. Nevertheless, the hard
data indicate that radiometric dating methods are unreliable at least, and support a Genesis young-earth
chronology at best.
- Helium residuals: Radiogenic helium from zircons, extracted from granitic cores three miles deep
at high temperatures, was still present in the biotite. Conventional wisdom would have expected all the
slippery helium atoms to have escaped long ago. The team made predictions about how the helium
measurements would fit a young-earth model and a uniformitarian model. They calibrated the escape rate as a
function of temperature and graphed their results; the data lined up exactly on the young-earth prediction of
6,000 years plus or minus 2,000 years.
- Radiohalo signatures: The team followed up on earlier work by Robert Gentry on radiohalos,
the spherical scars in granites resulting from alpha-particle ejections from the decay of uranium. Polonium halos adjacent to
uranium halos were ubiquitous. Because of their extremely short half-lives, they would have had to have
formed within months, minutes or even milliseconds (in the case of Po-214). The researchers took this to
mean that to have migrated from the zircons, the polonium halos would have to be same age as the fully-developed
uranium halos, yet the uranium halos appear to show millions of years worth of decay if measured at
- Discordant isochrons: Igneous rock samples from multiple sites in the Grand Canyon, judged
ideal for radiometric dating, were sent to
leading test labs and cross-checked by four independent isochron methods with multiple data points
and good statistics. The tests were double-blind; ICR had no control over the analysis, and the lab
had no knowledge of the expected ages. If the methods were reliable, all the dates should have been the same,
but even though ages in the billion-year range were obtained,
all the techniques differed radically from each other, some by 200% or 300% for the same rock.
- Carbon-14; Samples from coal beds in multiple locales yielded measurable amounts of
carbon-14. According to conventional wisdom, it would be unthinkable for any radiocarbon
to be present, because it would be undetectable in just 100,000 years, but the coal beds are assumed
to be hundreds of millions of years old. The team also found intact carbon-14 in diamonds,
thought to have formed over a billion years ago.
- Genesis 1: A statistical analysis of the verbs in the Hebrew text of Genesis 1 showed
that it falls solidly in the genre of narrative, not poetry. The meaning of day in the
six-day creation account, therefore, cannot be properly interpreted in a poetical or allegorical sense.
This means that the writer intended the word day to mean ordinary days, not long ages.
While acknowledging the need for continued research and sampling, ICR hoped
their findings would call into question an important icon of evolutionary geology the belief in deep time
and would bolster confidence in the plain reading of the Biblical record of earth history.
The team gave some indication that their results can stand up to scrutiny.
Some of this material was presented in poster sessions at the AGU convention a couple of years ago,
where thousands of geophysicists were gathered. Hundreds of scientists saw the work and many
lingered to discuss it. ICR said that very few were hostile; most were quite eager to learn
about the work and figure out what it meant, especially the younger scientists.
The film Thousands, Not Billions, the laymens paperback of the same title,
and the technical book are now available on the ICR website.
This is very much a work in progress. While interesting
and important, these findings still need to withstand the critics. Radiometric dating is one
of the pillars of evolution. It provides the deep time needed for naturalistic accounts
of the formation of the earth and the evolution of life. Hard-core Darwinists will not
yield any ground on this stronghold without a fight, and neither will old-earth creationists
or theistic evolutionists. But even young-earth creationists should
give it a thorough shake-and-bake test. All the hard questions should be asked by the
friends of ICR first. The findings are mostly a collection of anomalies rather than a
coherent theory that accounts for all the observations. The admitted problems with
accelerated nuclear decay heat
dissipation and abundance of decay products seem serious; the burden of proof will be on ICR
to maintain what will look to critics like an ad hoc suggestion.
A Just-So Story Digest
Its important to note that long-agers have their own formidable problems.
They should examine their own vulnerabilities before doing battle with ICR. These carefully-performed
isochron measurements, cross-checked by four independent methods, reveal that the validity of radiometric dating
can no longer be assumed. Discordant results of this magnitude, indeed, call the entire
procedure, including its assumptions and theoretical underpinnings, into question. The
fission-track analysis, in addition, makes it hard to believe that the samples could
have remained below the annealing temperature for hundreds of millions of years, throughout
multiple episodes of plate tectonics, volcanism and impacts. The radiogenic helium from
deep-earth cores should have escaped long ago. Let the uniformitarians deal with these,
while ICR gives more attention to their own difficulties.
Nevertheless, ICR is to be commended for the rigor of their sampling and
analysis. They have thrown down a serious challenge to believers in deep time.
Icons are for religion, not science, and radiometric dating has been immune from
challenge for too long. Many do not realize that radiometric dating is one of the few
techniques that produces millions and billions of years; many others produce much younger
ages. Long touted as an impregnable bastion against the young-earth interpretation,
radiometric dating is now under siege.
In an ideal engagement, neither side will attack the others motives or qualifications,
but will respect the empirical data and test the interpretations from all angles.
This can turn a battle into a parley, a debate into a scientific conference. There are mysteries
in the RATE results that will require rigorous and critical study with the highest standards of
integrity. ICR has set a new pace of empirical honesty and constructive engagement.
Some fundamental new insights into the nature and behavior of radioactive decay
perhaps even with practical applications may lurk in the data.
It remains to be seen how all this will play out, but even if there is a deadlock,
all parties may have to concede that no human can know with certainty what happened
in the pre-observational past, without faith. Even that would be progress.
Next headline on:
For your weekend reading entertainment, here is a collection of recent science stories that
rely more on imagination than evidence, in the tradition of Kiplings Just-So Stories
- How the Brown Dwarf Sowed Planet Seeds: Apai et al. in
found magic crystals, hidden by the six brown dwarfs, that turn into planets over time.
These results indicate that the onset of planet formation extends to disks
around brown dwarfs, they said, suggesting that planet formation is a robust process occurring
in most young circumstellar disks. Now in paperback at
- The Ancient Tunnel that Led to Life: Scientists found a secret passageway
into the ribosome where all of lifes proteins are made.
In developing the project, the team identified a corridor inside the ribosome that the
transfer RNA must pass through for the decoding to occur, and it appears to be constructed
almost entirely of universal bases, implying that it is evolutionarily ancient.
- How the Animals Learned Fairness: Nowak and Sigmund continued their
long-running Game Theory Tales with the next sequel, published in
on the Evolution of direct reciprocity. Their attention-grabbing intro
asked, How can natural selection promote unselfish behaviour? Its
all in how you play the game called, I help you and somebody else helps me, they say.
The rest is human history: The evolution
of cooperation by indirect reciprocity leads to reputation building, morality judgement
and complex social interactions with ever-increasing cognitive demands.
- How the Shark Kept Warm During Workouts: A cold-water shark with tuna-like muscles?
How could this be? They belong to different evolutionary families. The
Knight of Convergent Evolution to the rescue: Bernal et al. writing in
10/27 found that salmon sharks and tunas both independently discovered the secret to keeping
their body temperatures elevated enough in cold water to power their strong muscles.
- How the Molecule Developed a Sweet Tooth: Michael Yarus wrote a story about how
an ancient RNA molecule learned the secret of the aldol reaction, essential for sugar
metabolism. Could this be similar to an ancestral catalyst that existed billions of years ago?
he asked in Nature 11/03.
Watch for the next exciting episode.
- How the First Stars Lit Up the Sky: We cant see them, but they must have
been there, because there is a faint infrared echo of the first stars in the universe.
Kashlinsky et al. followed the invisible light and the reporters told the world
the glad tidings of their
- How the Early Peoples Learned to Share: The question of the coexistence
and potential interaction between the last Neanderthal and the earliest intrusive populations
of anatomically modern humans in Europe has recently emerged as a topic of lively debate in
the archaeological and anthropological literature, said scientists in
In the darkness of the cave, radiocarbon light revealed a surprising mystery:
The implication is clear that the site shows either a directly interstratified
sequence of Neanderthal and anatomically modern human occupations, or at least a very
close contact and interaction between these two populations within this particular region of France.
- How the Frog Women Decoded the Music: New species of frogs arose in less than
8,000 years in Australia, which is lightning-fast, said the storyteller in
News. The frog women learned to distinguish calls in the dark and split into
various tribes by reinforcement, an evolutionary mechanism that has been
controversial since the time of Charles Darwin and was considered too complicated
and unnecessary, according to critics. But ah, the frog women have free
will, and free will is unpredictable.
Because the frogs in the isolated contact area had a distinctively different call, and
because they were effectively isolated from surrounding populations by mating preference,
Hoskin and colleagues concluded that female choice led to this new species. Its
kinda cool, said one storyteller. It gives us a mechanism for very rapid
- How the Stem Cells Lost Their Pedigree: Forgotten by evolution?
