Creation-Evolution Headlines
May 2006
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“Charles Darwin presented On the Origin of Species to a disbelieving world in 1859—three years after Clerk Maxwell had published “On Faraday’s Lines of Force”... Maxwell’s theory has by a process of absorption become part of quantum field theory, and so a part of the great canonical structure created by mathematical physics.  By contrast, the final triumph of Darwinian theory, although vividly imagined by biologists, remains, along with world peace and Esperanto, on the eschatological horizon of contemporary thought.”
—David Berlinski, “The Deniable Darwin,” Darwinism, Design, and Public Education (Mich. State, 2003), p. 157.
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Leading Evolutionist Provides His Best Proof: HIV   05/30/2006    
[Guest article]  Sarah Crown reports in the Guardian Unlimited (“Why Creationism Is Wrong”) on biologist Steve Jones’ speech to a crowd at an English bank holiday, the Hay Festival:

The aim of the talk, he explained, is to establish the testability and therefore prove the truth of evolution.  After gaining the audience’s sympathy with a few well-aimed gags at the creationists’ expense ...he waltzed them off at top speed on a whistle-stop tour of evidence for that evolution, this fundamental theory which he described as “the grammar of biology”.
Eagerly anticipating the end of a long search for the elusive proof, the reader is presented with Jones’ greatest proof of evolution:
“...the progression of the HIV epidemic.  This example proves illustrative when it comes to the other great principle of evolution, natural selection: if you contract the HIV virus, Jones explained, your chance of remaining asymptomatic depends on your possession of a protective gene.  Chimpanzees, in whom the virus first appeared, tend to have the protective variant; in Africa it is becoming more common; in Europe it remains rare.  However, said Jones, if he were to make an evolutionary prediction, it is that in 1000 years time, every one of us will possess the protective gene, rendering the HIV virus no more harmful than flu.
In his concluding remarks, he had nothing more to offer:
He stuck with the example of HIV in his concluding examination of the ways in which we as humans are evolving now.  While we have as a species evolved very little on a genetic level for many thousands of years, Jones said, there are other ways in which we have, quite clearly, evolved dramatically.  Despite our extreme physical susceptibility to HIV, for example, we do, unlike chimps, have the power to contain the epidemic, via education and the development of drugs – cultural and intellectual evolution, in other words.  “There are,“ he concluded, “intelligent designers out there.  But they work for the pharmaceutical industry.“
The reviewer ends with a lament that Jones uses a “religious“ metaphor:
The only problem, in the end, is that Jones was – to use an inappropriately religious metaphor – preaching to the converted this morning.  One is left wishing that the 100m American creationists – or the one in three people in the UK who allegedly believe that the universe was designed – could be made to listen to him talk.  Surely even they would find it difficult to resist him.
In a related article in The Guardian, Jones said he has given up trying to confront creationists directly.  (See 04/21/2006 bullet on Jones’ podcast, “Why Creationism is Wrong and Evolution Is Right.”)
That’s it?  Surely there must be something more concrete than this.  Again, we have witnessed microevolution slipped in cleverly in place of some real evidence for macroevolution
    So, the evidence that we evolved is that we now have the ability to design intelligently, by evolving it.  The evidence of millions of years of random events worked on by natural selection is a creature that can design intelligently.  No proof here – only a logical non-sequitur
    They would find him difficult to resist only because they have never been taught the truth.  Unless Jones can, in the words of ID champion Phillip Johnson, follow the evidence wherever it leads, he is as much a preacher of religion as any pastor on the podium on Sunday morning
    The evidence here of course, leads nowhere if one if trying to reach Evolutionary Promised Land.  Weeding out information from the human genetic code to gain resistance to HIV is not evidence of evolution, it is evidence of loss of information.  It is evidence of natural selection, but where did the information come from in the first place?  Jones skipped right by that problem, and for good reason: he had no answer.
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary TheoryIntelligent Design
Note: Reporting was suspended May 14-31 due to editor being on vacation.

A Challenge to our Victorian Ethics: Humans and Chimps Interbreeding   05/22/2006    
[Guest article]  Newspapers chipped away at Christian ethics last week with articles describing evidence that “early humans” bred (hybridized) with their supposed ancestors, the chimpanzees, for millions of years after becoming another species.  The New York Times reports:

