Creation-Evolution Headlines
October 2007
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“May God grant me to speak with judgment, and to have thoughts worthy of what I have received... For it is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements;... the cycles of the year and the constellations of the stars, the natures of animals and the tempers of wild animals, the powers of spirits and the thoughts of human beings, the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots; I learned both what is secret and what is manifest, for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.”

— The apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon 7:15-22 (c. 100-50 BC), indicating Jewish application of belief in creation to the pursuit of natural knowledge.
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Month-End Close-Out   10/31/2007    
Sometimes the creation-evolution news comes in too fast.  Here’s a baker’s dozen from the October shelf, lest they go stale; time to start a new batch for November.

  1. Charity begins at worldview:  David Cyranoski in Nature (450, 24-25, 10/31/2007) investigated why the level of charitable giving in prosperous Japan is a tenth of that in America.  It’s not just due to economic realities, regulatory policies and taxes.  The behavior is consistent from rich to poor, from corporate to private.  The most intractable problem, he wrote, was “a culture in which individuals, rich or not, do not generally donate.”  Cyranoski interviewed a patient advocate and a scientist who are trying to change the culture.  “People think the government is going to do everything for them,” explained a leader of a philanthropic organization in Tokyo.  The author did not delve into possible religious reasons for the disparity between Japanese and American attitudes about charitable giving – Japan is less than 1% Christian, while America is nominally 75% or more – but did refer to societal belief in the collective rather than the individual.  Is this a problem science can fix?
  2. Dino adventure:  Alison Abbott in Nature (450, 18-20, 10/31/2007) wrote up an adventure story about attempts to excavate dinosaur bones along the Colville River, Alaska.  The ill-fated expedition was full of troubles, woes, infighting and only partial success, but spoke of this “whole trove of dinosaur fossils – mostly fragmented skulls and bones belonging to hadrosaurs” as quite remarkable, a “home to diverse species of polar dinosaurs.”  Unfossilized bone has reputedly been found in this 200 km bone bed, which displays evidence of a watery catastrophe, says creationist writer Margaret Helder.  Remember the tracks found at the south pole?  (See article on EurekAlert and the 10/18/2007 entry).
  3. No room for error:  Biophysicists constructed their own protein loops, reported a team from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and found them to be delicate.  Tiny changes in the amino acid order produced large changes in the loops.  Writing in PNAS, they said, “These results suggest that the high-resolution design of protein loops is possible; however, they also highlight how small changes in protein energetics can dramatically perturb the low free energy structure of a protein.”
  4. How the sherpas do it:  Tibetans live at high altitude and carry heavy loads with ease in conditions that would quickly exhaust most flatlanders (see 06/17/2005).  How do they do it?  A mostly-American team found that they have more nitric oxide (NO) in their bloodstream, which increases blood flow.  “This suggests that NO production is increased and that metabolic pathways controlling formation of NO products are regulated differently among Tibetans,” they found.  “These findings shift attention from the traditional focus on pulmonary and hematological systems to vascular factors contributing to adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia,” they concluded.  This seems to suggest that a simple change in a regulatory factor, rather than substantive physiological changes, allowed these people to adapt to their unique environment.
  5. Spanish tiger tusks:  Large mammal bones in abundance have been found in a “vast fossil hoard” near Granada, Spain, reported the BBC News.  “Giant hyenas, sabretoothed cats, giraffes and zebras lived side by side in Europe 1.8 million years ago.”  About 4,000 fossils have been found so far.  They say this place, near a crossroads of ecological zones, was a hyena den, where hyenas feasted and left the bones.  Must have been some hyenas to feast on mammoths and sabretooth cats.
  6. Lava vs meteor:  Chixculub didn’t do in the dinosaurs, Gerta Keller is still arguing.  Despite the nearly weekly matter-of-fact statements about the meteor that made the dinosaurs go extinct, a press release from the Geological Society of America discussed Keller’s view that supervolcanism in India was responsible.  Not only was the impact event too early, it produced one tenth of the deadly gases that came from India’s Deccan traps, she calculated.
  7. Dino tracks in China:  Parallel trackways of “raptor” dinosaurs have been found in China, reported Science Daily, suggesting that this species did hunt, or at least hike, in groups.
  8. Reptile tracks in CanadaNews@Nature reported a discovery of reptile tracks from Canada claimed to be 315 million years old – “1 million and 3 million years older than the previous find” (and a kilometer lower in the rock strata).
  9. Western scienceScience magazine (11/02/2007, Vol. 318. no. 5851, p. 733) gave a portrait of Xu Guangqi, the Renaissance man of China (b. 1562).  He brought science and geometry to the East.  Where did he get it?  From the West.  He learned it from Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, and spread its influence across the land.  Xu Guangqi brought calendar reform, improvements to irrigation, and Euclid’s Elements to China, along with other Western ideas.  “For his achievements, he has been compared to Leonardo da Vinci and Francis Bacon” (provided he reference his sources).
  10. Eastern stem cells:  China and Australia are collaborating on stem cell research – with adult stem cells, that is: see ScienceScope Oct. 26 in Science.  The $1 million Australia-China Centre for Excellence in Stem Cells will be “using adult mesenchymal stem cells to treat cancer and diseases of the lung and liver,” then combining the research with immunology to “push the field forward,” the paragraph said.
  11. Make like a lemur:  We’re all related to flying lemurs, reported National Geographic based on a phylogenetic study in Science (11/02/2007, Vol. 318. no. 5851, pp. 792-794).  Look before you leap.
  12. Ringmoons:  More small embedded moonlets have been found in Saturn’s A ring, reported Science Daily.  They seem confined to a narrow belt.  Scientists think they are relatively recent, not related to the initial origin of the rings.  Even so, explaining the apparently youthful age of the entire ring system remains a challenge.
  13. Convergent design:  Elaborate tri-cusped molars evolved separately more than once, if a story in National Geographic is credible.  A new species of Jurassic mammal found fossilized in China had the same molars, “very advanced in terms of its tooth structure,” that unrelated mammals also had.““since Pseudotribos robustus belongs to a different and long-lost lineage, it must have evolved the cut-and-grind tooth independently,” the article said matter-of-factly.  “This is an example of a process known as convergent evolution.”  The National Geographic Society partially funded the research that was published in Nature (11/01/2007, 450, 93-97).
Encore:  A letter in last week’s Science by two molecular biologists recommended that we should be “borrowing from biology.”  They were particularly struck by the efficient way plants extract all the energy from sunlight in their photosynthetic reaction centers.  “Perhaps we should study biology more often and more directly for solutions to our pressing ‘modern’ problems.
These are just a few examples of the dozens of articles that pass before our editorial eyes in an attempt to inform our readers of noteworthy discoveries relating to origins.  Your letters keep this service going.  Write here if you have a comment.
Next headline on:  FossilsPolitics and EthicsMammalsDinosaursCell BiologyHuman BodySolar System
When Bad Religion Confronts Good Science, and Vice Versa   10/31/2007    
A spooky Halloween thought: there are still witch doctors in the world today.  If they were harmless spooks, they could be dismissed as kooks, but they can have a devastating impact on the ecology as well as the souls of men.  National Geographic had a disturbing story this month about the witch doctors of Uganda, who are driving the beautiful gray-crowned cranes of the country extinct, because of superstitious beliefs.
    These birds with golden headdresses, also known as crested cranes, are among the most beautiful in Africa.  They are popular and beloved icons for most people in the region.
In the past decade, though, the crane population in Uganda has fallen from 50,000 to 20,000, primarily due to witch doctors—also known as traditional healers—who use the animals in folk medicine and poachers who take the birds from their natural habitat....
    The healers crush the eggs with herbs to sell as a “love potion.”  Feathers, claws, and beaks of the cranes are also used in drinks and as decorations for promoting monogamy and affection.
    The crane is also perceived as a good omen that can cast away evil spirits from children.
Because the cranes mate for life, village people think that by consuming the birds’ eggs and feathers, they too will have better relationships.  A team of researchers found 40 dead cranes in the shrines of witch doctors.  Because the birds are treated cruelly in capture and transport, poachers often have to catch 4 or 5 for every one that actually makes it to the black market.
    For a study in contrasts, when the good-guy/bad-guy roles are reversed, consider what is happening in schools and universities across America.  The website for the upcoming movie Expelled (see 08/22/2007 and 10/25/2007) is holding a contest for true stories from students, professors and scientists who have been ostracized, fired, denied tenure, or otherwise expelled simply for doubting the reigning paradigm of Darwinian evolution.  In just a few days, the site at Expelled has collected 16 stories.  These include teachers and senior research scientists with impressive academic research records.  The movie itself will detail many of the notable cases.  It is expected that many will refrain from telling their stories, though, for fear of retribution.
If you are appalled at both cases, good.  You have not bought into the white science vs. black religion dichotomy, which has been roundly debunked by most historians of science, such as Lawrence M. Principe (Johns Hopkins; see Teaching Company lecture series).  It means you are wise to the either-or fallacy.  It also means that you assume Judeo-Christian morality as a precondition of judging right from wrong.
    Clearly there is plenty of good and bad in both science and religion.  If we can judge between good and bad science, as does James Randi, the skeptics societies and the Ig Nobel Prize judges, we should also be able to judge good and bad religion.  If it is wrong to judge science based on bad examples, it is wrong to judge all religion because of witch doctors who drive beautiful birds extinct based on foolish superstitions.  A little more reflection will reveal that science and religion are not watertight compartments but have many aspects that overlap and reinforce one another.
    If you are an evolutionist, or an atheist, on what basis could you claim that what the witch doctors are doing is bad?  According to Darwinism, primitive peoples and their religious sensations evolved, as did their prey, the cranes.  If the cranes are wiped out by the humans, too bad.  The humans are obviously the fittest.  Evolutionists should actually praise the selfishness of the native people who are trying to improve their reproductive fitness, because selfishness is the ultimate good in Darwinland.  Darwinists believe that even altruism is a byproduct of selfishness.  Decrying the birds’ fate only makes sense if humans have souls, who have an innate sense of true moral categories that should make us care about such things.
    On a scatter plot of case studies in science and religion, we should expect to find clusters of good religion and good science, bad religion and bad science, good religion and bad science, and good science and bad religion.  We can make these judgments only if we presuppose a righteous Creator.  Because Christians and Jews believe in a holy, personal God who called all things He made good, and created man in His image, they alone have a foundation for making sound moral judgments based on God’s holy standard.
    So, Darwin Dogmatists, ease up on your fellow academics who disagree with the reigning paradigm, and hear them out.  Stop judging them until you can define and defend your moral categories, and consistently judge your own actions and beliefs accordingly (including the integrity of science).  This means you will have to acknowledge Judeo-Christian moral standards at the outset.  If not, please explain where your moral categories come from, and why anyone else should feel the way you do.
    Then, let the good scientists and good Jews and Christians join the fight to save the endangered creatures God has put under our stewardship.  Suggested method: win the Ugandans to Christianity, so that they have a basis for sound moral judgment and appreciation for creation.  Then educate them in science and ecology so they will know how best to care for their fellow created things.  Educate them in logic and Bible doctrine so that they will not fall for superstitious myths (II Timothy 2:23-25, Ephesians 4:14-15).  This will heal a fallen society from within so that the population will have an internal motivation to do good, without the need for police and government regulations.
    Halloween is also Reformation Day.  The Protestant Reformation was not just a theological quibble over doctrine.  It was a call to freedom of conscience for each individual to respond to his or her Creator in faith, love and reason – to have personal access to the Word of God in their own language.  Many historians have attributed the rise of science, political liberty, the end of tyranny and slavery, and a plethora of new social institutions based on personal responsibility to that fateful day on October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther, in a one-man crusade of righteous indignation at a moral evil he witnessed (his people enslaved by a foolish superstition), nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenburg.
    The story is complex, and Luther was far from a perfect man; he also was indebted to brave predecessors such as Jon Hus and John Wycliffe.  Luther’s crusade bore good fruit because he studied God’s word intently, using his God-given reason, instead of acquiescing to the doctrines of mere men, and had the courage and opportunity to open this door of freedom to others.  One of his passions was to get the Word of God into the common language so that individuals could study it for themselves.  Western civilization has benefited immensely since.  (For a summary of the benefits, see this Reformation Society article).  The ending of the movie Martin Luther says, “Luther’s influence extended into economics, politics, education and music, and his translation of the Bible became a foundation stone of the German language.  Today over 540 million people worship in churches inspired by his Reformation.”
    Is this not morally superior to the Halloween haunts of witch doctors who enslave poor people in dark superstitions?  Let’s give the captive people of tribal villages the same opportunity.  Jesus Christ can turn the heart of darkness to everlasting light (I John 1).  When that light illuminates both science and religion, the fusion of good religion and good science is a recipe for whooping cranes and joyful people.
Exercise:  List leaders in various fields who were products of the Reformation, along with the benefits they brought to humanity.  Examples: J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel (music), William Wilberforce (human rights), Johannes Kepler (astronomy), John Milton (literature), Adam Smith (free market economics), John Adams (political liberty).  Suggested reference: How Christianity Changed the World by Alvin J. Schmidt.

Next headline on:  DarwinismIntelligent DesignPolitics and EthicsTheology
  World War II fighter entombed under 250 feet of ice in — how many years did you say?  See 10/28/2002.

Amphioxus Is Green, Like Coral   10/30/2007    
Evolutionists may want to combine their song “It’s a long way from Amphioxus” (02/23/2006) with “It isn’t easy being green.”  Green fluorescent protein (GFP) has been found in the lungfish Amphioxus, according to a press release from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  Why is this not easy?  Because it’s a long way: “The researchers say amphioxus’ GFPs are very similar to those of corals, an interesting fact since the two animal groups are separated by hundreds of millions of years of evolution.”  Now they are trying to find a function for GFP in the slender, slippery lancelets that allowed them to hold onto an ancient evolutionary innovation for so long.

If you are laughing out loud, good.  It shows you are not completely hypnotized by evolutionary mists and vapors.  How did you like that euphemism they tossed out, as if we weren’t paying attention?  “Interesting fact,” they called it.  Try “devastating falsification.”
    GFP may well have a function in lancelets, but that has nothing to do with helping Charlie weave his fable that they got it from corals.  Finding GFP in lancelets is like finding human genes in a shark – it’s not at all what Charlie would have expected.  Wait a minute – they found that, too (12/26/2006).
Next headline on:  Marine LifeEvolution
  Fitness for dummies, from 10/29/2002.  Is it running in circles?

Crystal Power Is Not Evolution   10/30/2007    
What would Max Planck think?  The Institute named after him put out a press release, “Evolution in the Nanoworld,” that claims that synthetic molecules can organize themselves by an evolutionary principle of selection:

The automatic molecular assembly and selection steps exhibited by the molecules, which start as random mixtures, demonstrates a fundamental step in the evolution of life.  The organization is activated by instructions which are built-in to the molecules.  During assembly, molecules exhibit active selection: those in incorrect positions move to make room for others which fit properly.  The molecular-level observation of such self-selection gives, for the first time, direct insight into fundamental steps of the biological evolution from inanimate molecules to living entities.
Dr. Klaus Kern added, “The ability of molecules to selectively sort themselves in highly organized structures is a fundamental requirement for all molecular based systems, including biological organisms.”  Yet it becomes clear from reading the details that the researchers at the Max Planck Institute had pre-programmed the molecules to assemble into the patterns:
Dr. Mario Ruben’s research team at KIT [Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, a partner in the research] is responsible for designing molecules with built-in instructions, which when read out activate the self-selection process.  He comments: “Spontaneous ordering from random mixtures only occurs when built-in instructions are carefully designed and sufficiently strong to initiate successful self-selection.
So this was a form of determinism, like crystallization, not natural selection.  Also, the resulting structures lacked any significant coded information content as in the genetic code.  Genetic instructions are different from molecular “built-in instructions,” because they can be translated and conveyed in ways that do not depend on the particular molecules used.
    Any analogy to living organization was further stretched by the fact that they used highly specialized conditions unlike anything in a plausible prebiotic scenario: “The molecules are placed on ultra-clean metal surfaces and heated gently to enable motion, sorting, and organization,” the press release said.  Furthermore, the molecules, once locked in place, were incapable of further evolution.
Note: The following commentary should not be perceived as anti-research.  On the contrary: we want a return to rational science that follows the evidence and avoids making preposterous metaphysical claims.  The press release contained an escape clause: “The resulting nanostructures also hold great promise as an efficient avenue to new catalysts, nanotechnologies, and surface applications.”  Great!  Focus on those goals, without the evolutionary nonsense, and you can get positive vibes here.  The evolution-talk has absolutely nothing to do with the nanotechnology.  Like a parasite, it only hangs on and saps the energy.
    OK, what is wrong here?  Making a connection from this research to the origin of life is so far-fetched, it is patently absurd.  ID people and creationists have been pointing out for decades the difference between the biological genetic code and crystallization, but no creationist should be required – the fallacy should be obvious to any thinking person, especially a scientist.  A grade-school child could understand the difference between a snowflake and a book.
    Notice that these researchers are esteemed men at Germany’s highest ranking research institute.  We’re not talking about intellectual slouches here.  This is the degree of absurdity you get in scientific reasoning and explanation when science becomes so entrenched in a materialistic paradigm it is incapable of thinking outside of it.  These guys have chained themselves in Plato’s fun-house, thinking the warped mirrors represent reality.
    Meanwhile, the incorrigible Darwinists at Univ. of Georgia are still at it, according to EurekAlert, thinking abiotic adenine is a step toward the origin of life (see 10/22/2007 entry), and EurekAlert gives them full court press.
    How do you get scientists to stop making absurd claims?  Two suggested therapies: (1) shame, and if that doesn’t work, (2) cut off the funding.  If the mad scientists still won’t change their evil ways, well, then we have Max Planck’s own view on scientific progress.  The renowned physicist, a Christian through his life, once quipped, “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”  ID needs about 30 more years for the attrition in the Darwin Party to clear the field.  (And the air.)
Next headline on:  Origin of LifeIntelligent DesignDumb Ideas
Amphibian Imprints Found   10/30/2007    
Full-body imprints of amphibians claimed to be 330 million years old have been reported from Pennsylvania.  “The imprints show the unmistakably webbed feet and bodies of three previously unknown, foot-long salamander-like critters that lived 100 million years before the first dinosaurs.”
    The story in a press release from the Geological Society of America contains a photo and drawing of the unusual fossils.  Spencer Lucas, paleontologist from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, said, “Body impressions like this are wholly unheard of.”
    Other interesting things were found in the same formation, including a monster in time for Halloween:
Also found in rocks from the same formation and of the same age are footprints of other relatively large animals and fossils of insects and plants, Lucas explained.  There is even a saucer-sized footprint of an unknown vertebrate that suggests larger four-footed beasts lived far earlier than ever before suspected.
The impressions were not found in the field.  They were found when examining specimens that had been sitting for decades in the Reading Public Museum Collection.
Sound familiar?  Larger, advanced creatures living much earlier than previously believed, in exquisitely preserved rock that they just “know” is hundreds of millions of years old.  Sounds like a broken record in more than one sense (09/18/2007 commentary).
Next headline on:  Terrestrial ZoologyFossils
  Neo-Darwinism falsified in the lab, from 10/19/2004.

Book: Intelligent Design Argument Turns Leading Atheist to God   10/29/2007    
“There is a God,” announces a former leading atheist on the cover of his new book.  Antony Flew changed his mind a few years ago partly because of the design argument: the fine-tuning of the universe, according to the blurb on Amazon.com.  New arguments by philosophical theists like Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne also played a large part.  The Amazon description sums up the import of this book: “In one of the biggest religion news stories of the new millennium, the Associated Press announced that Professor Antony Flew, the world’s leading atheist, now believes in God” (see 12/09/2004).
    In an exclusive interview with Benjamin Wiker on To the Source, Antony Flew made it clear that intelligent design was a decisive factor in his change of heart:

Anthony Flew: There were two factors in particular that were decisive.  One was my growing empathy with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe.  The second was my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself – which is far more complex than the physical Universe – can only be explained in terms of an Intelligent Source.  I believe that the origin of life and reproduction simply cannot be explained from a biological standpoint despite numerous efforts to do so.  With every passing year, the more that was discovered about the richness and inherent intelligence of life, the less it seemed likely that a chemical soup could magically generate the genetic code.  The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical.  The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins’ comical effort to argue in The God Delusion that the origin of life can be attributed to a “lucky chance.”  If that’s the best argument you have, then the game is over.  No, I did not hear a Voice.  It was the evidence itself that led me to this conclusion.
Flew has only come as far as to believe God is a Person, but is not a Christian.  The book, however, which he calls his “last will and testament,” includes a Christian extra: “The book concludes with an appendix by New Testament scholar and Anglican bishop N.T. Wright, arguing for the coherence of Christian belief in the resurrection.  Flew praises Wright, though he maintains some distance still from orthodox Christianity.”
It’s good N.T. Wright has added a Christian apologetic to this book.  He made a good impression with his inputs to the new film The Case for Christ (09/16/2007).  Rejection of atheism is only a halfway house; we hope Flew considers the same evidence that convinced Lee Strobel.  Having a sincere friend like Gary Habermas is probably helping.
    The significance of this book is not that everything Flew says will be agreeable to Christians, but that it illustrates the power of the evidence for design.  Antony Flew, an influential atheist for over 50 years, retained enough intellectual integrity to follow the evidence where it leads.  This is especially courageous after publishing the opposite view for so long.  It is extremely rare for someone to retract an opinion after they have published it – not just an error, but a deeply held belief.  The argument for design convinced Dean Kenyon to do so, and now Antony Flew.
    We hope fair-minded atheist readers will take this opportunity to consider the evidence these two men found powerful enough to make them swallow their pride and switch sides.  How about starting with Lee Strobel’s film The Case for a Creator, followed by The Case for Christ.  Drop by these pages regularly, too.
Next headline on:  Intelligent DesignBible and TheologyCosmology
Machiavellian Monkeys Made Us Compassionate   10/28/2007    
Love, loyalty, patriotism – all the qualities that imbue a romantic novel with soul – came from Rhesus monkeys acting badly.  This is the belief of Dario Maestripieri, a primatologist and Associate Professor in Comparative Human Development and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, according to an article in Science Daily.
    Dr. Maestripieri observed behavior between groups of Rhesus monkeys and saw “ruthless aggression, nepotism, and complex political alliances.”  Machiavelli was right, he figured: success involves using whatever tactics necessary to hold onto power.  But alas, sometimes poor outcasts became the patriots of a new revolution.  Thus, us:

  “Our Machiavellian intelligence is not something we can be proud of, but it may be the secret of our success.  If it contributed to the evolution of our large brains and complex cognitive skills, it also contributed to the evolution of our ability to engage in noble spiritual and intellectual activities, including our love and compassion for other people”, Maestripieri said.
But why shouldn’t we be proud of something evolution has built into us?  What is the evolutionary origin of shame?  If anything, we should be ashamed of the kinds of senseless values – noble spiritual and intellectual activities, love, and compassion – that contradict the secret of our success.
    Maestripieri did not explain whether his new book, Machiavellian Intelligence: How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World, intended to propose something that might be true about the world, or was itself a Machiavellian ruse to gain personal power for himself (see self-referential fallacy in the Baloney Detector).  He also did not explain why the Rhesus monkeys got stuck in an eddy with small brains in an endless cycle of group power struggles if, in our case, during the same period of time, big brains and complex cognitive skills were natural by-products of the very same process.
His theory also ascribes evolutionary success to those who use sex for power.  Ladies and gentlemen used to despise their fellow humans who acted like brute beasts.  It’s not that people prior to Darwin failed to notice that we share much in common biologically with other creatures.  They just understood that there are superior values to our biological drives, such as self-control, honor, integrity, righteousness, fairness, justice, unselfishness, rationality and common sense.  Brute beasts, lacking these moral and intellectual capacities, were never held responsible for them, but neither were they held up as models for human behavior.  Evolutionary philosophy, by contrast, celebrates our baser nature unconstrained by reason and ethics.  Darwinists only get away with it by borrowing rationality and ethics long enough to dispense with them, a self-refuting position.
    For undermining all vestige of human nobility by ascribing it to monkey antics under mindless evolutionary forces, for excusing bestial behavior as the secret of success but then saying we should be ashamed of it, and for shooting his argument in the foot by assuming the ontological existence of love and nobility, Maestripieri handily wins Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week.  We can’t believe anything you said, professor; you’re just in a mindless, truthless, toothless, ruthless power grab.
Next headline on:  MammalsEarly ManDarwinismDumb Ideas
  Whoops!  Geologists change a rock’s date from one end of the geologic timescale to the other, from 10/01/2003.

