Watch for the Recycle logo to find gems from the back issues!
New Dinosaur Finds Astonish Paleontologists 11/30/2007
Some recent dinosaur discoveries on different sides of the world have produced
amazement among scientists and the public as well.
Sometimes the reactions of scientists are as interesting as the fossils.
One of the directors of the dig in Spain said, This is completely beyond what
we expected to find. This represents a huge leap in our understanding of
the Upper Cretaceous. This can only mean that before the huge leap,
there was less than understanding.
- Tire tracks uncover dino tracks: ATVs and dirt bikes have ridden for years over
a place that is now found to be loaded with dinosaur tracks. Near Coral Pink Sand Dunes State
Park in Utah, reported the Salt Lake
Tribune, thousands of dinosaur tracks were discovered in an area thought to have
been a desert as harsh as the Sahara when dinosaurs
roamed there. Associated Press
Geographic News gave short summaries of the story.
The Tribune said that one species of carnivore was as small as a robin.
Five other species, including a 3-toed crocodile and a plant-eater 35 feet long, were
found across dozens of layers of rock. You rarely find herbivores in a desert,
said Martin Lockley, curator of the Dinosaur Tracks Museum at the University of Colorado at Denver.
As paleontologists flock to the site, one question will be what conditions allowed these
prints to be preserved in a dry desert.
Dinosaur tracks are known in other places in the southwest, such as
near Tuba City, Arizona, and Zion National Park. Another dinosaur trove is
being explored in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park east of the Coral Pink Sand
Dunes (10/09/2007, bullet 1). And far away and down under,
Daily reported a track site in Australia. Dinosaur tracks have even been found
in Israel (search list at Bible Places),
but when they walked there, maybe only
- Spanish inquisitive: Imagine more than 8,000 dinosaurs, some 65 feet
long, buried together in one location. Thats what
Online (UK) reported about a site between Madrid and Valencia that was discovered
during excavations for a rail line. 100 titanosaurs are included in this massive
graveyard that includes a wealth of other plant and animal species.
The traditional dating of the strata, 80 million years old, represents
a time when the number of dinosaur species was supposed to be sharply declining.
Palaeontologists working in Lo Hueco, though, have been amazed to find a wide
variety of dinosaurs from the period. No less remarkable is the manner in
which they died. The range of species they are finding at the 80
million-year-old site and their state of conservation is virtually unparalleled in
Europe and challenges long-held beliefs about the way in which dinosaurs became extinct.
One of the excavators remarked, Everything indicates that the dinosours [sic]
were enjoying great evolutionary vigour when they suddenly disappeared.
Excavators are hurrying to sift through 20,000 kg of sediment so that
railway digging can continue. The site is 80 to 100 times the size of a normal
excavation in terms of time and money, the report said. They expect to find
dozens of smaller species.
Surprisingly, American science news media are not reporting this story.
A report from
counts 30 paleontologists and geologists working flat-out with volunteers to preserve
the bones before construction resumes.
This is one of Europes most spectacular dinosaur finds
(cf. Switzerland and Germany, 08/15/2007). The state
of conservation is incredible, the director of the dig said. There are articulated
skeletons, for example, a neck that is several meters long with all its vertebrae
and ribs in place. The article says the pit is 20 meters deep.
It appears to be in a fluvial channel, where the animals were probably washed
into it by heavy flooding.
The pit in Spain is a phenomenal discoverywhere
are the dinosaur media? Are they afraid that creationists will jump on it?
This doesnt look like slow, gradual evolution or uniformitarianism: it looks
like a giant flood buried them all. Maybe the same flood hit Switzerland,
Germany and Norway (04/25/2006). Toss in
Australia and Montana while were at it. Maybe the Utah group was running
for their lives. Maybe yes, maybe Noah.
Must-read for pastors: Darwin demands the Kingdom, from
The result? see 11/29/2006
Need more? read 11/30/2005.
The Times Online article demonstrates why we dont print
unmoderated reader comments at this site. All it takes is for a few
idiots to say stupid things, and the stink spreads around. Fortunately the
comments we get are mostly thoughtful and erudite, because our readers tend to be
educated and intelligent.
Its very possible the ones who sent in those remarks are trolls just trying
to make Christians look bad. If you are prone to write responses on blogs,
please think and do your homework first and brush up on your spelling and
punctuation, too. An education with our Baloney Detector
should be a prerequisite for any public writing.
Next headline on:
Who Knows the Age of Grand Canyon? 11/30/2007
In spite of over a century of work on the Grand Canyon, there are still fundamental
questions about the age of the canyon and the processes that have formed it.
Thus begins a paper in the November GSA Bulletin of the Geological Society of
America.1 To re-evaluate the date of Grand Canyon,
a team dated lavas comparing argon-40 and argon-39, examined fault lines, and
modeled rates of downcutting by the river. Their result? The canyon
is half as old as previously thought: from 1.2 million years maximum,
to probably less than 723,000 years maybe even as little
as 102,000 years.
This represents another step in a long trend of falling ages for the
worlds most famous canyon. John Wesley Powell thought the canyon was
70 million years old a date that stuck for nearly a century (source:
In more recent decades, 5 million years was the consensus figure.
Now its getting down into the hundreds of thousands
(07/22/2002), with no end in sight.
Textbooks cant keep up with the scientists, though. This
for Utah fifth graders, for instance, nonchalantly tells the kids the canyon is
10 million years old.
Meanwhile, creationists have long argued that the canyon is very young.
Their most popular model has a large lake upstream breaching its dam and carving
the entire canyon within days or weeks. Remarkably, some secular geologists
are warming up to that idea, supplying their own variations on the dam-breach theme
but putting the event farther back in time
09/16/2005). Who knows; maybe tradition
makes it hard to give up those millions of years.
1. Karlstrom et al, 40Ar/39Ar and field
studies of Quaternary basalts in Grand Canyon and model for carving Grand Canyon:
Quantifying the interaction of river incision and normal faulting across the
western edge of the Colorado Plateau,
Volume 119, Issue 11 (November 2007), pp. 1283-1312.
Our commentary is based on analysis of this paper
by a field geologist with over 28 years experience in the oil, gas and mining
industries, who has also given presentations about the Colorado Plateau.
Nehemiahs Wall Found 11/30/2007
The authors of this paper cherry-picked their data. They only
used 26 of 63 radiometric dating tests that is tossing out 60% of the data.
How can we trust their results? Even then, the spread in resulting ages is
huge, but they never questioned the validity of their dating method.
In addition, there is a large discrepancy between the dates of lavas on
the Uinkaret Plateau (3.4 to 3.7 million years) and those of intracanyon flows
(100,000 to 700,000 years), but they assumed that their results are immune from the
flaws of earlier attempts. Regardless, they had to admit that radioactive dating of basalt is
very difficult, particularly in Grand Canyon. They also acknowledged large discrepancies between radioactive dates
and those determined by stratigraphic position: in one case, they were off by more
than two standard deviations. The way out was to use a method of
recalculating errors to better reflect scatter of the dates beyond analytical error.
Some stratigraphic dates agreed with the radiometric dates, but the above discrepancy stuck out like
a sore thumb. What did they do? Ignore it!
The incision rates (downcutting of the river) they modeled would
require 10 to 12 million years to carve the canyon much older than the date
they got from radiometric methods. They tried to correlate incision rate with
faulting rate, but those are two processes that have nothing to do with each other;
to get disparate pieces of the puzzle together, they allowed incision rates to
vary by nearly 1000%. When needed, they added some ad hoc forces to keep
things in sync: raising the whole Colorado Plateau by a
buoyant low-velocity mantle upwelling.
In short, our geologist concluded,
RA [radioactive] dating can give any date you would like, depending on where
you sample and what method you use. Because the evolutionists assumptions
are wrong they are asking the wrong questions, using the wrong methods, and generating
wrong interpretations. What a waste of time and effort.
Scouring through the jargon and numbers in this technical paper,
it is apparent that these geologists were trying to piece together
a lot of uncooperative data into some kind of patchwork that gave them a human sense
of accomplishment. Undoubtedly the team felt gratified for getting a paper published
by their peers in the Geological Society of America. Whether their claims
have any necessary correlation with what actually happened at Grand Canyon is
an entirely different question. Here, it is publish and perish perish
the thought that their assumptions might be totally off kilter.
See 11/05/2003, 11/04/2003.
Opportunity: Want to see evidence for a young canyon with your own eyes?
Join us for the Memorial Day 2008 3-day rafting trip in Grand Canyon! (see sample
Click here for details on this fun-filled, educational vacation package.
Dont hesitate the trip is expected to fill by January 2008 or before.
Next headline on:
Earlier this month, archaeologist Eilat Mazar found remnants of an ancient wall on
the old city of David she believes is a remnant of the wall built by Nehemiah in 445 BC
3-6 that describes the project in detail). This was reported on the
Places blog, with a link to The
Trumpet which broke the news.
Now, the mainstream press has picked up the story.
MSNBC and other news sites are
printing Regan Dohertys Associated Press report, and Todd Bolen has provided
additional pictures on
including a close-up of the actual wall. The
Post contains a picture of a person in the wall for scale. The identification with Nehemiah
is based on pottery shards dated to the post-exilic period; see photo of the pieces on
PhysOrg. More coverage can
be found at WND.
Students of Old Testament history
will also be fascinated to know that an inscription in Arak el-Emir in Jordan
specifically mentions Tobiah. This may well be the very same
Tobiah the Ammonite who opposed Nehemiahs project, as described in
Pictures and descriptions of the inscription are available on the
Bible Places Jordan CD.
The other recent big story concerning Old Testament archaeology,
the First Temple artifacts (10/23/2007)
found in a trench dug by Muslims on the Temple Mount, is placed in context on
the blog of Dr. Leen Ritmeyer,
the worlds leading authority on the historic Temple Mount. Todd Bolen has provided an update to
this story on Bible
Places, with additional links. He has also provided documents
proving that Muslim guides as recently as 1930 acknowledged the existence of Solomons temple
on the site; click here
These are exciting times for monumental discoveries,
but Jerusalem is currently a pawn in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks (see
WND). The Israeli
government showcases these discoveries to the public in beautiful archaeological parks;
would Palestinians be as hospitable if the site were entirely under Muslim control?
Their treatment of the Temple Mount, Gaza and Hebron portends ominously otherwise.
And did you hear what members of the Religion of Peace are demanding today in Sudan?
Magicians through the Looking Glass 11/29/2007
history of archaeology in Israel shows that opportunities for exploration are volatile.
Major discoveries can be followed by decades of denied access. Ritmeyer has experienced
this firsthand. He has had to stitch together tantalizing tidbits of information
gathered from fortuitous opportunities over 30 years. How much better it would be
for the scholarly community if these historic sites were open for free and fair
investigation. This is another reason to pray for the
peace of Jerusalem and for Iraq, another country with untold archaeological treasures
where scholarly access hangs in the balance.
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
A leading origin-of-life researcher passed away last month: Leslie Orgel.
Gerald Joyce paid him tribute in Nature.1 Orgel worked closely
with other famous origin-of-life people like Stanley Miller, and was a leader
in the RNA world scenario for the origin of life. Joyce appreciated
his rigid empiricism:
Although Orgel was a theoretician, he always demanded that theory be subject
to rigorous experimental validation. This, he felt, was especially true
in the field of the origins of life, where theories are a dime a dozen and
facts are in short supply. He took great pleasure in a positive result,
to the point of rooting for the pen on a graph-plotter during chromatography experiments.
But he also delighted in negative results, because they pushed him
to devise new hypotheses. This, of course, is the way scientists are supposed
to behave, but Orgel was one of the few who actually did so.
Joyce found it refreshing that Orgel would readily criticize his own favorite hypothesis:
Following the discovery of catalytic RNA, Orgel continued to pursue the RNA-world
hypothesis as both a strong proponent and a tough critic.
He pointed out that the notion of an RNA world hardly solves the problem of the
origins of life, and suggested that RNA was preceded by some other genetic
material, just as DNA and protein were preceded by RNA. Many of
his later publications concerned experimental studies of possible
At this point, Joyce took a swipe at another group of critics of origin-of-life
His theories brought him into conflict with creationists, who sometimes quoted
Orgel out of context, pointing to his admitted uncertainty about lifes
origins as if this were a failing of the scientific approach.
It was, of course, typical of Orgel and of the best practice of science.
He had no time for proponents of intelligent design, and avoided
those prone to magical thinking.
Since these critics included PhD biochemist Duane Gish and others with impeccable
credentials who launched their criticisms specifically at the lack of rigor in
such hypothesis, one is left wondering who was engaging in magical thinking.
1. Gerald Joyce, Obituary: Leslie Orgel (1927–2007),
450, 627 (29 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/450627a.
Gerald Joyce, still smarting from the other Darwin
Party wizards who used their magic against him
(02/15/2007), is no one to teach us about
science vs magic. The whole RNA World scenario is nothing but a stage for
magicians to entertain gullible patrons. If he has no time for creationists,
does he have time for fellow OOL researcher Steve Benner? Benner warned about the
intractable problem of getting ribose (an essential sugar for RNA, ribo-nucleic
acid), and criticized those who invoke genetic takeovers for pre-RNA
chemistry (see 11/05/2004) like some magic wand.
Is psychotherapy scientific? from 11/13/2005.
The charge that creationists would quote Orgel out of context is a
common dodge, like throwing a smoke bomb and running
away. Prove it. Doesnt this just mean that Joyce is mad creationists
effectively used quotations from a hostile witness to buttress their arguments that a chance
origin of life is impossible? Prosecutors do that all the time; that is not
quoting out of context, it is making your case wisely. When a hostile
witness admits a key point it doesnt matter if he still believes his story or
not; the truth is out, and the jury takes note.
Irrespective of any noble intentions of researchers like Orgel to maintain
an air of empirical rigor, at what point do investigations into impossible scenarios
become indistinguishable from alchemy? The alchemists had arguably more
experimental rigor behind their hypotheses than the OOL schools. Joyce pasted
the label best practice of science on the modern OOL foolery but it wont
stick. It is a logical fallacy to assume that goal-oriented research, conducted
via intelligent design in modern labs, can teach us anything about what chance might
have done in the unobservable past. Joyce could use a little more intelligent
discernment. Magician, dont fool thyself.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Dealing with Light at the Extremes 11/28/2007
Light is the most important variable in our environment, wrote Edith
Widder, a marine biologist. The inhabitants of two different ecosystems have
to deal with either too little or too much.
Look at your eyes in a mirror. Using an eye to see the eye: fascinating. Theres
enough in that self-reflexive activity to keep biologists, neuroscientists, physicists and philosophers
busy for millennia.
- Let your light so shine: A thousand meters below the sea surface,
all sunlight is extinguished. Yet for thousands of meters more, creatures live
in the perpetual darkness by manufacturing their own light. Bioluminescence
is everywhere, reported Mark Schrope in Nature,1
Eventually, the lightshow grows into a veritable fireworks display against
an ever blacker background. The light comes from everything alive:
bacteria, microorganisms called dinoflagellates, jellyfish, anemones, shrimp, vertebrate fish,
Edith Widder is co-founder of the Ocean Research and Conservation
Association in Fort Pierce, Florida. With a grant from the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), her team uses a deep ocean submersible
craft called Eye-in-the-Sea to understand creatures who can only be studied in their
own space. The submersible is equipped with an LED flasher that tries
to beckon organisms and study their behaviors. They were actually able to
get a distant organism to flash its light back. They also got a
squid to respond to their light signal, thinking it had discovered lunch.
Possible uses of biological
light include decoy, defense, camouflage, mimicry, sexual attraction and alarm.
Though red light is the first to be extinguished in the depths, and most dark-adapted
organisms see in the blue-green range, some organisms appear to emit red light that
could be visible only among their own. To do this, they must transfer the
blue-green light from their photophores to red-fluorescent proteins, which seems
inefficient. My physics head says, No, commented Justin
Marshall, an Australian participant in the Deep Scope project, But my biology
head says, Well, Why not? Biology is weird, so it could be.
The fact that organisms can emit light by intricate processes of
bioluminescence presupposes that they also contain sensitive organs to detect it.
Many deep-sea fish have large eyes tuned to the blue-green light of photophores.
A new version of Eye-in-the-Sea is being prepared for deployment in early
2008 in Monterey, California. This will provide the first undersea observatory
of the dark depths, the first effective, long-term study of true deep-sea
bioluminescent behaviour. It may shed new light on an ecosystem that
communicates in the language of photons.
- Too much of a good thing: On topside, some organisms have the
opposite problem: too much light. Plants harvest sunlight to make nutrients
from the soil, but like sunbathers know, too much can burn. Within leaves
are elaborate mechanisms to shunt away excess light from the photosynthetic factories.
reported on a paper in Nature2 where researchers from
University of Sheffield and Queen Mary, University of London learned more about
photoprotection in plant leaves: They were able to show how a
small number of certain key molecules, hidden among the millions of others in the
plant leaf, change their shape when the amount of light absorbed is excessive;
and they have been able to track the conversion of light energy to heat that
occurs in less than a billionth of a second. The original paper
stated, it is experimentally demonstrated that a change in conformation of
LHCII occurs in vivo, which opens a channel for energy dissipation by
transfer to a bound carotenoid. We suggest that this is the principal mechanism
of photoprotection. The excess energy is thus shunted to a heat sink
by an extremely rapid switch.
What they are learning may help increase crop yields and improve
photovoltaic cells. Plants already know how to adjust for the dim light of
a cloudy day to the scorching radiation under a midsummer sun at noon.
Many plant species can successfully inhabit extreme environments where
there is little water, strong sunlight, low fertility and extremes of temperature
by having highly tuned defence mechanisms, including photoprotection.
See also the 06/23/2006
and 01/24/2005 entries
about photoprotection, One of Natures supreme examples of nanoscale engineering.
(Thats Nature as in the real world, not the artificial journal.)
- Light just right, but que pasa?: We humans, too, have to not only be
able to harvest light, but
process it as information. The brain has a mechanism for making sense of
a scene deciding what is foreground, and what is background. A
neural machine, described in
Daily, sorts this all out faster than the blink of an eye. A portion of the
visual cortex called V2 makes a preliminary judgment of what part of the field is
the background, and what part is the foreground.
Rudiger von der Heydt, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University, described what
happens: What we found is that V2 generates a foreground-background map for
each image registered by the eyes. Contours are assigned to the foreground regions,
and V2 does this automatically within a tenth of a second.
This first-pass interpretive
filter helps us make instant sense of a complex scene, even though its decision can be overridden by
the conscious mind, or tricked by optical illusions. Paintings by artist M.C.
Escher, for instance, owe their popularity to tricks with the mind, fooling our eyes
with contradictions about which way is up, or which part is the foreground and which is
Van der Heydt continued, Because of their complexity, images of natural
scenes generally have many possible interpretations, not just two, like in
Eschers drawings. In most cases, they contain a variety of cues that
could be used to identify fore- and background, but oftentimes, these cues contradict
each other. The V2 mechanism combines these cues efficiently and provides us
immediately with a rough sketch of the scene.
The neuroscientist commented on the wonders of this system.
We can do all of this without effort, thanks to a neural machine that
generates visual object representations in the brain, he said. He
admitted that how it works is still a mystery to us.
But discovering this mechanism that so efficiently links our attention to
figure-ground organization is a step toward understanding this amazing machine.
1. Mark Schrope, Marine biology: Lights in the deep,
450, 472-474 (2007) | doi:10.1038/450472a.
2. Ruban et al, Identification of a mechanism of photoprotective energy dissipation in higher plants,
450, 575-578 (22 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06262.
As with every natural resource in every ecological
environment, light is used efficiently and effectively by a multitude of organisms
well equipped to manage with feast or famine. What other physical resources
are utilized via similar feats of nanoengineering by living organisms?
Water (vapor, liquid, and solid), oxygen, nitrogen, iron, magnetism no matter the physical resource,
living things know how to harvest it for highest and best use. Organisms
daily exhibit a declaration of intelligent design; they have been endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable rightly elegant constitutions.
Moon Dust Can Kill 11/27/2007
Next headline on:
Future astronauts preparing to operate on the moon, beware. High-speed dust
is deadly, reports PhysOrg. With no
atmosphere on the moon to slow its path, dust
flying from rocket engines can blast anything in its path.
Small grit can travel enormous distances at high speeds, scouring everything in its path,
the article says at speeds up to 2 kilometers per second.
Apollo astronauts didnt experience this first-hand, because
they were safe inside the lunar module when it took off. But when surveying
the condition of Surveyor 3 on Apollo 12, the astronauts noticed a sand-blasted
appearance on the side facing the Apollo lander.
This could prove disastrous to a future moon base.
This evidence concerns [Phil] Metzger [Kennedy Space Center] because in a
future lunar outpost, high-speed fine grit could scour the reflective coating off
thermal control blankets, roughen the surfaces of windows and other optics,
compromise the surfaces of solar panels, and penetrate connectors or other
mechanisms on digging machines or spacesuits, causing friction and even
mechanical failure, the article said. Getting farther away from
the launch pad is no help: Dust particles accelerated by a rockets
exhaust could theoretically travel all the way around the Moon!
Just one more reason to be thankful you live on Gods green Earth, nicest
place in the solar system. Take a deep breath of fresh air, and smile.
Early Platypus Stuns Evolutionists 11/27/2007
Next headline on:
With the possible exception of a monotreme tooth assumed to be 62 million years old,
the oldest known platypus fossil was dated 15 million years old. Now, a
fossil from Australia reported in Science
sets a new record: 112 million years old.1
Its really, really
old for a monotreme, Timothy Rowe of the University of Texas (UT), Austin, told
the audience at a meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology last month in
Austin, Texas. How to fit this with the evolution of monotremes?
That would push back the fossil record of the platypus quite a bit; the
next youngest fossil is Obdurodon dicksoni from 15-million-year-old
rocks in Australia. It is also much older than current estimates
from DNA of when platypuses and echidnas diverged from their most recent common
ancestor. Molecular clocks put that date somewhere between 17 million
and 80 million years ago. Rowe speculated that one reason for
the underestimate may be that monotremes evolve at slower rates than
other mammals do, an idea that fits with their lower diversity.
1. Erik Stokstad, Jaw Shows Platypus Goes Way Back,
23 November 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5854, p. 1237, DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5854.1237a.
Was this platypus a transitional form? No.
Was it evolving from a simpler animal into a complex creature
with a duck bill, poison spur, electrical sensing organ, webbed feet, fur and ability to
lay eggs? No it was Darwins nightmare popping up way, way back in the record,
over 100 million years earlier (in their own dating scheme) than the next clear
platypus fossil. Why not consider the obvious, that there was never any
113 million years between the two fossils?
A dozen living wonders to make you marvel, from 11/04/2005,
and ten Darwin just-so stories to make you groan, from 11/05/2005.
According to evolutionary theory, most of the other
mammals diversified into elephants, giraffes, lions and whales in far less time,
but these Darwin-defying furry-duckmammals just lived on and on in their niche
as if nothing else was going on in the world. Rowes reply that they just
evolved slower (and that lower diversity demonstrates this), should be seen not only
as a gratuitous speculation, but as an escape from reality.
Thats it: Darwin was the prophet of Second Life, a virtual
world where any fantasy you want to dream up can come true and be called science. Whenever their
virtual fantasyland has an internal conflict, they can always dream up virtual
ways to resolve it. Science needs to kick the habit and get back to the real world
literally, not virtually.
