Creation-Evolution Headlines
December 2006
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“Orthodox atheists may not like it, but the shouts of the evolutionary priesthood may signal the demise of a great secular dream. Besides, the alternative looks pretty good: There’s something appealing about holding science up without casting humanity down.” 
—Nancy Pearcey, commenting on Richard Dawkins’ recent anti-religious rants and advocacy of eugenics, on Pro-Existence 11/23/2006.
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In Science and Politics, Expect the Unexpected    12/29/2006  
Two findings reported this month illustrate how science changes.  Paradigms and policies can have their scientific underpinnings yanked out from under them, causing both consternation and opportunities for new ways of thinking.

  • Bring back the acid rain:  Pick your poison: acid rain or global warming.  Acid rain was the bogeyman of the 1980s, leading to severe cutbacks in sulfur emissions by law.  Now, reported EurekAlert, new studies of streams in Appalachian hardwood forests show an “unexpected result” of the reduction in acid rain: an alarming rise in dissolved carbon dioxide.  The streams are now as pristine as you could get, but that means the plants are now more efficient at respiration and are emitting more CO2.  A Penn State researcher said, “Rising amounts of carbon dioxide in streams and soil could have implications for the forest ecosystem, and the carbon balance in general.”  And what does that imply?  “Higher amounts of carbon dioxide in the soil means more of it ultimately may be emitted back to the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas.”  Maybe the forests need to do their fair share in abiding by the Kyoto Protocol.  Or, maybe some nations will now have an excuse for not cutting back, saying they are emitting less than plants.  See also the report in LiveScience that agrees “less acid rain is not always so great.”
  • Silent mutations get noisy:  “Another dogma in cell biology seems about to be toppled,” reported Science Now last week.  Certain mutations in the DNA translation process were dubbed “silent mutations,” because they didn’t affect the amino acid inserted into the protein.  If a triplet codon with a silent mutation inserts the exact same amino acid, what could possibly be different in the result?  A new discovery by researchers for the USDA hinted that these mutations are not so silent after all.  It turns out that an unexpected triplet codon can slow down the rate of translation.  When this happens, the resulting protein takes slightly longer to form.  This, in turn, can affect its folded shape.  As a result, the protein may act differently, even though it is composed of the same amino acid sequence.
        The researchers found this out when observing that some cancer cells are more effective at pumping out chemotherapy agents.  The protein pump that performed better had a silent mutation that slightly altered its shape.  The news report issued an analogy: “Like designs made with Silly String spraying out at different velocities, the folding of an amino acid chain into a 3D structure is somewhat speed-dependent, and slower production could cause the protein to take an altered final form,” Mary Beckman reported.  “The cell might be able to compensate for one silent mutation but not for multiple rarely used triplets.”  This “entirely new concept” is causing scientists to “start listening to what silent mutations have to say.”
        One possibility is that the “degeneracy” in the genetic code (i.e., the fact that some amino acids can be coded for by up to six different triplet codons) has a function, regulating the rate of protein production or the activity of the resulting protein or enzyme.  As in the case of the cancer cell, environmental pressures may trigger the dominance of one form over another to provide robustness under varying circumstances.
As these examples show, anything from cancer treatment to global environmental policy is subject to change when paradigms shift and assumptions fall.
If we are vulnerable to this much uncertainty about present-day, observable facts of science, how can the Darwinists be so smug that they know how the universe and life began and what dinosaurs were doing 100 million years ago?  The role of assumptions in scientific knowledge cannot be overemphasized.  The only way to be certain about anything is to have an omniscient being who always existed and who made everything tell us.  But that would require faith.  Science is not about faith (see Finagle’s Creed and the rest of the Quick Guide to Evolutionary Theory).
Next headline on:  GeneticsPlantsPolitics and Ethics
  Eighteen reasons to doubt mammal evolution tales, from 05/28/2002.

Cell Zippers, Linemen and Editors Put on a Show    12/28/2006  
The golden age of cell biology continues.  Scientists keep unlocking the secrets of cellular machinery with newer and better techniques.  With the curtain rising on a show we could not previously imagine, played out on a stage so small it took centuries of scientific work to even see it, biochemists are discovering amazing tricks that the little autonomous actors have been performing all along, right inside of us.

  1. Zip me up, road crew:  A press release on EurekAlert pointed to a new paper in Cell1 where researchers found a kind of monorail zipper.  The original paper by Kikkawa and Metlagel actually calls it a “molecular ‘zipper’ for microtubules.”  The EurekAlert article discusses “Roadworks on the motorways of the cell.”  Cellular highways are 3-D monorails that run in all directions and are constantly being formed and recycled.  Composed of protein units of tubulin, they first form into sheets that fold into a tube shape.  That’s where Mal3p comes in.  This little protein zips up the edges of the tube, forming a stable structure that would otherwise unravel easily.  The zipper even forms an alternate trackway for the molecular “trucks” that use the microtubules to deliver goods all over the cell (12/04/2003, 02/25/2003, 07/12/2004).
  2. Mr. Goodwrench, the inchworm:  DNA is tightly compacted in the cell, but needs to be unwound frequently for translation and duplication.  A family of machines called helicases unwind the double helix as part of the process.  Scientists wondered how the machine travels up and down the helix, and have now found that one particular helicase named UvrD both twists and jumps in a two-part power-stroke.  The authors of another paper in Cell2 describe this as a “wrench-and-inchworm” mechanism.  Each step, which traverses one DNA base at a time, requires two ATP fuel pellets.  See also 06/19/2003, 01/05/2006, bullet 9, and 10/27/2005, bullet 3; see 01/19/2005 about an RNA helicase.
  3. Not many typos get past this editor:  Life depends on 20 specialized translators that connect the DNA code to the protein code (see 09/16/2004 for historical background, and 06/09/2003 and its embedded links for conceptual background).  The awkwardly-named “aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases” (AARS for short) are highly specialized to connect the two codes correctly and edit out mistakes before they cause serious trouble.  A paper in PNAS3 discussed one of the ways the AARS for the amino acid phenylalanine works.  For jargon lovers, the model is: “the role of the editing site is to discriminate and properly position noncognate substrate for nucleophilic attack by water.”  To test the model, they tinkered with some of the pieces of the protein machine and watched the editing precision drop dramatically.  The precision of the active site is part of the “translational quality control,” they said (see 12/20/2003, 09/09/2002).
  4. Oxygen can be bad for your health:  We like to breathe in that oxygen, but in the wrong places it can be a poison.  Authors of another paper in PNAS4 found that “oxidized messenger RNA induces translation errors.”  They put the gene for the light-glowing protein luciferin into rabbits (imagine a glowing Bugs Bunny) in both oxidized and non-oxidized forms.  Although the oxidized translation machine stayed intact, the “translation fidelity was significantly reduced.”
How could such precision translation machinery evolve?  A paper in Structure,5 another Cell Press journal, bravely investigated the evolution of the genetic code (see 11/01/2002 for a previous attempt).  They understood the requirement for high fidelity: “This specificity is critical for the accuracy of the genetic code, which has to be maintained to the highest degree to prevent mistranslation, that is, incorporation of the wrong amino acids at specific codons.”  They tried to envision the transition from a hypothetical “RNA world” (07/11/2002) of miscellaneous floating ribozymes to the DNA-mRNA-tRNA-protein system now universally employed in all living things.  That’s no small order.  It requires a good imagination, as their introduction makes clear: 
Since the discovery of ribozymes and the development of the idea of life first emerging from an RNA world (Gilbert, 1986), biologists have struggled to imagine the logical progression of events that led to proteins.  At the same time, regardless of what the imagination can conjure, a connection to reality has to be made.  That, in turn, requires experiments to test specific hypotheses or to provide an opportunity for serendipitous findings.
    To go from RNA to proteins requires the genetic code—triplets of nucleotides representing single amino acids.  The modern code is an algorithm determined by aminoacylation reactions, whereby each of 20 amino acids is linked to its cognate tRNA that bears the anticodon triplet of the code.  The 20 aminoacyl tRNA synthetases (one for each amino acid) that catalyze these reactions are ancient proteins that were present in the last common ancestor of the tree of life (Carter, 1993 and Cusack, 1997).  As the eons passed, the tree split into the three great kingdoms—archaea, bacteria, and eukarya, which encompass all life forms.  Yet, the genetic code remained fixed, with the same 20 aminoacyl tRNA synthetases making the same connections between anticodon triplets and amino acids.  Thus, clues to the history of the transition from the RNA world to proteins might be imbedded in the tRNA synthetases themselves.
The best they could do was to suggest that a few of the aminoacyl-tRNA-synthetases hold hints of a prior RNA-ribozyme ancestry.  Three of them, for instance, perform the editing while gripped to the transfer RNA (tRNA), resembling a “ribonucleprotein” that might have been the successor to the initial ribozymes in the RNA soup.  The words might, may and perhaps were evident in their article, however.  These speculative words looked pretty stark next to the clear evidence of precision in the translating machinery.  The AARS for glutamine, for instance, is able to distinguish between four very similar-looking molecules and pick the right one.  A conformational change in the binding pocket kicks out the interlopers and makes sure the correct amino acid gets attached to the tRNA.  Their conclusion, therefore, seemed to make a giant leap of faith:
Thus, what is reported in this most recent work on GluRS—that a synthetase can use tRNA to direct a conformational change that perfects amino acid specificity, using in part a contact with the tRNA itself—may provide a general mechanism of tRNA-dependent amino acid specificity.  The much bigger implication is that perhaps this functional interaction is a picture or a “holdover” from an earlier era in the evolution of the genetic code.

1Kikkawa and Metlagel, “A molecular ‘zipper’ for microtubules,” Cell, Volume 127, Issue 7, 29 December 2006, Pages 1302-1304.
2Lee and Yang, “UvrD Helicase Unwinds DNA One Base Pair at a Time by a Two-Part Power Stroke,” Cell, Volume 127, Issue 7, 29 December 2006, Pages 1349-1360.
3Ling, Roy and Ibba, “Mechanism of tRNA-dependent editing in translational quality control,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print December 21, 2006, 10.1073/pnas.0606272104.
4Tanaka, Chock and Stadtman, “Oxidized messenger RNA induces translation errors,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print December 26, 2006, 10.1073/pnas.0609737104.
5Schimmel and Yang, “Perfecting the Genetic Code with an RNP Complex,” Structure, Volume 14, Issue 12, December 2006, Pages 1729-1730.
Hope you enjoyed another peek into cellular wonders.  We had to throw in an evolutionary tale just for the sheer contrast of seeing actual scientific investigation into observable machinery operating with high fidelity and quality control juxtaposed against the speculations of certain humans forced by their worldview to imagine that it just happened by chance.  You can see what they’re up against.  Shamelessly, they dove right into fantasyland, using their captive imaginations to portray impossibilities that they believe must have happened because, after all, we’re here, and no other approach than evolution is allowed in the dictatorship of King Charles.  Those of us with liberated minds no longer forced into contradictions can enjoy the non-fiction to the fullest.  We don’t know whether to sigh or chuckle at the fiction the slaves are forced to write.  The evolutionists are right on one point: “regardless of what the imagination can conjure, a connection to reality has to be made.”  We do hope they make it some day.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyGeneticsAmazing Facts
Insects Pester Darwinian Story    12/27/2006  
It’s enough to bug any Darwinian: where did the insects come from?  Here are some problems right off the bat sonar:
  • Insects are fantastically diverse.
  • Insects are among the most successful animals.
  • There are no insect fossils earlier than the Devonian (evolutionary date: 410 million years ago).
  • The earliest segmented body plans appeared in the Cambrian (511 million years ago).
  • There are no marine insects, but the first segmented Cambrian animals were marine organisms.
Now, visualize the following: (1) an insect with six legs, (2) a spider with eight legs, (3) a centipede with 15 to 173 pairs of legs, and (4) a crab with 10 legs, two of which are claws.  Your job is to organize these into an evolutionary story of common descent.  It’s enough to challenge the most committed Darwinist, as the opening to a paper in Science demonstrates:1
Although hexapods--those arthropods having six legs, including insects--are the most diverse group of contemporary animals in terms of biological niches and number of species, their origin is highly debated.  A key problem is the almost complete absence of fossils that connect hexapods to the other major arthropod subphyla, namely Crustacea, Myriapoda (such as centipedes and millipedes), and Chelicerata (such as scorpions and spiders).  Over the years, hexapods (insects, springtails, proturnas, and diplurans) have been phylogenetically linked to all of these major arthropod taxa.
By this, the authors mean evolutionists have attempted to link the insects to all these groups (see also 05/16/2002).  Glenner et al described the latest theory: that insects descended from crustaceans (crabs, lobsters, shrimp, barnacles, etc.), particularly from a group of freshwater branchiopods including fairy shrimp and water fleas.  They based this on molecular studies, Hox gene behavior and the emergence of these ancestors a few million years before the rise of insects in freshwater habitats.  Another piece of circumstantial evidence comes from a real estate boom supposedly taking place throughout the animal kingdom 423 to 416 million years ago:
The successful colonization of the terrestrial environment by hexapods seems to coincide with other major groups of land pioneering animals such as the chelicerates and the myriapods in the Late Silurian and the tetrapods (amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals) in the Late Devonian.  All these events appear to have occurred through a freshwater dwelling phase in their evolutionary transition from marine to true terrestrial animals.  The Devonian is believed to have been a time of severe drought, which might have forced these animals (at least hexapods and tetrapods) onto land as their freshwater habitats vanished.
Their manifest destiny assured, insects invaded all the land, air and fresh water niches the continents could provide.  Sounds neat, but being such successful colonizers, why didn’t they ever return to their marine roots?  Simple; all the rooms were taken:
It has been a puzzle as to why hexapods--in particular insects, which possess a morphology that apparently enables them to adapt to virtually all types of terrestrial environments--have not been able to diversify successfully in the marine environment.  It is likewise remarkable that the crustaceans--fulfilling a biological role in the sea comparable to the insects on land--have not been able to invade land to a greater extent despite their considerable age.  The recent phylogenetic analyses of molecular sequence data suggest a paradigm shift concerning the phylogenetic position of hexapods--that crustaceans successfully invaded land as insects.  It is possible that when insects entered terrestrial habitats, their crustacean ancestors had already diversified in marine environments and occupied all potential niches, which could explain why insects were prevented from colonizing the sea subsequently.
So with no room in Neptune’s Inn, they took whatever they could get in caves, swamps, deserts, forests, lakes, high mountain peaks, and suburban kitchens.  Now the Darwinian story holds together again, with an added benefit: “Most important, however, the new molecular results offer a solution to the enigma concerning the absence of marine hexapod remains in the fossil records prior to the Devonian.”
1Glenner et al, “Evolution: The Origin of Insects,” Science, 22 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5807, pp. 1883-1884, DOI: 10.1126/science.1129844.
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    Stay tuned for the next exciting episodes, The Ghost of Kiwi Past and How Rocky Earned His Sails (12/13/2006).
Next headline on:  DarwinismTerrestrial ZoologyFossils
*Emergence.
  Did you know you have rocks in your head?  See the 10/10/2003 entry.