David Page, a human geneticist at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, said the design of the new analysis was “really beautiful, with all the pieces of the puzzle laid out.”  Whether the hybridization will turn out to be the right solution remains to be seen, “but for the moment I can’t think of a better explanation,” he said.  “These crucial events in early human evolution are hard to judge dispassionately”, Dr. Page noted.  “We’d like to have a more Victorian view of our genome,” he said.  “This reminds us that we are really animals and gives us a glimpse of our past and a story that we might like to have told in a different way.”
The paper by Dr. David Reich of the Broad Institute concludes that humans and chimpanzees must have interbred during the “early years” after humans supposedly branched off from the chimpanzee family tree.  He basis this on the fact that while the human and chimpanzee genetic codes found in their chromosomes all differ by a percentage, the most similarity on a percentage basis is found in the X chromosome, two of which are found in females, while the male has one X and one Y.  Since evolutionists assume that the genetic code is changing at a steady rate over time, they attempt to “date” the time when one species splits off from another by the percent differences in their genetic code and the assumed rate of change.  Dr. Reich’s abstract reads:
The genetic divergence time between two species varies substantially across the genome, conveying important information about the timing and process of speciation.  Here we develop a framework for studying this variation and apply it to about 20 million base pairs of aligned sequence from humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and more distantly related primates. Human-chimpanzee genetic divergence varies from less than 84% to more than 147% of the average, a range of more than 4 million years.  Our analysis also shows that human-chimpanzee speciation occurred less than 6.3 million years ago and probably more recently, conflicting with some interpretations of ancient fossils.  Most strikingly, chromosome X shows an extremely young genetic divergence time, close to the genome minimum along nearly its entire length.  These unexpected features would be explained if the human and chimpanzee lineages initially diverged, then later exchanged genes before separating permanently.
“Exchanging genes” of course implies these “early humans” were mating with chimpanzees, a scenario that scientists found startling, according to a report in StarNewsOnline.  Nevertheless, some are taking the theory seriously.  However, not all are convinced.  Daniel Lieberman, a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard, is quoted by the Associated Press in an article appearing in BBC News: “It’s a totally cool and extremely clever analysis.  My problem is imagining what it would be like to have a bipedal hominid and a chimpanzee viewing each other as appropriate mates, not to put it too crudely.”  (If Dr. Lieberman were consistent in his evolutionary views, the concept of “crudely” would have no meaning.)
    Others are not so easily convinced.  Science News reports that:
Anthropologist Jeffrey H. Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh sees no merit in the new findings.  Reich’s team looked for data to support an assumption of close genetic ties between humans and chimps but skimmed over evidence of human similarities to other primates, Schwartz asserts.  The hybridization hypothesis “pushes the limits of credulity,” Schwartz says.
For a creationist response, see David DeWitt’s article on Answers in Genesis.
So what was really found in this study?  Evidence of evolution, or was evolution just assumed?  The StarNewsOnline article reports:
A principal finding is that the X chromosomes of humans and chimps appear to have diverged about 1.2 million years more recently than the other chromosomes... One explanation for this finding, Reich’s team says, is that there was a hybridization between the recently separated chimp and human lineages.
The principal finding of the study was not that the X chromosomes appear to have diverged over 1.2 million years more recently than other chromosomes.  This just assumes evolution and takes off from there.  The principal finding was that there is less percentage difference between the human and chimp X chromosomes than between other chromosomes.  That this happened because humans and chimps were hybridizing is an explanation for the difference, not a finding, and is based on the assumption of Evolution and Long Ages.  Hybridization is just speculation, however, it gets good headlines.  When you have no evidence, speculation is all you have, and there is no shortage of it.  Dr. Reich is quoted in the StarNewsOnline report:
...chimpanzee ancestors, well-adapted for living off fruit in tropical forests, seem to have been adept at spinning off variations, such as gorillas, who live on vegetation, and the human lineage, which exploited the drier woodlands that opened up between the forests... Reich said.
So now we not only know a bit about early man’s sex life, but also what they ate and where they lived.  And all this from variations in gene frequencies.  What will they come up with next?  Would you believe sexism?  Notice this astonishing claim from PoliticalGateway.com:  “Geneticists have also found that women are biologically closer to chimpanzees than men are.  That is because the Y chromosome, which only men carry, has changed more than the X chromosome.”
Next headline on: Early ManGenetics
Bioneers Update: International Conference Held on Animal-Inspired Design   05/13/2006    
Georgia Tech came out with a press release about progress at their Center for Biologically Inspired Design (CBID) that opened last year (see 10/29/2005).  At a two-day conference May 11-12, international representatives from 20 institutions shared their inspirations on how nature can “help them solve some of the most complex problems of the day,” just as it has inspired poets, artists and musicians.
    Though evolution by natural selection is often assumed as the mechanism by which animals solved their design problems, the main thing evolving at CBID is “the belief that every animal must solve a particular problem to survive, so every animal embodies a design solution for a particular problem.”  The assumption that scientists are mining “millions of years of knowledge embedded in the DNA of each creature” does not appear to be essential for the scientists’ own work, which is really reverse engineering the design that is observed in current-day living creatures.
While scientists, like Leonardo DaVinci, looked to nature for inspiration centuries ago, biomimetics has recently caught on as a hot area of research at universities across the country.  Last year, Georgia Tech launched the Center for Biologically Inspired Design (CBID) as a way to encourage more of the interdisciplinary research that was already taking place among research groups.  Now, the center boasts 20 members comprised of researchers from various fields of engineering, biology, chemistry, psychology, applied physiology and architecture.
The press release mentions that UC Berkeley, U of Illinois, Caltech, and Case Western will be sharing results of their research.  In addition, international scientists from U of Toronto (Canada), Max Planck Institute (Germany) and Shandong University (China) are sharing their work in progress.  Here are examples coming out of this new kind of research:
  • Worm brains:  How tiny worms express genes might yield brain-inspired sensors.
  • Cat balance:  Learning from cats and frogs (yes, frogs) and the way their muscles produce balance might yield better prosthetic devices for the handicapped.
  • Fish teeth:  Fish jaws can help us better understand the mechanical properties of jaws and teeth under stress.
  • Spider silk:  Spider web studies are improving elasticity of artificial materials.
  • Butterfly wing structure:  The arrangement of butterfly scales looks promising for structural patterning.
  • Gecko glue:  The dry adhesive properties of gecko hairs are inspiring new artificial adhesives.
  • Diatom strength:  Patterns and processes in the construction of diatom shells help nanotechnologists build reinforced, shatterproof glass and porcelain.
And that’s just for starters.  “Other researchers will present research on the propulsive systems used in fish fins, jellyfish jets, insect legs and snake undulations, along with various ways to produce and coordinate these motions,” the press release ends.  The biosphere’s the limit.
Q: How did the Animal Plan It?  A: Not by watching the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Channel, but through the Discovery Channel of its own built-in Design Network.
    The evolution talk in these biomimetics stories (when it occurs at all) is, as Phillip Skell phrases it, “brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss” (02/28/2006).  What is really inspiring this explosion in productive research?  It’s the D word: biological design.  Once the researchers realize that the Charlie mumbo jumbo is only a bad habit, a traditional password in scientific circles that has lost its authority, a holy undergarment that only itches and gets in the way, productivity will be liberated in this exciting field.  Pretty soon the handicapped may be leaping over tall buildings like Superman and you may be scaling buildings like Spiderman.  Go, Bioneers!
Next headline on: Intelligent DesignTerrestrial ZoologyMammalsMarine LifeBiomimetics
Dinosaur Boneyard: Dying Together Implies Living Together, Not Much Else   05/13/2006    
(Guest article)  CNN reported in an article from Associated Press that scientists have uncovered a small cache of dinosaur bones that contains bones from no other animals, and in their excitement have concluded that this means they must have hunted in packs.
One expert called the discovery the first substantial evidence of group living by large meat-eaters other than tyrannosaurs like T. rex.  The creature, which apparently measured more than 40 feet long, is called Mapusaurus roseae.  The discovery of Mapusaurus included bones from at least seven to nine of the beasts, suggesting the previously unknown animal may have lived and hunted in groups.  That hunting strategy might have allowed it to attack even bigger beasts, huge plant-eating dinosaurs...  Coria noted the dig showed evidence of social behavior in Mapusaurus.  The excavation found hundreds of bones from several Mapusaurus individuals but none from any other creature.  That suggests the animals were together before they died, Coria said.  Perhaps they hunted in packs, though there is no direct evidence for that, he said in an e-mail.  Currie, in a statement from his university, speculated that pack hunting may have allowed Mapusaurus to prey on the biggest known dinosaur, Argentinosaurus, a 125-foot-long plant-eater.  Holtz called the finding the first substantive evidence of group living by giant two-legged carnivores other than tyrannosaurs. It’s not clear whether the animals cooperated in hunting, as wolves or lions do, or simply mobbed their prey or just gathered around after one of them made a kill, he said.
Dinosaur bones are often found in large jumbled collections of many different animals and species, just as one would expect if they were buried in a catastrophic flood.  This collection of bones is no different in that respect: it is a jumble of bones from “seven to nine beasts,” indicating that they are fairly disordered, since not even the total number of animals is certain.
The only difference between this find and others is that there were no other animal bones mixed in, and yet this is called “substantial evidence” of group living.  Some scientists feel a need to answer questions that are beyond the ability of piles of bones to answer, such as the behavior of these animals.  This leads to unjustified speculations such as those found here.  Notice the large amount of qualifiers in the above excerpt: might have, suggests, speculated.  Such just-so stories add an air of respectability to the Big Story: Evolution, but the only real facts we have here are that a jumble of bones was found, all of the same species, all in one place, and with no other species mixed in.  If you took off Old Earth glasses and put on Young Earth glasses, you would see just what one would expect the Genesis Flood to produce.
—Don K.
Next headline on: DinosaursFossils
Cactus Evolution Explained   05/12/2006    
Phew, finally: now we know how cacti evolved, reports EurekAlert.  Ouch!  On second thought, how’s that again?
    Two Yale scientists set out to figure out how the succulent plants turned leaves into spines.  Using molecular methods, they identified the earliest cactus, but then said it “already showed water use patterns that are similar to the leafless, stem-succulent cacti.” 
“[Our] analyses suggest that several key elements of cactus ecological function were established prior to the evolution of the cactus life form,” explain the authors.  “Such a sequence may be common in evolution, but it has rarely been documented as few studies have incorporated physiological, ecological, anatomical, and phylogenetic data.”
But if the key innovations for cactus ecological function were already present, how is this an example of evolution?
The press release is shamefully titled, “How did cactuses evolve?”  It should be titled, “Did cacti evolve?”  Apparently not; they were already adapted for their water use lifestyle from the start.  If “this sequence is common in evolution,” where the function already exists before the evolution begins, it sounds like creation, not evolution.
    Enough with the Darwinian tales.  Focus instead on the design features of these amazing plants.  The article rightly states, “The cactus form is often heralded as a striking example of the tight relationship between form and function in plants.  A succulent, long-lived photosynthetic system allows cacti to survive periods of extreme drought while maintaining well-hydrated tissues.”  That is design, folks, not evolution.
Next headline on: PlantsEvolution