Fall Colors Have a Function   10/27/2007    
Deciduous trees have an investment decision to make when fall chill sets in: do they send their sunlight-produced nutrients to the roots early, and so risk damage to the leaves from autumn sunlight, or should they spend more energy creating a sunscreen that allows them to produce nutrients longer, and thereby increase food storage in the roots for the upcoming winter?
    The determining factor may be the amount of nitrogen in the soil, claims a press release from the Geological Society of America.  According to research done by a graduate student at University of North Carolina, in nitrogen-poor soils the balance is tipped toward investing in sunscreen.  It takes energy to produce the reddish anthocyanins, but these allow the leaves to work overtime producing nutrients from the impoverished soil.  Trees in more nitrogen-rich soils can simply fade to yellow before falling.
    The student’s advisor remarked, “The rainbow of color we see in the fall is not just for our personal human enjoyment -- rather, it is the trees going on about their lives and trying to survive.”

There are a couple of problems with the advisor’s remark.  First, it ascribes personality and intent to a plant.  The plant has no brain to figure out what to do; rather, it has been pre-programmed with elaborate mechanisms that ensure its survival.  Did the tree figure out how to manufacture anthocyanins?  Did it know in advance that these molecules will allow it to extract more nutrients from the nitrogen-poor soil?  Was it “trying to survive”?  Of course not.  The mechanisms discovered are marks of engineering for robustness.
    The second problem is an either-or fallacy between plant survival and human enjoyment.  These functions are not mutually exclusive.  They also raise interesting philosophical questions.  Why should humans feel enjoyment at the rainbow of color in the fall?  What is the evolutionary advantage to pleasure at a scene that does not produce food or offspring?  Why shouldn’t a human sense alarm at the apparent death of a source of food?
    Actually, the advisor left open the possibility that joy might be a purpose, by saying it is not just for our personal human enjoyment.  But to push the point, she would have had to explain how the pleasure response in humans to apparently useless beauty had adaptive value.  That would not be very romantic, would it?  It would be just another example of evolutionism taking the soul out of life.  If you are an evolutionist feeling good walking through the rainbow of colors in a fall display, maybe you should be surprised by joy.
Next headline on:  PlantsAmazing Facts
Cilia Are Antennas for Human Senses and Development   10/26/2007    
The little hair-like projections on cells, called cilia, have more functions than previously believed.  A press release from Johns Hopkins University said that researchers found cilia are important for the sense of touch – particularly, for heat sensation.  In fact, cilia are implicated in at least three of the five traditional senses.
    The article explained that some people thought to have psychological problems may actually be victims of “ciliopathy” or defects in cilia formation.  Dr. Nico Katsanis said, “People with ciliopathies are often thought to have mental retardation or autism because they appear ‘slow’.  Now it appears that many aspects of their mental capacity may be just fine, they are just slow because they can’t sense things as well as other individuals.”
    Another press release from Johns Hopkins earlier in the month reported that Katsanis’ team found that cilia act like little radio antennas that control the development of the body:
Johns Hopkins researchers say they have figured out how human and all animal cells tune in to a key signal, one that literally transmits the instructions that shape their final bodies.  It turns out the cells assemble their own little radio antenna on their surfaces to help them relay the proper signal to the developmental proteins “listening” on the inside of the cell.
    The transmitters are primary cilia, relatively rigid, hairlike “tails” that respond to specialized signals from a host of proteins, including a key family of proteins known as Wnts.  The Wnts in turn trigger a cascade of shape-making decisions that guide cells to take specific shapes, like curved eyelid cells or vibrating hair cells in the ear, and even make sure that arms and legs emerge at the right spots.
Katsanis commented on the importance of this finding: “We’ve just reset a huge volume of literature under a new light.”
Exciting discoveries in the cellular realm continue apace.  Some will remember that cilia were the first examples in Michael Behe’s classic book Darwin’s Black Box of irreducibly complex structures.  That was in 1996; no one knew the half of it back then.
    Is intelligent design a productive scientific theory?  One way to tell is to see if the case gets better with new discoveries.  Darwinism’s proponents have to keep adding patches and hotfixes to the theory to explain away new problems with the fossil record, the tree of life and the complexity of the cell.  The case for Intelligent Design, by contrast, gets stronger with each new finding.  Imagine: a radio antenna on each cell, signalling the inside world about the outside world.  Most signal-relay stations we know about were intelligently designed.
    Signal without recognition is meaningless.  Communication implies a signalling convention (a “coming together” or agreement in advance) that a given signal means or represents something: e.g., that S-O-S means “Send Help!” or, in this case, that Wnt proteins mean “put this arm here.”  The transmitter and receiver can be made of non-sentient materials, but the functional purpose of the system always comes from a mind.  The mind uses the material substances to perform an algorithm that is not itself a product of the materials or the blind forces acting on them.  Thus the analogy in the press release: cilia are just like radio antennas.  Antennas may be composed of mindless matter, but they are marks of a mind behind the intelligent design.
Next headline on:  Cell BiologyIntelligent DesignAmazing Facts
  Ghost of Hitler still haunts Western medicine, from 10/21/2004 and 10/18/2004.

Academic Intolerance:  Ben Stein, the lead in the upcoming documentary Expelled, explained the problem of academic persecution of Darwin doubters to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News Monday night, Oct. 22.  The interview is available on YouTube.
Next headline on:  MediaEducationDarwinismIntelligent Design

Neanderthals Have Become Like Us   10/25/2007    
The change in attitude about Neanderthals is almost complete.  The formerly brutish missing links were pretty modern after all.  DNA sequencing of Neanderthal remains, along with new fossil discoveries, have made this subgroup of Homo sapiens for all intents and purposes the equivalents of us.  For example:

  1. Talk to me bro:  Neanderthals probably spoke languages like modern humans.  A genetic study announced by Science Now1 claims their FOXP2 gene, implicated in language capacity, was identical to modern man’s.  Some aren’t willing to concede this essential mark of humanness, thinking the similarity might be due to contamination, but Svante Paabo, one of the investigators, thinks not.  One gene doesn’t prove ability to speak, he recognizes.  Still, he was willing to state that “with respect to FOXP2, there’s nothing to say that Neandertals could not speak just like we do.”  Other indications are that they had large brains (larger on average than those of modern man) and lived in groups.
  2. Better redhead than deadhead:  Some Neanderthals had red hair and pale skin, a study in Science claimed.  The genetic study hinted that Neanderthal hair and skin color varied as much as that of moderns; this questions the assumption of their being a dark-skinned race recently migrated from Africa.  (See also National Geographic, Science Daily and the BBC News.)
  3. We Neanderthal, the cosmopolitan cognoscenti:  Neanderthals have been found farther east.  Nature reported the discovery of Neanderthals in southern Siberia.2  The DNA of fossils fell within the range of European Neanderthals, the international team reported.  “Thus, the geographic range of Neanderthals is likely to have extended at least 2,000 km further to the east than commonly assumed.”  This followed a report on ENews earlier this month about Neanderthal bones found in China.
The Nature article claimed that Neanderthals ruled the planet for a long time:
Morphological traits typical of Neanderthals began to appear in European hominids at least 400,000 years ago and about 150,000 years ago in western Asia.  After their initial appearance, such traits increased in frequency and the extent to which they are expressed until they disappeared shortly after 30,000 years ago.
If their intelligence, travel and culture was this advanced, however, it seems a stretch to believe they were completely supplanted by near equals after 370,000 years of success.  Considering the entry in March that Neanderthals and modern humans lived contemporaneous for some time (03/08/2007, bullet 8), and in August that Neanderthals and modern humans possibly interbred (08/02/2007), it appears that further adjustments to the evolutionary tale are in the offing.
1.  Elizabeth Culotta, “Talk Like a Man,” Science, 18 October 2007.
2.  Krause et al, “Neanderthals in central Asia and Siberia,” Nature 449, 902-904 (18 October 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06193.
If you are not so thoroughly brainwashed by evolutionary myths that you can still think rationally about evidence, join the movement to jettison the Neanderthal tale and start over (01/16/2007).  It seems crazy, on the face of it, to assume that Neanderthals lived on this planet at least 120,000 years, if not 370,000 years, without inventing the horse and buggy, rodeos (01/19/2001), ships, drip irrigation and hot air balloons.  Look how quickly their equivalents (us) went from simple farming to conquer sea, air, land, and even space – even with smaller brains!  These people were better hunters, better at playing Survivorman, and probably as intelligent and more agile than we are, yet Darwinians expect us to believe they did nothing but hunt meat for the cave cookout day after day for hundreds of thousands of years.  How do you spell b-e-l-i-e-f?
    It’s time for a complete overthrow of the Neanderthal myth.  In its place, we suggest these three replacement assumptions:
  1. Taxonomy:  The Neanderthal classification is a Darwinian fabrication.  The set of Neanderthal traits was completely within the range of human variability.  They are, and were, Homo sapiens sapiens. 
  2. Variability:  They lived not that long ago, and may still be among us.  The variability is a continuum, not a distinct cut-off.  It would be like classifying Eskimos or the Nephilim/Rephaim/Emim of Old Testament records as missing links.  We have stated several times that if you took skeletons from living individuals at the extremes of modern variability, they would look like separate species (e.g., 07/22/2007).
  3. Chronology:  The entire span of human history fits within thousands of years, not tens or hundreds of thousands.  If it were not so, we would have a right to expect, based on the rapid advance of civilization in recorded history, that these people, who were identical to us, would have developed written language and technology with clear traces in the fossil record.  A corollary is that the Darwin-based dating methods are seriously flawed.
If you were to approach the data with Darwinian glasses off, and these assumptions in mind, without doubt you would find plenty of supporting evidence.  Since Darwinism is now falsified (10/08/2007), let’s do it.
Next headline on:  Early ManDating Methods
Dogbert takes on Darwin!  Watch the YouTube clip at Evolution News.
Next headline on: MediaDarwin

Evolutionary Science Reporting Battles Creationists   10/24/2007    
If creationism is so discredited as to not warrant any further discussion, some science writers are sure going out of their way to refute it.  Some recent examples:

  1. Eye of the Hydra:  Little sea creatures known as hydrae have light-sensitive molecules called opsins, reported Science Daily.  Scientists think the opsin proteins, which exist all over the tiny animals but are concentrated near the gut, help the hydra find its prey.  Todd Oakley, a notable anti-creationist involved in the study, used this as a barb against Darwin doubters:
    Oakley said that anti-evolutionists often argue that mutations, which are essential for evolution, can only eliminate traits and cannot produce new features.  He goes on to say, “Our paper shows that such claims are simply wrong.  We show very clearly that specific mutational changes in a particular duplicated gene (opsin) allowed the new genes to interact with different proteins in new ways.  Today, these different interactions underlie the genetic machinery of vision, which is different in various animal groups.”
    Yet the story begs the question that mutational evolution produced the opsins or led to their function.  A team member illustrated the circular thinking when he inferred, “because we don’t find them in earlier evolving animals like sponges, we can put a date on the evolution of light sensitivity in animals.”  Another problem with the idea that evolution produced it is that it pushes the origin of light sensitivity further back in the evolutionary time frame to 600 million years ago.  See also Live Science.

  2. Skull of the St. Bernard:  In a surprising display of misunderstanding of the issues, a University of Manchester press release claimed that artificial selection in St. Bernard dogs refutes creationism.  The skull shape in St. Bernards has changed a little in 120 years since the breed standard was defined.  These changes “evolved purely through the selective considerations of breeders.” But this is, of course, artificial selection – not natural selection.  The press release continues,
    Creationism is the belief that all living organisms were created according to Genesis in six days by ‘intelligent design’ and rejects the scientific theories of natural selection and evolution.
        “But this research once again demonstrates how selection – whether natural or, in this case, artificially influenced by man – is the fundamental driving force behind the evolution of life on the planet.”
    A quick check of creationist literature would have shown that not even the most literal Biblical creationist believes God created St. Bernards directly.  Creationist books and lectures often include diagrams of all the various dog breeds, from St. Bernards to poodles to Dobermans, as descended from an original dog kind that was probably like a wolf.  Many would include all the wolves, coyotes, dingoes and foxes in the original dog kind.
        In addition, most creationists would admit an extensive amount of natural and artificial selection in the sorting out of traits in dog populations since the creation.  Even in this press release, the dogs started and ended as St. Bernards – one variety within one species – so there was no “origin of species” or variation on the scale Darwin envisaged.
        EurekAlert, a news service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, reproduced this press release without alteration; so did Science Daily.

  3. Brain of the BeheScience (Oct. 20) gave Michael Behe 200 words to clarify a point, but then let Sean Carroll have 500 words to trash it.  A complete account is given at Access Research Network by David Tyler.  The lopsided exchange omitted the fact that Behe has written extensive responses to Carroll on his Amazon blog, as noted by Anika Smith at Evolution News, and to many of his other critics, as noted by Robert Crowther on Evolution News.
        Science, by picking and choosing a small portion of Behe’s writing, gave the distinct impression that he was conceding a major point of Darwinism, when in fact Behe proceeded beyond the quoted part to explain why it was irrelevant to evolutionary theory.  Carroll, nonetheless, accused Behe of a “complete disregard of a massive literature surrounding protein interactions crucial to Behe’s entirely unfounded conclusion.”  Carroll did not cite any examples of such literature.
It is appalling to see the low level of intellectual rigor in the typical science press release these days when they deal with matters of creation vs evolution, and the deliberate anti-creationist bias in the journals.  In the typical popular science report, creationism, when mentioned at all, is made into a caricature, a straw man to ridicule and shoot down.  Don’t they realize that refuting an accurate presentation of an opponent’s view is more likely to succeed in the long run?  Maybe they know they cannot.  They use the only weak munitions they have: the pop-guns and spitballs of propaganda.
    We hope our readers appreciate the detail and fairness in these pages.  Links to all the original sources are provided so you can check whether what is represented here is in fact what the evolutionists are claiming.  Much of our reporting comes straight from the original science journals.  While we try to present the news in ways that are thought-provoking and occasionally entertaining, we do not pander to ignorance or bias.  We do not regurgitate the party-line talking points.  We invite the reader to investigate the evidence and evaluate the logic on both sides.  After decades of Darwin-only propaganda in the news media, we hope you find this liberating. 
Next headline on:  Darwinism and EvolutionIntelligent DesignMarine LifeMammals
Jewish First Temple Period Uncovered   10/23/2007    
Artifacts dating from the First Temple period have been found in trenches illegally dug by Muslims on the Temple Mount: for the story, see the Jerusalem Post, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Bible Places.  Dr. Leen Ritmeyer has diagrams of where the artifacts relate to the Temple position in his Ritmeyer Blog.
    The First Temple was built by Solomon (see I Kings 5-8).  After the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BC, the Jews returning from exile built a Second Temple (Ezra 3-8).  This temple was elaborately enlarged by Herod the Great into the magnificent Temple of Jesus’ day (Matthew 24).  That temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.  Portions of the Herodian walls from the Temple Mount remain to this day, including the Western Wall, a sacred site for the Jews.  The Muslims, however, deny the existence of a Jewish temple on the summit.  The Dome of the Rock now sits over the site.
    The Temple Mount has been off limits to archaeologists and is under control of Muslim police.  Muslims have been performing unauthorized and reckless trench-digging with a bulldozer, forbidding archaeologists to examine the trenches.  A fortuitous by-product of the illegal digging is that it allowed artifacts from under the present level to be seen for the first time in thousands of years.  Although the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) did nothing to stop the reckless trenching, they verified that some of the artifacts date from the First Temple period.
The only bright side of this atrocity is providing proof of the Biblical claims of the First Temple.  Muslims show no concern for the sensibilities of other religions but react with violence if any non-Muslim approaches their sacred sites.  In recent years, they dug into the southeast corner of the Temple Mount into soil richly laden with artifacts, to build an underground mosque.  Their level of carefulness and concern was to pile the debris into mounds and toss tons of it over the wall.  Dedicated archaeologists have found bits of precious artifacts among the dirt (10/31/2006, 04/17/2005).
    Who knows what additional treasures lie under the Temple Mount?  Archaeologists reveal amazing things at the periphery, but these are only tantalizing glimpses of artifacts that millions of people would rejoice to see, were it not for the bullying and threats of the “religion of peace” to wage global jihad if they dare to look.  Where is the U.N. in this blatant example of disrespect for priceless relics from antiquity?  Oh, they’re too busy helping the dictators of the world and outlawing righteousness.  What’s unfathomable is why the Israeli government and the IAA have been so silent and appeasing.
    Christians and Jews believe that a Third Temple will someday arise on the Temple Mount.  Some orthodox Jews even have the plans and preparations underway.  Given the volatility of the politics of Jerusalem, one would think this might trigger a kind of apocalypse.
Next headline on:  Bible and TheologyPolitics and Ethics
  National Geographic asks, “Was Darwin Wrong?” from 10/24/2004.

Is Adenine Additive?   10/22/2007    
A paper in PNAS argues that adenine can form in plausible prebiotic conditions.1  Does this add to the story of chemical evolution leading to life on Earth?
    Some chemists at the University of Georgia explored the chemical steps necessary to form adenine (one of the bases used in DNA).  Adenine has been found in extraterrestrial environments.  They found that ammonia or water can act as a catalyst to get the incipient molecule past some of the energy hurdles of ring formation.  After describing their investigation in detail, they remarked, “Finding a viable, thermodynamically feasible, step-by-step mechanism that can account for the formation of adenine did not prove to be easy.”  Nevertheless, they felt that their success will motivate others to find how the remaining DNA bases could have formed naturally.
    The authors went far beyond merely elucidating the mechanism behind the formation of adenine in meteorites or interstellar space.  They explicitly claimed that it contributes to understanding how life originated:

Our report provides a more detailed understanding of some of the chemical processes involved in chemical evolution, and a partial answer to the fundamental question of molecular biogenesis.  Our investigation should trigger similar explorations of the detailed mechanisms of the abiotic formation of the remaining nucleic acid bases and other biologically relevant molecules.
In fact, the first line in the paper is, “How did life begin?  The presence of biomolecules was a prerequisite, but the origin of even the simplest of these remains a fascinating but unsolved puzzle.”  Understanding the origin of adenine, to them, thus would constitute progress in the story of life’s origin.
1.  Roy, Najafian and Schleyer, “Chemical evolution: The mechanism of the formation of adenine under prebiotic conditions,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print October 19, 2007; 10.1073/pnas.0708434104.
Did you notice the logical trick?  It is one question to account for the observed extraterrestrial formation of a chemical, but quite another to suggest it is relevant to the origin of life.  This presupposes naturalism—the very question that ought to be up for debate.
    If that is what they wanted to do (prove naturalism) they should have stated their presuppositions and goals objectively, but they didn’t.  They snuck their presuppositions into the paper as if nobody would notice or care.  Well, we care.  We are not going to let them suggest that explaining adenine has anything to do with supporting philosophical naturalism, any more than would explaining water, dust, plasma or the laws of nature.  This is like a Democrat claiming, “We explained the mechanism of voting machines, therefore President Bush stole the election.”  Voters used voting machines, but that has no bearing on the very different question of how they were used.  They might as well explain the chemical pathway of a component of a computer chip as support for the belief that computer software wrote itself.  Adenine is a substrate used in life for coded messages.  Just like understanding the chemistry of paper and ink says nothing about the origin of the message in a book, understanding the chemistry of adenine says nothing about the genetic code.  Is a cathode-ray tube aware that Survivorman is playing through its electrons?  Did the CRT organize itself for this purpose?  Neither does adenine form for the purpose of self-organizing into a living system.
    We must not allow materialists to invoke the chemistry lab as support for their philosophy.  That is called begging the question.  Only by assuming that life is no more than chemistry can they make that connection.
Next headline on:  Origin of Life
Searching for Natural Selection in a Wildflower   10/19/2007    
Evening snow (Linanthus) is an amazing little wildflower that adorns desert areas of southern California.  Its blossoms open in the evening, spreading fragrance across a harsh landscape.  Two varieties have been noticed; one with white flowers, and one with blue flowers.  Scientists noticed that the white ones sometimes grow on one side of a ravine, and the blue ones on the other; in other places, the two varieties grow in a blue-white mosaic.  Is this pattern due to genetic drift (i.e., chance), or to natural selection?
    Elisabeth Pennisi wrote about this in Science.1  Her opening line might open some eyes about the difficulty of deciding a question this simple: “Sixty years ago, studies of these patterns provided key support for a powerful evolutionary theory.  Now, two evolutionary biologists have found that the theory doesn’t hold in this species.”
    Two researchers decided to settle the debate with a long-term field study.  Their decision was that natural selection was the winner, at least a little: “In the seed-transplant studies, each color flower typically did best on its own turf, indicating that selection played a role.”  There may have been some environmental influences at work, in other words, that tended to make one color predominate in one environment and the other in different environments.  But is anyone certain?
“The study shows the unimportance of drift in Linanthus,” says evolutionary biologist Masatoshi Nei of Pennsylvania State University in State College.  “In this sense, [the] finding shakes the ground of the shifting balance theory.”  But he is cautious about making generalizations, given that other studies suggest otherwise: “The relative importance of selection and drift depends on the genes and populations studied.

