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Darwinian Assumptions Questioned 03/31/2007
Sometimes common knowledge is not knowledge at all. We sometimes are surprised to
find out that things we had always heard turn out not to be true: for instance, the claim that
Humphrey Bogart said Play it again, Sam in Casablanca, that humans
only use 10% of their brains, that carbon-14 dates things millions of years old,
that the 9/10 on gasoline prices is a tax for road repair, or that saying Bless
you when somebody sneezes helps the sneezer in some mysterious way. Recently, it has come to light that some
ideas about Darwin and his evolutionary theory, long assumed as matters of fact, are not:
Sometimes things right under our microscopes dont fit the neat textbook pictures.
Science Daily, for instance,
reported that the classification of one-celled organisms is in disarray. Recent years have seen
major reinterpretations of the status of Neanderthal Man. The finding of a vast array of viruses
living in ocean water may revise our conceptions of life. And according to
Science Daily, evo-devo theories,
once promising, are struggling because their model organisms fail to answer key questions about evolution.
In many respects, it would seem Charles Darwin would hardly recognize his theory after 148 years of revisions.
He himself made substantial revisions during his lifetime, biographers note. Some modern evolutionists
forget that criticisms from scientists about the power of
natural selection, and problems with his inheritance theory, made Darwin move toward the Lamarckian ideas
he had earlier criticized. It is a curious phenomenon that evolutionary theory itself evolves.
- Did Darwin fear publication? As the typical retellings on TV and in
biographies go, Charles Darwin delayed publishing his book for fear of the reaction,
especially from Christians and religious people. The
BBC News reported on a researcher who
has debunked this notion. Darwins letters show he was committed to publish all along.
The idea that Charles Darwin delayed publishing On the Origin of Species for 20 years
for fear of ridicule is a myth, it says. The delay was more due partly to
bouts of ill health, and partly to his wanting to amass more evidence first.
- Did dinosaurs have to die off before mammals flourished? No, reported
and Science Daily.
Mammals were doing well in the age of dinosaurs, and the rapid rate of diversification began
a long time after dinosaurs went extinct. This contradicts the usual picture on TV
documentaries like the BBCs Walking with Dinosaurs that mammals were all little shrew-like
midgets dodging the big feet of monsters till a meteor blasted them to oblivion.
Incidentally, the BBC News
also reported this finding, and called the old idea a straw man argument.
- Is antibiotic resistance Darwinian evolution in action? Michael
Egnor, a medical doctor, argues that this evidence for evolution is a tautology.
See his reason on Evolution
- Do animals evolve faster in warmer climates? Again, the answer is no. A new
study reported by Science
Daily showed that the reverse is true: animals evolve faster in temperate zones and at the
poles than in the tropics. The researchers debunked what they called a
common assumption, the article explains.
Maybe Darwinism is analogous to Lenzs Law. Physicists learn that magnetically induced currents produce
magnetic fields that oppose the inducing field. Could it be that evolutionary ideas induce countermeasures
in nature that oppose evolutionary ideas? (This idea suggested in jest only; sug-gest in jest, if you digested that.)
Two Films Fight the Consensus 03/31/2007
For any oft-repeated truism, it is good practice to ask, How do you know that?
We would probably be shocked at the number of things we take for granted that have little
or no evidential support. Darwins myth seems especially prone to revision.
Sometimes both the urban legend and the revision are both wrong, because both are prone to the
same flawed assumptions. This is the case in #2 and #4 above. The revisors in both
cases were still assuming evolution and millions of years. They merely rearranged the pieces without
changing the overall evolutionary picture. This compounds the error, and poses myth against myth.
Beware of myth-placed confidence.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolution
Two film documentaries this month, though not on the subject of Darwinism, are contradicting scientific
Meanwhile, Randy Olsens Darwin vs. ID film Flock of Dodos is still making
the rounds. It is garnering more fans on the pro-Darwin side.
Proponents of intelligent design have caught this film refuting itself. It criticized Jonathan Wells
for claiming that textbooks still exhibit Haeckels embryos, claiming that this alleged inaccuracy
undermines the credibility of the rest of the book. But after the production, Wells produced current
textbooks that do use the Haeckel drawings. Olsens film also produced an alleged creationist
graphic that actually came from a parody site. Do these inaccuracies not undermine the credibility
of the rest of the film, they ask?
- Global warming is mans fault, right?: A documentary by Martin Durkin called The Great Global
Warming Swindle (see Channel
4.com) interviewed half a dozen notable climate scientists who dispute the human-caused global
warming scare. The entire documentary can be viewed on
- Colleges educate students, right? A new documentary called
Indoctrinate U exposes the situation on many
modern university campuses, where students are systematically indoctrinated by leftist ideologues.
Free speech is shouted down and political correctness reigns supreme, producer Evan Coyne Maloney
attempts to document with interviews and examples.
The medium is not the problem. Film can be good; film can be
bad. The ideas expressed via the sensation-enriched medium of film still need to be evaluated
on the validity of the claims made. Watch Al Gores An Inconvenient Truth side-by-side
with The Great Global Warming Swindle and decide who makes the better case not who has the
better background music, camera angles or other enhancements. At least now there are alternative
viewpoints for astute baloney detectors to compare.
Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: The Evolution of Shoppers Arm 03/31/2007
Next headline on:
This weeks prize goes to the Society for Experimental Biology, which,
according to EurekAlert,
said this in a press release:
The next time you are struggling to carry your bags home from the supermarket just remember that this could, in fact,
be the reason you are able to walk upright on two legs at all! How we have evolved to walk on two legs remains a
fundamental but, as yet, unresolved question for scientists. A popular explanation is that it is our
ability to carry objects, particularly children, which forced early hominins onto two legs. Dr Johanna Watson
(University of Manchester) will present work supporting this theory on Saturday 31st March 2007 at the Society for
Experimental Biologys Annual Meeting in Glasgow....
This idea raises some follow-up questions not answered in the press release. Dont monkeys do quite well
carrying their young? Wouldnt evolution fix its mistake? Why is this still a fundamental
question? Why is it still unresolved? How could tests with humans carrying dumbbells, or computer models of alleged hominids, provide
any confidence in explaining unobservable historical events? If evolution is so versatile and inevitable, why isnt it helping
us carry our shopping bags now? Is this hypothesis claiming that the loss of clinging feet and the need for carrying
infants was sufficient to generate significant benefits elsewhere, like big brains, supermarkets and Societies for
Experimental Biology? If so, and reason was only a by-product of an evolutionary trade-off, how could the Society know this?
Results indicated that when carrying an evenly spread load humans are actually more efficient at carrying
than most mammals but carrying awkward loads, such as an infant on one side of the body, uses much more energy.
However this sort of carrying would have been inevitable once early hominins lost the ability to cling on with their feet.
The high energetic cost of carrying an asymmetric load, suggests that infant carrying would need to generate
significant benefits elsewhere in order to be selected for, says Dr Watson.
Follow this line
of reasoning far enough, and supermarkets arose by natural selection. It would be religious to claim
intelligent design had anything to do with the origin of paper and shopping carts.
How about a Society for Real Biology for a change.
National Geographic urges calm over challenges to Darwinism,
Next headline on:
The Hot Moon Epidemic Spreads to the Suburbs 03/31/2007
A planetary symptom we might call Enceladus fever is apparently an epidemic. Now,
weve found that it infects some of the Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) beyond the orbit of Neptune.
More and more small bodies are being found with internal heat that has broken out onto the surface.
This is a big surprise. Small bodies should have frozen solid in billions of years.
Richard Kerr reported for Science today about discussions at the Lunar and Planetary
Sciences conference held March 12-16 in Texas.1 Heres the surprise in a nutshell:
What would erupting volcanoes, even icy ones, be doing on the coldest bodies in the solar system?
Temperatures hover around 50 kelvin [-370° F] on Kuiper belt objects (KBOs), which circle on
the frigid dark fringes of the solar system for eons on end. But astronomers recently
have seen signs that fresh ice has formed on KBOs in the geologically recent past.
Now, researchers have calculated how a KBO, at least a larger one, might husband its primordial allotment of
heat until the present day....
Scientists committed to the consensus age of the solar system (4.5 billion years) cannot endure any
thought of revising that number down, so the challenge is to model how a small body could retain its
primordial heat for 4.5 billion years. Heres the explanation in brief. If the body began with enough fast-burning
radioactive fuel, like potassium-40, it might get hot enough inside to differentiate into layers.
A molten core would form, surrounded by an insulating rocky shell. A liquid ocean might form above
the rock layer. As ice expands, it might crack, propagating channels to the surface. If there is
ammonia in the mix, it might lower the melting point to permit slurries of ammonia-water magma to spread
on the surface.
Somehow, relatively warm crystalline ice has formed of late on the largest KBOs,
but scientists have had trouble explaining where the necessary heat came from. KBOs have been
cooling inside for billions of years, and unlike satellites such as Io or Enceladus, they do not
orbit a huge planet that can spare a trickle of tidal energy to heat the smaller bodys interior.
Nevertheless, a veteran planetary scientist commented, Im surprised it stays so hot.
If this phenomenon is common to KBOs, maybe one of the largest the Pluto-Charon system could
be observed up close in 2015 when the New Horizons spacecraft pays a visit.
1Richard A. Kerr, Cold, Cold Bodies, Warm Hearts,
30 March 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5820, p. 1789, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5820.1789a.
The moyboys* of the Lyell Theater seem to be on the defensive these days.
The planets and moons are not following the script. Its supposed to be Act MMMMDVI of
King Liar but theyre playing as if its Act CCM of a different play. Is this a super condensed version
of the show, or are we in the wrong playhouse? The audience of the little hamlet stirs. This is not just much ado about
nothing; its becoming a tempest, or, as you like it, Lyells labors lost. Measure for measure, alls
well that ends well, but this is looking more like a comedy of errors. If the moyboys in desperation start singing For
hes a jolly othello, the audience may just
get up and walk out. The timing of the crew couldnt be worse. Across the street, theres a
blockbuster oratorio drawing in huge crowds: The Creation.
Did Indians See Jurassic Beasts? 03/30/2007
*Believers in millions of years, billions of years.
Next headline on:
Did Indians have familiarity with Jurassic monsters, or were they good paleontologists,
skilled at reconstructions? In the Random Samples page of
news tidbits in the journal Science March 30,1
the story is told and the interpretation given:
Some fossils are rare, but this one recently unearthed in eastern Oregon may be positively mythic.
In life, the 2-meter-long Jurassic seagoing crocodile (above), discovered by members of the North American Research
Group, sported scales, needlelike teeth, and a fishtail. Some paleontologists, including Stanford University
researcher Adrienne Mayor, think similar fossils may have inspired Native American representations of water
monsters. Mayor notes the crocs remarkable resemblance, for example, to a 19th
century Kiowa artists drawing (inset) of a legendary water serpent.
No evidence was supplied whether Native Americans were even familiar with fossils, let alone
whether they ever made reconstructions based on them.
1Random Samples, Oregon Sea Monster,
Volume 315, Number 5820, Issue of 30 March 2007.
Unless such fossils were articulated and completely exposed, its hard to imagine
early hunter-gatherers reconstructing entire animals from fossils as well as this
story claims. Why is the more straightforward explanation, that some of them actually
saw this beast and imitated it, not even considered? The obvious reason is that there
is no way in the evolutionary timetable humans and Jurassic crocs could have co-existed.
Is Hardy Life Evidence of an Evolutionary Origin? 03/29/2007
Not enough information is supplied in this short article to explain if the
Kiowa drawing was an imitation of earlier legendary monsters that his ancestors might have
seen. Its also not clear whether a 19th century Indian might have seen scientific reconstructions
of prehistoric monsters that influenced his work. Not too much should be inferred, therefore, from this
brief article. The biased interpretation of the scientist is the interesting thing to note:
he immediately jumps to a conclusion based on his assumption that the two were millions of years apart.
Next headline on:
Salt-tolerate species of unicellular organisms are found in all three kingdoms of life,
says an article on
Astrobiologists, those cross disciplinary scientists dedicated to investigating the broad question of life in the universe,
writes Lisa Chu-Theilbar of the SETI Institute, often study extremophiles, organisms that live at the edges of what life is
known to tolerate. Although this statement on its face could assume either designed life or evolved life, the context
of it referring to the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute makes it clear the assumption is that the life must have evolved
with its remarkable tolerance to salt. Because these halophilic microbes are so ubiquitous and so robust, they are
great candidates for the kind of organism that might once have lived or possibly even still survives, on Mars.
Nothing in the article explicitly states that hardy life arose by itself. The position of the SETI Institute is very clear
that the creator is material evolution.
A sample of similar thinking was found in a
JPL press release
March 12: Deep inside Enceladus, our model indicates weve got an organic brew, a heat source and liquid water,
all key ingredients for life, said a Cassini scientist about Enceladus.
And while no one is claiming that we have found life by any means, we probably have evidence for a place that
might be hospitable to life. The implicit assumption is that if the conditions are right, life could
emerge by itself.
If you build it, they will come. This marketing cliché
works with designed organisms, like humans, who operate with purpose and intent, but when was the last time you
saw an inanimate object to engage in goal-seeking behavior, simply because the opportunity presented itself?
Will an abundance of mud, straw and a hot sun spontaneously give rise to a building? If the environment
is subject to torrential rains, will it then construct for itself a sturdy roof?
Saturn Still Serving Surprises 03/28/2007
Many in the space program presume that suitable environments generate life. Many in the SETI
program assume that biomarkers will imply life arose spontaneously on its own. These logical fallacies
permeate much of the space program. They are never questioned or criticized because of dogmatic Darwinism
and a science that cannot think outside the materialistic box.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
The Cassini Spacecraft, three-fourths of the way into its
4-year prime mission, is not running out of new things to see. Some of the latest discoveries
are both awesome and strange.
To add to Cassinis art gallery, a beautiful color picture of Saturn was taken with the large moon
The Imaging Team has their own website with
special features, like Saturn Golf, and the
Planetary Society keeps a running
blog of happenings. Since 18 countries are involved in the mission, you can find additional
Cassini-Huygens stories from a European perspective at the European Space Agency. Even amateur scientists (and some pros with aliases) gather at the
Unmanned Spaceflight forum to share
their reactions and opinions. Some even take the
raw images and
do amazing things with them, like this
and this. Anyone with
imaging tools and some imagination can join the fun. Our previous Cassini story was on
- A Hex on the Pole: As if the south pole of Saturn, with its earth-sized hurricane
were not dramatic enough, the north pole seems determined to steal the
thunder. A bizarre hexagon-shaped feature was observed surrounding the pole that has
scientists scratching their heads. The press release at
Laboratory (JPL) states that the structure, unique in the solar system, is a long-lived feature.
Its not just a shallow cloud formation, either; the hexagonal shape extends 60 miles
deep into the atmosphere. How such a shape could form and endure in a fluid is a new
and unexpected puzzle to solve. Watch this
of the hexagon in motion.
- The whole Enceladus: Little Enceladus, the second sizeable moon beyond the rings,
is like a planetary David tugging on Goliaths beard. This little moon, no bigger than
the British Isles, amazed scientists when its south polar geysers were caught in action in 2005 (see
Now, scientists have found that this tiny erupting moon is influencing Saturns gigantic
magnetic field. It spurts out so many charged particles, it drags the plasma with it,
causing slippage of the plasma disk. The JPL
press release explains,
In a David and Goliath story of Saturnian proportions, the little moon Enceladus is
weighing down giant Saturns magnetic field so much that the field is rotating slower than the
planet. As a result, this throws off measurements of the rotation rate of the magnetic
field, a key parameter used to infer the planets inner rotation rate. See also the
Science Daily report.
Little Enceladus made yesterdays
Astronomy Picture of the Day.
The output of the moons geysers are clearly seen feeding the E-ring around Saturn.
One wonders whether this is an unusual burst of activity, or a long-lived feature and
how long such a feature could live. See our previous story from
- Tug of Warp: Little moons around the F-ring of Saturn tug at the material in
noticeable ways. JPL issued this picture of
dragging material out of the ring, and
clumps of material from previous passages of nearby moons. The material may pass hands
back and forth between the moons and the rings, but scientists are not sure; some of the
embedded moonlets appear to have eccentric orbits and pass right through the F-ring at times.
- Missing pockmarks: Space.com
wondered where all the craters went on Titan. Cassinis radar mapper has only examined
about 10% of Titans surface, but only four clear craters have turned up a surprisingly
small number for a moon nearly the size of Mercury. Either the craters are quickly erased
or the surface is young. If Titans surface had the same density of craters that
other Saturnian moons have, there should be thousands of craters, remarked one member of
the science team.
- Charming physics: For those liking to delve deeper into the physics of Saturn,
a new CHARM
PDF file (Cassini-Huygens Analysis and Results of the Mission) was posted 3/27.
Dr. Claudia Alexander delivered a colorful Powerpoint presentation about science results from
the magnetic field observations. Click
here for a list of previous CHARM presentations on other aspects of the Saturn system.
To see Dr. Alexander in action, click
here for her latest videocast on mission status, and
here for the archives.
Cassini is flying by Titan numerous times this year and next (see
schedule), looking for more lakes and evidences of
cryovolcanism, studying the atmosphere and mapping the surface with radar.
Some other big-news encounters are in the plans. June 27 Cassini flies by Tethys at close
range for the second time. On August 30 there is a close flyby of Rhea. On September 7, one of
the most spectacular and waited-for moon encounters of the mission occurs: a flyby of Iapetus from only 932 miles
(see latest image and
And, to top it all, next March 12 the spacecraft will attempt a daring plunge through the geyser plume of
Enceladus from only 14 miles up the closest encounter of the tour. This will enable the instruments
to collect samples of the material, precious data that will help scientists understand the processes
at work in the smallest hyperactive globe in the solar system. The prime tour ends with a high
sequence (August 31 to July 1) that should provide stunning views of the rings and the polar hexagon from above.
The end of the prime mission (July 2008) may not be the grand finale; assuming Congress
approves plans for an Extended Mission, and the spacecraft stays healthy, Cassini has enough fuel and power
to continue to dazzle us with its Saturn postcards for two or three years or more.
An amazing story. Enjoy it while you can: a ringside seat on the most successful
interplanetary tour ever. It wont feel the same when Cassini is in the history books; its much
more fun to learn while it is happening. Go Cassini! Keep those bits coming, and fill our dishes with wonder.
Grief counseling from an evolutionary perspective, from 03/21/2005.
Next headline on:
Desperately Seeking Macroevolution 03/28/2007
With Intelligent Design critics hot on their heels, Darwinian evolutionists are hot to find
transitional forms that they can exhibit as evidence for large-scale evolution (macroevolution).
A symposium on that very subject was held last October by the American Institute of Biological
Sciences (AIBS), but a report on the conference did not come out till this months issue of
BioScience.1 It appears only pro-Darwinists were allowed a hearing.
The abstract says, Speakers at the Macroevolution: Evolution above the Species
Level symposium, held at the National Association of Biology Teachers annual meeting last October,
focused on macroevolutionary processes, the evolution of key innovations and major lineages of organisms,
and the evidence for these processes. The Cambrian Explosion and other difficulties were
specifically addressed including this admission in the opening remarks: Some in the antievolution community
assert that microevolution happens but not macroevolution, because they believe there is no
evidence for it. Here, then, was a prime opportunity for pro-Darwin advocates to showcase the
very best examples of macroevolution. Assuming reporter Oksana Hlodan did a fair job of capturing
the highlights, what examples did the panel of five come up with?
Combing through the report, here is the short list of evidence for macroevolution:
After this, the symposium discussed how to teach this evidence in the public schools with materials from the
Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS). Then Kathleen Smith (U of North Carolina) summed up the evidence
in her closing remarks:
- Choanoflagellates, a class of protozoa found in almost any body of water, seem to have the
proteins higher animals use for cell signalling and adhesion. So, Genes shared by choanoflagellates
and animals were most likely present in their common ancestor and may shed light on the transition
to multicellularity. Nicole King (UC Berkeley) suggested that unicellular organisms like these might
have been preadapted for multicellularity. That almost sounds like a mindless process was able to plan ahead.
- Developmental programs were exhibited as evidence by Nipam Patel (UC Berkeley)
for how different body plans might have emerged, such as bilateral symmetry and numbers of segments. He gave examples
of fruit flies with four wings and with legs where the antennae should be.
- Radiation (the biological kind, not the atomic kind) was discussed by Jeffrey S. Levinton (State U of NY at Stony Brook).
He tried to explain the Cambrian Explosion by referring to the fact that the molecular clock suggests
an earlier time for diversification than the fossil record shows. The Cambrian explosion marks
the appearance of most bilaterian multicellular animal designs, he agreed, but the actual
divergence of these groups may have occurred many millions of years before the
- Extinction was presented as evidence by David Jablonski (U of Chicago). But how can the loss of 95%
of living things (his estimate) over five major extinction events count as evidence for macroevolution?
The explanation: Mass extinctions are important in macroevolution because they change the
rules of survival, eliminating the dominant groups of the time and allowing adaptations to
hitchhike on traits, such as geographic range size, that determine survivorship during extinction episodes.
Mass extinctions homogenize the biota, and they encourage postextinction evolutionary bursts.
- Whales: Phillip Gingerich (U of Michigan) presented a series of fossils showing the putative evolution
of whales. He considered this a transition from land to sea once thought inexplicable in terms of evolution.
- Flowers: Scott Hodges (UC Santa Barbara) argued that flowering plants with nectar spurs are more diverse
than groups without them. His explanation: Finding this association, suggests that nectar spurs
affect the process of speciation or extinction.
The genetic toolkit is important in the study of macroevolution. The
same sets of genes are used again and again, so that major evolutionary
change does not necessarily require major genetic changes.
The article notes that the presentations are available on the
There is complexity in the tempo and mode of evolution. There are many
different patterns in macroevolutionary events.
Many macroevolutionary changes depend on significant changes in the
environment, some of which have led to large extinction events.
The processes of microevolution and macroevolution are continuous.
Lets look at one other example. In its feature Lifes Little Mysteries,
posted a short article March 26, Whats So Special About Darwins Finches?
The article noted that many consider this case a symbol of evolution by natural selection.