Paper View:  Cosmic Questions, Personal Implications    05/11/2006  
A good question provokes good thinking.  It stimulates the imagination and inspires reasoning about profound issues.  It focuses attention on problems, calls for clarification of assumptions, and leads to good follow-up questions, too.  Such a good question was asked in four simple words by Sean M. Carroll1 (U of Chicago, Enrico Fermi Institute) this month in Nature.2  As part of a special issue focused on cosmology, Carroll asked, “Is our universe natural?”
    It should become immediately apparent that this question invites discussion of what we mean by natural, and touches on issues of universal scope – even reaching beyond the universe, to put the cosmos in context.  As we will see, the question also requires clarification of the nature, goals and limits of science.  Don’t be deceived by the simplicity of his first sentence; the avenues he explores to answer the question are indeed profound.
It goes without saying that we are stuck with the Universe we have.  Nevertheless, we would like to go beyond simply describing our observed Universe, and try to understand why it is that way rather than some other way.  When considering both the state in which we find our current Universe, and the laws of physics it obeys, we discover features that seem remarkably unnatural to us.  Physicists and cosmologists have been exploring increasingly ambitious ideas in an attempt to explain how surprising aspects of our Universe can arise from simple dynamical principles.
He gets right to the definition of “natural” –
What makes a situation ‘natural’?  Ever since Newton, we have divided the description of physical systems into two parts: the configuration of the system, characterizing its particular state at some specific time, and the dynamical laws governing its evolution.  For either part of this description, we have an intuitive notion that certain possibilities are more robust than others.  When we come across a situation that seems unnatural or finely tuned, physicists seize upon it as a clue pointing towards some underlying mechanism that made it that way.  Such clues can occasionally be misleading, but they often serve to guide our thinking about how we can extend our understanding into unknown domains.
This introduction makes it clear that Carroll views science as an attempt to get a handhold on observables, to reduce complex data to basic principles – to rationalize reality in terms accessible to the human mind, reducible to laws and equations.  Implicit in this paragraph is a dislike for contingency or appeals beyond the “natural” (whatever that means).  But what if reductionist approaches fail?  What if some things in nature really are beyond the capabilities of natural explanations?  How far can a committed naturalist go in “exploring increasingly ambitious ideas” before admitting defeat?  Arthur C. Clarke once said, “The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.”  This can be healthy, like T. S. Eliot said; never cease from your explorations, and when you come back to where you started, you will understand the place for the first time.  As we shall see, though, if naturalism goes too far afield, and never comes back, it morphs into its own nemesis: supernaturalism.
    The introduction also hints that the naturalistic approach is built on faith.  Scientists believe that even in the most puzzling phenomena there exist underlying physical or natural principles accessible to the human mind.  Like the clues that lead a detective to solve a crime, puzzles spur scientists to discover underlying regularities, and to organize the observations into a unified, plausible account.  Like Carroll said, scientists are not content to merely describe and catalog data; they want to be able to prove that, given certain initial conditions and natural laws, the phenomenon under investigation will follow.  Carroll surveys several instances in the history of science where this approach has succeeded handsomely.  It takes faith, however, to believe this approach can be extrapolated without bounds.
    “If any system should be natural, it’s the Universe,” Carroll states as a truism.  “Nevertheless, according to the criteria just described, the Universe that we observe seems remarkably unnatural.”  Example: the entropy of the cosmos is remarkably low, compared to what it could be (everything could be in black holes, or uniformly distributed, for instance).  This implies that, “for some reason, the early Universe was in a state of incredibly low entropy.”  In addition, “our fundamental theories of physics involve huge hierarchies between the energy scales” of gravitation, particle physics, and “the recently discovered vacuum energy.”  These hierarchies appear finely tuned: so much so, that he compares it to a ball perched on top of a hill.  “Of course, it may simply be that the Universe is what it is, and these are brute facts that we have to live with,” he concedes.  “More optimistically, however” (and here is where faith comes in), “ these apparently delicately tuned features of our Universe may be clues that can guide us towards a deeper understanding of the laws of nature.”  There must be a point where the clues become expressible in equations, though, else this “deeper understanding” becomes gnosticism – a form of intuitive wisdom for the elite, or a mystery religion.  Will Carroll succeed in bringing heaven down to earth?
    A natural explanation should be testable to be considered scientific.  Yet Carroll tells us that cosmologists have been increasingly open to radical ideas that seem untestable, even in principle.  If so, the only law discovered may be one of Murphy’s – “every solution breeds new problems.”
Given this situation, physicists have been exploring dramatic extensions of our known theories, in an attempt to provide a larger context in which our apparently unnatural Universe is seen to make perfect sense.  Interestingly, attempts to account for both the low entropy of the early Universe and the disparate energy scales of fundamental physics lead us to a similar idea: that the local Universe we observe is part of a much larger ensemble.  This casts new light on the problems of naturalness, while raising vexing issues of its own; considerable advances in both theory and experiment will be necessary before we can decide whether we are learning the appropriate lessons from the clues provided by nature.
Attempts to explain the fine-tuning of the universe through natural causes are not new.  Inflation theory, for example, got rid of the flatness problem and horizon problem by positing an exponential expansion in the first second of the universe.  Or did it?  In a surprise revelation, Carroll shows that the solution was worse than the problem:
It is worth emphasizing that the only role of inflation is to explain the initial conditions of the observable Universe.  And at this it does quite a good job: inflation predicts that the Universe should be spatially flat, and should have a scale-free spectrum of adiabatic density perturbations, both of which have been verified to respectable precision by observations of the cosmic microwave background.  But we are perfectly free to imagine that these features are simply part of the initial conditions—indeed, both spatial flatness and scale-free perturbations were investigated long before inflation.  The only reason to invoke inflation is to provide a reason why such an initial condition would be natural.
    However, as Penrose and others have argued, there is a skeleton in the inflationary closet, at least as far as entropy is concerned.  The fact that the initial proto-inflationary patch must be smooth and dominated by dark energy implies that it must have a very low entropy itself; reasonable estimates for this entropy SI range from about 1 to 1020.  Thus, among randomly chosen initial conditions, the likelihood of finding an appropriate proto-inflationary region is actually much less than simply finding the conditions of the conventional Big Bang model (or, for that matter, of our Universe ten minutes ago).  It would seem that the conditions required to start inflation are less natural than those of the conventional Big Bang.
Contrary to popular accounts, therefore, inflation didn’t solve the fine-tuning problem at all.  Nor has it been solved since by more exotic forms of inflationary theory, such as chaotic inflation, spontaneous inflation or eternal inflation – because these also rely on unobservable parts of the universe.  “Needless to say, proposals of this type are extremely speculative, and may well be completely wrong,” he says; regardless of the model proposed, “it is crucial to understand whether inflation plays a role in explaining how our observed configuration could be truly natural.”
    Carroll then investigates whether the laws of physics are natural.  It would seem the constants of physics could take any arbitrary values, though the laws and equations be tightly constrained.  Could the particular values of these constants reflect mere environmental conditions, like the apparently arbitrary number of planets in our solar system?  “As mentioned in the introduction, that is not what we observe,” he reminds us.  The values are separated by huge hierarchies.  What’s more, “In contemplating the nature of these hierarchies, a complicating factor arises: we could not exist without them.”  We are back to the anthropic principle (08/16/2005), and the only way out, to make the universe a natural consequence of physics, is to propose an ensemble of universes – a multiverse (12/18/2005):
In the first case [i.e., we were lucky], there are two separate possibilities: either we are really lucky, in the sense that the observed hierarchies are truly unnatural and have no deeper explanation, or there exist unknown dynamical mechanisms that make these hierarchies perfectly natural.  The latter possibility [environmental selection] is obviously more attractive, although it is hard to tell whether such dynamical explanation will eventually be forthcoming.  Environmental selection, sometimes discussed in terms of the ‘anthropic principle’, has received renewed attention since the discovery of the dark energy.  The basic idea is undeniably true [sic]: if our observable Universe is only a tiny patch of a much larger ‘multiverse’ with a wide variety of local environments, there is a selection effect due to the fact that life can only arise in those regions that are hospitable to the existence of life.  Of course, to give this tautology any explanatory relevance, it is necessary to imagine that such a multiverse exists.
Carroll’s brief digression into the properties of a multiverse, one that might yield our universe with its finely-tuned cosmological constant, ends in despair: “At present, then, there is no reliable environmental explanation for the observed value of the cosmological constant.“  Moreover, “other attempts to use anthropic reasoning seem to lead to predictions that are in wild disagreement with observations.”  But that does not mean the multiverse proposal has been falsified, he says, whether or not it is falsifiable.  Yet if we cannot observe something or test it, and if we cannot falsify it – if it is an appeal to a mystery world that someone finds “attractive” – then have we not abandoned the goals of science?
More importantly, limitations in our current ability to calculate expectation values in the multiverse are not evidence that there is no truth to the idea itself.  If we eventually decide that environmental selection plays no important role in explaining the observed parameters of nature, it will be because we come to believe that the parameters we measure locally are also characteristic of regions beyond our horizon, not because the very concept of the multiverse is aesthetically unacceptable or somehow a betrayal of the Enlightenment project of understanding nature through reason and evidence.
But then, how could one know that the observed parameters hold true for regions beyond our horizon, or whether those regions even exist?  How does this differ from appeals to angels and demons or any other unseen entity as a proxy for observable effects?  “The ideas discussed here involve the invocation of multiple inaccessible domains within an ultra-large-scale multiverse,” Carroll admits.  “For good reason, the reliance on the properties of unobservable regions and the difficulty in falsifying such ideas make scientists reluctant to grant them an explanatory role.”  He also admits that extrapolating our parameters into unseen realms is just as untestable.  Maybe the multiverse concept will be testable some day; for now, it is not.
    We are back to definitions.  What is natural?  Is our universe natural?  Is our cosmology natural?  Can science even claim that a “natural” explanation is better than an unnatural one?  It all seems in the eye of the beholder:
Naturalness is an ambiguous guide in the quest to understand our Universe better.  The observation that a situation seems unnatural within a certain theoretical context does not carry anything like the force of an actual contradiction between theory and experiment.  And despite our best efforts, naturalness is something that is hard to quantify objectively.
Carroll ends with appeals to the future, in effect saying that we are a long way from coming back to where we started and understanding it for the first time.
The ultimate goal is undoubtedly ambitious: to construct a theory that has definite consequences for the structure of the multiverse, such that this structure provides an explanation for how the observed features of our local domain can arise naturally, and that the same theory makes predictions that can be directly tested through laboratory experiments and astrophysical observations.  To claim success in this programme, we will need to extend our theoretical understanding of cosmology and quantum gravity considerably, both to make testable predictions and to verify that some sort of multiverse picture really is a necessary consequence of these ideas.  Only further investigation will allow us to tell whether such a programme represents laudable aspiration or misguided hubris.