Incredible Stasis in Evolution: What Does It Mean?    12/26/2006  
Quite often in phylogenetic research, evolutionists find examples of extreme conservation of genes or traits.  How they explain the lack of change is almost as interesting as the phenomenon itself.  Here are two recent examples.

  1. Your cousin the shark:  Surprise: you have more in common with horn sharks than bony fishes do.  Craig Venter’s international team found evidence for “Ancient Noncoding Elements Conserved in the Human Genome” and reported this in Science last week.1  They found more similarities in these noncoding regions between sharks and humans than between sharks and bony fish.  Here’s how they interpreted such an astonishing result:
    Thus, it appears that, even though cartilaginous fishes diverged from the human lineage before teleost fishes, higher proportions of regulatory elements are conserved between cartilaginous fishes and human than between teleost fishes and human.  This implies that the regulatory regions of teleost fishes have been evolving faster since their common ancestor diverged from the lineage that led to mammals.  The divergent regulatory regions in teleosts may be partly explained by the partitioning of regulatory elements between duplicate gene loci that arose from the fish-specific whole-genome duplication event in the ray-finned fish lineage.  Teleost fishes, with about 25,000 extant species, are the largest group of vertebrates and exhibit vast diversity in their morphology and adaptations.  The accelerated rate of evolution of regulatory regions may be an important factor in the rapid radiation and diversity of teleost fishes.
  2. Make like a leaf:  A fossil leaf-mimicking insect said to be 47 million years old is virtually identical to modern ones, reported Mongabay.com.  What this means, according to the article, is that this insect found a “time-tested strategy” to avoid predators.  The article calls this “an outstanding example of morphological and, probably, behavioral stasis.” It means that “leaf mimicry had already evolved early in the Eocene period when insect predators would have included birds, early primates, bats, and other insects.”  See also the story on Live Science.
    Update 12/29/2006: the paper in PNAS appeared online Dec. 29.2  Portions of the abstract demonstrate the degree of stasis of this fossil:
    .... Here we report the first fossil leaf insect, Eophyllium messelensis gen.  et sp.  nov., from 47-million-year-old deposits at Messel in Germany.  The new specimen, a male, is exquisitely preserved and displays the same foliaceous appearance as extant male leaf insects.  Clearly, an advanced form of extant angiosperm leaf mimicry had already evolved early in the Eocene.  We infer that this trait was combined with a special behavior, catalepsy or “adaptive stillness,” enabling Eophyllium to deceive visually oriented predators.  Potential predators reported from the Eocene are birds, early primates, and bats.  The combination of primitive and derived characters revealed by Eophyllium allows the determination of its exact phylogenetic position and illuminates the evolution of leaf mimicry for this insect group.  It provides direct evidence that Phylliinae originated at least 47 Mya.... This fossil leaf insect bears considerable resemblance to extant individuals in size and cryptic morphology, indicating minimal change in 47 million years.  This absence of evolutionary change is an outstanding example of morphological and, probably, behavioral stasis.
    This fossil was found in Europe, while most leaf-mimic insects live today in southeast Asia.  This indicates that leaf insects were much more widespread in the past.  It’s possible that fossil hunters missed finding them before now because the mimics were so good, people mistook them for leaves.
        What traits did the authors feel were primitive?  Their paper tries to place the new fossil between the stick insects and modern leaf mimics, but admits that their origin is “poorly understood” and that “exact phylogenetic position of the Phylliinae within the phasmid phylogeny is unknown”.  It seems arbitrary, therefore, that their chart places the new insect halfway between the stick insects and the leaf insects, considering that the fossil shares many characteristics with extant leaf insects.  They only pointed to “straight fore femora and the absence of tergal thorn pads” as “primitive” traits resembling those of the stick insects; yet, clearly, this fossil was not primitive.  They restated at the end of the paper that this fossil is an example of “exceptional evolutionary stasis of a highly derived morphology, most likely coupled with very specialized cryptic behavior that lasted for [greater than or equal to] 47 million years.”
        As to how exactly this morphology and behavior evolved, they suggested that necessity was the mother of invention: “In all probability,” they speculated, “this advanced type of crypsis evolved in concert with angiosperm leaves on which the insects feed.  It must have been caused by vigorous selection pressure by visually oriented predators” such as birds, lizards, bats and primates. 

1Venkatesh et al, “Ancient Noncoding Elements Conserved in the Human Genome,” Science, 22 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5807, p. 1892, DOI: 10.1126/science.1130708.
2Wedmann, Bradler and Rust, “The first fossil leaf insect: 47 million years of specialized cryptic morphology and behavior,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print December 29, 2006, 10.1073/pnas.0606937104.
Do you see how the evolutionary mindset works?  The thought never enters any evolutionist’s brain that evolutionary theory could be at fault.  No matter how bizarre, conflicting and falsifying the evidence, Darwin’s image must be worshipped and the sacrifices* must continue.  It doesn’t matter that no evolution happens in some lineages for tens or hundreds of millions of years (think about that!) for them to keep the pieces of their story straight, while evolution is extremely, fantastically rapid in other quarters.  In the time tree-swinging monkeys supposedly became philosophers, and all kinds of dramatic other changes took place, leaf-mimicking insects changed nada.  Are we to believe that the predators were all so stupid in this time never to catch on to the trick?  “Don’t eat me; I’m a leaf!”  Right.
    Even more astonishing is the conservation of noncoding elements between sharks and humans.  Evolutionary theory is so plastic and malleable, like silly putty, (12/14/2004), it makes evolutionists downright silly, buddy.  We are asked to believe that all the radiations of fish into seahorses and angler fish and tunas showed more evolution of these elements from their cartilaginous swimming mates than 530 million years of evolution of all the other vertebrates—reptiles, birds, and every mammal from shrews to giraffes to elephants and man.  We are expected to trust the evolutionists because they are priests of Science and know the Truth of Almighty Darwin (t.o.a.d.).  Don’t be a toady.
Next headline on:  Evolutionary TheoryGeneticsTerrestrial ZoologyFossils
*The sacrificial system consists of offering to the idol the live brains of human children.
Danes Found the Keys to Happiness    12/24/2006  
According to the British Medical Journal, reported EurekAlert, British scientists wanted to find out what makes the Danish so darn happy.  “Their hypotheses range from the unlikely (hair colour, genes, food and language) to the more plausible, such as family life, health and a prosperous economy.”  Their conclusion?  Danes are happier than other Europeans because (1) they won a soccer championship in 1992 that has created a feeling of national euphoria ever since, and (2) they have lower expectations for each new year.  “So the key to happiness may lie in the fact that if you lower your expectations enough you might feel a bit better next Christmas, they conclude.”  The morose Finns and Swedes might want to pay attention.
Surely someone is joking.  This story is either a spoof, or some researchers who never took a logic class have way too much time on their hands.   Other nations aren’t happy because of football victories far more recent than 14 years ago.  Lowered expectations don’t bring happiness, either; remember Murphy’s Non-Reciprocal Laws of Expectations? (see 12/14/2006 commentary).  Maybe the Danes just have a higher proportion of jolly nincompoops who just don’t know what’s going on.  If they did, they would be depressed (see this, for instance).      Happiness based on anything material or temporal can be taken away.  And happiness based on lowered expectations is not really happiness.
    There was a high expectation once that did come to pass.  It had been expected for years (Simeon, Anna) and centuries – even millennia (Peter).
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” said Solomon, “but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”  Waiting for the promised Messiah must have seemed hopeless at times to the beleaguered exiles, Hasmoneans, and scattered of the remnant who still read the copies of copies of scrolls of Isaiah and the prophets.
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.
  (Micah).
Looking back more than 2000 years, we can hardly imagine the expectation tinged with doubt of those who, under Roman oppression, longed for redemption.
Till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.
This season, you can have something better than happiness.  You can have joy.  C.S. Lewis described joy as “an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.”  The fact that we have such a desire, Lewis argued, is proof there must be an Object for it (see Probe Ministries exposition by Michael Gleghorn).  Evolution would not produce a desire that universal experience shows is incapable of being satisfied by material things.  Christmas represents the manifestation of the Object of that deepest of universal human desires.  It was the breakthrough of heaven to earth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn...

If you get a football or soccer ball under the tree, it will disintegrate into dust.  The euphoria over a sports event will fade into oblivion.  But 2000 years after the first Christmas, individuals all over the world continue to rejoice:
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room, and heav'n and nature sing.

There is still Joy in this dark old world.  We just need to get the word out to the people who need it most (watch this).  Merry Christmas!
Next headline on:  Dumb IdeasBible and Theology
How Your Brain Conducts Itself at Attention    12/22/2006  
The conductor taps the stand.  All the musicians, who had been warming up or conversing with neighbors, suddenly hush and rivet their attention on the conductor.  The downbeat comes, and a marvel of coordination comes to life, each skilled player contributing to a unified yet diverse exhibition of harmonious sound.
    Something like that occurs in your brain every time you are jolted from distraction to attention by a stimulus.  “Paying attention sets off symphony of cell synchronization,” writes EurekAlert based on work from Northwestern University.  A research team monitored EEG brain scans from subjects.  Here’s how Ken Paller, a co-author of the study, described what happened when the subjects were asked to focus their attention on objects displayed on a computer screen.  “When you need to dig deep to summon that extra ounce of attention,” he said, “it’s as if you engage a symphony of brain activity that can come to your rescue as millions of neurons together make the music that represents a vivid conscious experience.”  That was the grand finale of this short but lively scientific performance.
Symphony: that’s intelligent design language.  Some ID thinkers have compared creation to a living symphony instead of a mechanical clock.  We hope you were paying attention.  If you were, you just got a free concert without the need for headphones.  You may now applaud the Composer (12/11/2006).
Next headline on:  Human BodyAmazing Facts
Plant Pores March to Their Own Beat    12/22/2006  
Plants have pores called stomata that open and close (see 09/13/2006).  These gates of the leaf surface provide plant protection from invaders, and allow the transpiration of gases and water vapor in and out, depending on conditions.  The stomata of many plants open wide during the day to allow in carbon dioxide, but close at night to prevent water loss.  In some plants, the cycle is reversed.
    It had seemed that stomates march together by some kind of signalling system, but a new study shows that they operate independently.  EurekAlert reported that scientists found the “logic” of the stomata function.  Using lasers, they found a couple of interesting things: (1) the opening is triggered by release of a light-sensitive protein called phototropin-1, and (2) it depends on the amount of light reaching the interior of the cell.  Some unknown cell signalling takes place between interior and exterior of the leaf that is only beginning to be understood.
    The bottom line is that the independent operation of these leaf “drawbridges” provides the most efficient means of harvesting sunlight.  Consider the case of one leaf shading half of another.  It wouldn’t make sense for all the stomata to open when only half could use the light.  “The stomata autonomy confers an advantage on the plant, which opens the lighted stoma, while maintains the shaded neighbour closed,” the article explains.  “This behaviour optimises the balance between water loss and CO2 acquisition.”  The researchers found that phototropin-1 sensitivity was just above the threshold in the lighted leaf, but below it in the shaded leaf.
    The press release added that this discovery could stimulate further research into “cellular autonomy and cell signalling of many other light-induced processes.”
Anybody smell Darwin in these comments?  The fresh air of intelligent design “logic” in the operation of living things brings with it a renewed sense of vitality for research.
Next headline on:  PlantsAmazing Facts
Big Dino Found, But How Did it Eat?    12/21/2006  
A few interesting dinosaur stories came to light this month.
  1. I was a Spanish monster:  A new giant sauropod has been found in Spain, reported EurekAlert based on a paper in Science.1  Named Turiasaurus riodevensis by the discoverers, it ranks among the largest of dinosaurs and is the first giant sauropod found in Europe, weighing 40-48 tons (equal to six or seven adult male elephants).  To help modern sports fans visualize the beast, it would have extended the length of an NBA basketball court, EurekAlert said.  National Geographic News added that it had a claw the size of a football.  Must have been quite a half-time show at the Dino Bowl.
        The Science paper described the new sauropod as “primitive” because “The proximal end of the tibia is compressed mediolaterally,” as in other assumed “basal sauropods.”  They classified it into a new clade, Turiasauria.  Most giant sauropods have been found in North and South America and Africa, and belonged to a different clade, Neosauria.  “Turiasaurus however, demonstrates that at least one of the more basal (non-neosauropod) lineages achieved gigantic size independently.”
        An artist’s rendition of the beast can be found on the Reuters story at MSNBC, along with a photograph of the excavators at work.  See also EurekAlert.
  2. Go eat a rock:  You might think only pranksters would feed rocks to ostriches, but that’s what some German scientists did, reported EurekAlert.  They were trying to find out of stomach stones (gastroliths) in large birds and dinosaurs were actually used for grinding up food.  The pieces of granite, rose quartz and limestone from the dissected birds after they were slaughtered showed rough edges and wear.  This is not how alleged gastroliths from sauropod sites look.  Those smooth stones also represent a much smaller proportion of the animals’ bodies and are not found at all sauropod sites.  The scientists are at a loss to explain the stones.  Maybe the dinosaurs ingested them accidentally or absorbed minerals from them.  The scientists are also puzzled about how the behemoths digested the large quantities of vegetable mass they must have eaten each day.
  3. Two mouths are better than one:  At the other end of the size scale, a tiny juvenile dinosaur with two heads was found in China.  BBC News has a picture of the unusual fossil.  Two-headed snakes and turtles are known, but the rarity of the embryonic defect makes this a highly improbable find.  Since both heads had independent long necks, the critter might have been able to hold conversations with itself – not for long, though; its tiny size indicates it died young.
These articles demonstrate that much remains to be known about the amazingly diverse reptiles that once roamed the earth.

1Royo-Torres et al, “A Giant European Dinosaur and a New Sauropod Clade,” Science, 22 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5807, pp. 1925 - 1927, DOI: 10.1126/science.1132885c.
The articles both mentioned evolution but only in an offhand, inconsequential manner.  To think that gigantic sauropods evolved independently is a stretch.  The description “primitive” is in the eye of the phylogenist.  Clearly these were successful, well-adapted creatures that knew more about digestion than we do.
Next headline on:  DinosaursBirds
  What the fossil record is really like, from 05/21/2004.