The history of Darwins finches is summarized. One tidbit mentioned in passing is that Darwin
paid little note of the finches during the stopover at the Galápagos, and only years later
tried to make up for the deficit by borrowing some finch notes taken by the Beagles Captain
The explanation in the last sentence
about where Darwins finches fit into evolutionary theory is notable not only for what it claims, but
for what it avoids claiming: In the past few decades, biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant of
Princeton University have studied finch populations and showed that the average beak sizes of successive generations changed to adapt to new food sources on Daphne Major, an island in the Galápagos.
In fact, the beak sizes fluctuated back and forth with food availability, with no long-term trend discernible
(see 07/14/2006 entry and its embedded links).
1Oksana Hlodan, Macroevolution: Evolution Above the Species Level,
Volume 57, Number 3, March 2007, pp. 222-225(4).
2FitzRoy was a Bible-believing Christian who denounced Darwins evolutionary ideas and
deeply regretted having had any part of Darwins slide into apostasy.
So thats it? This is laughable. The closest two
cases for macroevolution that had any bones or photographs to back them up were the whale tale and
the nectar spur myth. For the latter, they are still species within the same kind, for crying
out loudnot examples of macroevolution. No creationist would deny the ability of some
flowering plants to diversify to a limited extent. As to whale evolution, that claim has been
roundly debunked by many ID and creationist groups: the
response to the PBS Evolution series, by TrueOrigin #1
and True Origin #2, by
Answers in Genesis,
Ministries International, by the
Research Society, by
and many others. The AIBS and other Darwin Propagandists pretend like these critiques dont
even exist. The honest thing for a scientist would be to first do a literature search and come
well-armed, but they never do. They present their very biased one side of the story as if nobody
else ever had a problem with it.
Leakey Manipulated His Apelike Skull 1470 to
Look Human 03/27/2007
The rest of the so-called evidence for macroevolution all consisted of
suggestions that might explain away the falsifying evidence with a little more
work (and funding), with nothing but hope that future discoveries might shed light on the
vexing problem of how all the major body plans of all the animals appeared in the blink of an eye in
the fossil record. Such excuses dont shed any light; they cover up the clear light of design.
As for the LiveScience pitiful article on Darwins finches, here is another case of
pretending the criticisms against Darwin dont exist. Jonathan Wells wrote a whole chapter
about this in Icons of Evolution (note how LieScience used the
synonym symbol instead of icon in their description). Incidentally, Wells
also had a chapter on four-winged fruit flies; Dr. Patel should have known that there is no way these
rare mutants would survive in the wild, so they are irrelevant to evolutionary theory. Havent these
people heard that the Peter & Rosemary Grant team only found fluctuations around a mean in finch beaks over 30 years of study?
They only found slight enlargements of the average beak size of one species (on the order of fractions of a millimeter).
Big deal. Moreover, the changes were reversed when the climate changed. And this is still being
promoted as something special worth knowing
because it is a symbol of macroevolution? Come on. Any honest reporter should
acknowledge the criticisms and try to address them. Ignoring the question
is tantamount to propaganda.
In short, critics of Darwinian evolution should take heart at this, another in a long
series of embarrassing admissions that Darwins modern-day disciples have no evidence for Charlies
myth. How much longer Darwinism will endure before collapsing is anyones guess.
If youd like to hasten the inevitable, then youd better stop their attempts to keep indoctrinating
the young in their side and silencing the opposition.
Notice that they hastened at the end of the symposium to talk about how best to inculcate the youth into
their mystery religion. Unless we get public schools to teach the facts, to permit fair and balanced presentation
of all the evidence, the Darwinistas could succeed in raising another generation of zombies. This means
the collapse of Darwinism could be delayed long enough for it to work even more mischief in society.
As Disraeli once said, Error is often more earnest than truth. This means that error can
win by default. If you care about the truth, you had better exercise your earnestness above the
oppositions intensity level and apply it wisely.
Next headline on:
The skull of an alleged human ancestor Richard Leakey made
famous in 1972 was poorly reconstructed, claims a paleoanthropologist who specializes in craniofacial biology.
According to Dr. Timothy Bromage of New York University, Leakey employed
nonstandard principles while assembling the bones of his Skull 1470, giving the face a flatter,
more human-like profile. Many at the time of the discovery were stunned to find such a human-like
face dated to 3 million years ago. (This date was later revised downward to 1.9 million years.
The skull was later dubbed Homo rudolfensis and considered an ancestor in the direct line
leading to modern man, Homo sapiens.)
Employing rules that the eyes, ears and mouth of mammals must bear a precise relationship
to one another, Dr. Bromage did his own reconstruction and found the skull looked more apelike
than previously believed. The computer-aided reconstruction reduced the brain size to
less than half that of a modern human. He said that the corrected skull has a
surprisingly small brain and distinctly protruding jaw, features commonly associated with
more apelike members of the hominid family living as much as three million years ago.
Dr. Bromage criticized the famous paleoanthropologist, judging that Dr. Leakey produced a biased
reconstruction based on erroneous preconceived expectations of early human appearance that
violated principles of craniofacial development.... Dr. Leakey produced a reconstruction that
could not have existed in real life. The erroneous interpretation, the article
states, has been widely accepted until now.
A larger image with caption can be found on Science
OK, lets see if Leakey will recant. Lets see if the textbook publishers
will fix the mistake. His Skull 1470 raised quite a stir at the time and gained Leakey
international fame. Now, it comes out that Leakeys personal bias dictated how he
put the puzzle pieces of bone together. How much does this go on in the dubious practice
of paleoanthropology? What other instances are out there right now with built-in bias?
Here it is 25 years after the discovery before the truth comes out. Remember this next
time this crowd trumpets some new missing link. Todays kids may not know its
phony baloney till 2032.
New Dinos Found; What Do They Mean? 03/27/2007
Bromage, for all his efforts in exposing Leakeys bias, is still biased
himself. He still thinks man evolved from apes just 300,000 years later than the
current consensus timeline. He still tosses around the millions of years and pictures
Homo ergaster and Homo erectus belonging to some mythical pathway to man.
He still calls the apes Australopithecus and Paranthropus hominids
and accepts the Darwin Party premise that we are evolved apes. Lets encourage him
to keep exposing the bias in Leakeys skulls. This should get Leakey mad enough to
counterattack by finding the bias in Bromages work. The public will get the message:
the tale of human evolution is all bias, all the time.
Next headline on:
There is often a wide gap between the bones that are found and the stories that are told
about them. As new dinosaur bones come to light, some reporters cannot resist imagining
all kinds of things about their lifestyles. Here are two recent examples.
As a bonus, well add a non-dinosaur reptile story or two.
Inferring behavior, ecology and motivation is keeping paleontologists busy.
We may not have resolved all that dinosaurs can do, said one paleontologist.
- Mongolia: Its a Bird! Its Plain! Ker Than reported on
two raptorspecies unearthed in Mongolia in
He quickly associated these with alleged feathered dinosaurs like Microraptor gui.
But wasnt that a bird? He claimed that dromeosaurs were bipedal dinosaurs that
were closely related to birds and many of them are even known to have had feathers.
(For more on Microraptor gui, see the 05/19/2003
entry and analysis by Jonathan Sarfati at
Answers in Genesis.)
- Fallout Shelter: Charles Q. Choi at Live
Science reported on the find of an underground den of dinosaurs found in Montana. The
setting and the shape of the snout and legs suggested that Oryctodromeus cubicularis, digging
runner of the lair, dug burrows the first dinosaur found with that ability. Choi
connected that with the K-T extinction and suggested that these dinosaurs dug deep, possibly
to avoid catastrophe. See also the BBC
- Lizard slithered: Jeanna Brynner wrote in
Live Science about
a lizard having nubs for front legs. This was provided as support for evolution:
the fossil, she said, is clarifying how some lizards shed their limbs as they crept through
evolutionary time and morphed into slinky snakes. Another paleontologist said this
provided a window into what was happening 100 million years ago. We now know that
losing limbs isnt a new thing and that lizards were doing it much earlier than we originally thought.
Another surprise was noted. Losing the front limbs first seems odd, when you would think it would be the opposite.
Wouldnt a handicapped lizard shove its face into the dirt? The front limbs would be useful for
holding onto dinner or digging a hole, but it must be developmentally easier to get rid of the forelimbs,
confessed Michael Caldwell (U of Alberta). The end of the article contains a key disclaimer about the
evolutionary value of this fossil: Though the lizard find does not make for a missing link,
Caldwell suggests it suffices as a critical data point for helping scientists understand the aquatic process of limb loss.
National Geographic and
also reported on this story. Question: has anyone proved this individual was not an unfortunate mutant?
- Leapin lizards: Another fossil lizard shows extended vertebra the discoverers believe
allowed it to glide like a flying squirrel. For a picture, see
This had nothing to do with other flying reptiles, the pterosaurs, which were capable of true
powered flight. There are dragon lizards in Asia capable of gliding today.
Another gliding lizard fossil is known in Triassic strata.
The discoverer made this tie-in to evolution: It is really amazing to see evolution making nearly
identical structures in animals of different origins spanning such a long history.
Evolutionary paleontology is 30% digging and 70% storytelling.
Maybe they think details about dry bones will bore the public. Everybody wants to hear a good
campfire story, whether or not it is true. The more fanciful the better. The next theory
will be that dinosaurs could sing, dance and play chess (cartoon).
Geological Truisms Questioned 03/27/2007
Ezekiel told of a valley of dry bones that came to life
(Ezekiel 37) but that was only a parable,
and the resurrection occurred by intelligent design. The evolutionists tell their stories as if they
believe them to be literally true. But can a consistent materialist conjure up behavior, motivation
and intention from dry bones? Bones are designed; tell the Darwinist who engages in such flights of
fancy, Get your own dirt. (See joke).
For those needing alternatives to the evolutionary interpretations of dinosaur bones,
see the recent article in Answers
magazine about sauropods, and in Journal of Creation
about alleged feathered dinosaurs.
Next headline on:
Nothing is a constant in scientific theories. Popular ideas often wind up historical anecdotes.
What will happen to these two popular concepts?
It may be a hard sell, therefore, to claim that anything under the Antarctic remained stable for
millions of years or that we can know with any certainty what the Earth looked like before
there were observers.
- Snowball Earth Melts: The idea that prior to the emergence of complex
life the Earth was frozen over has been given the colorful title, Snowball Earth.
Scientists at Imperial College, London, are questioning whether this ever happened, according to
They claim to have found evidence of repeated hot and cold cycles that would not have allowed
Earth to undergo a prolonged period of freezing. They also questioned it on thermodynamic
grounds: In fact, once fully frozen, it is difficult to create the right conditions to cause
a thaw, since much of the incoming solar radiation would be reflected back by the snow and ice.
- Antarctic rivers drain Antarctic lakes: Many scientists had speculated that lakes
under Antarctic ice might hold pristine clues to the early Earth, and exotic forms of life.
Now they may have to take into account a paper in Science1 that found evidence
these lakes are connected and drain from one to another as the ice cover shifts. Images
from space show that these lakes act like lubricants and rapidly shift the highly-pressurized subglacial
ice around. They cited instances: Large outbursts of subglacial water have been observed in coastal regions,
and Antarctic subglacial water can move in large volumes between lakes, on short time scales and over
In conclusion, they remark that the water movements they detected are large,
extensive, and temporally variable. Big changes were seen within just 2-3 years.
These observations provide clues to understanding the stability of ice streams through their
sensitivity to basal lubrication, they said. The time scale for subglacial water
transport (months to years) is short compared with that of other known drivers of glacial flow
variability, suggesting a mechanism for more rapid changes in ice stream behavior than have previously
1Fricker, Scambos, Bindschadler and Padman, An Active Subglacial Water System in
West Antarctica Mapped from Space,
16 March 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5818, pp. 1544-1548, DOI: 10.1126/science.1136897.
Didnt they ever hear of global warming?
Indeed, the science wars are heating up all over the world.
Can the Interior Design Itself? 03/26/2007
Next headline on:
Calling all interior designers: has Darwinism rendered you superfluous? J. Scott Turner
thinks so. He wrote a book called The Tinkerers Accomplice: How Design Emerges
from Life Itself (Harvard, 2007). It was reviewed by Claus Wedekind in last weeks
Nature with the title, The interior designer. This does not imply that
interiors need an exterior designer, but that interiors can design themselves.
Wedekind liked the book. The basic idea is that design emerges without help
from the tendency for self-organization and self-preservation. Homeostasis is the
property living things have to regulate themselves amidst a dynamic environment.
Feedback from the environment influences structures such that they self-adapt and co-evolve
with the surroundings: these he calls Bernard machines after Claude Bernard, a contemporary of
Darwin, who emphasized the role of homeostasis in physiology.
postulates that homeostasis is a common feature of life, giving rise to self-organizing
and self-regulating machines from the level of cells and tissues to structures larger than
an organism or even a community of organisms. Collagen fibers, embryonic tissues, antlers
and termite mounds are some of the examples described in the book. Termite mounds not only
capture wind to power ventilation but also regulate its capture. This makes a termite mound
a self-organized, self-regulating structure, an organ of homeostasis, the idea goes.
Homeostasis and natural selection work hand in hand, according to Turner.
He challenges Dobzhanskys famous dictum that nothing in biology makes
sense apart from evolution, replacing it with, no attribute of life,
including its evolution, really makes sense unless we view it through a physiological lens.
Designers need not apply, in other words: physiology is the interior designer. The agents of homeostasis
lead, largely by themselves, to the marvellous harmony of structure and function
we observe in nature.
How can elaborate structures emerge naturally, though, without intention? Is intention
real, or an illusion? This is the question Wedekind asks:
This leads to the tantalizing question of whether darwinian evolution can dismiss intentionality.
Obviously, creative brains can cope better with an unpredictable world and may have a selective
advantage, so creativity and intentionality can evolve and in turn influence
evolution. But does it really need a brain like ours to bring intentionality
into play? Turner views this question through a physiological lens and develops a picture
of a modular brain that could be understood as a kind of climax ecosystem with
competing and coevolving cells, and with homeostasis as the organizing principle of
cognition. He argues that we intentionally design the world when our neural ecosystems
generate ideas that then guide our bodies to reshape it. The point is that the brain
may be just one example of what Turner calls persistors persistent environments that
are created by systems of Bernard machines and that have a process-based form of heritable memory.
Darwin machines replicators that have to prove themselves under natural
selection shape evolution in the absence of intentionality. But the author argues that
life and evolution happen when Darwin machines act in concert with Bernard machines,
which are the agents of homeostasis and can be seen, in their own particular way, as goal-seeking
and purposeful. These are the tinkerers accomplices of the title.
Wedekind seemed tickled with Turners witty prose. He thinks that, despite its intellectual
challenges, the book would give a motivational kick to physiology students. This important book
is for those who search for an understanding of the various forms that life can take and of how life works.
Such understanding serves another function. Wedekind confessed a frustration that lured him to Turners
thesis for relief:
Sharing a broadly accepted idea or philosophical concept comes with a danger: after a period of indulgence
in mutual affirmation, it is easy to forget how to effectively defend the concept against a smart and captious
critic.... evolutionary biologists can struggle to find their best arguments when challenged by a well-prepared
enthusiast of intelligent design.
1Claus Wedekind, The interior designer,
446, 375 (22 March 2007) | doi:10.1038/446375a.
The Darwin Party heads keep sending out their novice debaters as if they think
this puts the intelligent design Visigoths on edge. The Visigoths in the camp outside are wondering, meantime,
how such shallow logic could make it into Nature, the DPs warfare manual. Any undergrad logic student could show
how self-refuting this thesis is. The argument makes no
sense even if one assumes evolution at the outset. Each example from the living world Turner provides has intelligent
design already built into the genetic code, not self-generated out of thin air. And count the
number of times mindless entities are personified in the
quote above and the entire interior designer concept unravels. Its like
we have to keep slapping the hands of the bumbling Darwin Party emissaries and reminding them,
You cant say that. That word is not in your vocabulary. You cant
plagiarize our ID manual; we wont let you get away with it. They never learn.
Maybe its a strategy; perhaps they believe a million novices can compensate for one philosopher.
Free Speech? Not When Darwin Is at Stake 03/25/2007
So with a smile and a snicker under our breath, we send back a greeting card into the Darwin Castle,
wishing the best to the newlyweds, the Sorcerers Apprentice and the Tinkerers Accomplice.
Father Charlie and Tinker Bell, surrounded by indulgent guests enjoying mutual affirmation,
must be proud parents. They probably hope Little Miss Tinker Bell Jr. will be able to zap the
brooms the Apprentice unleashed and bring back order. But we know whats going to happen.
The brooms will douse the wand and carry on, submerging the Castle in a flood of entropy.
This makes our work so easy. All we will have to do is mop up when the walls fall down.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Radicals get away with saying or doing almost anything on campuses these days.
Theres one radical view, however, that even though believed by a majority
of Americans, is sure to be met with outrage: creationism. It doesnt even have
to be creationism. Just to suggest that Darwin and his views might not be infallible
is enough in some quarters to provoke outrage and censorship.
The Discovery Institute responded with a press release stating that the censorship attempts by the faculty
exemplifies why such a conference is needed. Bruce Chapman, President, reminded the critics that
Darwin himself wrote that a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing
the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.
Evolution News, a blog of the Discovery Institute, keeps a
running commentary on critics of intelligent design and their tactics. Robert Crowther posted
a response to the SMU protest for Evolution
News. For an idea of whats coming to SMU, see
the report on Knox News
about the Darwin vs. Design conference that was just held Sat. March 24
at the Knoxville Convention Center in Tennessee.
- Oregon Trial: A rapid ouster from the classroom was what biology teacher
Kris Helphinstine faced when he dared question Darwinism before students in an Oregon high school. According
to Fox News, Helphinstine went out of
his way to not to teach creationism. His unforgivable sin, though, was to link
Darwinism to Planned Parenthood and Nazi Germany in a Powerpoint presentation.
He explained, Critical thinking is vital to scientific inquiry. My whole purpose was
to give accurate information and to get them thinking. Comparing President
Bush to Nazis would probably not have gotten him in so much trouble.
Helphinstine said he was trying to teach a point about bias in sources,
but apparently he pushed his point too far. When his optional supplemental material
included some Biblical references, that was not just a little bit over the line, a school board member
in the Bend, Oregon town said. One parent complained that his presentation prevented his
daughter from learning what she needed to learn. Another asked,
How many minds did he pollute?
It didnt matter that Helphinstine has a masters in science from Oregon State. He was summarily fired
after only 8 days on the job.
- Dont Bring that Stuff Here: One would think an ostensibly Christian university
would like to hear a good discussion about intelligent design (ID) vs evolution. A Darwin
vs. Design event is scheduled for next month (April 13-14) at Southern Methodist University
(see DarwinVsDesign.com). These are simple lecture
events where PhD scientists share scientific evidence for design in nature.
In a pre-emptive strike, though, angry professors fired blistering letters
to the administration, asking that the event be shut down, reported Jeffrey Weiss for the
News. A taste of the anger from the Anthropology Dept.: They have no place on an academic campus with their
polemics hidden behind a deceptive mask, begging the question of who is engaging in
polemics. Similar letters were sent by the biology and geology departments, Weiss said.
What about free speech? A college campus has its limits, apparently. The scientists
are calling for prior restraint, complaining
that the event will give the impression that Intelligent Design has support
from scientists at the school. This propaganda event is causing enormous
discomfort to the science professors, who feel that hosting ID proponents on campus is tantamount to
giving them legitimacy.
The administration defended the event on free speech grounds while holding ID at
arms length: Although SMU makes its facilities available as a
community service, and in support of the free marketplace of ideas, providing facilities for
those programs does not imply SMUs endorsement of the presenters views.
If you are wagging your head right now at the intolerance of the
Darwinists to debate the scientific evidence, and the degree of hostility to the idea of critical
thinking about Darwins views, thank God. Youre normal. Not even Darwin
would condone this irrational behavior. Campuses routinely host the most outrageous, radical
views in public, sponsored by the campus: lectures by homosexual activists or radical Islamists,
without a peep. You can denounce Bush as Hitler, spit on the Bible, make students act out
Ramadan, wear cross-dressing clothes and use the other sexs bathroom, and advocate euthanasia
or bestiality, and reporters will yawn. But mention the letters ID and you will not believe the hostility.
How can the open marketplace of ideas, especially at a nominally Christian university, condone prior
restraint of the very core concepts (design in nature) that you would think Christians believe?
How can a public school, where kids lunch money still says In God We Trust, fire
a teacher with a masters degree in science for telling the truth that Darwinian evolution has
clear historical linkages with Planned Parenthood and Nazi Germany?
Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: Monkeys Bang Rocks, Invent Culture 03/23/2007
These two stories show why the majority of people in this country, who still deny that
life is the product of blind natural processes, had better wake up and get involved.
Has America gone down the tubes this far, that Biblical references in supplemental material from a
teacher daring to question Darwins Supreme Authority is fired on the spot?
A century ago the McGuffey Readers in public schools openly included Bible references, Bible stories,
and Biblical morals. Now, this is called polluting the minds of students,
while abortion, homosexuality, and radical Islam and communism are openly praised. How did it come
to this? What were you doing to let this happen? Not even Darwin or Voltaire or Hume would
consider this a healthy situation. Calm down, Darwinistas! Get a life. Cool your
jets. Take a breath. Chill out. Get a reality check. Lets put the best
scientific evidence on the table and talk about it, OK? Youve had your turn at the rostrum
for 148 years. Lets be nice, now, and take turns.
Next headline on:
University of Cambridge
earns this weeks prize for the following statements in a press release today:
New evidence of human culture among primates
Some esteemed Cambridge grads of the past, such as James Clerk Maxwell,
might have a little fun with this suggestion. He might write a poem on whether
the operation is commutative. Could the converse operation hold as well: i.e., that the
faculty and student body appear to be devolving toward monkey culture?
23 March 2007
Research suggests that stone-banging by South American monkeys could be a socially-learned skill
Fresh evidence that suggests monkeys can learn skills from each other, in the
same manner as humans, has been uncovered by a University of Cambridge researcher.
