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Science Docudrama Biases Against Religion 12/31/2007
On New Years Eve, the Discovery HD Theater re-ran the 2005 BBC science
which dramatizes what might happen to civilization if the volcano under Yellowstone were to
unleash its pent-up magma with the fury of prehistoric eruptions.
At three points at least, the program touched on issues of religion
and ultimate meaning.
A program whose gurus were scientists thus presented a philosophy or theology
that could be described as scientific materialism, based on an imaginary event.
- Two victims huddled in a bunker, imprisoned by the rain of volcanic ash, got onto
the meaning of it all. One asked the other if he believed in God. God? the
other smirked. The first responded that he preferred to believe in Gods mercy.
The other man responded sarcastically that he should ask if it was merciful for the
250,000 people who died in the blast.
- News announcers periodically made matter-of-fact statements about millions of years and evolution.
- Near the end, one of the characters commented that disasters such as this were
not only catastrophic agents of death and destruction, but, ironically, agents of life and progress.
The suggestion was that, under threat from the environment, life re-emerges to diversify and evolve,
conquering death with new life.
Notice one thing: in real life, the volcano has
not erupted. The BBC used a fictional
disaster story as a pretext to present an atheistic worldview, sanctified by science. A God who
would let hundreds of thousands die, and millions more to suffer, cannot really
be merciful, can he? Therefore he must not exist. Hello... Earth calling
BBC... Yellowstone is peaceful and calm today. Millions of people visit the
grand old Park each year. Quite a few even worship there in the various outdoor
amphitheaters, praising God for the beauty of creation. Can we keep that
point in mind?
Birdsong Olympic Training 12/29/2007
But it could happen, couldnt it? Sure, and
a nearby star could go supernova and fry us, a meteor could hit the earth, or the
sky could fall. True, the Yellowstone caldera is rising, and the potential is there
for a massive eruption. Until it does, and even if it does, how can the BBC
draw any theological conclusions? Maybe God in his mercy is preventing the Yellowstone
volcano from erupting right now. Try to prove from science this is not the case.
In Christian theology, God watches over his creation. Nothing happens without
his knowledge and control. But we know that supervolcanoes have erupted in the
past, right? Clearly so, but who is to conclude those events were outside the
sovereignty of God? These are theological issues, not scientific ones.
Creationists might postulate they were associated with the aftermath of the Flood
when there were no cities or people around anyway.
And who is the BBC to tell us about mercy? If, as the producers of this show seem to believe,
the world is a product of blind evolution and dispassionate natural forces, mercy is a meaningless term.
What happens happens. Nothing is good or bad. In fact, evolutionists should see
it as a good thing; nothing like a catastrophe to provoke the blossoming of new
life (as if that is a good thing, in a world where good and evil are undefined terms).
They cannot comment on the attributes of God without assuming what they need to prove.
A theological position must be informed by actual events, not imaginary
ones. No one is so blind as to not realize that disasters have ravaged civilization as long
as man has existed on this planet. Tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes, plagues
and wars have caused untold human suffering. Voltaire was horrified at the
Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Some of the worst disasters have occurred within our lifetimes.
These do not appear targeted at the wicked, but often sweep away everything and
everyone. Want a really, really bad disaster? How about a world-wide flood that
kills everyone except those on an Ark?
The problem of pain and suffering is as old as Adam.
The authors of the Bible knew all too well about disasters.
It did not stop them from presenting God as wise, merciful and longsuffering.
Theodicy (squaring Gods love with the reality of evil) is a complex issue, but
theologians have wrestled with this problem for thousands of years. Though seeing
through a glass darkly, as is the predicament of mortals, most have achieved satisfactory
answers sufficient to give them courage and confidence in spite of incomplete understanding.
Those interested in pursuing the issue
should study the Christian theodicies from antiquity to modern times. Read, for instance, C. S. Lewis in The Problem
of Pain, or Lee Strobels book The Case for Faith (to be adapted
for film in early 2008).
problem of human suffering is not the domain of atheists. Only believers in the Judeo-Christian
God have any grounds for making an argument for Gods mercy or lack of it.
Atheists and scientific materialists lack the moral categories to make moral judgments.
They lack the categories to even make logical judgments. It takes a Christian
worldview to even begin to argue about anything. To assume truth and the laws of
logic you must first assume the existence of intangible realities and moral qualities
that are timeless, universal, and absolute. This point should be settled at
the outset when debating an atheist or evolutionist. Once settled, it becomes
an issue of imperfect humans trying to understand how Gods love and the reality
of evil can be harmonized.
We must avoid, also, the error of mischaracterizing God by focusing on His love
to the exclusion of His righteousness.
The God of Scripture is wrathful and angry at sin. The Creator is also the
ultimate Judge of the universe. If He were to let the Yellowstone volcano loose, what could any man
say about it? Shall the clay say to the potter, what are you doing? God
has already decreed that all men shall die; the only question for each individual is when and how.
Those willing to believe His word
and trust Him are promised salvation for their souls, not deliverance from earthly disasters.
Sinners on a planet destined for fire should not expect anything but judgment. The question
becomes not why God sends disaster, but why He hasnt sent it yet. Seen in
this light, the sunny days are all the more cause for thanksgiving that for another day we have not
received what we deserve. Finally, its not like He hasnt told us the end
of the story. Its not like he didnt warn us to be always ready.
The reason for an entry about a TV re-run is to draw attention to
how philosophical and theological biases can pervade visual media, even when the
subject matter is about something else. Supervolcano, like a similar one portraying
the aftermath of a comet strike, is entertaining for its special effects and human drama.
The virtue of discernment calls us to be aware of overt or subliminal influences
that pretend to give knowledge without warrant. Teach your family how to identify
bias cues. Point them out and discuss them; overcome evil with good.
Producers have freedom of speech to present their points of view, even
atheistic and materialistic ones. Their customers have the freedom to sublimate
such messages into teachable moments.
Next headline on:
The singing of a bird is a complex skill that takes rigorous training like that of a top
athlete or musician. Young male birds learn by imitation from their fathers, then
hone their skill over months, till their song becomes crystallized in adulthood.
A paper in Nature by two scientists
at UC San Francisco reported on experiments on the neurobiology of birdsong,1
and found that even adult birds can still learn to modify their singing based on feedback
from the environment.
It was thought that once a birds learned song was memorized,
the stereotype was too strong to change. The scientists were able to get
Bengalese finches to sing off key by putting white noise into their environment.
When the noise was removed, their songs returned to normal. This shows
that the childhood memory of the parental song, as well as their own memory of
what constitutes normal, allows them to maintain fidelity to the song pattern,
while the neurons have enough plasticity to allow adapting to the environment.
A write-up of the paper in
Daily also noted the tidbit that young males tend to experiment more when
females are not around.
The scientists believe that their findings can help in rehabilitation
efforts with human patients who need to re-learn skills lost in aging or injury.
If you can teach an old bird new tricks, then theres hope for people.
1. Tumer and Brainard, Performance variability enables adaptive plasticity of crystallized adult birdsong,
This interesting paper owed nothing to evolutionary
theory. The paper did not mention evolution at all. The scientists
studied a present-day phenomenon, learned something interesting by observation and
experimentation, and produced results that may have practical benefits for people.
Thats the way science should be done. In 2008, lets sing a good-bye
to Darwin: Nevermore by The Raven.
Quality Control Ensures Accurate Cell Division 12/28/2007
Next headline on:
Cell division (mitosis) is a very complex process in which every part must be accurately
duplicated and sent to the proper destination. Picture a
marching band where each flute player or tuba player is able to clone itself.
The players congregate at the center in two lines, divide, and move apart, forming two marching bands that
can each play independently or as part of a parade of bands. A more realistic
picture might require imagining the whole school library, shop, offices and all splitting
into two identical copies in a matter of hours or minutes.
How does the cell make sure that each copy is identical?
Accurate copying is essential, or else errors would accumulate and bring the species
to an end. Scientists continue to uncover some of the quality-control policies
and procedural tricks that cells follow.
One other recent cell biology paper, not directly about mitosis, is worthy of note.
All proteins in the cell need to fold properly before going into service. Many of them
use a dressing room called GroEL-GroES to avoid the hustle and bustle of the cytoplasm
A team of biochemists from Yale, Howard Hughes, U of Pennsylvania and Scripps, publishing
in PNAS,5 asked why one particular protein really needs the
dressing room when it can fold outside.
- A nine in time saves stitch: Centrosomes control the orientation
of chromosomes before the split. They create a spindle of microtubules that
line the pairs up at the midplane, then pull them apart. Within the centrosomes are
two motors called centrioles, oriented perpendicular to one another,
that look for all the world like turbines. The blades
of the turbine are microtubules with spokes, forming a cylinder that looks like a pie
with exactly nine slices. Why nine, and only nine?
Wallace Marshall (UC San Francisco) reviewed experiments into the
mechanical basis for nine-ness in centrioles, and published a
report in Current Biology.1
Experiments with mutants show that the number is controlled by the length of the spokes
that emanate from each slice. This sets the overall diameter of the centriole,
and thus the number of pie slices that will fit in the cylinder.
provides an interesting geometrical mechanism by which a length can control
a number, Marshall said. Why was the research worthwhile?
Understanding centriole assembly is likely to reveal many more engineering-design
principles that cells use to build complex structures.
- Herding the chromosomes: When a chromosome pair lines up on the spindle midplane
right before splitting up, it contains a structure
at the waistband called a centromere. This belt of protein contains two
attachment points, called kinetochores, used by microtubules to pull them into their
respective daughter cells. Our 03/04/2004 entry
used the analogy of cowboys lassoing pairs of cattle and pulling them into separate
corrals. The yoke holding each pair of cows together is the centromere, and
the kinetochores are like saddle horns the ropes can latch onto.
Opposing cowboys lasso the horns and start pulling in opposite directions. When all pairs
are lined up and accounted for,
a foreman named aurora B kinase breaks the yokes, and the cowboys haul in their herds.
The geometry of the centromere is essential for keeping this process
error-free, a team from New York and Moscow
reported in Nature last month.2
Once in awhile, two cowboys on the same side lasso the same pair (this is
called syntelic attachment). Unless corrected, one cell would get both chromosomes
and the other would get neither; this non-disjunction fault could lead to genetic
disorders or cancer. Scientists had previously thought that detaching one rope
(microtubule) would make the saddle horn (kinetochore) automatically spring back into position
for a rope from the other side. Its apparently not as simple as that. More
quality-control mechanisms are involved. Achieving chromosome bi-orientation
depends on a complex interplay between mechanisms intrinsic to the centromere and
those that act externally, they said. After cross-attachment fibers are
released, and after the lassos are disconnected, there are intrinsic properties of
the centromere that come into play. Our findings imply that mechanical
properties and the shape of the centromere play an important part in the fidelity
of chromosome segregation. Unless everything works, the operation
usually aborts. Security engineers might call this an example of the principle of defense in depth.
- Pinch me: Perhaps youve watched movies of dividing cells, and
noticed how they pinch off from each other, as if someone tied a string around a soft
balloon and pulled it tight. Since no person is around at the cell level to do this
task manually, there must be an automatic molecular mechanism that makes it work.
What forms the contractile ring and reels it in?
An article in Science
Daily described work by scientists from Yale, Columbia and Lehigh to figure out what happens. Cells
employ the same molecular motors, actin and myosin, that make muscles work.
Actin filaments with attached myosin motors
assemble along the inner cell membrane at the dividing plane, and go through a search, capture,
pull and release operation. Being blind, molecules feel their
way to neighboring molecules by putting out filaments in random directions.
A myosin motor on the neighbor captures the actin filament and pulls on it. Surprisingly,
it lets go after about 20 seconds. Why? The assembly involves
many episodes of attractions between pairs of nodes proceeding in parallel, the
article explains. Eventually the nodes form into a condensed contractile
ring around the equator, ready to pinch the mother into two daughters at a later stage.
The repeating rounds of release and capture appear essential to the
assembly process of the contractile ring, they said. Like pulling on a purse string, the
circle tightens till the cells are pinched off and go their separate ways.
The scientists figured this out by comparing models with observations in an iterative fashion.
The work was done on simple yeast cells. Future work will involve
testing the concepts learned from fission yeast in other cells to learn if the mechanism
is universal, said Thomas Pollard [Yale]. Since other cells, including human cells,
depend on similar proteins for cytokinesis, it is entirely possible that they use the
same strategy. An abstract of the work appears on
in advance of publication. The following week it was published in
- Plant protection and bearing walls: Dividing plant cells have a different problem.
They have cell walls. What determines the exact point at where the wall between
two newly-divided cells will form? Shrink yourself down to the size
of a plant cell in your imagination, and you can see the difficulty. If you were
the foreman of a group of construction workers making a house divide in two, how do
you remember where the new wall between them is supposed to go?
Clive Lloyd and Henrik Buschmann (Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich UK)
wrote about this predicament in Current Biology.4
What was mysterious is that a structure of microtubules known to form at the dividing
plane apparently disassembles right before cell division. How does the cell
memorize the position of the plane where the future cell wall will form?
The trick is somewhat like using a chalk line. The microtubules attract special proteins
that adhere to the exact spot, forming a ring around the perimeter. The microtubule
scaffolding, no longer needed, is then dismantled.
After the chromosomes migrate and cell division completes, a plate of cell-wall proteins
grows outward toward the chalk ring. If you can imagine wallboard that grows
into position from the center of the room, attracted to the chalk line, you get the idea.
The result is a neat, flat, parallel wall, subdividing the daughter cells into their own rooms.
Without these memory proteins, the scientists found, cell walls grew at abnormal positions.
Stay tuned, because this doesnt explain everything about how plants determine the division
plane. Its just an intriguing start.
The search now continues for other components of the division ring and insights
into the attractive influence they exert over the leading edge of the cytokinetic apparatus,
During the folding process, the amino acid chain seeks its native
or correct fold. If it works the first time or two, all is well; if it cannot fold in
time, the chain can degenerate into a glob or aggregate that is either useless or dangerous and
must be destroyed. The team found that the GroEL chaperone
is more likely to prevent aggregation if the chain goes down the wrong folding pathway.
In the safe, barrel-shaped chamber of the chaperone, the chain can more easily
unfold and try again. Outside, bad folds are less likely to get another chance.
1. Wallace F. Marshall, Centriole Assembly: The Origin of Nine-ness,
Volume 17, Issue 24, 18 December 2007, Pages R1057-R1059.
2. Loncaronarek et al, The centromere geometry essential for keeping mitosis error free is controlled by spindle forces,
450, 745-749 (29 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06344.
3. Vavylonis et al, Assembly Mechanism of the Contractile Ring for Cytokinesis by Fission Yeast,
4 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 97-100, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151086.
4. Clive Lloyd and Henrik Buschmann, Plant Division: Remembering Where to Build the Wall,
Volume 17, Issue 24, 18 December 2007, Pages R1053-R1055.
5. Horst, Fenton, Englander, Wuthrich and Horwich, Folding trajectories of human dihydrofolate
reductase inside the GroEL-GroES chaperonin cavity and free in solution,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, published online before print December 19, 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0710042105.
The views of cells you got in high school through a light
microscope are about as useful for understanding what really goes on as trying to fathom
a city from an airplane. Only now, in our time, are the techniques improving to
the point where we can enter the factories and offices at ground level to really begin
Kids need wild places, from 12/11/2002.
Our great joy and mission at Creation-Evolution Headlines
is to bring these fascinating discoveries, hidden away in abstruse journals, to the public
in a timely, understandable way, so that readers can wonder at the amazing design so clearly
apparent at the tiniest basis of life the cell and realize how utterly bankrupt
is the theory of evolution to explain them.
As is almost always the case, none of these
papers dared to speculate about how these incredible mechanisms might have evolved by a
blind, purposeless process of chance. Darwins theory was written for a past era when
the cell seemed as simple as a blob of jello. Wave him and his theory good-bye as
we fast-forward into the 21st century era of molecular machinery. Biology of the future is
reserved for those who appreciate and understand engineering-design principles.
Next headline on:
Comet Woes Lamented 12/27/2007
posted an article on The enduring mysteries of comets. The mysteries
Last month in Icarus,1 doubt was cast on whether
there really is a comet reservoir out beyond the planets. Brasser, Duncan and
Levison ran simulations of comets in a planetary disk and found that only very large
chunks 20km in diameter and up would be flung outward into the hypothetical Oort
cloud. This implies that the presence of the primordial solar nebula
acts as a size-sorting mechanism, they said, with large bodies unaffected
by the gas drag and ending up in the OC while small bodies remain trapped in the
planetary region, in the models studied. This is a difficulty on top
of the calculation in 2001 that 90% of the material would be destroyed by collisions
- Where did earths oceans come from? For a long time, scientists
expected comets delivered the water, until measurements showed a discrepancy in
the hydrogen/deuterium ratios. Its also highly improbable there was
enough wet stuff in those assumed delivery vehicles. No secular scientist knows where the water came
from. Ask how the following answer would score on a high-school science test: Earths
oceans are likely a mixture of water from all sorts of places, but
the main-belt comets are very likely one of them.
- Is there a comet reservoir? The proposed Oort cloud cannot be the
source of short-period comets at least. Another high-school answer to score:
Maybe there are other reservoirs of comets yet to be discovered.
- Why are they dirty? Until recently, this was the expectation:
Comets were long thought to be primordial relics, pristine leftovers from
the protoplanetary disk that once surrounded the newborn sun.
As such, it was supposed they might hold secrets untouched for billions of years
regarding the birth of our solar system. Wrong. Now that we have
sampled Halley, Tempel 1 and other comets, we know they have unexpected material
like carbonates, silicates and complex molecules that seem to have required high
temperatures: many of them are nearly burned-out hulks, with neither the
size, mass, shape nor spin they might have had before entering the solar system.
- How long can they bake? How main-belt comets could have survived for billions
of years is another mystery. Until their discovery, researchers had
largely supposed no comets could have lasted that close to the sun without
getting baked away after a few centuries or millennia.
- Where are the interstellar travelers? Escaping comets from other
stars should be coming into our solar system from all angles. Thats a
deduction from calculations that show 90 to 99% of our solar systems
comets get flung outward, never to return. None coming in from neighboring
stars Oort clouds have been detected.
1. Brasser, Duncan and Levison, Embedded star clusters and the formation
of the Oort cloud II. The effect of the primordial solar nebula,
Volume 191, Issue 2, 15 November 2007, Pages 413-433.
Other mysteries were not cited in the Space.com article,
such as why any comets are left after
4.5 billion years. The solar sparklers have a short lifetime
(03/27/2003). One might
ask if a hypothetical reservoir that has never been observed is worthy of scientific
respectability. To what extent is it legitimate in science to rescue a theory
from lack of data?
Why Academia Leans to the Left 12/26/2007
Its fun to watch materialists mutter about
material matters. The committee on comet-y objects commits more
comedy than comity.
Next headline on:
Why do PhDs in academia tend to be politically liberal? A paragraph in Science magazines feature
Random Samples on December 21 suggested a reason: conservatives value other goals, like
going into business to make money, or choosing to stay home and raise a family.1
Why are academics in the United States so politically liberal?
Are conservative students oppressed by a biased professoriate, or are liberals simply smarter?
Neither, was the conclusion of two scientists in Pennsylvania who surveyed
15,000 college students.
The Woessners found that self-described liberals and conservatives report no
difference in grades or in the quality of their education. Yet liberal college
students are twice as likely as conservative ones to pursue Ph.D.s The
main reasons, the authors conclude, are differences in values, goals, and preferences.