Next headline on:
Pangea Stuck at Square One 11/26/2007
Students in their physical science classes learn all about Pangea, the supercontinent
that broke up 200 million years ago and ended up with todays familiar continents
after millions of years of continental drift. What they dont often learn
is how scientists come up with these ideas, and how they pull their hair out when
observations dont match the story. Here are some quotes from 2 articles on
PhysOrg, #1 and
#2, that reveal interesting
things going on in the back rooms of the wizards.
The team expected patterns in alleged sand dune formations to match up with paleomagnetic
data, but there was a clear mismatch. Their paper was published in Science.1
- [Title] Dunes, climate models dont match up with paleomagnetic records.
- Its a puzzle, a conundrum is the word we like to use,
said Robert Oglesby of UNL [Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln]. And in the
Science paper, were not solving the conundrum, were raising the conundrum.
- I thought that was very curious, [David] Loope said. It didnt
seem to fit with what we think we know about where the continents were.
- The three geoscientists began working together, trying to find a computerized
climate model that would explain the discrepancy, but they couldnt find one
that worked. We ran the model in any different number of configurations
just to see if we could make it do something different, [Clinton] Rowe said....
The equator is the only place you could get this large-scale arc of winds that turn
from the northeast to the northwest as they moved south. Nowhere else would
you get that as part of the general circulation unless the physics of the world
200 million years ago was very different from what it is today. And we
just dont think thats the case.
- We brought Rob [Van der Voo] in to try to see if he could help us sort
it out, and hes like, Gosh, guys, I dont know. This is a conundrum,
Oglesby said. Its important to note that we have not just a
paleomag person as a co-author, but arguably the best-known paleomag person in
the worldand hes as confused as we are.
- The nicest thing would have been if we had a solution, but we dont,
said Van der Voo, the Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Geological Sciences at U-M.
All we can say is that we have this enigma, so perhaps our model of Pangea for
the period in question is wrong or the wind direction didnt follow the
common patterns that we recognize in the modern world. Neither seems likely....
- Well come up with everything we can possibly think of,
Oglesby said. From the point of view of the climate model, the paleogeography,
the vegetation, the topography, local-scale vs. large-scale, paleomag, going back
and rethinking everything that the dunes tell us. Well go back
to square one in everything, trying to figure it out.
1. Clinton M. Rowe, David B. Loope, Robert J. Oglesby, Rob Van der Voo, Charles E. Broadwater,
Inconsistencies Between Pangean Reconstructions and Basic Climate Controls,
3 November 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5854, pp. 1284-1286, DOI: 10.1126/science.1146639.
It is nice when scientists stop
bluffing to the press, and admit they have a
problem. But are they really going back to square one? Sometimes
the most obvious problem is staring them right in the face and
they dont even see it: the assumption of millions of years.
The Stars That Shouldnt Exist 11/25/2007
The team believes that a supercontinent just sat there at one location for
100 million years collecting sand dunes, from the Permian to the
Jurassic, then all of a sudden it started moving north. Is that
even remotely plausible? Take away the habit of assuming billions
of years are available, and question the traditional interpretations of the
data, and the idea would seem ridiculous on the face of it.
Evolutionary biologists and geologists toss around their millions
of years thoughtlessly, making reckless drafts on the bank of time
whenever they need to shield their models from lack of empirical evidence. Without
an overhaul of their presuppositions about the world, it is impossible for them
to get back to square one. Square one is outside their box.
Next headline on:
Theories in astronomy are fun to model on paper with equations, but once in awhile
they need to stand up to observations. Phil Berardelli wrote for
It seems as though every time astronomers point their telescopes
at the night sky, some weird new finding forces them to revamp their theories.
And so it is with nine newly discovered white dwarfs. The stars defy
their expected chemical makeup and by rights shouldnt even exist.
An explanation could open up a new branch of astronomy.
The stars may be violating human rights but apparently abide by stellar rights.
One astronomer concluded, It tells us that nature has found a way that we
didnt know to make white dwarf stars without the usual hydrogen or
helium surface layers.
According to stellar evolution theory, white dwarfs should be enveloped
with hydrogen and helium, not carbon. Astronomers could find no trace of hydrogen
or helium in the spectra from these oddball stars. Astronomers dont
have a clue why, the article continued. Another astronomer commented,
There is currently no explanation how such stars can be formed. Its
a real challenge to stellar-evolution theory. The stars were identified
in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. See also
The original paper was published in Nature.1
Our analysis shows that the atmospheric parameters found for these stars do
not fit satisfactorily in any of the currently known theories of post-asymptotic
giant branch evolution, the abstract states.
1. P. Dufour, J. Liebert, G. Fontaine and N. Behara,
White dwarf stars with carbon atmospheres,
450, 522-524 (22 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06318.
This portion of the news is brought to you by the makers of
Humble Pie, reminding you that moderation in science is a good thing.
Multiple Dinosaurs Reclassified as One Species 11/24/2007
Twinkle twinkle little star, I dont wonder what you are; for by
spectroscopic ken, I know that you are hydrogen. So astronomers used to
say. Always be
wary when a scientist says, I know. What rhymes with carbon?
If they had only found seven of these unexpected stars, we could have
spun some fairy tales about Snow White Theories and the Seven Dwarfs getting lost
in the Data Mine. Well show moderation, though, and not discuss
which astronomers were sleepy, dopey or grumpy.
Next headline on:
Its tough sometimes to draw the line between species especially when
dealing with fossils. A report in Science suggests that
three bone-headed dinosaurs are probably just different stages of one species.1
These had been named Pachycephalosaurus, Stygimoloch and Dracorex.
Erik Stokstad, reporting on activities at the meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
last month in Austin, Texas, said that two veteran dinosaur hunters knocked heads over
the classification of these thick-skulled dinosaurs that may have knocked their own
heads together in real life. Jack Horner proposed lumping three specimens into
one species, but Robert Bakker opposed it on the grounds that they look so
dramatically different. Horner and others, though, are convinced that changes
in canals visible in the skulls represent different stages of growth from youth
through adolescence to adult forms. He postulated that
bony growths on the head could have changed during maturation.
(Its not clear, incidentally, whether these dinosaurs or scientists actually did butt heads
with each other in real life.)
If Horner turns out to be right, the diversity of pachycephalosaurs
would be 50% lower than previously thought for the latest Cretaceous.
Horner said this would be consistent with the belief that
other kinds of dinosaurs were also declining in diversity at the time.
Claims of new dinosaurs continue. James Owen said in
Geographic that A forgotten museum fossil that had been gathering dust
for more than a century is actually from a mysterious British dinosaur that represents
an entirely new family, scientists have discovered.
described how researchers in Australia are trying to correlate dinosaur bones down
under with those known from other parts of the world.
1. Erik Stokstad, Did Horny Young Dinosaurs Cause Illusion of Separate Species?,
23 November 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5854, p. 1236, DOI: 10.1126/science.318.5854.1236.
Did you know that the biological concept of a
species is fraught with difficulties? Philosophers question whether scientists
are discovering species divisions, as if carving nature at its
joints (Plato), or whether they are engaged in a purely human activity
of imposing our own patterns on observations in ways we find useful.
How water striders walk on water, from 11/04/2004.
The biological species concept we learn in school
(species are populations that can produce fertile offspring) doesnt work for
fossils, nor for the vast majority of organisms, which are asexual. Taxonomy
since Linnaeus has been a battle between the lumpers and the splitters.
There is also the reward motivation. Identifying a new species
can bring you fame. You might even be able to name it after yourself.
Remember Nebraska Man? The human ancestor tooth was named for its
discoverer, Hesperopithecus haroldcookii (see original 1922 paper from
Cook must have been mighty proud till the tooth was identified as from an extinct pig.
Horner thinks the lumping makes sense according to an evolutionary
pattern of declining diversity in the late Cretaceous. But he has just
undermined a criterion of diversity to do so. One wonders just how much
data are force-fitted into evolutionary stories by tweaking parameters
according to flawed assumptions, based on a prior commitment to Darwinist historical
Next headline on:
No Salt, Please: Europa Life Needs It Bland 11/23/2007
Salt may taste good on human food, but for life trying to emerge in the sea, it is
toxic. Astrobiologists have long wondered if life could exist at Jupiters
moon Europa, where an ocean is believed to exist miles deep under the icy crust.
They must have been presuming the water is pure, but an article on
Magazine, a NASA website, says that Europas ocean could be saturated with salt.
The amount of salts in the ocean also could be stressful for life. [Kevin] Hand
[Jet Propulsion Laboratory] says the Galileo magnetometer results indicate Europas
ocean could be nearly saturated in either sodium chloride or magnesium sulfate.
Terrestrial (earth-based) halophiles (salt-lovers), however, did not originate in
a salty sea, according to evolutionary theory. Presumably, they developed the ability to
deal with salt long after life arose.
If youve got a salt-saturated ocean, that doesnt bode
well for the origin of life, says Hand. Some of the processes that
lead toward the generation of polymers or the stringing together of genetic base pairs
are inhibited by high salt concentrations. That said, there are terrestrial
halophiles, salt-loving microbes, that could survive in the ocean we propose.
that taught us to avoid salt at all costs when modeling the origin of life
in a primordial soup. Salt of any kind is very effective at dismembering fatty acids needed
for cell membranes and preventing nucleotides from linking up (assuming they could
even form in water; see 11/05/2004).
Monard et al had no answer, but just pointed out
that this was a crucial piece of information for astrobiologists theorizing
about how life might have formed in a random sea of chemicals.
SETI Researcher Writes Childrens Poem 11/22/2007
Yet hope springs eternal. You can almost hear the hand-wringing
in the Astrobiology Magazine article. They just admitted that the presence of
salt does not bode well for the origin of life. Theyre thinking,
But... if life DID originate somehow, maybe it could get along just like
the halophiles on Earth manage to do. Foul. It didnt.
Salt tosses life out of the equation. You cant get there from here.
While weve got them pinned to the
floor, lets put the squeeze on by asking another pertinent question. What is
the likelihood that the Earths early oceans, filled with runoff from the
torrential rains and upheavals for two billion years after its hellish birth
(11/01/2007), were pure and soft as spring waters?
Salt is bad for astrobiology here, too. If salt was present, you may as
well become a creationist now, because Charlie is out before he gets to the starting
gate. Sorry for the mixed metaphors of wrestling and horse racing, but you
get the point. Charlies horse may enjoy a salt lick, but salt licks astrobiology
like a Charlie horse.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
For a feature called SETI Thursday at
Dr. Laurence Doyle has written a childish poem about how life brought itself up from
nothing to galactic explorers. It begins, When the Earth was young,
and the Moon nearby, in a cometary sea, prokaryotic thoughts arose, what
fun it is to be! The idea of evolving being fun is a
motif throughout the poem. One excerpt:
Trilobites now filled the sea, and oxygen the air, What say we all crawl up on land? And have a picnic there!
From there, it wouldnt be long till primates spread their partying from inner caves to outer space:
Well bring amphibians and trees, and Oh, it will be fun! And bring some extra ozone to protect us from the Sun.
So off we went, and partied on, from cynodont to saur. Time flies when one is having fun. Then from a distant shore,
We saw a comet hit the ground, the best Ive ever seen. It turned the Moon a pretty blue, the Sun a shade of green.
Now thats a party! we all sang, and went to mammals be. The saurs became a little flock of ornithology.
The trees were great, but it was late, so onto two we strode.
And chipped some stone and built some fires to warm the cave abode....
Theres another place on the planet where talking animals party all the time: Disneyland.
Nextto another sun! A galaxy to party in. I said it would be fun!
The Imagineers at Disneyland have actually gotten together with the Darwin Party on
numerous occasions. The Magic Kingdom is loaded with reference to evolution.
Darwinists love to party there, because
when you wish upon a star, anything can happen. Prokaryotic thoughts
can even arise. Just dont ask, from where?
Give Thanks for Our Rare Moon 11/22/2007
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Our moon is a rare treat, says a press release from
Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
based on findings from the
Space Telescope. The telescope looked for indications of dust from collisions
in other planetary disks thought to be the age of our solar system when our moon
formed. According to the leading theory, our moon formed from the collision of
a Mars-sized body impacting the earth when our solar system was 30 million years old.
Only 5-10% of dust disks had telltale signs of dust from such collisions.
See also the story on
Scientist. The moon is approaching full phase on the weekend Americans celebrate
The claim is based on a controversial theory that invokes an extremely improbable
It is based on unverifiable dating assumptions
08/08/2006). The theory has
many problems and is not accepted by some geologists, including Harrison Schmidt,
who walked on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission
(11/04/2002). Students of philosophy of
science may want to examine this story as an example of an explanation so
intertwined with theory, it is hard to know where the theory stops and the
On what planet does it rain lead? see 11/26/2003.
While it is nice for astronomers to recognize our moon is special,
we didnt need their evolutionary assumptions. The moons role in
stabilizing earths axial tilt and tides is part of a large suite of evidences
that show our home planet was designed for life.
Next headline on:
Mt. St. Helens Rebuilding Fast 11/21/2007
Could Mt. St. Helens grow back to its pre-1980 size in just 180 years?
Thats what an article in the Tacoma, Washington
says. The lava dome is growing fast, and so is a glacier inside the crater.
It is growing 3 feet per day. The lava dome split the glacier because it was
growing by a pickup truckload of lava every two seconds.
Yes, it may be growing fast now, children, but
before there were scientists to observe it, it took millions and millions of
Stem Cell Breakthrough 11/20/2007
Next headline on:
Stem cells from skin cells: its all over the news see
BBC News 1,
BBC News 2,
and PhysOrg for sample reports.
Two teams working independently, one in Japan and one in America,
were able to tinker with just four genes to make skin cells pluripotent
able to turn into any of more than 200 body tissue cells. This is another advance
on a technique announced last June (06/06/2007),
that now has been demonstrated to work with human skin cells.
If this technique bears fruit with real treatments, it could
end the need for embryonic stem cells. National Geographic, however, said it
could be a blow for those who want to receive funding for embryonic stem cells.
The article ended with a quote from a medical legal advisor claiming that it is a mistake
to think this ends the need for funding of ES cell research. No explanation
was given. It questioned whether the new technique would be eligible for federal
funding. History would seem to show, however, that when something works, and people
flock to a life-saving treatment, the money will flow from investors, patients and
probably the government as well.
Only a few labs have had the resources
and expertise to deal with embryonic stem cells. The new method is
fairly straightforward and can be repeated by standard labs with relative ease,
the PhysOrg article stated. The breakthrough solves not only the ethical problems
but a practical one as well:
The new method is expected to rapidly advance research in the treatment
of cancer, Alzheimers and Parkinsons diseases, diabetes, arthritis,
spinal cord injuries, strokes, burns and heart disease because scientists will
have much greater access to stem cells.
The American teams paper is to be published in Science this
week (Nov. 22); the paper by the Japanese team will
appear in the Nov. 30 issue of Cell. Confirmation that these cells act
identically to pluripotent stem cells will take time, and treatments may be years away,
but PhysOrg quoted the director of a cardiovascular health institute who said the
work is monumental in its importance to the field of stem cell science and
its potential impact on our ability to accelerate the benefits of this technology to the bedside.
Incidentally, the Science paper arrives on Thanksgiving Day in America.
Many patients suffering from debilitating diseases in hospitals have a new reason for gratitude
Christian radio talk show host
Frank Pastore reminded his listeners
today that not long ago, the proponents of embryonic stem cell research were the ones calling Christians,
who supported adult stem cell research
but opposed ES cell research on ethical grounds, anti-science
Remember their tear-jerking commercials, the celebrity endorsements and
the doomsday warnings that America would fall behind unless we got to the head of the
ES stem cell bandwagon? Californians should demand their $3 billion back, or
demand it be redirected into these new ethical approaches.
How Early Man Got High on Generosity 11/19/2007
Pastore quoted a researcher who admitted that ES cell research has not
produced one cure for anything not one. Adult stem cells, during the same time,
have produced dozens of practical treatments. If this new approach to harvesting stem cells
succeeds in generating actual treatments, doctors will have a ready supply of easily-obtainable pluripotent
stem cells without the problems of teratomas and tissue rejection inherent with ES cells.
Great days for medicine could be ahead. No thanks to the Big Science Big Money
doomsday prophets; you know, the same ones who bring you global warming socialism and
the Darwin-Only Policy on Education (DOPE); in fact, a
editorial quizzically claimed this is the exactly wrong time to constrain research on ES cells (no reason
was given). For the rest of us, thankfully, health and beauty
may indeed be only skin deep.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Are you generous because of a chemical? That seems to be the claim of
researchers from UCLA, Chapman and Claremont. They did a double-blind test
with students where they played computer games that required them to make decisions
about how to split up a sum of money. The ones who got a whiff of oxytocin in
the nose were 80% more generous than those with a placebo. The study was
published in PLoS One.1
What causes humans to be generous? Several evolutionary
mechanisms have been proposed to explain altruistic giving, they said, but
found problems with the common hypotheses of kin selection (help the family),
reciprocal altruism (scratch my back and Ill scratch yours), indirect
reciprocity (smile and the world smiles with you), group selection (we help people
who look like us), and strong reciprocity (we love everybody except the bad guys).
In this paper we investigate a mechanism that may produce
generosity while dissociating generosity from altruism, they continued.
Thats where they proceeded to explain it as a chemical reaction.
Oxytocin is one of the chemicals in the brain that makes us feel good.
Being generous with total strangers stimulates the release of this chemical, they
hypothesized. This means that generosity is really a form of selfishness.
Although they allowed for the possibility that other mechanisms might exist to
explain generosity and altruism, they were sure that whatever the causes, they
Generosity may be part of the human repertoire to sustain cooperative relationships.
Several neural mechanisms likely support generosity. OT can induce dopamine
release in ventromedial regions associated with reward reinforcing generosity....
This view, without doubt, differs radically from the view that generosity is a free
Although we artificially raised OT [oxytocin] levels in this study to establish
a causal mechanism producing generosity, OT can be enhanced nonpharmacologically in
a variety of ways, including touching, safe environments, and receiving a signal of trust
from another person. By increasing OT the ability to empathize with others,
and the motivation to be generous with them, are enhanced. Indeed,
mice that lack OT receptors suffer from social amnesia. This suggests that a
variety of factors we encounter in our daily lives may motivate us to be
generouseven with strangers.
1. Zak, Stanton and Ahmadi, Oxytocin Increases Generosity in Humans,
Library of Science One, Nov. 2007.
2. For examples, read St. Pauls treatises on charity and generosity from
theological and moral foundations:
II Corinthians 8
and I Corinthians 13.
It is one thing to claim that generosity produces
physical effects in the human brain. It is another thing entirely to claim
that generosity is merely a physical phenomenon. The researchers are
implying that elevated oxytocin levels in neurons of primates became associated with
social behaviors that were selected for survival somewhere in our evolutionary past.
Origin of life researcher jokes about becoming a creationist:
This paper is a prime example of physicalism (roughly
equivalent to materialism). The authors see a moral behavior and want to reduce
it to interactions between physical objects molecules and members of a social group.
Since they think they are doing science, they think they inherit all the prestige and
authority science has achieved in our culture. Confident that they alone have a
methodology that generates reliable knowledge, they can weave their evolutionary tale
without any fear of rebuttal from those who traditionally engaged matters of the mind,
society and morals. Those people need not enter the discussion: philosophers,
theologians, historians and, especially, the ones who have lost all authority in our
If scientists like these really demonstrated the superiority of their
physicalist explanatory power, the traditional parties would have to humbly bow the knee
and acquiesce. But they cannot. The physicalists commit at least two
logical fallacies that undermine their whole
approach. One is reductionism, the fallacy
of assuming a phenomenon can be sufficiently represented by a summary of its component
parts: i.e., morals reduces to chemistry, which reduces to physics. This is like
saying the Constitution reduces to paper and ink. The most significant aspect is lost
in the reduction.
This leads to the second problem, the self-referential
fallacy. If generosity and altruism can be reduced to chemistry, then so
can scientific explanations. As such, they have no claims to validity; the
scientists can no longer appeal to rational concepts of truth, coherence, consistency
and logical inference.
These researchers have a bad case of the Yoda complex
(09/25/2006 commentary). We cannot allow them
to speak from some disembodied platform of knowledge to the rest of us mortals. Their
spirits must come back and melt into the atoms and molecules of their human bodies,
where, according to their assumptions, truth and abstract concepts have no independent reality.
There is, therefore, no possible way they could know
anything including the claims made in their paper.
You can therefore dismiss this paper as boorish nonsense, the chaff of a windy worldview
that denies the existence of grain. And thats being generous.
Next headline on:
Males on Evolutionary Overdrive 11/17/2007
A press release from University
of Florida claims males evolve faster than females, and suggests a reason.
Its because males are simpler. Some quotes:
The observation that males evolve more quickly than females has been
around since 19th century biologist Charles Darwin noted the majesty of a
peacocks tail feather in comparison with the plainness of the peahens.
The article did not consider the possibility that females, having a double dose of
genes on the X chromosome, might be evolving faster. The researchers seemed to
assume that flashier traits are a metric of evolutionary speed. There would
be no reason to exclude the possibility that plainness or camouflage might actually
require more selection.
No matter the species, males apparently ramp up flashier features and more melodious
warbles in an eternal competition to win the best mates, a concept known as sexual selection.
Why males are in evolutionary overdrive even though they have essentially
the same genes as females has been a mystery, but an explanation by University of
Florida Genetics Institute researchers ... may shed light on the subject.
Its because males are simpler, said Marta Wayne....
It turns out that the extra X in females may make answering the
call of selection more complicated....
...males have only one X inherited only from their mother.
This is a simple mechanism that could be working in cooperation with sexual selection
to help males evolve more quickly.
Researchers believe this relatively uncomplicated genetic pathway
helps males respond to the pressures of sexual selection, ultimately enabling
them to win females and produce greater numbers of offspring.
For assuming male traits are merely products of selection, for visualizing
evolution as a car engine and a recruiter, for personifying
evolution as an invisible agent helping males to evolve, for considering
genetic mechanisms of reproduction and inheritance as simple things, and for
implying that fitness is a function of number of offspring (a tautology), this
article wins Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week.
Nature Inspires Useful Products 11/16/2007
Once again, winning the sex game is the only virtue in evolution.
Students raised on a steady diet of Darwin can kiss good-bye to purpose, values,
morals, reason, standards, service to others, and truth. If the researchers
behind this story were consistent, they would quit the science lab and just go
try to distribute their genes as far and wide as possible. But if you asked
them why they were doing this, they would not be able to give any reason for it
not even a Darwinian one. Do a very un-Darwinian thing: think about it.
Next headline on:
Some day soon you may be able to extract water out of thin air, decorate your walls
with detachable wallpaper, read street signs clearly in fog, and employ reusable tape
underwater. These are some of the innovations coming from biomimetics
science inspired by natures designs.
Put the ideas together, and you can get even more benefits. The Venus flytrap
article (above) states that one application is a kind of Venus-flytrap/gecko hybrid,
that can allow the development of smart adhesives by covering the lenses with
hairs that adhere in the convex position and release when the lenses are concave.
Some day you may try out a new wallpaper and just peel it right off for another,
or reposition it easily, without all the muss and fuss of old-fashioned paste.
- Venus flytrap: Alex Crosby at University of Massachusetts was
intrigued by the action of Venus flytrap, which changes almost instantly from convex
to concave when triggered. Science
Daily reported how his team plans to make a variety of products that mimic this
shape-snapping transition at large and small scales. A small input of energy
can produce a large change in geometry. Imagine paint that adheres to a
surface, but releases on command or road signs that change their reflectivity
with changing weather conditions, the article began.
- Spider web: Imagine being able to harvest water out of thin air.