Dr Antonio Moura, a Brazilian researcher from the Department of Biological Anthropology,
has discovered signs that Capuchin monkeys in Brazil bang stones as a signalling device to
ward off potential predators.
While not conclusive, his research adds to a mounting body of evidence
that suggests other species have something approaching human culture.
The depths of inanity to which Darwinian dogmatists will sink
borders on insanity. Monkey bangs rock. Shakespeare cant be far behind.
Will this line of argument fly at Oxford? (On second thought... Dawkins territory...)
Lunar Dust Is Deadly 03/22/2007
There are two reasons why Darwinists get away with shameless nonsense in the
press. The first is because they have not learned shame. Normal people, not
infected with Delusia academia, should teach them the normal human blushing response.
A good bout of laughter can help. Saturday Night Live should take this theory and run with it.
Calling all comedians: theres a gold mine of joke material at Darwin Party Headquarters.
The second reason they get away with nonsense is that the gutless press isnt
doing its job. Science reporters, like fawning toadies, just gulp down the toad and
regurgitate it onto the plate to dish out to the public. We need a new generation of
reporters who understand their role is not to parrot but to ferret. Fire the current
batch and send in some seasoned political reporters to face up to the academics, shove microphones
in their faces, and ask
How do you know that? Mr. Moura, doesnt it seem a little
silly that rock-banging by monkeys could have anything to do with human culture?
What do you have to say to the majority of people who would disagree with your idea?
Dont you feel it is a little bit reckless to take such a trivial behavior and
extrapolate it onto human beings? What about crows and parrots and dogs?
(03/08/2007, bullets #2, #3). Dont they
show much more elaborate signaling behavior than Capuchin monkeys? Didnt we
learn that even ants can teach one another?
(01/11/2006, bullet #3).
You wouldnt suggest that human culture
evolved from crows and ants now, would you? Couldnt the same reasoning be used
to speculate that architecture evolved from beaver dams? What makes rock-banging stand out as anything
unusual in the animal kingdom? How could your hypothesis be tested? How could it
be falsified? Have you been fair to other explanations, or debated with scientists who
disagree with your suggestion? Isnt science supposed to be about verification and
justification of ideas? If it is not conclusive, and only a suggestion, why not get to
work in the lab until you can state something with more confidence? Where is this
mounting body of evidence you speak of? Can you produce it so that our research team can
see if any of it really does more than just speculate? Have you, sir,
seen the mounting body of evidence that Darwinism is on the decline? And why, sir, are
you spending your time speculating on such things instead of doing science that can make the
world a better place?
After this barrage (typical of the way political reporters treat the President), Mr. Moura
needs to be put face-to-face on TV with a well-prepared and outspoken Darwin
critic who can shoot down every suggestion he makes on scientific grounds, and with a
philosopher of science who can express outrage at any attempt to draw such a grandiose
extrapolation from such flimsy observations.
Darwinism will slink away silently when the wise and sensible among us
stand up to their bluff and demand scientific integrity or else. Or else what?
Or else a room full of belly laughs. Reporters, do your homework and come prepared to your
next interview with a Darwinist. Have a long list of hard-hitting questions and,
as backup, a box of kazoos and party blowers.
Next headline on:
A significant fraction of lunar dust could pose deadly risks to future astronauts stationed
on the moon, a BBC News
report says. About 1-3% of moon dust particles are too small to be coughed up or
removed by the cilia lining the respiratory tract. These would lodge in the lungs
and become inflamed. As in silicosis and asbestosis, the lung responds by building
scar tissue around the particles, but this reduces the effective surface of the lungs
for oxygen intake.
The article has a microphoto of a dust grain that is filled with
cavities, like swiss cheese. These would have up to five times the surface area
to interfere with the lungs. Having jagged surfaces, they would be less likely to
be captured by the sinus walls because of the way the particles would follow the path of the air.
Another problem is with iron grains in 10-20 nanometer particles of lunar
dust. These nano-phase iron particles could be absorbed directly into the
bloodstream and interfere with hemoglobins ability to absorb oxygen. The fine
dust was irritating to Apollo astronauts during their brief visits. It got into
everything and clung like powder. The lunar rovers kicked up roostertails of dust.
Harrison Schmidt got a bout of lunar dust hay fever after returning to the
NASA would like to set up camp on the moon once again in the year 2020.
A Lunar Airborne Dust Toxicity Advisory Group has been working on the problems.
The article discusses techniques the team of medical doctors and scientists are developing to mitigate
the hazards of lunar dust. The iron can be extracted with magnets, for instance, and
dust can be melted with microwaves into a kind of paved glass. Robots may
have to employ microwave guns, magnets, vacuums and filters to pave the way for human habitation.
Large amounts of lunar soil will need to be collected for a moon base for building
materials, oxygen and hydrogen. These actions might cause some fine dust to levitate
above the surface, however, posing threats to scientific instruments and astronaut health.
Extracting and living on the moons toxic
dust will be a major challenge for the next generation of human rovers.
Theres dust on Earth, too, but.... In most cases (except
in man-made habitats like mines and in smoke-filled rooms), our bodies are tuned to the geology and geography
and atmosphere. The atmosphere transports large amounts of dust, but clouds and rain cleanse
it and allow dust to solidify into rocks or be transported to the oceans. Meanwhile, our
sinuses, mucous membranes and sneeze responses trap and expel much of the dust that enters our
airways, allowing most of us to enjoy many decades of healthy breathing. Pushing the human body
outside the envelope is teaching us many things we might otherwise take for granted. Its
revealing an amazing degree of tuning of the body to its habitat.
Questions to Ask a Reductionist Neurobiologist 03/21/2007
The moon is the
same distance from the sun as Earth, but look how different it is. Nice place to visit,
but you wouldnt want to live there for long. The lack of
sufficient mass to retain an atmosphere and allow liquid water makes all the difference in the world.
Next headline on:
Can the totality of the brain be described in terms of its neurons? Is consciousness
an artifact of the movement of signals in the brain? Can the complexity
of the brain be described in terms of its evolutionary history? Does the hardware
define the software that runs on it? György Buzsáki attempted to address these questions
from an evolutionary standpoint in a Connections essay in Nature last week.1
Perhaps nowhere is the truism structure defines function more appropriate than for
the brain. The architecture of different brain regions determines the kinds of
computations that can be carried out, and may dictate whether a particular region can support
subjective awareness. Also, the degree of architectural complexity may determine
susceptibility to neurological and psychiatric diseases complex architectural schemes
being more prone to disruption than simpler ones. Understanding how such structure-function
relationships govern brain operations requires a systems-level approach that explores how local
computation relates to global patterns of neural activity.
He went on to describe the different kinds of networks that parts of the brain can construct:
local modules, as in the cerebellum; random connections, as in the hippocampus; and combination
scale-free networks, as in the cerebral cortex.
Though Buzsaki attempted to engage a systems approach, his answers were reductionist in the
sense of describing all brain functions in terms of their physical architecture. The structure
of consciousness, therefore, in his view, is structurally based. He did not speak as if this might
challenge the validity of his own opinions on the subject.
1György Buzsáki, Connections: The structure of consciousness,
446, 267 (15 March 2007) | doi:10.1038/446267a.
It is one thing to measure, describe and understand the physical
action of neurons, but quite another to reason about them. If reason can be subsumed under the
structure of neurons, how can I know it is reason? If consciousness is merely an artifact of
firing patterns in a network, how do I know I am not just dreaming?
Complex and Powerful Molecular Motor
Whenever evolutionary neurobiologists, who are obligate physicalists, attribute consciousness and
reason to networks of physical parts with a presumed evolutionary history, we need to ask them some
pointed questions. Lets take some of his statements and play with them.
Here is another case of a scientist with the Yoda Complex
(09/25/2006 commentary). He stands at a pulpit outside of his
own brain and speaks wisdom to the rest of us stuck inside our brains. This is a technical
foul. He cannot play the game of trying to answer the age-old mind-body problem* unless he
first acknowledges the independent validity of reason and the laws of logic. If his subjective thoughts
can be completely described by the firing of neurons and the timing of rhythms of excitory/inhibitory signals,
then his opinions are self-refuting and necessarily false.
His own system, i.e., just crashed. Weve seen the Darwin malware do this many times.
The only solution in these cases is to reformat the hard drive, load the ID disk and reboot.
- I propose that the distinct network architectures translate into unique functional
Is a proposition an artifact of a hardware network, or does it have an external validity?
- In cortical networks, a dynamic balance between excitation and inhibition gives rise to an array
of network oscillations involving neuronal populations of varying sizes.
Was that thought an excitation or an inhibition? Suppose the pattern is different next time.
Will the first thought evaporate?
- This self-organized, or so called spontaneous activity is the most striking and
yet perhaps least appreciated feature of the cerebral cortex.
Where is the appreciation module in this structure? How can it be appreciated
if it is self-organized? What is a self? Whose self can demand that I appreciate something?
- Without inhibition, excitatory activity caused by any one stimulus would ripple across
the entire neuronal network and a confused jumble of overlapping signals would result.
How would an observer of similar signals in a computer chip be able to reverse-engineer the software
that produced it? Would the engineer attempting the feat be an artifact of his own circuits?
- Inhibitory interneurons and the rhythms they generate can temporally and spatially structure
the activity of excitatory cell assemblies to ensure that information flows to just the right place
at just the right time.
Please define right in this view. This seems to imply goal-directed software that
is directing the patterns. What is information? What directs the
inhibitory neurons to inhibit, and when? How can we know that the right inhibitions occured to
generate your thoughts on this subject? Would different inhibitory rhythms generate a completely different
opinion? If so, on what basis would other humans subject to their own rhythms decide that your
opinion has more or less validity than that of a schizophrenic?
- The interaction and interference of multiple brain rhythms often gives rise to the appearance
of noise in an electroencephalogram. This noise is the most complex type
known to physics and reflects a metastable state between the predictable behaviour of oscillators
and the unpredictability of chaos.
In a physicalist view, who determines what is noise and what is signal?
- A special case is the hippocampus whose highly recursive connection matrix is thought to
function as a large autoassociator, allowing the reconstruction of entire episodes from
What does is thought to mean? Who thinks? Is thinking valid?
What is determining the end result of these associations to produce the right reconstruction?
- I suggest that the local-global wiring of the cerebral cortex and the perpetual,
self-organized complex dynamics it supports are necessary ingredients for subjective experiences.
If experiences are artifacts of network activity, who decides what is subjective? Could this statement
itself be considered subjective? Does objectivity exist?
- If they manage to perturb ongoing activity for a sufficiently long time in a big enough
population of neurons, their effect will be noticed; that is, we will become conscious of them.
Whoa. Define consciousness. If my neurons focused on that sentence, and thought about it, how am
I to know your proposition or my thoughts about it are verifiable?
- Complex neuronal networks are a useful product of brain evolution but come at a price.
Greater resources and volume are required to sustain long-distance wiring in complex networks, and the
risks of malfunction increase with complexity.
Please define useful. Please define malfunction. Can you defend the proposition that
a mindless, aimless process of evolution will inevitably converge on truth and integrity?
- Timing errors present particularly difficult problems in complex networks, because of limits
to how much information can be conveyed through restricted numbers of long-range conduits. Not surprisingly,
diseases of the cerebral cortex are manifold including epilepsies, Alzheimers and schizophrenia.
What is information? What is disease? Is disease a continuum or an on-off state? If the
former, who decides at what point something is normal and something else is a timing error? If the latter,
and schizophrenics were in the majority, could they lock up the minority in the insane asylum?
- One of the greatest challenges left for systems neuroscience is to understand the normal and
dysfunctional operations of the cerebral cortex by relating local and global patterns of
activity at timescales relevant for behaviour.
Is a pattern of activity equivalent to consciousness? Could the patterns of impulses in a mechanical
machine wired like the brain and connected to a power source be considered conscious? Would those
patterns be able to judge the validity of your propositions, and if so, who would judge the debate?
Suppose a group of robots reasoned that their circuits had been designed, therefore the humans circuits
must also have been designed; would you accept their verdict?
Next headline on:
*For news and commentary on
neurobiology from an intelligent design perspective, see Denyse OLearys blog
The Mindful Hack.
DNA is an extremely long molecule that is packed into a very small
space by tiny machines in the cell dedicated to this task. After
cell division, the molecules are wound tightly into coils that are in
turn wound into loops. These coils and loops make up a chromosome
that we see under the microscope in the nucleus of a cell.
In Bacillus subtilis bacteriophage Phi-29 the DNA molecule
is packed after cell division into a hollow shell by a unique
machine. The way that this machine works was the subject of
investigation by a team of scientists. Competing theories had the
machine either rotating the DNA strands as it packed them into the
shell, or just pushing them in.
Researchers attached tiny magnets to the ends of the DNA strands to
stretch them out, and
attached fluorescent tags onto the DNA strands to determine if the
strands were being rotated. The results of the study found no
How, then, does it happen? The
researchers noted that their findings are compatible with a recently
proposed nonrotating model in which the ring of ATPases alternately
compresses and extends, drawing the DNA ina bit like what your mouth
might do if you had to eat a plateful of spaghetti with your hands tied
behind your back.
A description of the project is published online in Public
Library of Science.1 The article begins, You probably never
tried to put toothpaste back into the tube, but if you did, youd have a good idea
of what the Bacillus subtilis bacteriophage phi-29 experiences as it crams its DNA
into a protein capsid shell following replication.
For a related story on a molecular machine in a bacteriophage, see
this press release from Purdue
1Hoff M (2007)
Does Bacteriophage Phi-29 Pack Its DNA with a Twist? PLoS Biol 5(3): e91
Library of Science, published online: February 20, 2007;
Another amazing machine shows up in
the cell just for the purpose of packing DNA. Rings of ATP
alternately compress to push strands of DNA into a cellular storage
container for safe keeping. The author describes the machine as
a complex and powerful
molecular motor, and
truly it is.
Perhaps evolutionists could explain how the cell managed before this
complex machine accidentally appeared on the scene to deal with the great
wad of DNA that must have been getting in the way of the operation of
the cell. The author gives us no clue: evolution is not mentioned
once in the article.
Biggest cosmic mysteries of 2003, from 03/25/2003. No more understanding
after four years, and arguably less (cf. 03/08/2007).
Next headline on:
Missing Link, or Just Jawboning About Ear Evolution? 03/19/2007
Tetrapod vertebrates (four-footed animals
with backbones) comprise a dizzying array of species, both living and extinct. When is it justifiable to arrange
different forms into an ancestral evolutionary sequence, especially when some members are extinct
and others are still alive today? On what basis can scientists
claim that a discovery demonstrates evolution? Some Chinese scientists entered
their latest attempt to exhibit a missing link. They discovered a fossilized primitive mammal they claim
fills a gap in the evolution of the mammalian middle ear. Their paper was published last week in
Nature.1 A press release from the National Science Foundation reproduced on
EurekAlert emphasized the
evolutionary message: This early mammalian ear from China is a rosetta-stone type of discovery which
reinforces the idea that development of complex body parts can be explained by evolution, using
exquisitely preserved fossils, said Richard Lane of the NSF. The lead author said,
This new fossil offers a rare insight in the evolutionary origin of the mammalian ear structure.
He also said, Yanoconodon clearly shows an intermediate condition in the evolutionary process of
how modern mammals acquired their middle ear structure. Nothing in the press release indicated anything
short of complete vindication for evolutionary theory with this find.
Zhe-Xi Luo et al described a new eutriconodont mammal species, Yanoconodon, they found in the fossil-rich
province of Liaoning, China. After providing the customary description and classification sections, they
attempted to explain two observations. First and most notable was the structure of the middle ear.
They claimed it represents a clear transitional form between the attached bones of mammaliaformes (mammal-like
reptiles) and detached middle ear bones of mammals. Second, they noted the extra vertebra (26 instead
of 19 for most mammals, and 22 for the nearest relative) and the presence of lumbar ribs, unusual for
mammals but present in some widely-separated groups. This they explained by convergent evolutionary
manipulation of Hox genes that govern the divisions of the vertebral column (sacrum, ilium, lumbar)
and the presence or absence of lumbar ribs. Experiments on lab rats show that these traits can be
manipulated by knockout or overexpression of these master-switch regulatory genes.
There is no clear evolutionary transition in the vertebral characteristics. The authors
noted that Yanoconodons nearest alleged relative, Jeholodens,
lacks lumbar ribs. Moreover, they found another
pair of relatives on a different branch, one that has lumbar ribs and one that doesnt. For an
animal to have 26 vertebra is exceptional, they said; the only other one is Repenomamus,
a dog-size Cretaceous mammal that preyed on dinosaurs.
The focus of the paper, though, was on the middle ear bones. The authors went into great
detail to try to establish Yanoconodon as a transitional form. In the evolutionary scenario,
primitive mammals emerged from reptiles with the bones at the rear of the jaw still attached to the jaw.
Over evolutionary time, the rear bones began to gradually separate from the back of the jaw.
Presumably, this gave some advantage to hearing because the incipient middle ear bones (ossicles), the hammer, anvil
and stirrup (or malleus, incus and stapes) were more free to vibrate. Eventually, the ossicles
became completely separated from the jaw as in modern mammals and were devoted solely to hearing.
The authors identified parts they called malleus and incus, but did not find a stapes.
In support of the story, the authors found that in Yanoconodon the ossicles had partially
detached, remaining connected to the jaw only by an ossified Meckels cartilage. Further, the
malleus and incus bore a resemblance to the completely-detached ossicles of the platypus (Ornithorhynchus
paradoxus), a fur-bearing monotreme. They also pointed out that platypus ossicles emerge during development
with an attachment to the jaw via Meckels cartilage, then become detached later.
The arrangement in Yanoconodon, they said, may be pedomorphic a case of arrested development
in which the embryonic attachment was maintained into adulthood.
So thats the story. How good a transition is it? The well-known skeptic
and pseudoscience fighter James Randi thought this was very cool as a demonstration of
evolution. He gave it a big write-up at his
James Randi Educational Foundation where he
reproduced the figures from the original paper. The figure he left out, however, is the cladogram
(phylogenetic tree), which, surprisingly, shows homoplasies [convergent evolution] of DMME
[definite mammalian middle ear] in basal mammals in six places on the tree. One of them is
Hadrocodium, a lower Jurassic mammal lacking some of the typical features of mammals but having
a complex hearing system (see Reference.com).
Does this mean that an even less derived species had mammal-like middle ear bones, separated from the jaw?
If so, Yanoconodon is too late to be considered a transitional form. Randi displayed some ignorance
of modern evolutionary theory by using the pedomorphy hypothesis to conjure up the ghost of Haeckel: Its
one module in development that flaunts a lovely example of embryonic recapitulation of evolutionary history,
his article boasts. (Recapitulation is dismissed by most Darwinists these days.)
The authors of the original paper did not even claim that Yanoconodon represents a straight-line
evolution from attached middle ear to separate middle ear. It represents, rather, a possible pedomorphic
characteristic capable of two different evolutionary explanations.
The placement of Yanoconodon in an evolutionary sequence also required a tool that maximizes
parsimony (simplicity) between competing possibilities of phylogenetic trees when
all the characteristics are analyzed. In the technical explanation below,
keep in mind that homoplasy refers to convergent evolution similar traits appearing in unrelated groups.
Yanoconodon and its eutriconodontan kin are nested within the crown Mammalia (Fig. 2) by the
parsimony of all characters. The absence of DMME [definite mammalian middle ear] in
eutriconodonts, an in-group of crown Mammalia, is in sharp contrast to modern monotremes [like Platypus]
and therians [more derived mammals, including marsupials and placentals] that have DMME.
This phylogeny requires one of the following two evolutionary scenarios: either (1) DMME was
present in the common ancestor of monotremes, eutriconodonts and therians; but eutriconodonts re-evolved
the middle ear attachment to mandible, or (2) DMME was absent in the common ancestor of
monotremes, eutriconodonts and therians, and this is retained as a paedomorphosis in
eutriconodonts; but DMME evolved in extant monotremes, and separately in therians.
Paedomorphosis, or retention of fetal or juvenile characteristics of ancestors and relatives through
developmental heterochrony [differences in developmental rates], is a common phenomenon in vertebrate
evolution. The heterochronic (premature) ossification of Meckels cartilage
in eutriconodonts is the immediate cause for this paedomorphic connection of middle ear and mandible,
and is why there is an overall homoplastic distribution among therians (with DMME), eutriconodonts
(without DMME), monotremes (with DMME) and pre-mammalian relatives (without DMME) (triangles in Fig. 2).
The paedomorphic connection of the middle ear to mandible of eutriconodonts and mammaliaforms is
consistent with their lack of the long-bone epiphyses for terminating skeletal growth, as seen in modern mammals.
Clearly, they are favoring scenario 2. The cost, though, is to believe that definite mammalian
middle ear (DMME) evolved twice once in monotremes (platypus), and separately in therian mammals.
Maybe thats why the editors of Nature hedged a little in their praise of this paper:2
The formation of the three tiny bones of the middle ear from components of the reptilian lower jaw was
a key event in mammalian evolution. Never before has this transition been seen so
clearly as in a primitive fossil mammal found recently in a new locality of the Yixian Formation in
China, 300 km west of the classic sites in Liaoning. In this specimen the middle-ear bones remain
connected to the lower jaw by Meckels cartilage a transition associated with a corresponding
remodelling of the lower back. But the situation is not as clear-cut as it seems.
The evolutionary relationships of the fossil suggest that either the modern middle
ear evolved twice, independently or that it evolved and was then lost in at least one ancient lineage.
The complexity of the situation did not stop the authors from ending their paper on a triumphant Darwinian
note. Speaking only about the vertebral column in their fossil, they felt that juggling Hox
genes provides a plausible mechanism for the evolutionary patterns in lumbar ribs and numbers
of vertebra. Again, homoplasy (convergent evolution) comes to the rescue: either the uneven patterns
of lumbar ribs in the phylogenetic tree arose because they had similar functions, or were lost in others
for the same reason. In conclusion, they felt they had illustrated
two cases for extrapolating
the Hox gene patterning of laboratory mice to early mammal
phylogeny on a grand evolutionary scale.
1Zhe-Xi Luo, Peiji Chen, Gang Li, and Meng Chen, A new eutriconodont mammal
and evolutionary development in early mammals,
446, 288-293 (15 March 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05627.