Planck Society about stem cells. Assigned to the slavish work of repairing organs,
adult stem cells seemed destined for drudgery. But scientists may have found their long-lost
royal blood: at least some adult stem cells could be the mere remnants of former embryonal
differentiation processes, or, in other words, footprints of evolution,
reported the short story.
- How the Play-Dough Gave Birth: The womb of the earth mother lay deep in the
ocean depths, with a placenta of clay. Billions of years ago, this protective layer
brought forth molecules destined for fins, wings, brains and philosophers. Read this
fascinating tale in News@Nature.
Nighty-nite, children. No questions, now;
just close your eyes, and sweet dreams. Good-night, sleep tight, and dont
let the Creationist Monsters bite.
Evolution Thriving in Mexico; Creationismo No Comprendo
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolution
Mexicans, religious or not, have no problem with Darwinism, and cannot understand their
American neighbors who get so uptight about it. Thats the gist of an article
by Antonio Lazcano, a Mexican biology professor and origin-of-life researcher, who was
given lengthy press in Science1 this week under the heading Global
Voices of Science.
I am always amused when I am asked by my American colleagues about the problems and pressures
they imagine I face in Mexico because of my interest in lifes beginnings. However,
pressure to include creationism in public pedagogical and research settings has been primarily
a phenomenon in the United States. Only twice during my 30 years of teaching about
evolutionary biology and research into the origins of life, have I encountered religious-based
opposition to my work. In both cases, it came from evangelical zealots from the
United States preaching in Mexico. One of the little recognized U.S. imports into
Mexico is a small flow of creationists, who, through religion, are trying to
impose their fundamentalist beliefs and hinder the teaching of Darwinian evolution
in all levels of schooling.
(Emphasis added in all quotes.)
Now that you know how Dr. Lazcano feels about non-Darwinists, his Love Affair with Darwin
(subtitle 1) is understandable. The rest of the editorial falls into place.
Getting the praise is primordial soup, Aleksandr Oparin, Huxley, and separation of
church and state. Getting condemnation is fundamentalism, America, intelligent
design, creationism, and President Bush. Lazcano and his fellow Mexicans are incredulous
at the American phenomenon of creationism. Even his staunchly Catholic students
found hilarious the idea of teaching creationism based on biblical literalism.
But creationism is not just silly, it is dangerous.
Scientists from other countries could take a certain solace in the fact that the
creationist movement appears to be largely confined to the United States. I find it
extremely encouraging that Mexican students, for the most part, are not driven by gaps
in the scientific view of life to search for religious explanations or to vitiate
evolutionary theory by advocating intelligent design. Our teachers and pupils
alike generally view the framework of intelligent design as a thinly disguised attempt
to introduce religious preconceptions into the classroom. Even so, it would be
unwise to simply sit back and watch with incredulity as our American colleagues
struggle against intelligent design creationists and other fundamentalisms.
There are, in fact, manifold indications that the creationism movement has been flexing its
muscles and looking to proselytize far and wide. Its potential threat to
science education in Mexico and other Latin American countries should not be underestimated.
Speaking of gaps, does Lazcano have anything to say about arguably the biggest gap of all,
lifes origin, since he is a specialist in that area, and the author of a book on it?
Un problemo, sí, but alto, creationistas:
Since we can never know in full detail how the origin of life took place, it is
not surprising that it is becoming a target for intelligent design creationists.
The geological and chemical evidence required to understand lifes beginnings
remains insufficient and difficult to understand. For creationists, that
evidentiary gap provides an opportunity to erect a framework of controversy and
endless discussion around the study of prebiotic evolution and the origin of life,
which they assume are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than by an
undirected process like natural selection.
A photo in the article shows an elementary school in a small Mexican town, where children
celebrate Darwins birthday (12 February) with a ceremony and display of murals on his life and theory.
It is true that there is a huge gap in the current descriptions
of the evolutionary transition between the prebiotic synthesis of biochemical compounds
and the last common ancestor of all extant living beings
[02/29/2004] Even the unanticipated
discovery in 1982--by the research teams directed by Thomas Cech and Sidney Altman--of
catalytic RNA molecules (ribozymes), which can be loosely described as nucleic acids
that simultaneously have characteristics of DNA and enzymes, has not closed this gap.
Instead, that and related discoveries have led to a more precise definition of what should
be understood as the origin of life. The origin of protein synthesis is still
not understood, but the surprising conservation of widely distributed polypeptide
sequences related to RNA metabolism has led my group and others to suggest that these
sequences provide insights into an RNA/protein world that may have
resulted from the interaction of ribozymes with amino acids, and that very likely
preceded our familiar DNA/RNA/protein world. Our understanding of the
origin and early stages of biological evolution still has major unsolved problems,
but they are recognized by the scientific community as intellectual challenges, and
not as requiring metaphysical explanations, as proponents of creationism would have it.
1Antonio Lazcano, Teaching Evolution in Mexico: Preaching to the Choir,
Vol 310, Issue 5749, 787-789, 4 November 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1115180].
Anyone who has been watching the intelligent design controversy
against evolution must surely wag his head over this adult tantrum.
Its articles like this that reinforce Phillip Johnsons observation that certain
Darwinists are so incorrigible, society will likely have to wait till they retire and die off
before a rational discussion can be had. But that will never happen as long as
Lazcanos type take impressionable elementary school children, who cannot discern
their left hand from their right, and indoctrinate them early into the Church of Darwin
with celebrations of Darwin Day (02/13/2004)
and worship of a Padre Carlos Darwinez they dont
even know. Maybe a little more free trade and removing of export controls is in order.
Living Wonders at a Glance
Lazcano is a hopeless demagogue, like Barbara Forrest, who cannot be trusted,
because the search for truth is not their motive. They are at war; any lie is
fair game if it advances the cause. Their arsenal includes the tactical weapon
B.A.D. (Bluffing Assertion Dogma), which communicates, anything I say is true because
I said it with feeling. They also use the M.A.D. bomb (Most Accept Darwin)
and fuel their propaganda firebombs by drawing the starkest
black-and-white distinctions: science vs. creationism
and other fundamentalisms, so that the little children envision their alleged enemies
as bomb-vested terrorists disguising their shifty eyes with smiling Phillip Johnson masks.
This is really S.A.D. (silly antiquated Darwinism). And so, we ask,
what warrants this unquestioning allegiance to the cause, this eternal Love
Affair with Darwin? Tell us about your specialty, Señor Lazcano, the origin
of life. Here, we are told that yes, there are major gaps, even in the favored
RNA World scenario, BUT dont you think for a moment of exploiting that little vulnerability
in the wall of our Jericho with your ID trumpets. Sooner or later we will find a brick that wont
fall down flat at the slightest shout of intelligent design.
The shame of this bluff, wroth, fluff and froth by a modern Darwin Bulldog is
only exceeded by Science having printed it. No opportunity for debate or
rebuttal, just a temper tantrum by a man who cannot even use his own field to prop up his idol.
Instead of blushing over his paucity of scientific evidence, he is
determined to shove his idolatry and intolerance down the throats of poor Mexican children.
Undoubtedly the editors were shouting Hear, hear! as they read this,
gleefully giving it prominence in their liberal-leftist propaganda rag (speaking of the
editorial positions, not the legitimate research papers by practicing scientists).
the arrogance. Lazcano and his cheering buddies have basically set themselves
up as the intellectual superiors of generations of the worlds greatest thinkers.
As one example, consider the quote at the top right of this page. Dr. Daniel J.
Robinson is a scholar par excellence at Oxford, a professors professor, a man who
could run intellectual marathons around Lazcano. Conversant in several languages,
he is able to ad lib on the intricacies of Stoicism, the mind-body problem, Cicero,
David Hume, scholasticism, the history and philosophy of science, psychology, ancient
literature, Turing machines, Greek philosophy practically any subject from the Babylonians
to E. O. Wilson. Robinson ended 30 hours of profoundly deep and enlightened lecturing with that
quote. After surveying the grand sweep of intellectual history from ancient
times to the present, when all was said and done, he found the evidence for intelligent design convincing.
His winsome manner allowed for all good arguments to be heard, but from his own broad
base of knowledge and experience, he chose that one the conclusion that a benevolent,
provident, all-wise, all-knowing Creator, yes indeed God, really? Yeah;
really, designed this world for a purpose.
Lazcano and Science have just called Dr. Robinson a know-nothing. They have
consigned all others who have doubts about Padre Carlos, anyone who thinks the arguments for
design have merit, from David Berlinski to President Bush, from Antony Flew to Scott
Minnich, no matter how much expertise, experience and knowledge, to the party of
dangerous enemies who must be stopped before they corrupt the childlike faith of students.