Israeli scientists, inspired by how dew collects on a spiders web, have
created a dew-harvesting device that funnels atmospheric moisture into a collection
and filtration unit.
Scientist has a picture and description of the invention. In one day,
the 10-meter wide device collected 20 liters of water. The device won an
engineering contest for fresh-water solutions for drought-stricken areas.
Improved models are expected to fit into the collection pot for portability.
This water-collection technique may be familiar to survivalists who
have used a similar approach for emergency water collection: the desert still
(see Desert USA).
- Geckos and insects: Sticky tape inspired by gecko and insect feet is making
strides. An article on PhysOrg
shows a dramatic electron micrograph of a complex insect foot. Researchers at
Max Planck Institute studied 300 insects for ideas on manufacturing the ideal, reusable
adhesive. The result is a sticky tape that stays clean, can be reused thousands
of times, and is twice as sticky as regular tape. It can be washed with soap.
The inventors put it on a small robot and it proceeded to walk right up the wall.
Last month in Science,1 W. Jon P. Barnes
(Centre for Cell Engineering, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow)
wrote about Biomimetic Solutions to Sticky Problems. From velcro
to gecko tape, biomimetics is certainly coming of age, he said.
He wrote about some of the high-tech materials coming out of animal-inspired research,
and commented that even more smart adhesives are likely to be inspired by the
remarkable mechanisms developed by climbing animals over millions of years of evolution.
Funny; none of the inventors in the other articles claimed that evolutionary
theory had anything to do with their research.
labs is using photonic crystals to produce optical routers for fiber-optic networks.
This phenomenon is known from nature: the splendid, shimmering colors on butterfly
wings derive from the properties of photonic crystals.
1. W. Jon P. Barnes, Materials Science: Biomimetic Solutions to Sticky Problems,
12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, pp. 203-204, DOI: 10.1126/science.1149994.
In ancient times, people built elaborate cisterns
to collect rainwater for survival. You can see incredible water systems Herod
built at Herodium, Masada and Jerusalem. Even more ancient systems carved out
of solid rock, like those
at Megiddo and Gibeon, arouse awe at the amount of work men exerted to collect the
precious fluid of life in the dry climate of the middle east. Imagine the expression on their
faces if you could show them a portable invention that everyone could use at home
to collect water out of thin air most days of the year, even without rain, based
on the web of the lowly spider.
Darwin As Prognosticator 11/15/2007
These stories should warm our hearts. Real scientists and
engineers, inspired by plants and animals at our feet, are adapting the design
they see into useful, practical products that can improve our lives. These
inventions owe nothing to evolutionary theory. They owe everything to design
detection, combined with the human ingenuity to observe, imagine, and create.
Want your kid to be on the cutting edge of 21st century science?
Want him or her to improve the world and maybe make a lot of money doing it?
Take them out in the yard, looking for bugs and leaves and birds and anything natural.
Look for opportunities to ask, How do they do that? When science
projects are assigned, inspire them with creative ideas based on
biomimeticsintelligent design at work. Some day that aptitude to see
design in nature may turn into a profitable career. Combined with the character
trait of charity you should also be teaching your kids, it might inspire them to make
discoveries that could help impoverished people in third-world countries lead more
productive lives without harm to the environment taking advantage of innovations their
fellow creatures have been using for millennia.
To think that Ken Miller called intelligent design a science-stopper
(11/14/2007). Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider
her ways, and be wise (03/16/2006).
Next headline on:
How good was Darwin at making predictions? A good scientific theory should
make predictions, at least according to a common assumption about science.
PBS thinks Darwin hit a home run, according to an interactive feature on the website for
Judgment Day, the
documentary about evolution vs intelligent design shown on Nova this week
(11/14/2007). The commentary below will analyze
these 13 predictions, but some other recent stories from science journals show Darwin
scoring a much lower batting average:
Scientific literature does present occasional successes for Darwin, such as this claimed vindication
at Queens University for
Darwins controversial hypothesis of sympatric speciation. But the score is
mixed. One study never undertaken is how Darwins predictions would rank
against those of astrology.
- Island dwarfism: Evolutionary biologists have long believed that
animals trapped on islands would evolve into smaller versions of their mainland
counterparts. Not true, say researchers from Imperial College, London.
A catalog of island species shows no such trend; many factors are involved in the
size distribution of island species.
The details can be found at PhysOrg
and Science Daily.
(Note: the articles do not attribute the prediction to Darwin himself.)
- Arms race: If Darwin intended his theory of natural selection to
express a law of nature that applies everywhere, it might be difficult to correlate
opposite results. Many evolutionary biologists speak of predators, prey and
parasites leading to an evolutionary arms race that drives speciation
and adaptive radiation, leading to Darwins branching tree of life. An article in
however, says that predators and parasites can drive evolutionary stability.
- Parental guidance suggested: The environment is supposed to drive evolutionary
adaptation. Offspring, facing the mean old world, should get by with the random
genetic mutations that improve their survival not a parental handout. Taking
loans from mom or dads genes would indicate a dependency on pre-adaptive resources,
innate in the genetic information of the species. A study at
University of Virginia
suggests, however, that maternal influences do help offspring adapt to their environment.
- Birds dont talk: What drives speciation in birds? It should
be Darwins mechanism of natural selection of which the Galapagos finches
are the textbook example. In Science last month,1
however, Loren Rieseberg reviewed
a new book by Trevor Price, Speciation in Birds, and found that even the
textbook case is not open and shut:
Of perhaps greater interest are Prices conclusions about the roles of ecology
and social selection in speciation; these remain relatively unexplored subjects
about which birds have much to offer. Closely related species of birds often
differ in ecologically important traits--such as body size, habitat preferences, and
feeding and migratory behaviors--that are also likely to contribute to both premating
and postmating reproductive isolation. These observations, combined with classic
studies of ecologically driven speciation in Darwins finches and crossbills,
imply that ecological selection likely contributes to most speciation
events in birds. However, Price cautions that divergence of
most co-occurring bird species is too ancient to make inferences about the causes of
speciation and that studies of recently diverged species, such as Darwins finches,
highlight the fragility of ecological reproductive barriers. He concludes
that it is unclear if ecological causes are sufficient or even important
in many speciation events. This somewhat negative assessment
of the role of ecology in speciation is tempered by speculation in
later chapters that rapid ecological speciation may account for short branch lengths
detected early in the evolution of many bird genera.
That sounds like Price debunked Darwins speculation, only to replace it with
one of his own. Interestingly, social selection appears to be more generally
important in speciation in birds than sexual selection, despite the emphasis in the
literature on the latter, Rieseberg continued, only to accuse Price of doublethink:
Price also argues that ecological factors are a major cause of divergence
in socially selected traits, an assertion that, while strongly supported,
seemingly is at odds with his earlier pessimistic assessment of the importance
of ecology in speciation.
Earlier in the review, Rieseberg also noted that Price did not put
much credibility in another evolutionary hypothesis, the so-called founder effect
(i.e., that new colonizers drift genetically into new species). Whatever the causes
of the origin of species, they appear more complex and inscrutable than Darwin had imagined.
- Opportunity lost: The genes of 12 species of Drosophila were
compared in a massive test of evolution, published in Nature.2
How much opportunity was there for evolution since the species diverged? The team wrote,
the evolutionary divergence spanned by the genus Drosophila
exceeds that of the entire mammalian radiation when generation time is taken into account,
so for the number of generations during which mammals went from mice to giraffes and whales,
these little flies should have had ample opportunity to evolve by Darwins
theory of natural selection. (Note: the only kind of natural selection of interest
here is positive selection for functional advantage; purifying selection
gets rid of harmful mutations, and balancing selection tries to offset them.)
The paper mentions evolution and selection numerous times. A search
for innovation turns up empty, though, and examination of instances of
positive selection shows no clear cut example of something new and improved arising.
The geneticists looked for markers of positive selection indirectly fast-changing
base pairs in otherwise unchanging sequences. It is not as straightforward, however,
to correlate these changes with new genetic information that provides a functional
advantage for the fly.
The clearest example of positive selection they could find was for helicase activity,
which seems like merely an adjustment in the rate of operation of existing hardware.
They said, Despite a number of functional categories with evidence for
elevated omega [i.e., an indicator of positive natural selection], helicase activity
is the only functional category significantly more likely to be positively selected.
In other words, not only are all the 12 species of Drosophila still fruit flies,
none of them seemed to exhibit a single clear-cut example of a new functional
innovation despite as many generations as the mammals had for their
assumed evolutionary radiation, with all the new capabilities possessed by bats,
skunks, hippos and aardvarks. What was Darwin doing all that time? It would
seem if clear indications of innovation that would vindicate Darwin had been found,
it would be the news of the decade.
In the same issue of Nature,3 Ewan Birney commented on
the Clark et al study. The analysis of positive selection by Clark
and colleagues is undoubtedly the broadest and most detailed investigation performed
in any clade of multicellular organisms. Two species of Drosophila in the study are as different
genetically as humans are from other primates, he said. Though he claimed that the team identified
a third of fruit fly genes apparently undergoing positive selection (mostly for the existing immune
system and olfactory functions), he did not identify any example of an upward
change that gave any species a new organ, system, or innovation that would indicate Drosophila was
evolving into something better than a plain old fruit fly. Instead, he indicated
that future studies on primates would be required to understand positive evolution:
Clark and colleagues findings suggest that, to understand the fascinating
adaptive changes among primates, including those unique to humans, we probably need
to sequence the genome of every extant primate (and, where possible, any extinct
primates with recoverable DNA), using optimal sequencing strategies to obtain both
population-level data and accurate genome sequences.
- Fossils to the rescue? Is Darwins tree rooted in the rocks?
Gene Hunt undertook a study of The relative importance of directional change,
random walks, and stasis in the evolution of fossil lineages, and found a lot
of stasis. After his large-scale, statistical survey of evolutionary
mode in fossil lineages, involving some 250 sequences of evolving traits,
he wrote in PNAS,4
The rarity with which directional evolution was observed in this
study corroborates a key claim of punctuated equilibria and suggests that
truly directional evolution is infrequent or, perhaps more importantly, of
short enough duration so as to rarely register in paleontological sampling.
Darwin did not predict punctuated equilibria. The core of his theory was that
changes occurred imperceptibly, gradually and cumulatively. In addition, he knew that the
fossil record was characterized by large gaps, but predicted that the new fossil
discoveries would fill in those gaps, revealing his hoped-for branching evolutionary tree.
Hunt found only 5% of fossil lineages could be attributed to directional evolution.
Of the rest that showed change over time, it was mostly for body size, not body shape.
This does not seem to be a vindication for Darwins prognosticative powers.
In the evolutionary rat race, if a bigger or smaller rat wins, it is still just a rat.
1. Loren H. Rieseberg, ...And a Partridge in Allopatry,
12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, p. 198, DOI: 10.1126/science.1147892.
2. Clark et al, Evolution of genes and genomes in the Drosophila phylogeny,
450, 203-218 (8 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06341.
See also an article in Science
Daily that lamented the difficulty this study uncovered about identifying what is a gene.
3. Ewan Birney, Evolutionary genomics: Come fly with us,
450, 184-185 (8 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/450184a.
4. Gene Hunt, The relative importance of directional change, random walks,
and stasis in the evolution of fossil lineages,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, published online before print November 14, 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0704088104.
We have reported numerous times when Darwin predicted
something and the opposite was found (e.g., 11/13/2007,
10/17/2007). Charlie has struck out again and again,
yet his fans never give up.
Photo: Earthrise 2007 11/15/2007
The PBS Judgment Day program (11/14/2007)
made a big deal about how scientific Darwins theory was. For support,
the PBS website offered
an interactive feature listing 13 of Darwins Predictions that supposedly
came true. This was presented to trick students and visitors into thinking
Darwin has an impressive batting average. Lets look at them
and see if Charlie can make it to first base at least. The PBS feature begins
with a dramatic star spangled banner, asking Jose if he can see the Darwins early light:
Ahead of his time is putting it moderately for Charles Darwin.
The father of evolution had conjectures that were only proved, or greatly
substantiated, decades after his death in 1882, in some cases not until recently.
Today, evidence that unequivocally supports his theory of evolution by natural
selection, as well as other surmises he had, comes from an array of scientific
disciplines, including paleontology, geology, biochemistry, genetics, molecular
biology, and, most recently, evolutionary developmental biology, or evo devo.
The notion that all these lines of evidence could converge and give a common
answer to the question of where we came from is truly powerful, says Brown
University biologist Kenneth Miller. This is the reason why scientific
support for the theory of evolution is so overwhelming.
A pretty dramatic overture indeed, provided there is power behind the sound system.
Here are the 13 pitches for Darwin to swing at. Keep in mind these are all supposed to be
predictions by Darwin that were confirmed by science. Unfortunately,
since the Darwin Party owns the stadium and both teams, which are sworn to make Charlie
look good, all we can do is umpire from the sidelines when they break the rules.
So Charlie is out. He has failed to hit a single pitch from the list of predictions.
He couldnt even walk to first base, because the pitcher kept dancing on the mound.
- Evo-devo: Evolution happens, the first entry announces
triumphantly. Something else on bumper stickers also happens, but we wont
press the point.
Right off the bat, we notice them including evo-devo in the victory circle
with little more than an unsupported assertion followed by the favorite Darwin Party
quote that nothing in biology makes sense except in the darkness of evolution.
Last month, however, Ron Amundson, in a
book review (318:5850, pp. 571-572, 10/26/2007) portrayed evolutionary genetics and evolutionary embryology
(of which evo-devo is the latest incarnation) as antagonists in a long tug-of-war
between biologists about where the seat of evolution lies. This is essentially
the battle between saltationism and gradualism in embryo. So for PBS to claim
evo-devo is a friend of Darwin is a little like Coriolanus embracing Aufidius. They
are reluctant allies who would as soon stab one another except for the common enemy,
Verdict: this is not even a pitch; its just Darwin fans rooting in the stands.
- Natural selection: Evolution happens through natural selection,
the next entry states. We thought that was the question at issue. Ever hear
of begging the question? This is no prediction; it assumes what needs to be proved.
There it is, right before your eyes, a totally begged question, complete with another
favorite D.P. quote that natural selection is the greatest idea anyone ever had,
followed by a Big Lie by Niles Eldredge that nothing in 175 years has contravened it
(even his own competing theory of punctuated equilibria?).
Verdict: this is a little dance on the pitchers mound getting applause from
the Darwin fans again. No ball has been pitched yet. Were getting impatient.
For rebuttals that show natural selection does not work as advertised, and has been
essentially falsified, see
11/29/2004 and, more recently,
- Galapagos finches: This was no prediction. Darwin found the
finches while a creationist, then much later worked them into his evolutionary
theory. But even if you allow a
postdiction to count as a prediction, it is irrelevant, because even young-earth
creationists allow for the microevolution seen in finch beaks.
Verdict: When are you going to pitch a ball, PBS? We want a pitcher, not a
Lucy itcher. Were starting to boo
from the sidelines while the hysterical fans go ape.
- Genetics: Finally, a pitch. Darwin swings and
misses. His theory of pangenesis was discredited almost as soon as it hit the
shelves. He knew nothing of DNA, and did not predict anything like a code in
the cell which, to him, was a simple blob of protoplasm.
Verdict: Strike one. For the Darwin party to give Charlie credit for DNA and molecular
biology as a prediction of his theory is like giving Walt Whitman credit for the internet.
- Antisupernaturalism: What? That is the very question under consideration.
Verdict: Foul! Illegal procedure! This is no pitch; it is another egregious
case of begging the question.
- Embryology: This is indistinguishable from #1. Its
evo-devo again. PBS failed to point out the Haeckels embryo hoax that sprang
right out of Darwins own speculations. The shared genetic toolkit is no
prediction of Darwins theory; it is an evidence that complex design was there
from the beginning.
Verdict: No pitch. Sending the evo-devo clown out on the field for another
cheer from the fans is a distraction.
- Sexual selection: OK, heres a real pitch. Darwin did
predict sexual selection would drive sexual dimorphism. (Actually, this is just
another postdiction, because peacocks were already well known in his time.) The theory is
controversial (02/26/2003), but at best, a
peacock with radical tail feathers is still a peacock, not a new
animal. Sexual selection does not explain the origin of new species.
Verdict: Ball One.
- Common ancestry: Ken Miller states, Despite the extraordinary
diversity of life, all living organisms share a nearly identical set of essential genes,
reflecting their evolutionary development from a common ancestor. Yet
Darwins view was one not of immortal traits, nor of anything
that has survived essentially unchanged for over two billion years.
Darwins world is a fluid picture of gradual, incessant change, not stasis.
Verdict: More evo-devo. More begging the question. Common ancestry is
the question under debate, not a prediction! They are not learning their lesson.
This elicits a cheer from the fans in the stands, but no ball was pitched.
- Human evolution: Humans evolved from an ape-like ancestor,
the next slide announces triumphantly, again begging the question.
As support, the slide borrows an ancient 1863 Huxley drawing, and then repeats the discredited
whopper that human and chimpanzee genes are 99% similar
No fossil evidence is presented. They repeat Darwins speculation that
the difference between the mind of man and that of a chimpanzee or gorilla is
a matter of degree, not of kind. What did they do to interpolate this,
interview Lucy or something? Its not like creationists have failed to
notice similarities and differences between humans and apes for thousands of years;
so what has Charlie done to prove his condition that we evolved from them?
Verdict: Begged question, no evidence. Ball Two.
- Modern humans arose in Africa: Evidence is presented from phylogenetic
trees and alleged hominid bones, most of which were found in Africa. This
argument fails to recognize the selective effect of doing most of the digging
in Africa, and the circular nature of finding Darwin trees in the genes, when unbiased
analysis finds no tree (10/08/2007) and declares
phylogenetic tree-building a function of assumptions
Verdict: the ball curves chaotically through the batters box, making any
contact with the bat a matter of luck, not skill. Ball Three.
- Old earth: This was not a prediction of Darwin. Hutton, Lyell
and other geologists had already decided long before The Origin to believe in
an old earth, and they began interpreting the strata through that lens.
Regardless of debates on the age of the earth, Darwin gets no credit for predicting it.
Verdict: Strike Two.
- Fossils: Precambrian fossils? Missing links? Gaps filled
in with transitional forms? (see 10/15/2007 commentary on the
PBS offerings, under numbered bullets #1). The gall of these people to use the
most damaging evidence against Darwins theory as support for it!
Verdict: Strike Three.
- Moth tongue: OK, Charlie struck out, but well entertain his
final little just-so story, his lucky #13, as he walks to the dugout. He predicted a
pollinator with a foot-long tongue would be found to pollinate a peculiar orchid,
and by golly, one was found 40 years later. Awesome, dude. Cowabunga.
Way to go. Ahem. The moth was still a
moth, not some other animal, and the orchid was still an orchid. None of this
is germane to the question of the origin of species. Since even young-earth
creationists allow for dramatic variations of traits within kinds (look at
this pitch is too little, too late.
Verdict: Dont quit your day job, prognosticator. Go breed some pigeons.
Be sure to use intelligent design.
We hate to hurt a guys feelings when hes down, but must point out that even if he had
struck a homer, it wouldnt have mattered. You see, scientists and philosophers
have known for a long time that predictability is no assurance of validity.
There is an inherent logical fallacy in making and fulfilling predictions, called
the fallacy of Affirming the Consequent (see
Wikipedia for a
convenient summary): If P then Q; Q is true, therefore P is true.
This is a non-sequitur; there are other things than P
that could have been the cause of Q. Example: Columbus told the natives that
their gods were angry because of their treatment of his sailors, and were going to punish them
by turning the moon blood-red. It happened! Columbus was good at predicting
a lunar eclipse, but the natives believed the gods were angry, and treated him with
much more respect. If you take a placebo because the experimenter tells you it will
make you feel better, and you feel better, it doesnt mean the placebo cured you.
Astrologers and pseudoscientists for centuries have used this fallacy to their advantage.
The problem is even more serious at a deeper level.
Philosophers of science since Pierre Duhem (late 19th century) have pointed out that
theories are underdetermined by facts. No matter how many facts your theory can
incorporate, or how many successful predictions it can make, there are always a nearly
infinite number of other theories that could account for the phenomena. Thats
why Popper proposed falsifiability as a criterion for good science. Many
would argue that Darwinism has already been falsified, but then Popper is not the last
word, either. Philosophy of science, the attempt to give a rational justification
for scientific claims and discriminate good science from pseudoscience, has undergone
multiple revolutions in the 20th century alone. There remains no consensus even
today. All agree now, however, that the ability to make predictions is neither necessary nor
sufficient to claim a theory is scientific. So even if Charlie had hit the ball,
the game wasnt valid in the first place. There is no joy in Dudville.
Mighty Charlie has struck out. The officials, meanwhile, had already
abrogated the game and declared it nugatory.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolutionary Theory
The Japanese Kaguya spacecraft has taken a series of Earthrise photos
from lunar orbit, including this
The complete set of new hi-resolution photos is available at
Exploration Agency. (Due to the orbital path of the spacecraft, Antarctica
is at the top.)
Earth-rise is a
phenomenon seen only from satellites that travel around the Moon, such as the KAGUYA
and the Apollo space ship, the caption explained. The Earth-rise
cannot be observed by a person who is on the Moon as they can always see the Earth
at the same position.
The first set of Earthrise images in December 1968 from Apollo 8 had a
dramatic impact on the inhabitants of Spaceship Earth. Borman, Lovell and Anders
called it their Christmas present to the inhabitants of the good Earth
as they celebrated by reading the opening verses from Genesis (see
article). The recent movie In the Shadow of the Moon retold the story
As an encore, ESAs
zipped by Earth yesterday and took some stunning images of our planet from the night side.
Rosetta is on a long flight itinerary to land on a comet in 2014. Viewers may
want to compare these Blue Planet images with the latest from the Red Planet taken
by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
This time, perhaps, these new Earthrise images can be thought of as another holiday
gift to Spaceship Earth: a symbolic cornucopia for Thanksgiving.
Who could not be thankful at the sight of such a perfect
blue sphere out there, loaded with life and beauty? The contrast with the lifeless
and sterile moon makes the scene all the more thought-provoking. What poetry
or Scripture would come to mind as you look at these stunning images? What
deep questions about the universe, Earth, life, humanity, politics, ethics,
meaning and destiny arise in your soul?
Take a moment to jot down your thoughts after a good, long gaze at
Judgment Day: Will it Be the New Inherit the Wind? 11/14/2007
to consider that if astronauts today, 39 years after Apollo 8,
tried to read inspirational words from the Bible,
they would be promptly sued by the ACLU, and roundly condemned by leading
politicians, scientists and educators. Your thoughts do not have to reflect
their thoughts; they can be aligned with Gods thoughts. For my
thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so our my ways higher than your
ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts
Next headline on:
The PBS-Vulcan film Judgment Day just aired on national TV (see
is sure to represent a new rallying point for both sides of the ongoing controversy
over Darwinian evolution that has raged for 148 years. For material on both
sides, see the PBS website, which put
Intelligent Design on trial, and the responses at the Discovery Institutes
Evolution News and
Intelligent Design.org, which put Darwin on
trial (per the title of Phillip Johnsons influential ID book). Also see the DIs new intelligent
design central, Intelligent Design.org.
For those who missed the show, the entire transcript and film will be available online November 16.
The transcript of the entire interview with Phillip Johnson, of which only selected portions were shown
on camera, is available on the PBS
site. It is about the only ID-friendly material on the entire site except for some
listings on the Resources page. The
list of authors for every other pro-Darwin article or recording reads like a whos who of
lawyers, scientists, educators and activists who have made a career out of discrediting
intelligent design. Phillip Johnson had some pre-game thoughts on the show and his
involvement on the ID
the Future podcast for November 12.