2Editors summary, An early look at mammals,
Evolutionary papers are like contracts: the bold print giveth, and
the fine print taketh away. Darwin just handed us a reverse mortgage without telling us the benefits
are all coming from a reduction of equity [equity n.: fairness, impartiality, justice].
James Randi performed his glitzy commercial like James Garner,
touting all the wonderful benefits of evolutionary reverse mortgages, but we just read the fine print and
found the alleged benefits overpowered by serious problems.
Everything You Thought You Knew Was Right but Was Told Was Wrong that Turns Out to be Right After All Dept:
Anyone who thinks explanations just jump right out of the data should listen to
the Philosophy of Science lecture series from the
Company. Jeffrey Kasser shows that it is devilishly hard to prove the simplest scientific statement,
such as all copper conducts electricity by either deduction, induction, empiricism or anything else.
In a related course from the
Steven Goldman shows how philosophers have struggled for centuries with the question of whether the observations
of our senses actually tell us anything about the real world. If such basic and simple explanations about
things right under our noses that
we take for granted cannot be established with certainty, how much less inferences about the unseen past?
The issues of proof and explanation are far more difficult and complex than most people realize.
know, for instance, that David Hume in the 18th century argued that induction provides no justification for
explanation or prediction, that we do not see causes,
and that philosophers of science have never answered his challenge successfully?
Did you know that Karl Popper essentially dismissed induction as having anything to do with scientific explanation?
Did you know that induction is not necessary to discover anything in science, and that deduction has about
as many problems as induction? How about the facts that philosophy of science since the heady days of
logical positivism in the 1930s has become a welter of conflicting opinions between realists and anti-realists
and every position in between, with no one being able to define with any justification what constitutes an
observation, let alone a scientific explanation or theory?
It would do
you good to struggle with some of these issues for awhile before evaluating a paper claiming to have found
a transitional form in Darwins storyland.
Surprisingly, the usual Darwin propaganda outlets who usually go ape over every missing
link story didnt seem to pay this claim much attention.
Maybe they realized critics could easily shoot it down. Were going to display this as an example,
though, to educate our readers on how to evaluate such claims in general. OK, so a four-legged fossil
animal was found. There are lots of four-legged fossil animals. What right does anyone have to
arrange them into an ancestral sequence? What justification is there for the implication that complex
hearing bones were evolving by
a naturalistic, aimless, pointless, purposeless process, with advanced mammalian hearing as the product?
If you take away the evolutionary assumption, no such inference jumps out of the observations.
To see why, visualize a 3-dimensional plot with data points scattered throughout like dust particles in the
air. Here and there, some seem to cluster together, but no obvious trend reveals itself. How can
one justify drawing lines through the dots that show an ancestral tree pattern? An almost infinite
number of patterns could connect the dots. What right does one scientist have to claim his pattern is
the true pattern that tells what actually happened before there were observers?
One needs to
understand the Darwinist process of drawing phylogenetic trees, because the story really breaks down right
there. These scientists used a maximum parsimony computer program to produce their tree.
Why did they select that? They could have
chosen instead to use maximum likelihood or Bayesian analysis, or some yet-to-be-discovered
new method that will enjoy fad status for awhile. Even so, the method they used required choosing
between 218 equally parsimonious trees. For those who need proof how
arbitrary this process is, read the following quote from the paper:
This is based on the strict consensus of 218 equally parsimonious trees of PAUP (Phylogenetic Analysis
Using Parsimony and Other Methods, version 4.0b) analysis of 436 characters (1,000 heuristic
runs with unordered multi-state characters) that can be scored for 102 comparative taxa (97
mammaliaforms including 25 extant mammals, plus three cynodonts as outgroups). For each equally
parsimonious tree, tree length = 2,188, consistency index = 0.375, retention index = 0.803.
What would happen if they included different organisms as outgroups, or lightened the
consistency requirements, or used some other criterion for establishing the consensus? How much was
the result dependent on the way the traits of the various organisms were described by others? To what extent
were evolutionary assumptions embedded in all the data to start with?
Anyone thinking that The One and Only True Tree came out of this exercise is a good customer for
the next beachfront property sale on the Isle of DeBris.
We have reported previously (07/25/2002,
that all such trees are compromises between contradictory data points, and therefore represent human assumptions
imposed on the data, not independently-verifiable patterns that exist out there in some
value-free, assumption-free Logicland. This is an important fulcrum of this discussion; all the teams
inferences about evolutionary transitions hinge on the validity of their phylogenetic tree. But their
tree is a product of human imagination, not a fact of history. Understand that and the whole paper
falls apart. The only thing that is left is an unusual fossil that fits who-knows-where into some
scheme by who-knows-who about who-knows-what that happened who-knows-when. Insert your guess here.
It can be considered just as valid as anyone elses, including the one in this paper.
Suppose you sent four different teams into a grocery market on a mission to
read the ingredients on every box of processed food and arrange them all into a phylogenetic tree.
The hapless victims would soon find themselves making arbitrary decisions among a mess of complications.
One group might try to locate
all the products containing lecithin, while another would use statistical analysis based on percentages of
recommended daily allowances of vitamins, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. A third team might approach
the problem by sorting everything according to texture, color, odor or some other physical characteristic,
while the last team would feel confident they had the final answer, because a clear phylogenetic pattern emerged
when they arranged the products by geometrical shape. Cheerios evolved from granola, they say.
Each team has its own concept of a phylogenetic tree, and has plenty of evidence to support it. Which
one is right? Clearly, none is right. In this contrived case, all the products were created by
intelligent design. Arranging designed items into an evolutionary pattern is an exercise in futility.
General Mills can produce both cheerios and granola. But even if nobody knew the products were designed,
arranging them into an ancestral tree pattern would be hopelessly messy. Group one might get a good-looking pattern
arranged by lecithin content, only to find that separate branches have members with and without coconut.
Scratching their heads, they might wonder if the coconut evolved by convergent evolution (homoplasy), or
whether the coconut was present in the common ancestor but was lost in various lineages and retained in others.
No amount of energy, enthusiasm, diligence and detail is going to justify what inferences these researchers
are making. They are just playing games. Data notwithstanding, the patterns they are producing are nothing but
mythical constructions of their own imaginations.
This illustration helps answer a counter-argument from some Darwinists. They complain that
every time they produce a good transitional form, creationists allege that two more are produced: one on each
side of the transitional form. Such a complaint is bogus, because it embeds a prior evolutionary assumption.
It presupposes a linear sequence. The missing link terminology misleads the reader into visualizing
a straight line, with an early primitive animal, a later derived animal with complex features
(like detached middle-ear bones), and a gap in between that the evolutionist triumphantly fills in with his new
transitional form. Toss out that picture, because it is nothing like what is found in either the fossil
record or the zoo. Recall the supermarket or the 3-dimensional plot with scattered
data points. No amount of new data points or processed food products added to the mix will justify inferring
an evolutionary pattern. It cannot be done. Unless you already assume that the data points or
the supermarket products evolved, you cannot convince a critic that the data imply an ancestral relationship,
and you could never convince a well-trained philosopher of science that you are justified in making such an inference.
Conversely, there is no way an evolutionist can deny the creationists inference that God created a wide variety
of creatures, and gave each the kind of bones and ears and ribs and toes that it needed for its ecological niche.
Bring up plesiomorphies (close similarities), and he could answer that a certain amount of sorting out of
characters occurred since the creation, but no new information was added. Prove him wrong.
So is Yanoconodon a transitional form on the grand evolutionary scale of life?
On what basis could anyone make such a claim? There are plenty of contradictions in the story. For
one thing, if Hadrocodium already had a DMME, then Yanoconodon surely wasnt inventing it for
the first time. Considering this skeleton to be a new species is fraught with difficulties in the first
place. You cant tell whether a fossil is reproductively isolated from other fossils.
How do they know it was not some other animal whose skeleton got deformed in the fossilization
process? What is a species anyway, if not a human concept imposed on a bewildering
array of complicated data? Why do some of its features show up in some distant branches, but some
not show up in its alleged closest relative? How do they know the developmental stage of this fossil?
Maybe it was a juvenile and its ossified Meckels cartilage had not yet dissolved. How much can
you tell about the morphology, lifestyle and complexity of an animal from its bones? Imagine the surprise
if these scientists had classified a platypus knowing only the skeleton, and then were shown a living one,
with its duck bill, poison spur, electrical sensors, specialized fur and numerous other advanced characteristics.
The paper is filled with jargon (plesiomorphy, apomorphy, pedomorphy, heterochrony,
homoplasy), but no amount of hand-waving justifies their interpretation. Jargon is, at best, a convenience
for those playing the game; at worst, it is bluffing and
obfuscation. Most important, their story is based on the
flimsiest piece of ossified cartilage and says nothing about how a complex system of hearing, employing finely-tuned
ossicles, evolved. The complexity of mammal hearing is staggering. The ability of tympanic membranes
and ossicles and cochleae to amplify the minutest pressure waves in air is breathtaking in its efficiency. But then, the
body has to be able to transmit that information to the brain, process it and respond to it. Hearing
cannot be evaluated on the basis of an ossified bit of cartilage. It must be understood in context
of the whole process of hearing, and how it fits into the lifestyle and survival of the entire organism.
Darwinian theory disallows teleology or goal-seeking behavior. A consistent Darwinist
must erase from his theory any suggestion that these tetrapods somehow wanted to evolve advanced sound systems
by modifying their jaws. Each tiny alteration, wrought by mistake,
would have had to confer a selective advantage with sufficient benefit to outcompete all the population lacking
it. Remove the assumption of evolution and the story becomes implausible to the point of absurdity.
There is a somewhat trusted method of scientific reasoning called inference to the best
explanation. It is not infallible, but applied to the complex design of the mammalian ear, would certainly
prefer the design explanation over the chance explanation. A corollary would be that simpler animals would be
designed with simpler equipment. This would provide a top-down approach, similar to explaining supermarket
products as all designed, with some complex products designed for formal dinners and simpler ones for snacks.
Scientifically and logically,
the top-down explanation is just as valid as the bottom-up explanation.
For those not already blinded by Darwin dogma, most people, we expect, would feel the design inference
much better supported by the evidence.
Next headline on:
Chalk one up for common sense: manly men survive better after injury, says a press release from
Univ. of Minnesota.
This finding was reported also on Live
Science, which said, The man-of-steel mentality, often associated with military men and those in other high-risk occupations, can boost and speed up a guys recovery from a serious and/or traumatic injury possibly.
But where does the following claim come from? The immediate message
here is to encourage psychotherapy... Images of the Aflac duck come to mind. What
psychotherapists lack in credibility, they make up for in comedy (laugh-lack, laugh-lack).
Did Mars Have a Global Flood? 03/18/2007
Meanwhile, guys, hang tough. But dont get proud; remember, women endure...
Next headline on:
Theres enough ice under Mars southern polar cap to flood the entire planet
under 36 feet of water, reports Jet
Propulsion Laboratory. The MARSIS radar instrument on the ESA-NASA
Mars Express determined that the ice cap
is more than 2 miles thick in places. According to the report on
Geographic News, traces of possible impact craters were detected under
the ice cap. If so, it would seem the ice must have melted and been distributed around the planet in
the past. The article also states that even this huge volume of ice is believed to be a
fraction of H2O on the red planet that has been lost underground or out to space.
Speaking of water reservoirs, a new source was found back on the home planet.
A press release from Washington
State Univ. in St. Louis last month inferred from seismic data the presence of a water reservoir deep in the
mantle under Asia equal to the volume of the Atlantic Ocean.
Mars could never have had a global flood. Where did the
water come from? Where did it go? This kind of reasoning has been used against
Noahs flood on Earth. Mars is dry today, and liquid water could not last on the
surface, but that doesnt stop geologists
from eagerly searching for water on the red planet. With great interest they include copious volumes
of liquid water into their theories of Mars history, hoping the precious elixir of life would have
permitted the emergence of single-celled Martians.
OK, then why shouldnt the possibility of a global flood on Earth
be treated seriously? The answer is that for a long time, secular geology has written off
the Bible as a source of information about Earths past.
Where did Earth get its water? from 03/26/2002.
The secular geology of
Hutton and Lyell was more an emotional, theological reaction against Biblical flood geology than an
inference from data. Creation and the Flood were rarely questioned for thousands of years
till Enlightenment secularists felt the need to remove God from an active role in the world He
created. They wanted a world with no hint of a beginning, no prospect of an end
(Hutton) that would operate slowly and gradually by natural processes alone (see AIG articles about
and Terry Mortensons explanation of the origin of old
earth beliefs). Notice that this was a preference, an a priori belief that colored
the way they looked at the world. Uniformitarianism became dominant by 1830 in England largely due
to the anti-Biblical, deistic views of Charles Lyell (a lawyer).* That was before
20th century scientists decided Lyell was wrong (and fudged his data; see
10/25/2006). Now, catastrophism is back in vogue
Frank Sherwin at ICR quips that we really shouldnt call our planet
Earth; we should call it Water. That would make for interesting conversation.
Life is beautiful on Gods blue Water. I wouldnt marry you if
you were the last man on Water. Where on Water have you been all this time?
On a planet whose surface is 70% water, with ocean basins miles deep, theres plenty enough to submerge
the Earth (whoops, the Water) under the
right circumstances, if the mountains were lower and the ocean basins shallower before the
Flood. Models of the Flood like those of Walter Brown
and John Baumgardner et al.
typically include orogeny (mountain building) and deepening of the ocean basins as consequences
of the catastrophic deluge. Also, the fountains of the great deep are the
primary sources of the water, with rain as the effect. That answers where the water came
from, and where it went. Lets not treat the planets by a double standard.
That happens enough on Water as it is.
Next headline on:
*Even the late anti-creationist paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould recognized this:
Charles Lyell was a lawyer by profession, and his book is one of the most brilliant briefs ever published by
an advocate ... Lyell relied upon true bits of cunning to establish his uniformitarian views as
the only true geology. First, he set up a straw man to demolish.
In fact, the catastrophists were much more empirically minded than Lyell. The geologic record does seem
to require catastrophes; rocks are fractured and contorted; whole faunas are wiped out. To circumvent
this literal appearance, Lyell imposed his imagination upon the evidence. The geologic
record, he argued, is extremely imperfect and we must interpolate into it what we can reasonably infer
but cannot see. The catastrophists were the hard-nosed empiricists of their day, not the blinded
theological apologists [i.e., like Lyell]. Gould, Natural History, Feb. 1975,
pp. 16–17 (see ICR).
Imposing ones imagination upon the evidence: sound familiar?
Have Scientists Found the Secret of Aging? 03/17/2007
Theres a tragic disease that speeds up aging. Known as progeria (Huntington-Gilford progeria
syndrome, HGPS), it is caused by a single point mutation in exon 11 of the NMLA gene. Children afflicted with
this disease look old beyond their years and often die at 13 of heart attack and stroke essentially, of old age.
A team of scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), publishing in PNAS,1
investigated the results of this mutation.2 They found that the gene builds a mutant lamin-A protein
named progerin/LA-delta-50 that lacks the cleavage site to remove a string of RNA during protein synthesis.
As a result, when it comes time for the cell to divide, During interphase, irreversibly farnesylated
progerin/LA-delta-50 anchors to the nuclear membrane and causes characteristic nuclear blebbing [i.e.,
bulging]. This causes abnormal chromosome segregation and binucleation.
The NIH team followed up on a recent study that small amounts of the mutant protein are found
in normal fibroblasts (cells that give rise to connective tissues, like collagen). They wondered if this
is implicated in the normal aging process. We all have a tiny amount of this mutant protein, the studies
suggest. Fortunately, anti-progerin antibodies monitor our connective tissues looking for giant nuclei
and cells with two nuclei, and induce them to self-destruct (apoptosis).
What appears to go wrong, though, is that some of the mutant cells get through the defenses.
The team believes that there is some kind of irreversible switch in late-passage cells, allowing
the cryptic splice to proceed, initiating a series of events that lead to
mitotic defects and ultimate senescence. If this is true, we all have progeria.
The unfortunate victims of HGPS just have a faster version. Heres their conclusion:
In summary, our studies demonstrate the abnormal membrane
association and dynamic behavior of progerin/LA-delta-50 during mitosis,
which lead to aberrant chromosome segregation in both
HGPS and normal cells. These observations further implicate
progerin/LA-delta-50 in the normal aging process, suggesting that the
same molecular mechanisms responsible for the mitotic defects in
HGPS may also act at a low level in normal cells at higher passage.
Taken together with results of previous studies, these data add
increasing confidence to the long-held assumption that the study of
genetic forms of premature aging can shed important light on the
normal process of aging.
One of the co-authors of the paper is Francis S. Collins, head of the Human Genome
Project. Dr. Collins is a church-going, born-again Christian whose recent book,
The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, expounded his own
theistic-evolution position on origins.
1Cao, Capell, Erdos, Djabali, and Collins, A lamin A protein isoform overexpressed
in Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome interferes with mitosis in progeria and normal cells,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0611640104, published online before print March 14, 2007.
mutation does not cause an amino acid change (G608G), but
partially activates a cryptic splice donor site and leads to the
in-frame deletion of 150 bp within the prelamin A mRNA.
This truncated prelamin A mRNA is then translated into a protein
recently named progerin/LA-delta-50. The Zmpste24/FACE1 cleavage
site is missing in progerin/LA-delta-50 because of the internal 50-aa [amino acid]
deletion, so that progerin/LA-delta-50 retains the C-terminal farnesylation.
Though we reject Collins position on theistic evolution,
we respect his epochal work on the human genome and this study that may shed light on normal
aging while helping children afflicted with HGPS. The idea that God somehow front-loaded
all the design into the beginning and let it all evolve from there has three problems.
First, it wont keep the Darwinists from criticizing him, because it does not contain the
chance element essential to Darwinian philosophy. Second, it cannot be true, because it
would require either a strict determinism that runs counter to our knowledge of quantum physics
or else would require 24x7 intervention by God to guide the evolutionary process. Third,
the evidence is against it. Fossil and molecular evidence both fail to illustrate a
gradual unfolding of complexity. But we digress; these issues have been taken up in
vibrant debates in the creation and ID community during Collins recent book tours and
interviews by the press (see example of
Cell Calcium Channel: Meet Me at the Gate 03/16/2007
Think about this finding. Though it would be reckless to conclude too much
about aging at this point in our knowledge, nothing so far is inconsistent with the Biblical view
that death is an abnormality. Physical aging appears linked to the accumulation of defects.
It was not, therefore, part of the original perfect design. Normally, these defects would
be prevented by all the elaborate quality-control mechanisms in the body. Something has
gone wrong. This is not the way God originally designed the world.
When the first man and woman sinned, according to Genesis, they were expelled
from the Garden and the Tree of Life. God had warned them that the day they disobeyed
they would surely die. Theologically, they became separated from God at once (spiritual
death). Physically, though, all God had to do was loosen the quality control in the
genes, or prevent the constant physical renewal that might have occurred prior to the curse,
either as a result of the direct fellowship with God (who is Life), or with a secondary source
of renewal He provided (the Tree of Life). The curse, then was denial of access to the
ongoing source of life. To be dead is to be disconnected from the source of life.
Pick a flower and it dies immediately, though it continue to show its outward beauty for a few days.
The human body was left to coast with its own internal
repair mechanisms. Incredibly reliable and sophisticated as these are, they cannot stop all
the ravages of decay. Physical death was only a matter of time.
The good news is that God has turned the curse into an opportunity to bless us even
more than before. Think of how
tragic it would be to live forever in a fallen physical state, separated from God for eternity. The Creator came
into this world to suffer the curse of death, that He might redeem us from death we who are dead in sin,
and enemies (read Ephesians).
As Judge of the universe, He could have killed the rebels immediately. Why did he give us time?
Because He is patient and merciful, He gives each individual a measure of time unknown to anyone but Himself.
Were we each to know our time, most would postpone repentance till the last minute. Not knowing, we can never
escape the possibility every moment that this could be the day our soul is required of us.
Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and was raised on the third day according to the
Scriptures (I Corinthians 15).
These Christian doctrines will be celebrated by millions during the upcoming Easter season.
By faith we can accept His sacrifice on our behalf. He promises to those who come to Him that we
will live again with Him in a new
creation, where there is no more curse. Our bodies will age and die, but as the apostle Paul
said, for the Christian death is swallowed up in victory.
Our bodies go to the grave, like seeds in the earth, only to sprout into a
new creation by the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
Having died and rose again, Christ has become the first fruits of a harvest that will share in
that resurrection. With this blessed hope,
we can work on earth with steadfastness and joy, knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord (I Cor. 15:58).
The most stark difference of all between Biblical creationists and secular evolutionists is right here.
Where are we going? And how should we live?
To the secularist, there is only aging, death, decay and the ultimate cessation of all
activity in a pointless universe that generated life for nothing. For the Christian, the outlook is totally
different. It is filled with joy and purpose.
In the new creation (Revelation 21),
there is no more curse, sorrow, aging, or death, but access to the Tree of Life forever in the city of God.
This gives purpose and joy and direction to life. In the Lord, our labor is not in vain.
If you are an evolutionist and have been reading these pages, perhaps you have been struggling with the increasing
evidence that the case for evolution is going poorly, and that the universe and life really do appear designed
for a purpose. Defend materialism as you might during your healthy days, none of the intellectual arguments
will matter much when the aging process catches up with you. While there is time, while there is hope, will you not think
seriously about these things? Consider again the evidence of design (e.g., this article).
Maybe youve been reading our pages for years, and maybe you are finding the evidence compelling, but
the reality of God has not gotten from your head to your heart.
The Bible tells that the all-wise Creator who alone can explain the complexity and design in the world has revealed
Himself in His word and in person, in His Son Jesus Christ the Lord. Christ died for you.
2000 years ago, He walked this earth, was crucified in Jerusalem, a city with geographical coordinates
we know. After His resurrection, He appeared in Jerusalem, Emmaus, and Galilee, at places you can visit.