Human-Ape Gap Quadruples   12/20/2006    
Remember that old truism that humans and chimpanzees share 98.5% of their genes?  Try 94% instead.  That’s a new estimate by Matthew Hahn (Indiana U) and a team who published in a new online journal, PLoS One.1  J.R. Minkel, writing for Scientific American, said “The 6 percent difference is considerably larger than the commonly cited figure of 1.5 percent.”
    Why such a drastic revision?  Hahn says the earlier estimate fails to take into account duplicated genes.  As Minkel explains it assuming evolution,

The new finding supports the idea that evolution may have given humans new genes with new functions that don’t exist in chimps, something researchers had not recognized until recently.  The older value of 1.5 percent is a measure of the difference between equivalent genes in humans and chimps, like a difference in the spelling of the same word in two similar languages.  Based on that figure, experts proposed that humans and chimps have essentially the same genes, but differed in when and where the genes turn on and off.
    The new research takes into account the possibility for multiple copies of genes and that the number of copies can differ between species, even though the gene itself is the same or nearly so.
The stats: “The group estimated that humans have acquired 689 new gene duplicates and lost 86 since diverging from our common ancestor with chimps six million years ago.  Similarly, they reckoned that chimps have lost 729 gene copies that humans still have.
    Minkel and the authors of the paper did not look outside the box of evolution to explain these differences.  A geneticist was quoted as saying, “The paper supports the emerging view that change in gene copy number, via gene duplication or loss, is one of the key mechanisms driving mammalian evolution.”  Exactly how this produces new genes or complex systems was not explained.  Minkel also summarized what evolutionists believe in this line: “Researchers believe that additional copies of the same gene allow evolution to experiment, so to speak, finding new functions for old genes.”  That sentence, along with his earlier line “evolution may have given humans new genes with new functionspersonifies evolution as an intelligent, or semi-intelligent, agent.
    A press release about this new calculation appeared in EurekAlert entitled, “What it means to be human.”  The article did not describe this as a problem for evolution.  On the contrary, it said, “So the question biologists now face is not which measure is correct but rather which sets of differences have been more important in human evolution.”  The problem of statistics was briefly mentioned.  Although claiming that the 1.5% difference remains when comparing the genes base-per-base, the article admitted, “there isn’t a single, standard estimate of variation that incorporates all the ways humans, chimps and other animals can be genetically different from each other.”  Yet accounting for those differences in the time allowed, and understanding how genetic bit changes could have transformed screeches into sonnets, surely cannot be glossed over in answering the question of what it means to be human vs simian.
1Demuth JP, Bie TD, Stajich JE, Cristianini N, Hahn MW (2006) The Evolution of Mammalian Gene Families.  PLoS ONE 1(1): e85. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000085.
There you have it: another bad case of the statistics fallacy.  Genomes are extremely complex entities that are just barely understood.  Depending on what you choose to look at, you can find all kinds of similarities and differences and come up with agenda-driven numbers.  It seems clear that the earlier estimate was motivated by an evolutionary agenda to show how similar we were to the apes.  If this new estimate becomes widely accepted, evolutionists are going to have a terrible time explaining this many genetic changes in “only” six million years.  It’s too late for them to even try, though, now that neo-Darwinism has been falsified (see 12/14/2006 entry).
    We really must help the Darwinian science reporters get over their bad habit of personifying evolution.  It’s so pre-ID.
Next headline on:  Early ManGenetics
Related entries:  08/22/2006, 05/26/2004, 05/25/2004, 10/25/2002, 09/23/2002.
Frozen Storms in Sandstone    12/19/2006  
Impress your friends at the water cooler with this phrase: “hummocky cross-stratification.”  Let’s call this mouthful HCS and talk about it.  It has a story to tell.
    HCS is a kind of geological formation characterized by alternating three-dimensional hummocks (convex up) and swales (convex down).  Discussed in the geological literature since the 1970s, it is generally thought to represent the work of cyclonic storms along continental coastlines at a depth where violent waves sculpt the shallow ocean floor (up to 10m).  Most geological layers are deposited flat.  Level strata might subsequently be deformed or tilted, but HCS is deposited in its hummocky, swaley form.  Additional layers deposited on top produce the cross-bedded signature characteristic of HCS.
    Two Canadian geologists decided to test the storm formation theory.  They performed flume experiments with sand under controlled conditions and published their results in the journal Geology.1  “There is general consensus that both hummocky and swaley cross-stratification form during storms,” they began.  Basically, they confirmed this hypothesis:
Based on these findings, we suggest that hummocky cross-stratification optimally forms above (but near) storm wave base where aggradation rates during storms are high enough to preserve hummocks but unidirectional current speeds are sufficiently low to generate low-angle, isotropic cross-stratification.  Swaley cross-stratification is also hypothesized to be deposited by an aggrading hummocky bed between fair-weather and storm wave base, but in shallower water where aggradation rates are low enough to cause preferential preservation of swales.
The main things their experiments identified were the relative contributions of oscillatory and unidirectional flow rates on the resulting bed forms.  They also wanted to find out if the waves simply scour and drape the sand, or if the bed itself is dynamic.  Using a 15m flume with capabilities for oscillatory and directional flow, they concluded that some or most HCS is generated by “actively aggrading and migrating hummocky bed forms under long period (8-10 s), high oscillatory velocity ... and oscillatory-dominant combined flow” higher than 50 cm/s for the oscillations and less than 10 cm/s for the directional flow.  The directional flow contributes sand to the area of deposition.
1Simon Dumas and R.W.C. Arnott, “Origin of hummocky and swaley cross-stratification— The controlling influence of unidirectional current strength and aggradation rate,” Geology, Volume 34, Issue 12 (December 2006), pp. 10731076, DOI: 10.1130/G22930A.1.
OK, you learned something about a peculiar geological formation, which the authors describe as “enigmatic sedimentary structures.”  So what?  Well, what is interesting is where these are found.  The Grand Canyon has lots of HCS.  You can see a prominent outcropping along the Supai Trail, for instance, up from the springs.  A creation geologist was pointing these out on a hike one day, and said, “What’s unusual about these examples is their size.  These are very large hummocks – much larger than anything that is being formed today.”  It must be remembered that these sedimentary layers exposed in the Grand Canyon extend throughout several Western states and some of them throughout a good portion of North America.  Considering not only their size, but their widespread distribution throughout the canyon, he considered these as uncontrovertible evidence of a flood catastrophe like the world has never seen.  Perhaps so; nobody was there to witness these rocks being laid down, but models can help us evaluate the plausibility of such inferences.  Think about it.  Whatever happened at this point on the Supai Trail, it was certainly not a good day for a beach picnic.
Next headline on:  Geology
Crisis in Comet Formation Theories    12/18/2006  
Results from the Stardust mission last week (12/15/2006) are causing quite a stir.  Detailed analysis of comet dust particles from Comet Wild 2, published in Science Dec 15, reveal the wrong stuff.  Scientists found olivine, pyroxene and osbornite – minerals said to form at high temperatures – instead of the cold volatiles expected for an object from the outer solar system.  According to an article on EurekAlert, the head of the Lawrence Livermore Stardust team, John Bradley, said that osbornite only forms at 3,000 degrees Kelvin.  “If we found it in the comet, then how the heck did it get out there?” he asked.
    It has been textbook orthodoxy for decades that comets contain pristine, unaltered material from the cold outer disk of the solar nebula, and have been preserved in deep freeze since before the planets formed.  Yet “virtually no grains that pre-date the Sun were seen” in the dust, said Joanne Baker in the introductory article to the cover story of Science.1  Michael F. A’Hearn (U of Maryland), principal investigator of last year’s Deep Impact mission, wrote a Perspectives article in the Science cover story.2  He said that “These missions [Stardust and Deep Impact], coupled with recent dynamical studies, have caused a major rethinking of the origin of comets.”  Comets and their interiors can no longer be neatly arranged into groups; they have been mixed up, with stark differences between the comets that have so far been visited by spacecraft.  He said, “we now have clear evidence that this mixing must be taken into account in any theory of our solar system.”  With no indication that he thinks we are near to a solution, he added, “Stardust has certainly brought us plenty of food for thought.”
    Don Burnett (Caltech) summarized the findings in his article in Science,3 noting that the majority of the material is identical to rocks in the inner solar system. 
“The most abundant minerals are the crystalline silicate minerals, olivine and pyroxene, along with troilite (FeS).  These are very stable phases, common in planetary materials; however, finding them here is somewhat surprising because many expected that cometary material would be similar to interstellar material, in which most silicates are believed to be amorphous.
The expected cometary amorphous material was “rare or nonexistent” in the samples analyzed so far.  The abstract to the lead paper in the issue4 by principal investigator Donald Brownlee (U of Washington) et al states,
The Stardust spacecraft collected thousands of particles from comet 81P/Wild 2 and returned them to Earth for laboratory study.  The preliminary examination of these samples shows that the nonvolatile portion of the comet is an unequilibrated assortment of materials that have both presolar and solar system origin.  The comet contains an abundance of silicate grains that are much larger than predictions of interstellar grain models, and many of these are high-temperature minerals that appear to have formed in the inner regions of the solar nebula.  Their presence in a comet proves that the formation of the solar system included mixing on the grandest scales.
The paper on organics5 mentioned that in addition to methylamine and ethylamine, possible glycine was also detected.  To explain the mixture of high-temperature silicates with organics and volatiles, the researchers are trying to imagine ways some of the minerals formed near the hot sun then got transported radially outward for tens of astronomical units.  There has been a hypothesis floating around that bipolar outflows from a young star could launch inner particles to the outer regions of the disk.  This “X-wind” hypothesis would have had to transport particles as large as 20 microns out to beyond the orbit of Neptune, and also explain how the material got incorporated into the comet during its formation (11/20/2002, 10/11/2002), raising as many questions as it answers (03/14/2006).   “It’s shaking up our view of the solar system condensation process,” another of the Livermore Stardust researchers said.  “It’s been pretty intense.  It opens up a whole bunch of new questions.”
    Popular articles on these results can be found online: a press release from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility that helped analyze some of the comet dust, National Geographic, BBC News, and Space.com.  Most of these emphasize the teaser about organics and life which was only briefly mentioned in one of the scientific papers (see 12/15/2006).  The Planetary Society’s report quotes Don Brownlee as saying, “Truthfully, we didn’t expect to find anything from the inner solar system among the Wild 2 samples.”  A press release the from Carnegie Institution mentioned another puzzle: if carbon compounds from the inner solar system were transported out to where the comets formed, “How could such fragile material have survived capture at 6 km/sec collision velocity?”  News@Nature said the findings bring confusion about Solar System modelling.  Science Now was more dramatic, claiming this “hot, crazy start to the solar system” has “thrown the conventional solar system formation hypothesis on its head.”
    Almost all the ten Science articles mentioned that the evidence was inescapable for an inner solar system origin of some of the ingredients.  See also our 03/14/2006 story when this surprise was first mentioned last March.
1Joanne Baker, “Look into the Seeds of Time,” Science 15 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5806, p. 1707, DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5806.1707.
2Michael F. A’Hearn, “Whence Comets?”, Science, 15 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5806, pp. 1708 - 1709, DOI: 10.1126/science.1137083.
3Don S. Burnett, “NASA Returns Rocks from a Comet,” Science, 15 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5806, pp. 1709 - 1710, DOI: 10.1126/science.1137084.
4Brownlee et al, “Comet 81P/Wild 2 Under a Microscope,” Science, 15 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5806, pp. 1711 - 1716, DOI: 10.1126/science.1135840.
5Sandford et al, “Organics Captured from Comet 81P/Wild 2 by the Stardust Spacecraft,” Science, 15 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5806, pp. 1720 - 1724, DOI: 10.1126/science.1135841.
We love planetary scientists, but sometimes they deserve to get rattled for thinking inside the box.  There’s a creation scientist who thought outside the box and predicted things that have now been confirmed from Stardust and Deep Impact.  Read Walt Brown’s theory at CreationScience.com.  It includes a detailed explanation of why the other theories don’t work.  Dr. Brown has a PhD from MIT and taught mathematics and physics at the college level.  His ideas will be too radical for some, but isn’t science supposed to be about making predictions that can be falsified?  Look at the scoreboard and watch the secularists scratching their heads on this one before ruling out the mavericks.  His article is also beneficial for its review of physics and celestial mechanics, and shares many interesting little-known facts about comets often glossed over in the textbooks.
    For millennia, comets were seen as bad omens, striking fear and worry into observers.  It’s amazing how history repeats itself in unusual ways.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemGeologyPhysics
Are Embryonic Stem Cells a Stepping Stone to Eugenics?   12/16/2006    
In Paris, according to Science Dec. 8, “One cherished French institution has attacked another in a bruising battle over embryonic stem cell research.”  The cause of the “Jeremiad” as Science dubbed it, was a Catholic Archbishop’s statement to a French health institute that any research “instrumentalizes the embryo or borders on eugenics.”  The “News of the week” piece by Martin Enserik called these “harsh words” but took encouragement at the end that people who “strictly follow the Church on moral issues” now form a “small minority in France.”
    Moral roadblocks against embryonic stem cell (ES) research are falling elsewhere as well.  The BBC News reported Dec. 6 that Australia just overturned a ban against human cloning for stem cell research by a vote of 82 to 62, despite the objections of the Prime Minister and Labor Leader who made “made impassioned speeches against repealing the ban.”  Prime Minister John Howard appealed to absolutes in his argument: “I think what we’re talking about here is a moral absolute and that is why I cannot support the legislation,” he said.  By contrast, Health Minister Kay Patterson who drafted the bill to repeal the ban appealed to a pragmatic argument.  She said, “This work’s being done in Sweden, England, the United States, in Japan... I didn’t see how we could accept any treatment derived from this in the future if we didn’t allow the research here in Australia.”  She thought the legislation “could be made more liberal” in the future.
    Meanwhile, medical progress using adult stem cells continues.  EurekAlert reported Dec. 14 that scientists are learning more about how adult stem cells maintain their “stemness” or ability to diversify into many different types of cells.  The microenvironment creates a “niche” in which they thrive.
    Earlier, on Nov. 30, EurekAlert reported a dramatic breakthrough using adult stem cells.  “A University of Manchester researcher has developed a treatment for lower back pain using the patient’s own stem cells.”  This new treatment for a very common ailment “could replace the use of strong painkillers or surgery that can cause debilitation, neither of which addresses the underlying cause.”  Instead of just alleviating the symptoms or trying to rig a fix by fusing vertebrae, this new treatment actually rebuilds the damaged tissue with mesenchymal stem cells extracted from bone marrow.  With only a very small incision, the surgeon implants a naturally occurring collagen gel suffused with the stem cells that goes to work on the damaged tissue.  After the arthroscopic implantation, the patient can leave the same day or the next day.  Dr. Stephen Richardson of the University of Manchester won the Nature award for Northwest Young Biotechnologist of the Year for this technique.  Pre-clinical trials may begin in 2007, and “It is expected to rapidly yield a marketable product which will revolutionise treatment of long-term low back pain.”  The article was titled, “One-off treatment to stop back pain — using patients’ own stem cells.
    In another news story, EurekAlert reported that the brain contains stem cells with the capacity for self-repair.  The finding came as a “big surprise,” the article said; “It was not known that the brain has this kind of ability to repair itself.”  This insight “might ultimately have clinical implications for the treatment of brain damage, according to the researchers.”  The discovery adds to findings that stem cells are found throughout the body, not just in embryos.
    The use of adult stem cells carries with it no ethical qualms.  No human embryo is grown only for harvesting its cells.  Nobody has a problem with adult stem cells, and those are already in use for a wide variety of treatments.  So far, embryonic stem cells provide nothing but hope, hype, and empty promises.
1Martin Enserek, “News of the Week, Stem Cell Research: A Season of Generosity ... and Jeremiads,” Science, 8 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5805, p. 1525, DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5805.1525a.
The incorrigible Big Science pragmatists see only riches and fame for themselves in the promise of ES gold.  It matters little to them that adult stem cells are working medical marvels right now.  It matters less to them how immoral it is to create a human life only to harvest its parts.  Moral absolutes?  Bosh; those are forgotten notions from Christian days when people believed Truth and Morals didn’t evolve like everything else.
    Moral barriers are falling fast in the stampede to be first.  The relativists add insult to injury by turning the blame onto those with ethical concerns.  They accuse them of using “harsh words” when bringing up the E word eugenics.  The criticism assumes a moral standard of harshness.  Such hypocrisy warns us that the pro-ES crowd has abandoned all consistency and morality in the rush for ES research.  They laugh all the way to the bank that only a small minority in France follow the Church on moral issues these days.  Ten thousand amoral Frenchmen, of course, could never be wrong.
Next headline on:  HealthPolitics and Ethics
Animal Plan IT    12/15/2006  
Imitating animal technology is one of the hottest areas in science.  The engineering and information technology (IT) observable in living things continues to astonish scientists and makes engineers want to imitate nature’s designs.  Biomimetics is leading to productive, useful discoveries helping solve human problems and leading to a better life for all.  Here are some recent examples of how scientists are working to reverse-engineer technical feats on the Animal Plan Net:
  1. Underwater jet propulsion lab  Squid know how to maneuver in ways that are the envy of submarine operators.  That’s why researchers at U of Colorado are trying to imitate the “vortex ring” method of propulsion, according to Live Science.  “Vortex rings are formed when a burst of fluid shoots out of an opening, moving in one direction and spreading out as it curls back.”  If mastered, this technology might not only help underwater exploration subs, but permit the designing of microscopic craft that “guide tiny capsules with jet thrusters through the human digestive tract, enabling [doctors] to diagnose disease and dispense medications, the researchers said.”
  2. Skin so shiny:  The octopus and its relatives, cuttlefish and squid, have an unusual skin that is perfect for camouflage, reports News@Nature.  A group at Woods Hole, Massachusetts found a protein with “remarkable properties” that is responsible: it reflects light almost perfectly.  Roger Hanlon found that the bottom layer of octopus skin is made up of cells called leucophores “composed of a translucent, colourless, reflecting protein” that has such perfect broadband reflection, “they reflect all wavelengths of light that hit at any angle.”
        Cuttlefish have an additional trick.  Their leucophores are covered by flat platelets called iridophores that enhance “the brightness of the whiteness,” Hanlon said, adding, “These are very complex 3-D cells.”  The protein involved is appropriately named reflectin.
        Reporter Katherine Sanderson explained how this knowledge can help humans.  “The molecules that make octopus skin so successful as a dynamic camouflage could provide materials scientists with a new way to make super-reflective materials.”  Such knowledge would be of interest to law enforcement and the military.  Not only would this protect those working at night; some day, a Halloween costume made of cuttlefish skin could look pretty scary.
  3. Too cool watercraft  Jet skis are going to seem like kid stuff when “Dolphin watercraft” become popular.  Look at the picture on CNet News.  The high-performance, submersible Dolphin can leap above the waves and do barrel rolls, just like a dolphin.  Are these for real?  Believe it or not; Innespace Productions has a website and picture gallery.
        The boats really do look like dolphins and come in one-person and two-person versions.  Designers Dan Innes and Rob Piazza explain the principle: “These positively buoyant vessels use their forward momentum and the downward lift of their wings to literally fly below the water’s surface.  This radical departure from the typical method of sinking below the surface allows the Dolphins to achieve an unparalleled level of freestyle performance.”
        As a result of their mimicry wizardry, their “fully functional show ready watercraft” is able to “perform sustained dives, huge jumps, barrel rolls, and many other amazing acrobatic tricks.”  After their upcoming 2007 Dolphin demonstration tour, everybody will want one.  Will this be the next competitive sport?  Maybe someday Sea World will have live dolphins and their trainers in Dolphin watercraft competing side by side for audience applause.  (If the inventors can get theirs to eat fish and reproduce, then they’ll really be onto something.)
  4. Bug in a fix:  Microbes may not be animals per se, but they also have technical secrets to teach us big animals.  A deep-sea microbe at a scorching hot vent figured out how to fix nitrogen at a record temperature, 92°C, reported Science Daily and News@Nature.  Though both articles speculated on how this new form of nitrogen fixation might have evolved, the feat has chemists interested in learning “to better mimic the process for industrial use.”  Current artificial methods of fixing nitrogen to produce fertilizer are costly and inefficient compared to the way microbes do it.  News@Nature quoted a French scientist saying, “Given the importance of nitrogen fixation in global agriculture and the creative exploitation of novel organisms by the biotechnology industry, a heat-stable nitrogenase is likely to find a useful industrial application.”
  5. Robo-flagellumLive Science reported that somebody is already trying to mimic the bacterial flagellum.  An Australian inventor has achieved higher rpm with less twisting force by imitating the way bacteria swim.  Some day, his tiny inventions may be able to swim through your blood vessels, hopefully for beneficial ends: “Ultimately, tiny microrobots would give surgeons the ability to avoid traumatic and risky procedures in some cases,” Bill Christensen reported.  “A remotely-controlled microrobot would extend a physician’s ability to diagnose and treat patients in a minimally invasive way.”  Imagine surgery without scalpels and anesthesia.  Could we see a day where you get surgery at an outpatient clinic, and watch a microbot in real time on a monitor screen as it swims on command inside you to the problem area with a load of medicine?  It tickles just thinking about it.
Question: would a lab technician be able to tell which entity running under flagellum power in a human bloodstream was intelligently designed, and which one evolved by chance over millions of years?
If so, fire him for incompetence.  Even a real dolphin could tell that a high-performance watercraft had to be intelligently designed.  Don’t even ask the inventors unless you want to get slugged.  The Dolphin boat didn’t just “emerge” by chance in their machine shop.  They made it on porpoise.
    There’s a revolution going on that is positive, exciting, stimulating, promising, and beneficial to all: the imitation of nature’s designs.  The projects listed above have no use for evolutionary theory.  They were stimulated by good old-fashioned curiosity and careful observation.  It’s time for the Darwinists to step aside with their useless speculations and distasteful arrogance, and let science get back to its roots: understanding how things work and using them for the benefit of mankind.  The researchers and inventors mentioned above are not going to work better or harder by being told Tinker Bell fairy tales about how these things ”evolved” or “emerged” without a design or plan.
    If the Darwin cultists want to preach their dogma, we have freedom of religion in this country.  Let them build their own temples and offer sacrifices to their Charlie idols and see if anybody cares. 
Next headline on:  BiomimeticsMarine LifeGeneticsCell BiologyIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
  Origin of Species goes PostModern, from 08/19/2003.