Just as generations of students were exposed to Inherit the Wind
in school, it is likely new generations will study Judgment Day as the definitive
depiction of intelligent design on trial. The PBS website offers
teachers a selection of resources
for the classroom and encourages teachers to use the film as an instructional resource.
We recommend readers become familiar with the best arguments
on both sides and avoid caricatures and propaganda tricks,
a number of which were clearly in use in the program. This
film, indeed, could well be used as a case study in how to bias a controversy to
favor one side. It would be worth watching it side by side with
Unlocking the Mystery of Life, The Privileged Planet and
Icons of Evolution. The key to understanding will be to discern what pieces
of evidence are relevant to the central issue, and how they are portrayed.
More Cell Codes and Authentication Mechanisms 11/13/2007
In the re-enactments, notice how the producer pretended to give an accurate
portrayal of courtroom events but included subtleties that buttressed the anti-ID bias.
Darwin propagandists undoubtedly learned their lesson from Inherit the Wind,
which did not even pretend to be a factual reconstruction of the Scopes Trial and
has been roundly criticized by secular historians as completely misleading
regarding what really happened in Dayton in 1925.
In Judgment Day, the producer tried to pick actors that resembled the main
characters, and had them quote the transcript more-or-less verbatim, without overblown histrionics
or garrish TV effects. It was evident, however,
that the Ken Miller character was made to look very sure of himself and persuasive
to the audience, whereas the Michael Behe character, through body language and facial
expressions, was made to start out with a phony air of confidence that degenerated
into uneasiness and doubt. You can be sure that the parts of the transcript
quoted were carefully selected as well.
The closing statements, similarly, contained the same
subtle cues intended to reinforce the desired effect: that the anti-ID lawyers and
witnesses were on the side of reason and science, and could see through the supposed
duplicity of the other side with complete clarity, as if come on, you guys,
we know exactly what you are up to. The pro-ID lawyers and witnesses
were made to look like bumbling, ruffled, evasive, almost sinister advocates who
were not very good at covering up their hidden agenda especially
the two pro-ID school board members, who were portrayed as criminal perjurers who
belong on Americas Dumbest Criminals.
The film was careful to quote enough of the opposition to sidestep charges that
they were completely and utterly biased against ID but in each case, either
quoted them to knock down a straw man, or did not
allow them to elaborate sufficiently to support their assertions. The
Darwinists always got the last word.
In evaluating this film, it is essential to first toss out the irrelevant
material. There was a lot of that. Consider a short list of vignettes the
film focused in on that have absolutely nothing to do with the issue of whether Darwinism
alone is science and deserves exclusive treatment in public education, or whether
intelligent design can be treated apart from religious implications.
Now, we are not saying these elements of the movie were completely worthless. They had entertainment value.
Like the mission statement in Paul Allens Vulcan film company stated, they wanted to engage in
elegant and compelling storytelling. For
that matter, Inherit the Wind and even Birth of a Nation succeeded at that, too,
in a perverse way. The point is that none of this has anything to do with the truth
claims or epistemic superiority of Darwinism.
- The ineptitude of the Dover school board members. Irrelevant.
- The outrage of the science teachers, and their brave stand against the conspiracy. Irrelevant.
- The tragedy of a town embattled in controversy. Irrelevant.
- The fact that school board meetings erupted in chaos. Irrelevant. They
erupt just as readily over Walmart.
- The tragedy of a reporter unable to reconcile with her Christian father. Irrelevant.
- The smoking gun evidence of clumsy editing changes to the book Of Pandas and People. Irrelevant.
- How hard Barbara Forrest had to work to find the smoking gun. Irrelevant.
- The glee the NCSE experienced over finding evidence that Pandas and People was construed as creationist
before it used the term intelligent design. Irrelevant.
- The eagerness of the ACLU to help, and the prosecutors excitement over getting the case of a
- Whether the school board was religiously motivated. Relevant perhaps to this particular
case and the interpretation of the Establishment Clause as recently given by the Supreme
Court, but irrelevant to the validity of Darwinism or intelligent design, and irrelevant to
the original intent of the Constitution; also, arguably false or impossible to know ones
true motives or whether religion was any more motivating than a common human desire for fairness.
The policy statement made no reference to religion or to any particular church that would have
been established had students been informed that alternatives to Darwinism exist (which is true).
A statement should be judged on evidence for its veracity, not by what motivated it.
- Whether intelligent design can be construed as somehow violating separation of church and state. Irrelevant.
- Whether 1/3 to 1/2 of Americans doubt Darwinism. Irrelevant.
- Whether most creationists tend to be Christians. Irrelevant.
- Whether Christians usually feel the Designer is God. Irrelevant.
- Whether many creationists accept Genesis. Irrelevant.
- Whether some evolutionists are not atheists. Irrelevant.
- Whether Ken Miller is a practicing Catholic. Irrelevant.
- Whether Christians would like to see a renewal of culture they feel was ravaged by
materialism, for which they feel Darwinism is largely responsible.
An important issue, but irrelevant to the question of whether Darwinism
deserves educational priority in science classrooms to the exclusion of anything else.
- That the Discovery Institute wrote a Wedge Document with broad goals seeking a renewal of science and culture.
Irrelevant; the Discovery Institute was not on trial in fact, they disagreed with the Dover policy.
For rebuttal, and a discussion of how this line of motive-baiting can be turned just as
easily against Darwinists (for instance, because of Eugenie Scotts signing of the Humanist Manifesto III), see
- Whether Darwins finches are evidence for evolution. Irrelevant; even creationists accept microevolutionary change.
- Whether teaching ID would harm Americas future in science. Irrelevant and absurd.
- Whether minimizing Darwinism would hurt medicine or agriculture. Irrelevant and absurd;
most medicine and agriculture was advanced by creationists (e.g., Pasteur,
- Whether ID lacks a fully fleshed-out scientific approach, as Paul Nelson confessed. Irrelevant.
Design-based science arguably does more real legwork in science than Darwinism does (e.g., biomimetics,
archaeology, forensics, information technology); besides, Darwinism was little more than a suggestion
in 1849, but that didnt stop them. Read Dembskis The Design Revolution for more
answers to this type of criticism.
- Whether textbook writers have ever been afraid to present evolution in high
school textbooks. Irrelevant.
- Whether Behe, Minnich, and the lawyers for the defense made a good case. Irrelevant; they are only human.
Other witnesses said they did much better than this movie portrayed.
- Whether Behe was embarrassed by a pile of books and papers that claimed they explained the evolution of
the immune system. Irrelevant. A detailed inspection of these publications would undoubtedly confirm the
pattern reported in these pages, that evolutionists fill in the gaps with pure speculation in spite
of evidence, based on an a priori commitment to naturalism.
- Whether the trial produced a flap of worldwide media coverage. Irrelevant.
- What Darwins great great great grandson thought of the trial. Irrelevant.
- Whether evolution critics understand what a theory is in science. Irrelevant. Look
how some Darwinists exhibit their ignorance by comparing the theory of evolution to the law of gravity.
- Whether Michael Behes definition of science as presented at the trial was so loose so as to allow astrology.
Irrelevant; as all philosophers of science know, there is no universal definition of science, nor is there
a universal scientific method, nor any epistemic justification that even the most basic science preserves an accurate
reflection of external reality, whether or not it proves useful. Definitions of science vary from
extremes that it is The Truth to it is a socially-constructed set of cultural biases. As philosopher J. P. Moreland
claims, hardly any working scientist has a clue what science is; it is not typically a part of their education.
The definition of science is not
science, it is a second-order claim of philosophy about science. It follows that Michael Behe can
work as a scientist without being expected to define science in a courtroom in a way that will satisfy his critics.
- Whether the teachers and Judge Jones received hate mail and death threats. Tragic, but irrelevant.
By the way, as if any readers here need to be reminded of the obvious, this is NO way to be effective
for ANY point of view! It is harmful, wicked and criminal. If you are given to this tendency, repent.
- Whether David DeRosier, whom Behe quoted, believes in Darwinian evolution or not. Irrelevant.
- Whether Darwinists can say evolution is science, ID is religion with
feeling (or with a straight face). Irrelevant.
- Whether Judge Jones ruled that teaching ID is unconstitutional. Irrelevant; he is just one
unelected man who took on himself to decide issues far beyond what the case was about, and his decision
is limited to the Dover area. It has no judicial weight outside that district, for whatever
propaganda chaff the victors want to glean from it.
- Whether Darwinists were pleased that a judge decided what science was. Irrelevant and
counter-productive. Scientists do not want to go to unelected judges to decide matters of
science. What if some day a judge decides federal funding for science is unconstitutional?
OK, we have just dispensed with about 75% of the program. Another 5% consisted of baseless,
unsupported assertions, like Ken Miller blurting out ID is a science stopper!
Sorry, unsupported assertions prove nothing. (These were
used to good effect in the Scopes Trial by the Darwinists, too.)
Another 5% consisted
of card stacking, or selective evidence. For instance,
Neil Shubin and Kevin Padian carried on and on about all the transitional forms, especially their
star witness, the fish-o-pod Tiktaalik (see 04/06/2006,
but said nothing about the Cambrian explosion, which makes Tiktaalik irrelevant because
the Cambrian explosion falsifies Darwinism from the get-go. Noticeably absent was any
discussion of the origin of life, other than Shubins passing comment, Many scientists
believe life began in the water, as if anybody cares what many scientists believe.
This is not supposed to be a matter of belief or faith, but science, remember?
Many scientists believe in unobservable universes. Should they teach that in school?
Another 5% consisted of wild
extrapolations from these controversial examples to the claim
that the entire fossil record is replete with transitional forms.
Which brings us to the out-and-out lies, like asserting
that Archaeopteryx represents a transitional form between dinosaurs and birds, or that
the Establishment Clause teaches Separation of Church and State, or that ID consists entirely
of negative arguments, or that creationism is an
attack on all that Galileo and
Newton tried to accomplish (ahem, they were creationists).
(For more lies told in the film, see
Then there were the
half-truths, such as that the Discovery Institute would not
agree to be interviewed because of their refusal to abide by standard journalistic practice (see
EvolutionNews for their
side of the story), or that their scientists dropped off like flies from testifying, without
explaining that they had tried to get the Dover school board and the Thomas More Law Center to abandon the policy because they
felt it was an ineffective approach that was legally doomed. Another half-truth: emphasizing the
Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the exclusion of the Free-Exercise Clause.
Another 5% consisted
of question-begging statements that assumed people know
what science is, and that evolution is science, but ID is not. An unbiased presentation
would have correctly explained that there is no universally-accepted definition of
science, there are no demarcation criteria that can successfully keep the desired
sciences in and the undesirable sciences (including astrology) out so Michael Behe
had a point, when understood this way: if you want to exclude astrology, then guess what! you
are going to exclude Darwinism, too.
Other questions begged in the movie:
The worst example of question-begging of all was assuming that science cannot infer design because
that requires a supernatural God. How convenientthat makes science materialistic
by definition! Again, this is not a question science can address; it is a
second-order claim about science. But with a sweep of the hand, with an arbitrary
rule (not scientific evidence), they cleared the playing field of any contenders, such
that something like Darwinism must be true, no matter how implausible, simply
because it is materialistic. The film employed the either-or
fallacy to make any references to so-called supernatural causes (should
be intelligent causes) look as arbitrary as possible.
- Whether the Arkansas
ruling made any and every kind of teaching creationism unconstitutional.
- Whether creationism deserves to be regarded as a pariah.
- Whether ID should be expected to have some overlap with creationism or not.
- Whether discussions of ID must include the religious motivations of some of its proponents.
- Whether ID proponents must identify the Designer.
- Whether evolutionary explanations are any more successful at propelling science forward.
Consider the Darwinists science-stopping explanations about
vestigial organs and junk DNA, for instance.
- Whether all sciences are equally empirical, testable, falsifiable (consider political science, sociology
vs the science used in space flight operations).
- Whether ability to make predictions defines something as scientific. Popper and other
philosophers of science denied this. Even astrology made predictions that sometimes worked,
and few practicing scientists abandon a theory over a failed prediction.
- Whether the ability to speculate on a possible gradualistic path to an irreducibly
complex structure is equivalent to establishing that this is actually what happened.
The plausibility criterion is
insufficient to make a speculation scientific. Anybody can make up a story.
Maybe a meatball traveled across the Atlantic and resulted in music
(08/26/2003 commentary). Its plausible,
isnt it? If I expect you to prove me wrong, I am
shifting the burden of proof.
- Whether the rise of Darwinism was correlated with progress in
science. A case could be made that it was anti-correlated; that it rode on the
coat-tails of a scientific revolution that was happening anyway (e.g., because of the work
of creationist physicists Faraday,
A strong case can be made
that Darwinism actually was parasitic on scientific progress, borrowing from
its prestige while generating disasters like eugenics and racist criminal theory.
Up to this point we have not addressed the few minutes of actual scientific evidence
the film presented to support the dramatic claim that Darwinian evolution is
so well supported, it deserves absolute supremacy in the classroom, to the
exclusion of anything else. Here are the main three instances of empirical observations
that were adduced to show support for Mr. Darwins grand tale:
Since everything else in the film
was irrelevant, the entire weight of Darwin-Only Policy in Education (D.O.P.E.) must rest on these, their
best examples of actual scientific evidence in support of the claim that 9th-grade
students must be taught only the belief that humans had bacteria ancestors.
You might have noticed that it was PBS that displayed the false dichotomy of Darwin vs Genesis.
Dont these same people squeal when we call evolution Darwinism?
They had Charlies mug all over the screen, with his pet finches and Beagle and all.
Clearly, they were equating Darwinism with evolution, so thats why their critics do, too.
- Tiktaalik: PBS clearly treated this as a showpiece in the film.
Too bad it is irrelevant. See our earlier commentaries on this from 04/06/2006,
05/03/2006, and 10/20/2006.
Also, Evolution News
has a refutation of this fossils relevance to Darwinian evolution. Notice that
Shubin bluffed that these rocks were from the right age for the fish-tetrapod
transition, ignoring the fact that the dating of the strata was built on evolutionary assumptions.
Let Shubin deal with the Cambrian explosion then we will listen to his fish-o-pod story
and yuck it up around the cave campfire, where Truth doesnt exist anyway.
The 4 other fossil transitions presented on the
PBS website (not shown
in the movie) are even less convincing. Notice how many times the feature uses the
words may have and probably etc. The reptile-to-mammal sequence looks as
ad-hoc as placing a lizard, a wolverine and a mouse in a line and calling it an
evolutionary sequence. Look at the dates in the alleged dinosaur-to-bird transition; apparently
they think evolution ran backwards in time here. The whale sequence relies little
on bone, and heavily on artist imagination. The human evolution sequence is fraught
with controversy among paleoanthropologists themselves, so this depiction is highly contrived.
Each of these exhibits has more gap than data, and each relies heavily on inference from similarities.
Have some fun; find evolutionary transitions among your garage tools.
- Flagellum and Type-III Secretion System (TTSS): The co-option argument
for evolution was fully answered in the film Unlocking the Mystery of Life.
In addition, many scientists now believe that the TTSS is a degenerate structure from the flagellum,
not a transitional form. Furthermore, the use of a TTSS by disease organisms
says nothing about whether they were designed or not, which is all ID tries to answer.
If Darwinists want to argue that God would not have made such a thing, then they have left
science and are now arguing theology, so they had better not bring that up in science class.
- Human chromosome #2 as a splice: Ken Miller gleefully showed evidence
that humans have one less chromosome than great apes because sometime in human history two
chromosomes were spliced together, and this proves evolution. It proves it only if
you commit several logical fallacies. Notice that the splicing of a chromosome was
not a prediction of evolution, but an observation, with a made-up evolutionary story after the fact.
Miller committed the either-or fallacy by assuming that since
he could not imagine God creating the chromosome this way, Darwinism is therefore established
(this is also an example of the Argument from Personal Incredulity, one of his own favorite
accusations in debate).
Did Miller provide any evidence this change conferred fitness
on evolving humans? No. Did he prove that this change occurred before
humans came into existence? No. Did he establish a time frame for when it
occurred? No. Did he rule out all other possible explanations, like a genetic
bottleneck that might have occurred on Noahs Ark or something? No. Does he
or any other evolutionist have any explanation for the variety of chromosome numbers in
animals, which seem to bear no correlation with fitness? No. It is
a quirky observation that could lend itself to numerous explanations, none of which science
has any way of establishing, so it is irrelevant to the films argument about why
students should get only the Darwinian story. Do apes get along great with their
24 pairs of chromosomes? Do humans get along fine with 23 pairs? Sure; thats
about all that science can say. For more information on chromosome number variability,
in answer to Millers claim, see Jean Lightners article
on Answers in Genesis.
A huge, underlying assumption that
was downplayed was that Darwinists, and only Darwinists of the NCSE stripe, understand
the nature of science and the nature of religion, including what
constitutes the terms natural and supernatural. This was shamefully misunderstood
and misconstrued by the entire pro-Darwin cast. Philosophers of science around the
world should rise up in horror at the sophomoric definition of science that Judgment
Day merely assumed was universally accepted and defensible.
This film was a grandstand for the usual suspects, a certain cadre of Darwin
Party Hacks who make a career out of protecting their idol from
criticism. The names of these same People of Froth appear in just about every
instance of an ID controversy. Take away their bullhorns and disarm their attack
dogs at the ACLU, and most of the commotion
over intelligent design would probably calm down into a nice, rational debate among
While thinking about these issues,
you might review yesterdays entry (11/12/2007),
since the film showed, over and over and over in Dover, a mesmerizing
their mystical icon, Darwins tree of life (see also the
with the remarks of Nick Matzke, one of the PBS heroes, worrying about what
ID proponents would do with the clear evidence against Darwins tree).
How can they reach a tree of life when they dont even have knowledge of good and evil?
Next headline on:
Here are more cool cell tricks that ensure a smoothly-functioning
system inside the cell that can adapt to changes while protecting assets.
- Ribosome code: Why dont all ribosomes look alike?
Perhaps they know a secret code. Another possible coding mechanism has been found
in ribosomes, those important organelles in the cytoplasm
that translate messenger RNA into proteins. You might recall that
in chromosomes, a histone code appears to
oversee the genetic code, regulating what genes get translated
07/28/2004). Now, researchers
at Harvard Medical School reported in Cell1 that a similar
mechanism might be at work in the ribosomes:
Our data supports a model in which there are many different forms of functionally distinct ribosomes in yeast, where the functional specificity is determined by the combination of duplicated ribosomal proteins present. However, protein composition is not the only source of ribosomal heterogeneity. Many fungi express different forms of 5S rRNA... Moreover, ribosomal proteins are subject to a variety of posttranslational modifications....; such modifications impact the translational activity of the protein.... Indeed, as previously posited..., there is a wealth of evidence for heterogeneity among ribosomes regulating the translational activity of their targets.
This model of translational regulation bears a striking resemblance to the canonical model for transcriptional regulation.... In sum, the transcription state of a given region of chromatin is determined by specific combinations of histone proteins, posttranslational modifications of histones, and DNA modifications; this complex relationship has been called the histone code (Jenuwein and Allis, 2001). Our data support a similar level of complexity for the process of translation in which different combinations of ribosomal protein paralogs, posttranslational modifications of ribosomal proteins, different forms of rRNA, and modifications to the rRNA allow calibrated translation of specific mRNAs. As with the histone code, this ribosome code would provide a new level of complexity in the regulation of gene expression.
- Token authentication: Heres a design challenge for the engineer
in you. A round door needs to be open to the environment, but keep interlopers
out. Valid users, coming in a wide variety of sizes, need to be allowed access
by an automatic authentication system that will usher them in quickly.
Once inside, they should not be able to drift back out. The nuclear pore complex appears to
use a most elegant solution to this problem of selective gating. It was
reported in Science October 26 by researchers in Switzerland and Singapore.2
To spare our readers the technical nomenclature, well substitute a
sci-fi analogy for what happens at the 40-nanometer scale. Imagine a spaceship
with a highly-sensitive computer center at its core. Objects and spacemen drift
by in this weightless environment. The doors to the computer center must remain open
at all times, but entry must be protected from enemies and from those who have no
business being in there. Anchored to the rims of these doors are chains that
extend outward, drifting about like spaghetti in a breeze tied at one end. The ends of these
chains contain crystals that emit a force-field, collectively creating an invisible
dome of force around the door, preventing accidental or malicious entry.
You, as a valid user, approach the door with a secret crystal in your hand
that acts like an authentication token. When you extend it toward the chains,
they sense it, and rapidly collapse backwards,
pulling you in and forming a kind of tunnel around you. The more distant chains are
not affected; they continue to stand guard and keep the force field up. Once you
are inside, a robotic device removes your token and secures it in a protective chamber
so that it cannot open the door behind you. Meanwhile, the collapsed chains quickly
extend outward again, re-establishing the force field to keep out anything
or anybody not having the special token.
Want the details? Read footnote 3 for the technical description
of the nuclear pore complex authentication mechanism as described by the researchers.3
1. Komili, Farny, Roth and Silver, Functional Specificity among Ribosomal Proteins Regulates Gene Expression,
Cell, Volume 131, Issue 3, 2 November 2007, pages 557-571.
2. Lim, Fahrenkrog, Koser, Schwarz-Herion, Deng, and Aebi,
Nanomechanical Basis of Selective Gating by the Nuclear Pore Complex,
26 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5850, pp. 640-643; DOI: 10.1126/science.1145980.
3. Ibid, The nuclear pore complex regulates cargo transport between the
cytoplasm and the nucleus. We set out to correlate the governing biochemical
interactions to the nanoscopic responses of the phenylalanineglycine (FG)–rich
nucleoporin domains, which are involved in attenuating or promoting cargo
translocation. We found that binding interactions with the transport receptor
karyopherin-[Beta]1 caused the FG domains of the human nucleoporin Nup153 to collapse
into compact molecular conformations. This effect was reversed by the action of
Ran guanosine triphosphate, which returned the FG domains into a polymer brush-like,
entropic barrier conformation. Similar effects were observed in Xenopus oocyte
nuclei in situ. Thus, the reversible collapse of the FG domains may play an
important role in regulating nucleocytoplasmic transport.
Cells are so high-tech cool, who could ever imagine
they sprung out of a chaotic soup of dilute chemicals? Darwinists, thats
who and they are on a campaign to teach their nonsensical scenario without
competition by outlawing anyone who disagrees with them. Intelligent design
that is real, realistic science. The power is in the details.
Nature uses intelligent design while attacking it; why this is morbid instead
of fervid, from 11/24/2005.
Next headline on:
Evolution: Onward and Downward 11/13/2007
A story in New Scientist
explores a growing realization about evolutionary trees: over time, things have gotten simpler,
not more complex. Better cut down the tree in your textbook and start over.
If you want to know how all living things are related, dont bother looking
in any textbook thats more than a few years old. Chances are
that the tree of life you find there will be wrong. Since they began
delving into DNA, biologists have been finding that organisms with features that
look alike are often not as closely related as they had thought. These are
turbulent times in the world of phylogeny, yet there has been one rule that
evolutionary biologists felt they could cling to: the amount of complexity in the
living world has always been on the increase. Now even that is in doubt.
The article goes on to describe a new storytelling strategy.
While nobody disagrees that there has been a general trend towards complexity
humans are indisputably more complicated than amoebas recent findings suggest
that some of our very early ancestors were far more sophisticated than we have
given them credit for. If so, then much of that precocious complexity
has been lost by subsequent generations as they evolved into new species.