They have consigned millennia of great thinkers, scientists and educators
to oblivion, now that Messiah Carlos has come and brought the great enlightenment.
Sorry, Antonio, we tried to help. May you someday rest in peace.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Here is an assortment of recently-reported biological marvels at the cellular level.
Researchers into creation and evolution explanations may wish to delve into these more deeply.
- Clock Conductor: The brain is a time machine, reports
on research at Duke University about the human biological clock. Each structure
in the brain has a resonant frequency of oscillations, like the ticking of a clock.
How do they get coordinated? Think of the tune-up at the beginning of a concert,
says Catalin Buhusi of Duke: Its like a conductor who listens to the orchestra,
which is composed of individual musicians. Then, with the beat of his baton, the
conductor synchronizes the orchestra so that listeners hear a coordinated sound.
- Molecular Scissors: MicroRNAs (miRNA) have been implicated in recent
years with the regulation of genes (09/08/2005),
including silencing genes that need to be slowed down or stopped.
reported on work by Wistar Institute that detected a molecular scissorsaction
involving three independent parts: The two enzymes in the complex are like two
scissors working together in a concerted fashion, connected and coordinated by the third
member of the complex, said Ramin Shiekhattar. The activity apparently occurs
without any expenditure of ATP energy.
- Nerve Code: Scientists at
Howard Hughes Medical Institute were
surprised at an unexpected discovery: neuron development follows a code
an organized relationship between Hox proteins, their chromosomal organization, and
the differentiation and connectivity of motor neuron pools. The discovery of a
combinatorial code, which governs three levels of motor neuron organization, shows
how the nervous system can generate the huge diversity of neurons necessary for a complex
task like locomotion. Song and Pfaff of the Salk Institute reported on this
surprising find in Cell,
titling their article, Hox Genes: The Instructors Working at Motor Pools.
- Sprinting Motor: Like a sprinter crouching at the block before sprinting,
kinesin stores up energy before its 7.8 nanometer leaps, reported Fisher and Kim in
PNAS last month.
And like a strong sprinter, its not a pushover: sideways lurching is not supported.
- Give Me Iron, or Give Me Death: Taylor et al., writing in
PNAS, studied the
structure of a yeast enzyme named Fet3p essential to oxidizing both iron and copper.
The regulation of these metal ions is essential; Taylor et al. said,
Loss of the Fe(II) oxidation catalyzed by these proteins results in a spectrum
of pathological states, including death.
- Gecko Rain Dance: Geckos have a billion spatula-shaped structures at the
ends of the hairs on their feet that allow them to adhere to nearly all surface topographies.
Huber et al. in
the capillary action on a single spatula and found that humidity contributes
significantly to gecko adhesion on a nanoscopic level. They were interested
in learning about gecko feet for the development of artificial biomimetic attachment systems.
- Packaging into the Cell: Some cargoes get wrapped in membrane and are
delivered right through the cell exterior; this is called clathrin-mediated endocytosis.
Kaksonen, Toret and Drubin at UC Berkeley found that four protein modules that
cooperate to drive coat formation, membrane invagination, actin-meshwork assembly, and
vesicle scission during clathrin/actin-mediated endocytosis. The clathrin
itself (an interesting three-pronged protein that forms geodesic structures around the
vesicle) facilitates the initiation of endocytic-site assembly but is not needed
for membrane invagination or vesicle formation. The work was reported in
Cell; see also
- Not Just a Recycle Bin: The proteasome is getting more respect.
This large multiprotein complex is critical to the degradation of proteins
tagged for recycling. Baker and Grant reported in
Cell that the proteasome
was found involved in gene activation, adding to a growing body of evidence
indicating that the proteasome has nonproteolytic functions.
- Sharper Image: Peter Moore in
was glad about the ribosomal coup performed by Schuwirth et al.
in the same issue,
who imaged the bacterial ribosome at 3.5 angstrom resolution. This molecular
machine, the protein assembly factory, has moving parts. Moore said,
The two subunits of the ribosome not only communicate during protein synthesis,
they also engage in coordinated, relative motions.
- Bacterial Centipedes: Did you know that bacteria can walk?
They project little feet called pili that adhere to surfaces; as the bacteria retract
them, they pull the bacteria along in a crawling motion. Researchers at UC
Berkeley reporting in Science
found a signaling molecule that they watched traveling from one end of the bacterium to
the other when the organism needed to change directions. They figured that this
enzyme, FrzS, constituted a chemosensory system that hops onto the intracellular highway
and orchestrates the formation of the pili.
- Mr. Peabody Gains Respect: Little specks called P-bodies near the
nucleus never had so much limelight. Jean Marx, writing in
told how scientists used to think they were just trash cans for used messenger RNAs (mRNA),
a dead-end job.
Now, it appears that these tiny speckles at the heart of the cells machinery
are active, critical players in the regulation of protein synthesis. They act like routers,
holding onto mRNA transcripts while deciding which get used or recycled. Are they important?
When they go awry, cancer and autoimmune diseases can result.
- Bees Under the Floodlights: Humans can distinguish red, yellow and other colors
under different lighting conditions, an ability called color constancy. Bees have this talent, too.
To prove that weird lighting in a natural setting doesnt throw them off, two London
scientists put bumblebees in a specially-lit chamber. All the flowers had black
backgrounds, and four colored lights could alter the ambience. They found that
bees can generate color-constant behavior by encoding empirically significant
contrast relationships between statistically dependent, but visually distinct, stimulus
elements of scenes spoken like a scientist, but the bees get the applause.
These 12 brief glimpses at recent science literature
hint at the stream of discoveries being made that uncover more and more complexity
and coordinated design. Most of these papers dont even mention evolution;
none of them try to account for the origin of the complex structures they studied. On the
contrary, if the reports had been written by members of the intelligent design movement,
no one would be able to tell the difference. Both groups would express astonishment
but for different reasons.
Dover Darwin Defenders Provide After-Game Impressions
Next headline on:
Like a TV commentator with the MVPs in the locker room after a big game, Geoff Brumfiel in Nature1
interviewed two pro-evolution witnesses who testified in the Dover trial. Brumfiel
asked Ken Miller and Kevin Padian what it was like, what they had to do to get ready,
how the lawyers treated them, and what they learned from the experience. Neither
had any problems with the opposing lawyers or the judge, but Miller
(Brown U) and Padian (NCSE) both told why they thought it was important to testify at
this particular trial in Pennsylvania.
Padian: Its an opportunity when it really counts. One person cant
be everywhere around the country talking to every school board and every parent group.
But this is a case where, ultimately, these decisions are going to clarify things in a formal setting.
Nature2 also provided sample quotes from Millers and Padians testimonies
in the courtroom. These are discussed in the commentary that follows.
Miller: It is the right thing to do. The battle in Dover is just one example of
local battles for scientific education all over the country. If people in the scientific
community turn their backs on people in the front lines, then ultimately the cause of
science in public education is doomed.
(Bold added in all quotations.)
1Geoff Brumfiel, Expert witness: the scientists who testified against intelligent design,
438, 11 (3 November 2005) | doi: 10.1038/438011a.
2Box 1, Nature
438, 11 (3 November 2005) | doi: 10.1038/438011a.
This entry should clear up any lingering doubts whether Nature
is a Darwin propaganda outlet. Not only did they ignore the testimony of the other side completely, they treated
these hard-core Darwin defenders like the home team. Like a slobbering toady, Brumfiel sat
at their knees for news, accepting anything they said as gospel truth but asking no hard questions.
So much for fair and balanced reporting in the journals. Lets examine their sample quotes from the Dover testimony:
Bacterial Flagellum Visualized
Miller: If you invoke a non-natural cause, a spirit force or something
like that in your research and I decide to test it, I have no way to test it. I cant
order that from a biological supply house, I cant grow it in my laboratory. And
that means that your explanations in that respect, even if they were correct, were not something
I could test or replicate, and therefore they really wouldnt be part of science.
Great. Id like to order some Convergent Evolution,
a few pieces of Sexual Selection, some Game Theory and a few stocking stuffers of Just-So Stories
for my kids in science class. Clever, Ken, but were up to your chicanery.
Intelligence is not always non-natural. You are intelligent, arent you?
When a scientist publishes fraudulent work or falsifies evidence, does this mean we have to
explain his actions in terms of physical laws and chemical reactions, or parts we can order
from Carolina Biological Supply House?