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Comets as Life’s Lego Jumper Cables    12/15/2006  
Results of the Stardust mission made the cover of Science this week.1  The Jet Propulsion Laboratory put out a press release that condensed the abstruse papers into a simplistic story built around the L word life.  Publicist David Agle wrote for the Lego generation:

Just as kits of little plastic bricks can be used to make everything from models of the space shuttle to the statue of liberty, comets are looking more and more like one of nature’s toolkits for creating life.  These chunks of ice and dust wandering our solar system appear to be filled with organic molecules that are the building blocks of life.
The press release used the L word eight times.  His mixed metaphors spoke of comet minerals as everything from Lego blocks to toolkits to jumper cables (title, “Comets as Toolkits for Jump-Starting Life”) and even delivery trucks: “comets could have delivered nitrogen rich organic compounds to the early Earth where they would have been available for the origin of life,” a NASA scientist is quoted as saying.  The only scientific evidence mentioned was the presence of ethylamines and methylamines in the comet samples – fixed forms of nitrogen that would have been hard to come by on the early earth without complex enzymes called nitrogenases used in cells.  Biologists are still trying to figure out how they work (11/18/2006).
    The scientific papers themselves had little to say about life, except for one passing speculation, “The presence of organic compounds in comets and their ejecta is of astrobiological interest because their delivery to early Earth may have played an important role in the origin of life on Earth.”  That paper said no more about life.  The others talked almost completely about mineralogy, chemistry, comet origins and the puzzle of how hot-temperature minerals got into the cold outer solar system.  That subject is sure to make this issue of Science interesting to those keeping track of the recent revolution in comet origin theories.
    Ironically, the same issue of Science contained a setback for astrobiology fans.  Kieffer et al2 have found a way to account for the geysers of Enceladus without water.  Richard Kerr commented that this hypothesis “Puts a Damper on Chances for Life There.”3  Bad timing.  JPL had just produced a dazzling video for lab visitors, Journey to the Planets and Beyond, narrated by Harrison Ford, that mentioned Enceladus as a possible habitat for life because of its watery geysers.  In breathless suspense, Han Solo reads his script, “If true, the number of places in the solar system suitable for life may be much larger than ever before imagined.”
1Joann Baker, “Introduction to Special Issue: Looking into the Seeds of Time,” Science 15 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5806, p. 1707, DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5806.1707.
2Kieffer et al, “A Clathrate Reservoir Hypothesis for Enceladus’ South Polar Plume,” Science, 15 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5806, pp. 1764 - 1766, DOI: 10.1126/science.1133519.
3Richard A. Kerr, “A Dry View of Enceladus Puts a Damper on Chances for Life There,” Science, 15 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5806, p. 1668, DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5806.1668a.
Scientists writing for the journals should learn to be more careful about uttering the L word in their writings.  It tends to trigger a knee-jerk reaction in publicists and actors, causing an uncontrollable reflex ending with insertion of foot in mouth.  Sometimes the foot misses the mouth and hits the eye or forehead.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemOrigin of LifeDumb Ideas
Mutations Accelerate Each Other’s Damage    12/14/2006  
As reported in our 10/14/2004 entry, mutations do not work in isolation; even the good kind usually conspire against the host.  This fact has been largely ignored by neo-Darwinists.  Some researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, writing in Nature,1 tested the interaction of mutations (epistasis) on proteins.  They found, in short, that harmful mutations usually accelerate the loss of fitness above what would occur in isolation.  Some organisms exhibit robustness against mutations, though, as in well-known cases of antibiotic resistance.  The team tested the robustness of E. coli while mutating a gene for a lactamase (TEM-1) that confers some resistance to ampicillin.  They found that, at best, the organisms could hold out at a threshold level of fitness only temporarily.  Beyond the threshold, death was speedy and inevitable.  This was even after they removed the bad mutations:
Subjecting TEM-1 to random mutational drift and purifying selection (to purge deleterious mutations) produced changes in its fitness landscape indicative of negative epistasis; that is, the combined deleterious effects of mutations were, on average, larger than expected from the multiplication of their individual effects.  As observed in computational systems, negative epistasis was tightly associated with higher tolerance to mutations (robustness).  Thus, under a low selection pressure, a large fraction of mutations was initially tolerated (high robustness), but as mutations accumulated, their fitness toll increased, resulting in the observed negative epistasis.  These findings, supported by FoldX stability computations of the mutational effects, prompt a new model in which the mutational robustness (or neutrality) observed in proteins, and other biological systems, is due primarily to a stability margin, or threshold, that buffers the deleterious physico-chemical effects of mutations on fitness.  Threshold robustness is inherently epistatic—once the stability threshold is exhausted, the deleterious effects of mutations become fully pronounced, thereby making proteins far less robust than generally assumed.
Their study also casts doubt on the ultimate survivability of so-called “neutral” mutations.  These initially have no obvious effect on the fitness of the organism.  This may be due to backup copies of a gene, suppressors of the mutated gene, and other mechanisms the cell uses to mask the damage.  Eventually, however, the threshold is exceeded and the system collapses just as rapidly as a cell toppled by interacting harmful mutations.
    The authors of this study gave no indication that beneficial mutations can add up and help an organism.  In fact, they failed to say anything about evolution that would provide hope for progress.  By contrast, they offered a “new model” that sounds distinctly anti-evolutionary: cells are programmed to hold off the damage of mutations as long as they can, but will ultimately collapse under a mutational load.  They concluded that “proteins may not be as robust as is generally assumed.”  Their real-world experiment on bacteria showed robustness to mutations only to a certain point, then everything raced downhill:
Thus, theory and simulations have predicted a tight correlation between robustness and epistasis.  Our work provides an experimental verification of this correlation and proposes a mechanism that accounts for it.  Our model implies that any biological system that exhibits threshold robustness, or redundancy robustness, is inevitably epistatic.  In such systems, mechanisms that purge potentially deleterious mutations, such as recombination (through sexual reproduction and other mechanisms) are of crucial importance, as they help to maintain this threshold.  In this way, recombination, threshold robustness and negative epistasis may be interlinked—each being an inevitable by-product of the other.
They seem to be saying not only that mutations are not sources of positive fitness gains, but other proposed mechanisms like recombination are only stopgap measures to protect against the death spiral that would result when “randomly drifting proteins” gang up (negative epistasis) to cause a terror attack in the organism.
1Bershtein et al, “Robustness-epistasis link shapes the fitness landscape of a randomly drifting protein,” Nature 444, 929-932 (14 December 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature05385.
It is extremely important that followers of the creation-evolution debate understand this story and the earlier one (10/14/2004), because they cut to the heart of Darwinist claims that mutations and natural selection can create brains out of atoms given millions of years.  This is where the rubber meets the road: can mutations and recombination under selection act in concert to produce evolutionary progress, including wings and eyes and sonar and powered flight?  Complex systems need an explanation at the genetic level.  The modern synthesis of evolutionary theory (neo-Darwinism) maintains that mutations are the source of evolutionary novelty, and that natural selection preserves the rare beneficial mutations in a cumulative way.  This is the machine room from which “endless forms most beautiful” (06/29/2005) emerge without a Designer.  Two scientific papers reported here, that would likely be little noticed otherwise, have essentially falsified neo-Darwinism in the lab.  Theory and experiment both show it does not work.
    In the previous entry (10/14/2004) we likened the situation to a victim held up by robbers but protected by guardian angels.  The bad news was that the robbers either shoot each other or shoot the victim simultaneously, and the guardian angels fight each other instead of helping the victim.  It’s like a Murphy’s “Non-Reciprocal Laws of Expectations” that state, (1) Positive expectations produce negative results, and (2) Negative expectations produce negative results.  The neo-Darwinists have put all their hope in positive expectations, but real-world experiments show that mutations do not and cannot add up for good.  They conspire for bad!  Only the built-in safety mechanisms in the cell hold off mutational catastrophe.  This same lesson should have been learned from the important 03/17/2003 entry almost four years ago; presumed benefits actually cause “slippage on the treadmill” to keep the organism, at best, just running in place.
    Another analogy may illuminate what this new outwardly dry, boring, technical paper said.  Picture a large, well-run factory with numerous modern systems for safety, backup and security.  Along comes a motley gang with no plan other than to wreak havoc at random.  Some are blocked by the entrance controls.  Those that get inside start overturning tables, knocking out factory workers, setting off alarms and creating general mayhem.  The security systems each come into play as planned, trying to isolate the damage, restore backups, and start the redundant processes.  Workers scramble to copy off the important data to other sections of the factory where the work can continue.  Security guards manage to neutralize some of the attackers, but more keep coming in.  Some gangsters plug the real workers then steal their lab coats and badges, wandering around to do their harm by stealth.  To an outsider, it may not be apparent that anything is wrong – for awhile – because the factory continues to function; supplies come in, goods go out.  In time, however, the best-prepared factory may not be able to carry on.  Fires are set at random.  Automatic sprinklers respond as designed, but now they have damaged the computers.  Gangsters pull fire alarms here and there, confusing workers who don’t know whether to ignore them or run outside.  Security forces are eventually overwhelmed.  Backup systems are damaged as soon as they are brought online.  It’s too much; the factory implodes in a catastrophe, and everything shuts down.
    If this is really the way mutations work in a cell, it should be obvious to everyone that trusting any random mechanism to produce order is a vain hope and supreme folly.  This, of course, is what anti-Darwinists have been maintaining since 1859.  That it would take two research teams with no ties to creationist organizations or the intelligent design movement, published in two of the most adamantly anticreationist scientific journals in the world (PNAS and Nature) to finally figure this out should be of great interest to historians and sociologists.  What is it about Darwinian faith that generates negative epistasis against common sense?
    Evolutionary theory is coasting downhill on a dead-end track with no fuel in the engine, while the passengers are being served cheese and wine, not knowing anything is wrong.  Creation-Evolution Headlines is like the tattler running down the aisles warning everybody about bad news only the engine crew is aware of, despite the pleasant announcements on the intercom.  We think the customers who paid for the trip deserve to be told the truth: despite how smoothly things appear to be running, they just got sold a dead-end trip to destruction.
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Life Out of Place, Life Out of Time    12/13/2006  
Evolutionists have a standard timeline based on Darwin’s “tree of life” that indicates when complex life forms should have appeared.  What happens when the wrong animal shows up in the wrong place or time?  The theory is never falsified; it is just accommodated to the new data, as simply as rearranging branches on a Christmas tree, or covering gaps with verbal garland.  Some recent examples:
  1. Kiwi ghost:  New Zealand wasn’t supposed to have any native mammals, but bones of a small rodent near Otago on the South Island were reported in PNAS this week.1  The discoverers said this points to a “ghost lineage” of one or more mammals that must have inhabited the isolated archipelago.  Since they dated the mammal in the Miocene (19-16 million years ago), they are puzzled that it seems to represent an early rodent that pre-dates the split of marsupials and placentals assumed to have occurred in the early Cretaceous 125 million years ago.  That means that mammals must have existed in New Zealand for over 100 million years, but as yet, no other traces of them have been found.
  2. Your soul-mate, the whaleEurekAlert reported that a specialized kind of brain cells found in humans, called spindle cells, has been found in whale brains.  This is odd, since whales are thought to have split off the mammal line prior to 30 million years ago.  They speculate that these cells first appeared in the hominid line 15 million years ago.  Finding spindle cells in such widely separated groups represents an evolutionary puzzle.  The article speculates, “It may also be that they evolved several times independently in the two cetacean suborders; part of this process may have taken place at the same time as they appeared in the ancestor of great apes, which would be a rare case of parallel evolution.”
  3. Get your nitrogen fix:  Bacteria were thought to possess the secrets of nitrogen fixation, but now this ability has been found in Archaea, a separate kingdom of single-celled organisms, reports EurekAlert.  The article also states that Archaea are far more widespread than earlier believed, not just denizens of hot springs and other extreme environments.