The whole concept of a gradualist tree, with one thing branching off after
another and the last to branch off, the vertebrates, being the most complex, is
wrong, says Detlev Arendt, an evolutionary and developmental biologist at
the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.
The entire tree of life has been built on the assumption that
evolution entails increasing complexity. So, for example, if two groups
of animals were considered close because both had a particular prominent feature,
then someone discovered a third, intermediate line that lacked that feature but
shared many other aspects of the two groups, traditional phylogenists would
conclude that the feature had arisen independently in the two outlying
groups, by a process known as convergent evolution. They often
did not even consider the alternative explanation: that the feature in
question had evolved just once in an ancestor of all three groups, and had subsequently
been lost in the intermediate one. Now a handful of molecular biologists
are considering that possibility.
How the earlier, more primitive creature evolved the innovation in the first place
was left unstated. These innovations are not simple functions likely to arise
from genetic mutations. They include multi-part systems, such as a central
The Darwin Partys motto is, Everything
we know is wrong. If you like trying out the avenues with signs that
say Wrong Way, follow the Darwin Partymobile onto the highway of life.
Evolutionary Algorithms Improve on Plants 11/12/2007
Next headline on:
A press release from University
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign talks design, but its really about evolution, but then
really about design. Confused? So is the author of the press release, entitled
Researchers successfully simulate photosynthesis and design a better leaf.
University of Illinois researchers have built a better plant, one that
produces more leaves and fruit without needing extra fertilizer. The
researchers accomplished the feat using a computer model that mimics the process
of evolution. Theirs is the first model to simulate every step of the
The team programmed supercomputers. Is this how evolution works? Writer Diana
Yates had no problem with this:
Using evolutionary algorithms, which mimic evolution by
selecting for desirable traits, the model hunted for enzymes that if
increased would enhance plant product. If higher concentrations of
an enzyme relative to others improved photosynthetic efficiency, the model
used the results of that experiment as a parent for the next
generation of tests.
But can humans use evolution or is that intelligent design?
(see 09/10/2007). And who decides what
is desirable: the researcher, or the plant?
An obvious question that stems from the research is why plant productivity can be
increased so much, Long said. Why havent plants already evolved to be as
efficient as possible?So clearly,
desirability is in the eye of the beholder. Since plants dont have eyes
and evolution is blind, the better metaphor might be that fitness is in the survival
of the wild type.
The answer may lie in the fact that evolution selects for
survival and fecundity, while we were selecting for increased productivity,
he said. The changes suggested in the model might undermine the survival
of a plant living in the wild, he said, but our analyses suggest they will
be viable in the farmers field.
For more on the efficiency of photosynthesis, see
The shameless bravado of evolutionary biologists
never ends. What they did had nothing to do with evolution, and everything
to do with intelligent design: goals, choice, procedures, and metrics. To
brag on top of that they outdid photosynthetic design by manipulating concentrations
of pre-existing enzymes is too much. Make like a tree and leaf design to intelligence.
Gone Fishing: Can Humans Counteract Evolution? 11/12/2007
Next headline on:
Darwinists insist that human beings are part and parcel of the evolutionary process,
but once in awhile, they criticize their fellow hominids for getting in Darwins
way. A recent example in Nature1 took aim at fishermen:
People like to catch big fish, sometimes so much so that fish sizes overall
become greatly diminished. According to one view, the continual removal of large
fish from a population sets the stage for rapid, undesirable evolutionary
changes, including slower growth, earlier adult maturation and permanently
smaller size. This occurs because removing the largest fish directly
opposes natural selection, which tends to favour large size.
David Conover called this situation a dynamic tug-of-war between the forces of
natural selection and fishing selection. But as if anticipating a logical
objection that fishing selection is subsumed under natural selection if humans are
natural, he quickly tried to explain why fishing selection was against nature:
Why is evolution important to fisheries management? It
could be argued that fishing merely adds an additional predator to the
ecosystem. But from the fishs point of view, humans
turn the rules of engagement completely upside down. Most natural
predators attack smaller fish more frequently than larger fish. The bigger
a fish gets, the lower its mortality (Fig. 1).2 Hence, growing fast early
in life is a good strategy. Moreover, because big fish produce many more
offspring than small fish, delaying maturation to larger size also increases
fitness that is, the likelihood that ones genes will be passed on
to future generations. By causing greatly increased mortality at large
sizes, fishing selects for fish that grow slowly and mature at small sizes.
Numerous other physiological, behavioural and reproductive traits likewise
evolve that can lower fitness. Taken to its extreme, many
generations of intense size-selective fishing could in theory cause the
evolution of a population of runts.
Humans, in other words, are causing unnatural change in fish populations.
This is evident in Conovers choice of title, Nets vs nature.
But are humans causing the change on purpose? Do they have the capacity to choose
to do otherwise? If so, does this reflect a decision that should be made
on moral grounds? These questions were not addressed.
Citing work on population genetic responses to fishing selection for size,
Conover argued that evolutionary responses to the opposing forces of fishing
and natural selection must be accounted for in managing fisheries.
To him, this was an illustration that evolutionary theory is not just of academic
interest, but has practical applications of interest to all of us.3
1. David O. Conover, Fisheries: Nets versus nature,
450, 179-180 (8 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/450179a.
2. The figure is labeled, The darwinian struggle between natural selection and fishing selection.
3. Conover also tried to pre-empt a charge of storytelling.
Correlation does not prove causation, he noted. Also, The responses
are probably far too rapid to be entirely evolutionary as opposed to ecological
in origin, or merely coincidental, he confessed. With only one population under study,
any interpretation of this sequence of growth changes contains an element of story-telling.
His comeback was that this is one of the
most data-rich and comprehensive analyses of fishery-induced evolution ever published,
and agreement with other studies, he felt, shows the possibility that all such studies are
erroneous is becoming vanishingly small. Yet without an external criterion
of how many cases are required to establish causation, and for how long a period,
any such probability calculations seem subjective.
He said that It could be argued that fishing
merely adds an additional predator to the ecosystem, so here we come, a predator
to prey on evolutionary theory itself. If he is going to be a consistent
evolutionist, Conover cannot make a case that what humans are doing to fish populations
is bad or even unwise. You just watched him empathize with the poor little fishies:
from the fishs point of view, humans turn the rules of engagement
completely upside down. Who is he to become a crusader for fishs rights?
Thats not fair, prosecuting attorney Conover whimpers before us members of the jury, pointing to
the defendant, Joe Fisherman. He didnt play by the rules.
He flagrantly violated the Law of Natural Selection. He is a big, fat cheater.
He should feel guilty. He should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,
right here in Darwins Court.
Lab experiments falsify neo-Darwinism (again), from
The defense attorney points out to the prosecutor that the Law of Natural
Selection is that everybody plays, and anything goes. The judge sits there
dispassionately, not paying any attention. In a world where anything goes,
Evolutionists routinely describe any situation, no matter how perverse
or unfair to one side, as Darwinism in action. Was it unfair for Cambrian
predators to emerge and feed on soft-bodied organisms? No; the prey just
invented hard shells. Was it unfair for a meteor to wipe out 90% of Permian
life? No, the survivors actually flourished in the newly-cleared playing
field. Was it unfair for hominids to grow bigger brains and think of new
ways to terrorize their fellow creatures? No, that is what led to philosophy,
civilization and Darwinian theory. Darwinists frequently talk of
evolutionary arms races in this dog-eat-dog, Calvinball world where
selfishness rules, a Hobbesian war of all against all.
Why is Conover worked up, therefore, about what happens to a few
fish? Dont worry, theyll evolve. Is he worried that they
wont be able to evolve fast enough? Dont worry; evolution can
run as fast or slow as a Darwinian wants. But what if they go extinct?
It just means they werent fit. But what if humans artificially lower
their fitness? Sorry, we dont understand the word artificial.
Everything is natural selection in the big picture. But what if future fish
populations consist only of runts? Runts are fine. Some animals grow
large, some grow small. Some mature fast, some mature slow. Some
diversify rapidly, some not at all for hundreds of millions of years.
Whats the problem?
Maybe Conover is concerned about runts because he likes seafood.
Thats the only explanation that makes any evolutionary sense, because
it is sufficiently selfish and irrational. But for him to feel that humans
might be doing something wrong or unnatural by changing the rules thats
his conscience talking. Darwin had nothing to say about conscience.
Become a Christian; then we can talk about acting as good stewards to preserve the environment
for the wonderful creatures God made. After all, a certain group of fishermen
once left their nets to follow Someone who promised them a nobler purpose
to become fishers of men.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Monkey See, Monkey Rationalize 11/10/2007
Its a quirk of English that rational and rationalize have
opposite meanings. Be that as it may, the latter may have evolved into
to the former, according to a story in the
York Times. A monkey study using children
as control subjects seems to indicate that Capuchin monkeys, like us, occasionally
rationalize bad choices.
Expecting animals to exhibit subsets of human behaviors may be one
thing, but the article transformed the monkeyshines into a tale of human evolution:
For half a century, social psychologists have been trying to figure out the human
gift for rationalizing irrational behavior. Why did we evolve with brains that
salute our shrewdness for buying the neon yellow car with bad gas mileage?
The results of experiments with the monkeys were equivocal. Nevertheless,
reporter John Tierney chose the interpretation that rationalizing bad choices, also called
cognitive dissonance, has positive evolutionary value; it conserves energy that
would be spent second-guessing our bad decisions. But then, how would we
know this is not his own sour grapes for dismissing intelligent design?
The compulsion to justify decisions may seem irrational, and maybe petty, too,
like the fox in Aesops fable who stopped trying for the grapes and promptly
told himself they were sour anyway. But perhaps Aesop didnt appreciate
the evolutionary utility of this behavior for humans as well as animals.
For assuming evolution, for promoting a monkeys wisdom over Aesops, and
for elevating cognitive dissonance as a Darwinian virtue, we award Stupid Evolution
Quote of the Week to Mr. John Tierney. Congratulations; enjoy your trip.
No sour grapes here. We love it when the
Darwinists make fools of themselves. As for us, we try to ration our
The Brain Evolved!... Didnt It? 11/09/2007
Next headline on:
Evolutionary neurologists are so absolutely sure the human brain is a product of evolution
from lower primates over millions of years, they are able to talk openly and frankly
about problems with the particulars. But in reading some of their own reviews of
current ideas, it is not clear which has been evolving: the brain or evolutionary theory
itself. Here are a few recent cases where Darwinian boldness and anxiety exhibit a kind
of left-brain, right-brain split.
Given the standoff in evolutionary explanations,4 how about a radical alternative?
Its not really radical; in fact, it is time-tested, logically coherent
and self-evident. It enjoyed epistemic priority
throughout the classical, medieval and Enlightenment periods. It is the
non-reductionist position that the mind is non-material; the brain is an instrument
of a spiritual reality that, while constrained by matter,
cannot be reduced to its material components. A new book has dusted off this long-accepted
truism and explored it within the findings of modern neurobiology. Written by
neuroscientist Mario Beauregard and journalist Denyse OLeary, The Spiritual Brain:
A Neuroscientists Case for the Existence of the Soul
is getting lively and enthusiastic reviews on
Amazon.com. Perhaps the soul of science tomorrow will be the science
that welcomes back the soul.
- Disappointed Darwinist: A book review this month in
Online, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association, is our first split-brain
case study in theoretical Darwinism. Lewis A. Opler reviewed The Evolving Brain:
The Known and the Unknown by R. Grant Steen. To begin with, he cheered
Steens knockout blow to the contender, intelligent design:
The author of this book, a neurophysiologist in the field of psychiatry, has superbly
described breakthroughs in basic neurobiology, debunked intelligent design,
and both argued and demonstrated the need for cross-disciplinary collaboration to address
issues such as consciousness, creativity, and self-knowledge.
Nevertheless, when it came to explaining brain evolution, Opler came away hungry:
Paradoxically, given its title, the only area that I felt was not
handled expertly was in its handling of how and why evolution had chosen
usHomo sapiens, with our large prefrontal cortex and our increased
plasticity and capacity for learning and communicatingto be the rulers of
planet Earth. Possible answers include intelligence, language,
communication, theory of the mind, and activation of pleasure circuitry because of
affiliative behaviorall lead to collaboration and sociality of our species.
At the end of the review, the contrast could not be more stark: Steen
unequivocally delivers a slam-dunk victory for evolution over intelligent design.
But I kept waiting for cutting-edge neurobiology and psychology to meet
cutting-edge evolutionary theory, and this did not occur.
But what external changes emerged 50,000 years ago allowing
this to give us a selective advantage? Evolutionary theory itself
has evolved, and this is not addressed. Specifically, whereas early
models suggest that individual traits gradually take over because of
their conferring an increased chance of procreating by their host, punctuated
equilibrium argues convincingly that speciation confers stability, with new
species emerging only when external factors throw ecosystems into disequilibrium.
A clear example of this, supported by the fossil and geographic
record, is the sudden end of the dinosaurs after a meteor hit Earth rendering
it uninhabitable by dinosaurs and giving mammals a selective advantage. So what
factors gave us, the intelligent afilliative communicator, a leg up?
Did a planet lacking an adequate food supply select us because we, by virtue of
our ability to collaborate, could hunt in tribes and follow game, as well as develop
societies where agriculture and breeding of other animals could occur?
I do not know. But I had hoped that Dr. Steens book about the
evolving brain would answer such questions.
Opler joked that if great science is revolutionary, it follows that good science should
be at least subversivethe book is at least subversive [selah].
What would Opler think of the recent development that his clearest example of disequilibrium producing
punctuated changethe death of the dinosaurs by a meteoris now being
seriously challenged? (10/31/2007, bullet 6).
That might subvert the revolution itself.
- The ancient brain: A glaring Toumai skull
(04/14/2005) decorated two book reviews in
Nature earlier this month.1
Dean Falk was so confident of evolution she did not mention any non-materialistic
alternatives except as historical anecdotes; nevertheless, both her reviews contained
ample seeds of doubt. Falk was sure that On Deep History and the Brain, by
Daniel Lord Smail, had rendered creationist stories to the dustbin of intellectual history:
He first describes how the discovery and implications of deep time2 by
geologists, biologists and naturalists in the mid-nineteenth century were
the undoing of the sacred idea that humankind began relatively recently in the
Garden of Eden. Historians then shifted from a sacred to a secular beginning
the rise of civilization in Mesopotamia. Thus, laments Smail, the
Palaeolithic continued to receive short shrift and still needed to be
historicized. After all, humans who did not keep records still
had a past. He has a point.
But how would we, today, know that humans who did not keep records existed?
This could seem like proposing that the space aliens who once lived on earth, but did not
keep records, still had a past. Would that have a point? A past must be
demonstrated with some kind of evidence, not merely asserted.
Was Smail able to historicize a missing record, to bring a lost history into our
cognizance? What data would he use?
Smail examines the rupture that continues to separate prehistory from
recorded history, together with the historiographical, epistemological
and theoretical obstacles that have kept them apart. He explores
the importance of biology in shaping cultural evolution, offering an
interesting take on the nature/nurture dichotomy with his suggestion
that lamarckian mechanisms displaced darwinian ones when human culture
started to develop.
This sounds like a mere suggestion, and a controversial one at that. As if
lamarckism were any help, it seems additionally unhelpful that
Smail next proceeded to debunk evolutionary psychology. Then, he offered only alternatives
that may have explained evolution: Palaeolithic societies, for example,
may have developed a range of mood-altering practices such as song,
dance, ritual, and ingestion of mind-enhancing substances. Maybe humans
expanded their minds with drugs, in other words. Students may like this suggestion,
but it may not sit well with their parents.
But if our ancestors
developed these practices, and by this point possessed the physical
equipment for intelligence, could not these
practices be considered a form of intelligent design that evolutionary theory
somehow snuck under the radar? Where did it come from? Falk did not explore this paradox, but was
disappointed that the book provided so little hard evidence for brain evolution: Although this is an
enjoyable and creative book, it is not quite what I expected, she said.
There are no endocasts or sulcal patterns here, no Brodmanns area 10, or
debates on brain size versus cortical reorganization (although Hobbits receive a
brief mention). Its value was only in its suggestion that
neurophysiological underpinnings of moods, motivations, and so on, were
important during hominin cultural and neurological evolution, even if
these people left no records for us to ever know.
If that book left Falk feeling unfulfilled, the next was
even more starved for evidence. James R. Hurfords The Origins of Meaning:
Language in the Light of Evolution walked into the intellectual minefield
of the evolution of language. Falk thought that Hurford did a great job, but
problems were evident from the outset.
Chief among them were the reliance on suggestions rather
than hard evidence. In the treatment of animal cognition,
Hurford shows that the seeds are there, and were probably
present in our ancestors, providing fodder for natural selection even
if the details are sketchy or non-existent. The doubt-words may, might
and suggests pepper the review. Did the ability of many animals to
infer animacy in objects lead to our theory of mind? Perhaps. Did
simple two-way communication among hominins lead to grammatical complexity later?
Maybe. Was the mother-infant interaction asymmetrical enough to be the focus
of intense selection? Possibly. Whether these suggestions
postdict what happened to hominids, they leave unexplained
why animals in similar situations did not develop complex language. It seems all that
Hurford was able to deliver was a kind of intellectual peep show, not rigorous explanation:
There are some titillating nuggets in this book, such as a discussion of
how the FOXP2 gene was mistakenly accepted as the magic bullet responsible
for language evolution. Even better is the extent to which academics
from different countries use language competitively to show off guess where Americans rank?
It is not clear how these nuggets contribute to the evolutionary savings account. Many evolutionists
have championed the FOXP2 gene as a magic bullet; now, Hurford is yanking
that prop. And if academics are merely showing off with language, what does
that say about the reliability of their truth claims?
- The social brain: One more example from Science3 (Sep. 7)
shows that theories of brain evolution struggle with real-world budgeting.
Advocates begin to sound like the loyal accountant, stuck with a depressing profit-and-loss
statement, trying to accentuate the positive while simultaneously staying realistic.
R. I. M. Dunbar and Susanne Shultz considered social factors that might have contributed
to brain evolution, but again, may and might seasoned an article of
rampant suggestions and few certainties. One particularly damaging oversight
in the evolutionary budget was admitted early on:
....Although it is easy to understand why brains in general have
evolved, it is not so obvious why the brains of birds and mammals
have grown substantially larger than the minimum size required to stay alive.
This explains Dunbar and Schulz predilection for social explanations for brain
evolution instead of ecological explanations: i.e., The SBH [social brain
hypothesis] proposes that ecological problems are solved socially and
that the need for mechanisms that enhance social cohesion drives brain size evolution.
So how do social explanations fare, by comparison? Can they balance the selection budget,
drive brain evolution forward, and make a profit?
Bad news: hoped-for income is offset with rising expenses: Nonetheless, whatever its advantages, group
living incurs substantial costs, both in terms of ecological competition and,
for females, reproductive suppression.
Traditional explanations for the evolution of large brains in primates
focused either on ecological problem solving or on developmental constraints....
On closer examination, most of the energetic explanations that have been offered identify
constraints on brain evolution rather than selection pressures. In
biology, constraints are inevitable, and crucial for understanding
evolutionary trajectories, but they do not constitute functional explanationsthat
is, just because a species can afford to evolve a larger brain does not mean that it must
do so. Proponents of developmental explanations seem to have forgotten
that evolutionary processes involve costs as well as benefits. Because
evolution is an economical process and does not often produce needless
organs or capacities, especially if they are expensive to maintain, it follows
that some proportionately beneficial advantage must have driven brain evolution
against the steep selection gradient created by the high costs of brain tissue.
In this respect, most of the ecological hypotheses proposed to date also fail.
None can explain why primates (which have especially large brains for body mass,
even by mammal standards) need brains that are so much larger than, say, squirrels,
to cope with what are essentially the same foraging decisions.
The complexity of any evolutionary
accounting just went up accordingly. The SBH was conceived for primates;
correlations of theory with data for other groups have
produced somewhat mixed results, they admitted. The relationship
between brain size and sociality, if anything, is qualitative, not quantitative.
These findings suggest that it may have been the cognitive demands
of pairbonding that triggered the initial evolution of large brains across the
vertebrates was one proposal. Another interesting anecdote, mentioned
almost as a distraction for faithful couples to flirt with, is that monogamous pairs
seem to have bigger brains. So far, though, all
these suggestions are post-hoc attempts to infer causes from measurements of living animals
based on circumstantial evidence. Worse, they merely assume evolution rather than
demonstrate it in a way that would convince a skeptic.
Dunbar and Schulz puzzled over why only anthropoid apes and humans have
a robust relationship between social group size and brain size. Is it because
there are complex ways for them to bond with one another?
This suggestion merely adds to the puzzle of social bonding, they
admitted, wondering, What is it about social bonds that is cognitively so demanding?
Is it that monogamy is a risky commitment? Is it that post-natal care requires
loyalty by both parents? As if no other explanations were on the table, they
forfeited: Which of these two has been the key driver for
brain evolution, or whether both have been equally important, remains to
be determined, they said. It has become apparent that we lack
adequate language with which to describe relationships, yet bondedness
is precisely what primate sociality is all about. Yet it would
seem that without adequate language in which to pose an explanation, no explanations
can be forthcoming.
They delved into other issues and puzzles, which we do not need to
explore in detail here, but fitness advantages for larger brains seem hard to explain
socially and neurologically. They entertained a few recent suggestions about
specific neurotransmitters and genes, but then ended in complete exasperation and
called for a time out:
Each of these has been seen by their respective protagonists as the holy grail
for understanding both social cognition generally, and, in particular, for
explaining the differences between humans, apes, and monkeys. There
is no question that these are individually important and novel discoveries,
and they undoubtedly all play a role in the nature of sociality.
However, there is a great deal more to how and why humans are different
from other apes, or why apes are different from monkeys. We will need
better studies of cognition and behavior to answer these
questions. More important, perhaps, is one key point: Species
differences in a handful of very small neuronal components do not explain the
apparent need for massive species differences in total brain size. Most
of these studies fall into the same trap as the developmental explanations
for brain size did in the 1980s: They mistake mechanistic constraints for
evolutionary function. It is unclear why this point continues
to be ignored, but we will still have a lot of explaining to do about
volumetric differences in brains.
At this point it would be overkill to ask what relevance brain size has to
intelligence in the first place. Not only does this hark back to the discredited
assumptions of Paul Broca and other 19th-century racists, it seems to be irrelevant
based on observations of living people with diminutive brains (e.g.,
07/22/2007). Consider that the worlds largest and
smallest dogs were photographed together recently. Despite the tiny dogs
diminutive brain compared to that of the big dog, both seem to have all the required
hardware for dog operations (see
Crows and other birds with much smaller brains seem to outperform chimpanzees
at tool use. And the power of computer chips has paralleled their miniaturization
by intelligent design, uncontrovertibly, in this case.
If its quality rather than quantity that counts, it would seem the preoccupation
with brain size as a marker of evolutionary progress is vastly overblown.
Abort, retry, fail?
1. Dean Falk, Delving into the ancient brain,
450, 31-32 (1 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/450031a.
2. In his book The Great Turning Point, Dr. Terry Mortensen examined
the historical roots of old-age geology. He provides quotes that Hutton, Lyell
and others did not discover long ages but stipulated them a priori
by overtly discounting from their method any reliance on Biblical history.
3. R. I. M. Dunbar and Susanne Shultz, Evolution in the Social Brain,
7 September 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5843, pp. 1344-1347, DOI: 10.1126/science.1145463.
4. Readers may wish to review the
on this topic.