1.  Elisabeth Pennisi, “Natural Selection, Not Chance, Paints the Desert Landscape,” Science, 19 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5849, p. 376, DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5849.376.
So in a 13-year study, these scientists could only point to a little bit of natural selection that might have played a role in the color pattern of two varieties within the same species?  And they expect us to believe that science has proved that humans have bacteria ancestors due to this wondrous mechanism of natural selection?
Next headline on:  PlantsEvolutionary TheoryGenetics
Mega-Dinosaur Found in Argentina   10/18/2007    
Check out this dinosaur: 105 feet long, 43 feet tall, having a neck 56 feet long.  The spinal column alone probably weighed 9 tons.  That’s Futalognkosaurus dukei, one of the largest dinosaurs ever found, recently reported from Argentina (see BBC News and PhysOrg).  A single vertebral bone was nearly 3 feet long.  National Geographic called it a “behemoth” (see Job 40:15-24).  “The four-story-tall plant-eater—believed to be a new species—was found alongside fossils of fish, crocodile-like reptiles, a flying pterosaur, and a sickle-clawed meat-eater called a megaraptor,” the article said.
Update 10/22/2007:  Another species of “polar” dinosaur was found in Australia, reported Science Daily.  This one, a carnivore, might have resembled Allosaurus but was 20% smaller, based on the tracks that were discovered.  Still, you’d be looking straight at its hip in real life.  The press release noted the low latitude of the vicinity but did not speculate on what this implies about the environment and this dinosaur’s ability to cope with it: “The tracks are especially significant for showing that large dinosaurs were living in a polar environment during the Cretaceous Period, when Australia was still joined to Antarctica and close to the South Pole.”
If evolution is progressive, why are all the really big success stories extinct?  Where is all the lush plant life that allowed this behemoth to exist?  Why was the fossil found with fish and leaves?  Why are all the bones found under a 0.5 meter rock layer?  How did a beast this large get fossilized in the first place?  If something this large escaped detection in the fossil record till recently, how can scientists say for sure that we won’t find large Jurassic or Cambrian mammals somewhere?  How did evolution engineer a head at the end of a 56 foot long neck that could one minute nibble the top of a tall tree, then next minute reach down and get a drink without bursting its brains out?   And where was the meat for a carnivore living near the South Pole?  What does this imply about the foliage available for its prey to eat?  What does this say about global warming?  There are just a few questions to think about that never get asked in the evolutionary literature.
Next headline on:  FossilsDinosaursAmazing Facts
  How a Darwinist explains living fossils, from 10/13/2004.

Prominent Biologist Espouses Darwinian Racist Views   10/17/2007    
The history of evolutionary thought includes many aspects modern evolutionists would rather forget, such as racism and eugenics.  Old ideas that blacks are evolutionarily inferior have cropped up again, though, not from some redneck schoolhouse but from the co-discoverer of the DNA structure.  James Watson, outspoken secular humanist, let loose with some comments about racial inferiority that set off a firestorm, reported The Independent (UK).  Watson was promoting his new book Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science, which includes this statement:

There is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically.  Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so.
His comments to a London newspaper made it clear who he had in mind:
Dr Watson told The Sunday Times that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really”.  He said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true”.
Watson tried to clarify that he did not mean blacks should be discriminated against, but did not back away from his “scientific” claims.  Civil rights groups are studying his remarks and expressing extreme displeasure.  Fox News also reported on some of the aftermath.
    Science wrote in 1990, according to The Independent article, “To many in the scientific community, Watson has long been something of a wild man, and his colleagues tend to hold their collective breath whenever he veers from the script” (cf. 08/24/2003).  But Watson himself made it clear in the quotes above that his opinions were inextricably tied to views on human evolution that he must feel are fairly typical among scientists.
Update 10/19/2007:  The Guardian reported that Watson apologized for his remarks.  “To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologise unreservedly,” he said.  “That is not what I meant.  More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief.”  Yet parts of his statement seem to put the blame on his listeners: “I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said.”  The article also notes that “Prof Watson’s statement did not clarify what his views on the issue of race and intelligence are, but he hinted that he had been misquoted.”  He said, “I am mortified about what has happened,” but none of his apology explicitly took responsibility for earlier statements or explained what he really meant by them.  The article quotes some of the heated response his remarks instigated.  See also: Live Science.
Update 10/24/2007:  Watson has been “suspended from administrative duties” at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Long Island, NY) because of his remarks about race.  News@Nature reported that this may indicate the end for Watson: senior US colleagues said things like “It is a sad and revolting way to end a remarkable career,” and “He has failed us in the worst possible way.”  See also the BBC News and a commentary on MSNBC that said Watson appears to have a foot-in-mouth gene.
    An Editorial in Nature 10/25 entitled “Watson’s Folly” was similarly unsparing, but regretted that this episode might hinder the “openness and critical debate” scientists need when dealing with controversial subjects – including the “sensitive task of unravelling differences between the world’s population groups, all the while acknowledging that ‘race’ is an emotive and unscientific word.”  The editorial blamed Watson for “sheer unacceptable offensiveness” that can lend “succour and comfort to racists around the globe,” yet was just as concerned about the chilling effect his remarks will have on scientific inquiry, such as “investigating the equally sensitive genetics of ‘desirable” traits, such as cognitive ability.”
    The editorial acknowledged such investigations can lead to abuses: “Asking such questions has always been controversial, given the potential for abuse of the outcomes demonstrated by the history of eugenics.”  But it agreed with a point Watson himself was trying to make: “Scientists explore the world as it is, rather than as they would like it to be.”  This presupposes that scientists are not subject to biases like other investigators – an assumption some would point out was used just as readily by abusers of the past.
Update 10/25/2007:  Watson, age 79, has retired under a cloud of disgrace from his position at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, reported the BBC News.  He said his resignation was more than overdue.  “The circumstances in which this transfer is occurring, however, are not those which I could ever have anticipated or desired.”
Watson’s apology does not go far enough.  The same reporters who hound politicians to apologize for a controversial statement should press Watson to give a full accounting of what he meant to say, and should demand he take complete responsibility for his remarks, not blame his listeners.  His apology sounds like the joke about a brat whose mom tells him, “Did I hear you call your sister stupid?  Tell her you’re sorry!”  He dutifully walks over to Susie and says, “Sis, I’m sorry you’re stupid.”
    Read Watson’s apology carefully, and you see him shifting the blame to others for misquoting or misinterpreting him.  Fine; we all get misunderstood.  Tell us, then, Jim, what you really think about black people and their intelligence, and explain whether you still believe tens of thousands of years of evolution has made some races more intelligent than others.  Tell us whether society should treat all people as equal or not.  Tell us on what evolutionary basis a government should say that people have inalienable human rights.
    Two books should be read by anyone who doubts the influence of Darwinian thinking on racism: The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould, and From Darwin to Hitler by Richard Weikart (info).  Darwinists in past days put a black man in a zoo (article), categorized black people as closer to apes than to Europeans (article), did experiments rigged to show racial superiority of Europeans and males (article), and committed actual genocide in Namibia (article) and Tasmania (article) because of evolution-based racism.  While evolutionists could argue that Darwinism does not imply racism, many evolutionists used alleged primitive peoples as evidence that human evolution was true.
    The “script” that Watson veered from has been modified to expunge those incriminating episodes, but every once in awhile they emerge again, because they are a natural outgrowth of evolutionary beliefs that have different people groups evolving separately for tens of thousands of years or more.
    Biblical creationists, by contrast, believe that all people are of one race – the human race.  We are all one family, descended from one original pair, and related once again through Noah and his offspring just a few thousand years ago.  While abilities (both cognitive, artistic, physical and intellectual) can vary substantially even within one biological family, we are all one race, one family, one blood, and one creation.  We are each individually equally precious in God’s sight and worthy of equal dignity as creatures made in His image.  Choose what kind of worldview you want governing our world.
Next headline on:  DarwinismEarly Man
But Is It Evolution?   10/17/2007    
Some key features in evolutionary theory do not match up to observations.  Here are a few recent examples from PNAS abstracts:
  1. Oh no, a dilemma:  Gene duplication is supposed to be a mother of evolutionary invention.  Some Swedish evolutionary biologists considered a problem with this idea: “Maintaining a duplicated gene by selection for the original function would restrict the freedom to diverge.  (We refer to this problem as Ohno’s dilemma).” Susumi Ohno years ago had considered duplicate genes fodder for innovation (see 01/02/2003).  In this paper, the team modeled a way around the dilemma – but only if– “Before duplication, the original gene has a trace side activity (the innovation) in addition to its original function.”1  The paper, however, only speculated that new functions might arise: e.g., “New genes might arise during speciation under selection.”  They did not identify any innovations arising by duplication.  “It is suggested that new genetic functions arise when selection is imposed on a minor side function of a preexisting gene,” they summarized, but amplification of an existing function is not innovation of a new function.
        Sean B. Carroll and Chris Todd Hittinger had written the previous week (10/10/2007) in Nature about experiments showing adaptation of a duplicated gene.1a  Despite getting a favorable write-up on PhysOrg as an example of natural selection in action, the original paper only described a case of subfunctionalization in yeast: that is, one gene with two functions apparently split into two genes with one function in another species.  In this “division of labor,” therefore, no new genetic innovation was added.  The authors also engineered the lab yeast organisms according to their own human measures of what constituted fitness.  This is a form of artificial selection, not natural selection.  Yet Carroll told PhysOrg that they had “retraced the steps of evolution” of the gene.  PhysOrg said that “The work illustrates, at the most basic level, the driving force of evolution.”  Carroll, described as “one of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists,” went even further, extrapolating this one experiment with yeast to all of biology: “This is how new capabilities arise and new functions evolve.  This is what goes on in butterflies and elephants and humans.  It is evolution in action.”  They did not address the problem of getting around Ohno’s Dilemma.
  2. Oak joke:  “A tradeoff between growth and reproduction, often inferred from an inverse correlation between these two variables, is a fundamental paradigm of life-history evolution,” began three biologists writing in PNAS.2  Like sports records, paradigms are made to be broken.  “Oak species provide a unique test of this relationship because different species mature acorns either in the year of pollination or in the year after pollination,” they said, so they studied 13 years of data on five oak species.
        So what did evolution have to do with it?  Nothing, they found: the relationship was caused by environmental conditions.  “Thus, contrary to the current consensus, growth and reproduction in these species are apparently largely independent of each other,” they concluded.  “In contrast, tradeoffs between current and future reproduction appear to be much more important in the life-history evolution of these long-lived plants.  We also conclude that a negative correlation does not necessarily imply a causal mechanism and should not be used as the only evidence supporting a tradeoff.”
  3. Robust against evolution:  Some British and American scientists studied the effects of pleiotropy (one gene affecting more than one trait) and epistasis (the effect of one gene suppressing another) in plants.  “Although the occurrence of epistasis and pleiotropy is widely accepted at the molecular level, its effect on the adaptive value of fitness-related genes is rarely investigated in plants,” they began.  Yet, “Knowledge of these features of a gene is critical to understand the molecular basis of adaptive evolution.”
        That being so, it’s time to experiment.  Working with Arabidopsis thaliana, the lab plant of choice, they studied a candidate gene, FRI, which is associated with flowering time – a seemingly key fitness gene.  The results?  For one thing, FRI was less associated with fitness than previously thought.  They also found an epistatic relationship with the FLC locus; the variation in FRI, therefore, was not associated with fitness.
    We show that nonfunctional FRI alleles have negative pleiotropic effects on fitness by reducing the numbers of nodes and branches on the inflorescence.  We propose that these antagonistic pleiotropic effects reduce the adaptive value of FRI, and helps explain the maintenance of alternative life history strategies across natural populations of A. thaliana.
    This is not adaptive evolution, therefore, but robustness against evolution.
  4. Speed limit:  Three Harvard biologists studied the “mutation speed limit” of proteins and published their results in PNAS.4  They showed with models of evolutionary fitness there is a fine line between protein stability and evolvability.  Too unstable or mutable, and a protein can lead to “mutational meltdown” and the extinction of the species. 
    The theory provides a fundamental relation between mutation rate, maximal genome size, and thermodynamic response of proteins to point mutations.  It establishes a universal speed limit on rate of molecular evolution by predicting that populations go extinct (via lethal mutagenesis) when mutation rate exceeds approximately six mutations per essential part of genome per replication for mesophilic organisms and one to two mutations per genome per replication for thermophilic ones.  Several RNA viruses function close to the evolutionary speed limit, whereas error correction mechanisms used by DNA viruses and nonmutant strains of bacteria featuring various genome lengths and mutation rates have brought these organisms universally ~1,000-fold below the natural speed limit.
    The costs of error-correction mechanisms and cell division, however, pose additional constraints on mutational load.  The authors also did not consider effects of epistasis and pleiotropy on their model.  They basically showed that even without those complications, there are limits on how many mutations an organism can endure in its quest to evolve into something more complex.  They felt their theory needs to be considered in computer models of evolution and in origin-of-life scenarios to avoid mutational meltdown and error catastrophe.
  5. Natural selection tug-o' war:  Another recent paper in PLoS One by Steven A. Frank (UC Irvine) seems to suggest that evolution works toward the maladaptation of species, not beneficial adaptation.5  That’s because “Organisms use a variety of mechanisms to protect themselves against perturbations.”  The robustness of organisms against perturbations (like mutation) shields them from natural selection.  He concluded that “evolutionary dynamics drives systems in the direction of repeated rounds of enhanced robustness and decay.”  Because robustness works against natural selection, selection will tend to drive the organism toward “cheaper designs” and lowered performance: i.e., maladaptation.
        Frank thought that robustness would increase genetic variability over time, because “Reduced sensitivity to inherited mutations slows the rate at which natural selection clears deleterious mutations from the population.”  But considering the previous paper about mutational speed limits, it seems it could also accelerate an organism toward mutational meltdown and extinction.

1.  Bergthorsson and Andersson and Roth, “Ohno’s dilemma: Evolution of new genes under continuous selection,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published online before print October 17, 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0707158104.
1.a.  Hittinger and Carroll, “Gene duplication and the adaptive evolution of a classic genetic switch,” Nature 449, 677-681 (11 October 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06151.
2.  Knops et al, “Negative correlation does not imply a tradeoff between growth and reproduction in California oaks,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print October 16, 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0704251104.
3.  Scarcelli et al, “Antagonistic pleiotropic effects reduce the potential adaptive value of the FRIGIDA locus,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print October 16, 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0708209104.
4.  Zeldovich, Chen and Shakhnovich, “Protein stability imposes limits on organism complexity and speed of molecular evolution,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, October 9, 2007 (vol. 104, no. 41) pp. 16152-16157, 10.1073/pnas.0705366104.
5.  Steven A. Frank, “Maladaptation and the Paradox of Robustness in Evolution,” Public Library of Science One, 2(10): e1021. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001021.
Links to these articles are included for those who would like to research them further.  From the abstracts, it seems that each team attempted to verify a key component of evolutionary theory, yet found the evidence contrary to established beliefs.  So what else is new?
    In none of these papers did the evolutionists demonstrate that random mutation could actually invent something new and beneficial.  They merely assumed that it could.  But in each case, the powerless mechanism of natural selection was clearly unable to compensate for the accumulating damage of harmful mutations.  At best it could maintain the status quo, thanks to the help of exquisitely-designed proofreading and repair mechanisms.  Natural selection: what a flimsy hope on which to base one’s entire philosophy.
Next headline on:  DarwinismGeneticsBotany
Cassini Celebrates 10 Years in Space   10/16/2007    
The Cassini team is reveling in the outpouring of public praise for the mission.  Launched on October 15, 1997, Cassini-Huygens has spent ten years in space and is over three fourths the way through its prime mission, to explore the Saturn system, its rings, moons, magnetic field and the large moon Titan (see ESA and NASA).
    Scientific discoveries continue to pour in.  Unless the spacecraft fails or funding is cut off, there is no end in sight for one of the most successful outer planet missions in history.  The Cassini Imaging Team has posted a gallery of recent hi-res color images at Ciclops.org.  One picture in particular seems suitable for the occasion: a dazzling rainbow on the rings caused by the “opposition effect” of sun glint on icy ring particles (also posted by JPL).
    Several recent discoveries were reported in the literature:
  1. Tropical Titan:  the University of Chicago described Titan as a tropical moon – in its own way.  Despite the -290 degree chill, Titan has an atmosphere saturated with methane that acts like the humidifier and moisturizer for this bizarre world.  At that temperature, in fact, methane is even more volatile than water is on Earth.  EurekAlert even gave the weather forecast: “Morning forecast on Titan calls for widespread methane drizzle off Xanadu.”  See also another EurekAlert article that says the European Southern Observatory shares credit for this discovery.
  2. Southern Lakes:  The latest radar swath taken by Cassini across Titan’s southern latitudes revealed some lakes there, too – but fewer, apparently, because it is summertime in the south.  If the mission continues for several more years, scientists are eager to see if the southern lakes grow and the northern lakes dry up as summer shifts northward.  See the JPL press release for a montage of the northern lakes and a shot of the southern lake; see also European Space Agency.
  3. Runaway Iapetus:  Preliminary explanations for the black-and-white case of Iapetus are starting to come in after last month’s close flyby (see 09/13/2007).  Some scientists think, according to a JPL press release, that solar heating leads to a process called thermal segregation.  The water ice in the more-absorbent dark material sublimates and re-deposits on the cold white parts – a runaway and irreversible effect.  This may explain why dark material tends to puddle in the bottoms of craters or hang on crater walls facing the equator.  They believe the dark material is only about a foot deep.  Whatever the explanation, the amazing images of Iapetus from the September 10 flyby are sure to occupy scientists for years to come.
  4. The Ancient Mountains of Iapetus:  Because the mysterious mountain ridge on Iapetus is heavily cratered, scientists assume it is ancient.  They are ruling out theories that a ring collapsed onto the surface, because it would not explain apparent tectonic features associated with the ridge.  See the JPL press release.
  5. Jet Blue:  A lovely limb shot of Enceladus with its geyser plumes colored blue was released in another JPL press release.  Imaging team scientists Jason Spitale and Carolyn Porco were able to line up the plumes with the tiger stripes.  Their results, published in Nature last week,1 suggest that more hot spots will be found in future flybys.
    1.  Spitale and Porco, “Association of the jets of Enceladus with the warmest regions on its south-polar fractures,” Nature 449, 695-697 (11 October 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06217.
Like Jupiter (10/15/2007), Saturn was filled with surprises.  Nothing in the Saturn system requires billions of years; many things require mere thousands.  A lot of needless cerebral horsepower is expended trying to keep apparently young phenomena going for unnecessary eons.  We can enjoy the show without the mythology.
Next headline on:  Solar System
Sweden Bans Creationism   10/16/2007    
Creationism and intelligent design are being banned in Swedish schools, reported the English version of the Swedish news source, The Local.  Intelligent design (ID) makes no claim about the Creator, but only the detectability of design; nevertheless, both were banned equally.
    This may not be unexpected after the Council of Europe resolution last week (10/06/2007).  What’s unusual about this decision, though, is that creationism has been banned from church schools – because Sweden, like many European countries, has a state church.  “The Swedish government is to crack down on the role religion plays in independent faith schools,” the article began.  “Pupils must be protected from all forms of fundamentalism.”
    Teachers can still start the day with prayers, but when science lesson time comes, they must stick to the curriculum.  Religious education is still allowed, but “all elements of religious worship would have to be completely separate from class teaching.”
    Most independent schools in Sweden are privately owned but funded by government grants, the article said.  Schools that break the rules can be closed by the Swedish National Agency for Education, which is doubling the number of inspectors to ensure compliance.
Look at the web page, and you will see another story: increasing numbers of Swedes are converting to Islam.  This means that the Swedish political dunderheads who can’t read their tea leaves had better wake up to the fact that the country will become creationist soon anyway.  They must choose, while there is still time, whether they want peace-loving Christian creationists, who want to reason with them and debate the evidence, or Islamic fascists who will make them convert via a sword at the neck.  Either way, the Church of Darwin cannot survive.  It is obviously not the fittest, because it just imploded (10/08/2007).
    Compare this story with the 09/14/2007 entry, “Some Christian Colleges Love Darwin More than Jesus.”
Next headline on:  Intelligent DesignEducationPolitics and EthicsBible and Theology
New Horizons at Jupiter   10/15/2007    
New Horizons, a spaceship bound for Pluto, took a good look at the Jupiter system when passing by on Feb. 28.  The scientific findings were featured in a special section of Science last week, with 11 articles.  Joanne Baker said in the Introductory article,1 “The papers in this special issue record how the probe witnessed lightning and aurorae in Jupiter’s atmosphere, volcanic eruptions on the moon Io, and the pulsing of Jupiter’s magnetosphere, a cocoon of charged particles that swathes the entire system.”
  1. Io’s magnetic personality:  Of special interest is Io, the volcanic inner moon of Jupiter.  The spacecraft witnessed a major eruption of a polar volcano seen earlier by the Galileo mission:
    An eruption of the Tvashtar volcano on the satellite Io was caught in the act, allowing the mechanics of the sulfurous plume and the lava temperature to be measured.  Pollution from Io’s volcanoes has even reached the shores of Europa, an icy moon that may harbor oceans beneath its frozen surface.  Io’s volcanic emissions feed extra sulfur and oxygen ions into a vast particle cloud that circles the entire Jupiter system, held in place by the planet’s strong magnetic field.  Behind the planet, it is pulled into a magnetic shadow billions of kilometers long, streaming away from the Sun as the solar wind deflects around Jupiter.  Acting like a giant pipe, this magnetic tail drains half a metric ton of charged particles out of the jovian system each second.
    Apparently the mass lost down the magnetotail is just half of Io’s output.  Norbert Krupp, in another introductory article,2 said that Io is ejecting one metric ton per second of sulfur dioxide particles.  “Data from all of the previous missions have shown that Jupiter’s moon Io is the most important player in the configuration and dynamics of the jovian magnetosphere,” he exclaimed.  Keep in mind that Jupiter has the largest magnetosphere by far of any planet in the solar system.  This little moon is shedding a lot of responsibility (picture).
  2. Polar eruption:  Spencer et al described the volcanoes on Io in another paper (picture).3  The 350-km-high plume from Tvashtar (picture) contained “remarkable time-variable filamentary structures” (movie).  Tvashtar, erupting steadily during the eight days of the observations (picture), was just one of several active volcanoes witnessed in action (picture).  They measured lava temperatures nearly 2000° F. – consistent with basaltic lavas and not requiring “exotic high temperature magmas” inferred from some Galileo observations, they claimed (compare this 2002 abstract from Galileo scientists).
  3. Ring things:  Jupiter’s faint rings were the subject of a paper by Showalter et al (picture).4  They were surprised that clumps appeared in some new tenuous rings; these clumps “challenge our theoretical understanding,” they said (movie).  Another puzzle is that “The dusty jovian ring system must be replenished continuously from embedded source bodies,” but they could not find any new small moons capable of feeding the ring system other than the previously-known Metis and Adrastea (movie).  Jupiter’s rings showed significant variation since Galileo: a pattern matched by the thinnest rings at Saturn and Uranus.  “We conclude that the general class of dusty rings may be much more dynamic and time-variable than was previously supposed, with variations on 10- to 20-year time scales not the exception but the norm.
  4. Europa dope:  New Horizons also got looks at Europa and Ganymede.5  It appears that Io is coating Europa with some of the non-ice material observed earlier on “thousand-year time scales” (picture).  The “young” crater Pwyll on Europa showed less contamination than others, supporting the idea that the salty material comes from outside the moon.  If so, this raises hopes that the ocean under the ice is not so salty as to inhibit life (09/17/2002).  Yet if Europa is undergoing “active resurfacing,” as they said, it might seem plausible that the accumulated salts from Io would contaminate the interior ocean over billions of years. 
  5. Ganymede scarface:  Ganymede appears to be accumulating “a globally distributed dark material except where relatively recent impacts have excavated cleaner ice from below the surface.”  New Horizons observed three bright, rayed craters not mapped by earlier missions (picture).
Visit the New Horizons website where there is a gallery of images from the Jupiter flyby.
1.  Joanne Baker, “Grand Tour,” Science, 12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, p. 215, DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5848.215.
2.  Norbert Krupp, “New Surprises in the Largest Magnetosphere of Our Solar System,” Science, 12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, pp. 216-217, DOI: 10.1126/science.1150448.
3.  Spencer et al, “Io Volcanism Seen by New Horizons: A Major Eruption of the Tvashtar Volcano,” Science, 12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, pp. 240-243, DOI: 10.1126/science.1147621.
4.  Showalter et al, “Clump Detections and Limits on Moons in Jupiter’s Ring System,” Science, 12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, pp. 232-234, DOI: 10.1126/science.1147647.
5.  Grundy et al, “New Horizons Mapping of Europa and Ganymede,” Science, 12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, pp. 234-237, DOI: 10.1126/science.1147623.
We could not find where any of the scientists ventured to explain how these short-lived phenomena, sometimes called “dramatic,” could be sustained for 4.5 billion years.  New Horizons has shown that the Jupiter system’s dynamic activity, first observed in 1979 by the Voyagers, was not a fluke.  Volcanic eruptions, ring erosion and active resurfacing have continued unabated for the last 28 years.  How far back in time can these evidences of youth be extended?
    Remember that nearly all of these phenomena were a complete surprise when first discovered.  Believers in a billions-of-years-old solar system did not predict them then, and cannot explain them now.  Some open-minded researcher should take the collective data and model it without the a priori constraint of billions of years.  Planetary science needs new horizons.
Next headline on:  Solar SystemDating Methods
Walking Upright Was a Birth Defect   10/14/2007    
What’s so big about walking upright?  A single birth defect in a human ancestor 21 million years ago could have made it all possible, according to Dr. Aaron Filler (Cedars Sinai Medical Center), a specialist in the spine.
    According to EurekAlert, he proposes that in the “hominiform hominoid” Morotopithecus, a sibling was born with its horizontal septum transposed behind the lumbar region of the spine.  This would have made its normal knuckle-walking gait inefficient.  The child must have stood upright for relief.