Does your criterion mean we can no longer look for murderers as suspects when we find a body
on the sidewalk, or lost tribes to explain archaeological artifacts? What about the
stone tools Morwood found in that Indonesian cave? Did they just emerge from the cave
floor by erosion? Scientists test intelligent causes
all the time. SETI is built on the assumption that intelligent causes can be distinguished
from natural causes. Unless you are prepared to scratch archaeology, cryptology,
intellectual property law, anthropology, paleoanthropology, criminology, sociology and SETI
off the list of legitimate scientific investigations, better loosen up. ID revolves around
the concept of information. Information is just as real as physics and chemistry,
and yes, you can buy information, and sell it, too. You can even grow information
isnt that what we call teaching, or the process of science itself?
It didnt escape our notice that you said even if [design
explanations] were correct... they wouldnt be part of science. Well, then,
kiss the search for truth good-bye as you wander forever in Darwin Storybookland.
Padian: Well be the first people to admit that science doesnt
know everything and cant know everything. But on the other hand, we would like
a fair and accurate representation of what we do know.
And your point is?
Padian: It worries me that students would be told that they have to make a conclusion in advance
of all the evidence that you cant get from A to B, essentially, by natural means.
Your Honor, allow me to display Exhibit A, the
Explanatory Filter described
by William Dembski, PhD mathematician
and author of The Design Inference. Mr. Padian, where on the diagram is the design
inference made? Right, at the very bottom, after the chance and natural law explanations
have been exhausted. In other words, a design inference is a last resort not
a first resort. No scientist is asked to make a design conclusion in advance, as you allege.
The ID strategy is very similar to existing scientific endeavors in that regard: explanations should
first examine whether chance and natural law can account for the phenomenon under investigation.
They should be rigorous and exhaustive and not jump to design conclusions prematurely. The criterion
of specified complexity is an objective, mathematical measure for eliminating chance by
small probabilities before making a design inference. This eliminates the God-of-the-gaps
problem that anti-ID people bring up so often. Trouble is, you want to short-circuit this last
step in the flowchart and create
an infinite loop. If no chance or natural-law explanation is found, you want to go to
top and start over, then over, then over again, ad infinitum.
Your Honor, allow me to display Exhibit B [a quote by Richard
Lewontin in the Baloney Detector]. This statement
proves that Mr. Padian and his Darwinist colleagues are the ones requiring a conclusion in advance.
By ruling out the design inference, they want scientists to go round and round on the merry-go-round
that will never find the answer even if, as his partner Miller said,
the design explanation is correct. As we know from over a century of Darwinian attempts
at explanations, this spins off an endless train of speculative scenarios that
become more improbable with the revising (see 10/26/2005
example) as the evidence for biological design mounts (see next story, for instance).
Readers of Nature will never hear this kind of cross-examination from the
Darwin Party mouthpiece journals. Thankfully, there are other sources that dont
mind getting the story from both teams. Youre reading one of them.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolution
Tom Magnuson at Access
Research Network found this link that came out last year but is too good to pass up: another visualization
of the bacterial flagellum, the poster child of the ID movement, by Japanese researchers on
NanoNet, the Nanotechnology Researchers Network Center
of Japan. The 02/05/2004 NanoNet
Bulletin features the bacterial flagellum with still images from a stunning movie they made,
A Rotary Nanomachine,
downloadable from the site. The movie contains crisp animations of the flagellar motor at
work and features amazing facts about how the propeller is assembled, molecule by molecule, at the
growing tip. The film (34 minutes, 36mb) also tells the story of how challenging it was for
the team to image the nanometer-scale parts of the system.
Another issue, 09/16/2004
NanoNet Bulletin tells how professor Masasuke Yoshido first visualized the rotation of another
biomolecular rotary motor, ATP synthase. The entire website is concerned with nanotechnology,
and many of the articles blur the distinction between biological and artificial machines.
This film makes a terrific follow-up to
Unlocking the Mystery of Life
for those interested in additional technical details of how the flagellum works.
The animations are superb. Nobody would be able to look at this system and say
it wasnt designed it looks for all the world like finely-crafted machinery.
The researchers are in awe of the precision of the parts and the efficiency of the motor.
Is it any wonder that there is no mention of evolution? On the contrary, the word
design is key: Looking at the shape of the flagellar basal body, said Keiici Namba,
the interviewee, it is obviously designed to rotate.
Educator Suggests Inoculation Technique Against Creationism
Dr. Namba also said something that shows how
biological design can stimulate a Darwin-free research program:
Looking at a picture of the flagellar motor on the wall every day, he said in
I feel up towards revealing the mystery by any means. How it works
and what we can learn from the design those ideas borrow nothing from Darwinian
theory, and sound remarkably similar to the motivations of Robert
Boyle, James Joule and many other creation scientists
throughout history. None of the People of Froth (the Anti-ID crowd) could claim
that these Japanese researchers had a religious motivation for making this film or for
doing their cutting-edge research. School
boards can show this film as proof that design-based science is powerful and productive.
The end of science? Bringing science to a halt? Taking us back to the Dark
Ages? Boshthis is the future
of active, fruitful, motivating research that will inspire young scientists and
bring the best technology to bear on
understanding biological realities (see 10/29/2005
Intelligent design is not so much about making
additions to science, but rather some blessed subtractions: removing the useless fluff
of Darwinian speculation and storytelling (12/22/2003)
that produces nothing but vaporware on back order. Throughout history
(see online book), the design perspective has mastered the
machinery of science that produces the goods.
Next headline on:
Give them some ID, then swamp it with counter-arguments. Thats the new method
of educational intervention that Stephen Verhey of Central Washington University
has found most effective in overcoming college student objections to evolution, reported
Verhey tested 103 students with prior exposure to creationism. He assigned the book
Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells, followed by three works by prominent evolutionists,
including The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins, a point-by-point refutation of
Wellss book and a book discussing the evolution of sex. The teacher then facilitated
a discussion about the nature of science.
Most of the two-thirds of students who reported some change in their beliefs were
found to have become at least a little more sympathetic to evolution after the exercise.
Verheys study was inspired by an influential theory of cognitive development advanced
in 1970 by William G. Perry. Perrys theory holds that students pass through distinct
modes of thinking. Verheys intervention was designed to support
students as they progressed toward a more sophisticated cognitive mode by
engaging them at the level of their initial understanding--including their initial ideas about creationism.
Although alternative explanations are possible, Verhey maintains that his results suggest engaging prior learning
was an effective approach to evolution education.
(Emphasis added in all quotes.)
Verhey published his results in the November issue of BioScience, a journal of the American Institute of Biological
Sciences (AIBS). His method contrasts strongly with the official position of the AIBS which calls intelligent design
and creationism fundamentally unscientific and feels teaching it is wrong.
Prominent evolution educator Craig E. Nelson opposes this method in high school, but grants
that doing so in college will help future teachers and other leaders understand why there is no
contest scientifically between creationism and evolution.
Good grief; now the Darwin Party wants to treat creationism
like a disease. Theyre looking at students like lab rats and studying their cognitive
development, as if creationism is just a developmental abnormality. Presumably creationism
is a bug some students pick up in their youth, like chicken pox. Since cold turkey doesnt
appear to work, maybe injecting them
with a weakened form of the disease, followed by antibiotics, will cure them and help them get
on with a more sophisticated cognitive mode that appreciates the truth of evolution.
Quote 11/01/2005: ... the walls of Darwinian orthodoxy, once supposed to be impregnable, are now sprouting very serious holes all over the place. I am very minded to suggest to you that our real problem is less how do we make our case and more what do we do with the victory once it has been officially ratified? To tell you the truth, I would have never in a million years expected the Other Side to have crumbled quite so quickly and quite so completely. Its now time to think of a post-Darwinian world -- in every sense -- and to make our plans for it. David Berlinski on Evolution News, commenting on an article attacking Darwinist pretensions in The New Criterion by John Silber, former president of Boston University (warning: dogmatic theistic evolutionist).
For this therapy to work, the experimental conditions must be carefully controlled. Jonathan
Wells must not be given a chance to rebut the rebuttals, for instance (see
ARN). The Darwinist
doctor must be careful not to give more toxin than the student can handle. As long as
the Darwinist facilitator always gives Charlie the last word, and reassures the class with the
MAD strategy (Most Accept Darwin), this new method might help contain the growing pandemic.
Hopefully the virus will not mutate and start spreading from birdbrains to humans.
These are methods the communists made famous. To them, religious people
who did not accept their atheism and political philosophy were mentally ill, and needed
treatment. There was no open marketplace of ideas; just analysis of the best psychological
means to achieve conformity.
The anti-evolutionists believe in a more benign approach toward their opponents.
They dont want to put them in cages and experiment on them; they want to talk.
They want all the evidence out there on the table for rational discussion and evaluation.