Liberals placed higher values on creativity; conservatives were more oriented
toward raising families and making money.
The findings apparently held for the hard sciences as well
as for social sciences and humanities.
An accompanying graph shows a steep rise on the far left side for those
seeking doctorates, while moderates and far right individuals could
care (somewhat) less. Another visually-apparent result on the graph is that conservatives
and moderates, as seniors, tend to feel the same way about their goals as they did as freshman.
Liberals, however, tend to warm up to a doctoral program as they approach their senior year.
1. Random Samples: Left on Campus,
Volume 318, Number 5858, Issue of 21 December 2007.
Surveys and graphs have only limited credibility
because of the possibilities of biased sampling and leaving out relevant causes
(see Baloney Detector on statistics).
At least Science admitted that liberalism is rampant at the university
(see 12/02/2004), and also confessed that
liberals (and PhDs) are not necessarily smarter. (The vulgar translations
for the acronyms B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. may be apropos here.)*
National Geographic Waffles on Gospel of Judas 12/26/2007
It appears that
conservatives are the fittest, working hard to pass on their genes, while liberals
are like parasites, advancing primarily by taking over the host (the classroom) and
churning out clones to infect other cells. A university
setting is a contrived, unnatural environment where the parasites thrive. In the
open air of true academic freedom, where the parasites would have to compete in
the real world, the results might be quite different.
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
*No offense to those who really apply their years of hard work in study and research
to a life of altruistic productivity; blessings upon you. A PhD can be vital,
indeed is a requirement, for productivity in many fields. We need honest men
and women with academic credentials. But the list of
great achievers and intellectual giants who never earned a degree would be long. The joke
just means that earning advanced degrees is no guarantee of credibility,
true value to society, or personal quality of life (think Ward Churchill).
On judgment day, academic credentials will count for naught
Last year, National Geographic published, in its magazine and on a TV special, a
translation of the Gnostic Gospel of Judas that suggested Judas was a
noble character who was only obeying orders from Jesus
(see 04/09/2006). The interpretation
hinged on certain words and phrases in the text: for example, whether the Greek
word daimon should be translated demon or spirit.
Recently, April DeConick
(professor of Biblical studies at Rice University) re-translated the Coptic text
and criticized National Geographic for botching the interpretation. Her translation
suggests a completely different interpretation that Judas was, as most
accounts of him allege, a villain. He emerged as a much more negative
Judas, she found, a demon Judas as evil as ever.
Geographic News has acknowledged the criticisms and offered some points in
defense of its translation. The verdict is not clear. Some scholars
view words and phrases one way, some another.
Two points in the article seem salient
to the question of whether it was expedient for NG to rush the Judas-as-hero
interpretation to the public: (1) The producers took a risk to get the story before
the public without a sufficient analysis by multiple scholars: Our only agenda
was to interpret the text, make sense of it, and get it out as quickly as possible.
(2) The article undermines the usefulness of the Gospel of Judas as historical
evidence by admitting, No scholar of early Christianity seems to believe
that the Gospel of Judas provides a historically reliable account of the
relationship between Jesus and Judas, it states. Instead, it
is seen as the Gnostic interpretation of that relationship.
An article in Christian
Century gives an inside look at a meeting last month of the Society of Biblical Literature.
Emotions were taut as scholars debated the meaning of parts of the Gospel of
Judas. It appears that Elaine Pagels, who had supported the National Geographic
interpretation, was on the defensive against colleagues who argued Judas was presented
as a negative figure in the apocryphal gospel. Penned by Sethian Gnostics,
The Gospel of Judas probably dates from the 2nd century, long after the canonical gospels
were in circulation.
Update The May-June 2008 issue of
Archaeology Review has an article about the Gospel of Judas. It alleges
that the translators for the show, some of them reputable, did a shoddy job
and they admit it. National Geographic has announced the publication of a
revised translation in response to the scholarly criticism of their 2006 translation.
NG claims they acknowledged many of the alternate
readings in the footnotes of their published edition. How many in the public
saw those, compared to the millions who watched the TV special? The fine-print
excuse is no excuse. They dramatized their Judas-hero fictional drama with
seductive ads to make
people think they were watching a historical documentary instead of a Gnostic sermon.
Remember? It was presented as big news that could undermine historic Christianity.
As is so often the case, the truth comes out in the back pages later, long after the
headlines have done their damage.
Three classic amazing stories from December 2003: Life runs on waterwheels
the fruit fly in the flight simulator
the intracellular railroad
Encores: your accelerated eyes (12/30/2003),
elaborate quality control in the protein-folding factory
In short, the article reveals that
NG abandoned academic integrity in their rush to get a lurid anti-Christian message
to the public, as if the late document had some historical credibility.
Hope you werent fooled. Watch instead the 2007 documentary featuring former
atheist skeptic Lee Strobel:
The Case for Christ. In this film, Bible
scholars explain why the Gnostic gospels are much later than the canonical gospels.
Because of their late dates and roots in Gnostic cults,
they cannot be trusted as reliable historical sources.
The canonical gospels, by
contrast, were written within the generation of the events described, by eyewitnesses
or companions of eyewitnesses.
John was written
by one of the three inner circle disciples of Jesus Christ; it contains
lengthy discourses by Jesus, and an eyewitness account of Judass betrayal.
companion of Peter, wrote the shortest, most action-packed account; it is also the
earliest gospel, and apparently was used as a source by Matthew and Luke.
was written by another of the 12 disciples who traveled with Jesus for three years and knew
Judas personally. Luke,
written by a companion of Paul, is highly regarded as a reliable account by a careful researcher,
who continued his work in the
Acts of the Apostles.
Have you read them? What better time than
right now, between the holidays? Theyre right there online, a click away.
Find out why the word
Next headline on:
Bible and Theology
Your Body Says: Resolve to Exercise 12/26/2007
Even moderate exercise can prevent health risks, an article in
Daily says. Want to keep the waist trim? Reduce the bad cholesterol
and triglycerides, and increase your HDLs? Want to lower your
risk of diabetes, heart attack and stroke? Then get out and walk.
You dont have to become a jogger or gym addict. Studies at Duke
University Medical Center showed that
thirty minutes of brisk walking a day, six times a week, can reduce the symptoms
of metabolic syndrome, an increasingly frequent condition linked to obesity
and a sedentary lifestyle.
Your body wants you to make a New Years
resolution and keep it. Get a head start today.
The doctor says what we have all known for a long
time: Some exercise is better than none; more exercise is generally
better than less, and no exercise can be disastrous. Take some fish
oil each day, too, so you wont forget. An article on
that the omega-3 in fish oil can help stave off Alzheimers disease.
The best walking is done in a park or out on a
nature trail. If traffic sounds cant be avoided, put some
Dan Gibson nature
recordings into your iPod and feel the pleasure of connecting with your created
environment as you improve your health and energy.
Darwin Claus Becomes Icon of Winter Solstice 12/25/2007
Next headline on:
News has a picture of Darwin as Santa Claus. They got the picture from
a Winter Solstice card sent among atheists at Winter Solstice luncheons that
are springing up around the country. The caption on the card
states, evolve your beliefs.
The historic St. Nicholas of
Patara, a Christian altruist, would be appalled at his nemesis being used to support
Pay attention especially to the last paragraphs in the article. Atheists
cannot deny the case for cosmic design, and their empty hearts yearn for a meaning
they have abandoned.
The Bible on a Pin 12/24/2007
If atheists think they should evolve their beliefs, then their
beliefs are self-refuting.
It becomes possible that their beliefs might
evolve toward theism thus denying the validity of atheism.
Beliefs cannot evolve into Christianity by any means.
That requires choice based on an intelligently-designed Master plan
10:5-13). You might find this to be the happier choice
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Bible and Theology
Israeli scientists have reproduced the Old Testament on a chip smaller than a pin head
reported PhysOrg. Theyre
calling it the worlds tiniest Bible. A picture of the chip, the size of
a grain of sugar, was included
in the report on the BBC News.
The scientists managed their feat,
the article explains, by sending focused beams of tiny particles, called gallium ions,
onto the surface of the silicon chip. If you took a picture of the chip you
would have to enlarge it more than 7 meters square to be able to read it.
They plan, in fact, to print such a poster next to the nano-Bible within the Faculty of Physics building.
Thats nothing. God can put 1018
bits in one cubic millimeter of DNA. If you wrote that amount of information on
DVDs, youd have to stack them more than six times the height of Mt. Everest
Evolution of the Christmas tree, 12/24/2005;
radio-active fallout from the Dover trial,
Dont be a pinhead; be sure not to miss the message inscribed
in that tiny Bible: For unto
us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His
shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God,
the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace
Next headline on:
What Materialist Science Still Cant Figure Out 12/21/2007
Darwin called the origin of flowering plants an abominable mystery,
but it is not the only one.
The scientific materialism that strives to explain all reality by natural
causes without resource to a designing intelligence has a long way to go.
Occasionally, major gaps in cosmic evolution and biological evolution become evident
in scientific papers and announcements.
On this last point, Krauss commented on how remarkable it is that we live at a time
when we can see the rest of the universe. In the big picture, had we lived when
the universe were much older, dark energy (whatever it is) would have flung all but
our local group out of sight:
- A bloomin mystery: Darwin was baffled about angiosperms in 1859,
and so are todays biologists even with genome sequencing, a more complete fossil
record and microscopes that are approaching nanometer resolution. Michael Frohlich and
Mark Chase wrote in Nature that After a dozen years of progress the origin of
angiosperms is still a great mystery.1 Less than a dozen years ago,
they said, even the most basic questions about angiosperm origins were still disputed.
They surveyed a dozen alternative approaches to answering the question, but put any answer
in future tense even after nearly 148 years of searching.
- Beetle blast from the past: Modern-looking beetles evolved 110 million
years earlier than expected, if we can believe scientists from Imperial College,
London (see BBC News).
Evolutionists had thought the proliferation of beetles coincided with the rise of
flowering plants 140 million years ago. Now, they claim beetles have been
around for at least 250 million years maybe 300 million.
There are some 300,000 species of beetles in the world today.
The reason for this large number of beetle species has been debated for
many years and never resolved, the article stated (cf.
04/26/2002). Why did they evolve into so
many species far before flowering plants are thought to have appeared?
We dont have the answer to that, said one researcher.
- Birds and bees: Its hard to know whether Tim Clutton-Brock was
confirming sexual selection or casting doubt on it. In a review article in
Science,2 he gave material for critics and proponents to both claim
victory. Research on sexual selection shows that the evolution of secondary
sexual characters in males and the distribution of sex differences are more complex
than was initially suggested but does not undermine our understanding of the evolutionary
mechanisms involved, he began. However, the operation of sexual selection
in females has still received relatively little attention. That seems
surprising, considering it is such an easy topic for biologists to have investigated
since Darwins day.
Darwin himself paid little attention to secondary sexual characteristics in females,
The article shows how sexual selection can produce
counter-intuitive, even opposite, results: Recent studies show that both
intrasexual competition between females and male choice of mating partners are common,
leading to strong sexual selection in females and, in extreme cases, to reversals
in the usual pattern of sex differences in behavior and morphology. He
concluded that sexual selection remains a robust framework that explains much,
but many important questions about the operation of sexual selection in females
and the evolution of sex differences have yet to be answered. The long
and short of it: There is still much to be done.
Last month in Current Biology,3 three
scientists at University of Exeter tried to do an experiment to see if attractiveness
in males was heritable (Note: the experiments were done on fruit flies, not humans).
It would seem intuitive in a Darwinian sense that attractive males should produce
more and fitter offspring. Did it work?
They reported positive results, but admitted that their results contrast starkly with an earlier,
similar study. For example, a recent hemiclonal investigation found
that males with high reproductive success did not produce more attractive sons,
which is very different to what we find here, they said.
Its hard to know if any significant conclusions could be
drawn. Their ending sentence seems contradictory: Regardless of the
net fitness outcome, however, our finding that sexy fathers sire sexy sons
provides much needed evidence for a critical assumption of many models
of sexual selection, they claimed. But isnt net fitness outcome
what Darwinism is all about?
Sexual selection is apparently one of those
ideas that sounds good in generalities, but bogs down under scientific scrutiny:
our results emphasise the fact that attractiveness is a composite trait
that cannot be totally captured by simple measurements of single characters,
they explained. That is to say, even if individual traits that are subject
to sexual selection are heritable, this need not imply attractiveness in total is
heritable and can evolve. Perhaps beauty is in the fly of the beholder.
- Mammal enamel: Looking at the teeth of mammals gave Zhe-Xi Luo a
non-Darwinian view of their evolutionary history. The scientist at the Carnegie
Institution of Natural History said in Nature,4
Classic scenarios of mammalian morphological evolution tend to
posit an orderly acquisition of key evolutionary innovations leading
to adaptive diversification, but newly discovered fossils show that
evolution of such key characters as the middle ear and the tribosphenic
teeth is far more labile among Mesozoic mammals. Views
of progress should be discarded: Successive diversifications of Mesozoic
mammal groups multiplied the opportunities for many dead-end lineages to
iteratively evolve developmental homoplasies and convergent ecological
specializations, parallel to those in modern mammal groups.
mentioned evolutionary convergence a dozen times in his review article. He
spoke of curious cases of convergent adaptations in extinct Mesozoic mammals
that represent many separate evolutionary experiments, but merely
stating that something represents convergent evolution begs the question of how
complex organs could have originated even once by evolution, let alone multiple times.
At one point Luo asked, are originations of key mammalian characters singular
evolutionary events, or iterative convergences despite their complexity?
- Champions are raised, not born: Are race horse breeders paying high stud fees for nothing?
Nurture may be more important than nature in producing good race horses, reports
A team from the University of Edinburgh studied records of 4500 race horse offspring
between 1922 to 2003, and found only 10% correlation of champions with their parents.
If genes arent correlating with fitness as much the environment (in this
case, good trainers), what would this mean to Darwinian theory that expects fitness
to ultimately reside in the genes, where they can be passed on?
One caution about any conclusions drawn from this study is that fitness
according to the betting man yelling in the grandstands may not relate to fitness
according to the horse. But then, fitness in evolutionary terms is so vague, it can
mean anything (see Fitness for dummies: is it running in circles?,
Tree Network of life: Lateral gene transfer scrambles any hope of
finding a Darwinian tree of common descent in genetic studies, admitted James McInerney
and Davide Pisani in Science.5 The role
of horizontal gene transfer in evolution has raised fierce debate
about the relevance of the Tree of Life, they said. Yet the Tree
of Life, coming from the single illustration in The Origin of Species, is
Darwins most-famous icon of evolution. They concluded with a new paradigm, When
eukaryotes are included in our considerations of evolution, the phylogeny of life
seems better represented by a network than a tree, making any core genes-based
argument in favor of the Tree of Life essentially irrelevant.
See also the 02/01/2007 entry.
- Dark prospects: Dark energy has been debated for nearly a decade,
but Lawrence Krauss (Case Western Reserve University) thinks we may never figure out what it is.
As reported in Physics
World, Even with the many observations planned over the next decade,
there is a real chance that we will never understand the true nature of dark energy.
It therefore seems that we are living in a very special time, namely the only
time in the history of the universe that we might actually be able to infer the
existence of dark energy itself. Perhaps, therefore, we should not feel too
bad if observations in the coming decades do not allow us to untangle the mystery
of the nature and origin of dark energy. After all, it is often the mysteries
themselves that keep scientists going, energizing theorists to continue to
speculate about the ultimate nature of reality and motivating observers
to seek out new tools to probe it.
This point was argued by Gonzalez and Richards in
The Privileged Planet.
If we are living in a special epoch that makes
scientific discovery possible, thats another indication of intelligent design.
Arguing along these lines cost Gonzalez his tenure
1. Michael Frohlich and Mark Chase, After a dozen years of progress the
origin of angiosperms is still a great mystery,
450, 1184-1189 (20 December 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06393.
2. Tim Clutton-Brock, Sexual Selection in Males and Females,
21 December 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5858, pp. 1882-1885, DOI: 10.1126/science.1133311.
3. Michelle L. Taylor, Nina Wedell and David J. Hosken, The heritability of attractiveness,
Volume 17, Issue 22, 20 November 2007, Pages R959-R960.
4. Zhe-Xi Luo, Transformation and diversification in early mammal evolution,
450, 1011-1019 (13 December 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06277.
5. James O. McInerney and Davide Pisani, Genetics: Paradigm for Life,
30 November 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5855, pp. 1390-1391, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151657.
This is just a sampling of fundamental questions
that have the Darwinists stumped after nearly a century and a half. Its
clear that their victory speeches are mere bluffing,
because the unknowns overpower the knowns, and the knowns are not well known.
How much longer do you want to give the materialistic crowd time to pursue their
metaphysical research program? Theyre like the dog in the manger;
cant eat the hay, but wont let those with the stomach for it get a bite.
How Bambi Gave Rise to Moby Dick 12/20/2007
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
The title of this entry, in Kipling Just-So Story format, is only slightly modified
from an article from The
Guardian, titled, How Bambi evolved into Moby-Dick. This is not
a joke; check on the link and see.
The article is about the latest fossil claimed to be ancestral to whales.
Hans Thewissen (Northeastern Ohio College of Medicine) has spent many years trying to
trace an evolutionary path to whales from artiodactyls (even-toed ungulates, a group of mammals
including deer, cattle, sheep, goats, giraffes, pigs, and camels). This was the
subject of a chapter in the PBS Evolution series, Great Transformations,
in 2001 (see review on ReviewEvolution.com).
candidate missing link is a raccoon-size deer-like fossil animal found in Kashmir; the discovery
and analysis was published in Nature.1 The Guardian
was ebullient in its certainty that this is the link:
The landmark finding represents a long-sought missing link in the
10m-year [10 million year] journey that saw ancient land mammals evolve
into modern cetaceans, a group that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.
On what basis did Thewissen and his team think this fossil had anything to do with
whales? The teeth are similar to those of aquatic animals, and the
bones suggest a heavy stance like that of hippos. The bones around the inner
ear look similar to those of cetaceans, the article claims. Thats about
all the data this article mentioned, yet the certainty that this represents the missing
Scientists have long known that whales are mammals whose
ancient ancestors walked on land, but only in the past 15 years have they
unearthed fossils that shed light on the creatures dramatic evolutionary
history. The latest discovery, named Indohyus, is the first whale
ancestor known to have lived on land.
The evolutionary path of the whale is one of the most extraordinary on record.
In less than 10m years, the whales ancestors completely transformed as they
shifted from a four-legged life on land to a life in the ocean.
One difficulty is that this fossil overturns a previous assumption that
the ancestors of whales were already carnivores before they left land for a
life beneath the waves. Being a herbivore, what was it doing in the water?
Thewissen thinks it was acting like the modern mouse deer of Africa, which escapes
from eagles by diving under the water for up to four minutes.
The first whales, Pakicetidae, emerged around 50m years ago and
resembled land mammals rather than the giant marine creatures of today.
These evolved into large, powerful coastal whales, or Ambulocetidae,
that had big feet and strong tails. Later, whales lost their hind
limbs and hair and developed powerful tail fins and flippers.
To reinforce the missing-link message of Indohyus, the article stuck
it to the creationists:
Fred Spoor, an anthropologist at University College London, said the significance
of the latest find was comparable to Archaeopteryx, the first fossils to show a
clear transition between dinosaurs and birds. For years cetaceans
were used by creationists to support their views because for a long time the most
primitive whales known had bodies that looked like modern whales, so there seemed
to be this enormous gap in evolution. But since the early 1990s, theres
been a rapid succession of fossils from India and Pakistan that beautifully
fill that gap, he said.