  “Any mammal with this set of changes would only be comfortable standing upright,” he said.  “I would envision this malformed young hominiform – the first true ancestral human – as standing upright from a young age while its siblings walked around on all fours.
According to the article, this idea “greatly demotes the importance of the bipedalism of Australopithecus species such as Lucy,” because walking upright was already old hat by then.  In fact, the septum pattern found in his assumed upright-walking hominoids is as old as some invertebrates.  Filler seems to be proposing upright posture not for any particular functional reason but as a mistake.  “From an embryological point of view,” he remarked, “what took place is literally breathtaking.
So the Ugly Duckling of an early hominoid family found a sweetheart with the same birth defect and the two lived happily ever after, having lots of children that became medical doctors and philosophers.  He’s right; for a story devoid of sense or evidence, this one is literally breathtaking.  Better re-read the 11/18/2004 entry to recall all the other birth defects Dr. Filler forgot to fill out.
Next headline on:  Early ManDumb Ideas
Inner Ear More Complex than Thought   10/13/2007    
Another level of complexity has been added to the mystery of hearing.  Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that another membrane in the cochlea of the inner ear, once thought to be passive, is actively involved in transmitting sound waves to the hair cell receptors.  Their work was published in PNAS.1
    For years, researchers have focused on the basilar membrane (BM) in the cochlea as the transmitter of sound waves to the hair cells.  A smaller and more delicate structure, the tectorial membrane (TM), on the other side of the hair cells, was not known to take part in the transmission of sound.  The MIT team carefully extracted tectorial membranes from guinea pig ears and observed their response to sound with extremely sensitive laser instruments able to measure nanometer-scale displacements.  To their surprise, they found not only that the TM transmits sound information just like the basilar membrane, but it does so at right angles – transverse instead of longitudinal.  They believe this dual mechanism feeds the brain with much more information than could one wave alone:
In short, the ear can mechanically translate sounds into two different kinds of wave motion at once.  These waves can interact to excite the hair cells and enhance their sensitivity, “which may help explain how we hear sounds as quiet as whispers,” says Aranyosi.  The interactions between these two wave mechanisms may be a key part of how we are able to hear with such fidelity – for example, knowing when a single instrument in an orchestra is out of tune.
    “We know the ear is enormously sensitive” in its ability to discriminate between different kinds of sound, Freeman says.  “We don’t know the mechanism that lets it do that.”  The new work has revealed “a whole new mechanism that nobody had thought of.  It’s really a very different way of looking at things.”
And just how sensitive is the inner ear?  According to Werner Gitt in his delightful book The Wonder of Man (CLV, 1999), the hair cells in the cochlea provide us the ability to hear sound intensities over a range of a million million to one.  “This is an astonishing feat,” he said, “since it is accomplished with just one range of measurement.  No known technical measuring apparatus can do this without switching from one range to another” (p. 23).
    In addition, our ability to discriminate pitches is “astonishingly good,” allowing us to detect differences of 0.3% over a range of 10 octaves (p. 24).  The actual movement of hair cells is about 100 picometers, or one thousand millionth of a centimeter – about the size of a few atoms (p. 28).  The ear is probably our most sensitive organ.  Under ideal conditions a human can hear a 3kHz note having an energy level of only 4 x 10-17 watts per square meter – and adjust automatically to sound waves more energetic by 12 orders of magnitude.
    Now, it appears that an additional mechanism that helps explain this astonishing sensitivity of the inner ear has been found.  Presumably this mechanism is present in all mammals.  Although the authors did not discuss the brain response, it stands to reason that if the amount of information transmitted by the ear is higher, the auditory cortex in the brain must be correspondingly more complex to receive and interpret the information.  The authors did not mention evolution in their paper, nor did the MIT press release.
1.  Ghaffari, Aranyosi, and Freeman, “Longitudinally propagating traveling waves of the mammalian tectorial membrane,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print October 9, 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0703665104.
Please, Darwin Party hacks, listen carefully: tell us how guinea pigs figured this out. [pause] We can’t hear you.  We know it’s not because our ears are incapable of hearing your response.  This allows us to conclude your silence is your answer.  Sorry; for a world view aspiring to explain all of reality, forfeit is not an option.
Further reading:  See a discussion of the sense of hearing from a creationist perspective at ARN.  Dr. Howard Glickman’s in-depth article contains diagrams and illustrations, including one showing the relationship of the basilar and tectorial membranes.  This article is part of this medical doctor’s series on the human body called Exercise Your Wonder.
Next headline on:  Human BodyMammalsPhysicsAmazing Facts
  Could cave fish go blind on purpose?  from 10/18/2004.

Microsoft Billionaire Puts His Money Where His Darwinism Is   10/12/2007    
Paul Allen is spending millions on humanitarian causes: not the cure of disease or the end of poverty, but on helping humans recognize that they evolved from space dust (see next entry).  This, presumably, brings enlightenment.
    Shortly after 9/11, the PBS series Evolution made its debut, thanks to a large endowment from Allen, co-founder of Microsoft (09/24/2001).  Now, according to News Blaze, his money is backing a NOVA production that will try to head off at the pass the non-evolutionary idea of intelligent design.  Allen’s version of the Dover trial, Kitzmiller vs. Dover School District will, judging from the producer’s statements, the film, Judgment Day, side with the plaintiffs who called intelligent design a “thinly veiled form of creationism, the view that a literal interpretation of the Bible accounts for all observed facts about nature.”  This stands in contrast to evolution, naturally, which amounts to established scientific fact:

“Judgment Day captures on film a landmark court case with a powerful scientific message at its core,” said Paula S. Apsell, NOVA Senior Executive Producer.  “Evolution is one of the most essential and least understood of all scientific theories, the foundation of biological science.  We felt it was important for NOVA to do this program to heighten the public understanding of what constitutes science and what does not, and therefore, what is acceptable for inclusion in the science curriculum in our public schools.”
This fits with the mission of Allen’s company, Vulcan Productions.  It is devoted to producing films that explore “creative opportunities that result in engaging and inspirational storytelling
“Vulcan Productions has long been committed to the subject of evolution and its teaching,” remarked Vulcan Productions Executive Producer, Richard Hutton.  “When we co-produced the Evolution series with the WGBH Science Unit in 2001, we set out to bring the richness of Darwin’s theory to life.  The story of the Dover trial gives us another opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to helping audiences understand the nature of science through elegant and compelling storytelling.
To make sure some observational evidence can back up the storytelling, Allen supported the construction of a radio telescope array for SETI at Hat Creek, California – the Allen Telescope Array (see 08/17/2007).  42 of the planned 350 six-meter dishes are in place – enough to start getting some work done.  New Scientist reported that the facility has just begun operations.  It will spend half its resources doing routine astronomy surveys, but the priority is on SETI (the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence).  “Crucially, SETI astronomers will be able to commandeer the telescope for their own exclusive use when necessary,”  the article said.  Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute added, “I’ll also have some time when I can say, all right, now SETI is going to decide where to point the telescope.”
The Darwin Party Vulcans and the Intelligent Design Visigoths are fighting an uneven battle in the media.  Paul Allen’s prior Evolution film project was thoroughly debunked by the Discovery Institute (see ReviewEvolution.com), and the Dover trial propaganda was thoroughly dismantled in their book Traipsing into Evolution.  Don’t expect to see any of this detailed analysis and damaging information included in the Vulcan film.  By their own admission, they are not committed to telling the truth, but to “compelling storytelling.”  Hasn’t that been the problem from the beginning of the Darwin wars? (12/22/2003).  Unfortunately, multibillionaires are in short supply to fund ID films (e.g., Illustra Media, which operates on a shoestring).  Fortunately, ID films tend to be far more credible to viewers and tend to get widely distributed via word of mouth advertising.
    When watching Star Trek, most people realize that Vulcan Spock’s dispassionate logic is just part of the fantasy.  Don’t expect any logic from the Darwin Party Vulcans at the SETI Institute if they find an unexplained signal in an Allen dish some day.  While inferring that they found an intelligent signal that was designed, they will conclude that the creatures with whom they are communicating evolved from space dust (12/03/2005).  That’s only logical if you mind-meld with a rock.
Next headline on:  SETIMediaEvolutionIntelligent DesignEducation
Dust Became Knowledge   10/11/2007    
The Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week award goes to an Associated Press article reporting on a finding from the Spitzer Space Telescope.  It began in a very matter-of-fact manner, claiming that the one of the biggest questions of philosophy is being answered by dust.

  Astronomers have taken a baby step in trying to answer the cosmic question of where we come from.
    Planets and much on them, including humans, come from dust -- mostly from dying stars.  But where did the dust that helped form those early stars come from?
    A NASA telescope may have spotted one of the answers.  It’s in the wind bursting out of super-massive black holes.
Some humans may not take kindly to the assertion that they came from a black hole breaking wind.  But one astronomer added just as confidently, “In the end, everything comes from space dust.  It’s putting all the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out where we came from.”
    Surely there must be some observational evidence to support such a monumental claim that we came from dust in the wind.  The Spitzer team detected dust around one quasar 8 billion light-years away.  This, the story goes, shows that dust is a building block of us: “Dust is important in the cooling process to make stars, which are predominantly gas.  The leftover dust tends to clump together to make planets, comets and asteroids,” the article explained.  The claim that we are leftovers does not seem to be helping our self-esteem after the prior insult.
    Another astronomer claimed that the discovery is “an important step in answering a fundamental mystery of the early universe.”  The original press release from the Spitzer Team said a pretty face is like a melody: “The hit song that proclaimed, ‘All we are is dust in the wind,’ may have some cosmic truth to it.”
Let’s ponder this profound display of wisdom.  Babies make baby steps, it is true, but do they know where they are going?  Do they make a straight line toward knowledge?  or even an indirect line?  Babies don’t ask fundamental questions, nor do they presume to have the answers before taking their baby steps.  One moment after stepping toward daddy, they may do an about face toward mommy, or make a right-angle turn, or collapse in a heap on the rug.
    If this analogy represents the kind of steps science is making in its pursuit of knowledge about “where we came from,” is it not possible that numerous about-faces and collapses could occur before they answer the question?  And if so, might not the final answer be completely different, that we did not come from space dust?
    The presumptuousness of scientists these days knows no bounds.  Here they are just starting to take baby steps, and they already know the answer to the biggest question that has occupied the greatest minds for thousands of years.  If knowledge is defined as a justified true belief, then it is hard to call knowledge anything that originates in dust blowing in the wind.
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  Collagen and a car that extracts energy from the road, from 10/01/2004.

Make Your Face Sparkle With Diatoms   10/10/2007    
Human engineers may join forces with cellular architects to produce the next generation of paints, cosmetics and holograms, reported Science Daily.  Scientists are finding ways to harness the rapid growth of diatoms. 