1Not to be confused with Sean B. Carroll (molecular biologist at U of Wisconsin-Madison) and several other scientists named Sean Carroll.
2Sean M. Carroll, “Is our universe natural?”, Nature 440, 1132-1136 (27 April 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature04804.
This article is filled with fodder for philosophers of science, historians of science, and theologians.  Modern cosmology has followed the Enlightenment dream, only to end up in the middle of nowhere, bankrupt.  The attempt to naturalize everything has pushed them out of scientific bounds; they have no equations, no predictions, no falsification criteria, no confirming data, and no reason to continue the quest other than that they find “natural” explanations more “attractive.”  This basically admits that naturalism, as opposed to theism, is only a preference.  Carroll cannot even explain what natural means; he debunks the word as ambiguous and unquantifiable in one paragraph, only to hope, a few sentences later, that science will some day find a natural explanation.  Substitute a nonsense word for natural in those sentences, to see that this makes scientific naturalism a meaningless and futile quest.
    This paper arms the intelligent design movement in the current fight over the definition of science.  The Darwinists and other materialists insist that the rules of science require only naturalistic explanations, regardless of one’s personal religious beliefs.  But if scientific naturalists cannot even define what natural means, they have no case for insisting on that rule.  Why should materialistic cosmologists be permitted to speculate about unobservable entities beyond the reach of observation and testability, and get their speculations published in Nature, without competition?  And, why could not a theistic cosmologist turn a meaningless word to his advantage, and call intelligent design a “natural” explanation?
    For the most part, Carroll wrote thoughtfully and perceptively, except for one thing: he totally ignored theism as an option.  He is like Robert Jastrow’s mountain climber, scrambling over the last highest peak, only to find a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.  Yet he doesn’t even bother to say Howdy.  Instead, he walks over to them and tries to describe them with equations, and puzzles about how they emerged by a natural process.  As he does this, one of the theologians taps on his head and says, “Hello?  Anybody home?” yet Carroll continues, now trying to naturalize the pain he feels in his skull.
    You have to feel sorry for the Enlightenment secular scientist.  Granted a fair measure of success explaining physical phenomena by natural causes, he has attempted to extrapolate this programme to all the universe, only to find, as with Gödel’s theorem, it cannot be done from within: one cannot prove the consistency of a system from within the system.  Extending the system into a hypothetical “natural” multiverse does nothing to change the predicament.  Naturalism has led to a self-refuting absurdity.
    Whenever a path of inquiry leads to absurdity, it may be a clue all right, but a clue that real understanding lies elsewhere.  Accelerating on the wrong road only accelerates lostness.  Progress may require a new direction, even backtracking.  By analogy, though naturalism may have done well explaining the operation of the car, it cannot justify the direction it is traveling.  A futile insistence on naturalism is like the stubborn driver with “misguided hubris” insisting he doesn’t need to stop for directions, though he may be an excellent mechanic.
    To complete T. S. Eliot’s circuit – to arrive back from where you started and to understand it for the first time – consider taking a fresh look at an old, musty book on the home coffee table.  It just might, after all you’ve learned, seem remarkably perceptive and insightful – you know, that book that begins, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”*  Maybe it’s no coincidence that most of your fellow sentient beings have found that explanation, without the long detour, perfectly natural.
Next headline on:  CosmologyPhysicsIntelligent DesignBible and Theology
*If you continue reading to the end of the book, you will learn about a startling and hopeful consequence of its opening premise: we are not stuck with the Universe we have.
See Comet Crumble    05/10/2006  
A comet is breaking up before our eyes.  Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 has split into dozens of pieces and is crumbling quickly, like pieces of dried meringue.  Science News tells about the breakup, and it made Astronomy Picture of the Day.  The Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes are also documenting the event.
    This is not the first crumbling comet seen, nor the first breakup of this particular one; but it illustrates that comets are transitory features of the solar system.  Based on information from the Stardust (03/14/2006) and Deep Impact (09/07/2005) missions, we know that at least some comets – perhaps most – have very low density and are easily disrupted.  On May 11, Astronomy Picture of the Day posted a stunning photo of a conjunction of a comet fragment, a spiral galaxy, and the Ring Nebula.
Like Humpty Dumpty, a comet is more easily broken than put together as it makes its great fall toward the sun.  This destructive process cannot be maintained for long.  See Mark Looy’s AiG article on why this provides evidence that the solar system cannot be nearly as old as believed.  Claims of long age must invoke ad hoc scenarios involving unobserved sources of new material to replenish what we see disappearing before our eyes.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemDating Methods
Escape to Reality: Turn Off the Video Games    05/10/2006  
Visitation at national parks has declined significantly, reports University of Illinois at Chicago, correlated with rising use of video games and home entertainment.  “My concern is that young people are simply not going outdoors or to natural areas,” said a biology professor at the school, “but are instead playing video games, going on the Internet or watching movies.” 
Kids need vigorous physical activity and fresh air, the wholesome food of healthy living, instead of the processed junk food of artificial reality.  We all do.  Get outdoors and see the real world; escape to reality.  Let the Creation Safaris Photo Gallery inspire you.  Then turn off the computer and go take a hike.
    Though the researchers measured national park attendance, we should remember that national parks are mere artificial boundaries put around particularly interesting parts of creation.  Don’t feel you have to pay the $20 entrance fee to experience the benefits of outdoor activity.  Many of the most striking pictures in the gallery were taken outside the national parks.
Next headline on:  Health
Mt. St. Helens Performs Fast Rock    05/10/2006  
Before reading the caption, look at the picture of this football-field size mountain of rock at Astronomy Picture of the Day and guess how old it is.  The answer: about five months.  The smooth rock slab with its cornice tip has grown as much as a meter a day.  The caption contains links to more information about the phenomenon.
Someone should date that rock with radiometric methods and find out how many millions of years old it is.  Since there are no fossils in it, it must be Precambrian.
Next headline on:  GeologyDating Methods
Book: Darwin Centurions Join Forces Against ID Visigoths    05/09/2006  
A new book attacking intelligent design has chapters by most of the big names in evolutionary thought: Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, and others.  An introduction to the book Intelligent Thought: Science vs. the Intelligent Design Movement (ed. John Brockman, Vintage Press, May 2006), with a synopsis of each chapter, is available at The Edge.  The upshot is: materialistic Darwinism is the only scientific approach to origins, and the “bizarre” claims of “fundamentalists” with “beliefs consistent with those of the Middle Ages” must be opposed.  “The Visigoths are at the gates” of science, chanting that schools must teach the controversy, “when in actuality there is no debate, no controversy.”  You get the flavor of this book.
OK, time for Battle of the Blurbs.  If they can summarize the points of each essay in a sentence or two, we can summarize some quick responses.  With apologies to Illustra, we’ll call this “Unmasking the Blustery of Lie.”
  • Fool’s goal:  In the introduction, John Brockman is chagrined; he supposes Europeans must think Americans are “collective fools” for trying to “redefine science to include the supernatural,” right here in the 21st century.  Well, America leads, not follows, least of all the Europeans, who are busy committing mass suicide (see WND).  Since everyone is someone else’s weirdo, we’ll return the compliment and call it a draw.  Now, anything of substance you want to say, Mr. Brockman?
  • Inferior science:  Jerry Coyne argues that “Not only is ID markedly inferior to Darwinism at explaining and understanding nature but in many ways it does not even fulfill the requirements of a scientific theory.”  And Darwinism does?  Describe for us in detail, Jerry, how Tinker Bell (01/13/2006, 09/22/2005) created endless forms most beautiful (06/29/2005) through the mystical process of speciation you wrote about (07/30/2004).  While you’re at it, tell us your feelings about the vicious atheism of your friend Dawkins (04/23/2003).  Are you claiming that science is what Darwinian science does?  Or would you allow that scientific explanations must invoke causes appropriate to their observed effects?  While puzzling over that, we’d like to hear about your peppered moth flipflop again (07/05/2002, 06/25/2004).
  • The Good Fight:  Susskind tries to find the hidden agenda of ID.  He suspects it is “to discredit the legitimate scientific community” so as to “inconvenience if one is trying to ignore global warming, or build unworkable missile-defense systems, or construct multibillion-dollar lasers in the unlikely hope of initiating practicable nuclear fusion.”  Now, who brought politics into a discussion about science?  Is Susskind revealing that Darwinists are political leftists?  If he likes debate and dissent so much, why not debate Darwinism, then?  This red herring has nothing to do with intelligent design, and is flimsy sidestep for someone who may be missing something fundamental himself (see 08/13/2002 and 12/18/2005).  No fair misusing Biblical phrases, Lenny; St. Paul’s idea of a good fight was completely different than yours, and you would be one of the mythmakers he warned about. (II Timothy 4).
  • Hoax Blokes:  Daniel Dennett, in his essay “The Hoax of Intelligent Design and How it Was Perpetrated,” agrees evolution hasn’t explained everything, but “intelligent design hasn’t yet tried to explain anything at all.”  This from a man who hasn’t yet realized that his Darwinian “universal acid” eats through everything, even his own rationality.  He cannot invoke rationality without plagiarizing theism.  So at least he is consistent; he employs irrationality, including the big lie.
  • Natural creationism and other brain teasers:  Nicholas Humphrey makes the bizarre argument that since belief in special creation leads to “biologically fitter lives,” it must have evolved.  “Thus one of the particular ways in which consciousness could have won out in evolution by natural selection could have been precisely by encouraging us to believe that we have not evolved by natural selection,” he says.  If he really believed this line of argument, he would abandon natural selection and embrace special creation, to increase his fitness, so that he could pass on his selfish genes, which are just using him by playing tricks on his mind to believe things that aren’t true.  There must be a point in here, somewhere.  Could Humphrey explain why this argument is not invertible, or how he could ever know anything? (see self-refuting fallacy).
  • And now... the evidence:  Tim White is at the bat to give us “Human evolution: the evidence.”  He says, “A denial of evolution – however motivated – is a denial of evidence, a retreat from reason to ignorance.”  Thank you for that unsolicited and mistargeted sermon.  Now, the evidence please?  Strike one (03/28/2003), two (06/11/2003), three (09/24/2004)... yer out.
  • Fish-o-pod Transition:  Neil Shubin is pictured smug with arms akimbo, looking ready to take on challengers to his prize catch, the fish-o-pod (see 04/06/2006).  He got an extended excerpt included in this book review.  It includes the argument from bad design (dysteology), his favorite just-so story about Great Transformations, and why his find was the biggest thing in paleontological history.  One concession he makes is that mudskippers are not evolving into tetrapods – but his reason is circular; you have to believe evolution to consider it evidence.  Is Shubin as convincing as he makes himself out to be?  See Brad Harrub’s response on Apologetics Press.
  • Intelligent Aliens?  Richard Dawkins is slain in the spirit of natural selection: “an idea whose plausibility and power hits you between the eyes with a stunning force, once you understand it in all its elegant simplicity.”  Let’s see; the fit survive, survivors are the fittest, therefore survivors survive.  Gosh, Dr. Dawkins, you’re right; I’m dumbfounded.  (See evolution songs verse 2).
  • Darwin rejected design, so we should, too:  Frank Sulloway puts his trust in the word of Charlie: “The more extensive his reexamination became, the more he realized that the theory of intelligent design, which gave creationism its scientific legitimacy, was overwhelmingly contradicted by the available evidence.”  And what was the evidence?  Simply put, God wouldn’t have made the world this way.  Since this would require knowing the mind of God, it is a religious argument and therefore should not be taught in public school.
  • From chance to absolutes:  It must be a fun read to see Scott Atran explain how “Nothing indicates that people who believe that life arose by chance also believe that morality is haphazard.”  That isn’t so obvious to historians of communism and Nazism.  If morality is not haphazard, what is directing the undirected process?  Could not replaying the tape end up with opposite moralities?
  • Pinko ethics:  Steven Pinker continues the morality play: “An evolutionary understanding of the human condition, far from being incompatible with a moral sense, can explain why we have one.”  But if your moral sense outrages mine, who wins, if not the one deemed the fittest? (i.e., the side that wins through raw exercise of power).  Maybe Pinker should listen to some of his auditory cheesecake and ponder Michael Balter’s wisdom, “Some of the things that make life most worth living are not biological adaptations” (see 11/12/2004).
  • Darwin all the way down:  Lee Smolin is not surprised that Bible-believers reject evolution, but asks this “disturbing” question: “Why do so many non-fundamentalist theologians and religious leaders have no trouble incorporating Darwin into their worldview?”  Why, indeed.  Maybe they need to study the issues.  His line “all the way down” reminds us of a story... (see turtle cosmology).
  • Self-organizing contradictions:  Stuart Kauffman, a prophet of self-organization, sweeps away centuries of probability theory by saying it doesn’t apply to the biosphere.  That’s right, if one believes in Tinker Bell who can make all your Darwinian dreams come true.  Has Kauffman changed his mind since debating Phillip Johnson? (11/20/2001).
  • Thus saith Lloyd:  Seth Lloyd gives us the deep thought of the day: “The universe is scientific.”  Apparently people are not, and “In societies where government or religion has tried to replace it with ideologically inspired fictions, scientists and nonscientists alike have resisted.”  Please explain the difference with Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot who tried Darwin-inspired ideologies – and when resistance was futile.
  • CBA: Cute (blasphemous) acronyms:  Lisa Randall flippantly remarks, “We don’t have an intelligent designer (ID), we have a bungling consistent evolver (BCE).  Or maybe an adaptive changer (AC).  In fact, what we have in the most economical interpretation is, of course, evolution.”  Sorry, religious arguments are not allowed, remember?  You’re a scientism-ist.
  • Parental guidance:  Marc D. Hauser asks a fair question: “What counts as a controversy must be delineated with care, as we want students to distinguish between scientific challenges and sociopolitical ones.”  Agreed.  Many have argued that Darwinism was symptomatic of economic and sociopolitical currents in Victorian Britain, drunk on the idea of progress during the Industrial Revolution and pinnacle of the British Empire.  Can we move on?  Now, let’s talk about scientific challenges like irreducible complexity, and other issues appropriate for the Information Age.
  • Wonder as I wander:  Scott Sampson rhapsodizes, “Rather than removing meaning from life, an evolutionary perspective can and should fill us with a sense of wonder at the rich sequence of natural systems that gave us birth and continues to sustain us.”  Then why did your comrade Steven Weinberg say, “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless”?  What’s your point?  What is a point?  A point in this context is a vector, with magnitude and direction.  Darwinian evolution, though, is supposed to be undirected.  Tell us about the natural selection of wonder and its survival value, and where these things are pointing (if not a heat death).  No fair borrowing from the Psalms.
The Darwin Party faithful are holing themselves up in their castle, shielded from debate, sending out their diatribes like cannonballs, hoping the Visigoths will just go away.  The ID party, by contrast, welcomes debate and discussion and invites their opponents to a parley (notice how their book Darwin, Design and Public Education included thoughtful chapters by critics).
    The ID Visigoths feel somewhat puzzled by the savage label applied to them.  They feel quite cultured (some even enjoy Mozart: see ID the Future), and count among their chieftains many esteemed scientists like Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell and many others.  On the contrary, some of the tactics of their enemies seem barbaric.  All the Visigoths demand is that the Darwinians lay down their arms, confess their war crimes, and discuss truth with reason and civility.  (Good luck, heh heh.*)
Next headline on:  Darwinism and Evolutionary TheoryIntelligent DesignEducation
*If truth, reason and civility evolve, they have no validity.  On these terms, therefore, as long as the Visigoths insist both sides play by the rules, the Darwinians must capitulate without a fight, having no recourse – and there will peace in our time.  But if the Darwinians force a battle on their terms, it’s all about power and survival of the fittest.  Things could get ugly.  The first item of business, therefore, should be to agree on whose rules will prevail.
Fitness Costs What?  Say That Again?   05/09/2006    
Good news: evolution has figured out how to make your wounds heal faster.  Bad news: the required mutation makes you go deaf.
    Believe it or not, that is the story told on News@Nature.  “Deafness gene has health benefit,” wrote Alison Abbott.  “Protein from genetic mutation helps wounds to heal.”  The article treats this as a good thing, the way evolution works:
A high frequency of mutation in any gene implies that there may be an evolutionary benefit for carriers.  “It is well known that various genetic mutations that cause sickness in particular geographical areas sometimes also protect against local diseases, so there is a trade-off,” says [David] Kelsell.
The article compared this with another oft-cited “beneficial” mutation – another good-news, bad-news joke, that if you get the mutation for sickle-cell anemia, you become more resistant to malaria.  Pick your poison.
    Kelsell says ”it’s speculation, but maybe the Cx26 deafness mutations have been selected owing to their beneficial effects on wounds.”  But then, how could the deaf winners tell each other the good news?
Darwinists, come back when you can figure out how to get the benefits without the trade-offs.  Your price is too high.  We’ll take the slower healing and keep the ears.
Next headline on: Darwinism and Evolutionary TheoryDumb Ideas
Q: Who Fights With Supercharged Harpoons?  A: Jellyfish   05/08/2006    
Weak, transparent, limp, and drifting in the water – who would have thought these creatures possess one of the most powerful weapons in the animal kingdom?  Jellyfish and hydras have stinging cells called nematocysts that fire so fast, no one has been able to catch the action of their microscopic harpoons – till now.
    EurekAlert summarized a study being reported in Current Biology1 by a team that photographed them at 1,430,000 frames per second.  They calculated the cells discharge in 700 nanoseconds (less than a millionth of a second).  The explosive charge is accelerated to 5,410,000 G's in that brief flicker of time.  Even though the weapon weighs a mere billionth of a gram, enough pressure is created in the discharge (15 giga-pascals, the pressure range of some bullets) giving it enough oomph to penetrate even a tough crustacean shell.
    Cnidarians use these weapons for prey capture and defense.  “The researchers propose that the high speed of discharge is caused by the release of energy stored in the stretched configuration of the collagen-polymer of the nematocyst capsule wall,” the review explains.  “This ingenious solution allows the cellular process of vesicle exocytosis to release kinetic energy in the nanosecond range by a powerful molecular spring mechanism.”
1Nuchter et al., “Nanosecond-scale kinetics of nematocyst discharge,” Current Biology, Volume 16, Issue 9, 9 May 2006, Pages R316-R318, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.03.089.
When God gives an animal a technology, he doesn’t do it halfway.  (Evolutionists would have us believe jellyfish figured this out on their own, but this particular article mentioned nothing about evolution.)  Another amazing fact is that some sea slugs called nudibranchs are able to ingest these nematocysts without setting them off, and line their backs with the borrowed technology.  Figure that one out by slow, gradual, evolutionary processes.
Next headline on: Marine LifeAmazing Facts
The Porridge Before the Soup: Too Hot?    05/08/2006  
In the evolutionary theory of everything, there is a soup before the primordial soup we normally think of.  It’s the solar nebula, the whirling disk of dust, gas and ice that preceded the planets.  Scientists used to think the nebula was differentiated like chemicals in a giant centrifuge, with the rocks close to the sun and the ices out near the perimeter.  The situation was apparently not so simple; now, it appears someone stirred the porridge.  Cometary material and interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) once thought pristine show signs of mixing and heating.
    This revision is discussed by Bernard Marty (geochemist, France) in Science.1  He discusses how fractionation ratios of oxygen and nitrogen “vary dramatically across the solar system.”  The models are having to adjust to the new findings.  No longer a slowly cooling and condensing nebula, the picture needs a solar flare here or there, UV photons of the right energies to dissociate some isotopes but not others, etc.: “On a larger scale, such isotope variations among different solar system objects do not define a single relationship, suggesting that different paths or processes may have occurred.”  Some oxygen isotopic enrichments are 300% and even 6000% above normal.  “We still don’t know much about the infancy of our solar system,” Marty said, pointing to the future: “and there is little doubt that tremendous advances in our understanding of this period will arise from the combination of high-precision microanalysis of extraterrestrial matter and of missions returning samples to Earth.”