This last sentence, they had to change everything, makes it sound as if the
whales directed their mutations with the goal of becoming aquatic that is most
certainly not what the evolutionists mean. Such language, however, blurs the
way the Darwinian mechanism is supposed to work. Individual members of Indohyus
or cetaceans could not possibly know or care what was happening to them. Evolution works
on the genes in large populations over a long, drawn-out process involving mutations
selection pressures without any goal in mind
certainly not in the minds of any individual animals. No amount of individual
striving gets passed on to the offspring that would be Lamarckism.
The tables are turned now because we have fossils that
show that dramatic transition step by step. Cetaceans are almost the only
group that has made such a rapid change from a land environment to an aquatic one.
Unlike sealions and seals, which still spend some time on land, cetaceans are
completely committed to the water now, and it had an enormous effect
on their physiology. They had to change everything.
The article ends with the more work to do theme, but includes
more purpose-driven language on the part of the whales:
Thewissens group will next study Indohyus further to learn more about its
diet and habitat. One critical change that occurred
when whales took to the water involved its sense of balance and
orientation. In land mammals, this is governed by a vestibulary system in
the inner ear, but whales had to adapt to moving in three dimensions,
driving the evolution of a more complex system.
So the frame of the puzzle is done, and now its just a matter of filling in
the middle. Is that what the original paper said? In the journals, scientists
tend to be more reserved in their announcements than in the popular press.
Its interesting that for a discovery this dramatic there was no
review article accompanying the paper.
This fossil completes the picture in terms of the
whales evolution, but whats next is to look at these other
evolutionary adaptations, said Thewissen.
The abstract says that Indohyus was a sister group to the
whales. This means it was not on the path to whalehood, but both had a common
ancestor. Claims that whale evolution is documented and strongly
supported continue in the paper, but the opening paragraph leads one to suspect
that a single fossil species like Indohyus cannot be expected to solve all the problems:
Phylogenetic analyses of molecular data on extant animals strongly support the notion that hippopotamids are the closest relatives of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises). In spite of this, it is unlikely that the two groups are closely related when extant and extinct artiodactyls are analysed, for the simple reason that cetaceans originated about 50 million years (Myr) ago in south Asia, whereas the family Hippopotamidae is only 15 Myr old, and the first hippopotamids to be recorded in Asia are only 6 Myr old. However, analyses of fossil clades have not resolved the issue of cetacean relations. Proposed sister groups ranged from the entire artiodactyl order, to the extinct early ungulates mesonychians, to an anthracotheroid clade (which included hippopotamids), to weakly supporting hippopotamids (to the exclusion of anthracotheres.
Indohyus is an Eocene artiodactyl in a group Raoellidae, which previously had no
linkage to the whale line. Thewissen et al are therefore making a radical
new hypothesis. This has profound implications for the character
transformations near the origin of cetaceans and the cladistic definition of Cetacea,
and identifies the habitat in which whales originated, they say.
Taken together, our findings lead us to propose a new hypothesis for the origin of whales.
New hypotheses, however, tend to create as many problems as they solve,
because old assumptions get discarded. Evolutionists have already been claiming
for years that the whale evolution story is strongly supported with other fossils.
How can a specimen from a small, extinct deer-like animal wedge its way into an existing
story? It becomes necessary to juggle things around:
To investigate the importance of raoellids in cetacean phylogeny, we excluded raoellids from our initial phylogenetic analysis of artiodactyls plus cetaceans. Our data set differed from previous analyses by the addition of several archaic anthracotheres, and some corrected scores for pakicetid cetaceans. This analysis found stronger support for hippopotamid–cetacean sister-group relations than the previous analysis, consistent with molecular studies. However, the base of the artiodactyl cladogram is poorly resolved (see Supplementary Information for details on phylogenetic runs).
This is how phylogenetic analysis is really done. Assumptions are made, and some
earlier associations get tossed by the wayside in an effort to achieve a desired amount
of consistency. So Thewissen and team changed the
recipe and got some new flavors:
In a second cladistic analysis (Fig. 2), we added the raoellids Khirtharia and Indohyus as well as several archaic ungulate groups (condylarths) and found that raoellids and cetaceans are sister groups and that they are the basal node in the Cetacea/Artiodactyla clade, consistent with some previous analyses that used different character sets. Our analysis is the first to show that raoellids are the sister group to cetaceans, resolving the biogeographic conundrum and closing the temporal gap between cetaceans and their sister. Relations between most artiodactyl families higher in the tree are poorly resolved, and our data lack implications for the relations between these families. Our analysis strongly argues that raoellids and cetaceans are more closely related to each other than either is to hippopotamids.
This is a human line of argument not a single, clear, uncontroversial picture emerging
inescapably from the data. Everything is
inference: trying to find a pathway through scattered data points, after first assuming a pathway exists.
The reader should not picture a straight line from Indohyus to Blue Whale. The
human researchers are picking their way through a data forest with a goal in
mind. The forest is not leading them on a single yellow brick road.
Indohyus, for instance, has a thickening around its middle ear that was thought diagnostic
of cetaceans. What does this mean? The paper presents two possibilities:
either Indohyus was similar to whales,
or this trait can no longer be thought characteristic of whales. As with
Tiktaalik, the data present mosaics of traits that require human judgment
about what goes with what clade, and which clades are closer or farther apart.
In the paper, the team considered various groupings,
but made decisions based on their own preferences: e.g., regarding one alternative tree,
they said, We do not prefer this
classification because it causes instability by significantly altering
the traditional content of both Artiodactyla and Cetacea. The team
sought the most parsimonious tree of descent but parsimony is a
human value, not a whale value. Not even all humans will agree what constitutes
The team acknowledged that cetaceans and raoellids possess
some synapomorphies (derived traits shared by terminal groups), but then said,
None of these features characterize all modern and extinct cetaceans; the
dental characters, for instance, cannot be scored in toothless mysticetes.
In addition, all of these characters are found in some mammals unrelated to cetaceans.
There are multiple ways to interpret the data, therefore. The synapomorphies might
indicate relationship or, they could overthrow assumptions about which traits
are diagnostic of which clades. Clearly, this team did not attach any significance
to the similarities that didnt fit a deer-to-whale lineage. We attach particular importance
to two character complexes that characterize basal cetaceans, they said, but that
assumes what needs to be proved (circular reasoning).
The team attached great importance to the teeth. But Indohyus, they said, was a herbivore, and
whales are carnivores; how much about relationship can be inferred from teeth of groups with very
different dietary habits and behaviors? What kind of tree would have resulted had they
attached particular importance to other traits? One can imagine other evolutionary paleontologists having
their own assumptions, preferences, methodologies, and arriving at very different conclusions.
Other traits were mentioned that do not help the story of whale evolution.
The team noticed that the leg bones showed osteoporosis, which they interpreted as
meaning that Indohyus was stable in the water but not a swimmer: We interpret
the limb osteosclerosis of Indohyus to be related to bottom walking and
not to slow swimming, because the limbs are gracile and not modified into paddles.
Other mammals, however, like beaver and otters and sea lions, show more modifications for
aquatic lifestyle than this creature, and no one lumps them into a whale phylogeny.
So even if the oxygen or carbon isotopic ratios in the tooth enamel show a probability the creature
lived a good part of its time in the water, how much can this tell us about its
evolutionary path? As a matter of fact, the team decided the diet of Indohyus
was significantly different than whale diet.
So here is the long and short about this creature:
Indohyus was a small,
stocky artiodactyl, roughly the size of the raccoon Procyon lotor
(Fig. 5). It was not an adept swimmer; instead it waded in shallow
water, with its heavy bones providing ballast to keep its feet anchored.
Indohyus may have fed on land, although a specialized aquatic diet is also possible.
Whales do not use their bones as ballast to stay anchored to the
bottom. They do not eat vegetables. They do not walk on four feet.
By what kind of convoluted reasoning can a raccoon-size deer
be considered ancestral to dolphins and blue whales?
Even if it spent more time in water than the modern mouse deer, many mammals are
accustomed to water: moose, bears, water buffalo, and of course otter and beaver
why are they not in the race to become whale ancestor? The researchers even admitted that
The great evolutionary change that occurred at the origin of cetaceans is
thus not the adoption of an aquatic lifestyle.
They pinned all their inference on diet: Here we propose that dietary change
was the event that defined cetacean origins, they said but that
is a radically new proposal from what they said before, because Indohyus eats plants, and whales dont.
By all measures, it seems this new creature is even further removed from whale ancestry than the last candidate.
Their ending paragraph summarized the just-so story of how Bambi evolved
into Moby Dick:
Our working hypothesis for the origin of whales is that raoellid ancestors, although herbivores or omnivores on land, took to fresh water in times of danger. Aquatic habits were increased in Indohyus (as suggested by osteosclerosis and oxygen isotopes), although it did not necessarily have an aquatic diet (as suggested by carbon isotopes). Cetaceans originated from an Indohyus-like ancestor and switched to a diet of aquatic prey. Significant changes in the morphology of the teeth, the oral skeleton and the sense organs made cetaceans different from their ancestors and unique among mammals.
This is, as they themselves said, only a working hypothesis at best. Compare that with
the triumphal announcements in the The Register quoted at the beginning of this entry:
The tables are turned now [against the creationists] because we have fossils that
show that dramatic transition step by step.
reported on the Thewissen claim, but ended with an alternative:
Another analysis, in press at Cladistics, suggests that an extinct group
of carnivorous mammals, called mesonychids, were more closely related to cetaceans.
Mesonychids looked less like Bambi and more like the Big Bad Wolf. The only
similarity seems to be that they were equidistant from Moby Dick.
1. Thewissen, Cooper, Clementz, Bajpai and Tiwari, Whales originated
from aquatic artiodactyls in the Eocene epoch of India,
450, 1190-1194 (20 December 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06343.
Will evolutionists actually tell lies to push their
beliefs? Yesyou saw it right here. Fred Spoor told you that
Archaeopteryx represents a clear transition between dinosaurs and birds, when he
knows full well it appeared too late in his own evolutionary timeline to be a missing link
The big lie in the Nature article, and in the popular press, was to portray this fossil discovery as
a great victory for evolution, and a step-by-step sequence showing the whole ancestry.
It is no more victory than picking up a spent lottery
ticket on the dusty ground and thinking it is a missing link to riches.
Evolution Goes Forward, Backward and Sideways 12/19/2007
Philosophers of science could have some good banter about the logic
of discovery whether they discovered something true to nature in the data, or imposed their
own experiences and preferences on the data. Clearly, this team decided to
pick and choose a few traits from a fossil they preferred over other problematical ones,
and from these to weave a whale of a just-so story with which
to dupe the public and shoot the creationists. Well, their shot only hurt as much as
a blast of bad breath in the face, thats all. You know what to expect
Geographic, and you got it: Whales Evolved from Tiny Deerlike Mammals, Study Says.
The bigger the whopper, the better; have it your way, NG
(10/24/2004). Not to be left behind in the Whopper Olympics, the
BBC News trumpeted,
Whale missing link discovered.
This is the mess of things that Charlie Darwin left in his wake when he
allowed the magicians and storytellers into the once noble halls of science
Its time to clear house and clean up. Send the whole lot of them back
to school to learn some history and philosophy and ethics, and make them sign a commitment to
speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That would solve
most of the problems in the contentious creation-evolution debate.
Bambi to Moby Dickincredible. PhD scientists actually believe that?
They want that taught in the schools? We need a new word that means to laugh and cry at
the same time, because this whale of a tale deserves a whopping blubberfest.
Maybe the word howl will do. Perhaps this is why the humpback whales are howling.
Next headline on:
According to an article by Becky Ham on
evolution can make things more complicated or less complicated.
She referred to iconic cartoons that show the progress of evolution from slime
to couch potato. Its just a joke, but the idea that life starts
simple and gets more complex over time persists even in scientific circles.
One counter example, though, is the origin of single celled life. Archaea
and bacteria may be stripped-down versions of eukaryotes. This idea from
David Penny (Massey U, NZ) suggests that eukaryotes appeared first.
Penny said, We do think there is a tendency to look at evolution as progressive.
We prefer to think of evolution as backwards, sideways, and occasionally forward.
Penny and his colleagues deny the popular hypothesis that eukaryotic cells emerged from the
fusion of earlier, simpler life forms. Although the idea seems
contrary to our cherished notion that evolution makes organisms more complex,
Becky Ham (no relation to Ken Ham, as far as we know) wrote,
Penny and colleagues say its possible.
Well, then, it follows that in evolution, anything is possible. Pennys
colleague Chuck Kurland [Lund U, Sweden] provided more examples of simplification that illustrate the
Darwinian view of evolution as a reversible process in the sense that eyes
can be acquired and eyes can be lost. Genome evolution is a two-way street,
Visualize a hockey puck on a frictionless surface
infinite in all directions, moving about in various ways. The concepts of forward,
backward and sideways lose all meaning. The same is true in relativistic
Darwinland, where an incoming asteroid can cause extinction but also a boom in emergent
innovation (see Fox News).
In the overall scheme of things, does it matter which direction is forward or backward?
Kelvin Scale: Lord Kelvin received accolades fit for a Baron on the 100th anniversary
of his death in Physics
World this week. The eulogy, notably, failed to mention anything of his strong Christian faith
or his battle against the Darwinists. For that part of his story, youll have to
read our online book entry. See also the news story
and the article on thermodynamics from 09/23/2007,
a subject involving one of Lord Kelvins greatest achievements.
For decades, most Darwinists have
taught as fact the myth that eukaryotes are a more complex product that emerged
from the fusion of simpler, more primitive microbes. Progressivism is built
into such a notion. Now, if eukaryotes just appeared suddenly, then became stripped down into
the other two kingdoms of microbes, then Darwinian miracles of emergence allow for anything.
Why dont we extend Pennys theory and conclude that bacteria are
stripped-down humans? (Sorry; that didnt come out right. Some
people on the beach, though, do resemble amoebas.)
Exercise: Read the following sentence aloud:
The Story of Evolution
Now substitute the meaningless word Gribbleflix for Evolution and
read it again. There you have it: the worlds most successful, all-encompassing theory.
Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of Gribbleflix. Dont let the
anti-Gribbleflix people sneak their dogma into the schools. Gribbleflix is science.
Gribbleflix is a FACT!
Evolution explains more complexity, and more simplicity. It explains why
flight arose in some birds, but was lost in others. With evolution, organs
and genomes can become more complicated, or more streamlined. Eyes emerge through evolution, but
eyes are also lost by evolution. Evolution makes the cheetah fast but the
sloth slow. By evolution, dinosaurs grow to skyscraper size, and
hummingbirds grow tiny. With evolution, peacocks grow more flashy and
crows more black, giraffes tall and flatworms flat. Evolution explains predator and prey, loner
and herder, light and dark, high and low, fast and slow, profligacy and stinginess, terrorism and altruism,
religion and atheism, virtue and selfishness, psychosis and reason, extinction and fecundity, war and peace.
Evolution explains everything.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
Walking Tall: Earth Pushed Hominids Out of Africa 12/19/2007
Why did humans evolve from stoop-shouldered apemen into tall, proud, big-brained Europeans?
Africa pushed them out. That seems to be the idea behind a story spreading
throughout the popular science media, such as on
entitled, Geologists Say Wall Of Africa Allowed Humanity To Emerge.
The idea is based on circumstantial evidence that,
according to evolutionary dating, the African Rift zone was creating mountains and valleys
at about the same time hominids were thought by paleoanthropologists to be emerging into manhood.
According to the Science Daily article, the husband and wife team of Royhan
and Nahid Gani claim, Tectonics [movement of Earths crust] was ultimately responsible
for the evolution of humankind. Why? Because it dried up the
trees and created grasslands. The apes had to climb down and learn how to walk on
two feet, an energy-efficient way to search larger areas for food in an arid environment.
The Ganis did not explain why the other mammals didnt follow the human leader.
The following quotes by the Ganis were gleaned from reports on
an PhysOrg, which regurgitated
a press release from University of Utah.
The only hint of doubt about this hypothesis is in the last paragraphs from the
press release: For now, Royhan Gani acknowledges the lack of more precise
timeframes makes it difficult to link specific tectonic events to the development
of upright walking, bigger brains and other key steps in human evolution.
But it all happened within the right time period, he says.
Now we need to nail it down.
- Because of the crustal movement or tectonism in East Africa,
the landscape drastically changed over the last 7 million years, says Royhan Gani
(pronounced rye-hawn Go-knee), a research assistant professor of civil and environmental
engineering. That landscape controlled climate on a local to regional scale.
That climate change spurred human ancestors to evolve from apes.
- Although the Wall of Africa started to form around 30 million years ago,
recent studies show most of the uplift occurred between 7 million and 2 million
years ago, just about when hominins split off from African apes, developed
bipedalism and evolved bigger brains.
- Nature built this wall, and then humans could evolve, walk tall and
think big, says Royhan Gani. Is there any characteristic feature
of the wall that drove human evolution?
The answer, he believes, is the variable landscape and vegetation
resulting from uplift of the Wall of Africa, which created a topographic barrier
to moisture, mostly from the Indian Ocean and dried the climate.
- Clearly, the Wall of Africa grew to be a prominent elevated feature over
the last 7 million years, thereby playing a prominent role in East African aridification
by wringing moisture out of monsoonal air moving across the region, the Ganis write.
That period coincides with evolution of human ancestors in the area.
- Royhan Gani says the earliest undisputed evidence of true bipedalism
(as opposed to knuckle-dragging by apes) is 4.1 million years ago in
Australopithecus anamensis, but some believe the trait existed as early
as 6 million to 7 million years ago.
The Ganis speculate that the shaping of varied landscapes
by tectonic forces -- lake basins, valleys, mountains, grasslands, woodlands --
could also be responsible, at a later stage, for hominins developing
a bigger brain as a way to cope with these extremely variable and changing
landscapes in which they had to find food and survive predators.
Of course, these Charlietans had to include a little bit of doubt to let
their sponsors know this is an important work in progress, so that the funds will
Evolution: Demonstrated or Assumed? 12/18/2007
The secular science reporters echo this nonsense without any critical
thinking. If we dont expose the fallacies in these ridiculous ideas for
the public, who will?
Even ardent evolutionists should be ashamed of the kind of illogic that went into this
claim. Tectonic forces and climate change make apes walk tall and think big.
Right on, dude. Its a shame this didnt happen back in the Cambrian or
Ordovician; we might have had written records for more time telling us how meteor impacts
created brickmasons, earthquakes created architects, and tsunamis created surfers.
Evolutionists should be the first in line to award the Ganis with Stupid Evolution Quote of the
Week. Instead, they give any imposters claiming to be scientists license to
say any stupid things they want, as long as they swear allegiance to Darwin (e.g.,
Alan Boyle listed 30 nominations for Weird Science of 2007 on
not one highlighted the silly claims of Darwinists. The only one that came close
was the story about redhead Neanderthalsbut that was not questioning evolution.
Why didnt the evolutionary claims in our 08/10/2007 entry
make his list?
Look back through the Dumb entries for 2007 in these pages
03/31/2007). Any one
of them would trounce Boyles nominations about radiation-proof underwear and
glow-in-the-dark kittens. Much of the evolutionary silliness would insult the intelligence of children (see
07/03/2007). Remember the dandy display of
logic from 10/14/2007?
or from 08/20/2007,
or from 04/11/2007?