  4. Shrimp special:  A “Jurassic shrimp” was discovered in a marine census, reported New Scientist Environment.  Thought to have gone extinct 50 million years ago, this species was found alive and well 5000 meters below the Sargasso Sea.
  5. What’s my line?  An australopithecine thought to be on the human family tree must be relegated to a separate branch, reports National Geographic News and University of Liverpool.  “Little Foot,” a member of the Australopithecus africanus family, can’t be our ancestor, because new radiometric experiments on the soil surrounding the bones in a South African cave yield a date of “only” 2.2 million years old.  “This is because the team found that ‘Little Foot’ lived after the arrival of the stone tool makers, Homo habilis, raising the possibility that this family was more of a side branch of the human evolutionary tree.”
  6. Amber alert:  Germs have been identified in amber said to be 220 million years old, reported National Geographic News.  “Surprisingly, these microscopic organisms look quite familiar to today’s scientists.”  What does this do to the concept of index fossils?2   “Most fossils of microorganisms have been found in marine sediments, not terrestrial environments,” the article explains.  “And such marine fossils typically reveal patterns of great change over Earth’s many epochs, unlike the new Triassic amber find.”  The authors of the paper in Nature3 ended by noting this remarkable stasis:
    Our findings show that different genera, and even species, of microbial taxa have been able to survive geological epochs.  Higher levels in food webs, on the other hand, have been shaped by environmental changes, such as those that caused the mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary.  Unchanged since the Lower Mesozoic, protozoans survived the entire era of the dinosaurs, as well as the diversification of angiosperms, birds and mammals.
  7. Rocky’s rival:  A gliding squirrel-like mammal has been found in Mongolia clocking a shocking evolutionary date of 125 million years and reported in Nature.4  The New York Times had a story about the find.  A paleontologist who reviewed the discovery said this “wholly unexpected diversity of something adapted for gliding at this early time is absolutely astonishing.”  Only recently, he said, scientists thought mammals of the time were small, shrew-like animals living under the shadow of the dinosaurs.  “This was just totally out of nowhere,” said one of the team members, referring to the time gap this creates between this mammal’s time period and the earliest appearance of mammal flight that had been assumed before:
    Until now, the earliest identified gliding mammal was a 30-million-year-old extinct rodent.  The first known modern bat, which is capable of powered flight, dates to 51 million years ago, but it is assumed that proto-bats were probably gliding much earlier....
    In the journal report, Dr. [Jin] Meng and colleagues wrote, “This discovery extends the earliest record of gliding flight for mammals at least 70 million years earlier in the geological history and demonstrates that mammals were diverse in their locomotor strategies and life styles”.....
    “We have very little fossil record of mammalian flight, and suddenly this one comes along at such an early time,” Dr. Meng said.  “Now the question is, what happened to this group between then and now?
    Between then and now, in fact, something big happened: the dinosaurs went extinct in some global catastrophe.  A corollary of Meng’s question is why the big dinosaurs went extinct, when fragile furriers lacking the body armor of thick-skinned giants like Ankylosaurus survived.  It wasn’t simply a matter of habitat.  Now we know that some Cretaceous mammals lived in the water, some burrowed underground, and this one lived in the trees.
As illustrated in this last story, no one seems to be questioning the time line or the Darwinian tree of life.  These anomalies will eventually become incorporated into the evolving story of evolution.  For example, one evolutionist from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, quoted in the New York Times article, felt that this demonstrates that “mammals started the invasion of diverse niches long before the extinction of dinosaurs.”  Dr. Zhe-Xi Luo referred to the other recent finds of Cretaceous mammals, such as the beaver-like animal reported in February, said to be 164 million years old (see 02/24/2006).  He illustrated how evolutionary thinking works when he said that these finds “literally stretch the boundary of paleontologists’ imagination about what would be possible for the earliest mammals.”
Presumably, Dr. Luo assumes the imagination will stretch without breaking.
1Worthy et al, “Miocene mammal reveals a Mesozoic ghost lineage on insular New Zealand, southwest Pacific,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0605684103, published online before print December 11, 2006.
2Index fossils: the supposition that organisms are expected to evolve over time such that fossils appearing in a certain evolved state can date the rocks they are found in.  This is supposed to provide an “index” of that rock stratum for dating other species contained therein.
3Schmidt, Ragazzi, Coppellotti and Roghi, “A microworld in Triassic amber,” Nature 444, 835 (14 December 2006) | doi:10.1038/444835a.
4Jin Meng et al, “A Mesozoic gliding mammal from northeastern China,” Nature 444, 889-893 (14 December 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature05234.
The stretch-and-squish theory of evolution (12/14/2004) is the biggest con job in the history of science.  Data are props to the trick.  The spotlight is on the Darwin Party street comedian’s ability to spin an entertaining story out of anything that happens along, while surreptitiously filching funds from the public pocket.
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Judge Jones Took Credit for ACLU Writings    12/12/2006  
Judge John E. Jones has become somewhat of a celebrity of late, traveling and speaking about his judgment against the Dover, Pennsylvania School Board on December 20, 2005 (see 12/23/2005).  He has stated that he felt his opinion should set forth the case once for all that intelligent design is not science but religion in disguise, and wanted to write it such that it could be used by other courts in other states so that they would not have to argue from scratch.  He has been declared an “original thinker” and has been praised by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the year.
    Now it turns out that 90.9% of his 6,004-word opinion about whether intelligent design is science was lifted “virtually verbatim” from ACLU documents.  A new study released today on Evolution News details the comparisons and discusses its implications.  The entire study can be downloaded from Uncommon Descent and Discovery Institute.  Here is the Executive Summary from the study conducted by the Discovery Institute
In December of 2005, critics of the theory of intelligent design (ID) hailed federal judge John E. Jones’ ruling in Kitzmiller v.  Dover, which declared unconstitutional the reading of a statement about intelligent design in public school science classrooms in Dover, Pennsylvania.  Since the decision was issued, Jones’ 139-page judicial opinion has been lavished with praise as a “masterful decision” based on careful and independent analysis of the evidence.  However, a new analysis of the text of the Kitzmiller decision reveals that nearly all of Judge Jones’ lengthy examination of “whether ID is science” came not from his own efforts or analysis but from wording supplied by ACLU attorneys.  In fact, 90.9% (or 5,458 words) of Judge Jones’ 6,004-word section on intelligent design as science was taken virtually verbatim1 from the ACLU’s proposed “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” submitted to Judge Jones nearly a month before his ruling.  Judge Jones even copied several clearly erroneous factual claims made by the ACLU.  The finding that most of Judge Jones’ analysis of intelligent design was apparently not the product of his own original deliberative activity seriously undercuts the credibility of Judge Jones’ examination of the scientific validity of intelligent design.
    While it is not uncommon for judges to quote material provided by the lawyers in the case in their rulings, the extent of his borrowing is “stunning,” according to John West, co-author of the study, considering how much credit Jones himself has taken for it.  “For all practical purposes, Jones allowed ACLU attorneys to write nearly the entire section of his opinion analyzing whether intelligent design is science,” West wrote.  “As a result, this central part of Judge Jones’ ruling reflected essentially no original deliberative activity or independent examination of the record on Jones’ part.”  The Discovery Institute had early published an analysis of the arguments used in the Dover decision in a book entitled Traipsing into Evolution.
    The next day, this story was picked up by Associated Press, New York Dispatch and World Net Daily and numerous blogs.  Evolution News followed up with an article claiming that wholesale copying of material from the lawyers for one side, while not illegal, is “frowned upon” by the courts.  Judge Jones had no comment.
1What “virtually verbatim” means can be easily seen by comparing the side-by-side comparisons of Jones’s decision with the ACLU document.  Jones changed a word here or there, sometimes shortening “intelligent design” to “ID” and other inconsequential changes like listing points as (a) (b) (c) instead of (1) (2) (3), and rearranging parts of sentences, occasionally inserting a phrase, but no schoolteacher would be fooled.  It’s not just the wording that is virtually identical, but the structure of the argument, the points listed, the repetition of factual errors from the ACLU.  That along with the omission of any counter-arguments from the other side makes it incredible that this decision would be hailed as original work of high intellectual rank.
Download and read the PDF file.  This revelation is sure to create a large ripple around the web.  The Darwin Party will do its best to do damage control, claiming that such quotation of documentation is common practice for judges (i.e., judges are allowed to plagiarize with reckless abandon).  But this judge has personally taken credit and received adulation for his ruling as if it were his own material.  When the public learns that he borrowed most of it word-for-word from the ACLU, a leftist-secularist-liberal organization despised by many Americans, they may return his little Christmas present with a strong “no, thanks.”
    Even those who have no particular feelings about the ACLU should be shocked at how biased Jones was to quote so much from one side – even repeating known inaccuracies – and not give due consideration to material provided by the other side.  He brazenly stated that his court was not an activist court – but now look at how he liberally used material from one of the most liberal activist organizations in the country.  Then, he went around the country speaking, getting a standing O at the Geological Society of America, accepting all this gushing praise for his intellect and originality (Access Research Network contains a list of his 2006 speaking engagements; see also an ad for his upcoming appearance at the Botany and Plant Biology 2007 Conference).  Is this how impartial judges are supposed to behave?  It doesn’t take much intellect to cut and paste.  This gives us an idea of what to do with the Dover decision: drag and drop.
    Hopefully this expose will kick the Dover crutch out from under the opponents of intelligent design and make people realize the highly-touted opinion last year came from a very biased source and cannot be trusted.  The time has come for school boards to stop fearing the Dover case and reconsider the issues about intelligent design in education fairly.  Jones’s opinion was not the last word, but the first laugh.  Everyone knows who laughs best.  For example, watch this spoof at Overwhelming Evidence.
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Experiment: Take a Darwinist to Church    12/11/2006  
“Go to church and breathe easier,” announced an unusual entry on EurekAlert.  A study at Temple University found a positive correlation between religious activity and lung function.  They said that “religious activity is emerging as a potential health promoting factor, especially among the elderly.”  In addition, “going to church provides social contact and emotional support, thereby reducing the isolation that afflicts many elderly and boosting psychological well-being.”
    Meanwhile, a group of hard-core atheists, many of them prominent evolutionary scientists, is on a campaign this Christmas season to rid science and society of religion.  Read about their Beyond Belief 2006 conference on Evolution News and Uncommon Descent.  There were no reports of singing at their conference.
Do this experiment: invite a hard-core Darwinist to a quality Christmas concert at a good old-fashioned, Bible-believing church in town – you know, the kind that actually believes Jesus was born in Bethlehem as the Son of God, with angels singing and all the rest.  We realize this is somewhat risky to your friend’s health, at least at first.  The shock of seeing such joy may be too much to endure.  He or she will undoubtedly become very conflicted, trying to Darwinize the overwhelming display of artistry, factual content, confident hope and love as manifestations of sexual selection and selfish genes.
    A Christmas Concert with instruments, choir, soloists, a short sermon and the involvement of a happy audience with talented and committed Christian musicians carries a message with a wallop that will be hard to explain away.  In only 90 minutes, a Christmas Concert intertwines elements of history, music, light and color, theology, emotion, intellect, reasonable faith and love in ways that a scientific paper and website cannot possibly convey.  It will be hard for your poor Darwinist friend to rationalize the lovely lilting voice of the soprano as glorified ape grunts, or the incomparable blend of rich male voices with female voices in the choir, each with their characteristic sonorities combined with human language expressing intelligent communications, artfully woven into rich aesthetic harmonies, as manifestations of sexual selection.  Then a good preacher can wrap this all around a solid message based on the real events that occurred in Bethlehem and Jerusalem in recorded history (you know, about Herod, Caesar Augustus and the rest of those mythical characters in the Christmas story), showing that this is not just some social ritual a few steps up from the jungle.  Any Darwinist with a piece of soul left will have to ponder, Have I been missing something?
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie,
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the Everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given;
And the government shall be upon His shoulder,
And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