1Bernard Marty, “Planetary Science: The Primordial Porridge,” Science, 5 May 2006: Vol. 312. no. 5774, pp. 706-707, DOI: 10.1126/science.1125967.
OK, so now will they go back and revise all the textbook illustrations, slide sets, posters, planetarium shows, and TV programs to reflect the fact that all the models were wrong, and we really don’t know what happened in some past eons?  No way; it would stir the pot and put the heat on too much for public consumption.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemOrigin of LifeDating MethodsPhysics
Doctors Deny Darwin   05/05/2006    
Doctors and medical professionals may comprise the largest block of scientists with qualms about evolution.  According to a Finkelstein poll, an average of 60% of doctors, depending on religious demographics, reject the completely unguided Darwinian evolutionary explanation for life.  A new organization, Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity (PSSI), has begun a website Doctors Doubting Darwin where medical professionals are invited to sign the following statement:
As medical doctors we are skeptical of the claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the origination and complexity of life and we therefore dissent from Darwinian macroevolution as a viable theory.  This does not imply the endorsement of any alternative theory.
Evolution News had a report on these developments.
    Another doctor raised a strong voice against the fruits of social Darwinism.  Dr. C. Ben Mitchell, writing for Baptist Press, sternly denounced the National Institutes of Health for giving a school $773,000 to “develop guidelines for the use of human subjects in what could be the next frontier in medical technology – genetic enhancement.”  Mitchell says that to all familiar with the horrors of eugenics that led to the Nazi holocaust, and who joined in the chorus “never again,” this is a dangerous development.  After reminding his readers how the original atrocities began with the most benign intentions, he warns, “This grant does not merely cross a moral line in the sand, it uses your tax dollars and mine to demolish a brick wall 10-feet wide, turning it to rubble.  We must protest the use of our tax dollars for genetic enhancement research of any kind.”
How soon we forget.  We must not!  Less than two months ago, Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, President of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), lamented the willing cooperation of doctors and scientists in the Nazi regime:
I must admit that it strikes me as bitter and disturbing that we ... at the DFG can find barely a trace of resistance, no outcry against the exclusion of Jewish scientists and their expulsion from universities, not a murmur against the abuse of agriculture and humanities for the criminal purpose of displacement of nations in Eastern Europe, no questioning of the execution or the purpose of medical experiments.  Rather, the radicalisation of science in the service of the Nazi regime was evidently sanctioned without query.
The ability of educated and otherwise rational people to quickly descend into hideous depths of human depravity for the sake of an ideology was shockingly illustrated in a sobering article by John Kekes in City Journal.  He retold the story of Robespierre, dictator during the Terror of the French Revolution, who rationalized unbelievable acts of human violence, cruelty and debauchery in the name of reason and liberty.  Kekes draws parallels with later ideologues of the Communist era, and today’s terrorists, to warn us that we must never assume such things could never happen again.  This article is a must read.  (The contrast with the American Revolution is most instructive.)
    With radical Darwinists pushing the new eugenics on the one side, and radical Muslims pushing terrorism on the other, this is no time for appeasement or apathy.  Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty – and of life.
Next headline on: Politics and EthicsHealthIntelligent DesignEvolution
Solar Eclipses Unique to Earth, SETI Researcher “Finds”    05/04/2006  
Like many before him, Seth Shostak pondered the significance of total solar eclipses for the one planet with observers to appreciate them.  “OK, I’ve done the math,” the SETI Institute director said for SETI Thursday on Space.com.  “What you always suspected might be true ... is true: namely that the best place in the solar system to see a total solar eclipse is Earth.”
    Shostak appeared briefly in the intelligent-design film The Privileged Planet, which makes a case that the universe and earth are designed for discovery, not only for habitability.  An evolutionist, Shostak was not promoting the premise of the film, but merely pointing out that unless the the earth were very special – miraculous almost – we should expect that other beings like us would inhabit the universe.  Shostak subsequently tried to differentiate the work of SETI from that of intelligent design, however (see 12/03/2005) – a comparison made in another Illustra film, Unlocking the Mystery of Life.  Undoubtedly he has been dogged by questions from listeners about how SETI differs from the principles of design detection promoted by I.D.
    In this article on solar eclipses, however, Shostak’s own research arrived at two similar conclusions stated in the film: (1) solar eclipses have allowed humans to make significant scientific discoveries, such as the detection of helium and confirmation of Einstein’s theory of relativity, and (2) the presence of a moon like ours able to produce eclipses is probably linked to the hability of our planet.  “If tides really do encourage life, then worlds with tides similar to ours are also likely to enjoy total eclipses,” he conjectured.  “Maybe eclipse chasers are a common cosmic breed.”
He came to the same conclusions because the conclusions are scientifically reasonable and based on observational facts.  What is shameful is that Shostak gave no credit for prior research done more thoroughly on this question by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards in the book The Privileged Planet.  He pretends as if he were the first to think of these things.  He obviously knows that he appears in the film, and undoubtedly has watched it and understands its notoriety in the mainstream scientific community.  So we challenge Seth Shostak to come forward and admit that he got his best ideas (that design detection is a scientifically valid reasoning process, and that the earth is designed for discovery) from his predecessors in the intelligent design movement.  Intellectual property demonstrates the ontological character of information.  Acknowledging someone else’s intellectual contribution is the only “ethical” thing to do (and ethics don’t evolve).
Next headline on:  Solar SystemSETIIntelligent Design
Hope for Titan Ocean Evaporates into Ice Desert    05/04/2006  
Saturn’s moon Titan is a desert of sand made of ice grains mixed with hydrocarbons.  These grains form large fields of wind-driven dunes found over much of the planet-sized moon.  “Titan’s Seas Are Sand,” reported a press release from U of Arizona based on a paper in the May 5 issue of Science (see Perspective by Nicholas Lancaster1 and paper by Lorenz et al.2).
    “Until a couple of years ago, scientists thought the dark equatorial regions of Titan might be liquid oceans,” the press release states.  “New radar evidence shows they are seas – but seas of sand dunes like those in the Arabian or Namibian Deserts,” as shown in the “cat scratches” soon detected on radar scan images.  The grains are probably eroded from the water-ice mountains as infrequent downpours of liquid methane roar down the slot canyons onto the plains.
    Another surprise is that a moon this far from the sun could have enough solar energy to produce dune-sculpting winds.  The answer is that Saturn sets up strong enough tides in Titan’s atmosphere to do the work.  Though only on the order of one mile an hour, the winds in the thick atmosphere are able to transport the coffee-ground-size particles into familiar looking linear dunes.
    Today also some exciting visuals came from the Cassini and Huygens teams.  New dramatic animations, based on actual photos, of the descent of the Huygens probe onto the surface (01/15/2005, 01/21/2005) give the viewer a probe-eye view of what it must have been like to ride the craft all the way to the dry lakebed.  Go to: JPL Cassini or U of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Lab.  Our favorite: JPL “Titan Descent Data Movie with Bells and Whistles” (you might want to provide your own blockbuster movie soundtrack to replace the electronic sounds representing the image sequence and signal strength).  For a higher-res version of this information-filled wild ride, see the ESA Huygens site.  For sheer drama and beauty of the descent, with Beethoven music to match, watch movie #3 at the DISR site.  Some versions of the movies add captions and narration and are available in WMV and Quicktime formats, and there are high-res stills also.  The bloggers at Unmanned Spaceflight are impressed.
1Nicholas Lancaster, “Linear Dunes on Titan,” Science, 5 May 2006: Vol. 312. no. 5774, pp. 702 - 703, DOI: 10.1126/science.1126292.
2Lorenz et al., “The Sand Seas of Titan: Cassini RADAR Observations of Longitudinal Dunes,” Science, 5 May 2006: Vol. 312. no. 5774, pp. 724 - 727, DOI: 10.1126/science.1123257.
What an incredible finish to one of the biggest adventures in interplanetary exploration.  The world’s strangest moon, one that long-age scientists were convinced had to be covered with a liquid ocean, is dry.  Despite Titan’s bizarre color, orange you glad Huygens was a smashing success?
Next headline on:  Solar System
Will Genetics Be Neo-Darwinism’s Downfall?   05/04/2006    
The Institute for Creation Research is gearing up for a multi-year GENE project to look for evidence for design (and against evolution) in the genome.  They may not need to work very hard.  Secular scientists, by continuing to find things not all that helpful for neo-Darwinism, are doing yeoman’s work for them.
    While the few pro-evolutionary articles usually focus on mere sources of variation in the genome as fodder for natural selection (such as this Molecular Biology and Evolution paper on retrotransposons), or try to infer phylogeny by molecular comparisons, they usually do not attempt to apply the variations to actual functions except at a trivial level (see 04/06/2006).  Most genetics papers, by contrast, are finding degrees of order, regulation and coordinated action in the cell that challenge gradualistic explanations.  Here are some examples from the past two months:
  • Rapid Gradualism?  New Scientist reported that many human genes must have “evolved recently” – even as recently as within the last 15,000 years.  While some of the 700-odd genes they studied, they claim, appear to have been targets of natural selection after the human line diverged millions of years ago, “some of the newly identified genes fall into categories not previously known to be targets of selection in the human lineage, such as those involved in metabolism of carbohydrates and fatty acids.”  (Ker Than at Live Science took this to mean humans are still evolving.)
  • Transcript ComplexityPLoS Genetics had a special issue about the complexity of the “transcriptome,” the body of all transcribed DNA.  The lead article’s teaser sounds pretty dramatic:
    Besides revealing staggering complexity, analysis of this collection is providing an increasing number of novel mRNA classes, expressed pseudogenes, and bona fide noncoding variants of protein-coding genes.  In addition, new types of regulatory logic have emerged, including sense-antisense mechanisms of RNA regulation.  This high-resolution cDNA collection and its analysis represent an important world resource for discovery, and demonstrate the value of large-scale transcriptome approaches towards understanding genome function.
    After the human genome was deciphered, scientists were puzzled by the seeming small number of genes – about 30,000.  Now, it appears that the exons of genes can be assembled and reassembled in a modular way by alternative gene splicing (09/23/2005), yielding many protein variants from one gene.  Not only that, the DNA “negative” on the opposite (antisense) strand can play a role in regulating the gene.  These articles speak as if a whole new world of complexity is coming to light.
  • Who Regulates the Regulators?  Nature March 23 reported on important pathways that regulate the fate of RNA transcripts of genes.  David Tollervey wrote in the introduction,
    Cells alter their rates of mRNA transcription to change mRNA levels, and so rates of protein synthesis, in response to many stimuli.  To adjust mRNA levels, cells must be able to rapidly get rid of normal mRNAs that were previously synthesized (turnover).  In fact, different mRNAs differ radically in their rates of degradation, and this is subject to both metabolic and developmental regulation.  In addition, cells must guard against the synthesis of abnormal mRNAs (surveillance), which can produce defective, potentially toxic, protein products.
    The mechanisms described in the article, including “go/no-go” checkpoints unveil a higher level of complexity beyond the information contained in the genes themselves.
  • Ring Job:  The copies during cell division must be accurate.  Many protein parts cooperate to ensure high levels of quality control.  Nature reported March 23 on a discovery of a ring that slides along the microtubules in the all-important stage of separation of the paired chromosomes.
  • High Fidelity Proofreading:  Albertson and Preston talked about quality control of the DNA copying process in an article in Current Biology March 23:
    Proofreading is the primary guardian of DNA polymerase fidelity.  New work has revealed that polymerases with intrinsic proofreading activity may cooperate with non-proofreading polymerases to ensure faithful DNA replication.
    This means that some polymerases (copy machines) have better fidelity than others, but they cooperate to ensure a precision product.  A low-fidelity machine might be necessary to get past a bad break, for instance – like when a heftier wrench is needed (09/19/2005).  How good is the system?  Orders of magnitude better than a human copyist:
    Normal cells replicate their DNA with remarkable fidelity, accumulating less than one mutation per genome per cell division.  It is estimated that replicative DNA polymerases make errors approximately once every 104-105 nucleotides polymerized.  Thus, each time a mammalian cell divides approximately 100,000 polymerase errors occur, and these must be corrected at near 100% efficiency to avoid deleterious mutations.  This is accomplished through the combined actions of... exonucleolytic proofreading and post-replication mismatch repair.
  • New Uses for Junk:  “Just because we don’t know what it does, doesn’t mean it’s really junk,” said Christina Cheng of non-coding DNA (U of Illinois) in an interview for Radio Netherlands.  Her work has found that arctic cod produce antifreeze proteins (05/13/2004) from non-gene regions of DNA, “a gene that appears to have evolved [sic] out of this DNA that supposedly serves no purpose.”  Yet “Preserving this rubbish [sic] seems an inefficient use of time and resources.  Evolutionary pressures [sic] should favour creatures with less junk DNA” said author Marnie Chesterton.  “So its conservation may be because it has functions that we don’t yet know.”  Cheng said, “conventional thinking assumes that new genes must come from pre-existing ones because the probability of a random stretch of DNA somehow becoming a functional gene is very low if not nil.” (see online book).
  • No More Mr. Simple Guy:  Embley and Martin in Nature March 30 had some words for those who tell simplistic tales about an ancient prokaryote being co-opted as a mitochondrion in the first primitive eukaryote (see 08/06/2004):
    The idea that some eukaryotes primitively lacked mitochondria and were true intermediates in the prokaryote-to-eukaryote transition was an exciting prospect.  It spawned major advances in understanding anaerobic and parasitic eukaryotes and those with previously overlooked mitochondria.  But the evolutionary gap between prokaryotes and eukaryotes is now deeper, and the nature of the host that acquired the mitochondrion more obscure, than ever before.
  • Modular Programming:  An article in Nature March 30 by 37 European scientists found an exquisite example of modular programming – in yeast.  They even spoke machine language:
    The richness of the data set enabled a de novo characterization of the composition and organization of the cellular machinery.  The ensemble of cellular proteins partitions into 491 complexes, of which 257 are novel, that differentially combine with additional attachment proteins or protein modules to enable a diversification of potential functions.  Support for this modular organization of the proteome comes from integration with available data on expression, localization, function, evolutionary conservation, protein structure and binary interactions.  This study provides the largest collection of physically determined eukaryotic cellular machines so far and a platform for biological data integration and modelling.
    Question is, what evolutionist would want to model 257 novel proteins and 491 complexes, all tightly regulated and “evolutionarily conserved” (i.e., unevolved)?
  • Pas de Deux:  We know that we have two copies of each gene, one from the father and one from the mother, but which copy leads and which follows?  As in marriage, this process is surprisingly complicated.  Spilianakis and Flavell explored this important question in a Perspectives article in Science April 14.  They showed how the dance involves the help of many servants:
    The genetic information of higher organisms is encoded in DNA that is not randomly dispersed within the cell nucleus, but is organized with nucleoproteins into different kinds of chromatin, the building blocks of the chromosomes.  Each chromosome resides in a specific region of the nucleus when the cell is not undergoing cell division, and usually genes that are actively being expressed loop out from their condensed chromatin territory and localize to a region of transcriptional activity.  These “transcription factory” areas are thus abundant with protein factors that initiate and regulate gene expression.
    The dance gets really wild, but not chaotic, when a gene on one chromosome is regulated by factors on another chromosome.
  • The Parallel Universe of RNA:  The title of this article in PNAS hints at previously-unknown complexity: “Short blocks from the noncoding parts of the human genome have instances within nearly all known genes and relate to biological processes.”  This article was discussed in more detail here 04/27; see also the 09/08/2005 entry.
  • Guardian Spirits:  In today’s Nature (May 4), Paul Megee titled an article, “Molecular biology: Chromosome guardians on duty.”  He begins, “Curiously, in cell division the proper separation of chromosomes into daughter cells needs set periods when they are stuck together.  So how do they come apart at the right time and place?  Their ‘guardian spirits’ intercede.”  Reminding the reader of the importance of high fidelity in cell division, he discusses work by Japanese scientists who “describe how proteins known as shugoshins – Japanese for ‘guardian spirits’ – and an associated regulatory enzyme temporally and spatially control the removal of cohesins from chromosomes.”  Cohesins keep the chromosomes together while they line up on the spindle, but need to be broken at the right time (03/04/2004) in a coordinated way – thanks to their guardian spirits.
These are just samples pouring out of the secular literature on genomics.  Clearly, a great deal more choreographed complexity is being found in the nucleus than Watson and Crick could have imagined when the genetic code first began to be deciphered.  Perhaps creationists will need to do little more than compile and cite.
Darwinists are fond of storytelling with glittering generalities.  When challenged, they retreat into accusations that anything other than 100% pure materialistic Darwinism is religion, not science, and use other shifty-feet tactics.  The answer is to pile on the evidence.  These articles are the tip of a truckload of data-rich, fact-filled laboratory studies that shout design instead of evolution.  Let’s rid secular science of its bad storytelling habit, and let the evidence speak for itself.   The Darwinists are sliding downhill with an avalanche of data racing down against them.  Perhaps a better cartoon of their predicament is to picture Wiley Coyote hanging by his fingers on a cliff.  Jonathan Wells, by debunking the icons of evolution, is like the Road Runner lifting Mr. Coyote’s fingers one at a time, while the genetic evidence is like Tweety Bird simultaneously piling weights on his feet.  Pretty soon he fall down go boom.
Next headline on: GeneticsCell BiologyIntelligent DesignDarwinism
Soviet Cosmonaut No Atheist   05/03/2006    
World Magazine reported a surprise tidbit from history, to set the record straight: the first man in space was no atheist.  According to an urban legend, Yuri Gagarin, who flew a Soviet rocket in 1961, said that he didn’t “see any god up here” in space.  The quote has provided fodder for preachers ever since on the senselessness of atheism.  Alas, poor Yuri; it appears now that he was a believer and never said such a thing.
    According to World, a professor at Russia’s air force academy, Valentin Petrov, claims that Gagarin “was baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church and was a believer whose roots strongly influenced him.”  The source of the spurious story was apparently some kind of game.  Other sources attribute the claim to Nikita Kruschev (see SOS Globe and Free Republic, for example).
Well.  What do you know.  What do you know well?  Maybe you have repeated this story without knowing the facts; we all do that sometimes (email forwarding is one of the most unreliable sources of truth).  It’s nice to know the first man in space was not so dumb as to imagine that if he couldn’t see God in earth orbit, then God must not exist – or to even expect that God would be visible at all.  Not enough details were provided to know precisely what Gagarin did believe, but this can be a lesson for us – in not always trusting (and parroting) claims we hear.  A Google-search on “Yuri Gagarin Valentin Petrov God” will list many additional sources to check.
Next headline on: MediaBible and Theology