Manufacturing consumer products with these properties currently requires energy-intensive, high-temperature, high-pressure industrial processes that create tiny artificial reflectors.  But farming diatom shells, which essentially harnesses a natural growth process, could provide an alternative that takes place at normal room temperature and pressure, dramatically reducing energy needs and so cutting carbon dioxide emissions.  The process is also extremely rapid -- in the right conditions, one diatom can give rise to 100 million descendants in a month.
The products are also biodegradable and have a low carbon footprint.  Someday the holograms on your credit card, the shimmering fabric in your clothes, and the sparkle in your face may owe their dazzle to miniature glass-makers of the sea, diatoms.
The picture of the five-pointed star diatom in the Science Daily article is worth a thousand words.  How did a little one-celled organism figure that out?  And why?  Surely a plain pill box would have sufficed for survival, but God gave living things beauty as well as function.  Search on Diatoms in the search box above for more fascinating facts about these creatures and how they grow their exquisite glass houses.
Next headline on:  BiomimeticsCell BiologyMarine LifeAmazing Facts
The Daily Dinosaur Media   10/09/2007    
Dinosaur discoveries continue to make news.  Here are some recent findings by those who dig getting out and digging for what they can get out:
  1. Giant Ascending the Grand Staircase:  A new species of duck-billed dinosaur was found in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, reported Science Daily, EurekAlert, Live Science and National Geographic.  High school students helped find this giant of a hadrosaur that was named Gryposaurus monumentensis.  It was 30 feet long and stood 10 feet tall.  And what did it eat with its 800 teeth and massive jaws?  Plants, they think: “While the diet is unknown, given the considerable size of the creature, the massive teeth and jaws are thought to have been used to slice up large amounts of tough, fibrous plant material.”  Its hundreds of teeth recycled like a conveyor belt, giving it continual biting power.  They believe it was buried in the bend of a river.  It was found “exquisitely preserved.”
        The remote Kaiparowitz Formation northwest of Lake Powell, where this dinosaur was found, is largely unexplored.  A number of other dinosaurs have been discovered in it, along with fish, lizards and mammals – but the findings may represent only 5% of what remains to be found.
  2. Chinese Boxer:  The reconstruction of Suzhousaurus megatherioides, a new species of therizinosaur found in northwest China, looks like a long-necked wrestler or boxer.  But this fighter wasn’t out for blood; Live Science said that therizinosaurs are considered theropods that “went vegetarian.”  National Geographic called it a “weird dinosaur” because it was large, long-necked, short-tailed and had long arms with three claws each.  Unlike the short-armed, carnivorous T. rex theropod, maybe this one wrestled plants to the ground.  The article claims that the earliest North American therizinosaur dates from 90 million years, but S. megatherioides dates from 115 million years.  This would mean the group took 15 million years to discover North America.  It would also mean that the first therizinosaurs were huge, and evolved smaller over that time.
  3. Rex was here:  The BBC News reported the discovery of a possible T. rex footprint in Montana.  The three-toed print would fill a square meter.
  4. Dead Loch Ness monster:  A plesiosaur vertebrum was found in Northern Ireland, the BBC News said.  Many think the Loch Ness monster resembled this long-necked, flippered swimmer, and now a rare fossil of a plesiosaur has been found in that part of the world.  A museum curator “examined the fossil and believes it could be 190 million years old.”  Ichthyosaurs and shark teeth have also been found at the site on the Colin River.
On the home front, Walking with Dinosaurs, the traveling stage show, is currently drawing crowds in the eastern United States.  Brendan Maher reported for Nature (09/27/2007, pp. 395-396) that hundreds of children are flocking to the shows to see their favorite monsters.  The $20 million production, equipped with animatronic giants and puppets, tells “the tale of the dinosaurs’ 160-million-year lease on Earth.”  Ken Lacovia, a paleontologist who watched the show with Maher, was pleased to see all the kids in the Philadelphia sports arena.  He portrayed dinosaurs as “a gateway drug for the sciences,” to which Maher added, “A lot of kids scored tonight.”
So, by their own admission, the Darwinists are tempting children with gateway drugs to get them high on their tales of millions of years of senseless evolution.  They should be arrested.*
*arrest, v.: 1. to hold back, as of a danger or an enemy; check the expansion or influence of; “Arrest the downward trend”; “Check the growth of communism”; “Contain the rebel movement”;
2. An interference with or a checking of the regular course of a disease or symptom.
For some interpretations of dinosaur fossils you are not likely to hear about in the Darwin puppet show, see Creation on the Web 1, 2, 3.  And think about the evidence presented above: exquisite preservation, burial of a large creature in mud, worldwide distribution, decrease in size over time.  Do the evolutionary stories of millions of years make sense?
Next headline on:  DinosaursFossilsEducationMedia
Will Darwinism End With a Big Bang?   10/08/2007    
We may be seeing the end of Darwinism as we know it.  Eugene Koonin of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, has written a devastating critique of traditional Darwinism in an open-source journal, Biology Direct.1  Koonin, an evolutionist himself, basically said that all major life forms, with all their complexity, appear suddenly in the record without intermediate forms, and this fact can no longer be denied.
Major transitions in biological evolution show the same pattern of sudden emergence of diverse forms at a new level of complexity.  The relationships between major groups within an emergent new class of biological entities are hard to decipher and do not seem to fit the tree pattern that, following Darwin’s original proposal, remains the dominant description of biological evolution.  The cases in point include the origin of complex RNA molecules and protein folds; major groups of viruses; archaea and bacteria, and the principal lineages within each of these prokaryotic domains; eukaryotic supergroups; and animal phyla.  In each of these pivotal nexuses in life’s history, the principal “types” seem to appear rapidly and fully equipped with the signature features of the respective new level of biological organization.  No intermediate “grades” or intermediate forms between different types are detectable.
We saw Koonin a few months ago wondering what human-like genes were doing in a sea anemone (07/08/2007).  Last year, he was wondering about the origin of introns (03/09/2006).  It seems these and other evolutionary puzzles have taken their toll.
    In place of traditional Darwinian theory, Koonin proposed a new hypothesis: the “Biological Big Bang” (BBB).  He drew parallels with the inflationary big bang of cosmology:
I propose that most or all major evolutionary transitions that show the “explosive” pattern of emergence of new types of biological entities correspond to a boundary between two qualitatively distinct evolutionary phases.  The first, inflationary phase is characterized by extremely rapid evolution driven by various processes of genetic information exchange, such as horizontal gene transfer, recombination, fusion, fission, and spread of mobile elements.  These processes give rise to a vast diversity of forms from which the main classes of entities at the new level of complexity emerge independently, through a sampling process.  In the second phase, evolution dramatically slows down, the respective process of genetic information exchange tapers off, and multiple lineages of the new type of entities emerge, each of them evolving in a tree-like fashion from that point on.
But is this just an argument from analogy?  What possible relevance does the physical origin of universe have to the biological development of species?  It appears that Koonin’s hypothesis was motivated not so much from the plausibility of comparing life to the sudden origin of the universe from nothing, but by the observational facts: it became clear to him that life did not evolve by Darwin’s slow, branching method.
    Koonin’s paper shows a “bush of life” instead of Darwin’s tree of life.  The diagram shows a variety of lineages all emerging suddenly from a center point.  He describes how in almost every sphere, from protein folds to the major kingdoms of life to the animal phyla, a tree pattern cannot be found.  Instead, sudden emergence, with all the complexity in place from the start, is the rule.  He admits, for instance, that the Cambrian Explosion (see 10/04/2007), a “highly publicized enigma,” is unlikely to be solved by proposing molecular changes in the Precambrian.  “In an already familiar pattern,” he said, “the relationship between the animal phyla remains controversial and elusive.”
    Koonin drew attention to other writers who have noted the same patterns: Carl Woese, Stephen Jay Gould, Cavalier-Smith, and most recently Doolittle and Bapteste (see 02/01/2007).  There is no universal tree of life.  Evolutionists need to face that fact and come up with alternatives.  Will his Biological Big Bang stand up to critical review by fellow evolutionists?
    It did not escape Koonin’s notice, nor that of the reviewers, that his hypothesis would be latched onto by creationists and promoters of intelligent design theory (ID).  William Martin (U of Dusseldorf) looked at this statement in the paper: “In each major class of biological objects, the principal types emerge ‘ready-made’, and intermediate grades cannot be identified” and had this reaction: “Ouch, that will be up on ID websites faster than one can bat an eye.”  Koonin knew that his ideas could be grist for the ID mill, but answered that even though he tried to avoid ID allusions, he had to face the situation as honestly as possible:
.... there is little I can do because this is an important sentence that accurately and clearly portrays a crucial and, to the very best of my understanding, real feature of evolutionary transitions.  Will this be used by the ID camp?  Perhaps – if they read that far into the paper.  However, I am afraid that, if our goal as evolutionary biologists is to avoid providing any grist for the ID mill, we should simply claim that Darwin, “in principle”, solved all the problems of the origin of biological complexity in his eye story, and only minor details remain to be filled in.  Actually, I think the position of some ultra-darwinists is pretty close to that.  However, I believe that this is totally counter-productive and such a notion is outright false.  And, the ID folks are clever in their own perverse way, they see through such false simplicity and seize on it.  I think we (students of evolution) should openly admit that emergence of new levels of complexity is a complex problem and should try to work out solutions some of which could be distinctly non-orthodox....
After this, he assured himself that ID doesn’t offer a viable answer to any problem.  Presumably this means that materialism is safe, in his view.  It follows that any radically unorthodox naturalistic answer is better than the current paradigm which is no longer tenable.
    Nicholas Matzke (formerly of the National Center for Science Education, NCSE) noticed this paper and left his calling card at the Reader’s Comments.  “Well,” he began dryly, “since it is clear that this paper will be on every ID/creationist blog on the planet in under 12 hours, I might as well put in my 2 cents early.”  Matzke defended the traditional slow-and-gradual Darwinism.  Surprisingly, one of his defenses was to claim that the Linnean category of phylum is an illusion.  “Down with phyla!” he shouted.  His other arguments disputed that the apparent sudden transitions were inaccessible to gradualistic interpretations.
    In his concluding remarks, Matzke acknowledged that shoving this problem under the rug is counter-productive.
Until this week I worked at the National Center for Science Education, where we oppose the ID/creationists and develop a finely-tuned sense of the sorts of things they will pluck from the literature and desperately portray as evidence that they aren’t completely nuts.  However, I am well aware that telling scientists to censor themselves to avoid giving creationists talking points is a non-starter, so hopefully my comments came out as being substantive rather than just the boring voice of orthodoxy.
Since the complete paper and Matzke’s rebuttal are online and freely available, the reader can decide who is desperately portraying themselves as not completely nuts.
Update 10/22/2007: Another molecular biologist has commented on the paper (see Comments).  Shi Liu of the Eagle Institute of Molecular Medicine in North Carolina was not surprised because he had already proposed a similar biological big bang back in 1991.  His ending comment might jolt awake some historians of science:
Thus, while we may still appreciate the role of Darwin in helping scientists wining [sic] a upper [sic] hand in fighting against the creationists for filling our intellectual void of understanding life’s origin and evolution, we must realize that Darwin’s fetal [sic?] mistakes have also misled science into a dead end of fruitless search for the non-existent last common ancestor (LCA) and some useless constructions of some untruthful universal tree of life (TOL).
This quote might be compared with Doolittle and Bapteste’s illustration of the “the ladder that helped the community to climb the wall of acceptance and understanding of evolutionary process” (see 02/01/2007 entry and commentary).  Liu apparently agrees with them that “now that we have climbed it,” (i.e., winning the war against the creationists), “we do not need this ladder anymore.”  See Big Lie in the Baloney Detector.
1Eugene V. Koonin, “The Biological Big Bang model for the major transitions in evolution,” Biology Direct 2007, 2:21doi:10.1186/1745-6150-2-21.
We are at a critical time in the history of ideas.  Marx fell, Freud fell, and now Darwin is in free-fall with little hope of recovery.  It’s a little like the Yeltsin stage of the fall of Russian communism.  It was late summer of 1991.  Gorbachev had softened up the West with talk of an ease of tensions, but this allowed his rival Boris Yeltsin to amass a large popular following.  Fearful of Yeltsin’s popularity among the masses, the hardline communist party bosses put Gorbachev on house arrest, staged a coup and re-seized power.  But it was a complete joke.  Boris was outside with the people, standing on a tank with a bullhorn receiving cheers from the freedom-hungry crowds, while TV cameras showed the communist bosses inside their fortress with trembling hands, reading prepared statements claiming they were still in control.  Other Soviet officials in the room were clearly drunk.  This could not have happened were not evident to everyone that Marxism-Leninism had decayed from within and could no longer support the power structure erected around it.
    Nobody is going to fall for Koonin’s BBB model of evolution.  It is tantamount to believing in miracles.  Cosmic inflation, even if there were such a thing, says nothing about the origin of information, genetic codes, body plans and all the other things Darwin needed to explain.  Like Marxism, Darwinism was an ideology that sounded good on paper.  It fueled a lot of revolutionary fervor in its day.  In practice, though, it quickly became a dead orthodoxy.  It had to be enforced by totalitarian thought police and by waves of purges.  In a stunning repeat of recent history, we see today the Darwin Party bosses preaching their Darwinist dogma and claiming everything is under control, when in their heart of hearts they know it doesn’t fit the way the world is.
    If this is indeed the Yeltsin stage of the fall of Darwinism, the next steps are critical to the future of Western civilization.  Yeltsin stood at a tipping point in Russian history but was too tipsy to take advantage of it.  His penchant for vodka, and his lack of personal integrity, led to his becoming an embarrassing footnote to the story of the Soviet empire’s demise.  Koonin is the Gorbachev figure.  He recognizes that it is no longer a viable policy to pretend that “business as usual” can forestall a collapse.  He offers perestroika, an easing of tensions, to appeal to the masses who are leaning toward the Reaganesque doctrine of intelligent design, recognizing full well that Reagan supporters will capitalize on this perceived weakness of Soviet ideology.  Outside, ID supporters are winning the hearts and minds of the world with their shouts of Tear down this wall.  Matzke is the Soviet hardliner wanting to rein in Gorby Koonin before he opens the floodgates of mass revolt.  His restatement of traditional Darwin doctrine, however, is unlikely to convince knowledgeable insiders, or stop the momentum of intelligent design.
    What happens next is anyone’s guess.  The Darwin Party still wields tremendous power.  It is very possible they will continue to succeed with “business as usual” through exercise of raw power or subterfuge (threats, intimidation, decrees by judges, and official propaganda).  This could keep the status quo going for many years.  But the empirical engine of Darwin’s balloon is dead; how long can they keep it aloft with their own hot air?  Meanwhile, onlookers see the intelligent design balloon reaching new heights.  The hardliners can’t hide the truth much longer.
    Change could happen very fast.  All that is needed is for enough high-ranking Darwin Party officials to break ranks, and you could see a rapid mass exodus of scientists confessing “I never really believed all that stuff, anyway.”  (Is this possible?  Read this article on Evolution News).  Darwinism is as unnecessary to science as a parade float is to the vehicle underneath.  Evolutionary explanations are, like NAS member Phil Skell noted, a mere narrative gloss after the engine of science has done the work (02/28/2006).  Darwinists have erected huge, elaborate floats on the engines of science, parading their materialist ideology down main street, where Grand Marshall Charlie can display his imperial new clothes.  Science got by just fine without all the decor.  The Darwin parade serves the interests of the regime, not the interests of scientists.  Science will be less burdened and free to explore the open roads of evidence when its engines are no longer obligated to perform rituals for the regime.
    If change does come rapidly, we must also learn from recent Russian history that not all change was for the better.  Here we are, 16 years after one of the most dramatic bloodless revolutions in history, and the Russian people are once again victims of a virtual dictatorship.  What happened?  It was almost too good.  TV viewers around the world were astonished to see jubilant crowds hammering down the Berlin wall, and around Moscow the police joining the masses in support of free speech and freedom of religion.  The faces of peasants were euphoric with the hope of freedom.  But the Union unraveled; each former Soviet republic pulled away, and in some cases, imposed even stricter regimes on their people.  Some of these independent states (especially the ones ending in -stan) are persecuting Christians as harshly as the Stalinists did but under a different ideology.
    Another problem was that the fall of the Iron Curtain opened the door not just for solid humanitarian and Christian missions that had so long been prohibited, but also for cults and charlatans.  The influx of cultists prompted the government to crack down on all but the “official” Russian Orthodox Church, leading to some of the same violations of human rights as before but for different reasons.  The Russian government found itself unprepared to deal with these challenges, and the people were unaccustomed to the responsibilities of living in a free society.  Dictatorship is always a quick fix to social turmoil.  So now, we have Vladimir Putin, a former Soviet KGB boss, ruling Russia much like a Romanov or Kruschev.
    Darwinism is, of course, an intellectual rather than a political ideology, but there are enough parallels and overlaps to provide warning.  When Darwinism falls, will cults demand equal time for their scientific views?  Will this prompt a crackdown that lets in some views and persecutes others?  Who is to decide?  What will get funded?  How do we allow a wide spectrum of people with different belief systems to be involved in scientific institutions, without making them the toy of any and every ideology that wants to leverage science’s perceived epistemic authority?  Here are some principles for post-Darwinist science.
  1. Keep science out of the worldview business.  Whether Darwin intended it or not, his disciples got carried away trying to explain ultimate origins and ultimate destiny.  Scientists in their day-to-day operations have no business speculating about matters that are the domain of theologians and philosophers.  As individual thinkers and citizens, they are certainly free to write and publish their own opinions about such things on their own time and dime, but should not receive federal grants to speculate on matters that go far beyond the evidence.
  2. Restrict scientific work to matters of observation:  The work that receives funding and support should be observable, testable, and repeatable.  It should promise practical applications that support the government and the taxpayers, because they have a right to expect ROI (return on investment).  This should have no impact on the bulk of the legitimate sciences, but will keep out the cultists as well as the Darwinists.  No one need worry that authors of journal papers will praise Allah or Moroni, but neither should Darwinists be able any more to rhapsodize about their father figure in Nature or Science.  No more just-so storytelling.  No more attributing any and all observations (human morals, homologies, biodiversity) to Darwinian mechanisms based on materialistic presuppositions.  If it is not observable, testable and repeatable, it’s out of bounds.
        It is true that science depends on certain presuppositions that are not themselves matters of science, such as regularity and the reliability of sense impressions, but those who evaluate an individual’s work do not need to know or care about his or her private world view.  They can judge the quality of the work by its fruits.
  3. Discontinue use of the E-word in biology.  Microevolution is uncontroversial but is often invoked as evidence for macroevolution when it is no such thing.  Both Koonin and young-earth creationists allow for significant variation within lineages, but calling this evolution will only continue to obfuscate and equivocate.  The E-word has become so encrusted with philosophical baggage it should be avoided.  Use variation instead.  Reserve evolution for reminiscing about Darwinian macroevolution (that defunct idea once taught as fact).
  4. Demote the status of scientific consensus.  As we see from the downfall of Darwinism, having a scientific consensus confers no guarantees of a theory being correct.  “All scientists accept evolution” was trumpeted ad nauseum in the face of creationists.  Well, “all” scientists (an exaggeration) were wrong, then.  The history of science is replete with cases of the scientific consensus being on the losing side.  While following a consensus may be a pragmatic necessity when politicians need to formulate a policy under time pressure (depending on the degree of confidence one can have in the verifiability of the theory), scientists must stop making claims that consensus represents truth.  One maverick who’s right trumps a hundred who agree with each other, as King Ahab found out the hard way (I Kings 22).
  5. Keep science out of politics.  It is no secret that the big journals and research labs are almost uniformly left-leaning, socialist and liberal, feeling entitled to all the money they want for anything they want to do.  This must stop.  Universities and journals must open their doors and welcome scientists of all religious and political stripes provided they do good lab work.  They should be graded on the quality and fruitfulness of their experimental work and the persuasiveness of their scientific reasoning.  If an individual scientist has strong feelings about matters beyond science, no one is stopping him or her playing the marketplace of ideas outside the science lab.
  6. Never forget.  The extent of hubris and control exercised by Darwinists, and the persecution that followed, must remain a stern lesson to scientists in the post-Darwin world.  Budding scientists must be trained in humility and restraint about their work.  Science is not a pathway to ultimate truth.  Insights from other fields (history, theology, philosophy) must be respected.  Quotes by dogmatic Darwinists of the past should be held up to public scorn repeatedly as an antidote to those who would try it again.
  7. Persuade, don’t legislate.  Science is supposed to be part of the open marketplace of ideas.  There should be no place for prior restraint of one’s beliefs.  Mavericks have often proved to trump the consensus.  The question is not whether one is in the majority or minority, but how one can prove one’s theory is right.
This partial list can help science recover from decades of abuse by the Darwin Party.  Creationists and intelligent design people can now have a seat at the table.  They must not become the new dogmatists.  The Islam of Harun Yahya is a real concern if it were able to co-opt science and make it the lapdog of Islamic totalitarianism (cf. Lysenko in Stalinist Russia), but if the Turkish creationists are obligated to show observability, testability and repeatability like everyone else, they will have to win by persuasion and the quality of their operational science, not by coercion.  Civilization cannot exercise prior restraint against a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness or Hindu who has a scientific hypothesis.  The burden of proof, though, is on the scientist.  Whether or not it gets funded is a different question, but science as an endeavor to find truth about the natural world cannot know where the next great insight will come from.  Does the hypothesis explain the phenomenon convincingly?  Does it lead to further insights that are observable, testable and repeatable?  Most likely the cults will not do very well at this game.  The demise of Darwinism should remind us, however, of the power of an entrenched dogma to stifle free inquiry for a century.
    A word to two groups of Darwinists: the incorrigible hardliners and the disillusioned scientists.  Hardliners take warning: we have over a century of quotes by your dogmatic brethren, and we are not going to let you forget what they said.  You have been the most intransigent, puffed-up and combative people of the 20th century.  If you think you can just lay low and wait for this ID wave to pass, so that you can seize power again, we are onto your tricks.  School boards and universities take heed: accepting hardline Darwinists into the discussion is as risky as letting Lenin or Osama run for Parliament.  There are certain people who will use the institutions of free inquiry and democracy for revolutionary ends, and then will destroy those very freedoms once empowered.  Beware.
    To the disillusioned researcher, we offer a word of comfort.  It is hard for anyone when the basis for a strongly-held belief system evaporates.  Many questions follow from the collapse of a belief.  We want you to know that Christian creationists (contrary to adherents of some religions that would try to terrorize or pressure you into conformity) are accepting and forgiving.  They believe in reasoning with love.  There are Christians who would like nothing better than to help you work through these issues.  If you write our Feedback line, we will try to link you up with someone you can talk to privately without pressure or obligation.  Don’t despair about your scientific career, either.  There is a great future in post-Darwinist science.  Look at the wonderful gains being made in biomimetics, systems biology, and biomedical research – each of which owe nothing to Darwin.  Evolutionary theory, in fact, appears more like a parasite than a vitamin to biology.  There is still a place for the study of natural variation among populations, without the assumption that an unguided mechanism is able to generate new complex information.  Most of biology will get by just fine after the Darwinian storytelling fluff is no longer fashionable.
    Finally, to creationists and proponents in ID, realize that the transformation to a post-Darwinist world is going to be a long haul.  The collapse of Soviet communism was not the end of communism.  In fact, Marxist ideology continues unabated and vicious in Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, China, and American universities.  Dogmatic Darwinism is not going away any time soon.  The debate may open up, and alternative viewpoints may finally get a hearing, but gaining a hearing is not the same as being heard.  Materialism for many is too seductive a philosophy to give up; expect battles long after the war is won.
    Now, therefore, more than ever, is the time to become knowledgeable about the creation-evolution controversy.  Complacency is not an option.  Good and bad things will try to fill the vacuum left by Darwin.  What follows the collapse of Darwinism could be worse than what preceded it, unless freedom-loving minds stay alert and take the initiative to produce a better scientific enterprise for all.  Get informed, get active, get prepared.  Stay tuned here for the latest developments.
Next headline on:  DarwinismIntelligent Design
Crow Cam Lets Scientists See Intelligence at Work   10/07/2007    
Ever want to fly like a bird?  Now you can do the next best thing: get a tail-feather view of what it is like to fly from branch to branch.  University of Oxford scientists attached a small video camera to the underside of a New Caledonian Crow to watch it in the wild, reported PhysOrg.  The BBC News report includes video clips you can watch.  National Geographic News said this is one of the first uses of this ultra-light camera technology.  It will allow us to follow small animals around in their own world.
    New Caledonian crows fascinate scientists because of their exceptional tool-using ability (see 02/23/2007, 08/09/2002).  The camera-equipped crow did not disappoint.  It not only used tools made out of grass stems; it stored its best ones for later use.
    Noting that this species of crow appears to be the only non-primate animal known to use tools, the BBC article said, “The team is using its video footage to investigate why New Caledonian crows might have evolved their tool-using abilities.  One idea was that “the behaviour may have evolved in response to food shortages.”
Can we please just enjoy these amazing animals without making up myths that a drought made them invent intelligence without primate help?
    The Necessity-is-the-Mother-of-Invention theory of evolution leaves unexplained how the right genetic mutations converged on combinatorial solutions to a problem, nor what intelligence is, nor why many creatures go extinct in a drought instead of inventing intelligence.  Evolution provides only useless speculation that does no heavy lifting in scientific explanation.
    Birds are wonderfully designed animals.  Evolutionists cannot even explain beak length, let alone the whole bird (08/24/2005).  Look at the Darwinians violate their own principles: they phrased the sentence “crows might have evolved their tool-using abilities.”  Well, then, they might not have evolved them, too.  Why is this prospect never considered?
    If they are assuming evolution to find out if evolution occurred, they are begging the question.  Their wording doesn’t make any sense.  A bird would have to have intelligence to decide to evolve it, if it even could.  What did these birds do, for crying out loud, mutate their own genes for the purpose of trying to find a brain capable of tool use?  Using the word evolved as a purposeful word violates Charlie’s core principle that natural selection be unguided and purposeless.  Only the presupposition of creation tolerates a proposition about The Purpose-Driven Bird (04/20/2006, bullet 3).
Next headline on:  BirdsAmazing Facts
Nanofabrication Imitates Shells, Butterflies   10/07/2007    
A new plastic “strong as steel” has been manufactured according to the specs in seashells, reported PhysOrg.  “By mimicking a brick-and-mortar molecular structure found in seashells, University of Michigan researchers created a composite plastic that’s as strong as steel but lighter and transparent.”  (See these previous entries about how marine organisms manufacture their shells: 06/26/2003, 02/19/2004, 07/26/2004, 07/05/2007).
    Butterflies have inspired the development of new materials with “exceptional and unexpected optical properties.”  EurekAlert reported that the shimmering lights from butterfly wings and peacock feathers do optical tricks.  “Their brightly colored patterns are due to structural variations at the hundreds of nanometers level, which cause them to absorb or reflect light.”  By manufacturing materials with similar optical properties on the nanometer scale, researchers at Northwestern are making “very high quality optical materials with interesting properties.”
Neither article mentioned evolution nor owed any debt to evolutionary theory.
Next headline on:  BiomimeticsMarine LifeTerrestrial Zoology
  Darwin tree-building software plagued with mathematical flaws, from 10/01/2005.