This is not some fable. Evolutionists tell just-so stories that can never be checked by
observation, but the Bible can be corroborated historically (see, for example, the video clips from Lee Strobel on
The Bible and
History shows that a band of frightened fishermen and commoners in Jerusalem were transformed and
changed the world. How? What made the apostles willing to travel the world, suffer torture and persecution,
each one dying as a martyr without
flinching to the death? The only answer that makes sense is that they saw the risen Christ and became
changed men. The followers of Christ, both men and women, received the power of his
Holy Spirit, as He had promised, to become His witnesses to all people, nations, tribes and languages
That same risen Lord Jesus Christ is alive today. Patiently He waits
for you to accept His offer of pardon and new life. Why delay any longer?
Today could be your passage from inevitable death to eternal life.
For further help, here is a brief explanation of Gods plan of salvation, and here is
where to find more help at Christian Answers. The most
detailed Biblical passages on Gods plan of redemption are Pauls letter to the
Romans and the epistle
to the Hebrews; a shorter,
simpler explanation can be read in I John.
If you have decided to follow Christ, we would like to hear from you confidentially at our
feedback line. Take your knowledge to the point of
commitment do it today.
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
All cells use calcium ions for signalling. The ions flow through specialized gates
in the plasma membrane. Inside the cell, receptors line the endoplasmic reticulum (ER),
a kind of subway system where finishing work on proteins is done. How do the two
get together? They arrange a meeting.
Richard Lewis, writing in Nature,1 describes how scientists
found this out. It appears that the ER and the calcium channels talk to each other.
When the ER is running low on calcium ions, a messenger molecule goes to the plasma membrane,
and starts a process where the channels and a portion of the ER move independently toward
a meeting point. The channels cluster to a spot on the membrane where a fold in the
ER joins to meet it, and the calcium ions are delivered right to where they are needed.
In Lewiss words, New findings reveal a unique mechanism for channel activation,
in which the CRAC channel [calcium release-activated channel2] and
its sensor migrate independently to closely apposed sites of interaction in the ER and
the plasma membrane.
What are these processes good for? The short list includes:
secretion, motility, gene expression, cell growth, and activation of the T cell response
to antigens. This emerging picture comes after years of frustration looking for
the mechanism by which this interaction worked. They finally found the secret using
forward and reverse gene activation methods.
In the paper, Lewis included a cartoon diagram of the play-by-play process.
He called it a kind of molecular choreography in which the
cell performs assembly on demand. Using the word Remarkably
twice in the paper, he commented on the significance of this apparatus:
This kind of choreographic activation mechanism, in which a channel and its sensor
migrate within distinct membranes to reach a common interaction site, is unprecedented.
But why dont the receptor and channel just stay put in close proximity? Its likely,
he explains, that the oscillations in calcium activity introduce delays that create local
signaling domains, enhancing the specificity of calcium signaling for particular purposes.
The picture may be more complex than it looks already. The signaling
proteins he described may be part of multi-protein complexes. Something, for instance,
has to give the open sesame password to the channel. Other activators may be required
to call the components to the rendezvous site.
Lewis did not mention evolution in this paper, except to note twice that
parts of the system are conserved (i.e., unevolved) from Drosophila (fruit flies) to humans.
Since such vastly diverse organisms are composed of cells, and all cells employ calcium signalling,
this probably implies the system is conserved throughout the eukaryotic kingdom if not all life.
1Richard S. Lewis, The molecular choreography of a store-operated calcium channel,
446, 284-287 (15 March 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05637.
2CRAC is unusual among the family of calcium channels. Lewis describes it:
The unusual characteristics of this channel have long intrigued ion-channel biophysicists;
it selects for Ca2+ just as well as CaV channels but conducts Ca2+ >100 times
more slowly, is inactivated by intracellular Ca2+ on timescales separated by three orders
of magnitude, and requires extracellular Ca2+ to be fully active. The reasons
for these unique channel properties are still under investigation. It will take time
to obtain a global view of the molecular workings of store-operated channels and their physiological roles.
The overall effectiveness of the system in vital roles suggests there is a reason for its slow activation compared
to other calcium channels.
Since Lewis called this remarkable, lets give it some remarks.
How could such a process evolve? Multiple protein parts are needed, and they need to not only
match one anothers conformation, but migrate to exact points where other proteins (or protein
complexes) are independently migrating simultaneously. He admitted that this process shows no
evolutionary modification throughout biology. How could such a precision ballet arise by chance?
Ballet needs a choreographer. Lewis did not need evolutionary theory for this paper. If
evolutionists had a ready answer to how this evolved, they surely would not keep silent about it
as they always do when investigating the details of biology (e.g.,
The mystery of the ultra-pure sandstones, from 06/27/2003:
worldwide instances of ancient sandstones, hundreds of meters thick, of exceptional purity. Nothing
like them forming today.
Next headline on:
Can Science Determine if God Answers Prayer? 03/16/2007
An Arizona State research team has found support for the theory that intercessory prayer works,
David R. Hodge averaged 17 studies on intercessory prayer, including some that measured no effect.
His overall result contradicts a Harvard study (2006) by Benson that prayer has no
influence on a patients health. Still, he could not say without qualification
that prayer alone should be used as treatment.
Well-meaning as these studies are, they have many problems.
This is not the kind of phenomenon that can be reduced to scientific experimentation.
For one thing, the complexities of the pray-er and the pray-ee are beyond classification.
While the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much
one cannot know
the spiritual integrity of the one praying, nor the willingness to receive Gods blessing
by the recipient. Can sincerity be measured with a meter? What about the need for
persistence in prayer?
Is a 100-Year Misunderstanding about Plants Solved? 03/15/2007
In addition, God cannot be put in a scientific box. His ways are
not our ways
He works by intelligent design, not by natural law. Trying to figure out Gods ways
by the methods of science is like trying to calculate the square root of Abraham Lincoln.
Intelligent beings can choose to go against expectations. God is under no obligation to respond, like a
stimulus-response machine, to inputs. He sees beyond the immediate crisis and works things
out according to His own will, incomprehensible as it may seem to finite beings.
Third, its not the act of prayer as a rote behavior that gets a response.
The right relationship between a prepared supplicant and the one true God is crucial. The prophets
of Baal prayed, wept and cut themselves in their earnestness, but nothing happened
(I Kings 18).
If a supplicant prays to an idol or other false god, no measurable quantity of prayerful activity
will register. Yet even men as righteous as Moses, Job, and Peter sometimes got no
(or wait) for an answer.
Does God answer prayer? Millions know by experience and by the promises of God.
Science has no method to investigate such things.
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Part of one of the biggest misunderstandings in botanical history, a plant
has moved from an upper part of the family tree down to the bottom. Trithuria submersa,
an underwater flowering plant from India and Australia that was thought to be a monocot
is really not a cot at all, says Science
Daily reporting on research at University of British Columbia. Indeed, its ancient:
By analyzing the plants at the molecular level, Grahams team has now determined that
these moss-size plants are instead part of an older line of flowering plants that
includes the water lilies. This ancient line split off the main trunk of the family tree
of flowering plants soon after they began to diversify, at least 135 million years ago,
during the age of the dinosaurs.
The team used a combination of morphological and molecular evidences to reclassify the species.
But will this solve Darwins abominable mystery, the origin of the flowering
For more than a century, scientists have been piecing together the details of the
rapid rise and early diversification of flowering plants, says [Sean] Graham [Univ. of
British Columbia]. Discovering this living plants ancient heritage
makes us re-evaluate our understanding of early flowering-plant evolution.
For botanists, this is like finding something you thought was a lizard is actually a living dinosaur.
So is this plant the key to the mystery? Not likely. Now a complex plant that was
thought to be an advanced form must be pushed back to simpler times. Though the team is calling this
a major piece in the puzzle of flowering-plant origins, it is complicating the picture,
not simplifying it. What it reveals is that some of the earliest evolutionary branches
were more diverse then we once thought.
The article is based on a paper in Nature1 whose authors said,
This indicates that water lilies are part of a larger lineage that evolved more
extreme and diverse modifications for life in an aquatic habitat than previously recognized.
These plants, part of a family discovered only within the last 25 years, are not really like water lilies.
It would be misleading to view Hydatellaceae merely as reduced water lilies, they said, because
they have many unique characteristics besides the similar habitat. Commenting on
this paper in the same issue, Friis and Crane said,2 A shake-up of current thinking about
the evolution of the angiosperms the flowering plants is a consequence of the
relocation of a hitherto obscure branch on the angiosperm evolutionary tree.
This relocation could hardly be more attention-grabbing, they said. For some
of the traits in this plant, repositioning the Hydatellaceae raises questions that add to an
already long list of unresolved issues in early angiosperm evolution. It could
profound implications for ideas on the early evolution of the classic angiosperm flower
and will take some time to digest all the implications of this reclassification.
They compared this to the discovery of the living fossil Wollemi Pine from Australia to illustrate
our ignorance of plant diversity in the world. In closing they commented,
Hydatella and Trithuria will inevitably be the subject of detailed investigation in the
coming years. But whatever the outcomes of these studies, the radical realignment discovered by
Saarela et al. remind us not to become too comfortable with the current picture of early
angiosperm relationships, and especially with the details of character evolution that they imply.
There will be more surprises as new plants are added to the mix. They will come not just
from our gradually improving knowledge of living plants, but more especially from our exploration
of the riches of the plant fossil record both for early angiosperms and for their
elusive relatives among other seed plants.
1Saareka et al, Hydatellaceae identified as a new branch near the base of
the angiosperm phylogenetic tree,
446, 312-315 (15 March 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05612.
2Else Marie Friis and Peter, Crane, Botany: New home for tiny aquatics,
446, 269-270 (15 March 2007) | doi:10.1038/446269a.
OK, so what other big misunderstandings have been lingering
for over a century, while the worlds greatest evolutionary minds were all working on
this in the wrong direction? Evolutionists cant even figure out the specimens
right under their noses, let alone a fictional multi-million-year history. Its
not the mystery that is abominable. Its the gutless, witless, feckless
allegiance to a long-gone bearded buddha and his weird-science beliefs. When you toss out the only
that works, big misunderstandings and abominable mysteries come with the territory.
Why Our Voices Are Unique 03/15/2007
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
We can usually recognize friends and
acquaintances by their voices. If we all have the same hardware, though, how is this
possible? The answer is in the vortex. Sounds sci-fi, but researchers at the
University of Cincinnati used knowledge
of jet engines to explore the possibility that
vortices may help solve the mysteries of the voice.
Vortices are not body parts; they are aerodynamic effects of airflow through
the voice box (larynx). If you could see them, they would look like rotating smoke
rings. The article says, the larynx is one of the bodys
least understood organs. Most researchers have studied the structure of the
larynx, but Sid Khosla and his team looked at the airflow through it. They knew
that vortices around jet engines produce sound, and suspected that similar phenomena
modulated the otherwise mechanical vibrations of the larynx, giving it tone and color.
As a result, they were the first to produce an animal model that could be used to explain
the intricacies of voice production in humans.
Khosla found that vortices may help explain why individual voices are different and can
have a different richness and quality to their sound.
Vortices can be produced by a number of mechanisms. This complexity
produces a sound that makes my voice different from yours, he said. The team
hopes that new insights into the aerodynamics of voice production may lead to more effective
treatments for voice disorders.
Good science, new knowledge with possible health benefits,
and no evolutionary speculation. Three cheers.
The Amazing Pigeon Techno-Beak 03/15/2007
Next headline on:
How do homing pigeons find home? Scientists at University of Frankfurt may have found the
answer: magnetic minerals in their beaks. A press release from
Publications describes the amazing pigeon techno-beak:
In histological and physicochemical examinations in collaboration with HASYLAB, the synchrotron laboratories
based in Hamburg, Germany, iron-containing subcellular particles of maghemite and magnetite were found
in sensory dendrites of the skin lining the upper beak of homing pigeons. This research project found
that these dendrites are arranged in a complex three-dimensional pattern with different spatial
orientation designed to analyze the three components of the magnetic field vector separately.
They react to the Earths external magnetic field in a very sensitive and specific manner,
thus acting as a three-axis magnetometer.
This mechanism is probably not unique to homing pigeons, the article states. It might be found in
all birds and even in other animals that excel at navigation. Indeed, many animals display
behavior that is modified or controlled by the Earths magnetic field. These include
animals as diverse as sea turtles, lobsters and butterflies.
The study suggests that the birds sense the magnetic field independent of their motion and
posture and thus can identify their geographical position.
A spin-off of this discovery is the human desire to imitate it. Will similar
nanotechnology someday help doctors target drugs in the body? Will it spur inventions into
new data storage devices? Will it reduce the size of magnetometers on aircraft and spacecraft?
Too early to say. First, inventors must find ways to synthesize these sensors. One of the
scientists at the University of Frankfurt commented, Even though birds have been producing these
particles for millions of years, the main problem for scientists who want to find benefits
from their use will be the technical production of these particles.
Millions of years would not help pigeons develop techno-beaks.
Aside from that bit of Darwinian flatulence, this is an astonishing announcement. It goes to show that
no skill in nature just happens; there must be structure adequate for each function. Homing
pigeons have been known for a long time. People have marveled at pigeon navigational abilities
since antiquity, but only now do we begin to understand what
machinery is involved. The iron-containing structure in the beak is just one aspect of a
system. As with eyes and ears, a brain must be adequate to process the continuous information
flow and make quick decisions. Would that Charles Darwin, that famous
pigeon-breeder, had known about this. Things might have been different in 1859.
Follow the money, says an astrobiologist about astrobiology, from
An example of pouring astrobiology money down Mr. Rabbits hole:
Next headline on:
An Extinctions Long Fuse 03/15/2007
Some scientists are claiming that when the Isthmus of Panama was formed, an extinction
event occurred two million years later. The story is reported on
We may be way off-track when we search for the causes of extinctions by looking only at the time the extinctions occur in the fossil record, which is what paleontologists normally do, said Aaron ODea, postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In our case, we see that most coral and snail species died off a good 2 million years after the environmental change that caused their demise.
Yet the next sentence says they dont know why the extinction was delayed for such a long time.
Another finds this puzzling:
We dont start seeing extinction rates really increasing for another 1 million years, [Ken] Jackson [London Natural History Museum] said. What is most remarkable is that most of the organisms that went extinct were those that liked high productivity environments, which had already disappeared for some time. Why did it take so long for them to perish? What tipped the scales?
The lesson preached from this press release is that our actions today may have consequences
millions of years into the future. But then, how would we ever know, and who would care?
You mean, they actually believe this? They separate a
cause from an effect by two million years? Yes, they do believe it. The dating
method is never to be questioned, even when it leads to absurdities. The reason is that
it provides an opportunity for them to get on their environmental soap box and make humans
feel guilty for something. Then, why not be thankful for the Panama Canal, which re-joined
the oceans? Wont that help undo the damage two million years from now?
Immature Kid? Blame Evolution 03/14/2007
Its amazing what you can claim given unlimited time. Im going to
clap my hands, and predict that two million years from now, there will be a tsunami.
Prove me wrong.
Next headline on:
Why do older children linger at home longer than they should? Evolution, says
Ker Than for Live
Science. This insight of his is based on growth patterns of teeth from an
alleged 160,000-year-old juvenile skeleton in Africa. Tanya Smith [Max Planck Institute] said of the
bones, These early fossils show a mix of primitive and derived features and
paleoanthropologists are still debating whether theyre modern or on the way to
being modern. See more at a press release from the
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility,
another from the
Planck Society, and reports on National
Geographic and Science
Daily, none of which question the interpretation.
Some of the articles, however, point out that
this finding contradicts earlier beliefs because it puts a modern human characteristic farther back
in time. The Science Daily piece points out that there is no consensus about when our
ancestors became modern humans: While fossil evidence tells a complex tale of
mosaic change during the African Stone Age, almost nothing is known about changes
in human life history, or the timing of development, reproductive scheduling, and lifespan.
Still, even this admission does not question the basic assumption that humans evolved from ape-like ancestors.
National Geographic even speculates that tooth patterns suggest human ancestors 160,000 years ago
had a complex social structure that was one of their survival strategies. But if this was a
strategy, was it intentional? If so, how did early human social groups cause the children
to mature more slowly? This was not explained. It was just taken for granted that evolution
would somehow do it. One anthropologist
was quoted as saying, What we didnt know was when the modern human condition of
a long childhood and slow period of growth and development evolved, that was
when, not if.
Why do science reporters and paleoanthropologists
show such immature thinking? Such shallow knowledge of history and philosophy?
Such unjustified inference from fragmentary evidence? Such blatant disregard for
integrity in the noble enterprise of science? Blame evolution.
The Enceladus Problem Heats Up 03/13/2007
Next headline on:
How can a small icy moon produce hot-water geysers? That is the Enceladus problem: for a small
moon assumed to be 4.5 billion years old to be forcefully gushing out water from its south pole
was a great surprise when the Cassini
spacecraft first detected the geysers in 2005 (11/28/2005).
Ever since, scientists have been puzzling how to get the plumes to last so long
A new paper in Icarus1 concedes this is a bigger problem than thought; it would
require tremendous heat at depth to keep the system going.
The existence of nitrogen in
the plumes, assumed to result from decomposition of ammonia, leads to estimates of
500K to 800K (440-980°F) in the moons interior: a very hot environment for unusual chemistry
and explosive physics.
A major question is how is it possible to get high temperatures inside Enceladus,
while it is already surprising to observe ongoing geological activity at this satellite.
We prefer to approach the problem the following way. Pre-Cassini geophysical models have
failed to account for the young surface of Enceladus observed by Voyager. There
is a need to revisit the assumptions and initial conditions used for these models.
The only suggestions they can come up with are (1) maybe tidal heating is more efficient than
thought, or (2) maybe Enceladus formed early when short-lived radionuclides were able to melt
the interior, then subsequent long-lived radioactive decay maintained the heat for all this time.
They referred to other papers on these ideas but did not speculate on how
long such heating could persist, and why it did not affect similar moons, like Mimas, in the
Several other lines of evidence now point to the existence of high temperature
material (well above the melting point of water) in at least some portions of Enceladus
interior. The plumes themselves and the thermal power radiated by the
south polar anomaly suggest higher heating levels than currently provided by long-lived
radiogenic species and current tidal dissipation combined (Porco et al., 2006).
Supplying the heat required to explain the observed phenomena is
a major challenge for theoretical models of the satellites thermal history.
At the end they speculated briefly about how inner heat might cook up a
rich, warm, aqueous, organic soup below the surface up to and including
hydrocarbons, nitriles, methanol and possibly amino acids not yet observed.
Sniffing some of the ingredients might be possible if Cassini is able to sweep through the plume
a year from now (March 12, 2008). Though the authors did not mention the L word life
(except for the indirect word prebiotic),
some of the popular news media were quick to pick up on this thought (see
BBC News and
The JPL press release,
though stating that all key ingredients for life are present, was careful to qualify that
no one is claiming that we found life by any means only that we probably
have evidence for a place that might be hospitable to life.
Geographic, however, made the L word its centerpiece, announcing, Saturns Icy Moon
May Have Been Hot Enough for Life, Study Finds.
1Matson, Castillo, Lunine and Johnson, Enceladus plume: Compositional evidence for a hot interior,
Icarus, Volume 187, Issue 2, April 2007, pages 569573,
Enceladus has nothing to do with life, OK?
(time to review 02/15/2007).
Scientists and reporters
should stop throwing out this distraction from the real issue: an observational fact is at
clear variance with assumptions about the age of the solar system. The researchers admit
that the known heat sources are inadequate separately and in combination. Two years ago,
it was admitted Enceladus lacks a rocky core that could store enough radioactive sources (see
04/08/2005), and last year another scientist admitted that
short-lived radionuclides are just a knob one can twiddle in the models without being able to make a hard statement
(see 03/01/2006). Meanwhile, the geysers are real.
They continue to erupt enough material to replenish the E-ring and spray-paint neighboring
moons with ice (02/10/2007).
Were Australopithecines Violent? Should Humans Not Be? 03/12/2007
If this were the only anomaly in the evolutionary dating scheme, perhaps they
could do some special pleading, but then there is Titans surface
09/14/2006), Saturns rings
(09/06/2005), Ios volcanoes,
the surface of Venus, our moon (11/09/2006),
and much more in the solar system arguing against long ages.
The earth-based dating methods that give long ages are not without their own problems (e.g.,
05/08/2006); without the need for geological epochs
for evolution to occur, the difficulties with all dating methods would be apparent.
The E-ring is young (07/11/2006),
the geysers have finite energy sources, and the surface of Enceladus is
Why not accept the obvious inference that the whole moon is young? If Darwin
didnt need the time, it would be obvious to everybody. This major challenge must be
faced (02/06/2006). We agree it is time to
revisit the assumptions and initial conditions that have
failed to account for the young surface of Enceladus observed by Voyager.
Stating the inference to the best explanation that Enceladus is young will require courage on
the part of a planetary scientist willing to go where the evidence leads.
Next headline on:
One wonders how a scientist could infer behavior from skeletal dimensions, but David Carrier
(U of Utah) believes he can visualize that evolutionary ancestors of humans were good fighters.
A report on EurekAlert
begins, Ape-like human ancestors known as australopiths maintained short legs for 2
million years because a squat physique and stance helped the males fight over access to females,
a University of Utah study concludes.
Carrier thinks shorter legs helped the males have a better wrestling stance.
But there are exceptions: bonobos have shorter legs, but are passive. Carrier also had to
make an exception for humans, who are not less aggressive because they have longer legs.
He didnt make clear whether he was visualizing Fred Flintstone or Richard Dawkins.
But he did win Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week for his answer to the question of why
anyone should care if australopiths were short and nasty:
Given the aggressive behavior of modern humans and apes, we should not be surprised to find fossil evidence of aggressive behavior [?] in the ancestors of modern humans, Carrier says. This is important because we have a real problem with violence in modern society. Part of the problem is that we dont recognize we are relatively violent animals. Many people argue we are not violent. But we are violent. If we want to prevent future violence we have to understand why we are violent.
Carrier had to admit that male-male competition did not explain all human violence, and that he did not really
know how aggressive australopiths were. He just remarked, If they were more aggressive than
modern humans, they were exceptionally nasty animals.
To some extent, our evolutionary past may help us to understand the circumstances in which humans behave violently, he adds. There are a number of independent lines of evidence suggesting that much of human violence is related to male-male competition, and this study is consistent with that.