Student Entries
The following five articles were submitted by college students as an extra credit assignment.  Welcome the upcoming investigative reporters!

Comparing Preferences for Pain or Gain   05/03/2006    
A group of researchers published in the Journal of Political Economy introduced the idea economic loss and gain incentives are innate, not learned.  To demonstrate this concept, the researchers presented capuchin monkeys two opportunities leading to two different outcomes for the monkey: pain or gain.  The capuchin monkeys had a tendency to choose the opportunity leading to gain.  The report was summarized in Science Daily.1
    This demonstrates loss-averse behavior which is the very basis for economic decisions.  Since the monkeys have not previous had exposure to human economics, this must be instinctual choice, according to the researchers.  The author concludes the article listing the qualifications of the research team and foundation in order to qualify the opinions from the study.


1“New Study Finds Similarities Between Monkey Business and Human Business,” Science Daily.  Source: Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press Journals.
In nature, animals act according to greatest benefit.  For example, when wolves hunt elk, they do not tend to attack those which are strongest and largest.  This is dangerous, and could lead to the escape of the elk, wasted vital energy of the wolves, and even death of the wolves.  So what do researchers observe?  Wolves tend to attack those old, straggling elk; or they attack those males who expended too much energy in mating season.  For what reason?  This is more beneficial to the wolves.
    If choosing a more beneficial option, such as living, eating and breathing, is an economic principle, then even protozoa have economic choice in choosing to eat.  Indeed, this seems to be far more deeply rooted than anticipated!  In fact, ecologists study animal behavior according to an “energy budget.”  This refers to their only having a limited amount of energy to expend when performing various vital activities.  Does this budgeting reflect economic choice?  No.  The animals act according to instinct to increase their own fitness, to survive day to day.  This is not analysis and reasoning.
    Evolutionists see humans as a higher evolutionary form.  Yet for decades the evolution of the human mind, analysis, etc., have presented a major gap to the evolutionary theory.  This study attempts to close this gap by “demonstrating” human reasoning, as put forth in the hypothesis of making economic decisions, is innate to animals in a lower form.  But this cannot be so.  Mankind is created in the image of God, able to make decisions, able to rule, able to appreciate and marvel at God’s creation.  This is not stated for any other creature.  Man stands alone with his intellectual capacity and reasoning.
—Rebekah E.
Next headline on: MammalsHuman BodyEvolution
Limbed Snakes Initiate Evolutionary Quandary   05/03/2006    
Researchers have discovered the fossil of a snake with a pelvis and functioning legs in Rio Negro, Argentina.  Sebastian Apesteguía (Argentine Museum of Natural Science) says Najash rionegrina is not the oldest snake discovered; marine snakes have been discovered in North America as well as Eastern Europe.  However, Najash rionegrina has been considered the earliest limbed snake found in terrestrial sediment.  According to Nicholas Bakalar (National Geographic News):1,2
Early snakes, the theory’s supporters say, are closely related to scolecophidians, a living group of primitive land snakes that still have vestigial pelvic regions.  But proponents of a watery origin believe that snakes most likely evolved from extinct marine reptiles called mosasaurs, powerful swimmers that spent their entire lives in the ocean.  “Snakes probably evolved during the Jurassic—150 million years ago,” Apesteguía said, “but there are no fossils.”  During the early Cretaceous—120 million years ago—they exploded [into] several forms, including some terrestrial like Najash, “...and some aquatic.  The fossil record shows that terrestrial and aquatic snakes both existed by the mid-Cretaceous—about 95 million years ago—leaving researchers unsure about which type evolved first.”  The question, Apesteguía said, is, “Which is more primitive, the terrestrial Najash or the most primitive water snakes, a group called pachyophids?”  He points to evidence that marine snakes are less primitive: Their skull bones suggest that they could expand their mouths to ingest larger prey—a characteristic of modern snakes.  The marine snakes, Apesteguía concludes, “are ancient versions of modern snakes, not really primitive.”

1“Snakes Evolved on Land, New Fossil Find Suggests,” National Geographic News, Accessed April 23, 2006.
2“Snake Ancestors Lost Limbs on Land, Study Says,” National Geographic News, Accessed April 23, 2006.
It is not a surprise that evolutionists cannot decide between an aquatic or terrestrial origin for snakes.  Although researchers have realized that marine and land snakes existed at the same time, they have only accepted this coexistence to an extent.  In fact, Sebastian Apesteguía has stated that the evidence of transition fossils does not exist.  As a result, Apesteguía and other researchers, including Hassum Zaher (University of Sao Paulo in Brazil), are uncertain about the position of either species on the evolutionary chain.  Zaher suggested that limbed snakes are related to pythons and boas and not marine snakes.  This conflicts with Apesteguía’s allusion to an aquatic origin.  The discovery of Najash will only rekindled the flame of controversy as evolutionists attempt to avoid another kink in their chain.
—Courtney N.
Next headline on: FossilsTerrestrial ZoologyEvolution
Can We Not Perform Similar Functions?   05/03/2006    
Researchers from King’s College London claim their data evidences the “Human [thyroid] gland probably evolved from gills.”1  According to speculation, gills were internalized as the thyroid gland when marine life evolved into land animals.  The possibility for this comes from the similar functions of gills and of the gland: both act as calcium level controls.  The gills act to pump calcium into the body.  The thyroid gland secretes parathyroid hormone when calcium levels drop, causing bone stores to release calcium.  Therefore, researchers had a basis for their work, a “reasonable” pursuit in their evolutionary mindset, according to Professor Graham.  Further support included positioning of the gills vs. the thyroid gland: in the human neck, and near the head of the fish.
    The researchers compared the gills of zebra fish with those found in various mammals.  They found the tissues development from pharyngeal pouch endoderm, an early embryonic tissue.  The tissues also express two similar genes related to development, Gcm-2, and to functioning as a gland, expressing a gene for parathyroid hormone.  This evidence suggests, the article ends, humans do have a sort of gill after all.  “[It’s] still sitting in our throats,” finished Dr. Graham.
1“Human Thyroid Gland Probably Evolved From Gills,” Science Daily. Science Daily, posted: December 7, 2004.
The information in this article is presented with an evolutionary mindset.  All creatures come from common ancestors; therefore similarities seem to indicate homology.  The thyroid gland evolved from a marine organism’s gills, as fish came first, then mammals.  Functions of the “higher organisms” somehow relate to those of “lower organisms”.  Creationists assume that organisms have similar genes due to performing certain similar functions.  Evolutionary explanations employ circular reasoning: “These animals came from common ancestry.  Why?  Because they have similar functions.”  Why do they have similar functions?  “Because they share common ancestry.”  The creationist is compelled to ask, “Should God make his creation obscure, unrelated, and unconnected, so as to be incomprehensible to the observer?”  So as to disprove evolution, should God have made every single creature with its very own oxidative pathways, tissues, and building blocks of life (i.e. nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids)?
    In I Corinthians 14, Paul reprimanded the Corinthians for their disorderly worship services, stating, “God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”  What implications does this have upon his beloved creation?  How then should we interpret what is seen?
—Rebekah E.
Next headline on: Human BodyEvolution
Tiktaalik: Evolution’s Newest Link in the Chain   05/03/2006    
Researchers have recently discovered a fossil on Ellesmere Island, located in the Canadian Arctic.  The creature is characteristic of tetrapods, four-legged organisms, and possesses a flattened body, fins, scales, ribs, and a neck.  James Owen (National Geographic News1) considers the species, Tiktaalik roseae, to be the connection between aquatic and land animals and prehistoric predecessor of the human population:
Researchers say the fish shows how fins on freshwater species first began transforming into limbs some 380 million years ago.  The change was a huge evolutionary step that opened the way for vertebrates—animals with backbones—to emerge from the water.  “This animal represents the transition from water to land—the part of history that includes ourselves,” said paleontologist Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago.  Tiktaalik could become an icon of evolution in action, write paleontologists Per Ahlberg of Sweden’s Uppsala University and Jennifer A. Clack of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in an accompanying commentary.  The paleontologists say the new fish form goes a long way toward filling the evolutionary gap between fish and the earliest amphibians.  “Our remote ancestors were large, flattish, predatory fishes,” they write.  “Strong limblike pectoral fins enabled them to haul themselves out of the water.”  Evolutionary scientists agree that all four-limbed land vertebrates, including dinosaurs and mammals, are descended from lobe-fins, a group of primitive fishes with fins suggesting limbs.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)

1James Owen, “Fossil Fish With ‘Limbs’ Is Missing Link, Study Says,” National Geographic News. 04/05/2006.
Shubin et al., “The pectoral fin of Tiktaalik roseae and the origin of the tetrapod limb,” Nature 440, 764-771 (6 April 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature04637.
John Roach, “Fins to Limbs: New Fossil Gives Evolution Insight,” National Geographic News, 04/01/2004.
“Newly Found Species Fills Evolutionary Gap Between Fish And Land Animals,” Science Daily, 04/06/2006.
Tiktaalik roseae is an important discovery for scientists and media alike.  However, evidence for a transition from water to land does not authenticate the so-called link between humans and their aquatic associates.  “The previously unknown creature is the closest known fish ancestor of land vertebrates,” said Shubin.  If researchers are so confident with Tiktaalik’s ability to hoist itself onto land and evolve into a land-dwelling organism, why have we discovered so few fossils that prove the existence of missing links and their transitions from water to land?  Ted Daeschler (Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia) said, “The transition wasn’t all or nothing.  It’s not that some animals were thrown on land.  There were certainly other functions intermediate.”  What exactly were those functions?  Also, how were the functions intermediate determined based upon evidence of fossils that have not been discovered?  How can researchers allude to the existence of numerous transitional species with a lack of data necessary to substantiate their conclusions?  Perhaps, we should answer these questions before we hoist ourselves onto the idea of human-fish relations.
– Courtney N.
Next headline on: EvolutionFossils
Fish Forsakes Fins in Favor of Arms   05/06/2006    
A crucial fossil palaeontologists are hailing as a true “missing link” in the evolutionary record has been uncovered in the arctic.  The discovery of a well preserved species of fossil fish bridges the gap between finned fish and their four legged relatives.  This croco-fish creature, documented in Nature,1 named Tiktaalik roseae has joints in its front arms and can prop itself up like a crocodile, yet has the jaw and balancing fins of a more primitive fish.  The front fins are well on their way to becoming limbs, having the internal skeletal structure of an arm, including elbows and wrists, but with fins instead of fingers.  It seems as if we have “caught” a transition in the act.  Much of the weakness of the evolutionary theory rests on these gaps that are unaccounted for with fossil records; but at last, one such transformation is right before our eyes.  The creature would represent an evolutionary window about 380 - 360 million years ago, about the time it took sea dwelling fish to differentiate into land dwelling critters.  A remark by one palaeontologist perhaps steals some of the croco-fish’s thunder when he says, “Tiktaalik was probably an unwieldy swimmer, probably living in shallow waters, only hauling itself on land temporarily to escape predators.”

1Daeschler, Edward B., Shubin, Neil H., Jenkins, Farish A. Jr., “A Devonian tetrapod-like fish and the evolution of the tetrapod body plan,” Nature, April 6, 2006: Vol. 440, p. 757-763, DOI: 10.1038/nature04639.
Shubin, Neil H., Daeschler, Edward B., Jenkins, Farish A. Jr., “The pectoral fin of Tiktaalik roseae and the origin of the tetrapod limb,” Nature, April 6, 2006: Vol. 440, p. 764-771, DOI: 10.1038/nature04637.
Why did fish, competent swimmers that they were, develop arms and legs and walk away?  This poses just a few questions to say the least.  Everyone seems to be in agreement that the fish would not immediately develop a sophisticated method of land locomotion and would thus remain rather ungainly on land for at least a few million years or so before the mechanism was refined.  Why then, would a creature at home in the sea forsake the very medium that sustained it, and venture out on land to become, pardon the pun, a true fish out of water?  As ungainly as they may have been in the water they would have been even more so out of the water, therefore how is this to be considered favorable?  Natural Selection, Darwin’s brainchild would seem to weed out these unfavorable mutations as opposed to propagating them.  Easy for us to come in a posteriori and tie the loose ends together; but to be completely honest, the fish did not decide it would be beneficial to walk on land and then determine to sprout arms.  I thought the Lamarckian ideas were thrown out years ago? How then do these undertones manage to still get incorporated into modern thought?
Lydia Bye
Next headline on: EvolutionFossils
Editor’s note:  Each of these student reporters expressed satisfaction and personal rewards at taking part in this exercise.  We hope more young people will exercise their skills in evaluating evidence and parsing scientific claims in the media.
The Evolution of Slapstick    05/02/2006  
Some Darwinists think they have figured out the origin of laughter.  When our ape-like ancestors started walking, they found it awkward and often tripped over their feet.  Bystanding apes apparently found this humorous for some reason, and thus slapstick comedy was born.  The Times Online found this story good for some one-liners.
How can this be?  Humor and happiness has no intrinsic meaning in Darwinian thinking.  It’s all about selfishness and survival (cartoon).
Next headline on:  DarwinismEarly ManDumb Ideas
Molecular Clock Keeps Wild Time   05/02/2006    
Evolutionists used to hope that the mutation rates in genes were relatively constant, so that they could provide a kind of “molecular clock” for inferring dates of divergence of ancestral species.  The first bad news was that not all molecular clocks tick at the same rate (rate heterogeneity).  Then they hoped that rate differences corresponded to body size, because there appeared to be such a trend among vertebrates.  The second bad news now comes out; according to an international team publishing in PNAS,1 rate variation does not scale with body size:
The existence of a universal molecular clock has been called into question by observations that substitution rates vary widely between lineages.  However, increasing empirical evidence for the systematic effects of different life history traits on the rate of molecular evolution has raised hopes that rate variation may be predictable, potentially allowing the “correction” of the molecular clock.  One such example is the body size trend observed in vertebrates; smaller species tend to have faster rates of molecular evolution....
    Phylogenetic comparative methods were used to investigate a relationship between average body size and substitution rate at both interspecies and interfamily comparison levels.  We demonstrate significant rate variation in all phyla and most genes examined, implying a strict molecular clock cannot be assumed for the Metazoa.  Furthermore, we find no evidence of any influence of body size on invertebrate substitution rates.  We conclude that the vertebrate body size effect is a special case, which cannot be simply extrapolated to the rest of the animal kingdom.
  (Emphasis added in all quotes.)