There are two arguments you can make right off the
bat with a believer in brain evolution, even with no knowledge of neurons or
hominids. One is an adaptation of
Gödels theorem: a system cannot be proved within its own axioms. A
system, like mathematics, requires external presuppositions for verification.
Any reductionist theory of mind that invokes only particles in motion is doomed to
failure. You can study all the electrons in a cathode ray tube till the cows
come home, and never discern that a story is being projected from a writers mind
to a receivers mind. C. S. Lewis argued that to see through
something is not the same as to see it. Similarly, we can study neurons forever
in finer detail than ever, and fail to see what is really going on.
Sure, the neurons react in response to whatever is moving them, but you cannot
find the mover in the physical components. Only by inferring the presence of an
agent external to the system are you able to uncover the true explanation for the system.
Science Journals Rally Anti-ID Army 11/08/2007
The second argument is that evolutionary explanations for the brain
are self-refuting. Recall the Yoda Complex from the
09/25/2006 commentary. A Darwinist
cannot sneak outside his brain and propose a theory he expects to be taken
rationally as something that might be true, if he or she is claiming that the brain
is only molecules molded by evolutionary forces. It matters not whether the
forces are ecological or social; as long as they are materialistic,
evolutionary rationality collapses under its own assumptions; it vanishes into smoke.
Only by proposing the external existence of immaterial realities like Truth and the
laws of logic can anyone propose a rational proof of anything. Christians,
naturally, have such assumptions as their preconditions of argument. Evolutionists
have none, and must be rebuked when caught plagiarizing the axioms of their opponents.
If that point is conceded, the Christian view has its own challenges.
Why are humans not perfectly rational, and why do individuals vary in rationality?
Why does our intelligence and rationality age with our bodies? Why can an injury, a drug,
or dementia turn a rational person into a vegetable? What is mental illness?
An analogy may help approach these difficult questions. Picture a wild wolf,
roaming free and in full possession of its
capacities the master of its turf. Then imagine a captive wolf, tied to
a tree, distracted by pheromones from a she-wolf, occupied with scratching fleas,
catching diseases, and having to sleep a lot and be fed. Its capacities are constrained
from what they could be. Or imagine a private helicopter tethered to its parking
block. The engines can run, the blades can turn, the instruments will register,
and it might even be able to hop a few feet off the ground before its tether pulls
it back. In the same way, our human souls are constrained by our physical ties
to the Earth (and Christians would add, to our sinful natures). Beware, also,
any hidden assumption that all souls are created with equal abilities even if they
were freed of bodily constraints; we are, after all, finite. Limited as our rational
are, the fact that we respond to social pressures and appetites
is no argument that the soul is an illusion, or that rationality
evolved from its physical components.
Evolutionary stories about how our brains evolved from animal ancestors
are speculative flights of fancy that strain credibility. We all know that
recorded civilization only goes back a few thousand years, yet evolutionists propose that
physically modern humans have existed for at least 100,000 years maybe four times
that. They expect us to believe that something happened around 50,000 years ago
that was like the proverbial light bulb over the head, and man suddenly became
rational, artistic, and capable of abstract thought. But even then, they expect
us to believe another 20,000 years or more passed before any of these people learned
how to ride a horse, plant a garden, write on a piece of pottery or build a city.
Such imaginary eons are multiples of the length of all recorded history, during which time
comparably-equipped humans have advanced from grass shacks to lunar excursion modules.
How can anyone swallow such a tale?
Remember, evolutionary biology is searching for natural
laws, and laws have to apply to all animals. How come no other creatures on earth, including
those with comparably sized brains relative to body size, and capable of tool use
(like crows), developed abstract reasoning, art and true semantic language?
On top of that, they try to ascribe these Eureka moments, in which virtual miracles
occurred, to genetic mutationsmistakes! Anybody
who tries to argue that rationality is a mistake should be considered rashly mistaken.
Darwinian explanations for the brain are about as comforting as those of hijackers
who, having bound and gagged the pilot and crew, get on the intercom and assure the
passengers everything is under control. They laugh and celebrate their triumph
over the flight crew, whom they hated and judged were unworthy of operating the
plane. Almost simultaneously, practical issues assert themselves, and they
begin whispering to one another, Anybody know where this plane was headed?
Do any of you know how to land this thing?
The solution is obvious: untie the pilot and let him apply his
intelligence to a highly intricate, functional, and clearly designed machine.
Then go to flight school like he did. The interpretation of this parable is
left as an exercise. He who has a brain to think, let him think.
Next headline on:
Language in science journals is typically restrained, genteel and erudite.
Editorials value diversity and inclusion, rarely painting any issue black or white.
There are two issues, though, that let loose the raging bull: (1) policies that
jeopardize funding, and (2) creationism. As illustrations of reactions to the latter,
consider two articles this week that snort and paw the ground:
The Discovery Institute was quick to launch a few missives of its own, to intercept
some of the damage expected from what they consider a very biased presentation.
These are listed at
IntelligentDesign.org, a new website
hub for ID resources and information.
Traipsing Into Evolution is
another new site they hope will set the record straight about what happened at the Dover trial.
Readers of Nature and Current Biology, however, get the anti-creation, anti-ID,
pro-Darwin, pro-atheism free along with the scientific content they subscribed for. It is doubtful
those who read the journals will be aware the rebuttals even exist.
- Atheist army: Call to atheists was the title of an
editorial by Nigel Williams in this weeks Current Biology.1
One might, at first glance, expect this would be a call for restraint amidst the recent
bombastic claims of certain popular atheists, such that science be not sullied by
association with intolerance. Not so; Williams was their army recruiter
As the media begin increasingly to focus on analyses of the US presidential
candidate hopefuls, many people are now beginning to think about the consequences
of the end of the Bush era. For researchers many potential changes loom....
the dominance of the Christian right under Bush has now been challenged by a
new campaign to raise the voices of the USs estimated 25 million atheists.
On that last note, Williams portrayed atheists as a downtrodden group
who need political clout, which might seem a little odd, considering that at least
in science teaching at public schools the feared religious right has almost zero influence.
Britains champion atheist, Richard Dawkins, is
spearheading a campaign to challenge the dominance of religion in
everyday life and in politics, insisting that the atheists deserve to be heard too.
The article, accompanied with a large photo of
Dawkins with pensive and determined gaze, gave copious room for the outspoken
atheist to specifically ridicule the Bible. If this was a journalistic report,
as the heading suggested, it provided no opportunity for balance or rebuttal by
any non-atheist certainly not by one who should know both sides, former atheist Antony Flew
(10/29/2007) speaking of whom,
ID leader William Dembski wrote that he likes the old atheists better
- Abstract expressionism: Here was the depiction of creationists by Adam Rutherford
in Nature this week: a bunch of threatening, thieving, feeble-minded, steamrolling, inept,
unpleasant, nonsensical, sneaky, fig-leaf-wearing pseudo-intellectual fundamentalists who cant face
the overwhelming strength of the Darwinism-only policy as judicially upheld by
that republican lutheran, Judge Jones, one of the 100 most influential people,
portrayed as the hero he is by the prestigious Nova in a rigorous television
documentary upholding science and reason. (Summarized for succinctness.)2
Rutherford had recently seen Judgment Day by Vulcan Productions,
a Nova presentation airing this month about the Dover trial, funded by pro-evolution
billionaire Paul Allen
(10/12/2007). Overjoyed with it, he painted his review
all-black vs all-white, us-vs-them, noble-reason-vs-dangerous-fundamentalism
to the point of near obscenity (on another occasion, Rutherford once called pro-ID astrobiologist
Guillermo Gonzalez a crap scientist). Creationism and intelligent design were
doused with equal torrents of acid rain. And, to poison the wells of rebuttal,
he snuck in a line about the upcoming film Expelled,
calling it the work of comedian Ben Stein, who duped
certain evolutionists to appear in it. Nothing duplicitous in Judgment Day,
of course: Judgment Day is just the sort of thoughtful programming that celebrates how
sensible people faithful and otherwise can use science and reason to
1. Nigel Williams, Call to Atheists,
Biology Volume 17, Issue 21, 6 November 2007, Pages R899-R900.
2. Adam Rutherford, Television: Dover trial documentary screens,
450, 170 (8 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/450170a.
There you have it: reason, open-mindedness, fairness, dispassionate analysis of
evidence everything you have come to expect in a Science Journal, brought
to you by people of froth (09/26/2005).
Modern Nazi Killer Bears Darwins Standard 11/08/2007
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Another terrible school shooting imitating the Columbine rampage has occurred, this time in Finland
Before killing eight students and himself, the 18-year-old murderer stated in a rambling note,
I am prepared to fight and die for my cause. I, as a natural selector, will
eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection.
He called himself a cynical existentialist, anti-human humanist, anti-social
social-Darwinist, realistic idealist and god-like atheist.
CNN, with its typical deductively-challenged propensity
for the irrelevant non-sequitur,
blames the gun: Finland, which enjoys a strong tradition of hunting, has a
high proportion of gun ownership, with two million firearms owned in a nation of
only five million. TV news anchors interviewed psychologists, who portrayed the killer
as among those disaffected youths who feel alienated and powerless i.e., victims, so its
our fault. Funny; hardship didnt seem to create psychopaths during the
Depression it made many appreciate what little they had, and work harder.
At times like this, students need psychobabble like they need a hole in the head.
MIT Cosmologists Take Our Advice 11/07/2007
Why is no one pointing out the obvious fact that this killer, and the Columbine killers,
saturated their minds with hate from radical rock, inspired by the purposelessness of a pointless, godless
Im your nightmare coming true
I am your worst enemy...
I am unrestrained excess.
His ability to buy a gun and post YouTube videos with his own videocam belies any
claim he was disaffected. He had excess, he never learned restraint, and was proud of it!
His problem was not self-esteem, but others-esteem and God-esteem. Darwinism glorifies self
as the agent of progress.
Fill a selfish, undisciplined young persons ears with the screaming rock of pride, power, hate, death
and destruction, and what do you expect?
The Darwin Party will, of course, be indignant if
we associate this lone killer with their belief system, so let us humbly
ask them if creationist writing is producing sociopaths like this on a regular basis.
Lets do the math. How many have been murdered by advocates of
Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you compared to advocates of Survival of the fittest?
Check the body count. After Columbine and Helsinki, creationists can tally up the victims of Hitler, Stalin, Mao
(11/30/2005), Pol Pot, Castro and Kim Jong Il, but why go on?
We already know, one death is a tragedy, 148 million is a statistic.
routinely shot far more people per day than this lone murderer did. Sometimes he would
give his henchmen quotas to meet. They would go out and round up innocent victims
at random and shoot them in cold blood. Then, they would be very proud if they could report back to the Man
of Steel, that same man who years before had torn off his seminarian robes and became an atheist after reading The Origin,
that they exceeded their quota for the day.
Darwinian teachers can claim from their sanitized lecterns that evolutionary theory is
not responsible for what people do, but like philosopher Greg Bahnsen warned, if the plane is going to Boston,
theres no getting off at Chicago. Evolutionists need to take their world view to its
logical conclusion. Students are better at making connections than their teachers suspect.
The article mentioned that one of the killers favorites
was the anarchistic,
antichristian rock song Stray Bullet
I have come to rock your world
I have come to shake your faith
I have come to take my place.
How much are you willing to bet this killer also just adored Pearl Jams Do the Evolution video
I am ahead, I am advanced
I am the first mammal to make plans, yeah
I crawled the earth, but now Im higher
Twenty-ten, watch it go to fire
Its evolution, baby, Its evolution, baby
Do the evolution Come on, come on, come on!
Undoubtedly the following was never found in his Favorites playlist:
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty the King of Creation.
O my soul praise him, for He is thy health and salvation.
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Bible and Theology
After getting a snubbing in our 02/21/2005 commentary,
which advocated he and his MIT colleague Alan Guth take up truck driving, David Kaiser,
took our advice with a thinly veiled smirk:
Well, at least someone is still reading Science with a passion.
As for the rest of us in the cosmic-evolution business, well
just have to keep on truckin.
This was the ending of an article by Kaiser in the November-December issue of
Scientist (not to be confused with Scientific American), a publication
of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society.1
In his article,
Kaiser undertook to explain why creation groups, long targeting the biologists and geologists,
have only lately taken on physicists and cosmologists after a long period of what
he considers peaceful co-existence (e.g., Einstein, Lemaitre). His two-fold
conclusion was that (1) recent bans on teaching the big bang (only
one ineffective and unrepresentative example given) have brought the abstruse issues of
cosmology into the public awareness, and (2) the prestige of physics has plummeted
since its pinnacle after World War II, in part due to funding cuts but also
physicists internal divisions and the obviously speculative nature
of recent work thus a new concerted attack by critics
who have learned to leverage the power of the internet.
Thats where CEH comes in:
I stumbled onto this thriving, wired network two years ago, after my
colleague Alan H. Guth and I published a review of recent cosmological research in
Science. About a week after our article appeared, Guth received
an e-mail message directing him to a rebuttal of our piece, posted on a
creationist Web site. That response included dozens of hyperlinks to like-minded
refutations of the big bang, inflationary cosmology, string theory
and the rest. These sites boasted high production values and good graphics.
Noting all the hyperlinks to creationist and intelligent design resources here, Kaiser
seemed to have demonstrated a vast lightweight conspiracy to attack the hallowed
halls of the cosmologists. All that seemed necessary to demonstrate the point
was to mention the advice about truck driving.
1. David Kaiser, The Other Evolution Wars,
Vol 95, No 6), November-December 2007, pp. 518-525.
It was nice to get some compliments from Dr. Kaiser for
the graphics and high production values, but of course he was not about to concede
any point of substance to creationists. That would be anathema inside The
Guild, even a minor blush to the suggestion that a little shame might be in
Some of the problems of building a solar system from a dust cloud,
A little investigation by an unbiased observer, however, should reveal
that modern cosmologists do not need any creationist help looking silly: viz.,
If they are worried about possible nonsense that might come from creationists, why not rein in the secularist
popularizers, who are truckin' all over the sidewalk? (11/01/2007,
Anyone familiar with the history and philosophy of science would
surely realize that there is
no way under Gods starry heaven to scientifically justify many
of the things being claimed by modern cosmologists today. To be off by 120
orders of magnitude, to require a universe composed of 96% imponderable
substances and occult forces, and to seriously consider we each have clones in
countless parallel universes is to invite scrutiny if not ridicule.
Much of that comes from within the ranks of The Guild already. But then to
posit a Cosmic Lottery with 101000 universes (none of
which is observable even in theory) should turn the heads of any philosopher
or logician. It looks like a dodge from a clear inference of design,
tantamount to escaping falsification with magic. What would Popper think?
It would have been nice to see a little humility, therefore,
just a hint of a possibility that cosmologists might be on the wrong track and
maybe should consider non-materialist alternatives seriously, like intelligent design.
If listening to creationists is beneath their dignity, how about listening to
Paul Davies or Robert Jastrow who, both appearing in The Privileged Planet,
acknowledged the design inference and the inability of materialism to account
Astronomy columnist Bob Berman applied his own down-to-earth, common-sense
analysis to the current situation. Without creationist input as far we know,
it was clear to him that cosmology needs a serious time out because
cosmologists are starting to resemble naked emperors parading before the mass media.
He scorned how each pronouncement is delivered with pomp and flair when in
fact it is a shameful display of arrogance and ignorance. Instead of scientific
rigor, imagination rules: Throw the math this way, that way, tweak the equations,
set fire to the physics building, nothing matters,
he exclaimed. Its Alice in Wonderland meets Stephen Hawking.
That was in 2004, but he just recently let the cosmologists have
it between the eyes again
indicating that nothing has improved:
It would be nice, however, if cosmologists would put a lid on their arrogant
ghetto-talk about their latest theory of everything and admit just once in a while
that their knowledge is a single snowflake in the blizzard of the unknown.
Thats why we didnt need to say much
in the 2005 entry but to quote the wizards at length and let them air their own arrogance
and fall on their own folly.
We hope the suggestion to take up truck driving was an act of mercy.
Bill Wattersons Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip is
sometimes the perfect parody of adult misbehavior. One story appeared
in the collection Theres Treasure Everywhere (pp. 50-52) that seemed
apropos. (Note: The names might need swapping, because the materialist was
Thomas Hobbes and the theist was John Calvin, but subsitute whatever living characters you think fit.)
In this episode, Calvin has an assignment to write a paper that
debates some issue. He asks Hobbes for ideas.
Hobbes: What do you care about?
Still, the homework deadline looms. Calvin has an idea a Thinking
Cap! He finds a metal collander in the kitchen and sets to work.
Calvin: I dont care
about issues! Ive got better things to do than argue with every wrong-headed
crackpot with an ignorant opinion! Im a busy man! I say, agree
with me or go take a hike! Im right, period! End of discussion.
Hobbes: Umm... right.
Calvin: There, see? Everybodys happy!
Calvin: Next well need to attach those 1 and 0 strings and a grounding string.
Work all completed, Calvin puts on the Thinking Cap and has Hobbes turn
it on. Click. Brzap. Nothing apparent happens, except Calvin claims
he feels smarter already, and Hobbes perceives that Calvins head has grown larger.
The knowledge begins to flow:
Hobbes: Why a grounding string?
Calvin: Its like a lightning rod
for brainstorms. I want to keep my ideas grounded in reality.
Hobbes: I think youre too late....
Calvin: My powerful brain is unraveling the mysteries of the
universe! Its amazing! All natural laws can be reduced to one simple,
Substitute creationists for girls and some remarkable parallels emerge in
the local universe.
Hobbes: Really, what is it?
Calvin: Already my powerful brain is bored with such simple problems
and is now working on why girls are so obnoxious.
Next headline on:
Mighty Mouse Has Arrived 11/06/2007
Geneticists at Case Western Reserve University have genetically engineered mice
that can run five to six kilometres at a speed of 20 meters per minute on
a treadmill, for up to six hours before stopping, according to a report
on the BBC News.
Professor Richard Hanson explained, They are metabolically similar to
Lance Armstrong biking up the Pyrenees; they utilise mainly fatty acids for
energy and produce very little lactic acid. They also live longer
and mate later than usual. The secret is in the powerhouses of the cell,
which were made to multiply by overexpressing a certain gene:
The muscles of these mice have many more mitochondria. These are the
in the cell that produce energy. For some reason, the number of
mitochondria are around 10 times more than we see in the muscle of
If this technology ever spreads to humans, the Olympics will
never be the same.
Olympics of the future will be won by those
with the best genetic engineers, it appears. If this kind of performance
is possible, what might this suggest about ancient people? Tales survive
of mighty deeds done by people who lived for hundreds of years and had their
firstborn in their 80's and after. Maybe
we are the 96-pound weaklings of the human race. Lets hope they can
put this stuff into a diet cola or milkshake.
Winged Migration Grows Up 11/05/2007
Next headline on:
Scientists used to rely on metal bands on birds legs to find out how they
got from here to there. Now, they can glue tiny radio transmitters to their
shoulders and follow them in real time. What happened when Princeton scientists
hijacked 30 white-crowned sparrows and took them from Seattle to New Jersey?
Age has its advantages, it turns out.
Read about it on PhysOrg
The adults soon realized they were 3,000 miles off course, and
adjusted their bearing to fly southwest toward their winter quarters in Mexico.
The juveniles, who had never flown
home before, flew directly south. This indicates that the chicks are born
with an innate compass that works OK the first time, but experience helps the adults
develop a global map that can make corrections.
The white-crowned sparrow usually flies solo at night.
Upon release, all the birds seemed a little disoriented at first.
After a couple of days the adults converged on the correct orientation.
article did not say if the scientists were able to bring the lost youngsters home,
because the devices apparently did not have receivers to which they could send
commercials, like Fly Southwest. Hopefully they will enjoy Florida.
Ongoing research into bird migration shows that
it is a multi-faceted skill that employs magnetic fields, celestial navigation,
smell, visual landmarks, and more. How the chicks of the Pacific Golden Plover
fly from Alaska to the tiny specks of the Hawaiian islands, alone, across open ocean,
using only an innate compass, is one of those wonders of nature that defies
evolution. Time to enjoy Winged Migration again: a film whose photographic
excellence and amazing content should adorn every home theater. Looks great in HDTV.
Developing Ear May Have Tuning Fork 11/03/2007
Next headline on:
What tunes up an embryos ears before it hears its first sound? A new
study suggests that support cells in the cochlea, long thought to be inert, have
a role in tuning up the hair cells during development. Experiments by Dr. Dwight Bergles and
a team at Johns Hopkins suggest that cells in a tissue called
Kollikers organ produce artificial tones that the developing
hair cells use to get ready for a lifetime of hearing. According to
Bergles acknowledges that his experiments beg the question of why a human or any
animal would need to hear before birth. He speculates that the
ability to hear subtle differences, like the inflection in ones voice,
requires a lot of fine-tuning based on where in the brain the nerves
connect. It could be that brief bursts of electrical activity in
just a few nerve cells at a time help do that fine-tuning so the system works
The work was reported in Nature Nov. 1.1
Ian D. Forsythe, commenting on the paper in the same issue,2
said, In the silence that precedes the onset of hearing in the developing
auditory system, it seems that the cells of a transient structure known as Köllikers
organ are capable of generating their own virtual music.
Kollikers organ runs alongside the organ of Corti, which contains
the hair cells that respond to sound waves in the cochlear fluid.
Apparently, the cells of this organ are able to pump ATP into the hair cells which
bind to glutamate receptors, the same receptors used in hearing.
This effectively mimics the effects of sound waves with artificial
Forsythe explained that this is not random noise. The tones are
produced in a coordinated, controlled manner, to help the nerve cells develop a
tone map in the brain before birth. A more detailed explanation of this process
is provided in footnote 3.3 See also
David Tyler commented on the significance of this paper at
1. Tritsch, Yi, Gale, Glowatzki and Bergles, The origin of spontaneous
activity in the developing auditory system,
450, 50-55 (1 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06233.
2. Ian D. Forsythe, Hearing: A fantasia on Köllikers organ,
450, 43-44 (1 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/450043a.
3. Forsythe, Ibid., So what do these results mean for our understanding
of hearing? A prerequisite for experience-dependent adaptation is that the
spontaneous activity should be elicited in a coherent or simultaneous manner,
thereby defining a related population of nerve fibres. The observed synchronized
activity in IHCs across a distance of around 60 micrometres, or 6–10 IHCs [inner
hair cells] (and desynchronization between more distant IHCs), supports the idea that
this activity may have a signalling function in defining the association
between adjacent regions of the organ of Corti (tonotopy). Inevitably, this
activity would cascade onto each subsequent higher level of auditory
processing, moulding the development of the central auditory
pathways and refining connectivity between the nerve-cell junctions,
This process is important because in sensory regions of the
brain, the afferent nerve fibres and their contacts with their target neurons
maintain a topographic relationship with the peripheral sense organ through
chemoaffinity mechanisms, which involve guidance molecules, and
How would this be explained in Darwinian terms?
The reproducing adults would have only carried on this trait had it been a lucky
mutation in the embryo. But the embryo had no knowledge of the outside world
yet, nor the type of sounds that would be necessary to detect for survival.
Evolution cannot look forward nor backward. It can only respond to immediate
stimuli. To the embryo, an ATP leak into a hair cell would seem a mistake,
like an alarm instead of a tuning fork. And the adult of reproductive age,
years later, could not have selected for this trait it had to already be
functional to provide a survival advantage.
China: where evolution destroys human rights, from 11/30/2004.
Coming up with Darwinian stories after the fact is forced and
superfluous. Here is another observation of fine-tuning that rings out
Next headline on:
Cambrian Jellyfish Found 11/02/2007
Its official: jellyfish were part of the Cambrian explosion.