They want to remind their opponents of a reasonable strategy suggested by their own Pope Charles,
who said, A fair* result can only be obtained by balancing the facts and arguments on
both sides of each question.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolution
*This presents a conundrum to anti-evolutionists. Darwins extreme disciples have gone
far beyond the Mosstuh and now feel that
fairness itself evolved. They believe that fairness, altruism, and all forms of moral behavior
are artifacts of social evolution. They actually invoke Game Theory to explain the origin
of moral motions. As such, fairness cannot have intrinsic validity.
How does one have a fair intellectual discussion with people of this persuasion?
Answer: catch them in their own trap.
Tell a Darwinist he has become his own nemesis: a social constructivist, where everything
is about power (in their parlance, fitness). The only way to deal with such people,
after knocking on their head while saying, Hello; anybody home?, is to point out the
self-refuting nature of their position, and remind them
that it undermines their very claim that evolution is science. No coherent ontology
can be built on the self-refuting premise, I think, therefore thinking evolved.
Ponder, instead, a living fossil Paley ontology.
Scientist of the Month
Click on Apollos, the trusty|
|Guide to Evolutionary Theory
I wanted to tell you that the Creation Evolution headlines website is a great resource
and that I read it mostly everyday (and when I don't I catch up the next day). I really
appreciate the work and the effort that you do.
(a grad student in experimental particle physics)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is a terrific resource. The articles are
always current and the commentary is right on the mark.
(a molecular biologist in Illinois)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is my favorite
anti-evolution website. With almost giddy anticipation, I check
it several times a week for the latest postings. May God bless you and
empower you to keep up this FANTASTIC work!
(a financial analyst in New York)
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and started reading.... Your work has blessed my education and determination to bold in
showing the unscientific nature of evolution in general and Darwinism in particular.
(a doctor in Oklahoma)
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disciplines covered, I also enormously enjoy your great sense of humor
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(a software developer in Illinois)
THANK YOU for all the work you do to make this wonderful resource! After
being regular readers for a long time, this year weve incorporated your
site into our home education for our four teenagers. The Baloney Detector
is part of their Logic and Reasoning Skills course, and the Daily Headlines
and Scientists of the Month features are a big part of our curriculum for an
elective called Science Discovery Past and Present. What a wonderful
goldmine for equipping future leaders and researchers with the tools of
(a home school teacher in California)
What can I say I LOVE YOU!
I READ YOU ALMOST EVERY DAY I copy and send out to various folks.
I love your sense of humor, including your politics and of course your faith.
I appreciate and use your knowledge What can I say THANK YOU
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(a biology major, former evolutionist, now father of college students)
I came across your site while browsing through creation & science links. I love the work you do!
(an attorney in Florida)
Love your commentary and up to date reporting. Best site for evolution/design info.
(a graphic designer in Oregon)
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to all my grandchildren to have them present it to their science
teachers.... Your Supporter and fan..God bless you all...
(a health services manager in Florida)
Why your readership keeps doubling: I came across your website at a time when I was just getting to know what creation science is all about. A friend of mine was telling me about what he had been finding out. I was highly skeptical and sought to read as many pro/con articles as I could find and vowed to be open-minded toward his seemingly crazy claims. At first I had no idea of the magnitude of research and information thats been going on. Now, Im simply overwhelmed by the sophistication and availability of scientific research and information on what I now know to be the truth about creation.
Your website was one of dozens that I found in my search. Now, there are only a handful of sites I check every day. Yours is at the top of my list... I find your news page to be the most insightful and well-written of the creation news blogs out there. The quick wit, baloney detector, in-depth scientific knowledge you bring to the table and the superb writing style on your site has kept me interested in the day-to-day happenings of what is clearly a growing movement. Your site ... has given me a place to point them toward to find out more and realize that theyve been missing a huge volume of information when it comes to the creation-evolution issue.
Another thing I really like about this site is the links to articles in science journals and news references. That helps me get a better picture of what you’re talking about.... Keep it up and I promise to send as many people as will listen to this website and others.
(an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in New Mexico)
Im a small town newspaper editor in southwest Wyoming. Were pretty
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it daily, and if theres nothing new, I re-read everything. I follow links.
I read the Scientist of the Month. Its the best site Ive run across. Our
local school board is all Darwinist and determined to remain that way.
(a newspaper editor in Wyoming)
Congratulations on your 5th anniversary. I have been reading your page for about 2 years or so....
I read it every day. I ...am well educated, with a BA in Applied Physics
from Harvard and an MBA in Finance from Wharton.
(a reader in Delaware)
I came across your website by accident about 4 months ago and look at it every day....
About 8 months ago I was reading a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times that was written
by a staunch anti-Creationist and it sparked my interest enough to research the
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Ive put more study into Biblical Creation in the last 8 months than any other topic in my life.
Past that, through resources like your website...Ive been able to convince my father (professional mathematician and amateur geologist), my best friend (mechanical engineer and fellow USAF Academy Grad/Creation Science nutcase), my pastor (he was the hardest to crack), and many others to realize the Truth of Creation.... Resources like your website help the rest of us at the grassroots level drum up interest in the subject. And regardless of what the major media says: Creationism is spreading like wildfire, so please keep your website going to help fan the flames.
(an Air Force Academy graduate and officer)
I love your site! I **really** enjoy reading it for several specific reasons: 1.It uses the latest (as in this month!) research as a launch pad for opinion; for years I have searched for this from a creation science viewpoint, and now, Ive found it. 2. You have balanced fun with this topic. This is hugely valuable! Smug Christianity is ugly, and I dont perceive that attitude in your comments. 3. I enjoy the expansive breadth of scientific news that you cover. 4. I am not a trained scientist but I know evolutionary bologna/(boloney) when I see it; you help me to see it. I really appreciate this.
(a computer technology salesman in Virginia)
I love your site. Thats why I was more than happy to
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and the bad science is shredded to bits, using real
(a project manager in New Jersey)
Ive been reading your site almost daily for about three years. I have
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(a systems administrator and homeschooling father in Colorado)
I use the internet a lot to catch up on news back
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(a teacher in Spain)
I am grateful to you for your site and look forward to reading new
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(from the Isle of Wight, UK)
[Creation-Evolution Headlines] is the place to go for late-breaking
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Its incredible I dont know how you do it.
I cant believe all the articles you find. God bless you!
(a radio producer in Riverside, CA)
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(a programmer in aerospace from Gardena, CA)
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and I highly respect the work you and the team are doing to spread the truth.
(an ebusiness manager in the Netherlands)
I discovered your site through a link at certain website...
It has greatly helped me being updated with the latest development in science and with
critical comments from you. I also love your baloney detector
and in fact have translated some part of the baloney detector into our language (Indonesian).
I plan to translate them all for my friends so as to empower them.
(a staff member of a bilateral agency in West Timor, Indonesia)
...absolutely brilliant and inspiring.
(a documentary film producer, remarking on the
I found your site several months ago and within weeks
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information and am always excited to read the new
articles. Your insight into the difference between
what is actually known versus what is reported has
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Keep up the great work.
(a sound technician in Alberta)
I discovered your site (through a link from a blog) a few weeks ago and I cant stop reading it....
I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story. If the evolutionists
blindness wasnt so sad, I would laugh harder.
I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering from a leading University. When I read the descriptions, see the pictures, and watch the movies of the inner workings of the cell, Im absolutely amazed.... Thanks for bringing these amazing stories daily. Keep up the good work.
(an engineer in Virginia)
I stumbled across your site several months ago and have
been reading it practically daily. I enjoy the inter-links
to previous material as well as the links to the quoted
research. I've been in head-to-head debate with a
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those debates. Your site is among others that have been a
real help in expanding my understanding.
(a software engineer in Pennsylvania)
I was in the April 28, 2005 issue of Nature [see 04/27/2005
story] regarding the rise of intelligent design in the universities. It was through your website
that I began my journey out of the crisis of faith which was mentioned in that article. It was an honor to see you all highlighting the article in Nature. Thank you for all you have done!
(Salvador Cordova, George Mason University)
I shudder to think of the many ways in which you mislead readers, encouraging them to build a faith based on misunderstanding and ignorance. Why dont you allow people to have a faith that is grounded in a fuller understanding of the world?...
Your website is a sham.
(a co-author of the paper reviewed in the 12/03/2003
entry who did not appreciate the unflattering commentary. This led to a cordial
interchange, but he could not divorce his reasoning from the science vs. faith dichotomy,
and resulted in an impasse over definitions but, at least, a more mutually respectful dialogue.
He never did explain how his paper supported Darwinian macroevolution. He just claimed
evolution is a fact.)