European and American Politicians Attack Creationism   10/06/2007    
Actions of political bodies on both sides of the Atlantic have revived questions about the roles of science, politics and religion in public discourse and policy.
    The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly voted 48 to 25 to accept a resolution denouncing creationism and intelligent design, according to European Observer and Reuters.  The non-binding resolution strongly warned member states against perceived creationist attempts to “infiltrate” schools.  The strongly worded resolution warned that creationism could be a danger not only to science, but to human rights.  Some of the outrage was prompted by a Turkish Islamic group under the name Harun Yahya that had sent creationist materials to many schools throughout Europe (06/22/2007, 11/27/2006).  Last year also, a UK group called Truth in Science had distributed “information packs” with materials promoting intelligent design (see 01/11/2007 bullet 6, 12/08/2006 bullet 2, 10/27/2006, bullet 4, and 10/04/2006, bullet 11). A spokesperson for the vote said the purpose was not to fight any belief, but “to warn against the attempt to pass off a belief -- creationism -- as a science and to teach the theses of this belief in science classes.”  She dubbed intelligent design, which tries to avoid religious questions, as “neo-creationism.”  See the responses to this resolution by Albert Mohler and by Denyse O'Leary.
    In America, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sounded off about the issue of evolution.  After a speech about her science policy, she responded to questions from the New York Times in a phone interview.  Knowing that some Republican candidates had endorsed intelligent design, Clinton said the following, according to Patrick Healy and Cornelia Dean:

I believe in evolution, and I am shocked at some of the things that people in public life have been saying,” Mrs. Clinton said in the interview.  “I believe that our founders had faith in reason and they also had faith in God, and one of our gifts from God is the ability to reason.
    “I am grateful that I have the ability to look at dinosaur bones and draw my own conclusions,” she added, saying, too, that antibiotic-resistant bacteria is evidence that “evolution is going on as we speak.
Clinton characterized the Bush science policy as conducting a “war on science” and vowed to support research on embryonic stem cells and global warming.  She also previously said, “We have to be steered by values and morals.”
Thank you, Hillary Clinton, for shooting materialism in the foot, and evolutionism with it.  If the ability to reason is a gift from God, then it did not evolve.  It means that truth, values and morals also did not evolve.  Materialism, therefore is dead.  Now the issue becomes using our God-given reason.  Come now, and let us reason together.
    Ms. Clinton, have you ever studied philosophy of science?  Are you aware of the difficulties involved in using empirical observations as evidence for a theory?  Do you really think that antibiotic resistance in bacteria constitutes evidence that presidential candidates evolved from bacteria? (see response by Dr. Kevin Anderson in TrueOrigin).  Are you aware of the role of presuppositions in science?  Do you realize that creationists see the very same dinosaur bones you are looking at, and draw their own, very different, conclusions?  On what basis are you defending your right to say the evidence supports evolution instead of creation?  On what basis are you saying that creationists do not have the right to use their reason to come to their conclusions?  If creationists also use their God-given reason to examine the evidence and draw conclusions, on what basis do you call your conclusions scientific and their conclusions unscientific?  What is science?  Is it merely what those in power say it is?  You must be consistent, Ms. Clinton.  You already said reason is God-given.  This means it did not evolve.  You either have to agree with the creationists, then, or else display to the watching world that your reasoning powers are deficient or are driven by political ideology.
    As for the Council of Europe, these people are a lost cause.  They are the same ones that give honors to the likes of Yasser Arafat while engaging in policies that will bring down Western civilization.  Europe is heading for a perfect storm, in which its citizens cannot and will not give up their creature comforts, and are too selfish to have children and raise families, so they import cheap labor from Islamic nations who will be more than happy to tip the population dynamics toward the East.  Muslim immigrants will be keen to “infiltrate” the political and social institutions till, through threats of terror and sheer force of numbers, they will make the “Council” of Europe an arm of Sharia Law.  Having already seen the terror their new neighbors can inflict, the dying Europeans are quick to denounce the one democracy in the middle east (Israel), but are scared spitless about offending Muslims.  So they gag with their cottonmouths against “creationists” who offend the priests of their idol, Charles Darwin.  It’s hard to respect anything these irresponsible heirs of Churchill have to say about anything while their heads are still attached to their necks.  They need medical care, not reason, because their feet are bleeding from self-inflicted bullet holes.
    We’ve already unpacked some of the lies and distortions in their resolution (see 06/22/2007).  Here they are again, creating arbitrary demarcation criteria that no philosopher of science would defend, making bogeymen out of the heirs of Francis Bacon while welcoming anti-Western elements into their failing democracies.  So much for worrying about human rights.  It’s not the Islam of Harun Yahya they fear (they are laying out the welcome mat for that); it’s the evidence that Charlie might be a false god they cannot allow indoctrinated student eyes to see.  None of the creationist groups they worry are “infiltrating” schools were doing anything more than donating free material for consideration.  Presumably, any teacher can simply deposit the material in the circular file, and teach their usual curriculum with complete freedom.  That is not infiltration.  We all receive materials in the mail every day that we have to sort through using our God-given reason, to decide what things merit attention and what should be tossed.  That’s freedom of choice.  Infiltration is what the Darwinists pulled off (read the quote at the top right of last month’s page).
    The Council of Europe totalitarians claim they are not against any “beliefs.”  OK, so let the Turks, the Hindus, the Mormons, and Truth in Science have their day in science court.  Since Darwinism has already been falsified (e.g., 10/19/2004, 12/30/2004, and 10/26/2005 among many examples in these pages), it’s time to evaluate alternatives.  Each group can restrict its theology to their church, temple or mosque, but should have the same right to employ their science, using their God-given reason, to evaluate the observations and draw conclusions.  If Darwin’s theory had been so strong, it would certainly have succeeded in the open marketplace of ideas without the heavily armored shielding its defenders have erected around it.  Now that it’s debunked, Europe had better choose which alternative is more preferable: dialogue with those who want to improve their heads vs dialog with those who want to remove their heads.  If the latter continue to make gains, a reasoned defense may not be enough; Europeans may need the physical defense of Western creationist science that can put out terrorist fires and provide medical aid (see 10/02/2007).
    A little use of God-given reason in the head by Clinton and the Council of Europe would save their necks, let alone their bleeding feet.
Next headline on:  EvolutionIntelligent DesignPolitics and EthicsEducation
Appendix to the Vestigial Organs Story: Whoops, Function Found   10/06/2007    
The appendix is not just a useless organ left over from our evolutionary past, new research is showing.  According to an Associate Press article (see MSNBC News), this “seemingly useless organ may produce, protect good germs for your gut.”  Scientists at Duke University Medical School believe that the appendix can regenerate the normal bacterial flora that aid digestion.
    According to the new theory, “the worm-shaped organ outgrowth acts like a bacteria factory, cultivating the good germs” our digestive system depends on, when disease or diet reduces the bacterial population in the colon.  Science Daily included a profile of William Parker, one of the Duke researchers who discovered the function.
    People in undeveloped countries apparently have lower rates of appendicitis.  The appendicitis attacks in civilized countries may result from an overreaction of the immune system to excessive hygiene, the article suggested.  An inflamed appendix can be deadly and needs to be removed promptly.  This does not imply, however, that it is useless.
    Evolutionists had long considered the appendix as a prime example of a useless vestige from our ancestors.  The fact that humans can get by without it seemed to support this view.  The human appendix is also smaller and more shriveled-looking compared with other mammals.
    In 1895, Weidersheim listed 180 human body parts he considered vestigial remnants of our evolution.  Creationists countered that just because we may not know a part’s function, that does not mean it has none.  They also pointed out that the list of alleged vestigial organs has shrunk from 180 down to just a few (see articles by Jerry Bergman and Jonathan Sarfati and Don Batten).  The concept lives on even today; Live Science lists the human appendix as #1 in their list of Top Ten Vestigial Organs as evidence for evolution.
    Though it’s no longer news that the appendix really is functional (see 08/30/2001 entry and article by Creation Magazine), this new article hints at a previously undiscovered role for the organ: a way for the body to “reboot” the normal flora of the digestive tract.  A scientist from University of Michigan said of another apparently useless organ from Weidersheim’s list, “I’ll bet eventually we’ll find the same sort of thing with the tonsils.
    A scientist from Brandeis University turned some creationist heads, however, when he said that the Duke Medical School explanation “makes evolutionary sense.
Don’t let the Darwinists try to steal glory for Charlie over this.  Consider that Darwin’s theory held up medical research on these supposed vestigial organs for 100 years.  Tonsils were routinely cut out of children’s throats under the assumption they were useless relics of our evolutionary past, only for the victims to discover it made them more susceptible to throat infections.  Though you had better get an appendectomy if you get appendicitis, it seems much wiser principle these days to hang on to all your organs as long as you safely can, because they are there for a reason.
    Now that we have another case of “Vestigial? NOT!”, should we let the Darwinists grin and say that the discovery these organs are functional makes “evolutionary sense”?  There’s an oxymoron for you: evolutionary sense.  Apparently it made just as much evolutionary sense when the appendix had no function as it does now when it has a function.  If that makes evolutionary sense, then evolution’s sense is not worth two cents.
    Like tax-and-spend politicians, the Darwin Party takes credit (08/24/2007) for solutions to problems it created.  Vote the rascals out.
Next headline on:  Human BodyHealthEvolution
Darwin Saves Junk, Makes Treasure Out of It   10/05/2007    
The Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week award goes to a press release from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which began by personifying Evolution1 as a tinkerer in its own junkyard:

  Evolution has mastered the art of turning trash to treasure – though, for scientists, witnessing the transformation can require a bit of patience.  In new genetic research, scientists have traced the 170 million-year evolution of a piece of “junk” DNA to its modern incarnation as an important regulator of energy balance in mammals.
    The discovery, they said, suggests that regions of the genome formerly presumed to be a genetic junkyard may actually be a hardware superstore, providing components that can be used to evolve new genes or new species.
The article went on to speak of genes 170 to 200 million years old that Evolution used as raw material for its innovations – even though the sequences were conserved (i.e., unevolved) all that time.  “We thought we had found the tip of the iceberg of an evolutionary process that started around 200 million years ago,” said Marcelo Rubinstein of HHMI, “and we got really fascinated by the idea of pulling up the entire iceberg from the depths.”  Presumably hardware superstores now carry iceberg lifts.
1.  Darwin himself began the tradition of personifying evolution in his famous quote from The Origin of Species:  “It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, the slightest variations; rejecting those that are bad, preserving or adding up all that are good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers.”
If Darwinist researchers are having a lot of fun, far be it from us to stop them (see 08/17/2007).  Make believe is a fun game.
    If, by any chance, you read this press release and did not get all the jokes, then a serious re-education program is needed.  Please read all the back issues of Creation-Evolution Headlines to heal your funnybone.
Next headline on:  GeneticsDarwinismDumb Ideas
Inca Priests Fattened Children for Slaughter   10/05/2007    
National Geographic News had a disturbing story from archaeological studies of Inca rituals in what is now Peru.  Studies of hair samples and other features in mummies indicate that the Inca warlords fattened up children for up to a year before slaughtering them.  A team that analyzed the mummies believes that captured children were then forced on a grueling pilgrimage, drugged, and sacrificed to their idols.  One of the researchers called it “chilling” that “the children ... were not killed on a whim but were part of a complex process for which they were selected some considerable time before.”  In modern law this is called malice aforethought, but would it be malice in Inca culture?
What kind of world do you want to live in?  One that recoils in horror at such brutality and calls it what it is – evil – or one that explains it away as social evolution?
    At the end of the article, a professor surmised that “the treatment of such peasant children may have served to instill fear and exert social control over remote mountain areas newly incorporated into the empire.”  He said this so dispassionately, it almost sounded sensible.
    A Darwinist can only look at this kind of tribal custom without judgmentalism, because in their world view, evolution is what evolution does.  For the Inca tribe, child sacrifice served a social purpose.  Survival being the highest good, child sacrifice worked to enhance the survival of the population.  Such treatment of children was not wrong, therefore; it was just what this particular tribe found workable in their circumstances.  Who are we to judge?
    Presumably, within the purposeless happenings of Darwin’s universe, a culture could develop selection pressure to torture babies and commit genocide.  They become the virtuous ones, in this kind of thinking; the terrorists are those who try to stop them.  It’s all just mathematics and natural law.  In social evolution, you have the cooperators and the defectors.  Virtue is defined in terms of the cooperators.  No moral judgment comes into play at all.  If you don’t believe Darwinists actually think this way, go back and read these entries: 05/22/2007, 05/17/2007, 04/30/2007 and especially David Sloan Wilson’s discussion of “Virtue Island” from 12/21/2005.
    Let’s extend the lessons of the Incas to our modern world.  Right now, in North Korea, there could be a million political prisoners in concentration camps (see World Net Daily).  The communist regime dispassionately conducts medical experiments on prisoners, finding out which chemicals cause the most rapid and violent deaths.  This is the way Kim Jong Il has found practical for the purpose of instilling fear and exerting social control, and could also provide useful information for his next war.  Take notes in your lab book like a good social scientist and write this up for your next paper.  Ho hum, next case.
    If North Korea were to succeed in using nuclear weapons to kill a million people suddenly, would this be any worse than doing it piecemeal?  Keep reasoning.  If his actions led to a global thermonuclear conflict, in which every living thing on Earth died, so what?  “Well, what do you know, the defectors lost out this time.”  An alien Darwinist watching from another world would just take notes in its lab book and write it up for its next paper.
    We hope there are enough righteous people left, whose consciences have not been seared by Darwinism, to recoil at such thoughts.  Western culture’s Darwin-saturated academia has sworn off any moral judgment.  Within most university departments it would be profoundly inconsistent to call what the Incas did, or what the North Koreans are doing, as evil, because evil is an undefined term.  Strange, isn’t it, that their innate sense of morality pops out in other ways, like attacking the US President and accusing his methods of fighting terrorism as immoral, or expecting everyone to fight global warming as the moral thing to do to save the planet.  Why save the planet?  The Darwinists tell us that selfishness is the basis of everything.  So be selfish.  Who cares if the children are left with the consequences of our selfishness?  They’ll just have to find their own selfish ways to deal with it.
    Jews and Christians believe, by contrast, that evil is the result of selfishness, which is sin – an affront to the Creator.  A cursory reading of the Old Testament (and knowledge of history) shows that what the Incas did is nothing new.  The antediluvian world was filled with violence.  Ancient cultures in Old Testament times routinely engaged in child sacrifice.  The prophets of God denounced these practices as vile and detestable, declaring that such things were utterly foreign to the mind and heart of God.  The Bible teaches that God is redeeming individuals from this evil world one by one, and that evil will come to an end at the final judgment.  In the meantime, fighting evil and rescuing its victims is near to the heart of God.  Righteousness has both temporal and eternal consequences.  Righteousness will triumph.
    So choose the kind of world you want to live in.  If you are a Darwinist, don’t think you can borrow Judeo-Christian moral values.  You must live with the ones you have chosen.  There are no human rights.  Frame pictures of Goebbels and Mengele on your wall.  Go live in North Korea or Sudan and experience the actions of natural selection in all their dispassionate expressions.  Take whatever comes, because what you see is what you get; the stars fade out in the end anyway, and nobody boos or cheers at the end of the show.
    Are you having an unpleasant reaction to those thoughts?  Could it be a clue that there is something more than neurobiological reactions going on in your mind?
Next headline on:  Politics and EthicsBible and Theology
Modern Crustacean Found in Early Cambrian   10/04/2007    
A “crown-group crustacean” that is “markedly similar to those of living cephalocarids, branchiopods and copepods” has been found exquisitely preserved in early Cambrian fossil beds from China, an international team reported in Nature.1  Though such organisms have been found in middle and later Cambrian rocks, this pushes the origin of eucrustacea (crustaceans of modern aspect) back another 25 million years.  The authors of the paper said nothing, however, about the implications of this discovery to the problem of the Cambrian explosion (see 04/23/2006).
    Not only was the crustacean modern-looking, it was so well preserved that even soft parts and eyes were visible.  Even fine parts of setae on the tips of the legs are clearly seen in the organisms representing different developmental stages.  Examples of “Orsten-type” Cambrian lagerstatten (exceptionally preserved fossil beds) were known from Sweden, but this one is from China.  The species Yicaris dianensis resembles “living minute and blind cephalocarids, both in its head and trunk-limb design.”  In other words, modern cephalocarids are blind, but this Cambrian representative had large twin eye lobes.  Other resemblances were noted in the “post-mandibular limbs with their elongate, rather fleshy basipods armed with up to seven setiferous, soft endites medially,” and the existence of epipodites:
Epipodites and a sophisticated combined locomotory and food-gathering apparatus, as present in Yicaris and, presumably, in the eucrustacean ancestor, may have been a significant factor leading to the successful diversification of eucrustaceans already by the Cambrian.  Some authors consider that insect wings may have originated from epipodites; the early Cambrian occurrence of this trait is of potential significance to the debate regarding the emergence of winged (pterygote) forms within euarthropods.
That speculation notwithstanding, the crustacean found here apparently had a system for sweeping food toward its mandibles using these epipodites and antennae.  Plus, it had eyes, a head shield, a developmental process from larva to adult, and was probably capable of swimming.
    The authors mentioned nothing about the Cambrian explosion.  Their only reference to the evolution of this complex creature shielded the problem of missing evidence by claiming that evolutionists are getting warmer in their search for an ancestor:
Discussion.  The material of Y. dianensis is important in two respects.  First, it displays the post-embryonic ontogeny of an animal as old as the Early Cambrian.  Second, Y. dianensis is temporally close to evolutionary events deep in arthropod and, specifically, crustacean phylogeny.  Its development should, therefore, be closer to the original developmental pattern of the stem forms and less changed than that of recent in-group taxa, which have accumulated lineage-specific modifications.  With such ontogeny data and having the age of the fossil as a time marker, it is possible to more precisely include ontogenetic evolutionary pathways in the reconstruction of relationships and ground patterns of stem species and monophyla.  According to our analysis, Y. dianensis represents the first undoubted eucrustacean known from the Lower Cambrian (the single previously described Lower Cambrian putative eucrustacean species lacks eucrustacean characters) and can serve as a substantial tool for testing relevant character acquisition and phylogenetic hypotheses.  This is of particular importance because crustacean phylogeny has gained new interest by recent studies using neurobiological, developmental-biological and molecular investigations.
Yet the authors did not explain how this organism was any more primitive than modern crustaceans.  The claim above, therefore and the following one from the Abstract, seem unsupported by the evidence at hand: “Its stratigraphical position provides substantial support to the proposition that the main cladogenic event that gave rise to the Arthropoda was before the Cambrian.”  No evidence for that “cladogenic event” (in plain English, the genesis of a new kind of animal) was provided.  The statement basically means only that evolutionists must now search earlier than the Cambrian for clues to where arthropods came from, assuming they evolved from more primitive ancestors.
    The Editor’s Summary, similarly, avoided mention of the Cambrian explosion.  “Newly unearthed Orsten-type fossils from China include the earliest known eucrustacean in exquisite three-dimensional detail, significantly extending the fossil record of this group.”  In summary, true crustaceans now are established to exist at the Atdabanian layer of the early Cambrian, just slightly above or in the layers where the first trilobites and echinoderms appear.
1.  Zhang et al, “An epipodite-bearing crown-group crustacean from the Lower Cambrian,” Nature 449, 595-598 (4 October 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06138.
No sooner had we reported the exceptional finds reported in Geology (next entry), when this one showed up.  They think they can get away with it, hiding their announcements in expensive journals that the public is unlikely to see, using fancy words like “cladogenic” and “monophyletic” to pull the wool over our eyes.  Need plain English?  They found another modern-looking animal in the lowest fossil-bearing rocks, without any trace of an evolutionary sequence from simple to complex.  Their claims about “cladogenic events” before the Cambrian leading up to this critter, eyes and all, is pure fiction dressed up with euphemism and obfuscation.  There is no evidence this animal evolved.  There it is, fully formed in this early layer, without any Darwinian tree.  Cladogenic is a miracle word inserted to hide a lack of evidence.  Tell it like it is.
    It is shameful that scientists persist in propagating their myth without any evidence to support it, and lots of evidence against it.  Sudden appearance is not evolution.  Darwin-doubters need to call them on the carpet and demand honesty and accountability.  The Darwin Party knows all about the Cambrian explosion.  Few are the ones that want to talk about it, because it embarrasses them, just like it did Charles Darwin, who called it one of the strongest arguments against his theory.  Charlie hoped that continued searches for more fossils would eventually find the missing links.  Wrong!  Increasing evidence has made his problem worse.  The Cambrian explosion is louder than ever, booming out the message: life appeared abruptly, fully formed, as if it had been created.
    To see the Darwin Party squirm, go to the Wikipedia page on the Cambrian explosion and click on the discussion tab.  Now search on the word creationist:
How much to say about how Creationists, supporters of Intelligent Design and some Islamists quote the CE as a refutation of Darwinian evolution?  Pro: it’s a hot topic and some readers will be disappointed if they don’t see coverage.  Cons: hard to do briefly in what is a long article anyway; hard to avoid charges of partisanship (either way) unless the discussion is long.
Come on, cowards: the Internet has plenty of space.  Go ahead and take all the time you need to explain how modern, complex life “emerged” without ancestors by an evolutionary process.  We have the time.  Make our day.  Give us the whole tale.  See if you can do better than the Master of Disaster, Charlie Marshall, did (04/23/2006).
    One of the tricks they try to play is to say that the Cambrian explosion was not that sudden a bang; it extended over 40-80 million years or more, if certain trace fossils from the Precambrian are tossed into the story.  They compare the Cambrian explosion with the rise of mammals which, according to their mythology, diversified into all our modern forms in just 40 million years.  First of all, it is really dumb to use one myth as evidence for another.  It’s like saying that life must have evolved on Europa because it must have evolved on Mars.  Foul: double drivel.  Evolution is the issue, and claiming it happened fast twice at two different times just begs the question.
    More important, the appearance of each type is virtually instantaneous.  Trying to stretch the Cambrian explosion out, or link it earlier with the Ediacaran fauna presumably earlier (see 12/02/2002 and 08/19/2004) is not going to help.  The fact remains that each complex creature, whether trilobite, crustacean, echinoderm, worm, or vertebrate fish (08/21/2002), shows up suddenly, fully formed, at first appearance in the record.  They don’t see incipient trilobites becoming half-trilobites then full trilobites over a period of ten million years, such that they could make a claim that Darwinian evolution was working on steroids for awhile.  No; the first trilobites and crustaceans just show up – no ancestors at all.  Whatever the Ediacaran organisms were, they were not on the way to becoming trilobites; they were a distinct kind of organism that also appeared abruptly and went extinct.  (Speaking of trilobites, remember that the record is the reverse of evolutionary expectations: see 07/28/2007).  However they may wish to draw out the process, the Cambrian explosion was really a set of multiple independent explosions at roughly the same time.  The ones they think showed up millions of years later, like this eucrustacean, keep turning up earlier and earlier.  All the basic animal types (phyla) and body plans show up on the lowest layers.  Evolution is falsified by the only tangible record of the past.
    Because of the awareness of the Cambrian Explosion most readers have, we would expect to see some acknowledgement of it by the paleontologists who report their Cambrian discoveries.  Instead, we still get worthless evolutionary promissory notes, like “this new fossil will shed light on the origin and ancestry of arthropods” when there is no collateral.  Stop accepting trust deeds from the Darwinian loan sharks.  Their deeds are not worthy of anyone’s trust.
    For more entries on the Cambrian explosion, see 09/04/2007 on genetic mechanisms, 04/03/2007 on comb jellies, 01/16/2007 on alleged Precambrian embryos, 08/10/2006 on Cambrian embryos, 07/13/2006 on mollusks, 06/18/2006 on alleged Cambrian explosion precursors, and 04/23/2006 on Cambrian Explosion Damage Control, 02/14/2006 on hand-waving solutions offered by the Darwinians.  The last entry contains links to earlier entries about Cambrian vertebrates, long thought to be not represented that early; see especially 01/30/2003 about 500 fossil fish found in the early Cambrian.  You might recall from 07/25/2003 that many high school biology textbooks gloss over this little problem for Darwin, if they mention it at all.
Next headline on:  FossilsEvolution
Exceptional Preservation: Can It Last Hundreds of Millions of Years?   10/03/2007    
What can happen in 460 million years?  A lot, according to the standard geological timescale.  In this diagram of geological and biological evolution, accepted by nearly all geologists, all the continents came together 260 million years ago, broke up 200 million years ago, and broke into our familiar continents 100 million years ago (mya).  In the geological time chart, it only took 40 million years for most of our modern mammals and birds to evolve, and seven million for apes to appear and turn into philosophers.
    The Earth has been a dynamic place for eons, they say.  Would delicate features of land and animal remains, estimated at nearly 500 million years old, be expected to survive global rearrangements, including planetary extinction episodes at 65 million and 251 million years ago?  If we can believe the geologists, they did.  Consider three exceptional cases of preservation reported this month in Geology, the journal of the Geological Society of America.
  1. Pristine plateau (Jurassic, 150 mya):  Jolivet et al examined the Mongolian summits, “An uplifted, flat, old but still preserved erosion surface” and described it in Geology.1  They dated the large peneplain, uplifted 4000 m, as having formed in Jurassic times – yet no erosion was evident till recently.  “Their preservation for ~150 m.y. implies that no further tectonic movements occurred before the onset of the last deformation episode, 5 +- 3 m.y. ago,” they claimed.  “It also suggests that very low erosion rates were maintained by a dry climate over millions of years.”  For that story to be credible, this one spot escaped continental movements, ice ages, tropical periods and floods for all the time since the age of dinosaurs.  The rest of the world may have been rockin’ and rollin’ but “This [preservation] was mainly achieved by the combination of a generally dry climate and a protracted period of tectonic quiescence that lasted at least 150 m.y.”
  2. Canadian soft-bodied fossils (Silurian, 425 mya):  A team from the Royal University of Ontario reported “exceptionally preserved soft-bodied biotas” of Silurian age in the same issue of Geology.2   An example of lagerstatten, or sedimentary deposits that exhibit extraordinary fossil richness or completeness (see ICR article by Bill Hoesch, Aug 2007), these deposits provide some of the best examples of intact Silurian biota ever found.  They described three sites on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada.  Here, “Soft tissues are preserved as calcium phosphate and carbon films, the latter possibly stabilized by early diagenetic sulfurization,” they reported.  “It is significant that the biotas also include a decalcified, autochthonous shelly marine fauna, and trace fossils.”  The deposits contained “taxonomically and taphonomically diverse biotas including articulated conodont skeletons and heterostracan fish, annelids and arthropods with soft body parts, and a diverse marine flora.”  Soft tissues normally disarticulate and decay, but these three sites were so fine, they even contained the intact eyes of conodont snails.
  3. Manitoba jellyfish (Ordovician, 460 mya):  In the same issue of Geology,3 paleontologists from the Manitoba Museum described exceptionally preserved soft-bodied fossils, including “eurypterids, xiphosurids, and large problematic tubes.”  One of the sites included the best fossilized jellyfish ever seen.  “Ordovician soft-bodied fossils are remarkably rare globally,” the authors said, and one would see why: jellyfish normally decay quickly on shorelines such as this one.  “Fossils and rocks at both sites indicate rapid burial under anoxic and/or hypersaline conditions,” they concluded.
The authors of the last two articles mentioned other places in the world where similar lagerstatten are known.  Somehow, according to their thinking, these locales enjoyed peace and quiet for hundreds of millions of years while the rest of the world took a wild ride of bumping continents, glaciations, extinctions from meteor impacts and many other global catastrophes.
1.  Jolivet et al, “Mongolian summits: An uplifted, flat, old but still preserved erosion surface,” Geology, Volume 35, Issue 10 (October 2007), pp. 871–874.
2.  von Bitter, Purnell, Tetrault and Stott, “Eramosa Lagerstätte—Exceptionally preserved soft-bodied biotas with shallow-marine shelly and bioturbating organisms (Silurian, Ontario, Canada),” Geology, Volume 35, Issue 10 (October 2007), pp. 879–882.
3.  Young et al, “Exceptionally preserved Late Ordovician biotas from Manitoba, Canada,” Geology, Volume 35, Issue 10 (October 2007), pp. 883–886.
Try to think independently and critically.  If you found these things, without the brainwashing of years of school telling you about millions and millions of years, what would you conclude?  The chart on Wikipedia is colorful, detailed and authoritative-sounding.  Do you sense a disconnect from reality?  Let the evidence speak afresh, uncluttered by human schemes devised by 18th and 19th century storytellers.
    Geology has already undergone substantial revolutions.  The geology of the 18th century (neptunism, volcanism) was unrecognizable to the 19th century, and 20th century geology was metamorphosed from its predecessors beyond recognition.  Almost everything believed about the Earth in 1901 is now discredited.  Another revolution would be merely traditional.
    What if we wiped our minds clear of the cobwebs of Lyell and Darwin, and just looked at what we find without predispositions of gradualism over eons?  Would preserved soft parts from snail eyes, jellyfish and dinosaur blood vessels (06/03/2005) lead you toward a theory resembling anything like the accepted geological column?
    It’s hard to think outside the box.  Geologists would surely balk at trashing their chart and starting over.  Why, what a waste to discard all that work!  Sorry, this is science; it is supposed to be an open-ended search for the truth whichever way the evidence leads.  There are no sacred cows in science.  Hamburger, anyone?
Next headline on:  GeologyDating MethodsFossils
  Geologists call for a time out from blind dates, from 10/09/2003.