We should stage a contest for Stupidest Evolution Quote of 2007.
Evolutionists are the funniest comedians on earth, and they dont even
know it. Thats what makes them so funny.
Save the SEQOTW quotes up for the day the Darwin idol falls. Well have a merry
Next headline on:
Michael Behe wrote in The Edge of Evolution that Darwinists tend to forget
the difference between what is assumed and what is demonstrated, and fall into the
habit of attributing even the most elegant of biological features to evolution
without demonstrating how it could be so (see quote, top right of this page).
Some examples are found in recent scientific papers and news reports.
Perhaps Jerry Coyne and Hopi Hoekstra explained best why evolutionists can get away
with such assertions that assume evolution rather than demonstrate it. In a recent article in
(Volume 17, Issue 23, 4 December 2007, pages R1014-R1016), they said,
Evolution is a contingent process, dependent on the vagaries
of the environment, history, and whatever mutations happen to appear.
Consequently, there are few strict laws of evolution;
ours is instead a science of generalizations.
- Knowledge is power of assumption: Patrick Barry wrote for
about energy-converting mitochondria or sunlight-absorbing chloroplasts, which
are known to have evolved from ancient, independent-living bacteria that
became incorporated into the cells.
- Childs play: Since infants prefer Good Samaritans, this
trait must have evolved, said
The presence of social evaluation so early in infancy suggests that assessing
individuals by the nature of their interactions with others is central to processing
the social world, both evolutionarily and developmentally, the authors of a
- Say it is so: The author of a new book on vertebrate paleontology
called Evolution In Action said this: All creatures alive today are descended from a population of single-celled organisms that lived some billions of years ago. Since the first animals appeared, millions of species have been born (the majority of which are now extinct), including our own, Homo sapiens.
This was quoted authoritatively in Current Biology Dec 18,
in a book review with the title, No bones about it.
- Scuttle fish: Cuttlefish signalling can be quite elaborate, involving specialized
light-emitting organs that display flashing lights in patterns. Three
scientists writing in
had an easy answer for where this ability came from:
Coleoid cephalopods, including cuttlefish, have a unique neurally controlled
system for generating skin patterns, which evolved primarily for visual defence.
- Columbine school: Scott Hodges and Elena Kramer had a simple explanation
for certain structures on columbines (a wildflower group):
What is unique about columbines, compared to their close relatives that
have not gone through an adaptive radiation, is that they have evolved nectar spurs.
The authors used the word evolution 10 times, never once explaining how it
actedonly that it did; for instance, Aquilegias flowers
are also of particular utility and their features may help us to
understand how novel morphological traits evolve....Developmental and
genetic studies of these structures will help us understand how novelties evolve.
- Evolution as goddess: Did you know evolution can plan things and discover
efficient ways of engineering codes? A summary of the paper on RNA Polymerase II
(see 12/17/2007, next entry) in
Science Daily said this:
It would appear that, over the last 500 million years, other ways to produce
highly complex organisms have evolved. Evolution has simply found more efficient
ways to use the genes already there.
- Fly in the eye: The following quote is notable for its admission that evidence is lacking
for evolution, juxtaposed with certainty that it occurred. David Weisblat, an expert on leeches
at UC Berkeley, explained to Current
Biology Dec 4 why leech study is important:
The most compelling scientific justification for studying leech development is its
relevance to understanding the evolution of animal body plans.
A priori, changes in animal body plans morphology must come about
by changes, over the course of many millions of years, in the developmental
processes by which they arise. We now have a decent understanding of
how a very few species, chiefly Drosophila, develop, but the ancestral
species from which they evolved are by definition extinct, so we cannot make
any retrospective comparisons. Thinking prospectively, waiting to
see significant morphological and underlying genomic/developmental changes
is an exciting long-term possibility. Unfortunately, that will require
maintaining both human society and natural populations of the species of interest
for the millions of years required for significant evolutionary changes to occur,
a dicey proposition at best.
Maybe evolution is whatever an evolutionist wants it to be.
Even the prior point was not conceded by some scientists at New York University;
they said, according to a press release on
that evolution is deterministic, not random. Whatever evolution is, it sure
explains a lot. Maybe an undefined term like abracadabra would do
just as well.
Charlietans, these Darwinists. On the one
hand they exclaim that evolution is the most clearly demonstrated scientific fact
on Earth that only a fool (like a creationist) would deny.
Ask them for an example, and this is what you get: bald assertions
that say little more than it evolved because it evolved or,
the way that it evolved is that it emerged millions of years ago, and after
it arose, it evolved. If you love science, dont let them get away with it.
Like Michael Jackson, theyre BAD (bald assertions of dogmatism).
DNA Translation Has Codes Upon Codes 12/17/2007
For more Darwin-assuming groaners, see the 08/24/2007
entry, Evolution Takes Credit.
Next headline on:
Darwinism and Evolutionary Theory
The DNA code is protected by another code, and is read with a machine that reads
a third code. This is an emerging picture from ongoing research into DNA
transcription, as reported in Science.1
In the 1950s, scientists were astonished to find a code at the genetic
basis of life. DNAs four-letter alphabet, arranged
into triplet codons, providing 64 combinations that could code for the 20 amino acids
and punctuation in various ways, seemed simple and elegant (see description
in our online book). Now it seems, remarkable as this
mechanism is, it is way too simple. Other factors must control when and how
particular genes are to be transcribed. Biochemists have also been cataloguing
a huge number of post-transcriptional and post-translational modifications that take place, from the moment
messenger-RNA is formed to after the protein chain is assembled. What controls
Additional codes involved in regulating
gene expression have been coming to light. One was the histone code attached to DNA
may be as complex and as important as the DNA code itself
(04/12/2003). Now, Science published
two papers on another code attached directly to the transcriber, RNA Polymerase II.
This CTD code is composed of tandem repeats of seven amino acids forming
a tail called the carboxy-terminal domain (CTD). New work expands the previously-known
number of phosphorylation states from four to eight. Since each of these amino
acids can be modified by phosphorylation, patterns emerge that resemble a hexadecimal
system. Because the tandem repeats vary from 17 to 52 sets on a CTD, if each
phosphorylation pattern had a functional meaning, there are potentially 852
different CTD patterns over 900 trillion trillion trillion trillion.
Such a number is probably degenerate i.e., vastly greater than
the number of states that are actually needed for functional meaning. Still, the potential is
there for a huge array of states that can direct the behavior of RNA Polymerase II.
It also might help explain why the number of genes in the human genome was surprisingly low;
perhaps the CTD code provides a way to get more transcripts out of a gene resulting
in many proteins from one gene.
Experiments have shown that some distinct phosphorylation patterns do indeed change the
expression of the gene. Jeffry Corden [Johns Hopkins U] wrote in the review article
on the two papers,
The biological role of CTD phosphorylation remains to be fully elucidated, but the
emerging picture is that the pattern of CTD phosphorylation changes during
RNA synthesis, allowing dynamic modification of the DNA template and
processing of the nascent RNA transcript. The studies by Chapman
et al.2 and by Egloff et al.3
provide both the tools to fully document
CTD phosphorylation patterns and the best evidence to date that
these patterns constitute a code that intersects, at the most fundamental
level, with the regulation of different classes of eukaryotic genes.
It appears that both DNA and its transcriber have codes, completely independent from the
DNA code, affixed to them. Are they passwords forming an authentication scheme?
Are they messages telling the machinery what to do? If so, what sends the messages,
and what recognizes them? How is the password validated? More work into this fascinating area will surely
be needed. For now, Corden said, Together, the papers show that CTD phosphorylation
is more complicated than previously thought and link, for the first time, expression
of specific genes with a distinct CTD phosphorylation pattern.
1. Jeffry L. Corden, Seven Ups the Code,
14 December 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5857, pp. 1735-1736, DOI: 10.1126/science.1152624.
2. Chapman et al, Transcribing RNA Polymerase II Is Phosphorylated at CTD Residue Serine-7,
14 December 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5857, pp. 1780-1782, DOI: 10.1126/science.1145977.
3. Egloff et al, Serine-7 of the RNA Polymerase II CTD Is Specifically Required for snRNA Gene Expression,
14 December 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5857, pp. 1777-1779, DOI: 10.1126/science.1145989.
The situation just keeps getting worse for the
evolutionists. None of the three papers even mentioned evolution.
Who would dare?
Evolution for Everyone: a method for overcoming student objections to evolution, from
12/21/2005. Be sure to read the commentary.
Daily dared. Summarizing these papers, it said,
It would appear that, over the last 500 million years, other ways to produce
highly complex organisms have evolved. Evolution has simply found more
efficient ways to use the genes already there. You may now utter
a long, sarcastic groan.
Next headline on:
Godless: Is Psychiatry Science or Religion? 12/16/2007
Ever since Freud described religious faith as an illusion and a neurosis
there has been tension and at times hostility between religion and psychiatry,
Psychiatrists are less religious on average than other physicians, according
to previously published data from the same survey, and non-psychiatrist physicians
who are religious are less willing to refer their patients to psychiatrists.
This does not mean psychiatrists are hostile toward the religion of their clients.
In fact, they seem more interested in discussing it with clients than other medical
doctors. Many are also changing from linking religion with mental illness, the
study says. Some are even finding religious behaviors beneficial to clients
mental health. Medical doctors, by contrast, are far more likely to be
religious themselves and view religion as important to their patients, according to
an earlier survey by Brandeis University published on
11/14/2007, A dose of God may help medicine.
The statistics about psychiatrists come from a survey published in the December issue of
the American Journal of Psychiatry. Farr Curlin, MD, associate professor of
medicine at the University of Chicago, thinks the gap between religion and psychiatry
is narrowing. In aggregate, he said, although psychiatrists
may not agree with the claims of religion, they often witness its powerful effects
on patients mental health, both for good and for ill.
Studies like this border on the meaningless.
To lump Scientology, animism and Christianity into one bin called religion
almost guarantees that any conclusions will be invalid from the start.
It would be like trying to discuss anything meaningful about politics after lumping
Democrats, Republicans, communists, fascists and anarchists into one group.
Blast Your Way to Evolutionary Progress 12/15/2007
Psychiatrists are psychologists with medical degrees. That gives
them one leg up from psychologists, a sorry lot within science if there
ever was one. The one who needed his head examined was Freud. He pulled
science down a blind alley as much as Mesmer did. Psychiatry has value only
in so far as it diagnoses purely medical conditions that have a physical basis.
When it tries to explain the psychological cause of your problems,
and prescribe a drug to cover up the consequences of your sinful behavior,
save your money and go to a good church.
The only take-home lesson from this article is the bias of the pseudoscience of psychiatry
against religion based on its Freudian roots and Freud was a Darwin-loving apostate.
Psychiatrists have since evolved from calling religion a mental illness to calling it an
evolved behavior that seems to confer some fitness benefits. In other words,
religion is still superstition in their view, but might be more healthy than they supposed.
How come no preachers or theologians were consulted to give their views on this subject?
While psychiatrists call preachers deluded or mentally ill, the preachers can turn around and call
the psychiatrists sinners and spiritual counterfeits who proclaim false teachings
as science falsely so called. Whom can you trust?
Dont think for a
minute its the psychiatrists. Their anti-religious views cannot possibly be true, because
they are self-refuting.
If they wish to restrict all behaviors to physical causes, they
must include their own beliefs about psychiatry and religion. This makes the
teachings of psychiatry nothing more than chemical reactions in a physical brain.
Who could say their chemical reactions are like yours or mine? Who could possibly know
that their reactions are more valid than anyone elses, without reference to some external standard of
truth that is universal, timeless and certain? Their belief system dissolves into
the sea of irrationality, and is therefore untrustworthy by definition. Trust the source that
alone is universal, timeless and certain: your Creator. Only He knows the truth about the
creatures He made. Thank Him that he has provided his sentient beings with an operators
manual for mental and spiritual health. Learn it, study it, and when you still need
help, go to those who make it their life work to rightly apply the word of truth.
Next headline on:
The cartoony slogan Evolve or perish garnered support from a new story
about evolution. Dave Mosher on
Science shamelessly titled his article Catastrophic impacts made life
flourish, describing the theory by Birger Schmitz [U of Lund, Sweden] that the Ordovician
extinction was caused by a meteor impact. Out of the wreckage, a plethora
of new life emerged, he thinks. Dont tell that to students:
If you push an ecosystem too hard, youll destroy it, he said.
But for the organisms living on Earth at the time, [the environment] pushed
them to adapt and fill new niches. Its like at the university:
I tell my students all the time that if we dont push you, you dont evolve.
Whoops; too late.
For the equivocation of confusing random mutation
and natural selection with purpose-driven, goal-seeking, hopefully-intelligent
study, Schmitz easily wins Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week.
biologists at work. No further comment necessary.
Geology Sinks in the Mud 12/14/2007
Next headline on:
Question: what is the most abundant sedimentary rock in the world?
Follow-up question: what would happen to the science of geology if the consensus theory of how
this most abundant sedimentary rock was deposited turns out to be wrong? Prepare for a
paradigm shift: experiments have shown mistakes in long-held assumptions about
Heres what Macquaker and Bohacs said in Science1
about a paper in the same issue by Schieber, Southand and Thaisen:2
On page 1760 of this issue, Schieber et al. document a mechanism for depositing
mud that is at odds with perceived wisdom. Later, These results come at
a time when mudstone science is poised for a paradigm shift. What they found is that
Mudstones can be deposited under more energetic conditions than widely assumed,
requiring a reappraisal of many geologic records.
Mudstone is made up of very fine particles, typically just microns in diameter.
Think tiny clay particles in muddy water in the ocean or a lake, slowly settling down in calm water
to the bottom. Over long periods of time, the mud gradually
builds up, micron by micron, millimeter by millimeter, leaving very fine strata (laminae).
It compacts and compresses and sometimes dries out. Thats where mudstone and shale came from.
Thats what they thought. Schieber and team decided to test these ideas with flume experiments
in the laboratory. Earlier experiments used centrifugal pumps, but these have a tendency
to break up the clumps of clay particles, called floccules. Its these floccules, however,
that turn out to be essential to understanding mud transport and deposition.
This time, the team used a racetrack flume at Indiana University specially
devised to eliminate the breakup of floccules. They discovered that
rapidly-moving currents can stratify mud deposits in ways that mimic slow, calm-water
settling. Here is the abstract:
Mudstones make up the majority of the geological record. However, it is difficult to reconstruct the
complex processes of mud deposition in the laboratory, such as the clumping of particles into floccules.
Using flume experiments, we have investigated the bedload transport and deposition of clay
floccules and find that this occurs at flow velocities that transport and deposit sand. Deposition-prone
floccules form over a wide range of experimental conditions, which suggests an underlying universal
process. Floccule ripples develop into low-angle foresets and mud beds that appear laminated after
postdepositional compaction, but the layers retain signs of floccule ripple bedding that would be
detectable in the rock record. Because mudstones were long thought to record low-energy conditions of
offshore and deeper water environments, our results call for reevaluation of published interpretations of
ancient mudstone successions and derived paleoceanographic conditions.
One reason the theory has been muddy is that there are 32 variables to take into account.
Its a fundamentally complex system. Floccule formation, for instance, relies on
variables such as settling velocity, floccule size, grain-size distribution, ion exchange
behavior, and organic content as well as particle concentration and the intensity of
turbulence. Other variables affecting the outcome include electromagnetic properties, biological material
present, chemical composition, and more.
The scientists did the best they could controlling variables. They tried distilled water, lake water,
and salt water, with various types of mud particles. They watched what happened on all sides
of the flume, including looking up from the bottom, and examined the floccules with electron microscopes.
Previously, geologists thought that mudstone had to be deposited in calm water because
currents would disrupt the previously-deposited mud on the seabed or lakebed. Not so.
These experiments showed that laminated mud can be deposited under currents strong enough to
transport sand particles orders of magnitude larger than mud particles. Floccules
can actually grow up to the size of sand particles.
A glimpse at the implications of this paradigm shift can be gleaned from these quotes:
As if these issues are not daunting enough, Macquaker and Bohacs added this thought:
- A century ago, Henry Clifton Sorby, one of the pioneers of geology, pointed to the
study of muds as one of the most challenging topics in sedimentary geology. Today,
with our knowledge clearly expanded, muddy sediments are still considered highly complex systems
that may require as many as 32 variables and parameters for a satisfactory physicochemical
characterization. More research may clarify interdependencies between a number of these parameters
and may allow us to consider a smaller number of variables, but the fundamental complexity
of muddy sediments is likely to remain.
- Mudstones constitute up to two-thirds of the sedimentary record and are arguably the most
poorly understood type of sedimentary rocks. Mudstone successions contain a wealth of sedimentary
features that provide information about depositional conditions and sedimentary history, but
presently we lack the information that would allow us to link features observed in the
rock record to measurable sets of physical variables in modern environments.
- It appears that irrespective of what drives flocculation in a given experiment,
flocculation provides deposition-prone particles without fail over a
wide range of experimental conditions.
- Our observations do not support the notion that
muds can only be deposited in quiet environments
with only intermittent weak currents. Instead,
bedload transport of flocculated mud and deposition
occurs at current velocities that would also transport
and deposit sand. Clay beds can accrete from
migrating floccule ripples under swiftly moving
currents in the 10 cm/s to 26 cm/s velocity range, a
range likely to expand as flows with larger sediment
concentrations are explored.
- Whereas the clay beds formed in our experiments consist of
downcurrent-inclined laminae, they appear to be
parallel-laminated once fully compacted (Fig. 4A).
Because floccule ripples are spaced 30 to 40 cm
apart, ancient sediments of this origin are likely
to appear parallel-laminated (Fig. 4C) as well.
- Detection of ripple-accreted muds in the rock
record will require carefully defined, and yet to
be developed, criteria.
- In the course of two decades of detailed studies
of shales and mudstones, one of us has
seen comparable low-amplitude bedforms (Fig.
4D) in shale units that were deposited in a wide
variety of environments.... This suggests
that mud accretion from migrating floccule
ripples probably occurred throughout geologic
- Many ancient shale units, once examined
carefully, may thus reveal that they accumulated in
the manner illustrated here, rather than having
largely settled from slow-moving or still suspensions.
This, in turn, will most likely necessitate the
reevaluation of the sedimentary history of large
portions of the geologic record.
The results call for critical reappraisal of all mudstones previously
interpreted as having been continuously deposited under still waters. Such rocks are
widely used to infer past climates, ocean conditions, and orbital variations.
In short, a huge tower of interpretation, touching on fields as diverse as climate
change, earth history and even solar system dynamics, has been built on a flawed
assumption: that mudstones always settled out slowly in calm water. Now that
the assumption is shown to be unfounded, it is not just the geologists who will
have to consider a paradigm shift.
Speaking of mud,
reported the discovery of undersea mud waves in the Arctic, an
unexpected surprise. In a quizzical inversion of the above story,
scientists thought strong currents were required for such things;
researchers had thought the Arctic was too calm to produce the mud waves,
the article stated. Scientists arent sure what formed them.
With apologies to Thomas Kuhn, maybe it was another paradigm shift.
1. Macquaker and Bohacs, Geology: On the Accumulation of Mud,
14 December 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5857, pp. 1734-1735, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151980.
2. Schieber, Southard and Thaisen, Accretion of Mudstone Beds from
Migrating Floccule Ripples,
14 December 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5857, pp. 1760-1763, DOI: 10.1126/science.1147001.
A quick conversion shows 25 cm/sec to be a little shy of a foot per second, or
about half a mile per hour a slow current. But like they said, the
speed could be revised upward when fluids with higher concentrations are tested.