    The spiritual dimension that makes humans unique in all creation will be displayed in a loving, thought-provoking, uplifting atmosphere where everyone can breathe easier.  Darwinism doesn’t have a song that can compare with such a spectacle.  Music plunges into a soul where argument cannot reach.
    You won’t need to say anything afterwards except, “Thank you for joining me!  I’m so glad you could come.  Merry Christmas!”  If your Darwinist friend can manage to endure the initial pain of withdrawal that night alone at home, then he or she, too, might be drawn to take their first, real, invigorating, breath of fresh air.
PS: Be sure to follow up with an invitation to the Easter Concert.
Next headline on:  Bible and TheologyHealth
Darwinists Award New Inductee    12/11/2006  
The journal Science published the winning entry in the 2006 contest “GE and Science Prize for Young Life Scientists.”  The Grand Prize went to Irene A. Chen (Harvard) for her essay entitled, “The Emergence of Cells During the Origin of Life.”1  Her chemical-evolution scenario makes generous use of that word emergence and its synonyms.
Modern living organisms are organized into cells.  Fundamentally, a cell consists of a genome, which carries information, and a membrane, which separates the genome from the external environment.  By segregating individual genomes from one another, cellular organization is thought to be critical to the evolution of replicating systems.  Some of the oldest known rocks on Earth (~3.5 billion years old) contain biochemical signatures of life and also contain tantalizing suggestions of cellular fossils.  But how did early self-replicating chemicals give rise to the “cell” as a unified entity?  The combination of a genome and membrane does not constitute a unified cell unless interactions between the components result in mutual benefit.  Was it a lucky accident that genomes and membranes began to cooperate with each other (e.g., evolution of an enzyme to synthesize membrane lipids)?  Or are there simple physicochemical mechanisms that promote interactions between any genome and membrane, leading to the emergence of cellular behaviors?  We explored such mechanisms experimentally, using model protocells.
Her essay dealt with the possibility of a “self-replicating genome inside a chemically simple, self-replicating membrane” that would be akin to “early evolution” by natural selection at the level of molecules.  She spoke of “membrane fitness (i.e., growth)” in a process that ostensibly gets away from chance, because the fat globules are observed to grow in solution according to a kind of survival of the fittest.  Apparently Darwinian selfishness got started early on:
We suggest that a similar process took place during early evolution--vesicles encapsulating highly active genomic replicators would generate osmotic pressure, causing them to “steal” membrane from other vesicles containing less active sequences.  Genomic fitness (i.e., replicative ability) would be translated into cellular fitness as the genome and membrane increased together, moving the evolutionary unit from the replicating molecule to the whole cell.  As soon as replicators became encapsulated, a primitive form of competition could emerge between cells (see the figure).  Remarkably, this process does not require a chance increase in complexity (e.g., addition of a new enzyme), but instead relies only on the physical properties of a semipermeable membrane encapsulating solute.
Her paper even suggested avenues for further research.  For instance, a charged genetic molecule might be found to be more effective at stealing membrane lipids.  “Could this influence the natural selection of the genetic material itself?”, she asks.  Once the membrane competition settles down, however, the dynamics would also decrease.  This is not a problem, she indicates, because by now, genetic evolution has mastered the art of innovation: “evolutionary solutions to this problem (e.g., permeases, synthetic enzymes) could cause a ‘snowball’ effect on the complexity of early life.”  Geophysic’s inability is Darwin’s opportunity, so to speak.  She spoke of information in the genome, but did not attempt to explain where the information comes from.2  Except for one brief suggestion that charged RNA might have some unspecified advantage gaining membrane lipids, she also did not discuss how a genetic takeover of the “membrane fitness” might have occurred.3
    Other entries that lost out on the Grand Prize included one called “Unraveling the Mysteries of Small RNAs,” another on “Photosystem II, a Bioenergetic Nanomachine.”
1Irene A. Chen, “The Emergence of Cells During the Origin of Life,” Science, 8 December 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5805, pp. 1558 - 1559, DOI: 10.1126/science.1137541.
2The information in DNA is described in the film Unlocking the Mystery of Life as “the most densely compact and elaborately detailed assemblage of information in the known universe.”  The new film The Case for a Creator says that the genetic information for all animal life would fit into a teaspoon, with room left over for all the books in the world ever written.  Dr. Dean Kenyon described the information density of DNA in the bonus features of the film Where Does the Evidence Lead? as a quintillion bits per cubic millimeter.  Transferred onto man’s digital media, that much information would produce a stack of DVDs over six times the height of Mt. Everest.
3At some point, the genome would need to direct the construction of the membrane and control traffic going in and out.  In addition, this genome would need the capability of reproducing itself – and all the parts of the cell – with a high degree of accuracy.  Living cells today have elaborate networks of enzymes, channels, gates, and molecular machines involved in all these processes.  For more on the implausibility of genetic takeovers, see 01/28/2005 and 11/25/2004.
Well, Irene has the vocabulary down: emergence, tantalizing suggestions (12/22/2003), simple physicochemical mechanisms that lead to emergence of complexity, and on and on anon.  The only “snowball effect” was her snow job on the judges.  We’ve dealt with the problems of the fatbubble theory (09/03/2004) and the RNA world (07/11/2002) and other leading scenarios at length elsewhere so many times (follow the Chain Links on Origin of Life), it would be superfluous to repeat them here (sample, 02/15/2004).  This young lady did a pretty good job of disgracing her mind without our help.
    Why did other contestants lose out?  Simple; they wrote about nanomachines and networks and photosynthesis – things that sound like intelligent design.  With the Visigoths at the gates (05/06/2006), the Darwin Priests needed to reassure the peasants by showcasing another inductee into the Temple Prostitutes, to show that the cult of Tinker Bell under King Charlie continues unthreatened.  Sad to see another promising young scientist fall under the spell (see next commentary). 
Next headline on:  Origin of LifeDarwinismDumb Ideas
To Get Complex Life, Just Add Oxygen    12/10/2006  
A story is circulating in the science news media that a burst of complex organisms in the Cambrian coincided with a rise in oxygen in the atmosphere.  Reporters seem to be drawing a cause-and-effect relationship.  Examples:
  1. News@Nature:  “A sharp increase in the amount of oxygen in the air may have sparked the evolution of complex animal life.
  2. Queen’s University:  “Finding an answer to Darwin’s Dilemma: Oxygen may be the clue to first appearance of large animals, says Queen’s prof.”
  3. Science Daily:  “The close connection between the first appearance of oxygenated conditions in the world’s oceans and the first appearance of large animal fossils confirms the importance of oxygen as a trigger for the early evolution of animals, the researchers say.”
The news relates to a paper published on Science Express.  The abstract shows that the premise is built on mere circumstantial evidence:
Animals have an absolute requirement for oxygen, and an increase in late Neoproterozoic oxygen concentrations has been forwarded as a stimulus for their evolution.  The iron content of deep-sea sediments show that the deep ocean was anoxic and ferruginous before and during the Gaskiers glaciation 580 million years ago, becoming oxic afterward.  The first known members of the Ediacara biota are found shortly after the Gaskiers glaciation, suggesting a causal link between their evolution and this oxygenation event.  A prolonged stable oxic environment may have permitted the emergence of bilateral motile animals some 25 million years later.
In a similar story (but further back in the evolutionary timeline), Science Now reported another chemical key to life.  “How in the world did life emerge on a planet composed only of simple chemical compounds?  Scientists say they may have found part of the answer in a mineral that seems to act as an effective catalyst for the earliest organic processes.”  The article calls this mineral, sphalerite, as “Nature’s Jump-Starter.”
1Canfield et al, “Late-Neoproterozoic Deep-Ocean Oxygenation and the Rise of Animal Life,” Science, published Online December 7, 2006, Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1135013.
There it is: the dead giveaway that the Darwinists are conjuring up miracles again: the word emergence.  This is how they dazzle the world with their wizardry and dupe the press.  The mere utterance of the word sends reporters into a trance, where dreams of evolution come true.  In their mythical lands of Ediacara and Gaskiers in the long-lost kingdom of Muddle Earth, the trolls and orcs forge monsters under the sea, their fires stoked with the miracle-working ether of oxygen, under the direction of Sauron’s minion, Tinker Bell.
    Anything is possible in fiction.  Here, the only things required to make complex life emerge are requirements themselves.  “Animals have an absolute requirement for oxygen,” the wizards pronounce, so they add the magic ingredient to their potion, and presto!*  Complex animals with eyes, jointed articulating limbs, fins, molecular machines and coded languages simply emerge from the mix.  In the second article, a well-known chemical evolutionist (aka alchemist), in charmèd spirit, rejoices at the discovery of another putative philosopher’s stone that may bring us “a lot closer to understanding the chemical origins of life.”  Aren’t you fortunate to be living in the Age of Enchantment, where all you have to do is believe.
    The pesky creationists spoil this phantasmagoric vision.  They’re shaking the bed of the dreaming scientists, shouting “Wake up!  Wake up!  You’re late for work!”  No wonder they are so despised.
Next headline on:  DarwinismOrigin of LifeDumb Ideas
*Aha, you say, but the article says the emergence took 25 million years.  Watch the new film The Case for a Creator, in which Jonathan Wells describes the brevity of the Cambrian Explosion.  Assuming the evolutionary timeline of Earth history, it would represent just two minutes of a 24-hour day after 21 hours of nothing but unicellular life.  In that two minutes, all the complex animal phyla appeared and remained with their essential body plans from then on.  That’s not just presto, it is prestissimo (04/23/2006 commentary).
  Madam, I’m Adam:  Palindromes in the male genetic code, from 06/18/2003.

Fish Species in African Lake Diversified Rapidly   12/09/2006    
Two related articles in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) show that a large number of species can branch out of a small population in a short time.  Hobbyists familiar with tropical fish appreciate how wide is the variety found within Cichlids.  In the first article,1 the author alleged that in the last 15,000 years, the number of cichlid species living in the lake grew from a handful to hundreds.  Nearby Lake Malawi, which is supposedly much older, boasts no better variety of cichlids.
    Just as dog breeders select for a desired trait, the environment that each group of fish finds itself in selects for genes that cause the fish to survive well in that environment.  Isolation of the new “breed” of fish causes the combination of genes to be preserved.  The surprise to scientists was the speed at which this happened, compared to their expectations:

Though Lake Victoria cichlids appear millions of years younger than their counterparts in nearby Lake Malawi, both groups display an enormous range of physical and behavioral traits.  This staggering diversity in such young species provides compelling evidence for adaptive radiation, which occurs when divergent selection operates on ecological traits that favor different gene variants, or alleles, in different environments.  When divergent selection on an ecological trait also affects mate choice—promoting reproductive isolation of diverging populations—ecological diversity and speciation may proceed in tandem and quickly generate numerous new species.
Another surprise was to find that natural selection had succeeded in eliminating gene variety in some groups, “fixing” the gene: offspring contained only one type gene, recessive or dominant, and variety has been eliminated:
Despite substantial theoretical and some experimental support for such “by-product speciation,” few studies have shown that selection has “fixed” alleles (that is, driven its frequency in a population to 100%) with different effects on an adaptive trait in closely related populations.  But now, Yohey Terai, Norihiro Okada, and their colleagues have bridged that gap by demonstrating divergent selection on a visual system gene that influences both ecological adaptation and mate choice in cichlids.
In another paper in PLoS Biology,2 the author demonstrates that it really was the environment that produced the variety of characteristics within the Cichlid population:
Divergent natural selection acting on ecological traits, which also affect mate choice, is a key element of ecological speciation theory, but has not previously been demonstrated at the molecular gene level to our knowledge.  Here we demonstrate parallel evolution in two cichlid genera under strong divergent selection in a gene that affects both.  Strong divergent natural selection fixed opsin proteins with different predicted light absorbance properties at opposite ends of an environmental gradient.  By expressing them and measuring absorbance, we show that the reciprocal fixation adapts populations to divergent light environments.  The divergent evolution of the visual system coincides with divergence in male breeding coloration, consistent with incipient ecological by-product speciation.