We dont see the females flocking to the world championship
wrestlers. And we dont see some of the best males at passing on genes being particularly
good fighters. And we dont see any fossil bones having skeleton fights with each other.
Please tell us, David, how you intend to test your hypothesis.
Music Can Make You Smarter 03/12/2007
Can Carrier and any of his other Darwin Party buddies explain why we should try
to prevent future violence? What is the real problem with violence in modern society?
If evolution made males this way, then violence is good, and peace is stupid. Hitler understood this.
Mussolini understood this. Chairman Mao and Pol Pot understood this. These and other Darwin-inspired dictators made
violence an intrinsic part of their social policy and carried it out with a vengeance they felt their ideology
justified (for details, listen to the Teaching Company lecture series
Terror in the 20th Century).
Darwinism justifies any male doing anything he wants to,
violence included, to get a female. The one who does not understand what he just said is David Carrier who,
along with all the other inconsistent Darwinists, want to understand our evolutionary past
but then cannot live with the consequences. Carrier can point to no Darwinian moral categories that would
classify violence as either good or bad. Maybe he should be listening to that conscience that tells
him something is morally wrong with selfish sex and violence run amok.
Promote world peace. Shut up a Darwinist today.
Laughter may be the best medicine.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Musical training in childhood can help
one develop better language processing skills, reports a news item on
Scientists at Northwestern University found that English-speaking adults who had musical training were better
able to track intonations of Chinese tonal words than those who did not have such training.
The study contradicted an evolutionary assumption about the brain stem.
An old structure from an evolutionary standpoint, the brainstem once was thought to
only play a passive role in auditory processing, the article states.
Weve found that by playing music -- an action thought of as a function of the
neocortex -- a person may actually be tuning the brainstem, said Nina Kraus, one of the team
publishing their results in Nature Neuroscience. This suggests that the
relationship between the brainstem and neocortex is a dynamic and reciprocal
one and tells us that our basic sensory circuitry is more malleable than we previously thought.
Do your brain a favor and learn to appreciate good music.
Dont deprive children of the opportunity to learn how to develop a God-given capacity that
enriches life. (High-decibel repetitious raunchy cacophony excluded.) Did you notice
that evolutionary theory failed another prediction again?
Skin Includes Built-In Damage Protection 03/11/2007
Next headline on:
Ultraviolet radiation that tans skin can also cause skin cancer, right? Right, but
the skin also produces a cancer fighter to come to the rescue, reported
Scientists at the Dana-Farber cancer institute detected a known cancer fighter named p53 that is
produced right under the skin. Their results, published in Cell (see summary
show that a master regulator of the suntan response that helps provide protection
from skin cancer. This protein, also called the guardian of the genome,
was linked to the tanning response, the researchers found. The production of melanin
by tanning provides additional protection from UV damage.
Surprisingly, the system is linked into the endorphin response: the pleasurable
sensation of lying in the sun. There is even the possibility that p53 protects against
skin damage in a second and previously unsuspected way, the article
states. The protein not only causes skin to tan in response to sunlight, it may
also underlie peoples desire to spend time in the sun.
With moderation (and caution related to skin type and latitude), then, it appears
that sensible exposure to sunlight is a good thing with some protection built in.
Update 03/18/2007: An SOS signal and response under
the skin was described by researchers U of North Carolina School of Medicine, reports
Special proteins slow down DNA replication under a UV barrage to give time for the repair team
to work (07/26/2002, 01/04/2002).
Humans were created for the outdoors. They only build
shelters of necessity for protection from the ravages of a fallen world. When you visualize
an Eden-like environment, the first parents had a waterproof, sun-protected, heat-adapting covering of skin
that could thrive in the original creation (03/02/2007).
A cursed world presented new challenges that
make that way of existence only marginally tolerable. Still, enough of our original physiology
remains to make a moderate walk or rest under a gentle sun (03/07/2007)
a healthful (11/21/2006)
and wonderful thing. Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun,
said Solomon (Ecclesiastes
11:7). Get the dosage that is appropriate for you.
Darwinists Blur Science with Fiction 03/09/2007
Next headline on:
One would think make-believe is for kids, and science is for adults. Some recent
evolution stories, however, seem to portray a seamless continuum between imagination and
testable scientific hypotheses. You be the judge:
Clearly anything is possible if imagination is substituted for testable hypotheses. The writers
of this exercise did not mention that the impact hypothesis for the extinction of the dinosaurs is itself
controversial (e.g., 10/24/2006). If the impact turns out to
be imaginary, then the exercise becomes imagination balanced on imagination. If the Darwinian theory
of common ancestry by natural selection is also overturned someday (as advocates of intelligent design
feel is inevitable), it becomes imagination balanced on imagination balanced on imagination.
Without a foundation of testable theories anchored to observational evidence, exercises in the imagination
are indistinguishable from turtles all the way down (see joke).
- Darwin in cyberspace: If it happens in a computer simulation, is it
really evolution? National
Geographic reported on a new computer game that allows players to evolve any kind of creatures they
want and pit them against each other in survival-of-the-fittest competition. The description makes
no distinction between what happens in the game and what supposedly happens in the wild. The words
evolution and natural selection appear in the article in both contexts. One of the
proponents called this natural selection at its best. But if the selection takes place
in software designed by programmers, is it really natural?
- Reverse-engineering contingency: Science magazine reported this week that
engineers evolved a salamander-like robot that could swim to land and crawl ashore.1,2 This is a
fine piece of clever engineering, but is it evolution? Again, the article made no distinction
between the natural and the artificial. It implied that the robot is retracing steps taken by
organisms in the unseen past. Notice what Frank Fish (West Chester U, PA) said about the
experiment: This is clearly an excellent fusion of biology and robotics to
test neurological and evolutionary hypotheses. This paper will be a high-profile example of
how robots can be used as surrogates for living and fossil systems. He did not
explain in what respects this man-made, designed robot, lacking DNA and the ability to reproduce itself,
compares or contrasts with a biological organism in any significant way.
The reverse comparison, that an intelligently designed robot
might suggest the first tetrapod was similarly designed, was definitely not what the article intended to convey.
This is clear from a write-up in
Live Science, where
Jeanna Brynner took the Darwinist line to the hilt: Studies of the robot show that our fishy
ancestors likely used their primitive brains to make the evolutionary leap
from water worlds to terra firma. Surprisingly, this sentence makes it sound like
fish brains intelligently designed their own upward evolution, with purpose and a goal (teleology). Another example of the equivocation
between natural selection and intelligent self-design can be found in
This four-legged yellow creature reveals a great deal about the evolution of vertebrate locomotion,
it claims. Its also a vivid demonstration that robots can be used to test and
verify biological concepts, and that very often nature herself offers ideal solutions for robotics design.
Is this describing nature as a personified engineer?
Teleology and intelligent guidance were the very principles Darwin was trying to avoid.
- Make believe: Playing what if? games might provide a brainstorming activity
a scientist could employ while developing a hypothesis that could be tested by experiment.
What if on the other hand, the make-believe exercise becomes an end in itself?
This is apparently what a BBC
News exercise for students encourages. The following what-if? exercise is not advertised in the fiction department;
it is found in the Science and Nature department. To some evolutionists, apparently, the dream is the thing:
Its a palaeontologists dream: the chance to live in a world where dinosaurs are
not something to be dug out of the ground but are living among us. It may sound far-fetched
but dinosaurs were actually rather unlucky. The meteorite impact that doomed them to extinction
was an event with a probability of millions to one. What if the meteorite had missed?
Had dinosaurs survived, the world today would be very different. If humans managed to
survive alongside them, we wouldnt have the company of most, if not all, of the mammals with which we are
familiar today. Giraffes, elephants and other mammals wouldnt have had space to evolve.
Would we be hunting Hadrosaurs instead of elk? Or farming Protoceratops instead of
pigs? Would dinosaurs be kept as pets? And could the brighter dinosaurs have evolved
into something humanoid?
1Ijspeert, Crespi, Ryczko and Cabelguen, From Swimming to Walking with a Salamander
Robot Driven by a Spinal Cord Model,
9 March 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5817, pp. 1416-1420, DOI: 10.1126/science.1138353.
2Elisabeth Pennisi, Robot Suggests How the First Land Animals Got Walking,
9 March 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5817, pp. 1352-1353, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5817.1352a
Intelligent reader, nobody needs to tell you how stupid these Darwin sideshows are.
It would be insulting to hold rotten baloney in front of your nose and ask
you if it smelt bad. Yet this kind of folly is presented monolithically in todays science journals,
museums, popular science media, and public schools (notice that #1 was promoted by the prestigious, historic
National Geographic Society, #2 was published in the leading American journal Science, and
#3 was devised for UK public education). It doesnt matter that it is untestable,
self-refuting, and completely out of touch with reality.
Darwins little myth has become so sacred that no one dare question it or even laugh. In fact, if you
do question it, you are likely to be called a fascist or Nazi (see
and threatened with a lawsuit
(01/06/2007; see also the
two meanings of make believe in the 10/11/2006 commentary).
Can evolutionary theory explain the over-engineering in animal navigation? from
If you are sick and tired of the Darwin Freak Show and
cant take it any more, then join the noble Visigoths in their futuristic space fighters
(see this Japanese
cartoon) and help depose Charlie from his antiquated Castle of the Imagination (see
Kick the rascals out and let science once again be a rational search for
verifiable understanding about the natural world the real world.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Deconstructing Darwinese: Delighting in Ignorance 03/08/2007
ignorance a good thing? When is confidence in ones answers a bad thing?
One science writer expressed his desire for mystery over explanation as long
as the mysterious allowed room for lucky breaks without design.
Science writer Ben Shaberman got to share his views on the last page of the April 2007
issue of Sky and Telescope: Knowledge can be enlightening, but so can
mystery. He first described his rapture at hearing Adam Reiss speak about
dark energy and multiverses. Then he described those who disagree with the vision:
Those who profess creationism or intelligent design think they have the
answer to why things in the universe work out so well. But for those seeking a
scientific explanation, the anthropic principle offers another possibility.
It suggests that we simply got lucky: there have been a zillion Big Bangs, and the
one that created our universe just happened to work out. In other words, we hit
the cosmic jackpot. The idea has both its supporters and critics, and its
Fascinating indeed. Imagine winning the universal lottery without spending any money on tickets.
Ben went on to praise the glories of the unknown, the mysterious, the uncertain:
At a time when politicians and the media espouse so much certainty about virtually
everything, it was refreshing to hear an intelligent and levelheaded guy acknowledge all the
stuff that baffles us.
Darwinese is more than just a language foreign to the majority
of people who live by common sense and know an intelligent cause when they see it.
No, Darwinese is a complete communication system that includes a set of protocols. One requirement
is the secret handshake. This is the motion of sweeping away creationism with a wipe of the
hand, and putting intelligent design in scare quotes. In evolutionary parlance,
it is taboo to actually consider the arguments of these dimwits. The structure of Darwinese,
as in 1984,
actually inhibits formulating thoughts contrary to Darwinese protocol. Whatever celebrates
Darwinian ideas is goodthink; whatever attributes validity to intelligent design is
crimethink. The syntax and semantics force thoughts
into naturalistic molds except when Christian terms are borrowed temporarily to get around difficulties
Nature Recommends Trimming the Bible 03/08/2007
A second requirement is
to reinforce the false dichotomy between design/creationist
views and scientific explanation. The word science must never be used
in the same sentence with intelligent design. It is a word reserved strictly for Darwinian
materialists, even when the context appeals to mystery, the
unknown and the unknowable. Claiming to know
the answer is design, and being able to prove it, spoils all the fun of remaining ignorant. He said, That
hour-long lunch helped me appreciate the beauty of the mysterious world we live in.
A third requirement in Darwinese is to pretend to be honestly curious and to
demean certainty while actually maintaining a dogmatic position. To prove that Shaberman
is an accomplished Darwinese speaker, ask him if evolutionary theory itself is up for debate.
Imagine what would happen if an interlocutor were to argue that invocations to unknowable Big Bangs and multiverses
constitutes a tacit appeal to the supernatural. The Darwinese protocol in such instances is to chant
Evolution is science! Creation is religion! as long as necessary to get the interlocutor to leave.
News reporters watching on the sidelines will promptly report that the Darwinese speaker achieved a great
victory against ignorance and superstition.
A feeling of awe and
wonder at things too big to be understood does have its share of euphoria.
Mystery can spur one on to seek an explanation. In that sense, it can
be a good thing. But mystery is not an end in itself, lest it become a mystery religion.
Shaberman just preached a little sermon for the Cult of Lady Luck, one of the denominations
of Charlianity. Darwin would be pleased to know that his doctrine of contingency has
been extrapolated all the way back into prior worlds of the imagination. This completes his
systematic theology: ultimate origins, the present, and ultimate destiny. He is gratified that his completed
system produces such warm feelings in the hearts of his disciples. Now that he controls the
Ministry of Truth, having ruled all competing ideas out of bounds,
he happily pays out his lottery winners in monopoly money. Whatever keeps his devotees
hooked enraptured in the realms of eternal ignorance is not too high a price to pay.
Next headline on:
People act violently when they
think God sanctions violence, thinks Brad Bushman, a social psychologist from U. of Michigan.
Heidi Ledford wrote in Nature1 that he and others like Hector Avalos (Iowa State)
propose editing Scripture. Avalos has proposed a radical solution to theologically
inspired violence — cut the violent passages out of the scripture. He says this
is not a wildly controversial idea because churches are already selective about what
1Heidi Ledford, Scriptural violence can foster aggression,
446, 114-115 (8 March 2007) | doi:10.1038/446114b.
What business is this of Nature? Clean your own
house, Darwinians. Thou shalt not alter a word of Scripture till thou purge Darwins
writings of the racism that led to the largest and most pernicious genocides of all time.* Purge, also,
the writings of his cousin Galton on eugenics, and the writings of all the other Darwin disciples
who saw violence as a good thing the agent of evolutionary progress.
148 million people perished in the last 100 years due to Darwin-inspired regimes. Multiple
millions more who survived suffered other forms of violence, torture and deprivation.
Evolutionary Predictions Fail Observational Tests 03/08/2007
When you are done with that little exercise,
then purge the Quran of its violent passages. How convenient to attack the Scriptures of
Christians who believe in praying for ones enemies, while ignoring the 1.5 billion people subscribing
to a religion of peace that believes in blowing up buses and shopping malls in the
name of the moon god so that brainwashed young men can fulfill their fantasies of eternal sex.
Then, Darwin Party, write a term paper on the hospitals and charities and
improvements to education and government founded by Christians. These are prerequisites
before starting any conversation about the interpretation of the violent passages in Scripture,
which have been duly discussed in context by Jewish and Christian theologians for millennia.
OK, atheists, got any virtues you would like to brag about? Besides hypocrisy, that is.
How about a little altruism? (01/21/2006,
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Politics and Ethics
*Recommended resource to establish the
connection between social Darwinism and genocide in withering detail: lecture series Utopia
and Terror in the 20th Century by Dr. Vejas Liulevicius, available from
Lately, some expectations by evolutionists have not been fulfilled. Here are several
recent examples of evolutionary upsets:
The authors in this last item attribute criticisms of the interstratification theory to
a long-standing agenda to deny the possibility of significant chronological
overlap and coexistence between late Neanderthal and early
anatomically modern populations in western Europe, and therefore
to deny any suggestion of potential mutual interaction or acculturation
between the two populations, they asserted. With so many cases like these above,
one can begin to meditate on what other agendas might
operate to deny the possibility of keeping observations synchronized with theory.
- Dinobird genes cook up scrambled eggs: Scientists expected that the dinosaurs
presumed ancestral to birds would show a decreasing genome size. The thinking was that the
cost of maintaining a large genome takes its toll on flight. In Nature,1
however, a team found that smaller genomes evolved 230 million years ago, long before the early
bird caught a worm. Not only that, the non-avian dinosaur line (ornithischia) had sleeker
genomes than the avian dinosaur line (saurischia). Genome size was not measured directly,
but inferred from a relationship between cell size and genome size. This means that
evolutionists cannot presume that genome size has anything to do with phylogeny.
Carl Zimmer in Science1a
commented on this paper and on the question about genome size in general, but did not come up with
any explanation for how natural selection would favor large or small genomes. See also the
write-up in Live Science
which repeats the assumption that dinosaurs had feathers (but compare counterarguments from
- Dog beats ape: Chimpanzees have a hard time drawing inferences about one anothers
mental states by their motions. One can point to hidden food, for instance, and the other will
not get the message. Dogs actually are much better at this, according to an article on
Since dogs are supposedly farther down the evolutionary tree from humans, though, evolutionists attribute
the dogs better score to domestication: What accounts for this piece of convergent
evolution between humans and domestic dogs is nothing other than the process of domestication
the breeding of dogs to tolerate, rather than fear, human company. But would this mean
that breeding chimps to tolerate, rather than fear, human company would produce a similar ability?
They didnt say.
- Parroting humans: Ryan Jaroncyk on Creation
Ministries Intl reported about Nkisi, the wonder bird. This parrot can speak meaningful English
sentences and has a vocabulary of 950 words. His report, based on an article in the latest BBC Wildlife
Magazine, implies that birds possess a far greater linguistic capacity than chimpanzees.
This defies evolutionary predictions, he said. He devises a thought experiment:
What if chimpanzees possessed a
vocabulary of 950 words, used words in context, and formulated simple sentences like Nkisi the parrot?
The result would be predictable: The scientific community and popular media would be in an evolutionary frenzy.
- Waspish behavior: Time to rewrite the evolutionary history of wasps, reported
a press release from Univ. of Illinois. Its all wrong.
Scientists at the University of Illinois have conducted a genetic analysis of vespid wasps that
revises the vespid family tree and challenges long-held views about how the wasps
social behaviors evolved, it states (vespids include yellowjackets, paper wasps and about 5,000
species). In the study, published in the Feb. 21
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found genetic evidence that eusociality
(the reproductive specialization seen in some insects and other animals) evolved independently in two groups
of vespid wasps. The article did not speculate on how difficult it was for this ability to arise
by evolution, except to say that The evolution of eusociality in wasps has long been a source of debate.
The take-home lesson is that assuming simple evolutionary lineages can get you stung: These findings
contradict an earlier model of vespid wasp evolution, which placed the groups together in
a single lineage with a common ancestor.
So does this cast doubt on the validity of
evolutionary speculation? Not in the slightest. Evolutionism is actually strengthened by
the finding that data contradict the prediction:
The fact that eusociality evolved independently in two groups of vespid wasps also sheds light on the complexity of evolutionary processes, [Sydney] Cameron said.
Scientists attempt to make generalizations and simplify the world.
But the world isnt always simple and evolution isnt simple. This finding points to
the complexity of life.
- Winged migration: Is there a simple evolutionary tree for bird migration? Not here, either.
A press release in EurekAlert from
studies at the University of Arizona said, A universal assumption about bird migration has been that
short-distance migration is an evolutionary stepping stone to long-distance migration.
The teams work contradicts that idea by showing that short-distance migrants are inherently different
from their globe-trotting cousins. Seasonal food availability, not evolution, is apparently the
determining factor. One textbook explanation suggests either eating fruit or living in
non-forested environments were the precursors needed to evolve migratory behavior. True or false?
Not so, is the new correct answer. The work is published in the March 2007 issue of
- Scrub that: Some birds plan ahead. The scrub jay makes a list of things to do today, apparently.
This behavior was described in Nature,2 where the authors began, Knowledge of and planning
for the future is a complex skill that is considered by many to be uniquely human.... We show that the jays make provision for a future need, both by preferentially caching food in a place in which they have learned that they will be hungry the following morning and by differentially storing a particular food in a place in which that type of food will not be available the next morning. This is a longer time period than similar behavior observed over very short time scales
in rats and pigeons. Even crows and apes dont show this kind of foresight. The results described here suggest that the jays can spontaneously plan for tomorrow without reference to their current motivational state, thereby challenging the idea that this is a uniquely human ability. Sara Shettleworth, in the same issue of Nature,
called this food for thought. Although we cannot mind-meld with a bird brain, it almost seems
that these raucous garden birds are able to imagine time-travel into the future to foresee what they will need.
- Millipedes and biologists in the dark: Northern
Arizona University reported two identical-looking cave millipedes that cannot be related.
We knew the millipedes likely represented two distinct species because the two populations were
separated by the Grand Canyon, said co-discoverer J. Judson Wynne. The fact these
two species belong to an entirely new genus was a great surprise to us. He called them
- Neanderthal verdict: The idea of a simple replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans, a
a topic of lively debate in human evolution, will have
to be abandoned, apparently. PNAS3 provided confirmation that the cave layers where bones of both
groups have been found do overlap and interstratify with one another. They based this on radiocarbon,
artifacts and stratigraphy. Unless native Neanderthal populations
effectively self-destructed the moment the first modern populations
set foot in their territories, a completely implausible scenario, they say, it is now
totally inescapable Neanderthals and modern humans knew each other and coexisted for a long time.
1Organ, Shedlock, Meade, Pagel and Edwards, Origin of avian genome size and structure in non-avian dinosaurs,
446, 180-184 (8 March 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05621.
1aCarl Zimmer, Evolution: Jurassic Genome,
9 March 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5817, pp. 1358-1359, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5817.1358.
2Raby, Alexis, Dixon and Clayton, Planning for the future by western scrub-jays,
445, 919-921 (22 February 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05575.
3Mellars, Gravina and Ramsey, Confirmation of Neanderthal/modern human interstratification
at the Chatelperronian type-site,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0608053104, published online before print February 21, 2007.
The evolutionists cant seem to get anything right.
No matter where they look, organisms arent cooperating with Charlies expectations.
Whats really naked here, the jay bird or Darwins little storytelling parade?
Is evolutionary theory really good for anything? Did not Darwin foist a fruitless path of inquiry on science?
Arent his disciples clueless? Dont they deserve to be called on the carpet and reprimanded
for pretending to have scientific knowledge when the evidence is against them? We retort; you deride.
Early man and irregularity (really bad pun), from 08/22/2005.