Also, currents could be stronger on the surface than the ocean bottom. Of more
consequence is the fact that nearly a century of assumption has undergirded a
geological foundation that is more like quivering mud than rock-solid support.
SETI researcher tries to explain why SETI is not like Intelligent Design:
A quick look at Grand Canyon layers shows that the
following (bottom to top) contain shales and mudstones: the Unkar group, the Bass
formation, Hakatai Shale, Dox (the thickest formation of all), the Chuar Group,
Bright Angel Shale, Supai Group, and Hermit Formation. These represent
thousands of feet of sediments. Previously thought to have formed in calm,
placid seas, it is now possible to look at these anew as having been deposited
under currents of water. Will Flood geologists now be able to say I told
you so to their uniformitarian rivals?
The implications of this announcement should send seismic waves throughout
geology and earth science. Geologists have looked to mudstones for clues about
depositional history. Chemists have looked to mudstones for clues about
the chemical history of the earth and its oceans. Oceanographers have looked to mudstones for
clues about plankton cycles and patterns. Atmospheric scientists have looked to mudstones for
clues about climate history. Biologists have looked to fossils in mudstones for
clues to evolutionary history. Physicists have looked to mudstones for clues about geomagnetic
history. Even planetary scientists have looked to mudstones for clues about
the orbital history of the Earth. All of these have assumed that mudstone left
a reliable record of slow, quiet deposition under calm water conditions. Now what?
If their chosen methodology shepherds them not beside the still waters, it cannot
restore their soul.
It may turn out that geologists can save face with further experimentation,
or that they could argue that there are narrow limits under which mudstones can form
that are not too far removed from the calm-water paradigm. Remember, however,
that mudstones are very complex, with at least 32 parameters to consider.
Thats the known parameters; what about the unknown ones? To what
extent can geologists infer past conditions by reading rocks when they
dont know the language? And how sure can we be now that future experiments
wont upset the current paradigm again, even more radically?
There are important lessons here about the philosophy of science: particularly,
the fundamental difference between the observational sciences and the historical
sciences. Even experiments as carefully controlled as these
cannot prove that the Dox Formation or the Bright Angel Shale were laid down under
comparable conditions. Lab experiments are only simulations. Many parameters
cannot be controlled; others are not even known. Science can say with some
confidence that such-and-such a rock is composed of quartz or montmorillite or limestone
in the present. Describing where it came from and how it got there is a
completely different kind of investigation. Why should geology limit itself
to observation of present resources and processes?
In 1825, Granville Penn, a Bible-believing British geologist, wrote that
trying to understand the rock record from field observations alone is like trying to understand
the history of Rome by studying scattered ruins of the empire without access to Roman
historians like Tacitus. Geology is a compound work, he argued: it is both physical and
historical, for it seeks the historical truth of a physical fact. He explained,
It is evident to reason, that certainty concerning a past fact such as is,
the mode by which all material existences were really first formed, or were really
afterwards altered must be historical certainty: the subject, therefore,
is no longer a subject for philosophical or scientific induction, but for historical
evidence, it demands a voucher competent to establish its truth. Now, the voucher
that could establish the fact respecting the true mode of first formations,
must have been a witness of that mode; but, the only witness of the mode of first
formations or creations, was the Creator himself.
(cited in Terry Mortenson, The Great Turning Point [Master Books, 2004], p. 64.)
His point is, that rather than restricting themselves to insufficient evidential resources,
geologists should be willing to use the same methods of historical evaluation from the
available sources that a historian would use in reconstructing the history of a past
civilization. It would be folly for a historian of Rome to ignore Tacitus, Julius Caesar,
Livy or Cicero, even if the sources were dubbed biased or incomplete.
The eyewitness accounts of Rome cannot provide exhaustive information, but they provide anchor points for
a basic framework of investigation. Is it not a superior methodology for a
historian to avail himself of both the extant written documents and the monuments?
Similarly, Penn argued, the works of Moses,
though not a geological textbook, provide enough intersection points of geological
events with human history with which to begin building a geological system.
Geologists in the 1830s abandoned that methodology not because the data forced
them to, but because they made it their choice to study only the monuments.
Well, you see where it has led. This is just one example (try some others:
and thats just from this year. The story about volcanoes in
instructive, and remember the puzzle of the
ultra-pure sandstones of world-wide distribution from 06/27/2003?).
Reading Geology papers is like reading
Darwinian evolution papers: a little bit of data, a lot of storytelling, and
frequent announcements that everything you know is wrong.
Try a change of perspective. In a parallel world outside the
mainstream geological institutions, which followed Lyell, Darwin and Huxley wholesale into
materialism in the 19th century, there remains today an active body of creation geologists
who still work within the framework of the written historical record. You would be
hard-pressed to notice any difference in scientific rigor in their papers. Often
there is active debate about how certain formations are to be interpreted.
Frequently they find the interpretations of the secular geologists to be untenable
in light of the observational evidence.
Many of the creation geologists have PhDs, and some are more experienced in field
work than their secular counterparts. They go out to
interesting sites all over America, Australia and the world, investigate them carefully,
and interpret the same data only through the lenses of a different worldview (example:
03/05/2006 commentary). Sound
interesting? Tired of the often-contradictory secular approach?
Here are two journals where you can test the alternative: the
Creation Research Society Quarterly and
the Journal of Creation.
Both of these general-science technical journals frequently contain interesting and
informative articles on geology and earth history.
Next headline on:
Darwin Fish Pokes ID in the Eye 12/13/2007
Some science news outlets are having an eye-poking battle against intelligent design
with the latest eye-popping claim about eye evolution. It seems to have started
in Australia on Science
Alert, where some exceptionally-preserved placoderm fossils were found:
The palaeobiologist discovered that unlike all living vertebrate animals which includes everything from the jawless lamprey fish to humans placoderms had a different arrangement of muscles and nerves supporting the eyeball evidence of an intermediate stage between the evolution of jawless and jawed vertebrates.
The creature already had fully-formed, functioning eyes. The discoverer was
only claiming that a change in the arrangement of muscles and nerves around the eye
hinted at a transitional arrangement between jawless fish and modern vertebrates.
The suggestion that a missing link had been found, however, was enough to send other reporters
wielding their fingers in battle against ID. One in the eye for intelligent
design, jeered Brendan OKeefe in
Morning Herald was even more brazen: Eye ancestor debunks ID nonsense.
The Science Alert article was slightly more reserved. Entitled Fossil
evidence of early eye, it ended, This means that were
able to add one more piece to the puzzle of how the human eye came to be.
The vertebrate eye is the best example of structural perfection as used by proponents of intelligent design to claim that something so complex couldnt possibly have evolved, Dr Young said.
Next to Tinker Bell and Yoda, Popeye is one of the Darwin
Partys favorite characters. Believing that eyes can just pop into existence
with the greatest of ease, they picture Popeye, filled with Darwin spinach, knocking
the living daylights out of the ID Brutus, as Olive Oyl (Eugenie Scott) grasps her
hands adoringly, saying, My hero!
Walking Upright Is Not Just for Pregnant Females 12/13/2007
Problem is, the ID folk arent watching the cartoons. They
are grown up. They live in the real world. They look ahead. They watch
ID the Future.
Next headline on:
Pregnant women have enhanced curvature of the lower spine, which helps them support
their babies during pregnancy. Obviously, this must have evolved that way
because emerging apes rising to their feet had different physiological needs.
Most science news reports are echoing this theme from a paper in Nature1
without any qualms about the Lamarckism or teleology of such language.
For instance, the EurekAlert
entry begins, The transition from apes to humans may have been
partially triggered by the need to stand on two legs, in order
to safely carry heavier babies. Why living apes do not feel this
need is not explained, nor how a need triggered the kind of random mutations that
would conspire to produce a complex set of adaptations.
The article on PhysOrg
envisions evolution rising to meet that need:
Walking on two feet, which happened early in human evolution, presents a unique challenge during pregnancy because the center of gravity shifts far in front of the hips, destabilizing the upper body and impairing locomotion. This is not the case for animals that walk predominantly on four legs such as chimpanzees, or even other bipeds.
Very clever of evolution to engineer this solution. Evolution is never ever
in question in such claims. The only question is how evolution did it:
To accommodate this shifted center of gravity, womens spines have evolved to help offset the additional weight in the abdomen during pregnancy, so that the back muscles are not taxed in counter-balancing the destabilizing effects of the babys weight.
When human ancestors first became bipedal, they set the human lineage off on a different evolutionary path from other apes, but in so doing created special challenges for pregnant mothers. One exciting discovery is that the ability of human females to better carry a baby to term while standing on two feet appears to have evolved at least two million years ago. The researchers studied two hominin fossils that were approximately two million years old, one of which presumably a female displayed three lordosis vertebrae and one of which presumably a male displayed fewer.
The original paper speculated that the demands of upright-walking females would have
exerted a strong selection pressure for this adaptation, but did not even
attempt to identify a chain of mutations that could have pulled it off.2
EurekAlert added this just-so story: ...the fall in body hair in primates
could have brought on bipedality as a necessary consequence,
through the strong selective pressure of safe infant carrying, as infants were
no longer able to cling to their mothers body hairs.
Early human women lived very strenuous, active lives, and pregnant females were forced to cope with the discomfort of childbearing while foraging for food and escaping from predators, [Daniel] Lieberman [Harvard] says. This evolution of the lower back helped early woman to remain more mobile during pregnancy, which would have been essential to survival, and appears to have been favored by natural selection.
Articles with similar claims can be found on
Geographic News and Associated Press.
The rest of the news media tend to echo these announcements with only minor variations.
None ever questions the evolutionary angle; design is always attributed to a Darwinian process.
1. Whitcombe, Shapiro and Lieberman, Fetal load and the evolution of lumbar lordosis in bipedal hominins,
450, 1075-1078 (13 December 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06342.
2. Sample: Given the demands of fetal load and the importance of pregnancy for fitness, one predicts that natural selection has operated on the unique anatomy of the hominin lumbar region to mitigate the biomechanical problems that females confront.
Evolutionists need to learn to walk upright.
To walk uprightly is to be a person of integrity, balance, poise and
righteousness. There is no way on earth anyone could ever know the things
they are claiming. They see a wonderfully designed adaptation, and cast these
pearls before swindling old Charlie. Here again we see
evolutionary scientists and their lackeys in the press crawling all over the floor, paying homage
to the Head Pig. The original papers first words, like those of a baby saying
da-da, are As predicted by Darwin... Wise king Solomon said,
Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, but a man of understanding
Stand up, man, woman, and take a stand for uprightness of heart and mind.
Stretching Saturns Rings in Time 12/13/2007
Next headline on:
Imagining young rings forming recently has been an embarrassment since Voyager
days. A new paper by ringmaster Larry Esposito (U of Colorado) found a way to stretch
them out into billions of years. The
press release describes clumpy material dividing and re-forming endlessly.
Finding more mass in the B-ring also helped explain the brightness of the rings
for longer times: theres more ice to dilute the incoming pollution.
We have discovered that the rings probably were not created just yesterday
in cosmic time, and in this scenario, it is not just luck that we
are seeing planetary rings now, said Esposito. They
probably were always around but continually changing, and they will
be around for many billions of years.
Its doubtful the Cassini crew will wait that long to find out. This story
was picked up by PhysOrg,
the BBC News,
On December 17, Astronomy
Picture of the Day reported the claim alongside a dazzling picture of the rings.
What did Esposito do, invent a perpetual motion machine?
What did he do with gas drag, sputtering, micrometeoroid impacts, collisional spreading
and sunlight pressure? These factors are not going to care whether fluffy
clumps of ice can recycle themselves. Apparently the ringmaster is also a
magician; he made these problems just disappear. When the paper comes out
maybe we can find the secret pockets. For most viewers, distraction is usually an
Why men tend to be less religious than women, from 12/19/2002.
Its not that this new model lacks evidential support; there does
appear to be clumpiness, and mass estimates have been revised upward by Cassini.
But it only accounts for more time for the B-ring,
not the other rings which are more tenuous and even younger including the rings of
Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. So the problem did not
go away with this announcement, despite the celebrating by the science news
who never heard an old age they didnt like.
Whats driving this urge for age? Simple: Charlie needs
the time. That sets the paradigm throughout science. The ringmasters have
been embarrassed for 23 years since Voyager forced them to consider the rings might
be young. When a phenomenon doesnt
cooperate, it must be forced into conformity; second law of thermodynamics be damned.
Next headline on:
What Mean These Bones? 12/12/2007
Fossils found in unusual conditions and strange locations tell a silent story.
Humans often cannot resist making up their own versions of the plot. Consider
the following discoveries. Listen to the stories told about them, and ask: what is
the probability the stories are true? How could we ever know? Who is
qualified to be the chief storyteller?
A paleontologist in the last story was honest about the storytelling:
This is just how I interpret it. But this is science when
you have little data, you have lots of freedom. The only
question is whether free interpretation can really be called science.
- Glacier-saurus: Bones from a six-ton sauropod were found 10 years ago
at 13,000' elevation near a glacier in Antarctica. New interpretations about it were reported by
Geographic article includes an artists interpretation of the ecology when it
lived. What put this monster meat in the freezer?
The evolutionary story is that this dinosaur, named Glacialisaurus hammeri,
lived 190 million years ago. NG quotes a paleontologist saying that the discovery
so far south was probably due to the fact that major connections between the
continents still existed at that time, and because climates were more equitable
across latitudes than they are today. He added that the bones are
important because they help to establish that primitive sauropodomorph dinosaurs
were more broadly distributed than previously thought and that they coexisted with
their cousins, the true sauropods.
- Armadillo in the sky: An armor-covered mammal called a glyptodont
was found at 14,000 feet in the Andes, reported
Geographic News. This represents the oldest glyptodont known from any
significant skeletal remains, said one paleontologist. How did it get so
high in the mountains? One paleontologist said that when it lived, the mountain wasnt there.
For me, the real question is what this tells us about the history of uplift
of the Andes mountains and how it impacted this group of animals.
Some glyptodonts, which look like fat, stiff armadillos, grew to the size of a small
car, the article said.
- Double-decker dino: Dinosaur bones sitting in a Chicago museum have been
re-interpreted as those of a large carnivorous beast rivalling T. rex.
Found in Niger 10 years ago, Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis was one of the
largest meat-eaters that ever lived.
It was part of a very weird ecosystem of huge bipedal carnivorous
dinosaurs that inhabited the Saharan Cretaceous landscape, the article claims.
The BBC News
story shows it larger than a double-decker bus.
Why did this beast
grow so large? A paleontologist explained: The dinosaur seems to
have evolved because these shallow seas divided up the land so it led to
different groups of dinosaurs in different places.
Obviously, that has implications for how life reacts to high temperatures
and high sea levels, he said.
Geographic News quoted a paleontologist calling this evolution in action,
even though humans have only observed static, dead bones. The study suggests
that the newly described species is evidence for rapid evolution after
shallow prehistoric seas inundated North Africa. That part of the story was certainly
It may be that these giants arose by allopatric speciation, whereby biological
populations are physically isolated by a barrier, in this case a seaway, and
evolve in reproductive isolation (see entry on allopatric speciation
from 01/15/2003). She thought that interpretation
holds for living species; However, that hypothesis cant be tested
with ancient fossils!
- Underground forest: A farmer in Michigan was astonished to find
something under his land when the Department of Transportation started digging a
pond for him in exchange for fill earth. Lo and behold, a prehistoric forest
came to light. The report on
quoted a forester saying, We find a lot of trees lying on the forest floor, but
this was the first time Ive seen so many trees thousands of years old and
so well preserved in the soil. Well, gosh darn, whaddya know.
What could bury a whole forest 15 feet underground? It had to be a single
catastrophic, violent event, and it must have happened a long time ago for 15 feet
of soil to build up.
A professional colleague speculated with him that
the trees were either transported or mowed down by the last glacier to move
across the Keweenaw, before Lake Superior covered the peninsula about 10,000
years ago. They want to perform radiocarbon dating on the logs, many of
which are 20 feet long and 2 feet in diameter.
- Mammoth targets: Rocks from space played asteroids against mammoths 35,000 years
ago, claims a report on the
Tusks from Alaska and Siberia appear to show scars of meteorite debris. A
researcher explained, We think that there was probably an impact which
exploded in the air that sent these particles flying into the animals.
Bones of bison from the same period show re-growth, indicating that the smaller
mammals survived a calamitous event that took down their bigger neighbors.
Theyre not sure, though; Maybe, these were tusks from dead animals
that were just exposed on the surface, so when this thing blew up in the atmosphere,
it would have peppered them. The date could range from 13,000 to 35,000
years ago, they said.
Previously, scientists attributed the extinction of mammoths to
humans or climate change. Can space impacts really explain this?
It cant hurt, at least (that is, it cant hurt the theory, even if it
hurt the animals):
For us the difficulty is that we see patterns but we dont understand what the underlying process is; so it becomes difficult to ascribe causation, he
[Dr. Ian Barnes from Royal Holloway University of London, UK] explained.
Just as in a modern crime scene, its very difficult to piece all the evidence together and say precisely what was going on; which event led to any particular outcome.
But he added: Certainly, you cant imagine it helped the animals having a large meteorite hit the Earths atmosphere and pellet them with shot.
- Polar warming: A polar bear jaw has been found in the Arctic,
reported the BBC News.
The article claims this jawbone is up to 130,000 years old. That makes the
evolution of polar bears 30,000 years older than previously thought.
Why is this good news? Well, if further discoveries can show the iconic
Arctic beasts have a deeper evolutionary heritage, then the outlook for the
animals may be more positive than some believe, because they would have
survived one interglacial period i.e., global warming. Hence,
This is telling us that despite the ongoing warming in the Arctic today,
maybe we dont have to be quite so worried about the polar bear.
Geographic News posted an article today about the massive dinosaur pit in Spain
(see 11/30/2007, bullet 2).
The consensus is that this graveyard, containing over 8,000 individuals, was caused
by a flood. Evolutionists are also saying this shows that the period when
they were assumed to have lived 70 million years ago had more biodiversity
than thought. Having so many dinosaurs
together at the same site is a big deal, one paleontologist commented.
This group of dinosaurs living in the same place in the same environment
hadnt been established before. The pit includes huge titanosaurs,
among the largest land animals that ever lived; they are among the most abundant
creatures at the site. Must have been some flood.
The interpretation of these finds is left as an
exercise. Thats a difficult exercise, because fossils dont come
with written documentation. Science cannot provide definitive answers about
one-time, past events. Paleontologists try to piece together a story from
multiple clues, and weave together scenarios that are more or less plausible.
Never forget, however, a point emphasized by philosophers of science:
theories are always under-determined
by the data. This means an almost infinite number of theories could
be concocted to fit the same set of observations. Its especially true for past events
that cannot be checked directly.
Could Evolutionary Racism Re-Emerge? 12/11/2007
So whose interpretation will carry the
day? Aha; now we enter the realm of political science.
The reigning Darwin Party wields an iron fist over its totalitarian dictatorship.
Remember: totalitarian means total; it means that it is a crime to even
think out of line with the regime. That is why interpretations outside
the Party never get heard. The paleontologist who claimed he had little data
but lots of freedom was putting a positive spin on how much freedom there is
inside the Party paradigm.
Next headline on:
It is a tragic matter of record that some of recent historys most brutal
racial genocides were justified on Darwinian principles (see CMI articles about the
the Nazi genocide,
and the Aborigine genocide).