One Special Universe: Take It or Leave It   10/02/2007    
If you think this universe is odd, to what would you compare it?  Adrian Cho asked this and other basic questions in a whimsical review of cosmology since WMAP in Science.1  Closer analysis of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), as revealed in detail by WMAP (03/06/2003, 05/02/2003, 09/20/2004, 03/20/2006), has uncovered features so surprising (e.g., 08/29/2007), some cosmologists are entertaining an idea that would seemed heretical a decade ago: i.e., the Copernican Principle might be wrong (cf. 06/30/2006).
    Investigators looking for harmonics in the CMB seem to have found surprising alignments.  The quadrupole, octupole and other harmonics appear to have axes that line up with each other.  Furthermore, they are in the plane of our solar system.  Even more bizarre, they are aligned with the line of equinoxes.  What’s going on here?  Is this a clue that we occupy a special position in the universe?  Some cosmologists, uncomfortable with such notions which the Copernican Principle was supposed to dismiss, have called this alignment the “axis of evil.”

But the map led to some mysteries, too.  Within 6 months, one team had found a curious alignment of certain undulations in the CMB.  Others soon found more correlations that suggested that the cosmos might be skewered like a meatball on a toothpick by an “axis of evil.”  That axis might show that the universe has a strange shape or is rotating.  It could trash cosmologists’ cherished assumption that the universe has no center and no special directions, the so-called cosmological principle that traces its origins to Copernicus.  Or it could be a meaningless fluke.  “Everyone agrees it’s there,” says Kate Land, a cosmologist at the University of Oxford in the U.K.  “But is it significant?
    There’s the rub: With only one universe to measure, it may be impossible to tell.
Maybe there is a foreground effect in the local neighborhood influencing the CMB.  Even if true, however, it would not do away with the conclusion that there is some pretty weird physics going on around us.  We can’t get outside our universe to compare it to any others, obviously.  “We have only one universe, and in some ways perhaps it just is as it is.”
1.  Adrian Cho, “A Singular Conundrum: How Odd Is Our Universe?”, Science, 28 September 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5846, pp. 1848-1850, DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5846.1848.
Cho’s discussion assumes inflation, dark matter, dark energy and multiverses, so his statements need to be understood in that context.  Still, even within that worldview, things are not going the way the materialists wanted.  It was hard enough on them to find out the universe is not eternal and had a beginning.  Now, they must entertain the possibility that we occupy a privileged position after all.
    The only escape from the design inference is to keep repeating the joke that things are as they are because they were as they were.  If your debate partner does that, keep the joke going.  Ask the next logical question, “Why were they as they were?”  If he replies that it’s turtles all the way down, you win.
Next headline on:  CosmologyPhysics
When Myth Turns Genocidal, Who’s to Blame?   10/02/2007    
Aryan mythology was the subject of a book review by Michael Witzel (Harvard linguist) in Science last week.1  He was reviewing Stefan Arvidsson’s book Aryan Idols about the mischief done in the quasi-scientific, quasi-historical investigation of the alleged noble race behind the primitive Indo-European language.
    The atrocities of Nazi Germany can be traced to 19th-century myths about a purebred race of noble people who settled the German fatherland in an idyllic past: “Concurrently, during this period of European dominance, Darwinism and ‘race science’ emerged and a new myth took form: a European or even Nordic Aryan race of noble warriors had conquered western and southern Eurasia.”  The myths were confused with science: “Race studies and eugenics emerged as ‘sciences’ in many countries.”
    So far, this sounds in agreement with Richard Weikart’s treatise From Darwin to Hitler (02/03/2005, 04/07/2005).  Witzel agrees that the co-option of unknowable mythologies for political ends in the name of Darwinian progress had disastrous consequences, resulting in the Nazi attempts to exterminate those labeled non-Aryan.  Even after World War II, Witzel notes, Aryan fantasies continued with other players.
    It seems strange, therefore, that at the end of this book review, Witzel turned his guns on a mix of strange bedfellows, some of whom had nothing to do with Aryan myths and were staunch opponents of Nazism, the creationists: “We also need the engagement of scholars willing to take public stands--whether in the battles over creationism or in the recent attempts by Hindu nationalists and fundamentalists (in both India and California) to rewrite Indian history in a mythological fashion,” he stated.  “Aryan fantasies have indicated the inherent dangers most clearly, and here lies one of the enduring merits of Arvidsson’s book: it indicates how we can actually learn from history.”
1.  Michael Witzel, “History of Science: Myths and Consequences,” Science, 8 September 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5846, pp. 1868-1869, DOI: 10.1126/science.1141619.
If anybody can explain how Witzel got here from there, please explain.  In short, he said, Hitler was bad, so fight the creationists.  Good grief, Hitler was a social Darwinist, not a creationist!  Creationists like those at ICR or AIG have absolutely nothing to do with Aryan myths, nor are they in any way mixed up with nationalist groups in India or native-American groups in California trying to rewrite history according to their racist, ethnic myths.
    Creationists hate Nazi ideology.  They go out of their way to denounce racism.  They believe we are all one blood, all descendents of the same original human family, and all equally accountable to our Creator.  They love and promote science.  They love all people, and want to win them to Christ.  How on Earth can Witzel lump them with Aryan nationalists as dangerous?  How can he apply the cussword “fundamentalists” to respectable believers in the Bible who wish to end the bloodthirsty nationalism, share the good news of Jesus, build churches and medical centers and bring education and science to poor people, and simultaneously apply the label to machinegun-toting Hindus who burn churches and kill Christians in India?  These could not be more polar opposites.
    This is the kind of outrageous characterization that the editors of Science publish with impunity, never providing space for rebuttal.  Remembering that certain self-righteous scholars of another era attributed the works of Jesus to the devil, the only one who has not learned from history here is this misguided prof from Hahvahd.  Maybe he would rather live in one of the idyllic scientific utopias inspired by Father Charlie (see 11/30/2005).
Next headline on:  Politics and EthicsDarwinism
New Atomizer Mimics Bombardier Beetle   10/02/2007    
There’s a new technology coming to market, thanks to a little bug.  The bombardier beetle has long been used by creationists as a creature with a weapon against evolutionary theory.  Its tightly-integrated combustion apparatus would be useless or dangerous to the beetle unless all the parts worked together from the start.  This, creationists argue, is evidence against gradual evolution (e.g., AIG).
    Now, a creation physicist has imitated the beetle’s controlled explosions.  Andy McIntosh, Professor of Thermodynamics and Combustion Theory at Leeds University (UK), has “developed new technology” based on the bombardier beetle “which has the potential to become the platform for the next generation of more effective and eco-friendly mist carrier systems.”  (For more on Dr. McIntosh, see 11/27/2006 and 05/17/2002).
    The press release from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, explains the significance of this advance:
The [Micro]MistTM spray technology enables droplet size, temperature and velocity to be closely controlled, allowing advancements in a variety of areas where the properties of the mist are critical.  Such applications include fuel injection, medical drug delivery systems, fire extinguishers and fire suppression, all of which face major challenges relating to the demands of greater performance and reduced environmental impact....
    Prof McIntosh likens the beetle’s defence mechanism to a pressure cooker controlled by a complicated system of valves: “Essentially it’s a high-force steam cavitation explosion.  Using a chamber less than one millimetre long, this amazing creature has the ability to change the rapidity of what comes out, its direction and its consistency.
    “Nobody had studied the beetle from a physics and engineering perspective as we did – and we didn’t appreciate how much we would learn from it.”
The invention is only 2 cm long.  It “uses heat and flash evaporation technique to propel a variety of liquids over distances of up to 4m or produce a mist with droplets as small a 2 microns.”  McIntosh has been studying the beetle’s mechanism for years (12/08/2003).
    Swedish Biomimetics 3000 Ltd has signed a worldwide exclusive licensing agreement for development and commercialization of the technology, the press release states.  Potential applications include fire suppression, fuel injection and medical drug delivery.  Eureka Magazine in the UK also had a write-up on the new invention inspired by a bug.
Congratulations to Dr. McIntosh for great work inspired by creation.  This is in a long line of inventions by creationists, including such little, inconsequential things like motors, generators, reflecting telescopes, microscopes, the telegraph, refrigeration, vaccines, and peanut butter.  Yet Wired magazine had the audacity to say, “McIntosh is a well-known creationist.  Acknowledging that he’s created a cool beetle cannon is not an endorsement of his belief structure.”  Talk like that to Faraday, you jerks.  If MicroMist is intelligently designed, on what basis could you claim the bombardier beetle’s technology, which is even more wondrous than this (it can reproduce itself, for one thing), was not intelligently designed?
    While some UK scientists were sitting on their fluffy couches at Darwin Party storytelling banquets (12/22/2003), weaving myths and violating the laws of logic (09/30/2007), this UK scientist was imitating nature to improve our lives.  Someday when life-saving drugs are given you by MicroMist machines, or your car uses less-polluting, more efficient fuel injectors, or firefighters save your house with these devices, thank a creationist.  More than that, thank a Creator who put technologies into living creatures that can inspire and motivate us to explore, learn, and apply our intelligence for good.
    Incidentally, the bombardier beetle shows no gradual evolution in the fossil record (see 09/23/2007).  Like most other animal technologies, it appears abruptly, fully formed, working superbly from its first appearance.
Next headline on:  BiomimeticsTerrestrial ZoologyPhysicsIntelligent Design
  Georgia Tech sets up biomimetics institute for “Bioneers” to capitalize on natural technologies, from 10/29/2005.

Bacteria and Plants Know Network Tech   10/01/2007    
An article on Science Daily says, “plants have their own chat systems that they can use to warn each other.” 

Many herbal plants such as strawberry, clover, reed and ground elder naturally form networks.  Individual plants remain connected with each other for a certain period of time by means of runners.  These connections enable the plants to share information with each other via internal channels.
So what do they have to chat about?  Danger.  Their “early warning system” enables them when hazards lurk about: “Once warned, the intact plants strengthen their chemical and mechanical resistance so that they are less attractive for advancing caterpillars,” for instance.
    Even smaller critters may have networks: in fact, possibly even a power grid.  Phillip Ball wrote for News@Nature, “Bacteria may be wiring up the soil.”  Yes, believe it or not, “Bacteria can sprout webs of electrical wiring that transform the soil into a geological battery, a team of researchers claims.”  Some bacteria extrude “nanowires” that shunt electrons produced during metabolic reactions.  A geochemist working at the Venter Institute believes “The earth beneath our feet might act as a gigantic circuit built by microbes to power their metabolic systems.”  If so, this “new aspect of microbiology” is a little too fantastic for some to accept, but one admitted, “If this idea is right, it is really quite remarkable.”
You don’t need to talk to your plants.  They’re too busy text-messaging each other.  Maybe human network engineers could learn a little technology from our humbler lifeforms.
Next headline on:  BotanyCell BiologyAmazing Facts
Comet Woes: News Reports Hide Backroom Exasperation   10/01/2007    
“Comets are made of the most primitive stuff in the solar system,” a press release from University of Michigan triumphantly claimed today.  “As hunks of rock and ice that never coalesced into more planets, they give researchers clues to the evolution of solar systems.”
    Tell that to Toby Owen and two colleagues who just published a paper in Icarus.1  They measured the nitrogen to carbon ratio from several real comets and found it 300 times smaller than expected, if the comets had formed in the primitive outer reaches of the solar system.  Having established the deficit experimentally, they tried to explain it, saying, “we have to guess what was the N2/CO ratio where the ice grains which agglomerated to form comet nuclei were formed, either at the outskirts of the solar nebula or in the dense interstellar cloud which collapsed to form the nebula, assuming that their composition was not changed” (italics theirs).  That, of course, was the assumption in the U Michigan press release.  “Where has the nitrogen disappeared?”
    They looked again at the expected ratio, and compared it with their actual measurements.  They looked at various ways of bringing the numbers in line.  Way off still.  “At this point we raise our hands,” they said – a statement of exasperation rare for a dignified scientific paper.  “In conclusion, we do not know what has happened to the missing nitrogen” (italics theirs).  Earlier, they said they had accepted the usual assumptions about comet formation (see footnote also for historical reference to Halley’s speculation about Noah’s flood).2
    Meanwhile, the U Michigan press release paraded on, assuring the readers that each piece of data was coming together into a complete understanding of not only comets but entire solar systems.  “As for what these observations say about the origins of the solar system, scientists don’t know just yet,” the article admitted, but then quoted a confident researcher, “The composition of comets tells us about conditions approximately 4.5 billion years ago when the solar system was formed.”
1.  A. Bar-Nun, G. Notesco and T. Owen, “Trapping of N2, CO and Ar in amorphous ice—Application to comets,” Icarus, Volume 190, Issue 2, October 2007, Pages 655-659, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.03.021.
2.  “In previous papers, we have supported the idea that icy planetesimals (aka comets) could have brought heavy noble gases and other volatiles to the inner planets ([Owen and Bar-Nun, 1995], [Owen and Bar-Nun, 1998] and [Owen et al., 2000]).  This concept can be traced back to Edmond Halley (1724) who thought a collision with a comet could have produced Noah’s flood.  More recently, the role of comets in bringing volatiles to the Earth has been championed by Oró (1961), Sill and Wilkening (1978) and especially Delsemme (2000, and references therein).  Our approach to this venerable idea has been to assume that the water ice in comets formed in the amorphous state at temperatures below ~50 K and trapped ambient gases in the process.”
Don’t you wish the science reporters would just tell it like it is?  Don’t they think we can handle the truth?  Do they assume the public would freak out if they showed a little humility for a change? (09/29/2007).
Next headline on:  Solar System


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Creation-Evolution Headlines is a terrific resource.  The articles are always current and the commentary is right on the mark.”
(a molecular biologist in Illinois)

Creation-Evolution Headlines is my favorite ‘anti-evolution’ website.  With almost giddy anticipation, I check it several times a week for the latest postings.  May God bless you and empower you to keep up this FANTASTIC work!”
(a financial analyst in New York)

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

“THANK YOU for all the work you do to make this wonderful resource!  After being regular readers for a long time, this year we’ve incorporated your site into our home education for our four teenagers.  The Baloney Detector is part of their Logic and Reasoning Skills course, and the Daily Headlines and Scientists of the Month features are a big part of our curriculum for an elective called ‘Science Discovery Past and Present’.  What a wonderful goldmine for equipping future leaders and researchers with the tools of clear thinking!
(a home school teacher in California)

“What can I say – I LOVE YOU! – I READ YOU ALMOST EVERY DAY I copy and send out to various folks.  I love your sense of humor, including your politics and of course your faith.  I appreciate and use your knowledge – What can I say – THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU – SO MUCH.”
(a biology major, former evolutionist, now father of college students)

“I came across your site while browsing through creation & science links.  I love the work you do!”
(an attorney in Florida)

“Love your commentary and up to date reporting.  Best site for evolution/design info.”
(a graphic designer in Oregon)

“I am an ardent reader of your site.  I applaud your efforts and pass on your website to all I talk to.  I have recently given your web site info to all my grandchildren to have them present it to their science teachers.... Your Supporter and fan..God bless you all...”
(a health services manager in Florida)

“Why your readership keeps doubling: I came across your website at a time when I was just getting to know what creation science is all about.  A friend of mine was telling me about what he had been finding out. I was highly skeptical and sought to read as many pro/con articles as I could find and vowed to be open-minded toward his seemingly crazy claims. At first I had no idea of the magnitude of research and information that’s been going on. Now, I’m simply overwhelmed by the sophistication and availability of scientific research and information on what I now know to be the truth about creation.
    Your website was one of dozens that I found in my search.  Now, there are only a handful of sites I check every day.  Yours is at the top of my list... I find your news page to be the most insightful and well-written of the creation news blogs out there.  The quick wit, baloney detector, in-depth scientific knowledge you bring to the table and the superb writing style on your site has kept me interested in the day-to-day happenings of what is clearly a growing movement.  Your site ... has given me a place to point them toward to find out more and realize that they’ve been missing a huge volume of information when it comes to the creation-evolution issue.
    Another thing I really like about this site is the links to articles in science journals and news references.  That helps me get a better picture of what you’re talking about.... Keep it up and I promise to send as many people as will listen to this website and others.”
(an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in New Mexico)

“I’m a small town newspaper editor in southwest Wyoming.  We’re pretty isolated, and finding your site was a great as finding a gold mine.  I read it daily, and if there’s nothing new, I re-read everything.  I follow links.  I read the Scientist of the Month.  It’s the best site I’ve run across.  Our local school board is all Darwinist and determined to remain that way.”
(a newspaper editor in Wyoming)

“ have been reading your page for about 2 years or so.... I read it every day.  I ...am well educated, with a BA in Applied Physics from Harvard and an MBA in Finance from Wharton.”
(a reader in Delaware)

“ I came across your website by accident about 4 months ago and look at it every day.... About 8 months ago I was reading a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times that was written by a staunch ‘anti-Creationist’ and it sparked my interest enough to research the topic and within a week I was yelling, ‘my whole life’s education has been a lie!!!’  I’ve put more study into Biblical Creation in the last 8 months than any other topic in my life.  Past that, through resources like your website...I’ve been able to convince my father (professional mathematician and amateur geologist), my best friend (mechanical engineer and fellow USAF Academy Grad/Creation Science nutcase), my pastor (he was the hardest to crack), and many others to realize the Truth of Creation.... Resources like your website help the rest of us at the ‘grassroots level’ drum up interest in the subject.  And regardless of what the major media says: Creationism is spreading like wildfire, so please keep your website going to help fan the flames.”
(an Air Force Academy graduate and officer)