Geographic News has pictures of well-preserved jellyfish fossils from Utah that
show even the distinct bell shape, tentacles, muscle scars, and possibly even the gonads.
These fossils are dated by evolutionary standards at 500 million years old, into the
period of the Cambrian explosion. This nearly doubles the presumed age of the previously
jellyfish fossils identified with certainty. Not only that, the specimens appear to represent three
What does this mean for evolutionary theory?
If verified, these connections would suggest that jellies either evolved
into their current, complex form very quickly around 500 million years ago, or
they evolved slowly and have existed much longer than has been estimated.
No sure evidence exists for Precambrian jellyfish or for any intermediate forms leading up to them.
David Tyler commented on this paper in
Research Network. The original paper, with photographs, can be found on
PLoS One.1 The discoverers explained that
alleged cnidarians (a group including jellyfish) have been reported from time to time,
but this was the first case of specimens with unambiguous diagnostic characters.
The early divergence of cnidarians in animal phylogeny leaves little doubt of
their presence in the Cambrian; however, there have been no previous reports of
fossils possessing preserved characters diagnostic of particular medusozoan clades,
they said. The absence of preservation detail in medusozoan fossils has thus
far hampered our knowledge of the extent of cnidarian diversity and complexity
that existed during this key time in animal evolution. They surveyed
the best-known examples, but concluded that the only Paleozoic fossils possessing
clear diagnostic characteristics of jellyfish previously identified were in Pennsylvanian strata, considered
300 to 315 million years ago. Middle Cambrian is dated at 515 m.y.a.
Their best guesses identified the eight exceptionally-preserved specimens as members
of three classes: Hydrozoa (hydra, hydroids and hydromedusae), Cubozoa (box jellyfish) and
Scyphozoa (true jellyfish). Some of these have muscles, stinging cell arrays,
complex sexual organs and behaviors (including mate recognition and courtship), and
complex eyes (see 04/01/2007,
05/13/2005). The fossil specimens
resemble living species. Other families of cnidarians, furthermore,
have also been identified in Cambrian strata such as corals and sea anemones.
In their thinking, this could only mean one thing: it suggests that the
modern cnidarian classes had evolved by the Cambrian.
Further, some of these fossils share commonalities with modern cnidarian orders
and families; this may indicate that a significant amount of diversification
within the Cnidaria had also occurred by the Cambrian.
1. Cartwright et al, Exceptionally Preserved Jellyfishes from the Middle Cambrian,
Library of Science One, 2(10): e1121 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001121.
Of course, they never consider the logical
possibility that evolutionary theory has been falsified again, so living
things must have been created. At half a billion years old, the fossils represent
the oldest jellyfish ever found and push back the known existence of jellies 205
million years, scientists say. Well, if scientists
say such things, what does that do to their credibility? We have heard this line so many times
before, even three times just last month (10/30/2007,
10/03/2007). Give up, evolutionists! Its over. You cant
hide behind the scientist badge and say stupid things.
Now you are pushing pure mythology on people and talking like
Myths from Hell 11/01/2007
Next headline on:
*sooth (n., archaic): truth.
Many speak of Gods green earth and rejoice in its beauty, but
James Trefil tells us it was born from hell.
In his article in Astronomy (Dec 2007), entitled,
Earths Fiery Start he spoke with eyewitness confidence:
Earth hasnt always been a green and pleasant place. In fact, our
planets infancy was a violent, chaotic time. When you visualize
the hellish conditions back then, its hard to reconcile it with the lush
planet we see now....
No doubt about it. But how would he know? Too bad the next article in
the same issue puzzled over the recent discovery of a cosmic alignment of the solar
system and cosmic background radiation
Dragan Huterer considered all the leading theories for
this coincidence, only to conclude, In each case, the explanation either
introduces more coincidences than it solves, or else is simply not consistent
with our knowledge of the solar system or the universes beginnings.
In any case, once all this turmoil ceased, ... Earth settled down into
a comfortable middle age an age that allowed intelligence to evolve
and ponder our planets tumultuous beginnings.
In his casual causal tale of philosophy from fire
and mind from mindlessness, Yoda Trefil mentioned the Bible only to treat it like mythology:
Conditions were so different back then that geologists refer to the first several
hundred million years as the Hadean period, to conjure up ancient
visions of hell. In the words of University of Maryland geologist Roberta
Rudnick, The name is classical, but the image is biblical.
Pick your myth: intelligence from a mindless hell, or So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them
If the former, explain how you could know it is intelligence. Maybe pondering
the 10/28/2007 Dilbert
cartoon would help.
Next headline on:
Scientist of the Month
Click on Apollos, the trusty|
|Guide to Evolution
Your website is simply the best (and Id dare say one of the most important) web sites on the entire WWW.
(an IT specialist at an Alabama university)
Ive been reading the articles on this website for over a year, and
Im guilty of not showing any appreciation. You provide a great service.
Its one of the most informative and up-to-date resources on creation available
anywhere. Thank you so much. Please keep up the great work.
(a senior research scientist in Georgia)
Just a note to thank you for your site. I am a regular visitor and I use your site
to rebut evolutionary "just so" stories often seen in our local media.
I know what you do is a lot of work but you make a difference and are appreciated.
(a veterinarian in Minnesota)
This is one of the best sites I have ever visited. Thanks.
I have passed it on to several others... I am a retired grandmother.
I have been studying the creation/evolution question for about 50 yrs....
Thanks for the info and enjoyable site.
(a retiree in Florida)
It is refreshing to know that there are valuable resources such as Creation-Evolution
Headlines that can keep us updated on the latest scientific news that affect our view of
the world, and more importantly to help us decipher through the rhetoric so carelessly
disseminated by evolutionary scientists. I find it Intellectually Satisfying
to know that I dont have to park my brain at the door to be a believer
or at the very least, to not believe in Macroevolution.
(a loan specialist in California)
I have greatly benefitted from your efforts. I very much look forward
to your latest posts.
(an attorney in California)
I must say your website provides an invaluable arsenal in this war for souls
that is being fought. Your commentaries move me to laughter or sadness.
I have been viewing your information for about 6 months and find it one of the best
on the web. It is certainly effective against the nonsense published on
Talkorigins.org. It great to see work that glorifies God and His creation.
(a commercial manager in Australia)
Visiting daily your site and really do love it.
(a retiree from Finland who studied math and computer science)
I am agnostic but I can never deny that organic life (except human) is doing a wonderful
job at functioning at optimum capacity. Thank you for this ... site!
(an evolutionary theorist from Australia)
During the year I have looked at your site, I have gone through your archives and
found them to be very helpful and informative. I am so impressed that I forward link
to members of my congregation who I believe are interested in a higher level discussion
of creationist issues than they will find at [a leading origins website].
(a minister in Virginia)
I attended a public school in KS where evolution was taught. I have
rejected evolution but have not always known the answers to some of the
questions.... A friend told me about your site
and I like it, I have it on my favorites, and I check it every day.
(an auto technician in Missouri)
Thanks for a great site! It has brilliant insights into the world of
science and of the evolutionary dogma. One of the best sites I know of on
(a programmer in Iceland)
The site you run creation-evolution headlines is
extremely useful to me. I get so tired of what passes
for science Darwinism in particular and I find your
site a refreshing antidote to the usual junk.... it is clear that your thinking and logic
and willingness to look at the evidence for what the
evidence says is much greater than what I read in what
are now called science journals.
Please keep up the good work. I appreciate what you
are doing more than I can communicate in this e-mail.
(a teacher in California)
Although we are often in disagreement, I have the greatest respect and admiration for your writing.
(an octogenarian agnostic in Palm Springs)
your website is absolutely superb and unique. No other site out
there provides an informed & insightful running critique of the current
goings-on in the scientific establishment. Thanks for keeping us informed.
(a mechanical designer in Indiana)
I have been a fan of your site for some time now. I enjoy reading the No Spin of what
is being discussed.... keep up the good work, the world needs to be shown just how little the scientist
[sic] do know in regards to origins.
(a network engineer in South Carolina)
I am a young man and it is encouraging to find a scientific journal on the side of creationism and intelligent design....
Thank you for your very encouraging website.
(a web designer and author in Maryland)
GREAT site. Your ability to expose the clothesless emperor in clear language is indispensable to
us non-science types who have a hard time seeing through the jargon and the hype. Your tireless efforts
result in encouragement and are a great service to the faith community. Please keep it up!
(a medical writer in Connecticut)
I really love your site and check it everyday. I also recommend it to everyone I can, because there is
no better website for current information about ID.
(a product designer in Utah)
Your site is a fantastic resource. By far, it is the most current, relevant and most frequently
updated site keeping track of science news from a creationist perspective. One by one, articles
challenging currently-held aspects of evolution do not amount to much. But when browsing the archives,
its apparent youve caught bucketfulls of science articles and news items that devastate
evolution. The links and references are wonderful tools for storming the gates of evolutionary paradise
and ripping down their strongholds. The commentary is the icing on the cake. Thanks for all your
hard work, and by all means, keep it up!
(a business student in Kentucky)
Thanks for your awesome work; it stimulates my mind and encourages my faith.
(a family physician in Texas)
I wanted to personally thank you for your outstanding website. I am intensely interested in any
science news having to do with creation, especially regarding astronomy. Thanks again for your GREAT
(an amateur astronomer in San Diego)
What an absolutely brilliant website you have. Its hard to express how uplifting it is for me
to stumble across something of such high quality.
(a pharmacologist in Michigan)
I want to make a brief commendation in passing of the outstanding job you did in rebutting the
thinking on the article: Evolution of Electrical Engineering
... What a rebuttal to end all rebuttals, unanswerable,
inspiring, and so noteworthy that was. Thanks for the effort and research you put into it.
I wish this answer could be posted in every church, synagogue, secondary school, and college/university...,
and needless to say scientific laboratories.
(a reader in Florida)
You provide a great service with your thorough coverage of news stories relating to the creation-evolution controversy.
(an elder of a Christian church in Salt Lake City)
I really enjoy your website and have made it my home page so I can check on your latest articles.
I am amazed at the diversity of topics you address. I tell everyone I can about your site and encourage them to
check it frequently.
(a business owner in Salt Lake City)
Ive been a regular reader of CEH for about nine month now, and I look forward to each new posting.... I enjoy the information CEH gleans from current events in science and hope you keep the service going.
(a mechanical engineer in Utah)
It took six years of constant study of evolution to overcome the indoctrination found in public schools of my youth. I now rely on your site; it helps me to see the work of God where I could not see it before and to find miracles where there was only mystery. Your site is a daily devotional that I go to once a day and recommend to everyone. I am still susceptible to the wiles of fake science and I need the fellowship of your site; such information is rarely found in a church.
Now my eyes see the stars God made and the life He designed and I feel the rumblings of joy as promised. When I feel down or worried my solution is to praise God the Creator Of All That Is, and my concerns drain away while peace and joy fill the void. This is something I could not do when I did not know (know: a clear and accurate perception of truth) God as Creator. I could go on and on about the difference knowing our Creator has made, but I believe you understand.
I tell everyone that gives me an opening about your site. God is working through you. Please dont stop telling us how to see the lies or leading us in celebrating the truth. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
(a renowned artist in Wyoming)
I discovered your site a few months ago and it has become essential reading via RSS to
(a cartographer and GIS analyst in New Zealand)
I love your site, and frequently visit to read both explanations of news reports,
and your humor about Bonny Saint Charlie.
(a nuclear safety engineer in Washington)
Your site is wonderful.
(a senior staff scientist, retired, from Arizona)
Ive told many people about your site. Its a tremendous service to
science news junkies not to mention students of both Christianity and
(a meteorology research scientist in Alabama)
...let me thank you for your Creation-Evolution Headlines. Ive been an avid reader of it since I first discovered your website about five years ago. May I also express my admiration for the speed with which your articles appearoften within 24 hours of a particular news announcement or journal article being published.
(a plant physiologist and prominent creation writer in Australia)
How do you guys do it--reviewing so much relevant material every day and writing incisive,
(a retired high school biology teacher in New Jersey)
Your site is one of the best out there! I really love reading your articles on creation evolution
headlines and visit this section almost daily.
(a webmaster in the Netherlands)
Keep it up! Ive been hitting your site daily (or more...).
I sure hope you get a mountain of encouraging email, you deserve it.
(a small business owner in Oregon)
Great work! May your tribe increase!!!
(a former Marxist, now ID speaker in Brazil)
You are the best. Thank you....
The work you do is very important.
Please dont ever give up. God bless the whole team.
(an engineer and computer consultant in Virginia)
I really appreciate your work in this topic, so you should never stop doing what you do,
cause you have a lot of readers out there, even in small countries in Europe, like Slovenia
is... I use crev.info for all my signatures on Internet forums etc., it really is fantastic site,
the best site! You see, we(your pleased readers) exist all over the world, so you must be
doing great work! Well i hope you have understand my bad english.
(a biology student in Slovenia)
Thanks for your time, effort, expertise, and humor. As a public school biology teacher I
peruse your site constantly for new information that will challenge evolutionary belief and share much
of what I learn with my students. Your site is pounding a huge dent in evolutions supposed
solid exterior. Keep it up.
(a biology teacher in the eastern USA)
Several years ago, I became aware of your Creation-Evolution Headlines web site.
For several years now, it has been one of my favorite internet sites. I many times check your
website first, before going on to check the secular news and other creation web sites.
I continue to be impressed with your writing and research skills, your humor,
and your technical and scientific knowledge and understanding. Your ability to cut through
the inconsequentials and zero in on the principle issues is one of the characteristics that
is a valuable asset....
I commend you for the completeness and thoroughness with which you provide
coverage of the issues. You obviously spend a great deal of time on this work.
It is apparent in ever so many ways.
Also, your background topics of logic and propaganda techniques have been useful
as classroom aides, helping others to learn to use their baloney detectors.
Through the years, I have directed many to your site. For their sake and mine,
I hope you will be able to continue providing this very important, very much needed, educational,
humorous, thought provoking work.
(an engineer in Missouri)
I am so glad I found your site. I love reading short blurbs about recent discoveries, etc,
and your commentary often highlights that the discovery can be interpreted in two differing ways,
and usually with the pro-God/Design viewpoint making more sense. Its such a refreshing difference
from the usual media spin. Often youll have a story up along with comment before the masses
even know about the story yet.
(a system administrator in Texas, who calls CEH the UnSpin Zone)
You are indeed the Rush Limbaugh Truth Detector of science falsely so-called.
Keep up the excellent work.
(a safety director in Michigan)
I know of no better way to stay
informed with current scientific research than to read your site everyday, which in turn has helped me understand
many of the concepts not in my area (particle physics) and which I hear about in school or in the media.
Also, I just love the commentaries and the baloney detecting!!
(a grad student in particle physics)
I thank you for your ministry. May God bless you! You are doing great job effectively
exposing pagan lie of evolution. Among all known to me creation ministries [well-known organizations listed]
Creationsafaris stands unique thanks to qualitative survey and analysis of scientific publications and news.
I became permanent reader ever since discovered your site half a year ago. Moreover your ministry is
effective tool for intensive and deep education for cristians.
(a webmaster in Ukraine, seeking permission to translate CEH articles into Russian to reach
countries across the former Soviet Union)
The scholarship of the editors is unquestionable. The objectivity of the editors is
admirable in face of all the unfounded claims of evolutionists and Darwinists. The amount
of new data available each day on the site is phenomenal (I cant wait to see the next new
article each time I log on). Most importantly, the TRUTH is always and forever the primary
goal of the people who run this website. Thank you so very much for 6 years of consistent
dedication to the TRUTH.
(11 months earlier): I just completed reading each entry from each month. I found your site about
6 months ago and as soon as I understood the format, I just started at the very first entry
and started reading.... Your work has blessed my education and determination to bold in
showing the unscientific nature of evolution in general and Darwinism in particular.
(a medical doctor in Oklahoma)
Thanks for the showing courage in marching against a popular unproven unscientific belief system.
I dont think I missed 1 article in the past couple of years.
(a manufacturing engineer in Australia)
I do not know and cannot imagine how much time you must spend to read, research and
compile your analysis of current findings in almost every area of science. But I do know
I thank you for it.
(a practice administrator in Maryland)
Since finding your insightful comments some 18 or more months ago, Ive
visited your site daily.... You
so very adeptly and adroitly undress the emperor daily; so much so one
wonders if he might not soon catch cold and fall ill off his throne! ....
To you I wish much continued success and many more years of fun and
frolicking undoing the damage taxpayers are forced to fund through
unending story spinning by ideologically biased scientists.
(an investment advisor in Missouri)
I really like your articles. You do a fabulous job of cutting through
the double-talk and exposing the real issues. Thank you for your hard
work and diligence.
(an engineer in Texas)
I love your site. Found it about maybe
two years ago and I read it every day. I love the closing comments in
green. You have a real knack for exposing the toothless claims of the
evolutionists. Your comments are very helpful for many us who dont know
enough to respond to their claims. Thanks for your good work and keep it
(a missionary in Japan)
I just thought Id write and
tell you how much I appreciate your headline list and commentary. Its
inspired a lot of thought and consideration. I check your listings every day!
(a computer programmer in Tulsa)
Just wanted to thank you for your creation/evolution news ... an outstanding educational
(director of a consulting company in Australia)
Your insights ... been some of the most helpful not surprising considering the caliber of
your most-excellent website! Im serious, ..., your website has to be the
best creation website out there....
(a biologist and science writer in southern California)
I first learned of your web site on March 29.... Your site has far exceeded my expectations and is
consulted daily for the latest. I join with other readers in praising your time and energy spent to educate,
illuminate, expose errors.... The links are a great help in understanding the news items.
The archival structure is marvelous.... Your site brings back dignity to Science conducted as it
should be. Best regards for your continuing work and influence. Lives are being changed and
sustained every day.
(a manufacturing quality engineer in Mississippi)
I wrote you over three years ago letting you know how much I enjoyed your Creation-Evolution headlines,
as well as your Creation Safaris site. I stated then that I read your headlines and commentary every day,
and that is still true! My interest in many sites has come and gone over the years, but your site is
still at the top of my list! I am so thankful that you take the time to read and analyze some of the
scientific journals out there; which I dont have the time to read myself. Your commentary is very,
very much appreciated.
(a hike leader and nature-lover in Ontario, Canada)
...just wanted to say how much I admire your site and your writing.
Youre very insightful and have quite a broad range of knowledge.
Anyway, just wanted to say that I am a big fan!
(a PhD biochemist at a major university)
I love your site and syndicate your content on my church website....
The stories you highlight show the irrelevancy
of evolutionary theory and that evolutionists have perpetual foot and
mouth disease; doing a great job of discrediting themselves. Keep up
the good work.
(a database administrator and CEH junkie in California)
I cant tell you how much I enjoy your article reviews on your
websiteits a HUGE asset!
(a lawyer in Washington)
Really, really, really a fantastic site. Your wit makes a razor appear dull!...
A million thanks for your site.
(a small business owner in Oregon and father of children who love your site too.)
Thank God for ... Creation
Evolution Headlines. This site is right at the cutting edge in the debate
over bio-origins and is crucial in working to undermine the
deceived mindset of naturalism. The arguments presented are unassailable
(all articles having first been thoroughly baloney detected) and the
narrative always lands just on the right side of the laymans comprehension
limits... Very highly recommended to all, especially, of course, to those who
have never thought to question the fact of evolution.
(a business owner in Somerset, UK)
I continue to note the difference between the dismal derogations of the
darwinite devotees, opposed to the openness and humor of rigorous, follow-the-evidence
scientists on the Truth side. Keep up the great work.
(a math/science teacher with M.A. in anthropology)
Your material is clearly among the best I have ever read on evolution problems!
I hope a book is in the works!
(a biology prof in Ohio)
I have enjoyed reading the sardonic apologetics on the Creation/Evolution Headlines section
of your web site. Keep up the good work!
(an IT business owner in California)
Your commentaries ... are always delightful.
(president of a Canadian creation group)
Im pleased to see... your amazing work on the Headlines.
(secretary of a creation society in the UK)
We appreciate all you do at crev.info.
(a publisher of creation and ID materials)
I was grateful for creationsafaris.com for help with baloney detecting. I had read about
the fish-o-pod and wanted to see what you thought. Your comments were helpful and encouraged me
that my own baloney detecting skill are improving. I also enjoyed reading your reaction
to the article on evolution teachers doing battle with students.... I will ask my girls to read your
comments on the proper way to question their teachers.
(a home-schooling mom)
I just want to express how dissapointed [sic] I am in your website. Instead of being objective, the
website is entirely one sided, favoring creationism over evolution, as if the two are contradictory....
Did man and simien [sic] evovlve [sic] at random from a common ancestor? Or did God guide this evolution?
I dont know. But all things, including the laws of nature, originate from God....
To deny evolution is to deny Gods creation. To embrace evolution is to not only embrace his creation,
but to better appreciate it.
(a student in Saginaw, Michigan)
I immensely enjoy reading the Creation-Evolution Headlines. The way you use words
exposes the bankruptcy of the evolutionary worldview.
(a student at Northern Michigan U)
...standing O for crev.info.
(a database programmer in California)
Just wanted to say that I am thrilled to have found your website! Although I
regularly visit numerous creation/evolution sites, Ive found that many of them do
not stay current with relative information. I love the almost daily updates to
your headlines section. Ive since made it my browser home page, and have
recommended it to several of my friends. Absolutely great site!
(a network engineer in Florida)
After I heard about Creation-Evolution Headlines,
it soon became my favorite Evolution resource site on the web. I visit several times a
day cause I cant wait for the next update. Thats pathetic, I know ...
but not nearly as pathetic as Evolution, something you make completely obvious with your snappy,
intelligent commentary on scientific current events. It should be a textbook for science
classrooms around the country. You rock!
(an editor in Tennessee)
One of the highlights of my day is checking your latest CreationSafaris creation-evolution news listing!
Thanks so much for your great work -- and your wonderful humor.
(a pastor in Virginia)
Thanks!!! Your material is absolutely awesome. Ill be using it in our Adult Sunday School class.
(a pastor in Wisconsin)
Love your site & read it daily.
(a family physician in Texas)
I set it [crev.info] up as my homepage. That way I am less likely to miss some really interesting events....
I really appreciate what you are doing with Creation-Evolution Headlines. I
tell everybody I think might be interested, to check it out.
(a systems analyst in Tennessee)
I would like to thank you for your service from which I stand to benefit a lot.
(a Swiss astrophysicist)
I enjoy very much reading your materials.
(a law professor in Portugal)
Thanks for your time and thanks for all the work on the site.
It has been a valuable resource for me.
(a medical student in Kansas)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is a terrific resource. The articles are
always current and the commentary is right on the mark.
(a molecular biologist in Illinois)
Creation-Evolution Headlines is my favorite
anti-evolution website. With almost giddy anticipation, I check
it several times a week for the latest postings. May God bless you and
empower you to keep up this FANTASTIC work!
(a financial analyst in New York)
I read your pages on a daily basis and I would like to let you know
that your hard work has been a great help in increasing my knowledge
and growing in my faith. Besides the huge variety of scientific
disciplines covered, I also enormously enjoy your great sense of humor
and your creativity in wording your thoughts, which make reading your
website even more enjoyable.
(a software developer in Illinois)
THANK YOU for all the work you do to make this wonderful resource! After
being regular readers for a long time, this year weve incorporated your
site into our home education for our four teenagers. The Baloney Detector
is part of their Logic and Reasoning Skills course, and the Daily Headlines
and Scientists of the Month features are a big part of our curriculum for an
elective called Science Discovery Past and Present. What a wonderful
goldmine for equipping future leaders and researchers with the tools of
(a home school teacher in California)
What can I say I LOVE YOU!