Next headline on:
Sappy Birthday, Plate Tectonics 03/08/2007
Authors of prose and poetry often use personification to
set the imagination and emotions moving. Such talk is infrequent in science, because it
can confuse more than illuminate. Well let the reader decide the effect of a commentary
in GSA Today1 by Shoufa Lin (U of Waterloo, Ontario), who asked,
When did the life of plate tectonics begin? In this picture, rocks morphed into
living organisms acted upon by Darwinian evolution, through all stages of life:
The question of when plate tectonics began, and in particular whether it began in the Archean, is the focus of several recent articles.... I support the idea that modern-style plate tectonics evolved from an earlier form of proto-plate tectonics.... In support of the evolutionary view, I would like to offer the following comments...
Most, if not all, geologists agree that plate tectonics is a part of the earth system now. We should also agree that plate tectonics did not exist at the very early stages of Earth. (Before that, there was even no Earth!) If we agree on this, we should also agree that there must have been a period during the early stages of Earths evolution when the process of plate tectonics was conceived and embryo plate tectonics began. The embryo grew into a baby, the baby into a teenager, and the teenager into an adult: modern-style plate tectonics. The embryo and the baby might have looked, behaved, and functioned quite differently from the adult.....
So when did the life of plate tectonics begin? Some might say that it began the moment the embryo was conceived, while others would say that it did not begin until the baby was born. I suggest we had embryo and the baby plate tectonics in the Archean, and the answer to the question of when plate tectonics began will depend on how mature you believe the process had to be before it could be called plate tectonics.
1Shoufa Lin, Comment: When did the life of plate tectonics begin?
GSA Today,Volume 17, Issue 3 (March 2007), pp. 12–12.
Is any commentary really necessary? This is SO-O-O-O stupid.
It shows how Darwinian thinking is completely out of control. Rocks dont think! They dont grow.
They have no DNA. There is no program controlling their development. Plate tectonic theory,
as an abstract concept, cannot be thought in terms of embryos and teenagers. Who are the parents,
for crying out loud? Mother Earth and Father Time? Charlie has no claim on crustal plates. How can a serious
geological journal, with its heart dead-set against intelligent design, publish such nonsense?
It belongs in the mythological literature department, not a scientific journal. Shoufa said these
ideas first arose in a conference in 1995. Apparently 12 years has not healed the brain damage.
Sun as a Star: How Does It Compare? 03/07/2007
The important subtext here, though, is the weakness of plate tectonics theory.
Notice the admission that geologists disagree about the onset and speed of plate tectonics.
Venus and Mars, remember, have no such crustal dynamics. Maybe the personal language used here
is pulling wool over the eyes of viewers so they wont notice the muddy thinking.
The only thing lacking maturity in this story is the personification,
a character flaw rampant in the Darwinian mentality. Here is
one baby that can be ethically thrown out with its dirty bathwater.
Next headline on:
Not too many years ago, our sun was described as a common, ordinary star. More recently,
the Type G2 Dwarf Main-Sequence class, of which Ol Sol is a member, is believed to comprise only
5% of all stars. An important paper in Astrophysical Journal is now revealing that
the sun is special within its class: it is unusually quiet and steady.
O. R. White, L. Wallace, and W. Livingston have just published results of a 32-year
study of sunlight at the McMath Solar Observatory at Kitt Peak, Arizona.1
Even thought 32 years represents a third of a century, and half a percent of recorded history,
it is rare to have a continuous data set for such a long period. Now ready to retire from
this long experiment, they discussed what they found. Most of the paper describes details
of particular spectral lines and how they vary with the 11-year solar cycle: doubly-ionized
calcium lines, for instance, show clear oscillations. Some spectral lines, from deeper
within the suns photosphere (visible surface), show almost no variation.
They conclude that the deeper regions of the sun are immune from being heated by the cyclic rise and fall of
magnetic disturbances. This means the suns energy output is remarkably stable.
How our sun compares with other stars was discussed briefly. Some of
our results, they said, ... will be of interest to stellar astronomers.
It is again of interest in a stellar context to compare our mean H + K index values for the
center disk with that of solar-type stars, particularly stars that may be considered Maunder-minimum candidates.2
Our mean center disk value could be indicative of the values to expect in especially quiescent stars, or
even in the Sun during prolonged episodes of relatively reduced activity, as appears to have occurred
during the Maunder minimum period.
Astrophysicist M. S. Giampapa compared the integrated results with comparable stars. The amount of variation
in solar output was about 10% less than the seasonal mean values, as measured over several
seasons of observation, for even the most quiet solar-type stars, he wrote.
In any event, our mean center disk value in comparison with stellar observations appears
to be representative of immaculate photospheres, with little in the way of
magnetic-field-related nonradiative heating.3
In plain English, this means our sun is quiet and well behaved. The cycles of
magnetic energy that cause sunspots and flares somehow escape through the photosphere without
heating the surface, resulting in a solar constant of energy output constant, that is, compared with other
G2 stars. The discussion summarizes the finding: Converted to stellar S [a normalized spectral
measurement for all stars], the center disk Sun resides at a position of minimum activity, as found for the
most quiescent solar-type stars.
This has been a career-long project for the researchers.
In summary, what have 30 years of spectral observations told us about the physical Sun?
The solar constant varies only 0.06% both on short and long terms. That behavior has basically
continued over the entire observational period, with no indication of cycle modulation or
secular change. We conclude that the basal quiet photosphere is constant in temperature within
our observational error, they said.
1O. R. White, L. Wallace, W. Livingston, and M. S. Giampapa, Sun-as-a-Star Spectrum Variations 1974-2006,
Journal, 657:1137-1149, 2007 March 10, 2007.
2The Maunder Minimum was an unusual period of almost no sunspots from 1645-1715.
Maunder-minimum candidate stars would be those in a similar quiescent state.
Since telescopes were first trained on the sun, sunspot number has risen and fallen in a familiar
11-year cycle except for that 70-year period. (There is a 22-year period superimposed on the
11-year cycle in which the polarity of the magnetic field reverses.)
3Most of the suns heat comes from radiation. An example of non-radiative
heating would be the excitation of the suns photosphere from magnetic energy. This
apparently is not happening on the sun; the magnetic energy escapes between the granules.
Congratulations to this team for their perseverance and
steadfastness in achieving one of the longest data-gathering experiments in astrophysics.
In science, there is no substitute for data. Speculation is cheap. Carl Sagan used
to yarn on about how ordinary is our neighborhood in the universe: We live on an insignificant
planet of a humdrum star, lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe,
la-de-da-de-da-zzz. Sounds so scientific till you look at the details. Yes,
there are other solar-type stars, but one in this class that is this quiet and constant now appears to be
a rarity. Combine that with all the other factors that make our world habitable, and
it really does look more and more like we live on a
Turtles Hurtle Through the Sea Magnetically 03/06/2007
Next headline on:
Experiments on sea turtles have shown that they follow the earths magnetic field
to the exact beach where they were born to lay their eggs.
It is almost as if they were equipped with a compass pointing towards the beach in question,
says an article on EurekAlert.
So they can correct any deflection they are subject to: transport by boat, ocean currents...
Like a guiding beacon, the field keeps them on track even when ocean currents carry them far off course.
The researchers feel that other cues, like smell, may also guide them home.
The film Lifes Story 2 from
shows footage of sea turtles laying their eggs and the young finding their way to the water.
The sea is a mighty big place to get lost.
One beach on a coastline is a mere speck from hundreds of miles out in the ocean.
Who put a compass in a turtles head? Who gave them all the hardware and
software to transport their bulky bodies thousands of miles to home base? Who
gave them the ability to dig and lay eggs? Who taught the babies when to hatch
at high tide, and make their way to the water? How many trillions of turtles had
to sink to the bottom or die of beach sunburn while mutations did their random walk through
possibility space? The marine biologists are looking for a few good minds.
Dino Horns: Is Smaller More Evolved? 03/05/2007
Next headline on:
One can never tell which way the evolutionary path will take to determine fitness.
Could be bigger, could be smaller. Could be faster, could be slower. Could be
better camouflaged, could be flashy. Michael Ryan (Cleveland Museum) decided that
shorter horns on his dinosaur constituted better fitness.
says his discovery, a 20-foot dinosaur in Alberta, was on the way to evolving shorter
horns. Associated Press began, A new dinosaur species was a plant-eater with
yard-long horns over its eyebrows, suggesting an evolutionary middle step between
older dinosaurs with even larger horns and the small-horned creatures that followed, experts said.
A dinosaur alleged to be 12 million years older also had large horns.
Dinosaurs thought to be later in the fossil record had smaller horns. One paleontologist
had predicted something like Ryans specimen would be found. When it was, he
exclaimed, Lo and behold, evolutionary theory actually works.
David Tyler commented on this story on
...which wins Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week.
Do you think this paleontologist had any doubts? Was he relieved that his colleague
was able to stuff data into a preconceived set of assumptions? This is like the
magic trick where a jokester says to his dupe, pick a finger any finger.
Once selected, the magician scrambles his fingers rapidly then alacazam! He finds the
correct finger that the victim had selected. Evolution is a foregone conclusion in
spite of the data. If horns were getting bigger, that would mean evolutionary theory
actually works. If they were getting bigger then smaller, or smaller then bigger,
that would also mean evolutionary theory actually works. Evolutionary theory is a
GIGO game (garbage-in, garbage-out) where any combination of input produces a satisfying
confirmation of expectations (for swine).
Punc Eq Pioneer Founds Father & Son Evo-Journal 03/03/2007
Next headline on:
Who made Newsmakers in Science March 2,1 but Niles Eldredge and his
son Greg. Eldredge the dad (you can distinguish the two in the photo by beard color)
started the punctuated equilibrium evolution revolution in 1972 with
Stephen Jay Gould. The two paleontologists angered many other evolutionists by making it public
that the fossil record was systematically lacking transitional forms of the kind traditional evolutionary
theory required. They opted for a theory that evolution proceeded in fits and starts,
leaving little fossil evidence of its action.
Now Niles and Greg are starting a new quarterly journal, Outreach and Education in
Evolution, to begin this fall. The news snippet included the following anecdote:
A favorite family story relates to a class visit to the 2005 Darwin exhibit Niles curated.
Seeing a case displaying various mammalian skeletons, one student was particularly impressed by
the hand of a chimp. Thats it, I believe the whole thing, the student exclaimed.
The ID blog Uncommon Descent calls this keeping the world
safe for evolution.
Volume 315, Number 5816, Issue of 02 March 2007.
Chief Niles succeeded in sending the young brave on a successful
vision quest. The student at the museum was slain in the spirit of Charlie
(05/09/2006, 01/20/2004), fell to
the ground writhing in ecstatic visions, and his inventive imagination was awakened
(01/17/2007). The missing links Eldredge could not
produce will now appear magically in the minds eye of his new convert, a kind of
factory in his head. And now,
the tribe will have a new journal to train more
shamans, so that they can steer a growing crop of novices into the inner recesses of the cave
(02/16/2007 commentary). This will help to perpetuate the
vision quest known as pilgrims regress.
Evolutionary Theory Not Even Skin Deep 03/02/2007
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolutionary Theory
A book on skin just was published no, not one of those books, but a book on the
physiology of human skin. Nina Jablonski wrote Skin: A Natural History (UC Berkeley, 2006)
and Qais Al-Awqati (Columbia U) reviewed it in Science.1 The reviewer noticed
that In its discussion of the human skin, the books principal theme is evolution, and
almost every page contains that word. So, how did Jablonski do? Did she
satisfy the reviewers hopes that Darwin can explain the naked ape?
Although the author wants to provide an evolutionary perspective on all attributes of skin biology,
the accounts she provides seldom rise above the provision of plausible hypotheses. Is it really
true that we were selected to be hairless sweaty creatures? That sounds possible,
but what is the actual evidence for such an assertion? Is it also true that vitamin D synthesis,
a major locus of interaction between sunlight and diet, is the dominant factor in the natural selection
of skin color? This idea is simply presented without any of the documentation that would
make a convincing story. One would like to see the evidence of how rickets (vitamin D
deficiency) might act as an agent of evolutionary selection.
Even in the areas of sociology, The thorny issue of the social construction of the roles of
skin color is reduced again to a brief survey of skin color biology and its evolutionary implications.
At the end of the review, Al-Awqati tried to find a few things to praise, but the shallowness of Jablonskis
evolutionary theorizing extended to her own research. Although only a few of Jablonskis
research papers address skin evolution, he said, the lack of deep expertise need not prevent a
nonspecialist from pulling together findings from different fields to generate an exciting, even fresh view of
nature. Apparently this book fell short of this mark also.
1Qais Al-Awqati, Anthropology: Showing Some Skin,
2 March 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5816, p. 1223, DOI: 10.1126/science.1138921.
If even a fellow evolutionist comes looking for evidence for
evolutionary myths and cant find it, why should anyone else pay attention? Its not just
the sociology of skin that is Darwins thorn in the flesh. Heat regulation in furry apes is
much different than the sweating response in human skin. Sweat glands are complex structures under
the control of the nervous system. The skin is not just a surface; it has multiple layers with veins, arteries,
glands, nerves, hair muscles, sebaceous glands, pores and specialized receptors for touch,
heat and pain.
Dynamic Solar System Illuminated in Stunning New Images 03/01/2007
Werner Gitt in The Wonder of Man says that one square centimeter of skin
contains 6 million cells, 100 sweat glands, 15 sebaceous glands, 5,000 sensory corpuscles, 200 pain
points, 25 pressure points, 12 cold-sensitive points and 2 heat-sensitive points. Skin sloughs off
dead cells while regenerating new ones in a precise balance. It is an important barrier to disease germs, and a
protection from injury and dehydration. It performs a respiratory function, absorbing some of
the oxygen we use, while letting some carbon dioxide in and out.
Human skin is an incomparable substance.
Burn victims are not given artificial plastics; they are given skin transplants from live humans. How does evolution explain
the fact that a newborn infant arrives into the world with a vernix coating to protect its skin? What evolutionary
process led to the precise timing of a multitude of changes that occur in the right sequence when a
baby is born? These are all matters of life and death; without them, there would be no human race.
These observational facts demand causes equal to them. Creationists have no problem
with the question. Jablonski wrote a whole book on the theme of skin evolution, mentioning the E word on
practically every page. The reviewer was itching for evidence, but only received rash excuses.
Next headline on:
Images both striking and beautiful continue to arrive on Earth from remote corners of the solar system.
Arriving as streams of binary digits with energies mere quadrillionths of a watt, received by giant radio
dishes then amplified and processed, the results are nothing short of amazing. Heres a glimpse
of what turned up this week:
In other space news, Rosetta just passed Mars (see Astronomy
Picture of the Day) on its way to a comet 7 more years from now. The European Space Agencys
Mars Express and Venus Express are still in
operation, and the USAs Messenger
is on the way to Mercury (ESA just approved a Mercury mission, also). JPLs
Mars program is still in high
gear with two rovers and two orbiters hard at work. And Cassini has over a year of its prime mission
left with a probable two- or three-year extended mission maybe even longer, if all continues to function.
In short, lots of great space science still ahead.
- Volcanic fury: Imagine a volcano going off in Texas and covering the entire state with ash.
Thats what happens often on a moon of Jupiter, Io, not much bigger than our moon. The
New Horizons spacecraft is
approaching Jupiter on its express ticket to Pluto. Seven years ago, the
Galileo spacecraft snapped amazing pictures of one of Ios
active volcanoes, Tvashtar Catena (see Planetary
Photojournal), with fire fountains, lava lakes up to 2400 °F, and plumes a mile high.
Not much has changed. New Horizons snapped these images (see BBC
News) of the plume still spouting 150 miles above the surface. The caption states,
The volcano ... is surrounded by a dark patch the size of Texas consisting of the fallout from the eruption.
- Glory rings: The Cassini spacecraft assembled its data bits
into some of the most stunning images of Saturns rings yet seen since its arrival in 2004.
Now riding high over Saturn during its 180 Transfer maneuver, it looked up at the dark side of
the rings, capturing the entire ring system in a mosaic of 36 images. The
exposed for the dark rings makes the planet blindingly bright, so image processors digitally removed Saturn for
this ring composite
of 27 images, taken from a million miles above Saturn at 60° inclination. Browsing the image at
high resolution reveals the clumpy F ring
beyond the bright main rings. Studies have shown the shepherd moons Pandora and Prometheus
stealing material from the rings as they move nearer then farther from the band of orbiting ice.
Saturns rings are turning out to be much more dynamic and complex than previously realized. A
movie of Cassinis
ring plane crossing was posted to add a bit of a thrill ride to visitors. It really gives a sense of
how thin the rings are compared to their breadth.
- Titan dune buggy: The latest radar images from Titan (T25, Feb 22) clarified some previously-known
wonders. Image no. PIA09181
shows some of the icy sand dunes in stark relief. A newly released
slide presentation by
Ralph Lorenz (Johns Hopkins U) explains current thinking about these dunes, what they are made of, and how they form
and move. About 20% of Titans surface is covered in these dunes. They exist
primarily at equatorial latitudes and rise up to 100 meters high.
The presentation shows analogies with Earth sand dunes and says Titans dunes can form in about
1,000 years. Material from methane rain runoff or from particles drifting down from the atmosphere
are most likely candidates for the sand grains. The estimated energy of Titans winds
sets constraints on the size and mass of the particles. One scientist counted 10,000 individual dunes
on Titandont ask her how or why. You might ask her, though, watch a dune?
- Titan great lakes: Investors might want to snatch up the prime lakefront property in Titans
northern latitudes, as seen in this stunning radar
image from the T25 flyby on Feb. 22. The island shown (see this
is estimated to be the size of the big island
of Hawaii. If the dark area is indeed liquid methane or ethane, it appears to be deepest in the upper part
and shallower near the island. Finding possible lakes on Titan was exciting, but the amount falls far
short of pre-Cassini predictions.
- Saturn gallery: For more ooh-ahh pictures of Saturn taken recently by Cassinis cameras, visit the
Imaging Science album.
- Ol Sol has soul: A new twin mission called STEREO is taking awe-inspiring new images
of the sun (see National
Geographic News). The top image needs no drum roll. Images like this can help scientists predict
solar radiation risks for future astronauts on missions to the moon and Mars (see
ICR article on space hazards).
Arent these great days to be alive? Each data bit coming
into the giant dishes of the Deep Space Network is a treasure that scientists in earlier times would
have died for. Lets gather it safely and not let our gold get molded into graven images
Next headline on:
Scientist of the Month
Click on Apollos, the trusty|
|Guide to Evolution
Your site is a fantastic resource. By far, it is the most current, relevant and most frequently
updated site keeping track of science news from a creationist perspective. One by one, articles
challenging currently-held aspects of evolution do not amount to much. But when browsing the archives,
its apparent youve caught bucketfulls of science articles and news items that devastate
evolution. The links and references are wonderful tools for storming the gates of evolutionary paradise
and ripping down their strongholds. The commentary is the icing on the cake. Thanks for all your
hard work, and by all means, keep it up!
(a business student in Kentucky)
Thanks for your awesome work; it stimulates my mind and encourages my faith.
(a family physician in Texas)
I wanted to personally thank you for your outstanding website. I am intensely interested in any
science news having to do with creation, especially regarding astronomy. Thanks again for your GREAT
(an amateur astronomer in San Diego)
What an absolutely brilliant website you have. Its hard to express how uplifting it is for me
to stumble across something of such high quality.
(a pharmacologist in Michigan)
I want to make a brief commendation in passing of the outstanding job you did in rebutting the
thinking on the article: Evolution of Electrical Engineering
... What a rebuttal to end all rebuttals, unanswerable,
inspiring, and so noteworthy that was. Thanks for the effort and research you put into it.
I wish this answer could be posted in every church, synagogue, secondary school, and college/university...,
and needless to say scientific laboratories.
(a reader in Florida)
You provide a great service with your thorough coverage of news stories relating to the creation-evolution controversy.
(an elder of a Christian church in Salt Lake City)
I really enjoy your website and have made it my home page so I can check on your latest articles.
I am amazed at the diversity of topics you address. I tell everyone I can about your site and encourage them to
check it frequently.
(a business owner in Salt Lake City)
Ive been a regular reader of CEH for about nine month now, and I look forward to each new posting.... I enjoy the information CEH gleans from current events in science and hope you keep the service going.
(a mechanical engineer in Utah)
It took six years of constant study of evolution to overcome the indoctrination found in public schools of my youth. I now rely on your site; it helps me to see the work of God where I could not see it before and to find miracles where there was only mystery. Your site is a daily devotional that I go to once a day and recommend to everyone. I am still susceptible to the wiles of fake science and I need the fellowship of your site; such information is rarely found in a church.
Now my eyes see the stars God made and the life He designed and I feel the rumblings of joy as promised. When I feel down or worried my solution is to praise God the Creator Of All That Is, and my concerns drain away while peace and joy fill the void. This is something I could not do when I did not know (know: a clear and accurate perception of truth) God as Creator. I could go on and on about the difference knowing our Creator has made, but I believe you understand.
I tell everyone that gives me an opening about your site. God is working through you. Please dont stop telling us how to see the lies or leading us in celebrating the truth. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
(a renowned artist in Wyoming)
I discovered your site a few months ago and it has become essential reading via RSS to
(a cartographer and GIS analyst in New Zealand)
I love your site, and frequently visit to read both explanations of news reports,
and your humor about Bonny Saint Charlie.
(a nuclear safety engineer in Washington)
Your site is wonderful.
(a senior staff scientist, retired, from Arizona)
Ive told many people about your site. Its a tremendous service to
science news junkies not to mention students of both Christianity and
(a meteorology research scientist in Alabama)
...let me thank you for your Creation-Evolution Headlines. Ive been an avid reader of it since I first discovered your website about five years ago. May I also express my admiration for the speed with which your articles appearoften within 24 hours of a particular news announcement or journal article being published.
(a plant physiologist and prominent creation writer in Australia)
How do you guys do it--reviewing so much relevant material every day and writing incisive,
(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! Ive 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 dont 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 evolutions 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. Its such a refreshing difference
from the usual media spin. Often youll 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 cant 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 dont 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, Ive
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 dont know
enough to respond to their claims. Thanks for your good work and keep it
(a missionary in Japan)
Congratulations on the 6th anniversary! I just thought Id write and
tell you how much I appreciate your headline list and commentary. Its
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
(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! Im 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 dont 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.