“I love your site!  I **really** enjoy reading it for several specific reasons: 1.It uses the latest (as in this month!) research as a launch pad for opinion; for years I have searched for this from a creation science viewpoint, and now, I’ve found it.  2. You have balanced fun with this topic.  This is hugely valuable!  Smug Christianity is ugly, and I don’t perceive that attitude in your comments.  3. I enjoy the expansive breadth of scientific news that you cover.  4. I am not a trained scientist but I know evolutionary bologna/(boloney) when I see it; you help me to see it.  I really appreciate this.
(a computer technology salesman in Virginia)

“I love your site.  That’s why I was more than happy to mention it in the local paper.... I mentioned your site as the place where..... ‘Every Darwin-cheering news article is reviewed on that site from an ID perspective.  Then the huge holes of the evolution theory are exposed, and the bad science is shredded to bits, using real science.’”
(a project manager in New Jersey)

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

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

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

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

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

“I enjoy reading the comments on news articles on your site very much.  It is incredible how much refuse is being published in several scientific fields regarding evolution.  It is good to notice that the efforts of true scientists have an increasing influence at schools, but also in the media.... May God bless your efforts and open the eyes of the blinded evolutionists and the general public that are being deceived by pseudo-scientists.... I enjoy the site very much and I highly respect the work you and the team are doing to spread the truth.”
(an ebusiness manager in the Netherlands)

“I discovered your site through a link at certain website... It has greatly helped me being updated with the latest development in science and with critical comments from you.  I also love your baloney detector and in fact have translated some part of the baloney detector into our language (Indonesian).  I plan to translate them all for my friends so as to empower them.”
(a staff member of a bilateral agency in West Timor, Indonesia)

“...absolutely brilliant and inspiring.”
(a documentary film producer, remarking on the 07/10/2005 commentary)

“I found your site several months ago and within weeks had gone through your entire archives....  I check in several times a day for further information and am always excited to read the new articles.  Your insight into the difference between what is actually known versus what is reported has given me the confidence to stand up for what I believe.  I always felt there was more to the story, and your articles have given me the tools to read through the hype....  You are an invaluable help and I commend your efforts.  Keep up the great work.”
(a sound technician in Alberta)

“I discovered your site (through a link from a blog) a few weeks ago and I can’t stop reading it....  I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story.  If the evolutionists’ blindness wasn’t so sad, I would laugh harder.
  I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering from a leading University.  When I read the descriptions, see the pictures, and watch the movies of the inner workings of the cell, I’m absolutely amazed....  Thanks for bringing these amazing stories daily.  Keep up the good work.
(an engineer in Virginia)

“I stumbled across your site several months ago and have been reading it practically daily.  I enjoy the inter-links to previous material as well as the links to the quoted research.  I’ve been in head-to-head debate with a materialist for over a year now.  Evolution is just one of those debates.  Your site is among others that have been a real help in expanding my understanding.”
(a software engineer in Pennsylvania)

“I was in the April 28, 2005 issue of Nature [see 04/27/2005 story] regarding the rise of intelligent design in the universities.  It was through your website that I began my journey out of the crisis of faith which was mentioned in that article.  It was an honor to see you all highlighting the article in Nature.  Thank you for all you have done!
(Salvador Cordova, George Mason University)

“I shudder to think of the many ways in which you mislead readers, encouraging them to build a faith based on misunderstanding and ignorance.  Why don’t you allow people to have a faith that is grounded in a fuller understanding of the world?... Your website is a sham.”
(a co-author of the paper reviewed in the 12/03/2003 entry who did not appreciate the unflattering commentary.  This led to a cordial interchange, but he could not divorce his reasoning from the science vs. faith dichotomy, and resulted in an impasse over definitions – but, at least, a more mutually respectful dialogue.  He never did explain how his paper supported Darwinian macroevolution.  He just claimed evolution is a fact.)

“I absolutely love creation-evolution news.  As a Finnish university student very interested in science, I frequent your site to find out about all the new science stuff that’s been happening — you have such a knack for finding all this information!  I have been able to stump evolutionists with knowledge gleaned from your site many times.”
(a student in Finland)

“I love your site and read it almost every day.  I use it for my science class and 5th grade Sunday School class.  I also challenge Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to get on the site to check out articles against the baloney they are taught in school.”
(a teacher in Los Gatos, CA)

“I have spent quite a few hours at Creation Evolution Headlines in the past week or so going over every article in the archives.  I thank you for such an informative and enjoyable site.  I will be visiting often and will share this link with others.”
[Later] “ I am back to May 2004 in the archives.  I figured I should be farther back, but there is a ton of information to digest.”
(a computer game designer in Colorado)

“The IDEA Center also highly recommends visiting Creation-Evolution Headlines... the most expansive and clearly written origins news website on the internet!”
(endorsement on Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center)

“Hey Friends, Check out this site: www.creationsafaris.com.  This is a fantastic resource for the whole family.... a fantastic reference library with summaries, commentaries and great links that are added to daily—archives go back five years.”
(a reader who found us in Georgia)

“I just wanted to drop you a note telling you that at www.BornAgainRadio.com, I’ve added a link to your excellent Creation-Evolution news site.”
(a radio announcer)

“I cannot understand why anyone would invest so much time and effort to a website of sophistry and casuistry.  Why twist Christian apology into an illogic pretzel to placate your intellect?  Isn’t it easier to admit that your faith has no basis -- hence, ‘faith’.  It would be extricate [sic] yourself from intellectual dishonesty -- and from bearing false witness.”
Sincerely, Rev. [name withheld] (an ex-Catholic, “apostate Christian” Natural/Scientific pantheist)

“Just wanted to let you folks know that we are consistent readers and truly appreciate the job you are doing.  God bless you all this coming New Year.”
(from two prominent creation researchers/writers in Oregon)

“Thanks so much for your site!  It is brain candy!”
(a reader in North Carolina)

“I Love your site – probably a little too much.  I enjoy the commentary and the links to the original articles.”
(a civil engineer in New York)

“I’ve had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for 18 months now, and I can truthfully say that it’s one of the best on the Internet, and I check in several times a week.  The constant stream of new information on such a variety of science issues should impress anyone, but the rigorous and humourous way that every thought is taken captive is inspiring.  I’m pleased that some Christians, and indeed, some webmasters, are devoting themselves to producing real content that leaves the reader in a better state than when they found him.”
(a community safety manager in England)

“I really appreciate the effort that you are making to provide the public with information about the problems with the General Theory of Evolution.  It gives me ammunition when I discuss evolution in my classroom.  I am tired of the evolutionary dogma.  I wish that more people would stand up against such ridiculous beliefs.”
(a science teacher in Alabama)

“If you choose to hold an opinion that flies in the face of every piece of evidence collected so far, you cannot be suprised [sic] when people dismiss your views.”
(a “former Christian” software distributor, location not disclosed)

“...the Creation Headlines is the best.  Visiting your site... is a standard part of my startup procedures every morning.”
(a retired Air Force Chaplain)

“I LOVE your site and respect the time and work you put into it.  I read the latest just about EVERY night before bed and send selection[s] out to others and tell others about it.  I thank you very much and keep up the good work (and humor).”
(a USF grad in biology)

“Answering your invitation for thoughts on your site is not difficult because of the excellent commentary I find.  Because of the breadth and depth of erudition apparent in the commentaries, I hope I’m not being presumptuous in suspecting the existence of contributions from a ‘Truth Underground’ comprised of dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers.  If that’s not the case, then it is surely a potential only waiting to be realized.  Regardless, I remain in awe of the care taken in decomposing the evolutionary cant that bombards us from the specialist as well as popular press.”
(a mathematician/physicist in Arizona)

“I’m from Quebec, Canada.  I have studied in ‘pure sciences’ and after in actuarial mathematics.  I’m visiting this site 3-4 times in a week.  I’m learning a lot and this site gives me the opportunity to realize that this is a good time to be a creationist!”
(a French Canadian reader)

“I LOVE your Creation Safari site, and the Baloney Detector material.  OUTSTANDING JOB!!!!”
(a reader in the Air Force)

“You have a unique position in the Origins community.  Congratulations on the best current affairs news source on the origins net.  You may be able to write fast but your logic is fun to work through.”
(a pediatrician in California)

“Visit your site almost daily and find it very informative, educational and inspiring.”
(a reader in western Canada)

“I wish to thank you for the information you extend every day on your site.  It is truly a blessing!”
(a reader in North Carolina)

“I really appreciate your efforts in posting to this website.  I find it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also to research particular topics.”
(an IT consultant from Brisbane, Australia)

“I would just like to say very good job with the work done here, very comprehensive.  I check your site every day.  It’s great to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the ‘prestigious’ science journals.”
(a biology student in Illinois)

“I’ve been checking in for a long time but thought I’d leave you a note, this time.  Your writing on these complex topics is insightful, informative with just the right amount of humor.  I appreciate the hard work that goes into monitoring the research from so many sources and then writing intelligently about them.”
(an investment banker in California)

“Keep up the great work.  You are giving a whole army of Christians plenty of ammunition to come out of the closet (everyone else has).  Most of us are not scientists, but most of the people we talk to are not scientists either, just ordinary people who have been fed baloney for years and years.”
(a reader in Arizona)

“Keep up the outstanding work!  You guys really ARE making a difference!”
(a reader in Texas)

“I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that ‘science’ is not hostile towards ‘religion’.  It is the dogmatically religious that are unwaveringly hostile towards any kind of science which threatens their dearly-held precepts.  ‘Science’ (real, open-minded science) is not interested in theological navel-gazing.”
(anonymous)
Note: Please supply your name and location when writing in.  Anonymous attacks only make one look foolish and cowardly, and will not normally be printed.  This one was shown to display a bad example.

“I appreciate reading your site every day.  It is a great way to keep up on not just the new research being done, but to also keep abreast of the evolving debate about evolution (Pun intended).... I find it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also to research particular topics.”
(an IT consultant in Brisbane, Australia)

“I love your website.”
(a student at a state university who used CEH when writing for the campus newsletter)

“....when you claim great uncertainty for issues that are fairly well resolved you damage your already questionable credibility.  I’m sure your audience loves your ranting, but if you know as much about biochemistry, geology, astronomy, and the other fields you skewer, as you do about ornithology, you are spreading heat, not light.”
(a professor of ornithology at a state university, responding to the 09/10/2002 headline)

“I wanted to let you know I appreciate your headline news style of exposing the follies of evolutionism.... Your style gives us constant, up-to-date reminders that over and over again, the Bible creation account is vindicated and the evolutionary fables are refuted.”
(a reader, location unknown)

“You have a knack of extracting the gist of a technical paper, and digesting it into understandable terms.”
(a nuclear physicist from Lawrence Livermore Labs who worked on the Manhattan Project)

“After spending MORE time than I really had available going thru your MANY references I want to let you know how much I appreciate the effort you have put forth.
The information is properly documented, and coming from recognized scientific sources is doubly valuable.  Your explanatory comments and sidebar quotations also add GREATLY to your overall effectiveness as they 1) provide an immediate interpretive starting point and 2) maintaining the reader’s interest.”
(a reader in Michigan)

“I am a huge fan of the site, and check daily for updates.”
(reader location and occupation unknown)

“I just wanted to take a minute to personally thank-you and let you know that you guys are providing an invaluable service!  We check your Web site weekly (if not daily) to make sure we have the latest information in the creation/evolution controversy.  Please know that your diligence and perseverance to teach the Truth have not gone unnoticed.  Keep up the great work!”
(a PhD scientist involved in origins research)

“You've got a very useful and informative Web site going.  The many readers who visit your site regularly realize that it requires considerable effort to maintain the quality level and to keep the reviews current....  I hope you can continue your excellent Web pages.  I have recommended them highly to others.”
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)

“As an apprentice apologist, I can always find an article that will spark a ‘spirited’ debate.  Keep ’em coming!  The Truth will prevail.”
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)

“Thanks for your web page and work.  I try to drop by at least once a week and read what you have.  I’m a Christian that is interested in science (I’m a mechanical engineer) and I find you topics interesting and helpful.  I enjoy your lessons and insights on Baloney Detection.”
(a year later):
“I read your site 2 to 3 times a week; which I’ve probably done for a couple of years.  I enjoy it for the interesting content, the logical arguments, what I can learn about biology/science, and your pointed commentary.”
(a production designer in Kentucky)

“I look up CREV headlines every day.  It is a wonderful source of information and encouragement to me.... Your gift of discerning the fallacies in evolutionists interpretation of scientific evidence is very helpful and educational for me.  Please keep it up.  Your website is the best I know of.”
(a Presbyterian minister in New South Wales, Australia)

“I’ve written to you before, but just wanted to say again how much I appreciate your site and all the work you put into it.  I check it almost every day and often share the contents (and web address) with lists on which I participate.  I don’t know how you do all that you do, but I am grateful for your energy and knowledge.”
(a prominent creationist author)

“I am new to your site, but I love it!  Thanks for updating it with such cool information.”
(a home schooler)

“I love your site.... Visit every day hoping for another of your brilliant demolitions of the foolish just-so stories of those who think themselves wise.”
(a reader from Southern California)

“I visit your site daily for the latest news from science journals and other media, and enjoy your commentary immensely.  I consider your web site to be the most valuable, timely and relevant creation-oriented site on the internet.”
(a reader from Ontario, Canada)

“Keep up the good work!  I thoroughly enjoy your site.”
(a reader in Texas)

“Thanks for keeping this fantastic web site going.  It is very informative and up-to-date with current news including incisive insight.”
(a reader in North Carolina)

“Great site!  For all the Baloney Detector is impressive and a great tool in debunking wishful thinking theories.”
(a reader in the Netherlands)

“Just wanted to let you know, your work is having quite an impact.  For example, major postings on your site are being circulated among the Intelligent Design members....”
(a PhD organic chemist)

“It’s like ‘opening a can of worms’ ... I love to click all the related links and read your comments and the links to other websites, but this usually makes me late for something else.  But it’s ALWAYS well worth it!!”
(a leader of a creation group)

“I am a regular visitor to your website ... I am impressed by the range of scientific disciplines your articles address.  I appreciate your insightful dissection of the often unwarranted conclusions evolutionists infer from the data... Being a medical doctor, I particularly relish the technical detail you frequently include in the discussion living systems and processes.  Your website continually reinforces my conviction that if an unbiased observer seeks a reason for the existence of life then Intelligent Design will be the unavoidable conclusion.”
(a medical doctor)

“A church member asked me what I thought was the best creation web site.  I told him CreationSafaris.com.”
(a PhD geologist)

“I love your site... I check it every day for interesting information.  It was hard at first to believe in Genesis fully, but now I feel more confident about the mistakes of humankind and that all their reasoning amounts to nothing in light of a living God.”
(a college grad)

“Thank you so much for the interesting science links and comments on your creation evolution headlines page ... it is very informative.”
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)

“I still visit your site almost every day, and really enjoy it.  Great job!!!  (I also recommend it to many, many students.)
(an educational consultant)

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

“It is refreshing to read your comments.  You have a knack to get to the heart of the matter.”
(a reader in the Air Force).

“Love your website.  It has well thought out structure and will help many through these complex issues.  I especially love the Baloney Detector.”
(a scientist).

“I believe this is one of the best sites on the Internet.  I really like your side-bar of ‘truisms.’  Yogi [Berra] is absolutely correct.  If I were a man of wealth, I would support you financially.”
(a registered nurse in Alabama, who found us on TruthCast.com.)

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

“Just wanted to say that I recently ran across your web site featuring science headlines and your commentary and find it to be A++++, superb, a 10, a homerun – I run out of superlatives to describe it! ... You can be sure I will visit your site often – daily when possible – to gain the latest information to use in my speaking engagements.  I’ll also do my part to help publicize your site among college students.  Keep up the good work.  Your material is appreciated and used.”
(a college campus minister)

 
Featured Creation Scientist for October


Dr. Walter T. Brown
b. 1937

Here’s a short introduction to an influential living creationist you should get to know.  His story is best told in the recent book published by Julia Mulfinger Orozco, Christian Men of Science (Ambassador Emerald International, 2001), but here is a glimpse of a remarkable man with world-shattering ideas.
    Dr. Walter T. Brown, Jr. got his PhD from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) while in the military.  He had a long and distinguished career in the Air Force, including teaching mathematics at the Air Force Academy and teaching science and technology at the Air War College.  He also taught physics at Auburn University.
    Like many Christians, Dr. Brown received Christ as a teenager, but accepted evolution simply because it permeated secular society.  He assumed, like many, that evolution was merely God’s way of creating.  Later, he became interested in the claims that Noah’s Ark might still exist, and that peaked his interest in the flood.  As he realized that the scientific evidence for the flood was overwhelming, he also realized that the flood explained most of what he had earlier thought supported evolution.  That began his interest in creation science.
    In 1980, he decided to go full time into creation research and teaching.  After a time serving as director of the Midwest Center for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), he founded his own non-profit organization, the Center for Scientific Creation (CSC).  Though certainly a believer in Biblical teachings about creation, his focus is on scientific arguments for creation and the world-wide flood.  Dr. Brown has an aptitude for research and writing and a breadth of scientific understanding that is exceptional, whether discussing geology, biology or astronomy.  Having taught mathematics at the Air Force Academy, he also brings superior mathematical skill into his research and writing.
    Two significant fruits came out of his new ministry.  One was his popular “In the Beginning” seminars, held around the country.  The 7-hour seminar was sometimes followed by a debate whenever the local sponsors could find a qualified evolutionist.  These seminars were almost always well attended and highly rated, often ending with long and lively question-answer sessions.  His military background gave him a flair for quality, punctuality and dignity in the running of each day’s program.
    Dr. Brown travelled around the United States and Canada giving seminars for nearly 20 years, until he decided it would be more fruitful (and easier on his family) to devote more time to research and writing.  His research included trips into the Grand Canyon to investigate aspects of his flood model.  One expedition nearly cost him his life.  He became stranded in a side canyon, suffering from dehydration, with only treacherous ways to get out.  Fortunately (or we should say providentially), he did make it out – thanks to courage, determination, a piece of rope and answers to prayer.
    Walt Brown’s magnificent book In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood is the second major fruit of his ministry.  It is one of the finest comprehensive books on creation science in print, both in content and in presentation.  The content of Dr. Brown’s treatise is remarkable for its breadth and depth.  He has 135 categories of evidence, all footnoted and personally researched, that support creation and oppose evolution.  The book also has numerous interesting topics explored in depth, and answers to common questions.  Dr. Brown is gifted at making his case, giving fair and balanced treatment to all possible explanations for a phenomenon (such as frozen mammoths or the origin of comets) and explaining why the creation model is superior.  He is also careful to mention both strengths and weaknesses of his own ideas, admitting frankly when there is a problem that needs more research.  The book is also handsomely laid out; it’s the kind of book that once you start leafing through it, you can’t set it down.  Loaded with color illustrations and charts, it just draws you in and keeps you wanting to learn more.
    A highlight of the book, and the most popular talk in his seminars, is his original “hydroplate theory” of the flood.  When he was an evolutionist, one of the hindrances to Dr. Brown’s acceptance of the Genesis record of a global flood were the questions: Where did the water come from?  Where did it go?.  For years, Dr. Brown applied all his investigative and mathematical skills to this question.  The result was a stunning model that not only answers the two questions, but explains 25 geological mysteries around the world, such as submarine canyons, salt domes, mid-oceanic ridges, the fit of the continents, the Grand Canyon, frozen mammoths and much more.  Not all creationists accept his model in all respects, but Dr. Brown has this going for it: it is faithful to the Biblical record, and it includes predictions that allow his model to be falsifiable.  Some of his predictions made in the 1980s have since been confirmed.  He is also honest enough to admit arguments that later prove unsupportable.  Want to learn more?  His entire book is available online at his content-rich website, CreationScience.com.  In about 2007, the 8th edition will be published with even more new material.  Dr. Brown was also the first to propose the then-radical proposal, now accepted (at least in part) by other creationists, that the Grand Canyon was formed from a dam breach in a huge post-flood lake.  Even secular geologists have recently been seriously entertaining similar ideas.  This is a remarkable shift in thinking for this natural wonder, long considered an icon of millions of years of slow, gradual processes.
    At a creation symposium in Anaheim, California in 1979, Dr. Brown was among hundreds of participants listening to dozens of prominent creationists presenting their research papers.  At this time, when he was formulating plans for his seminars, he saw a multimedia presentation that impressed him greatly.  It was entitled How Big Is God?  It was an audio-visual journey from Earth to the farthest ends of the universe, presented using three projectors showing over 700 color slides, all computer-synchronized with narration and music.  David Coppedge (chief bwana of Creation Safaris, sponsor of this website) had just produced this show, and it subsequently went on the road for 25 years and was seen by over 300 audiences.  Dr. Brown felt this show could provide an inspirational punch his seminars needed, so he worked with David to get a copy of it.  He always used it as the “Grand Finale” for his seminars.  It was often voted the second most popular presentation after his lecture on the hydroplate theory.
    Dr. Brown has had a standing offer, in his seminars and in his book, for a written, strictly scientific debate with a qualified evolutionist on the scientific case for creation vs. evolution.  He feels that a written debate would have advantages over the usual live debate format, because it could be more easily disseminated and studied, and each side would have time to research their statements and rebuttals in more depth.  For over 20 years no one has taken him up on it.  That’s understandable.  Any evolutionist looking over his book In the Beginning, would likely be terrified.  Read it and you will see why.  This is a book that, after having mastered it yourself, you would want to stockpile to use as gifts for educated and skeptical friends.
    Dr. Brown is an exemplary family man with a lovely wife, Peggy, who supports him in all his research activities.  In person, he is a warm and generous, unpretentious Christian gentleman, a great conversationalist and able to make you feel like you are the important person.  Just don’t get into a debate with him – unless you love truth.  Dr. Brown is a military strategist who knows how to disarm weapons of falsehood, gently and effectively.

For more about Dr. Brown and his ministry, be sure to drop in at CreationScience.com.



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

A Concise Guide
to Understanding
Evolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Souder’s Law
Repetition does not establish validity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advice from Paul

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

I Timothy 6:20-21

Song of the True Scientist

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

from Psalm 104

Maxwell’s Motivation

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

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

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

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