I READ YOU ALMOST EVERY DAY I copy and send out to various folks.
I love your sense of humor, including your politics and of course your faith.
I appreciate and use your knowledge What can I say THANK YOU
THANK YOU THANK YOU SO MUCH.
(a biology major, former evolutionist, now father of college students)
I came across your site while browsing through creation & science links. I love the work you do!
(an attorney in Florida)
Love your commentary and up to date reporting. Best site for evolution/design info.
(a graphic designer in Oregon)
I am an ardent reader of your site. I applaud your efforts and pass on
your website to all I talk to. I have recently given your web site info
to all my grandchildren to have them present it to their science
teachers.... Your Supporter and fan..God bless you all...
(a health services manager in Florida)
Why your readership keeps doubling: I came across your website at a time when I was just getting to know what creation science is all about. A friend of mine was telling me about what he had been finding out. I was highly skeptical and sought to read as many pro/con articles as I could find and vowed to be open-minded toward his seemingly crazy claims. At first I had no idea of the magnitude of research and information thats been going on. Now, Im simply overwhelmed by the sophistication and availability of scientific research and information on what I now know to be the truth about creation.
Your website was one of dozens that I found in my search. Now, there are only a handful of sites I check every day. Yours is at the top of my list... I find your news page to be the most insightful and well-written of the creation news blogs out there. The quick wit, baloney detector, in-depth scientific knowledge you bring to the table and the superb writing style on your site has kept me interested in the day-to-day happenings of what is clearly a growing movement. Your site ... has given me a place to point them toward to find out more and realize that theyve been missing a huge volume of information when it comes to the creation-evolution issue.
Another thing I really like about this site is the links to articles in science journals and news references. That helps me get a better picture of what youre talking about.... Keep it up and I promise to send as many people as will listen to this website and others.
(an Air Force Academy graduate stationed in New Mexico)
Im a small town newspaper editor in southwest Wyoming. Were pretty
isolated, and finding your site was a great as finding a gold mine. I read
it daily, and if theres nothing new, I re-read everything. I follow links.
I read the Scientist of the Month. Its the best site Ive run across. Our
local school board is all Darwinist and determined to remain that way.
(a newspaper editor in Wyoming)
have been reading your page for about 2 years or so....
I read it every day. I ...am well educated, with a BA in Applied Physics
from Harvard and an MBA in Finance from Wharton.
(a reader in Delaware)
I came across your website by accident about 4 months ago and look at it every day....
About 8 months ago I was reading a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times that was written
by a staunch anti-Creationist and it sparked my interest enough to research the
topic and within a week I was yelling, my whole lifes education has been a lie!!!
Ive put more study into Biblical Creation in the last 8 months than any other topic in my life.
Past that, through resources like your website...Ive been able to convince my father (professional mathematician and amateur geologist), my best friend (mechanical engineer and fellow USAF Academy Grad/Creation Science nutcase), my pastor (he was the hardest to crack), and many others to realize the Truth of Creation.... Resources like your website help the rest of us at the grassroots level drum up interest in the subject. And regardless of what the major media says: Creationism is spreading like wildfire, so please keep your website going to help fan the flames.
(an Air Force Academy graduate and officer)
I love your site! I **really** enjoy reading it for several specific reasons: 1.It uses the latest (as in this month!) research as a launch pad for opinion; for years I have searched for this from a creation science viewpoint, and now, Ive found it. 2. You have balanced fun with this topic. This is hugely valuable! Smug Christianity is ugly, and I dont perceive that attitude in your comments. 3. I enjoy the expansive breadth of scientific news that you cover. 4. I am not a trained scientist but I know evolutionary bologna/(boloney) when I see it; you help me to see it. I really appreciate this.
(a computer technology salesman in Virginia)
I love your site. Thats why I was more than happy to
mention it in the local paper.... I mentioned your site as the place
where..... Every Darwin-cheering news article is
reviewed on that site from an ID perspective. Then
the huge holes of the evolution theory are exposed,
and the bad science is shredded to bits, using real
(a project manager in New Jersey)
Ive been reading your site almost daily for about three years. I have
never been more convinced of the truthfulness of Scripture and the faithfulness of God.
(a system administrator and homeschooling father in Colorado)
I use the internet a lot to catch up on news back
home and also to read up on the creation-evolution controversy, one of my favourite topics.
Your site is always my first port of call for the latest news and views and I really appreciate
the work you put into keeping it up to date and all the helpful links you provide. You are a
beacon of light for anyone who wants to hear frank, honest conclusions instead of the usual diluted
garbage we are spoon-fed by the media.... Keep up the good work and know that youre changing lives.
(a teacher in Spain)
I am grateful to you for your site and look forward to reading new
stories.... I particularly value it for being up to date with what is going on.
(from the Isle of Wight, UK)
[Creation-Evolution Headlines] is the place to go for late-breaking
news [on origins]; it has the most information and the quickest turnaround.
Its incredible I dont know how you do it.
I cant believe all the articles you find. God bless you!
(a radio producer in Riverside, CA)
Just thought I let you know how much I enjoy
reading your Headlines section. I really appreciate
how you are keeping your ear to the ground in so
many different areas. It seems that there is almost
no scientific discipline that has been unaffected
by Darwins Folly.
(a programmer in aerospace from Gardena, CA)
I enjoy reading the comments on news articles on your site very much. It is incredible
how much refuse is being published in several scientific fields regarding evolution.
It is good to notice that the efforts of true scientists have an increasing influence at schools,
but also in the media.... May God bless your efforts and open the eyes of the blinded evolutionists
and the general public that are being deceived by pseudo-scientists.... I enjoy the site very much
and I highly respect the work you and the team are doing to spread the truth.
(an ebusiness manager in the Netherlands)
I discovered your site through a link at certain website...
It has greatly helped me being updated with the latest development in science and with
critical comments from you. I also love your baloney detector
and in fact have translated some part of the baloney detector into our language (Indonesian).
I plan to translate them all for my friends so as to empower them.
(a staff member of a bilateral agency in West Timor, Indonesia)
...absolutely brilliant and inspiring.
(a documentary film producer, remarking on the
I found your site several months ago and within weeks
had gone through your entire archives.... I check in several times a day for further
information and am always excited to read the new
articles. Your insight into the difference between
what is actually known versus what is reported has
given me the confidence to stand up for what I
believe. I always felt there was more to the story,
and your articles have given me the tools to read
through the hype....
You are an invaluable help and I commend your efforts.
Keep up the great work.
(a sound technician in Alberta)
I discovered your site (through a link from a blog) a few weeks ago and I cant stop reading it....
I also enjoy your insightful and humorous commentary at the end of each story. If the evolutionists
blindness wasnt so sad, I would laugh harder.
I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering from a leading University. When I read the descriptions, see the pictures, and watch the movies of the inner workings of the cell, Im absolutely amazed.... Thanks for bringing these amazing stories daily. Keep up the good work.
(an engineer in Virginia)
I stumbled across your site several months ago and have
been reading it practically daily. I enjoy the inter-links
to previous material as well as the links to the quoted
research. Ive been in head-to-head debate with a
materialist for over a year now. Evolution is just one of
those debates. Your site is among others that have been a
real help in expanding my understanding.
(a software engineer in Pennsylvania)
I was in the April 28, 2005 issue of Nature [see 04/27/2005
story] regarding the rise of intelligent design in the universities. It was through your website
that I began my journey out of the crisis of faith which was mentioned in that article. It was an honor to see you all highlighting the article in Nature. Thank you for all you have done!
(Salvador Cordova, George Mason University)
I shudder to think of the many ways in which you mislead readers, encouraging them to build a faith based on misunderstanding and ignorance. Why dont you allow people to have a faith that is grounded in a fuller understanding of the world?...
Your website is a sham.
(a co-author of the paper reviewed in the 12/03/2003
entry who did not appreciate the unflattering commentary. This led to a cordial
interchange, but he could not divorce his reasoning from the science vs. faith dichotomy,
and resulted in an impasse over definitions but, at least, a more mutually respectful dialogue.
He never did explain how his paper supported Darwinian macroevolution. He just claimed
evolution is a fact.)
I absolutely love creation-evolution news. As a Finnish university student very
interested in science, I frequent your site to find out about all the new science
stuff thats been happening you have such a knack for finding all this
information! I have been able to stump evolutionists with knowledge gleaned from
your site many times.
(a student in Finland)
I love your site and read it almost every day. I use it for my science class and
5th grade Sunday School class. I also challenge Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to
get on the site to check out articles against the baloney they are taught in school.
(a teacher in Los Gatos, CA)
I have spent quite a few hours at Creation Evolution Headlines in the past week
or so going over every article in the archives. I thank you for such an informative
and enjoyable site. I will be visiting often and will share this link with others.
[Later] I am back to May 2004 in the archives. I figured I should be farther
back, but there is a ton of information to digest.
(a computer game designer in Colorado)
The IDEA Center also highly recommends visiting Creation-Evolution Headlines...
the most expansive and clearly written origins news website on the internet!
(endorsement on Intelligent Design and Evolution
Check out this site: www.creationsafaris.com.
This is a fantastic resource for the whole family.... a fantastic reference library with summaries,
commentaries and great links that are added to
dailyarchives go back five years.
(a reader who found us in Georgia)
I just wanted to drop you a note telling you that at www.BornAgainRadio.com,
Ive added a link to your excellent Creation-Evolution news site.
(a radio announcer)
I cannot understand
why anyone would invest so much time and effort to a website of sophistry and casuistry.
Why twist Christian apology into an illogic pretzel to placate your intellect?
Isnt it easier to admit that your faith has no basis -- hence, faith.
It would be extricate [sic] yourself from intellectual dishonesty -- and
from bearing false witness.
Sincerely, Rev. [name withheld] (an ex-Catholic, apostate Christian Natural/Scientific pantheist)
Just wanted to let you folks know that we are consistent readers and truly appreciate
the job you are doing. God bless you all this coming New Year.
(from two prominent creation researchers/writers in Oregon)
Thanks so much for your site! It is brain candy!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I Love your site probably a little too much. I enjoy the commentary
and the links to the original articles.
(a civil engineer in New York)
Ive had your Creation/Evolution Headlines site on my favourites list for
18 months now, and I can truthfully say that its one of the best on the Internet,
and I check in several times a week. The constant stream of new information on
such a variety of science issues should impress anyone, but the rigorous and
humourous way that every thought is taken captive is inspiring. Im pleased
that some Christians, and indeed, some webmasters, are devoting themselves to
producing real content that leaves the reader in a better state than when they found him.
(a community safety manager in England)
I really appreciate the effort that you are making to provide the public with
information about the problems with the General Theory of Evolution. It gives me
ammunition when I discuss evolution in my classroom. I am tired of the evolutionary
dogma. I wish that more people would stand up against such ridiculous beliefs.
(a science teacher in Alabama)
If you choose to hold an opinion that flies in the face of every piece of evidence
collected so far, you cannot be suprised [sic] when people dismiss your views.
(a former Christian software distributor, location not disclosed)
...the Creation Headlines is the best. Visiting your site...
is a standard part of my startup procedures every morning.
(a retired Air Force Chaplain)
I LOVE your site and respect the time and work you put into it. I read
the latest just about EVERY night before bed and send selection[s] out to others and
tell others about it. I thank you very much and keep up the good work (and
(a USF grad in biology)
Answering your invitation for thoughts on your site is not difficult because
of the excellent commentary I find. Because of the breadth and depth of erudition
apparent in the commentaries, I hope Im not being presumptuous in suspecting
the existence of contributions from a Truth Underground comprised of
dissident college faculty, teachers, scientists, and engineers. If thats
not the case, then it is surely a potential only waiting to be realized. Regardless,
I remain in awe of the care taken in decomposing the evolutionary cant that bombards
us from the specialist as well as popular press.
(a mathematician/physicist in Arizona)
Im from Quebec, Canada. I have studied in pure sciences and after in actuarial mathematics.
Im visiting this site 3-4 times in a week. Im learning a lot and this site gives me the opportunity to realize that this is a good time to be a creationist!
(a French Canadian reader)
I LOVE your Creation Safari site, and the Baloney Detector material.
(a reader in the Air Force)
You have a unique position in the Origins community.
Congratulations on the best current affairs news source on the origins net.
You may be able to write fast but your logic is fun to work through.
(a pediatrician in California)
Visit your site almost daily and find it very informative, educational and inspiring.
(a reader in western Canada)
I wish to thank you for the information you extend every day on your site.
It is truly a blessing!
(a reader in North Carolina)
I really appreciate your efforts in posting to this website. I find
it an incredibly useful way to keep up with recent research (I also check science
news daily) and also to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant from Brisbane, Australia)
I would just like to say very good job with the work done here,
very comprehensive. I check your site every day. Its great
to see real science directly on the front lines, toe to toe with the
pseudoscience that's mindlessly spewed from the prestigious
(a biology student in Illinois)
Ive been checking in for a long time but thought Id leave you a
note, this time. Your writing on these complex topics is insightful,
informative with just the right amount of humor. I appreciate the hard
work that goes into monitoring the research from so many sources and then
writing intelligently about them.
(an investment banker in California)
Keep up the great work. You are giving a whole army of Christians
plenty of ammunition to come out of the closet (everyone else has).
Most of us are not scientists, but most of the people we talk to are not
scientists either, just ordinary people who have been fed baloney
for years and years.
(a reader in Arizona)
Keep up the outstanding work!
You guys really ARE making a difference!
(a reader in Texas)
I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that science is not
hostile towards religion. It is the dogmatically religious that are
unwaveringly hostile towards any kind of science which threatens their
dearly-held precepts. Science (real, open-minded science) is not
interested in theological navel-gazing.
Note: Please supply your name and location when writing in. Anonymous attacks
only make one look foolish and cowardly, and will not normally be printed.
This one was shown to display a bad example.
I appreciate reading your site every day. It is a great way to keep
up on not just the new research being done, but to also keep abreast of the
evolving debate about evolution (Pun intended).... I find it an incredibly useful
way to keep up with recent research (I also check science news daily) and also
to research particular topics.
(an IT consultant in Brisbane, Australia)
I love your website.
(a student at a state university who used CEH when
writing for the campus newsletter)
....when you claim great uncertainty for issues that are fairly
well resolved you damage your already questionable credibility.
Im sure your audience loves your ranting, but if you know as much
about biochemistry, geology, astronomy, and the other fields you
skewer, as you do about ornithology, you are spreading heat, not
(a professor of ornithology at a state university, responding to
the 09/10/2002 headline)
I wanted to let you know I appreciate your headline news style of
exposing the follies of evolutionism.... Your style gives us constant,
up-to-date reminders that over and over again, the Bible creation account
is vindicated and the evolutionary fables are refuted.
(a reader, location unknown)
You have a knack of extracting the gist of a technical paper,
and digesting it into understandable terms.
(a nuclear physicist from Lawrence Livermore Labs who worked
on the Manhattan Project)
After spending MORE time than I really had available going thru
your MANY references I want to let you know how much I appreciate
the effort you have put forth.
The information is properly documented, and coming from
recognized scientific sources is doubly valuable. Your
explanatory comments and sidebar quotations also add GREATLY
to your overall effectiveness as they 1) provide an immediate
interpretive starting point and 2) maintaining the readers
(a reader in Michigan)
I am a huge fan of the site, and check daily for updates.
(reader location and occupation unknown)
I just wanted to take a minute to personally thank-you and let
you know that you guys are providing an invaluable service!
We check your Web site weekly (if not daily) to make sure we have
the latest information in the creation/evolution controversy.
Please know that your diligence and perseverance to teach the
Truth have not gone unnoticed. Keep up the great work!
(a PhD scientist involved in origins research)
You've got a very useful and informative Web site going.
The many readers who visit your site regularly realize that it
requires considerable effort to maintain the quality level and
to keep the reviews current.... I hope you can continue your
excellent Web pages. I have recommended them highly to others.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
As an apprentice apologist, I can always find an article
that will spark a spirited debate. Keep em
coming! The Truth will prevail.
(a reader, location and occupation unknown)
Thanks for your web page and work. I try to drop by
at least once a week and read what you have. Im a
Christian that is interested in science (Im a mechanical
engineer) and I find you topics interesting and helpful.
I enjoy your lessons and insights on Baloney Detection.
(a year later):
I read your site 2 to 3 times a week; which Ive probably done for a couple
of years. I enjoy it for the interesting content, the logical arguments, what I can
learn about biology/science, and your pointed commentary.
(a production designer in Kentucky)
I look up CREV headlines every day. It is a wonderful
source of information and encouragement to me.... Your gift of
discerning the fallacies in evolutionists interpretation of
scientific evidence is very helpful and educational for me.
Please keep it up. Your website is the best I know of.
(a Presbyterian minister in New South Wales, Australia)
Ive written to you before, but just wanted to say again
how much I appreciate your site and all the work you put into it.
I check it almost every day and often share the contents
(and web address) with lists on which I participate.
I dont know how you do all that you do, but I am grateful
for your energy and knowledge.
(a prominent creationist author)
I am new to your site, but I love it! Thanks for updating
it with such cool information.
(a home schooler)
I love your site.... Visit every day hoping for another of your
brilliant demolitions of the foolish just-so stories of those
who think themselves wise.
(a reader from Southern California)
I visit your site daily for the latest news from science journals and other media,
and enjoy your commentary immensely. I consider your web site to be the
most valuable, timely and relevant creation-oriented site on the internet.
(a reader from Ontario, Canada)
Keep up the good work! I thoroughly enjoy your site.
(a reader in Texas)
Thanks for keeping this fantastic web site going. It is very
informative and up-to-date with current news including incisive
(a reader in North Carolina)
Great site! For all the Baloney Detector is impressive and a
great tool in debunking wishful thinking theories.
(a reader in the Netherlands)
Just wanted to let you know, your work is having quite an impact.
For example, major postings on your site are being circulated among the
Intelligent Design members....
(a PhD organic chemist)
opening a can of worms ... I love to click all the related links and
read your comments and the links to other websites, but this usually makes me late
for something else. But its ALWAYS well worth it!!
(a leader of a creation group)
I am a regular visitor to your website ... I am impressed
by the range of scientific disciplines your articles address.
I appreciate your insightful dissection of the often unwarranted conclusions
evolutionists infer from the data... Being a medical
doctor, I particularly relish the technical detail you frequently include in
the discussion living systems and processes. Your website continually
reinforces my conviction that if an unbiased observer seeks a reason for the
existence of life then Intelligent Design will be the unavoidable
(a medical doctor)
A church member asked me what I thought was the best creation web site.
I told him CreationSafaris.com.
(a PhD geologist)
I love your site... I check it every day for interesting
information. It was hard at first to believe in Genesis fully, but
now I feel more confident about the mistakes of humankind and that all
their reasoning amounts to nothing in light of a living God.
(a college grad)
Thank you so much for the interesting science links and comments
on your creation evolution headlines page ... it is very
(a reader from Scottsdale, AZ)
visit your site almost every day, and really enjoy it. Great job!!!
(I also recommend it to many, many students.)
(an educational consultant)
I like what I seevery
much. I really appreciate a decent, calm and scholarly approach to the
whole issue... Thanks ... for this fabulous
It is refreshing to read your comments. You have a knack to get to the heart of
(a reader in the Air Force).
Love your website. It has well thought out structure and will help many
through these complex issues. I especially love the
I believe this is one of the best sites on the Internet.
I really like your side-bar of truisms.
Yogi [Berra] is absolutely correct. If I were a man of wealth, I would
support you financially.
(a registered nurse in Alabama, who found
us on TruthCast.com.)
WOW. Unbelievable.... My question is, do you sleep? ... Im utterly
impressed by your page which represents untold amounts of time and energy
as well as your faith.
(a mountain man in Alaska).
wanted to say that I recently ran across your web site featuring science
headlines and your commentary and find it to be A++++, superb, a 10, a homerun
I run out of superlatives to describe it! ... You can be sure I will
visit your site often daily when possible to gain the latest information
to use in my speaking engagements. Ill also do my part to help publicize
your site among college students. Keep up the good work. Your
material is appreciated and used.
(a college campus minister)
Featured Creation Scientist for November
1838 - 1923
This is the Morley of the famous Michelson-Morley Experiment, which failed to find
an expected lumeniferous ether that might serve as a medium for light waves.
The result was vital to
Einsteins theory of relativity, in which Einstein treated the constancy of the
speed of light as a fundamental principle of the universe in the development of
his revolutionary ideas.
Here is what Dr. Don DeYoung wrote about Morley in his new book,
Pioneers of Intelligent Design (BMH Books, 2006), p. 68:
His Congregational minister father home schooled Morley. He later received
training at Andover Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, and pastored a church
in Ohio. Morley also had an unusual ability to make precise experimental
measurements. He shared this talent with a generation of engineering students
at Case Western Reserve Academy in Cleveland, Ohio. Morleys Christian
testimony is shown in the creed that he wrote for his students at Case Western:
I believe Jesus Christ shall come with the clouds of heaven to judge the
world in righteousness and that those who have believed in Him shall inherit
eternal life through the Grace of God.
If you are enjoying this series, you can
learn more about great Christians in science by reading
our online book-in-progress:
The Worlds Greatest
Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K.
A Concise Guide|
You can observe a lot by just watching.
First Law of Scientific Progress
The advance of science can be measured by the rate at which exceptions to previously held laws accumulate.
1. Exceptions always outnumber rules.
2. There are always exceptions to established exceptions.
3. By the time one masters the exceptions, no one recalls the rules to which they apply.
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
So will Darwinists.
Science is true. Dont be misled by facts.
Finagles 2nd Law
No matter what the anticipated result, there
will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c)
believe it happened according to his own pet theory.
3. Draw your curves, then plot your data.
4. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
6. Do not believe in miracles rely on them.
Murphys Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiments may be considered a success if no more than 50%
of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence
with the theory.
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon
is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.
Peters Law of Evolution
Competence always contains the seed of incompetence.
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
Repetition does not establish validity.
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts not the facts themselves.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
Thumbs Second Postulate
An easily-understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible truth.
There is nothing so small that it cant be blown out of proportion
Hawkins Theory of Progress
Progress does not consist in replacing a theory that is
wrong with one that is right. It consists in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is
more subtly wrong.
The best theory is not ipso facto a good theory.
Error is often more earnest than truth.
Advice from Paul|
Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle
babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge by
professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
I Timothy 6:20-21
Song of the True Scientist
O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made
them all. The earth is full of Your possessions . . . . May the glory of the Lord endure forever. May the
Lord rejoice in His works . . . . I will sing to the Lord s long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my
being. May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord. May sinners be
consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
from Psalm 104
Through the creatures Thou hast made
Show the brightness of Thy glory.
Be eternal truth displayed
In their substance transitory.
Till green earth and ocean hoary,
Massy rock and tender blade,
Tell the same unending story:
We are truth in form arrayed.
Teach me thus Thy works to read,
That my faith, new strength accruing
May from world to world proceed,
Wisdoms fruitful search pursuing
Till, thy truth my mind imbuing,
I proclaim the eternal Creed
Oft the glorious theme renewing,
God our Lord is God indeed.
James Clerk Maxwell
One of the greatest physicists
of all time (a creationist).
Disclaimer: Creation-Evolution Headlines includes links
to many external sites, but takes no responsibility for the
accuracy or legitimacy of their content. Inclusion of an
external link is strictly for the readers convenience,
and does not necessarily constitute endorsement of
the material or its authors, owners, or sponsors.|