I absolutely love creation-evolution news. As a Finnish university student very
interested in science, I frequent your site to find out about all the new science
stuff thats been happening you have such a knack for finding all this
information! I have been able to stump evolutionists with knowledge gleaned from
your site many times.
(a student in Finland)
I love your site and read it almost every day. I use it for my science class and
5th grade Sunday School class. I also challenge Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to
get on the site to check out articles against the baloney they are taught in school.
(a teacher in Los Gatos, CA)
I have spent quite a few hours at Creation Evolution Headlines in the past week
or so going over every article in the archives. I thank you for such an informative
and enjoyable site. I will be visiting often and will share this link with others.
[Later] I am back to May 2004 in the archives. I figured I should be farther
back, but there is a ton of information to digest.
(a computer game designer in Colorado)
The IDEA Center also highly recommends visiting Creation-Evolution Headlines...
the most expansive and clearly written origins news website on the internet!
(endorsement on Intelligent Design and Evolution
Check out this site: www.creationsafaris.com.
This is a fantastic resource for the whole family.... a fantastic reference library with summaries,
commentaries and great links that are added to
dailyarchives go back five years.
(a reader who found us in Georgia)
I just wanted to drop you a note telling you that at www.BornAgainRadio.com,
Ive added a link to your excellent Creation-Evolution news site.
(a radio announcer)
I cannot understand
why anyone would invest so much time and effort to a website of sophistry and casuistry.
Why twist Christian apology into an illogic pretzel to placate your intellect?
Isnt it easier to admit that your faith has no basis -- hence, faith.
It would be extricate [sic] yourself from intellectual dishonesty -- and
from bearing false witness.
Sincerely, Rev. [name withheld] (an ex-Catholic, apostate Christian Natural/Scientific pantheist)
Just wanted to let you folks know that we are consistent readers and truly appreciate
the job you are doing. God bless you all this coming New Year.
(from two prominent creation researchers/writers in Oregon)
Thanks so much for your site! It is brain candy!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I Love your site probably a little too much. I enjoy the commentary
and the links to the original articles.
(a civil engineer in New York)
Ive had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for
18 months now, and I can truthfully say that its one of the best on the Internet,
and I check in several times a week. The constant stream of new information on
such a variety of science issues should impress anyone, but the rigorous and
humourous way that every thought is taken captive is inspiring. Im pleased
that some Christians, and indeed, some webmasters, are devoting themselves to
producing real content that leaves the reader in a better state than when they found him.
(a community safety manager in England)
I really appreciate the effort that you are making to provide the public with
information about the problems with the General Theory of Evolution. It gives me
ammunition when I discuss evolution in my classroom. I am tired of the evolutionary
dogma. I wish that more people would stand up against such ridiculous beliefs.
(a science teacher in Alabama)
If you choose to hold an opinion that flies in the face of every piece of evidence
collected so far, you cannot be suprised [sic] when people dismiss your views.
(a former Christian software distributor, location not disclosed)
...the Creation Headlines is the best. Visiting your site...
is a standard part of my startup procedures every morning.
(a retired Air Force Chaplain)
I LOVE your site and respect the time and work you put into it. I read
the latest just about EVERY night before bed and send selection[s] out to others and
tell others about it. I thank you very much and keep up the good work (and
(a USF grad in biology)
Answering your invitation for thoughts on your site is not difficult because
of the excellent commentary I find. Because of the breadth and depth of erudition
apparent in the commentaries, I hope Im not being presumptuous in suspecting
the existence of contributions from a Truth Underground comprised of
dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers. If thats
not the case, then it is surely a potential only waiting to be realized. Regardless,
I remain in awe of the care taken in decomposing the evolutionary cant that bombards
us from the specialist as well as popular press.
(a mathematician/physicist in Arizona)
Im from Quebec, Canada. I have studied in pure sciences and after in actuarial mathematics.
Im visiting this site 3-4 times in a week. Im learning a lot and this site gives me the opportunity to realize that this is a good time to be a creationist!
(a French Canadian reader)
I LOVE your Creation Safari site, and the Baloney Detector material.
(a reader in the Air Force)
You have a unique position in the Origins community.
Congratulations on the best current affairs news source on the origins net.
You may be able to write fast but your logic is fun to work through.
(a pediatrician in California)
Visit your site almost daily and find it very informative, educational and inspiring.
(a reader in western Canada)
I wish to thank you for the information you extend every day on your site.
It is truly a blessing!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I really appreciate your efforts in posting to this website. I find
it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science
news daily) and also to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant from Brisbane, Australia)
I would just like to say very good job with the work done here,
very comprehensive. I check your site every day. Its great
to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the
pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the prestigious
(a biology student in Illinois)
Ive been checking in for a long time but thought Id leave you a
note, this time. Your writing on these complex topics is insightful,
informative with just the right amount of humor. I appreciate the hard
work that goes into monitoring the research from so many sources and then
writing intelligently about them.
(an investment banker in California)
Keep up the great work. You are giving a whole army of Christians
plenty of ammunition to come out of the closet (everyone else has).
Most of us are not scientists, but most of the people we talk to are not
scientists either, just ordinary people who have been fed baloney
for years and years.
(a reader in Arizona)
Keep up the outstanding work!
You guys really ARE making a difference!
(a reader in Texas)
I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that science is not
hostile towards religion. It is the dogmatically religious that are
unwaveringly hostile towards any kind of science which threatens their
dearly-held precepts. Science (real, open-minded science) is not
interested in theological navel-gazing.
Note: Please supply your name and location when writing in. Anonymous attacks
only make one look foolish and cowardly, and will not normally be printed.
This one was shown to display a bad example.
I appreciate reading your site every day. It is a great way to keep
up on not just the new research being done, but to also keep abreast of the
evolving debate about evolution (Pun intended).... I find it an incredibly useful
way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also
to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant in Brisbane, Australia)
I love your website.
(a student at a state university who used CEH when
writing for the campus newsletter)
....when you claim great uncertainty for issues that are fairly
well resolved you damage your already questionable credibility.
Im sure your audience loves your ranting, but if you know as much
about biochemistry, geology, astronomy, and the other fields you
skewer, as you do about ornithology, you are spreading heat, not
(a professor of ornithology at a state university, responding to
the 09/10/2002 headline)
I wanted to let you know I appreciate your headline news style of
exposing the follies of evolutionism.... Your style gives us constant,
up-to-date reminders that over and over again, the Bible creation account
is vindicated and the evolutionary fables are refuted.
(a reader, location unknown)
You have a knack of extracting the gist of a technical paper,
and digesting it into understandable terms.
(a nuclear physicist from Lawrence Livermore Labs who worked
on the Manhattan Project)
After spending MORE time than I really had available going thru
your MANY references I want to let you know how much I appreciate
the effort you have put forth.
The information is properly documented, and coming from
recognized scientific sources is doubly valuable. Your
explanatory comments and sidebar quotations also add GREATLY
to your overall effectiveness as they 1) provide an immediate
interpretive starting point and 2) maintaining the readers
(a reader in Michigan)
I am a huge fan of the site, and check daily for updates.
(reader location and occupation unknown)
I just wanted to take a minute to personally thank-you and let
you know that you guys are providing an invaluable service!
We check your Web site weekly (if not daily) to make sure we have
the latest information in the creation/evolution controversy.
Please know that your diligence and perseverance to teach the
Truth have not gone unnoticed. Keep up the great work!
(a PhD scientist involved in origins research)
You've got a very useful and informative Web site going.
The many readers who visit your site regularly realize that it
requires considerable effort to maintain the quality level and
to keep the reviews current.... I hope you can continue your
excellent Web pages. I have recommended them highly to others.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
As an apprentice apologist, I can always find an article
that will spark a spirited debate. Keep em
coming! The Truth will prevail.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
Thanks for your web page and work. I try to drop by
at least once a week and read what you have. Im a
Christian that is interested in science (Im a mechanical
engineer) and I find you topics interesting and helpful.
I enjoy your lessons and insights on Baloney Detection.
(a year later):
I read your site 2 to 3 times a week; which Ive probably done for a couple
of years. I enjoy it for the interesting content, the logical arguments, what I can
learn about biology/science, and your pointed commentary.
(a production designer in Kentucky)
I look up CREV headlines every day. It is a wonderful
source of information and encouragement to me.... Your gift of
discerning the fallacies in evolutionists interpretation of
scientific evidence is very helpful and educational for me.
Please keep it up. Your website is the best I know of.
(a Presbyterian minister in New South Wales, Australia)
Ive written to you before, but just wanted to say again
how much I appreciate your site and all the work you put into it.
I check it almost every day and often share the contents
(and web address) with lists on which I participate.
I dont know how you do all that you do, but I am grateful
for your energy and knowledge.