The perpetrators acted on what they believed were inexorable laws of nature, that
evolution had equipped some races as superior and others as inferior, little more
Prior to the atrocities were many writings expressing IQ as a
function of skull size, human evolution as a continuum of progress from animal
evolution, and survival of the fittest as the highest good (see CMI article on
Haeckel). Add to that the
Malthusian idea that the earths resources cannot support all who are born,
apply it as Darwin did to survival of the fittest, and the intellectual framework
for might makes right was laid.
Now, of course, evolutionists typically decry the racist ideas of
their predecessors. Some now portray evolution as a world of cooperation
Diversity and inclusion are key words in evolutionary biology and in many a university and
corporate office policy statement. But has anything changed in the underlying doctrines that
led to earlier abuses? Consider these recent examples:
How long can the memory of Judeo-Christian morality hold out against a steady
onslaught of evolutionary claims that people are mere animals, some more evolved
If our ancestors were just like gorillas, as a recent article on
what is to stop a racist or tyrant from taking on the role of alpha silverback?
- Skull size: A short piece in the Random Samples column
of Science,1 What the Skull Tells, reported dispassionately
on work by an evolutionary psychologist at Edinburgh, Ian Deary, to measure the skulls
of historic figures considered to have high IQs. Studies have shown that
brain, and therefore skull, sizes have modest but significant correlations with IQ,
the article mentioned nonchalantly.
- Rapid human evolution: A claim this week by Henry Harpending, evolutionary anthropologist
at the University of Utah, that human evolution is accelerating, reverberated
throughout the echo chamber of the popular science press (see
Geographic News, BBC News
complete with the iconic human evolution line of progress diagram,
accompanied by image of a conquering Viking). One aspect of his claim was that
Human races are evolving away from each other. The National
Geographic article quotes him as saying,
Were evolving away from each other. Were getting more and more different.
Most of the articles mentioned that Harpending and a co-author got into trouble
after a previous study claimed that intelligence evolved more in one group than another.
This time, he stressed, the genetic differences between people groups
cannot be used to justify discrimination. Rights in the Constitution
arent predicated on utter equality. People have rights and should
have opportunities whatever their group.
This may be a hard sell, however, since the Constitution assumed that
natural rights come from God. In the Declaration of Independence (signed
by the same group of authors) they had said it was self-evident that all men are equal
and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights. The signers understood
that the equality spoken of was not genetic or physical. Equality was based
on the spiritual and moral values of equality before God, leading to equal opportunity
and equality before the law. Can these rights come from an evolutionary
process that is driving human races apart?
It was not just creationists finding cause for worry in Harpendings
claims. The article states that the study generated fears
such research will undermine the principle of human equality and justify
racism and discrimination. Other critics question the quality of the
science and argue culture plays a bigger role than genetics. These fears
came from the scientific community.
- Moral equivalence: It is common in evolutionary literature to ascribe
all moral qualities to blind evolutionary processes. As one example, an article
in Science October 26 considered war as the flipside of altruism.2
Holly Arrow wrote that altruism flourishes only in the company of outgroup
hostility (parochialism), with war as both the engine of this coevolutionary
process and its legacy.
Though Ms. Arrow clearly favored keeping the sharp end of altruism (war)
in its sheath, would-be tyrants may not apply the law of Darwinism so peacefully.
Within this view, it would seem trivial for a dictator to justify war as some
indeed did as an altruistic act for the good of the fatherland, consistent
with the principles of Darwinism.
Breaking News 12/11/2007: The truth comes out about Matthew
Murray, the gunman who shot up a mission and church in Colorado last weekend.
Apparently he fell under the spell of the same anti-Christian, anarchist
rock group KMFDM as did the Finnish murderer last month (11/08/2007).
He also copycatted the Columbine killers who had killed in the name of natural
selection see story on
World Net Daily.
1. Random Samples, Science,
Volume 318, Number 5855, Issue of 30 November 2007.
2. Holly Arrow, The Sharp End of Altruism,
26 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5850, pp. 581-582, DOI: 10.1126/science.1150316.
We repeat: dont think for a minute that the evils of Darwinian
philosophy were exhausted in the extermination camps, gulags and killing fields
of the 20th century. Evolutionary ethics are like demons that must be
locked in the abyss lest they once again unleash death upon the world.
Their ambassadors know the language of diplomacy and talk peace until they
gain enough power to overcome the guardians of the keys.
Accurate Chemical Classifier Mimics Insect Nose 12/10/2007
Next headline on:
Politics and Ethics
Two Germans have built a better chemical classification system by taking their
inspiration from insect olfactory organs. Heres how they described their achievement in
an abstract from PNAS:1
The chemical sense of insects has evolved to encode and classify
odorants. Thus, the neural circuits in their olfactory system are likely
to implement an efficient method for coding, processing, and classifying
chemical information. Here, we describe a computational method to process
molecular representations and classify molecules. The three-step approach
mimics neurocomputational principles observed in olfactory systems. In the
first step, the original stimulus space is sampled by virtual
receptors, which are chemotopically arranged by a self-organizing map.
In the second step, the signals from the virtual receptors are decorrelated
via correlation-based lateral inhibition. Finally, in the third step,
olfactory scent perception is modeled by a machine learning classifier.
We found that signal decorrelation during the second stage significantly increases
the accuracy of odorant classification. Moreover, our results suggest that
the proposed signal transform is capable of dimensionality reduction and is
more robust against overdetermined representations than principal component
scores. Our olfaction-inspired method was successfully applied to
predicting bioactivities of pharmaceutically active compounds with high
accuracy. It represents a way to efficiently connect chemical structure
with biological activity space.
Readers may want to sniff our 06/27/2005
article about the work of Gilles Laurent, whose lab described in detail the
exquisite coding method of insect olfaction in Caltechs periodical
and Science. Laurents work was cited in the references.
The scientists took advantage of an algorithm in insect olfactory
systems that processes inputs through a system of correlation and decorrelation,
finding general similarities and discriminating specific differences. The
system maps an almost unlimited number of inputs into the brain, such that
All information necessary to assign a perceptual quality to a chemical stimulus
is present there. They said that the application of this framework is not
limited to the olfactory domain but can also be efficiently used
for virtual screening of a pharmaceutical compound database; i.e., in
machine learning systems. They did not build such a system yet. This
work only provides a pathway for inventors in the electronic nose world: The effects
of processing in the virtual antennal lobe on those extensions as
well as their impact on classification power provide a tantalizing
prospect for future research.
A little more awe for what a tiny insect antenna accomplishes can be gleaned from
the authors statement, The processing scheme we present here provides a simplified
model of neural computation in the olfactory system. They said,
We tried to keep the simulation overhead as small as possible so that the
essence of the processing strategies would stay obvious.
1. Schmuker and Schneider, Processing and classification of chemical data inspired by insect olfaction,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA, 10.1073/pnas.0705683104, published online before print December 10, 2007.
2. Gilles Laurent, Olfaction: A Window into the Brain, Engineering and
Science (LXVIII:1/2), [summer] 2005, pp. 43-51
If we can pardon the researchers logical blunder
in thinking that evolution could be expected to produce an efficient method for anything, this
is quite a good example of biomimetics in action. Biomimetics looks for efficient
design and tries to imitate it. This is design science, not evolution.
These scientists saw an effective algorithm in an insect classification system, and
by plagiarizing it, achieved a high degree of accuracy.
How to define life: follow the instructions, from
Insects, of course, have no noses; their olfactory sense is located
on their antennae. An insect antenna has to be able to
map a huge number of chemical signals to the brain. The way it does it is
clever and mind-boggling. It is well worth revisiting the Laurent article,
if you can disregard the foul odor of evolutionary assumptions here and there.
Next headline on:
Will Adult Stem Cells Cure Sickle Cell Anemia? 12/09/2007
Its been just weeks since two labs announced success harvesting pluripotent stem
cells from skin cells (11/20/2007),
and already beneficial applications are in sight.
Daily and Live
Science reported on initial tests that show the new induced pluripotent stem cells
offer hope for millions afflicted with sickle-cell anemia. Though its
too early to tell if the technique will work on humans, it appears to work in
mice. If these ethically-acceptable cells are able to correct this well-characterized
genetic mutation, perhaps miracle treatments for other genetic conditions are waiting in the wings.
A panel on Fox News reported Saturday that this new stem-cell methodology
renders embryonic stem cells obsolete and thus puts the ethical controversy about
stem cells behind us. No one on the panel disagreed.
For an engaging read about the
sickle-cell mutation, and how it provides some resistance to malaria,
read Michael Behes new book, The Edge of Evolution (see description
Research Network and Behes
where he battles his critics.)
What Keeps Skin Strong? Velcro! 12/08/2007
Evolutionists have used malarial resistance via sickle-cell trait as one of their leading examples
of natural selection in action. Dr. Behe does not disagree that it is a prime
example of a Darwinian process, but uses it to show that what can be achieved
by it is extremely limited. The evolutionary arms race between
the malarial parasite and its hosts, he illustrates in detail, does not lead to
higher levels of organization. It is more like trench warfare, in which
opposing armies will tolerate huge casualties in order to survive.
Next headline on:
Cell Biology (also next entry)
Politics and Ethics
Skin would fall to pieces were it not for velcro-like molecules that bind its
cells together. These molecules, called cadherins, make skin strong but
also supple. Their secret was explained by Ashraf Al-Amoudi of the European
Molecular Biology Laboratory, quoted in
The trick is that each cadherin binds twice: once to a molecule from the
juxtaposed cell and once to its next-door neighbor.
The system works a bit like specialized Velcro and establishes very
tight contacts between cells.
Al-Amoudi, Achilleas Frangakis and two others achieved a first: an image of
skin cells using cryo-electron tomography. By taking images at different
angles, this technique allows construction of a 3-D image of the subject.
A color-coded reconstruction of a skin cell and its tightly-packed organelles
accompanies the article. A similar report on
Daily shows an image of how the cadherin molecules interact.
The original paper in Nature provides more details about how
cadherins link up.1 In skin, the proteins are parts of
structures called desmosomes, which not only provide adhesion, but
encode instructions to drive tissue morphogenesis [structure formation]
and to regulate tissue homeostasis [dynamic equilibrium].
When seen for the first time via cry-electron tomography, the structure of the desmosomes, previously thought to be rather
chaotic, came to light: Our results indicate that the molecules interact at the
midline, forming building blocks of alternate cis [same-side] and trans
[alternate-side] dimers [proteins consisting of two domains],
and thus resulting in a highly packed regular organization. They called
this interaction a zipper-like organization of the cadherin molecules.
Despite the quasi-periodicity of the cadherin arrangement, the cadherins
retain a significant flexibility without losing their alternating interaction
Even more fascinating than the structure is how it is
assembled in an orderly sequence:
Even though the images are static, our results support the hypothesis that desmosomal cadherins on the cell surface are first clustered into small groups interacting through specific residues in the EC1 domains to form cis homodimers. The opposing cell membranes are then brought in close proximity to enable the formation of the trans homodimers, which relies on Trp 2 and the hydrophobic pocket together with residues involved in molecular specificity. Once the initial recognition is established, more molecules are brought to the contact zone, thus compacting the junction. This compaction process is regularized by building blocks of alternate cis and trans dimers so that the strength of cell-cell contact is homogeneous. These processes are repeated to extend the junction and finally form the fully mature desmosome.
The authors made no mention of how this structural arrangement might have evolved.
Cadherins are also used in heart muscle a tissue that really depends on having
reliable yet flexible adhesion.
1. Al-Amoudi, Diez, Betts and Frangakis, The molecular architecture of
cadherins in native epidermal desmosomes,
450, 832-837 (6 December 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05994.
Theres more going on in your outer layer
than you can possibly imagine. The beauty of biological organization is
not just skin deep. Skin deep is only where it starts. And realize
that the skin tissue itself is the easy part; skin is also filled with sensors,
communication channels and other wonders that bear witness to wise planning and
intelligent organization. Thats why these scientists, like many others
reporting on real lab work, seemed to have no need or use for evolutionary explanations.
SETI: Physics Conspires to Keep the Aliens Isolated 12/07/2007
Next headline on:
Where are the aliens? Theyre too far away to get to know.
Dont look for galactic federations to join any time soon, said SETI
Institute Director Seth Shostak at
The harsh realities of the speed of light make fellowship, both in person and
via radio signals, too remote to be feasible.
Shostak noted the fine-tuning of the universe before discussing
these problems with interaction.
For years scientists have wrestled with a puzzling fact: The universe appears
to be remarkably suited for life. Its physical properties are finely
tuned to permit our existence. Stars, planets and the kind of sticky
chemistry that produces fish, ferns and folks wouldnt be possible if
some of the cosmic constants were
only slightly different.
That led to the principle theme of his essay: Well, theres another
property of the universe thats equally noteworthy: Its set up in a
way that keeps everyone isolated.
Realistic SETI researchers dont expect to
have two-way communication with aliens. They understand that any message
detected will have come from a civilization that has either become extinct or has
gone on to bigger and better things than to care about an answer from us.
The dream of SETI is to establish the existence of aliens, not, like Jimmy Carter
wrote on the Voyager record, to join a community of galactic civilizations.
Is there a mouse in your genes? from
It was nice of Seth to admit the fine-tuning of the universe.
He can say that and keep his job, but let an ID person say the same thing and
he gets expelled, as in the case of
G. Gonzalez (see Evolution News #1
and Fox News).
Next headline on:
Origin of Life: Food for Queazy Thought 12/06/2007
New theories of the origin of life seem to come and go like fashion trends.
A biochemist at University of California at Santa Barbara (Helen Hansma) put out
a new plot line about biomolecules forming between the protective flakes of
mica. This was all Dave Mosher at Live Science (see reprint on
MSNBC) needed to tease the
readers taste buds:
Soup and pizza couldnt explain the origins of life, so a researcher built
a sandwich of an idea instead.
Mosher should not be blamed for the menu, because these are exactly the metaphors
Hansma herself used:
The new hypothesis describes how flaky layers of the mineral mica
could have created the perfect conditions to jump-start the formation of
molecules necessary for life....
Mica is like a massive sandwich with millions of layers of
mineral sheets, which would be the bread, Hansma said. The nooks
and crannies between the bread may have jump-started the formation of lifes
chemicals and protected them. Its like a giant potluck of chemistry.
So Helen wins the award, and Mosher is just the assistant cook. He pointed
out that she had to make the pizza and soup seem distasteful first: To
address these shortcomings, Hansma merged the soup and pizza ideas to create her
sandwich hypothesis. Does that mean he is offering us a wet,
This story was echoed by
Geographic News and
Origin-of-life researchers occasionally raise
another plot line up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes. Its only
a way of distracting the public into thinking progress is being made. All
the old criticisms still apply, and some new ones, also.
Is Making Planets Childs Play? 12/05/2007
Hansma cautioned that significant work lies ahead
(job security for storytellers) before
she can make the hypothesis appetizing to other scientists. This
will take awhile, since many first have to recover from severe indigestion
jump-started by the thought of pizza, soup and a giant potluck of chemistry in
a mica-bread sandwich.
Next headline on:
Origin of Life
Dave Mosher says Making planets is childs play (see
He refers not to a human child, but to a star child that is, a young star,
like UX Tau A or LkCa 15. The Spitzer Space Telescope detected dust disks
around these two stars that are 1 million years old, which is 10 times
younger than other known planet-forming systems.
press release explains that these young disks appear to have
gaps where planets are forming. Here is an overview of what theoretically
goes on in the childs game of making planets:
Such dusty disks are where planets are thought to be born.
Dust grains clump together like snowballs to form larger rocks,
and then the bigger rocks collide to form the cores of planets.
When rocks revolve around their central star, they act like cosmic vacuum
cleaners, picking up all the gas and dust in their path and creating gaps.
(How snowballs form rocks is left as an exercise.)
The same people who write press releases must not read the scientific papers.
There are major problems with this scenario. Among the most difficult is
getting the small dust grains to clump together, a process called accretion.
Planetary scientist Jeff Cuzzi wrote about this problem in Nature August 30:1
Making planets is tricky, and probably takes several stages. First,
tiny interstellar grains must accrete into mountain-sized objects massive
enough to decouple from their cocoon of nebula gas. These objects
probably then combine in collisions, growing ever larger, past asteroid-sized
planetesimals and lunar-sized embryos, to full-blown planets. How the first
stage of this process, primary accretion, works is a fundamental unsolved problem
of planetary science.
Not exactly childs play. The ingredients for planets are speeding around the star
at tens of meters per second, or even several times the speed of sound. They are
more likely to collide and disrupt than accrete. Furthermore, we cant see inside a dust
disk to look at what happens, so explanations have to be inferred from models.
After looking at possible contributions from turbulence or magnetic fields, Cuzzi ended,
The answer could be that some combination of processes, each selecting a
different particle size, acts simultaneously or sequentially, possibly
in turbulent conditions. (Of course, the mechanism by which turbulence is
maintained remains uncertain.) Whatever the final answer turns out
to be, the results of Johansen and colleagues indicate that future efforts
devoted to developing more complex models of the interactions between particles
and gas in the protoplanetary nebula will be a good investment.
The childs play is stumping the PhDs. A recent paper in Icarus
addresses this question specifically.2 Paraskov,
Wurm and Krauss considered all the variables: particle size and composition, gas
drag, collision velocities and more. When dust particles are small and moving
at low velocities relative to one another, they can stick up to a point, but
typical collision velocities go beyond all these threshold velocities for
sticking, they noted. Therefore, for larger particles (>10 cm)
it is not possible that they continue to grow by simple hit-and-stick
mechanisms. Yet particles need to accrete up to mountain size (a
kilometer or more in diameter) before gravitation can take over.
Because of problems with the simple theoretical models,
Different mechanisms to further aid growth of planetesimals have been
suggested, especially to overcome unfavorable conditions where the primary
collisions lead to erosion rather than growth. Obviously, a hopeful
preplanetesimal needs to grow faster than it erodes. Some ideas they evaluated
included: (1) secondary accretion of dust from collisions, (2) gas drag
accretion as particles slow down in the gas of a spinning disk, (3) electrostatic
attraction, (4) formation of porous bodies that can absorb energy of collisions
without disrupting (inelastic collision), and (5) gravitational instabilities
that form pockets of higher density. Each model has its shortcomings,
they said; the bottom line is that collisional dynamics must be factored into
The team performed drop tower experiments to see what happens to collisional
fragments. The experiments reported here are intended to give
realistic upper limits for fragment velocities, one of the key parameters
for any accretion model. While accretion seems reasonable up to small particle
sizes, maybe up to a centimeter (given low relative velocities), disruption and
fragmentation becomes a greater concern for larger particles. To decide
if planetesimals can grow in collisions or if fragmentation dominates, it is
important to know what the typical collisions are, they said; that is why
there is no substitute for actual experimentation to provide an experimental
database, instead of ad hoc assumptions that plague models.
The team ran experiments in a vacuum, using a Bremen drop tower that
provides microgravity for about 5 seconds. They videotaped the collisions,
and measured the mass gained and lost by the target particles. They tried
porous and spherical targets. They varied the impact velocities from 3.5
to 21.5 m/s.
So what happened? The impacts into highly porous targets
generally show a very destructive behavior, they reported. They result
in crater formationan imprint of the projectileand an extensive erosion
of the whole target surface and deeper target layers. At 19.5 m/s,
the projectile barreled completely through the target. Dust projectiles fired
at compact surfaces were different; they formed pyramid-like structures on the surface.