1Thomas et al., “Evolution: There is no universal molecular clock for invertebrates, but rate variation does not scale with body size,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print May 1, 2006; Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.0510251103.
Though disappointing to Darwinists, this will in no way affect their theories, because Darwinism does not rely on empirical evidence for support.  Evidence is just a nice thing to have when available.  Darwinism is more like entertainment; the show must go on.  Should non-Darwinists call this entertainment a comedy, or a tragedy?
Next headline on: Dating MethodsGenetics
What Use Is Half a Wing?    05/01/2006  
Ken Dial is at it again, trying to explain bird flight from the ground up with his own version of a Darwinian story (see 01/16/2003).  The title of his paper in BioScience1 harks back to an old criticism of Darwin’s theory: “What use is half a wing?”  Well, half a wing could be a half a stabilizer is the new answer.  Outstretched proto-wings, according to Dial’s WAIR theory (Wing-Assisted Incline Running) helps chukar partridges keep their balance when running up slopes, presumably escaping predators who might otherwise interrupt their ability to pass on their genes.  Maybe this provides insight into the development of full powered flight in the dim past:
As a rebuttal to Darwin’s (1859) explanation of the origin and diversification of life, St. George Jackson Mivart (1871) posed a challenge: “What use is half a wing?”  With this simple question, Mivart challenged Darwin to explain the adaptive role of intermediate forms within an evolutionary continuum, prompting Darwin to expand on the concept of functional shifts within structural continuity (Gould 1985).  This concept of transitional functional and structural stages is the basis for exaptation, an integral component of modern evolutionary theory (Gould and Vrba 1982).  A response to Mivart’s question is that if the wing of a flying bird is a product of small, gradual structural changes, these transitional forms must have had some function during the evolution [sic] of powered flight.
Discussing the ground-up (cursorial) theory and tree-down (arboreal) theory, Dial finds fault with both.  Watching partridge chicks run up ramps, his team measured the advantage of stubby wings in helping them maintain stability:
The most significant finding from this body of work is that developing ground birds employ their incipient wings, adorned with symmetrical feathers, to execute brief bouts of aerial flight (dorsoventral flapping) and to enhance hindlimb traction (anteroposterior flapping) as they negotiate threedimensional terrestrial environments....
Thus, not only does the ontogeny of WAIR demonstrate functionally adaptive intermediate stages or steps, it demonstrates an adaptive continuum between featherless forelimbs, protowings with symmetrical feathers, and derived wings with asymmetrical feathers and a complex wing stroke.
As for the arboreal theory, Dial notes that there are no intermediates between gliders and flappers.  But on the other wing, “there are no known contemporary analogs of cursorial bipeds that use their forelimbs to run faster, to run and glide, or to swipe at or capture prey, assumptions proposed among various cursorial hypotheses.”  He says that this debate presents a false dichotomy: “both hypotheses fail to provide the functional and incremental adaptive stages of forelimb evolution necessary to achieve the fully developed flapping mechanics observed among extant species...”  So he came up with his WAIR hypothesis independently, yet it shares advantages of both positions.  “The WAIR hypothesis is a testable and inclusive approach to explain the evolution of avian flight,” he crows, “and it appears to resolve the impasse created from a strict cursorial or arboreal position.”  Not only that, his approach provides a model for explaining transitional forms in the fossil record: identifying analogs among extant forms.
Ascribing functional explanations to transitional forms without integrating the wealth of corroborating evidence from other subjects (life history, behavior, development, ecology, and the physical sciences) will only lead to endless “just so stories” about the history of life.
    We suggest that incipiently feathered forelimbs of small, bipedal protobirds may have provided the same locomotor advantages for inclined running as are present in extant birds.  Whether sprinting across an obstacle-filled terrain or up inclined or even vertical surfaces, whether being chased or chasing, an animal capable of employing WAIR experiences improved hindlimb traction.  What appear to be partially developed wings of recently discovered theropod dinosaurs [sic] (e.g., Caudipteryx, Sinosauropteryx, Protarchaeopteryx, Rahonavis, Unenlagia, and others) have confused scientists: Were these wings used for running faster, for gliding, for protecting eggs and young in the nest, or for catching food, or were they simply vestiges of once functional wings?  In a protobird [sic], WAIR-like behavior could have represented an intermediate stage in the development of flight-capable, aerodynamic wings.
The transition is thus explained: aerodynamic forces on the outstretched “half wings” increase hindlimb traction; and short vertical movements.  Rudimentary aerial ascent and controlled descent, as observed with modern partridge chicks, might have taken off into powered flight in gradual stages.  Therefore, “ontogenetic transformation observed in juvenile species exhibiting WAIR is a plausible behavioral and morphological pathway of adaptive incremental stages that might have been exhibited by the lineage of feathered, maniraptoran dinosaurs attaining powered flight,” he claims.  But with Dial’s frequent use of words like might, could and may have, how this differs from a just-so story might be a matter of debate itself.
    See also the Science Daily summary of this paper, with picture of Dial holding a chukar partridge.
1Ken Dial et al., “What Use Is Half a Wing in the Ecology and Evolution of Birds?” BioScience, Volume 56, Number 5, May 2006, pp. 437-445(9).
Same dumb ideas, and same criticisms three years ago still apply (see 12/22/2003).  All this shows is that evolutionists remain touchy about the criticisms of just-so storytelling leveled at them, and are trying desperately to clear this bad reputation.  Don’t be distracted by the charts, graphs, diagrams and drawings in the paper; these all pertain to living, flying birds – not dinosaurs.  And don’t be distracted by the highfalutin-sounding term “Wing-assisted inclined running” as if inventing a phrase is going to make a case.  This is like the joke about the teenager being told by his doctor his lethargy is simple laziness, to which he responds, “now give me the scientific name so I can tell my parents.”
    The mark of just-so storytelling is coming up with a hand-waving explanation that cannot be tested.  That is still the essence of Dial’s hypothesis despite his protests to the contrary.  Sweep away the scientific mumbo-jumbo and visual aids, and the jargon, because it is an irrelevant display of bluffing.  Forget the references to so-called feathered dinosaurs, because there were contemporary modern birds of these that already had powered flight, so the maniraptorans could not have been transitional forms.  Forget also the references to chicks of modern birds, because they already have the genetic information for powered flight; he cannot work backwards from the evolved to the unevolved.  And erase Dial’s own bravado about how much better his hypothesis is than others.
    Instead, imagine the Geico gecko trying to evolve powered flight by running up inclines with its forearms stretched out.  A few moment’s visualization will do wonders to put this matter to rest.  There are so many vital, interconnected, required morphological changes that would be required for the Geico gecko to do more than leap a few inches off the ground, it is inconceivable that there would be enough lucky mutations able to converge on turning his descendents into Woody Woodpecker, let alone the Road Runner.  Cartoonists might be able to draw the transitional forms, but evolution needs to wait for mutations, almost all of which are harmful or neutral.  Feathers, lungs, bone changes, flight software – how many thousands of beneficial mutations do you want to wait for?  They all have to arrive simultaneously.  And does WAIR explain flight in insects, pterosaurs and bats?  Like Wiley Coyote forever behind the Road Runner, Ken Dial remains far behind his prey, an evolutionary explanation for flight.
    Except for a brief hand-wave to future research needed in homeobox genes and evo-devo, Dial’s explanation is completely lacking in a genetic mechanism for attaining the required information for powered flight.  Rather, it has all the characteristics of a Lamarckian story: the giraffe needed a long neck to reach the leaves, and the gecko needed WAIR to escape the predator.  Presumably, the gecko already had defenses that worked just fine; “What say, mate, like, we just set and chat about a better way to settle our differences, hey?  How would you like to save a lot of money on your car insurance?”
    Ken Dial’s only achievement was to exhibit Darwinist sensitivity to charges of storytelling, and to point out that all the other evolutionary explanations don’t work.  For that, his funny pages will get a good chuckle from creationists.
Next headline on:  BirdsDinosaursDarwinian EvolutionDumb Ideas


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“Thank God for ... Creation Evolution Headlines.  This site is right at the cutting edge in the debate over bio-origins and is crucial in working to undermine the deceived mindset of naturalism.  The arguments presented are unassailable (all articles having first been thoroughly ‘baloney detected’) and the narrative always lands just on the right side of the layman’s comprehension limits... Very highly recommended to all, especially, of course, to those who have never thought to question the ‘fact’ of evolution.”
(a business owner in Somerset, UK)

“I continue to note the difference between the dismal derogations of the darwinite devotees, opposed to the openness and humor of rigorous, follow-the-evidence scientists on the Truth side.  Keep up the great work.”
(a math/science teacher with M.A. in anthropology)

“Your material is clearly among the best I have ever read on evolution problems!  I hope a book is in the works!”
(a biology prof in Ohio)

“I have enjoyed reading the sardonic apologetics on the Creation/Evolution Headlines section of your web site.  Keep up the good work!”
(an IT business owner in California)

“Your commentaries ... are always delightful.”
(president of a Canadian creation group)

“I’m pleased to see... your amazing work on the ‘Headlines’.”
(secretary of a creation society in the UK)

“We appreciate all you do at crev.info.”
(a publisher of creation and ID materials)

“I was grateful for creationsafaris.com for help with baloney detecting.  I had read about the fish-o-pod and wanted to see what you thought.  Your comments were helpful and encouraged me that my own ‘baloney detecting’ skill are improving.  I also enjoyed reading your reaction to the article on evolution teachers doing battle with students.... I will ask my girls to read your comments on the proper way to question their teachers.”
(a home-schooling mom)

“I just want to express how dissapointed [sic] I am in your website.  Instead of being objective, the website is entirely one sided, favoring creationism over evolution, as if the two are contradictory.... Did man and simien [sic] evovlve [sic] at random from a common ancestor?  Or did God guide this evolution?  I don’t know.  But all things, including the laws of nature, originate from God.... To deny evolution is to deny God’s creation.  To embrace evolution is to not only embrace his creation, but to better appreciate it.”
(a student in Saginaw, Michigan)

“I immensely enjoy reading the Creation-Evolution Headlines.  The way you use words exposes the bankruptcy of the evolutionary worldview.”
(a student at Northern Michigan U)

“...standing O for crev.info.”
(a database programmer in California)

“Just wanted to say that I am thrilled to have found your website!  Although I regularly visit numerous creation/evolution sites, I’ve found that many of them do not stay current with relative information.  I love the almost daily updates to your ‘headlines’ section.  I’ve since made it my browser home page, and have recommended it to several of my friends.  Absolutely great site!”
(a network engineer in Florida)

“After I heard about Creation-Evolution Headlines, it soon became my favorite Evolution resource site on the web.  I visit several times a day cause I can’t wait for the next update.  That’s pathetic, I know ... but not nearly as pathetic as Evolution, something you make completely obvious with your snappy, intelligent commentary on scientific current events.  It should be a textbook for science classrooms around the country.  You rock!”
(an editor in Tennessee)

“One of the highlights of my day is checking your latest CreationSafaris creation-evolution news listing!  Thanks so much for your great work -- and your wonderful humor.”
(a pastor in Virginia)

“Thanks!!!  Your material is absolutely awesome.  I’ll be using it in our Adult Sunday School class.”
(a pastor in Wisconsin)

“Love your site & read it daily.”
(a family physician in Texas)

“I set it [crev.info] up as my homepage.  That way I am less likely to miss some really interesting events.... I really appreciate what you are doing with Creation-Evolution Headlines.  I tell everybody I think might be interested, to check it out.”
(a systems analyst in Tennessee)

“I would like to thank you for your service from which I stand to benefit a lot.”
(a Swiss astrophysicist)

“I enjoy very much reading your materials.”
(a law professor in Portugal)