(a prominent creationist author)
I am new to your site, but I love it! Thanks for updating
it with such cool information.
(a home schooler)
I love your site.... Visit every day hoping for another of your
brilliant demolitions of the foolish just-so stories of those
who think themselves wise.
(a reader from Southern California)
I love to read your website and am disappointed when there is
nothing new to read. Thanks for all your hard work.
(a missionary in Japan)
I visit your site daily for the latest news from science journals and other media,
and enjoy your commentary immensely. I consider your web site to be the
most valuable, timely and relevant creation-oriented site on the internet.
(a reader from Ontario, Canada)
Keep up the good work! I thoroughly enjoy your site.
(a reader in Texas)
Thanks for keeping this fantastic web site going. It is very
informative and up-to-date with current news including incisive
(a reader in North Carolina)
Great site! For all the Baloney Detector is impressive and a
great tool in debunking wishful thinking theories.
(a reader in the Netherlands)
Just wanted to let you know, your work is having quite an impact.
For example, major postings on your site are being circulated among the
Intelligent Design members....
(a PhD organic chemist)
opening a can of worms ... I love to click all the related links and
read your comments and the links to other websites, but this usually makes me late
for something else. But its ALWAYS well worth it!!
(a leader of a creation group)
I am a regular visitor to your website ... I am impressed
by the range of scientific disciplines your articles address.
I appreciate your insightful dissection of the often unwarranted conclusions
evolutionists infer from the data... Being a medical
doctor, I particularly relish the technical detail you frequently include in
the discussion living systems and processes. Your website continually
reinforces my conviction that if an unbiased observer seeks a reason for the
existence of life then Intelligent Design will be the unavoidable
(a medical doctor)
A church member asked me what I thought was the best creation web site.
I told him CreationSafaris.com.
(a PhD geologist)
I love your site... I check it every day for interesting
information. It was hard at first to believe in Genesis fully, but
now I feel more confident about the mistakes of humankind and that all
their reasoning amounts to nothing in light of a living God.
(a college grad)
Thank you so much for the interesting science links and comments
on your creation evolution headlines page ... it is very
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)
visit your site almost every day, and really enjoy it. Great job!!!
(I also recommend it to many, many students.)
(an educational consultant)
I like what I seevery
much. I really appreciate a decent, calm and scholarly approach to the
whole issue... Thanks ... for this fabulous
It is refreshing to read your comments. You have a knack to get to the heart of
(a reader in the Air Force).
Love your website. It has well thought out structure and will help many
through these complex issues. I especially love the
I believe this is one of the best sites on the Internet.
I really like your side-bar of truisms.
Yogi [Berra] is absolutely correct. If I were a man of wealth, I would
support you financially.
(a registered nurse in Alabama, who found
us on TruthCast.com.)
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as well as your faith.
(a mountain man in Alaska).
wanted to say that I recently ran across your web site featuring science
headlines and your commentary and find it to be A++++, superb, a 10, a homerun
I run out of superlatives to describe it! ... You can be sure I will
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to use in my speaking engagements. Ill also do my part to help publicize
your site among college students. Keep up the good work. Your
material is appreciated and used.
(a college campus minister)
Featured Creation Scientist for November
Hugh of St. Victor
c. 1096 - 1141
Our millennium of creation scientists begins with a teacher named Hugh, from the
abbey school of St. Victor outside Paris. He gained notoriety for barring flower arranging
in the monastery, rebuking it as a waste of time for those devoted to higher contemplations.
It was this incident that gave us the phrase,
Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars. (Not really, but a
little pause for levity before 1000 years of science doesnt hurt.) Actually,
he probably appreciated flowers as an illustration of the wisdom of the Creator.
Hugh of St. Victor illustrates that medieval Europe should not be labeled with that
disparaging anachronism, the Dark Ages.
A remarkably clear thinker and learned man, he had no time for superstition and magic,
but instead advocated knowledge and investigation of the natural world. He had
remarkable scientific insight for someone living six centuries before the rise of
modern science, and he built his philosophy squarely on the foundation of the Bible,
Reaching back a thousand years, we are not looking for a fully fleshed out scientific
philosophy, but for distinctive beliefs that would eventually set it in motion.
Important among these are the doctrine of God, the philosophy of nature, and the role of man.
Scientists today avoid thoughts of God, yet depend on the theology and philosophy of the
early natural philosophers who changed the way people view God, the world, and man: instead of
capricious acts of warring gods, intelligent design by a wise Creator; instead of magic,
law; instead of superstition, creative investigation by minds made in the image of God.
Scholastic philosophers of the middle ages had many faults and were wrong about many
things, but they laid foundations that could hold up a skyscraper of science. As we shall
see, modern science today is an atheistic facade on a theistic superstructure.
Not only the foundation but much of the interior that holds up the
structure was built largely by creationists, and they were building on the Word of God.
If you have read the Introduction, you know we intend to present real
historical characters with wrinkles and all. Including someone in this hall of fame
does not imply advocating everything the person believed and taught. Hugh was
clearly medieval in a time flooded with false notions about Scripture and
nature. He was undoubtedly influenced by classical texts available to him. Of all civilizations
to this time, the Arabs and Greeks had come closest to a true scientific understanding of the world.
Europe owed much to their contributions. But in both civilizations, science never became self
sustaining, and eventually faded. Meanwhile, the Catholic church had corrupted Biblical
views of God, man, and the world. The pursuit of knowledge as encouraged in the Proverbs
of Solomon had been replaced by mindless obedience, asceticism and reliance on authority.
The influx of Greek manuscripts (especially Aristotle) via the Arabs, and their
advances in mathematics and medicine, seemed to be a wake up call to medieval scholars.
Aristotles system, though cogent and comprehensive, was a mix of good logic and nonsense.
His man-centered views were often contrary to the Bible. European Christian philosophers
needed to re-evaluate their core beliefs, and some looked deeper into the Bible for
answers. While impressed with Aristotles system, had they embraced it uncritically,
it would have proved a dead end and it nearly was, taking centuries to dethrone
Aristotle as the default expert on everything. Those who knew the Bible, and trusted its
authority, were the ones who saved science from this fate*. Hugh of St. Victor exemplified
these who built natural philosophy on the Scriptures. In time, this view would provide a
more fertile soil for science than classical philosophy.
Dan Graves in Scientists of Faith says, His assumption was simple: because
the Bible is Gods reliable word, Christians need not fear scientific inquiry.
All truth, when fully understood, will support all other truth. But to
make sense of the worlds obscurities, we must start from that which is plain
(Graves, p. 18, emphasis added). All nature expresses God, Hugh said,
and Nature is a book written by the hand of God. Such statements would
be common later, but they reveal a profound difference in world view from the animist or
pantheist: nature is a thing, an object other than God. As a material
system made by a transcendent Creator, it can and should be studied as a means to gain wisdom.
They also reveal a profound difference from the Greeks and Arabs whose theologies diminished
the role of God as Lawgiver and sustainer of the world. Greek gods were as mischievous
as humans; why trust them? The Allah of the Muslims was sovereign to the point of
capriciousness; his actions were unpredictable.
Arabs had their Koran, but this collection of rambling, unclassified oracles of dubious
origin (written down long after Mohammed had died), rarely intersected with verifiable natural
phenomena or historical events. The Koran and the Bible are poles apart. The Bible
was written by 40 authors over many centuries, and contains thousands of names of people
and places and events that can be cross-checked against other sources.
Only in the Bible is there the balance of law and grace, the consistent standard of
righteousness, the appeal to think and reason, the frequent exaltation of creation as the
work of an omniscient God, and the consistent linear timeline from creation to consummation.
No other sacred book in the world compares with it.
This was the rock on which Hugh of St. Victor and his successors started building their
science. It worked. The storms came, and the winds blew, but the structure stands.
It is not the structure alone, but the rock-solid foundation, that keeps it upright.
Born in what is now Germany, Hugh was one of the masters of the abbey of St. Victor
near Paris for many years. His writings were widespread throughout Europe.
In theology, he was Augustinian; some historians classify him as Platonist in philosophy,
living at the time right before Aristotles works were reintroduced to the West. But labels
do not tell all. Though undoubtedly familiar with Plato (the Timmaeus was the
only Platonic work available at the time), Hugh was also an original and critical thinker, as were many
medieval scholars. He believed in interpreting the Scriptures
literally: not slavishly, but wherever the context permitted it.
Biblical literalism is often a term
of derision today, the assumed antithesis of scientific thinking, but Hughs hermeneutic
(method of interpreting Scripture) was actually a stimulus for science. Dan Graves
explains his reasoning:
In order to fully understand its literal meaning, one must study the sciences
that shed light on such things. Whether one wishes to reconstruct the design of Noahs
ark, date Easter, calculate chronologies, or understand Biblical weights and measures, sciences
are needed. Curiosity then is a natural expression of reason, revealing the image of God
that the Creator breathed into humanity at its creation.