1Gross L (2006), “Demonstrating the Theory of Ecological Speciation in Cichlids,” PLoS Biology 4(12): e449 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0040449.
2Terai Y, Seehausen O, Sasaki T, Takahashi K, Mizoiri S, et al. (2006), “Divergent selection on opsins drives incipient speciation in Lake Victoria cichlids,” PLoS Biology 4(12): e433.DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0040433.
This is exactly what creationists have been saying all along: it doesn’t take long for genetic variation and the environment to produce the variety of species we see.  All species of canines could have descended from one pair on an Ark a few thousand years ago.  From wolves to Chihuahuas, all dogs are of the “dog” kind, and it didn’t take millions of years for their “adaptive radiation.”  In fact, it could have taken only hundreds of years in some cases.  The environment they found themselves in selected for the traits best suited to that environment.  For an evolutionist accustomed to speaking in millions of years, a mere fifteen thousand years for Lake Victoria to get its variety of cichlids is just a blink of time.  Yet they acknowledge that all these species appeared in this amazingly brief period.  Human skin color could have been selected in a similar short time: light skinned people who could make Vitamin D with less sunlight were selected for in northern latitudes, while dark skinned people who resisted the effects of intense sun were selected for in equatorial regions.
    Notice the sleight of mind with terminology in the last quote: “Divergent natural selection”, “parallel evolution”, “divergent selection”, “divergent natural selection”, and “divergent evolution” are used interchangeably to mean the same thing.  We are regularly being conditioned to confuse natural selection with evolution, or, to put it in other terms: micro-evolution with macro-evolution.  Evolution requires new information to be created.  There is no creation of new information here, as the articles admit.  In fact, one of the points the author makes is that the natural selection of the environmental factors often drove the frequency of a particular gene in a fish population to 100%.  All other genes affecting the characteristic had been eliminated.  This is loss of information, not gain – the opposite of what macro-evolution requires.  Surely, the scientists who wrote these papers must know this.  Once again, commitment to evolution is faith in spite of the evidence.
—DK
Next headline on:  Marine LifeDarwinism
A Tale of Two Videos: Advocacy and Censorship    12/08/2006  
A teacher gets a free video on science, and likes it.  She thinks it fits in with the lesson plan and curriculum guidelines.  Should she be allowed to show parts of it in the classroom?  At what point should the government step in and say the material is inappropriate, or even ban it outright, if it is considered politically incorrect?  In a day when a multitude of interested parties of all kinds seek to influence the education of the young, how can schools wade the quagmires between the free market of ideas and censorship?  When do guidelines for quality education become indoctrination into the beliefs of the party in power?  The complexity of these issues can be seen in two recent, but very different, cases.
  1. An Inconvenient Gift:  Should an advocate be allowed to Gore the teacher’s oxygen?  Laurie David, producer of Al Gore’s popular documentary about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, thought it would be a charitable idea to supply 50,000 DVDs of the movie to the National Science Teacher’s Association, presumably to leverage them as a distributor to its members.  After all, Ms David (the wife of comedian Larry David) probably thought in all seriousness that global warming is a hot topic for science education classes.  She undoubtedly expected that science teachers would be eager to share some of the material from this popular film in class.  When she got a chilly reception to her offer, she accused the NSTA of being in cahoots with ExxonMobil and other oil interests, remarking that she found it shocking that the NSTA would have ties to a company “that has spent millions misinforming the public about global warming.”
        The NSTA has received $6 million from oil and gas interests over the last decade to support science education, but this represents only 3.7% of their budget and came with no strings attached, reported Jeffrey Mervis for Science Now.  Gore himself “threw gasoline on the fire by telling [Jay] Leno, incorrectly, that ExxonMobil has a seat on NSTA’s board.”  The NSTA’s executive director responded that they don’t do mass distributions for anybody or send unsolicited material.  Laurie David was not interested in buying the NSTA’s mailing list and doing the distribution on their own.  “David says NSTA’s imprimatur was essential” to the plan, the article states.  On her website, she has posted letters from teachers angry over the NSTA’s position.
  2. Gift Horse or Trojan Horse:  Whether you find this next gift idea a blessing or a curse depends on which side of the evolution debate you’re on.  In September, a group calling itself Truth in Science sent free “resource packs” to all the secondary schools in Britain with DVDs of the intelligent design documentary Unlocking the Mystery of Life, and its adaptation for schools Where Does the Evidence Lead?, along with a teacher’s manual.  Though about 59 schools have decided to incorporate the material in their lessons, this free gift was unwelcome in some quarters.  The Guardian reported that the matter was debated in Parliament, and the government may be telling schools it is “inappropriate” material for the classroom; indeed, reporter James Randerson termed it a “ban” on use of this “creationist” material.  Truth in Science quickly tried to counter the claim that the ministers’ action constitutes a ban.  On Friday, however, Truth in Science reported growing political pressure “as Members of Parliament and Government ministers seek to discourage science teachers from using our resource packs,” some calling for a “restriction” and others a “directive” against their use.  The front page of this organization has links to news on this developing story.  Evolution News, Post-Darwinist and Uncommon Descent have posted reactions.
Nobody seems to be asking the students what they think – or the parents who pay the taxes, for that matter. 
What should schools do in such situations?  A computer technician from Michigan wrote in with his response:
It actually is a pretty simple solution... only teach provable, observable fact in schools, not opinion.  For instance, you can study all the details about an organism... what it does, its habitat, its gestation period, its predators and its prey.  But you can leave out the atheist opinion that it evolved from inanimate matter.  Since evolution has absolutely nothing to do with any scientific advancement or discovery that has ever taken place, and is really just the origins theory for atheism, what is the benefit of teaching it in schools?  Let students form their own opinions based on the actual, observable facts.
Good thoughts.  Principals, administrators, parents and teachers: try freedom.  We get so paranoid about things teachers are supposed to say or not say, about guidelines and political correctness.  We worry so much about what high school students might hear.  What is needed is honesty and the ability to think.  High school students can be pretty savvy at figuring out what is sensible and what isn’t when they are allowed to hear two sides of a dispute.  They get bored when being spoon-fed official textbook dogma without an opportunity for the teacher to engage the students in lively discussions about evidence and truthfulness.  And teachers should be allowed to think for themselves when getting materials like the Truth in Science videos.  They can judge whether such materials are appropriate without Parliament telling them.
    Nobody wants schools to become pulpits for cults and weird beliefs, but guess what: they already are.  Political correctness, tolerance, relativism, diversity and gay rights are the norm, while the old-fashioned values of patriotism, hard work and responsibility are mocked.  Are the Darwin-only-Darwin-only DODOs making things better?  In many schools it could hardly get worse.
    A return to the basic 3 Rs and a well-rounded, liberal-arts education, combined with emphasis on discernment and understanding instead of rote retention will screen out much of the harmful or useless material that goes around.  Teachers receiving unsolicited material shouldn’t be on the job if they can’t tell what has value and what doesn’t.  Students know when teachers are really helping them think and which are just pushing their own opinions.  Most of us as students had good teachers and bad teachers.  The bad teachers often served as examples and stimulated further examination of our beliefs and assumptions.  Parents need to be involved, knowing what is being taught and voicing support or opposition as needed.  There need to be standards and limits, to be sure, on acceptable behavior and use of the classroom for legitimate purposes.  In general, though, let the free marketplace of ideas do its work.  The only mind at risk is an empty one.
Next headline on:  MediaPolitics and EthicsEducationDarwinismIntelligent Design
How Your Joints Auto-Lubricate Themselves   12/07/2006    
Motion sets up an automated process that produces more lubricant for the joints, scientists at UC San Diego found.  EurekAlert explains how shear forces on cartilage stimulated it to produce proteoglycan 4, which secretes joint fluid where it coats and lubricates cartilage surfaces.  This way, the fluid is produced according to the need of the moment.
    The team was trying to learn how nature does it, in order to improve artificial joints with cartilage transplants.  One team member explained, “We are systematically addressing the technical challenges to maintain and grow healthy fragments of bone and cartilage in the laboratory and now we can use nature’s self-regulating system, whereby application of shear forces to this tissue increases its synthesis of proteoglycan 4.” 
Another example of scientific research that seeks to help people, and owes nothing to evolutionary theory.  The assumption that the healthy body is well-designed produces the best science.
Next headline on:  Human BodyAmazing Facts
Darwin Stars at the Galaxy, by Universal Pictures   12/07/2006    
A press release from the European Southern Observatory asks, “Do Galaxies Follow Darwinian Evolution?”  One may wonder how stars, which do not bear children, can be considered progeny of Charles Darwin.  They explain:
The ‘nature versus nurture’ debate is a hot topic in human psychology.  But astronomers too face similar conundrums, in particular when trying to solve a problem that goes to the very heart of cosmological theories: are the galaxies we see today simply the product of the primordial conditions in which they formed, or did experiences in the past change the path of their evolution?
The ESO carried out a survey of 6,500 galaxies that they claim gives a 3-D picture of how galaxies evolved over 9 billion years.  The article says nothing about natural selection or survival of the fittest, but just invokes in the E word that made Darwin famous:
This new census reveals a surprising result.  The colour-density relation, that describes the relationship between the properties of a galaxy and its environment, was markedly different 7 billion years ago.  The astronomers thus found that the galaxies’ luminosity, their initial genetic properties, and the environments they reside in have a profound impact on their evolution.
One of the astronomers also said the study suggests that “galaxies as we see them today are the product of their inherent genetic information, evolved over time, as well as complex interactions with their environments, such as mergers.”  The E word or its derivatives were used 11 times in the short release, ending with an analogy: “ just as for humans, galaxies’ relationship and interactions can have a profound impact on their evolution.”
Good grief, stars have nothing to do with Darwinism.  No, they don’t have genes, and no, they don’t have nurturing parents.  The pure Darwinists are going to get mad for applying natural selection here, to say nothing of confusing it with the controversial notion of niche construction (06/09/2004).
      It’s an equivocation fallacy to associate a galaxy’s physical change over time to the kind of evolutionary story Darwin was promoting.  What is this, some fawning attempt at name-dropping to score political points by granting further honors to Charles Augustus?
Next headline on:  AstronomyDumb Ideas
The Physics of Gecko Toes    12/06/2006  
Why would anyone want to know the details of physical forces when gecko feet walk on glass?  Here’s why: “The results have obvious implications for the fabrication of dry adhesives and robotic systems inspired by the gecko’s locomotion mechanism.”  A team of scientists from Santa Barbara and China watched gecko toes peel off glass and wrote up their results in PNAS.1  “The extraordinary climbing ability of geckos is considered a remarkable design of nature that is attributed to the fine structure of its toes,” the paper began.  As the abstract describes the physics involved, it’s more complex than one would think:
Geckos can run rapidly on walls and ceilings, requiring high friction forces (on walls) and adhesion forces (on ceilings), with typical step intervals of {approx} 20 ms.  The rapid switching between gecko foot attachment and detachment is analyzed theoretically based on a tape model that incorporates the adhesion and friction forces originating from the van der Waals forces between the submicron-sized spatulae and the substrate, which are controlled by the (macroscopic) actions of the gecko toes.  The pulling force of a spatula along its shaft with an angle {theta} between 0 and 90° to the substrate, has a “normal adhesion force” contribution, produced at the spatula-substrate bifurcation zone, and a “lateral friction force” contribution from the part of spatula still in contact with the substrate.  High net friction and adhesion forces on the whole gecko are obtained by rolling down and gripping the toes inward to realize small pulling angles {theta} between the large number of spatulae in contact with the substrate.  To detach, the high adhesion/friction is rapidly reduced to a very low value by rolling the toes upward and backward, which, mediated by the lever function of the setal shaft, peels the spatulae off perpendicularly from the substrates.  By these mechanisms, both the adhesion and friction forces of geckos can be changed over three orders of magnitude, allowing for the swift attachment and detachment during gecko motion.
Will this be on the test?
1Tian et al, “Adhesion and friction in gecko toe attachment and detachment,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0608841103, published online before print December 5, 2006.
You probably didn’t realize that geckos were such good physicists.  What’s really cool is thinking about the day we will have gecko boots and can play like Spiderman.
Next headline on:  BiomimeticsTerrestrial ZoologyAmazing Facts
Mars Waterpark a Booming Place    12/06/2006  
Two surprises about Mars came from NASA this week: (1) water may be flowing today down gullies in places (NASA press release), and (2) meteorites are still hitting the surface (NASA press release).  The water evidence comes from fresh deposits downslope of a gully on a crater wall.  One photo in the second article shows a dark crater that formed since 2001; another NASA photo shows a bright crater that formed sometime between 1999 and 2003.  Overall, 20 new craters were detected in comparison photos taken over the recently-ended 10-year life of Mars Global Surveyor.
    Whenever water and Mars appear in the same sentence, chances are the word life can’t be far behind.  That was the case here, too: “Liquid water, as opposed to the water ice and water vapor known to exist at Mars, is considered necessary for life.  The new findings heighten intrigue about the potential for microbial life on Mars.”  An Associated Press write-up on the NASA announcement (see Fox News) used the L word four times.  See also National Geographic, which had a paragraph on water and life, saying “Confirming the presence of liquid water on Mars would open the possibility for subterranean environments that might harbor living organisms.”
The usual NASA fluff about life on Mars, with its instant recipe “just add water,” can be ignored as an oblique appeal for funding (08/06/2006, 01/07/2005).  What’s interesting is the cratering rate.  The press release did not mention any figures, but said that “If you were living on Mars, chances are that within 10 or 20 years, an impact would occur close enough to where you live that you’d notice it – perhaps you’d hear the impact and it would startle you out of your seat.”
    That represents a pretty remarkable change in thinking about a planet smaller than the Earth.  We don’t get impacts that large that often (thank goodness).  Our atmosphere can only burn up particles smaller than a certain threshold in size relative to entry speed.  Mars has less gravity to attract impacting bodies (but also a thinner atmosphere to resist them).  If impacts large enough to hear or feel in any given place on Mars occur within one or two decades, the planet-wide crater count adds up quickly.  In addition, a single impact can generate multiple secondary craters (see 06/08/2006).  This was corroborated further by one of the photos.  The caption said, “In either case, the impactor came in at a somewhat oblique angle, and broke up just before hitting the ground, because it formed multiple small craters.”  This fresh impact, which occurred sometime after 2001, was as big as a football field.
    Someone without long-age bias should do the math and find out what would be expected if impactors were punching holes at this rate for 4.5 billion years.  Quick mental math (4.5 billion / 10) suggests hundreds of millions of craters in that time – even assuming today’s impact rate held constant, which is probably vastly conservative – and overlooks the larger number of secondaries that would be expected.  If the assumed age were a fact, it would seem the surface should have been pulverized beyond recognition many times over by now.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemDating MethodsOrigin of Life
Mars radiation makes astrobiology a bad investment, from 01/28/2005.

Darwin Missed the Beetle Can Opener Trick    12/05/2006  
You know those big horns on rhinoceros beetles?  They’re not just for showing off.  Scientists at Indiana University found a “surprising function” for them.  It turns out “horned beetles use their young horns as a sort of can opener, helping them bust out of thick larval shells.” 