“Thanks for your time and thanks for all the work on the site.  It has been a valuable resource for me.”
(a medical student in Kansas)

“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)

“I just completed reading each entry from each month.  I found your site about 6 months ago and as soon as I understood the format, I just started at the very first entry 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)

“I read your pages on a daily basis and I would like to let you know that your hard work has been a great help in increasing my knowledge and growing in my faith.  Besides the huge variety of scientific disciplines covered, I also enormously enjoy your great sense of humor and your creativity in wording your thoughts, which make reading your website even more enjoyable.”
(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 we’ve 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 clear thinking!
(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 – THANK YOU – THANK YOU – SO MUCH.”
(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)

“I am an ardent reader of your site.  I applaud your efforts and pass on your website to all I talk to.  I have recently given your web site info 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 that’s been going on. Now, I’m 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 they’ve 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)

“I’m a small town newspaper editor in southwest Wyoming.  We’re pretty isolated, and finding your site was a great as finding a gold mine.  I read it daily, and if there’s nothing new, I re-read everything.  I follow links.  I read the Scientist of the Month.  It’s the best site I’ve 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 topic and within a week I was yelling, ‘my whole life’s education has been a lie!!!’  I’ve 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...I’ve 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, I’ve found it.  2. You have balanced fun with this topic.  This is hugely valuable!  Smug Christianity is ugly, and I don’t 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.  That’s why I was more than happy to mention it in the local paper.... I mentioned your site as the place where..... ‘Every Darwin-cheering news article is reviewed on that site from an ID perspective.  Then the huge holes of the evolution theory are exposed, and the bad science is shredded to bits, using real science.’”
(a project manager in New Jersey)

“I’ve been reading your site almost daily for about three years.  I have never been more convinced of the truthfulness of Scripture and the faithfulness of God.”
(a systems administrator and homeschooling father in Colorado)

“I use the internet a lot to catch up on news back home and also to read up on the creation-evolution controversy, one of my favourite topics.  Your site is always my first port of call for the latest news and views and I really appreciate the work you put into keeping it up to date and all the helpful links you provide.  You are a beacon of light for anyone who wants to hear frank, honest conclusions instead of the usual diluted garbage we are spoon-fed by the media.... Keep up the good work and know that you’re changing lives.
(a teacher in Spain)

“I am grateful to you for your site and look forward to reading new stories.... I particularly value it for being up to date with what is going on.”
(from the Isle of Wight, UK)

“[Creation-Evolution Headlines] is the place to go for late-breaking news [on origins]; it has the most information and the quickest turnaround.  It’s incredible – I don’t know how you do it.  I can’t believe all the articles you find.  God bless you!”
(a radio producer in Riverside, CA)

“Just thought I let you know how much I enjoy reading your ‘Headlines’ section.  I really appreciate how you are keeping your ear to the ground in so many different areas.  It seems that there is almost no scientific discipline that has been unaffected by Darwin’s Folly.”
(a programmer in aerospace from Gardena, CA)

“I enjoy reading the comments on news articles on your site very much.  It is incredible how much refuse is being published in several scientific fields regarding evolution.  It is good to notice that the efforts of true scientists have an increasing influence at schools, but also in the media.... May God bless your efforts and open the eyes of the blinded evolutionists and the general public that are being deceived by pseudo-scientists.... I enjoy the site very much 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 07/10/2005 commentary)

“I found your site several months ago and within weeks had gone through your entire archives....  I check in several times a day for further 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 given me the confidence to stand up for what I believe.  I always felt there was more to the story, and your articles have given me the tools to read through the hype....  You are an invaluable help and I commend your efforts.  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 can’t stop reading it....  I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story.  If the evolutionists’ blindness wasn’t 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, I’m 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 materialist for over a year now.  Evolution is just one of 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 don’t 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 that’s 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 Awareness Center)

“Hey Friends, 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 daily—archives 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, I’ve 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?  Isn’t 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)

“I’ve had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for 18 months now, and I can truthfully say that it’s 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.  I’m 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 humor).”
(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 I’m not being presumptuous in suspecting the existence of contributions from a ‘Truth Underground’ comprised of dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers.  If that’s 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)

“I’m from Quebec, Canada.  I have studied in ‘pure sciences’ and after in actuarial mathematics.  I’m visiting this site 3-4 times in a week.  I’m 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.  OUTSTANDING JOB!!!!”
(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.  It’s great to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the ‘prestigious’ science journals.”
(a biology student in Illinois)

“I’ve been checking in for a long time but thought I’d 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.”
(anonymous)
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.  I’m 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 light.”
(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 reader’s interest.”
(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.  I’m a Christian that is interested in science (I’m 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 I’ve 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)

“I’ve 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 don’t 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 insight.”
(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)

“It’s like ‘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 it’s 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 conclusion.”
(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 informative.”
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)

“I still 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 see–very much.  I really appreciate a decent, calm and scholarly approach to the whole issue... Thanks ... for this fabulous endeavor–it’s superb!”

“It is refreshing to read your comments.  You have a knack to get to the heart of the matter.”
(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 Baloney Detector.”
(a scientist).

“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.)

“WOW.  Unbelievable.... My question is, do you sleep? ... I’m utterly impressed by your page which represents untold amounts of time and energy as well as your faith.”
(a mountain man in Alaska).

“Just 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 visit your site often – daily when possible – to gain the latest information to use in my speaking engagements.  I’ll 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 May

Leonardo da Vinci
1452 - 1519

Our scientist for May has gotten some undeserved notoriety lately, with the movie based on Dan Brown’s egregious fictional novel The Da Vinci Code coming out this month.  Was Leonardo a member of a secret society that tried to protect an alternative view of Jesus?  Was he a gnostic and feminist?  Did he paint Mary Magdalene instead of John in The Last Supper?  Leonardo da Vinci himself would most likely have been appalled at these suggestions.
    It’s sad to have to open a biography of a great man by defending him against character assassination.  Fortunately, a cottage industry has sprung up to debunk the foolish ideas and historical blunders in The Da Vinci Code. In a moment, some links to some of these, but consider one blunder Brown makes that undercuts his whole story: the identity of the so-called Priory of Sion.  Brown claims it is a “fact” that this organization existed in the 11th century; in actual fact, it was a hoax concocted by Pierre Plantard and Andre Bonhomme in 1956.  In no way, therefore, could Leonardo da Vinci or Isaac Newton or any of the other famous personages could have been involved with it or its supposed secrets about Jesus.
    Although there are some excellent evangelical Christian books and documentaries responding to The Da Vinci Code, if one prefers secular sources, there have already been several documentaries on TV, such as on The History Channel, debunking it; check also this detailed Wikipedia entry, and a whole website Priori-of-Sion.com dedicated to exposing its myths.  Liberal Bible historian Bart D. Ehrman, no friend of conservative Christianity (and a man willing to give credence to Gnostic writings), has also written a book-length critique.
    Watch for several Christian books and TV programs coming out this month to correspond with the movie opening, such as Lee Strobel’s book and documentary, and others by Paul Meier, Hank Hanegraaf, D. James Kennedy and others.  Dr. James Dobson had a panel on his Focus on the Family radio program sharing details of the errors in Dan Brown’s absurd story.  Brown may have written a clever work of fiction, and the movie may shine like a shooting star briefly, but with the wealth of scholarly, critical responses out there, no one has any excuse to believe its phony history.
    Before getting more into the life of Leonardo, two specific slanders about him from the book should be dispensed with.  One was that he painted Mary Magdalene into The Last Supper, because the person supposed to be John looks effeminate or androgynous.  This page on Priory-of-Sion.com compares the work with other art of the Renaissance, showing it was common practice to depict John as beardless, young and gentle (but certainly a man, not Mary).  There is no basis for the claim Leonardo painted a secret message in the piece.  Brown’s claim amounts to a slander of one of the world’s greatest artworks, and takes attention away from its powerful depiction of the Savior, whom Leonardo regarded with the highest reverence.
    Another slander is that Leonardo was a “flamboyant homosexual.”  Again, this has no basis in history.  It is libelous to consider a man homosexual based on marital status; would all bachelors allow such an implication?  Leonardo was an artist of the first order.  He painted all kinds of characters in various situations in Renaissance styles.  He was also a scientist and keen observer of nature; that is why he studied anatomy so as to present his characters as realistically as possible.  He did not get along with his contemporary Michelangelo, the more likely homosexual.  There is evidence that this myth about Leonardo’s sexuality was promulgated by Sigmund Freud.  Here is what Jack Meadows says in The Great Scientists:

....both Morelli and Freud took up seemingly marginal clues from which they could construct a plausible case... Earlier, in 1910, from a single sentence in the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, he [Freud] had suggested that the artist had been over-mothered in childhood and turned into a homosexual.  Unfortunately, in 1923 it was shown that Freud’s analysis turned on a German translator’s false rendering of the Italian word for a child’s kite as a vulture.  Nor were art historians convinced by Freud’s analysis on Michelangelo.

Meadows continues by saying that these studies were “very influential” even when based on a mistranslation.    It’s easy but unfair to use innuendo against historical heroes who are no longer present to defend themselves.  Let’s give Leonardo the benefit of the doubt.  His work should speak for itself.
    So who was Leonardo da Vinci?  Without dispute, he was one of the greatest stars of early science, the consummate Renaissance Man, at once a painter and sculptor par excellence, and also a keen observer, inventor and innovator.  He has been called a man ahead of his time.  He produced drawings for flying machines, parachutes, giant crossbows, battle tanks and other devices, indicating his forward-looking mind and faith in the power of man to harness the forces of nature.  He produced detailed sketches of internal anatomy based on his own dissections when those about him trusted the work of Galen.  He studied the proportions of the human body, and gave us enduring art treasures like the Mona Lisa (not, as Brown claims, an androgynous figure, but a painting of a real woman, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo), the Virgin of the Rocks, The Annunciation, St. John the Baptist, and The Last Supper.  Many of his works have Biblical themes.
    The depth and genuineness of his Christian faith is less easy to ascertain.  He was Catholic in a Catholic stronghold.  How much was his artwork a matter of satisfying patrons, or a matter of the soul?  How much did his motivation stem from Christian foundations, compared to the renewal of Classical ideals characteristic of the Renaissance?  It’s hard to say, but one clue from biographer Giorgio Vasari describing his work on The Last Supper is instructive:

He also painted in Milan for the friars of S. Domenic, at S. Maria delle Grazie, a Last Supper, a thing most beautiful and marvelous.  He gave to the heads of the apostles great majesty and beauty, but left that of Christ imperfect, not thinking it possible to give that celestial divinity which is required for the representation of Christ.  The work, finished after this sort, has always been held by the Milanese in the greatest veneration, and by strangers also, because Leonardo imagined, and has succeeded in expressing, the desire that has entered the minds of the apostles to know who is betraying their Master.  So in the face of each one may be seen love, fear, indignation, or grief at not being able to understand the meaning of Christ; and this excites no less astonishment than the obstinate hatred and treachery to be seen in Judas....

Continuing, Vasari has Leonardo explaining his thoughts to the prior of the church:

He added that he still had two heads to do; that of Christ, which he would not seek for in the world, and which he could not hope that his imagination would be able to conceive of such beauty and celestial grace as was fit for the incarnate divinity.  Besides this, that of Judas was wanting, which he was considering, not thinking himself capable of imagining a form to express the face of him who after receiving so many benefits had a soul so evil that he was resolved to betray his Lord and the creator of the world.

This hint shows that Leonardo believed in creation as taught in the Scriptures.  Whether Leonardo was a devout student of theology during his life may be unclear, but Vasari claims it became more important to him later in life:

At last, having become old, he lay ill for many months, and seeing himself near death, he set himself to study the holy Christian religion, and though he could not stand, desired to leave his bed with the help of his friends and servants to receive the Holy Sacrament.  Then the king, who used often and lovingly to visit him, came in, and he, raising himself respectfully to sit up in bed, spoke of his sickness, and how he had offended God and man by not working at his art as he ought.  Then there came a paroxysm, a forerunner of death, and the king raised him and lifted his head to help him and lessen the pain, whereupon his spirit, knowing it could have no greater honor, passed away in the king’s arms in the seventy-fifth year of his age.

Since we have not the firm evidence to indicate Leonardo da Vinci was a Biblical Christian, and the Christian motivation for his achievements is ambiguous, we will not press the point.  It is clear, however, that a Christian world view was no impediment to the work of this inventive genius, and that he did express clear indications of reverence for Jesus Christ, considering him to be no less than the Creator of the world.

See also: Answers in Genesis short article; Notebooks of Leonardo; Gallery of artworks and drawings.


If you are enjoying this series, you can learn more about great Christians in science by reading our online book-in-progress:
The World’s Greatest Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K.
Copies are also available from our online store.

A Concise Guide
to Understanding
Evolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Souder’s Law
Repetition does not establish validity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice from Paul

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

I Timothy 6:20-21

Song of the True Scientist

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

from Psalm 104

Maxwell’s Motivation

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

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

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

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