In all the experiments, the ejecta that was blasted off was measured. In most
cases, the accretion efficiency was negative: more mass was lost than
accreted. Only in the case of a dust projectile hitting a slightly compacted
target was a net gain measured; otherwise, All impacts into highly porous targets
resulted in a mass loss of the target, with more loss at higher velocities.
The single case of mass gain was a contrived and unrealistic scenario.3
What happens to the ejecta? It moves slower than the projectile,
from 3 to 120 cm/s, in directions depending on the projectile mass and velocity.
They believe it is possible a target can become more porous if hit enough times.
A growing body might then consist of compact parts but also large pores,
they said. This is important as large pores enable a larger gas flow
through the body which is beneficial for reaccretion of ejecta by gas flow.
Experiments with more credible dust projectiles, however, were more difficult to
characterize; the impact is spread over a larger area. The highest accretion
efficiency (42%) was found with high-impact projectiles onto compact targets, but
the results were difficult to quantify. They could not comment much about
the role of electrostatic charges on outcomes, an important problem in itself.
At the end of the paper, it was time to put the pieces together and
see what this means for the growth of planets. For most experiments we
simulated an extreme case of collisions in the sense that we built the targets as
weak as possible by using large granules but retaining dust features, i.e.,
a small degree of cohesion, by using dust, they said. Result?
We find that these collisions are strongly erosive. No matter
the speed or mass, they all show a mass loss of the larger body upon impact
if the target is only weakly bound. Does that mean the end of the
planetesimal hypothesis? Not so fast:
However, care should be taken in applying these results directly to collisions
in protoplanetary disks. Only a single collision of a weak body with a particle
several mm in size at about 10 m/s would be enough to change this body substantially.
The given collisions will therefore not be typical ones. The consequence
of the erosion found in these experiments is not that growth of larger
bodies is impossible but that objects of the kind studied cannot grow
larger than a few cm without being at least partially compacted.
Trouble is, it is worse for chondrules highly compact grains characteristic
in meteorites called chondrites. They are already compacted and would be more
subject to erosion.
Further experiments on this are needed but if we speculate that morphologies
comparable to our weak dust granule targets would need to be present for aggregates
built from indestructible chondrules then growth to larger bodies in a reservoir
dominated by sub-mm chondrules is not possible at velocities of a few m/s.
Therefore, if such a distribution of chondrules existed, for all or only certain
classes of chondrites, during any phase of protoplanetary evolution, they probably
do not grow by mutual collisions. At some time the chondrules would need
to be incorporated into larger objects otherwise, e.g., by being accreted by
This, of course, begs the question of how the existing planetesimals accreted in the first place.
In their last paragraph, they launched from their experimental data into speculation:
maybe a projectile hits a target and knocks off ejecta, some of which is moving
slower. The projectile sometimes causes decompression of the target.
The energy of other projectiles can then be absorbed without launching significant
ejecta; meanwhile, the dust of the previous impact might be re-accreted after a
collision by gas flow.
Assuming this convoluted scenario, a permeable body might be able to grow
at least within the size range tested. So in the dusty battlefield of collisions,
it is entirely possible
that a planetesimal could continue to grow, they concluded on a note of victory,
however subdued by the obdurate lab results. This is no
mere childs play, however. That was clear
from their penultimate sentence: By observing deep impact channels,
considering addition of new dust layers, and finding decompaction by collisions,
it is very clear that the evolution of the morphology of a growing
body is highly complex.
1. Jeff Cuzzi, Planets: the first movement,
448, 1003 (30 August 2007) | doi:10.1038/4481003a.
2. Paraskov, Wurm and Krauss, Impacts into weak dust targets under
microgravity and the formation of planetesimals,
Volume 191, Issue 2, 15 November 2007, Pages 779-789.
3. The procedure for building this target is as follows. The
target is initially built in a regular fashion as a highly porous target.
The top is then covered by a plate which becomes the bottom as the target is
turned upside down. The initial bottom becomes the target surface for the
impact experiment. This marginal modification of the target seems
sufficient to change the outcome of an impact from mass loss to mass gain for
slow dust aggregate projectiles. As we have only one experiment with
this behavior a more detailed study on the effect of porosity for collisions
has to be carried out before further conclusions can be drawn.
We have shown you once again a stark contrast
between the bluffing that goes on in the news
media and the hard realities of experimental science. Some may find it
sufficient to believe that this all works somehow, because clearly planets
exist, even around other stars. But to think that science understands
planet formation by natural processes, and that experimental science proves it,
is a bad example of glittering generalities.
A step toward true understanding requires some examination of the nitty gritty
details behind such claims.
Evolutionists Explain Living Fossils 12/04/2007
Next headline on:
Heres an old evolutionary puzzle to challenge your local Darwinist:
explain living fossils. Many living animals and plants were known only
from the fossil record, thought to have gone extinct many millions of years ago, only
to turn up in a local meat market or remote forest. Science Daily
tackled this question in the Nov. 17 issue.1
Perkins told the story of three famous cases of Lazarus
species that came forth from the dead: coelacanth, Laotian rock rat, and Wollemi
pine. Sifting away the extraneous facts, what was the kernel of evolutionary
explanation for these organisms, some of which supposedly spent up to 93 million
years of evolutionary time alive and well, without leaving a trace in the rocks?
Here are the three leading suggestions:
Many scientists contend that the simultaneous reappearance of so many Lazarus
taxa indicates that the fossil record from that era cant be trusted, says
[Margaret] Fraiser [U of MichiganMilwaukee]. Others suggest that the
missing creatures simply became so rare that they werent captured in
the fossil record. Yet others propose that the creatures survived only
in small areas and that their fossils havent yet been discovered.
Fraiser and her colleagues put these ideas to the test by surveying fossil counts
before and after the Permian extinction. They concluded that the fossil
record is trustworthy. Richard Twitchett, a paleoecologist from
U of Plymouth, concluded, These Lazarus taxa must have been somewhere,
maybe in [rocks] that paleontologists havent sampled yet. Or maybe
their fossils have been misidentified or overlooked.
Perkins did not discuss a related evolutionary puzzle. Why
did the living forms look identical to the ancient forms after so many tens of
millions of years of evolution?
1. Sid Perkins, Back from the Dead?
'Resurrections' of long-missing species lead to revelations,
Week of Nov. 17, 2007; Vol. 172, No. 20, p. 312.
This is not science; it is religion masquerading
as science. They did not even consider the possibility that living fossils
falsify long ages and evolutionary theory. But if they want to play the
absence of evidence is not evidence of absence game, creationists
can, too. If an evolutionist asks you to show you a Precambrian rabbit or
Silurian human, show them this story. Of course, we know what the Darwin
Party would do if they did find a Precambrian rabbit: they would say,
Well, what do you know? We were wrong! This rock isnt
Precambrian, its Pleistocene! (cf.
Have faith, brother, and you will see miracles: Lazarus species rising from the dead.
Does Big Science know how to define science?
Next headline on:
Active Moons Challenge Old-Age Beliefs 12/03/2007
Beyond the asteroid belt, where sunlight is weak, small bodies that should be old
and cold seem young and active. Here are some recent papers and reports
about some of the moons around the gas giants showing more signs of vitality than
expected for bodies assumed to be billions of years old.
Sources of heating that might keep small bodies active include (1) radioactive heating
in the core, (2) tidal flexing, (3) impacts. It seems unlikely any of these could
work non-stop for 4.5 billion years on moons as small as Enceladus; indeed, a paper in
the September issue of Icarus said that resonance and tidal heating is insufficient
to account for the observed flux; Therefore, the source of endogenic activity of Enceladus
remains unexplained.7 And if the activity
began just recently, why at a time when humans are present to observe it?
- Jupiters Io: Astronomers at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii detected
a big outburst of the Tvashtar volcano on Io. Reported in Icarus,1a,
the eruption lasted over a month from April to June 2006. The temperature
extended over 60 square kilometers and emitted 7.7 trillion watts. The
authors noted the activity at Tvashtar seen by the New Horizons spacecraft in
February this year (10/15/2007), but could
not say if it was a continuation of the eruption they observed.
Another paper in Icarus found plumes near Pele.1b
Using the Hubble Space Telescope, a team detected sulfur and sulfur dioxide plumes
in February 2003, March 2003 and January 2004. These plumes showed dramatic
variability over a matter of days and weeks. Additional plumes were detected
at other locations.
Another paper in Icarus recalculated the heat output of Ios
volcanoes downward.2 This somewhat mitigates the problem
of explaining the anomalously high temperatures measured, but still shows that, within error,
Ios heat output is right at the edge of what can be explained by theory
1340K measured, 1300K theoretical. Even so, getting the hot lava out in a 20-30%
liquid crust while keeping the mountains up presents other
theoretical problems. The authors said that it is still
possible the lavas are ultramafic (see Io, Io, Its Off to Work I Go,
05/04/2004). Whether or not the heat output
can fit tidal flexing models, Io has a staggering rate of volcanism,
they said. ...if the observed heat loss were all provided by mafic lavas,
~500 km3 would have to be erupted each year (Blaney et al., 1995)
compared to ~4 km3 per year for the Earth.
Note this admission: if there were no efficient means of recycling the crust
into the mantle, we would actually see only relatively low temperature silicate
volcanism on Io. Models of Ios interior, therefore, include the
recycling assumption: The fact that eruption temperatures in excess of
1100 °C are observed requires that there be an efficient recycling mechanism
and that there is limited differentiation between the crust and mantle.
This requirement comes from the assumption that Io is 4.5 billion years old.
- Jupiters Europa: A paper in Icarus about Europa this
month,3 though focused primarily on its magnetic interactions
with Jupiter, repeated the well-known evidence of the moons youthfulness:
Galileo measurements of Europas gravitational field and modeling show Europa
to be a differentiated satellite consisting of a metallic core, a silicate mantle
and a water ice–liquid outer shell. The minimum water ice–liquid outer shell
thickness is about 80 km for plausible mantle densities (Anderson et al., 1998).
High resolution data obtained with the Solid State Imaging (SSI) system show
evidence of a young and thin, cracked and ruptured ice shell (e.g., [Belton
et al., 1996] and [Carr et al., 1998]). The geological observations
imply that warm, convecting material existed at shallow depths within
the subsurface at the time of its recent geological deformation.
A dazzling montage of Europa, reprocessed from Galileo images, was posted on
Astronomy Picture of the Day
for December 2.
- Saturns Titan: A range of mountains on Saturns largest
moon Titan was discovered by radar imaging in 2005. This month in Icarus,4
Cassini scientists analyzed this feature which stands out from the rest of the
moons mostly gentle terrain. As with the Appalachians on earth,
they said erosion seems to act fast enough (or mountain-building slow enough)
to preclude the formation of abundant features taller than a few hundred meters.
They estimated the age of the range at 20 to 100 million years old maximum
which would be less than 1/40 the assumed age of the moon. This is
short for planetary geological timescales, and further corroborates the
conclusion from the dearth of impact craters [refs] that the surface overall is
less than a billion years old. These figures should be understood as upper
- Saturns Enceladus: The geyser moon of Saturn got another
write-up in Icarus this month.5 This time,
however, the focus was not on the plumes at the south pole, but on the wrinkles
and ridges near the equator. The ridges appear to be up to 400m high and
3-4 km apart. This area may lack the tiger stripes and eruptions of the south
polar terrain, but has been active recently as well: there are extensive
sets of parallel, north–south trending ridges and troughs occur within the
planitiae themselves, and evidence for resurfacing and extensional tectonics
Models of fracturing caused by unstable extension (stretching) of
the crust are 2 to 3 times too low to account for the observed ridges. Perhaps
some other process amplified the stretching. Because Jupiters moon Ganymede is
more massive, the grooves on that moon are even harder to explain, they said.
The tremendous range of ages of surface features on Enceladus led the scientists
to begin their paper with an obvious but astonishing statement:
Saturns moon Enceladus is one of the great enigmas of the
outer Solar System.
- Neptunes Triton: One would think the farther out you go from
the sun, the colder it gets, and, therefore, the more quiescent. That is surely not the
case at Neptune, which has some of the strongest winds, and for its moon Triton,
another aging body sporting a young physique. Tritons geological complexity ranks with
Europa and Titan, said another paper in Icarus this month that claimed the
moon Triton has a negligible surface age.6
All the impact craters on Triton cluster on the leading hemisphere, suggesting
a pummeling from objects in orbit around Neptune. None of the craters appear
to have come from outside the system. The authors put an upper limit of 50 million
years on the heavily cratered leading hemisphere, and 6 million years on the Neptune-facing
cantaloupe terrain observed by Voyager 2 in 1989. This would be
negligible indeed about 1/10 of 1% of the assumed age of the solar system.
The authors considered whether the young-looking terrain was resurfaced
because of the cratering or other factors in the past, and ruled them out.
no matter what, Triton has to have actively resurfaced on a time scale short
compared to its age, they said. Obviously, From the perspective of Tritons
thermal history, there is little distinction between a world that remains active
for 4.0 billion years and a world that remains active for 4.5 billion years.
The resurfacing rate on Triton has probably been high for a long time, they judged.
In fact, Our results push Tritons surface to even younger, perhaps negligible, ages.
If we accept the hypothesis that most of Tritons large craters are not heliocentric
[i.e., not caused by interlopers from all angles], then the surface may be significantly
younger than Europas. The consensus is that Tritons surface
is very young, and therefore is probably geologically active today.
1a. Laver, de Pater and Marchis, Tvashtar awakening detected in
April 2006 with OSIRIS at the W.M. Keck Observatory,
Volume 191, Issue 2, 15 November 2007, Pages 749-754.
1b. Jessup, Spencer and Yelle, Sulfur volcanism on Io,
Volume 192, Issue 1, 1 December 2007, Pages 24-40.
2. Keszthelyi et al, New estimates for Io eruption temperatures:
Implications for the interior,
Volume 192, Issue 2, 15 December 2007, Pages 491-502.
3. Schilling, Neubauer, Saur, Time-varying interaction of Europa with the
jovian magnetosphere: Constraints on the conductivity of Europas subsurface ocean,
Volume 192, Issue 1, 1 December 2007, Pages 41-55.
4. Radebaugh, Lorenz, Kirk, Lunine, Stofan, Lopes, Wall and the Cassini Radar team,
Mountains on Titan observed by Cassini Radar,
Volume 192, Issue 1, 1 December 2007, Pages 77-91.
5. Bland, Beyer and Showman, Unstable Extension of Enceladus Lithosphere,
Volume 192, Issue 1, 1 December 2007, Pages 92-105.
6. Schenk and Zahnle, On the negligible surface age of Triton,
Volume 192, Issue 1, 1 December 2007, Pages 135-149.
7. Rappaport, Iess, Tortora, Anabtawi, Asmar, Somenzi and Zingoni,
Mass and interior of Enceladus from Cassini data analysis,
Volume 190, Issue 1, September 2007, Pages 175-178.
As if this werent enough, there is recent
evidence that Pluto, Charon and some of the Kuiper Belt objects and minor planets
at the farthest reaches of the solar system also show activity on their
Hadrosaur Skin Flick 12/03/2007
CEH is one of very few websites reporting the
latest papers from leading scientific journals with a critical analysis of their evolutionary
implications. TV documentaries and textbooks rarely mention these very
serious problems with standard theories of the solar system. You have just seen that the best
planetary scientists in the world, constrained within their chosen billions-of-years mindset,
have many questions and few answers. We hope you find this liberating.
Next headline on:
The press is abuzz with the story of a mummified hadrosaur found in North Dakota
with skin and fossilized soft parts; see
and BBC News.
Since the fully-articulated, uncollapsed, mummified fossil named Dakota was discovered in 1999,
though, it appears that the announcement is being made now primarily as publicity for a
Geographic documentary airing December 9.
The exceptionally-preserved specimen has allowed paleontologists to
understand more details about the skin patterns, muscle mass and body proportions of
hadrosaurs, and to infer something about its running speed.
Of interest beyond these details echoed in all the news media reports, however, is what page two of the
Geographic story said about soft-tissue preservation. Acknowledging that
Mary Schweitzers team earlier this year had reported evidence for unfossilized collagen
(04/12/2007) in a T. rex bone, the NG
article states that the hunt is on for preserved macromolecules in Dakota.
If they have been detected, no one is talking about it till the peer-reviewed paper is published.
One team member admitted, though, that We have an array of chemical analysis
techniques that were applying to the organismand not just to the skin.
Any future announcement of preserved proteins or nucleic acids may be the biggest story
within an already big story.
See also the 10/15/2002 story about
Leonardo, another mummified dinosaur found in Montana.
Evolutionary paleontologists know that creationists
are going to beat them over the head with any discovery of preserved soft tissue and
biomolecules, so one has to wonder how hesitant they are to reveal what they find.
Hopefully, the excitement of a such a find, and the value of scientific objectivity,
will prevent a cover-up. Such news would deal a severe blow to the
belief these specimens are 65+ million years old, and once confidence in millions
of years is shattered, the whole evolutionary tree will be undermined with it.
Cell Gatekeepers: Diverse, Complex, Accurate 12/02/2007
Think of how long the Darwin Party has been feeding the public the
assumption of long ages. They know
the public is going to find it hard to swallow the line that soft tissue and DNA or
proteins could lie undisturbed for tens of millions of years. With so much at
stake, and the cult of Darwin vulnerable to a mass exodus, will they tell the whole
truth? It may take creationist expeditions to do original research in this
area to get the facts out. They will need to provide unimpeachable documentation
and technical rigor to rule out any claims of contamination. Lets wait
and see what the peer-reviewed paper says. Creationists do not stand to lose
face if soft tissue is not found, because it is tenuous stuff (even for burials
of known age). But if it is found, it would be much more plausible
to believe it has been preserved for thousands of years, not tens of millions.
National Geographic, as expected, spun the collagen story into an
argument for dinosaurs being related to birds. But what is the common answer to
the question What does it taste like? when your friend is offered filet
of snake, frog legs or unidentified Chinese mystery meat? Answer: It
tastes like chicken. Undoubtedly, hadrosaur tastes like chicken, too.
That doesnt mean a chicken is a frog, snake, or hadrosaur. Similarities
do not prove common ancestry, but the fact that our shared biochemistry allows us
to consume molecules from a variety of animals indicates common design.
Next headline on:
Cargo moves around rapidly and ceaselessly in every cell. Some moves in and out of the
external membrane, and some moves in and out of organelles and the nucleus.
In a system of protected domains surrounded by impermeable membranes, how does the
cell control what should pass? Details of the amazing gatekeeping mechanisms
embedded in cell membranes have been coming to light for years now. Some
recent articles have reported the latest findings.
Most of the articles above said nothing about how these complex transportation systems
might have evolved. A review in Nature,6 however, proposed
that the plethora of transport factors found in modern eukaryotes may have
also evolved by duplication events, keeping pace with the evolutionary duplication
and diverging specialization of the FG nucleoporins in the NPCs [nuclear pore
complexs] modules. Noting some similarities in the NPC to clathrin-coated
endocytosis, the team of a dozen UK and American scientists suggested that gene
duplication was the method of evolution: the NPC is another example of how a
complicated structure can evolve from the duplication, divergence and elaboration
of simple ancestral modules, they claimed. They also downplayed the
complexity of the NPC by pointing out some of the proteins are used in a modular
fashion. A summary and diagram was posted by
- Protective sleeve: One method of getting valid cargo through the
membrane gate is to wrap it in a protective sleeve that the gate recognizes.