Youre 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 cant tell you how much I enjoy your article reviews on your
websiteits 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 laymans 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)
Im 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 dont know. But all things, including the laws of nature, originate from God....
To deny evolution is to deny Gods 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, Ive found that many of them do
not stay current with relative information. I love the almost daily updates to
your headlines section. Ive 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 cant wait for the next update. Thats 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. Ill 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 weve incorporated your
site into our home education for our four teenagers. The Baloney Detector
is part of their Logic and Reasoning Skills course, and the Daily Headlines
and Scientists of the Month features are a big part of our curriculum for an
elective called Science Discovery Past and Present. What a wonderful
goldmine for equipping future leaders and researchers with the tools of
(a home school teacher in California)
What can I say I LOVE YOU!
I READ YOU ALMOST EVERY DAY I copy and send out to various folks.
I love your sense of humor, including your politics and of course your faith.
I appreciate and use your knowledge What can I say THANK YOU
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 thats been going on. Now, Im simply overwhelmed by the sophistication and availability of scientific research and information on what I now know to be the truth about creation.
Your website was one of dozens that I found in my search. Now, there are only a handful of sites I check every day. Yours is at the top of my list... I find your news page to be the most insightful and well-written of the creation news blogs out there. The quick wit, baloney detector, in-depth scientific knowledge you bring to the table and the superb writing style on your site has kept me interested in the day-to-day happenings of what is clearly a growing movement. Your site ... has given me a place to point them toward to find out more and realize that theyve been missing a huge volume of information when it comes to the creation-evolution issue.
Another thing I really like about this site is the links to articles in science journals and news references. That helps me get a better picture of what youre talking about.... Keep it up and I promise to send as many people as will listen to this website and others.
(an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in New Mexico)
Im a small town newspaper editor in southwest Wyoming. Were pretty
isolated, and finding your site was a great as finding a gold mine. I read
it daily, and if theres nothing new, I re-read everything. I follow links.
I read the Scientist of the Month. Its the best site Ive run across. Our
local school board is all Darwinist and determined to remain that way.
(a newspaper editor in Wyoming)
Congratulations on your 5th anniversary. I have been reading your page for about 2 years or so....
I read it every day. I ...am well educated, with a BA in Applied Physics
from Harvard and an MBA in Finance from Wharton.
(a reader in Delaware)
I came across your website by accident about 4 months ago and look at it every day....
About 8 months ago I was reading a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times that was written
by a staunch anti-Creationist and it sparked my interest enough to research the
topic and within a week I was yelling, my whole lifes education has been a lie!!!
Ive put more study into Biblical Creation in the last 8 months than any other topic in my life.
Past that, through resources like your website...Ive been able to convince my father (professional mathematician and amateur geologist), my best friend (mechanical engineer and fellow USAF Academy Grad/Creation Science nutcase), my pastor (he was the hardest to crack), and many others to realize the Truth of Creation.... Resources like your website help the rest of us at the grassroots level drum up interest in the subject. And regardless of what the major media says: Creationism is spreading like wildfire, so please keep your website going to help fan the flames.
(an Air Force Academy graduate and officer)
I love your site! I **really** enjoy reading it for several specific reasons: 1.It uses the latest (as in this month!) research as a launch pad for opinion; for years I have searched for this from a creation science viewpoint, and now, Ive found it. 2. You have balanced fun with this topic. This is hugely valuable! Smug Christianity is ugly, and I dont perceive that attitude in your comments. 3. I enjoy the expansive breadth of scientific news that you cover. 4. I am not a trained scientist but I know evolutionary bologna/(boloney) when I see it; you help me to see it. I really appreciate this.
(a computer technology salesman in Virginia)
I love your site. Thats why I was more than happy to
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
(a project manager in New Jersey)
Ive 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 youre 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.
Its incredible I dont know how you do it.
I cant believe all the articles you find. God bless you!
(a radio producer in Riverside, CA)
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 Darwins 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
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 cant stop reading it....
I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story. If the evolutionists
blindness wasnt so sad, I would laugh harder.
I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering from a leading University. When I read the descriptions, see the pictures, and watch the movies of the inner workings of the cell, Im absolutely amazed.... Thanks for bringing these amazing stories daily. Keep up the good work.
(an engineer in Virginia)
I stumbled across your site several months ago and have
been reading it practically daily. I enjoy the inter-links
to previous material as well as the links to the quoted
research. Ive 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 dont you allow people to have a faith that is grounded in a fuller understanding of the world?...
Your website is a sham.
(a co-author of the paper reviewed in the 12/03/2003
entry who did not appreciate the unflattering commentary. This led to a cordial
interchange, but he could not divorce his reasoning from the science vs. faith dichotomy,
and resulted in an impasse over definitions but, at least, a more mutually respectful dialogue.
He never did explain how his paper supported Darwinian macroevolution. He just claimed
evolution is a fact.)
I absolutely love creation-evolution news. As a Finnish university student very
interested in science, I frequent your site to find out about all the new science
stuff thats been happening you have such a knack for finding all this
information! I have been able to stump evolutionists with knowledge gleaned from
your site many times.
(a student in Finland)
I love your site and read it almost every day. I use it for my science class and
5th grade Sunday School class. I also challenge Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to
get on the site to check out articles against the baloney they are taught in school.
(a teacher in Los Gatos, CA)
I have spent quite a few hours at Creation Evolution Headlines in the past week
or so going over every article in the archives. I thank you for such an informative
and enjoyable site. I will be visiting often and will share this link with others.
[Later] I am back to May 2004 in the archives. I figured I should be farther
back, but there is a ton of information to digest.
(a computer game designer in Colorado)
The IDEA Center also highly recommends visiting Creation-Evolution Headlines...
the most expansive and clearly written origins news website on the internet!
(endorsement on Intelligent Design and Evolution
Check out this site: www.creationsafaris.com.
This is a fantastic resource for the whole family.... a fantastic reference library with summaries,
commentaries and great links that are added to
dailyarchives go back five years.
(a reader who found us in Georgia)
I just wanted to drop you a note telling you that at www.BornAgainRadio.com,
Ive added a link to your excellent Creation-Evolution news site.
(a radio announcer)
I cannot understand
why anyone would invest so much time and effort to a website of sophistry and casuistry.
Why twist Christian apology into an illogic pretzel to placate your intellect?
Isnt it easier to admit that your faith has no basis -- hence, faith.
It would be extricate [sic] yourself from intellectual dishonesty -- and
from bearing false witness.
Sincerely, Rev. [name withheld] (an ex-Catholic, apostate Christian Natural/Scientific pantheist)
Just wanted to let you folks know that we are consistent readers and truly appreciate
the job you are doing. God bless you all this coming New Year.
(from two prominent creation researchers/writers in Oregon)
Thanks so much for your site! It is brain candy!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I Love your site probably a little too much. I enjoy the commentary
and the links to the original articles.
(a civil engineer in New York)
Ive had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for
18 months now, and I can truthfully say that its one of the best on the Internet,
and I check in several times a week. The constant stream of new information on
such a variety of science issues should impress anyone, but the rigorous and
humourous way that every thought is taken captive is inspiring. Im pleased
that some Christians, and indeed, some webmasters, are devoting themselves to
producing real content that leaves the reader in a better state than when they found him.
(a community safety manager in England)
I really appreciate the effort that you are making to provide the public with
information about the problems with the General Theory of Evolution. It gives me
ammunition when I discuss evolution in my classroom. I am tired of the evolutionary
dogma. I wish that more people would stand up against such ridiculous beliefs.
(a science teacher in Alabama)
If you choose to hold an opinion that flies in the face of every piece of evidence
collected so far, you cannot be suprised [sic] when people dismiss your views.
(a former Christian software distributor, location not disclosed)
...the Creation Headlines is the best. Visiting your site...
is a standard part of my startup procedures every morning.
(a retired Air Force Chaplain)
I LOVE your site and respect the time and work you put into it. I read
the latest just about EVERY night before bed and send selection[s] out to others and
tell others about it. I thank you very much and keep up the good work (and
(a USF grad in biology)
Answering your invitation for thoughts on your site is not difficult because
of the excellent commentary I find. Because of the breadth and depth of erudition
apparent in the commentaries, I hope Im not being presumptuous in suspecting
the existence of contributions from a Truth Underground comprised of
dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers. If thats
not the case, then it is surely a potential only waiting to be realized. Regardless,
I remain in awe of the care taken in decomposing the evolutionary cant that bombards
us from the specialist as well as popular press.
(a mathematician/physicist in Arizona)
Im from Quebec, Canada. I have studied in pure sciences and after in actuarial mathematics.
Im visiting this site 3-4 times in a week. Im learning a lot and this site gives me the opportunity to realize that this is a good time to be a creationist!
(a French Canadian reader)
I LOVE your Creation Safari site, and the Baloney Detector material.
(a reader in the Air Force)
You have a unique position in the Origins community.
Congratulations on the best current affairs news source on the origins net.
You may be able to write fast but your logic is fun to work through.
(a pediatrician in California)
Visit your site almost daily and find it very informative, educational and inspiring.
(a reader in western Canada)
I wish to thank you for the information you extend every day on your site.
It is truly a blessing!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I really appreciate your efforts in posting to this website. I find
it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science
news daily) and also to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant from Brisbane, Australia)
I would just like to say very good job with the work done here,
very comprehensive. I check your site every day. Its great
to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the
pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the prestigious
(a biology student in Illinois)
Ive been checking in for a long time but thought Id leave you a
note, this time. Your writing on these complex topics is insightful,
informative with just the right amount of humor. I appreciate the hard
work that goes into monitoring the research from so many sources and then
writing intelligently about them.
(an investment banker in California)
Keep up the great work. You are giving a whole army of Christians
plenty of ammunition to come out of the closet (everyone else has).
Most of us are not scientists, but most of the people we talk to are not
scientists either, just ordinary people who have been fed baloney
for years and years.
(a reader in Arizona)
Keep up the outstanding work!
You guys really ARE making a difference!
(a reader in Texas)
I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that science is not
hostile towards religion. It is the dogmatically religious that are
unwaveringly hostile towards any kind of science which threatens their
dearly-held precepts. Science (real, open-minded science) is not
interested in theological navel-gazing.
Note: Please supply your name and location when writing in. Anonymous attacks
only make one look foolish and cowardly, and will not normally be printed.
This one was shown to display a bad example.
I appreciate reading your site every day. It is a great way to keep
up on not just the new research being done, but to also keep abreast of the
evolving debate about evolution (Pun intended).... I find it an incredibly useful
way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also
to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant in Brisbane, Australia)
I love your website.
(a student at a state university who used CEH when
writing for the campus newsletter)
....when you claim great uncertainty for issues that are fairly
well resolved you damage your already questionable credibility.
Im sure your audience loves your ranting, but if you know as much
about biochemistry, geology, astronomy, and the other fields you
skewer, as you do about ornithology, you are spreading heat, not
(a professor of ornithology at a state university, responding to
the 09/10/2002 headline)
I wanted to let you know I appreciate your headline news style of
exposing the follies of evolutionism.... Your style gives us constant,
up-to-date reminders that over and over again, the Bible creation account
is vindicated and the evolutionary fables are refuted.
(a reader, location unknown)
You have a knack of extracting the gist of a technical paper,
and digesting it into understandable terms.
(a nuclear physicist from Lawrence Livermore Labs who worked
on the Manhattan Project)
After spending MORE time than I really had available going thru
your MANY references I want to let you know how much I appreciate
the effort you have put forth.
The information is properly documented, and coming from
recognized scientific sources is doubly valuable. Your
explanatory comments and sidebar quotations also add GREATLY
to your overall effectiveness as they 1) provide an immediate
interpretive starting point and 2) maintaining the readers
(a reader in Michigan)
I am a huge fan of the site, and check daily for updates.
(reader location and occupation unknown)
I just wanted to take a minute to personally thank-you and let
you know that you guys are providing an invaluable service!
We check your Web site weekly (if not daily) to make sure we have
the latest information in the creation/evolution controversy.
Please know that your diligence and perseverance to teach the
Truth have not gone unnoticed. Keep up the great work!
(a PhD scientist involved in origins research)
You've got a very useful and informative Web site going.
The many readers who visit your site regularly realize that it
requires considerable effort to maintain the quality level and
to keep the reviews current.... I hope you can continue your
excellent Web pages. I have recommended them highly to others.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
As an apprentice apologist, I can always find an article
that will spark a spirited debate. Keep em
coming! The Truth will prevail.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
Thanks for your web page and work. I try to drop by
at least once a week and read what you have. Im a
Christian that is interested in science (Im a mechanical
engineer) and I find you topics interesting and helpful.
I enjoy your lessons and insights on Baloney Detection.
(a year later):
I read your site 2 to 3 times a week; which Ive probably done for a couple
of years. I enjoy it for the interesting content, the logical arguments, what I can
learn about biology/science, and your pointed commentary.
(a production designer in Kentucky)
I look up CREV headlines every day. It is a wonderful
source of information and encouragement to me.... Your gift of
discerning the fallacies in evolutionists interpretation of
scientific evidence is very helpful and educational for me.
Please keep it up. Your website is the best I know of.
(a Presbyterian minister in New South Wales, Australia)
Ive written to you before, but just wanted to say again
how much I appreciate your site and all the work you put into it.
I check it almost every day and often share the contents
(and web address) with lists on which I participate.
I dont know how you do all that you do, but I am grateful
for your energy and knowledge.
(a prominent creationist author)
I am new to your site, but I love it! Thanks for updating
it with such cool information.
(a home schooler)
I love your site.... Visit every day hoping for another of your
brilliant demolitions of the foolish just-so stories of those
who think themselves wise.
(a reader from Southern California)
I visit your site daily for the latest news from science journals and other media,
and enjoy your commentary immensely. I consider your web site to be the
most valuable, timely and relevant creation-oriented site on the internet.
(a reader from Ontario, Canada)
Keep up the good work! I thoroughly enjoy your site.
(a reader in Texas)
Thanks for keeping this fantastic web site going. It is very
informative and up-to-date with current news including incisive
(a reader in North Carolina)
Great site! For all the Baloney Detector is impressive and a
great tool in debunking wishful thinking theories.
(a reader in the Netherlands)
Just wanted to let you know, your work is having quite an impact.
For example, major postings on your site are being circulated among the
Intelligent Design members....
(a PhD organic chemist)
opening a can of worms ... I love to click all the related links and
read your comments and the links to other websites, but this usually makes me late
for something else. But its ALWAYS well worth it!!
(a leader of a creation group)
I am a regular visitor to your website ... I am impressed
by the range of scientific disciplines your articles address.
I appreciate your insightful dissection of the often unwarranted conclusions
evolutionists infer from the data... Being a medical
doctor, I particularly relish the technical detail you frequently include in
the discussion living systems and processes. Your website continually
reinforces my conviction that if an unbiased observer seeks a reason for the
existence of life then Intelligent Design will be the unavoidable
(a medical doctor)
A church member asked me what I thought was the best creation web site.
I told him CreationSafaris.com.
(a PhD geologist)
I love your site... I check it every day for interesting
information. It was hard at first to believe in Genesis fully, but
now I feel more confident about the mistakes of humankind and that all
their reasoning amounts to nothing in light of a living God.
(a college grad)
Thank you so much for the interesting science links and comments
on your creation evolution headlines page ... it is very
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)
visit your site almost every day, and really enjoy it. Great job!!!
(I also recommend it to many, many students.)
(an educational consultant)
I like what I seevery
much. I really appreciate a decent, calm and scholarly approach to the
whole issue... Thanks ... for this fabulous
It is refreshing to read your comments. You have a knack to get to the heart of
(a reader in the Air Force).
Love your website. It has well thought out structure and will help many
through these complex issues. I especially love the
I believe this is one of the best sites on the Internet.
I really like your side-bar of truisms.
Yogi [Berra] is absolutely correct. If I were a man of wealth, I would
support you financially.
(a registered nurse in Alabama, who found
us on TruthCast.com.)
WOW. Unbelievable.... My question is, do you sleep? ... Im utterly
impressed by your page which represents untold amounts of time and energy
as well as your faith.
(a mountain man in Alaska).
wanted to say that I recently ran across your web site featuring science
headlines and your commentary and find it to be A++++, superb, a 10, a homerun
I run out of superlatives to describe it! ... You can be sure I will
visit your site often daily when possible to gain the latest information
to use in my speaking engagements. Ill also do my part to help publicize
your site among college students. Keep up the good work. Your
material is appreciated and used.
(a college campus minister)
Featured Creation Scientist for March
Dr. Irwin Moon
1907 - 1986
This month we want to remember a science popularizer who had an enormous impact through
film. Dr. Irwin Moon, founder of Sermons from Science and Moody Institute of Science (1945-1996),
produced a string of movies that were extremely popular in churches during the 1950s through
1990s. They are still available from
Though styles have changed over the years, the series of about 18 films are still well worth watching.
In these films, beginning with God of Creation (1945) through
The Ultimate Adventure (1971) and beyond, Dr. Irwin Moon used science to illustrate Biblical
truths. His live demonstrations of scientific
principles dazzled audiences. Subjects included everything from optical illusions, time and
relativity, time-lapse photography of flowers blooming, fish sounds, atomic bombs, honeybees,
Venus flytraps, blood vessels and almost everything else
under the sun in chemistry, biology and physics.
At one moment he could be frying an egg on a cold piece of wood. Another
he could be shattering a glass with sound. And another he could be demonstrating how time speeds
up or slows down at relativistic speeds, showing how a rattlesnake sees heat, or taking
the viewer inside a beating heart.
Sometimes Dr. Moon put his own life at risk with dont try this at home demonstrations.
In Signposts Aloft he flew to
a long-lost aircraft in the Sahara from World War II. In Windows of the Soul he trained his own
eyes to see with upside-down lenses, even riding a motorcycle and flying an airplane with the inverted vision
his brain had learned to correct. And in Facts of Faith, he wowed viewers by sending a million
volts through his own body, with lightning bolts emerging from his fingertips.
Expressions of the beauty of creation and the wisdom of God were never far from
his lips. A former pastor and Bible teacher, Dr. Moon knew more about science than many
scientists. Secular versions of the films were popular for years in high schools and
colleges. Sermons from Science auditoriums were well attended at several
A brief history of Sermons from Science and Dr. Moons colorful life story
is featured at the
Wonders of Science website.
Dr. Moons unique method of ministry often struck a chord with military men, college science
majors, and other groups that might not be prone to seek out a church.
Fortunately, Dr. Moons vision of using science for Gods glory is carried forward in
two avenues today. For decades now, Dean Ortner has continued the ministry of stage demonstrations
(currently named Wonders of Science)
to illustrate the connection between science and spirit.
Earning the nickname The Million Volt Man,
Dean has climaxed hundreds of live demonstrations with the dangerous stunt of sending electrical energy
powerful enough to ignite lumber through his whole body. On stage he sends messages through a
beam of light, freezes his shadow, and does many other amazing stunts each performance wrapped
around the gospel.
The film ministry, too, is stronger than
ever, in its rebirth as Illustra Media. After Moody Institute
of Science folded in 1996, the production crew reorganized first as Discovery Media Productions,
issuing a steady stream of dazzling creation films on astronomy, biology, zoology and physiology
(a good sampling was combined into the trio The Wonders of Gods Creation); another
jewel is the duo Journeys to the Edge of Creation.
Over the last few years, Illustra Media has surpassed the outreach of Dr. Irwins early films with state-of-the-art
productions of high quality and exciting content. These films have been translated into over
20 languages and are currently having a major impact around the world. Especially exciting are reports
from former Soviet bloc countries that large crowds, hungry for meaning after decades of atheist
propaganda, are gathering to watch these films and responding in large numbers. The latest
release, The Case for a Creator will be followed by more this year and next.
Dr. Moons story is an inspiring example of the power of one mans vision
to use creative means, geared to the times, to reach millions of people with the unchanging message
of the gospel.
It prompts us to end this story with an old but clever challenge, What on earth are you doing, for
If you are enjoying this series, you can
learn more about great Christians in science by reading
our online book-in-progress:
The Worlds Greatest
Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K.
A Concise Guide|
You can observe a lot by just watching.
First Law of Scientific Progress
The advance of science can be measured by the rate at which exceptions to previously held laws accumulate.
1. Exceptions always outnumber rules.
2. There are always exceptions to established exceptions.
3. By the time one masters the exceptions, no one recalls the rules to which they apply.
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
So will Darwinists.
Science is true. Dont be misled by facts.
Finagles 2nd Law
No matter what the anticipated result, there
will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c)
believe it happened according to his own pet theory.
3. Draw your curves, then plot your data.
4. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
6. Do not believe in miracles rely on them.
Murphys Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiments may be considered a success if no more than 50%
of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence
with the theory.
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon
is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.
Peters Law of Evolution
Competence always contains the seed of incompetence.
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
Repetition does not establish validity.
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts not the facts themselves.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
Thumbs Second Postulate
An easily-understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible truth.
There is nothing so small that it cant be blown out of proportion
Hawkins Theory of Progress
Progress does not consist in replacing a theory that is
wrong with one that is right. It consists in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is
more subtly wrong.
The best theory is not ipso facto a good theory.
Error is often more earnest than truth.
Advice from Paul|
Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle
babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge by
professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
I Timothy 6:20-21
Song of the True Scientist
O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made
them all. The earth is full of Your possessions . . . . May the glory of the Lord endure forever. May the
Lord rejoice in His works . . . . I will sing to the Lord s long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my
being. May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord. May sinners be
consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
from Psalm 104
Through the creatures Thou hast made
Show the brightness of Thy glory.
Be eternal truth displayed
In their substance transitory.
Till green earth and ocean hoary,
Massy rock and tender blade,
Tell the same unending story:
We are truth in form arrayed.
Teach me thus Thy works to read,
That my faith, new strength accruing
May from world to world proceed,
Wisdoms fruitful search pursuing
Till, thy truth my mind imbuing,
I proclaim the eternal Creed
Oft the glorious theme renewing,
God our Lord is God indeed.
James Clerk Maxwell
One of the greatest physicists
of all time (a creationist).
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