Investigating the natural world and making discoveries, therefore, are to be thought of as
worthy even essential ambitions. Hugh also saw work and technology as virtuous, based on Pauls
admonitions (e.g., Ephesians 4:28), contrary to Greek scholars who considered manual labor beneath their dignity.
He himself worked with mirrors, geometry, and classification of the sciences.
One of his best-known works is the Didascalicon or teachers manual.
It discusses what is to be taught, and why. In
this remarkably comprehensive early encyclopedia (according to Encyclopedia Britannica),
Hugh acknowledged Greek science but saw the Bible as superior. He specifically denounced
the logical errors of Epicurus and other classical philosophers who relied on reason alone.
Instead, Hugh advocated mathematics for logical validity and precision.
Hugh of St. Victor held to a literal six-day interpretation of the
Creation account in Genesis and viewed it as an archetype of the divine wisdom to which
man can aspire. Jerome Taylor explains that Hugh specifically contradicted some of his
contemporaries (like William of Conches) who tried to compromise Genesis with Greek philosophy,
feeling that the ancients were but laborers upon an inferior truth, while to Christians, to
the sons of Life, was reserved the consummation of truth. Instead of allegorizing
Genesis like others, Hugh
insisted that the chaos [of Gen. 1:2] literally existed and that its ordering in
an equally literal six-day period is a mystery, a sacrament, through which the Creator
determined to teach the rational creature that it must rise from the disorder of its initial and
untaught existence to an intellectual and moral beauty of form conferred by the divine Wisdom.
This allegorical meaning extends from, but does not replace, the literal meaning and
historical actuality of the Creation account.
Another original contribution by Hugh of St. Victor that fostered the development of science
was the idea that learning
has redemptive value. In the Didascalicon, he listed three consequences of the Fall:
it damaged mans relationship to God, his understanding of the world, and his body.
Hugh taught that learning could ameliorate some of the consequences of the Fall in each of these areas.
For the relationship to God, after one is redeemed through the sacrificial atonement of
Christ, a person can grow closer to God through the study of theology. For the loss of natural knowledge
that Adam had enjoyed, fallen man could regain some of it through the study of nature and the liberal arts.
For redeeming the body, one could regain some control through the mechanical arts such
as medicine. Here, Hugh originated a list of mechanical arts to complement the
seven liberal arts. Each of these Hugh derived directly from the Genesis accounts of Creation and the
Fall. (1) Fabric-making is needed because man is naked and not endowed with fur like
other animals. (2) Armaments are necessary because man does not have the large teeth or claws
of animals. (3) Commerce helps reconcile nations who have become alienated through selfish
ambitions; it calms wars, strengthens peace, and turns the private good of the individual into
the benefit of the many. (4) Agriculture helps compensate for the sweat of the brow that
Adam had to endure after the expulsion from Eden. (5) Hunting formalizes the skills needed to obtain
food. (6) Medicine overcomes the loss of original perfection of the body. And lastly,
(7) Theatrics, if virtuous, can provide relaxation and refreshment to the mind. Notice
that Hughs method strove to build a system of inquiry directly on Scripture, specifically
Genesis. Whether his list was complete or useful to modern teachers is not the point;
Hugh fostered the systematic pursuit of useful knowledge from the study of nature. Most important,
he taught that the pursuit of natural knowledge was a priority for the Christian.
It was a way for human beings to partially recover from the effects of the Fall. Once redeemed
by grace through faith in Christ, the man of God can embark on a path leading back to the
wisdom of God.**
In these concepts,
we see the liberating of the Christian life from asceticism and authoritarianism two
corruptions of New Testament teaching that plagued the church after Constantine. Hugh of
St. Victor encouraged his students to search
for truth about the world. He said, the intention of all human actions is resolved
in a common objective: either to restore in us the likeness of the divine image or to take thought
for the necessity of this life, which, the more easily it can suffer harm from those things which
work to its disadvantage, the more does it require to be cherished and conserved (p. 54).
He went on to explain how science breeds both understanding and remedy for harms, that these are
wise and just, and thereby noble outworkings of the divine image. Hugh commended logic
and disciplined thinking. He repudiated magic (including fortunetelling, divination
and astrology) as the mistress of every form
of iniquity and malice, lying about the truth... This does not sound like the Dark Ages,
does it? The Didascalicon is obsessed with classifying things and pursuing knowledge,
wisdom and virtue. Though antiquated in many respects, it contains core concepts that are like
fertilizer and rain for deserts of authority and superstition. It helped cultivate a soil
in which the fruitful vine of science could grow.
One of his best-known quotations is: Learn everything; you will see afterwards that nothing
is superfluous. A skimpy knowledge is not a pleasing thing (p. 137). It must be
recognized that he was speaking here of Bible study; he was arguing that one should not skip
over the historical narratives: Some things are to be known for their own sakes, he
explained, like the ethical principles of the New Testament, but other passages, like the detailed
genealogies of I Chronicles, although for their own sakes they do not seem worthy of our
labor, nevertheless, because without them the former class of things cannot be known with complete
clarity, must by no means be carelessly skipped. Then he stated the Learn everything
line. While it would be invalid to lift his proverb out of context, we do see Hughs
passion for knowledge and clarity of thinking, a passion that extended to all scholarly endeavor.
What a contrast to the surrounding civilizations!
Where does Hugh of St. Victor stand in the headwaters of scientific thought?
Encyclopedia Britannica states, Hughs somewhat innovative style of exegesis [including
literal interpretation of Genesis] made an important contribution to the development of
natural theology: he based his arguments for Gods existence on external and internal experience
and added a teleological proof originating from the facts of experience. ... Unlike some of his
contemporaries, Hugh upheld secular learning by promoting knowledge as an introduction to contemplative
In closing, let Hugh of St. Victor speak for himself from ten centuries ago:
Now there are two things which restore the divine likeness in man,
namely the contemplation of truth
and the practice of virtue. For man resembles God in being wise and just though,
to be sure, man is but changeably so while God stands changelessly both wise and just.
Of those actions which minister to the necessity of this life, there are three types: first,
those which take care of the feeding of nature; second, those which fortify against harms
which might possibly come from without; and third, those which provide remedy for harms already
besieging us. When, moreover, we strive after the restoration of our nature, we perform
a divine action, but when we provide the necessaries required by our infirm part, a human
action. The former type, since it derives from above, we may not unfittingly call
understanding (intelligentia); the latter, since it derives from below and
requires, as it were, a certain practical counsel, knowledge (scientia).
*Dan Graves looks even earlier. He describes John Philoponus, an Alexandrian Christian scholar
(late sixth century), an early critic of Aristotle, as exemplifying these same principles of
Christian natural philosophy. It is unlikely he was alone in his views. And according
to Graves (Scientists of Faith, pp. 15-17),
Philoponus knew prominent early Muslims in Alexandria, and may have influenced their science
with his insistence on the transcendence of God (as opposed to pantheism) and natural law
(as opposed to constant intervention by God). Perhaps the Islamic scientists were indebted to
Christian thought more than is commonly assumed.
**Jerome Taylor, in his introduction to the Didascalicon, claims that Hugh believed in
the spiritual perfectability of mana
concern which dominates the whole of his theology (p. 13), but this appears to be a
distortion. In Book Six, Hugh clearly expressed the need for repentance and grace
(p. 139). The pursuit of wisdom, knowledge and virtue is wholly in accord with New Testament
teaching for the redeemed. The apostle Paul pressed toward the mark for the high calling of
God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14). Perfection may be unattainable, but that does not devalue the
pursuit of it. In the words of a locker room poster, Reach for the stars.
If you dont make it, youll land pretty high anyway.
If you are enjoying this series, you can
learn more about great Christians in science by reading
our online book-in-progress:
The Worlds Greatest
Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K.
Copies are also
available from our online store.
A Concise Guide|
You can observe a lot by just watching.
First Law of Scientific Progress
The advance of science can be measured by the rate at which exceptions to previously held laws accumulate.
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.
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
So will Darwinists.
Science is true. Dont be misled by facts.
Finagles 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 according to his own pet theory.
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.
Murphys Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
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.
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon
is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.
Peters Law of Evolution
Competence always contains the seed of incompetence.
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
Repetition does not establish validity.
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts not the facts themselves.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
Thumbs Second Postulate
An easily-understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible truth.
There is nothing so small that it cant 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.
The best theory is not ipso facto a good theory.
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
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,
Wisdoms 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).
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