PhysOrg has an illustration
from the work of a team at Purdue showing how this works. What comes to mind
is a personal subway capsule that shuttles you to an escalator that transfers you
safely into a shopping mall without any intruders getting past.
- Electronic gating: Ions are electrically-charged atoms whose
concentration in the cell must be strictly controlled. Compared to the large
molecules of the cell, ions of potassium, chlorine and sodium are tiny. Special voltage-sensing
gates exist just for them. We reported here on early results from work by
Roderick MacKinnon into the structure and function of these ionic gates (see
The November issue of
describes ongoing discoveries about one of these voltage-gated channels,
the Kv potassium channel. This electronic mechanism contains a pore, a
gate and a voltage sensor. In particular, a key helix protein component called S4
undergoes a conformational change to open the gate for the potassium ion.
People who enjoy exercise may want to reflect that all nerve and muscle activity
depends on the proper control of these ions.
- Nuclear power plant security: For those wanting to follow up on
news about the nucleus, and how it controls the cargo going in and out (see
last months entry, 11/13/2007,
bullet #2), the crew of your nuclear power plant made the cover of Science
this week. Laura Trinkle-Mulcahy and Angus I. Lamond reviewed the latest
work to get high-resolution images of the complex structures and functions of the
nuclear membrane, especially the gates of the nuclear pore complex (NPC).1
Four other articles in the 11/30 issue describe the latest findings about the cell
paper by 3 Vanderbilt University scientists specifically addresses the factors involved in
crossing the nuclear envelope through the NPC gates.2
For those wanting more information about the sensing mechanism,
their article contained color diagrams of the structures. The scientists explained how
the gates are regulated at multiple levels a philosophy common in
national security and computer security, too. The dynamic and diverse
mechanisms control what passes at the gate level, the transport receptor level, and
the cargo level. In computer parlance, this might be analogous to requiring a
fingerprint, a secure computer, and secure software before you are allowed to login.
Another paper in the same issue of Science describes sciences growing
realization that the nuclear membrane does far more than let things in and out.3
It is actively involved in cell division, structuring the cytoskeleton, and signaling
other processes in the cell. The nuclear envelope is also connected to the endoplasmic
reticulum, a structure essential for post-translational modification of proteins.
The authors did not mention how these elaborate mechanisms might have evolved, except
to say twice that they raise intriguing questions and fundamental
questions about evolutionary relations between the parts.
The other two papers did not mention evolution at all.
- ER: emergency room or endoplasmic reticulum: Speaking of the
endoplasmic reticulum (a kind of subway system within the cell), Nature
reported studies about the transport channels in that organelle.4
A decisive step in the biosynthesis of many proteins is their partial or complete
translocation across the eukaryotic endoplasmic reticulum membrane or the prokaryotic
plasma membrane, began Tom Rapoport (Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard).
Most of these proteins are translocated through a protein-conducting channel
that is formed by a conserved, heterotrimeric membrane-protein complex,
the Sec61 or SecY complex.
Polypeptides are the pre-protein strings of amino acids emerging from
ribosomes, where the translation from RNA occurs. Getting a wobbly chain of molecules
through a pore is somewhat akin to threading a needle. Depending on what the cargo binds to, it may
get in by one of several ways: the ribosome may simply attach to and inject the nascent
polypeptide into the channel, an ER chaperone might pump it in by a ratcheting mechanism, or
a molecular machine running on ATP might push the polypeptide
through. These are all regulated by a host of assisting proteins that keep in
touch through signaling mechanisms. Theres even a plug that closes the
channel after the polypeptide is inside.
Rapoport provided a diagram of the complicated-looking
translocation channel, which is made up of three different protein parts.
He called it conserved (unevolved) between all three kingdoms of life, but
did not say anything else about evolution certainly, not anything about how
it arose in the first place.
- Light sensitive: Imagine a receptor on a cell membrane that can
respond to one photon of light, and send a signal into the interior. You dont
have to imagine it: it already exists. Rama Ranganathan in Science described
the family of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) that occur in nearly every
eukaryotic cell and can sense photons, cations, small molecules, peptides, and proteins.5
How do they do it? The structures of these receptors are just beginning to
come to light, and basic models are being formulated. Stay tuned.
Their evolutionary explanation, however, was based entirely on
circumstantial evidence of similarity, not on a chain of plausible steps
for how diverse mechanisms, despite some structural similarities,
achieved their high levels of functional accuracy.
1. Laura Trinkle-Mulcahy and Angus I. Lamond, Toward a High-Resolution View of Nuclear Dynamics,
30 November 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5855, pp. 1402-1407, DOI: 10.1126/science.1142033.
2. Laura J. Terry, Eric B. Shows, Susan R. Wente, Crossing the Nuclear Envelope:
Hierarchical Regulation of Nucleocytoplasmic Transport,
30 November 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5855, pp. 1412-1416, DOI: 10.1126/science.1142204.
3. Colin L. Stewart, Kyle J. Roux, Brian Burke, Blurring the Boundary: The Nuclear Envelope Extends Its Reach,
30 November 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5855, pp. 1408-1412, DOI: 10.1126/science.1142034.
4. Tom O. Rapoport, Protein translocation across the eukaryotic endoplasmic
reticulum and bacterial plasma membranes,
450, 663-669 (29 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06384.
5. Rama Ranganathan, Signaling Across the Cell Membrane,
23 November 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5854, pp. 1253-1254, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151656.
6. Alber et al, The molecular architecture of the nuclear pore complex,
450, 695-701 (29 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06405.
The evolutionary speculations in Nature provided nothing to
the real scientific work in these papers. They did not help determine the structure, function
or dynamics of any of the transport mechanisms. They were mere after-the-fact pipe dreams
about how Charlie might be vindicated with a hefty dose of LSD (Lets Support Darwin).
Why are so many scientists political liberals? Check out the stats on their party affiliations,
Gene duplication is pitifully incapable of explaining how functional
information got into either clathrin-coated endocytosis or nuclear pore transport.
A motorcycle and a diesel train have some similarities, too; they both have wheels that
rotate and are powered by fuels that have some similarities (hydrocarbons).
So what? You can duplicate as many motorcycles as you want, for eternity, and
will never get a bullet train.
Even if you allow the duplicate motorcycle unlimited free mutations, will that help?
Try breaking things at random on the motorcycle and see if you
make progress toward train technology. Darwinian evolution is blind, remember.
It has no foresight. It is not trying to work toward traindom. Unless each
mistake provides some advantage for the here and now, the only likely result is that
repeated mutations will leave you stranded on the highway bumming a ride.
Sorry we had to waste time on evolution. The focus of this story
should be on the amazing mechanisms of the cell, and how modern science is slowly
pulling back the cover on the package so we can all, with the fascination of kids
at Christmas, look inside and see the words LION-EL.*
Next headline on:
*Lion, Revelation 5;
El, Genesis 33:20,
short of Elohim, the Creator God.
Wilson Duo Resurrects Darwins Taboo 12/01/2007
Group selection (sociobiology) has long been a taboo subject, but now its time
has come. This is what an article on
claims. E. O. Wilson and David Sloan Wilson are on a new campaign to promote
The two Wilsons called for a new consensus on
sociobiology in The Quarterly Review of Biology, 136 years after Darwin suggested in 1871
that morality might evolve in groups (The Descent of Man).
A little historical background tells what happened next:
Wilson and Wilson trace much of the confusion in the field to the 1960s,
when most evolutionists rejected for the good of the group thinking
and insisted that all adaptations must be explained in terms of individual self-interest.
In an even more reductionistic move, genes were called the fundamental
unit of selection, as if this was an argument against group selection.
Scientific dogma became entrenched in popular culture with the
publication of Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene (1976).
Although evidence in favor of group selection began accumulating
almost immediately after its rejection, its taboo status prevented a
systematic re-evaluation of the field until now.
The upshot is that Charles Darwin wins again:
Based on current theory and evidence, Wilson and Wilson show that natural selection
is unequivocally a multilevel process, as Darwin originally envisioned, and that
adaptations can evolve at all levels of the biological hierarchy, from genes
to ecosystems. They conclude with a rallying cry that paraphrases
Rabbi Hillel: Selfishness beats altruism within groups.
Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary,
Wilson and Wilson free sociobiology to once again pursue all lines of inquiry within its discipline.
Of course, altruism is merely a phantom artifact in this view; it is really
self-interest that is behind group interest. To them, this operates at all
levels from bacteria to Constitutional Conventions.
The entry did not provide any responses from evolutionists who reject group
selection (e.g.,survival of the fictitious, 08/26/2004;
non-Darwinian mechanisms 07/23/2004;
George C. Williams 05/31/2004).
OK, George, get the posse and round up these
mavericks. Theyre getting out of line again
Flowering Plants Do Big Bang in Darwins Face 12/01/2007
Ever since Darwin welcomed imagination and storytelling into science,
it has caused a bit of consternation among his disciples. Sometimes
Father Charlie would just make a suggestion here or there without really
developing it. This has allowed all the competing cults to find quotes from
The Mosstuh to justify their versions of Darwinism, as if they alone are the faithful
E. O. Wilson, the former fundamentalist kid turned creation-hating
atheist (see New
Scientist), loves selfishness so much, he wants to promote it throughout the entire
hierarchy of existence. David Sloan Wilson, the publicist, will be sure
to spread this new gospel of selfishness in Evolution for Everyone
11/01/2005). Selfishness for Everyone!
Preach it, brother!
If Wilson & Wilson get their way, this will be the rallying cry for Darwin Day 2008.
Greater hate hath no man, than a man exalt himself over his friend.
Since we now know that the Wilson Boys promote selfishness as the
highest good, we can ignore everything they say, cant we? After all,
they dont care about what is good, true or beautiful. Theyre
just in it for themselves.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Theres a big bang in botany. The flowering plants, reported
evolved very quickly into five groups.
The claim is based on the investigation of plant genes by scientists
in Florida. Their work showed that a stunning diversification of
flowering plants they are referring to as the Big Bang took place in
the comparatively short period of less than 5 million years -- and resulted in
all five major lineages of flowering plants that exist today.
In both the fossil record and the genes, the picture is one of
abrupt appearance followed by stasis, without any recognizable cause:
Flowering plants today comprise around 400,000 species, said Pam Soltis.
So to think that the burst that give [sic] rise to
almost all of these plants occurred in less than 5 million years is pretty amazing --
especially when you consider that flowering plants as a group have been around
for at least 130 million years.
The scientists cross-checked their phylogenetic tree built by comparative genomics
against the fossil record, and sure enough, the emergence was rapid. The
cause of this rapid diversification was called mysterious.
Twice the article referred to the fact that Darwin called the
abrupt appearance of flowering plants an abominable mystery.
Two papers from the work were published in the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences.
Robert Jansen, professor of integrative biology at The University
of Texas at Austin, said the two papers set the stage for all future comparative
studies of flowering plants.
If you are interested in understanding the evolution
of flowering plants, you cant do that unless you understand their relationships,
Botanists predating Darwin have long recognized that flowering plants,
which comprise at least 60 percent of all green plant species, diversified abruptly
shortly after they appeared.
The details, and especially the cause of, this
diversification -- Darwins abominable mystery -- has been
a hot topic in botany ever since.
One of the reasons why its been hard to understand
evolutionary relationships among the major groups of flowering plants is because
they diversified over such a short time frame, Jansen said.
Boring. Same cop-out for 160 years.
They see creation, and call it evolution. The only mystery here is why
they get away with it.
Next headline on:
Darwin and Evolution
Philosopher 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)
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(an attorney in California)
I must say your website provides an invaluable arsenal in this war for souls
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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.
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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
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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
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(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
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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 Philosopher for December
100 - 165
We rightfully pay an additional measure of respect to the words of those
who die for what they believe. This month we celebrate a man who faced
execution without flinching, because he was
convinced of what he had come to believe and teach in his adult life.
The man was Justin Martyr, a second-century Christian apologist.
Though science as we know it did not exist in his day, did his ideas
suggest a foundation for a workable philosophy of science better than that
of the Greeks or Romans among whom he lived? That will be the subject
of a research challenge we will explain in a minute.
Justin was trained in Greek philosophy before he became a Christian. Like
the writer of Hebrews, he defended Christianity as something better
than the teachings of the Jews and the Greeks. Justins education
and training in philosophy made him uniquely gifted at providing persuasive arguments
to the elite of Roman society about why they should drop their misconceptions about
this new, persecuted sect and listen to what Christians were saying: here was
something better than anything they had ever known. Christ, the Logos of
God, was the root of all meaning and purpose in life. This became Justins
core belief, coming right out of his own discontent with the leading philosophies
of his day. He knew them all; he took Christ.
Rather than provide a biography here about Justin Martyr (hereafter JM), we would like to propose
a research project for a bright, motivated individual whether high school or
post-graduate fellow to defend the following proposition: the arguments of Justin
Martyr in defense of Christianity provide a better foundation for a philosophy
of science than Greek and Roman philosophy. This would make a great research paper!
Here are some teasers to get you going:
JM defended the Biblical doctrine of creation as essential to making sense of the world.
An eternal universe would have no purpose or direction.
JM argued that the Greek philosophers got their best ideas from Moses. (!)
Following in the footsteps of the epistle of John, chapter 1 (In the beginning
was the Logos) JM took the familiar
Greek theme of the Logos (intrinsic to Platonism and Stoicism) and applied it to
the person of Jesus Christ.
This idea of Logos (information, communication, intelligence) as a fundamental
reality continues to provide inspiration for non-materialistic philosophies of science,
such as in the intelligent design movement, and particularly in the
writings of Phillip E. Johnson and (earlier) Dr. A. E. Wilder-Smith. Johnson
contrasts the materialism of In the beginning were the particles with
the design paradigm, In the beginning was the Word.
Justins ministry was carried out at a critical time in the history of ideas:
right after the apostles, during a time of intellectual ferment about what the
New Testament meant, and before corruptions and heresies became entrenched.
The Gnostics had to be confronted, who were claiming secret, mystical knowledge.
The Romans were hostile to Christians for refusing to honor the national gods.
False rumors about Christians were rampant.
To become a Christian during this period was a serious and dangerous decision that was not
taken lightly. The cost could be torture and death.
Because of this, Justins writing came right at a
time when Christian thinkers were keen to provide reasons for embracing the views
of Jesus of Nazareth reasons that made sense to a culture that extolled Greek
philosophy as the highest tradition of human wisdom. Justin obeyed
Peter 3:15-16, which enjoined Christians to always be ready to provide a reasoned
defense of the hope that was in them.
While much of Justins work was in defense of Christianity itself, there are
many subtexts that bear on the fundamental questions of philosophy: ontology (what
exists) and epistemology (how we know). These, by any philosophers
measure, are essential issues that will determine how one will approach the study
The extant writings of Justin Martyr are published online at
Ethereal Library. Some skillful internet searching will turn up additional
publications that can help a researcher make progress on this project, such as this
summary at Leadership
U, although studying JMs own writings will provide the best source.*
Imagine what science might have achieved centuries earlier had it taken seriously
the ideas of this second-century Christian apologist. Could a Justinian
system of ideas about nature have accelerated the rise of science? Take our
challenge and tell us what you find: send your ideas to Feedback.
At his trial, the elderly Justin stood bravely before Rusticus, the Roman prefect
who gave him and other condemned Christians one last chance to honor the gods of
Rome. Justin said, I have endeavoured to learn all doctrines; but I
have acquiesced at last in the true doctrines, those namely of the Christians,
even though they do not please those who hold false opinions. Angrily
calling him a wretched man, Rusticus demanded to know what those doctrines were.
With certain death imminent, Justin stood firm:
That according to which we worship the God of the Christians, whom we reckon to
be one from the beginning, the maker and fashioner of the whole creation, visible
and invisible; and the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who had also been
preached beforehand by the prophets as about to be present with the race of men,
the herald of salvation and teacher of good disciples. And I, being a man,
think that what I can say is insignificant in comparison with His boundless
divinity, acknowledging a certain prophetic power. That is, that a
prophetic inspiration is required to speak worthily of Christ. since it
was prophesied concerning Him of whom now I say that He is the Son of God.
For I know that of old the prophets foretold His appearance among men.
Justin and each of the condemned answered Are you a Christian? forthrightly
and confidently in the affirmative. Each refused to offer sacrifice to the gods,
even when warned that they would be mercilessly punished. Do what you will,
they answered, for we are Christians, and do not sacrifice to idols.
Following this, they were taken out to be scourged, then beheaded. Faithful
friends secretly took the bodies of these brave martyrs to give them a proper burial,
and commended these who perfected their testimony in the confession of the Saviour.
Knowing this background, lets take the words of Justin seriously, in the understanding
that this brave man died for what he believed, and had become convinced of, in full
knowledge of the best wisdom his culture had to offer. Take our research challenge:
are the teachings of Justin Martyr good soil for the sprouting of a vigorous
philosophy of science?
*Some writers accuse Justin Martyr of certain questionable or even heretical beliefs,
but to be understood, he should be read in his historical context. Even today,
apologists will build bridges with concepts familiar to their listeners. Justin
did not accept the Greek conception of the Logos any more than John the Apostle
did, but used a familiar term to reveal the person of Jesus Christ in a way that was
understandable to them. Do not merely accept, therefore, some modern writers judgment
about what Justin believed without reading his own writings and determining if, in
context, it is what he really meant.
If you are enjoying this series, you can
learn more about great Christians in science by reading
our online book-in-progress:
The Worlds Greatest
Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K.
A Concise Guide|
You can observe a lot by just watching.
First Law of Scientific Progress
The advance of science can be measured by the rate at which exceptions to previously held laws accumulate.
1. Exceptions always outnumber rules.
2. There are always exceptions to established exceptions.
3. By the time one masters the exceptions, no one recalls the rules to which they apply.
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
So will Darwinists.
Science is true. Dont be misled by facts.
Finagles 2nd Law
No matter what the anticipated result, there
will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c)
believe it happened according to his own pet theory.
3. Draw your curves, then plot your data.
4. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
6. Do not believe in miracles rely on them.
Murphys Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiments may be considered a success if no more than 50%
of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence
with the theory.
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon
is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.
Peters Law of Evolution
Competence always contains the seed of incompetence.
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
Repetition does not establish validity.
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts not the facts themselves.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
Thumbs Second Postulate
An easily-understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible truth.
There is nothing so small that it cant be blown out of proportion
Hawkins Theory of Progress
Progress does not consist in replacing a theory that is
wrong with one that is right. It consists in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is
more subtly wrong.
The best theory is not ipso facto a good theory.
Error is often more earnest than truth.
Advice from Paul|
Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle
babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge by
professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
I Timothy 6:20-21
Song of the True Scientist
O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made
them all. The earth is full of Your possessions . . . . May the glory of the Lord endure forever. May the
Lord rejoice in His works . . . . I will sing to the Lord s long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my
being. May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord. May sinners be
consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
from Psalm 104
Through the creatures Thou hast made
Show the brightness of Thy glory.
Be eternal truth displayed
In their substance transitory.
Till green earth and ocean hoary,
Massy rock and tender blade,
Tell the same unending story:
We are truth in form arrayed.
Teach me thus Thy works to read,
That my faith, new strength accruing
May from world to world proceed,
Wisdoms fruitful search pursuing
Till, thy truth my mind imbuing,
I proclaim the eternal Creed
Oft the glorious theme renewing,
God our Lord is God indeed.
James Clerk Maxwell
One of the greatest physicists
of all time (a creationist).
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