The function of horned beetles’ wild protrusions has been a matter of some consternation for biologists.  Digging seemed plausible; combat and mate selection, more likely.  Even Charles Darwin once weighed in on the matter, suggesting -- one imagines with some frustration -- the horns were merely ornamental.
Since only the adult males retain them, biologists were misled into looking into an explanation invoking sexual selection.  Armin Moczek warned biologists not to ignore the developmental stages:
Despite the growing presence of developmental biology in evolutionary studies, “Even today, evolutionary theory is very much a theory of adults,” Moczek said.  “But evolution doesn’t morph one adult shape into another.  Instead there’s an entire lifetime of development that we can’t afford to ignore.
The female beetles also have horns in the embryo, he explained, but lose them after hatching.  Special enzymes reabsorb the horn tissue after its function as a can opener is done.  The male, meanwhile, retains it for sexual prowess, or maybe for some beetle version of Monday night football (can opener, get it?); to the horny males, the game’s not the same without beetle juice.  In some species, however, it’s not beetle Bailey, but the female that retains the horn, while in others, both sexes lose them in adulthood.
    Looking back on this oversight stretching back to the time of Darwin, Moczek thinks mistakes were made:
“I think these findings illustrate quite clearly the importance of development to evolutionary biology,” Moczek said.  “By including studies of your organism’s development, at the very least you stand to gain fundamental insights into its biology.  More often than not, however, you may prevent yourself from making big mistakes when drawing up evolutionary histories.  In this case, I think we did both.”  See the related story on EurekAlert.
Source: press release from Indiana University; see also Science Daily.
Lest the proponents of evo-devo think they have scored a point, the authors did not explain where horn-making genes and protein machines came from.  As far as the evidence goes, the ability to make horns and remove them was always present.  How the traits got sorted out in the descendants of horn beetles are due to loss-of-information mutations and natural selection.  Nothing new has been gained. “The hornlessness of some adult beetles is therefore not the result of an inability to make horns....,” the press release mentions, “but the reshaping or reabsorption of horn tissue before the beetles become adults.”
    Evolutionists also cannot explain the sequence of events.  Moczek said that they can’t tell if the horn was needed because the carapace got bigger, or the bigger carapace allowed the formation of horns.  “We are left with the commonly asked question in evolutionary developmental biology, ‘Which came first?’”  Generalizing that question shows that evolutionists know very little at all.  Picture poor Charlie wondering in consternation what tall tale to tell about the big male horns and the hornless females.  He only pondered the adults; he didn’t even think to watch the larvae pop their cans with their clever tool.  Darwin disciples continue to make the same mistake and miss out on a lot of the fun.
    This story is also a lesson about so-called vestigial organs and secondary sexual characteristics (e.g., see entry about male nipples, 11/28/2006).  Something is not vestigial if it had a function in the embryo.  Just because an organ like a tonsil or appendix looks shriveled up compared to its counterpart in other animals, and just because it can be removed without harm, does not mean it is a relic of some mythical evolutionary past.  The right approach should be to look for a function when none is apparent.  A little humility would have saved biologists from getting squirted when this new information popped out of the can.
Next headline on:  Terrestrial ZoologyDarwin and Evolutionary TheoryAmazing Facts
Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Evolution as Inventor    12/05/2006  
This week’s award goes to Gines Morata, a research professor in Spain, who was interviewed in Current Biology.1  He gives us a glimpse into his biology classes:
I often tell my students that they do not have to invent anything; in biology everything has already been invented.  What they have to do is find out the solution chosen by evolution.
In the context of this statement, Morata was talking about his enjoyment of science as a kind of detective work.  “The interesting aspect of it is that biological solutions are unpredictable and often very inelegant; there is a lot of tinkering in biology,” he asserted.  “This is because there is no design, only chance and necessity.”  As examples, he pointed to “useless” DNA, introns and genetic subdivisions that do not appear associated with morphological landmarks.
1Gines Morata, “Q&A,” Current Biology, Volume 16, Issue 23, 5 December 2006, Pages R976-R977.
Current Biology is a leading source of candidates for the SEQOTW prize.  Each issue, the journal interviews a biologist who usually spills the refried Darwin beans out the wrong end, but the editor takes in the methane aroma like a perfume (11/08/2006, 04/08/2002).  This is where Lynn Cassimeris last July called Darwin her Daddy (see 07/18/2006) and where the obligatory answer to “Who is your scientific hero?” is “Charles Darwin, of course.”  They just luv the bearded buddha who introduced Tinker Bell into science and bankrolled the Starving Storytellers.
    It seems to escape Morata’s attention that he just asserted several absurd beliefs without a twinge of conscience or sense of fairness that some debate about these assertions might be in order: viz, that materialistic philosophy (chance and necessity) is a fact, that mindlessness produces minds, and that aimlessness produces inventions worthy of human emulation.  He is also apparently unaware that the concept of junk DNA is on the way out (05/04/2006).  A thankless soul, he dismisses the designs that allow him to breathe, eat, see and think as “inelegant”.  And he commits the fallacy of personification by presenting evolution as an inventor and problem solver who makes choices.  This is the kind of scholarship that allows one to rise to a professorship in biology these days.  One can only hope his students have more sense.
Next headline on:  BiomimeticsDarwinismDumb Ideas
Why Are We Here?  Because We’re Not All There    12/04/2006  
The anthropic principle survived another criticism.  Charles Q. Choi on Space.com reported on a critique by two physicists who think the cosmological constant is not so finely tuned.  In the end, the argument was shot down.  The story, asking “Why Are We Here?” was picked up by Fox News.
Watch the new film The Case for a Creator.  It will tell you what you need to know about the fine-tuning problem.  If the cosmological constant were the only cosmic conundrum, it would be bad enough to explain away.  Try twenty other parameters that are also fine-tuned for our existence.
    “Anthropic” is a pretty self-centered term for evidence that points to God.  Trying to explain away the obvious (intelligent design) by endless appeals to naturalistic improbabilities demonstrates being out of touch with reality.
Next headline on:  Cosmology
How Stem Cell Reporting Can Blur Ethics   12/02/2006    
“The potential of stem-cell technologies to revolutionize medical care is causing great excitement among biologists and the general public,” Nature reported Nov 30.1  “ Recent studies on embryonic and adult stem cells, coupled with advances in our understanding of how they can be coaxed into forming particular cell types and tissues, have improved the prospects for addressing a host of untreatable diseases.”
    After such a positive introduction, one would think there would follow examples of cures from both embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.  The only example reported, however, was a case of adult stem cell research – a dramatic one, at that.  A team led by Giulio Cossu found that an infusion of adult stem cells into the blood stream might lead to a cure for muscular dystrophy.  In the article, Jeffrey Chamberlain mentioned stem cells many times, but treated the embryonic and adult types interchangeably.
1Jeffrey S. Chamberlain, “News and Views: Stem-cell biology: A move in the right direction,” Nature 444, 552-553 (30 November 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature05406.
This is a huge and glaring ethical omission in reporting.  Not all stem cells are created equal.  The culturing and use of embryonic stem cells has enormous ethical problems, while adult stem cells have none.  Adult stem cells also have an impressive track record of actual health benefits, whereas embryonic stem cells have nothing but hope and hype.
    Christians, conservatives and most anti-Darwinists have serious concerns about the use of embryonic stem cells.  The Darwinists know this and harp on how “people of faith” are standing in their way of doing whatever they want with human life.  They want America and Europe to be like China and Korea where there are fewer concerns about human rights, lest we fall behind in the golden dream of riches and rewards for unknown benefits that might arise from the use of human embryos.  Part of the propaganda war is seen right here – a fallacy of equivocation between two very different concepts that happen to share two words out of three, “stem cells.”  As in the case of American foreign policy vs Iranian foreign policy, the leading word adult vs embryonic makes all the difference.
Next headline on:  Politics and EthicsHealth
How Does the Emperor Penguin Dive So Deep?   12/01/2006    
Using a small recorder mounted on an emperor penguin, researchers at Scripps Institute measured the bird diving as deep as 1,800 feet – six times the depth any human has survived unassisted.  This is much deeper than scientists had expected.  Live Science surmises that if we could figure out how they do it without getting the bends, it could “improve anesthesia techniques and aide in research of how to avoid tissue damage when the body is deprived of oxygen.”  It might also improve surgical techniques, Andrea Thompson wrote.
Who would have imagined a bird being a champion deep-sea diver?  The diversity and talents of birds should turn us all into bird admirers and bird watchers.  Watch for a sparrow or hummingbird and consider how different it is to an emperor penguin, or an ostrich, or a peregrine falcon.  Yet the sparrow is no less intelligently designed and amazing in its own ways, too.  Watch for the birds in your vicinity and learn something about them on WhatBird.com.
Next headline on:  BirdsBiomimeticsAmazing Facts


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“How do you guys do it--reviewing so much relevant material every day and writing incisive, thoughtful analyses?!”
(a retired high school biology teacher in New Jersey)

“Your site is one of the best out there!  I really love reading your articles on creation evolution headlines and visit this section almost daily.”
(a webmaster in the Netherlands)

“Keep it up!  I’ve been hitting your site daily (or more...).  I sure hope you get a mountain of encouraging email, you deserve it.”
(a small business owner in Oregon)

“Great work!  May your tribe increase!!!”
(a former Marxist, now ID speaker in Brazil)

“You are the best.  Thank you.  Congratulations for the 6th Anniversary.  The work you do is very important.  Please don’t ever give up.  God bless the whole team.”
(an engineer and computer consultant in Virginia)

“I really appreciate your work in this topic, so you should never stop doing what you do, ’cause you have a lot of readers out there, even in small countries in Europe, like Slovenia is... I use crev.info for all my signatures on Internet forums etc., it really is fantastic site, the best site!  You see, we(your pleased readers) exist all over the world, so you must be doing great work!  Well i hope you have understand my bad english.”
(a biology student in Slovenia)

“Thanks for your time, effort, expertise, and humor.  As a public school biology teacher I peruse your site constantly for new information that will challenge evolutionary belief and share much of what I learn with my students.  Your site is pounding a huge dent in evolution’s supposed solid exterior.  Keep it up.”
(a biology teacher in the eastern USA)

“Several years ago, I became aware of your Creation-Evolution Headlines web site.  For several years now, it has been one of my favorite internet sites.  I many times check your website first, before going on to check the secular news and other creation web sites.
    I continue to be impressed with your writing and research skills, your humor, and your technical and scientific knowledge and understanding.  Your ability to cut through the inconsequentials and zero in on the principle issues is one of the characteristics that is a valuable asset....
    I commend you for the completeness and thoroughness with which you provide coverage of the issues.  You obviously spend a great deal of time on this work.  It is apparent in ever so many ways.
    Also, your background topics of logic and propaganda techniques have been useful as classroom aides, helping others to learn to use their baloney detectors.
    Through the years, I have directed many to your site.  For their sake and mine, I hope you will be able to continue providing this very important, very much needed, educational, humorous, thought provoking work.”
(an engineer in Missouri)

“I am so glad I found your site.  I love reading short blurbs about recent discoveries, etc, and your commentary often highlights that the discovery can be ‘interpreted’ in two differing ways, and usually with the pro-God/Design viewpoint making more sense.  It’s such a refreshing difference from the usual media spin.  Often you’ll have a story up along with comment before the masses even know about the story yet.”
(a system administrator in Texas, who calls CEH the “UnSpin Zone”)

“You are indeed the ‘Rush Limbaugh’ Truth Detector of science falsely so-called.  Keep up the excellent work.”
(a safety director in Michigan)

“Just wanted to drop you a line to congratulate you on the 6th anniversary of Creation-Evolution headlines, and to thank you once again for the laborious but necessary work that you do.  I know of no better way to stay informed with current scientific research than to read your site everyday, which in turn has helped me understand many of the concepts not in my area (particle physics) and which I hear about in school or in the media.  Also, I just love the commentaries and the baloney detecting!!”
(a grad student in particle physics)

“I thank you for your ministry.  May God bless you!  You are doing great job effectively exposing pagan lie of evolution.  Among all known to me creation ministries [well-known organizations listed] Creationsafaris stands unique thanks to qualitative survey and analysis of scientific publications and news.  I became permanent reader ever since discovered your site half a year ago.  Moreover your ministry is effective tool for intensive and deep education for cristians.”
(a webmaster in Ukraine, seeking permission to translate CEH articles into Russian to reach countries across the former Soviet Union)

“The scholarship of the editors is unquestionable.  The objectivity of the editors is admirable in face of all the unfounded claims of evolutionists and Darwinists.  The amount of new data available each day on the site is phenomenal (I can’t wait to see the next new article each time I log on).  Most importantly, the TRUTH is always and forever the primary goal of the people who run this website.  Thank you so very much for 6 years of consistent dedication to the TRUTH.”
(11 months earlier): “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 medical doctor in Oklahoma)

“Thanks for the showing courage in marching against a popular unproven unscientific belief system.  I don’t think I missed 1 article in the past couple of years.”
(a manufacturing engineer in Australia)

“I do not know and cannot imagine how much time you must spend to read, research and compile your analysis of current findings in almost every area of science.  But I do know I thank you for it.”
(a practice administrator in Maryland)

“Since finding your insightful comments some 18 or more months ago, I’ve visited your site daily.... You so very adeptly and adroitly undress the emperor daily; so much so one wonders if he might not soon catch cold and fall ill off his throne! .... To you I wish much continued success and many more years of fun and frolicking undoing the damage taxpayers are forced to fund through unending story spinning by ideologically biased scientists.”
(an investment advisor in Missouri)

“I really like your articles.  You do a fabulous job of cutting through the double-talk and exposing the real issues.  Thank you for your hard work and diligence.”
(an engineer in Texas)

“I love your site.  Found it about maybe two years ago and I read it every day.  I love the closing comments in green.  You have a real knack for exposing the toothless claims of the evolutionists.  Your comments are very helpful for many us who don’t know enough to respond to their claims.  Thanks for your good work and keep it up.”
(a missionary in Japan)

“Congratulations on the 6th anniversary!  I just thought I’d write and tell you how much I appreciate your headline list and commentary.  It’s inspired a lot of thought and consideration.  I check your listings every day!”
(a computer programmer in Tulsa)

“Just wanted to thank you for your creation/evolution news ... an outstanding educational resource ... plus congratulations on your 6th anniversary, I wish you many more years of successful ’Net publishing.“
(director of a consulting company in Australia)

“Your insights ... been some of the most helpful – not surprising considering the caliber of your most-excellent website!  I’m serious, ..., your website has to be the best creation website out there....”
(a biologist and science writer in southern California)

“I first learned of your web site on March 29.... Your site has far exceeded my expectations and is consulted daily for the latest.  I join with other readers in praising your time and energy spent to educate, illuminate, expose errors.... The links are a great help in understanding the news items.  The archival structure is marvelous....  Your site brings back dignity to Science conducted as it should be.  Best regards for your continuing work and influence.  Lives are being changed and sustained every day.”
(a manufacturing quality engineer in Mississippi)

“I wrote you over three years ago letting you know how much I enjoyed your Creation-Evolution headlines, as well as your Creation Safaris site.  I stated then that I read your headlines and commentary every day, and that is still true!  My interest in many sites has come and gone over the years, but your site is still at the top of my list!  I am so thankful that you take the time to read and analyze some of the scientific journals out there; which I don’t have the time to read myself.  Your commentary is very, very much appreciated.”
(a hike leader and nature-lover in Ontario, Canada)

“...just wanted to say how much I admire your site and your writing.  You’re very insightful and have quite a broad range of knowledge.  Anyway, just wanted to say that I am a big fan!”
(a PhD biochemist at a major university)

“I love your site and syndicate your content on my church website.... The stories you highlight show the irrelevancy of evolutionary theory and that evolutionists have perpetual ‘foot and mouth’ disease; doing a great job of discrediting themselves.  Keep up the good work.”
(a database administrator and CEH “junkie” in California)

“I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your article reviews on your website—it’s a HUGE asset!”
(a lawyer in Washington)

“Really, really, really a fantastic site.  Your wit makes a razor appear dull!... A million thanks for your site.”
(a small business owner in Oregon “and father of children who love your site too.”)

“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)

“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 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 system 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 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).

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(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 December

Nicolas of Oresme
1320 - 1382

Nicholas of Oresme is a little-appreciated precursor of the scientific revolution.  A medieval scholar at the University of Paris, he strongly opposed astrology and superstition, took issue with Aristotle on key points, and argued for mathematical and observational proof.  Called one of the most original thinkers of the middle ages, he developed methods later borrowed and developed by Descartes, Galileo and others.

Dan Graves said, “Modern science did not spring full blown from the minds of Zeuslike creators; it was God-fearing scientists, such as Oresme who set the table for them.”  The Nicole Oresme website states that “In medieval thought, everything was anticipated,” then lists numerous “modern” ideas, from information theory to music to psychology, that have roots in medieval scholarship.  The site also calls Oresme the “Einstein of the 14th century” and describes his findings as “spectacular” that would appear “incredible” to the layman – presumably those laymen envisioning medieval scholars debating the number of angels that could stand on the head of a pin or how far one would have to travel to fall of the edge of the flat earth.

In his excellent article on Oresme (to which we direct the reader for further information), Dan Graves lists some of the original ideas that were to bear fruit in the scientific revolution:
• The universe resembles a clock wound up by God.
• All matter, even from other planets, is similar.
• An object falling inside the earth would oscillate around the center.
• The speed of a falling body is proportional to time, not to distance.
• Astrology is scientifically flawed.
• A sun-centered system would be simpler than an earth-centered one.
• Algebraic and geometric ideas can be graphed.

Oresme held to some ideas now considered absurd by today’s standards, but for someone in the 14th century, these ideas are remarkable.  Graves says that Galileo borrowed Oresme without attribution, and that Descartes may have gotten some of his ideas for analytic geometry from Oresme.

Could such original, practical, scientific, knowledge-based thinking spring from the mind of a creationist?  Oresme did not question the truth of the Scriptures.  He had more of a humility and distrust of human knowledge more than many secular scientists today.  Dan Graves ends by saying, except for the knowledge of faith, Oresme said, “I indeed know nothing except that I know nothing.”


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.

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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